Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Two Spheres of Action

The ancient Gnostics used to say that there is both an inner and an outer aspect to things. They called the outer aspect the "visible" world or the "seen" world, and they called the inner aspect the "invisible" world or "unseen," "hidden" world.

If in this terminology you hear an echo with early Christian theology, that's because there is one. The first Christians were Jews, of course, soon followed by Gnostic Greeks, who had always appreciated the ancient Hebrew scriptures like the Creation Story, which they viewed as sacred myth - important for its MEANING but not necessarily literally true. The fourth Gospel (probably the oldest) is essentially a Gnostic work and is very different from the other three (synoptic) Gospels.

A simple, well known example of "the two worlds" is a tennis match. In the 1970's, W. Timothy Gallwey wrote a monumental book entitled The Inner Game of Tennis that addresses the inner aspect of game and how we learn to play it.

The Gnostics said that everything happening in the outer, or visible, world has an impact on the inner, hidden world. They recognized two spheres of action - an outer (material/physical) sphere and an inner (moral/metaphysical) sphere.

Well, they were just stating the obvious, weren't they? For example, let's say you're my doubles partner and you score for us with a great shot. I give you a little head pat - literally (if you're a child) or verbally (if you're an adult).

To all outward appearances, that was a friendly act on my part.

But it wasn't friendly at all, was it? In the moral sphere of action it was a blow. In was an act of condescension. That patronizing little head pat was a put down. It It diminished you with respect to me.

It was an act of narcissism.

So, you need a real partner. Someone on YOUR side. Not someone pretending to be an ally and actually working against you.

In fact, I am more of an adversary than the players on the other team. Unlike them, however, I'm a snake about it.

Which is why in war they take prisoners and shoot traitors.

So, everyone is well aware of the two worlds. Even little children. Notice how by the age of three they are acting out in ways that have moral implications. They haven't learned any subtlety yet, so you can't miss it. For example, they stick their noses up in the air to signify that their little playmate is beneath their notice. They demand attention to signify that they are important - and you'd better not forget that, Mother! They refuse to share, and if they're the biggest kid in the room, all the toys get piled up behind them in a corner so that none of the other kids can have any.

It all has moral implications. It all is an act of value judgement.

Yet people act as though they are unaware of this dimension in the actions of themselves or others. Go figure.

The ancient Gnostics ran into this obtuseness as well. People's eyes glazed. They got all fuzzy looking as though they couldn't understand what the Gnostics were talking about. They saw a journal of the first six days, not a lesson about willfully believing lies and playing God/Judge in the Creation Story. They saw a miracle, not the old bartender's trick of making (out) water to be wine for the drinking crowd at a wedding who certainly needed no more alcohol at that point. They just couldn't see that their patronizing little head pat was NOT a friendly act.

I get a kick a out of the ancient Gnostics. Like Jesus of Nazareth, they never argued with the willfully blind and obtuse. "So, you have eyes but do not see? Okay."

Hence the play on words like "hidden" and "unseen" and "invisible." Some folks see, and some folks don't.

I appreciate a sense of humor like that wherever I find it.

Narcissists operate in this inner world, the moral sphere of action, mainly. This doesn't mean that their abuse doesn't often include physical abuse or other crimes. But they don't do things they think they can't get away with. So most of the time their abuse is couched between the lines. It is emotional and psychological abuse.

It's sneakier. They can get away with it. Much of it they can get away with even before bystanders. Because the bystanders go willfully blind and get all fuzzy looking if you try to tell them that that patronizing little head pat was an act of moral abuse, not an act of affection.

This is where the whole world shares some of the blame. The bystanders permit it by making nothing of it. So, that narcissist may take a sledge hammer to your self esteem in front of God and everybody without anyone crying "Foul!" But if he took a sledge hammer to your old beater, they'd say he damaged something valuable and therefore was liable to pay for repairing it.

So, any material thing that you can put a price on is more valuable than you, right? Bashing it counts; bashing you - the inner you, the person inside you - is equivalent to bashing a bug = no harm done. Right?

Wrong. Very wrong. Very, very wrong.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Abusive Brainwashing Techniques

Via Heart 2 Heart:

Abusers brainwash their intimate partners using methods similar to those of prison guards who recognize that physical control is never easily accomplished without the cooperation of the prisoner. The most effective way to gain that cooperation is through subversive manipulation of the mind and feelings of the victim, who then becomes a psychological, as well as a physical, prisoner. These methods form the core of abuse.

Read the rest.
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Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Narcissist's Script

We've all seen children play "Pretend." Often one child really likes to take charge and direct the action, stamping her foot when the others don't pretend the way she wants them to, "No! You're not supposed to do THAT! You're supposed to do THIS!"

This is essentially what a narcissist does whenever you aren't playing along with his or her game of pretend. In it the narcissist is a god and you are bug. You must play the part. When you don't, narcissists get obnoxious to herd your behavior the direction they want.


Whenever you don't play the part of an insignificant bug compared to him or her. Whenever you act like their equal or like you deserve some consideration.

Translation: "No! You're not supposed to THAT!"


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Friday, February 23, 2007

Arguing Just to Argue

I think that my long experience with narcissists has given me a sore spot. I really am bugged by any irrationality in others. It's easy to see why. Narcissists use irrationality as a debating tactic. It's wall of flak they throw up to block communication. A way of making sure you make no point. A way of making sure nothing gets through the wall of flak they throw up.

Been there. So I have no patience with unreasonableness in others. This is odd, because I am very patient with others in just about any other way you care to name. But the moment they are being unreasonable, look out. I REALLY don't like that.

I guess we all (wrongly) assume others are like ourselves. When I am discussing or debating an issue with someone, I really believe what I'm saying. If you make a point or raise a valid, cogent argument against my opinion, or cite facts contradictory to to it, I won't just deny them and throw up a wall of straw men and irrationality and other rhetorical devices in an exercise of verbal dodgeball. I will consider what you say. I am open to changing my mind.

It wouldn't embarrass me at all to do that - to say, "Well, I guess you're right. You changed my mind."

This isn't because I'm not a competitive person. On a tennis court you should see how competitive I can be! But everything has its place, and competitiveness does not belong in friendly personal relations. At least not to my way of thinking.

So, the moment I sense the hypocrisy of arguing just to argue (like a narcissist does, because he or she MUST win), I get ticked off.

I wonder if others feel the same. I wonder if sensitivity to this isn't a result of long experience with (deliberately) irrational narcissists who argue just to argue at the level of a three-year-old.

In my case I think it is. I came to hate that blathering fog horn of irrational flak so much that the moment I sense anyone arguing just to argue, I am done with them. I have zero patience for that. Narcissists used it all up.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Betrayal of the Bystanders

Why do we feel so wronged by the people who believe a narcissist's lies about us? There are a number of reasons, but here is one of the biggest.

It's because their credulity isn't innocent. If a stranger believes some outrageous lie about us, we aren't surprised, and we don't feel wronged by them. But if someone who knows us believes that same lie, we feel betrayed. Guess why? It's because they have betrayed us by believing that lie about us.

For example, if someone has known you for ten years, they see your track record of conduct for the last ten years. In other words, they have seen how you conduct yourself along this way of life we're bound upon.

No, they don't see everything you've said and done. But they have seen a lot. They have seen you react to many various stimuli.

That track record of yours sketches your character in their eyes. This representation of what kind of person you are is based on your CONDUCT (your words and deeds), not on mere hearsay about you.

So no one should be able to come along and tell them JUST ANYTHING about you.

For example, if you are a gentle person, in ten years that will show. Many times. The people you interact with daily will see sample after sample of you reacting gently to things that most others would react more harshly to.

So no narcissist should be able to come along and insinuate that you are violent.

Likewise if you are honest. In ten years that will show. Many times. The people you interact with daily will see sample after sample of you reacting honestly to things that most others would hedge the truth about.

So no narcissist should be able to come along and insinuate that you are a liar.

Likewise if you are sensible. In ten years that will show. Many times. The people you interact with daily will see sample after sample of you reacting sensibly to things that most others would show poor judgment about.

So no narcissist should be able to come along and insinuate that you are crazy and imagining things.

To believe these things about you they have to unknow everything they know about you. That is, they have to unknow you. They have to revise history. They have to erase that track record of yours.

And that track record is your life. They have to wipe it out.

That takes your life.

Which is why they call it "character assassination."

Your whole life goes up in smoke. And a figment of the imagination is substituted for it.

Those people are not innocent. Indeed, check it out: that is the Original Sin.

Eve committed it when she chose to believe that God was the liar, not the slithering sidewinder who snuck up to her and said, "Really? God told you that? That you would fall if you swallowed this stuff?"

Then Adam committed it worse when he swallowed it, too, just to agree with Eve.

The serpent did the same thing to God that the narcissist does to his victims, whom he slanders to discredit. Adam and Eve did the same thing to God that people do to a narcissist's victim when they believe the lie.

The narcissit's lie is always ironic. For the narcissist is out to smear one of your outstanding GOOD QUALITIES with the semblance of one of his own VICES. So, the allegation is always preposterous. No one who knows you should be fooled by it.

Because it isn't believable. They should know better. But they willfully don't. Because the lie is juicy.

And so, there's nothing like a narc attack to show you who your real friends are.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

A note on The Demon at the Door

Just an additional note on The Demon at the Door:

I think that a narcissist just cannot bear to look within and see the real him - that is, see what his choices along the way of life have made of the real him.

Hey, even a seven-year-old who tortures an animal crosses that line. He is never going to face what he's done. Indeed, he knew what he was doing, or he'd have had no interest in doing it.

When people cross that line into the realm of deeds that people just do not repent, they must repress awareness of what they've done. Which is why Dante put the souls of such in hell from the moment they did the deed, while yet their bodies roamed the world as living persons.

Is this judgement of religion unforgiving? No, it's just a fact. He does not repent, so he cannot be saved from his sin. It compels him onward, on a runaway freight-train ride.

Guess what that is? It's something called "slavery to sin."

It's too bad that concepts like that become cliches that lose all meaning. But that's what this cliche, "slavery to sin," means. Yesterday's sin is your master; it's driving you, controlling you, like a slavemaster, against your will.

Hence, Jesus of Nazareth's famous saying: "Know the truth and the truth will set you free."

Everyone is loathe to know the truth even about their mere mistakes. So imagine how loathe a narcissist is to know the truth about the malicious things he's done. It's naive to think he or she ever will.

So they are slaves, slaves to their own sins, like that snowthrower was a slave to the mistake he made, which compelled him to do it again, despite now knowing the harmful effect of his actions. In other words, slavery to his mistake made him worse, because now it wasn't an innocent mistake: it was rude and reckless of our property and well being. He stepped that far down the ladder of morality in ten seconds. So, imagine how far down a narcissist gets in ten years.

Which is why theologians say that the only unforgivable sin is the unrepented one. His victims may manage to feel all sorts of warm fuzzy sentiments for him, but he has not been forgiven. He hasn't been forgiven one penny of his debt. Because forgiveness is real, a powerful and saving thing. Not a mere warm fuzzy sentiment that people can lie about having.

Here again, you needn't be religious to see this truth in this. No therapy that doesn't take it into account has a snowball's chance in Hell of succeeding.
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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Why lying to you makes narcissists feel smart

People make light of things in order to minimize how bad they are. I think I know why narcissists and other pathological liars think lying is funny and means that they are smart and you are stupid.

On my first trip to Europe, first trip to Rome, we hadn't been in Italy five minutes before the first time we got ripped off. When thousands of lira are less than a dollar, a fresh American can easily not notice a couple extra zeroes.

I got so sick of being viewed as prey, that I was in no mood to buy anything from any Italian that day we were resting in St. Peter's Square and a guy approached us with some 35 mm slides of the Vatican to sell us.

And I should have been interested in those photos, because our camera was on the blink.

I didn't mean to be a jerk: I just felt it would be rude to tell him to get lost, so I let him make his pitch. (Now I know that hawkers and telemarketers hate it when you waste their time like that and that they would rather you hang up or tell them to buzz off.) I just kept shaking my head and saying no I didn't want them. My sister saw me as the perfect bargaining tool, so she let this go on. (She may have even encouraged him for all I know.)

Maybe he and his fellow crooks had been surveying the herd for easy-looking prey (= stupid young American babes in polyester) and he had bet them that he would take us for a lot. Or maybe it was just that, having targeted us and having given us his whole spiel, he was too personally invested in the effort. Whatever, his ego wouldn't let him take no for an answer.

He pestered me to the point that I got up and started walking away. He followed! He just HAD to make the sale. My sister later told me that she kept listening for his price to get low enough as he was rushing after me, bidding lower and lower and lower with me adamantly not interested in buying what he was selling.

"We'll take it!" she suddenly blurted.

You should have seen the look on that poor man's face. He had apparently gotten so carried away he went below cost. He told us he shouldn't be selling the package to us for that price. "That's the price you quoted," I snapped.

As if he needed justification - this I can hardly believe - he said, well, he wouldn't feel so bad if at least these photos of the Vatican were going to a Catholic. So, he asked me if I was one, and I was (then), so I told him so.

He acted like he didn't believe me.

You can imagine how that struck me. Why did he ask such a stupid question that gave a non-Catholic reason to lie and put a Catholic in the position of sounding like a liar if she tells the truth?

Here was this crook, setting me up with that question and then acting like he didn't believe me.

Something - some switch inside me just clicked. I told the biggest whopper I could think of fast enough. "I sure am a Catholic I think," I said snorting. "Uh my brother's a priest and my uncle's a bishop."

That was before I learned how dishonest other people are - back when I NEVER lied, no matter what. So my sister's jaw dropped as she gaped at me, totally stunned to hear me say that.

Guess what? Now he believed me!

Lying to him was a blast. I thought it was hilarious. I thought he was stupid for believing my lie = I thought I was much smarter than him.

Which is what pathological liars think when they lie to you. But they conveniently unknow that they are no stranger that you shouldn't trust. That hawker had no reason to believe me because I was a stranger. But if I had been his friend, I would have been betraying a trust in lying to him. So, when people we have close or intimate relationship with lie to us, that is a far different matter.

We have every good reason to trust them, and they are betraying that (sacred) trust. We have every good reason to assume that they truly have the friendly relationship with us that they pretend to have. Unless we have reason to doubt them, it would be wrong for us to doubt everything our wife, husband, child, friend, or co-worker says. When we are fooled by a narcissist's lies, that's because we're innocent and honest, not because we're stupid. And it's because the lying narcissist is a creep.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

The Demon at the Door

People who are religious are naturally going to default toward viewing NPD as a moral failing of free will, or character disorder, while secular people tend to default the other way, toward viewing it as a no-fault mental illness the narcissist is a victim of. But both sides should be open to the interpretation of the other. Ironically, I think the need for a more open mind is on mental-health establishment side. They seem to just snort at religious ideas.

You can't learn anything, or get any good ideas from, something you have no respect for.

I once had a friend who taught religion in a Catholic high school. Except the year he taught was a course in psychology, in which he was almost daily teaching his students about Freud. Why? Because, he said, theology is psychology. I had a hard time getting my mind around that idea, but the more I thought about it, the more I saw that it is true.

The rituals of Leviticus, for example, are a study in blaming the victim, he said, projection, and have given us the term "scapegoating." In fact the sacrificial rituals of all religions have that same common denominator - the mental gymnastics people go through to displace blame/punishment onto a victim. The "sacrifice" is ironic, because it's all on the part of the victim, not those "offering" him or her as the scapegoat to take the fall for their sins.

You needn't subscribe to these ancient beliefs to learn from what they expose at the bottom of the human heart. There's much profound insight there.

One valuable religious concept is that of "the demon at the door." The idea goes like this: You get headed the wrong way down the road of life. That is, you start living the wrong way. You get in trouble. Your past is going to catch up with you. You must repent (= go back) and get headed the right way.

But you can't. Why? Because of the demon at the door. The door is the way out of the fix you've gotten yourself into. You came into the trouble you're in easily, but going back out through that door ain't so easy. There's a toll to pay, and the demon at the door (shame/guilt) is there to collect it.

I gave an example yesterday. Say that a narcissist wants to turn his life around. One thing he must do is stop slandering a certain person. Sounds easy. But it ain't. Because he slandered that person yesterday, he must keep up the slander today. If he doesn't, if he now tells the truth (or merely acts in a manner consistent with the truth = telling the truth in deed), he exposes his lie of yesterday.

People will then know that he was lying when he slandered this person yesterday and abhor him for it. That's the demon at the door. That's the penalty he'll have to pay for coming clean. And he ain't ever gonna pay it, is he? So, he ain't ever gonna repent (quit slandering that person) is he?

That's just one easy-to-explain example. But you can take anything a narcissist does and see that it works the same way. What he did wrong yesterday is a demon at the door compelling him onward to do wrong today. He is a man with a past ever pursuing him down a dead-end road.

In that narcissists are really no different than anyone else. People often do a wrong or stupid thing today, if for no other reason than to prove that it wasn't wrong or stupid when they did it yesterday. Here's my favorite example of that.

I once lived in a duplex that was in an old part of town. So the house was just a few feet from the front sidewalk. The retired couple next door bought a second-hand snow thrower just before we got a blizzard. When the snow let up, I was reading a book in my living room when -- WHAMP -- the house actually shook and I looked up to see a wall of white plastered against one of my living room windows. I was sure that window had been broken by the force of the snow thrown against it, and the thermometer was taking the usual after-blizzard plunge to 20 below zero Fahrenheit.

Well-meaning people make mistakes. And everyone's first lesson with a snow thrower is that you have to pay attention to where you are throwing the snow and keep adjusting the chute to aim it where it does no harm. But obviously this guy was paying no attention to the consequences of what he was doing, because a couple seconds later -- WHAMP -- again as he blasted a wall of snow at the other living room window!

I was helpless. The snow was drifted against the front door so that I couldn't open it. And there was no way I could get shoes and outdoor clothing on in time to wade through hip-deep snow from the back door and head him off.

With great relief I was saw that the windows were intact. Whew, dodged a bullet. I found a little peephole through the snow and watched my helpful neighbor through it as he came back to take his second run. I saw him pause and give a little start as he noticed the wall of snow he thrown up against my part of the house. His mouth dropped open as he took off his hat and scratched his head gaping at what he'd done, as if wondering how that happened.

Then you could just see something click in his mind as he abruptly put his hat on, his head down, and started to take another run...doing this stupid thing again just to prove it wasn't stupid the first time he did it!

Or just to prove he didn't know it was stupid.

This was a nice man being utterly reckless and rude just to protect his delicate ego from knowledge that he'd goofed and was doing something at least terribly inconsiderate and likely to cause great damage. (We would have had to evacuate the place and bust our butts to fix those windows in these terrible weather conditions, before the water pipes froze and burst, water-blasting holes through the walls inside.) If you're observant of people, you'll notice that they often do this. Nothing matters but their fragile ego.

The little pang of embarrassment he would have had to feel was the demon at the door for him. He couldn't take it. So, instead of "repenting" (adjusting the chute), he just unknew that he had done it wrong the first time. And to prove that, he just had to proudly go and do it again.

Now if people are that loathe to admit error, even to themselves, imagine how loathe they are to face the truth about what they've done when it's seriously morally wrong and when coming clean will expose their guilt or shame to others.

In fact, I think that when narcissists suddenly up and abandon a pathological space, it may be partly because they wish to get a fresh start in some new place. A new place where they can go straight without the consequences of paying for their past misdeeds.

But it takes more than a fresh start.

Even in a new place turning his life around requires that the narcissist must admit at least to himself what he has done so that he can amend those wicked ways. You can't change what you don't face.

But I think that a narcissist just cannot bear to look within and see the real him - that is, see what his choices along the way of life have made of the real him.

Hey, even a seven-year-old who tortures an animal crosses that line. He is never going to face what he's done. Indeed, he knew what he was doing, or he'd have had no interest in doing it.

When people cross that line into the realm of deeds that people just do not repent, they must repress awareness of what they've done. Which is why Dante put the souls of such in hell from the moment they did the deed, while yet their bodies roamed the world as living persons.

Is this judgement of religion unforgiving? No, it's just a fact. He does not repent, so he cannot be saved from his sin. It compels him onward, on a runaway freight-train ride. So, he DOES pay the price. And he inflicts it upon himself.

Which is why theologians say that the only unforgivable sin is the unrepented one. His victims may manage to feel all sorts of warm fuzzy sentiments for him, but he has not been forgiven. He hasn't been forgiven one penny of his debt. Because forgiveness is real, a powerful and saving thing. Not a mere warm fuzzy sentiment that people can lie about having.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Spooky Misidentification

Since I blog under my real name, I haven't used a screen name in ages. Till recently. Funny thing happened that turned on the lights about something.

This was one of those big messageboards. In other words, it reaches a massive audience, which of course includes a large number of predators. With the usual result - trolling and flaming galore.

That day, I had just about lost my cool when some guy piped up and said that this was virtual reality only. That hit me like a ton of bricks. I had started to identify with Ms Screename. I cared about what kind of impression she was making. I was concerned to repair any damage some jerk did to her image.

But why? That wasn't the real me. Say somebody insults her, slights her, puts words in her mouth, slanders her, makes a fool of her - what's it to me? Why do I feel injured, like I must do something about it? Will people look at me askance in the grocery store because of it?

The moment you ask yourself that question the distinction between this caricature and your real self suddenly becomes clear. Scary how blurred it can get while you're pounding the keyboard though.

So what if somebody insults a figment of my imagination? I can invent a new one and go back into the lists tommorrow as "Ms Screename B."

How absurd then to identify with the CHARACTER (often fictionalized to boot) representated by a screen name. Yet we get sucked into doing so.

I must apologize to narcissists. I always thought it really weird that they identify with a fictitious caricature of themselves, but now I see how easy that is to do!

That's essentially what they're doing. Narcissists create a fictionalized character that they present as their face to the world. And they identify with it. They lose themselves in it. Like some Internet addict pounding away at the keyboard behind a screenname all day long.

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An Illness or a Summation of Choices?

More and more frequently, I see or read or hear something that makes me wonder whether the notion that NPD (and psychopathy) is an illness (in the usual sense of the word) is just wrong, if these people aren't just bad.

Some things about them are so strange and abnormal (anti-normal actually) that your first thought is mental illness. But if these are just ingrained thought patterns and behavior patterns, that mind could be functioning properly.

What if some people just decide at an early age to live life the OTHER way? That is, by cheating. By faking it. What if they decide that only saps play by the rules in a game fixed for cheaters to win?

Research on psychopaths in prisons has amply demonstrated that they don't necessarily come from abusive homes. Some come from wonderful homes. What's more, even in those bad homes narcissists and psychopaths have come from, other children grew up to be normal, decent people.

So, maybe an abusive parent merely sets a bad example that a kid without scruples might learn from.

And I see clearly how each step down that wrong road drives one further. Bob Dylan was wrong when he sang that people just do whatever they want and then repent. They never repent. They'd rather die and go to hell than repent.

Here's just one example. Say that you're a narcissist who has been going around telling a vicious lie about a co-worker. How can you repent? Let's make it too easy on you. Let's you don't even have to make reparations by repairing that person's good name. Let's say that all you must do is just stop slandering him. Okay?

But can you? Can you stop telling this lie? What will happen if you do? What will happen if people you're with start talking about this terrible thing you told them about this person? What are you going to do? All of a sudden act like you don't believe that story about him?

You can't do that, can you? To do so would expose you for lying in the first place. So, to keep your past sin covered up, you keep committing it = keep talking and acting as though your lie is true.

In other words, you can't repent: you have to keep right on slandering the victim.

And that's just one example of what narcissists do that you can bet they will never repent = stop doing. Indeed, when people do real damage with their words and deeds, it takes great courage to repent because they have incurred liability for the damages.

Oooh, liability. Bob Dylan is right when he sings that something for nothing is everybody's plan. Innocence must be free of charge or people don't want it.

Few have what it takes to repent anything more serious than a few harsh words. So imagine how hard it would be for a narcissist to go straight? Like Macbeth, they are soon too deep in blood to turn their lives around.

And sometimes I wonder if a narcissist isn't just somebody who reached that point at a young age. Someone who has done things so bad that they could not even bear to take a look inside to face what they have done and see what they have become.

I don't know really. But I often wonder. That part of it is still a mystery to me.

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Friday, February 09, 2007

The Stockhome Syndrome

The Stockholm Syndrome: it's often refered to as part of the explanation of why the victims of narcissists take the abuse. Here is an explanation of the Stockholm Syndrome itself at the Digital Archive of Psychohistory:

Bonding to one's captor (abuser) is a survival strategy for victims that has been observed in a variety of hostage-taking situations. This strategy was labeled Stockholm Syndrome after a hostage situation in a bank robbery in Stockholm, Sweden in 1973. Three (3) women and one (1) man were held hostage for six days by two (2) men. During this period, the four hostages and their captors bonded bi-directionally. The hostages even came to see their captors as protecting them from the police! Following the release of the hostages, one of the women became engaged to one of the captors, another of the hostage started a 'defense fund'. All this was done in the face of the fact that the hostages were bound with dynamite and generally mistreated! Such bonding to one's captor / abuser no longer considered unusual by professionals who negotiate with hostage-takers.

Read the rest.
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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Mental Cruelty

The way society tolerates it, you'd think mental cruelty was no big deal. It's even appearing in the media, especially in Europe, where it seems to be regarded as funny. But making light of something doesn't make it funny. It does, however, destroy your sense of humor. People blow off bullying in schools with the line that the victim is "vulnerable" (= to blame) and that "every kid gets picked on." Making light of such weighty matters is what the parents of bullies do.

Mental cruelty. No big deal?

Read more here.


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Monday, February 05, 2007

Narcissists Hypersensitive? To What?

Referring to yesterday's post... the fact that narcissists aren't retaliating against some perceived slight shouldn't surprise us the way it does. For, it stands to reason. An analogy illustrates.

If you think you need all the dollars in the world, you will compete with everyone for every single dollar. No matter how many you already have and how in need of a dollar someone else is.

This attitude makes you a callous adversary of every other person in the world.

What's more, if you see a dollar in someone else's pocket, you will want to take it away from him. Just because he has it. In other words, you will view him as something to despoil, as a predator views prey.

Well, just change "dollar" in that analogy to "respect" (or regard, appreciation, glowing reputation, or any other form of attention) and you are describing a narcissist.

We know that animal predators aren't (counter)attacking their prey in retaliation for any offense, don't we? How do we know that? Because the predator doesn't stop attacking when the prey tries to flee.

No ifs ands or buts about that. That is proof positive of the predator's pure aggression.

And it's the same with narcissists. They CAN'T be attacking in retaliation for any offense. Because they too, just intensify their attack when the other party backs down, tries to appease, tries to flee, or shows any other sign of weakness. Just like an animal predator does.

Now, many people don't want to believe this. But they have to defy the absolute truth of inescapable logic to unbelieve it.

Yes, I know, it's politically incorrect to say that the mentally ill are "bad." Then maybe we should consider malignant narcissism and psychopathy character disorders, not mental illnesses. Whatever. The truth is true, politically correct or not. And sometimes it takes a backbone to know what we know.

In fact, if you do slight a narcissist, in my experience, depending on the circumstances, he may, or may not retaliate. Usually not, and I think this is because narcissists prefer sneak attacks on someone not expecting it.

So, in the vast majority of cases I have seen, there is NO REASON for them to get mad. None. Zilch. In fact, there is often anti-reason for them to get mad. For example, in most circumstances, telling a narcissist you love him is sure to set him off.

That's one reason why their attacks are so effective: they are surprise attacks, using shock tactics.

"Sensitive"? My a**. They aren't sensitive at all.

But of course these pathological liars lie about that. Of course they make excuses by accusing the victim of having hurt them in some way. But it's foolish to believe pathological liars on this, especially when the WAY they attack proves that they aren't just trying to make somebody else stop doing something.

To the contrary, it proves that they are feeding their egos by vaunting themselves on others as powerfully as they can = they are predators.

It's absurd to think the victim offends narcissists in some way to provoke these attacks. Yeah, right, by acting like a human being, his equal, by expecting a little consideration - instead of playing the part of insignificant bug compared to him - you are insulting him. Right. But only in the twisted mind of a narcissist.

Considering the narcissist "hypersensitive" because the victim's self respect "hurts" him is as twisted as he is.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Misconception that Narcissists Are Touchy

I'd hate to admit how long it took me to realize that narcissists shouldn't be regarded as touchy and reacting to perceived slights when they attack.

Like every normal person, I ASSUMED that's why they attack. I mean, what other reason could there possibly be for suddenly getting so viciously aggressive and attacking someone you're supposed to love?

Well, in a normal person, there couldn't be any other reason. But narcissists aren't normal people. So, it's a mistake to assume that they are acting on normal human premises.

For example, let's say that you slight me. That's a narcissistic injury to me, and I don't like it, because I am diminished by it. If it provokes me enough, I will strike back at you. (Verbally if I'm an adult and physically perhaps if I'm a child.)

My premise? My premise is that if I hit back, you will think twice before before hitting me again.

That's a normal human premise. Notice that it's purely defensive. I don't do it because I want to hurt you. I don't do it because I like hurting you. I don't enjoy doing it. I simply want to make you back off and leave me alone.

The moment you do back off, it's over. I don't keep letting you have it. If you walk away, I don't pursue you with my attack.

Indeed, if you seem too deeply hurt, I will apologize for overreacting and tell you that I didn't mean to make you feel so bad. The result is that you feel better about it and that we both have the thing in perspective, each seeing where we were wrong.

If you ever watch nature programs, you see the same thing occurring among animals. They have their spats with their own kind. But rarely is either party injured. And the instant the offender backs off, it's over. In the blink of an eye, it's as though the spat never happened.

That's normal. Because, when your goal is to just get the other party to back off, your goal is accomplished the moment the other party backs off.

That isn't a narcissist's goal. A narcissist is a predator.

A predator doesn't let up when the victim backs down or tries to appease him: he just pours it on, as one narcissist put it to me, "until there's just nothing left of that person at all."

Now, what's the premise of such an act? Defense? Baloney. It's offense. Because a predator isn't fighting others: a predator is eating them.

It's time all victims and therapists caught on to this. What provokes a narc attack is nothing but a vulnerable target of opportunity (to get away with it while no one else is looking).

It's time to stop falling for a narcissist's lying excuses. The very way they attack PROVES that they aren't retaliating for anything.

Touchy? (In safe circumstances) test one. When she blows up in your face, blow up louder right back in hers. Watch the instantaneous transfiguration. Since it backfired, she will have off her Terro mask and replace it with her Meek-and-Hurt-Little-Miss-Wouldn't-Hurt-a-Fly mask. I dare any therapist to test this. You have to see it to believe it. It's enough to make you think you're dealing with multiple personalities. Then you can abuse her with the meanest crudest verbal abuse you can think of. Will it set your "touchy" narcissist off?

No. Because she ain't touchy; she's just a bully.

Note: I am not advocating always getting in a narcissist's face. The only rein on their behavior is what they think they can get away with. And, a furious narcissist with access to a weapon is essentially a furious five-year-old with access to one.

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Treating NPD?

From the treatment guidelines in Narcissistic Ppersonality Disorder in Psychology Today

Therapists can actually use the narcissistic features of their patients to engage and assess them. To avoid angering the patient, it's important to work with, rather than belittle, the narcissistic ego. A therapist should, for example, address a patient's heightened self-importance and desire for control by saying such things as "Because you are obviously such an intelligent and sensitive person, I'm sure that, working together, we can get you past your current difficulties."

Hold the phone. This treatment guideline advises the therapist to lie to the patient, to flatter the patient = to manipulate the patient. Frankly, I don't blame the patient then (who is much better at manipulating people) for turning the trick and manipulating the therapist.

Nobody likes to be manipulated. How arrogant to think the patient doesn't know he or she is being patronizingly manipulated. Some way to establish trust. Some way to battle the delusions. Now Magical Thinking is no longer required to maintain them: it has help in the therapist's own support of these delusions.

Narcissistic personality traits can also be used to provide motivation for therapy. The patient may be induced to change negative behaviors: a better appearance, improved career prospects, or romantic and sexual conquests can been viewed as a reward for recovery.


Read the rest. throughout it seems to recommend nothing but drying out a drunk narcissist and teaching him or her new ways to achieve the same old ends - ways that seem more normal and therefore are just more stealthy - without ever addressing the pathology of the underlying disorder.

I am begining to see clearer and clearer why evidence increasingly indicates that treatment, if anything, makes predators more dangerous.
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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Winning the Game

Going back to Wonders Never Cease...

One thing I know for sure: If you need a narcissist, or if they can even just delude themselves into thinking you need them for anything, you aren't going to win.

I think this mainly applies to a primary source of narcissistic supply in the narcissist's life. That would be someone close to him or her, someone the narcissist regularly gets a step up on.

If they think they can deny you anything you want, look out. They will play Keep Away.

If they do anything for you, look out: they will make you pay by making you feel like two cents waiting for change. As though some negligible thing they do to accommodate you were a big deal. That's because in their Magical Thinking Machine it is a big deal for God Almighty to interrupt the management of the universe for the sake of accommodating the insignificant needs of a bug like you.

They will act as though it is really putting them out. This is a hard one. For, if God Almighty is so mighty, it should be easy for her to move heaven and earth for you. Therefore, why all the whining and catastrophizing?

So, to understand a narcissist, don't think rationally like that. Think backwards instead. If you think backwards, like a narcissist does, you see it quite the other way around. It seems that a bug like you is expecting way too much to ask anything - ANYTHING, however small - of God Almighty!

To "pretend" that, she must ACT like it's terrible that you ask this of her. It's her way of letting you know that you are crud (= she is God Almighty by comparisson), so that you deserve nothing from her.

As though you are the one with the "problems," narcissists will trump up some ridiculous little thing (like not getting to feed Kitty at precisely 6 PM) that accommodating you interferes with as though it had earth-shaking ramifications in their life

Remember, you are dealing with a three-year-old in an adult's body, and this is how a three-year-old thinks. Their every mere whim, their every mere breath of a desire, is of cosmic importance to a three-year-old, right? Much more imporant than even a matter of life or death concerning a mere bug like you.

And, at the last moment - count on it - they will throw a temper tantrum on schedule as the pretext to change their mind and refuse to keep their promise to do this for you. That's how they stick it to you to feel grand about themselves.

So, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER need a narcissist for anything. Did I mention to NEVER, NEVER, NEVER need a narcissist for anything?

But that isn't enough. For, narcissists delude themselves into thinking that you need them even when you don't.

This doesn't mean that you can never get them to do what they should, but it does make it hard sometimes and it does require some thought on how to go about it.

First, let them know you have other ways of getting it done and that you want them to do this thing just because it's easier. Message: if they don't come through, it's no big deal.

Next, when they don't come through, act like you don't notice or care. Never, never, never ask them where they are or when they plan on getting the job done, or whatever. They are sitting there waiting for you to do that. Don't do it. At the 11th hour, they will come through.

You see, narcissists pay attention for different reasons than normal people do. We pay attention to others (and their needs) as their due. When a narcissist pays attention, he or she is just BUYING something.

And narcissists are always out to get the most bang for their buck.

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