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.