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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I never considered myself a "Grandiose" person, but after reading Alice Miller’s book, "The Drama of the Gifted Child" I couldn’t help but relate to her perceptive descriptions. She writes that if someone during his or her childhood suffered from love deficiency then chances are that child will seek admiration from others as a substitute to love.

In my early twenties, I found my refuge in higher education. I aspired over the years to become a gifted speaker even though I felt inadequate as one. I prepared obsessively so that my talks or speeches would not only be informative, but deep, well investigated and inspiring. I set my face to building a reputation as a high achiever.

What I did not expect was that my troubled marriage would eventually drain me to the point that I reluctantly ceased that pursuit. I resented being sidelined and whenever I read e-mails from my friend about his achievements it fuelled me with envy and indignation. I didn’t know this was part of the symptoms of a false self*.

Anyway, I want to take the rest of the message to introduce you to the author who inspired this post today. If you aren't in the mood for a long read... maybe you can come back another time coz it's insightful stuff...

Excerpts from The Grandiose" Person -- By Alice Miller

“Others are there to admire him, and he himself is constantly occupied, body and soul, with gaining that admiration. This is how his torturing dependence shows itself. The childhood trauma is repeated: he is always the child whom his mother admires, but at the same time he senses that so long as it is his qualities that are being admired, he is not loved for the person he really is at any given time. In the parents' feelings, dangerously close to pride in their child, shame is concealed— lest he should fail to fulfill their expectations...

It is thus impossible for the grandiose person to cut the tragic link between admiration and love. In his compulsion to repeat he seeks insatiably for admiration, of which he never gets enough because admiration is not the same thing as love. It is only a substitute gratification of the primary needs for respect, understanding, and being taken seriously —needs that have remained unconscious.

The grandiose person is never really free, first, because he is excessively dependent on admiration from the object, and second, because his self-respect is dependent on qualities, functions, and achievements that can suddenly fail...

This combination of alternating phases of grandiosity and depression can be seen in many other people. They are the two sides of the medal that could be described as the "false self," a medal that was actually once given for achievements...

An actor, for example, at the height of his success, can play before an enthusiastic audience and experience feelings of heavenly greatness and almightiness. Nevertheless, his sense of emptiness and futility, even of shame and anger, can return the next morning if his happiness the previous night was due not only to his creative activity in playing and expressing the part but also, and above all, was rooted in the substitute satisfaction of old needs for echoing, mirroring, and being seen and understood. If his success the previous night only serves as the denial of childhood frustrations, then, like every substitute, it can only bring momentary satiation.

In fact, true satiation is no longer possible, since the right time for that now lies irrevocably in the past. The former child no longer exists, nor do the former parents. The present parents—if they are still alive—are now old and dependent, have no longer any power over their son, are delighted with his success and with his infrequent visits. In the present, the son enjoys success and recognition, but these things cannot offer him more than they are, they cannot fill the old gap. Again, as long as he can deny this with the help of illusion, that is, the intoxication of success, the old wound cannot heal. Depression leads him close to his wounds, but only the mourning for what he has missed, missed at the crucial time, can lead to real healing.”

* False Self: A child who had to attend to a chaotic FOO and the constant demands generated by this chaos, missed out on developing his or her true self. He or she had to adopt a false self in order to survive. For example, a boy grew up as a substitute husband to his mother, because the father had a paranoid personality disorder. That child had no chance to live out his childhood, because he was required to take on the role of an adult before his time. There is much more I could write about this interesting theory, but for now I only have time to give you a glimpse.
 

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Pretty interesting stuff, that...

It struck a little bit of a sore spot with me actually, though I wouldn't say I am that dramatic or changable. I have a ...difficult relationship with my parents, at times. I am never good enough, no matter what it is I do. To be my parents ideal I'd have to stop being myself and be utterly miserable. They do both love me, but there is a lot of presure on me to be someone else, mostly from my father. I don't feel they aprechiate me for who I am, even though they love me and want me to be happy.

I have always felt I have a lot to prove to other people, mostly that I am not stupid. I was always told growing up, either I couldn't do better, or a I should do better. No one ever said, well done, you got an A for English even though it's really hard for you, without it being followed by...but it isn't an A*, you're a bright girl, you should be getting A*s. Now what can you do to get one next time? Or, yes, you have done very well so far, but you arn't going to do any better. It's comendable you got to this piont.

Screws a person up, and I see shades of this in my achedemic stuff, though not the entire Grandiouse thing. Perhapes a feeling of sadness or incompleatness beneath the happyness/achievment at times. But not depression.

I grew tired of playing these games some time ago, you see. I do what I do for me these days, and not simply to disprove or gain aproval from other people. I'm me...and I'm not asking anyone to like that, just acept it and treat me with respect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Pretty interesting stuff, that...

It struck a little bit of a sore spot with me actually, though I wouldn't say I am that dramatic or changable. I have a ...difficult relationship with my parents, at times. I am never good enough, no matter what it is I do. To be my parents ideal I'd have to stop being myself and be utterly miserable. They do both love me, but there is a lot of presure on me to be someone else, mostly from my father. I don't feel they aprechiate me for who I am, even though they love me and want me to be happy.

I have always felt I have a lot to prove to other people, mostly that I am not stupid. I was always told growing up, either I couldn't do better, or a I should do better. No one ever said, well done, you got an A for English even though it's really hard for you, without it being followed by...but it isn't an A*, you're a bright girl, you should be getting A*s. Now what can you do to get one next time? Or, yes, you have done very well so far, but you arn't going to do any better. It's comendable you got to this piont.

Screws a person up, and I see shades of this in my achedemic stuff, though not the entire Grandiouse thing. Perhapes a feeling of sadness or incompleatness beneath the happyness/achievment at times. But not depression.

I grew tired of playing these games some time ago, you see. I do what I do for me these days, and not simply to disprove or gain aproval from other people. I'm me...and I'm not asking anyone to like that, just acept it and treat me with respect.
I appreciate all that you shared and the courage to share it. Thanks
 

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when other people admire you... it is like chocolate
and the more i get used to that the smaller the chocolate becomes over time
and i crave more of those chocolates
and eventually there comes a point when the chocolate won't do any good
or it becomes a very difficult, elaborate task to obtain the same sensation / fulfillment
could this be being grandiose?
 

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It speaks the truth.

I went through all this-- never had a chance to be a kid because I was assuming adult roles first. Parents were always too caught up in themselves to give me real love, so I had to perform for it. And when that failed, thus began a depression which I've carried since then.

I still have a hard time with people because I always assume they don't want anything to do with me-- They just want my help with something, or they want something I have... It gets in the way of my friendships a lot, and I don't know if it's something I'll ever be able to drop.

I definitely fall under the 'grandiose' description here. If I had a better attention span with books, I'd check it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
when other people admire you... it is like chocolate
and the more i get used to that the smaller the chocolate becomes over time
and i crave more of those chocolates
and eventually there comes a point when the chocolate won't do any good
or it becomes a very difficult, elaborate task to obtain the same sensation / fulfillment
could this be being grandiose?
I like the analogy and I believe it fits being grandiose too. Thanks for a most thoughtful comment...

RE
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It speaks the truth.

I went through all this-- never had a chance to be a kid because I was assuming adult roles first. Parents were always too caught up in themselves to give me real love, so I had to perform for it. And when that failed, thus began a depression which I've carried since then.

I still have a hard time with people because I always assume they don't want anything to do with me-- They just want my help with something, or they want something I have... It gets in the way of my friendships a lot, and I don't know if it's something I'll ever be able to drop.

I definitely fall under the 'grandiose' description here. If I had a better attention span or books, I'd check it out.
Zomboy

Your description sums up my life and only now reaching midlife I've overcome the depression, but the release came much later than sooner. Although my mother was and is a caring person, her daily battles with a paranoid husband, health issues and her being alone as a immigrant made it impossible for her to give me her attention until I reached adulthood.

Friendship is not so bad for me, but suspicion rears its head when it comes to any possible partner. Most of that may be coming out of a prolonged and toxic marriage.

RE
 
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