The Cancer Excuse.

It is a short drive from another person’s trauma to your own suffering. I’ll be the first to admit that bad things don’t happen to just one person because we are not islands. Trauma and illness spread out their suffering, concentric circles in a pond after a stone is thrown in.

I honor the millions who heroically battle cancer, determined to live life to its fullest and flip cancer the bird. Unfortunately, narcissists aren’t always among this valiant throng. Give a narcissist cancer (or any ailment) and she’ll exploit it to the max, making everyone’s life a micro-managed living hell along the way. Trust me, I know of one. Don’t care that you’re reading this. You deserve it.

Narcissists are well-known for faking heart attacks or claiming imaginary ailments, so when a real one comes along….holy crap! It’s like a dream come true for them. They thrive on their narcissistic supply, it is the very oxygen of attention that they need. So, a serious illness is like manna from heaven for a narcissist. They can demand almost unlimited attention from their family and carers. When well, a narcissists will boast about their physical achievements and in particular a somatic narcissist will put on great physical displays. Their physical achievements will be the subject of grandiose gestures and boasts. Should their health fail however, they can quickly turn tragedy into an advantage, turning their illness into a mission for attention.

Should a narcissist have major surgery, a car accident where they are hurt, or develop cancer then their journey with the illness will be the subject of equally grandiose boasts. Either their operation will be the most complex, their cancer rarer, their chemo more grueling, or their survival more miraculous than anyone else’s, ever!

The illness will give them a new lease of life as they feast on the narcissistic supply of attention. Even when in remission or when given the all clear they will hang on to the care and attention by claiming to need something to carry on living healthily. This may include everything from a reduction in stress, so they need ongoing care to reduce that, to a special diet which a loving carer will have to travel miles to get on their behalf. This exaggerated helplessness ensures the continuity of the narcissistic supply. They will seek attention for the injustice they have suffered, less concerned with putting matters right or preventing future injustice, but rather to bask in the sunshine of their avoidable suffering.

Once diagnosed as ill then the quest for attention and the narcissistic supply begins. Such a quest is now made easier by the role of social media in almost everyone’s lives these days. Post which provide graphic detail of a narcissist’s suffering can be liked and shared as often as those with genuine “appeal” since most users of social media including Twitter and Facebook, rarely apply their critical faculties to the stuff they read and share.

This can present a vital opportunity for a narcissist since they can get actual numbers on their narcissistic supply for example:

“My post about how sick the medicine made me received 500 likes and 250 shares!”

And, whilst this supply isn’t as nutritious as that from family and friends face to face, it can be the gift that keeps on giving as posts can achieve penetration slowly and notifications can keep on arriving for days.

It is high time you stopped playing an empath to a narcissist.

Talk about a narcissistic mother who cannot empathize damages her children’s healthy psychological development. Like Narcissus in the Greek myth, she sees only a reflection of herself. There is no boundary of separateness between her and her children, family, whom she cannot see as unique individuals worthy of love.

So here’s to you–

You are not the only single person on this planet that HAD cancer. HAD. Nobody is entitled to anything, including you. We are lucky for anything and everyone we have in our lives. But you take it to the next level. This entry isn’t about making you a “better person.” It isn’t. I don’t care what type of person you choose to be. I don’t know what you value, what laws you hold dear. (I’ve met good people who smoke weed and bad people who obey every law on the books.)

You expecting a perfect family is one of the most selfish things you can do. Why? Because a perfect family member is someone who is always there for you, no matter what. For you, above all else. No matter what your family is going through, you come first. You know what that sounds like a more accurate description of? A butler. Perfect family don’t exist, because people for the most part are mostly concerned with themselves. Your family didn’t ditch you on purpose. To be frank, they probably never even thought about including you. And you need to accept that if you’re going to make it in this crazy world. Why? Because you have to remember that those family members of yours, the ones you think left you out on purpose, or ignored you on purpose, are full of all the same fears, worries, self-doubts, and nagging self-examinations that you are. To think that your family should drop on a dime and do everything for you, to only think about you, is to imagine you that you are the center of the universe. This is selfish. And you will never get that from me. Sorry.

To be selfish is to be unhappy. It’s obvious, but for a lot of people, I promise you it isn’t. And I think that this has as much to do with how parents in this country teach their kids about the problems that come with selfishness. What do I mean by that? Well, when parents teach their kids about being selfish in this country, or being self-centered, they do it in one of two ways:  One, they teach it as a basic empathy thing, along the lines of “you don’t like it when other people take your toys, so you shouldn’t take their toys, right?” OR they teach it the same way but with a whole Golden Rule religious bent — AKA you should be nice to people because God says so.

What’s so bizarre to me, and something I didn’t realize until I was in my twenties and read a bit of Dostoevsky and had a good long hard thinking session about the way I wanted to live my life… is that not being selfish is actually a pretty selfish thing to do. What do I mean by that? Well, to be selfish is to think about yourself above all. To think about yourself above all is to imagine that you are number one, the most important thing in the universe. But here’s the thing — if you think you are the center of the universe, you are bound to live a life of disappointment. You aren’t the center of the universe. The world doesn’t revolve around you, and if you think it does, you’re going to be disappointed all the time. Thus, if you are selfish, and narcissistic, and solipsistic, well, you’re doomed for a life of being let down.

You can sit in your “home” that you don’t pay for. And know that you can take every single one of your family members down, but I’m coming for them. I won’t let them be like you and I won’t let you think you’ve won anything. The only single thing you have won is another chance at life and you are taking it for granted. Babies live a few months with cancer and never get the chance to breathe the air you breathe. Kids with cancer cry to their parents wanting to live forever, but they don’t understand why they have a month left to live. You, you are “relieved” that you got rid of some of the most amazing people on this planet from your life. *slow clap* How adult of you to make a stupid post on Facebook about getting rid of the “toxic” people in your life. Because that’s all you do. And you know what, I’m glad. I’m so glad that these people are gone and away from your life. You are the perfect definition of what’s toxic. Look at yourself.

So you want to post to Facebook and show your two friends and handful of family members left how big and bad you are. I’ll 11,000 times up you on my social media and write something that makes sense. You don’t have to agree, but I can see right through you. And you won’t win.

But we say thank you to you. Thank you for teaching us what we don’t need in our lives. And to those reading this remember:

Don’t keep people in your world who cancel plans at the last second all the time, who ignore texts, who treat you like a second choice. Don’t keep people in your world who make you nervous, who bring you unneeded stress, who make you feel like you have to tiptoe around them to avoid starting another argument. Don’t keep people in your world who make you feel like you aren’t good enough. Like you are difficult to love. Like you are bothering them with your attention.

Don’t keep people in your world who are unpredictable. People who send mixed signals. People who show you a different side of them every time you talk, so you’re never sure if you’re going to get the good or the bad.

Don’t keep people in your world who make empty promises, who break their commitments, who never actually mean the words when they apologize.

Don’t keep people in your world who are able to look you in the eyes and lie or go behind your back and cheat. People who are able to hurt you without feeling guilty about what they have done. Don’t keep people in your world when they need a favor from you, or when they want you to listen to them vent about their life — even though they never ask you how your life is going. Don’t keep people in your world who expect you to keep giving more and more to them, even though they never return the favor. People who don’t care whether your relationships is balanced or one-sided. 

Don’t keep people in your world who encourage you to hate yourself even more than you already do. People who make you feel unsure and insecure. People who are meaner to you than the voice inside of your own head.Don’t keep people in your world who act like they are doing you a favor by spending time with you, people who act like they are out of your league, people who think more of themselves than of you. 

Don’t keep people in your world who talk and never listen, who think the world revolves around them, who believe the universe owes them something. Don’t keep people in your world who put themselves first in every situation, who never think before they speak, who never consider how their actions impact others.

Don’t keep people in your world who fail to appreciate you. People who disregard and disrespect you. People who are unable to see your beauty.

Don’t keep people in your world who don’t deserve your love. People who take advantage of your kindness. People who have no clue how lucky they are to have you in their life.

If you value yourself, then you will walk away from the people who are only bringing you down. The people who make your days drag. The people who are holding you back instead of letting you flourish.

To end this, we don’t need you. You can continue on feeling sorry for yourself and making others feel the same, but you won’t drag us along. You were given a second chance, and you use it to insult people because their everyday life isn’t about you.

We are living everyday to the fullest with love and laughter. We have our good days and bad days, but we are so thankful to be here and make memories with the ones we LOVE and CHERISH.

As the saying goes, a bit of pruning always improves growth.
As the surgeon takes a scalpel to your cancer, we too can wield a scalpel and cut loose those people making our lives harder.

We don’t need you.
So take a back seat and cry about your second chance at life that others don’t get.

-Serina Krawczyk