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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At 6:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While they are chasing their tails these people *those with NPD* are leaving bodies in their wake around the world.

What bothers me most, in these "studies" is that their is very little if any acknowledgment of the victims and the damages done. It's there if you dig for it but, it's not seen as very "interesting" Nor is it given much weight. I guess the evil are more interesting than those left in the dust. Maybe our voices are too small or we are too exhausted to stand up and demand that this "research" is done in such a way that we can all benefit from it.

What's their point? In the end, I no longer care about what motivates a narcissist or what caused his predatory behavior if the reason we are studying them is just for the sake of a good thesis or even a sloppy one. If they don't mean to ultimately be able to protect the rest of us better then they might be interesting but, I wonder what it's all for.

I am jaded, I admit that. I am chagrined every time I read these type of "studies" too. A slight smile passes over my face. I shake my head most times and realize that those doing these studies surely could not have been in the wake of a narcissist. I think their work might take a different goal on if they had been.

I prefer this blog, something rings more true in it than all these misbegotten studies...I wonder why that is? Whatever the reason, I have learned to trust my gut instincts, and the voices of other victims more than studies....for the time being. One can always hope and read, hoping more to see a different approach!

At 10:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This article didn't come close to capturing the essence of narcissism.

At 10:40 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

The hole in the ozone layers is there...and gone...gets bigger...gets smaller...moves around...disappears.... and have you noticed how all the screamers have shut up about it? That's the point.

Scientists have learned to profit by catastrophizing. Transplanting a monkey's heart into a human child is grossly immoral, because they KNEW the rejection would be too fierce. Condemning the natural diet of the species (meat and eggs), since millions of years is irresponsible and mercenary.

They are just as dishonest a bunch as they were in Louis Pasteur's day. They exploit the fact that people don't demand to see the evidence and instead just blow whichever way the way blows on an issue. They are really no more trustworthy than the Creationists - just pushing the opposite direction is all.

At 10:56 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

Sorry, Lynn, I had to delete your comment because the URL in it was too long and broke the web page. So here it is adjusted to fit:
by lynn:

"That was a very well written article. I liked some of the tongue in cheek humour in it. I also liked the Hollywood Regarding Henry way to fix narcissism - Shot in the Head.

"The Hole in the Ozone Layer is alive and well. Being down under here in Australia we periodically get warnings of part of the hole possibly being over our state and I k now it goes over New Zealand regular enough. I resides over the South Pole, reaching about 10 million square miles at it's biggest in September.

"Here is a link to one of many Ozone Hole web-sites.
Cut and paste the URL together to use it.

At 11:14 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

I guess I should mention that a dead giveaway of dishonesty is in how they deceive. For example, how many people have ever heard the fact that the land mass of the US is the only Carbon dioxide sink on the planet? That is, that only the United States removes more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than it puts in? Not even Canada can claim that. (too far north)

Why? Because we have been at cleaning up the atmosphere for decades and have already gotten way ahead of the rest of the world on that. Plus, we began reforesting decades ago, so that those forests are now mature and consuming more carbon dioxide than they produce. And then there is that little thing known as the Great Plains, where people are not tight-packed as on the coasts and in Europe where all the pollution comes from.

In other words, the US is cleaning the air by removing more CO-2 than it adds.

And how much of the world's food and other necessities does the US produce? Should we stop to decrease the amount of energy we consume producing so much more per captita than any other nation? How many would starve if we did that? No one ever considers the effect that would have, either. We are the only nation in the world that literally ships food around to those in need of it daily.

Why is productivity ignored and the fact that the US is the only CO-2 sink buried to make it sound like the US is the country dumping all that excessive carbon dioxide into the atmosphere? Only one possible reason for that deception. And if people lie to me yesterday, I don't count them as a truth teller today.

At 10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've read most of your discussions on narcissism, and I'm familiar with much of what you've covered. You have a talent for putting things into words. I've got a question I hope you can answer.

It seems to me most of what I've read about narcissists focuses on characteristics and identifying factors. I'm dealing with a narcissist, and I know it, so all I'm getting from most I've read is further confirmation. I'm looking to neutralize this person. It would certainly be easier to walk away, however, walking away is not an option, in this case. I'm also past being able to be a perceived source of "narcissistic supply."

This narcissist is holding hostage assets which belong to others in my family, but which are also very important to his "false self." I've known this person for thirty years, and know more about his "true self" than he would ever admit. I've considered using the threat of exposing his "true" side, but feel like this is a little closer to blackmail. I'll do it, but if I do, it must be a last resort. So my question to you is this:

How do you strategically defeat the narcissist without being able to be a source of narcissistic supply?

Many thanks for any input you may have?

At 7:30 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

That's a good question. I've pondered it often myself. I don't have all the answers, but I do have a few thoughts.

If the story were fiction, any novelist worth his or her salt would know what to make the character of you do. That's because this is a situation that has, as arteests say, "disturbed the natural order of the universe." The bad guy has a white hat and the good guy has a black hat. The story would be your quest to set things right again. To see that justice is done. To restore equilibrium, because no one can tolerate a world behaving in conflict with reality and your self image.

Therefore, like St. Michael the Archangel, you've got to make war on Satan (for giving all the other angels a bad reputation before God) by throwing him down to the status he deserves in the eyes of the world.

In fact that Bible story may be the oldest extant story in the world of this theme and plot = setting the right-side-up by showing that Satan is just a slanderer, not really holier than any of those he's daily accusing of being bad.

People will cheer for this in a novel. They will settle for nothing less than this justice in a novel, because they can't stand a travesty of justice in a novel. But if a real person in the real world tries to set things right by taking down someone who trashes others to make himself look good, people suddenly get holier-than-thou about it and say that it's a sin to do justice. Which they then call "revenge" instead.

But the truth is never a sin. You have the right to have the people know that he is lying to them about you and yours. It's HIS fault that necessitates you damaging his undeserved reputation. Because if he's a liar, then he is a liar. That's not calumny: that's the truth.

Moreover, simple self defense (an inalienable human right) requires you to take down your false accuser by showing that he has no credibility. And you do that by exposing him for what he is.

It's absolutely justified and sometimes absolutely necessary for survival. Let the holier-than-thous go soak their heads.

But I wouldn't threaten the N with exposure. That is blackmail. I'd just bide my time (like Hamlet) and wait for the ineveitable opportuinities to start doing it, to start nailing the bad guy with proof of what he has done wrong.

Narcissists live in constant fear of exposure. They will notice the moment people start looking at them differently. They will FEEL their past catching up to them. Look for this guy to suddenly pick up stakes and move when that happens, when he senses that people in his current Pathological Space are comparing notes and onto him.

Hopefully others will have other ideas to share on this.

At 8:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although we don't live together, I am also trapped with my ex-N -- we have two children together. I have some thoughts for those dealing with this.

Things have been going fairly smoothly of late because I NEVER criticize him for his infractions (unapologetic lateness mostly), but rather stick to my guns and politely refuse him a visit if he is an hour late.

This seems to be working because as an N with no real "object love" he doesn't really care about seeing the kids as long as I am "respectful," never showing anger or disapproval and he can maintain his ego and not lose face. N's seem to be totally shame-based (mine is from a shame-based, Asian culture, rather than guilt-based, if that's related). I can make him do things based on him avoiding anything that damages his lofty image -- never if it is for someone else's sake. (He accused me of faking tears after the tsunami coverage of children drowning, so alien to him is any kind of empathy. He said, "people die every day, so why is this different?")

So far, this seems to be working. Never criticise or show disapproval, stick to your rules in an unemotional way and never expect them to do anything that doesn't enhance their own images.

At 9:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Kathy's excellent post. I would not try to "out" the narcissists true self. The main reason being that those you do this with tend to do their "fact checking" WITH THE NARCISSIST.

It's dangerous ground because they are such shockingly good actors. You won't be believed unless you have absolute rock solid proof at every instance. It's best to wait it out, hard as that can be.

I also would not let the narcissist know any further about your own interest in these assets if you can help it. They are the most jealous creatures alive and if they believe something is important to you, they will keep it or get it just to make sure you can't have it. It's all so childish and exhausting to try and out think them.

One thing I wish I had done was to keep a journal of the xn's behaviors including dates. At least I would have some sort of record of the insane, manipulative and calculated abuses. It's hard to think straight in the middle of their antics though. Still, a record would have helped when I later needed to comment on things he had done.

One thing is for sure, narcissists always tell on themselves eventually. And sadly yes, they do pick up stakes and move on to new targets and people. They HAVE to in order to keep that false self protected and to stay out of hot water, to avoid responsibility etc.

One thing I would do though is to make sure whatever smear campaign is run against your credibility is challenged in some way. I told people that I would not stand for slander or libel in the case of my narcissist so it wouldn't be a good idea to repeat his stories about me since I meant business about this. I also said that I wasn't afraid of him taking similar action at all since I could prove what I was saying was the absolute truth therefore he would have no grounds for such legal actions against me. It was food for thought for his bystanders I hope. I meant every single word too.

It wasn't much to fight back with but, it was something for them to ponder while they bought into his lies.

Keep a record and bide your time. Narcissists eventually tell on themselves. They are good at acting but, they aren't that smart really since they believe they can ACT enough to cover up what's underneath at all times. No one can do that. Eventually someone else gets close enough to start to see under that mask. Remember one of the main hallmarks with them is inconsistency, things don't add up.Those around him now will start to see that.

At 12:45 AM, Blogger Cassandra said...

Kathy wrote: (As with global warming, etc etc.)

Thank you! Feeling a bit lonely out here in "Oh really!" land as the global warming crowd shout us few folk down. Please add to the list something from the "dismal" science: The Fed can inflate its way out of debt (that is, the Fed can print money, or create credit to pay its debts in defiance of the rule 'there is no such thing as a free lunch') . This is particularly relevant as the current banking/US dollar crisis unfolds. I have a lot of trouble explaining that an increase in prices is a result not a cause of inflation, a confusion in thinking unforgivable among those who claim to be experts.

Hello Lynn, I'm from Australia also. Are you also from National Socialist Wales? :-D I got really irritated when after it rained and dam levels were not so worrying, the govt. decided to keep water restrictions because of "global warming." !!?! What a non-sequiteur!

Speaking of science and scientific method, in the hard sciences there is a tendency to become dogmatic over "scientific theories" as if they are facts and any questioning of these "facts" belongs to nutjobs, so if you want to keep your might appreciate this:

I broke it up, as it is too long, so copy and paste both bits into your browser.

I have never considered psychology to be a science and I really loved this essay.

At 5:49 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

I get a huge blast out of Cox & Forkum! They have a way of saying what the real "reality-based" crowd is thinking.

On the Global Warming, it's like anything. What do you get for every cubic foot of CO-2 you release into the atmosphere? It's there because energy was consumed to do something. To do what?

To make and ship a ton of food? Or to burn one man's backyard trash?

That's what's going on here. The leftists are screaming at the ones producing a ton of food with that cubic foot of energy used, not the ones just wasting 90% of it and belching all sorts of other particulate (carcinogenic) matter into the atmosphere as well.

That's malicious. It's just a stick to bash America with.

If their Draconian CO-2 measures make food production and the production of other necessesities too expensive here to pay, who will scream when production slows to the point that we aren't exporting anymore and have no surplus to give away anymore?

The rest of the world, that's who. They depend on stuff America produces.

And it should be needless to say what a disastrous effect a depressed American economy would have on the rest of the world! Those who dream of America's downfall had better pray they don't get what they want. Duh.

It's just anti-Americanism and leftist socialist politics in disguise, that's all.

There is no sense to it. And people just go "Yup, yup, yup," and suck this nonsense up.

It never dawns on "the people who think" to think of asking not only (1) How much CO-2 does each country PRODUCE, but also (2) How much CO-2 does each country REMOVE from the atmosphere?

If you use NET values, the US is the only country that CLEANS the atmosphere passing over it.

These liars also conveniently ignore the population of the US, the sheer breadth and distance that the average American must travel per year, and the wintertime temperatures in the center of the Continent.

Europe has continually increased CO-2 emmisions since 2000 when it started screaming at America about global warming. Why has that fact been kept a secret? The US is the only country that has decreased CO-2 emissions every year since Bush took office. Why is that fact kept a secret too?

These screaming meemies have nothing bu ANTI-credibility. PhD or not - because these people are just lying. And I don't care if they believe their own lies: that just makes them double liars.

And oh, how wonderful they say France is. But why then won't they allow nuclear power here too? Then we could be just as "green" as France, which exports nuclear power throughout Europe.

And the punch line is that then then "the people who think" turn around and call the rest of us the "simplistic" ones.

They are not honest and there is very little independent thought in that crowd. Go to their blogs and forums and see what happens to anyone who dares express an opinion that blows against wind. They even characteristically RATE comments to discourage independent thinking. Well over 90% of academics give to the same political party. Well over 90% of this whole crowd always agree on every hot-button issue. That ain't independent thinking. That is peer pressure to conform to political correctness. You get called "stupid" and "crazy" if you don't think "right" according to them.

Of course you find this on the far right too. But there are so few of them on the far right that it's hard to take them seriously. On the left, however, this brand of fascism is increasing to porportions that make it downright scary. Intellectually honest liberals have to speak up against it or liberalism will get a bad name.

At 6:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What this ridiculous article also fails to mention is that if an N can't be liked or admired, then they want to be FEARED. At least it mentions Scott Peterson as an example.

At 12:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kathy you say, "Europe has continually increased CO-2 emmisions since 2000 when it started screaming at America about global warming. Why has that fact been kept a secret? The US is the only country that has decreased CO-2 emissions every year since Bush took office. Why is that fact kept a secret too?"

Where are you getting this data?

At 3:05 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

I certainly am not getting it from the MSM, am I? They bury this kind of news. Shamelessly. Some I have Googled for. Some I have read about in blogs that discovered original sources and linked to them - such as a Prime Minister's speech last year when he was getting grilled by British reporters about why their emmissions had gone up every year.

The MSM is far from credible. I learned this a few years ago when I was laid up during the run up to Iraq war and overdosed on C-SPAN. Every evening when I saw what the press had made of the facts, I became enraged at how we are being manipulated and lied to. It's almost an ingrained habit of theirs. There's power in controling the perceptions of people and the press is drunk on it. For example, once on C-SPAN I heard the host question editors of the NY Times and Washington Post. He asked if they felt the people in their newsroom would automatically think every proposal by an environmental group was good and should be adopted and that every word against was bad.

The dufuses just said, "Well, yes, of course," having no idea what might be wrong with such prejudice. Listen to them. They think they are to hold elected officials to account. But when you ask who elected or appointed them and who holds them to account, the dufuses just ape at you again.

If you want to know the truth, find it. It's out there. If you want to know what happened at the UN today, go to the UN website and read the documents. Then be prepared to be outraged by what you hear the press make of it tonight.

A lot of it is just to create controversy for profit. It sells. Attracting advertizing dollars. But a lot of it is political indoctrination in the Ivy League schools they almost all come from.

At 12:26 PM, Blogger Patricia Finley said...

The author of "A Field Guide to Narcissism" also said:

It stands to reason that if narcissism can be fostered, it can be treated as well.
Unfortunately, I do not agree that narcissism can be treated. The Ns believe that they are perfect. Therefore, no treatment is required or necessary. It is impossible to convince them of the contrary, even when they have lost all that they rest of us value such as family and friends.
When you blame others, as Ns do, there is no reason for treatment for there is no problem to fix.
See also my blog


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