Friday, September 29, 2006

The Narcissist in the Workplace

Bullyonline. org is an excellent resource:

How do bullies select their targets?:

The bully selects their target using the following criteria:
  • bullies are predatory and opportunistic - you just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time; this is always the main reason - investigation will reveal a string of predecessors, and you will have a string of successors
  • being good at your job, often excelling
  • being popular with people (colleagues, customers, clients, pupils, parents, patients, etc) more than anything else, the bully fears exposure of his/her inadequacy and incompetence; your presence, popularity and competence unknowingly and unwittingly fuel that fear
  • being the expert and the person to whom others come for advice, either personal or professional (ie you get more attention than the bully)
  • having a well-defined set of values which you are unwilling to compromise
  • having a strong sense of integrity (bullies despise integrity, for they have none, and seem compelled to destroy anyone who has integrity)
  • having at least one vulnerability that can be exploited
  • being too old or too expensive (usually both)
  • refusing to join an established clique
  • showing independence of thought or deed
  • refusing to become a corporate clone and drone
Not just a "corporate" clone. A clone of WHATEVER club the bullies in that instutiton weild like a club. It could be "the coaches" in a scool, for example.

I have a slight criticism about this site. It has a bias characteristic of the European Left, which is very far left by American standards. And that bias skews the picture a bit.

What bias? The belief the "big guy" (the boss, the busines, or the corporation) is the bad guy and that the "little guy" is the poor, harmless, helpless and INNOCENT victim. This notion is so ingrained that most Europeans talk as though the definition of "bad guy" is "the big guy." And vice versa. It's an automatic assumption, a prejudice, that is just plain wrong. Not to mention simplistic.

The European political class cunningly promotes this line to promote a Big Brother government (who's a worse bully himself than your totalitarian big brother?) to oversee those evil business-types with intrusive regulation and a tyranny of political correctness. They convey the impression that corporations are the ones to watch for bullying. That bullies are MANAGERS. Not so. Anyone may be a bully. (Even a spoiled brat learns how to bully his or her parents with temper tantrums, especially in public.)

In fact, well-run coporations know how damaging bullying in the workplace can be and would never knowingly tolerate a bully manager. Bully managers are bad for business, because bullying pays nobody but the bully. Bully managers prefer the dregs to the best and the brightest. They ruin morale. They are slackers. They also frequently embezzle under the smokescreen of the witch hunt they orchestrate. That's why well-run businesses have good Personnel Departements.

Of course bullies who are managers usually (but not always) have more power than their victims. And of course, bullies are often (but not always) climbers who do achieve management status (through bullying to persecute any competing peers).

But in any workplace of 30 employees, you're bound to have 2 or 3 malignant narcissists. They know their own kind when they see them and develop a relationship like that between mating scorpions: "I won't sting you if you don't sting me, but just think what we can do to these other saps if we get together, baby."

In fact, in those cases I know, or know of, most of the bullies were NOT the manager! They even bullied the manager!

They do this by conducting a never-ending Ritual Hunt, in which they use their pets like hunting dogs to persecute whomever the bullies sic them on. In these unwholesome institutions, someone is always "getting it." "It" is persecution.

But aside from that subtle bias in this website, which is part of the European milieu, is excellent and offers much useful information. Just keep in mind that the malignant narcissist can be anybody, not just the boss.
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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Arguing with a Narcissist

If you have ever argued with a narcissist, you'll appreciate this tongue-in-cheek piece on professional arguing (i.e., philosophy) by Professor Gary L. Hardcastle, Department of Philosophy, University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point: Themes in Contemporary Analytic Philosophy as Reflected in the Work of Monty Python.

He doesn't mention narcissists and children with imaginary friends, but he must have had them in mind. For, the first theme in Professional Arguing he discusses is the argument between mataphysisists and positivists.

Positivists valiantly tried to insist that a statement must be verifiable. Hardcastle says the positivists (scientific types as opposed to artists) were sick of arguers spiralling off "

...into bizarro metaphysics, where you could say anything at all and get away with it because there was no way to determine the truth of what you said or indeed if you even really said anything at all in the first place.


If you're out to verify the statement 'The cat is on the mat', for example, then presumably you're in search of certain experiences--like seeing the cat on the mat. ...[However] verifying that the cat is on the mat is not a matter of experience alone, but of accepting all sorts of other different statements, all the way from 'Light rays travel in straight lines' to 'I am not having another one of those darn flashbacks.' ...So if you want to maintain that the cat is on the mat when everybody else denies it, you can do so by deciding that certain atmospheric phenomena are making it look like there's no cat, or that the cat on the mat is a special kind of transparent cat, and so on.

Uh-HUH. That's why I call philosophers "professional arguers."

You see, philosophers from way, way, back in the analytic tradition believed deeply that, one way or another, reason was the proper foundation for society; it was both the mechanism that runs society and the grease on which the mechanism turned.

Ever interested to be of use, philosophers have worked hard at coming up with a theory of argument to describe how reason ought to work in daily life. ...But, as some of you might have noticed in Philosophy 1504, the theory of argument asks that you grant certain crucial statements beforehand, without argument. Statements like, for example, that something can't both be true and false at the same time. Well, if holism is true, then we can't count on our fellow citizens accepting such statements. Nor can we count on being able to convince them that they ought to accept such statements, if they don't! We shouldn't even call them crazy if they don't accept such statements, though we do it anyway!

And to illustrate such an argument with unreason--one you win everywhichway, leaving the narcissist without a leg to stand on, but never win--Professor Hardcastle gives us this clip from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Scene 4: The Black Knight. You are King Arthur, the narcissist is the Black Knight.


Ooh! Uuh.
Agh!, oh!, etc.

Aaaaaah! Aaaaaaaaah!
[clop clop clop]

You fight with the strength of many men, Sir Knight.
I am Arthur, King of the Britons.
I seek the finest and the bravest knights in the land to join me in my court at Camelot.

You have proved yourself worthy. Will you join me?
You make me sad. So be it. Come, Patsy.
None shall pass.
None shall pass.
I have no quarrel with you, good Sir Knight, but I must cross this bridge.
Then you shall die.
I command you, as King of the Britons, to stand aside!
I move for no man.
So be it!
Aaah!, hiyaah!, etc.
[ARTHUR chops the BLACK KNIGHT's left arm off]

Now stand aside, worthy adversary.
'Tis but a scratch.
A scratch? Your arm's off!
No, it isn't.
Well, what's that, then?
I've had worse.
You liar!
Come on, you pansy!
[ARTHUR chops the BLACK KNIGHT's right arm off]

Victory is mine!
We thank Thee Lord, that in Thy mer--
Come on, then.
Have at you!
Eh. You are indeed brave, Sir Knight, but the fight is mine.
Oh, had enough, eh?
Look, you stupid bastard. You've got no arms left.
Yes, I have.
Just a flesh wound.
Look, stop that.
Look, I'll have your leg.
[ARTHUR chops the BLACK KNIGHT's right leg off]

Right. I'll do you for that!
You'll what?
Come here!
What are you going to do, bleed on me?
I'm invincible!
You're a looney.
The Black Knight always triumphs! Have at you! Come on, then.
[ARTHUR chops the BLACK KNIGHT's last leg off]

Oh? All right, we'll call it a draw.
Come, Patsy.
Oh. Oh, I see. Running away, eh? You yellow bastards! Come back here and take what's coming to you. I'll bite your legs off!


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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Are Narcissists Evil?

Some, including narcissists and politically correct social workers, protest plain talk about narcissists and claim that they are not evil. Even Sam Vaknin does this, and he makes no excuses for narcissists. In fact, in several of his writings, he admits in one breath that “some” are sadists and then tries to tell us that narcissists are not evil in the next breath.

I’m not afraid to know a lie when I hear one, but I see no reason to think that he is lying when he says this. I think he is just failing to be completely honest with himself. Which is perfectly understandable, because EVERY person’s most prized possession is their self concept of themselves as an essentially good person. No one can bear the thought of being inherently evil. Here I mention a narcissist who told me she contemplated suicide when confronted with the fear of being inherently evil, saying that she would have been one of those suicides “who doesn’t even leave a note.”

So, I don’t blame narcissists for denying that they are evil. No one must condemn himself. Ever. No matter what.

And though I disagree, I think Vaknin makes a valid and important point here – a distinction that we all should recognize.

First, where I disagree.

As I often say, I am convinced that the only rein on a narcissist’s behavior is what he thinks he can get away with. So he will be as sadistic as he can. All are sadistic then, but only some are sadistic all the time, and most are sadistic some of the time.

Also, if you hurt others because hurting others makes you feel good, you like hurting others. Sorry, there’s just no getting around that. Trying to makes as much sense as trying to say that you don't like eating steak, you just eat steak because it tastes yummy. Sorry, that means you LIKE eating steak.

And, to LIKE hurting others is wickedness, malignance, malice, malevolence. No matter what other euphemistic name you prefer to cloak it with.

BUT, Vaknin is correct in viewing the narcissist as inconsistent with our image of “evil beings.” The mythology of the devil portrays him as a being who loves evil and does evil for it’s own sake. Just to do evil.

This is an understandable error, because the (truly) good love goodness for its own sake and do good just to do good, for its own sake. Naturally then, we just take the flip-side of that coin and apply to our image of the Evil One.


First, there is no such thing as the devil. It’s a symbol for something. Ill will. It is not some other kind of being from an eternal realm, a bodiless PERSON. It is the malevolence in some people.

Since it is the product of human nature gone awry, at bottom it is LIKE human nature. It differs ABOVE the root, not at its root.

Narcissists don’t love evil. They don’t do evil for its own sake. Which is why they don’t ALWAYS choose evil. Sometimes they advance their plan by choosing to do good for the wrong reasons. They do what they do because it makes them feel good. They are people in pain, and Narcissistic Supply (various forms of attention) are like a pain-killing drug to them. They must have it all. Like any addict who can’t get enough of his or her pain-killing drug, the narcissist will attack you and steal any you have.

That’s all. It may seem like splitting hairs, but there is a difference. They don’t hurt you just to hurt you: they hurt you because they like hurting you = hurting you makes them feel good.

The worse they hurt you, the better they feel, so they are sadistic.

I say that makes them evil. BUT, I also say that this should teach us an important lesson about evil.

Nobody does evil just to do evil. Nobody loves evil. Nobody does it for its own sake. Indeed, this is why the narcissist can’t face the facts about his conduct. He hates evil as much as anyone does. So he lives in denial of the evil he does, in deniel of the sickness/malignance within him. For, he too has brought up in the belief that the evil are inherently evil because they love evil and do it for its own sake. The dread of knowing himself as THAT is what compells him to malignantly narcissistic behavior.

But both he and we are WRONG. Narcissists are NOT inherently or essentially evil. No one is. They just make themselves evil by choosing to do evil, disregarding the consequences to others. Like selfish three-year-olds. Like us, they are the sum-total of all their life’s choices to date. So, they can become un-evil by making a 180-degree turn and living the other way.

Which will cost them each an arm and a leg, and Vaknin explains why here. Yet theoretically, it can be done. And perhaps the first step is to realize that this doesn't make them INHERENTLY evil. Not any more than stomping people makes them INHERENTLY superior.

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Sunday, September 24, 2006


I have a hunch that psychologists may find some answers by looking deeply into animal behavior, that of predators. What makes a tiger, wolf, dog, cat, or other predator lovably tender and playful one minute and a stealthy killing machine the next? If you watch predators killing on some of these nature programs, look at their eyes. While they are killing or feeding, there's nothing there, is there? they seem unaware of the writhing agony of their prey.

How can this be? These animals are sensate beings. A moment ago they may have even grieved a death or been upset by the sight of violence. Who is more loving and tender with humans than the dog? In captivity, even tigers may show affection for a human. So predatory animals undoubtedly have feelings.

But look what happens to predators the instant they spot prey: it's like they go into an entirely different mode of being. Suddenly they become killing machines. They are suddenly cruel, and if killing is easy will kill just for sport. For example, some species of primates have been filmed in the wild ganging up on a monkey and ripping it to pieces with manifest glee at the sound of its screams. I saw one such film on PBS and found it so disturbing I changed the channel after but a few seconds. Wolves don't bother to kill a moose they bring down. They just immediately battle for the best position to feed on its intestines, so that it suffers a horrible and very slow death. A killer whale plays with a baby seal it doesn't even bother to eat then when it's dead. Sorry, but that's the truth.

What is suddenly shut off in the brainstem to switch predators into machine-mode at the sight of prey?

The reason I ask is because I had a very weird experience once. I was having terrible migraines. I mean, it was more or less permanent, and I was so sick I couldn't get off the couch or do anything but lay there in a dark and quiet room in pain. I'd had it for about a week. No sleep (just half dozing). The doctor had given me some new medication. Though I hadn't eaten for around three days, I had no appetite.

I found that very strange, and it reminded me of the way a dying animal refuses to eat. In fact, I had recently seen a man dying of cancer have the same problem: he just couldn't eat. When they set food before him, he looked at it with a mixture of disgust and horror. He was literally starving and couldn't explain why, but he just could not eat. The thought of eating turned his stomach.

Well, I found out why when I sat down to eat that day!

That was the scariest moment of my life. That plate of food might as well have been a plate of wriggling worms!

Suddenly I was accutely aware of how gross and gory the action of biting and chewing and swallowing food (the tissues of animals and plants) is. It IS, you know! It's disgusting. Fortunately, however, we're normally totally unaware of how gruesome eating is.

So, I can see why people this happens to cannot explain it. If I weren't a biologist, I wouldn't have realized what was wrong: Something in my brain was malfunctioning big-time. Suddenly, the grossness of eating was so vivid that I had all I could do not to throw up at the thought of putting that stuff in my mouth. I realized that this bizarre reaction to food was caused by something wrong in my brain, some circuitry that normally blocks awareness of these unpleasant sensations to enable us to do such a gross thing as eat ... and to actually relish eating instead.

I also instantly realized that this was a life-threatening malfunction. Whatever wasn't working right in my brain was absolutely essential to survival.

I immediately suspected the migraine medication and threw it out. Then I forced myself to take a tiny bit, fearing that if I didn't -- that if I gave in to this feeling of repugnance -- I'd never be able to eat again, like that cancer patient I had known.

I'm happy to say that a few hours later, I was able to eat a little more. Over the next few days, my appetite returned to normal.

Notice that despite this serious malfunction in my brain, I was quite with-it mentally. I was able to think clearly and realize exactly what was wrong. In other words, only a part of my brain was affected.

Weird, eh? There are mysteries in the brain we know nothing of. When we see food, some of our sensibilities are automatically shut off so that we can view it as something we'd just love to devour.

Similarly, if predators didn't go into machine-mode with certian sensibilities shut off, they wouldn't be able to kill. For them, machine mode is an adaptation necessary for survival. It's what ENABLES them to kill.

What gets shut off in the brain when they go into machine mode? Can it be shut off in the human brain too? Can human beings turn it on and off at will? Or can certain situations like the emotional extremity of combat shut it off? What about narcissists and sociopaths? Is there some way to turn it back on, or to persuade them to turn it back on, so that they can empathize with their own kind and stop viewing others as prey?

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Saturday, September 23, 2006

Narcissists Are from Pluto

Do you ever feel like screaming something, because you've said it till you're blue in the face but somehow it has failed to sink in?

I sometimes feel like screaming that NARCISSISTS ARE PREDATORS ... PREDATORS ... PREDATORS -- GET IT? PREDATORS!

You know, like sexual predators, serial killers, child molesters, rapists, con artists: notice the common denominator. They all have a common mentality = they view human beings as PREY.

That makes them profoundly different from the rest of us. Not in every aspect of their personality, but in the most important one, their very membership in the human race. They don't consider themselves members of the human race. That's why they have no empathy.

Most people who comment here seem to get it, but elsewhere you can see that the word predator goes right through many people's brains like a neutron. It is common knowledge that narcissists are predators, like sociopaths.

That means something. Predation on one's own kind isn't natural. It's unnatural, perverse. It's an alien mentality.

So, duh -- it's stupid to expect them to respond the way normal people do to things.

This is a terrible mistake.

We see the catastrophic result in our penal system, and it's even worse in Europe where sentences are lighter and NPD is considered a legitimate defense (like insanity). When criminal predators turn 18 or come up for parole, they are released. Duh, then people wonder why they do it again. One might as well train a tiger to be nice and then think it's safe to let him out to prowl the streets.

What's with the people who decide to do that? Don't they have any idea what a PREDATOR is? Any idiot knows that, sooner or later, no matter how well you trained him, Tiger going to give in to the temptation and attack someone. Count on it. In fact, you're tempting him with bait by letting him roam the streets. Day after day, you're tempting him. You might as well wave a bottle of whiskey before an alcoholic. And not just once -- by every single day, twenty times a day. Sooner or later, he's gonna grab it.

Two recent comments similarly point up the danger of this same mistake when narcissists do present for counseling or psychiatric care: On professional diagnosis: How much of a chance does a professional have to diagnose a narcissist... and My N 'friend' who I have known basically from childhood.... The first points out why narcissists often go undetected by health-care professionals. It's quite understandable, but it's also a serious problem that the mental-health care profession must address. Why? Because the second comment shows the damage done when narcissists are treated by health care professionals as normal patients should be treated.

Hey, the first rule of medicine is Do no harm.

Everyone who walks in the door should be carefully screened for narcissism/sociopathy before deciding upon a treatment -- to prevent possibly worsening a predator's behavior and making it more dangerous to others.

Why is treatment that's right for non-narcissists wrong for narcissists? Because Narcissists Are from Pluto. You can't expect treatment based on normal human premises to evoke the right response from an alien being functioning on alien premises -- predatory premises. It ain't gonna work. It's gonna backfire, every single time.

Here's a simple example of why: Show someone a photo of a sweet and pretty little child. It will evoke warm feelings from a normal human being, even if he's a hardened criminal. But if you show that photo to a narcissist or sociopath, all he or she sees is prey = lunch. Bottom Line: Same stimulus, opposite reactions.

So, professionals need to be absolutely certain whether each patient they see is a predator or not. Only then can they treat appropriately.

Otherwise, narcissists who may not yet be much of a threat to others can learn to become one. For, the only rein on a narcissist's conduct is what he thinks he can get away with. When desperate enough, if he thinks he can get away with it, he will do ANYTHING.

Yes, I know it's politically incorrect to be caught regarding anyone mentally ill as "different" from the rest of us. You will be accused of accusing the narcissist/soiopath of "otherness." You will be viewed as making them "alien beings."

But, I'm sorry, they ARE. And it isn't a sin to know that. Because knowing the truth is never a sin. What's more, YOU don't make them aliens, THEY make themselves aliens.

This is just another example of how the half-baked moralizing of people wanting to look holier-than-thou does more harm than good. As if what's right and wrong is carved in stone somewhere. Sorry, morality isn't a no-brainer that you can practice by rote.

We don't need the useless moralizing. In fact, if we face the fact that narcissists/sociopaths have set themselves apart from the human race, viewing human beings with inhumanity as prey who exist to feed them, then perhaps we will find a cure.

Indeed, it seems to me that the cure for narcissism would be in persuading the narcissist to quit identifying with his false image and identify with the real him, that hurt little child deep in the dungeon inside, the HUMAN BEING that the demon who took over his house ate.

In other words, persude him to rejoin the human race.

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Friday, September 22, 2006


UPDATE: See the comments. The explanation of co-dependence in the first one seems reasonable to me, at least immediately. That seems to make sense as more of a defense mechanism than self masochism.

The victims of narcissists are relentlessly re-victimized by a rationale for blaming the victim called co-dependence.

I am still waiting for some evidence or explanation to persuade me that there is such a thing, so I’m still open to the idea. But, sorry, I haven’t heard a single reason to think that there even is such a thing as co-dependence. So, I am very skeptical.

I’ll share my reasons for that skepticism, not so much to persuade you as to give you reason for pause, some food for thought.

Reason 1

I trust science, including medical science. But not blindly. I know science and have seen enough bad science to have no illusions about the integrity of scientists and doctors. I know that they are just people, as capable of dishonesty as any other people, that they herd, gaining up in groupthink. They mocked Louis Pasteur. They predicted the end of the world by now due to population explosion. They ignored the evidence in favor of a low carbohydrate diet for decades, till it suddenly became the politically correct rage. And now they are pulling the same stunt with their faux science on global warming.

But the rest of science and medical science is squeaky clean compared to psychology. I have always been amazed at what passes for “science” in psychology. Psychology experiments are notorious for not following scientific method, even to the point of not controlling the variables. True, other doctors sometimes differ in their diagnoses, and we can identify fashion trends in diagnosis. But other doctors are near perfect in the reproducibility of their results compared to psychiatrists. Psychiatrists are notorious for diagnosing the same person differently. They are notorious for covering all bases by “throwing the book” at a patient with a diagnosis of several disorders. And they are notorious for following fashion trends in diagnosis.

Moreover, for obvious reasons, the profession attracts more than its share of narcissists and others manifestly odd and eccentric. In one of the universities I attended, the whole psych department was flaky except for one – yes but one – professor.

Sorry, I know it’s taboo to know this truth, but I do. Every profession attracts more than its share of something that doesn’t belong there. For example, the priesthood and the teaching profession attract more than their share of pedophiles. Police work attracts more than its share of bullies. And so on. So, let’s face it: psychology attracts more than it’s share of fruitcakes.

What does this mean? Does it mean that we should doubt everything the established medical authorities say? No. It just means that they aren’t infallible and that, if what they say doesn’t square with logic and observation, you should have a healthy skepticism.

Reason 2

Just because there is such a thing as the martyr complex doesn’t mean that it applies to a relationship with a narcissist. A person with a martyr complex isn’t really abused and doesn’t seek real abuse. He or she likes to imagine themselves abused and portray themselves as abused.

There’s a big difference between that and seeking real abuse!

Reason 3

In my own little slice of the world, this is what I have observed and learned from other victims: there is such a thing as the cycle of abuse. It does cause the victim to behave in ways that seem strange to outside observers – as if they are “asking for it.”

People’s bad habit of always tending to blame the victim makes everyone jump to the conclusion that this is so = that they are "asking for it." But in the cases I know of, it never was.

In fact, the victims of narcissists behave exactly the same way the victims of all torture and brainwashing do, exactly the way all hostages do. So, strange as it seems, this behavior is the reaction of NORMAL people to abuse.

All the tortured cling to the torturer for dear life. All hostages exhibit the Stockholm syndrome. This has been known since at least the Dark Ages. Professional torturers (executioners) and the Inquisition understood this phenomenon and deliberately exploited it to make their victims betray themselves to abuse.

Why do normal people do this under duress? It’s because you’re taking right-side-up people and putting them in a pervert’s upside-down world. You’re taking people acting on normal human premises and having those reactions play right into pervert’s perverted premises.

The abuser always makes the victim totally dependant on him before he starts abusing. So, what is the victim going to do? She has no choice but to try to soften a stone-cold heart. This is nothing but appeasement. The helpless have no other option.

We see this happening on a massive scale today in the bizarre efforts to appease the abuses of Islamofascist mobs and terrorists the world over. “Don’t make them mad! Don’t think badly of them for what they do. Apologize for making them abuse us by making them mad at us. Blame ourselves for everything they do to us. Bend over for it with a smile. Suck up. Then maybe they will soften and like us and stop abusing us.”

Pass me the puke bucket, please.

The West has no excuse for such cowardly appeasement, because the West isn’t helpless. The western nations are just too unwilling to stop squabbling among themselves, get real, and unite against a common enemy (a problem the West has had since the Fall of the Roman Empire).

But the victims of narcissist often ARE helpless.

And even when they aren’t, when they can and do try to fight back, some holier-than-thou comes along and says it’s a sin. Then the whole world gangs up and jumps on the victim’s back saying, “Yes, stop it. Stop fighting because that’s a sin.”

Who has a strong enough backbone to stand up to that? This merciless suppression of any effort at self-defense breaks the victim’s back. Then these same holier-than-thous turn around and say, “See? She just takes it. So, she likes it. She’s asking for it.”

Perhaps THEY are the ones who need their heads examined, not the victim they thus play Catch-22 with.

I see no self-masochism in this victim, do you? I just see a normal human being in Catch-22.

What is Catch-22? It’s the English translation of the Italian phrase for the 22nd "malbowge" ("evil pouch/pocket") of Nether Hell in Dante's Inferno. That's the lowest pit of hell, the place where the treacherous, the traitors, get to experience their sin on the receiving end. It’s where Dante put Judas priests, the likes of people who invite a family to dinner and then lock them in a tower to starve to death, as well as Julius Caesar’s “friend” Brutus and Judas Iscariot.

As I’ve said in other posts, the victim WILL feel shame for bending over for it, to the extent that he or she failed to resist as much as possible. And, as I’ve said, this is why the victim must never be condemned for fighting back.

But, come on, knuckling under to abuse isn’t the same thing as liking it and wanting it. Normal people may knuckle under. But only sick-in-the-head people could like it and ask for it. So, my hunch is that cases of co-dependence in narcissism are either rare or never occur.

People ASSUME that the victim wants abuse in their IGNORANCE of the real and understandable reasons why the victim doesn’t fight back or run away.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

More on dealing with anger or any painful emotion

From my point of view, one good thing about blogging is that it gives me a chance to hone a piece before placing it on the Main Site. Or to work out ideas in several posts before they come together in an article for the Main Site.

I also learn from the comments. One in particular stands out because it completely changed my mind. I had bought into the idea that narcissists have problem similar to autistic people. Someone posted to show me the difference. It's huge. These two problems are different in their very nature, though superficially they do resemble each other. Yes, both the autistic person and the malignant narcisisist filter information and have trouble relating. But underneath these two problems couldn't be more different. They are no more alike than malignant narcissism and the healthy, natural narcissism in us all or the big-headedness that comes with fame (i.e., situational narcissism) -- again things which superficially resemble each other but underneath are vastly different.

Usually though comments just bring up another aspect of something. That helps me to cover all bases.

Recently one made me see that I haven't bee clear enough about something. I had written that you can deal with your anger now or you can deal with it later, but sooner or later you have to go through it and deal with it.

Most of us have already heard how this is true with another strong emotion as well -- grief. Often we must put grief aside for awhile, especially grief for the loss of someone near and dear.

Just getting through the funeral often requires that. And when people are caught up in some other emergency at the time, they must set aside their grief to deal with the emergency. Think, for example, what would happen if people were unable to set aside their grief in the middle of a war or some natural disaster. It would paralyze them. Likewise, saving a business from failure can require setting grief aside for awhile. Our ability to do this is natural and adaptive.

We have a problem, however, when we never do get around to experiencing that grief. It becomes one of those "unresolved issues" in the subconscious, where it affects our behavior without our being consciously aware of that. The result is inexplicable and irrational behavior, motivated by a repressed emotion. That's why I call such a repressed emotion an "unseen puppetmaster."

The same is true of anger. There may be times when we must set it aside. For example, if we have difficulty "tempering" it with wisdom and a sense of of appropriate measure, we know we must set it aside and cool down or we will "lose our temper." Or perhaps we are in the middle of an emergency that requires a cool head.

Fine. But, like grief, sooner or later we have to let ourselves go through the pain of grief or anger or any painful emotion = deal with it.

Only then will it pass.

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Saturday, September 16, 2006

Thinking About Your Feelings

Several people have commented to the effect that they didn't really understand how they felt about a certain abuse -- for example the "being made to bend over for it" type. They didn't realize that this is what was being done to them.

No, they didn't consciously realize what was being done to them. But the subconscious knew what what going on. For, in the depths of their soul they realized the nature of what was being done to them and felt the moral impact deeply!

They just couldn't consciously put their finger on exactly why the way they were being treated outraged them so. They just couldn't put it into words.

Been there.

Remember that I am no authority, so I don't know if this is always good, but I feel that what enabled me to get through was the fact that I started sitting down and contemplating an act of abuse, asking myself just why this or that remark, this or that reaction, this or that treatment, by the narcissist hurt me so.

I would actually analyze it on a moral level. In other words, I'd get in touch with my feelings. I'd ask myself exactly how this or that made me feel. Then I'd ask why it made me feel that way.

What was going on at a moral (i.e., psychological/spiritual) level then always became crystal clear to me. Then I could see that the narcissist was, say, trying to "make me bend over for it" so to speak. When I thought of what that means, I understood why my instincts reacted with outrage. They were correct: that is an outrage.

Our instinct for self preservation triggers that outrage as an adaptation for survival, just like the sympathetic nervous system triggers the familiar "fight-or-flight" response to threat, danger, or injury.

The result always was that I was at peace with my feelings, knowing that they were simply the natural response to an assault on my human dignity. Unpleasant as they were, I knew they were no sin and felt no guilt or shame for them.

I always found that my deepest instincts, my gut reactions to things, were right on. That they were a sign. In other words, if you feel like you've just been put down, it's because you have been put down. If you feel like you've just been (morally) raped, that's because you have been morally raped.

It's unwise to disregard and bury those feelings.

Another byproduct of contemplating the abuse is that I saw how unnatural a narcissist's behavior is. How perverted. How against human nature. This and the abysmal nature of how they treat you brings you face-to-face with the sadism in their conduct. This makes you see what kind of being you're dealing with. Yes, that knowledge rattles your cage, but you need to know it.

Of course you can't let your emotions rule your conduct. But you can control you conduct with wisdom and a sense of measure without trying to eradicate your feelings. Besides, you can't eradicate your feelings. All you can do is delude yourself about them by repressing them. You must go through this kind of pain like you must go through physical pain. And like physical pain this emotional pain will pass.

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Ha-HAH! We have been visited by a narcissist.

I was going to delete this comment, when I suddenly thought the better of it. Here's my response. Here's the whole post in case you care to comment.

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Friday, September 15, 2006

Dr. Sanity on Guilt and Shame

Remember when I mentioned that a person's self image is their most precious possession and that we will do ANYTHING to protect it? I also mentioned that this truth provides the secret to creating a drammatic story. You just put a character into a situation that causes such a crisis. Then stir, bake for 35 minutes on high heat, and voila, you have a masterpiece! Like Hamlet.

I swiped this comparisson of a Guilt Culture and a Shame Culture from Dr. Sanity's blog to show why...



In this post, Shame, the Arab Psyche, and Islam, Dr. Sanity is comparing Western Civilization, a Guilt Culture, to Islamic society, a Shame Culture. But what she says holds true for individuals as well.

In a guilt culture, when an individual believes he is NOT GUILTY, he will defend his innocence aggressively despite the fact that others believe he is guilty. In this case, the individual self is strong and able to maintain an independent judgement even if every other person is convinced of his guilt. The self is able to stand alone and fight for truth, secure in the knowledge that the individual is innocent.

The guilt culture is typically and primarily concerned with truth, justice, and the preservation of individual rights. As we noted earlier, the emotion of guilt is what keeps a person from behavior that goes against his/her own code of conduct as well as the culture’s. Excessive guilt can, of course, also be pathological. I am solely referring to a psychologically healthy appreciation of guilt.

In contrast, a typical shame culture (e.g., Imperial Japan as discussed by Benedict; or the present focus of this discussion: Arab/Islamic culture) what other people believe has a far more powerful impact on behavior than even what the individual believes. As noted by Gutman in his writings, the desire to preserve honor and avoid shame to the exclusion of all else is one of the primary foundations of the culture. This desire has the side-effect of giving the individual carte blanche to engage in wrong-doing as long as no one knows about it, or knows he is involved.

Additionally, it may be impossible for an individual to even admit to himself that he is guilty (even when he is) particularly when everyone else considers him to be guilty because of the shame involved. As long as others remain convinced he is innocent, the individuals does not experience either guilt or shame. A great deal of effort therefore goes into making sure that others are convinced of your innocence (even if you are guilty).

In general, it has been noted that the shame culture works best within a collectivist society, although it can exist in pockets even within a predominant guilt culture.

A shame culture sucks, doesn't it? Fortunately, we don't live in one. As Dr. Sanity notes, however, a shame culture can exist within pockets of the predominant guilt culture. You see this in smaller social units within Western Civilization that are collectivist -- like some religious communities and on the far right and left ends of the political spectrum. In such pockets, political correctness is such a big stick that a shame culture develops, enforcing conformity, no matter what crazy things that forces members to subscribe to.)

A narcissist puts us in the situation where everyone thinks we're guilty and we believe we're not. As the diagram says, we must "protest our innocense and fight the accusation." And I add that holier-than-thous should shut up and let us! It is NOT a sin: it's absolutely necessary for our mental well being and our relationship with our self.

I don't know, but it seems to me that if you succeed in stiffling all complaint and suppressing all fighting-back in the victim, you might just be hammering and forging that person into a brand-new narcissist! A person ruled by shame, who thinks, "No one knows, so I am not shamed." That's a cunning demon hiding behind an angel-faced mask = a narcissist.

Moreover, so little resistence is possible or would be wise, that any resistance the victim can put up is precious. It is vital to the victim's well being. He or she must be able to say, "I put up a fight."

Holier-than-thous who call that "revenge" and command you to "Let God handle it" should go jump in the lake. Besides, what is God? Your big dog that you sic on your enemies? If I were him, I'd help those who help themselves.

So, guilt and shame are NOT the same thing. Make sure you don't confuse them. Throw off undeserved shame. Fight against letting people dump it on you.

We all feel both guilt and shame at times, but because these things can become confused by sloppy thinking and fast-talk, we can find ourselves in an environment where shame rules and is imposed by others on us when we are innocent.

A narcissist is ruled by shame, as in the second model in the diagram. He or she imposes a shame culture in their home. The children of narcissists, therefore, are inculcated with an exaggerated sense of shame. Shame is constantly dumped on them. No one likes to be disapproved of, but the children of narcissist become very sensitive to disapproval.

Now, since our society as a whole isn't a shame culture, they survive by eventually learning to cling to the truth and not let shame rule their conduct, like the Little Piggy Who Built His House of Brick. (If they don't form a backbone and do this, they are not going to get through mentally healthy.) Nonetheless, disapproval is a still very painful experience for them and makes them aim to please where no matter of principle is involved.

The model in Dr. Sanity's diagram above shows why, for example, Arab Muslims have no compunctions about lying their heads off. It's to save face (for yourself or your family or your religion), and that's just what you do in a shame culture. Because a thing ain't wrong unless you get caught and shamed for it. They have no idea why their whoppers offend us westerners so. The value of truth isn't appreciated in a shame culture. Appearances are all that get considered, as with a narcissist.

I also recommend the following the three-part series, Narcissism and Society, at Dr. Sanity. Again, the focus is on the current world war, but most of what she explains applies just as well to the individual narcissist and his or her victim.
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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Docile Victimhood? Or Fighting Back?

From my last post you can see why I am death on people telling the victim that it's a sin to fight back. They are pressuring the victim to do the very thing that causes victims to suffer terrible shame in the aftermath of abuse -- give themselves up to it.

That shame we feel at doing so is an infallible indicator that it's wrong. No one needs a book or a preacher to tell them what's right and wrong. We KNOW that's wrong. Deep down inside we feel how wrong it is to give ourselves up to abuse. Doing so makes us feel like a worm. A doormat. We know it's lack of backbone. We sense the prostitution in it. We feel utterly degraded by it.

The only excuse for it is being subjected to overwhelming force so that we haven't the power to resist. Which is rape. Which is why we feel deeply violated by it. Whether it's sexual rape or any other kind.

So, we know that we must resist when we can. If only for the sake of our self respect.

And anyone who tells us that we shouldn't fight the agressor might as well order us to be a self masochist who injures himself.

They are pressuring the victim to prostitute themselves to abuse. How degrading! They are pressuring the victim to do what causes a human being unbearable shame. How cruel! They are pressuring the victim to do what goes against the laws of nature, our instinct for self preservation. They are pressuring the victim to commit the worst breech of faith, the worst betrayal, there is -- treason against your very self by delivering yourself up to abuse.

That's what Joan of Arc called it -- "treason," "wretched treason." She preferred the stake.

If it would be wrong to surrender another person for abuse, why should it be right to surrender yourself to abuse?

Trying to force the victim to do that is what the narcissist does! It's bad enough to abuse someone, but when you become so sadistic that you make them bend over for it on top of it all, you have crossed the line into extreme perversity, the Sin of Sodom.

Docile victimhood is NOT a virtue, and people who think it is are devoid of moral sense. They are people who don't think about what they say any more than a parrot does. Nothing proves that easier than to just then ask them, "Well what if the abuse happenes to be sexual rape? Do you say the victim should bend over for it?"

Certainly not! These are the same folks who would say that a woman who bent over for it liked it and was a whore. They would say she must fight tooth and nail.

And that's just as stupid, because sometimes she doesn't dare fight. If she did, she'd get killed.

There are few ways that the victim of narcissistic abuse can fight back, especially when the victim is a child. And whenever the victim does find a way to put up a resistance, there is always some holier-than-thou around to tell him or her that it's a sin.

You can't do that to people. That puts them in an impossible situation. That's what breaks minds.

Horrifying example. A kid is getting bullied at school. He periodically gets his head flushed in a toilet, while the "innocent" bystanders watch and laugh. He gets his lunch money stolen daily.

Now, would you willingly walk into a place where you know that someone is waiting for you to abuse you? Of course not. But we expect him to. So, when he skips school, he gets punished. We thus force him to present himself there daily for abuse. If he doesn't it's a sin.

So he punches the bully. Oh-oh. Now he committed another sin. He gets punished for that too, because "violence" (which force used in self defense ain't) is a sin.

So, he resorts to the last resort, the really stupid thing: he tells the counsellors about the abuse. They have "a talk" with the bully. Now the bully punishes him for that by escalating the abuse.

What is that kid going to do? We are forcing him to offer himself up for abuse like a sacrificial vicitm every single day.

Something's gotta give. He will decide to kill himself, and he may well decide to take others with him.

You can't force people to docilely submit to abuse. That's the most odious thing you can do to a human being. You are subjecting him to a slavery more odious and profound than that of the slaves, a kind of slavery we haven't seen since the macabre executions of the Middle Ages = slavery as someone else's property for the purpose of vicitimization.

Indeed, the victim isn't his own property if you deny his free will to the the extent that you deny him the right even to self preservation.

Those who think the Bible demands this had better re-read it. And study what the scholars have found and Church authorities have admitted -- how long after the events it was written, whom it was really written by, and how much it's been edited and added to since.

And applying a little common sense doesn't hurt either. For example, if Jesus thought defending yourself is a sin, why does scripture mention in several places that the apostles were armed? Duh, they were his bodyguards. And of course he told the three of them with him to put up their swords when he was captured -- because they were vastly outnumbered and just would have gotten killed. Interpreting that action as some sort of general prohibition again the use the use of force is absurd.

Common sense, common sense, common sense. There is nothing more dangerous than words of scripture in a mouth with its brain turned off.

Very often the victim can't fight back. At least not without that resistence resulting in greater harm to himself. But whenever he can, he has every right to. Indeed, the only morality a bully knows is a punch in the nose. It does work.

And the victims of a narcissist's abuse through character asssination have every right to accuse their accuser, to point the accusing finger right back at the narcissist to show that it's all projection. That's the victim's only defense! He or she should not be treated as though they are the attacker.

Character assassination is not nothing. It is character ASSASSINATION. I call it the abuse that keeps on abusing for the rest of that person's life. A crime in progress for the rest of that person's life, because that bad reputation pursues and continually damages the victim for the rest of their life. The victim has every right to defend himself from this ongoing abuse in whatever way he can.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Victim's Guilt and Shame

Some interesting aspects of narcissistic abuse are coming up in the comments. Including shame and guilt.

Unless you've seen it, it's hard to believe, but a narcissist is like a spider that ensnares its prey in a tangled web of dependence on the narcissist. Both material and moral dependence. Subtle and manifest dependence. Real and imaginary. Financial and emotional.

Then the abuse starts.

It's that simple, really: make the victim dependent on you, then reject, reject, reject. Spurn. Kick him or her away.

What is the victim going to do? Since he or she NEEDS you, they get down on their knees and beg you.

Oooh, now you're God, now you really tower over the victim in grandiosity. Prove it by kicking the victim some more. Degrade him or her even more to make yourself even grander.

Et ad infinitum.

In fact, this is exactly why narcissists react so ass-backwardly to things. The more you humble yourself, appease them, and beg them to have a heart, the more you are giving them exactly what they want and can never get enough of. So, behaviors that would evoke pity from a stone evoke further abuse and rage from a narcisist.

To the extent that you submit to this abuse, you will feel shame. Pardon my bluntness, but you know it's true: you are prostituting yourself when you do this. You are acting like a worm, having no backbone, being a doormat.

What a betrayal of yourself! You are bending over for it. This makes a person hate themselves. This is how a narcissist comes between you and your very self, damaging your relationship with yourself.

There is shame in this. But normal people are perfectly capable of handling it. They forgive themselves for it. For, to do this is human. And normal people can bear being but human.

Be comforted in knowing this FACT: Believe it or not, just about any normal person in the same situation would do the same thing. Midieval torturers knew this. The psychological trauma of abuse is so shocking and disorienting that the victim actually clings to the torturer! In fact, the victim's later shame for this is one of the lasting scars left by torture.

We see another aspect of this in the Stockholm syndrome.

Of course, the sooner you face facts, get up off your knees, "act like a man" (whether you're a man or a woman), and fight back, the less shame you'll later feel. In other words, the more integrity you have, the less abuse you'll just take, and the less shame you'll feel.

Which is why integrity is a good thing to have.

There is also shame and/or guilt for having been friendly with the narcissist, for having listened to him or her malign others, for perhaps having been used as an "innocent bystander" by him in the persecution of someone else. Then when it's you're turn, your conscience asks you whether you're just getting your just deserts.

Of course, the less useful you have been to a narcissist in the past, the less you'll have to feel guilty about. In other words, again, the more integrity you have, the less guilt you'll have to bear.

Decent normal people can honestly face their guilt and shame about these things and simply repent. By that I mean, stop it. They see what they did, why, and that it was both foolish and wrong, and they make up their mind never to do it again. End of story.

Such people haven't acted in malice (even toward themselves), so they haven't lost their innocence. They can therefore be fair with themselves and sympathize with themselves. They can honestly answer their conscience to say, "No, I didn't deserve it. I was wronged."

But I do worry about people without integrity. Say that you were one of your narcissistic boss' prime hitmen, a remote-control mouth that spread every vicious lie he hinted about anyone he was "after" at the moment, sucking up to him in the belief that if you worshipped this bully, he wouldn't attack YOU too.

Could you fess up and handle it then when it became your turn? Do you retain any innocense? Could you sympathize with yourself?

I bet not. I bet you'd have to spend the rest of your life in denial of what happened.

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Monday, September 11, 2006

Dealing with Anger

If you are still smarting from narcissistic abuse, try something the next time your anger rises.

Go somewhere apart, where you can be alone. Then just sit down and admit to yourself, "Boy! am I angry!" Let yourself feel it.

I guarantee that you will feel great relief. Even comfort. Yes, you deserve your own sympathy even more than you deserve the sympathy of anybody else.

Why do you feel this immediate relief and comfort? Because you just took the lid off a pressure cooker. You stopped trying to repress your anger. You stopped trying to deny it. You stopped trying to unfeel it = distance yourself from it.

You stopped viewing it as a flaw. You know it's justified. And you know that you must temper its influence on your conduct.

It hurts. It's psychological pain. A very unpleasant state of mind, perhaps the most unpleasant this side of fright.

And, like any pain, it WILL pass. But you can't wish it away. All you can do is delude yourself by repressing it. That's not dealing with it. Anger is like grief: you can deal with it now, or you can deal with it later, but sooner or later you're going to have to deal with it.

This is why "venting" sometimes helps the victims of narcissists. In venting to others they are owning their feelings. I don't think that's as helpful though as just going off by yourself and venting to yourself alone. Why? Because you're more honest when not performing for others. You'll own your vulnerability and do more weeping than fuming.

Venting to others is like releasing the valve on a pressure cooker, whereas venting to yourself is like taking the whole lid off.

We don't blame those sick in the flesh for their pain, so we shouldn't blame those sick at heart for it, either. They are responsible only for their conduct, not their feelings. If somebody hits you with a club, whether physical or psychological, THEY are the one responsible for your pain.

The pain, in all its manifestations -- not just of anger, but of grief, sorrow, and shame as well -- is a huge burden, and it is unfair for you to have to bear it, because the narcissist is the one responsible for it. You are carrying his cross, paying for his sins.

That's not forgiveness of his debt: that's extortion.

Now, think what it means then for everybody else to dump also the BLAME for your painful feelings on you. That heaps insult upon injury to outrage. That's the unbearable part. That's what cannot be tolerated.


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Fuzzy Morality

(UPDATED) Whew. There is no end of gobbledygook out there on the Web about "forgiveness" and "healing." My theory is that it all stems from thinking it a virtue to believe things that defy belief. Then you're stuck having to believe some things that make no sense.

The result is tortuously gymnastic twists and turns of logic in oxymorons that call things what they ain't.

Just what do people mean when they talk about "forgiving" a narcissist? I dare say they haven't the foggiest idea what they mean. They have bastardized the word forgiveness by abusing it to mean some vague kind of warm, fuzzy feeling you're supposed to get when your anger passes.

Some say that forgiveness is "giving your anger to God." Okay, what the hell does THAT mean? The only way I know of to "give" your anger to anyone is to get angry at them. So, why on earth would you give your anger to God?

Wouldn't it be nicer (and smarter) to give him something nice instead?

See the result of a language known as Babble? Nonsense.

Some have rightly said that, in their experience, people think of forgiveness as a mere feeling, a sentiment, not an act.

Ohhhhhhhh! I get it. That's a way to cheat. Your so-called "forgiveness" then is dirt cheap, because it requires nothing of you, except possibly denial of your true feelings. And, hey, who wouldn't love to repress their anger and delude themselves into thinking they're not angry? Anger is a very unpleasant feeling. No one WANTS it.

In fact, you can even lie about having this nicey-nice "forgiving" feeling, so you needn't really forgive even according to your own chincy definition of "forgiveness."

And all this nonsense leads to no end of . . . you guessed it - additional nonsense. Some caution against "forgiving too soon" lest you fail to hold the narcissist accountable for what he or she has done.

Say what? That's exactly what forgiveness really is = NOT holding that person to account. Fully, that is. Forgiveness is forgiveness of a portion of the debt the offender incurs through the offense. I explained that here.

This "not forgiving too soon" reminds me of people who tell us they "forgive" the criminal who murdered a family member - but they didn't even ask that he be spared the death penalty. No, to the contrary: they were there and pushing for him to pay the full price all along. So they didn't forgive one bit.

Forgiveness is a brand of justice - justice tempered with mercy. And so, just as justice delayed is justice denied, forgiveness delayed is forgiveness denied.

There have been cases of the real thing. The criminal has truly repented and accepted his penality as just with deep remorse. The surviving victims have truly fogiven him and pleaded in his behalf for leniency. This is a beautiful, beautiful, precious thing -- on both sides. And phonies cheapen it with their double-talk about "forgiving" someone they pursued all the way to the execution chamber. If he made himself unforgivable by not repenting, he brought it on himself, but "it" wasn't forgiveness.

Every offense is a kind of theft or robbery. Murder is stealing a person's life. Slander is stealing a person's good name. Abuse is robbing a person of respect, human dignity, and the like. And all thefts damage the victim. The offender is responsible for those damages and a (punitive) penalty to boot. In other words, the offender is responsible for repairing the damage.

And that's what healing is = repairing damage. So, how people manage to get healing confused with forgiveness I shall never know.

You heal when the wound heals over, the damage repaired (as well as it will ever be, for there will be scars and permanent damage). The narcissist is NEVER the one who repairs the damage he or she does: YOU do. You do it by repairing the damage yourself, by rebuilding your life. Not by forgiving the narcissist.

The greatest damage narcissists do is the damage they do to your relationship with yourself. They treat you like dirt. They make you feel like a worm. They reflect a false image of you that is rightfully THEIR image projected off on you. They are just using you as a dumping ground for their sins and flaws and wretchedness. They thus vandalize your image, making it abject and miserable and contemptible. Thus they come between you and your very self. They make you despise and hate yourself as unworthy of being treated like a human being.

You either go crazy or repair that relationship after they have laid waste to it in their truculent wake. That repair is healing.

It has nothing to do with forgiving them. In fact, it's quite the other way around. Only in picking up the pieces do you come to terms with the shocking malignance in a person who would do something like that to people who love them, even their own children. Like any pain, your anger will diminish and pass over time, but your abhorrence of the narcissist mushrooms.

In fact, as I explained in On Forgiveness, you CAN'T forgive someone who doesn't repent. Until recently no preacher would have dreamed of saying you must forgive every offense, even those of the unrepentent. We didn't start hearing this noise till a certain movement began preaching that if God likes you you'll be successful and happy, happy, happy. One wonders if people who believe this fairy tale ever look at a crucifix.

Those who believe in God say that God himself doesn't forgive the unrepentant, so why should we? They seem to have some wires crossed so that they think whether a thing be right or wrong depends on who dunnit, not what it IS.

You can't forgive someone who denies that they punched themselves out on you for 20 minutes straight yesterday because you begged them on your knees in tears not to throw you out of their life at a moment when you desperately need someone. No matter what, narcissists don't even admit what they DID, let along that it was wrong. You can't forgive an unsigned/unacknowledged debt. As for contrition or remorse, forget it. Narcissists are as remorseless as psychopaths. In fact, they claim the right to keep right on using and abusing you to make themselves feel good. They refuse to give back whatever they stole. And they continue to attack you with slander all over town. Duh, that's a crime in progress. Sheesh. You can't forgive a crime in progress! The very idea is absurd, as any religious theologian will tell you.

Sorry for the rant, but this nonsense angers me, because these holier-than-thous try to impose their illogical and immoral fuzzy morality on us, acting like you're a bad person if you're too honest to parrot that nonsense.

Worse, their holy-sounding sermons serve the narcissist by heaping insult on injury to re-victimize the victim for complaining. What a farce. Instead of crying out for the narcissist to cease and desist and pay damages, they're crying out for his victim to shut up.

So, whose side are they on?

That's why Ezechial is my favorite prophet. He sarcastically calls such people those "from whom there is no peace" because they constantly attack the VICTIM of violent aggression, demanding "Peace! Peace!"

According to them, you are bad if you don't go around smiling, smiling, smiling as if nothing happened, as if no robbery was committed, as if there is no wrong that should be righted, no justice that should be done, no damage that should be repaired. That's nihilism. It makes NOTHING of what happened! Though you are pierced through and torn in torment as grievous as Prince Hamlet's, you mustn't show the pain to them!

Is that not callousness rivalling the narcissist's? Wouldn't acting like that be lying? Yes, acting out a charade is lying in deed. I want to know why such holy ones are telling us that it is a sin not to tell this lie.

So, if the narcissist swipes five dollars from your wallet, you should raise a hue and cry about it and see that justice is done. But if he robs you of your self respect, the credit due you, your career, your friends, your good name and peace of mind, that's NOTHING?

Sheesh, even without a brain, these people are dangerous. The song they sing is the LAST thing the victim of a narcissist should ever hear: it re-victimizes by reinforcing the narcissist's brainwashing that the victim is a bad person.

So, I'm sorry, but because of the additional damage they do to the already beaten-down victim, these holier-than-thou parrots deserve to be slammed for that. (Maybe that will turn their brains back on.)

According to them, you're supposed to act happy (like good people are), as though nothing bad happened to you. In other words, you must hide your pain and keep the narcissist's crime a secret by acting like it didn't happen.

How's that for making someone bend over for it? No harm, no foul, eh? Then they needn't feel obligated to help you do anything about it, right? I bet that's why these holier-than-thous make it out to be a sin for you cry "Foul!" Ask any theologian, they aren't so holy: they committing the Sin of Sodom against you, the sin of extreme perversity = making the victim bend over for it.

Why are they preaching at the victim, instead of the victimizer? Is it because the victim is highly vulnerable at the moment and easy to dump a holier-than-thou load of you-know-what on?

They say you are to make nothing of being abused. That says in deed that nothing worth doing anything about happened. It can only mean that (a) the narcissist didn't do anything to you or that (b) he did something but what he did wasn't wrong, or that (c) what he did amounts to nothing because it damaged nothing of value.

What a degrading value judgement of YOUR human worth. Indeed, if the narcsisist damaged your automobile they wouldn't say you should act like it didn't happen, would they? They'd say you should make him repair the damage. But if he damages YOU, causing you immense suffering, that's nothing to do anything about in their eyes, isn't it? Then what are YOU? You are a thing of less value than a mere object in their bizarre judgement.

In other words, in their twisted thinking, the narcissist's offense requires nothing of him. Instead, they view YOU, the victim, as the one who incurs responsibility by it: you must cover up the evidence of his crime for him, keeping quiet about it, and taking on yourself all the damage and the responsibility for repairing it as if nothing happened.

In fact, according to them, you don't even dare repair the damage to your good name, because it's a sin to complain to people about what's happening and thus counter the narcissist's campaign of character assassination to discredit you.

In other words, instead of requiring the character assassin to shut up, they require the victim to shut up. Instead of requiring the attack to cease, they require the defense to cease. You can't commit the Sin of Sodom more ballistically than that. They are absolutely denying the victim any right to self defense and self preservation from abuse.

And so, what wondrous fogs cloudy heads beget. They couldn't care less about you. They're just so busy trying to look and sound holy that they don't even pay any attention to what they're saying. Result? Absurdity after absurdity billows out.

They vilify your very FEELINGS and blame the victim for them. (Maybe someone should educate them by punching them in the nose and then blaming them for their pain.) As if people have any control over their feelings. As if feelings are conduct and could be a sin. That's absurd. You can lie about your feelings and you can repress them. You can exaggerate or downplay them in acting them out. But you can't change them. They just are what they are.

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Our conflicted feelings

I think we all feel guilty at times about our feelings -- or rather our lack of feeling -- toward the narcissist. Something inside just dies when we confront the spirit in which a narcissist does what he or she does.

That is a confrontation with the pure will to evil. You know -- the big chill. You stand on the edge of the abyss and look down into their soul and see there is no bottom. It's natural, it's human, to back off as if repelled by antigravity and abhor it. In fact, it's immoral not to.

But especially the parents and siblings of a narcissist often feel conflicted, because they sympathize deeply with the hurt little child inside the narcissist. They remember him or her. They witnessed the abuse. Just remembering it creates such a vivid experience that it enrages them all over again, 20, 30, 40 years later.

And they have occassionally caught heartbreaking glimpses of this ghost, this murdered little child inside the narcissist.

Dealing with these conflicted feelings is simply a matter of understanding them. They are natural. It's the situation that is unnatural, bizarre. That's because this hatred of the monster is directed at seemingly the same object as the love and grief for the innocent child inside.

That's just the way it is, and there's nothing we can do about it except keep clear about it and try not to confuse those feelings. The narcissist, by misidentifying, by identifying with his or her false image, has created this bizarre situation with their false and abhorrant persona.


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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Conceptual Clarity

While looking for links to resources for the abused, I sutmbled across an interesting article entitled Conceptual Clarity: The difference between moral and strategic behavior in understanding the perpetrator of domestic violence (a 4-page PDF document) by David J.H. Garvin, the Program Director of Alternatives to Domestic Agression, a program of Catholic Relief Services in Michigan.

You can see the article here or here.

It isn't about NPD per se, but the points he makes apply 100% to abusers suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Frankly, I bet his ideas are politically incorrect enough that only the Catholic Relief Services would tolerate them. They understand that some people are just, well . . . BAD.


I noticed the failure to grasp this in the comments at The Happy Feminist. Some of those commenters just didn't get it. They acted like NPD is just a kind of quirkiness. I suppose this stems from the idiotic notion that it's okay not to tell people you love them if that's hard for you -- they must assume that you do and that poor, poor you just finds it hard to say so. Baloney, if you can't say you love someone, you don't love them. Period. When they are your own children, the only sensible thing for them to assume is that you are a pathetic excuse for a human being, incapable of love.

Good people are NOT incapable of love. Only a heart of malice is.

Dante remarked at the same inability of humanism, or pure philosophy, to grasp the fact that some folks need no motive other than pure, unadulterated malice to do what they do. He shows this by telling of how Virgil was completely perplexed by the Harpies at the Gates of Nether Hell. It took a man of religion to to show him that "They just did that because they hate everybody, not because they had any sane reason for doing such a thing."

Garvin points out, much more aptly than I have, that abusers do what they for RESULTS. Period. They disregard the morality of what they do. He puts their attitude this way: "I want what I want, and I want it now." No other consideration is worthy of weight in their choices. To hell with whether getting it is right or wrong. To hell with the consequences to you. (Just like a three-year-old.)

For example, one may believe the answer is an anger control problem. Saying that a batterer has an anger control problem is like saying Lucciano Pavorotti needs vocal lessons. Batterers use their anger instrumentally and strategically. If a situation calls for the effective use of anger, the batter will summon his anger to do the job. The batterer may, just as effectively use his sorrow, sadness or shame to also be an effective and coercive means to establish maintain or regain control. Simply stated, battering is purposeful, instrumental and strategic behavior designed to bring about a result.


It is my opinion that battering is 100% premeditated. Consider that there are two “types” of premeditation. One that would meet the legal definition of premeditation and the other, a logical and cognitive and behavioral understanding. In the case of the former one could posit that your reading of this article was to gain a better understanding into the dynamics of the batterer and that you are reading this article, not “by accident”. The second understanding of premeditation entails an understanding of “patterned behavior.” Patterned behavior is that which we have done with enough frequency, that we have now become proficient at it and no longer necessitates the focus and attention, which it once did. An example of this could be as simple as tying ones shoes.

I have tried to say the same thing, but I didn't achieve this degree of clarity. From early childhood, narcissists learn that certain behaviors get them what they want. It takes no Einstein: a two-year-old learns that throwing a fit will get him what he wants! Narcissists and other bullies CHOOSE to never grow beyond that and consider other aspects of the choices they make -- like...

Will it hurt that person for me to do this?
Will it be moral for me to do this?
What might the future consequences be if I anger this person by doing this?
Will it be good for the company's business?
Will it be good for my child's mental health?

None of that matters to these grown brats!

Their choices are as simple as can be: Will doing this get me what I
want right now? If so, then I'll do it. No matter what.

In other words, their choices are binary decisions, like a computer's. It takes no thinking at all for them to make such a decision. That's why they are so impulsive and machinelike. That's why their behaviors are such knee-jerk reactions.

In everything you or I do, we consider maybe three or four or even more things before making the decision of how to react to a stimulus -- even in the space of the few seconds we have to respond to another person in conversation. But narcissists have only one thing to consider: Will it get me what I want right now? or not?

So, they aren't as smart as they seem: they're just experienced manipulators making binary decisions like a computer does.

And most of their behaviors are pure habit or conditioned reflex, like tying your shoes. Which means they have practiced a certain type of reaction so much that they automatically react that way to a certain type of thing, without needing to think at all about it anymore. For example, tell them to stop treating treating you like dirt. They long ago learned that to get you to shut up they should whine, "WAAH! Get off my back!" So, when you tell them to quit treating you like dirt, it's automatic, like pushing the buttons on a Chatty Cathy doll.

But that's only because this blowback-in-your-face reaction works: it crams your words back down your throat. So, it has become a habit for the narcissist to do that, like tying his shoes. Not an accident. Not something he can't control. Just a damned habit.

Garvin also attacks the common fallacy of citing an abuser's childhood and other "factors" as excuses or causes for what he does. I have noticed this too. In every list of risk factors for domestic violence, you have two kinds of items: legitimate ones that indicate how near to crossing that line the abuser may be and illegitimate ones that merely indicate the ability or opportunity to overpower someone.

Both get smushed together in people's heads as CAUSES of domestic violence. Sorry, but access to guns does not cause domestic homicide any more that access to cars causes reckless homicide by driving while intoxicated. If we muddle such things as fuzzy CAUSES, then just being a man is a cause of violence, so we should view all men with suspicion. Or just being bigger than whomever you're mad at is a cause, so we should view the large with suspicion. Or just living in the same town or state is a CAUSE. All these "FACTORS" aren't factors at all. And we could list a million of them, so why do people with Big-Brother type agendas always list only a certain few of their favorites?

Garvin also shows why having a personality disorder is no excuse. Here's the paper. If you left-click that link, it will open in your browser. If you right-click it, you can choose "Save target as..." in the popup menu to download it.
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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

An Overview of NPD

For a good overview of NPD, see the The Happy Feminist on NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER:

There is a lot to say about it, but in a nutshell, it is characterized by a pattern of grandiosity, an excessive need for admiration, and a lack of empathy. Others are not seen as fully human subjects in themselves but rather as sources of much-needed admiration, barriers to receiving much-needed admiration, or as objects to be stepped on so that the narcissist may elevate his own image. The narcissist, while appearing arrogant and full of himself, actually has an incredibly fragile ego and deep-seated feelings of inferiority usually resulting from having been rejected by a parent. (My father was a victim of childhood abuse, and his abuser, my grandfather, was probably a narcissist as well.) To compensate for his belief in his own lack of worth, he creates a grandiose, false image of himself and then identifies with it, deeply repressing his real feelings.

Read the rest.
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A Case Study of NPD

Did a little surfing today and found it for you all.

Started here at NPD Family. In the third post, the one titled "Wikipeda Link, nothing else new," I surfed the link to here at blog named A Modest Construct.

The post there reminded me of here here (pun intended).

The attack on Wikipedia this blogger refers to is published here. A response from the accused in defense against these accusations is published here.

Most interesting is the third of the 7 responses to the post at A Modest Construct. It offers two links with the simple statement that they should "explain the it all." And they do. First this one.

He's the author of a "textbook" on NPD? A "TEXTBOOK"? Yikes.

Notice how nice everybody is at the top, and notice how the narcissist flatters these people. Then, all of a sudden SOCKPUPPETRY CASE. Then SOCKPUPPETRY CASE 2. Then SOCKPUPPETRY CASE 3. And even SOCKPUPPETRY CASE 4!

Typical narcissist. He says, "Oh, you didn't like me doing that? so I'll do it again."

Then the second link "explaining it all."

So we see why the narcissist IMMEDIATEY lashed out to destroy the reputation of Wikipedia in a published article on the Web.

Ah, Web wars.

Notice what an uproar a narcissist caused among this group of friendly and eminently fair and rational people at Wikipedia. In the end they are furious and fit to be tied, losing their objectivity.

I hope they know what hit them.

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You're supposed to PRETEND the narcissist's lies are true.

Puglette recently commented on a post:

They will say ANYTHING and tell any outrageous lie, and if you can prove it's all BS, somehow YOU are the "bad guy" for not being gullible and believing their reality.

True. This is another bizarre thing about narcissists -- something no normal person would even think of doing.

It reminded me of an example at Joanna Ashmun's site Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Traits Discussed

Appearances are all there is with narcissists -- and their self-hatred knows no bounds. The most dramatic example I can think of is from John Cheever's journals. Throughout his life he had pursued surreptitious homosexual activities, being transiently infatuated with young men who reminded him of himself in his youth, while also living in a superficially settled way as a married family man, a respected writer with an enviable suburban life, breeding pedigreed dogs and serving on the vestry of the Episcopal church. When his secret life (going to New York City for a few days every now and then to pick up sailors and other beautiful boys for brief flings) came to scandalous light, his family sought to reassure him by telling him that they'd known about his homosexual activities for years. Now, a normal person would be ashamed and embarrassed but also relieved and grateful that scandal, not to mention chronic emotional and marital infidelity, had not caused his wife and children to reject and abandon him -- but not the narcissist! Oh, no, Cheever was enraged that they would ever have thought such a thing of him -- if they really loved him, they'd have bought his artificial "country squire" persona: they would have seen him as he wished to be seen: they would have believed his lies without question or doubt.

I have noted a similar phenomenon in What Makes Narcissists Different:

Another big difference between narcissists and normal people when they're projecting on you is that narcissists expect you to share their delusion. ... The narcissist wants you to identify with the image he projects on you. You are a mirror to reflect his fantasy, so he pressures you to behave as though it is real. ... Narcissists do not connect with reality: appearances are all that matter in their world. So, you can lay out your grievances to a narcissist in a letter to let him know what you think, but if tomorrow you encounter him and act as though none of it happened, he is perfectly satisfied.

Putting all three of those examples together eliminates all but one possible explanation. Narcissists don't tell lies because they want you to believe them. Why should they? You are just an object to them. Like a chess piece or a hammer. They are unaware of the thinking person inside you. Just ask a narcissist what he or she thinks you think. They'll look at you as though you just asked them what they think that elm tree over there thinks. No kidding, that question will crash a narcissist's brain.

They tell lies because they aren't living in the real world. They are living in a fantasy, a work of fiction, a stageplay that they make up as they go along. They are just mental children playing "pretend." You are supposed to play along and pretend that their lies are true. Because they are the author of The World According to Them, and you are supposed to follow their script. Period.

And these mental children get very mad if you don't.

Unbelievable? Then wait a minute. Think again. We've all done this and seen others do it. Back when we were three or four years old.

Yes, remember being a little child? Notice that the narcissist is acting EXACTLY like a four-year-old who says to his friends, "Let's play army. Here is your gun." And he hands his little friend a tennis racket. If the friend says, "But this is a tennis racket, not a gun," the Pretender gets very mad at him for not playing along.

Pretender doesn't want his playmate to THINK it's a gun; he wants his playmate to ACT as though it's a gun.

That's exactly what an adult narcissist is doing when he lies -- just pretending. He has substituted fantasy for reality, because he can control an imaginary world. So, when we say that narcissists are mental four-year-olds, we are NOT just making an analogy: we are stating an exact fact. They have never mentally matured past that stage. They are as deep into fantasy as a child with an imaginary friend, a child who insists that you set a place for that friend at the table.

In other words, narcissists don't care whether you believe their lies. They don't care what you think. Appearances are all there is with a narcissist, so all they care about is how you ACT.

They just want you to ACT as though their lies are true. Why? Because if you don't, you are challenging their delusion, reminding them that it isn't real = you are making it hard for them to continue deluding themselves.

So, you're a naughty toy if you catch them in a lie: you're not supposed to do that: you're supposed to play along and pretend the lie is true.

This is no minor matter. The failure to mentally mature is a serious mental defect.

See also The Narcissist as Patholigical Liar and The Narcissist's Script.
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