Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Rat Game

In a psychological experiment, you can take a bunch of lab rats, put them in a cage, and equip it with a button that delivers a treat when they push it.

You know what happens: soon those rats will learn to push it like crazy.

Then alter the button so it sometimes delivers a painful electric shock instead of a treat. Those rats still keep pushing it.

Then alter the button some more, so that it often delivers a painful electric shock instead of a treat. Those rats still keep pushing it.

Fix it so that pushing the button almost always delivers a painful shock. Ditto.

Fix it so pushing the button always delivers a painful shock. Ditto.

Long after pushing the button never delivers a treat, those rats keep pushing that button until it kills them.

Now rats certainly don't seek pain, so what's the matter with these crazy rats?

But they aren't crazy (at least not till near the end). Or codependent ;-) They are just normal rats in a perverted world that has gone upside-down on them. In that abnormal world, their normal behavior betrays them to the opposite of what they're after.

That's because pushing the button delivered pleasure at first. If it had delivered pain at first, they'd stay away from it forever after, no matter how frequently you later set the button to deliver a treat. Even if they then accidentally discover that it sometimes delivers a treat, they will never intentionally touch it.

This is because nature hasn't equipped their brain's hard wiring (basic instincts) to accommodate such a situation. Therefore, once rats have LEARNED to associate something with pleasure, that's it. It seems desirable forever after. Since such flip-flopping perversity never occurs in the natural world, their brains aren't equipped to deal with it. Only perverted people change things so that a source of pleasure becomes a source of pain.

People react to the Rat Game the same way rats do.

Your first two weeks in a new place of work. The resident narcissist comes up to you, and though he ranks no higher than you, he gives you a job evaluation without ever having seen your work. He tells you that you have a lot on the ball.

That's your treat. Instead of asking him who he thinks he is to be judging your job performance, you are flattered and want more of what he's selling.

You'll get nothing but treats like that for awhile, and then suddenly one day you'll get a painful shock instead. When you greet him, he will give you nothing but the stink-eye and look away, refusing to speak to you.

After your shock wears off, you will suffer wondering what terrible thing he thinks you did. You will try to make him give you treats again.

But he will always be unpredictable. He will be able to get mad at ANYTHING or to praise you for ANYTHING. It's totally arbitrary, because he can make anything good sound bad and vice versa. He can judge you as "too this" or "too that" at his whim.

But you will keep pushing that button till it kills you.

A therapist taught a woman I used to know about this, because her husband abused her with it.

It's a very common game. One narcissist told me that "the best part is that you never even get to know what you did" that made him mad.

That's because it wasn't anything you did that made him mad. His anger, like all the faces he puts on, is just a pumped-up put-on to draw the reaction from you that he wants.

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At 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post. It puts it all into very simple perspective.

I wonder though whether narcissists aren't rats themselves. They go around pressing people's buttons to see who is going to give them what they want, and when they find one that gives them supply, they just keep pressing it, even after the supply goes away. For example, I cut off my N mother, and told her I don't want her contacting me or my kids again, guess what, she pretends I didn't say that, and goes on sending stuff in the mail regardless of the fact that she gets absolutely no response from it.

At 7:28 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

Interesting observation, and it squares with what I've seen.

At 6:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just found this website.

Had to laugh!
Thanks Kathy et al.

I'm 56 years old, now.
I think I've been through the lot, and that a life bedevilled by Malignant Narcissism will soon be completely behind me.

From doing a little reading here, coupled with a lifetime of 'constantly seeking', I think I can safely say that both my parents were Narcissists.

My Mum was just a plain old narcissist, but my Dad was definitely a Malignant Narcissist.

He was actually diagnosed as such round about 1990. He was pleased with his diagnosis!

It made him special!

Anyway, I'm glad to announce that the bastard died a year ago....

Now, I have ahead of me his last little act of brutality against me to get through: I'm contesting his Will in a Court of Law.

He didn't actually cut me right out of his Will. If he'd done that, I wouldn't have even got to read it - so I wouldn't have felt hurt, rejected, 'reviled', 'cast aside', etc, etc.

Twelve step programmes?
Al Anon?
Group therapy?

Been there, done all that!

The only thing I refused to try was pharmaceutical drugs to 'help' me cope with it all.

Am I to blame?
No. I am not.

The 'helping professions' are to blame for refusing to tell me the truth for all these years of my life. For constantly coming up with crack-pot 'theories' which they pass off as truth, and 'mentoring' me through a whole load of'processes' they insisted I needed to undergo to 'free' myself of my 'unconcious motivations'.

And thousands of people working in the fields of psychiatry, psychology, counselling, welfare work, medicine, and the clergy are clearly Malignant Narcissists -enjoying the pain they can inflict on the vulnerable 'behind closed doors'.

Enjoying the almost-total control they can gain over a patient's or client's life.

They are criminals.
Like all other criminals they have forged huge international networks, as well as smaller local networks.

They are evil.
They are stupid.
They are so transparent.
They actually need a huge field of 'infiltrators' in the helping professions and the police forces to be able to continue with what they do.

My father should have been executed decades ago for the crimes he has committed, but he simply paid off the cops with money he had made from pornos and blackmail and drug-running.

Nothing and no-one is sacred to these people.

The gloating face...
Ah yes.
My sister has it, too.

The Rat Game sounds interesting.
Is it herditary?
Was Lamarck correct after all?

Or is it as my Dad once gloated: "we 'groom' children from when they are very young".

Just like paedophiles...
Let's face it: to be a paedophile, one would have to be a Malignant Narcissist.

I agree with you, Kathy.
The average vanity-ridden, self-centered Narcissist is quite different from a Malignant one.

That's the meaning of the word 'malignancy': it just keeps getting worse and more pathological.

Sociopaths and psychopaths are defintely Malignant Narcissist.

It's interesting reading this website and people's comments. It's helping me move through my Dad's last 'punishment' for not being 'a dutiful daughter'.

I don't really care if I win or lose this court case over his Will. It's the principle at stake here.

My Dad did his best to ruin my reputation and my career and my family and my entire life.

He and his 'associates' did a pretty good job of it, too.

Now, I get my time in court and I get to have it all written down on the official records.

I might not get any money at all.
In fact, it just might cost me a few thousand dollars. That miserly amount he has bequeathed to me!

Like all Malignant Narcissists, he just had to keep on attacking from beyond the grave...

So stupid. So petty. So banal. So evil.

I'll keep reading here.
I've still quite a bit to learn and much to put into 'place' so that I can make some sense of my (old) life, and I can begin looking forward to my Narcissist-free life!

Thanks to all of you who have contributed by posting: I don't feel so "all alone".

At 11:44 AM, Blogger So, what IS in a heart? said...

Some Ns. In fact, a lot of them are masochists. They seek out people to "slap" them or "hurt" them, so they can "play the martyr". *barf*

"It made him special!"

And ironically enough, he's no such thing. There's not a single thing they do that hasn't been done already by many others just like them. People like him aren't the only ones who think that way either.

"It's helping me move through my Dad's last 'punishment' for not being 'a dutiful daughter'."

His idea of a "dutiful" daughter would be someone who is either "just like him" or someone who does nothing more than cater to his every whim. But, of course, it's never good enough, and the target ends up punished for being "weak".

If your sister is an MN, then get rid of her too because if you were to win, then I will guarantee you that she'll try some things too. As for your mother, well, even someone who is a "plain old N" can still cause trouble.

I hope you win and things get better from there. The best revenge IS living well. Something people like him don't want you to do.

At 8:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Christmas at last." here....

(I posted as 'anonymous' above "so, what's in a heart?"'s respones...)


Thanks for your reply.
Your advice is good.
Your warnings are right.

My sister got me out of her life 15 years ago by informing both my parents that I had been sexually molesting her young daughters - my nieces.

My father was delighted by this 'event' and my mother declared: "she had no way of knowing what to believe and refused to become involved!!"

None of my "rational talk" with both, or either, of my parents made any difference.

My sister refused to speak to me: locking her house door and hiding when I came to talk to her. My nieces spoke to me through the window..?

I was extra-ordinarily worried about my 'lil' sister. I already knew that my Dad was a complete lunatic and he had declared my Mum to have 'Stolckholm Syndrome'.

I was also terrified that my nieces may, in fact, be being sexually abused by someone and that my father had manipulated my sister into believing it was me...

I was even more terrified that neither my sister, my father, nor my mother had any intention of reporting the alleged paedophilia to the proper authorities.

Why not?
Would they really leave little children in danger?

Would they really leave me 'on the loose'- if I was a paedophile as accused?

None of it made any sense at all.
My worst fears seemed to have been realised.

Didn't matter which way I thunked it through: this was so sinister.

After a few weeks with no change: I reported the allegations against me to our Federal Police - that's the law.

Perhaps I was unknowingly a paedophile?
Perhaps I had 'multiple personality disorder'?
How the hell would I know?

I only knew for sure that the kids were in danger from my lunatic Malignant Narcissist Dad and my kid sister had apparently fallen for it and my Mum was too frightened to do or say a damn thing.

Since neither of my parents nor I were born in the country in which we live (Australia) the Federal Police had to do a background check on me and my parents in our homeland country as well as here in Australia.

It was very costly in terms of $$$.
But according to the cops: I got pretty good reviews from everyone interviewed, and even those spied upon...

I was givem the "All Clear" and permission to return to my work, which was as a Community Development and Education Officer.

I was also asked not to discuss the matter with anyone since it was already pretty common knowledge that an international paedophile ring was operating through our town and a few hundred people were already under investigation.

In the past 15 years, I'm glad to say that a few dozen of them have been arrested, charged, and jailed.

My Mum died about seven years ago. I'm finally over grieving for her. She was a victim who victimised others.

I don't have any words to express how I feel about my Mother. What could I say? What could possibly describe the harm she, too, has perpetrated?

She was definitely not innocent.

She could have easily freed us, her children, from the cruelty of her husband.

We often asked her to divorce Dad when we were kids. She always refused.

Today, her own Narcissistic demands that she 'have a husband to support her' and that she 'isn't socially stigmatised as a divorcee' still has a damaging daily effect on all her children, all her grandchildren, and all her great-grandchildren.

That's not a legacy left by a decent woman.

Sometimes, now that Dad is finally dead (hooray!), I wish she were still alive so that I could go visit her and maybe do some gloating of my own...

You know, something like:
"Well! Now that you are vulnerable, little old lady...
Now, that you have no husband to support you... blah, blah, blah.

Yeah, but what would I say?

Narcissists don't hear what we say.
No point saying anything.

Just pack your bags and flee: that's my best advice.

For me, it's almost over.
I'll use the court case to get it all on the Public Record. Hopefully, one day, the Authorities will go back to legally acknowledging that Narcissists are Sadists and should be arrested and imprisoned in psychiatric hospitals for the term of their natural lives...

I'd prefer they were executed.

They are evil.
They are deliberately and premeditatedly evil people.
They actually enjoy the pain they inflict on us.

So many millions of us: often the most vulnerable of us.

For me: Christmas at last!

At 9:28 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

anonymous 8:27,

I will bet the farm that almost no so-called "authority" on NPD has any idea that narcissists do just this kind of thing to their victims.

At 8:12 AM, Blogger B.E.C.K. said...

I was like a lab rat years ago. My now-ex was charming and sweet for about the first month of our relationship -- then I spent years wondering what I'd done to make him angry at me. Along the way there were enough small rewards that kept me "working on it." We saw about eight therapists together. My ex was also a therapist and found something "wrong" with every therapist we met; I now think he was just making sure we didn't see anyone long enough for them to figure him out. I wound up having to do my own research to finally determine that my ex is a malignant narcissist -- then EVERY SINGLE THING mad sense. It's as though all the literature on malignant narcissism has been written about my ex and me. If only one of the many therapists we saw years ago could have saved me all the time it took for me to find this out.


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