Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A House of Mirrors

The other problem with Narcissus is that he doesn't necessarily want to make a good impression: he wants to make a grandiose impression. You know — like Superman, "more powerful than a locomotive, faster than a speeding bullet, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound."

Superman (or Superwoman) is just generally "the greatest," as the (truly) great Mohammed Ali so hilariously spoofed the type. So, moral superiority is but one type of grandiosity the narcissist creates the illusion of. But he's also gotta be smarter than you and prettier than you and stronger than you and . . . well, you get the idea.

So, he craves many types reflected grandiosity. Remember that, in doing this, he is editing the deeply embedded impression of himself stamped on his impressionable mind at an early age by a cold and disapproving parent. The importance of self concept cannot be overstated. No one can bear a shameful self-concept. A narcissist spends his or her entire life trying to expunge it. Can't be done. The wax has hardened. The impression is indelible.

But that never stops a narcissist from hectically conducting this lifelong exercise in futility. In seeking to get from others the esteem denied him by his parent, he is trying to overturn that parent's judgment, debating the issue of his worth, trying to prove Mother wrong by the looks on all the other faces/mirrors he meets.

Nothing else matters to him but this "unresolved issue." Everyone he meets is like a flower that a bee visits. Bee investigates Flower for one purpose always and only — to assess what type of nectar, if any, can be got from it. Bee has no interest in any flower he can't exploit. Of those he can exploit, he exploits each a little differently.

To see what I mean, look at the mirrors — I mean, "faces" below. Do you like the image of YOU each is reflecting? That's right, the face doesn't matter: the expression on it does. That reflects on you. Are there any of these expressions a narcissist would like his reflection in and play for? Are there any he would dislike his reflection in?

A narcissist is someone who goes through life fixated on getting the right kinds of looks on other people's faces. A narcissist will love his reflection in the fourth mirror, because it reflects on him as being so grand he puts this fellow to shame. A narcissist will love his reflection in fourteenth mirror too, because it reflects on him as wonderful. And his reflection in the twelfth mirror will cut the legs out from under a narcissist. See how the game works?

For example, he'll exploit his boss for pleased and appreciative looks that reflect on him as the greatest employee. He'll exploit his fellow workers for other kinds of looks. He'll play mind games to get bounced-back looks that reflect on him as psychologically dominant over them. He'll train some to become his hunting hounds, wagging their tails at him for approval of how well they're serving as his ventriloquist's dummies with their baying all over the place about whomever he sicks them on. The whole time, at the same time, he'll be exploiting his minister for looks that reflect on him as the congregation's most saintly member.

The headiest nectar, the nectar of the gods, is power. Nothing makes Narcissus feel grander. What does power look like in one of his mirrors? It's the wretched look of someone begging him for mercy. Someone he's being powerful on = someone he's viciously abusing.

Narcissists and psychopaths prefer this "seeming-powerful" nectar over all other flavors. It's what your rapist, pedophile, and serial killer are playing to the mirror of the victim's face for. Yes, they love that wretched, devastated look on the victim's face. They get high on it, because it makes them inwardly thump their chest and give a Tarzan yell. For, vaunting themselves on others is pretending that they aren't weak and wretched after all — no, they are awesome instead. "See Ma?"

Awesomely sick in the head, that is, but Narcissus conveniently unknows that part. He unknows it simply by having the mental maturity of a three-year-old, at which age everyone thinks that way.

This flavor of nectar is precious, because a narcissist can't get it from many of his mirrors. For example, he usually doesn't dare vaunt himself on his boss, his minister, a V.I.P. or that cop writing him a traffic ticket. So, not all his mirrors are at risk to overt abuse.

This nectar of "seeming powerful" is so precious to him that Narcissus will go to great expense to "keep" someone just to abuse that person. Like a drug addict who will pay any price to support an expensive habit.

In seeking a mate, that's what he's after. He methodically isolates his mate from her family and the rest of the world (often partly by slandering her behind her back), burning her bridges of former employment behind her, and getting her pregnant immediately to make her utterly dependent on him. Then the honeymoon is suddenly over.

And children are readily exploitable for this nectar of the gods, too. Because it is very easy to hurt their feelings. One nasty remark can eviscerate a little child, making Narcissus feel very powerful indeed.

Whereas he'd have to work at hurting his wife that deeply.

This shows why most psychopaths and narcissists don't get to the point of committing physically violent crimes like rape, pedophilia, or serial torture and murder. They don't get to the point that such extreme physical violence is required to stimulate them anymore. For, they can feel good about themselves by inflicting horrendous pain and suffering without leaving a mark, simply through the occult violence of mental cruelty.

Because there's more than one way to use someone up and then just toss them in a dumpster along the way. Even in those physically violent crimes I mentioned, the worst part is the wanton mental cruelty, not the physical violence.

Kathleen Krajco