Being from a small town in Alabama, I want to discuss something I've observed over the years.
I like to call it the "Big Fish, Small Pond Syndrome."
Traits of this "syndrome" can been found in in all ethnic groups, genders, and in people of all walks of life. These people tend to be narcissist.
For example, in the beauty industry, there may be a hairstylist in a small town, very popular and has great skills. She loves the attention and recognition from the small town community. Her skill level exhibits the craft of a great creator, but, because of fear and overconfidence, she stays in the community. Eventually, she hits her glass ceiling and becomes frustrated with her life. Yet, because of the attention and recognition, she settles, years later, she looks back with regrets. She was afraid to move, travel, and explore. She allowed her friends, family members, clients, and others to tell her how great she was and she bought into it. They told her, the city is too big and she would never make it, she shouldn't move, it's too dangerous. And, without faith and understanding how to market herself properly, she stayed in her small town, and she's miserable.
I "Thank God" I had parents who exposed me early and encouraged me to travel and see the world. My father is deceased, but, we traveled together a lot. Today, my mother continues to encourage me to go and explore the world.
One of my mentors, Mr. Dudley, says, "Stay home and grow dumb!"
Narcissistic behavior can fool the person who displays it, especially in a small town. These people think they are so great and everyone gets excited, when in their presence. They are so full of themselves and selfish. You may not see or speak to these people for long periods of time and when you do, they act as if you should be so happy they are communicating with you. If you were involved in any manner, they feel you should pick up where you left off. (no growth)
They try to align themselves with important people to impress others. And, to have the small town community people look at them as if they are so great. Without these important alliances, many would be boring and have no conversation of interest. Once these "Big Fish" are "stripped down, there's nothing there.....no substance. Therefore, whether it's their spouse, children, co-workers, dating within the "supposedly priviledged family," etc., they don't care, as long as it gives them that "status" or that "look of success."
I have a former student who married a young man she thought was from an affluential family, only to find, they were in debt and living off each other to impress people. Narcissistic behavior is found on ALL levels. Many people grow up poor and when they achieve a bit more than the average person, they start to feel as if they have "ARRIVED."
I notice people who live in larger cities and return home frequently to hang out with the small town people to feel important. In the larger cities, they don't stand out and no one comes around, so they go home to feel validated.
In my industry, I notice when people become a Platform Artist or they have a booth at a hairshow, or achieve any level of success, their egos kick in and their demeanor starts to change. The same person you saw when you were starting together, will past you and not speak, six (6 months) later.
When I was teaching, I saw it in parents. It's sad when parents make their children think they're so great, the children become narcissist. They become full of themselves and start to look down on others with the encouragement of the parents.
I notice it in couples, they stay together to show a "united front" to the people, yet, they are not happy. Therefore, the children in the family learn to exhibit the same behavior of "pretending" to be happy and everything is so great. Usually, one of the partners in the marriage becomes really good at being deceptive and a great actor. One or the other feels they have it under control, because in the small town, no one would imagine this person of such status, stripped down, really has nothing going on. Therefore, they shy away from people who can see the "real" person and will hold them accountable.
Being around that person makes them uncomfortable and vunerable. So, they continue to play it safe and stay in their comfort zone of lying, cheating, pretending, and acting. While the other spouse is so involved with impressing people, they have no clue of what's really going on.
Being a narcissist comes with a price, rarely do these people get to experience pure happiness and the joy of being themselves. Role playing takes alot of work! Many don't really like themselves or they bear some sort of shame. They don't want people to know the real person inside or the real story of their lives.
For those of you reading this, whether you live in a small town or a big city, stay true to yourself. It is soooooooo liberating!!! Follow your dreams and your heart. To the hairstylists, business people, couples, children of narcissitic parents, and others; take inventory of your life and ask, "Am I Living my Best Life?" or "Am I Putting ALL of my Energy into Being a Big Fish in a Small Pond?"
If you answered the latter, you don't know what you're missing, Life is Good!!!!
Create a Better Day!!!
Facebook: Toni Love Cosmetology 2
Author: "The World of Wigs, Weaves, and Extensions"
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