Do narcissists have a conscience?
Believe it or not, I have been so buried in the Australian Open and my Pro Shop that I had trouble thinking of a topic for my next post here. But someone just gave me a good idea.
Do narcissists have a conscience?
No. Conscience is predicated on empathy. One puts oneself in other people's "shoes" and feels the way they do. Without empathy, there can be no love or conscience. Indeed, the narcissist has neither. To him, people are sillhuettes, penumbral projections on the walls of his inflated sense of self, figments of his fantasies. How can one regret anything if one is a solipsist (i.e., recognizes only his reality and no one else's)?
A caveat: as I've said before, what he says about narcissists generally rings true to me. (What he says about others though is a different matter. His perceptions of others are being filtered at a bias through the disease.) And here he's talking about narcissists.
Now, I could pick a nit, but I think I would have to be intentionally misunderstanding him as saying more than he means to say here.
That nit? Well, you must always be careful when you make blanket statements about narcissists (or anyone for that matter). In other words, an objection can be raised if you declare that narcissists have no...
- and so forth.
But ALL people have great power to exert voluntary control to suppress or repress (to unconscious levels) any of these mental states. In other words, ALL people can make themselves lose self-awareness so that, for all practical purposes, they have no conscience, no empathy, no feelings, and so on.
Doubt it? Remember the countless proofs of this throughout history, beginning with throwing Christians to the lions in ancient Rome and ending with hacking people to pieces in Rwanda. Was empathy or conscience in evidence among the perpetrators and bystanders?
No, they had it turned off like a light switch.
In all such mass evildoing, masses of people killed their consciences and had none. More correctly, we could say that they replaced it it with an an unconscience instead - one that makes people able to charge a starving Jew a diamond ring for a loaf of bread at the fence around the Warsaw Ghetto during the Holocaust.
Don't try to tell me that anyone with any conscience, empathy, or human feelings did that. And yet countless Poles went to Mass and Communion in the morning and then went out to the ghetto and did that. Without a twinge of conscience.
Yet this same person might feel very guilty a moment later for cursing over stubbing his toe.
Go figure. The way people mess with their minds is bizarre.
Clearly, these mental states of absence of conscience, empathy, shame and feelings are HABITS of MIND under conscious control. If you never use the wiring for them, those parts of the brain don't develop as much gray matter (connections). Which is why the brains of psychopaths actually look a bit different: they lack development in some areas like unused muscles do. And they show greater development in other areas.
That just shows what parts of the brain they're using the most, period.
Instead of using the emotional parts of the brain to process things that cause normal people to use them (and thus have an emotional response to something) they have a HABIT of using nonemotional parts of the brain to think about the matter. That's why narcissists and psychopaths are so cold-blooded and brutal.
In narcissists, this is the default mode. They are in it about everything all the time. Since early childhood. It's a habitual state of mind. They have chosen it.
They say they don't experience the full range of feelings other people seem to experience. But pardon me for not feeling sorry them, because this is no accident. It is no brain malfunction. It is the consequence of repressing their feelings all their lives, feelings which they view as "weakness" and despise.
Therefore, it takes some conscious effort for them to dig deep and get in touch with their buried feelings. I suppose it actually takes effort for them to empathize (when they want to put themselves in your shoes to see how various things would feel so they can hit you where it hurts most = be sadistic).
So, for all practical purposes, a narcissist has no conscience - except at rare and unwanted moments of self-awareness, when something happens to cause a sense of conscience to rise from its shallow grave and haunt the conscious centers of mind.
He will immediately repress it again though, immediately rebury that corpus delicti.
It's like his abysmal self-esteem: he keeps that buried too, under a delusion of its opposite.
Nonetheless, the twisted are so twisted that I don't blame anyone for making a blanket statement such as that narcissists have no conscience. For all practical purposes that is true. And quibbling that it is false on the technicality that a narcissist may, in spite of him- or her-self, experience the vague, phantom pain of a conscience for 5 seconds once or twice a year - THAT'S taking the deceitful position on the matter.
I don't blame anyone for saying that narcissists have no feelings (for anyone but themselves), no empathy, and no conscience without qualifying it every single time with that knotty caveat. You'd never get anything said about narcissism if you had to interrupt yourself at every point to explain how everything about a narcissist is a thoroughly twisted, compensatory complex. That's what they get for being so complex.
narcissistic personality disorder narcissism