Friday, July 20, 2007

Malignant Narcissists Are NOT Normal People

Here is an example of what I mean when I warn against assuming that narcissists act on normal human premises.

The victim thinks he can get through to her, because, "After all, why would she want to hurt me?"

Stop. He has made a wrong assumption. He is assuming that it's about him. Wrong. He is assuming that his welfare matters. Wrong.

It's ALL, ALL, ALL about her, the narcissist. Abusing him to treat him like dirt makes her feel grand. It has the same effect on her that a hit of heroin has on a drug addict. The pain in his eyes at being shamefully treated makes her feel powerful and grand to dominate and kick him around so. (Insert her inner Tarzan yell here.) His pain has a pain-killing effect on her. It makes her feel good, because this delusion seals over her deep-seated knowledge that she is scum.

So, since this balm of treating another like dirt feels good, she does it. Period.

That's all there is to a narcissist.

Nothing else matters. It's ALL, ALL, ALL about getting the next hit of her drug. Nothing else even gets considered. Which is why narcissists even damage their own children and their own business just to get a hit of their glorious drug.

Oh, and by the way, it hurts him? So what? What's that to her, the Center of the Universe? You might as well expect her to consider the consequences to some bug of not making sure she doesn't step on it.

Ask a three-year-old to consider the consequences of her actions on others. She won't, will she? She'll just refuse to. You will get just as far (= nowhere) with a 50-year-old narcissist.

She thinks you're a sap. It ain't wrong unless you get caught, and she knows how to NOT get caught. And she thinks that if you're too stupid to figure that out, you deserve whatever she does to you.

In a way, it's the victim's own ego that does him in. He won't admit that, in her esteem, he is nothing, zip, nada, zilch. That's degrading, humiliating. But it's the truth. And until he faces that fact, he is dead meat.

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At 10:53 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Slight difference of opinion here. I can get a whole helluva lot further with a three-year-old's empathy than I can with adults who function as if everything in life is a zero-sum power game. A WHOLE lot further. Toddlers cry when others do - they don't gloat.

At 11:23 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

You have a point. There are kids at that age who will begin to empathize when taught to "Think how YOU'D feel" by a parent. But most kids I think aren't ready till a little later. The spoiled three-year-old fits the description though. Also, the example you give introduces a moral influence into the picture. But would that child cry if you weren't there and she had only the tears of the victim to move her? Probably not. Similarly, when narcissists do get caught, they often show great signs of remorse for the hurt they've caused. But that is playing to the mirror of eye witnesses who would think badly of them if they showed heartlessness. So, that isn't a real test of this similarity.

In reality, it's more complicated than my quick generalization makes it sound.

At 11:51 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

I think that the toddler, left to her own devices, really reacts with a great deal of distress at the sound of a crying infant. And this is universally true UNLESS that toddler has herself been ignored while in distress. In that case, the reaction is much more likely to be one of immediate high alert, because some of the attention is about to be given out, and not to HER!

And that, ladies and gentleman, is how a Narcissist is born. There are other ways, I'm sure. But that's a really good one.

Trying to convince an ignored (or ignored/indulged) toddler not all grown up that there's enough power and attention for everyone at the table is ... well ... it's almost impossible. That person drew the conclusion a long time ago -- and practiced justifying it -- that if there's power and I don't own it, then it's my loss. My loss I must regain. And when I get it from you, that's because you're stupider than me. And weaker.

I think you're right, Kathy. I think that the Narcissistic behavior of an adult is very toddler like -- but not normal, healthy, happy toddler. Ignored, indulged toddler. The kind that can't get a solid handle on anything because the world of other people is so wildly capricious and unpredictable. Some folks react by taking the leavings, and some folks react by taking charge - no matter who they have to "kill."

At 12:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, since I am stuck with an N ex-husband that I have to deal with regularly due to our two young children, how do I stop him from receiving his "hit" from me?

He loves to hurt me through the kids, through changing the schedule up, through trying to get more time with them to take them from me, when he never cared about time with them prior to the divorce.

How do I let these actions not effect me such that he doesn't get as much pleasure out of hurting me? It is his main focus right now as he was fired from his job and has nothing else to do but torture me. How do I make this not any value to him???


At 8:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

keep reading up on this subject. we all feel your frustration- believe me! there are no easy answers but the more you feel you know the sense of urgency gets spread out a little. go back in the archives here- theres some good stuff. also i found the site Sanctuary for the Abused to have some pertinent articles in their archives. i know its difficult to say the least to maintain your composure, but its real important to. just try really hard not to overreact to him. try to act like its no big deal even though we understand it is.(but obviously dont put up with anything that would be called illegal-keep yourself safe that way) more to come. jt

At 10:30 AM, Anonymous Anne said...

Thank you for your response jt. It is really hard to deal with all his attempts to get a reaction from me through our children. He knows that is the only area where I am vulnerable to him. I try to hide it, but I don't always succeed.

Just this week, I reminded him of my vacation with the kids next week and so he immediately demanded a week of vacation time with the kids prior to my vacation with them and he and his attorney threatened to call the police on me if I did not allow him the vacation time, even though he hadn't followed the procedures in the Custody Agreement regarding vacation time (which, of course, I had followed and if I hadn't, do you think he would let me take the kids on vacation?).

Neverending with this man. My poor children are such pawns to him. And I have to suffer constantly at his hands. I still have to pay the nanny for this week, even though she doesn't have to care for the children because they are with their dad, but I and the nanny had no notice she wouldn't be working, she expected to be working, so how can I not pay her? Also, if I had known I would not have the kids this week, I could have planned something for myself, a short trip, but now, on a moment's notice, I can't accomplish anything. Not to mention the most critical issue, which is that my three-year-old son and five-year-old daughter have never been away from me for more than two nights and this seven day stretch in the care of their slovenly father and his ex-con wife will not be pleasant for them. They will both cry on the phone at night asking me when they get to come home to me. What a man/dad. What is going to make this less valuable to him? When will he stop torturing me and these children???

At 10:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow anne- thats a tough one. me and mine arent divorced but lately he has been sucking up to our kids BIG time and it SUCKS for me. they are starting to gravitate towards him with his mr rogers routine and im (yes a little jealous) but more so concerned that hes just duping and using them. the pain from that afterwards(when you figure that out) is hard to get over. the only thing i can do is wait...what you can and need to do for yourself is rethink the thoughts that make you feel terrible.this is really hard. start small- like instead of thinking you cant do anything while theyre gone- think im going shopping at that store i like that the kids think is boring...and i can stay as long as i like. or watch a movie (even if the loneliness gets to you) that the kids shouldn't see and wear whatever you want. im sure your ex is a dick- they all are- but what kind of gets me thru (and angry too tho) is the thought that MAYBE the kids WONT have a terrible time and MAYBE they WONT get as hurt as me--everyones experience is different and how they react is individual. your kids are pretty little--when they get older the 'splitting of loyalties' thing gets really weird. im finding literature on that subject. just keep learning and trying to maintain your composure everywhere else. i know its hard. jt

At 3:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kurt Vonnegut talked of "failed humans." Narcissists and psychopaths (and additionally histrionics and borderlines) are not human in the most important ways. They look human. Their genes are part of our genome. They were born human. But a human infant and a human adult have some differing traits. An adult human is expected to have developed into a creature who feels empathy for others, who can love, and who uses a certain leval of critical thinking. Cluster B personality disorders are very clearly creatures who have failed to become adult humans. They are species unto themselves and need to be understood as such. To ascribe to them humanity as the majority of us experience it, is to commit a very dangerous act.


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