Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Are narcissists typically hung up on "bad" and "good?"

Somebody asked me whether narcissists are "hung up on bad and good," judging everything all the time. It's an intriguing question.

They are extremely judgmental people. I'm sure that's because judging others is THE act of playing God. For, what is a God but a judge of people's worth? He keeps (saves/preserves) those he deems worth keeping and trashes (fires/damns) those he deems not worth keeping. That's what he's there for -- to judge everybody. He judges his creatures like a writer judges hers, deleting any that aren't just right. In fact, in the ancient language of the Old Testament, there's but one word for "god" and "judge" and "king" and "master."

So, it's easy to see why narcissists are so judgmental.

They are judgmental of themselves too. I knew one who would get thoroughly disgusted with himself if he stumbled or made a mistake in front of you. He'd refer to himself with utter contempt in chastising himself for the least little thing -- as if him making a little mistake was a big deal.

Well, I guess God Almighty making an error is a big deal. But for us mere mortals it's not.

This man had to be perfect -- at least when anyone was looking.

I have noticed this morality hang-up in a narcissist I knew very well. She would keep asking me what the "moral" thing to do in this or that matter.

It was strange, and I didn't know what to make of it. Not that it's strange to ever be asked this question by a friend in a real moral dilemma, but when she asked it, it was always a stupid question. I thought she was pimping me -- though I was baffled at why she would do that -- because I just could not believe a grown woman could be so devoid of moral sense that she had to ask such stupid questions.

Often, I'd just reply, "Well, do whatever you want," because it was that kind of matter -- the type where whatever you want to do is fine, because you should have your choice. If you don't want to go to the play, don't go to the play. Who needs to be told that? Who asks what's the moral thing to do about stuff like that?

All she cared about was appearances -- what it would look like to people if she did this or that. Of course, we're all motiveated by this to some extent, but she is motivated by it to a bizarre extent. To the point that she views stuff like this as a moral issue. Hence, she makes a moral issue out of things that aren't even remotely a moral issue.

She seemed to view morality as nothing but an impression you want to make on others. Which makes sense, I guess. Everything a narcissist does is for effect. Nothing has any objective reality to them: it's all smoke and mirrors. Imagination. Pretend. They don't even haves selves: they have images instead. They IDENTIFY with this phastasm.

That is such a profound mental virus that it must cross up their thinking on many things. For, to them everything is all about nothing but appearances. Seeming. Looking good.

She should have just asked me what would make her look better, more grand and noble.

So, I think this woman had morality confused with making a good impression on other people. Unfortunately, doing the moral thing often gets you condemned = makes you look bad. No wonder I've never seen a narcissist with the moral courage to ever do that. If they see an opportunity to do something shitty to someone and get called a "good person" for it, look out.

Another thing I've noticed is that everybody's all bad or all good in their eyes. And -- boom -- someone can go from all good to all bad, or vice versa, overnight. For no discernable reason.

In that, again, they are just like little children = they are as mentally immature as little children. We've all seen little children hit a toy and say something like, "Bad toy, bad toy!" (like "Bad dog, bad dog!") for disappointing them in some way.

Narcissists seem to have never developed a more mature idea about what "bad" and "good" mean.

To a baby, Mamma's all good when she's there and all bad when she's not = all good when he's basking in the glow of her mirroring eyes smiling on him and all bad when she's depriving him of that joy she exists to shower upon him.

Narcissists never outgrow that.

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Monday, March 20, 2006


Being mentally little children, who feel small and insignificant in a world of giants, narcississts likewise are always on the lookout for an opportunity to make themselves feel important. Like little children they play "Pretend."

For example, I know of a man whose first family moved out on him, and, when another woman and her children moved in, they were overjoyed at the sight of the swingset and the basketball hoop. You could tell those poor kids had nothing and suddenly felt rich.

But letting their delight in these things show was a big mistake. The jerk suddenly stopped mowing back by the swingset, so that the weeds grew so tall around it they couldn't play on it. And he started parking old junker cars underneath the basketball hoop.

It was so obvious -- because that was the only part of the lawn not mowed, and there was no need to park those vehicles right under the basket. Those boys often looked wistfully at it, but I never heard them ask if they could play.

I'm sure I know why they didn't.

Been there. Everyone who's ever lived with a narcissist has.

My mother told me about about a man many years ago, whose sons worked hard all week on the farm (back in the days when they chopped wood, milked cows by hand, and plowed with horses). They had to come and ask him every Friday evening for a little money to spend at the local dance. And he always took off on a long walk out in the fields to make them chase him all the way out there for their pay.

I used to call it playing "Keep Away." Psychologists call it "witholding."

By witholding whatever they know you want, narcissists make themselves feel important. If you are observant of little children, you'll notice they do the same thing. For example, a child can be bored with a toy and about to leave it lay -- till she notices that some other child wants it: then she plays Keep Away.

Never forget that: the narcissist you are dealing with is full grown but every bit the three-year-old, and not a sweet one, either. He or she is case of arrested development, a person still living in that childish world of make-believe where everything is "Pretend." Pretend you're grown up by putting on Mom or Dad's clothes and play-acting "grownup." Pretend you're important by play-acting like you are.

It's a power play too, of course.

I know a woman in whom it's a knee jerk reaction: whenever someone says "Will you...?" or "Can I...?" the first thing out of her mouth is, "You'll have to wait." However long you can wait, she will make you wait longer.

They often have to make you beg or grovel too.

When they see your eyes light on something you want, they look at it and see nothing but a stick to use as leverage on you. It's the Teeter-Totter Game, to make you pray to them for it.

Just think how awful it must be to have to constantly do crazy stuff like that to kill the pain of that deep, down wretched self-concept you must constantly flee into denial of. If they didn't cruelly hurt others, I would feel sorry for them.

Moreover, most of them had brothers and sisters who went through the same thing in childhood but didn't turn out that way.

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Thursday, March 16, 2006

The God Complex

Did you ever notice that the superior are supposed to have LOWER standards of conduct to live up to? That's anti-logical, isn't it?

For example, many parents still think it's okay for a parent to hit a child. However, if that little person turns around and hits the big one back, that's a sin. But let's run a logic check on that. Why should a child have to live up to higher moral standards than an adult? Shouldn't it be the other way around? And, if the size difference matters, shouldn't it rather be okay to hit someone bigger and wrong to hit someone smaller?

Again, for example, it's okay for males to fight when pushed around or insulted, but the "weaker sex" must never hit anybody because that's disgusting. Huh? The "weaker" sex is the one that should have its hands tied? Shouldn't it be the other way around? Especially since women are inferior because they get shook up all the time while men are calm and dignified, aren't women then the sex that is unfit to live up to the higher set of standards? Can you imagine doing this in sports? Women would have to compete against men and on a tilted playing field with stricter rules for women than men. (She scratches her head.) Since time immemorial, traditional values have said that men may hit men, women, and children; women may hit only children; and children must never hit anybody, but it's okay if they kick the puppy.

I don't get that.

You can probably see where I'm going with this.

The examples of such double standards that are upside-down to boot are endless.

Like this: traditionally, and to this day in male-dominated Islamic socities where women are regarded as inferior and less resistent to temptation than men, women are nonetheless are held to much higher standards of moral conduct than men. So, if a boy cats around, that's nothing, especially if it's with an infidel. But if a girl does, she can be stoned to death.

If a tennis star insults, abuses, intimidates, and humiliates linespeople for the entertainment of the viewing public on worldwide television, we must cut him slack. Because he is losing and mad about a line call. But if, for any reason whatsoever you or I treat somone on the street that way, it would be bad. If a movie star says something utterly stupid on late-night TV, she's clever. But if you or I say the same thing anywhere else, we're idiots.

Take any dictator or other potentate -- he always has a lower set of standards to live up to than those he lords it over. It's okay for him to do things it would be wrong for anyone else to do.

Hence a deed is judged by whodunnit, not by what it is.

This anti-logic has corrupted conventional attitudes toward the Deity. He gets an infinitely low set of standards to live up to. It is good for him to do things it would be evil for us to do.

[TIMEOUT: To be fair, I must note that there have always been great religious thinkers who saw how wrong this is. In fact, many of the parables Jesus of Nazareth told were a way of saying, "Think, people. God ain't that way -- he's this way, and the same rules apply to him as to us." Indeed, if people believe that humans are made "in the image and likeness of God," they should realize that.]

So, it's easy to see why Narcissistic Personality Disorder was first described in psychiatric literature as "the God Complex."

Just what is a god? What can we say about one?

God is very important — all important. Others exist for his sake, not their own. That is, they are to fulfill his desires, not their own. Their conduct is to glorify him, not themselves. They are here to serve him, not their own interests. He doesn't pay them for their services: they owe him everything, including any sacrifice. Notice that, in any other context, his rights with respect to them amount to property rights. They are rights of ownership.

The owner of property is the judge of its worth. He has a right to take a sledge hammer to it if he wants. By virtue of his ownership of others, a god is therefore the judge of their worth. He too has a right to destroy his property if he wants. In fact the ancient words for "god" and "idol" were synonymous with "king" and "master" and meant "judge." He is to ultimately judge us as worthy of keeping (saving, preserving) or not. If not, he condemns us like a worthless building and fires us = throws us away (into Hell).

But he himself is never to be judged. To fault him in any way is unthinkable. He is righteous by virtue of who he is, not what he does. For example:

  • It would be wrong for anyone to order the extermination of all the original inhabitants of a conquered land. Yet God ordered the Israelites to exterminate all the original inhabitants of Palestine. In fact, he became so angry when they left a few alive that he made the earth swallow up a whole tribe.
  • It would be wrong for us to stand by and do nothing while our innocent child was tortured and killed. In fact, people go to prison for "failure to protect" their children. But God handed over his only begotten son for that purpose and then forgave the guilty parties on the grounds that the falsely accused victim paid their debt of punishment for them.
  • It would be wrong for us to stand by and do nothing about pain and suffering that we could alleviate. Yet people buried alive in an earthquake beg God to at least let them die quickly but are denied their petition and suffer a protracted death for no conceivable purpose except possibly to punish them.
  • If the President's subordinates do something bad on his authority that he knew about before they did it, we impeach him. But God is not faulted for allowing the episcopal and monastic Inquisitions to curse, loot, and burn in his name and claiming his authority for 900 years.
In other words, a god has the right to do anything. Whatever he does is right because he did it.

This is, of course, a double standard. A god needn't abide by the standards he sets for others. Nobody holds a god answerable for anything. What would be wrong for others to do is okay for a god to do.

Now, just what is a narcissist? What can we say about one?

A narcissist is very important — all important. Others exist for his sake, not their own. They are to fulfill his desires, not their own. Their conduct is to glorify him, not themselves. They are here to serve his needs, not their own. He doesn't pay them for their services: they owe him everything, including any sacrifice. Notice that, in any other context, his rights with respect to them amount to property rights. He is the judge of his property's worth and has the right to abuse or trash it if he wants. He himself is never to be judged. To fault him in any way is unthinkable. He is righteous by virtue of who he is, not what he does. So, he need not live up to the standards he sets for others or even the standards of common decency. He is answerable for nothing. Nothing he does, no matter what, is wrong, though the same things would be very wrong for others to do.

Once you notice all these parallels in godhead and narcissism, it is no wonder that the victims of narcissists always complain that she thinks she's God.

Now, on the lighter side, here's a little northern comfort for those abused by somebody suffering from the God Complex.

Just what is an infant? What can we say about one?

An infant is very important — all important. Others exist for its sake, not their own. They are to fulfill its desires. They are here to serve its needs, at the expense of their own. Their eyes are mirrors to see itself glow in 24-7. It doesn't pay them for their services: they owe it everything, including any sacrifice. Notice that, in any other context, its rights with respect to them amount to property rights. It judges their performance and hits or screams at them for not knowing and providing whatever it wants at the moment. Yet it is never to be judged. To fault it in any way is unthinkable. It is righteous by virtue of being an infant, not by virtue of what it does. So, it need not live up to the standards of common decency. It is answerable for nothing. Nothing it does, no matter what, is wrong, though the same things would be very wrong for grownups to do.

So, the next time a narcissist acts like an infant toward you because he thinks that makes him a god, be sure to notice that wet diaper and the pacifier in his mouth. :-)
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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Dealing With Control Freaks

Don't miss this post at SANCTUARY FOR THE ABUSED. Here you'll find useful information and practical advice.

Here's an excerpt:

The need to control is almost always fueled by anxiety – though control freaks seldom recognize their fears. At work, they may worry about failure. In relationships, they may worry about not having their needs met. To keep this anxiety from overwhelming them, they try to control the people or things around them.

Also, though hurting you makes control freaks feel good, they do it to feel good, not to hurt you. They justify this by disregarding you, and your rights and feelings, as insignificant compared to their own -- like a little child (who must have ALL the toys ALL to herself) does.

So, don't take it personally. It isn't YOU. It's them. They'd treat anyone in your shoes the same.
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Are narcissists highly charming and intelligent?

Almost certainly you know about Sam Vaknin, the famous Internet narcissist who wrote Malignant Self Love: Narcissism Revisited.

In Surviving the Narcissist he writes that most narcissists are "highly charming and intelligent." That's an example of a statement that should set your "Bzzt - Narcissist Talking" alarm off. Not that this statement has no value: you just must consider the source.

I knew a narcissist that virtually no one would have described as anything but anti-charming and stupid. For that reason, he was successful at bringing misery only upon his family. What goes on behind closed doors tends to stay behind closed doors. Since people like this never become popular or get promoted to positions of power and authority over others, they tend to fly beneath our radar in the neighborhood and workplace.

I think the most successful narcissists are (for obvious reasons) those who are intelligent and have learned how to be charming from an early age. After all, narcissism is a form of con artistry, and the smarter the con artist, the more dangerous he or she is. Smart ones exploit and abuse and slander, not just their families, but also their neighbors, co-workers, employees, and rivals. They are climbers. They climb the ladder by tearing those above them down. When they climb high, like Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler, or Saddam Hussein, whole nations become their prey.

So I suspect that the conventional wisdom that most narcissists are intelligent is wrong. I think that the unintelligent ones just pass for normal outside the confines of their limited pathological space. Either that, or they are seen to be weird, but not recognized as narcissistic, because people must judge from much less information than when well-developed patterns of narcissistic behavior can be observed outside the home.

Moreover, experience often passes for intelligence. I originally mistook long experience (since early childhood) for brilliance in a narcissist. In a normal person, such cunning as narcissists show would indeed require great intelligence.

But when you consider how a narcissist's mind works and consider that they have been manipulating people ALL THEIR LIVES, even while yet little children, you can see how they have learned by trial and error what tactics produce the results they want. These behavior patterns become ingrained, hard-wired, and are knee-jerk reflexes rather than cunningly devised stratagems.

I always say that it takes intelligence to recognize it in others. Idiots never do. Nevertheless, be as careful to avoid overestimating the intelligence of your narcissist as you are to avoid underestimating it.

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