Accurate Feedback Is Essential For Mental Health

Feedback from others is essential to human mental and emotional health.
You say "How's the weather?" I say "It's sunny." I am acknowledging that you spoke. I am acknowledging that I heard you speak. And I am acknowledging WHAT you said, and that you communicated clearly, and said something normal and acceptable, not weird or disjointed, or inappropriate.
My answer is genuine, it's actually sunny, and my answer is not colored with any kind of drama.
This is good for both of our brains. With those two short sentences, we measured and weighed our own mental processing, our ability to gather information, to exchange information, and to ask for, give, and receive accurate information. The information was compared to visible reality, and found to be accurate. The entire short process confirmed both of our sense of realness, both of our capabilities, and that we are both seeing the same reality.

Neutral feedback is required for a child to develop the ability to perceive the world, others, and him or herself. It is an important part of human interaction in both youth and adulthood. Positive and negative feedback are also important for learning and building skills and confidence, and learning about others and ourselves.

The DENIAL of feedback, and the denial of neutral and positive feedback, are tools that narcissists use often. They will deny neutral feedback, such as simply not responding when someone else speaks, or changing the subject instead of conversing about the topic that someone else brought up. Refusing to make eye contact, refusing to respond directly to a statement or question, refusing to speak to a person standing in front of them are all tactics Narcissists use to turn the target "invisible". (Since turning a person "invisible" is not possible, this is further evidence of magical thinking that Narcissists tend to display. Refusing to acknowledge a person's presence does not change their status as a human being either.)

When a person is frequently denied neutral feedback because they have relationships with Narcissists in various forms, they can develop serious effects. Dissociation can be one of these effects. Diminished effectiveness where one does not feel very motivated to accomplish anything, or one loses the belief that they will be able to learn or perform a task. Markedly lowered self-esteem and self-confidence.

(You walk into a hardware store with a friend, and the clerk comes over but only speaks to your friend, and only answers questions your friend asks. You walk into a party, and your date or friend shakes hands with everyone and says hello, but does not introduce you, and his/her friends don't acknowledge you're even there. You are in a classroom setting and the teacher always talks to another student, back and forth, but when you speak the teacher acts like he/she didn't hear anything. You ask your brother or sister a question, and they just keep watching television, they don't even flinch. You tell a story about something that happened to you, and they respond with "So I saw my friend Scott today." You tell them a huge revelation you discovered about something, and they respond with "It's going to rain tomorrow." You go through a serious trauma, but they behave as if nothing happened, not even mentioning it or asking how you are. You accomplish something very good, difficult, or important, but they behave as if you didn't do anything at all, as if your accomplish does not exist.)

Giving feedback that should be neutral or positive, tinged with shame, implied guilt, implied disapproval, condescension or aggression is another tool that abusers, manipulators and controllers often use. This can have the effect on a target of feeling small, feeling childlike, feeling WRONG, even though nothing "wrong" was done; feeling like a "bad" or "scummy" person, like a "loser", or like a LOWER STATUS person than the person giving the tinged feedback.

(You say "Can you help me with this box?" They say "What are you trying to do with THAT?" or "Put it down, you're gonna hurt yourself!" You say "I'm going for a ride" they say "Oh really? And where are you going?!" or "Oh are you going to see your boyfrieeeend?" or "Sure you are... " You say "I'm going to take this class in sociology" they say "Why would you want to take THAT?" or "That's stupid, that won't get you anywhere." or "Don't you think it might be too hard?" You say "Did you read the poem I wrote?" they say "I don't have time!" or "I'm not into that silly stuff!" or "Why do you write that stuff, you think you're gonna be famous?")

Receiving anti-feedback consistently can cause anxiety, depression, and loneliness, and may cause other problems as well. Anti-feedback such as arguing with everything you say, putting down everything you say, insulting you, attacking and diminishing you and whatever you say. This is may be a habit learned in childhood from an adult who did this to them or to someone around them. Countering is also control tactic, as well as mismatching. The person may be trying to control you, or may be trying to maintain autonomy, staving off the perceived control they think you are trying to assert over THEM.

(You say "Kangaroos are so cute" they say "No they're not! They're aggressive and will tear you apart!" You say "Let's go to McDonald's" they say "no, let's go to Burger King instead." or "I don't feel like going out." You say "This guy was mean to me in the store" they say "I'm sure he wasn't mean, you're just overreacting, he was probably just doing his job." You say "They did a piece on sexism in the workplace on 20/20, it was really interesting~" they say "Is that all you ever talk about?" or "Oh that stupid show?" or "There's no such thing as sexism!")

Giving skewed feedback is a common manipulation, bullying, and control tactic. This is one of the most powerful weapons in the controller's arsenal, used by the most diabolical political oppressors to schoolyard bullies. This is when a person treats you like you don't know what you're doing when you actually do; you don't know what you're talking about; you're not doing a good job or you're not talented enough to do something well even though you are. They may give false instruction and information just to throw you off. This can also go the other way, you may be told you are doing a wonderful job when you really are simply getting by, or that you look stunning when you really look terrible, or that you are doing something correctly when you're not. Giving false positive feedback can be for manipulation purposes (they don't tell you that your hair is frizzed out because they want others to think less of you) or because the person is biased toward you,, or because they want your approval, or they may not know what they're talking about and are trying to cover it up.

(You are fixing your car, they keep correcting everything you do even though you're already doing it right. You cook a fantastic gourmet meal, they don't acknowledge anything positive about it but do criticize a couple of things, and talk about how their friend is a gourmet Chef at the Ritz. You're learning how to play guitar, the teacher gives you only critical feedback, never neutral or positive. During a group discussion, every time you participate, someone talks over you or disagrees with you. You race dirt bikes, but every time you get on the track they give positive feedback to the other racers but only criticize you, even though you are one of the best racers on the track. You do very well in a class, ace the exam, but the Professor implies that you're "not cut out" for this field. You are an experienced musician, but they proceed to explain to you what the frets on a guitar are. You are an experienced carpenter, but they proceed to explain to you how to use a framing square, or that drills have many different sized bits.)
Skewed feedback is also a sign of magical thinking, they may believe that if they keep treating a person like they're incapable, it will make their wish come true.

Feedback from others and from our environment is how our human brain calibrates itself.

Throwing a tennis ball against a wall and catching it gives us feedback; we are getting information about the ball, the wall, our body and our ability to catch. We are also reconfirming that all of these things are real. If we threw the ball and it did not bounce back, it would mean that either the ball was not there, or the wall was not there, or that we imagined throwing it. This is neutral feedback, and we need it to stay mentally healthy. We also need accurate feedback from other humans that mirrors REALITY.

So when someone treats us as if we aren't capable of something, such as throwing the ball and catching it, they are not mirroring reality. When someone treats us as if throwing the ball and catching it is shameful, or stupid, or causing harm, they are not mirroring reality either. When they catch the ball and throw it AT us, they are being dramatic and not mirroring reality. When they speak to us as if we are NOT and never were throwing any ball, they are still not mirroring reality.

If we don't realize they are giving us "wrong" feedback, we can suffer many effects from the paradox they have created in our subconscious. WE know we're throwing the ball and catching it when it bounces off the wall, and that it's a completely neutral activity, but they are behaving as if that's not what's happening. So our mind must then CHOOSE between them and us. When we care about someone or respect them, we don't usually want to make that choice because it's painful. But after we figure it out, we can then restore our sense of reality, and heal from the confusion.

Social Anxiety and Narcissism

Focusing on other people, judging their actions, what they're doing and saying, is a common narcissistic-human trait. Instead of simply seeing and accepting others for who and what they are, the narcissist "assesses" them. The person gets placed as either "above" or "below", sometimes "equal" to the Narcissist but rarely. Those who are "above" match certain markers for "authority figure" that developed in childhood and adolescence. If a person doesn't show those markers, (often height, sex, size, ancestry, wealth, but also usually include many less obvious, smaller markers like facial features, voice, and clothing) then they are automatically NOT "above", and therefore must be "below".
They feel entitled to judge other people's "performances" in whatever they're doing, also to judge how other people look, and how they carry themselves, and what their emotional landscape is. The will assess an entire person by what they're wearing, their gender, their hair, or their car, or how "clean" their home or car is. Narcissists seem to believe that assessing others this way, based on the most superficial things possible, is accurate and clever.
 They even feel entitled to judge a person's interests, hobbies, and what they choose to work at, believing that they know what the person "SHOULD" be doing based on what the narcissist thinks he or she has assessed about the person. They feel entitled to lead other adults around, "guide" them in every detail, criticize anything they do and say (nothing is off limits), as if they have appointed themselves the Head Teacher of the other adults who they have appointed as children. The feeling of being OVER others, similar to the way teachers and parents are "over" children,  is how Narcissists view the world. Everything is a hierarchy, and they view themselves as at or near the top. Often they had practice at this growing up; some were even encouraged by narcissistic adults..

This is one of the reasons why Narcissists can seem to have social anxiety. While a non-narc with social anxiety does not want to go deal with people who may act like bullies or act dismissively or disrespectfully toward them, the Narcissist is also anxious about going to different places, but their anxiety is about not being recognized as the COOLEST person there, or the most Expert, or the most liked, or the Star, or the LEADER. Further, this may be one of the main reasons why non-narcs hook up with narcissists. The two different forms of social anxiety often seem exactly alike. When a person has been denied recognition, acceptance and respect by others over and over because there are so many bullies and cliques around, they can of course develop social anxiety. (Any Narcissists around them will say that they are narcissistic, expecting SPECIAL treatment and recognition ABOVE others; this is their denial of treating the person with disrespect.) So when this person meets another person who seems to understand what they've been dealing with, someone who seems to "GET IT", naturally they may see them as a kindred spirit. It is only over time that one slowly becomes aware of the difference between the social anxieties. The non-narc is angry about being denied recognition and acceptance as just a regular person, as one of the normal members of the community, and treated with the same respect as others. The non-narc is angry that their actual achievements are being dismissed or demeaned, and that they are being ignored and invalidated when they speak. The non-narc is angry about being treated like LESS than the rest of the group, and rightfully so.
The Narcissist, on the other hand, turns out to be angry because he or she is not getting recognized for being ABOVE the other members of the group. While the non-narc is angry because his or her real talent and capability is being dismissed and ignored, the Narcissist is angry because his or her talents and abilities are not being elevated and worshipped.
The Narcissist is angry and anxious because he or she is not being crowned King or Queen of the prom. The non-narc is angry and anxious because the kids at the prom are mean.

Stage and screen are wonderful places to witness this distinction. Take an Acting Class for example. The non-narcs in the class want to learn about improving their acting skills, and are happy about being in a group of people who might be kindred spirits, who they can have fun with and relate to.
Well if the class has too many narcissists in it, then the class will degenerate into a bully session, with the narcs competing with each other to be the STAR OF THE CLASS. They will PROJECT this onto the NON-narcs in the class as well, so any non-narc who is naturally talented or skilled will become an instant target. The narcissists in the class will do anything to make this talented person STOP, including bullying, name-calling, criticism, and ostracism. The narcissists will often resort to creating factions within the class, trying to make this talented non-narc feel intimidated, small, and left out. Time and practice teach bullies that they can indeed have an impact on others.
On the other hand if the class is filled with non-narcs, and there is only one or two, then the Narcissists will automatically feel left out, dismissed, and ignored because they are not being treated by everyone as the Star of the class, the Acting Expert, ABOVE and BEYOND the rest of the class. The Narcissists will also call any non-narc who shows talent and skill (or physical beauty) a "Prima Dona", and accuse them of wanting special treatment. Just another bully tactic. The narcissist is trying to either make the person back down and stop showing their talent, or get others in the class to turn on the person, or both. But the point is, the Narcissist can have social anxiety about this class just like the person who is being bullied, but for different reasons. If these two met outside of the class, before it started, they might bond because of their shared social anxiety. 

Silent Treatments, Smear Campaigns, and Rejection

Getting ostracized from the group is a real fear for a primate that is based on actual survival. Humans are Great Apes (Hominidae), just like the others; Chimpanzees and Bonobos, Gorillas and Orangutans, and we all live in social groups. These groups are our protection, we work together to keep alert for all manner of dangers, and we work together for resources like food and water. We protect one another from predators, and from violence within the group. Humans evolved in the natural world surrounded by the same dangers as the other apes, requiring the same resources and protection. Over time we figured out fire and weapons, and that gave us some freedom as individuals, we could survive away from the group for some time, but it's much more difficult and much more dangerous, most of us have remained grouped with other humans, relying on the relative protection and resources that a group provides. We also rely on the social and intellectual interactions within the group for our mental and emotional well-being, which is a very large part of who and what Great Apes are, how we're built.
When a member of one of these social groups becomes unacceptable to the others because of severe and erratic behavior, he or she is shunned, driven out and away by either the leader or the whole group. When a member gets separated from the group, he or she is very vulnerable to predators, the elements, and other dangers. Especially in youth, all Great Apes are very vulnerable, and seem to instinctively cling to the group, they don't stray far. Individuals from one tribe or clan are not necessarily welcomed in another, and may be driven out into dangerous territory, sometimes killed, or simply unaccepted, and therefore unprotected, ignored, and not allowed to share resources.
Being shunned, being unaccepted, losing approval of others in the group can mean serious survival consequences for any group animal, but especially animals without horns, claws, and large teeth. We can't fly and we can't swim fast, nor can we run fast compared to most predators. We don't have thick fur, either. Great Apes can "run" and/or climb, but that's about it; only humans make weapons like spears, bows or knives, but if we don't have one in our hand at the time, that point is moot. We need the acceptance of our group in order to survive on Planet Earth, especially if we have young ones to care for, and when we are young ones ourselves, or sick, injured, or weakened.
So when another member displays shunning behavior toward us, such as cold shoulders, silent treatment, ignoring, invalidating, rejection, humiliation, and smearing (getting the group to reject us), our subconscious knows that we are in actual danger. And we are also at risk for losing our intellectual and emotional stimulation that we need for our mental health and well being.
Even if we choose to live alone on the side of a mountain, there is a huge difference between being able to go back to human groups when we want to, and being ostracized by those human groups. A human who has been shunned does not receive resources or assistance, is often kept from getting his or her own resources, and is much more likely to be mistreated by members of the group.
So when we have a serious emotional reaction to people who display shunning behavior, we're not crazy, we're human.