Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Field Guide To Narcissism

From A Field Guide To Narcissism by Carl Vogel in Psychology Today.

Unfortunately, anyone can be seduced by a narcissist. One misconception is that only those with low self-esteem date someone who's so self-centered, but people with normal self-respect can also end up involved with a narcissist. They have decisive, take-charge personalities in a society that shuns wishy-washiness.

And after all, they're experts at making people admire them. Best-case scenario: when narcissists date each other. That way, both can have a self-confident, impressive and shallow mateā€”and leave the rest of us in peace.

Good one!

But notice how the article then goes on to say that "the expert consensus is that genetics plays a huge role" in causing narcissism. Right, based on what evidence? None. Not even any studies in progress. I posted about that here.

These dudes and dudesses need to stop confusing their state of "expertese" with "omniscience" and just DIVINING the answers to questions instead of following SCIENTIFIC METHOD.

And we need to start demanding to see the evidence for their claims. Never assume that any exists.

(As with global warming, the low-carbohydrate diet, the high carbohydrate-diet, the we're-still-waiting for it "silent spring," the excessive cholesterol that the body itself often makes (whether we eat any or not), and that horrible population explosion that was supposed to have us as tight-packed everywhere as on the coasts by now. And where, by the way, is that hole in the ozone layer?)

The article also makes no distinction between the predatory behavior of the malignant narcissist and the merely egotistical behavior of the person with narcissistic personality traits. Hence the article views the narcissism as a continuum. Frankly, I really, really doubt that, because I don't see how something rooted in inflated self-esteem can be the same as something rooted in deflated self esteem in denial. And I see a big difference in self centeredness and predation. And just once I'd lke to hear someone support this theory that the two are the same - one just more severe than the other. We get no reason, no logic, no statistics - just more "expert" divination by people who don't seem to have noticed the huge and fundamental difference bewteen merely narcissistic persons and people with NPD.

That failure to notice a difference so monumental doesn't give you a lot of confidence in their theories.

That said, I found the article interesting, and it gives many good examples of narcissism in action.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Resisting Manipulation

Here is a suggestion for how to keep narcissists and other psychological manipulators from controlling you.

Never think to outsmart them or out-manipulate them. You might as well think to beat Roger Federer at tennis.

But straight thinking can help immensely.

Keep clear on this point: Your feelings are not under your control. Your conduct is. Do not let your emotions control your conduct. If you don't, you won't be manipulated.

Like a novelist, a manipulator manipulates your feelings. A novelist knows how to make you happy, sad. He knows how to put you on tenterhooks. He knows how to make you side with a certain character, even a villain. He knows how to make you desperate to see the hero get what she wants.

There are literary formulas for achieving all these things in the mind of the reader.

So, con artists, narcissists, and psychopaths aren't the only great manipulators out there. But they all manipulate by manipulating your emotions.

They CAUSE your feelings. If the situation is such that you can't keep them from abusing you at will, they control your feelings.

Bruised feelings are more sensitive feelings. So, continuing abuse gets more and more painful.

This is why it's best to get away from the narcissist. By doing so, you take away his or her power to control your emotions.

Those emotions aren't bad. In fact, they are what motivate you to put a stop to the abuse. They give you the courage to act.

Fine. But don't let those emotions do your thinking for you. They are housed in the primitive brainstem, so you can imagine what kind of bright ideas they come up with.

Not smart. Then YOU will have something to be ashamed of.

Your intellect should be in charge of your conduct.

Shakespeare's Hamlet is a masterful story of intellect and emotion battling for supremacy in this young man. His raging soliloquies are Emotion trying to make him just go murder that guy and be done with it, so that the world sees he does have a spine.

This inner battle tears him apart. The same inner battle tears the victims of narcissists apart. It's a living Hell.

But I'm sorry, but there's no way duck out of it. Many people think to do so by cheating: they just squelch their feelings.

There. Hell all gone.


That isn't the same thing as putting your intellect in control of your conduct.

What's more, these people don't really alter their feelings at all. They just delude themselves into thinking that they have controlled their feelings by repressing them. Repressed feelings aren't controlled. They are just pushed down to the level of the subconscious. And they still motivate your conduct from there.

The only difference is that now you are unaware of their influence on your conduct. So, you can't temper that influence with reason and good judgement.

That's dangerous. It's dangerous to have subconscious activity motivating your conduct!

So, there is no way to avoid this heart-rending inner battle of emotion and intellect. The psychological warfare of the narcissist has forced it on you. You are just going to have to win it.

Hamlet does. He never denies his emotions, but he also never cedes control of his conduct to his emotions. Painful as they are, his emotions are good for him. They keep him from the cowardice and treason of allowing the murder of his father by doing nothing about it. BUT, he never lets those emotions call the shots. His intellect steadfastly chooses to bide his time, waiting for an opportunity to do justice, putting the black hat on Claudius and the white hat on himself for the whole world to see. And when that opportunity arrives (at the end), Hamlet acts without hesitation as the legal Seat of Justice in the land.

Justice. Fiat justitia, ruat coelum!

The famous saying was coined by Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus, a Roman statesman and Julius Caesar's father-in-law.

It is usually translated as "Though the heavens fall, let justice be done!" Although to a native speaker of Latin the sense would be "To hell with heaven, let justice be done!" Or in another sense: "To hell with celebrities, let justice be done!"

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

How Narcissists Get So Good at Manipulation

It's a known fact that narcissists and psychopaths have amazing powers to sucker and manipulate people. Your typical street con artist is a good example. Authorities warn us not to laugh at the victim and think that we ourselves would never be stupid enough to fall for a con artist's scheme. Indeed, people en masse often fall for one to elect that guy President for Life. Psychopaths routinely sucker even their therapists. Even while still teenagers, they are expert enough at manipulation to do so.

When you are outside the con job's sphere of influence, you see clearly. You wonder what the heck the conned person is thinking. To you it couldn't be more obvious that this is a con job - the warning sirens are blaring. But the mark is oblivious. You wonder what "got into" him or her. (I love that phrase.) They seem under a spell. You see them doing things like automatons, remotely controlled by the manipulator. All he need do is drop hints to control through the mere power of suggestion and - BOOM - the conned person is thinking or doing exactly what the manipulator wants. The victim might as well be a hand or foot of his.

This is truly spooky. How does it happen?

I studied etymology, and what I learned from the archaic root meanings of words convinced me that the mythology of darkness and magic gradually evolved from a lexicon of language struggling to deal with this seemingly magical power some people have.

But it isn't magic.

The problem is that we have no idea how good at manipulation some people are. They are so good at it, that when we find out how good they are, it blows our mind. How do they get so good at it?

Are these narcissists just brilliant, with astronomical IQs? Well, the more intelligent they are, the more dangerous they are, of course. But, no, they aren't all intelligent. They don't have to be.

It's just a simple matter of "practice makes perfect."

You too would be that good a manipulator if you practiced manipulating people 24-7-365 for a lifetime.

When we interact with others, we are usually trying to communicate. Only rarely are we trying to make an impression instead. Narcissists and psychopaths are always trying to make an impression. They are never trying to communicate. In fact, they block attempts to communicate.

Remember when you were a teenager and met that cool guy or gal? In that situation, we are so busy trying to make a good impression that we do embarrassing things. We are so busy trying to SOUND clever that we say the stupidest things. Our mouths get ahead of our brains.

While we are putting on this star-studded performance, we aren't listening to him or her. We are interested only in the KIND of thing they say and the tone of voice they say it in. Their gestures and body language - we don't miss a beat. We aren't interested in their face, only the expression on it. Why? Because we are studying their continuing reaction to our actions: Ah! a smile! Oh-oh, a frown! OK - there - I got the smile back again. Oh good, s/he stepped closer to me.

See what I'm getting at? When we are operating in this mode, everything we say and do is for effect. We observe the effects and tune our behavior to win the kind of reaction we want. In other words, we are PLAYING that person for the reaction we want. We are trying to manipulate him or her. We are manipulating that smile from him or her. If one thing we say or do doesn't win it, we just try something else and keep trying things till we hit upon what impresses that person as something to smile at. Hence, if we blow it and get a frown instead, in our haste to transform it to a smile we can contradict ourselves in two seconds flat.

We are not being ourselves when we do this. We are quite literally being someone else. We are putting on an act. Our true character doesn't come through, because we are acting out the part of an idealized version of ourselves, an impressive idealized version of ourselves, a purely fictitious character. All because our aim isn't to communicate - it's simply to make an impression.

We can laugh about this rite of passage into sexual adulthood now. It's so awkward. We prefer the company of people we can be ourselves with. But even in adulthood people occasionally go into this mode. In a job interview, for example. Or when meeting a famous or important person.

We never get good at manipulating people though, because we seldom get into this mode where we try to.

Now imagine if you were in this mode all the time with everyone your whole life. That's a lot of practice. Through sheer trial and error, you will become an expert at what produces a smile in another person, or a frown or a look of fear or dejection or shame or anger or whatever you want. You will become an expert at what makes them get mad at some third party you are talking about. You will become an expert at what pushes people's buttons to do a whole list of things you want in various situations. You will be an expert at controlling people this way.

That's what narcissists are psychopaths are - experts, because they are in this mode all the time with everyone their whole life. Is it even possible for them to cut it out? I doubt it. They don't even know what normal human interaction is. They are always just trying to make an impression. They are never trying to communicate. They block communication. They don't want you to know them. The real them, that is. It's their deepest, darkest secret.

Being in this mode explains why they contradict themselves so fast and furiously when you lock horns with them. Why they are a nervous blur and never hear what you say. Why they don't later recognize your face or remember your name. They aren't paying attention to any of that in a conversation. They are just studying facial EXPRESSIONS, body language, tone of voice, and gestures. What you are saying and what they are saying gets tuned out because it doesn't matter to them. Neither does the matter you are discussing. They will say the sky is purple if they think it will draw the reaction from you that they want.

That's a lifetime of 24-7-365 practice at conning and manipulation. Practice makes perfect. So, never, never, never underestimate their powers of con artistry and manipulation. They can and will fool ANYONE.

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Why doesn't the victim leave the abuser?

In my last post, I didn't address the often asked question, "Why doesn't she leave him?"

People usually ask it in the context of a wife not leaving her abusive husband, but it could be the other way around. Or it could be a person not cutting off ties with an abusive family or a family that serves as a proxy for a narcissist within it. Whatever - why doesn't the victim leave?

Every victim asks him- or her-self the same question! Truth is stranger than fiction, but here is the controlling fact of the matter: That's what normal people do when subjected to abuse.

In other words, people who say "Why doesn't she leave him?" wouldn't leave him themselves if they were in her shoes.

Well, that isn't exactly right. People do vary in how much abuse it takes to get them to leave. That is, some will leave sooner than others. But they all take far more abuse than anyone would think a human being could. Why? It's counter intuitive.

The well documented Stockholm syndrome partly explains why. But making the victim cling to the victimizer is an ancient art. It's the art of the Inquisitor and the torturer. A black art that works like magic. The Inquisition and KGB had it down to an fine art form.

The crucial point is that this is what NORMAL people do. The abuser creates an upside-down world in which all normal human reactions work backwards.

Denial is the chief culprit.

How long? how much abuse does it take to make you face facts and see that he or she is just evil - this person you love with all your heart ... is evil. An unthinkable thought, no?

AND he or she loves you back about as much as you love a cockroach. Has just been playing you for a fool. Another unthinkable thought, no?


Yet in the cases I know about, the victim always does eventually face facts and leave. None came into the relationship "seeking" abuse either. In fact, that is so contrary to the Law of Nature that I won't believe anybody does THAT till I see it.

The victim hates the abuse and tries to avoid it. The problem is that narcissists are deliberately impossible people, so the only way to avoid narcissistic abuse is to avoid the narcissist himself = get away from him.

Look at the situation you've got. Love is an attraction. You love this person with all your heart - an irresistible attraction to him or her. But he or she emits a blast of antigravity in the abuse they respond to your love with. An irresistible repulsion from him or her.

Something's gotta give in this bizarre situation. Sooner or later the victim realizes that it will be her mind if she doesn't come out of denial and face facts.

Here she is on her knees before her abuser, clinging to him for dear life in the naive belief that she can exorcise the demon inside him. The more violently he rejects her, the tighter she clings. Something's gotta give.

I myself have asked "Why doesn't she leave him?" about a neighbor. I understood all this very well already and had him pegged as a narcissist, but still I asked the question. It seemed to me that she was being exceedingly dense.

But she wasn't really. (She only lasted a year or two.)

All victims deservedly do suffer guilt and shame for eating lies and putting up with abuse longer than we should, especially if it was in a marriage (rather than a birth family) and there were children affected.

But that guilt isn't guilt for the abuse. To share in the guilt for abuse, you would have to be a CAUSE of it. And just being within range of it isn't causing it. One might as well blame a murdered bank teller for taking a job at a bank.

The victim's guilt is a failure of integrity. A failure to protect, a failure to have a backbone, a failure to be honest with ourselves and KNOW THE TRUTH.

But it's absurd to view that guilt as partly JUSTIFYING what the abuser did. Nor does it TEMPT the abuser. Just being there doesn't TEMPT anyone to abuse you. Loving someone doesn't TEMPT them to kick you around. Being vulnerable and defenseless doesn't TEMPT them to eviscerate you.

Yes, you should have run away. But the victim's failure to doesn't take one whittle of the guilt and blame FOR THE ABUSE off the victimizer and place it on the victim.

As it is often said, though a woman walks down the street naked, no man has the right to rape her. And in that case, she is tempting the abuser.

But I have never seen a victim of a narcissist tempt their abuser. In fact, it's quite the other way around.

Whenever I find myself asking "Why doesn't she leave him?" I withhold judgement. I do this on the basis of the concept of competence to judge. It's a judicial concept that holds true in personal judgement. I am just not competent to judge her for that, because I don't know the whole story. What's more, there are sometimes compelling practical reasons for why she cannot leave him and just draws battle lines within the household to keep him at bay.

We know enough only when the victim is ourselves, and then we are not competent either, because we will be either too easy on ourselves or too hard on ourselves.

But one thing is for certain: THAT guilt, is for a different sin. It doesn't matter that she hasn't run away from him. Her being there is no CAUSE of a predator attacking her.

The abuse is 100% the abuser's sin. He is 100% guilty of it and deserves 100% of the blame.

Ironic, isn't it? Blame is the only thing narcissists share.

See also Why Do You Put Up With Abuse on the main website.

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Narc Attack: Simple Case of Bad Guy Attacking Good Guy

Did you ever hear the saying "It takes two to Tango"? That's a common saying here in the United States, at least some parts of it. But I'll bet every language has a figure of speech that means the same thing.

It takes two to Tango: That's what you're supposed to say when gossipping about interpersonal problems between two other people. The only interest is in coming to agreement with your gossips on who is to blame for it. Because then you are bestowing judgement on people, and that feels good.

The doctrine firmly to be believed is that, no matter what the bad guy did, the good guy is partly to blame. I think this is construed as (of all things) "fairness" = unfairly (arbitrarily) placing blame on a person without one bit of evidence - just this almost religiously held slogan "It takes two to Tango."

As in the ballroom dance called the Tango.

End of discussion. Case closed. Victim is (at least partly) to blame.

Ah, wisdom!

A word to the "wise" - Yes, it takes two to Tango. And it takes two to have sex. But haven't you ever heard of rape, you empty-headed ventriloquist's dummies!

I hate cliches like It takes two to Tango. Many are as wrong and stupid as that one. Yet people eagerly gobble them up and swallow them hook, line, and sinker.

These stupid platitudes are just SLOGANS. Catchy catch phrases. They SOUND clever. That's all.

Whenever you hear slogans instead of reason and evidence brought forth in VALID arguments, look out. Because intellectually honest people don't have to fake thinking by parroting empty slogans.

Narcs are predators. Predators do not attack in self defense. They attack to eat others. They target easy prey, not anyone they have anything against. The CAUSE of their attack is a vulnerable target of opportunity.

Therefore, the only "blame" you can give the victim is for just being there as a vulnerable target of opportunity. Which is absurd. As someone noted yesterday, it's like blaming a bank teller for getting shot by a robber because she was on the wrong side of the counter. I don't care if that teller is a drug addict, an embezzler, or just plain obnoxious - he or she is wholly innocent in this matter.

The victim doesn't have to be a saint to blameless when it is a PREDATOR that attacks. The victim is wholly blameless, and the narcissist or psychopath is wholly in the wrong.

Of course narcs try to conceal what they really are by claiming that they were striking back at some perceived offense. They don't want you to know that they are predators. That's the Big Chill, man. If people knew that they just attack any defenseless prey caught in their sights, they'd soon find themselves in the Desert of Humankind.

So, of course narcs try to bullshit bystanders and therapists into thinking they were just striking back at some perceived offense. But you have to be a complete idiot to fall for that lie. Duh, just look at who and when they attack.

Then notice how obsequiously they bend over for insult from anyone they fear.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to add that up.

What's more, narcissists are pathological liars you can't trust to tell you the time of day. So it's irrational to believe them about this, especially since there's an obvious potential motive for them to be lying.

Therefore, for this lie to work, it DOES take two to Tango. The believer of the lie is partly to blame, because he or she is being irrational to believe a known pathological liar on a matter in which he has powerful motive to lie. No victim there. Just a liar and a glutton for being lied to.

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Curing Punishment

Some years back, Dr. Robert Hare prepared a program for treating psychopaths in Canadian prisons, a program based solely on positive and negative reinforcement. But a left wing government put a stop to that heresy before the program began.

I think that's the only possible solution. One that should be tried. Narcissists are functioning at that level. The level of a three-year-old. And that's how you discipline a three-year-old.

In fact, that's how you train a dog. You don't moralize with him. You don't explore his feelings with him. You face the fact that he is operating in a different mode, where whatever works is what he does, period. He's a DOG, for cryin' out loud, don't anthropomorphize him!

So, don't yell at him not to pester you for attention. For, that is giving him attention. And if it's the best he thinks he can get, he'll take it and pester your for more.

Clue: IGNORING him for pestering you will work much, much better.

Simple positive and negative reinforcement.

Every time narcissists step out of line, whack them. It's as simple as that. Narcissists can control their feelings no better than we can. But, like us, they prove every day that they can and do control their conduct. If they fear adverse consequences for stealing, abusing, lying or whatever, they refrain from doing it. So, make sure there are adverse consequences.

Nothing will change overnight. But there would come a day when they have abstained from bad behavior long enough that they are no longer "a person who does that." That's redemption. It's been so long since they molested a child that they are no longer a person who molests children. It's been so long since he beat his wife that he is no longer a person who beats his wife. Redemption.

That banishes the Demon at the Door. It has a tremendous effect in reducing his level of repressed shame for what he is. 'Er, WAS, I mean.

That denied shame is what drove him to his bad behavior. He is a slave to it. He must be freed before anything good can happen.

That is why I think simple, strict, swift punishment for every bad deed is the only possible solution. We can't say that we are really trying to help narcissists if we can't say that we are giving this idea a shot to see if it works.

But that's "tough love" and no way to put on a grand show of being kind. I fear that there are too many hypocrites out there campaigning for an "Aren't I nice?" award, who don't care at all about really helping narcissists or their victims.

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The Joker

This is something I think no one can tell you. I know that no one could have told me. I had to see it prove true many times in many ways, battering through my denial and knocking down my illusions till I could accept it.

So I don't expect to persuade anyone of this. In fact, if you're this easy to persuade, you're too easy to persuade. But I do put it out there for you to consider. Don't listen to the talk, watch the walk. Then judge for yourself and see what you think.

Narcissists are predators.

And of course these pathological liars will never admit that. They are perfect, you know. If caught being less than perfect, they put on a poor-little-harmless-me face and try to make people think that they lash out at others in self defense.

The biggest lie narcissists tell is that they hurt people more or less accidentally, without meaning to or because they are in pain and/or feel threatened or put down or insulted, because they have these tender, tender feelings that are just so sensitive you see.

Something like that. They are vague and hard to nail down to leave themselves wiggle room - but something like that.

I know that's a lie. I know that they are not playing defense when they lash out. I know that they are playing offense. You can tell by the nature of the prey they target. Easy prey, not people who have done anything to hurt them.

In fact, I know that they have impenetrably thick skin when the person insulting them is someone they would fear retaliation from. In other words, they're just bullies.

And when they get caught, and people say, "You naughty bully, why did you do that to your spouse or child?" they whine that it was because they had such a miserable childhood and because they felt "threatened."

Yeah, right, threatened by a child.

Speaking of their feelings, where are they now? Dig deep. You will not discover one ounce of feeling in the narcissist for that child. Clue: see if you can find one bit of genuine feeling in a narcissist for anyone but him- or her-self.

And, I'm sorry, but having feeling for yourself is no virtue. Even a great white shark has feelings for itself. Feeling sorry for yourself doesn't make you human.

When narcissists abuse someone, they are never even partly in the right. Simply because it's always an act of aggression. It is a reaction to nothing but the sight of a vulnerable target of opportunity.

Therefore, no matter how imperfect their victim, he or she is wholly blameless.

Of course their delusions are threatened by any truth. Nothing wrong with that kind of threat. The fault is all theirs for deluding themselves and trying to impose their delusions on others. Their delusions are a threat to us. Something very wrong with THAT kind of threat.

One minute the bullies are getting off on eviscerating the tender feelings of a little child, and the next minute they're whining that people think they're bad.

The devil is a joker, eh?

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Secret of Control Tactics

About that book....

Here's a bit of serendipity. I created an illustration to show why tennis players try to control the tempo of play. Lo and behold! that illustration has other uses!

For example, why did John McEnroe interrupt what by the rules is supposed to be "continuous play" for long periods, so that a match didn't continue until he personally allowed it to? Why do some players even turn and speak to spectators, bossing them around? Telling them where to sit and when they may move? Why do some players presume to judge the linespersons' vision and inner motives or intents? Why do they judge the judges of their own performance (i.e., the officials)? Why do they stall and press to control the tempo of play? In other words, why are they control freaks?

It's all psychological control tactics. What are control tactics for?

Their purpose is to suggest superiority. It's just a superiority act. The same as with your narcissist.

The purpose of control tactics is to create the illusion of superiority. Superiority is suggested by control, which is suggested by control tactics. This is a mental trick. You must allow the presumption for it to work. But our natural desire to avoid conflict tempts us to do just that, and controllers rely on it.

So, they PRESUME the right to control things they have no right to control (like your feelings and thoughts), and if you don't confront the imposition, asking them who they think they are, you are playing the role of an inferior with respect to them.

So there -- it's not such a mystery after all.

Note that they thus steer a collision course toward conflict, while normal people try to avoid it. Narcissists don't mind conflict. They use it. It's a tool that serves them well, because we hate it and try to avoid it. So, they cross you with the threat of it at every turn. What do you think? What do you feel? What will you wear today? Whatever -- the narcissist goes into Imperious Mode and acts like God mad at you for breaking one of his 10 commandments.

To avoid their wrath, you just let them have their way. Then brat is instantly all smiles.

Which is why they like conflict. They confront you with it (or the threat of it) constantly to control you.

In fact, what HUMAN being is supposed to have such rights with respect to us? The right to judge us. The right to determine what we may think and feel?

None, right? Those are (ownership) rights reserved for a god.

And that is why scripture calls letting others do this "idolatry."

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Starving a Predator

Every interaction with a narcissist is a competition, and the narcissist always wins.

Narcissists win hands down every time, because they will stoop to anything. Despite how absolutely successful their strategy is, we wouldn't trade places with them.

Why? For basically the same reason we wouldn't trade places with a lower life form, a lower animal.

A tiger or a pack of wolves will beat and eat us every time, too. But we couldn't bear to get down to their level and be as they are. We can't bring ourselves to "eat it raw," so to speak. We can't bear to be such killing machines.

Our humanity prevents it. This level of behavior would be an indignity to it. We would rather die human than live like a wild animal.

But not everybody feels that way. Some think nothing of stooping to such dirty, lowdown tactics as the narcissist and psychopath. They don't think it's beneath them. Nothing is beneath them. How low can they go? There is no bottom to how low they can go.

They just think it's funny to make fools of people so. They have no more humanity toward their human victim than a great white shark has.

Guess why?

The things they do are sickening. We would rather crawl naked on our bellies in sewage than degrade our human status by such behavior. But this puts us at a disadvantage with narcissists. They will always win because of it.

The only solution is to recognize the signs and stay away from them. If they can't get close enough to anyone to parasitize, they will starve.

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Narcissism: Cheating Your Way through Life

I think this is probably obvious to anyone who knows a malignant narcissist too well, but it apparently gets past most other people.

A narcissist is someone who has decided at an early age to cheat their way through life.

Little children learn that looking good is easier than being good. Cheating for "A's" is easier than studying for them. Sabotaging your peer's work is easier than doing a better job yourself. The list is endless. (See "The Teeter Totter Game" chapter in What Makes Narcissists Tick for more on this.)

"Hey," the narcissist thinks, "I can wage a public campaign against sexual immorality all day long and go cattin' around at night. That way I get a saintly name without having to live up to that standard. In other words, I get to have my cake and eat it too. Who wouldn't do that? I'd have to be an idiot not to."

Well, that's the way little children think. Because nothing is beneath them and their minds are playgrounds where they unknow what they are doing.

Moreover, at an early age they also learn that looking good always gets you treated as good, but being good often gets you condemned as bad. Case in point: Jesus of Nazareth, condemned as evil by holier-than-thous (whom he had laid a formal sevenfold curse upon).

I know of a pair of malignant narcissists at a school who characterize everyone else there as "saps."

Indeed, who plays by the rules in a game fixed for cheaters to win? Saps, that's who.

This is why treatment does no good for narcissists and psychopaths. In fact it just teaches them ways to fake it better. They don't want to change. Why should they? Their strategy for life is much more successful than ours.

Since their grandiose egos lack even a drop of self respect, they aren't above it, either.

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