Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Darkness Within

And so, like three-year-olds, narcissists think that putting others beneath them aggrandizes themselves. They do this exactly like three-years-olds do, with extravagant acting jobs, as if pretending it's so makes it so. They must have all the toys: you can't have any. They pout. They fold their arms, stamp their feet, and stick their noses imperiously way up in the air.

To show that they're better than you, they must treat you like dirt and like you're beneath their notice, denying you regard, sympathy, affection, praise, and all other forms of positive attention.

Often people get side-tracked in the details of narcissistic behavior and fail to grasp the overall significance of it. What is the significance?

Well, if you think you must have all attention — all regard, credit, appreciation, respect, sympathy, gratitude, and so forth — you think others must get none. Which means that you compete with others over every scrap of attention in the room, because you want it all = you want keep others from getting any of these good things they need and deserve, the things that make people feel good about themselves. Get a whiff of something in that?

Anyone with a nose knows the nature of a spirit hostile to others getting what makes people feel good about themselves.

Let's just say it isn't the spirit of goodwill. No, let's be forthright and call it what it is, malevolence. That's the very essence of malevolence.

And, in an adult, who has much power to act on it plus the ability to brood, malevolence is a serious matter. It's the worst character flaw a person could have.

Many convicted criminals are better. For example, some steal to pay a bill. There's no malice in that. Even violent crimes can be void of malice. As when a frightened robber kills someone who tries to fight him off. Or as when someone commits murder in anger for revenge. He is no threat to anyone else because he isn't even tempted to hurt anyone else, and he doesn't go around wishing to see harm or privation befall anyone else. So, bad as these actions are, they're morally superior to those of a narcissist or psychopath.

It just ain't natural to have ill will toward people who aren't harming you, have never harmed you, and have never threatened to harm you. It just ain't natural to be made unhappy by good things happening to others. It just ain't natural to want to deprive people of things they need to be happy.

And pure malice's choice of victim thunders its warning about these people. It just ain't natural to want to hurt children, people who love you, strangers, and the innocent. That's hostility to the rest of the human race.

It's malignant. And it's spooky

Imagine if you were like that inside. We all know the bitterness of being robbed or cheated. Imagine feeling that way whenever you see anyone else praised — feeling deprived of this praise as though YOU should have gotten it instead. Imagine feeling bitter about other people's success, popularity, or good fortune. Imagine feeling gratified by others' disgrace or failure. Could you stand yourself if you were that sick inside?

I could be wrong about this, but a narcissist I knew convinced me that the thing a narcissist fears most is a knowing look. The knowing look of someone looking right in through their eyes to see the malignance lurking inside. I think it puts them into a panic.

After all, it's their Big Secret, isn't it? Narcissists spend every waking moment concealing it with an elaborate facade. And who wouldn't? Could you stand yourself if you were that sick inside?

I sure couldn't! If there was ever a good reason to kill yourself, that would be it. That must be why Narcissus can't bear to look within and know his true self.

He must be as horrified as anyone would be at the thought of confronting such darkness within. Malignance within that wants to keep people from getting what makes them happy. That's the Big Chill, man — you know, like the Devil. No one, not even Narcissus, can bear the thought of having a malignant nature.

He doesn't dare face that about himself. For, if he ever did, as one narcissist put it to me, he'd have to kill himself "without even leaving a note."

What's more, the narcissist's false image but veils — it does not erase — the truth about him. The truth still lies underneath in the subconscious, threatening to surface to consciousness in a moment of self-awareness if the veil falls.

So he must avoid those occasions when we normally reflect, looking inward, to commune with ourselves. In other words, he must avoid being alone with himself.

Indeed, he lives an inner life of nervous desperation in terror of being alone with himself. Every waking moment is a hectic endeavor to continuously busy his mind with distractions (which may include an inordinate amount of sleep) and busy himself in trivial pursuits. I have a hunch that a study of narcissists would reveal a high rate of unexplained extreme hypertension and heart failure.

Kathleen Krajco