Up-time: A Goal For Healing And Happiness

Narcissistic abuse affects a target in a specific way, it makes the target constantly self-conscious. Targets are always double-checking themselves, constantly aware of each step they take and every move they make because of the reaction the Narcissist might have, and AVOIDANT of anything that might draw the Narcissist's attention. The target becomes conditioned to constantly edit him/herself, stop him/herself from doing something that the Narcissist might notice or react to, and constantly take care to make sure the Narcissist feels served, paid attention to, and cared for or served.

This means the target is continuously dropping out of "uptime" in order to cater to the Narcissist, or avoid the Narcissist's reactions. (Walking on eggshells.) Targets often come to buy into the projection that they are constantly about to do something wrong, silly, or selfish and narcissistic, or are performing under par, or have come up short in whatever they've done, from the way they wear their hair to career pursuits, to large and small projects, to choosing a home, to choosing friends and partners, to being a parent.

Melanie Moore
"Up-time" is when we're "in the moment", engaged in what we're doing. In up-time we aren't worrying about how we appear, if we're going to step on someone's toes, if we're making mistakes, or worried about getting criticized, ridiculed, stolen from, attacked, insulted, or sabotaged. We're in up-time when we're engaged fully in humor, when we're having a great time with others, when we're engaged in an impassioned, mutually well-mannered discussion, when we're focused fully on solving a puzzle or finding a solution, when we're engaged in performing, speaking, teaching, or giving a presentation in front of others (not when we're having stage-fright, self-doubt, or anxiety), when we're focused fully on a specific task or project. A teacher who is lecturing enthusiastically about her or his subject would be in "up-time". A biologist who is excitedly explaining about her or his latest animal research expedition (picture the late Steve Irwin, RIP) would be in "up-time". An artist who is passionately planning and creating her or his current project would be in "up-time". A comedian (famous or not) who is enjoying getting other in the room to laugh is in "up-time". A tax advisor who is confidently doing your taxes and explaining to you what, how, and why is probably in "up-time".

Narcissistic environments condition a target to believe that their OWN "uptime" is foolish and narcissistic. Targets are conditioned to believe that whatever they're working on is silly and unnecessary, a waste of time, and a waste of resources, no matter what it is.  Whatever they accomplish is either completely ignored, or labeled with something negative, no matter what it is. Whenever a target is engaged in doing something they enjoy, something they're good at, something they're accomplishing, or something they're focused on or learning, they are continuously interrupted, and/or subjected to shame and negative judgment. Targets of narcissistic individuals or groups are NOT given the same positive or even neutral feedback and treatment that others may take for granted, and this commonly results in a target feeling "always wrong" and "not belonging", or "not deserving of recognition or respect", which is pretty much the goal of most Narcissists.

 Targets may be sabotaged when they're in up-time so often that they can actually develop a fear of being in it. It can end up feeling like a bad thing to do, and can seem easier just to avoid it. However, avoiding up-time means literally avoiding one's own LIFE. Narcissists often feel CHALLENGED by others who are in up-time, unless that person is catering to their ego, and even then, they often still see the other person's focus and engagement in what they're doing as a challenge for their spotlight and their "special" position. They also see the other person being in  "uptime" as NOT CATERING TO THEM, SERVING THEM, APPLAUDING THEM, OR CARING FOR THEM. So they may try to sabotage those who appear to be in "uptime" with any kind of control and power plays that come to mind, overtly or covertly.

Individuals who are members of oppressed groups within any community or group experience much less up-time than those who are members of the oppressor group. Members of any oppressed group are continually expected and commanded to cater to the individuals in the oppressor group, and are constantly interrupted, shamed, and blocked from being in up-time. This practice ensures that the members of the oppressed group do not develop high self confidence, are blocked from developing their own skills and knowledge, are blocked from building strong reputations based on demonstrated skill and ability, and will then, therefore, be available to help facilitate and protect the up-time of individuals in the oppressor group.

Narcissism and up-time are not one in the same. Up-time is normal and healthy; it's what most children have before they start doubting themselves and becoming self-conscious. Narcissists are more often in up-time because of the simple fact that they rarely pause to help, to doubt themselves or to self-reflect; they always think they're "right" and superior to others, so even when someone proves them wrong, they just dismiss or delete it. Those who are often in up-time are not necessarily Narcissists, and not Narcissistic by default, and in fact can be very NON-Narcissistic. It depends solely on the individual.

Rachael Ray demonstrates being in "up-time" on her show very well. Tony Robbins, Steve Harvey, Katie Couric, Will Farrell, Barbara Walters, and Stevie Wonder seem to usually be in up-time. People who seem to always be ready-to-go and engaged in what they're doing, and not so distracted or crippled by worries, self-consciousness, and fears are generally in up-time.

Those who are in "uptime" are NOT under the control of the Narcissist, and are building and maintaining self-esteem. Sabotaging a target's "uptime" is one of the main goals of abuse.

Gaslighting is another common way Narcissists in particular sabotage a target's "up-time", because it causes self-doubt and self-consciousness.

Human beings who are Narcissistic find it very easy to remain in up-time, engaged in what they're doing and accomplishing, because they believe themselves to be entitled to not ever have to stop what they're doing to care for someone else. If they're impolite, uncaring, cruel, or neglectful, they don't care, all they're focused on is what they're doing and accomplishing. Therefore they are much less affected by Narcissists around them; they are always competing for the "top spot" anyway, so they're ALREADY trying to knock any "challengers" off their horse before they even show up.

Non-narcissists, however, will stop what they're engaged in doing in order to attend to other important matters. Non-narcissists are aware of other people and situations besides themselves, and are aware of the bigger picture, and how being mutually supportive and caring (not dominating and condescending) is essential for the well-being of the living world. In other words, the Non-Narcissist (father) will walk off their Golf Tour to be there for their child's birth, or attend the bedside of an ill or injured loved one. A Narcissist will "play through", and actually rationalize that it's more important. The Non-Narcissist friend or relative would be thinking of the well-being of the person who just lost their parent or spouse, and not at all focused on "what's in the will" or "what they can get" or "what they didn't get". Their focus will be on helping the person who is grieving make an easier transition, and help them feel respectfully supported. Narcissists, however, have the opposite thought process, and may even steal from, gaslight, or verbally attack the person who is grieving.

Narcissists can't stand to "have to" leave up-time for any reason, it makes them feel like they're being blocked, attacked, and sabotaged from carrying out their plans. They can feel like they're being pulled off-stage in the middle of an important performance.
This is a main reason why they can't stand caring for others, because you can't be onstage and fully in up-time and care for someone else at the same time. They don't want to stop their performance to listen to a child, or to hear someone else's point of view, or empathize with another person. They don't want to shut down their spotlight, slow down, or pull over to the side of the road, in order to reflect on the way they treat other people, their children, family members, patients, constituents, friends, or anyone else, or even how they treat themselves.

The analogy of the injured dog in the road demonstrates the difference between a Narcissist who refuses to leave up-time for any reason, and a non-narcissist. Two drivers are on their way to work, both are trying to make a good impression for an upcoming promotion, so they want to be on time for work today especially. Their minds are focused on getting to work early, and they're both planning their morning in their heads, talking on their Blue Tooth to their colleagues. Someone hits a Golden Retriever in front of the two drivers, and spins out of control, hitting a tree. The non-narcissist is fully aware of the time, chooses to pull over, checking on the driver of the car, and pulling the injured dog off of the road. The driver is dazed; the non-narcissist calls for help, and waits for the police and ambulance to arrive. No one is around to help the dog, so the police help the non-narcissist put her in the back of the car to be driven to a veterinarian. The non-narcissist calls the office and informs them that there has been an emergency, and they will be late.
The Narcissist, on the other hand, is long gone, having pulled around the whole thing. The Narcissist did drive slowly past, looking to see if the person who hit the tree appeared severely injured (through the open window), and since there was no blood or obvious injury, the Narcissist sped to work to get there on time, to make that good impression. They never stop talking on their Blue Tooth, keeping the thread of the conversation about their coming day. The Narcissist later says that it was because someone else had pulled over, but the truth is the Narcissist didn't even ask or wait to see if help was needed, they were just glad there was enough room to pull around. They are, however, keen on talking about witnessing the whole thing when they get to work.

One of the main goals for healing is to be in "up-time" once again.
Being in up-time with minimal self-sabotaging behaviors and and self-defeating or hostile habits, and with positive, helpful, focused behaviors and habits, is the optimum goal.
(We take our automatic behaviors and habits with us into up-time, which becomes evident when observing Narcissists, so self-reflection and healthy "down-time", where we can examine and re-wire our behaviors and perceptions are just as important. We usually learn self-defeating "coping skills" when we've been through abuse, and we can take them with us when we remember how to be in up-time again, so that's part of the healing process as well.)


Pronunciation: (up'tīm")
1. the time during which a machine or piece of equipment, as a computer, is operating or can be operated.