Saturday, December 27, 2008

Jesse Pomeroy: A Stark Illustration of Lack of Introspection

I just finished reading the book Fiend by Harold Schechter. It is the true story of the crimes and conviction of America's youngest serial killer, Jesse Pomeroy. He was a full blown narcissistic psychopath lust killer by the tender age of 14. Of course, these terms didn't exist back in 1874. He became known as the "boy fiend" thanks to the tabloid journalism of that era.

What I want to bring to your attention is the striking illustration Pomeroy presents of my last post. The absolute lack of introspection. This lack is highlighted all the more by the nearly incomprehensible length of his confinement in solitary. Forty-one years -- the second longest in U.S. penal history. The severity of his confinement was most pronounced in the first decade when he was confined to a very small, mostly dark cell. Here is a quote from page 263 of the book:

Clinical studies have proven that prisoners subjected to even relatively short periods in solitary confinement commonly begin to show severe psychopathological symptoms, ranging from hallucinations to panic attacks to paranoid delusions. More protracted stints can drive a man to madness.
So the question is: was Jesse Pomeroy already "mad" and therefore had no sanity to lose? Or was he in possession of an "indomitable spirit" as he was credited to having by James R. Wood, a onetime Boston police detective who had played a key role in Jesse's arrest half a century previous to Mr. Wood's statement about Jesse's spirit?

I will back up that half century to Jesse's conviction in 1874. The boy was examined in prison by several psychologists, called back then "alienists". Here is an excerpt from the observations of one of these psychologists named Tyler. He first observed that Jesse was physically and intellectually average.

By contrast, his 'moral sensibility' was strikingly aberrant. Though able to discriminate between right and wrong when presented with various hypothetical cases, Jesse was absolutely 'obtuse' when it came to his own crimes. "He evinces no pity for the boys tortured or for the victims of his homicide," Tyler writes, "and no remorse or sorrow for his acts." Moreover, his wildly "contradictory statements" -- his detailed "account of killing the children and subsequent denial of any agency therein" -- were the sign of a deeply duplicitous nature. Fiend, page 162

Even though it was apparent by examining Jesse, as well as how he conducted his crimes, that Jesse was not insane, his defense team knew all they had was to try to convince a jury that Jesse was indeed insane. The all-male jury couldn't quite go there with the defense and so they convicted Jesse of first degree murder. It was not the place for the jury to recommend a sentence but they attached a note to the verdict requesting Jesse not be executed for his crime due to his young age. Jesse was given a sentence of death as the law required, but the governor of Massachusetts was under a lot of pressure to reduce the sentence. After much wrangling, and the election of a new governor, Jesse's sentence was reduced to life in solitary confinement. Some argued that was more cruel than the death sentence.

Now, more to my point of observation. Jesse spent his entire time in prison working tirelessly and patiently to escape. He was able to fashion tools like chisels, knives, picks, etc. from prying pieces of metal off of various objects or finding innocuous objects in the yard on this rare exercise romps. His mechanical bent of mind enabled him to come up with some ingenious improvisations. His prison records reveal that he was disciplined for escape attempts every year, sometimes several times a year. What becomes evident when reading the account of his prison activities is that his every power of mind was focused on one thing: escaping. When he wasn't trying to dig, scrape or bomb his way out of his cell, or making tools to facilitate escape, he worked diligently on another form of possible escape: the law. He became a quasi-lawyerly prisoner as he consumed hours in reading law books and persecuting the courthouse with his endless stream of requests for documents and demands for attention to his case. One of the benefits he received from his repeated escape attempts was that it kept him in the limelight. He reveled in the attention he received from the press each time he was caught trying to escape. He loved to brag about each attempt as he would describe how he did it.

What becomes very evident is that Jesse not only didn't go insane while confined in solitary for 41 years, he thrived. He was able to avoid any opportunity for introspection even though he only had himself for company for over four decades!! This is a profound illustration of how it is possible to avoid introspection even when sent away from human contact for an interminable length of time. He focused every shred of his mental energy on escape. It is also how he determinedly persisted in his belief that his cause was just. He was unjustly incarcerated and therefore it was his right to try to escape. His constant focus on escape was how he escaped introspection.

It should be noted here as evidence of Jesse actually thriving in solitary was that when his sentence was eventually reduced to just life in prison Jesse refused to leave his solitary cell for three months! He knew he would not have some of the amenities in the general population that he had in his solitary cell like being able to control the heat, having all the room he needed for his rather large personal library, as well as not having to work. All prisoners were required to work, but Jesse had avoided that while in solitary. He was absolutely lazy. He was able to get out of work after being released into 'gen pop' because the jailers didn't want to have to constantly punish him and receive bad press for being crueler to Jesse now than when in his solitary cell.

Obviously, Jesse was a psychopath. A malignant narcissist is likely not a psychopath, but all psychopaths are malignant narcissists so there are behaviors and thought patterns that are identical with both malignant narcissists and psychopaths. The refusal to introspect is one of them. I drew your attention to Diane Downs in my last post because she has managed to avoid introspection for 25 years as testified to by those who have examined her state of mind. Jesse Pomeroy shows us that Diane will not be any the wiser once she gets to forty plus years of incarceration. Neither will the malignant narcissist in your life. You cannot exile them from your life for any length of time with the expectation that they may have possibly come to a place of recognition of what and who they are and what their crimes have been. There is no exhausting their ability to justify themselves and their resolute ability to avoid any inward look at the evil within.

Jesse Pomeroy was an extreme case of isolation. When he got to the other end of his life (he died in prison at age 73 = 59 years in prison total) he was utterly unchanged. He was as narcissistic and mentally immature as he was at age 14. He was intelligent, but forever immature. He consumed all 8,000 plus books in the prison library and read many of them several times. He wasn't a mental deficient. He certainly wasn't insane. He was forever a case of arrested development emotionally as is true of all malignant narcissists. They never grow up past age six emotionally no matter what intellectual accomplishments they may boast of in adulthood.

Don't assume the malignant narcissist in your life is not as extreme as Jesse was in terms of the absolute and profound lack of any introspection. In this regard, Jesse was the norm and not the exception for malignant narcissists. Simply by virtue of the fact that he ended up incarcerated for so long we have been given a clear picture of just how resolute the malignant narcissist really is in their refusal to admit to what they are.

You've exiled the malignant narcissist. Make sure it is until death. There is not enough reason to nurture any hope of their reformation. To do so will only place your well-being at risk yet again. Malignant narcissists should all be put into solitary confinement. The next best thing is you putting them into solitary of sorts i.e. going 'no contact' with them. At this point, there is no salvation for the narcissist that you can bring about. Your only hope lies in your own salvation. Lock up the narcissist and throw away the key. They will be just fine without you. There is no confinement that will permeate the walls they've thrown up around their consciences. No prison sentence you invoke will reach their inner life. You are not hurting the narcissist with 'no contact', you are saving your own sanity and the well-being of yourself and those you love. 'No contact' is not punishment. It is not vengeance. It is confinement. A cage you put the dangerous beast in to limit his ability to cause further harm.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Absence of Introspection

Maybe you remember Diane Downs, the woman who shot her three children killing one and permanently maiming the other two. I lived in Oregon back when she cold-bloodedly shot her own children execution style and pretended a "bushy-haired stranger" did it. The year was 1983. She has been in prison, minus one successful 10-day prison escape in 1987, for nearly 25 years. She is eligible for parole hearings every two years now which is why she is suddenly in the spotlight again.

Downs has been labeled (quite properly) a narcissistic psychopath. The Oregonian article is interesting and provides a brief history of her crime as well as her current mental state. I will excerpt one paragraph for the purpose of this post:

A recent psychological evaluation of Downs reiterated her narcissistic personality disorder diagnosis: "By year 20 one hopes that the life prisoner has come to a place of deeper self-reflection and introspection regarding their life and incarceration. By this time there should be some struggle in contemplation with existential life issues. Regardless of guilt or innocence, one normally would be asking the how and why questions of life. The thing that is most troubling regarding Ms. Downs is that she appears to have done very little of this."
I have noticed that psychologists who work primarily with criminals have a much better grasp of NPD than psychologists whose practices don't include convicted criminals. It is impossible to understand NPD if you don't have a working knowledge of the criminal mind. The criminal mind and the person with NPD are, in the most fundamental ways, synonymous. Malignant narcissists are criminals through and through if we simply compare the way they think about themselves, their relation to others, and the world. Whether or not they end up in prison depends on the scope and audacity of their crimes. Most remain out of the hands of the law. This paragraph above shows the better-than-average knowledge the evaluators have of NPD by seeing Down's profound lack of introspection and reflection as being a confirmation of the original diagnosis of NPD. I say, well observed!

This is a stark reality with full-blown narcissists. They do not get wiser with age. More cunning and perfidious, yes, but not wiser in the full sense of the word:

  1. The ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting; insight.
  2. Common sense; good judgment
Wisdom cannot be acquired without an ability to engage in deep introspection, i.e. insight.
The reason I'm highlighting the lack of introspection observed in narcissists is because it is essential you are fully aware of this universal quality of malignant narcissists. The temptation for you is to believe that that putting the narcissist in their room (i.e. no contact) for a period of time will result in a reformed narcissist. Or, as in Diane Down's case, in a prison cell for 20 plus years. Not going to happen. Time and introspection are wonderful teachers to those willing to employ them, but you must understand that in the narcissist's calculation there is no gain in it for them. The "what's in it for me" question they pose before every exertion of effort shuts down the process of introspection before it can ever really start because the answer that comes back to them is always "nothing!". The feedback they would receive from introspection will not flatter them, will not support their false reality, will not reinforce their grandiosity, will not gain them an unfair advantage over someone else, etc. So any introspection they may engage in will be abbreviated at best. Not that they have to think it through this methodically. They are instinctually revulsed by introspection as a cat is to being thrown into a tub of water. Just like that cat immediately reacts to its revulsion of the water so the narcissist is instinctively repelled by any exercise in introspection.

I have been in the past shocked at the "profound lack of introspection and reflection" in the narcissists of my acquaintance. Then, wiser, I came to expect this lack and have never been disappointed by them since.

If you are convinced you are dealing with a malignant narcissist then be convinced of this too: they will not get better with time. It is impossible for them to acknowledge the enormity of their crimes because they excuse, rationalize, blame-shift and project all their problems and bad behavior onto you and others. No amount to time being confined to isolation from you and your life will render them capable of suddenly understanding that which they utterly refuse to look at. If you are possessed of a savior complex my exhortations on this point may well be lost on you. Maybe, though, you've grown tired of your endlessly dashed hopes for the reformation of the narcissist. Having been worn down by endless disappointment perhaps you're now more willing to consider and believe my observations over the promises of the reprobate narcissist or the insistence of your more enlighted conscience that all others can be persuaded to a similar keen self-reflection as you yourself are capable of. Don't be that naive. Clearly, it is quite possible for a person to shut down their conscience by a persistent and consistent refusal to even consider the possibility of ones wrong doing. It is this absolute refusal to believe themselves to have done wrong that makes them refuse all opportunity for introspection.

Once you've decided to exile the malignant narcissist from your life do not fall prey to fanciful ideas of his reformation. Time will not render him the wiser for his 'confinement'. Like Diane Downs he or she will persist in their rationalizations and justifications to the bitter, ugly end. The malignant narcissist easily believes the whole world wrong and themselves alone right rather than risk a confrontation with the opposite reality. Hence, introspection = anathema.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Irresponsible Journalism or Psychologists...or Both.

While Democrats and the news media are all working feverishly to get Gov. Blagojevich branded with the "insanity" label in order to discredit him and inoculate the Obama franchise from taint I fume over something else. The irresponsible reporting from the Chicago Sun-Times on speculation over Blago's possible NPD.

Why would that bother me? I'll 'splain.

First of all, the so-called professionals love to tell us laypeople that we are not qualified to determine whether or not someone we know has NPD by comparing that individual's behaviors with an checklist. What the article from the Sun-Times illustrates to me is how the 'professionals' are the ones who are unqualified. I think it is highly unprofessional for a psychologist to make pronunciations on someone's mental state to the media when that psychologist has never even met the person in question. They should at least try to uphold some of the standards they hold the rest of us to. They tell us we can't diagnose persons whom we've grown up with or married or worked with for years yet, sight unseen, they can make absolute statements about a person's mental health just from reports they've read in the media and a few pictures of a person? Bah. That is my first irritation.

Next. Frankly, I myself had come to strongly suspect that extreme narcissism was motivating Blago. But I based my suspicions on his behaviors. Not his HAIR! The article begins with a little dramatic embellishment by the journalist followed by the quote from a psychologist:

It's a head of hair that a man 20 years his junior would envy -- a chestnut helmet that brazenly mocks Father Time and screams "healthy!"

Gov. Blagojevich's glossy locks -- perfectly sculpted in rain or snow -- may be an indication of a sickness beneath his scalp, said one local psychologist.

"It's all part of managing his image, managing his image of being without a blemish, without a flaw," said Scott Ambers, who has practiced clinical psychology in the city for more than two decades.

Chicago Sun-Times article here.
Okay. There is SO much about Blago's behavior that could indicate possible NPD without going to the most superficial aspect of his he styles his hair!!?? This is completely and totally irresponsible on the part of the psychologist as well as the stupid journalist who seems to be thrilled to report this revelation. Of what value would this blog be if I busily reported on the various ways to spot a narcissist and then started directing your attention to how a person styles their hair, how they dress, whether or not they wear designer clothes and glasses or drive a sports car? I would be a joke. And I contend this psychologist is a joke. The obvious extrapolation from his comment above is we are to suspect NPD in a person if they seem to be overly proud of their hair, if their hair seems to look too good given the wind, rain, or time of day or even the decade of their life. I cannot even begin to express my contempt for this ridiculousness. It will accomplish nothing good for helping people to truly understand what NPD is and how it manifests.

The psychologist (as well as the air-head journalist) have seized on the most insubstantial in order to make their case. This itself reminds me of narcissists. Narcissists are always focused on superficialities. I'm sorry, but focusing on how much hair someone still has and deciding they are overly proud of their hair is as superficial of an analysis as any analysis could get. There is no real sign that Blago is overly proud of his locks. Where was this analysis when John Edwards was on the scene?? We actually had proof of Edwards excessive fondness of his hair...yet this psychologist had nothing to say back then. Fraudulent quack.

I won't go into all the speculation on whether or not Blago is certifiably insane. All of the babblings of the news media only illustrate to me they know nothing of what they speak and their motivations are suspect. The word of the week has been "insane". Yet sprinkled in between pronouncing Blago insane they throw around the word "sociopath" and "narcissist". Anyone who knows anything knows that insanity is not the issue when talking about narcissism or sociopathy. They are not interchangeable labels! The profound ignorance of the talking heads is being blared from every mouthpiece and is driving your friendly blogger to distraction.

This is just one very good illustration of why you should ignore anyone, especially the 'professionals', who tells you that you can't tell whether or not someone in your life has NPD. They don't know Jack themselves. No one knows what NPD is more than someone who has suffered from its predations for years. Eggheads in ivory towers only know NPD from textbooks. I am absolutely convinced that if this psychologist actually had a person with NPD in his office he'd be blissfully unaware of that fact. Yet he'd label some arrogant snob or braggadocious windbag as NPD.

NPD is much more than arrogance or bragging or attention to personal grooming. NPD is, at its core, predatory. While vain, arrogant or boastful people may be annoying it doesn't mean they are predatory. Without that core motivation it just ain't NPD. NPD = malignant narcissism = evil behaviors. Evil as defined by exploitation and abuse of the most vulnerable. You can't tell that from how a guy styles his hair. Even if you're a 'professional'.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

They DO Have Empathy...Just Not For You

If you've done much research on malignant narcissism you've seen it stated that narcissists (and psychopaths) lack empathy. This is only partially true -- not because of what it states but because of what it omits. To say they lack empathy is erroneous because most will take that to mean the narcissist lacks empathy in any capacity. They are capable of empathy, but like everything else having to do with the narcissist their empathy is perverted.

Narcissists have vast reservoirs of compassion (which is an outgrowth of empathy). Here's the problem though. All that compassion is turned inward i.e. used completely selfishly. They save their empathy for themselves. You, on the other hand, are out of luck.

On the geocities webpage where the author Chris brilliantly outlines "Characteristics of Narcissist Mothers" she captures the essential elements of the narcissist's perverted form of empathy. Read it and relate:

Sometimes she seems to have no awareness that other people even have feelings, and yet she is brilliantly sensitive to other people’s emotions. Every child of a narcissist recognizes this contradiction because narcissistic mothers do possess the ability to exercise empathy, and in abundance. Sometimes this ability also leads them to identify emotionally with people who are suffering and to express caring for them. When caring about anothers suffering interferes with something the narcissist wants, though, the caring vanishes. When a narcissistic mother wants validation, when she feels like eliciting some emotional pain, when something she wants hurts someone else, the empathy is turned off as though it never existed.

From the perspective of ability, narcissists are extremely empathetic; indeed they have a gift of telling what other people are feeling and thinking. Their skill at discerning and guiding the emotions of other people is the basis of many characteristically narcissistic interactions. Narcissists are very socially adept which is why no one ever believes their children when they complain of their mothers. They know just how to make everyone think that they’re delightful. Narcissistic mothers are exceptional manipulators, and manipulators must be extremely aware, on a moment-by-moment basis, of the emotions of their targets. If you don’t know what people are feeling, you can’t push their buttons. Their exceptional sensitivity to the feelings of others is also the wellspring of their pleasure in inflicting emotional pain through dramas and no-win scenarios. Narcissistic mothers enjoy inflicting emotional pain and they do it very well because they know just what their target children are feeling. That exquisite sensitivity is the reason they don’t need to batter. They can inflict agony without lifting a finger, so why risk exposure and waste effort with beatings when they can elicit the same emotions with words alone?

What narcissistic mothers lack is concern for the consequences of their actions, a behavior that seems rooted in profound selfishness, rather than in the absence of empathy. Mothers with NPD are certainly capable of feeling for others: they’re always feeling for the people with whom their scapegoat has conflicts. They feel for their fellow narcissists. They feel for people who have validated and praised them. They even feel for their child when it doesn’t cost them anything to do so. They just don’t feel for their child when they’re abusing him. They don’t feel anything that interferes with their absorption in their own wants and needs. Because they scour their environment for validation of their own abusiveness, they defend their fellow abusers, so they don’t have any empathy for the victims of those abusers, as the following story shows:

A four-year-old had come to school with a hand print on her face, which had been inflicted as the result of a slap by her mother’s live-in boyfriend. As a mandated reporter my mother had called the authorities, but she told me that she could understand why the boyfriend had hit the child: she was so annoying. Then she said in a dramatic tone dripping with sympathy “You should have seen the parents. They were so ashamed!” In outrage I said “What difference does that make to the child?” Her mouth dropped open and I realized she not only didn’t care at all about that poor little girl…it would never have occurred to her to care.


This story shows the misplaced empathy of the abuser for other abusers. There was no empathy in Chris’s mother for the actual victim. Instead it was reserved for the woman who let her boyfriend batter her child. Chris’s mother identified with the abuser, a mother like herself, afflicted with a child who didn’t meet her needs. Her empathy actually attributed virtues to her fellow abuser and faults to the victim that weren’t merited in reality. Someone who hits a small child hard enough to leave a hand print, then sends them to school, isn’t ashamed, and the personality of a four-year-old is not the fault of the child!

The selfish empathy demonstrated by narcissistic mothers contrasts with the genuine empathy shown by normal people. Sometimes a normal person will give up something they really want for themselves because they come to recognize that it will hurt another person. A narcissistic mother will relentlessly go after something she wants even if it isn’t worth the pain she has to inflict to get it.

There are several statements in the above which put the finger on where the perversion has occurred:

When caring about anothers suffering interferes with something the narcissist wants, though, the caring vanishes.

They even feel for their child when it doesn’t cost them anything to do so. They just don’t feel for their child when they’re abusing him. They don’t feel anything that interferes with their absorption in their own wants and needs.

A narcissistic mother will relentlessly go after something she wants even if it isn’t worth the pain she has to inflict to get it.
The moment empathy would require the narcissist to extend herself for another human being, the instant some self-sacrifice would be called for, the minute the narcissist would have to take a stand against evil to protect the innocent is the very time her empathy stops flowing outward. This is absolute proof that the narcissist uses their ability to empathize only to serve themselves. They use their ability to intuit the emotions and reactions of others in order to manipulate them to their own ends. The only other real use of empathy they employ is to expend it generously upon themselves.

Chris has nailed another important point on whom the narcissist will bequeath her empathy: other abusers. This is a fundamentally selfish bestowal of empathy just as much as giving herself undeserved empathy is because by bestowing her empathy to the abuser what she is really doing is granting absolution and empathy for herself. She recognizes the kindred spirit in the other abuser and by excusing their behavior she excuses her own.

When I was forced to admit by dint of my father's letters to me over the summer and fall of 2005 that his sympathy was all for my mother I labeled him an abuser from that point onward. This is because of the bedrock reality that those who excuse abusers are themselves abusive. No matter the appearance of a mild-mannered nature -- if a person excuses abusers it is because there is some space in their minds which accedes to the notion that in at least some cases abuse can be justified. In the case of my father there was some evidence of aptitude for abuse, but it was rare enough that I could easily forget and thereby resume my opinion of him that he was not abusive. His unmitigated support of my mother, his lack of having ever protected myself or my daughter from my mother's abuses, his absolute demand I be the one to apologize, move on and forgive my mother in the absence of any sincere effort on her part to make things right, his unsubtle reminders of the sins of my youth to try to prove I had no right to hold my mother to any account...all these things proved to me once and for all that he is an abuser himself. Only abusers are willing to grant other abusers the right to abuse! It is at its very root a pass they are giving to themselves. Excusing abuse is abuse in itself. It is a red flag that the person has themselves a propensity for abuse. Granting absolution to abusers is always an extremely selfish thing to do; it ignores the humanity of the person abused and preserves compassion for the one doing the abusing and by doing so gives the person excusing the abuse a pass for the abuse they may decide to dish out themselves. Did you follow that sentence? If so, you get a gold star on your paper today.

In another blog post I wrote early this year I talked about the play on your empathy that disordered characters (including psychopaths) exploit: the pity party. The pity party is an exploitation of your empathy. They could only accomplish this by understanding what empathy is on an emotional level themselves. Please don't make the mistake of thinking that the narcissist is incapable of empathy. The harsh reality is that you will only be the recipient of empathy from the narcissist if they feel it will cost them absolutely nothing to give it to you. Those moments will be rare.

Allow yourself to really think about the selfishly evil use of empathy of the narcissist. They use it to know (and enjoy) exactly how they are making you feel as they use and abuse you. That is what we call sadistic. They use it to manipulate you to their own ends. Or else they will use it to feel for their sorry-assed selves. These uses of their ability to empathize are profoundly selfish and often cruel.

There is no merit whatsoever for the fact that the narcissist is indeed fully in possession of the ability to empathize. In fact it is a solid basis for our condemnation of them. They pervert their ability to empathize and use it to selfishly exploit others to their own ends, to find pleasure in the pain they inflict, as well as to grant themselves pity when they least deserve it. If the narcissist was incapable of empathy we could grant them a pass for having some sort of disability. We must acknowledge the reality that the narcissist is all the more evil because they do possess this ability but choose to use it for their own selfish ends against you. They have managed to completely pervert their ability to empathize.

Narcissists are the embodiment of perversion. This is simply another facet of it. They can take any good thing and completely misuse it which is the definition of perversion I'm using, "Wrong, often corrupt use". A broader sense of the term than just sexual perversion as the word is often applied.

I'll close with a statement I wrote to my sister in April 2006. I hope you all will take the same stance with the narcissists in your lives:

"Your compassion you save for mostly you. I don't need to spend my compassion on someone who is so generous with it on themselves."

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Disdain for Reality

The NPD illusion of superiority is a facet of a generalized disdain for reality. These individuals feel unconstrained by rules, customs, limits, and discipline. Their world is filled with self-fiction in which conflicts are dismissed, failures redeemed, and self-pride is effortlessly maintained. They easily devise plausible reasons to justify self-centered and inconsiderate behavior. Their memories of past relationships are often illusory and changing. If rationalizations and self-deception fail, individuals with NPD are vulnerable to dejection, shame, and a sense of emptiness. Then they have little recourse other than fantasy. They have an uninhibited imagination and engage in self-glorifying fantasies. What is unmanageable through fantasy is repressed and kept from awareness. As they consistently devalue others, they do not question the correctness of their own beliefs; they assume that others are wrong. The characteristic difficulties of individuals with NPD almost all stem from their lack of solid contact with reality. If the false image of self becomes substantive enough, their thinking will become peculiar and deviant. Then their defensive maneuvers become increasingly transparent to others (Millon & Davis, 1996, pp. 405-423). Sharon C. Ekleberry, Dual Diagnosis and the Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

This is a packed paragraph. Read it through several times to absorb it. The sentence that sums it all up well is, "The characteristic difficulties of individuals with NPD almost all stem from their lack of solid contact with reality." Remember that the word reality is interchangeable with the word truth. Notice how in the description above of the narcissist's 'disdain for reality' what follows is a description of all the ways than narcissists avoid the truth. The truth about the world, about themselves, about their past, about you. This professional person managed to find all the ways to describe the narcissist's love affair with lies without ever actually using the word 'lie'. But lies they are, nonetheless.

They are "people of the lie" as Scott M. Peck so aptly describes them. The narcissist fabricates at every juncture to the point that the narcissist himself becomes a lie. They don't just tell lies...they are, at their most basic, a lie in and of themselves.

The narcissist disarms you by causing you to buy into the lie(s). The more you accede to their version of reality (which is lie-based) the less you are able to resist their control, their abuse, their sucking the life blood from you.

If believing their lies is how the narcissist disarms you then, obviously, re-arming means learning what truth is. There are truths that are universal and immutable. Moral truths fall into this category of universal and objective truth. No matter who you are, no matter what country or culture you live in, no matter what sex, creed or religion you belong to there are certain things that are wrong to do to others. Those who deny there is a universal and objective morality are capable of the basest of crimes against humanity. Be they a cruel dictator like Mao Tse Tung or a serial killer like Ted Bundy or a malignant narcissist in your family, church or workplace.

And, yes, I think the malignant narcissist belongs in the same list with Mao and Bundy. They shouldn't be taken off the list simply because they lack the power (Mao) or the motivation (Bundy) to murder in order to slake their lusts. The root of malignant narcissism infects them all so they should all stand in the same Hall of Shame. If the malignant narcissist you know had the lack of accountability that a dictator has or had lost her fear of the law then you know what they would be capable of. Murder and torture would be standard fare for those under their power. I'm not engaging in hyperbole. I'm being a realist. I recognize cause and effect. I acknowledge the little tyrant and murderer that lives in the heart of every malignant narcissist. Only the constraints of their circumstances and their fear of the law have power to restrain them. When you can believe this to be true then you will never want anything to do with them ever again. The malignant narcissist is dangerous. Period.

All malignant narcissists deny there is a moral law that stands outside themselves and judges them. They just pretend away this reality. This means they are free to make up morality as they go which is exactly what they do. This results in a moral code which has all the human resources of kindness, attention, valuation, and regard going towards them and away from you. They turn you into a big, fat Zero. They turn themselves into gods. Because you are nothing you deserve nothing. Because they are god they deserve it all. They work diligently to make you believe the lie that they deserve it all. If they succeed they're in Fat City and you will be lucky to stay out of the asylum or an early grave.

Salvation from the affliction and torment of narcissists depends on whether or not you love truth-- whether you are dedicated to reality even if reality is ugly. The narcissist "loves and practices lies". (See Revelation 22:14-15) His doom is sure. The question is, do you love the truth enough to embrace truth when the truth hurts? That is the true test of anyones love for truth. It is the test the narcissist has failed time and again. Keep in mind that he doesn't hate all truth. He only hates the truths which are inconvenient to him at any particular moment. The test of your character, the test that tries whether or not you really do love truth is when truth threatens to slice through your dreams and fantasies about life, about yourself, about what you've done and who you are. These are the very truths the narcissist is always working to escape from.

The test for love of the truth isn't whether or not you are willing to believe ugly truths about others. That comes easy for all of us. No, the test is whether or not you are willing to face truth when it comes knocking at your door to talk about who you are and what you've done. The more honest you're willing to be with yourself about who you are and what you've done then the more likely you are to believe the truth when it tells you that someone else is good...or bad. Your lens that you look through is less skewed. When you can be honest about who you are then you are much more likely to be honest about who someone else is.

Occasionally people wonder aloud in the comments about themselves...are they, too, a narcissist? The test is above. Do you love the truth even when the truth tells you something other than what you want to hear?? You know the answer to that question. No one here can answer that question for you. You don't need anyone else to answer that question because you know the answer. The degree to which any of us will deny, obscure or push away truth is the degree to which you are narcissistic. Narcissism is a continuum. Where you fall on that line is easily measured by how much you love the truth or, conversely, how much you have "disdain for reality".

"The characteristic difficulties of individuals with NPD almost all stem from their lack of solid contact with reality."

Anna's paraphrase: The very things that make dealing with malignant narcissists so difficult can be traced back to their constant state of living in lies. Their disregard for truth affects everything and everyone around them.

Love for the truth or love of lies. These two concepts sift all of humanity.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pathological Envy vs. the Thanksgiving Spirit

Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous [overwhelming]; but who is able to stand before envy? Prov. 27:4

And then, of course, we get to the heart of malignant narcissism, Narcissistic Envy.
"What Makes Narcissists Tick" by Kathy Krajco, pg. 46 in e-book.

Their lack of gratitude is the natural result of their extreme covetousness ... All the other sins of the narcissist spring from this persistent and pervasive covetousness.
Thanksgiving -- The Holiday Narcissists Will Never 'Get'"

The envy of the narcissist is pathological because it is all-consuming and destructive. It is the fouled spring from whence her abuses flow outward into your life. Any good thing you it material, or your accomplishments, your worthy and noble character traits, or attention in any form...must be sullied and/or stolen in order to tamp down the monstrous upwelling of envy in the narcissist's heart. Kathy summed it up correctly when stating that the heart of malignant narcissism is their envy. Both she and I have seen pathological covetousness (envy) as the evil root from which their malignant behaviors spring. It's the one emotion which drives them more than any other. More than anger. More than hatred. Envy, thy name is narcissist.

Covetousness is the inevitable fruit of ingratitude...a line of reasoning I have fleshed out in my Thanksgiving post of last year linked above.

I love Thanksgiving. I hope you do, too. Grateful people are able to enter into the true spirit of this day. Know this too: grateful people are happy people. There is healing and peace in the spirit of gratitude. Seize it and don't let go.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Holidays with Narcissists Suck...

So how to deal with narcissists during the holidays? The best and most simple answer is to fully disengage! I realize I sound repetitive but 'no contact' is always the best answer bar none to dealing with narcissists. They are poisonous no matter the season but most especially in the seasons of cheer and festivity. Whether the narcissist uses the holidays to grandstand or to poop on everyone's parade they are like ants at the picnic. No, they are like wasps at the picnic. Threatening discomfort just by their hovering presence and getting their stings in when you least expect it.

The consistent advice on this blog is that you put many miles between you and the narcissist -- both geographical and emotional miles. Cut off or drastically minimize contact. So if you're wondering about how to deal with narcissists on the holidays you have obviously not taken my advice thus far. And since my advice on the holidays is the same...what more is there for me to say? I'll see what I can come up with.

If you are in a situation where you have no choice -- come on, let's be really honest here with ourselves about whether we have a choice or not. Sometimes we claim to not have a choice when the truth is we are avoiding discomfort by not rocking the boat! -- then my advice to disengage still applies only the disengagement is purely an emotional one.

Do not let yourself get sucked into their reindeer games. Detach emotionally from all the fantasies you've had about finally having a happy family gathering that includes the narcissist(s). It is fantasy. Pure. Fantasy. Holidays with narcissists are something you just try to get through. In one piece, hopefully. So drop your Happy Family delusions, forget trying to fix anyone, give up thinking that if you sacrifice body and soul the narcissist will appreciate the effort and be nice to you, stop thinking that you can make everyone get along by being 'above it all'. I'm not talking about being 'above it all' when I talk about detachment. I'm talking about being emotionally unavailable. There in body but not in heart. It is the only armor that will help keep you sane and relatively unscathed by the contact. Does this sound like fun? Like the holiday spirit? Obviously not. But holidays with narcissists are never fun. It is a game of survival for you. Focus on survival not festivity because that's as good as it gets. Why, after knowing you are dealing with a narcissist, you would still sign up for this misery is quite beyond me.

Do not allow the narcissist (or his side-kicks) to run you, make you into a servant, or use you as a primary source of supply during the holiday. Be willing and prepared to leave the moment things turn ugly. That assumes, of course, you're smart enough at this point to not actually be the host to family gatherings. Hopefully you know enough going into this holiday season to realize that putting on gala holiday events in your own home is just begging for some narcissist to kick you in the teeth. Hosting holidays with narcissists is an invitation they find irresistible to shove your generosity, your thoughtfulness, and your hours of labor right up your ass. Don't be a sap. Don't set yourself up as such an easy target. Either go to the narcissist's home, another family member's home or a restaurant. Someplace where you can grab your kids and get the hell out of there the moment you see the fangs flashing.

I've said my piece on holidays with narcissists. I'm sure the commenters will have plenty to say on this that I've haven't. Have at it!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

They Hide From Truth Because Their Deeds are Evil

My head has been pulled way out of the subject matter of this blog lately so that is why posting has been minimal. It's just the way it is and there isn't much to be done about it. Consequently, I thought I'd rely on Kathy Krajco for some words for the wise taken from her book.

There is an interesting point of religious doctrine on this that has been largely forgotten since the Middle Ages. It is that evil lurks beneath a beautiful exterior. In the vernacular today, we say that Beauty runs skin deep. We see this principle reflected in medieval paintings of the fall of the bad angels. They aren't depicted as ugly demons; they are depicted as beautiful spirits indistinguishable outwardly from the good angels. In other words, malevolence disguises itself with sanctimony.

It's easy to see why. No one wants others to see them as bad. Moreover, that's the kiss of death to a predator, because it's like a repellant that warns potential prey to mistrust and stay away from him. Indeed, if you were a malignant narcissist, what would be your biggest fear?

Exposure, right? You're like a vampire to whom the light of day is lethal. Your greatest fear would be the same as that of any hungry, stalking predator -- exposure.

You'd live in constant fear of people finding out what you are beneath your sheep's clothing, that you go around spreading the most heinous lies about anyone who has a better reputation than you, that the happiness and success of others galls you and makes you set about destroying it, that you just use people for your aggrandizement in a manner that damages them and then just throw them away, that cruelly abusing and bullying people makes you feel high and mighty so that you can't resist a chance to make someone bend over for it or kick someone when they're down, that you want to take away anything others have that you don't have. You'd live in constant fear of others learning the shocking truth about your past exploits. You'd live in constant fear of people getting a whiff of the spirit in which such things are done -- the spirit inside you.

Because you're a destroyer. And no easy prey would venture within a mile of you if they knew what's inside you, would they? Because nothing can cover the smell of the spirit in which such things are done. A whiff of that spirit gives people the Big Chill. They abhor it. Even the most hardened criminals are above doing things as sickening as the things you do.

So, though there is such a thing as an out-of-the-closet narcissist (one who needn't and doesn't hide how bad he is and may even show it off to terrorize those at his mercy), far more often than not, people with NPD take great pains to make sure they have an angel-face and a reputation to match. (Exceptions are those narcissists seeking negative attention in lieu of the other kind.)

Their image is precisely the negative of their true selves. In other words, the false image they create dis-simulates their true self. What Makes Narcissists Tick, pgs. 32-33 by Kathy Krajco.

I decided to reprint this section of her book because the verse in John 3:19-20 has been in my thoughts lately. Her statements above are related:
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

So today's dose of truth and reality is this: Evil must mask itself with good in order for it to make a living. Evil must hide itself by hiding the truth of who and what they are. Therefore, full truth (light) is anathema to evil.

You know this is true. You've tried to bring just a smidgen of truth to the table with the narcissist and you saw the hissing, spitting and reviling it invoked. The extreme reaction is the narcissist's attempt to get you to drop the holy water before he gets burned. That is not the moment to fumble or drop the truth. Thrust that stake deep into his heart and then put him in the ground. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

Evil is an absence of truth which is why it must attach itself to some semblance of truth in order to exist. Evil is parasitic. It cannot stand alone. Pure lies don't sell. It is the truth that the lie attaches itself to that makes the lie attractive...or at least palatable. The lies of evil need to attach to goodness and truth in order to successfully hide in plain sight. Potential victims must not be warned off by the horrific sight and smell of their villainy. Even though the narcissist despises truth they are dependent on a certain amount of it in order to survive. I tell you this so you are not surprised by the mixture of truth amongst the big lies. Don't throw out truth just because an evil narcissist used it to his own ends either. Keep the baby...throw out the bath water.

Very rarely does evil completely expose itself and rarely is it completely exposed by someone else to everyone else. Knowing this, quit expecting evil to be readily apparent to everyone. Stop being surprised when the malignant spirit manages to successfully hide itself with a great pretense of goodness. Stop expecting evil to expose itself when he has no self-interest in doing so. Never expect evil to play fairly. Expect the greatest villains to hide behind the most impressive shows of sanctimony. You don't have to be religious to be sanctimonious, by the way. Don't make that mistake in logic. Sanctimony is hypocrisy ... and anyone can be a hypocrite whether or not they are a religionist.

“Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.” Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Calling Narcissists Evil: Stumbling Block or Life Line?

A question was asked of me in the comments section for my post, "The Perennial Question...Are Narcissists Evil?"

Is it always necessary to view the N as "evil" in order to go no contact? I can see where recognizing evil is beneficial for the victim who is having trouble breaking away from the N. Are there cases of victims who successfully broke away not by defining the N as evil, but just by defining the situation as incompatibility? I ask because some victims, for a variety of reasons, may be reluctant to call the N "evil", and this may be a stumbling block.

People who are stuck in relationships with narcissists are generally people who have been reluctant to call the narcissist evil. The stumbling block they are dealing with is their own inability to properly label the malevolent force they call "Mom" or "Dad" or "Spouse". There is very little evidence to support a contention that my calling narcissists evil is a stumbling block to individuals who are in a relationship with a narcissist and thereby preventing them from breaking from the narcissist. Truth is, it is their own reluctance to call evil by its right name that is the problem. The problem is not that I am consistently calling narcissists evil. On the other hand there are reams of evidence that many who were previously unable to see the evil of narcissism have found relief and escape from seeing narcissists properly labeled as the evil force they are.

Is it necessary to view the narcissist as evil in order to go no contact? Is just seeing the situation as being a case of incompatibility enough rationale to make an escape? I am sure there are people who can justify leaving a relationship based on simply calling on incompatibility as justification. My blog isn't for those people. They don't need to read what I have to say. In fact, this person is very unlikely to go to Google to type in some search in order to demystify what they've gone through or are going through. They have simply shrugged off the parasite and moved on. No damage done. The person you describe has likely never even seen my blog.

What I've recognized is that some relationships are very hard to extricate from due to societal pressures and ingrained teaching from our earliest moments of sentience. Parents. Children. Siblings. Spouses. Probably in that order. These are the relationships which we find very difficult to terminate based alone on that word "incompatibility". No one distances themselves from their parents by simply citing "incompatibility". It is never that easy.

This means that the person who is being systematically destroyed by a narcissist...usually by a family narcissist...has a daunting task before them. The task is to properly identify what force they have been trying to reckon with all these years. Many of these people have been reluctant to label this force as being "evil" mostly because the narcissist has taught them to see things upside down and inside out, black as white, and evil as good. How many times have family narcissists presented themselves as the embodiment of all that is good? All. The. Time. If someone doesn't call the narcissist's so-called good what it really is...evil...then there is likely little hope of helping the victim out of their victimhood. They will continue on believing that the evil is centered in themselves, that they are the one who is crazy, that they are the problem. You know, all the lies the narcissist has taught them to believe in order that the narcissist can escape accountability.

You don't have to be entangled with a narcissist for very long to get the sense that evil exists. The problem is that you're not quite sure where it resides. This is because the narcissist is careful to project their own evil outward from themselves onto whomever is handy. Likely, YOU. The narcissist is well aware that evil exists in themselves and are desperate to not get pinned down themselves with the very proper label of evil. Here, on my blog, I will put the proper label on the evil doer. I will not mollycoddle anyone by mincing my words. My creed is: never fight reality because reality always wins. The narcissist is the one always fighting reality. We cannot hope to win against the narcissist unless we fixate like a laser beam on reality. It is reality that exposes the narcissist. One of those realities is that what they do and what they are is EVIL.

I am not daunted by people's reluctance to call evil by its right name. I present my case. Blog post by blog post. Definitions, evidence, moral principles. What is very interesting is how many times someone will dismiss evil when it happens to them but can clearly see some act against someone else as being evil. We have been taught (by the narcissist) to minimize the effects of evil behaviors on ourselves, but we will often not minimize evil when it is perpetrated on someone else. This blog is often a place where people can see the evil done to others. With a little extra help they are then able to make the leap, "If that behavior is evil when done to others then it was just as evil when it was done to me!"

In my opinion, based on personal experience, individuals who are 'put off' by calling narcissists evil have their own ulterior motives. There is very likely some behavior in their own lives they are trying to justify, to get away with. A behavior(s) which is destructive to others and aggrandizing to themselves. There is simply too much evidence that the narcissist is defined both by their intent and dismiss the label out of hand. When someone refuses to properly label what narcissists do and the effects they have on others then I harbor mistrust of that person's agenda. At the very least, I mistrust that person's moral sensibilities.

I am a blood hound set on the scent of the narcissist. I will sniff them out of their hiding place. They always hide under a cloak of goodness. A pretense of righteousness. They get away with their evil by calling their evil good. So, dammit, I will rip their shabby little fig leaves away so you can see the narcissist without their pretended goodness. What you are left with is naked evil. It may be an ugly sight but that isn't my fault. It is the fault of the narcissist for being spiritually, emotionally and mentally twisted and grotesque. It is the fault of the narcissist that they are predatory, cruel, hateful, insatiably coveteous of what you have, and emotionally arrested. I will call evil what it is. Each and every time. If someone is 'put off' by that then I accept that I have nothing for them. I can't be all things to all people and am certainly not trying to be.

This blog is specifically addressing the problem of malignant narcissism. As I've said before, a synonym of 'malignant' is the word evil. Malignant narcissism is destructive and malevolent. People who come here have been injured in some measurable way. Calling things by their right names is essential for identifying the problem and finding a solution to the problem. If someone was able to just cite "incompatibility" as a rationale for leaving the situation do you think they'd need to come to my blog for insight? People who come here are suffering. There is a reason for their suffering and I'm not afraid to name that reason.

Properly identifying evil behaviors and evil people is not a stumbling block. It is a life line. People may refuse to take the life line. That is their choice. I wouldn't throw a string down to a person trapped in a pit and say, "just grab this and you can climb out!" Would I get credit for trying to save that person even though I just threw them a string which is absolutely useless for the task? Not to sane and rational people. No, I will throw that person a knotted rope. They get to choose whether or not to use it. If they don't like my rope they are welcome to stay in the pit. I did my best.

Monday, October 13, 2008

How How to Relate to the Badly Behaving and Other Questions

A question was posed to me in the comments on the last post that I'll do my best to answer in this blog post.

I was wondering Anna, if you could possibly discuss how you have moved on in respect to the effects of Narcissism. How do you find yourself relating to other people's bad behaviour, even if it isn't based in Narcissism?

I am only asking because four years on from leaving a religious group run by a narcissist, and fifteen months on from cutting off my mother and sisters, I seem to be battling more than ever with issues relating to dealing with other people.

I find I have absolutely no tolerance for BS from others, especially those professing to be christians, who then treat me with disrespect. Then, I feel guilty that I haven't given them a second chance. I have spent hours trying to explain that putting up with offensive behaviour from others isn't 'love', its passive-aggression (in a lot of cases). I just get these zombified looks, and I feel like a complete heel because I am not the 'nice' christian who just puts out, and keeps putting out like everyone else.

I am just wondering if like one poster, I am being haunted by the original evil, or whether this is just a by-product of adjusting to the 'real world'.

Any thoughts on recovery, and adjusting to 'normal' life after a narcissist would be appreciated.

I've had to ponder at length how to address your question. There are several reasons for my having difficulty knowing what to say or where to start. Likely this is because you asked a very broad question at the first, but then you did narrow your question somewhat so I will only attempt to answer the more narrowly focused aspect of your question. Actually, you asked multiple questions. So I've had to decide to try to answer what seems to be the main thrust of your concern.

One of the real challenges in trying to address your question is that interpersonal relationships are idiosyncratic. Without knowing your personality I'm not sure how you interact with others. Every person you deal with is different so each interaction has many potential outcomes depending on the chemistry of your personality with theirs. I hope you understand the limitations I have in adequately addressing the questions you've asked.

The only common ingredient in each of your interactions is we'll just have to start there.

I'll focus on a couple things you said:

Then, I feel guilty that I haven't given them a second chance.

I just get these zombified looks, and I feel like a complete heel because I am not the 'nice' christian who just puts out, and keeps putting out like everyone else.

If you can be made to feel "like a complete heel" because of the looks of those you're talking to it leads me to think that you are not yet entirely secure in the positions you hold. Your residual guilt for not giving someone a second chance also gives me this impression. Or you may be too invested in gaining the good opinions of those you are talking to. Neither observation is a denigration of you. There is nothing wrong with wanting the good opinions of fellow Christians nor is there any fault for being made to feel insecure about one's opinions when those opinions aren't accepted by others. You can't be human and not experience these feelings, reactions, needs.

I don't think there is anything wrong with a zero tolerance policy toward B.S. I hope you don't try to change that. Perhaps you might need to change how you respond to that B.S. in order to move more smoothly through eel-infested waters.

You'll know when you are very settled and secure in the positions you hold when you can state them, let the chips fall where they may, and the negative reactions of others roll off of you. Until then you can decide on a more circumspect approach. There is no dishonor in being circumspect.

You asked how I deal with bad behavior that may or may not be narcissistic. Here's my general approach to others.

I reserve my opinions especially when dealing with acquaintances. (Most church relationships really don't move beyond the acquaintance stage.) I hold most of my opinions to myself until it is appropriate to the context of the conversation to express my opinion and only if there is some evidence of receptivity. This is why my relationships with my parents and sister are a complete non-factor with others. People don't need to know...I don't talk about it. I operate off the assumption that most people most of the time don't have the 'equipment' to understand the decisions I've made, so I don't talk about it. If it does come up with someone whose business it is not I only have to say, "I'd prefer not to talk about it." People will rarely challenge a statement like that. If they do, walk away! Because I don't need others approval for my decisions about my family I don't seek others opinions on it. I don't open myself up to their judgments which would be ill-informed judgments at the very best because they would lack about 20 truck loads of information. I don't have the time or interest to fill them in on what they'd need to know...and most times neither do they!

I am a very careful listener. I avoid talking about myself and try to steer conversations toward talking about the person I'm conversing with. This allows me space. I don't end up telling them too much about me before I know if they can be trusted. Most people are more than happy to talk about themselves, their interests, their this tact often oils the gears of conversation without me having to spill my guts. This allows me to find areas of common thinking or to find out whether or not this person is someone to avoid in the future.

I can be happy to have a relationship with someone based on areas of common interest. We don't have to see eye to eye on everything. If we enjoy each others company in a specific context...that is good enough. All people don't have to be all things for me. People often have different friends with whom they do different things. One friend we may enjoy watching a particular genre of movies with. Another friend may enjoy certain types of books in common. Yet another friend may be a hiking or exercise buddy. It is important to recognize that it is okay to have compartmentalized friendships with people. We can enjoy a person for who they are and not expect them to be all things to us this way. This can reduce interpersonal friction and broaden our friendship base. Of course, if you have seen evidence that a person has some serious character issues then having a friendship on any basis would be ill-advised.

If I had to sum up how I interact with just about everyone I would say, "reserved, polite, cautious" at least until I get to know them well enough. But my problem in relating to you how I deal with other people is that this is how my personality is naturally bent. I don't know your personality. I don't know if my approach to others is something that could work for you. So maybe I should bring up what I see in the Gospels regarding Christ's approach because His example can be followed regardless of our particular personality.

He showed that he knew his listeners very well. He didn't share certain truths if he gauged that the people he was talking with were not going to be receptive. John 16:12, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now." Or he shared truth in parables which the receptive would be able to understand and the unreceptive could ignore and carry on. Story form (parables) is a very effective teaching method. Stories stick in peoples minds longer. Attaching life lessons to the natural world or everyday life also helps evoke the lesson taught every time the natural process or object is observed. It is a way of teaching without getting in peoples faces. The lesson slips in along with the story imagery sometimes in spite of the listener's limitations of comprehension or receptivity. Parables were a more oblique way of teaching truth that Christ often used. It increased the chances that the less receptive would accept the truth presented. But because of its non-confrontational presentation it allowed the very unreceptive to dismiss the truth without feeling like they had to rise up and smack down the truth-teller. Some people are good at drawing analogies which in many ways resembles a parable. If you have that gift...use it.

When Christ was approached by the cagey scribes and Pharisees he didn't hand them his words freely. He held himself in reserve. He noted their ill intent and often would not answer them as they were trying to force him to. This was a very non-confrontational approach to people who were trying to force a confrontation.

He would confront open hypocrisy openly and without reservation and without apology for making the hypocrites squirm. He didn't confront hypocrisy because he hated the hypocrites. He did it because of his love for the people whose lives were being compromised by the hypocrites. He saw more clearly than anyone could how the hypocrites drove people away from God and imperiled their salvation. Christ hates anything that destroys people. So should we. Open hypocrisy and lies need to be openly confronted.

Otherwise, Christ was not confrontational. The people who sought him out were the ones he shared truth with. He used the imagery of standing at the door and knocking. He isn't pushy. He waits for the invitation. So should we. He looked for openings, for signs of receptiveness. It is a good lesson in how to relate to others.

You asked: How do you find yourself relating to other people's bad behaviour, even if it isn't based in Narcissism?

I'm like vapor. I deal with the moment with as little friction as I can and then I vanish. There's a lot to be said for making yourself scarce when certain people come around. Christ did it too. He would simply slip into the crowd and disappear when the malevolence of the leaders would start to transform into murderous intent. It is just the implementation of 'no contact'. I practice that with my parents and sister. I practice that with the badly behaved. Play it cool...and escape when it is possible to do so. This is how I implement my 'no tolerance' policy for B.S.

I'm gone.

When I'm dealing with a I know I'm not dealing with someone who wants a reality I don't waste my breath on them. I don't feel the need to persuade them, cajole them, reform them. Nothing. I feel the need to get away and I follow through on it. I don't want to risk unnecessary injury to myself so I avoid confrontation when possible. If confrontation becomes necessary I'm certainly up to the challenge...but most times it is not only unnecessary it would be unproductive. For most situations, less is more.

As I've already mentioned, Christ spoke in parables to the multitudes; he spoke directly and in unveiled language to those who loved him and shared a close bond with him. That is really a wise approach to use. Most are not ready to hear all that you know about evil people (i.e. narcissism). You need to learn to be okay with that. Keep you ears and eyes open for the people who may need and want to hear what you know. No 'pearls before swine'. Save your best and most hard-earned good sense for those who are honest in heart and who demonstrate they themselves possess common sense.

Before I close this I want to go back to your comment about feeling guilty about not giving someone a 'second chance'. I want to point out the inherent premise of the 'second chance' idea that you may not see.

Why are you obligated to give someone access to you and your life simply for the asking?

Inherent in your sense of obligation to give someone you distrust or dislike a 'second chance' is that you believe they are entitled to be in your life simply for the asking. Here's my thought. No one is entitled to have a relationship with me. I get to choose who I let in. I don't have to justify my choices to anyone. They don't get an automatic pass into my life simply because of what church they belong to or simply because they are in any particular proximity to me. You have the right to determine on what basis people can have a relationship with you. YOU GET TO CHOOSE and you don't have to justify your choice to them or anyone. If you get the sense that someone is a you have the complete right to decide they won't get a second chance to B.S. you.

Our lives are finite. This means our time, energy, resources, etc. are all finite. This means we must make careful decisions on how to spend ourselves. If you don't have the time, interest or energy to invest in B.S.ers then where is the fault in that? You have a husband and children who deserve your first and best self. If you start granting access to draining, unkind, selfish, or otherwise bent people you're going to have a lot less to give to those whom you are obligated to serve...i.e. your nearest and dearest. No one is entitled to a second chance. You get to decide whether or not to grant a second chance on a case by case basis.

If you are forced to associate (like going to church) with someone you've decided to not have a friendship with...just be polite when you have to interact and then disengage quickly. I can smile and greet people whom I don't want to spend any particular length of time with. It is even easier to be polite if I managed to disengage from them without any overt confrontation in the past. My method of easing out of a situation and then making myself scarce helps with any future contact I may have to have with the person. They don't concretely know my thoughts about them; they don't really know why I'm not around them much. So future contacts are just superficial, polite and brief without having to walk around big baggage like some direct argument or confrontation.

You wondered if you are being haunted by the original evil or just learning to adjust to the 'normal' world. I would imagine the answer is yes and yes. My experience has taught me that anchoring myself in solid truth (reality) has enabled me to overcome many of the effects of "the original evil". Evil is an absence of truth. Evil is a form of nothingness; evil is an absence of being. This is why you always find evil existing parasitically. It must leach life and form from attaching to something real and substantive. Truth is life. Lies are deadly. Evil traffics in lies hence evil kills. And because evil exists as a parasite there are always some truths amongst the lies. You have to learn to sort it out. If you can unlearn the lies and base your thinking and, by extension, your life on truth then you will overcome "the original evil". Remember that evil attaches itself to good. If you are a good person you will have to deal with evil trying to attach to you from time to time. Guard your goodness from such who would try to use it to cloak their evil.

There are many who claim there is no universal truth and therefore would find my paragraph immediately above to be laughable. Obviously, I don't subscribe to post-modernist views of truth being whatever you make it to be. My near to half a century of life has given me much time for observation. The verdict is in: the less a person believes in an objective moral structure the more unbalanced their minds are. Yeah, I said it. The more unhinged they are from reality and the more likely they are to veer off into some really scary places.

Remember, reality is synonymous with truth. I make no apology for believing in objective truth because, in the end, truth (reality) always wins.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Perennial Question...Are Narcissists Evil?

A couple weeks ago when I was looking at various Vaknin statements I ran into, yet again, his argument that it is wrong to think of and describe narcissists as being evil. I saw that others make the same argument based on the (supposed) lack of intention to do evil absolving the narcissist from being evil. At the same time, these apologists for narcissists like to denigrate the intellect of those who think in terms of good and evil, black and white. So I'll return the favor...they have shit for brains.

It makes me a little crazy to read CRAP like this. I decided I would probably blog on this whole argument after I felt I was composed enough to have to deal point by point with the insanity.

I don't have to write it because someone else did. It can be found here. There is probably much more I could say on the subject than this article does but it is good place to start for now.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Narcissist and Self-Loathing

In the comments section of the post on self-esteem vs. self-respect I made this statement,

I have been witness to both. I have seen what were obviously real periods of self-loathing by Ns. I have also seen the theatrical versions. The "feel" of the fake version is quite different to the observant witness.
I was asked to explain the difference between the faked self-loathing and the real demonstrations. I will try.

First, it is important to not mistake a malignant narcissist's self-loathing as being connected with remorse. Do they have regrets? Oh, yes. But not for your sake. Only for their own sake. They only regret not getting what they think they deserve.

Sam Vaknin, the most verbose of narcissists, contends that narcissists are, "immersed in self-loathing and self-pity. He is under duress and distress most of his waking life." Ref. Cry me a frakking river. Life is tough when you're always on the run from reality. If you read Vaknin's answer to the question "Is the Narcissist Ever Sorry?" (link above) you get treated to an eyeful of self-pity and a wide dodge of the general question itself. Whatever.

Here's the deal. A malignant narcissist's life sucks. I'll grant Vaknin's point on that. But his self-loathing, however briefly experienced, is earned. It is the narcissist's just desserts for being so despicable in his treatment of others and even how he treats himself. I wish a narcissist was constantly tortured by self-loathing, but the truth is, they aren't. The narcissist's self-loathing is very intimately connected with self-pity. They only really hate themselves when they aren't getting what they want! The narcissist's sense of self-loathing is very quickly turned into being the fault of someone else or the fault of circumstance. In practical reality this means they don't truly feel self-loathing. It is a fleeting thing instantly transferred into his wallow of self-pity. Boo hoo. Never waste your pity on a narcissist...they have plenty of that for themselves.

Here is what the evidence tells me: narcissists never feel self-loathing to any real depth or degree. I believe it is more of a dispassionate observation they make about themselves devoid of the crushing emotion we associate with the term.

I saw a very good demonstration of this in a movie recently. It was a period piece titled, "Daniel Deronda". A movie I liked, by the way. There are two characters in the film who are narcissists. Well, one is most definitely a narcissist...the other is well on her way to being totally corrupted. The female, younger and very narcissistic character, Gwendolyn Harleth, more than once dispassionately admits to her heartlessness, her corrupt character, her utter selfishness, her abuse and use of others. It was intriguing to see her admit to these flaws of character without a tinge of discernable shame or remorse. Or any real emotion. It was just a fact she was stating with no more emotion than we would quote statistics. This I found a very accurate representation of the utterly self-involved. I have seen this type of admission in narcissists which has always lacked emotional depth. It is just an undeniable fact that the narcissist may sometimes be willing to admit. They are not feeling the pain of having inflicted pain on you even if you get such an admission from them.

If they do feel the pain of self-loathing it is inextricably linked to their own self-interests and their ever-present self-pity. It is about how they are down on their luck. It is about how they can't support their sense of grandiosity at the moment and therefore are feeling persecuted by the universe. It is about how unfair everyone and every thing is and how the narcissist doesn't have what they deserve. Of course, in their minds they deserve what they want, not what they get.

Okay. So, down to the difference between a real demonstration of self-loathing and a faked one. In my opinion you can detect the difference between the two in the level of emotion involved in the expression. Is there a lack of emotion in the admission? Or are you being treated to a full display of tears, weeping and gnashing of teeth?

The more emotion displayed the bigger fake you're witnessing

The more dispassionate the expression, the closer you are to seeing a narcissist acknowledging a truth about themselves.

But, again, this self-loathing is greatly tempered for the narcissist. He or she has powerful defenses against truly feeling the depth this emotion would call forth in someone who isn't a malignant narcissist. The narcissist's ever-present self-pity and sense of absolute entitlement blunt their ability to really feel the self-loathing they should be experiencing. They relate to it as we relate to a scientific fact. It is an intellectual assent to the truth but it never gets down to the seat of their emotions. It can't. They have rendered themselves unable to truly feel anything. Like Vaknin says somewhere else, narcissists confuse their wants with emotions. That simple statement hints at the enormous mis-wiring the brain of the narcissist has been subject to. Let's be clear...this re-wiring was a job the narcissist did on their own brain. Temper your pity with that fact.

The upshot of this is that the narcissist never truly experiences self-loathing in the way we would. It is a very different experience for the malignant narcissist than for you or me. When a decent person with an uncorrupted conscience feels self-loathing it is intensely excruciating because the decent person won't allow themself to shift the blame to someone or something else. They have to feel the full force of the emotion. Hence, we are actually capable of feeling the full spectrum of painful emotions normally associated with the term 'self-loathing'. Which is one reason I spit on Vaknin's appeal to the 'pain' the narcissist is always in. I only wish he was in more pain.

The narcissist, of course, is sure that no one has ever felt pain they way they feel it. They have no idea that only a decent, good-hearted and empathetic person with a fully functioning conscience is capable of feeling the depths of human emotions be they happy or negative emotions. He gives himself far too much credit for being able to feel anything. And there is no nobilty in feeling self-pity. Anyone can feel sorry for themselves. Only decent people can rise above self-pity without trampling someone else to get there. The narcissist assuages his self-pity by finding another source, i.e. victim, to give him what he wants.

I'll quote a larger portion of Vaknin from the same reference above,

But he has a diminished capacity to empathise, so he rarely feels sorry for what he does. He almost never puts himself in the shoes of his "victims". Sure, he feels distressed because he is intelligent enough to realise that something is wrong with him in a major way. He compares himself to others and the outcome is never favourable. His grandiosity is one of the defence mechanisms that he uses to cover up for this disagreeable state of things. But its efficacy is partial and intermittent. The rest of the time, the narcissist is immersed in self-loathing and self-pity. He is under duress and distress most of his waking life. In a vague way, he is also sorry for those upon whom he inflicts the consequences of his personality disorder. He knows that they are not happy and he understands that it has something to do with him. Mostly, he uses even this to aggrandise himself: poor things, they can never fully understand him, they are so inferior. It is no wonder that they are so depressed. (from Narcissism FAQ #14: Is the Narcissist Ever Sorry)

The stench from this load of self-serving crap is damn near overwhelming. Please read his words carefully. Even though he uses the term "self-loathing" there is not one description of true self-loathing in his self-serving answer. It is all self-pity. The most he hates himself for is that he's in pain from his lack of getting what he wants. Your pain? It is a vague concept to him. It is nearly not an entity of any form to his mind. It is incidental at best.

My conclusion of this topic is that the narcissist is completely incapable of true self-loathing. The only pain he'll let himself feel is the pain of being denied what the selfish little three year old wants. Take away his toy and watch the tears and tantrums and self-pity begin.

He saves all his loathing for the poor victims of his predations and abuses. He can loathe you utterly...meaning having complete disdain and disregard for you as a person. As for himself, he only loathes momentarily...right before he shifts into a full blown pity party. Big, fat babies.

Obligatory icon credit

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Examining Freud

Because of a thread in the comments on the last post I am segueing into today's topic. I am quoting from an article that concisely sums up much of what I was able to independently conclude from my own research years before having read this article. The article is simply a handy device to jump into the subject with. I am not going to attempt a post which includes documentation and sourcing because it would become too unwieldy and unreadable. If you are open minded to investigation the resources are freely available if you apply yourself to finding them.

Two years ago I came across an article that I will share with you now. It is titled, "Freud or Fraud?" by MercatorNet. It came out shortly after Freud's 150th birthday in May 2006. The article is an interview with psychologist Gerard Van den Aardweg who has been in practice since 1963. Certainly long enough in the field of psychology to know the field.

My research into the theories of Freud began about eight years ago. What stimulated my research was my curiosity as to whether or not Freud's theories were compatible with Christianity since it seems that pop Christian psychology has thrown itself head-long into Freudian theories even while secular psychology at large has distanced itself from many of Freud's often...shall I say insane...ideas.

One of the aspects of this interview/article that I found intriguing (and relevant to the subject matter of my blog) was the description of some of Freud's character traits. I have excerpted below the more negative descriptions of Freud as a person for your particular perusal. Who this man was as a person is very relevant to his theories on human psychology. The character of a man devising a new way of thinking about the human mind is completely relevant. This is a man who claimed that the human mind is the cure to the ills of the human mind. And that this cure is effected through talk. So let's look at the evidences of his mind, shall we?

He presented himself as having the answers to the problems of living devoid of any spiritual context. He was not bashful in making it clear that he intended to demolish Christianity with his theories. This is relevant to Christians. There is particular peril in adopting the theories of a man who was antagonistic to the very belief system, Christianity, that you claim to believe in.

Dr. Van den Aardweg makes this statement which I know is the truth from my own extensive and independent research on this point:

he presented his “discoveries” as a doctrine of salvation promising to free the mind -- and even mankind as a whole -- from its troubles, and posed as a great prophet, on the same level as Copernicus and Darwin.
"Doctrine of salvation". Precisely. This belief often infects those who accept his theories. They, too, talk of the salvation only found on the couch with heaping servings of self-focus. This is why I was particularly alarmed when I saw the "ministry" of two psychologists in my Christian denomination making overt statements that their Freudian-based theories and exercises were essential to salvation, both temporal and eternal. An augmentation of the Gospel itself. You know...the part God forgot to mention (though they didn't say it that way it was the logical conclusion if you followed their lines of thought). What inevitably happens when someone tries to meld pop psychology "salvation" with Christian beliefs on salvation is that the Christian beliefs take a back seat to the psychology. They are competing doctrines, not complimentary belief systems.

I have pointed out on this blog the conclusions of some of the most well-respected researchers into the character-disordered that psychology and its therapies make the character-disordered worse. Not better. Quantifiably worse. This conclusion is based on the scientific approach of observation, not on antipathy toward psychology as a body of thought. These doctor/researchers are within the psych community and tried to apply the doctrines of psychology on their subjects only to be defeated and befuddled time and again. They came to recognize the need for a new basis of thinking where it concerns the disordered character. They were forced to conclude that psychology was missing some huge and important pieces of the disordered human mind puzzle. This is quite a revelation and admission considering that the field of psychology is specifically supposed to know how to deal with disordered minds. "Mental health" is their venue, yet when confronted with the "unhealthiest" among us psychology is seriously out-gunned. Largely clueless. Dysfunctional.

It is logical to conclude that the theories of Freud, and the derivatives of his theories as they've been morphed over the decades, are lacking in some essential realities concerning the psychology of the most disturbed minds among us. These are very minds psychology lays claim to the right to diagnose and treat. My research into the subject of psychology as a science has proven to me beyond all doubt that the majority of the field of psychology is not science. It is art at best. It is guesswork. It is philosophy. To quote Van den Aardweg, "The whole field of personality psychology and psychotherapy is chaotic and still highly experimental." Emphasis mine. (I think he is being gentle in his assessment.) His is a statement of fact that is easy enough to perceive even with a cursory examination of the field. This "chaos" and "highly experimental" state of the field after 150 years is a powerful argument against psychology being science, in my opinion. Held up against the continued and remarkable advancements of the hard (as in real) sciences in that same period we see the proof against the claim of the psych field being classified as being part of the sciences. The continued chaos and literally thousands of lines of thought in this field with there being little unity of opinion is little different from other areas of human philosophy. It resembles religion in its fundamentals much more than it resembles science.

I do not believe Freud was a malignant narcissist because I've not seen any proof of that, but what has emerged is a picture of a very self-centered man with strong narcissistic traits. I think this must be considered when you are basing your assumptions off of his theories of the human mind. How likely is it that a man with a demonstrated penchant for fanciful interpretations of reality was able to divine the essence, the truth, of human psychology? How is it that a man who could tolerate no dissent from his opinions was able to form a comprehensive and accurate view of universal human thought, motive and action from the machinations of his mind alone? How is it that his desire to throw out millennia of human wisdom based on a historical understanding of humanity, a desire which motivated all his theories, is now the right basis of understanding? What about his own personal delusions of grandeur?

With this preamble please read the descriptions below of the man who is the grandfather of modern psychology. A man who with all his years of self-analysis never managed to change even himself let alone others. A man who must be understood in light of his being "exceptionally self-willed, proud and arrogant". The tendency of society and culture has been that of accelerated declension, not enlightenment. In this modern age of post-Freudian psychology we cannot point to a society filled with happy, balanced, moral and productive people. The claims of psychology fall flat in the face of reality. When tested against the most destructive and devious among us, the malignant narcissists, psychology is exposed. All they have is the prescription pad or refusing to 'treat' these human predators.

In the end people only change when they determine to do the hard work following honest introspection. That some people are able to use the devices of the couch to accomplish this doesn't validate psychology as being science. Nor does it prove that psychology cures anything. The dusty pages of history prove the determination and grit of the human spirit when it reaches higher than itself to accomplish that which is difficult. Rising above nature is what gives dignity and spirituality to humanity. Freud and his intellectual offspring tend to encourage the baser drives of our natures because it chooses to ignore the spiritual aspect of humanity. Whatever is "natural" is considered good. This type of philosophy degenerates into the "law of the jungle" and "survival of the fittest". Morality is the first casualty of Freud's philosophies.

I have only copied most of the article's descriptions of the man that was Freud. I encourage you to follow the link to read the whole article in context. I want to state upfront that my 'take' on this article is not that of the author or interviewee of the article. I do not want to misrepresent their views. The views in this post are mine.

"...Freud seduced readers with his brilliant style."

"...he presented his “discoveries” as a doctrine of salvation promising to free the mind -- and even mankind as a whole -- from its troubles, and posed as a great prophet, on the same level as Copernicus and Darwin. So he had the charisma of a guru. A profound thinker, however, he was not, neither as a psychologist nor as a philosopher. What he proclaimed sounded thrilling, especially of course the sexual stuff, but it was not at all “deep”, even though it is known as “depth psychology”. Mostly it consists of far-fetched fantasies, several of which are positively bizarre."

"Throughout his life he remained immaturely attached to his mother in an ambivalent way. As a boy, he could not make friends and felt disliked by them."

"Freud was a neurotic and cynical man, probably somewhat feminine, a chronic complainer who felt all his life that he was an unrecognised genius and a victim of a hostile world. He was an outsider who was angry with society. He was very self-centred; in his relations with friends he had to dominate; he could not tolerate dissent from his views -- which is actually the reaction of a person who feels that he has not been accepted."

"Incidentally, you cannot understand Freud if you do not see that he was exceptionally self-willed, proud and arrogant."

"Here is a curious thing. Freud pretended to be very accurate in his observations and descriptions, but in fact it was often a mix of observation and fantasy. That has been solidly proven by now."

"Patients he described as cured turned out on later examination not to have been cured at all. Studies of the effects of analytic methods, which are often hardly really Freudian any more, do not support them. Talking and analysing does not change people. One of the first disciples of Feud, sexologist Wilhelm Stekel, long ago remarked that “if psychoanalysis does not find something new, it is doomed”. And Freud never managed to change himself despite all his self-analysis."

I have been upfront on this blog that my opinion of psychology as a body of thought is a skeptical one at best. The studies that have been done by the psych community to judge itself have consistently disproven its theories and opinions of itself and its efficacy in helping people. These studies are usually buried and hidden. The few honest and outspoken critics which have arisen from psychologists and psychiatrists inside the hallowed halls of the "mind sciences" are buried under an avalanche of media driven pop psych drivel which is far more attractive to people than the harsh realities these honest few have tried to bring to the fore.

Do I believe that all that falls under the label of psychology is non-scientific? No. Some research adheres to basic scientific approaches which means it stays away from speculative and unprovable theories. Science is only science when it is based on what is observable, when it can be tested and proven or disproven, the results of such tests being reproducible. An untestable theory is not science. An unprovable hypothesis is of no scientific value. When psychology confines itself to observing and describing human behavior it can be rightly called science. When psychology then delves into speculation, surmising and assignation of values it can't prove -- it has left science. It is now philosophy. Please learn to recognize when psychology is being scientific and when it is being philosopher. This explains why I am willing to use the psychological label of NPD: because it is based on a description of observable behaviors. This means it is a label based on observable behavioral fact.

I'm sure there are many who will want to attest to the wonders of psychology in helping them. You are certainly entitled to that opinion and I won't attempt to argue you out of it even though I would love to give you the credit for any positive changes you've made. What I am attempting to get you all to consider is that this body of thought is naked and helpless when forced to go up against the malignant personalities among us. This fact may very well be attributable to its founder, Freud, who himself was a very flawed man. Believing he had all the answers, his fantastical theories were transmogrified into science by sheer force of personality. He was openly antagonistic to Christianity in particular as he mocked God's ability to change or spiritually benefit human beings, yet his own theories couldn't even change himself. This must not be overlooked. Freud demonstrated many of the hallmarks of a charlatan. But because he presented a humanist theory that "intellectuals" were receptive to, his ideas gained ascendancy in the halls of academe and professional offices. And even though psychology has shifted and morphed from Freud's founding ideas his spirit still pervades. I am hoping you will seriously question psychology as having the answers for humanity's problems of living. When your common sense collides with it...please, go with your common sense.

A good definition of common sense is, 'wisdom which comes from being dedicated to reality and therefore ignores all that conflicts with reality'. Common sense discards the speculative in favor of pragmatism. I have much more respect for the hard-earned experiences and observations of people like you and me who have been in the trenches with the narcissist than I do for silly little theories which tend to turn the abuser into the victim. Any theory that does that is a fancily dressed-up turd, not science.

Do I believe there are good psychologists out there who have tangibly helped people? Absolutely. Interestingly, studies have shown time and again that the success levels of psychologists is much more correlated with their ability to emotionally connect with the patient rather than with education levels. In fact, studies have also revealed an inverse relationship between levels of education in the psych doc and how well they help their patients. More education does not equal better care. Interesting, no? Some studies have pitted regular college students against trained professionals in counselling people. Guess which group got better results consistently? Yeah, the college students. What keeps being revealed by these internal studies is that the elements of friendship and common sense are the essential ingredients in helping people get past their problems of living. So, in this age where so many are isolated and haven't got a good friend, psychologists can certainly fill this gap. You can pay for the benefits of friendship by hiring a shrink...assuming, of course, you can find a therapist you "click" with. It is clear from examination of multiple studies done by and for the psych field is that having a good friend who will be truthful with you is worth a handful of therapists.

When the narcissist in your life puts the screws to you to keep on keeping on by pointing to their being in therapy... run, don't walk. A narcissist in therapy is a narcissist who is honing all their powers of manipulation. They'll come out of it a more skilled narcissist. One that you'll find harder to deal with because she'll use all the right psych buzz words and 'feeling' phrases to anchor your feet in cement. She will have glombed onto the wonderful psych theories that make her the victim and you the abuser. She will point to her 'hurt' feelings as proof of the damage you are doing to her poor, poor self. Or she will use her childhood misfortunes to excuse her bad behavior and her abuse of you.

The medical profession has the motto, "First, do no harm". I wish this could be said to be case with the mind 'sciences'. There are far too many therapists who lack the wisdom or the will to hold a narcissist's feet to the fire. The rare narcissist who goes into therapy will shop around until they find the therapist who will only tell them what they want to hear. How is being suckered by a narcissist, or choosing to just accommodate the narcissist, doing no harm when we consider the long line of victims in the narcissist's wake? An empowered narcissist, one who is finding 'affirmation' for what they are and what they do, is a danger to society. Yet psychology seems immune to shouldering any of the blame for making dangerously selfish individuals even more committed to their selfishness and their destructive agendas toward their fellow man. Well, at least here on my blog, they will shoulder that responsibility to some appreciable extent.

"In general, few people are really interested in proving or disproving a theory if they like it for one reason or another. Most trendy ideologies are not based on scientific fact." Gerard Van den Aardweg, interview with Mercatornet.

O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. 1 Tim. 6:20,21