Alice Miller’s work is a must read for anyone interested in child psychology, their child’s or their own inner child’s psychology, and how parenting affects the child, or how your parenting reflects your own childhood, and many variations on that theme. Her book – The Drama of the Gifted Child – is excellent and is written for everyone to read (in other words you don’t have to have a degree in psychology to understand it because she wasn’t trying to impress her peers, she was sharing her knowledge and experience with anyone who wants it).
The other day I received a comment on one of my Narcissism posts – How To Get a Narcissist To Love You – which I didn’t approve, not because of the content of the comment but because the person who commented hit ‘Reply’ to post their comment instead of creating a new comment, which would have been fine if the ‘Reply’ was to one of my comments but it was instead to someone else’s comment and this means that the other person would have received notification of this reply to their post and… I didn’t think they needed to hear this.
Maybe I was wrong.
Maybe they did need to hear it.
But sometimes we make decisions… about matters which affect other people without consulting those other people first. You kind of have to do that on a blog where comments are concerned.
And sometimes the reason we’re making that decision is because we’re trying to control how a person is affected.
In this particular case I felt that this comment would confuse the person to whom it was ‘Replying’. They had enough on their life plate already with all the confusing conundrums which ‘being in love’ tends to stir up. Being in love is complicated enough without adding the ‘am I in love with a narcissist’ issue to it.
This someone was struggling with confusion – they were trying to figure out if someone they loved was a narcissist or not – actually they came to me having already decided that the person they loved was a narcissist and wanted to know how to deal with that. I’m the one who questioned their diagnosis of their loved one being a narcissist mainly due to what they had shared which didn’t sound like their loved one was a narcissist (had NPD) or that they were on the receiving end of narcissistic abuse. They didn’t have the typical signs of Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome. People do seem to jump in too quickly with the – he or she is a narcissist! – diagnosis and accusation these days. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong… but it doesn’t mean it’s right either.
If you think or know that you are the victim of a narcissist this article is a must read – Narcissistic Victim Syndrome: What the heck is that? – the excerpt above is a small section of it.
Perhaps this comment would have helped them but I decided that it wouldn’t.
Before I answer that I’m going to share the entire comment here in this post. I always feel a bit wrong about not approving comments (which is probably why I often do a post afterwards including the disapproved comment) because the internet is in part about sharing our views, opinions, rants, etc, whether we like them, agree with them, etc… you know what I mean… and it always feels wrong to silence someone (unless it’s my mother… yup, there’s always an exception.
Throughout my lifetime of knowing her and being exposed to her she suffered from an extreme case of verbal diarrhea. I think talking incessantly was more important than breathing to her – she trained as an opera singer so she could regulate her breath and say more without needing to interrupt herself to breathe, and she knew how to make her voice carry far and pierce even the most hearing-resistant ears.
I have a lot of quirky phobias which other people find strange due to having my ears and brain exposed to her voice and what she used that voice to say. People still don’t get why I hate using the telephone… because of the way she used it and I never want to be trapped that way forced to listen to someone’s voice drone on on the other end of the line ever again. I couldn’t hang up… I did fall asleep once and she never let me hear the end of that insult! Apparently just being released from hospital after emergency surgery isn’t an excuse for falling asleep while a narcissist is talking. I should probably confess to the fact that I laughed about this incident – that didn’t help sweeten a pissed of narcissist – but I don’t regret enjoying the sharply sweet twisted humour of it.
For large periods of time her incessant talk revolved around my father, mostly listing everything that was wrong with him, everything that was wrong with me because I was his child, what he had done to poor her, how ungrateful he was for all the things she had done for him, all the sacrifices she had made…
she’s a covert narcissist of the damsel in permanent distress/martyr for life aiming for sainthood variety.
Don’t feel sorry for my father for being married to her – they were a match made in narcissist heaven, which is similar to narc hell.
He was a cerebral overt narcissist of the smartest person in the room – with the room being the planet – fuck everyone over, especially my family because I love them so much, as they’re all a bunch of easily manipulated, needy greedy emotional a-holes, variety. Being an overt narcissist of the cerebral kind meant he regularly would tell everyone what he thought of them, give you a dose of the awful truth – something he shared in common with my mother, and that he was going to use them and they were going to bend over, take it and beg for more. You’d be surprised how many people thought he was being charming when he said this sort of thing, and did indeed bend over, take it and beg for more… unless you’ve had dealings with a narcissist like this, like Trump – the ways he reminds me of daddy dearest are uncanny, even the squeezed facial features expression, then it wouldn’t surprise you at all).
Excerpt from one of the most comprehensive articles about Narcissism online – Narcissism by Richard Boyd – a must read if you’re reading up on the subject.
Sorry about the long preamble… here’s the comment in its entirety:
“No Love or Empathy for the Narcissist
I find it so odd how positive everyone claims to be about what Narcs are capable and incapable of, namely ‘Love & Empathy’ without ever referring to case study or spectrum or really anything but what is most commonly mistaken for anti-social personality disorder. There are more Narcissists, pathological, than anyone cares to acknowledge, accept or even consider in positions revered by millions.
A complimentary, non-competing Narcissist is capable of exactly everything you’ve refuted with their Narcissist counterpart. More than likely one of the couple is undetected as a Narcissist. Covert or inverted and opposing their partner’s Somatic or Cerebral. As comparable as a baby or child expressing love for the mother they are dependent on for sustenance. The Narcissist is so capable of doting on their source of sustenance.
I am fairly confidant that more Narcissists, the article audience, write in and reply to these Narcissist articles than what are deemed”healthy” people.
Can’t love. No empathy. Who are we talking about? Gary Ridgeway the Green River Killer and BTK, had families, loved ones, deacons of their churches. People want to believe they are soulless? Might be more comfortable. But both defended their families and ‘loved’ ones fiercely, good providers, nurturers and gentle even reported by many. Both over 20+ years of marriage. Please … how are we defining ‘love’? Only 20% at most of the population, is capable of truly selfless acts. The top 1-2% encompassing your Mother Theresa and Ghandi like souls.
I think the field and approach to personality disorders is heading into a major shift and all of these absolute statements will have no place because it is more than likely excluding the most dangerous of the type. Your religious leaders, your Drs, your ‘good-will’ ambassadors, obviously politicians, judicial officials, Poice and emergency rescue workers. Their motivating behaviors, which helped them succeed and excel, are never mentioned. Just the acts of philanderers and egomaniacal men that sound more like mid-life crises, are mentioned. It’s very skewed which suggests bias.
I’ve worked in acute Psychiatric care more than 1/2 my life and have been exposed heavily to the condition. Conducted DBT groups and studies. I saw comparable numbers if not more instances of human emotion mimicry and insincerity from “non-personality” disordered type for fear of ‘not fitting in’, which is more acceptable to society, followers, contributing to racism, gangs, mass shootings. The Holocaust and any and all religious reasons to wage war with millions of people willing to die on blind faith. During election season, masses of people voting decisions based on bigotry or fear. 80% of us would be better off if they voted in their own self interests.
Somehow, someone concerned with their image, how they’re perceived, need for control, competitive natures, selfishness, arrogance and who make up a fraction of the population, are the villains you hear of incessantly now. Everyone saying the same things. No love or empathy. Ted Bundy was undetectable largely due to public service and humanitarian causes. Don’t confuse my comparisons these are sociopathic and anti-social personality disorder references, the worst of us that blended in better than many of the best of our society. A considerable portion of our population won’t separate from the all too comfortable and encouraged ‘pack’ and pack mentality.
Who’s more dangerous?
The field is going to change. Mark my words. If I have to do it myself.
C. D. Chavez PsyD.
So why didn’t I just approve this even if they made their comment in ‘Reply’, @ someone else… would that someone else have minded, was it really a problem?
Perhaps not, perhaps I made a mountain out of a mole hill or a worm hole….
But there are certain aspects to this comment which bothered me and thus supported my decision (wrong or right or that grey whatever in between).
This commentor posted their comment twice – something which some commentors do when they don’t see their comment immediately appear on the post. They don’t get that since they’re a new commentor their comment is held in moderation until the blogger sees it, reads it and decides whether or not to approve it (once a comment is approved that commentor’s comments will appear immediately unless you change something in your comment log-in data). I know commenting on blogs is confusing… and on WordPress some comments get lost, get eaten up by several glitches, but sometimes it’s the blogger who makes a decision which isn’t one the commentor wants… but you cede control of what happens to your words, like you do when you say something to someone in conversation (you didn’t mean to offend them but they got offended anyway even if what they heard wasn’t what you said).
So what bothered me about this comment other than the whole ‘Reply’ thing?
Well… It pretty much accused anyone who comments on my Narcissism posts of being narcissists (which could be true, I haven’t really run a professional study on such a matter… I do occasionally wonder if a person commenting is one of those narcissists who accuses everyone else of being narcissists but that’s more rare than usual, and thus overall I prefer to disagree with that possible truth).
Alexander Lowen’s book on Narcissism is a worthy read if you’re investigating the subject. He does focus more on the Narcissist than on those who have to live with and/or deal with a Narcissist… but those who have to live and/or deal with a Narcissist also focus their attention on the Narcissist because that’s what happens when a Narcissist enters the room, your life, comments on your blog. PAY ATTENTION TO ME! – is the cry of the narcissistic wound and it’s so loud, emphasised by pain, by fear, by the pain of fear and the fear of pain, that we do exactly that.
If you want people to listen to you it’s usually a good idea not to insult everyone by accusing them of being narcissists. This may be part of some salient point you’re making about how hard it is to figure out who is a narcissist and who isn’t and other subtleties of the problem, but… the first comment you make is an introduction of others to you, so… be careful, perhaps use some of that magic stuff known as ’empathy’. For example, if someone’s first words to you are ‘You’re wrong and I’m going to tell you why….” are you really going to embrace what they have to say? Are you really going to form a good first impression of them? Or are you going to want to avoid them because they’ve basically warned you that they are a bringer of pain, of the awful truth about you according to them, they’re going to build themselves up by breaking you down? They’re a potential bore who only likes to make others feel bad about themselves because that’s the only way they can feel good about themselves… and there are so many people like that in the world why bother spending your valuable attention on another?
Sometimes you need to pause before embarking on a crusade, however righteous you think that this crusade is while sitting in your intellectual ivory tower, and consider the other side of your equation. Yes, we’re talking empathy – intelligent empathy. The side of those whom you want to impress with your point is as relevant as your point and your side. If you want people to listen to you you need to understand the people whom you want to listen to you (Hilary could have used some lessons in this – even idiots know when someone thinks they’re an idiot and treats them as one even if they’re pretending to be all condescendingly inclusive).
This could just as easily apply to non-gender issues – a ‘No’ is a ‘No’ and if someone isn’t into what you’re selling, they’re not into it, using force isn’t going sell them on what you want them to buy. If what you’re selling is an identity, a point, opinion, crusade, etc, and they don’t want to buy into it they have a right to say no… you should really listen and hear that no of theirs, but a narcissist doesn’t give a shit about others…
Gavin de Becker’s book – The Gift of Fear – is an excellent if very chilling read. Essential for those involved with Narcissists and other people who are all about them, want you to be all about them, make who you are all about them, etc.
This commentor’s impatience at their comment not appearing immediately on my blog prompted them to write another comment which was almost exactly the same as the first except for a couple of differences… which made all the difference. The second comment (the one I’ve copy and pasted above) reveals more about them and their motivation to comment than the first one did.
The very last words of the second comment (words which were omitted from the first comment) which this person made summed up my reluctance for me.
This bit was the added bit (at least it was the most noticeable change and difference – things were getting a bit more personal, detachment was detaching itself giving way to attachment to a personal cause of personal bias):
“Who’s more dangerous?
The field is going to change. Mark my words. If I have to do it myself.”
Can you see what I saw?
Can you feel the discomfort which I felt?
Can you understand why I made the decision which I made whether it was right, wrong or fell off a cliff into grey areas? Would you have made a similar decision or a different one – feel free to share and @ me with it in the comments.
Have you learned anything about Love or Empathy from this person’s comment? Or did they live up to their introductory promise of ‘No Love or Empathy’ for the narcissist or anyone else because… are they done with it? Has it caused them to suffer too much and they can’t stand to suffer anymore?
Did they set an example which we all should follow, want to follow because their argument was so well made, or avoid following because they reminded us of those people we’ve followed before and… no thanks, been there, done that, rather not be there and do that again?
I’ll tell you what or more precisely who they reminded me of… which is sort of a compliment and sort of a grey area….
for some reason they reminded me of R.D. Laing… a rather crazy genius whose work is very much worth reading (with detachment). He’s the author of one of my favourite psychology books – Sanity, Madness and the Family (he wrote this with A. Esterson, not sure how much of it is the hard work of his colleague and how much of it is his).
Over to you… I’m passing this hot potato on…