Thursday, August 30, 2007

The NPD Lie Detector Test

Here is a suggestion you can make to a bystander who doubts you, believing the smear campaign of the devil in the group.

I warn you at the the top though that it often won't help. But even in failure it does a good thing: it proves that the bystander is willfully believing lies and doesn't really want to know the truth. Then you know the truth about that bystander.

Nonetheless, there are some people honestly mislead among the pack. They should jump on this bit of good advice.

I learned it while caught for awhile in a mini holocaust - a back-stabbing melee in the mud orchestrated by a malignant narcissist.

The wildest stories were circulating about people I had known for years...just before they got thrown out and blackballed. I didn't know about NPD at the time. So, I couldn't imagine why anyone would go to so much trouble calumniating one person after another. The source of this witch hunt had to be spending the greater part of his working day, every day, on private conversations with one person after another, planting lies in their ears to keep this conflagration going.

You'd think that, for purely practical reasons, nobody had that much time to waste on character assassination. So, not knowing that destroying others is vaunting yourself on them and a huge NPD high that no narcissist boss with unchecked power can resist, I was asking myself the proverbial question: "Now, why would anybody do that?"

To judge what I was hearing objectively, I began running a little test on it. Here's how it goes.

When you hear Person A insinuate or tell you something bad about Person B, just compare it with what you already know for for a FACT about Person B's CHARACTER.

If this is someone in your family, neighborhood, or workplace, you usually know a lot about them and their character. Know that you know it. For, you have seen them in action daily for many years. And actions speak much louder than words.

For example, you have seen them in trying circumstances. Think back. How did Person B react in trying circumstances before? You WILL see a pattern. Does Person B's behavior in all those instances square with what Person A is trying to tell you about him or her today? If not DON'T BELIEVE IT!

You can know with a good deal of confidence that Person A is lying, because you know with a good deal of certainty that Person B is not the kind of person who would do that.

Failing to know what you know about someone IN ORDER TO BELIEVE JUCY LIES about them is hateful. It's a breech of faith. Infidelity. Bad faith. Treason. Because you are betraying that person to character assassination. Indeed, this was the Original Sin the Bible = believing the sneaky serpent's transparant lie that God was the liar.

This is why one of the most ancient and venerable principles of jurisprudence demands that people be tried in their own home town or in the place where a crime was committed. The assumption is that THERE people know the accused. So, no liar can come along and tell them just ANYTHING about him and have them believe it. They would know he is a false accuser, because what he says about the accused doesn't square with what they know about him.

So, we are not helpless when it comes to distinguishing truth from lies. Forget the TALK that blows all weathercock minds in the wind and judge by ACTIONS you have observed firsthand. In other words, don't trust hearsay. Stick to known facts.

For example, you have seen accused Person B happy, sad, and angry many times in the past. Think back. How have they reacted to situations that would tempt people to lie? You have heard how Person B talks about other people, so you know whether they have a bad mouth or a wholesome one. You have seen proof of whether they are sensible or a fool. You have seen proof of whether they keep their promises. You have seen proof of whether they overreact. I could go on, but you get the idea.

In your memory, you have a treasure house of evidence about Person B's CHARACTER that applies to whatever Person B is being accused of. Consider it. Weigh it.

When someone with NPD is the accuser, your task is easy, because the accusations are a joke. That's because he or she is projecting their own faults off onto the accused and trying to smear one of the accused person's VIRTUES with it. Therefore, the moment you consider the past conduct of both Person A and Person B, your Irony Detector goes wild.

For example, a red flag of NPD is maligning others all the time. The narcissist will project that off onto the most conspicuously well spoken person in the group, someone who avoids gossip and never spreads vicious rumors about others, someone who often praises and speaks well of other people instead. Therefore, you have to be a complete idiot to believe the narcissist when he tells you that this person is maligning him.

It's a simple matter of having the brain on to examine information before letting it into your head = The Garden.

What's more, if Person B is accusing Person A of abusing her, she has a high degree of credibility, simply because she has never before spoken badly of anyone = she must have a damned good reason to be doing so now.

This process of weighing words is like you do in school when studying the characters in a novel or play. The author doesn't tell you that the hero is "thrifty, clean, and reverent." The author SHOWS you that he is "thrifty, clean, and reverent" through what that character DOES.

In Hamlet, for example, Shakespeare methodically compares Hamlet with Laertes this way. We see how Hamlet reacts to the killing of his father. Then we see how Laetres reacts (starts a civil war but immediately gets happy when bribed not to pursue it). We see Hamlet's true grief at Ophelia's grave and Laertes' grandstanding for attention. Even in death Laertes is a shallow ass thinking only of himself and behaves in a manner sharply contrasting with Hamlet's.

Having enough sense to judge people by their actions instead of by the words of others about them is the key to understanding that play. This thunders at the climax when you have to ask, "Who is crazy here? Hamlet, or this whole gang (the Court of Denmark) stampeding off into the dark crying for - of all things - "LIGHT."

And why? Simply because they are that determined to unknow the truth. Their willful contempt for it shows in the end when they are eye-witnesses to the treason of Claudius and Laertes but cry out that Hamlet is the traitor.

Shakespeare knew the human race well.


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12 Comments:

At 8:46 AM, Anonymous dana said...

The malignant N's lies are not only astonishing, they lie right to your face about things that happened to YOU!

My malignant N mother of the my previous comment still has a running fight with me over what happened with our dalmation Apache.

this story is so crazy i dont even believe it lol, but it happened to me.

we got a puppy, Apache--the first weird thing she did was insist that she was not going to paper train it and had NEVER paper trained a puppy before. now, this is important, not only did we paper train about TEN puppies before--we have PICTURES of previous puppies standing on the papers behind the barricade in the kitchen.

anyway, she decided what we did was watch the puppy constantly and run him outside EVERY single time he started sniffing around. of course this was insane and intolerable and impossible, and soon he was just pooping and peeing all over the house with abandon. she continued to argue with me strenuously that she never HAD and never WOULD paper train a dog, and this was the right way.

SO, one day he gets out, my mother pretended to be upset and i was too naive about her to see it was an act, she made no attempt to find him. one day *I* was driving down the street in my car and saw a woman walking him, i pulled over excitedly hey! thats my dog, he came to me and it was obvious, so she just handed him over. i didnt get her name, number address, nothing.

when i came home my mother was finally openly horrified and demanded i take him to the humane shelter the next day. i did, i even remember writing on the form that we found him, couldn't lovcate the owner and couldn't keep him. i came home to much releif and it was never really discussed again.

flash forward years later. for some reason apache came up--and she proceeded to tell me that we called the woman who found him and she took him back and he went to live on a farm the womans mother had. i was floored. i said, but ma, how did we find her again? i never knew her name or any info, she said "i dont know, but it happened" and proceeded to get so hysterical when i "denied her reality" that we didnt speak for a week. whats astounding to me about this story is a) 97% of the story happened to ME, without her even being present and b) her mother once once took a litter of kittens and a momma cat away from HER and told her she gave them to a "farm" and we LAUGHED about this for years, joking that the "farm" was really "the park". she couldnt even see she was reiterating the exact lie HER mother told her to make her seem less monstrous.

anyhoo--anytimne this comes up she sticks to her guns and theres no budging her--i guess she cant tolerate that she maliciously ruined and abandoned a beautiful dog

go figure.

 
At 8:58 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Shakespeare, Jane Austen, P.G. Woodhouse, and Oscar Wilde ... and a bunch of living artists as well. And what do they all have in common? The ability to show that people really need to know what they know.

I think drama on stage and screen and the reading good novels ought to be part of all good psychological therapy! If you can't imagine the way these things work in social situations, others have done your imagining for you, and you can use their work and get your own brain (and soul!) in gear.

But - ironically, I think - this is also the hardest thing for anyone raised to dance to the Narcissist's tune. It has been for me, anyway. It's not stubborn bullheadedness to know what you know ... it's just good sense. And if you don't know what you know, it turns out that you can't really learn anything new either. I suppose avoiding the truth makes us truth-avoiders all the way round. And THAT's why I avoid the people who are the N's hangers on, acolytes, and willing audience. Those people are pretty dangerous. They'll cheerfully feed you to the lion.

 
At 12:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's overwhelming and unbelievably frustrating to be the victim of a nasty smear campaign from my own mother! She's always been an Nmom, but last year I finally started setting boundaries with her. Very mild boundaries, actually, but they sent her over the edge. She went into a volcanic rage, canceled family holidays, and has trashed me and my reputation.

My husband and I actually had to move out of town because my mom did such a good job of painting us as villains. She told people that my husband was abusive, that I was an ungrateful daughter and she even told people that I'm an alcoholic and a substance abuser, when I don't even drink! And the crazy thing is, she is so convincing that people believe her. Even relatives who have known me since birth. One of my close friends in town, a woman my age, has now taken my place as my mom's substitute daughter. I can't put into words how betrayed I feel.

Thank God I have friends in other places who understand the situation and they know who I am, and their love and support has gotten me through this.

But I felt the need to post because I still don't understand how OBVIOUS lies can be accepted so easily by people, despite all the evidence to the contrary. I think they figure if my own mother would say such things about me, it must be true.

I think if she were in Hollywood, she would have won the Academy Award by now. Because she victimized me, and then played the victim, so she did the damage and then got all the sympathy . . .

Why are people so willfully blind?

 
At 5:57 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

Partly because it's juicy. Partly because THEY like to see their betters brought down too. And largely because they're cowards. They know whom to fear, and I'm afraid it isn't you.

They know what your mother will do to their good names if they don't suck up believing her obvious lies.

 
At 6:02 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

Dana, That's exactly it. They just wanna cram their lie down your throat. They will repeat it one billions times, if necessary, to have the last word. They are just rewriting the record falsely and want you to shut up and go along with their lie. They are the author of a work of fiction. You are just a character on the page.

That's why the pathological lying of a malignant narcissist is so peculiar and is THE biggest complaint their victims have against them. It's the thing the victim finds most hateful. The freakin' narcissist doesn't even respect your right to know what you know.

And some folks sympathize with them? Yeah, and they'd sympathize with the Devil if whined the same line.

 
At 4:32 PM, Anonymous dandelion said...

It took me too long to learn to trust my own perceptions, so I totally agree on the importance of knowing what you know, of squaring what somebody says with your own experience.

However, I would also add that somebody's malignance can be temporary and/or situational. If it's only directed at the loved ones back home, the bystanders may have no red flags to work with. In addition, many N's have honed a highly personable, sympathetic, and persuasive persona. In this case, if the true victim makes an accusation, and the bystanders make an assessment of the accused's character based on their experience of him, they'll end up disbelieving the true victim. So, as a bystander making judgments about a person's character, your experience & perception of them is very important, but it isn't foolproof (i.e. it can't see behind closed doors).

We probably all know some couples that we thought were happy and were surprised when they split up. If the split was caused by the malignance of one towards the other, and if this dynamic happened only behind closed doors, could you tell which one it was? Even if you were close enough to them to observe some animosity from one side, would you know if you were seeing the N's malignance, or just a response to the N's malignance? Even though my NH occasionally makes kind gestures towards me now, I still react distantly, because I no longer trust or respect him. Somebody observing us now might say that I'm the malignant one, since I act like he's not important to me.

So yes, some bystanders are clueless and don't think, but others really can't be blamed for not being able to identify malignance from a distance.

 
At 6:55 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

Dandelion, That's why I qualify the statement with the proviso that the bystander knows both parties and sees them regularly.

You don't have to see what goes on behind closed doors to discover a person's character over the years. Narcissists are not that good at fooling people. Their lack of empathy will show. Their perverse reactions to things will occassionally surface.

So it's not about seeing the deed of the complaint. It's about knowing a person's character well enough to judge a complaint's credibility.

Bystanders at a distance, of course, honestly don't know what to think. They haven't seen enough evidence of character.

But most bystanders there in the home, the family, or the workplace only dishonestly don't know what to think.

I'm not sure what to make of your statement that malignance can be temporary or situational. If you are talking about situational narcissism, I would disagree, because it isn't malignant.

And if someone has a grudge against someone in their family, then that isn't malignant narcisissm in that home: it's just a fight. In that case it won't show up anywhere else...because it doesn't exist anywhere else.

 
At 12:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And this is exactly why Ns who prey on the vulnerable keep their friends AWAY from their prey. The new people in their lives are told to STAY AWAY.

Because if they got to know the accused - their house of lies would crumble.

 
At 6:17 AM, Anonymous gh said...

Wow, that's a super-interesting point, Anon at 12:31! My N did this, too. He never brought me around his friends and, on the few occasions I did spend time with his friends, if he noticed me being engaged in a good conversation, he would interrupt and change the subject to something he knew would completely exclude me. I had interpreted that simply as his trying to make me feel like an outcast and loser, but your observation about trying to keep the house of lies from crumbling makes a ton of sense!

 
At 9:54 AM, Anonymous dandelion said...

I agree with that provisio, Kathy--the closer you are to both parties and the longer you've known them, the more likely you are to catch something.

As for my comment about temporary or situational malignant narcissism, I've tried to describe this before, in the context of claiming that there are degrees of NPD. My N's only become malignant (want to hurt others) when they feel threatened. From my perspective, the degree of malignance depends on how easily and how often they are set off by everyday normal occurances and interactions.

My NH is not behaving malignantly right now because he's not feeling threatened. However, if I tried to bring up any of our personal issues, he WOULD become threatened and turn malignant. If you want to claim that this means he's fully malignant, because he can't be reasoned with when you try to hold him accountable, okay, but if you define malignant as a state of wanting to hurt others, that really doesn't describe him most of the time.

 
At 1:23 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

GH, Obviously, we aren't talking about the same thing. If I understand you correctly, you view "malignance" as a mood, a wish to strike at someone when threatened. It comes and goes.

I view it as a personal quality.

Have you ever had someone threaten your life? I told in a post about denial once about having been caught up in a terrorist incident many years ago.

Well, either it was an idle threat, or the terrorists chickened out. During that period, I had many "malignant" thoughts by your definition of malignance. I was thinking what I'd do if anyone within arm's reach stood up and started waving a weapon. In fact, I'm certain that every HUMAN being aboard that flight was doing the same thing.

That's when you find out what you are capable of, and I know that me and most other human beings are quite capable of tearing a terrorist to pieces with our bare hands. yes, like a pack of wild dogs we would have torn him to pieces with our bare hands. Indeed, I was talking nonstop with God about it and it was chrystal clear to me that this is what He would have me do.

Malignant? No way. That is just and righteous. In fact, that is taking the moral high ground. Malignance is not simply intending to hurt somebody. It is hurting them TO HURT THEM.

Not in self defense. Not as an act of legal justice. Not in an act of legitimate war. Not by accident. Not in hunting for food.

Now it serves no purpose to argue over the proper definition of "malignance," but I do think everyone understands it as bearing the connotation that the one with "malignance" (intent to strike at another according to you) is doing something WRONG.

It is not always wrong to strike at someone. In fact it is morally wrong to fail to defend yourself or your loved ones or the defenseless.

So, why not use a less loaded word for what you mean? people would understand better.

He feels threatened? He is not threatened. What if he feels cold when it's hot? Is he then cold?

What you are calling "threats" to him are nothing but his delusions being challenged by reality. He strikes at you to bully you into pretending his delusion is true so that it's easier for him to remain in denial.

Who's playing offense here? Him. He is the aggressor because he is trying to control you. Who's the one really "threatened" here? You are. He threatens you with abuse if you don't play along with his pretenses.

I use the term "malignance" to mean something more than a mere mood in which one intends to strike a blow at another in some way. I use it the way it is used in medicine, which is also the way it has been traditionally used in literature and religion. By "malignance" I mean a malign spirit. A rotten one. A corrupt one. One that is malevolent = wishes harm to others TO SEE THEM HARMED, period.

Like a malignant cancer. It is malignant even when it's in remission.

So, we aren't even talking about the same thing. There is no real disagreement then, once you unconfuse the issue.

 
At 9:14 AM, Anonymous dandelion said...

Then could it be that my NH is just a non-malignant bully? He's got the delusions, and the control issues, and the dismissive attitude. He has no reservations about hurting someone to show them who's boss, that they'd better not mess with him. Therefore, he hurts others for a reason, not just to hurt them. Just a regular narcissist, or a malignant one?

 

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