Sunday, 29 May 2011

Narcissistic Abuse and Anger

I thought I would address the issue of anger and narcissistic abuse by re-posting the best piece of writing that I have come across on the subject. No one said it better than crusader and trail blazer for the victims of narcissistic abuse – Kathy Krajco:
He who angers you controls you.
Baloney.  That popular adage does not pass a basic nonsense check. Look, it says that good boys and girls are so numb that nobody can make them feel any emotion. It is also exactly anti-logical, blaming the victim. It pathologizes you, the victim of the narcissist, instead of the narcissist.
Stuff like that is my pet peeve. Once you start noticing how much political correctness is anti-logic, you can’t help but wonder (with Mark Twain) whether anyone examines an idea before swallowing it whole.
We should be more careful what we let into our minds than what we let into our bodies. Rot adage like that does great added harm to the victims of abuse. First the narcissist outrages you until you want to scream. Then the do-gooders come along and tell you your outrage is a sin. Now, if that ain’t the Sin of Sodom (making someone bend over for it), I don’t know what is.
But don’t take my word for it. Think for yourself.
The reasoning goes like this: So, the narcissist’s abuse is nothing to get angry about? You are to act as though it didn’t happen? In other words, you are to make nothing of it, right?
Wrong. For, if it is nothing, then you are nothing. Why? Because everybody knows that if I bash an object, that’s nothing, but if I bash a human being, that’s something. If I step on a bug, that’s nothing, but if I step on a human being, that’s something.
Yet, no matter what, the do-gooders just don’t get it – until they’re the one that gets bashed. Then they see the degrading value judgement in making nothing of it.
By telling you to make nothing of it, they are telling you that abusing you was nothing. That means you are nothing. Indeed, if your abuser bashed your automobile, they wouldn’t tell you to make nothing of it, would they? An automobile is a thing of value, so harm done to it requires reparation. But, harm done to you is nothing, eh? What a dehumanizing value judgement.
And it lands on top of the one the narcissist dumped on you. Feel better now?
First the narcissist got on your back, and now they pile on too. The holier-than-thous should be criticizing the abuser’s behaviour, not the victim’s. There’s a name for people like that, “Job’s Comforters” or “troublesome comforters.” That’s what I mean when I say people saying stuff like this do more harm than good. Pound, pound, pound, they all pound you down with that club that says Doing that to you was nothing = You are nothing. And it’s a sin for you to not cover up for the narcissist by acting like it didn’t happen.
Just what you needed to hear, right? So, whose side are they really on? Whether they realize it or not? Hard to take, isn’t it? What a heartless thing to do to a person already down.
Why can’t they just break down and say that it causes them sorrow to hear what was done to you and that it really sucked? Then all they have to do is act like you mean something to them. Why is that asking too much? Why do you get all that other crap instead?
Sometimes I think they just don’t want your sad little face to rain on their day. I think it’s for their sake that they want you to take Prozac. They just want to make it go away, to act like it didn’t happen.
If it’s a sin to even be angry about degrading treatment, then what can you do to contradict the humiliating value judgement in it? Nothing. If merely feeling an emotion is stepping off the straight-and-narrow, what could they give you permission to do? Nothing!
Ah, it seems to me that the one whose hands they should tie is your abuser, not you. This way they are accessories to mayhem.
The more you think about it, the more ridiculous the moralizing gets, doesn’t it? Parrots who get their morality from prime-time TV thus deny you the most basic human right – the right to protect yourself. Just what kind of a person would docilely accept abuse? A person who thinks anything of him or her – self? A person with any self-respect? Any dignity? Integrity? A backbone? If you are the victim of a narcissist, you know your anger is your assertion of your self-worth.
Sounders like to sound good by making other sound bad for not taking an affront to their human dignity as though it were nothing. Is that not rubbing the victim’s nose in it? That’s what it feels like. It’s no longer just the narcissist abusing you, the whole world piles on to. This is what breaks the victim’s back. Forcing him to join in a zero valuation of himself. The result of this self-betrayal is self-hatred precisely what drives so many victims of narcissists to needing psychiatric help themselves.
So if specious pontifications like the one at the top have you on a guilt trip, get off.
Feelings are not conduct. No clear-thinking person should confuse feelings with conduct. Conduct is a matter of choice. Feelings are not a matter of choice. So, the notion that feelings can be “right” or “wrong” is absurd. They just ARE, period. Indeed, if you get burnt, you should feel burnt. If you don’t, something is wrong with you.
Others should not judge your feelings. I do not understand why those who believe in God are the most prone to do this, for it out-gods their God (who, according to their scriptures, Judges conduct only). Judging feeling is in itself narcissistic behaviour. In doing so, do-gooders are serving as proxy for your abuser.
You can lie about your feelings. You can go into denial about them. And you can even repress them. But you cannot change them.
Denying or repressing feelings is a lie. Now that is a matter of choice, and lying is bad for you. It’s self-delusion. It’s a kind of self-induced hypnosis to a state of emotional numbness. Not mentally healthy.
Repressed feelings are merely submerged to the level of the subconscious. But the subconscious is just subconscious: it isn’t gone. Things buried are still active. They influence and motivate your behaviour without your knowledge. In other words, repressed feelings rule your conduct like an unseen puppet master. Thus, ironically, it is by getting you to deny your anger that the narcissist controls you.
Accept your feelings. Own them. Know them. Experience the tremendous relief and comfort in that. Then you can temper their influence on your conduct with reason and good judgement. You are responsible for your conduct not your feelings. Just because you are angry does not mean you are out of control of yourself as that stupid saying implies. It is the narcissist who has no self-control, not his or her victim.
Your anger, like any pain, will pass. If someone punches you, he is to blame for your pain, not you. By the same token, the one to blame for your anger is the narcissist, not you.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Malignant Narcissist Parent as Soul Stalker

According to Law: 

Criminal harassment, more commonly known as STALKING, is a crime. Generally, it consists of repeated conduct that is carried out over a period of time which causes you to reasonably fear for your safety (mental, emotional, psychological, physical).
Individuals who stalk may possess one or more various psychological conditions, from personality disorders to mental illness. Most individuals who stalk are engaging in obsessional behaviour. They have persistent thoughts and ideas concerning the objects of their attention.

According to Dr. Frank Ochberg, Harvard trained MD and trauma expert:
The victim of a narcissist is traumatized. There are biochemical changes in the body and structural changes in the brain. Thought patterns change, memories are lost, immune system strongly affected, brain cells die, there is chest pain, muscle pain, feelings are intense and emotions are chaotic.
According to malignant narcissists:

"Why the the hell should we have to act a certain way?! Hurting and humiliating others makes us feel good. Why can’t you just obey us and let us have our drug?!”
Every malignant narcissist I’ve known is EVIL, and every malignant narcissist I’ve known is a STALKER, and every malignant narcissist I’ve known should have a police record. If it was a different kind of world; I would sue their asses and slap them with the label they are so richly deserving of - CRIMINAL.

SOUL MURDER does not happen overnight: it is an unrelenting pattern of criminal behaviour involving the stalking and systematic destruction of the victim’s soul - a person's essence. In the case of malignant narcissist parents; it’s a lifelong pattern of abuse committed against a child.  

Malignant narcissist parents are very patient and very persistent in their quest to gradually insinuate their influence on a child’s thinking so that they may gain control of the child’s life and destroy it. In fact, they will do whatever it takes to create a false bond just to gain entry.  Keep that in mind if you have given a malignant narcissist parent the old heave ho and they are trying to slither their way back into your life – they will do anything or say anything to trick you into believing that there is a bond so that they can access your soul for destruction. Think of them as a Trojan Horse that will intrude and invade your inner life with bad thoughts.
Malignant narcissists sell a piece of their soul with every evil choice they make so by the time they reach adulthood they are soulless creatures - COMPLETELY EMPTY.  Since they lack a soul, they want to make sure that others are without one. And, there is no better ‘other’ to target than a child: as the purity of a child’s virtues puts them to shame. Further, the high they get from hurting an innocent child is a hell of a lot more intense than the one they would get from targeting a world-weary adult. This is why malignant narcissists stalk their own children; that and easy access.
Malignant narcissist parents also stalk their children’s souls in order to be human extensions - to live vicariously through them. Either way; the malignant narcissist parent gains in the transaction of the child's soul. They drain the child (kill life in the child), and leave them hollow (without a self) so that they can fill the child with themselves: be it as a dumping ground for their own toxic waste; or as a vessel to live their narcissistic fantasies through.
A few years ago I read a book by Marie-France Hirigoyen called Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity I found the book validating. The writer has a very compassionate approach toward the victim of narcissistic abuse/soul murder, and for the most part, does not attempt to get inside the victim’s head – she gives them the respect they deserve. Instead, Hirigoyen focuses on the abuser and looks at what may be going on in their sick minds.
As I read Stalking the Soul, I took point form notes of all the parts that helped me. So, In an effort to treat the soul stalking, soul murdering malignant narcissist as the pestilent, parasitic piece of shit that it is: I’ve decided to fire off an exhaustive summary of Stalking the Soul and weave in some quotes from M. Scott Peck’s, People of The Lie – that way we can invade the malignant narcissist's head space, and take a look at what's going on behind the vacant stare.

Soul Stalking - Soul Murder:
This lack of love in certain families, is a systematic destruction that batters a child and makes them want to die, it’s not simply an absence of love but an organized violence that the child not only endures but internalizes, to the point where he shifts the violence exerted upon him into self-destructive behaviour. (Stalking the Soul)

Evil people, refusing to acknowledge their own failures, actually desire to project their evil onto others, it is no wonder that children will misinterpret the process by hating themselves.
If evil people cannot be defined by the illegality of their deeds or magnitude of their sins, then how are we to define them? The answer is by the persistence and consistency of their sins. While usually subtle, their destructiveness is remarkably consistent. (People of The Lie)
Victims become dangerous adversaries when they begin to articulate what they have intuitively understood. The abuser then must SILENCE the victim.
Outright hostility later replaces ill will or malevolence if the victim reacts and tries to rebel. This is the phase of emotional abuse that has been called “psychoterror.” At this stage, any means or methods will be used, sometimes including psychical violence to destroy the designated victim. (Stalking the Soul)
Instead of destroying others they should be destroying the sickness in themselves. As life often threatens their self-image of perfection, evil people are often busily engaged in destroying and hating that life. (People of The Lie) 
The Malignant Narcissist as Stalker:
Stalking the Soul -
  • They have not matured and come into their own and they jealously observe those who have. Faced with their own emptiness, they try to destroy the happiness around them.
  • Prisoners of their own inflexible defense system, they can’t bear to see freedom in others. Unable to physically let go and enjoy themselves, they attempt to prevent others from natural pleasures.
  • They undermine simple relationships because of their inability to love.
  • Abusive narcissists need to triumph over and annihilate others in order to feel superior and accept themselves. They must destroy to find affirmation.
  • Their critical sense is highly developed, so they spend a lot of time criticising everyone and everything; this allows them to feel all powerful.
  • Their driving force in envy and their objective is taking over. To envy is to covet and to feel spiteful irritation at the sight of the happiness and the advantages of other people. We are dealing with an abusive mentality based on a perception of what the other possesses and they lack. The envious one is sick to see the other with material or spiritual benefits but he is more anxious to destroy than to acquire them for if they were his, he wouldn’t know what to do with them. Humiliating and disparaging the others suffices to make up the difference.
  • What abusers envy most is the other’s life. They want to dampen the vitality and enthusiasm of the people around them. Their deficiencies are shown up by the desires and vitality of the other. This is why abusers often chose as their victims people full of energy and love of life.
The evil attack others instead of facing their own failures. Spiritual growth requires the acknowledgement of one’s need to grow. If we cannot make that acknowledgement, we have no option except to eradicate the evidence of our imperfection. (People of The Lie)

The Malignant Narcissist’s Denial of Responsibility:
It is not their sins per se that characterize evil people; rather it is the subtlety and persistence and consistency of their sins. This is because the central defect of the evil is not the sin but the refusal to acknowledge it. (People of The Lie)

Stalking the Soul -
  • Because they have no real subjectivity abusers consider themselves not responsible. They are as absent to others as they are to themselves. They’re never there for you. They aren’t even there for themselves. Abusers constantly deny reality, down to minute incidents of daily life.
  • Stalking and attacking others is a means of avoiding pain, sadness and depression.
  • Because they are not completely autonomous and are dependent on others, they stick close to people and fear separation. They refuse to acknowledge the devouring nature of their “clingy” behaviour which could lead to a negative perception of their own image – this explains their abusive conduct toward an overly kind and solicitous person.
  • Because they feel impotent, abusers fear the power they imagine others to have. They therefore ascribe to them, in an almost delirious and crazy sense, a malice that is only a projection of their own malevolence.
  • With the hatred projected onto a target (that soon becomes prey) it calms inner tension; this allows the emotional abuser to act pleasantly in the outside world.
  • This explains the astonishment, or even denial, of people who learn about the abusive actions of a close relation who had previously only shown his positive aspect. 
  • The evidence of the victim, seen in this light, hardly seems credible.
So there you have it – a peek inside the head space of the malignant narcissist. When I read this for the first time I felt mildly vindicated because the information confirmed what I had already intuitively sensed: that the world of the malignant narcissist is incredibly bleak.  Though, I would never pity them because they always appear to be doing just fine.
In People of The Lie, Peck touches on this “appearance”.

Who is to say what the evil suffer? It is consistently true that evil do not appear to suffer deeply. Because they cannot admit weakness or imperfection in themselves, they must appear this way. They must appear to themselves to be continually in command. Their narcissism demands it. Yet we know that they are not truly on top of things. Their appearance of competence is just that: an appearance. A pretence. Rather than being in command of themselves, it is their narcissism that is in command, always demanding, whipping them into maintaining the pretence of perfect health and wholeness.

The narcissists I've known always have made a show of how productive and busy they think they are. They also like to pathologize everyone around them while claiming to be high functioning. In fact, the sicker the narcissist, the thicker they lay on the pretence of health and wholeness. It’s rather satisfying to know that they are slaves to their narcissism.  No wonder they hate life and love in others - life and love equal freedom and they are prisoners of their pathology.
As Peck writes:

While evil people are still to be feared, they are also to be pitied. Forever fleeing the light of self-exposure and the voice of their own conscience, they are the most frightened of human beings. They live their lives in sheer terror. They need not be consigned to any hell; they are already in it.
This is something I try and remember. I have heard the terror and panic in the voice of a malignant narcissist who found out there was a witness to her crimes. I watched as she scrambled to pull off the most elaborate post-abuse cover-up, worthy of a Hitchcockian thriller. She telephoned people she had never even met and spread vicious rumours and lies about her victim in an effort to bury her crimes. Her main concern was NOT the evil deeds she had committed, but what complete strangers might find out about her behavior - for behavior always reflects a person's true character. 

I have seen proof positive that malignant narcissists are“the most frightened of human beings.” They are completely paranoid, not only by what their wisp of a conscience may reveal to them about themselves, but by what others will think of them. The live in holy terror of their narcissistic image being smashed to smithereens. It's as if the loss of their false self would kill them, for they don't have a true self. 

The evil are pathologically attached to the status quo of their personalities, which in their narcissism they consciously regard as perfect. I think it is quite possible that the evil may perceive even a small degree of change in their beloved selves as representing total annihilation. In this sense. the threat of criticism may feel to one who is evil synonymous with the threat of extinction. --- Ernest Becker, Escape from Evil.

When it comes right down to it; malignant narcissists are the weakest, most cowardly and most petrified creatures on the face of the earth. Once they know that you’re not intimidated by them, and that you’re on to them, and that they haven't snuffed-out the fight in you, they live in sheer terror of you… and that to me is a little piece of justice because they should be afraid - the victim holds the power of EXPOSING THE TRUTH.

Who's in control now narcs?!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Narcissistic Abuse is Soul Murder

"You will be hollow. We will squeeze you empty, and then we shall fill you with ourselves."  

I’ve long suspected that some of my favourite writers, artists and filmmakers are survivors of parental narcissistic abuse. I made these assumptions based on themes running through their work that I could identify with as a survivor of ‘soul murder.’ For example, writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson touches on childhood abandonment, family estrangement, neglect, abuse and narcissism in such films as Magnolias, There Will Be Blood, and Boogie Nights – yes Boogie Nights. Dirk Diggler’s mother is malignant narcissist El Supremo screaming at him that he is NOTHING! It’s one short scene but it’s powerful.
I could rattle off a list of other artists that I think are survivors of narcissistic abuse but I would only be making an educated guess so I think I will save that for another time.  For now, I will say that Charles Dickens is one of the writers that I thought experienced soul murder – maybe that’s common knowledge, I don’t know. I’ve read many of his books but I know little of the man.
Anyway, a few months ago - while I was surfing the net on ‘soul murder’ – I discovered that there is a book entitled Soul Murder by Leonard Shengold: that examines the ravages of soul murder in the adult lives of his patients as well as in the lives and works of such seminal writers as George Orwell, Dickens, Chekhov, and Kipling.  I had to get my hands on that book, so I marched down to the research library and put in my request to the Librarian to retrieve it from the stacks – “Soul Murder please.”
Learning about George Orwell’s heinous upbringing with a very evil malignant narcissist father made it abundantly clear how 1984 was conceived, and was in some ways helpful in extrapolating ideas on creativity and narcissistic abuse.  But, other than that, I did not get much out of Shengold's book; mainly because I couldn’t stomach it. Shengold is a psychiatrist and a Freudian and he uses Freudian theory to pathologize the patient – the quacks like to call it psycho-anal-yze.   
I found Soul Murder, to be just another ‘interpretation’ of the effects of extreme childhood deprivation and abuse written from the perspective of the victim as 'specimen' to study. Shengold likely has never had direct experience with a malignant narcissist and instead relies on dissecting the victim when the light of scrutiny should be instead shone on the narcissist. After skimming a few pages, I thought to myself, based on what this quack is writing about the so-called effects of soul murder, I should be hugging my knees, rocking back and forth and involuntarily drooling. Talk about degrading the victims of soul murder further - they are treated as less than human by 'parents' who are less than human, and then treated as less than human and specimens for study by an inhumane, psychiatric pseudo-science.  
Anyway, I must say the term 'soul murder' is a very good descriptive for narcissistic abuse and I lifted a blurb from the book that also sums it up nicely:

A consummated soul murder is a crime most often committed by psychotic or psychopathic parents (also known as narcissists) who treat the child as an extension of themselves, or as an object with which to satisfy their desires. Lesser effects ensue from intermittent parental cruelty and indifference. To abuse or neglect a child, to deprive the child of his or her own identity and ability to experience joy in life, is to commit soul murder.

And, to grow-up in a home with two full-blown narcissists is to experience an Orwellian Nightmare of monstrous proportions. Here’s a peek at the narcissistic family system seen through the genius of 1984  by George Orwell (survivor of soul murder) – look familiar?
Big Brother: Dictator of a totalitarian state – the children of narcissists has no rights in the oppressive ‘family’ system. It's completely under narcissistic rule - pathological control freakism.
Room 101: A torture chamber in the ministry of love – abuse, cruelty and punishment from the people – narcissistic parents - who are supposed to love and protect you.
ThoughtCrime: An illegal type of thought the scapegoat/target of abuse in a narcissistic family is not a weak or mentally unhealthy individual. Quite the opposite: harassment/abuse is often set in motion when a target refuses to give in to the abusive authority. She or he is targeted because of his or her capacity to resist authority, even under pressure.

Thought Police: Authority that uncover and punish thoughtcrime(s) using psychology and omnipresent surveillance to eliminate members of society who are capable of the mere thought of challenging ruling - Narcissist Parents and N sibling(s) who squeal on the intended target/scapegoat. Punishment ensues by isolating the 'free thinker' and wearing down his or her 'strength of mind' by extreme boundary violation, mental cruelty, mind control, and manipulation.   
Unperson: A person who has been “vaporized”; who has been not only killed by the state, but effectively erased from existence. Such a person would be written out of existing books, photographs, and articles so that no trace of their existence could be found in the historical record. The idea is that such a person would, according to the principles of doublethink, be forgotten completely, even by close friends and family members. Mentioning his or her name, or even speaking of their past existence is a thought crime.
Wow – as the truth teller in my family of origin, I was completely obliterated from existence: including photographs, keepsakes, year books and mementos. All of my belongings were sold at a garage sale, and what wasn’t sold was given away to the malignant narcissist mother’s friends, and what wasn’t given away was claimed by the greedy hoarder, malignant narcissist sister. According to my grandmother, “No one talks of you.” And, I wouldn't have it any other way. They’ve been out of my life longer than they were in my life and I've safely avoided being shackled by the chains of "Thought Police".
Memory Hole: Any mechanism for the alteration or disappearance of inconvenient or embarrassing documents, photographs, transcripts or other records – how to hide the inconvenient TRUTH, the secrets and lies of the narcissistic family, post abuse cover-up, victim character assassination, destroy the truth teller, silence the victims, scapegoating and projection, and history revisionism.

The lesson of 1984 is one that can also be learned from the lives of those who have grown-up under the totalitarian rule of crazy, cruel, and capricious narcissist parents, in a 'soul destroying system' that is in a state of perpetual war, pervasive surveillance and incessant mind control and manipulation and that Randall Jarrell calls, “One of God’s concentration camps.”
A more hopeful note, in the saga of pain called soul murder, is that a lousy childhood, if survived, can be life-enhancing and a great source of strength; as in the cases of Dickens and Orwell.

And, isn’t that what creativity is all about?

Monday, 9 May 2011

The Malignant Narcissist Mother is Grandiose and Indifferent

In the last post; I wrote about the malignant narcissist mother in the films Million Dollar Baby and Ordinary People.

Although the mother (Earline) in Million Dollar Baby is only in a couple of scenes; she is easy to identify as evil because of her outrageous selfishness and blatant cruelty toward her daughter Maggie.

On the other hand, the mother (Beth) in Ordinary People is far more insidious because she is very controlled and expertly obscures her malice toward her son behind a smokescreen of stiff detachment. Plus, she is skilled at projecting an image of the perfect, upscale, suburban housewife.
In his ground-breaking book People of The Lie, M. Scott Peck looks at the behaviour of ordinary criminals versus the behaviour of those he terms ‘evil’. He notes that there is a general randomness to the criminal’s destructiveness, and they are rather careless and open about their conduct: they’re not particularly interested in covering-up who they really are. In fact, they seem rather proud of their inability to hide their dishonesty and this is what makes them ‘honest criminals.’
Compare the common criminal to the malignant narcissist mother Beth in Ordinary People whose destructiveness toward Conrad is entirely selective and consistent. Her hostility toward her son is a deliberate pattern of behaviour. She chooses to go out of her way to harm him yet is careful to do it on the sly – that’s malice. Moreover, she is incredibly skilled in the art of deception and covert operation.
In describing those he calls ‘evil’ Peck writes:

Utterly dedicated to preserving their self-image of perfection, they are unceasingly engaged in the effort to maintain the appearance of moral purity. They worry about this a great deal. They are acutely sensitive to social norms and what other might think of them. They dress well, go to work on time, pay their taxes and outwardly seem to live lives that are beyond reproach.

The words “image,” “appearance,” “outwardly,” are crucial to understanding the morality of evil. While they seem to lack any motivation to be good, they intensely desire to appear good. Their “goodness” is all on the level of pretence. It is, in effect, a lie. This is why they are the “people of the lie.”
Beth and Conrad - Ordinary People
Something that’s important to note in the film Ordinary People is that Conrad is on to his mother. He knows that she doesn’t care about him and that her only concern is what other people think. His older brother Buck – the ‘Golden Boy’ who died in the boating accident – was a charismatic, outgoing, star athlete type and likely not as smart and sensitive as Conrad. Therefore, Buck is the obvious choice to be the ‘Chosen One’ – he is amendable to being a human extension whereas Conrad is a much stronger personality though he may appear weaker because he’s thoughtful and kind.  Never mistake kindness for weakness. He did, after all, survive the boating accident while his brother perished. 

I think for a malignant narcissist mother like Beth, it’s Conrad’s awareness and independence that she fears the most because it threatens her delusions of grandeur and incites her greatest terror - exposure. How dare he have a mind of his own! How dare he not defer to me as God Almighty! He must be destroyed! 
Conrad isn’t like Buck. He doesn’t do for his mother what Buck did: he doesn’t ‘glow’ in his mother’s presence. There’s a flash back scene where Buck is telling his mother a funny story, he is beaming and she is giggling away like a school girl and beaming too. They are flirting with each other and basking in one another’s attention. It is a seduction scene between two narcissists - a real mutual admiration society - and it’s creepy.  The thing is; Conrad isn’t able to reflect back to his mother the admiration that Buck did and she views this as an attack that threatens her world of make believe as the most beautiful, wonderful, perfect, powerful, and desirable woman that ever lived. In other words, he unwittingly challenges her delusions and she’s not having it.
Yes, narcissists view others relating to them as equals as an actual attack.  Narcissists consider your failure to admire, worship and obey them as an attack. Yes, interacting with them as an equal is in their eyes hostile. Why? Because in their eyes you are beneath them, and by not acting out their fantasy for them, it is making their fantasies harder to believe, and delusional narcissists hate you for shining the light of reality on them, so they’re going to make you pay.
Narcissists think they are God Almighty which means everyone else is an insignificant bug.  And to maintain their position of superiority they must show they are better than you in every interaction with you. They must treat you like dirt; deny you any kind of regard including sympathy, affection, praise and all other forms of positive attention. In fact, many narcissists can’t even bring themselves to give-out negative attention because any attention at all takes the focus off of them and they can’t stand not being the centre of the universe at all times.  
So, don’t think even for a second that the malignant narcissist mother in Ordinary People is going to go visit her distressed son in the hospital. Hell no, that would be giving him attention and she needs to make it clear to him every day, and in every way that he is nothing and he doesn’t matter and that she wishes it was he who died in the accident not Buck.

In fact, Conrad’s suicide attempt annoys the hell out of her because his father is giving him attention which means she’s not getting every last drop of it.  So Beth convinces Calvin to ditch Conrad and go away with her to Houston during the Christmas holidays. Beth would rather abandon her fragile, suicidal son during his time of need than compete with him for attention. And, while his parents are away, Conrad faces a major crisis – the suicide of a friend from the hospital – and he comes very close to suicide once again.
In Houston Beth is absolutely beaming – ditching the Conrad has done her a world of good. Grinning from ear to ear, she suggests to Calvin that they go away again on another vacation soon. “Connie would like that, “ says Calvin. Beth snaps and shouts, “Why do you always feel the need to do that?! He controls you even when he’s 2000 miles away!” So, Beth attacks her husband even at the mention of Conrad’s name and adds a little projection to the mix. All narcissists are petulant little children and they need all the attention at all time. And, if they’re getting all of it, you’re getting none of it.
One way a narcissist can hijack all the attention is by eliminating the competition – in Beth’s case; her son Conrad. So, when she’s not making nothing of him by refusing to be in a photo with him, belittling him, ignoring or excluding him, she’s plotting to have him shipped away to boarding school. Or, in a dark way is continuing to drive him to suicide. Unfortunately for Beth, her son survived his suicide and now he’s got a shrink that seems to be helping him. So what does she scheme to do? Interrupt his therapy. Yes, she wants to go to London for three weeks and this time bring Conrad – I wonder why? But, Conrad’s Dad doesn’t want his son’s therapy to be disrupted because he sees that it’s helping him and Calvin actually loves his son.
Narcissists see themselves as supreme beings which means compared to them, everyone else is dirt, and with every interaction they need to prove this. Don’t bother trying to penetrate their callousness or expect them to show you regard of any kind especially love – they are not capable of it. Would you show sympathy toward a squashed ant? That’s how the narcissist views you – with complete indifference. They would rather leave you to fend for yourself in a crisis than expend an ounce of energy attending to your needs.
“I don’t know what he expects of me!” Beth says to her husband. “I never have known. He wants me to throw my arms around him every time he passes an exam?” Well, I can’t do it! I cannot respond when someone says here I just did this great thing - love me.”
The narcissist’s withholding and neglectful nature is active not passive – it requires thought and the appropriate action. They deliberately go out of their way to consistently deny others attention. Think about the psychic energy required in order to make others feel like nothing so they can maintain their delusions of superiority. And, in the case of the malignant narcissist mother Beth in Ordinary People, there seems to be no lengths she would go to, to sacrifice her son in order to preserve her narcissistic self-image. And, that is the only thing she actually grieved when her son Buck died – the loss of the image of the perfect family.
When it comes to narcissists of all stripes; don’t have low expectations; have no expectations. Accept them for what they are, not what you wish them to be. They have about as much concern for you as that fly you just swatted.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

The Malignant Narcissist Mother is Callous and Selfish

Earline Fitzgerald - Million Dollar Baby
In acknowledgement of Mother’s Day, I present to you, two of the most chilling screen portrayals of malignant narcissist mothers:


Beth Jarret - Ordinary People

Here we have Earline Fitzgerald visiting her daughter Maggie who is staying in a medical rehabilitation facility after a $1 million dollar fighting match has left her a quadriplegic. Of course, Earline first visits the happiest place on earth: Disneyland. And shows up with a lawyer in tow to arrange the transfer of Maggie’s cash.
Below, we have Beth Jarrett getting a hug from her suicidal son Conrad who has recently returned home after a four month stay in a psychiatric hospital.  Beth doesn't bother to visit Conrad in the hospital at all, and instead opts for a relaxing vacation in Spain and Portugal.
Though these two women seem very different, they are not. They are both malignant narcissists whose only concern is their own selfish needs. The one thing distinguishing them - besides where they holiday while their children fight for their lives - is their social standing and social intelligence. Earline is white trash and Beth is upper-middle-class. Their difference in social class is what makes for two very different depictions of the same type of evil – malignant narcissist mothers.
Earline is not only callously indifferent to Maggie, she is also overtly abusive, and when Maggie saves up enough money to buy her a house, instead of being grateful, Earline gives Maggie hell for endangering her welfare payments and medical benefits. She also belittles her daughter’s success as a fighter, saying that everyone is laughing at her. This is what makes the scene in the hospital so heartbreaking. Maggie has done everything she could to win the love of her mother, and her mother has no more regard for her than she would a bug. But because Earline isn’t sophisticated enough to hide her selfishness and outright contempt for her daughter, she is in fact less dangerous than her upper-class counterpart Beth. And Maggie quickly sees through her greedy, scheming ways and orders her out of her life, threatening to sell her house out from under her if she ever shows her face again. 
Conrad, however, has to deal with a more subtle form of covert abuse from a gracious, image conscious mother who is finely attuned to social mores. Beth isn’t a crude redneck like Earline but a refined, social butterfly that serves homemade candy apples to the neighbourhood trick or treaters, shows-up at parties with a smile on her face and a gift for the hostess, and sends Christmas presents to a long list of friends and family. She always remembers to be considerate and do the right thing on the right occasion. However, when it comes to her son Conrad, she neither acknowledges nor considers what is best for him. The fact is, her insensitivity toward Conrad is selective: a pattern of choices she makes at every turn to disregard him which confuses and destabilizes him to the point of suicide. So, like Earline, Beth's lack of concern for Conrad as a person is utterly consistent.  It would appear then, that both these ‘mothers’ – though one more obvious than the other – actually want to destroy their child.
Both films offer a poignant look at the narcissistic mother and it is in the evidence of their malignancy that each story reaches a resolution. For example, when Frankie – Maggie’s boxing coach played by Clint Eastwood – sees how outrageously cruel and greedy her mother is, he decides to carry-out Maggie’s wish to help her die. When Calvin watches Beth’s icy and bizarre reaction to Conrad’s expression of love - a hug - he finally faces the reality that his wife isn’t capable of love and decides to end the marriage. In this regard, both films end on a positive note with both children being saved from the destructive influence of their mothers. Particularly Ordinary People, for Calvin finally sees through Beth’s false front, which has collapsed, revealing her inner emptiness, and she is abandoned precisely for that reason – being empty.
I think the film’s title: Ordinary People is significant in that it describes the ‘ordinary’ existence of a family torn apart by tragedy and the ‘ordinary’ appearance of the existence of evil - Beth.     
For those of you who have yet to see the film here is a quick synopsis written from the perspective on an adult child of a malignant narcissist mother:
Everything about the Beth character screams narcissist and I remember when I saw the film – way back in the 80s – I leaned over to my friend and whispered, “My mother is just like her but way meaner.” With wide-eyed disbelief, all my new pal could utter was, “Oh Lise!”
After the death of her ‘Golden Boy’ in a boating accident, a malignant narcissist mother tries to drive her other son to suicide so she can rid herself of the inconvenience and focus on a life with her husband.
Ordinary People is one of the few films that I know of that closely examines the role a narcissistic parent plays not only in the destruction of a child but of the family unit. Though, those who aren’t familiar with NPD may find the character of Beth absolutely baffling. The description on the back of the DVD cover describes her as ‘the inexplicably aloof mother.' Even the shrink in the film doesn’t get it. In a therapy session he tells Conrad, “Recognize her limitations and don’t blame her for not loving more than she’s able. Maybe she just can’t show the way she feels.” Ha! She shows the way she feels alright: by an absolute refusal to give Conrad any attention she is letting him know, in no uncertain terms, that he is nothing - which is the essence of narcissistic abuse.

Ordinary People is such an excellent rendition of the essence of narcissistic abuse and the subtleties of narcissism, that I’m convinced Judith Guest – who wrote the novel the film is based on – had a very close encounter with a narcissistic parent of some sort.