The dumping ground. Where all the unwanted things end up spending their eternity. Nothing there can grow, thrive and live well. Instead dumping grounds epitomize destruction, decay and toxicity.
Untreated, addictions however will and do grow. In fact, addictions need dumping grounds as a place to fully thrive to their potential. There cannot ever be anything there but destruction and devastation in these places that obstruct an honest, authentic, happy, and productive life.
It can happen gradually over time like a slow growing malignancy, or quickly like an out of control and deadly storm. Eventually if left to its own resources addictions will destroy careers, lifelong friendships, relationships and families. Lies, deceit and secrecy become a regular part of an addicted life. They are one in the same. Addicts will eventually find themselves shunned, ostracized and begin to draw themselves away from old friends toward other deeply troubled addicts who will enable and not pressure them to seek any help. One of only two outcomes can happen, a person gains control over the addiction, or the addiction controls them.
As I previously shared in my blog post, The Steadily Lowering Standards of an Alcoholic, “An alcoholic is someone who can violate his own standards faster than he can lower them.” -Robin Williams
And so through the advancement of the disease of addiction and substance abuse there begins a new set of lowered standards of living and of the type of people one seeks out in the dumping grounds of addiction, mental illness and substance abuse. A Narcissist can become the bigger fish they’ve long desired and pretended to be if they leave the bigger pond and swim over to a much smaller, isolated, unknowing pond where it is unlikely the truth will be discovered by other fish. It’s so much easier there where the standards are already low. Living in the mind of a Narcissist and an addict, if you feel you can’t keep up with your current charade any longer, simply begin a new one somewhere else. Going back a lifetime, the established pattern of personal failures becomes clear and is ever present.
When one chooses to dig around inside their (dark) shadow, down where the hidden garbage, filth, and disposed trash is, one inevitably ends up covered and surrounded by waste and refuse. One can be certain whatever else they find lying there on the dumping ground floor is absent of authentic value and is surely no one’s lost, misplaced or recklessly discarded treasure. It’s merely a parody of reality, and “authentically” their just reward for digging around through disposed remnants. There they will find only other scavengers. Other addicts. Other users. Other deeply afflicted, toxic and troubled souls much like themselves and they will feel relief there, for a while. Like pure, authentic rubbish if you will, they will likely stop at nothing short of complete personal, professional and often financial devastation and destruction through their poor choices and continued bad decisions. They will become so detached from reality with the advancement of time and their disorders they’ll do most anything to convince others including themselves, of the authenticity of the facade they’ve created and constructed, no matter of the eventual consequences to their life.
We all have our opinion and view of what defines toxicity. It’s often established through experience and acquired wisdom. Combining certain medications can be toxic (even lethal at times), just as many often learn in college during their first taste of adult freedom that combining alcohol types can be a very bad choice and well, quite toxic when they feel the effects into the next day. For most, that lesson learned serves them well in life moving forward.
But what makes a person or a situation toxic? People who cannot observe or maintain boundaries with others are toxic, people with unresolved issues, psychosis, substance addiction and mania can be as well. But one of the most dangerous toxic combinations from a mental health perspective is untreated alcoholism combined with a long standing, untreated, pre-existing personality disorder. These combinations such as Narcissistic Personality Disorder, alcoholism or Bipolar Disorders, Borderline Personality Disorder and alcohol and other substance addictions for instance are dangerously toxic combinations often with tragic outcomes when left untreated.
When feeling their secrets are exposed, the naturally competitive Narcissist will stop at nothing to “win” by playing the victim, usually and poetically at their own expense by desperate attempts to validate their irrational choices and convince themselves and others their bizarre behavior is somehow rational. History does not lie. Each time and through the years it is desperately revealed to those who are around them for any long period of time. When in that desperation they join forces with another addict with a long history themselves of severe personality disorders, patterned instability and substance abuse as well, it will once again be revealing, growing and festering in destruction over time. Ad nauseaum, ad infinitum.
What are delusions? Delusions are fixed beliefs that do not change, even when a person is presented with conflicting evidence. Delusions are considered “bizarre” if they are clearly implausible and peers within the same culture cannot understand them. Delusional disorder refers to a condition in which an individual displays one or more delusions for one month or longer. Delusional disorder is distinct from schizophrenia and cannot be diagnosed if a person meets the criteria for schizophrenia. If a person has delusional disorder, functioning is generally not impaired and behavior is not obviously odd, with the exception of the delusion. Delusions may seem believable at face value, and patients may appear normal as long as an outsider does not touch upon their delusional themes. Also, these delusions are not due to a medical condition or substance abuse. (1)
Some examples of delusions from reality can be falsified involvements, accomplishments, falsified relationships or connections with accomplished persons, or famous athletes or celebrities.
Alcoholic Psychosis can occur through exposure along with Delusions of Grandeur (Megalomania) and Alcoholic Delusions. These are two of several categories that fall within the scope of Delusional Disorders. Those with Delusional Disorders are often unaware their beliefs are untrue and irrational, even when faced with undeniable proof. (We will discuss these more in an upcoming article).
We learn through clinical research and individual evaluation there are numerous complex variables and deep, multi-faceted issues within personality disorders and the comorbidities/co-occuring disorders and alcohol or other substance abuses and addictions. When we can visibly see the disorders through close observation and examination of outward sudden uncharacteristic behavior, physical appearance and lifestyle changes, there is great cause for concern. When one chooses to leave their normal life, abandon their hobbies, standards, and interests and live inside the shadow as Carl Jung postulated, or as we’ve described here “the dumping ground” it is indeed a true tragedy.
The saddest part of all is not as much for the narcissist/the delusional addict, (primarily because they’ll do anything to convince, believe and attempt to prove their delusions are real), but for any healthy connections they may still have left who helplessly or possibly unknowingly witnesses the destruction as it unfolds. The only (albeit perceived) protection for the few remaining friends or healthy adult children in their lives comes from the distance and isolation they are able to create for themselves from the situation in order to attempt to protect themselves from the toxic, inevitable, eventual bad ending. There is no real protection from the bad ending as it cannot be prevented, but one can absolutely prevent it from directly impacting their own lives.
Reality and truth can certainly be disguised, covered, buried, camouflaged, hidden, denied and even avoided for long periods of time…but it always (eventually) finds its way back out to the visible surface. That’s the thing about reality and truth. Everything that is buried is bound to rise again, even if it’s lying dormant on the ground, unconscious if you will, dwelling at the very bottom of the trash heap.
(1) Delusional Disorder, Psychology Today.