Saturday, October 21, 2017

NARCISSISM ON SCREEN


We live in the culture which rewards high functional narcissism. That is why it is hard to find obvious examples of narcissism in pop culture and in our everyday surrounding. In everyday life, narcissistic traits are justified, romanticized, rewarded.

The good news is you can find more and more articles on the web treating the seriousness of narcissistic disorder. The ''selfie'' culture has gone wild along with the ''ego'' culture, or ''me, myself and I'' culture, that it was only about time when the term of narcissism will become popular on social networks. The thing is, it doesn't have as much as in common with selfies as you may think. 

 If we want to talk seriously about narcissism, we must be aware we are talking about real personality disorder. Because most of us are not psychiatrists, we must be careful not to become paranoid by jumping easily into diagnoses. On the other hand, we must learn to be aware of this disorder which is so well covered, individually and socially. We must reject universal superficial talk and start thinking for ourselves to protect ourselves.

 It is all stories and metaphors until you become a narcissistic victim before you realize what's going  on. You might have already been one, you might have lived in such surrounding. The problem with this mental disorder is that it's dreadful like a virus and it goes directly to the heart and brain of a victim. And yet, it is invisible to the eyes of  unaffected people. In most cases, narcissist isn't completely aware of his own disease. We are talking about a real person here, someone who craves, cries and laughs. The victim under its attack feels serious psychological consequences, but cannot understand what is going on and often questions its own mental stability. The attacker does this to  feed and survive and doesn't go into deeper analyses, while the victim tries to over-analyse everything, not being able to escape endless questions.

Even though this issue has become popular, it is still only the surface of what the disorder really is, and poor information sometimes does more damage than no information. The narcissistic attack is a clean and perfect crime, no one sees it, no one understands it, nothing bad happened.

Let's see how it happens in movies:



AMERICAN PSYCHO (2000)

Patrick: constant need for evaluating things, high self awareness and absence of empathy, superficial obsessive tendencies.

''I have all the characteristics of a human being: blood, flesh, skin, hair; but not a single, clear, identifiable emotion, except for the greed and disgust. Something horrible is happening inside of me and I don't know why. I feel lethal, on the verge of frenzy. I think my mask of sanity is about to slip.''




This one poops out first , even though it is an extreme example of a narcissistic disorder or to be more precise, more of a sociopath. So maybe this is not the most representative example of the subject, but just watching this clip, without the rest of the movie, you might get an insiders view into narcissistic mind.



 HEATHERS (1988)


J.D. : charismatic and charming, manipulative, controlling, no conscience, disturbed view on humanity and life, considers himself above the others, traces of narcissistic rage.

''J.D.: Is your life perfect? 
Veronica Sawyer: I'm on my way to a party at Remington University... No, my life's not perfect. I don't really like my friends. 
J.D.: I... I don't really like your friends either. 
Veronica Sawyer: Well, it's just like - they're people I work with, and our job is being popular and shit. 
J.D.: Maybe it's time to take a vacation. ''



This movie shows the intense flow of the romantic relationship with a narcissist. In the clip you can notice how the main character, Veronica, starts to see J.D. 's real persona, his disturbed view on life and inability to see or hear her, or anyone truly. J.D.might be more of a sociopath too, but the line is thin between these two, nevertheless.



MALEFICENT (2014)





Stefan: Deceitful, unreliable and unscrupulous, will go low for gaining abundance and status.


''True love does not exist.''


Fairy tales and Disney movies have a tradition in representing narcissistic villains, and the characters in the story are simply good or bad. In Maleficient, we see the witch as a complex human being, while the king Stefan is actually the bad guy: manipulative, greedy and dangerously deceptive. There is an important scene in the movie when Maleficient realizes she has been played upon, used and abused. The consequences she suffers are not just physical. This is also a real representation of of the inner pain  the victim suffers - narcissistic injury.


CRUEL INTENTIONS (1999)




      KathrynHighly manipulative, controlling, deceitful, looks down on humanity, deviant behavior, absence of empathy, need to be worshiped.

''Kathryn Merteuil: My advice is to sleep with as many people as possible.
Cecile Caldwell: But that would make me a slut, wouldn't it?
Kathryn Merteuil: Cecile, everybody does it; it's just that nobody talks about it.
Cecile Caldwell: So, it's like a secret society?
Kathryn Merteuil: That's one way looking at it.
Kathryn Merteuil: [under her breath] Fucking idiot...''

Cruel intentions is a modern version of the movie Dangerous liaisons, which is based on a famous classic novel written in 18th century by Pierre de Laclos. We recommend at least watching both films if you haven't. It shows the downfall of the human need for intimacy, questioning the difference between love and admiration, respect and honor, passion and sex drive, moral and social norms. This movie is a great example of the relationship dynamics where the narcissistic consciously tries to deceive, dominate, control and diminish other human beings in the most perverted scenarios only they could create. Which probably makes them powerful in their minds, but only before the inevitable fall. Kathryn 's partner in crime, Sebastian, shows the same narcissistic traits, but we have chosen Kathryn since the second one was clearly under her powerful influence. The inserted clip shows Kathryn's fall through public revelation and humiliation. The only time when she could actually feel the shame and regret: public shame – one of the narcissistic biggest fears.


 GASLIGHT (1944)



Gregory Anton: Con artist, deceitful, manipulative, charming, deviant, materialist, controlling and calculative.




''Gregory: I knew from the first moment I saw you that you were dangerous to me.
Cameron: I knew from the first moment I saw you that you were dangerous to her.''


Amazing performance of Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman. The movie starts with the idealistic love story between two characters. It describes perfectly the classic pattern of a relationship where the charismatic narc charms the innocent target in the beginning in such way that even later, with all the warning signs, it seems unreal to think this match made isn't perfect. The methods the witty narc uses are love bombing and gaslightning – the second term was named after this movie! Gaslightning is a tactic of mental abuse where a person tries to manipulate another person, making him or her question their own words, thoughts, conclusions, even their own perception. You may think know how naive and limited one must be to fall for this cheap mental trap, but before any conclusions, watch the movie. It all happens only after the abuser has obtained the trust and love of the victim. In the clip, the victim, Paula, confronts her abuser, mirroring him – mocking at his own game.


THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA (2006)




Miranda: careerist, domineering, intolerant of others flaws, careless towards needs of others - enjoys degrading them, poor emotional expression and absence of healthy emotional life: emotions of satisfaction, disappointment and  rage.

''Andy Sachs: I don't think I'm like that. I couldn't do what you did to Nigel, Miranda. I couldn't do something like that.
Miranda Priestly: You already did. To Emily.
Andy Sachs: That's not what I... no, that was different. I didn't have a choice.
Miranda Priestly: No, no, you chose. You chose to get ahead. You want this life. Those choices are necessary.
Andy Sachs: But what if this isn't what I want? I mean what if I don't wanna live the way you live?
Miranda Priestly: Oh, don't be ridiculous. Andrea. Everybody wants this. Everybody wants to be us.''

A classic example of a needy boss who's mission is maintaining a high status, who believes to be irreplaceable, who is incapable and uninterested in forming healthy relations. One who believes other people exist to serve their own needs. One of the most iconic performances of our favorite actress and Hollywood's favorite Meryl Streep.



GONE WITH THE WIND (1939)



Scarlett: stubborn, puts herself and her own ways above everything and everyone, charming and manipulative, calculative, self-sufficient.

“You're so brutal to those who love you, Scarlett. You take their love and hold it over their heads like a whip.” 


You might wonder why should such complex character necessarily be a narcissist. Any person can have and has special qualities and each one of us is fighting our own battles. Our culture encourages us to think we can justify any scam and carelessness with proficiency and intelligence. It seems that Scarlet could have been a perfect hero if only….she wasn't a narcissist. 
In the inserted clip we see Scarlett's attempt to provide herself an  ''easy money'' from another person  - a remarkable act of a self created show to obtain her goals. This is Scarlet from the beginning to the end. And if Rhett Butler couldn't change her ways, neither can you change it with loving a narcissist no matter how hopeful it may seem in those rare perfect moments. They are reliable only to themselves, and you do matter, but only as long as you serve their current needs. Frankly my dear, you shouldn't give a damn.



THE DEPARTED (2006)



Colin: Con artist, social status and materialistic motifs, unscrupulous, deviant behavior, artificial human bonds



''Colin Sullivan: [in their new apartment] Hey, now why do you work for the state?
Madolyn: Why not? You do.
Colin Sullivan: No, what you do, the degrees and everything you got, you're hot shit. So why do you make as much as a guidance counselor?
Madolyn: Because... I believe in public service.
Colin Sullivan: [pause] So now you're gonna fuck with me?
[starts laughing]
Colin Sullivan: Now you're gonna be ridiculous?''

Colin Sullivan, played by Matt Damon is a great representation of the narcissistic character. You might feel confused when this guy shows up as decent in the beginning, a guy ho had a hard time in past and deserves good time in future. You almost feel sorry for him, then you admire him and then you dislike him.
In the first clip you can see the seduction game he plays, a classic witty and attractive man with a cool job – he knows what to say to impress even the girl who is trained to read the most obnoxious people. 
In the second clip you can see how he adapts his attitude towards life when speaking to someone who encourages a laid back life style in the terms of fidelity and the importance of gaining reputation. This is important: He doesn't care for his girlfriend, or for the life of his ''friends'', what he cares for is his social success and superficial satisfaction. Being a criminal and cop in the same time, a false friend to both sides, and a perfect guy to everyone, makes a perfect life, and a perfect narcissistic con artist.


 BREAKING BAD (2008 - 2013)


Walter White: Controlling, domineering,  deviant, deceitful, prone to degrade others, obsessed with power.


Skyler White: What happened?
Walter White: I won. 


I love Breaking bad, and I love the chemistry between the main characters. It never occurred my mind that the main character played by Bryan Cranston is almost a typical narcissist if there is such thing as typical narcissist. Not until I ran into some articles where it was listed as such. Maybe it is because the writers and the director sucked us into his own world and we feel too connected with him, we cheer for him. Yes, he was a decent guy before his illness kicked in, along with new lifestyle. People change over crisis and confront them in different ways, but this was something more than that. Walter felt for the first time he actually could have a tremendous power and the only consequences he cared about was not to get caught. Some people become  spiritual and stronger than ever confronting serious life events, Walter confronted his true self, a chance to be the only thing he wants to be – on the top of his own game. 
He doesn't mind creating a false world around himself and isolating from the people who love him, his own family. Love is irrelevant, the game is everything. And while his partner, Jesse, manages to naturally develop certain bonding feelings with Walter, or at least stops being indifferent, we never really get the real proof of Walter's affection towards Jesse. If you sense it, if something's there, it is always there as part of his business. And Jesse understood who Walter was. He is hard to work with since he puts himself high above the others, his life and business partners, and rarely gives the other any kind of recognition for their role. It seems that Jesse, with a serious addiction problem and many personal and emotional problems was still more emotionally healthy than Walter.We justify Walter's anger, irrational moves and risky behavior with sudden illness and his inner middle age frustration. When Walter feels sorry, it is only when he fears he's losing in his game. Such crave for the adrenaline and power without consideration of other's people's feelings and lives must ring the alarm. Definitely one of the most memorable TV characters ever, in one of the most interesting and entertaining TV shows.



 HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS (2002)




Gildory Lockhart : Excessive need to be admired, obsessed with publicity status, prone to charm others, deceitful, creating an image based on superficial and empty actions.

''Gilderoy Lockhart: Harry, Harry, Harry. Can you possibly imagine a better way to serve detention, than by helping me to answer my fan mail? 
Harry: Not really. 
Gilderoy Lockhart: Fame is a fickle friend Harry. Celebrity is as celebrity does. Remember that. ''

      This is how most people imagine a narcissistic. Ridiculous, self-loving, cowardly and fake attention seekers. This is true actually. J.K. Rowling created and awesome parody of a narc. Not that it is something to laugh about, but still…Anyway, the real disorder is rarely obvious in real life as much as it is obvious here. This is what you finally see only after you have made the exit from the narcissistic game. And one thing they really can't stand, except being publicly ashamed, it is not being taken seriously. These people can really look funny when you learn to overlook their game from a far. To have one in your life, that wouldn't be as funny. Once you get to know how narcissism functions, it get's much easier to recognize it instantly. It doesn't make you an expert, though. The humanity is still much more complicated than that.


 BLUE JASMINE (2013)




Jasmine: Sense of being part of the elite, uninterested in maintaining real human bonds, mentally unstable, disillusioned and deceitful.

''But that's all history boys, I met someone, I'm a new person.''

Woman named Jasmine suffers a nervous breakdown when her wealthy life  and marriage fall apart. She strongly believes that the only life worth of living is the life of a higher class and that she deserves to be a part of it more than anyone. The ''higher class person'' is her artificially created identity. She cannot survive without this identity, so she confronts everyone and everything that doesn't fit into the ''world of a high class''. Even a charity work is merely something that makes a higher class even higher. 
Narcissists believe they have been born as a part of the elite, no matter the circumstances or what that word stands for. Material gain is a tool to make others admire their persona, their unique taste, ambition, achievements and superior behavior in general. They will condemn or eliminate from their circle everyone with a different point of view, if they fail to convince them of course. 
Jasmine's sister, being convinced into her sister's intellectual delusions, started to loose control of her own settled life. Opposite of Jasmine, she seeks love and joy in her romantic relationship, is free from preoccupation with social trends. Since she lacks calculative thinking and lives a simple life, she has learned to admire her sister's false world, before and still after it has fallen apart. Like most people, she bought it for a short time.
Jasmine isn't a villain, even though she is manipulative. We feel sorry for this woman because she is a true victim of world's disillusionment. This is a great story and lesson on how to keep a sane mind in insane world and how to observe a narcissistic human behavior.


The list could have been longer. We could talk about narcissism in relationships, families, workplace, and so on, you get the idea. We do all have some imperfect traits that don't have to mean having a particular mental disorder, and it's dangerous to jump into conclusions in real life concerning complex human behavior. It is however important to educate ourselves on these things, to nurture our minds and relations in the right surrounding, to recognize toxic ones, to learn how to cope with them. I believe the information always gets where it is needed. We hope that there will be more movies that idolize humanity and kindness, movies that treat such subjects in a refreshing ways, movies that can trigger us to become better, not just for ourselves, but for a healthier culture.




A.B.

With all respect, ITI

Thursday, October 12, 2017

AUTUMN PALETTE

         


             
           Yup, the summer is gone, which means the make-up game is changing. That should have sounded more positive, because… No more fear of face melting. It is time to recall your own inner artist and play with the layers of your favorite make-up tools. We have found some inspirational works for different looks and we hope you'll enjoy them too. We do not own any of the photos included. Enjoy.


1.       MAKE IT OMBRE







Many brands have launched their special ombre eye shadow palettes. You can create ombre effect combining any lighter and darker shades. To keep it casual, simply don't overuse any darker shade and keep the lighter tones in the corner of the eyes and near the brows. You can play with the almighty highlighter here, too. Choose more dramatic look and darker shades for the evening look. And instead of classic brown and grey shades, you might choose more often refreshing shimmer shades of red and blue.





You can create that ombre effect with your lips too, keeping the darker tones on the edge of the lips. Combining lip pencils and different lipstick while finishing it all with a simple glow, the choice is always yours. The ''ombre'' makes the full lip effect and it looks more attractive than a raw lip pencil edge.




2.       THE ''GLOW''




Highlighters, shimmer eye shadows, lip gloss, it's all coming back stronger than ever. The advantage of highlighters is their multi function: they give that healthy tan look and hide the eye bags. Shimmer eye shadows are usually easy to apply and give that instant neat, rich and perfect look. You can play with matte and shimmer tones, just make sure you don't sparkle like Edward under the Twilight sun.





3.  CHEATING THE BLACK




Though nothing can beat the black eyeliner, it doesn't mean you shouldn't go with some cobalt or emerald tones for example. There are getting more and more popular, just like colorful mascaras, because they simply look stunning.




4.       CASUAL NUDE




The autumn brings back darker lip  tones such as rusty rouge, crimson, berry or deep wine color. Still, for a more casual and everyday look you might want to go for a more natural lips. And it doesn't have to be boring. When choosing the perfect nude lipstick, try combining cool pink lipstick with darker toned lip pencil, mixing brown with cool matte shades... The trick is not to go too pink or too brown. Go for warmer undertones with orange hints if it goes with your skin type. Matte or glossy, the right shade always looks…just right.





5.       BRONZE FOREVER




The summer tan might be wearing off, keep your bronzer anyway. Those who are more of a pale and cool skin type might just go for a simple blush, but keeping the traces of bronzer through contouring can beautifully accentuate the whole look. It is always about keeping it moderate and finding your own perfect shade.





Hope you'll find your own perfect autumn palette! We'll sure be searching for more!


A.B.


Love, Invitation To Inspiration 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

TREPTAJ

Zaustavljen pogled
Kratkotrajno
Jučer, danas, sutra
Otkazano
Priznanje trenutka
Obrisano
Životne priče
Otpisano
Poruka jasna
Neposlano

Zadrži tu ruku črvšće
Da nas treptaj ne izbriše.




Saturday, September 2, 2017

BY THE SEA

He promised to divide our sea
so we could all follow new ways,
now the water  caresses my feet
I'm sunbathing here, as always.

I might have met him few times
those were brief blurry moments,
never enough to whisper hi,
silence always seems more honest.

He's the meteor in dark night
undefined, distant longing,
falling fastly from above
dissappearing, without warning.

I could watch it all from here,
with both eyes closed,
I could melt by this sea,
just being sky overdosed.

 A.B.

scene from the movie By the sea, 2015.



 ITI, <3

Saturday, July 1, 2017

SWEET SOUL

Sweet soul where are your thoughts?
Did you sin
did you let those humans punish you
with their rules and their own gods
did they win?
Did they think they made it through
against all the odds

I may seem far away and blind
only time will reveal all that's unkind
so when you talk to the walls
I'll give them all ears,
the silence shall whisper
and clean your mud with tears.

A.B.


by ANNA SUI



Invitation to Inspiration

INSPIRATION FROM ABOVE

South Carolina Cherubs after Raphael

Prayers are the language of soul. You don't have to be religious to feel the universal call of the human being which speaks through the words of a prayer. Some of them are beautiful poems, some of them are a simple reminder that no one is alone in his thoughts and doubts. Prayer is the true face of the present moment. It doesn't matter where it comes from, as long as it seeks for the light, it's something worth sharing with everyone.



There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled.

There is a void in your soul, ready to be filled.
You feel it, don't you? 
Rumi

Henrik Aarrestad Uldalen

''Deep peace of the running wave to you,

Deep peace of the flowing air to you,
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
Deep peace of the shining stars to you,
Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you, for ever.''
(Source unknown - early Scottish)




''Lord, I don't ask for a faith

that would move yonder mountain.
I can take enough dynamite and move
it if it needs movin'.  I pray, Lord,
for enough faith to move me.''

Norman Allen 

by matialonsor



''Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.''




Beloved,

Guide my footsteps and give me the strength to trust the foot sones will rise up to meet me even when I am unable to see beyond my own light. Send in the ones that I am meant to help and those that are meant to serve as help and guide for me. Help me to continually gather myself up in my arms which are help within yours each time I break. Knowing fully that as I do so I am letting go and surrendering that which no longer serves me. Lighten the hearts and bring joy to those that suffer and speak as loudly as is necessary so they too can listen and answer the call.
Fill me to overflowing with your grace, love and joy, and expand this little container so that I can be a vessel from which all that is good flows out in a never ending abundance. With deepest gratitude for the grace and love that is always within me.




It takes strength, not weakness to seek the meaning outside ourselves. I believe every message of love and peace is a prayer. And therefore, the prayer has become today almost like a quiet rebellion.

Music has always had a strong link to praying since it's an act of creation which comes from the deepest parts of the human soul and not from the simple logic of the mind. In another words, art and spirituality have always been close companions. To truly feel and seek is to pray. May you find & create what you're seeking.


George Harrison-My sweet Lord
Michael Jackson-Heal the world
Lauryn Hill & Tanya Blount-His eye is on the sparrow
Leonard Cohen-Hallelujah


"Holy places are dark places. It is life and strength, not knowledge and words, that we get in them. Holy wisdom is not clear and thin like water, but thick and dark like blood."
Till We Have Faces, C.S. Lewis

A.B.



Love, A, M & M