Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Demolishing the Simplistic Stereotype of Malignant Narcissism

Here's a case study of a narcissist that demolishes the simplistic stereotype of the corporate executive or the snobby debutante.

Let's call him Jack. You never see Jack in anything but a T-shirt and blue jeans.

When he and his wife and kids moved in next door a couple years ago, he seemed liked a regular guy, a hard-working man. He had beautiful long, blonde hair reminiscent of the hippy culture. It was full and clean and looked like it had been washed and groomed every day. His yard looked just as good.

But then almost overnight, he changed. In fact, you almost thought he was a different person. He cut his hair. He never washed it now. He looked seedy now. And so did his gone-to-seed back yard.

That should be red alert number 1: it shows that the man he appeared to be before was a total phony.

You knew Jack's comings and goings now, because he would roar in and out of his driveway in his big, suped-up pickup truck with the mag wheels. Obviously, he was often leaving home in a rage and letting the whole neighborhood know it.

Attention getting behavior.

Roaring in and out, in and out, in and out, five or six times an evening. You know what that that means, especially after you notice him falling out of his truck a few times.

He's about 35-40 years old, but he drives like a kid with 17-year-old hormones. You know - "Look, Ma! I'm a stud!"

Attention getting behavior.

In fact, he drives so wildly that it never ceases to amaze you: he drives like a maniac. And since you know he's falling-down drunk behind the wheel half the time, you wonder who his friends on the local police force are.

But then you discover that he only drives that way to the end of the block.

Since it's just for the attention of his wife and neighbors, there is no need to continue roaring past that point.

When he runs over your tree or fence or destroys your lawn by spinning out in it and you call him on the phone, you are stunned by the sound of his voice. He sounds so polite, you picture a business executive, not that dirtball next door. Promises, promises.

Then he just goes and destroys your property some more.

Who says narcissists have no sense of humor?

Though he has a rap sheet a mile long, he even fools the cops. They believe his story about these affairs and warn the victims, who have never been in trouble with the law before, to watch out or they will be facing charges.

So, no wonder he can con a psychiatrist. He's been practicing since he was six.

What finally gives those cops a clue? Sheer luck. One day another drunk runs off the road and demolishes Jack's parked pickup truck. A crowd gathers. The police arrive. Jack is so enraptured by all this attention that he bothers the police constantly to place himself center stage for the ceremonies.

His expressions of grief over his pickup truck remind one of the keening over the dead that you see women do in some cultures. Oh, woe is him! Your hatred for Jack suddenly melts at the pathetic sight of him sucking attention this way and sucking up to one police officer after another in search of a little attention. But you notice his cunning in his effort to make it a self-fulfulling prophesy by telling them how nice he thinks they are being to him.

They are just having jaw drops, and the neighbors are standing around with expressionless faces, not saying a word.

The first wife and kids disappeared one day, so he got another. The second honeymoon was shorter than the first. You could hear him roaring abuse at her at 4 AM in the kitchen every Saturday. There'd be about 30 seconds of silence, then another roared command. Then about 30 seconds of silence, and another roared command. Your imagination went wild. When it began to look like she might leave too, he started threatening suicide.

He discovered that that got him oodles of attention.

Wow! He could get an ambulance ride to the County Home! What boy wouldn't LOVE that? There they would dry him out and give him lots and lots of attention for a few days. All for free.

His second Mamma left now too. So now he just got blind drunk and called the ambulance himself when his need for attention became desperate. Eventually, however, the City refused to send the ambulance for him anymore.

So, he took to knocking on the doors of neighbors he hadn't yet made enemies of, telling them his phone was disconnected and that he needed an ambulance.

That worked a few times too. But then the City began question ambulance callers from that neighborhood to make sure that an ambulance call wasn't just another one of his stunts for attention at the County Home on the taxpayer's expense.

The clinicians there didn't recognize Narcissistic Personality Disorder in Jack, because he doesn't fit their stereotype, so they thought he was just an antisocial drunk. They never did anything but dry him out, talk to him, and ship him back home a few days later. Once they were bored with him, they didn't want him anymore.

So, what was this poor, desperate Jack Narcissist to do for attention? Ready for a good one?

At about 7 AM one morning, Jack walked into a tavern he'd frequented daily for years, and - not even bothering to wear a mask - pulled a knife on the proprietor and demanded money from the cash register.

I mean, let's not even TRY to get away with a crime! He goes to a bar at a time when the cash register contains nothing but about $25 in change to start the next day's business with and holds up someone who knows him by name?

What about the safe? Why wasn't he interested in the money in THAT?

Too obvious, ain't it? Again, it was all just to get attention. And it got him the attention he needed. For awhile.

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At 9:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have provided an absolutely beautiful case history of a slowly decompensating sociopath.

= a malignant narcissist who burns out his supply and has to go to greater and greater extremes for the next 'fix'.

Make it a woman, instead of a man; a dry drunk, instead of a wet drunk; and have the decades of escalating, outrageous abuse directed at a husband and one responsible child, while a second - irresponsible - child is coddled and favored,

and you've pretty much told the story of my mother's life.

Top 'o the world, Ma!

At 11:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Though he has a rap sheet a mile long, he even fools the cops. They believe his story about these affairs and warn the victims, who have never been in trouble with the law before, to watch out or they will be facing charges." Typical. Not surprised to hear this. Most Narcissists can EASILY con cops. This may be partly because far too many police forces are chock-full of Narcissists and/or Psychopaths.

At 3:38 PM, Blogger Billy said...

Sounds like this MN wasn't one of the real clever ones. :)

Here's something I'd like to know. Do MNs often fool *other* MNs, or can they spot kindred spirits when they seem them?

At 7:48 PM, Blogger groupThink said...

Yes Billy that's a very good question . The only experience I have of two of these negatively charged ions coming together was when a colleague of mine who is one hired another one !! He claimed he was the best candidate he'd ever seen. I immediately saw in his beady eyes a problem coming our way. Anyway much hilarity didn't ensue and lucky enough Narc 2 left quite quickly.

Bottom line, in my very limited experience a Narc is blissfully unaware of their kin. I do hear then rail against certain "arrogant" people from time to time though and they more or less don't get on with anyone but their superiors.


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