Sunday, March 30, 2008

The High Price of Peace at Any Cost

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' 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.

Friday, March 21, 2008

More Manipulation Tactics: Diversion and Evasion

I refer you from time to time back to the book, In Sheep's Clothing, because it is such a helpful little primer on how the aggressive, character-disordered people among us lead us by the nose to get what they want. Recognition of their tactics can go a long way toward helping us avoid the control and manipulation as it is happening.

Mr. Simon presents what he calls two closely related tactics, 'diversion' and 'evasion'. The first tactic is very much like what the magician does. It is how they perform sleight-of-hand. They get you to focus somewhere other than on what they are actually doing:

Manipulators use distraction and diversion techniques to keep the focus off their behavior, move us off-track, and keep themselves free to promote their self-serving agendas. Sometimes this can be very subtle. You may confront your manipulator on a very important issue only to find yourself minutes later wondering how you got on the topic you're talking about then.

He warns us that the manipulator can be very subtle with this tactic. You have to train yourself to recognize when this is happening. Back when I used to watch CourtTV (now TruTV) I started to get good at recognizing when someone on the stand was diverting from the question. The lawyers trained me to listen carefully to an answer to detect when a witness was evading the question. Often the lawyers would point out how their answer was "non-responsive", meaning, whatever the witness just said did not answer to the question. It can be entertaining to recognize when politicians play the same game of distraction and diversion from questions they don't want to get pinned down with because they would find it a political disadvantage to stake out a clear position on some matter. Train yourself to pay attention to whether or not your question is getting answered. Don't let some manipulator distract you and lead you down some other path far from the subject of their misbehavior.

The evasion tactic is:

...closely related to diversion, this is a tactic by which a manipulator tries to avoid being cornered on an issue by giving rambling, irrelevant responses to a direct question or otherwise trying to skirt an issue.

Yet again, politicians are real virtuosos at this one. If you need practice at studying this tactic just watch the politician who is trying to keep themselves from accountability. Obama has been a perfect case study on this lately with his pastor's America-bashing, white-hating sermons coming to light. Obama has been dodging, weaving, and blame-shifting all over the place as he attempts to manipulate the public into thinking that there is nothing wrong with his pastor, and nothing wrong with him for sitting in his pastor's church for the last 20 years.

A subtle, but effective form of evasion is the deliberate use of vagueness. Covert-aggressives are adept at giving vague answers to the simplest, most direct questions. You have to have a sensitive ear for this. Sometimes the vagueness is not so pronounced and you think you have an answer when in fact you don't.

Note again that this can be a very subtle tactic, and you have to train yourself to catch it. We can get tripped up this way by the manipulators we are in relationships with. They will often offer us vague answers or even promises into which we insert what we want it to mean. Not what it actually means. Which is nothing. Which brings me back to Obama. His whole campaign has been a study in vagueness. He has convinced millions he is the 2nd Coming because they think they know what he is saying as he promises 'hope' and 'change'. Those two words contain no information. Yet people insert into those vague words what they want it to mean. I have been marveling for a full year now at how people can hear nothing substantive and yet think they know what this man stands for. I am not saying, by the way, that Obama is a narcissist. I am saying he is using some tried and true manipulation tactics.

Narcissists are very often covertly-aggressive in their dealings with others. In other words, they are constantly fighting for their own way, but they are sneaky about it. We don't immediately recognize when someone is fighting with us to win. If you read under the label of "manipulation tactics" on this blog you'll find some other commonly used tactics by narcissists and other character-disordered types which are nothing more than how they covertly fight you to get what they want. Learn to recognize when you're in a fight. You can better defend yourself that way.

By the way, you may or may not have noticed how I have assiduously avoided talking politics on this blog. I intend it to remain that way. I really have no dog in this fight for the presidency this time around. So, my comments about Obama are not fueled by my giving a flying fig who wins. I am objectively watching this round of politics and seeing Obama from a dispassionate viewpoint. Just sayin'...when the shoe fits... I will not approve comments that become too political and attempt to defend one candidate or another. This ain't the venue. If you don't agree with my observations on how he's been behaving then hashing it out here won't change either of our minds. Just take this information and learn to apply it to the manipulative creeps in your own lives so you can better avoid being taken for a ride by the unscrupulous. By the way, I've seen all three candidates using these tactics. Obama is just the most recent and obvious example.

You can practice learning how to hear when someone is diverting or evading by either watching real court room action or politicians in action. Both are opportunities for practice that allow you to stand outside of the fray, not get swept up in your own emotions because no one is fighting with you or manipulating you face to face. These are a couple of safe places for batting practice. You can hone your skills so the next time you're up against a real-life manipulator you will be better prepared.

Monday, March 17, 2008

It Ain't Personal

On Feb. 17, 2008 I posted this blog about being "Devalued and Thrown on the Junk Heap". In the comments on the 18th I described the cat and mouse game of the narcissist. This was because there was a discussion on my assertion that what the narcissist does to you isn't personal. I used the cat and mouse as a way to describe the perspective of the predator toward its prey.

I mention the dates because I wanted it to be clear that I wrote about this before the author of this article did. His article came out on the 21st of Feb. His article is titled "Psychopaths' Cat and Mouse Game". What I really liked about the author's use of this analogy is that he took it to the same place I did...that it ain't personal:

When the psychopath takes you for a ride—that is, when he is victimizing people—it’s really not personal: You’re simply not enough of a person for it to be personal. In the psychopath’s eyes, you are an expedient, nothing more. When he crosses your path, the psychopath is assessing your expediency. He is asking himself, “Is there something this impending-sucker has for me? Is there something I can take from this fool that I want? Something I can take that will make me feel good?”

I realize this article is talking specifically about psychopaths, nevertheless, it applies to malignant narcissists as well. This is because both psychopaths and malignant narcissists are predatory. Since most psychopaths do not become serial killers the fact is most of their torment of their victims is psychological. Just like narcissists. Dr. Hare has established the fact that all psychopaths have a narcissistic personality pattern. Therefore, when we talk about psychopaths we can apply much of the discussion to malignant narcissists.

It really can't be over-emphasized that it isn't personal. Again, this is an important thing to grasp because it is essential for you to really know and feel how objectified you are in the narcissist's eyes. You are an object. Not a person.

Part of their manipulation of us is how they will pretend there is an emotional bond between you and them. You believe that they must love you in "their way". So you hang in there. You swallow more lies. You stick around because you live in vain hope of change. You feel guilty for breaking contact because you believe them when they say they love you. Instead of seeing how they use the word 'love' to keep you stuck, you choose to believe they care in some way because you care about them (being the decent person you are). And because you stay, they continue to have the power to torment you. Yes, it feels personal as they adjust their torments to your reactions. You mustn't be fooled by the customization of their torture of you. It is just how they maximize the amount of amusement they gain at your expense. It is all about their pleasure, their gain, their lusts. It's not about you.

If you have determined that you are in a relationship with a narcissist or psychopath you need to expunge the word love from your expectations of them or your beliefs about their feelings toward you, or anyone. They do not know what love is. They can say the word. That is all it is to them -- a word. They know the power that little word has over you, but they do not experience love on an emotional level. They only use the word because they know it has emotional meaning to you. If you can really absorb the reality that they don't love you, that they never loved you, it will greatly facilitate your ability to walk away. And not only walk away, but to disentangle your own emotions from them. Residual worry on your part that you've 'hurt' them in some way emotionally by leaving will vanish because you will know down to your bone marrow that they were never connected to you emotionally by bonds of love. Or even hate. You were no more a person than your Lazy Boy lounge chair in the living room. When you can really know that, you'll be free both body and soul.

Remember my maxim: when words contradict actions you must believe the actions over the words or you'll end up being someone's meal. Don't believe protestations of love when the actions consistently contradict how love is truly demonstrated. Add to that this truth as it applies to torments dished out by narcissists: it ain't personal. You are only a means to an end to them.

For the full article mentioned above, read here.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Angry with a Narcissist? Read On...

If you've done much reading here on my blog you've perhaps noticed that I focus on the "what" not the "why" of malignant narcissism. In other words, I focus more on what they actually do than how they became the way they are.

I am decidedly uninterested in the etiology of malignant narcissism. This is not because I'm an incurious person. This is because I recognize that we can never know to any degree of true certainty all the factors that went into the birth of evil. God refers to the "mystery of iniquity" rather than explain reasons for its existence, therefore it is very unlikely that we finite and mortal beings are better than God at divining the mystery of evil. To explain why evil is is to justify it.

I know that there are those who will disagree with this assertion, but it is true nonetheless. It is impossible to explain how evil came into being without, in some substantive way, lessening it. We assume when something is explained to our satisfaction that we've taken the mystery out of the puzzle. Its not evil...its the result of abuse. Its not evil...they have messed up chemicals in their brains. Its not evil...their genetics are at fault. Any explanation of the etiology of evil must discount the power of choice, free will, and personal responsibility. Period.

You don't have read much of Sam Vaknin's fanciful ideas of what creates a narcissist to see how he relieves himself of responsibility for what he is by his explanations. Mother, society, genetics, abuse, neglect. Never is Sam Vaknin ultimately to blame for choosing to be a parasitic life form. Because he feels he can explain how he, the narcissist, came to be...he doesn't have to believe he is evil. To explain the etiology of evil will, inevitably, explain it away. Who exactly is helped by explaining away evil? Do we actually make evil go away by saying it doesn't exist? Do we change evil doers by not calling them evil? No, we only succeed in making it easier for evil doers to continue their life of crime.

The psychology establishment is a prime example of how explanations for evil have been used to do away with the entire concept that evil even exists. Pretending they have the ability to find a root cause for the problems of people's souls, they have been willing to rationalize even the most base behaviors of humanity into simple, even justifiable, reactions to their circumstances. They must paste the corruption somewhere -- so they lay it on society at large in order to give a pass to the individual in the mis-guided belief that the individual's sense of shame somehow explains why he acts out. This helps no one but the evil doer. Society then has to suffer the predation of evil individuals even while bearing the blame for the evil deeds perpetrated upon it. Society is you and me. Are you really willing to bear this kind of responsibility for the acts of another over which you have no power to stop or persuade from his evil course? I'm not.

Evil behaviors and evil outcomes can become absolutely undeniable in their most egregious manifestations. So undeniable that even the psych community is forced to sometimes admit that evil exists. Yet, even so, they will expend super human efforts to find explanations for the unspeakable. They are so adverse to the idea that human evil exists, and that it is volitional, that they can become extremely creative at finding explanations. It seems that evil in our midst stirs up very powerful emotions in us. Thus, it can cause us to reflexively try to explain it away, at least in part, so we can settle our own internal maelstrom of emotions evoked by evil deeds witnessed or received. Many, especially Christians, try to calm their internal storm by looking for explanations in order to feel pity or compassion for the evil doer. (Notice, again, how we instinctively know that to explain evil will somehow lessen it or reduce its impact on us.) We want to feel good about ourselves, so we try to lessen the culpability of the evil doer so we can settle our own angry feelings. We think that our negative feelings about the evil doer is some kind of condemnation of ourselves rather than the perp. We need to get over that.

It is our discomfort with our own feelings which often drives us to search for a place of "understanding" because we hope that by understanding we will calm the savage seas of our own emotions. For various reasons people feel guilty for having negative feelings. Especially anger. Denying your anger, or trying to subvert it by "understanding" how the malignant narcissist became what they are is not going to get you where you want to go.

Your anger is not wrong. Your anger is a sign that you recognize the crimes which have been committed against you or those you love. Your anger is actually a healthy sign! Anger is an appropriate emotion in the wake of evil or injustice. Negative feelings are not inherently sinful or wrong. Emotions happen. Don't try to escape what you're feeling by denying or pretending it isn't there. Acknowledge it. What you do with your emotions is where right and wrong come into the picture. Obviously, being angry isn't justification for abusing someone or doing wrong ourselves.

I am of the firm opinion that certain things should outrage us. Evil acts should make us angry. It is an appropriate and reasonable response to injustice and malicious acts. It is a sign that you respect yourself (or others) when you rise up in outrage at egregious behavior. Acknowledge what you feel and don't be afraid of your own strong reactions to evil. Negative feelings should serve as a sign telling you that something is seriously out of whack. That is where your fore brain is supposed to come in. Emotions are not intelligent or mature. They are signals sent from primitive places in our brains. So what to do with them? Acknowledge they are what they are. Then, you apply your reasoning ability to the situation. What is the injustice? What can you do to deal with the situation to remove the threat? Is it time to bring in the law? Is it time to remove yourself? Don't be afraid of your strong reactions. Use them to motivate you to change the circumstance. Legally and morally.

Don't get side-tracked by your negative emotions into trying to understand the incomprehensible. You will not help the narcissist by "understanding" how he became malignant. You will not help yourself either. Again, this is because we can hypothesize from here to eternity but never know how evil was born. This is worse than wasted energy. Spending your finite time and energy trying to solve what can't be solved is only going to distract you from finding solutions to present day problems.

Don't fall for what passes for "truth" by the prescribers of false righteousness. They want peace at all costs. They are willing to overlook the crimes of abusers in order to keep things looking good on the surface. They want you to screw yourself by pretending someone didn't injure you, steal from you, slander you, etc. They demand you submit to bad treatment so they don't have to deal with anything as messy as your hurt or angry feelings at having been crapped on and screwed yet again. See what I'm saying? These people who condemn your negative feelings are demanding you put up with being raped. They are demanding your silence. In fact, in a real sense, they are piling on with the narcissist. They don't want to be inconvenienced by your justifiable reactions to evil deeds done to you or yours. Do not give moral weight to the opinions of someone who is only studying their own convenience and therefore willing to subvert justice in the name of a false peace or truce with evil.

Give up your quest to find peace at the cost of honesty. Be honest with yourself about what you feel. Attempts to lessen the guilt of the guilty is an illegitimate way to cope with your negative reactions to them. Accept the truth that a decent person should be angry and outraged at perverted and evil behaviors. Evil people create themselves. They stand before God Himself with no excuses for their evil deeds. He will strip away all their excuses in the final judgment and they will be forced to bear the full guilt for their choices. We should quit trying to be better than God Himself.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Wizard of Oz: How One Narcissist Interprets it

Speaking of the 'man behind the curtain' in my last post, I thought I would elaborate a bit on my mother's inordinate interest in the movie "The Wizard of Oz". She refers to the story often and studies it like it is filled with subtle signs and cues of some grand conspiracy. For example, she finds great significance in the color green in the movie. (Emerald City and all.) I don't actually know what the significance is because she won't explicate it. She just looks like she knows the mystery of the color green and expects you to puzzle it out for yourself if you want to prove you're as smart as she is, as well-versed in hidden (occult) knowledge. My mother claims to be a Christian but she is an occultist at heart. Always has been.

This obsession of hers about the Wizard of Oz was a later development in her life although I remember from my youngest years that we always watched the movie when it was replayed on TV in the days before videos. Maybe it is a sign she's gone around the bend with this new obsession. But there are too many other signs that she is still sane for me to slap that pat of an explanation on it. This is more a manifestation of her increasing paranoia as I'll explain a little more in moment.

I think she can sense there is a lesson in the story that is just beyond her grasp. She studies it and studies it but can't quite see it. I really do think she senses there is some big revelation in that movie that she is yet to nail down. She ascribes an air of mystery and dark quiet conspiracy to this movie. It's like some grand poobah in the Globalist cabal is sending her a message. Perhaps her obsession is nothing more than a narcissist majoring in minors as they are wont to do, but I think there is a little more to it than that.

Her self-delusions make the rather obvious moral of the story hazy to her understanding. She is most fascinated with the "man behind the curtain" yet doesn't seem to 'get' that she is that man. Or maybe some part of her does. Yet, she doesn't focus on the grand act of this weak little man being unmasked. That is a rather climactic moment in the movie, I daresay. What does she focus on? "Notice how he puts his finger on the side of his nose. That's a sign. Santa Claus puts his finger on the side of his nose. So do the popes..." All said with her imperious self-importance because she is plugged into the secret signals of the ... what...the masons? The Illuminati? Yes and yes. I don't want to try too hard to understand the twisted convolutions and obsessive paranoia of her brain as it only tends toward making me dizzy. Yet I continue...

My mother had brought up the topic of this movie one day and found out that my cousin "Lee" had seen the movie once as a child and didn't like it, therefore Lee's boys had never seen the movie. As my mother had done on other issues, if Lee had some qualm about exposing her sons to something it became my mother's mission to force things. It became an imperative for my mother to expose Lee's boys to whatever it was that Lee had chosen to keep from them. This was because my mother actively worked to undermine my cousin's parental authority in order for my mother to usurp that position with Lee's boys. My mother forced my cousin and her sons to watch this movie followed up with a classroom type study of its implications. She instructed everyone to pay attention to the color green. To take note of "north". As in, the witch of the north. What is significant about "north"?, they asked. "Bad things come from the north." She responds with weighty meaningfulness. (Never mind that the witch from the north is a 'good' witch in the movie.) She again referenced Santa Claus, and implied there were other proofs of this connection of "north" to "bad things". **sigh** It is kind of tedious to try to write this crap down. She is such a paranoid whack job.

My mother refused, after they had watched the movie, to actually explain these mysteries. She gave them assignments, "Go to the computer and look up 'green' " ... I kid you not. (Type 'green' into Google and you'll get over a billion hits back!) My mother who refuses to touch a computer because she is intimidated by them pretends to know something about how to search for something on the Internet. Yes, you can type in the word 'green' and then study all that information that will magically appear. She told them to do this kind of 'research' on multiple other words at various times usually during her "Bible studies" with them. "Lines" "Walls" "Angels" Each time making silly pretense at her having searched this all out herself and pretending to instruct her students to be studious. There was, thankfully, never any follow up to these Internet search assignments. It was just bluster and bluff to avoid actually having to have anything resembling an answer to the stupid shit she was presenting as being hidden knowledge. It is this hocus pocus silliness which characterized her 'study' on the movie "Wizard of Oz". Who is the 'man behind the curtain' now? It is rather amazing to me how she can practically worship this movie and yet not see its obvious messages because she is so busy looking at the details rather than the whole. "The devil's in the details" ... and she is busily hunting him out there instead of seeing the bigger picture. I marvel at my mother's ridiculous pretenses at being some kind of seer and intellectual. I marvel she can mesmerize people into falling for such a shabby presentation. But she can pull this crap off with the sheer force of her personality.

It's like someone who wants to study an animal. The best way to learn about an animal is to watch it unmolested. We can observe it doing what it does only by letting it be. How it eats, what it eats, when and where and how it sleeps, mating behavior, nesting behavior, how it raises its young, etc. But if you are like my mother you wouldn't try to learn about the animal this way. No, you would take it to your garage and pin it down. Then you would kill it and start looking carefully at all the pieces as you tear it apart bit by bit. You look at its limbs, organs, fur, features all in isolation and try to intuit how the animal must behave, eat, mate, sleep, and even how it looks after you've torn the thing to bits to look at each piece of it. This is how my mother studies this movie. It also is her method of Bible study. It is a pseudo-intellectualism that does not, in the end, impart true knowledge. She may be able to describe in great detail the various parts of the whole but she will never see the whole because she has torn it into pieces.

In case you are tempted to think that you would never fall for my mother's gambit because it seems that she would look so crazy that you'd be long gone in no time, please balance out the above with the careful stalking and then grooming of her prey. My mother presents as being quite sane. She is, even though she is an older woman now, very pretty. She dresses really well. Always a fashion plate. She chooses well-tailored clothing with classic lines. Nothing trendy, but certainly not fuddy-duddy either. Her slim figure carries off her clothing choices to their maximum benefit. Her skin is smooth, her make-up applied with perfection. Her hair is perfectly coiffed in a very complimentary style. Her body movements are graceful and lithe. She doesn't move around like an old person. All of this attention to her appearance takes her a very long way in her relationships. It's the hook. She accompanies the above with an air of erudition and huge self-confidence. Many are attracted to self-confident people. The period of grooming her supply sources includes a long honeymoon where she flatters their intellect every time they agree with her. It is only in time, after she determines that you are convinced she is more knowledgeable than you are, that she'll start to tell you something of the dark mysteries and conspiracies she has uncovered. This process really is like the poor frog dumped into the pot of cold water with the temperature only gradually rising. Froggie doesn't know he's cooked. There is a certain type of person who is especially vulnerable to my mother. It is the person who lacks self-confidence and who is looking for guidance. She seeks these people out actively and seems to always have one on her hook.

I tell you about her presentation to help balance out the picture. What she actually says, the ludicrous assertions and false knowledge, when standing alone are truly ridiculous and lacking in appeal. It is only the rest of her presentation that gives her paranoid and silly pretense any ability at all to deceive. Thankfully my cousin and her sons were not so much under my mother's power that they didn't start to see the farce. My mother miscalculated the level of her control over them. To her everlasting chagrin in the end.

Thank God.

And I say that reverently.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

The Fear that Moves Them

If I was required to come up with one adjective to describe the internal life of a malignant narcissist...ummmmm...I couldn't do it. I require two.

Covetous and fearful--in that order.

I want to focus more on the latter descriptor. Fear. It is the outgrowth of the former. Fear is so pervasive in the psyche of the narcissist that they do not see it. They call it other things; they certainly don't call it fear. Usually those around them don't see it either. Yet nearly everything the narcissist does is an effort to outrun their fear.

Before I go further I want to explicitly state that an examination of the fear that moves the narcissist is not in any way a demand upon us to feel pity for them. Every single human being deals with fears. It is how we deal with our fears that largely determine what we become. I think we can safely label the narcissist as having pathological fear because it is so destructive to themselves and all those who have to deal with them. Their personal code of conduct, their broken coping mechanisms, their thinking patterns--all point to the fact that they have completely capitulated to their fears and are ruled by them. Another word for that is cowardice. Because I do not admire cowardice, my ruminations on the all-pervasive fears that move the narcissist do not inspire compassion or pity in me.

Fear that is caved to = cowardice.
Fear that is faced or fear that we act in spite of = courage.

Truly brave people are not fearless people. They are people who acted in spite of fear. It is bravery that inspires me and commands my respect.

I have observed the malignant narcissist's fear up close and very personally. You may think me hard for not pitying the fearful state of the narcissist. If so, consider this...the narcissist's efforts to forestall their fears is what motivates them to hurt you. You are expendable in their quest to evade their fears. You are the casualty of their fears. Their fears are slaked by your pain, your psychic injury. There...feel the pity evaporate like the morning dew? I hope so.

What is the narcissist afraid of?

Because of the need of the narcissist to garner all the attention and good will in the room, one of their most basic fears is loss of attention i.e. loss of narcissistic supply. The reason this fear is pathological is because of the pathological covetousness it springs from. It isn't enough for them to be satisfied with a portion of the human regard and attention in any given situation. They must have your share too. They perceive you getting attention as their losing attention. They must have it all. That is covetousness. Their most primal fear is the outgrowth of their infernal covetousness.


1. Excessively and culpably desirous of the possessions of another. See synonyms at jealous.
2. Marked by extreme desire to acquire or possess.

For the best explanation of what attention is, how we all need it to do well in life, and how the narcissist must have it all, see Kathy's site here. This is essential to understanding "what makes narcissists tick."

They can experience loss of attention (supply) as either you gaining some of their precious commodity through your real accomplishments or force of personality, etc., or through attrition of supply sources due to various reasons. This fear looms very large for the narcissist and motivates many (if not all) of their bad behaviors.

This is their most basic fear--loss of narcissistic supply.

Sam Vaknin identifies fear of abandonment as ever-present and directly connects that fear to the fear of losing a source of supply. All the other fears of the narcissist seem to tie into this one fear of losing supply. They fear emotional dependency even though they can be very dependent. They fear intimacy. (Both of these fears are linked to their need to see themselves as god-like and therefore better than the rest of humanity and entitled to whatever supply they demand.) They fear the loss of their looks or mental capacity (depending on whether they are somatic or cerebral narcissists). These are his/her stock in trade to gaining supply. They fear introspection (again, linked to the need to be god-like--introspection is detrimental to maintaining their sense of grandiosity. Being a god means they are entitled to their supply needs.) They fear being unmasked. They fear loss of status or reputation. These fears are all connected in some way to the loss of supply.

It is their covetousness and their fear of losing that which they covet (and must therefore steal from you), which inspire their predatory nature. They are thieves. They must steal what is by right yours and mine in order to feel any sense of equanimity or calm in the circumstance. But I digress.

Several years before I knew anything about NPD I was startled to recognize what a fearful creature my mother is. I watched her behaviors and began to analyze past events and behaviors. It became stunningly obvious that my mother was animated entirely by her fears. The more clearly I could see this fact the more pathetic she looked to me. And, yes, I pitied her. It was an earth-shaking as well as eye-opening understanding for me. My mother presents herself as a Rock of Gibraltar. She is in control of herself and her world. She is the pinnacle of human strength. T'was all an act. A pitiful and cartoonish act which had fooled me for decades. Having pulled back the curtain I could see the 'little man' operating the levers while fooling everyone into thinking her to be the Great Oz. My pity was eventually eclipsed by the recognition of the evil which this woman stoops to in order to get what she wants. I now save all my pity for her many victims. My mother's pathological covetousness, which leads to her pathological fears, is what she uses to justify her pathological narcissism. Being fearful doesn't make her pitiable, it makes her malignant.

What does the understanding that narcissists are animated by their pathological fears do for us? Hopefully it can help to depersonalize for us the crimes they commit against us so we can more easily sever our affections and connections to them. Everything is about them; none of it is about us from their perspective. We are always just a means to an end. We are tools in their hand, objects in the room, a reflection in their mirror. The quest to slake their vast thirsty covetousness must be done at our expense. It must be done to try and find a moment's peace from their clamoring lusts. Again, to see the world of the narcissist you have to step far outside yourself. They are living in another galaxy. The ability to see that they are cravenly following their lusts, and that they constantly scramble to outrun their fear that they may not gain what they crave, can help you to step away from this destructive force. They are addicts; addicted to their narcissistic supply sources. Like addicts they will steal, kill, lie, cheat and manipulate to get their next fix. Seeing this, you can better protect yourself and those you care about. Leave the narcissist to his fears. You can't save him from his fears. Just step off the tracks so the train doesn't hit you.