Monday, March 31, 2008

Everyone's Deepest fear

A narcissist I knew found herself taking a Basic Studies course, Speech 101, during her sixth year of college (when her mother finally forced her to graduate).

She told me that the other students (freshmen and sophomores) were naive. That they took things for granted and — well, it sounded like she was saying they thought life a piece of cake. Kinda like the American Dream: if you do your best, do things right, and play by the rules, you will succeed and live happily ever after.

So, for her first speech, she thought to wise them up by showing them that they shouldn't be so carefree. In that speech she told them that they should take nothing for granted, that no matter who you are, you can have "it all taken away." Just like that. Overnight. Your job, career, your friends and family — everything.

And through no fault of your own. No matter how good a person you are. No matter how well you do what you do.

I naturally thought she was referring to the possibility of some great catastrophe, such as war, destroying lives.

But she glossed over that and zeroed-in on what she called "everyone's deepest fear," character assassination. She said that, behind your back, anyone could spread lies about you that would completely destroy you. By doing this, that person could take away everything you had. He or she could make you a social outcast, taking even your loved ones away from you. The devastating power of the lie could put you on Skid Row, where you would end up at the bottom as a rag-picker or a bag-lady. And there was nothing you could do about it.

For, you might as well be one, because, by treating you like one, they're perceptions were relentlessly making you one.

Deep down inside, she said, everyone knows this, and that it is "everyone's deepest fear."

I had to admit that she was right. I didn't yet know that she has NPD, but now I see that she was wising me up (= worrying me) too, by telling me this.

Even those who believe in God don't claim that he enforces his rules to maintain law and order. He allows destroyers to destroy to their hearts' content. Only in the next world is supposed to get around to punishing violations of his rules (though by then it's too late, so I don't see what for ;-)

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At 4:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kathy, Once again it is spooky to see how the N's can behave the same. My N spouse said virtually the same thing to me, when someone we knew casually was accused of "flashing" someone. That accusation drove the person out of school. The N spouse talked about how that could happen to anyone, anytime. Now I am wondering just how much and how often he has indulged in slander? I have had to face the fact that over nearly 20 yr marriage, he was lying to me most of the time. Indeed, I am having to realize he probably slandered me with abandon too. How do we recover from this kind of damage? I am the only one who sees what he really is - he is very well camoflauged. "jewell"

At 5:54 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

For one thing, character assassination should be illegal and incur punitive damages. Yes, it's hard to prove, because the "innocent" bystanders serve as accomplices by refusing to testify to what the Narcissist has told them about you.


A. The law should therefore punish them the same as if they were serving as an accomplice to any other crime by refusing to report it.

B. Enable class action suits that allow evidence establishing a pattern of behavior. Ns leave a long trail of the slandered in their wake. So, you can nail them in court if the court admits "pattern behavior" type evidence, such as that this N has gotten 10 people fired in his past.

I guarantee you that serious laws would ruin ruin people's taste for juicy gossip, and they would stop siddling up to every N they know to hear more of it.

As for the victim, the victim has no choice: the only defense is to go around to people and tell them the truth = tell them that the N is a character assassin, pointing out that every accusation he makes is false and just an act of projecting the N's own flaws and misdeeds off onto his or her betters.

This is why the victim must be allowed to fight back. And since the victim is telling the truth, the N has no legal recourse.

People like Ns who slander others are crud. And people who eagerly gobble up slander are crud too.

At 6:03 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

Very often, at least as often as not, the people who gobble up the Ns lies should know better. That's because the accusation is always doubly ironic when you consider the source and the target. When a person, for example, has proved his honesty every day for 20 years, and you suddenly unknow all that to believe that he's liar, just because some known liar tells you so, you are not innocent. You are just as guilty as the slanderer.

Not always - because you don't always know the target of the slander well enough to see that the slander is a joke - but often, especially in the familiy or in the workplace, the "innocent" bystanders are guilty too - guilty of believing known lies just because they want to.

At 7:27 AM, Anonymous Barbara said...

Brilliant again Kathy.

Also, Ns tend to try to schmooze people and then tell the NOT TO TALK TO or EVER MET their victim - so then these people wouldn't know if that person was o.k. or not.

The isolation of perception is to believe only the Ns lies.

I've had this done to me a few times. Once, the wife of a friend who was always stand offish to me believe an N that knew me, despite her husband having known me for years and telling her what an honest, good person I was. Finally she saw for herself that I was an honest good person - and apologized profusely to me.

So the Ns have vested interest in making sure you never meet their audience.

At 11:34 AM, Anonymous Dick said...

Kathy, I am really not a "blog" person, but having been helped tremendously from your e-book, I thought to leave a comment hereon something I am qualified. The chapters on your book are very edifying on "issue-spotting" the NPD behavior; the question is "what to do next." I thought I might add the following:

1. Did you know that prior to 1984, Defamation, defined as (Rs.3d. Torts) "language adversely affecting reputation", was part of the CA.PENAL CODE, and not merely the Civil Code?

2. Did you know that there is an area of slander (and more recently via the Internet, Libel, "written slander" including e-mails) in which damages are presumed. This means that the law presumes injury in those areas most wont from NPD's: false allegations of crime, communicable diseases, unchaste behavior, or business incompetence?

As an attorney recovering from a NPD/BPD wife, I have come to understand the necessity of going on the offense: do not sit on the laurels, but react, as quickly as possible, with a counter-attack in the form of a civil suit in defamation. It may not go anywhere, but I have found that it quiets the situation down remarkably!

I would add that, in memory of some of her most despicable actions, she began a blevy of anti-Semitic rantings in regards my late father, particularly, anytime there was an opportunity to serve pork or pork-related products at the holidays. Then, after some religious epiphany in which she "converted" to a cultish varient of charismatic christianity, she engaged in discourse with a Hispanic friend who concluded with her that "as a Jew" I was full of "Satan and needed wiped off of the face of the earth."

Although I am only 50% Jewish, this is a 100% HATE CRIME, and I would direct your readers to the following, if they believe they are victims of this form of ridiculous, malicious and regrettably unreported discourse:

Don't let 'em get away with it!


At 12:27 PM, Blogger Hellboy said...

Hi Kathy,

This is very true. Me being an ACON, attracts others Ns like a magnet due to the life-time training I had received at the hands of my MN Father and Inverted N Mother to be very tolerant of Ns. I have wised up a lot in the past few years and now better prepared for any N onslaught. However wish to mention that there was once an N (not related to us) who entered our lives under the guise of a friend. Soon, he was living in our house and living off us, never did we take a single dollar as rent from him. Slowly, he started to poison my family against me by slander behind my back. This was one of the worst phases in my life! The situation was saved by my Father in law, who had come for a visit and saw what was going on. My wife was so much under the spell of this N (whom she used to treat as a younger brother) that she saw nothing wrong in him. Once her eyes were opened, we unceremoniously kicked this N "friend" out of our lives and everything's normal now. Have learnt yet another lesson regarding N's and that is; they get a kick out of destroying other's lives, it's not necessary that you are his enemy for him to slander you! They can stoop to any levels!


At 6:32 PM, Blogger So, what IS in a heart? said...

"Deep down inside, she said, everyone knows this, and that it is "everyone's deepest fear." "

She was probably projecting, but I can see how many people would have that fear, but as a deepest fear? Lots of people, maybe, but not everyone.

"As for the victim, the victim has no choice: the only defense is to go around to people and tell them the truth = tell them that the N is a character assassin, pointing out that every accusation he makes is false and just an act of projecting the N's own flaws and misdeeds off onto his or her betters."

Reminds me of what happened to Brett Butler. Her first husband, who was a physical abuser, accused her of "hitting him first". Her response? "All I can say is that I didn't."

Also, in high school, one of my classmates talked about how she would react to rumors. Instead of automatically believing it, she'd go and speak to the target of the rumors.

Dealing with a slander campaign is no easy road, given how many opponents you may have, but it's also a good way to tell who your REAL friends are.

At 6:35 PM, Blogger So, what IS in a heart? said...

"It may not go anywhere, but I have found that it quiets the situation down remarkably!"

Especially when you just DO IT, instead of threaten it.

At 1:08 PM, Blogger rin said...

"Even those who believe in God don't claim that he enforces his rules to maintain law and order."

Thomas Jefferson said something just like this. You are both correct.

At 9:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For me, he slandered me with a Ginsu carving knife that he must have gotten from an infomercial some Sunday afternoon...

Complete precision.

For example, he'd bring me on a day trip to New York with his sister and brother-in-law.

Walking arm and arm down Fifth Avenue ahead of them, he'd whisper in my look disgusting. Why would you wear brown shoes with a black coat? I am embarrassed to be seen with you.

Then he would kiss me on the cheek.

After a day of picking and picking and picking in the shadows as he hugged me and bought me lunch at the Plaza Hotel, he would finally drive me to loose my temper, usually after he fed me a glass or two of wine... his sister and brother-in-law, I would be the crazy one. I would be the drunk. I would be the one out of control - and him?

He was the perfect boyfriend who only wanted to treat me to a day in the city.

He looked so loving. He was so close to me all day. He took such good care of me, pouring my wine.

And me? I am a lunatic who goes off over nothing.

Then, in the ultimate pick, he would use my lunatic status to blame me for not wanting to commit to me...

If I could just learn to control myself...If I could just learn to behave...I would get the prize....

Then he told me his family wouldn't have anything to do with me. They didn't want him with me.

But he wanted to commit because he, of course, was the perfect, loving boyfriend.

But every day he reminded me that his family thought I was crazy.

It was all his family's fault that he couldn't marry me, or have me for Christmas dinner, or invite me to his nephew's baptism.

Over time, this water torture ruins a good person and her good reputation.

People see it with their own eyes. He doesn't even have to open his mouth.

Then he tells the story to his friend at lunch the next day..."You should have seen her, she was out of control! Ask my sister. I just wanted to give her a nice day. I feel so bad for her. She needs help."

I got help. I went to therapist after therapist. Of course they called me codependent and questioned what was wrong with me.

I believed I was crazy. Why couldn't I control myself? Why couldn't I just enjoy the day in New York and be grateful for it?

Why was I such an unlovable person, outcast from everyone?

What was wrong with me?

But Kathy, you are right, I would either have to bend over for it or be the community lunatic.

So I guess I am proud of my lunatic status - at least I fought back.

...And yes, I have seen the movie Gaslight about a 100 times.


At 6:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Over the past week I've been thinking of this post, and I may have another deep fear, that ties into this post.

For me, the most terrifying fear is having no one in your life. Of dying alone.

When I was a teenager, my family disintegrated, and whoever isn't dead isn't speaking. My exhusband walked out on me for another woman when my son was 3 months old.

I don't know anyone who is as alone as me. Truly, except for my son, I am alone.

Character assasination ties in to my fear, because I think as your character is assassinated, you end up losing people in your life.

It is a fear I am struggling with, as it is happening to me. I question myself a lot, whether I ask too much of people, or whether I am just an N magnet.

Over the past year, I have ended friendships over of all things - apologies. With friends being all I have, I risk being totally alone.

Not sincere apologies, not apologies that are intended to heal. It seems whenever I have an issue with people these days, I get the "I am sorry you feel that way" crap.

Then, when I point out that the apology actually blames me - I get the "You can't resolve anything" crap.

Why, when another mother force-feeds my son soda when he is telling her he is not allowed to have it... "It's only water with bubbles" she told him, "when your mother isn't here, I am your mother, drink the soda..."

...and I tell her that I would like her support when my seven-year-old trys to follow my rules - she gets mad at me?

Why when my best friend tells me she is too busy to spend my birthday with me ON MY BIRTHDAY when we had dinner plans, does she get mad at me..."I have a busy life and it doesn't stop for you..."

Why when I complain and try to explain how much I was hurt, does she say "I am sorry you feel that way. I need you to consider me."

Why does another friend chastise me for confirming weekend plans mid-week - 'of course we are going, we had this plan weeks ago!'

So, too intimidated to cancel, I set out to the event with my son in a blizzard and call to tell her we are on our way, she says - 'we're not going in this blizzard!'

Then when I complain about the fact that she yelled at me for trying to confirm mid-week, and I would have appreciated a call if she was not going BEFORE I was driving in the blizzard - she blames me for NOT CALLING HER?

"I'm sorry, but you didn't call me, so how could I tell you I wasn't going?"


I remember reading your driveway story Kathy, where your neighbor tried to make you responsible for his problem parking his car in your driveway. It's kind of the same thing.

Only this happens with "friends." I can't seem to bend over for it. Am I too stiff?

The thing is, I am losing friends like crazy. They meet each other in the bookstore and talk about how unreasonable I am. They apologized, but I couldn't be satisfied.

Kathy, your analogy of a crime in progress is true for me, it's what it feels like, only it's a second offense on top of the first. Where I can expect empathy and amends, I get blamed.

Lundy Bancroft talks about how to tell sincerity from BS in his book. I follow his guidelines too. He says the person actually has to be able to talk about the offense in a way that shows you they comprehend what they did and accept your right to be angry.

Not swat me down like a fly to shut me up.

That's my gut too. But geez, I think I am the only one in the world with this gut. Everyone else is "I'm sorry, now shut up about it. Can't you just move on?"

This has been my character assasination. I have become the most unreasonable person in the world.

Everyone around me seems intent on throwing a blanket over the elephant in the living room with us.

But I'd rather throw him some peanuts and clean up the stink a little bit at a time, where it can be handled. Letting elephant crap pile up in the corner, IMHO, is a health hazard.

But again, I question myself. And also, I am here on a Saturday night without a friend in the world, trying to fight against my exboyfriend N's glue in my brain who too, believes I can never forgive and move on.

Like you Kathy, am aching to forgive these people. Being alone just reinforces in my mind the twisted things they say about me. They are all out tonight having a grand time, and I am totally alone.

Is there really something wrong with me?



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