Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Evil People Don't See Themselves as Evil

Probably one of the more shocking revelations I was confronted with when I started to see my mother with new eyes was how she is, in spirit, an anarchist. I didn't yet know about NPD, but I started to be able to discern the spirit of the anarchist as I began to look at her more objectively. The reason I could see her more objectively was because I was observing her words vs. actions as she dealt with my cousin and her sons.

I have come to see this spirit of anarchy is true of NPD in general as well as with sociopathy and psychopathy. More on that in a moment. The reason this revelation shocked me was that I had been raised from my earliest moments to see my mother as the embodiment of law and order. Nothing like a controlling bitch of a narcissist mother to have a long list of iron-fisted laws for you to conform to. She was an absolute authoritarian so it isn't surprising it took me decades to see the little anarchist hiding underneath her policing uniform.

According to experts like Hare and Samenow it is quite the norm that the character disordered are all for law and order. With a twist. They want law and order to keep you, me and the other guy in line. But when the character disordered want something there is no law that applies to them. They will defy, undermine and shirk the law that applies to whatever thing they want for themselves. They will even encourage others around them to disdain the offending law so they can gain support for their anarchy just so they can have their way.

This was my mother's tack with my cousin's sons. She was holding a hard, unbending line on her own list of absolute laws, but simultaneously, she was teaching them to disregard and even hate the laws of our country and even some of God's laws in order to shape their minds to justify her behaviors...those behaviors which ran counter to law and morality. None of this was done overtly. It was subtle and sneaky. She is good. She is very good. As good as the snake in the Garden of Eden.

Whether or not you've come to see it yet it is certain that the narcissist you deal with has the spirit of the anarchist. This is closely akin to the spirit of tyranny. Do not let the anarchist and tyrant define morality for you. Question everything. Re examine everything you've been taught to think by the narcissist. It is dangerous, and nonsensical, to allow a person who defies law to be the one to create and enforce any law upon your own life. Narcissists are always telling us how our behaviors are wrong, our morals misinformed, whenever those things run counter to the narcissist's agenda. In the context of dealing with a narcissist...always question authority. Theirs. Recognize that they defy law and morality when it suits them and will demand the same of you in order to force you to let them have their way. Do not let any narcissist define for you what right and wrong is. To allow someone without conscience to shape your conscience is beyond absurd.

What follows below is a blog post first printed 6.10.07. This was just before I started getting much more traffic on this site so it is likely many of you haven't read it. It goes along with my thoughts above about the spirit of anarchy that animates evil people.

If you've done much reading here you've noticed that I often label the behavior of narcissists with the word evil. I've attempted to buttress my justification for using that label in various posts by explaining what evil is. I've talked about how the name "malignant narcissist" is describing someone who acts from malignant, i.e. evil, motives.

But do evil people see themselves as evil? Do they set out to do evil? The short answer is no and no.

It is important to realize that evil people do not wake up wondering what evil deed they're going to perpetrate that day. The reality is that a malignant narcissist has a moral compass turned completely inside out. Let me show you an example by quoting a murdering dictator. I'll reveal his identity later in this post:
"I do not agree with the view that to be moral, the motive of one's actions has to be benefiting others. Morality does not have to be defined in relation to others. … People like me want to … satisfy our hearts to the full, and in doing so we automatically have the most valuable moral codes. Of course there are people and objects in the world, but they are all there only for me. … People like me only have a duty to ourselves; we have no duty to other people."
Notice how by pronouncement this malignant narcissist manages to completely turn upside down the real definition of morality which relies on an objective standard. The new definition, his definition, completely exonerates him from any objective moral standard. His new and subjective "moral" code stipulates 1) morality is doing what satisfies yourself. 2) all people and objects only exist to be exploited by yourself. 3) the highest moral calling is fulfilling your own desires. From this list it isn't hard to see how the malignant narcissist is an anarchist at heart. They recognize no law but that of their own making. No outside authority exists. Their highest calling is the whim and desire of their base natures. Which is one reason why a malignant narcissist in power is always a deadly force where the rule of law is the whim of the dictator. Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein, etc.

The "moral" code quoted above is the moral code of every malignant narcissist. This moral code completely justifies any action or motive of the narcissist. They are completely justified, righteous, in their own eyes. I think it is important to realize this fact. When you are dealing with evil you have to understand that the evil one is righteous in their own estimation. Which, of course, translates that you are the one who is evil if you oppose their will.

This upside-down reckoning of moral equations can be disorienting when you are up against it. The upside-down "moralist" is a projection machine. The ugliest aspects of his character will be painted onto you. This is designed to shut you up and force you to conform to his will. He uses it because it works. It works by cleansing him psychologically, and it works by getting you off your moral pins and more apt to concede to his insane world view. If he succeeds in making you feel dirty, you lose the ability to fight him from a moral high ground. For example: if he is a thief and a liar and you are scrupulously honest and fair, first he wipes the dirt of his character onto you by accusing you of being the thief and liar. If he builds enough of a case against you through slander and accusation, you can feel disarmed and may admit defeat. The only way to get along with a malignant narcissist is to always agree with them and always do what they demand. High price for peace.

Just because an evil person lays claim to the moral high ground doesn't make it so. You need to know he feels completely, totally and absolutely justified in whatever he does. What we call evil, he calls righteous and good. I hope by knowing this going in, you will be able to keep from being confused by his gigantic sense of moral certitude. The narcissist doesn't ever question himself. He only questions you and your motives. His actions and motives are pure as the wind-driven snow and beyond questioning. You, on the other hand, are prone to question yourself first. This means you do half the work for the narcissist by putting your own moral understanding in question before you question his. He sees the chink in your moral certitude and drives in the wedge with the deftness borne of much practice.

Always remember: the narcissist is righteous and holy in his own estimation. No, he didn't decide to be evil today. He decided to live by Mao Tse-Tung's moral code. In his world, if you oppose him or fail to show your worshipful regard, YOU are evil.


Anonymous said...

hum. no wonder my brother can sleep at night he doesn't feel guilty b/c to himself he's not evil

Anonymous said...

When I was a child, these are some of the things that were sneered at me. With each and every one, I remember where I was and what her face looked like. Here they are... You are Selfish, You're a Sadist, Nobody likes you, Liars go to hell. I now realize these are all projections. She really believed these things, but oddly enough, they were about her.
To this day she believes she is the Judge and Jury because of her moral superiority. She doesn't see herself as evil, just me.

Writer in Washington said...

Thanks for this blog Anna. So much of what you've said I have also observed.

So, what IS in a heart? said...

It's generally little more than self-deception. Evil is almost always based on deceit.

The people you mention sound like the Lawful Evil types in Dungeons and Dragons. If they obey the law, it's generally in fear of being punished or because it suits their purpose at the time. They tend to use the law for their own purpose, and yes, claim to be "moral and good".

Anonymous said...

Woe unto those who call good evil, and evil, good. *Shudder*


So, what IS in a heart? said...

Also, the only evil I have any kind of respect for are the ones who DON'T disguise themselves. They are what they are--take it or leave it (er, do the latter), and they don't care who knows it.

Your mother and those like her often lack the nuts to be that way, which is one of the reasons why they disguise themselves. They're basically "Fool's Gold" in human form.

To be honest with you, I'd choose anarchy over tyranny. YMMV. All that being said, another great post.

Anna Valerious said...

To be honest with you, I'd choose anarchy over tyranny.

Unfortunately, anarchy can never last forever and is always followed by tyranny.

So, what IS in a heart? said...

"Unfortunately, anarchy can never last forever and is always followed by tyranny."

Yea. Thanks for reminding me. That's something I figured out YEARS ago. Just stinks, doesn't it? Heh.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna
There is much of what you said that hits home, for me. I can recall my older Nsister always claiming "we" should question authority (but she is the world's foremost authority in her own mind.)And this also rings true with my Nmon who in her own mind is a paragon of kindness and compassion----until you defy her wishes.Yeeeouch.
Thanks for this blog.

Anonymous said...

A particularly insightful article, Anna.
Not long ago my Nmom decided not to forward a notice regarding my taxes, even though it was obviously an important piece of mail. Eight months later, I discovered it and was distraught. Her response: I'll go to prison for you, if it comes to that. Of course, going to prison was never the issue, the exhorbitant fine was the issue. She didn't mention paying that. This may seem to have no connection to anarchy, but it does somehow. As I grew up, she consistently uged me (and one brother) to be a non-conformists. I think she relished watching us suffer the consequences. 30 years later, the scales fall from my eyes and I see that she is a complete slave to conformity herself, UNLESS-- as you say -- she can defy rules with impunity. Although, it's kind of puzzling that she wouldn't have been bothered by "what will people think?". . . I guess there was some pay-off to that too -- as in "Poor brave Prunehilda. Such a devoted mother with such difficult kids."
Sorry, I'm going in circles. That always happens when I start thinking about it.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anna, You hit it right on the nail! What is the best way to protect oneself? Is shame and exposure, without unlawful means, effective?

So, what IS in a heart? said...

There's nothing wrong with being non-conformist so long as you avoid doing it for the sake of doing it, use common sense(like don't claim to be a KKK member in Harlem or wear your cat ears outside of work/school), and recognize that come non conformist don't think for themselves anymore than the "conformists" do. Also, you have both fight some of the consequences while accepting others. These are things that Ns are generally incapable of doing.

"Her response: I'll go to prison for you, if it comes to that.

*snort* Yea, right. When called on it, you can bet that she'll claim that she never said it or bail. Or, she'd LOVE to go a minimum security place where things are easier than a more, er, secure prison, and even then, it'd be a few months or something.

Weak people don't see themselves as weak.

Writer in Washington said...

In a way, those of us who are bucking the "Christian" system are non-conformists. I know that I have been accused of being everything from a rebel to emotionally ill, to insane, to being bitter, and on it goes. That's because evil people and their stooges don't want to be confronted with the truth. And the truth is that most "Christians" don't know anything biblically, just what they've been told. But to be fair, its taken me years to break away from the old regime, too. I didn't want to lose my family and friends, but I've since come to realize that they really aren't worth keeping anyway. They were never truly loving or accepting people.

Writer in Washington said...

Sorry, I just thought of something I wanted to mention about evil people, particularly as it relates to evil "christian" people. This week I had my first article accepted to a Christian publication. I've been published before but not with my byline. Like a dope, I sent out an e-mail to my friends and family. Of my all of my religious family, only one uncle responded with congratulations. All of the rest, including my two brothers, another uncle, cousins have not even acknowledged my e-mail. Why? Because they are jealous and resentful of my success. I wrote it and submitted it without help, advice or assistance from the family.

My one uncle and his family--he was a nationally recognized preacher and author in the 70's and 80's--but no longer. His books became so repetitious that people tired of him and also, they promoted a doctrine which many people finally came to realize simply didn't work. But because of his stature, he and his children (my aunt died several years ago and was she a Major N!) have a very condescending attitude toward everyone outside the family, and toward those inside the family that don't treat them "special" enough. If you aren't a sycophant--if you challenge them about anything they deem to be gospel--then you are "out". I can't say I'm surprised that they didn't respond, though. They are all "famous" wannabes who never have done anything notable. Sad but true--envy is often what makes them evil.

Anonymous said...

Anna, right on again. I've been around N's who are confounded when you don't agree with them on mere opinions (like the "best" color). Of course the "best" color can change if the N decides they now like, say, red instead of blue, the former best color. The N may deny or dismiss that she ever liked blue at all. Now anyone who likes blue is wrong, doesn't understand beauty, etc. Now, if you had previously said you liked red better than blue, that would be forgotten because the N couldn't admit that you chose red before she declared it the best. ;) I can't tell you how many things the N's decided were their righteous ideas even though I had come up with the ideas and the N's had scoffed at them. When it was proven I was right, that was forgotten and the N's claimed everyhing for themselves. Ugh, this is the craziness living with N's can bring!

Another favorite in regards to morality - the N will do something considered to be morally, perhaps even legally wrong, for instance lying to get state benefits or faking an injury to get a settlement. This they don't see as wrong. Certain people have bragged to me about such behavior. But if your spouse makes more money than you or buys you a really nice gift, the N may see you as taking advantage of the spouse and think you are doing something wrong. To the N mind as long as it's them doing it, even fraud is not immoral. But someone accepting a gift from a spouse is wrong. And they really believe it.

I'd also like to add that the motto of Satanists is Hail Me! (Satan=the self) They worship their own egos and seek only their own indulgence. Sound familiar?

Anonymous said...

I've found an excellent book on the psychology of self-justification:

Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Lies - Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson

A little bit of self-justification is good, so we don't torture ourselves over ordinary mistakes. Too much of it brings us into the realm of self-deception and evil as described here.

To anonymous poster at 8:07 am--shame and exposure are not likely to work, as the N will turn it around and make herself out to be the victim of your unreasonable accusations. They are quite compelling actors, because they believe in their own distortions.

Hellboy said...


I admit to being a bit confused by this post; on one hand evil people do not see themselves as evil but on the other, a Malignant Narcissist knows what he does to his victim is wrong so goes to great lengths to hide it. He usually attacks his victims when there are no witnesses (or witnesses present are under his power too) and creates a false image that is in total contrast to his actual self.
What's confusing me is, if a Narcissist does not see himself as evil then why would he/she hide his wrongdoings?

Could you please clarify, Anna. Thanks heaps as always.

jacqueline said...

Anna, Thank God for your insight and courage!! For the longest time I could not put a name to this behavior. Every post seems like you have walked in my shoes!! My, (pardon me, but I do not wish to claim the narcissist in my life as mine!) the n in my life is my soon-to-be ex. What a nightmare!! But thanks to you, I have found strength, courage and sanity through your posts. Finally there are answers that make sense!! You have divided the word of God with wisdom!! Many Thanks!!

Anna Valerious said...

What's confusing me is, if a Narcissist does not see himself as evil then why would he/she hide his wrongdoings?

He hides his wrong doing because he recognizes there exists norms and laws outside himself and outside his control. Don't mistake his awareness of his wrong doing for a conscience. He is not admitting that he thinks his behavior is evil or wrong because he attempts to hide it. He is only admitting that you think it is wrong. "You" as in whomever it is the narcissist can't control reality for. He hides to avoid the law. If he could, he would abolish the law so he could do openly tomorrow what he has to hide today. He hides to avoid censure or punishment. That's all. He doesn't agree with all of us that he is wrong. If he had the power he would kill the law and then kill whomever would presume to question his behaviors. The spirit of the murderer lurks in the anarchist's heart.

Anyway, you get confused because you presume he hides because he admits to himself the rightness of the law and therefore the wrongness of what he does. Not the case. He simply is avoiding accountability to those laws of society, of morality, of decency that he can't get rid of. As soon as a MN can control his environment to his satisfaction there is no bar to whatever whim he may have. "Do what thou will shall be the whole of the law."--the credo of Aleister Crowley, premier hedonist and occultist, is the core belief of malignant narcissists. They hide what they do to avoid the discomfort and inconvenience of getting caught. That t'aint conscience. He believes his highest good could be attained if he wasn't hamstrung by laws and societal expectations. He conforms for his convenience,not out of a sense of right or wrong.

Anna Valerious said...

Hey, Jacqueline, thanks very much. My hearty congratulations on finding freedom from the narcissist soon-to-be ex. It makes my day when I hear people say they are shaking free of the narcissist in their life.

Anonymous said...

Thank you all for what you have written.....just about everything 'fits' my own experience(s) with Ns. During my spells of depression and rage over the years...(not knowing if I was crazy or too judgemental etc)...I often prayed "If only I had a WITNESS.." It seems I DO....! All of you articulate what I never could. Much of my feeling and thinking was in a clump....a big knot of a blob in my heart and in my brain....the words escaped me if ever I tried to talk about what 'didn't feel right'. How does one talk about the innuendos, the unspokens, 'perceived slights'. Now it doesn't sound crazy or judgemental. It sounds REAL....because it WAS...and all of you bear witness to this horrendous EVIL in our midst....all of you were affected one way or another the same as I was. The only thing that makes any sense to me is that ONLY this kind of EVIL could have left the particular scars I have in my life. Full spectrum. Emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual. It makes 'sense' now. Each day....little by little...I pray for continued healing and right thinking. I have hope now.

Thank you all. Carry on in the light you have.


Anonymous said...

For some reason the image I got from this great post was of a vampire - who looks in the mirror and sees -

Anonymous said...

Great post Anna !
I have seen a narcissist doing something bad to someone and then dismissing it as nothing. The next day, the exact same thing is done to him, and he goes crazy about it.
You could waste your time trying to show them the irony of this, but they would never get it.
When you see this, it really brings home how they think, they have no empathy and are only concerned about the effect of anything on them.

So, what IS in a heart? said...

"He conforms for his convenience,not out of a sense of right or wrong."

Bottom line: He wants all of the "rights" but none of the responsibilities/consequences. At least a sociopath/psychopath doesn't fear the consequences. Not that it stops them from operating in isolation, but some don't care about that.

Anonymous said...

In reply to the "anonymous" person who commented about the N being able to do something to someone and see it as nothing, while having the tables turned on them is unconscionable. My Nmom and I had an argument a few months ago when I learned she and her "golden child" had received a settlement from one their lawsuits against others (these seem to provide a fairly good extra income for my Nbro, aside from his salary as pastor) and had hidden it from me. I hadn't wanted any of it, but naturally, it upset me. As always, Nmom heard not one word of how I felt but told a string of lies that would reach around the town. She goes on to say that she's going to talk to my pastor and see if he "could do anything with me". When I told her that I had counseled with pastor about our family problems, she went into a tailspin- "Would you actually tell someone else about our family?" How's that for hypocritical?
My Nbro is master at retelling a situation with such sincerity that sometimes I believe him- till I've had time to sort out the truth. His version of anything ususally completely leaves out anything he may have done and then is told with such martyrdom, that you're left wondering if you're the N! His little wifie works quite effectively behind the scenes getting him to do her bidding (telling him how he's not appreciated, his brillance, he's just sooooooo cute!) while she's counting the money she's getting out of it (he and prissy actually wrote my mother's will behind my back also- funny, how their dishonesty always finds them out)! My mother believes whatever they tell her, even when presented with proof that they've lied. Anna, have you read anything about the work of what is called the "Jezebel" spirit by many in the church? It is remarkably like what is also known as narcissism.

Anonymous said...

Another great way of putting it into words. Thankfully I do not have a very good memory much of the time (maybe my extreme self esteem issues) and so the pain only hits when the memories come flooding in.

Even as a child when my mother did this I knew something was wrong I finally figured out that it wasn't all true and I would tell her that is not right etc. Just made her talk longer. How many narcissists never shut up? They just talk for hours about their case and how horrible you are and so on.


Anna Valerious said...

How many narcissists never shut up? They just talk for hours about their case and how horrible you are and so on.

I really don't know if all narcissists do this, but I do suspect narcissist mothers are probably Olympian in their ability to lecture for hours on end. I suspect that if I could get back the hours of my life spent having to sit and take my N mother's lectures I would probably gets many months of my life back. I definitely know what you're talking about. Yeah, no interruptions allowed. Nothing but complete submission to her would suffice. The cruel words and systematic destruction of my soul would not stop until I looked like I had thoroughly surrendered. It is actually a method used by brain-washers to break down the independent will of their victims.

Anonymous said...

hi anna i lived with a narcissist step mother and sisters, and father for years.... anyway, i survived barely but one thing im positive about is that they know right from wrong... and, theyll stab you in the back and run and hide like the cowards they are.... that is proof beyond a shadow of a doubt that they know exactly what their doing... they just dont care... narcissist is just a word made up by man to describe evil, wicked people.... most people are evil so im not suprised that someone came up with a word that totally excuses monsters of their evil behavior... it is not a mental disorder.... just another evil self centered monster.... of course Hitler knew he was wrong thats why the coward overdosed and kille himself.... also, why do they all cry right before they die... like babies... if they dont know their evil what are they so afraid of... and why do they ask for forgiveness.... it seems to me the psychiatrists of the world are wrong again... the BIBLE.. thats honesty... bye anna love your blog...

artrageous said...

Dear Anna, My name is Ruby. After reading everything in your blog, I've come to an unfortunate awareness that my own daughter's evil abuse is diagnosed as NPD! I've gone through twenty years of horror that I could not stand and have gone to a hospitals from it! One of your blog readers mentioned her soon to be ex-son and yesterday I came to realize i'm in the same boat! Would you know of web help for mothers of children with NPD? You have opened my eyes for the first time and I'm blessed to have found your blog!

Thanx with blessings to you!

Anna Valerious said...

I'm sorry I don't know of the resources you were asking about. That doesn't mean they don't's just that I haven't looked for them.

Thanks for reading the blog. I hope you're able to deal with your daughter in a way that saves your peace and sanity. All the best.


Kathi said...

I am so excited that I found your blog! My N ex put me and my daughter thru pure hell! All the while, having an affair with one of my friends...I guess you could say that my revenge was that after our horrific divorce, they got married! In our deposition, which btw, cost me a whopping $750..I had to get up and leave right in the middle of it, because of his lies...he is an evil man...and when I confronted him and called him a narcissist, all he could reply with is, "you don't even know how to spell NARCISSIST"'s been 6 years since we divorced and he has never paid a dime in child support, so I am refiling for it...we have one daughter who just turned 16...guessing he found out by his employer, that I'm going after after not having any contact with our daughter for about 7 months, finds out she vacationing with a friend, in his same state...decides to drive about 4 hours to take her to dinner and tells her he will open her a bank account and deposit 250 every two weeks and buy her a car...IF...she can talk her mother into dropping the CS is suppose to believe this after he sent a text on xmas day saying her present was on the way..never received...same on her 16th b'day...never received...and the worst part of all...he has a 5 year old daughter with his present wife...some father of the year...huh