Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Your Memory -- Use it

The article I referenced in two earlier posts, "Narcissism and the Dynamics of Evil", is a treasure trove of observation, insight and profound wisdom. I suspect I'll be spotlighting various points in this article from time to time because many of the author's points should be emphasized to maximize their impact.

The article makes an important observation and recommendation that I think we would all do well to digest and absorb especially since it goes directly against what our narcissists have worked hard to train and prevent us from doing. Underlining and emphasis mine:
Man is a person, from the Latin persona (through sound). He longs to express himself, to communicate himself to others, whether depraved or not. Just as those who contemplate the marvelous or the beautiful cannot hold themselves but will cry out in praise of what they behold, so too the depraved cannot help but on occasion burst out and spit their bile, thus providing others a momentary glimpse of their interior rot. Moments such as these are clues that must be stored in the memory and, like disparate pieces of a puzzle, assembled later in order to acquire a more complete picture, which will be a horror to behold, or an experience of terror -- if the narcissist discovers that he has been found out by you. The clues, in isolation, will suggest only minor imperfections or character flaws. But taken together over a number of years, they suggest something much more ominous. The inconsistencies evident in the behaviour of the narcissist -- prior to his discovery -- should never be simply accepted, only to be forgotten. Rather, one must ponder the inconsistencies in behaviour until they become consistent, that is, until the apparently inconsistent behaviour acquires an intelligible narrative that rings true.
This is truth profoundly well-stated. Notice, first of all, you likely won't perceive the narcissist quickly. The author is describing a rather elongated process ("a number of years") not a snap impression. This may seem discouraging if you're looking for a quick way to read someone so you can avoid a blood-sucking narcissist. There are signs you can look for so as to spot one more quickly, but I'm not addressing that in this particular post. Many of us who have been entangled with a narcissist have been in that entanglement for years already. Especially when we are talking about an adult child of a narcissist or a marriage. Years have become decades. So this quote above is especially relevant if you've had a long contact with the evil narcissist.

The one thing which is a clear and present threat to the narcissist's reality revisionism is your memory. I am sure you can think back right now and immediately recall how the narcissist has tried to subvert, change, re-invent, disparage, lie and deny your memory of every one of those moments when his true colors were displayed. Those moments when his "interior rot" was exposed. The narcissist is supremely agitated when you dare to voice your recall of events which reflect badly on him. Accusations are hurled at you about how you are "unwilling to let go of the past", you're "unforgiving", cruel and mean-spirited. The hypocrisy of these accusations we'll overlook for now as there is nothing like a narcissist for loving to rehearse your past ad nauseum when it suits him. What we are focusing on right now is how the narcissist is always actively working to prevent you from forming "an intelligible narrative" of who she is by her campaign to discredit and invalidate your memories of her bad acts. The very thing you need to do the narcissist is desperately working to prevent you from doing.

"The inconsistencies evident in the behaviour of the narcissist -- prior to his discovery -- should never be simply accepted, only to be forgotten. Rather, one must ponder the inconsistencies in behaviour until they become consistent, that is, until the apparently inconsistent behaviour acquires an intelligible narrative that rings true."
What this requires is that you pay attention to those behaviors which seem inconsistent and which strike you as being wrong or "off". Early on in a relationship you may just accept these as anomalies, but do not forget. I am not suggesting you take an unforgiving and harsh attitude in your relationships. I'm simply saying pay attention to those moments when your inner radar is alerted and don't just dismiss your impressions and observations and flush your memory banks. Your memory is essential in the long term if you are going to make sense of what may not make sense at the time it is happening. If what you've seen or experienced is truly an inconsistent moment the passage of time will testify to that. Over time, though, inconsistencies may very well become consistent in what they reveal. You must be willing to use your memory and re-form the narrative of your relationship with this person when you have enough evidence on hand to do so. Do not let another person have the power to force you to revise your memories to suit them.

If you've already had a long term relationship with someone you suspect is a disordered character of some sort then now is a good time to start searching the vaults of your memory and reassembling the pieces of the picture into something that makes sense. Do not cave to the demands of this person to "stop delving into the past". Don't be intimidated by their assertions of what a mean person you are being because you are daring to use your memory. As the oft-quoted proverb of George Santayana goes, "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it." There is little hope you will escape the grasp of a narcissist, psychopath, sociopath if you are unwilling to follow the simple advice of Santayana. By the way, it is not an unloving or un-Christian thing to use your memory and form a correct explanation for your relationship with someone. God gave you a memory...use it.

Once again, your best defense against the malignant narcissist is to think. You're going to have to use your memory and your judgment if you're going to minimize the damage these individuals inflict on your life and those around you. Notice I said your memory and your judgment. Narcissists are diligent in their efforts to have you substitute yours for theirs. When you allow that to happen you render yourself defenseless against them. The tools of self-defense against these people are in your possession. It is up to you whether or not you use them. Narcissists know your memory and your judgment are your best defense against them which is why they work so hard to disarm you of them.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Can You Love the Narcissist?

Do you love the narcissist? Or are you in love with your fantasy of what you wish the narcissist to be? How can you tell whether you love the person or the fantasy?

The following applies not only to romantic relationships; it applies across the board of all relationships including parent/child.

You can not truly love someone until they have revealed their characters to you. Why is this so? Because who we are is revealed by what we choose to do. Our characters are the sum total of the choices we've made.

Until you know someone's character you can not say in truth that you know or love who they are. This explains why so many marriages fall apart. People fall in love with their imagined version of the other person and don't become acquainted with that other person's character until enough time has passed for the consistency of their characters to be revealed. This is why short dating periods are often disastrous in the long-term.

We each have a will. How we exercise our will = the choices we make. The choices we make = our behaviors. The consistent behaviors a person exhibits is the truth of who they are. Behaviors are the revelation of character. Behaviors reveal what has been happening in the unseen realm of someone's thinking. When a person, like Cho of the Virginia Tech massacre, suddenly went on a murderous rampage, he was not acting out of character. He revealed what his character truly was. We have a sudden, horrific and stark revelation of what his thinking and small choices have added up to. What Cho did is who he is. Cho forced us all to see what an evil character had been developing quietly step by step and choice by choice while no one was really looking. We often hear people protest after being caught in some bad behavior that "it isn't like me to do this". No, it is like you. You chose to do what you did. You revealed who you are, not who you aren't, when you cheated on your husband or when you cooked the books at work.

If, after having a clear view of someone's personal character traits, you have respect, admiration and trust in that person then you can correctly state that you love this person.

Then there is the situation where you have gotten to know the personal characteristics of an individual, and you find that you can not say you love those characteristics. Yet you insist that you still love the person. Never mind that this person lies to you, cheats on you, slanders you to others, even physically abuses you...you tenaciously insist you hate their character traits but you love the person. It is this so-called "love" which justifies why you are still in this bad relationship. Whatever the reason for it (there can be many), this is describing someone who has created a fantasy around the objectionable character. They are not in love with the person...they are in love with the idea of who they've decided this person is in spite of the evidence to the contrary. This is not reality-based thinking. To insist a person is "good" despite what bad things they actually do is an exercise in your imagination only.

Perhaps you insist that you love what this person could be if they only tried. This, too, is a refusal to live in reality. Can we please dispense with this sloppy thinking? Can we stop trying to fool ourselves in order to justify staying in a destructive relationship? Can we call things by their right names? Go ahead and insist that you love the rotten character, but quit doing it to make yourself believe you are a better person for doing so. Stop white-washing their character in order to convince yourself you need to stay connected to them. If you are afraid of leaving the comfort of the known for the discomfort of the unknown world of life without this bad character, then admit that truth to yourself. But stop pretending you love something that is hateful. Remember that a key component of mental health is the mind which insists on living in reality i.e. the truth. You are not doing your mental health any favors by engaging in these mental games which allow you to stay in a bad place. If you don't love what a person does then you can't accurately state that you love the person himself.

This type of imaginary love is a real problem for many adult children of narcissists (ACONs). It can be incredibly difficult to admit to yourself that you don't love your narcissist parent or that they don't love you. It seems to go against nature to make that admission. I see many ACONs insisting to themselves that they love their N mom or N dad despite the decades of ill treatment they've received from her or him. The ACON isn't ready to give up the idea of having a loving parent, so the ACON must pretend they love this abusive parent in order to justify staying connected. They are willing to pretend that their mommy or daddy really loves them "deep down" though they don't recognize they are having to imagine the love they "see" coming from their parent. This keeps the ACON in an actively destructive relationship. Many ACONs are willing to risk their marriages and their own children's emotional and physical safety in order to "keep the dream alive". This refusal to admit to reality is damaging to more than your own mental health. You can risk everything good in your life by insisting your fantasy is reality. Your refusal to walk away from a destructive parent is not a testament to your deep and abiding love for this person...it is a testament to your volitional stupidity. Do not call your dependency on a bad relationship "love".

It is okay to love a bad person, but only from a distance. Don't insist your love for a destructive person is justification enough for staying close to them. You risk all that is good and beautiful in life in order to love the unlovable. Maybe you think that means you are a better person because you can love and unlovable, but when your so-called love means the destruction of your own well-being, and the well-being of the innocents around you, then I insist you are not as good as you think you are.

Monday, August 20, 2007

When Good is Bad

This quote is from the site I mentioned in my previous post:
The most dangerous predators among us are ingeniously veiled. They carefully surround themselves with people entirely unlike themselves, that is, with deeply empathic human beings who wish to please others, who are slow to judge, who are excessively tolerant and who have an eye for the good to be found in others. They know how to exploit to their own advantage such character traits. It is their association with such people that maximizes their chances of perpetuating the facade and keeping themselves from exposure. "Narcissism & the Dynamics of Evil"
The underlining is mine. I want to focus your attention for a moment on the kind of good person, good qualities, and good intentions which are used to support and hide "the most dangerous predators". If good is used for the evil purposes of predators then good itself becomes dangerous. We really must make determined efforts to not allow good to be used as a cloak for evil, especially if that good resides in ourselves. We are responsible to others to make sure our good natures and qualities are not used by predators to get within striking distance of their victims.

A group of people who are admire and cultivate the qualities of being "deeply empathic", people pleasers, reluctant to judge, "excessively tolerant" and who choose to see only the good in others, are Christians. You do not have to be a Christian to value and hold these qualities, but as a group Christians tend to value and emphasize and reward these qualities. So I'm talking especially to Christians. I hope the rest of you stay tuned, because I'm still talking to you, too.

There is something fundamentally wrong with our idea of how "good" people should be if we are not discriminating enough to make sure our "good" is not used to facilitate evil. If the "good" qualities we boast of are used as weapons in the hands of a predator then our "good" is actually turned to evil. This is very serious business.

Let's consider for a moment the quality of "slow to judge". It is easy enough to imagine why a predatory narcissist would find these people very expedient to their ends if you pause to think even for a moment on it. The day of inevitable exposure of the narcissist is long postponed, perhaps forever, if the narcissist is able to surround himself with people who will suspend all judgment of the narcissist's behaviors and ascribe non-malevolent motives to the narcissist for his bad acts. When the day of exposure arrives, the narcissist has these ardent supporters who will protest with all the vehemence and conviction of their good souls that the narcissist is misunderstood and hastily misjudged. This makes it difficult for others to maintain their just assertions against the narcissist because the good reputations of the narcissist's supporters are now used to make the accuser look bad by contrast. It can be nearly impossible for a victim of a narcissist to press their claims when so-called good people form a protective ring around the evil-doer and divert the slings and arrows back to the victim. This behavior of the "good" people actually guarantees the narcissist will continue to have access to his or her victim as well as access to new victims in the future. If that isn't evil in itself, I do not know what is. If we do not exercise our frontal lobes, that is, our ability to judge between things, then we guarantee that evil will prosper in our presence.

Let's look again at the list of qualities that the predatory narcissist looks for in those he surrounds himself with:

deeply empathic
people pleasing
slow to judge
excessively tolerant
belief in the basic good of others

When we bestow these graces upon evil people we can safely state that these qualities become evil themselves. These qualities, by themselves, are neither good nor evil.

Chew on that for moment.

What determines whether or not they are good qualities is upon whom and in what circumstances we exercise them. This goes against what most good people believe. They see these qualities as unqualified virtues regardless. It is this kind of thinking the narcissist exploits.

The least virtuous of these qualities, in my opinion, is the extreme reluctance to judge. All the other qualities spring from this one. So I will state here that judging is absolutely necessary if we are going to avoid being used by evil people. The word judgmental has gotten an extremely bad rap over the years. The psychologizing of our society has led to this idea that everyone is basically good and that all forms of guilt are deleterious to individuals. This is because everyone is construed to be some form of victim, therefore they can't help how they behave. Pop psychology has done more to facilitate narcissists than any other modern philosophy. Pop psychology preaches that all the badly behaving person needs is a empathetic ear (i.e. talk therapy). Pop psychology relies on an extreme reluctance to judge any kind of behavior; it preaches that we must all be excessively tolerant of others; and underlying all of its dogma is the fundamental belief in the basic good of humanity. So, as you can see, Christians aren't the only ones prone to over-value (and misapply) the qualities listed above. In fact, Christians used to be a lot better at holding evil doers to account, but pop psychology has infiltrated Christian thought which means Christians and secularists are thinking very much alike on this. "Nice" is now the "virtue" a vast number of people are pursuing and competing to have ascribed to them. "Nice" now equals "good" in the minds of many. "Nice" people think it is not nice to hurt people's feelings. They bend over backwards to never hurt anyone's feelings. This, of course, is impossible to accomplish. Someone is always going to get their feelings hurt. Shouldn't we strive to make sure that if someone's feelings get hurt that it is the predatory ones among us who get clobbered and not their victims?

It is no small thing to let your goodness be exploited, used, and manipulated by predatory narcissists. Your good qualities are only good if they support good. All too often people fall for the notion that their eternal patience and determined belief in the good of all people will cause others to rise to the occasion. The narcissist will never rise to this occasion in the way you hope. They will only see opportunity for protective coloration by standing very close to you and letting your goodness hide their badness.

It is imperative for you, your family, and your social circle that you engage your rational powers and start discerning between good and evil. Discernment = judgment. Not a bad word. I have said before that "nice people suck". In this context, of how "nice" people often let themselves be used by evil people, I am speaking. There is a time for everything. Always being "nice" is a sign that you do not understand there is a time to not be "nice". There is a time to judge. A time to take an unpopular stand. A time to hold evil-doers to account no matter the cost to you. A time to protect the innocent and abused from those who have very successfully hidden their malignancy heretofore. A time for war.

Wisdom recognizes:
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. Eccl. 3:1-8

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

"Narcissism and the Dynamics of Evil"

I came across this article two years ago and really appreciated its insights. I will share some excerpts of the article here and hopefully you'll be interested enough to read it in its entirety.

By Doug McManaman:

...evil is parasitic. Its host is always a good. And since evil is a kind of non-being or nothingness, pure evil is impossible. Pure evil would be completely nothing, and nothing is not evil; it simply 'is not'. Evil is a privation that requires a subject in which to inhere...

From a purely moral point of view, this is how the narcissistic character disordered are created. They are self-created, or better yet, self-decreated, and then re-created, although what is re-created is not a self, but a reflection or an image. The greater the opposition between his depravity or moral nothingness (and thus self-loathing) and his egotism (his injustice and his regard for others as mere instruments of his own gratification), the more pathological his narcissism, and thus the more grandiose and fantastic his reflected or false self.
There is much more as the author next goes into describing characteristics of the narcissist. His insights on how evil people cloak their evil so other people don't see it are quite astute.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

To the Narcissist "There is No Good and Evil"

"There is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it..." Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

Those words are coming from the character whose mind is controlled by the evil character Lord Voldemort in the popular children's book referenced above. The above words are the succinct description of the narcissist's rationale. Sorry to cite J.K. Rowling, but she has captured in few words the essence of how evil does away with the whole idea of evil.

I have stated before how narcissists don't see themselves or their deeds as evil. They have constructed a view of reality which enables them to operate as they please while avoiding such sticky labels as "evil".

It is important to understand how evil people skirt the whole issue of evil by reducing every human interaction to power...those who are strong enough to take it and those who are too weak to take it. This philosophy is often called the "law of the jungle" and "might makes right". It is the philosophy of the lawless. The narcissist performs this alchemy of words which transmogrifies his evil deeds into what he sees as a virtue: power. The world tends to admire and fear the powerful. More often than not the world rewards power. It isn't hard to understand why the narcissist wants it and how he justifies it. Not only does the narcissist turn power into a virtue, at the same time you are reduced in value and virtue because you don't seek power (which the narcissist chooses to see as your fear of grasping it). The narcissist is able to admire his evil acts as acts of "virtuous" power and to simultaneously despise you for being weak and a victim. Even if he has turned you into his victim, he hates you for letting him do it to you.

You inspire nothing but the narcissist's loathing and disdain when you are at his mercy. If you are his victim, he triumphs over you and despises you at the same time. The reason for this is captured entirely by the quote at the beginning of this post. His vice is virtue, and your perceived weakness is your vice.

I remember very clearly being overwhelmed, perplexed and despairing as a teen when I experienced my mother's active loathing of me. I don't remember what sequence of events led to it, but around age fifteen found me feeling like a cipher. I would literally cower and cast my eyes downward when my mother would walk by. The more I did this the more I sensed her active hatred of me. The more fearful and self-loathing I became the more frequent her demonstrations of her seething dislike. She made me feel like a leper. I remember trying to figure out what the hell I was doing that was making her hate me more every day. I thought I was giving her what she wanted: a show of my complete subservience and acquiescence to her rule. I didn't earn her approval by my complete psychological caving in to her...all I earned was her curled lip, her hissing comments, her treating me like I was the lowest of the low.

Thankfully, I didn't stay in this dungeon of my self-hatred for more than a year or so. A root of rebellion sprung up in my heart and saved me from being consumed by this evil woman. My point in bringing this up is to try to illustrate how the narcissist's power over you doesn't make them like you...or love you. They hate you all the more because they believe that being powerless and fearful is a vice even while they demand you take the position of being powerless and fearful. Narcissists never play fairly.

You have no hope of gaining the upper hand with these ruthless creatures until you sprout a backbone and stand up to them unequivocally and unapologetically. The language they understand is that of cold, calculating power grabs. I am not saying you should behave in that way. I am only saying you must project power. You can do this when you're willing to take a stand against their slander, their vile deeds, their history revisionism. Don't look weak. Remember, they perceive kindness as weakness. Also, sharing with them how they've hurt you only empowers them. A sure sign of a narcissist is that if you ask them to stop doing something they will do it all the more. So, sharing your hurt feelings with them is like asking them to twist the knife all the way in. Your hurt feelings are only a sign of weakness to the narcissist.

Don't think they'll let you know that they respect your strength should you start showing it. When I, for the first time in my life, stated the truth to my mother about her behavior and stood up to her unapologetically and without outward signs of fear, I was demonstrating a strength that scared the shit out of her. I was showing that I was more than willing to risk her inevitable wrath, and even more than that, that I was willing to risk my father's wrath by demanding her accountability to me for her behaviors. (My father's potential wrath had always been a shield for her.) Her reaction was two-fold. When dealing directly with me she pretended to roll over and expose her underside like a beta member of the pack to the alpha dog. (A ruse I didn't fall for in the least.) Out of my earshot and sight she was playing a different game. She was busily running to those she could count on to believe her version of events and portraying me as a pathetic and weak person acting out of my wounds from childhood. Her line went like this, "I feel so terrible for the things I did to Anna when she was a child. Her letters to me show me that she is still wounded and hurting from the past. How I wish I knew how I could make it up to her." In the eyes of her sympathizers she painted my new-found strength against her as its very opposite. In the upside down world of the narcissist my strength was portrayed as weakness. She had to get others to reflect back to her the false reality that my willingness to take a stand against her and hold her accountable was weakness on my part so she could keep her mirror from cracking. Her actions toward me personally, though, revealed where the truth lay. She was afraid of me and didn't in any way perceive me as being weak. She was only painting me as weak to others in order to look like she was being a concerned mother looking pityingly upon her wayward child. She has an image to maintain with her few remaining sycophants, after all.

Narcissists do not consider themselves human because they see themselves as being above the rest of us. Let's agree with them on this. They are not human. They are inhuman. Save your concern, your pity, your energy, your love for real humans. Do not waste it on the inhuman narcissist predator. When you do, you only feed them and make them stronger while they consume your good name, your history, your future, your whole frakking life. Quit trying to placate the narcissist. Quit assuming that you can kill them with kindness. And, for God's sake, quit trying to win the narcissist's love. They are incapable of love. If you refuse to grasp that fact then you are so screwed. When you do these things you may as well walk under a flashing neon sign that says, "I'm Weak ... Eat Me". You can not deal with narcissists in the same way you deal with a human who has a heart and a conscience. You have to be emotionally, mentally and morally tough and pragmatic if you don't want to be on the narcissist's dinner plate. If they sense weakness, they go for the kill and they'll hate you the more for it.

Remember, for the narcissist there is no good and evil. There is only power. When they bother to think about you, they only despise you because they choose to see you as weak. The narcissist will despise you whether or not you play by their rules, so you may as well define the rules for yourself and carry on without them.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Decision Time

If your desire is to live in something resembling the Healthy Family model as outlined in the last post then you are forced to make some decisions. If the dynamics of your family of origin more resemble the Mob Family model you are going to have to recognize the Mob Family will never become the Healthy Family as long as the narcissist is allowed by other family members to maintain their tyrannical rule over them. If you decide to keep the Mob Boss, i.e., the narcissist, in your family then you are deciding to maintain the structure of the Mob Family. You have the right and even the obligation before God and your fellow human beings to fight for the Healthy Family. This means you have to remove the unrepentant and recalcitrant evil doers from your "community" if there is to exist a Healthy Family. You can't have everything in this life. You have to make choices. If you want a healthy environment for yourself and your own family you are not going to be able to operate by Mob Family rules. You are certainly not going to achieve a healthy family if you keep the Mob Boss around.

People agonize over the rightness or wrongness of keeping the destructive and tyrannical narcissist in their family. What you really need to focus on is what kind of family structure are you trying to create for yourself? Are you wanting to live in the Healthy Family model or the Mob Family? This is the decision you face. You can not live in both. Since you are one human being, you have to make a choice as to where you want to live. You can't bi-locate. Neither can your mind. What nobility is there in keeping yourself bound by the laws of the jungle where "might makes right" which the Mob Family model demands? Loyalty to family at the cost of integrity, principle, freedom and human worth does not sanctify your loyalty. Loyalty to principle not personality is what leads to nobility of purpose and character.

The moment you decide to not play by the rules of the Mob Family someone is going to take a "contract" out on your head. You are in a war whether or not you are willing to admit it. The Mob Family can not tolerate someone who decides to get out. So if you are a pacifist, you are sunk. Signs that you are a pacifist would be if you worry about hurting the narcissist's feelings, you feel guilty for standing up for your right to make your own decisions, you think you just haven't found the right way to say things so as to convince the Mob Boss that their behaviors are not acceptable, you feel that family is everything so it would be wrong for you to do anything which would end up with you cutting off from family, or you are afraid to protect your own children by withholding them from contact from destructive family members because, after all, isn't family everything? If you hold onto these rationalizations you are destined to stay enmeshed with the narcissist's twisted family dynamics. The war is as good as over. You lose.

If you are someone who is willing to fight, but only to a certain point, then you aren't in this to win and you're screwed too. You have to be willing to take it all the way or you may as well save yourself the headache and not fight at all. If you don't have more determination than the narcissist does, then you may as well just roll over now and offer up your tender underbelly.

As noted in my last post, when there was "war in heaven", the end result was that the rebels were "cast out". So if you're looking for the objective of war with the narcissist in your life, this would be a good one to use. The objective: cast out the narcissist. Don't bother to stand up to the narcissist and their Mob Family unless you're willing to take it all the way. By that, I'm not saying you will absolutely have to end up cutting off the narcissist from all contact with you. It may not need to go that far depending on you and your ability to deal with them. Some people have the emotional strength to continue some minimal contact with the narcissist, but it is never without cost. You have to be willing to put up with a certain amount of pain and chaos if you decide to maintain any contact with the narcissist. I'm talking about a mindset. Having the mindset that you are no longer going to play by any of the narcissist/Mob family rules ever again is the only way to successfully engage in this war.

The narcissist is naturally fearful of a person they can't control. If you decide to live by a different set of rules and values, the narcissist may think you are asserting your "right" to the Mob Boss position of the family. Or, if we look at this in terms of the social structure of pack animals (like dogs), you will be perceived as going for the Alpha position. Depending on the type of narcissist you're dealing with, they may even grant you that position and start looking like they are a milder and gentler version of themselves. This is a ruse designed to buy them the time to reassert their dominance. Hopefully, you have the moral character to not be seduced by this apparent new position of dominance in the family because that would mean you are still playing the Mob Family rules and haven't done anything but beat the narcissist at their own game...for the time being. So, don't engage in this "war" unless you are able to resist being seduced back into their Mob Family when you suddenly find the narcissist cowering before you. Some people are not really willing to walk away from the Mob Family model when what they really want is to be the one on top. If that is you, then you're really not much different than the narcissist is since you're aspiring to be in his or her place.

The narcissist lives by rules and codes that are antithetical in every way to a healthy family dynamic. If you desire to have a healthy family you have to choose between the narcissist and your hope for something better. If you want something better...it'll require you armor up and engage in moral warfare. The narcissist refuses to live in the Healthy Family. So you have decide which you want more. You can't have both.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Two Models of Family

Family is a foundational structure to a society or community. It is itself a community. A community has the right to restrict the access of criminals and other destructive types from the rights and privileges that the community confers on those who live within certain rules of decency. This function of a community is imperative if the members are to have a reasonable expectation of safety and happiness.

What I'm describing is how a healthy family functions. In a healthy family there are rules for conduct which are based on objective moral reasoning. Because there are rules of conduct there are also expectations of accountability when rules are broken. There is an authority structure, but authority figures are not exempt from the rules. They are set up as examples and have a strong sense of their need to lead by example. The healthy family structure strongly encourages personal integrity to principle. By principle I mean objective standards of moral behavior. The healthy family is truth-based and would rather know the ugly truth than live in a pretty lie.

Truth-based societies are ones which believe in freedom. You won't find any society, be it a family or a nation, which has a freedom-loving tyrant at the helm. Principles of freedom take us back to the concept of accountability. A free people recognize the principle of free choice. You can freely choose to break rules, but that means you are also choosing to experience the consequences of your choices. Rule-breakers are dealt with fairly. Persistent rule-breakers in a freedom loving society will finally convince the society that they have chosen to be outside the community. When we are talking about society at large then banishment occurs within the prison system. In a family it means the family withdraws contact in order to protect its innocent and vulnerable members. Loyalty is to principle more than personalities.

One last feature of a healthy family community I'd like to mention is how it recognizes the equality of worth of its members. While there is an authority structure, and roles within that structure, there is also a recognition of the intrinsic and equal value of each soul. The father figure isn't more valuable as a person just because he is the bread-winner and authority figure. He has a role within the family which is important to its proper functioning, but that doesn't grant him a position of higher worth as a human being. Hierarchy is based on authority and role not on scale of human worth. The higher tends to serve the lower. The higher bears greater responsibility to those in their care. Self-sacrifice is seen at the top leading by example to its younger and less authoritative members.

All the features I've defined here are truth-based and love-based. They rely on the truth that our behaviors affect other people and our responsibility to make sure our behaviors do not trample on the rights of others.

There is a type of family structure which has some claims on respectability but only when observed casually or from a distance. I like to call it the "Mob Family" model. When examined from all angles one realizes that the Mob Family is nothing more sophisticated than the "law of the jungle". It is a "might makes right" structure of behavior.

The Mob Family is a counterfeit of a healthy family. It has a code of conduct. It has a high standard of loyalty. It has a hierarchy of authority. It has principles. It has a code of punishment for those who break the rules. Two qualities of a Healthy Family the Mob Family doesn't have a convincing counterfeit to: integrity to objective principles of moral behavior and true freedom with self-sacrifice.

Let's look a little closer at the Mob Family. The primary focus is its hierarchy. There is a pecking order. Think animal kingdom here. There is a hierarchy not just of authority but of basic worth of each individual. The higher up the ladder of hierarchy the more your apparent personal worth. The one at the top is of greatest worth. Therefore all energies and resources are first diverted to the top with the goodies trickling downward. The one on the bottom rung gets the crumbs. Every individual becomes a tyrant of the one or ones below them. Every individual is a sycophant and servant of the one or ones above. This system only rewards selfishness. Therefore, each individual acts subservient to the one above only until they are able to gain an advantage over them. This reality is what exposes the falseness of the strong loyalties that seem to keep the cohesion of this type of "family". The only consistent loyalties are to self.

There is always someone who is able to claim the top position of the Mob Family. The one who makes it to the top is an absolute tyrant. The top member of the Mob Family hierarchy makes the rules. There is a violently enforced code of conduct. Because of the precarious nature of the "might makes right" structure, demands for absolute loyalty are made based on power not on principles of true respect or love (morality). The paranoia of the tyrant is ever-present therefore the demands for shows of loyalty are frequent. The capriciousness of the tyrant exposes how the "code" is not based on anything objective. Their subjective and selfish whims are the basis for the rules.

Truth is not welcome if it contradicts the demands or wishes of the tyrant. This usually leads to the downfall of the tyrant at some point though it may take decades for it to occur. The sycophants learn to tell pretty lies in order to keep the precarious peace and to calm the obsessive paranoia of the top dog. Because truth is not valued true freedom vanishes. Without truth or freedom, integrity to objective principle doesn't exist. Accountability is to personality not to morality. Break the "code of conduct" of the tyrant above you and suffer punishment that never matches the crime. Disproportionate response is what is dished out because fear is what keeps the members in line.

If you couldn't tell already the Mob Family model is the one in which the narcissist thrives. As much as they are able to they will try to enforce the Mob Family codes of conduct within their own families. As you can see by the qualities of the two family models there is no real comparison between the two...only contrasts. Similarities are by appearance only. Not substance. This means you can not have a family that is part Mob Family model and part Healthy Family model. The two can not be joined in any way because doing so would fundamentally change the underlying social structure for good or ill depending on the direction of the change.

For you Christian readers: consider the two family structures I've outlined in this way...one is based on God-given and heavenly principles (i.e. love-based) and the other on Satanic or evil (i.e. selfish, narcissistic) principles. Christ demonstrated by His death that willingness to adhere to truth and love-based principles means being willing to stand true to these principles even if it means letting go of life itself because life can not continue to exist in the absence of these truths. We have seen this demonstrated in the human realm time and again when we witness men willing to die for the principle of freedom.

Freedom and truth are inseparable twins. Can you marry together principles of evil with principles of good? No. See 2 Cor. 6:15. The Bible provides many examples of how God has had to sever a destructive member from the family in order to better preserve the family. You don't see God making bargains with a tyrant in order to gain peace. Revelation 12 gives a clear picture of war in heaven (of all places!) in order to prevail against Satan "and his angels". Truth won in that war and Satan was "cast out". The two models of family not only can't be married together, the truth-based family must war against the other in order to restore order and peace. It was Christ Himself who said these (shocking to some) words:

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. Matt. 10:34-36
Those are the words of a warrior. Are you willing to battle for truth, righteousness and peace in your family?

I'll ruminate more on this subject in the next post.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Post-Mortem on a Non-Apology

What follows below is my dissection of my sister's "apology" email. This was an exercise I did within a day or so of sending her my response since I was still turning her statements over and over in my mind. The only way for me to put it to rest was to completely pin her down onto paper. It worked very well to that end. My hope is that my dissection of this non-apology will be helpful to someone who is dealing with something similar. My comments are in bold print.


My Dear Sister,

I am so sorry that my last response offended you.

She is apologizing for my feelings-- which means nothing. My feelings are not something she has control over. She can only control her own feelings and her own actions. So apologizing for my feelings is like apologizing for the sunrise. Meaningless, stupid and condescending. Why condescending? Because of the presumption of power over me that it assumes. It isn't necessarily obvious to an outside observer, but I recognize when my sister is being condescending.

I apologize for not considering that you would have serious concerns or a moral or ethical dilemma regarding K. I truly never considered for a moment that you would have different feelings than I on the matter and for that I am sorry.

First, a lie....then apologizing based on the lie. To say that she didn’t consider that I had serious concerns could only be true if she had never received my first email which outlined my concerns. She knew my concerns. She chose to ignore my concerns. This makes apologizing for not considering my concerns a worthless lie. She spat on my concerns in her April 1st email.

I can understand how you believe that I make everything about me because often I do. It is a residual effect of my upbringing that I daily combat. Sometimes though, I fail miserably and sin in this way. Please forgive me.

Despite saying that she sometimes fails miserably and sins in this way, it is predicated on her casting back to her childhood upbringing (i.e. Mom). She is not accepting full responsibility for her being self-centered. So, she is asking me to forgive her for “often” making everything about herself even though she’s not accepting the responsibility for being that way. This apology doesn’t admit to what she really did. Complete lack of specificity. It lacks time and place as well. She is not admitting that her recent behavior was an example of making everything about her. "Sometimes though..." is not an admission that this time was an instance of it.

I hope that with time you will be able to accept my motives in writing you were not how you interpreted them to be.

This completely discounts my central complaint against her. It, in effect, sweeps it all away with one deft movement. This is her finally getting to what I was angry about; the tone as well as the content of her April 1st email. Does she admit to what she did? Not in the least. Her motives were right, my perceptions are wrong. That is the message. Looking at this statement in light of what was said just before, it lends credence to my suspicion that she was making a general statement but not admitting to “making everything about me” in the context of her contested email to me. . “You must believe me that this time my motives were pure!”.

Please believe me when I tell you that my motive was simply to offer you “where I was coming from” so you could have more complete information from which to formulate your opinion.

This offering of, “where I was coming from” is ridiculous on several faces. Firstly, I wasn’t asking her where she was coming from. All of our many past conversations about K had centered on my sister's perspective. It was finally time, after two years, for my perspective to be considered. I specifically told her I expected her to disagree with my position, but nothing she could say would change the basis of my concerns, and that I hoped she wouldn’t put any pressure on me to change my mind. Her motives are revealed to be completely selfish. She was going against my clearly stated request in order to argue with my position and to defend herself. She admits later that she felt condemned by my position. She felt she had to defend being in K’s life. THAT was her motivation in “offering” me “where she was coming from”. All I see are selfish motivations. All I see is her lying to me about the benevolence of her motivations.

But can I understand your reaction in the light of the fact that you were dreading having to tell me because you said were expecting the worst in my reaction. I know that in the past I have tried to force you into beliefs that you did not hold. I know that I have hurt you terribly because of it. I am so sorry for that.

Now she is laying the charge that I was misreading her motivations because of my expectations. I was seeing what I expected to see. This is condescending. She places herself above me and decides for me my state of mind. She is coming just short of out-and-out telling me that my complaint against her is completely invalid. She is painting me as a wounded soul reacting reflexively against a mere apparition. Her apology here is for some non-specific past event. Meaningless.

But please believe me that this time I was only trying to be truthful and sensitive and reveal my heart so you could know me better.

Again, she places the most benevolent construction on her motives, but appears to be unaware that the above statement reveals again her complete self-centeredness. It was time for her to apply truthfulness, sensitivity and “tenderness” to me. It was inappropriate for her to be forcing her views on me, for that is all that she was doing. What she delicately describes as her being “truthful and sensitive” and the revelation of her heart was plainly and simply her forcing her opinions and "morality" on me. She would, if she could, force me to change my mind. But she now finds it expedient to lie about her motives....a lie I suspect she convinced herself of first.

And I can see how you can read into it that I was once again making everything about me. I was and I am sorry.

This admission of "making everything about me" must be taken in light of what preceded. This statement must be considered in the context of the statement immediately before it in order to ascertain the sincerity and depth of the admission with its accompanying apology. She has made it plain what she thinks about her "once again making everything about me". She sees it as her being truthful, sensitive and vulnerable. In others words, she has committed no real wrong against me. Her apology is thus rendered worthless.

You are right when you say that you and I differ in what we believe about sisterhood. Now I understand how you think on the matter and will not be making the same assumptions I have in the past.

This is a pretense at granting one of my points, but is clearly not such. She is being most vague at what she claims to understand now, therefore I am unable to determine whether any understanding truly exists. The set of assumptions she is now going to operate from are not explicated. This passage is devoid of any meaning. She is not using words to communicate. She is attempting to use words to obfuscate. The typical way a narcissist uses language.

That you feel I have taken our relationship for granted was a sorrow to me. I am so sorry that I have made you feel taken for granted.

This is not difficult to analyze. She is feeling sorrow, not for anything she has done, but for how I have chosen to feel about what she has done. She appears incapable of discerning the patronizing tone this conveys. Her whole missive is an attempt to convey that she sits above the fray and is looking down at her pathetic sister’s angry tantrum and trying to soothe me with cooing sounds. Another point: she is misstating my point. I told her she was taking our relationship for granted. She deftly avoids addressing that issue anywhere in this letter. In the first sentence above she says, “that you feel I have taken our relationship for granted is a sorrow to me.” Then she shifts what I said into how she decides it really is, “I am so sorry that I have made you feel taken for granted.” This may seem like I’m parsing something too subtle to bother with. But I see significance in the sleight of hand way she changed what I was saying. I was very specific in my charge. It is our relationship she takes for granted. But she takes herself out of the picture by changing “our” to “you”. I’m the one, once again, with the problem. Her side of the equation is a-okay. Stated in yet another way, there is no problem with “our relationship”, there is a problem with me and my perceptions of it.

Please forgive me for showing you such a poor example of my love for you. I want to learn how to love you in a way that feels like love to you.

More patronizing words. She would act like all she is guilty of is showing me a “poor example” of her love. It was poor in that she merely failed to love me in a way that feels like love to me. She, again, would grant herself claim to the most benevolent of mistakes. She is telling me that my taking offense is simply my misunderstanding her love for me. This is sick.

I know that our differences in temperament and disposition have made it more difficult for us to relate all through our lives.

It is much easier to believe this than to believe the real reason for our difficulties which can be laid to the differences in our characters. But she isn’t willing to face the base and decrepit nature of her character. That would require she actually examine herself rather than me. That would require change. She would rather ascribe all differences to “temperament and disposition” which she believes to be set at birth. It can’t be helped. Therefore, we must accept each other for what we are. Moral warts and all. This is her demand that I not judge her character. This is her insistence that she is a good person. By virtue of past conversations I happen to know that my sister believes she possesses the most superior of temperaments. Sanguine. She believes that other temperaments are of inferior value because the psychobabble primers on the “four temperaments” present the strengths and weaknesses of the four temperaments and "sanguine" comes out on top in her opinion. Therefore, I can know in her statement is an attitude of superiority. Mine is the inferior temperament. My misunderstanding of her is part of the weakness of my disposition. She has defended herself here quite skillfully. It is the skill of the practiced con artist. She would deny me the high ground of character and place me lower than her on her own scale of measure of human worth.

I know that when I am excited I want everyone to get excited too. What I didn’t know is how it made you feel when I do that. I am so sorry.

She is again “so sorry” for how I feel. This should not be mistaken as an apology of any worth. She finds virtue in her desire that everyone be as excited as she is. She seems unable to grasp how utterly self-involved this really is.

I can also see that you and I feel differently about relationships. I have always known that you take them very seriously and try to be honorable in your relationships.

This is a spot of unintended humor in this tedious reply. She draws a distinction between our way of dealing with relationships and then describes me as taking them very seriously and with honor. An intelligent reader can only conclude that she doesn’t take relationships seriously nor does she operate in them from a position of personal integrity. It is impossible to believe she realizes how she exposed her baseness here.

But I never understood before now that you consider relationships as responsibilities to carry.

Eureka! She has discovered yet another difference in our approach to relationships.....I conduct myself in them with a sense of responsibility. How novel! How quaint!

But knowing that now, suddenly it makes a lot of sense to me why you are thinking as you do about K. I think I get it.

Yes, let’s just toss what I actually said about my thoughts on having a relationship with K and try to intuit things by what wasn’t said. This is again condescending because she is analyzing what I didn’t say like some highly paid psychiatrist. Like she is better able to understand my mind than I do. By the way, she “gets” nothing.

You don’t want to burden K with a relationship that you think is unnecessary and you aren’t sure you are ready to enter into the responsibility of a relationship with her either.

This is extremely annoying in that I said nothing of this sort. Nothing. She is “getting” something that is not in the least bit true. This tells me that she can not understand my words because it is more fun to ignore the words and decide for me what I’m really thinking. This is patronizing and insulting.

That you and I think differently about this is not a matter of one of us being right and the other wrong.

She would act like she is instructing me on this point when the opposite is true. She did try to portray me as being in a morally inferior position in her April 1st letter. I called her on it. Now she would act like she is egalitarian on this issue which is decidedly opposite of how she acted. Therefore, it is a lie that she feels this way. But she seized this point with probably no small degree of relief. She felt defensive when I stated my position on my having a relationship with K which means she felt like she was seen as being wrong by me. “Oh! Relief! I was needlessly defensive. Okay, I’ll pretend like I never thought either of us was right or wrong.” Childish antics.

I think it’s because we have completely different temperaments which cause us to perceive things entirely different. I hope what can change in the future is that we can both feel free to express our perceptions freely.

Based on what? She has given no assurance that the penalty for free expression has been lifted. This is just prattle. The PC version of "tolerance" means you have to listen to and at least look like you agree with everything I say, but it ain't a two-way street. From her perspective, anything I say that goes against what she thinks is subject to extreme measures. Ah, yes. My life with sister.

I will work on receiving your input without making you feel judged.

Interesting. She admits it will require work on her part to not make me feel judged. Funny when considering how defensive she got when she assumed I was judging her by my simply stating my position on meeting her biological daughter. I was not judging her in any way. I have no control over her decisions only my own. I can not help that my personal opinions on my own conduct made her feel judged. There is nothing I could do about that. I was even careful to make sure I confined my opinions to my own conduct and not hers. Now, with this statement above, I get her confession that she is herself judgmental. Not like that is any surprise to me. It is only surprising that she accidentally admitted to it.

I certainly don’t want you to feel that way with me and I am sorry that my last correspondence made you feel judged by me.

She goes back to my feelings. She admits nothing here except that I perceived something that wasn’t there. She is, in practical reality, blaming me for being upset. I am the source of my problem, not her.

I have re-read the e-mail I sent and I can honestly say that it wasn’t the intent of my heart when writing it, to make you feel judged for not believing as I did. But I believe you that you did feel that way and so I offer you my deepest apology.

Let’s put this in other, clearer, words. “I didn’t intend to make you feel judged, but since you feel I did so, I will apologize for your mis-perception.” Look at how big a person she is! She apologizes even when she isn’t wrong. She doth demonstrate the pure condescension of her entire so-called apology letter, yet again. Another apology that is worth less than nothing.

If I were to be completely honest with both you and myself,

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.....ha. That would be a first!

I would have to say that my last e-mail to you was written from the perspective that I was trying to justify my decision and make you see that I wasn’t a bad person for believing that I was doing the right thing for K. That I caused you to be burdened with granting me absolution on the matter is very wrong. I can see why you reacted as you did. I was asking you to give me what you could not...and should not have to give. Please for give me for doing this to you and causing you such distress as a result.

She gets the closest here to admitting to something real. She finally comes clean on the defensiveness that inspired her retort on April 1st. To admit to being defensive validates my take on her response. She was fighting. To be defensive is to feel one self in the one-down position in a fight. She has unknowingly confirmed that my reaction to her letter was justified. But she thinks she is only admitting to feeling attacked by me (when I was only thoughtfully explaining my personal decision regarding a relationship with K). I am supposed to be softened by her admission of defensiveness because it is supposed to tell me that I had hurt her feelings. She can’t see how she is again making everything about her. Her feelings are top consideration at every juncture. To say that she was burdening me with granting her absolution on the matter is another illustration of how manipulative her letter to me was. It wasn’t like she came right out and asked for this absolution. No, she would gain it by devious measures. She would try to gain it by getting me to change my mind through her non acceptance of my stated opinions. She would underhandedly try to invalidate my concerns and convictions. She would manipulate me into giving her this absolution she feel she wanted. She has unknowingly revealed the deviousness of her response to my April 1st letter.

I spoke to K about your preferences on the Saturday I received your first e-mail. I told her that you felt morally and ethically wrong to impose on her life at this time of her development. I told her how you didn’t want to hurt her, P or D [adoptive parents] or interfere with her family life in any way. I told her that when she is an adult and able to initiate a relationship with you, that you will be more that happy to receive her at that time. Her response was,“ so she is not rejecting me...she just feels like now isn’t the right time.” I agreed and she was fine with it.

Well, isn’t this just pretty? She told K my stance on the subject and K was fine with it. Who could have predicted that?

You are right, if I was present at your first meeting I would do everything I could to facilitate you getting to know each other.

I told her she would be a steamroller and would hinder us from getting to know each other because she doesn’t know us. But she re-terms it as “facilitate”. Therefore, she is rejecting my point. She still feels she would make a first meeting between us and K go smoother. Another pretense at admitting one of my points while she does no such thing.

And now I understand how irritating that would be to you.

But now what she understands is that I would feel irritated by her “facilitating” efforts. Poor, misguided soul that I am.

And you know, I can accept that.

Gee, it is so damn generous for her to accept my feelings on something she disagrees with. It matters not whether or not she “can accept that”. She wasn’t being asked a question. She was being told how it would be. But she would act like she had considered the request of a supplicant and graciously granted the request despite not agreeing with the validity and rightness of the claim. More condescension shining through. She can’t hide what she is.

I can see how that would feel like pressure to you and how that could cause resentment or at least discomfort. And I don’t want to cause you to feel that way at all. So I can see why you made that request.

She is simply acquiescing to my small little feelings from her position of superiority. She is only admitting that I would feel negatively, but certainly goes nowhere near to admitting that my negative feelings would be justified.

Anna, much of what you see in me is true and valid.

I would have no idea of what I may have said that she saw as true and valid because she didn’t validate even one of my points in this missive. Which means that I see this “admission” as no such thing. She is admitting nothing even while mouthing words of admission. More con-artistry.

I am praying that God will make the necessary changes in my character so I am a better person.

More admission that admits little to nothing. To be a better person would imply she is already a good person. Good, better, best is how we conjugate it. I am supposed to believe she is a spiritual person even after I’ve been assaulted by her self-righteous and deceptive efforts at justification. This is not my understanding of true spirituality. But she appeals to a higher power for vindication. Good luck with that, sister. By the way, her mother has uttered this statement untold numbers of times. Nobody cares if you are praying to God to change you into a "better" person, they only care if He actually succeeds in making you a better person.

I hope that you will understand that much of what I say and do that causes you pain is not intentional.

I have never understood why saying that offenses felt were never delivered intentionally. This only says that the offender is incapable of empathy and therefore are incapable of knowing when they are recommitting offenses. You and your feelings are overlooked because all the narcissist sees is their own selves. What they want. What they feel. What they think. That you get run over by them is only because they don't think about you at all.

In my heart I hold the highest regard and love for you. In our youth you were the nurture that I did not receive anywhere else. I do ask a lot from you because that was the role I have seen you in. But it was wrong for you to have been placed in a position to “mother” me. That was far too great a responsibility for you to have to carry when you were so young and it is wrong for me to hold you in that role right now. Please forgive me for burdening you with my emotional needs.

I never perceived our childhood as putting me in the position to “mother” her. I didn’t feel maternal toward her. I was nice to her. I wasn’t abusive. I did look out for her in many ways, which was often rewarded by her taking advantage of me. My sister has rewritten history here. I believe she frames it this way as a form of flattery to me. She has been describing me like this quite often in our conversations of the last year. She has re-defined the relationship for her own advantage. I could list the many advantages but will confine myself to one. She sees me as someone to be used to gain whatever emotional support she wants. Her definition of a mother is a mega-nurture machine. Someone who is always there, always offers comfort to any perceived boo-boo, who has no needs or feelings of her own that the child must acknowledge or even be aware of. What she defines as me being a type of mother to her is really her describing me as someone she thought she could use at will. That, of course, doesn’t sound very good when stated that way. So we call it something different. Something that conjures up mental pictures of a poor, neglected child needing some unconditional love and support. This is how she would continue to use me if she could get away with it. But she has been called on her game and is pretending to retreat from it even while she describes the game in the most innocuous of terms. All I see is a very sick dynamic that has existed between us for far too long.

And please do not read sarcasm into that statement.

Even the dullest reader would not think they had read any sarcasm in this letter. So what I perceive is sister asserting her moral superiority yet again. My previous letter, to which she was responding in this letter, was sharply sarcastic. It was calculated by me for effect. Sarcasm was used to illustrate the complete absurdity of her April 1st email. Sarcasm was used to put on edge on my words....I was trying to get her attention. She is subtly denigrating my use of sarcasm by making sure to mention she never used it herself.

In fact, nothing I have written today or on my former e-mail comes from sarcasm. I am sincere in my expressions to you.

Maybe this statement reveals why she looks down on my sarcasm. She chooses to see sarcasm as insincerity. Whatever. I can not help that she doesn’t understand the various usages of language to make a point. If she would condemn me for using sarcasm then she must condemn God as well. He freely used it when addressing Job and his dull understanding of spiritual realities. I was addressing her dull understanding of my previous email.

I have hurt you and I have wronged you and I am truly deeply sorry. Please forgive me.

Ho hum. With all that preceded these two sentences, how do I feel that this means anything of value?

What I come away with is that my sister is utterly and completely immersed in her self-deceptions. She can’t be trusted to be honest about what she does or who she is. She engages in serpent-speak. Deception by commission and omission are expressed in nearly every statement. I can not picture myself trusting her under any circumstance. Her deceptiveness is revealed to be reflexive which can only lead me to conclude that she is greatly practiced at it. She is of the most dangerous variety of deceptive persons in that she has herself deceived first and foremost. She appears to me that she believes her lies, which render her capable of convincing most people of her great sincerity and honesty. This is the type of person who can do the most damage to another’s life and reputation should they bend their efforts in that direction. I will not willingly allow such a person close to me for it is like clasping a viper to one’s breast. Getting bitten is assured.

I Love You, D

What D calls love is simply hunger. She knows nothing of love for she has relegated it entirely to the realm of emotion. To her, love is a hunger, and a warm feeling of satisfaction when fed. To her, love is not defined by doing. In fact, in order to perceive her love one has to ignore, discount or explain away the doing. Love is not entirely defined by an action, but neither can it be substantiated by words alone. And if a person’s words and actions contradict each other, you must believe the actions over the words. Or you’re a fool. This letter of hers is a demand that I believe the existence of her love based on her words alone. But because these words are often demonstrably lies, then I can find no assurance whatsoever in the words. I would be an complete idiot if I did.