The “Me” Disease

The “Me” Disease

Austen Powell

I suffer from the disorder narcissism, or being self-absorbed. It has haunted me all my life. It has ruined my relationships with others, made me narrow-minded, and transformed me into a social zombie. However, there’s a silver lining in every circumstance, and I have discovered how to overcome this disease.

Narcissism is like an infection; it starts out as nothing, but soon spreads until it consumes your very being. I got the infection when I was 13. I only focused on my own needs and didn’t care about others.

At church my mom, who was a social butterfly, introduced me to everyone. I hated it. I didn’t want to meet new people unless I could get something out of it, and I thought they felt the same way too.

This trait soon began to destroy my relationships with others, and even God. The only connections with people I could hold onto were superficial. These “friendships,” or perhaps more aptly “fiend-ships,” were never truly filling, and always left me feeling empty inside.

As a result of those superficial relationships, I lost sight of who I was. It was like looking in the mirror and seeing a stranger.

I finally recognized a need for change in my life one day when I was in the car with my mom. She noticed two boys beating up a smaller boy, so she stopped and yelled at them. She startled them and they and ran away. When she asked me if we should help him up and take him home, I said, “no.” I didn’t care about him. It was all about me.

I needed a cure to this disease! The cure began on my high school senior class trip to Washington D.C. My class met the senate chaplain Barry Black. He told us his testimony, and how he became the senate chaplain. Then he started talking about this strange book, which was on top of Harvard University’s book reading list. This book was called, How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

That night I bought the book at Target. It changed my life. I realized that to truly be happy and make friends, one must first genuinely care about the other person’s needs. However, this book wasn’t the solution to all problems. Learning how to make and keep friends was not enough to cure my narcissism.

This summer, I discovered the true antidote while reading Steps To Christ. Carnegie’s book showed me how to make friends the right way, but that didn’t keep me from being self-absorbed. It was a constant struggle; I would frequently find myself rereading chapters just so I could keep my friends.

All this changed after reading Steps To Christ. I discovered it’s not enough to merely manipulate someone’s feelings with body language. It’s not enough to have the appearance of genuine care, but you must honestly love them. I found that the antidote, the only way to wipe away narcissism, is to love others. Love for others is the cure for being self-centered.

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3 Comments

  1. Chelsey
    September 03, 20:31 Reply
    From the English teacher in me: Bravo. This is wonderfully written Austen. From just me: I think you've stumbled upon an issue we must all face at some point or another. How do we really love one another as Christ has called us to do. You'll struggle with the "me" disease for the rest of your life, but the fact that you have acknowledged that you have this disease and are working to remedy that is the first step to overcoming it. Only Christ can change us, and some of us might never reach that point until we are in heaven, but thank you for the reminder. Best of luck in college and keep your focus on Him. He will lead you.
  2. Jazzmine
    September 08, 04:24 Reply
    Amen. I don't know you, Austen, but I appreciate the message you shared. Chelsey and I both. Thank you. Too bad we both graduated this past May. I hope some of the current SWAU students have the chance to read this too.
  3. Elizabeth MArin
    September 15, 00:01 Reply
    Praise to God! for this testimony Austen. I do not really know you even though I've seen you before, but thanks for sharing this, there's no doubt that God can help us change whether is "Me" disease or something else, He has the power to change us and transforms us into different people for His honor and glory. May God continue to guide you and use you everyday. Btw, I hardly ever read these stories and it happened to be yours the one I read today...what a blessing! Hope you have a good year at SWAU. God bless..

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