Friday, December 22, 2006

Duh

Some people can be amazingly obtuse. Just because NPD is classed, not just as a character disorder, but also as a personality disorder, they think narcissists are just poor, suffering victims who just can't help what nasty things they do to people.

So long as they do it to OTHER people, that is.

People like this are half the problem.

Has it never occured to them why narcissists let Mr. Hyde out only in the dark? Only behind closed doors in secret where there are no witnesses? Why do narcissists dream up ways to abuse that leave no evidence or take great pains to conceal the evidence or get somebody else blamed for the deed, preferably the victim? Just because they have a diabolical sense of humor, or what?

Why do they take such pains to carve out a false image of themselves? one that's the very antithesis of their true selves, with a halo and wings and an angelface? Why do they behave like angels when there would be witnesses? and only attack when the coast is clear? Why do they attack only those who cannot just get or stay from them? Why do they never attack anyone who can fight back?

Because they can't control themselves? Give me a break.

Why are they angels one minute in the light of day and devils the next when there will will be no witness? If they know enough to hide their behavior, they know it's wrong, hateful, and shameful. They just do it anyway. If they can control themselves when there would be witnesses, they can control themselves, period. Duh.

That's why NPD is no defense in a court of law here in the United States. Such people are not insane. Psychopaths and narcissists go to jail, whereas the truly insane are not held responsible for what they do.

Indeed, the law classes NPD as a CHARACTER disorder for the same reasons I cited above = wickedness. There is still a substantial debate about whether NPD should be classed as a character disorder or a personality disorder.

Narcissists hurt you to make themselves feel good. Because you don't count. You are a bug. You exist to be used by them to make themselves feel good. Since stomping you makes these mental three-year-olds feel mighty, they stomp you. And boy do they then feel grand.

They can't help what they feel, but they CHOOSE not to grow up, and they CAN help what they do.

If you consider the facts I mentioned above, you will see that they prove two things beyond all doubt: that naricissists know that what they're doing is wrong and that they can control themselves.

So, they are no better than some drug addict who murders you for five dollars to buy his next hit and feel good.

Not suffering victims. And I wish the obtuse would file down their pointy heads on this matter and see that already.

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14 Comments:

At 9:31 AM, Blogger Louise said...

Admitting the problem within them and trying to seek help would be admitting that their image IS a lie and turning over the very control over us they need to exist. They are so afraid to take that step, yet I think it's the only way they can become human again. How very sad.

CAN they make that leap? Maybe- I guess it depends on the individual and on their motivation, as well as how far gone they are. In our case, chemical dependancy hindered Lil Sis's abilities to think and hear everyone's repeated offers of help.

She was able to charm, manipulate and control people for decades.

 
At 10:20 AM, Anonymous gh said...

Okay, ouch, Kathy. The victims of narcissists often spend years being told (and sometimes convinced) that they are worthhless and stupid and obtuse. Some of us take some comfort in the idea that the narcissist doesn't abuse us because there's something wrong with us but because there is something wrong with them. One of the dominant theories in the field (so hfar as I can tell) is that narcissism is often the product of early childhood neglect. I.e., they're still trying to compensate for the pain that caused.

You're right, the narcissists I've encountered are good at keeping the abuse behind closed doors. Thhey are not legally insane in the sense it absolves them of legal responsibility for their acts. But it has been my own experience that the abuse generally arises in response to some painful/shameful incident in the narcissists life. He fucks something up at work, he comes home and abuses. He realizes the consequences of some stupid financial move, he comes home and abuses. When things are going well and the narcissist is beaming in the glow of a successfully projected false image, things seem to go okay. He abuses not out of sheer sadistic joy, but to divert attention from some event that has made him feel bad about himself the same way some people turn to drugs or alcohol or sex.

He doesn't abuse in public because that would be just another reason to feel shame which is his central problem. He knows it's wrong and if there are no witnesses, he can convince the world -- and himself -- that he did no such thing. He doesn't necessarily enjoy hurting you, but he'd rather hurt you than allow himself to feel shame. Doesn't make it right or justified, but I don't think there's anything "obtuse" about saying a narcissist is in pain.

I think your comparison to the drug addict who murders you for $5 is dead on -- wholly unjustified, of course, but the junkie *is* suffering. Avoid him like the plague, protect yourself. Of course. But there's nothing wrong with trying to recognize that even in the worst of people there is some lingering humanity.

 
At 1:54 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

Gh, I had neither you nor anyone here in mind. It was other people in other places ont he Web and people I've known all along who don't even know about this place (for all I know). I agree with you.

Except on one point - being human isn't being able to suffer. Animals can suffer. Being human is having "humanity" toward others. Empathy for THEIR suffering. It is identifying with the suffering humanity in others and relating to the suffering of another human being on their, human level. Something no animal can do.

The Ns I have known have very tender feelings for themselves and expect everybody else to have tender feellings for them. But as with everything, it's a one-way street. They are like that drug addict.

What gets people and law enforcement about a crime like that = the value it places on another's person's human life. Five dollars! In their mind, their next hit is more impostant than another person's whole life and the lives of all who love that person and suffer at his or loss?

One can hardly have less regard for a bug.

Yet people do that - kill others for a handful of cash. That's what an N is. We are just bugs to them. We don't matter.

Yes, they do have pain. But I wonder how much. They repress knowledge of it most of the time. When alone or abandoned they can go through a crisis when the pain and shame surface to consiousness.

Their pain gives no one any joy. But it doesn't make the abuser a victim. The victim was the little child they were. Not what they have become = a clone of the demon that abused them.

Many people get abused and don't become abusers themselves. I agree with Dr. Hare: though it's unnatural to wish them harm, I don't waste my time feelings sorry for them. They have no excuse. They know what they're doing and can control themselves: they just don't. Why should WE suffer for what somebody else did to them?

Yet in all the rest, I agree with you. And here I don't disagree so much as just show the other side of the same coin. They both matter.

Most of an N's pain is shame at what they themselves have done. I wonder if catching this in childhood, before they pass the point of no return would help. Because there are some things a person can do that just can never be faced.

 
At 2:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are all somewhat narcissistic and we all begin life as a naricisistic infant. I really don't know why some never progress beyond an infant's view of others and what love means. Abuse may contribute but I don't think it is the real reason. The worst naricissists in my family were not abused any more than any of us are abused in life and everyone has to deal with some abuse. They however, have always been difficult people and I think the family has overcompensated for their from birth difficult personalities and inadvertantly, reinforced their narcissism or babyish view of themselves and the world. I think they can change if they want to but they have to want to. If they continue to feel that they get what they need by behaving like a spoiled brat then they will continue.

I think there are as many reasons for narcissism as there are people with the tendency toward it or what psychiatrists would call a disorder of self. Life comes at all of us pretty hot and heavy, who knows what makes people deal with it in the ways that they do or why the same events will affect one person in a damaging way while another overcomes it.

All I know is that I refuse to throw my compassion out the window when dealing with them simply because they lack compassion. I do feel sorry for people who live in a world of one with no compassion for others never really knowing what true love means. I feel sorry for them because I'm a little nearer to 'normal' than they are. Feeling sorry for them however, does not mean that I will leave myself open to the harm they may cause me. Feeling sorry for them also doesn't mean that I don't hold them accountable for the pain and destruction they cause. To do so is to cease respecting them as human beings and makes me guilty of the same sin that they are guilty of, that of not seeing others as equal in importance to themselves. I refuse to let them make me hate and I refuse to become like them to defend myself from them. For the naricissists in my family and for myself, I will continue to set boundaries in love and continue to believe they are capable of better if they should desire to be better but I don't expect more from them than they are capable of at this current moment in time. I have to above all things guard my own spirit, heart, and personhood.

 
At 2:47 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

This brings the question, "Just what does it mean to feel sorry for somebody?" What is compassion? Nothing but a sentiment?

If so, all normal people naturally have it. It isn't a matter of choice or a virtue or anything.

If what you mean by compassion bears fruit in deeds, however, then it is a virtue and choice.

Those words mean mere sentiment to some people. If, as you say, they feel sorry but still hold the abuser accountable, that means they still hold that the abuser must account = be responsible = pay for the deed or make it right in some way. At least STOP DOING IT. Not forgiveness. Not excusing the deed.

If you say that you nonethless defend yourself and keep yourself safe from Ns, then where is the disagreement?

People feel what they feel. It isn't natural to wish harm to befall others. It is natural to wish to be free of an oppressor though.

I see no disagreement here. I see no one saying to become brutal and just like them in return. So, where did that come from? Yes, in a moment of anger, we are tempted, but normal people respect themselves too much to stoop to that.

But I also don't see that normal people have any problem with this. They are angry. And yet they derive no pleasure from the narcissist's suffering.

All I object to is making excuses for Ns and making victims out of them. Viewing them as not to blame, not responsible for what they do. They've been getting away with that all their lives. It's not their fault, so their victims just have to suffer on that cross with compassion for them. THAT'S the attitude I object to. It sometimes reeks of mere sanctimony.

 
At 4:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Student:
Could you briefly describe idiot compassion?

Chogyam Trungpa:
Idiot compassion is the highly conceptualized idea that you want to do good....Of course, according to the Mahayana teachings of Buddhism] you should do everything for everybody; there is no selection involved at all. But that doesn't mean to say that you
have to be gentle all the time. Your gentleness should have heart, strength. In order that your compassion doesn't become idiot compassion, you have to use your
intelligence. Otherwise, there could be self-indulgence of thinking that you are creating a compassionate situation when in fact you are feeding the other person's aggression.

If you go to a shop and the shopkeeper cheats you and you
go back and let him cheat you again, that doesn't seem to
be a very healthy thing to do for others.

 
At 5:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Kathy,

I wasn't really arguing with you, I was just stating the stance I've chosen to take in regards to my family. It would be easy for me to become bitter and truly hate them and at times, I do. I have also suffered for them and that is something I have newly determined not to do but I still choose to live my life in compassion for others. In the case of a narcissist, it is not compassionate to their situation, as I now understand it, to suffer for them or be a scapegoat for their wrong-doing. It isn't compassionate to merely forget anything has happened. It is compassion to hold them accountable. I can't change them but I can refuse to play along. This may mean that they no longer have need of me and they remove themselves from my life. That is their choice and I can choose to be hurt by it or I can choose to understand that their view of themselves and others is warped and go on with my life. That is what I meant by setting boundaries in love. I refuse to let the pain they inflict upon me cause me to become like them.

When I see my dad as an old man who has alienated everyone who has tried to love him. A man who tells only lies about himself because he could never be the super hero he thinks he needs to be for people to admire him (because he mistakes admiration for love). A man who feigns illness for attention to the point of his doctors never believing what he says to the point of disregarding when he truly is sick. A man who has never had the ability to truly love his wife or children. A man who has attempted to manipulate reality by manipulation of those nearest to him and through lying to the point of no longer being able to discern what is real about his life from what is false. When I look at this man for whom I have moved from hatred to numbness toward through great effort on my part, I can't help but be moved by compassion for the suffering that he has brought upon himself by causing others to suffer needlessly. Compassion moves me to see to it that my father is treated as humanely as possible as he nears the end of his life. It even demands forgiveness and I do forgive but he can never have my trust unless he acknowledges exactly what I forgive him for. It is up to him to apply my forgiveness and only then could he have my trust. Even though he is old and helpless, I keep my emotional distance and fiercely defend my boundaries for both of our sakes.

Does that make better sense?

 
At 7:44 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

It certainly does. I especially liked the part about "I can't change them but I can refuse to play along." We can take that two ways, but both are meaningful. We can refuses to keep being their whipping boy, and we can refuse to try to beat them at their own game, which is also a big temptation.

What you say about your father is also very true. I have known people who saw to it that such a father was well cared for and attended to (sometimes by a narcissistic sibling who made a perfect match, since the N parent is the only one they treat well = nirvana for both) but refused then to visit except when necessary to see to his care and then refused to attend his funeral. That is living up to standards and not degrading yourself by being like the N is but also not being complicit in his lie about the kind of relationship there was.

It's so important for our own self respect to find some way of dealing that neither stoops to their level nor helps them perpetrate their fraud by pretending that you're on good terms with them -- for that just makes everyone believe every lie he ever told them about you. Whereas if they see that you have done your duty but have something against him, they know there are two sides to the story.

 
At 10:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Kathy. Those are some words that I very much needed to hear, more in regard to my sister (who I recently insisted take a turn with caring for my parents after my eleven year stint--it took me a year and a half to accomplish this and now the innuendos and slights are flying) who is a much more successful narcissist married to a very successful narcissist and at this present time, more capable of harming me. She is extremely angry with me now as she tried everything in her power to manipulate me into caring for our parents for the rest of their lives or mine and was not able to do so. I don't think she knows exactly what has happened. I could be hurt at her exclusion of me and the unfavorable slant she is attempting to place on recent events and honestly, it does hurt but I'm also free and the freedom is worth the pain.

I'm so glad I found this blog. It is all too complicated and bizarre to explain to most people. It is good to have a place where the experiences of my life are readily understood. Thanks to everyone here for sharing their hearts and their pain.

Merry Christmas to all of you and may all of your friendships in the coming year be give and take and mutually satisfying.

Pam

 
At 5:11 AM, Blogger Louise said...

You have my best wishes on the days ahead, Pam- we're now a week after Lil Sis's passing and still reeling. The RELIEF of knowing that the insanity has ended, however, has been felt by quite a few of us, accompanied with guilt- who in their right mind would be GLAD that a sister or close family member is dead?

But I do feel the relief. The person she became can no longer damage my family, me, or the memory of my little sister. She can't hurt any of us anymore; many relatives have told me stories not to be believed. It was hard for many of us who loved her.

Dozens of people I have never heard of have been commenting online about her death in her local paper; the hatred and vitriol is really amazing. As my mother said, isn't it at least gratifying to know it wasn't just US she treated so badly?

One person even asked where I was during the past few years- why didn't I stop this and take care of her. I can't dignify any of it, but I'll say it here among friends- I was documenting everything I could from the minute I knew something was teribly wrong. Filled a 5" binder in 6 months. Asked her time and again to get help. Told my parents gently what i knew, hoping she would listen to them. Contacted friends of hers from miles away, trying to seek help.

Trying to find a way to legally force her into either rehab to detox the meds or involuntary commital- neither could be done with the way the laws are written. Not unless she posed a threat to herself or others, and then I STILL had to have some sort of proof.

So I had to settle for simply hanging in there, arming myself with knowledge, and be the best mom, wife and person I could. Oh yeah, I still had my own family to take care of- dropping everything here to go kidnap a 39 year old woman and force her into sanity wasn't terribly practical.

Be braced for that. Idiots and cruel people will come out of the woodwork, for no other reason than venting their own spleen, and blame YOU. Not the N. YOU. The N was the one who hurt and damaged them, but it's YOUR FAULT for not stopping them.

It's pure BS, but it still stings.

 
At 8:17 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

Louise,

You bring up two important points I'd like to highlight.

First, when someone is hostile to you and out to do you harm, you cannot help but wish they were gone - out of your life. There would be something wrong with you if you didn't feel that way. That's why the grief, if there is any, for an N who dies is different and/or limited. It isn't that you wished them harm or wished them dead, but when that happens, your wish to be free of abuse has come true.

The reason for this is that a so-called "relationship" with an N is like a war. They are hostile, an adversary, an enemy out to slander and abuse you. You live your life under the threat of this terrorist attack, most of it behind your back. So, your instinct for self preservation has longed for peace, and their death is your peace. A big relief.

An analalogy: as far as I know there was no celebrating in the US when we dropped the atomic bomb on Japan to end WWII. No one felt any joy at such death and destruction. Though the event meant that we would end the war within days, it was a somber one.

Indeed, there is something seriously psychologically wrong with people who would rejoice at mass death and destruction as many Palestinians did when they took to dancing in the streets over 9/11. That's sickening and displays a shocking absence of humanity.

Nonethless, when Japan surrendered, the American people poured into streets celebrating.

Indeed, it would be abnormal not to feel happy that the war with an N is over. Peace is a precious thing. You no longer have to watch your back. You no longer have to worry about what they're cooking up against you and saying about you behind your back. It's tremendously liberating, a big relief. Not anything to grieve over.

Hence the mixed feelings. It's closure. Now you are free to grieve the things that need grieving. Like all the pain. Your pain. The N's pain. And the pain of everyone in the swath of destruction an N leaves in the wake his or her life.

The other important point you make is that people then blame you for not stopping the N.

Frankly, I suspect that those the most vocal about this are just projecting...to expunge their own guilt for winking at the N's wrongdoing and thus serving up a fresh supply of victims to the predator. Rather like a bishop just "moving around" a predatory priest.

But even if that's not what's going on, would those people have believed you if you had tried to tell them the truth about N before?

Let me rephrase that: would they have acknowledged the truth? Wouldn't they have said that YOU were the one going around maliciously attcking the poor N's good name?

N's always discredit those they abuse. Always. They learn at an early age that they must so that no one believes their victims' complaints. The result is a Catch-22. If you "report the crime" to wise others up about him or her, you just shoot yourself in the foot. Others view this as nothing but proof that you are what the N told them you are (by projection) - that YOU are the character assassin. You accomplish nothing but a self-inflicted wound and drive people MORE to his or her side.

Your first duty is to yourself. You don't have to sacrifice yourself to help others. None of them helped you when the N attacked YOU, did they? They all looked the other way.

Nonetheless, this points up the fact that we must remeber that a day of reckoning may come. If it does, we certainly want to be say, like Louise does, that we did everything we could.

She lists examples of what can sometimes be done. Another example is to warn the N that he or she had better not con or abuse others, because if you hear that they have, you will come forward. This for example could help if the N is a teacher or police officer or works with the elderly for example - someone who deals with many vulnerable people and has an opportunity to abuse. You can say, "If I ever hear that you have victimized someone, I will come forward and testify for the victim about what kind of person you really are and tell the authorities that I believe you have NPD. I will not come to your defense."

The very least is something we can always do - simply SHOW that we ourselves - a member of their own nuclear family - don't trust the N. That action speaks louder than any words we could possibly utter. When we dissassociate ourselves from them, people must know that something dreadful has happened. From a distance they may not be able to distinguish the good guy from the bad guy, but they at least know that one of you is a bad guy. That should make them less suseptible to conning by the N.

Then, in the end, we can have a clear conscience that we did everything we could and weren't like that bishop who just helped a predator wold cover up the crime with a sheep's disguise.

 
At 12:17 PM, Blogger Louise said...

Kathy, the validation you just gave me means more than you can know- I thank you.

I loved her- I grieve her- but the person who died was NOT my sister. Rather, the poor woman whose past few years were a screaming nightmarish hell, and even the selfish occasionally cruel person my family and I witnessed this past 2 decades, were not her. There was a moment in time where she was replaced. I pity this woman who died and made the headlines, who polarized her city so that over 5 dozen comments have been left in her local paper.

This is especially hard on Dad; Mom is able to talk and vent. She does go into "Saint Sister" mode a bit and wants to believe this a terrible accident, but as a mother, I can understand that protective mechanism. Reality is hard to face for a mom under these circumstances.

Daddy however, took me into the garage a few days ago and we SCREAMED at each other- he asked why I couldn't "leave well enough alone" this summer and keep him and Mom out of it, then a few minutes later, after I told him everything I could and WHY I had informed Mom, wanted to know I hadn't told HIM about all of this so he could have stopped it. I cried that I TRIED to stop this- I investigated how to have her involuntarily committed, I begged her to get help- WE COULDN'T SAVE HER. No one could.

She didn't WANT to be saved. She wanted to die, to be with her husband. Coming home last spring was to give herself that gift; not us. It was all about her. But I hope we can all use it for closure.

They are blinded with grief and I hope with time, love, patience and the support of the family Lil Sis was unable to let herself go to, they will be okay.

We need in this life to treasure those we love and support them when we can, to respect them and their choices, to treat them as we would want to be treated. AND TO EXPECT THE SAME FOR OURSELVES. That is what I'm coming away with after all of this.

 
At 9:29 PM, Blogger Fighter said...

Kathy - you rule, girl. Pointy heads... I need to change my Depends!! LOL

The cyberpath I knew told me just THAT "I can't control myself" spare me. He controlled spending money on hookers, women he barely knew and controlled every lie his wife heard from the many women who blew the whistle on him.

I hear this from so many victims - that their N said they couldn't control themselves. Like some sort of sexual or emotional turret's sufferer.

You nailed it. Again!

 
At 6:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kathy, AS I read your comments on npd, I have realized that I have been a victim of a person with NPD for 31/2 years and have endured the demeaning, belittling, abusive treatment from him. It is difficult to recognize this since I do love him(or is it the image I love), but I need to get my spirit and self-esteem back. He has nearly destroyed me as a person and I never want to speak to him again. It will be like stabbing my soul over again if I do talk with him. Now I am weak for him, but I will continue to learn more about this NPD so I do not feel responsible for the betrayal behaviors that he had.

 

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