I have made reference several times to what I call the Cult of Nice. When referring to the Cult of Nice I have commented on how this 'cult' labels it a 'sin' or 'wrong' to hurt someone's feelings. Both Christians and secular types who've swallowed pop psychology seem to often subscribe to this belief. This anti-logic provides a lovely escape hatch for malignant narcissists because you can be made into a 'sinner' for calling them on their garbage, or for simply stating truth. They wave the flag of their 'hurt' feelings and it is supposed that you will then cease and desist or risk being labeled a hateful, unkind person. You're accused of being mean...which is like a cuss word to the Cultists of Nice-land. The tables get turned so fast that the victim becomes abuser in a blink of an eye in this alternate universe of anti-logic.
Those who subscribe to this kind of thinking are not being rational in any way. Which is why I tend to see this as a religious/cult-like type of thinking. It is a faith-type belief in the supremacy of feelings over principles. The Cult of Nice is a false righteousness that attempts to dismiss or disparage real justice or right-doing through name-calling. It is a useful belief system which allows you to eliminate any opposition to your behaviors or attitudes by this pretense that others are responsible for your feelings. If you are confronted with an uncomfortable or unwelcome truth you can trump that truth with your 'hurt' feelings. Then the only 'truth' that matters is that you feel hurt, angry, upset, persecuted, etc. This is a custom made system by and for narcissists and other villains.
There is an adjunct to the "we must never ever hurt anyone's feelings" tenet of the Cult of Nice.
It is: "peace at all costs."
If I could be allowed to surmise, I think it is safe to say that nearly every family with a malignant narcissist has at least one family member who believes in the 'peace at all costs' maxim. This self-appointed 'peacemaker' has likely held most of the other family members in line for the family narcissist by forcing these other family members to 'go along to get along'. Because the family narcissist can make life very difficult when someone crosses their will, the family peacemaker will shame other family members by telling them they are responsible for not 'upsetting' Mommy Dearest, or whomever the narcissist is in that particular family. Because when 'momma ain't happy; ain't nobody happy' is reality for that family, the peacemaker emphasizes how everyone other than Momma is responsible for not rocking the family boat.
The urge to be a peacemaker is a survival mechanism when we are talking about children and hostages. I don't think there is any fault in those who learn how to read their abuser in order to avoid their rage. I am talking about a different person. A person who is an able-bodied, full-grown adult with the ability to walk away. When this able-bodied adult requires those who aren't free to walk away to bear the abuse and injustice in silence...that is when I get seriously pissed off. When the peacemaker makes excuses for the abuser's behavior, yet won't cut any slack to the victims...I am enraged. What is particularly disgusting is the phony righteousness that the peacemaker gets to wear. Too many do-gooders act like it is some badge of honor to placate the blood-sucking monster instead of locking the beast up and throwing away the key. I speak metaphorically.
I didn't always feel this way. No, for most of my life I've lived in the Cult of Nice through the misfortune of my birth into my twisted family. It took me a very long time to be able to see the insanity of the system and extricate myself. As I write this, the example that I am reflecting on is my own father. He is a living representation of the ultimate cost of peace at any cost.
Don't picture my father as a obsequious, weak man. He is nothing of the sort. He was a man of strength and forthrightness at one time...a long time ago. This was a man who would never stand by to watch some stranger get attacked and he not intervene. With fists if need be. This was not true, though, with his own children. He seems to have had no perspective where it concerned how his wife was...and how she treated his own children. He saved his pity for her. He made allowances for her bad behavior because he believed her childhood explained (and justified) her bad behavior as an adult. Because he made these allowances for the perpetrator, he was not able to see his way clear to protect his children from the beast. Because he pitied the perp, he ended up consigning helpless children to her abuses. He loved my mother above all else. His children were unwanted and annoying appendages to his idol, my mother. He tolerated us because he loved her. This also made it easy for him to demand of us better behavior than he expected from a full-grown woman, his wife. He only 'loved' us when we were invisible or when we performed as he expected us to.
My father today is a bitter, angry, cynical man. His mind gradually poisoned by Worm Tongue against his children and extended family. I have evidence in his own writing that he has surrendered his integrity in order to keep peace with the devil. His moral compass is so broken that he feels righteous and justified to demand of me, his grown daughter, that I too capitulate to the selfish demands of his infernal wife. He sees me as the problem because I will not bend over and grab the ankles in order to 'make peace'...like he has.
Yes, indeed. The price for peace with a villain is very high indeed. It has cost my father much. He has lost every one of his extended family members. He has lost at least one daughter. All he has left is his evil wife. And, perhaps, the one daughter who greatly resembles his evil wife, my sister. Was it really worth defending the indefensible all these years? I highly doubt it. I have seen clear indications that much of the time he can't stand to be around my mother. They live separate lives. He speaks impatiently and angrily with her much of the time. There are times when he is tender and indulgent with my mother. These are rare times when she has managed to use enough of her feminine charms to soften him. He is not a happy man. He has paid out too much of his soul, though, to cash in his chips. He will stay with her to the bitter, ugly end.
Count carefully the ultimate cost of 'peace at any and all costs'. It is very steep. In the end, all you will be left with is the cold comfort of your pretended integrity and righteousness minus your soul.