My Narcissistic Episode

Nobody is fully immune from an occasional bout of narcissism, my friends. Here’s a case in point. Agrider, the owner of my small countryside hotel that’s belonged to his family for over a century, speaks a very slow, careful Spanish to me.

“Ah!” I think in an attack of wounded narcissism. “He doesn’t trust that my Spanish is good enough to understand fluent speech.”

To convince Agrider of my outstanding language skills, I start firing off long, complex sentences delivered at a breakneck speed.

In response, Agrider speaks even more slowly and enunciates even more carefully.

Finally, today we had a good conversation, and I discovered that the reason why a guy who has lived his whole life in the Basque countryside speaks slow Spanish has nothing whatsoever to do with me. He’s simply a speaker of euskera. Spanish is a learned language for him. I was confusing him with my rapid-fire, convoluted Spanish.

It’s my fault for forgetting one of life’s most important rules: whatever it is, it’s probably not about me at all.


7 thoughts on “My Narcissistic Episode

  1. How did Euskara even come about, if it’s not related to any known language? Is the region that isolated?


    1. It’s quite isolated, yes. You need to cross a lot of mountains to get there. These days there are many tunnels you go through.

      I don’t know, it’s still a big mystery. The basic words sometimes do have Indo-European echoes. Thus, mama is “ama.” Dad is “aita” which is similar to Ukrainian “tato.” Two is “bi”. All of the more recent words are very similar to Latin-root words because they were artificially created. Thus, a concert is “konzertoa.”

      It’s all very interesting.


      1. “still a big mystery”

        I thought the CW was that Euskara was simply a surviving original indigenous language that unlike all the rest (south of the Lapps) somehow managed to survive the Indo-European expansion (mostly because of isolated position).
        Last I knew it was generally thought to be a descendent of Aquitanian…

        Isn’t izquierda (left) in Spanish a borrowing from Euskara?


  2. Solipsistic, not narcissistic.

    If you were that openly narcissistic, you’d have been psychologically ring fenced by a majority of the people you know.

    That occasional habit of “grand pronouncements” is fortunately a lot more solipsistic and a lot less narcissistic than you may at first appreciate.

    Still, it’s great humour when it happens.

    Also, doubling down on what isn’t working?

    Totally solipsistic. 🙂


    1. Didn’t catch this the first time.

      Healthy people don’t label themselves with a psychological disorder.

      Healthy people may admit to being self-centered on occasion and other such things that are single behaviours, but they don’t get cosy with the “narcissist” tag and the complex of things that it represents unless it fits.

      While Freud came up with the concept of a “narcissistic injury”, that was never meant to provide cover and acceptance of such a thing as narcissism as code for some kind of extreme spectrum of normality, but instead was meant to attempt to find ways to treat it as the problem that it is.

      So totally not buying “an occasional bout of narcissism” here now that what’s going on is a lot more obvious.

      When people tell you that they’re evil, believe them.

      When people tell you that they’re sociopaths or psychopaths, believe them.

      And when people tell you they’re narcissists, believe them.

      Even if these people self-diagnose and think it’s just a little, it’s really a lot, because getting comfortable with the term signals at the least some kind of covert acknowledgement.

      So I’m going to assume it’s a lot and act accordingly.


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