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  • Barbara 08:37 on February 3, 2015 Permalink | Reply
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    Calling Narcissists Evil: Stumbling Block or Lifeline? 

    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 evil…as defined both by their intent and behaviors…to 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.

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  • Barbara 08:33 on February 3, 2015 Permalink | Reply
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    Serious Abusers and Psychology’s Failure to Understand Them 

    by Dr. George Simon

    For the past two weeks I’ve been posting on the various types of relational abuse to which disturbed characters are prone (See, for example: Narcissism and Relational Abuse – Both Active and Passive and Abusive Relationships: From Disregard to Dominance). The series is meant to help those who find themselves in abusive situations recognize the true dynamics at play and to procure the tools necessary to empower themselves. Over the years, I’ve unfortunately heard from thousands of folks dismayed at how little genuine understanding or assistance they got when seeking professional help for themselves or the disturbed character in their lives. Sometimes, that was because their relationship partner’s character disturbance was so severe or intractable that no amount or type of therapy had much chance of making a difference.  But more often it was because the therapy itself – especially the psychological paradigm guiding the therapy – was ill-suited to the task.  When it comes to understanding human aggression and the problems it can cause in relationships, many of psychology’s most time-honored models have proven to be seriously inadequate, if not fatally flawed.

    We’ve all heard the explanations:  People abuse because they were abused themselves and act-out their inner pain; Bullies are really cowards “underneath;” Those who try to assert power and control over others are really insecure individuals, suffering from low-self esteem; Serial cheaters have trust wounds and are therefore “commitment-phobic,” etc.  And even though great strides have been made in recent years with respect to recognizing the true nature of character disturbance, some of these notions, derived from traditional psychology paradigms, unfortunately persist despite mounds of empirical evidence that they are in error.

    I wrote In Sheep’s Clothing and Character Disturbance with the average person in mind.  I wanted to give folks a rational and comprehensible model for understanding the various disturbances and disorders of character.  I began this blog for similar reasons.  Since doing so, I’ve not only heard from thousands of individuals ecstatic because their gut feelings were finally validated but also from hundreds of therapists who wanted to let me know how grateful they were to finally understand why the approaches they had been using to deal with impaired characters weren’t working and to now have both a perspective and a set of tools that could make a real impact.

    My last two articles have dealt with the dynamics at work with narcissistic characters and two of the aggressive variants of such characters: the unbridled aggressive and the channeled-aggressive personalities.  Today’s article will focus on the least well-understood aggressive personality subtypes:  the sadistic, covert-aggressive, and predatory aggressive (alt: psychopathic) personalities.

    As odd as it might seem, most aggressive personalities don’t have hurting people as their primary agenda.  Rather, what they seek primarily is to have their way, including getting what they want from people.  Now, make no mistake, they certainly have no problem trampling over others and their rights to get what they want, but their main objective is securing what they desire, not inflicting injury.  Such is not the case, however, with sadistic personalities and psychopaths.

    Sadistic-aggressives relish in demeaning and wielding brutal power over others (for more on this personality type see:  Understanding The Sadistic Personality, Demeaning as a Lifestyle: The Sadistic-Aggressive, Character Disturbance pp. 120-121, and In Sheep’s Clothing pp. 43-44).  They not only intend to hurt but also derive great satisfaction from so doing.  One psychopathic female with very prominent sadistic traits, and who was executed in Texas several years ago, told law enforcement officers that she actually experienced orgasm during the act of sadistically torturing and impaling the person she and her accomplice gruesomely murdered.  Sadists come in all shapes, sizes, and genders.  And how they get to be the way they are is a matter of great dispute.  The only things we know for sure are that, like all seriously disturbed characters, they lack empathy and they truly enjoy making others suffer and grovel. They’re the most poignant example of the axiom I advance with respect to the primary agenda of aggressive personalities:  It’s always about position, position, and position! As long as they’re dominant over you and you’re groveling and suffering under their oppression, they’re happy. And they’re simply miserable when there isn’t someone or something they can lord power over. Some are innately revulsed by weakness and particularly enjoy tormenting those they perceive as week or needy. They can also cause people to suffer for the pure pleasure of it, which is what makes their behavior so incomprehensible to their victims.  That’s also one reason victims (and traditionally-minded therapists) have always speculated so much about what horrific thing must have happened to the sadistic abuser to make them behave the way they do. Unfortunately, entertaining some of the traditionally-offered but never validated explanations for their behavior only makes it more likely the victim will continue to be abused.

    As those familiar with my books and other writings already know, I prefer the term “predatory aggressive” for the folks who most recently have again been labeled psychopathic (and sometimes, erroneously labeled “sociopathic”) because I believe that term best describes their fundamental interpersonal modus operandi.  Psychopaths are the only known intra-species predators.  And, as I assert in my writings and have learned from years of experience with such folks, the reason for this is that they consider themselves superior creatures compared to common humans.  They have the most malignant form of narcissism.  They know all too well how different they are from the rest of us but don’t consider this a shortcoming.  Rather, they consider themselves more than “special.” They consider themselves distinctly superior to those who possess two characteristics they don’t have:  empathy and conscience.  The way they see it, folks with a heart and with those things the rest of us call “qualms” are an inferior breed, the perfect patsies, and their rightful prey.  They enjoy “toying with,” manipulating, using, and abusing others at will.  And they’re often adept at concealing their true nature from us, being capable of “mimicking” normality and exuding surface-level charm. They’re the most extreme variation of the characters I call “covert-aggressive” (and that other offers have referred to as “almost a psychopath”). The difference is that “garden variety” covert-aggressors have some capacity for empathy (although it’s seriously impaired) and some degree of conscience (and therefore they lie on a different part of the character-disordered – neurotic spectrum). There are many more covert-aggressive personalities than there are true psychopaths, which is one reason I felt compelled to write In Sheep’s Clothing.  The other reason I wrote the book is because covert-aggressives prefer a select group of tactics to get the better of others, so once you know how to recognize those tactics and appropriately deal with them, you can be substantially empowered in your dealings with such characters and avoid being manipulated.  But when it comes to a relationship with a true psychopath, there’s only one good way of dealing with things: Get out!  Run! And do so quickly!  Even a psychopath who’s come to realize the practical benefits of conforming is still extremely dangerous because of the capacity they have for heartless, remorseless abuse.

    The professional community is only beginning to understand the real reasons people do the kinds of things they do.  Our aggressive tendencies are part of our evolutionary heritage.  And civilization is but a recent blip in the timeline of evolution. There was even a period when the psychopaths among us were probably the single most significant reason for our survival as a species. They were the totally fearless warriors who dominated their tribes and slew all the tribe’s foes (human and non-human foes alike) without hesitation, compunction, or remorse. A truly adequate psychology would need to set aside our outdated, well-intended but purely speculative and unverifiable notions about who we are and why we do the things we do and build on the hard science we’ve acquired about our species and the natural world around us.  That would necessarily include an honest reckoning with our animal instincts, our tribal nature, and what we really need in the way of shaping influences in our environment to enhance our ability to function in a prosocial way, given the so-called “civilized” world we’ve created for ourselves over the past few millennia.

     
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