Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Danger of Ascribing Normal Human Motives to Narcissists

In the ebook I have a chapter entitled "Narcissists Are from Pluto," which explains that they don't act on normal human premises. Which is why their actions blind-side us. That's because, without realizing it, we make certain assumptions about them, assumptions that are safe to make about any normal human being.

In fact, if narcissits looked like aliens from another planet, we wouldn't make those assumptions and would interpret their behavior much differently than we do. As a result, our red alerts would go off as we saw the warning signs that this is a predator almost immediately.

But the wolf wears sheep's clothing to fool us into allowing it to get close. Since narcissits look and try to act like like the rest of us, we make disastrous assumptions without even realizing it. We assume a lot of things about narcissists that we shouldn't.

For example, we assume that they hurt us because they have some personal animosity toward us. But I doubt that.

We naturally assume that anyone who tries to hurt us has it in for us personally. Otherwise, they wouldn't try to hurt us. And this is normally true. But I think it's a kind of anthropomorphism to map this normal human behavior on a malignant narcissist ;-)

If a normal person is out to get you, there is a reason for it. It is because of something about you or something you have done that fills them with a personal animosity toward you.

And their whole opinion of you won't go upside down for no reason tomorrow.

That's all because even this hostile relationship is a normal human relationship. It makes sense. It is natural.

And we tend to think this is what's going on in a narcissist.

But wait a minute. Consider the serial killer (psychopath) who stalks and kills TOTAL STRANGERS. Proof positive that we shouldn't make such assumptions, that they don't necessarily apply to a disordered personality.

I have seen two narcissists change their attitude toward someone literally overnight, just because the circumstances changed to shift the balance of power. In both cases, the narcissist completely rewrote history to "justify" changing their portrayal of that person overnight. Yesterday, he was her hated father, someone she never had one good word to say about. Today, he has always been a wonderful father. She has no end of praise for him and won't tolerate anyone finding fault with him. All because it's suddenly to her advantage to shift gears this way.

That ain't real, is it? It just proves that she couldn't possibly have really hated her father before. And you're an idiot if you then think she loves him now.

I know of two narcissists who tyrannized a school for decades, running one persecution after another by training the other male coaches as their "hunting hounds" in the Ritual Hunt. (By the way, the orginal meaning of the Latin word for "persecute" was "to set your hunting hounds upon" prey that you would "persecute" with them = chase, baying and biting at the heels to worry and eventually bring down the bunny and and tear it to pieces. A perfect analogy for persecution, eh?)

These guys were so relentless in their persecution of the priest who was principal that everyone assumed he had done something awful to provoke such hatred in them. The Big Mystery around there, which people dared speak of only in whispers, was the big question: What had the priest done to make them hate him so?

Answer. Nothing. Correction: he became principal, that's what. And had a mind of his own. Unlike the coaches, when Killer and Spike suggested that he come to them for guidance, he didn't obey, arriving weekly with his tail wagging at them for a critique on how he'd done his job. Unforgivable!

That isn't personal animosity. It was nothing but a power struggle.

Persecuting a chosen colleague wasn't enough if they didn't show that they were capable of persecuting the principal himself to their hearts' content. THAT put the Fear of Killer and Spike in everyone.

The priest was just an outstanding target of opportunity, that's all. One there was great benefit in persecuting. Indeed, what if you came to teach at that school and saw them persecuting the boss with all those baying hounds of theirs? You'd know whom to please – not the principal, that's for sure.

They were just making an example of him to show everyone else what would happen to anyone they set their pack of hounds on. Read "power play." So, it wasn't about the priest. It wouldn't have mattered who he was: anyone in his position would have "gotten it" from them. (Anyone stupid enough to turn the other cheek instead of just firing them, that is.)

It's the same with your narcissist. It isn't about you. Anyone in your shoes would be getting it, so don't take it personally. Never take an attack by a PREDATOR personally.

They don't relate to human beings humanly. They deny their own humanity as well as yours. The only difference is that they promote their humanity and demote yours in their delusions.

They relate to you as but an object. People don't get mad at objects.

Well, not after their first three or four years, that is. You will often see a little child hit a "naughty toy." That child's mind isn't fully formed yet. And a narcissist is a case of arrested development in this stage. Throughout life they continue to relate to objects, other animals, and human beings as all the same = objects in the playpen of their world.

I think this is why I have seen several narcissists absurdly get mad at animals as though those animals are just trying to make them mad. For example, those cats hanging around the bird feeder are evil. The brain-dead narcissist talks as though cats have a moral obligation to leave his birds alone. He takes what they do personally.

Like that priest once said to me, "They take everything personally."

But don't you take what they do personally. You're just a chess piece. It ain't about YOU - it's about what you can be used for.

You don't take it personally when a snake bites you. That snake is just being a snake. So, don't take it personally when a narcissist bites you either. He or she is just another kind of snake being a snake.

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At 3:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So so true however does understanding this fact ease our pain or increase it ? we were supposed to have this so called 'special connection', to be 'soul mates'; bullshit !!!

If they deny their own humanity as well as ours, how come they are so good at knowing where it might hurt the most. I have read somewhere that they don't have a clue when it comes to understanding emotions in others and yet they are brilliant puppets masters ! How can they fake all the time, sincerity, integrity, honesty...!

Do they know naturally how to manipulate ? what is the nature of 'the beast' ?

I once said to my ex N. that i thought it was quite ridiculous for a 42 year old investment banker to use this honeyed or little child voice, when telling things like ' i don't like when you say / do things like...' each time i did not follow his script.

At 8:13 AM, Anonymous Lynn said...

Kathy, the reasons you have stated about the predator in the relationship is why some psychologists and some counsellors and definately the legal and court systems fail the victims of the predatory narcissist.

Relationships counsellors, unless experienced in abusive relationships still think it takes 2 to tango. They really don't appreciate how the N pulls the other person down so much. Counsellors have been known to tell the victim to 'pull themselves together'.

Before I was in an abusive relationship, hell, I thought the same too! I had no idea that one person could possibly be so selfish, so, so, so, well predatory inside a relationship.

The same can be said for an abusive relationship, bearing in mind that all relationships with malignant narcs are abusive, it can't be any other way, or else they wouldn't be a malignant narc, right?

But the court system fails at recognising the one-sided nature of the narc. It does not recognise the intenseness of the one-up-manship, the power and control that is consuming the Narc against his partner.

It must frustrate those who specialise in abusive relationships to watch the victim lose out yet again, even after separation.

Good topic, yet again. Keep up the good work.

At 9:43 PM, Anonymous hmm said...

I am wondering what your thoughts are regarding a narcissist who intuits deep personal truths about a victim in a wise manner one second, then brutally and unfairly abuses in a subtly manipulative way the next? I am flummoxed by an acquaintance who can be (seem?! seriously) infinitely kind and infinitely cruel. Not sure what I'm missing, but I know there can't be love there.
Perhaps she is not a narcissist, but the envy, entitlement, predation and manipulation all seem to be present, though she appears to be evolved as well. I have learned not to attribute "normal" human motives to her, though that simply equates to not attributing my motives to her as those emotions are within my closest grasp. At times she is childishly and foolishly self-deceptive in thinking that I don't see through her occasional situational lies, but I still feel that I am missing the overarching deception, and I am beginning to think that my naivete knows no bounds. I'm not quite sure what it is I'm mistrustful of. Btw, "touchy" and "inconsiderate" are perfect descriptors for her responses to me, though not to other people necessarily. There are many people who are not important to her that still do not receive such treatment. I'm not sure why I'm a target.


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