Narcissus and Echo: The Myth and Tragedy of Relationships with Narcissists
This poignant myth crystallizes the tragic problem of relationships with narcissists . Sadly, both partners are locked into a painful drama, where neither feel . decide if you're considering ending a relationship with a narcissist. At the end of the day, this approach doesn't lead to love. are quite simply the best filters for finding a relationship that has the potential for lasting happiness. Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in society, such as There is a complex relationship between recital of myths and enactment of rituals. . who developed anthologies of Classical myths that remained influential to the end of the Middle Ages; and the Renaissance scholar Natalis.
Despite their love, he remained aloof and arrogant. Pridefully, he held them in disdain. Meanwhile, the beautiful forest nymph Echo had incurred the ire of the goddess Juno, who punished Echo for talking too much by depriving her of free expression. From then on, she could only repeat the last words of others. Echo spotted Narcissus and became infatuated.
She longed for his attention, but he was fixated on himself. May I die before you enjoy my body. Nevertheless, her love for Narcissus grew. To punish Narcissus for his arrogance, Nemesis, the goddess of revenge, put a spell on him. When Narcissus next noticed his reflection in a pool of water, love overtook him. As the years passed, she lost her youth and beauty pining away for unattainable Narcissus until she wasted away, only leaving behind her echoing voice.
He eventually committed suicide, consumed by his impossible love, leaving a flower in his place. Understanding Narcissists Despite their seemingly strong personality, narcissists are actually very vulnerable underneath their protective armor. Vulnerable feelings, especially shame, sadness, and fear, are relegated to their unconscious. They have disdain for them or any sign of weakness, which arouses fears of being controlled or humiliated. Thus, to feel sad or lonely evokes their need for someone, which would expose them to hurt, rejection, and feeling inferior.
They attempt to eliminate these uncomfortable feelings by demonstrating independence, courage, and strength — ideals with which they identify. Like the myth, narcissists feel superior to others, yet depend upon them to reflect back a positive self-image. Surprisingly, most narcissists are codependenttoo. Jung evolved a theory of archetypes. Broadly similar images and symbols occur in myths, fairy tales, and dreams because the human psyche has an inbuilt tendency to dwell on certain inherited motifs archetypesthe basic pattern of which persists, however much details may vary.
But critics of Jung have hesitated to accept his theory of archetypes as an account of mythology.
Among objections raised, two may be mentioned. First, the archetypal symbols identified by Jung are static, representing personal types that conflate aspects of the personality: Second, Jungian analysis is essentially aimed at relating myth to the individual psyche, whereas myth is above all a social phenomenon, embedded in society and requiring explanation with reference to social structures and social functions.
This reality changes continually throughout history, and these changes have especially occupied philosophers and historians of sciencefor a sense of reality in a culture is basic to any scientific pursuit by that culture, beginning with the earliest philosophical inquiries into the nature of the world.
The function of models in physics, biology, medicine, and other sciences resembles that of myths as paradigmsor patterns, of the human world.
In medicine, for instance, the human body is sometimes likened to a machine or the human brain to a computer, and such models are easily understood. Once a model has gained acceptance, it is difficult to replace, and in this respect it resembles myth, while at the same time, just as in myth, there may be a great variety of interpretations.
In the 17th century it was assumed that the universe could be explained entirely in terms of minute corpuscles, their motion and interaction, and that no entities of any other sort existed. To the extent that many models in the history of science have partaken of this somewhat absolutist character, science can be said to resemble myth.
There are, however, important differences.
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Despite the relative infrequency with which models in science have been replaced, replacement does occur, and a strong awareness of the limitations of models has developed in modern science. In contrast, a myth is not as a rule regarded by the community in which it functions as open to replacement, although an outside observer might record changes and even the substitution of a new myth for an old one.
Moreover, in spite of the broad cultural impact of theories and models such as those of Newton and Einstein, it is in general true to say that models in science have their principal value for the scientists concerned.
Hence, they function most strongly for a relatively small segment of society, even though, for instance, a medical theory held in academic circles in one century can filter down into folk medicine in the next. As a rule, myth has a much wider impact. Modern science did not evolve in its entirety as a rebellion against myth, nor at its birth did it suddenly throw off the shackles of myth. In ancient Greece the naturalists of Ionia western Asia Minorlong regarded as the originators of science, developed views of the universe that were in fact very close to the creation myths of their time.
Those who laid the foundations of modern science, such as Nicholas of CusaJohannes KeplerSir Isaac Newtonand Gottfried Leibniz, were absorbed by metaphysical problems of which the traditional, indeed mythological, character is evident.
Among these problems were the nature of infinity and the question of the omnipotence of God. Myth, in this view, is that which is taken for granted when thought begins.
It is at the same time the limit reached in the course of scientific analysis, when it is found that no further progress in definition can be made after certain fundamental principles have been reached. In recent scientific researches, especially in astronomy and biology, questions of teleology final ends have gained in importance, as distinct from earlier concerns with questions of origin.
These recent concerns stimulate discussion about the limits of what can be scientifically explained, and they reveal anew a mythological dimension to human knowledge. The place of myth in various religious traditions differs. Ritual and other practices The idea that the principal function of a myth is to provide a justification for a ritual was adopted without any great attempt to make a case for it.
At the beginning of the 20th century many scholars thought of myths in their earliest forms as accounts of social customs and values. Human society developed in stages—from the magical through the religious to the scientific—and myths and rituals which survived even into the scientific stage bore witness to archaic modes of thought that were otherwise difficult to reconstruct.
As for the relationship between myth and ritual, Frazer argued that myths were intended to explain otherwise unintelligible rituals. A number of scholars, mainly in Britain and the Scandinavian countries and usually referred to as the Myth and Ritual school of which the best-known member is the British biblical scholar S. Hookehave concentrated on the ritual purposes of myths.
Classical scholars have subsequently investigated the relations between myth and ritual in ancient Greece. Particularly influential has been the study of sacrifice by Walter Burkert titled Homo Necans: Connections between myths and cult behaviour certainly exist, but there is no solid ground for the suggestion, following Frazer, that, in general, ritual came first and myth was then formulated as a subsequent explanation. If it is only the subsequent myth that has made the sense of the earlier ritual explicit, the meaning of the ritual may remain a riddle.
There is in fact no unanimous opinion about which originated first. Modern scholars are inclined to turn away from the question of temporal priority and to concentrate instead on the diversity of the relationship between myth and ritual. While it is clear that some myths are linked to rituals, so that it makes sense to say that the myth is expressing in the language of narrative that which the ritual expresses through the symbolism of action, in the case of other myths no such ritual exists.
The content of important myths concerning the origin of the world usually reflects the dominant cultural form of a tradition. The myths of hunter-gatherer societies tell of the origin of game animals and hunting customs; agricultural civilizations tend to give weight to agricultural practices in their myths; pastoral cultures to pastoral practices; and so on. Myths in specific traditions deal with matters such as harvest customs, initiation ceremonies, and the customs of secret societies.
Religious symbolism and iconography Sacred objects are found in all religious traditions, and sacred images in most. They are the material counterparts of myth inasmuch as they represent sacred realities of figures, as myths do in narrative form. Representing does not entail faithful copying of natural or human forms, and in this respect religious symbolism is again like myth in that both depict the extraordinary rather than the ordinary.
Many symbolic representations have their sources in myths. The sculptures of divine figures in Classical Greece by sculptors such as Phidias and Praxiteles are the exception.
I want to end my relationship but I can’t, because I love him
Usually the degree of representation occurring in cult practices and the depiction of mythical themes has been considerably less humanistic. An example is the way geometric and animal figures abound in the history of religions. Another example is the use of sacred masks, as in the mysteries of Dionysusan ecstatic cult in the Aegean world of Classical antiquity, and the indigenous traditions of Australia, America, prehistoric Europe, and elsewhere.
Sacred texts The Hebrew Bible is usually regarded as embodying much material that anthropologists would regard as containing mythical themes in just the same way as the practices of the ancient Greeks, Chinese, or Abenaki Indians are bound up with myths.
Yet the religion of Israel was in many respects critical of myths in the sense of noncanonical, approved narratives. Similarly, it rejected any representation of God in natural forms. Anti-mythological tendencies exist in the religions that have their roots in Israel. Other traditions with sacred scriptures are more tolerant of myth, for example Hinduism and Buddhism. Running through certain central texts of the Hindu sacred tradition is the theme of the contrast between the One and the Many.
Thus, the philosophical poem known as the Bhagavadgita contrasts the person who sees Infinity within the ordinary finite world with the person who merely sees the diversity of appearances.
Yet this ascetic and abstract view by no means excludes a rich and extraordinarily diverse mythology, which is reflected in the tremendous variety of Indian religious statuary and which mirrors the religious complexity of Indian society. A justification for the coexistence of an ideal of unity with a pluralistic reality is found in the Rigveda, where it is written that although God is One the sages give him many names. Buddhism also finds room for exuberant mythology as well as for the plainer truths of sacred doctrine.
Buddhism embraces not only the teachings of the Buddha about the pursuit of the path to enlightenment and nirvana but also the exotic mythical figures of Yamantaka, who wears a necklace of skulls, and the grossly fat god of wealth Jambhala.
Myth and the arts Oral traditions and written literature Myths in ancient civilizations are known only by virtue of the fact that they became part of a written tradition. Literary forms such as the epic have frequently served as vehicles for transmitting myths inasmuch as they present an authoritative account.
The Homeric epics were both an example and an exploration of heroic values, and the poems became the basis of education in Classical Greece. The great epics of India Mahabharata and Ramayana came to function as encyclopaedias of knowledge and provided models for all human existence.
Visual arts In principle, the sort of relationship that exists between myth and literature exists also with respect to the other arts. In the case of architecture and sculpture, archaeological discoveries confirm the primacy of mythical representations. Among the earliest known three-dimensional objects built by human beings are prehistoric megalithic and sepulchral structures. Mythological details cannot actually be discerned, but it is generally believed that such structures express mythological concerns and that mythical images dictated the shape.
An especially intriguing example is the stone circle at Stonehenge in southern England. Axes of this construction are aligned with significant risings and settings of the sun and moon, but the idea that the circle was built for a religious purpose must remain likely rather than certain.
Grave monuments of rulers are among the most important remains of ancient civilizations e. There is worldwide evidence that in archaic cultures human beings considered the points of the compass to have mythological affiliations e. Mythological views even influenced building activity.
One architectural feature that can have mythological significance is the column. In a number of popular traditions the sky is believed to be supported by one or more columns. The relatively strict separation between religious and civil architecture that modern people are perhaps inclined to take for granted has not existed in most cultures and periods and perhaps is not universal even in modern times. Even when art ceases to represent mythological matters outright, it is still usually far from representational.
That art has ceased to represent mythology is challenged by some theorists, who argue that what seems to be abandonment of mythological forms is really only a change in mythology. The opposing arguments are analogous to the favourable or unfavourable attitudes toward myth that religions have developed. Performing arts Myth is one of the principal roots of drama.
An example of such presentation is the story pattern, notably the way retribution follows transgression. Another feature of Greek drama that is relevant to the subject of myth is the fact that the role of the chorus was taken by a group of ordinary citizens.
In Greek tragedy the heroic past was presented and explored by a chorus of nonheroic individuals; hence the meaning of the inherited myths was examined by a collectivity that can be seen as standing for the wider collectivity more than 10, in number that constituted the audience at the plays. In its songs the chorus frequently had recourse to expressions of a proverbial kind, using the distilled wisdom of the community to account for the strange and often disturbing events represented in the plays.
The origins of drama are obscure, but Theodor Gaster, an American historian of religion, has suggested that in the ancient eastern Mediterranean world the interrelationship of myth and ritual created drama. Dance has been a medium for the expression of mythological themes throughout the world and in all periods for which there is evidence.Teacher - Student Relationship
Especially common are dances aimed at ensuring the continuity of fertility or the success of hunting, at curing the sick, or at achieving shamanistic trance states. An aspect of the decay of ritual in the modern West is the tendency for dance to lose its close and direct connection with the life of the community. There are important and significant exceptions, however. One of the most notable is the work of the American choreographer Martha Grahamwho frequently used mythical themes—often drawn from Greek antiquity—as the inspiration for her ballets.
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- Narcissus and Echo: The Myth and Tragedy of Relationships with Narcissists
But I had to mention it, and did one night to my writing group. They did not think it was trivial. And we realised that there were stories to tell about the break ups of close friendships, and that it was important to tell them. It was this that prompted Just Between Us, the anthology we have co-edited about female friendship. It is rich with stories of failed friendships, both between girls and much older women that touch on themes such as envy, sexual jealousies, mental illness, betrayal of confidences, childhood disputes and resentments that have lasted for years.
Clearly other women feel the same: In one truly horrifying scenario, a woman who has split up with her best friend writes about continuing to live in the apartment next door to her. It seems that women are loath to confront one another when a relationship is failing, even if, or maybe, especially if, that relationship is with their best friend. Women are a discursive bunch — my former friend and I could talk about almost anything and for record amounts of time.