Sanctuary for the Abused
Friday, December 28, 2012
Are Narcissists Typically Hung Up on "Bad" and "Good?"
Somebody asked me whether narcissists are "hung up on bad and good," judging everything all the time. It's an intriguing question.
They are extremely judgmental people. I'm sure that's because judging others is THE act of playing God. For, what is a God but a judge of people's worth? He keeps (saves/preserves) those he deems worth keeping and trashes (fires/damns) those he deems not worth keeping. That's what he's there for -- to judge everybody. He judges his creatures like a writer judges hers, deleting any that aren't just right. In fact, in the ancient language of the Old Testament, there's but one word for "god" and "judge" and "king" and "master."
So, it's easy to see why narcissists are so judgmental.
They are judgmental of themselves too. I knew one who would get thoroughly disgusted with himself if he stumbled or made a mistake in front of you. He'd refer to himself with utter contempt in chastising himself for the least little thing -- as if him making a little mistake was a big deal.
Well, I guess God Almighty making an error is a big deal. But for us mere mortals it's not.
This man had to be perfect -- at least when anyone was looking.
I have noticed this morality hang-up in a narcissist I knew very well. She would keep asking me what the "moral" thing to do in this or that matter.
It was strange, and I didn't know what to make of it. Not that it's strange to ever be asked this question by a friend in a real moral dilemma, but when she asked it, it was always a stupid question. I thought she was pimping me -- though I was baffled at why she would do that -- because I just could not believe a grown woman could be so devoid of moral sense that she had to ask such stupid questions.
Often, I'd just reply, "Well, do whatever you want," because it was that kind of matter -- the type where whatever you want to do is fine, because you should have your choice. If you don't want to go to the play, don't go to the play. Who needs to be told that? Who asks what's the moral thing to do about stuff like that?
All she cared about was appearances -- what it would look like to people if she did this or that. Of course, we're all motivated by this to some extent, but she is motivated by it to a bizarre extent. To the point that she views stuff like this as a moral issue. Hence, she makes a moral issue out of things that aren't even remotely a moral issue.
She seemed to view morality as nothing but an impression you want to make on others. Which makes sense, I guess. Everything a narcissist does is for effect. Nothing has any objective reality to them: it's all smoke and mirrors. Imagination. Pretend. They don't even haves selves: they have images instead. They IDENTIFY with this phastasm.
That is such a profound mental virus that it must cross up their thinking on many things. For, to them everything is all about nothing but appearances. Seeming. Looking good.
She should have just asked me what would make her look better, more grand and noble.
So, I think this woman had morality confused with making a good impression on other people. Unfortunately, doing the moral thing often gets you condemned = makes you look bad. No wonder I've never seen a narcissist with the moral courage to ever do that. If they see an opportunity to do something shitty to someone and get called a "good person" for it, look out.
Another thing I've noticed is that everybody's all bad or all good in their eyes. And -- boom -- someone can go from all good to all bad, or vice versa, overnight. For no discernable reason.
In that, again, they are just like little children = they are as mentally immature as little children. We've all seen little children hit a toy and say something like, "Bad toy, bad toy!" (like "Bad dog, bad dog!") for disappointing them in some way.
Narcissists seem to have never developed a more mature idea about what "bad" and "good" mean.
To a baby, Mamma's all good when she's there and all bad when she's not = all good when he's basking in the glow of her mirroring eyes smiling on him and all bad when she's depriving him of that joy she exists to shower upon him.
Narcissists never outgrow that.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
If He/ She REALLY Wants to Change
1. He cannot change unless he deals deeply with his entitled and superior attitudes. No superficial changes that he may make offer any real hope for the future.
2. It makes no difference how NICE he is being to you, since almost all abusers have nice periods. What matters is how RESPECTFUL and NONCOERCIVE he chooses to become.
Holding on to these fundamental points, you can use the following guide to help you identify changes that show promise of being genuine. We are looking for "yes" answers to these questions.
Has he learned to treat your opinions with respect, even when they differ strongly from his?
Is he accepting your right to express anger to him, especially when it involves his history of mistreating you?
Is he respecting your right to freedom and independence? Does that include refraining from all interference with your friendships and giving up the demand to always know where you are and whom you are with?
Has he stopped making excuses for his behavior, including not using your behavior as an excuse fo his?
Is he being respectful about sex, applying no pressure and engaging in no guilt trips?
Has he stopped cheating or flirting with other women, or using other behaviors that keep you anxious that he will stray?
Does he listen to your side in arguments without interupting, and then make a serious effort to respond thoughfully to your points, even if he doesn't like them?
Have you been free to raise your grievances, new or old, without retaliation from him?
Has he stopped talking about his abuse as if it were an accident and begun to acknowledge the he used it to control you?
Is he actually responding to your grievances and doing something about them (for example, changing the way he behaves toward your children)?
Has he greatly reduced or eliminated his use of controlling behaviors (such as sarcasm, rolling his eyes, loud disgusted sighs, talking over you, using the voice of ultimate authority, and other demostrations of disrespect or superiority) during conversations and arguments?
When he does slip back into controlling behavior, does he take you seriously when you complain about it and keep working on improving?
Is he being consistent and responsible in his behavior, taking into account how his actions affect you without having to be constantly reminded?
Is he acting noticeably less demanding, selfish, and self-centered?
Is he being fair and responsible about money, including allowing you to keep you own assets in your own name?
Has he stopped any behaviors that you find threatening or intimidating?
Has he significantly expanded his contribution to household and child-rearing responsibilities and stopped taking your domestic work for granted or treating you like a servant?
Has he begun supporting your strengths rather than striving to undermine them?
Have you had any major angry argument with him in which he has shown signs fo a new willingness to conduct himself nonabusively?
Clear Signs of An Abuser Who ISN'T Changing
*He says he can only change if you change too.
*He says he can only change if you "help" him change, by giving him emotional support, reassurance and forgiveness, and by spending a lot of time with him. This often means that he wants your to abandon any plans you had to take a break from seeing him.
*He criticizes you for not realizing how much he has changed.
*He criticizes you for not trusting that his change will last.
*He criticizes you for considering him capable of behaving abusively even though he in fact had done so in the past (or has threatened to) as if you should know that he "would never do something like that", even though he has.
*He reminds you about the bad things he would have done in the past but isn't doing anymore, which amounts to a subtle threat.
*He tells you that you are taking too long to make up your mind, that he can't "wait forever", as a way to pressure you not to take the time you need to collect yourself and to assess how much he's really willing to change.
*He says, "I'm changing, I'm changing," but you don't feel it.
Be Straight with Yourself
To use good judgement and make wise decisions about the prospect of change in your abusive partner, you need to be honest WITH YOURSELF. Because you love him, or you have children with him, or leaving would be difficult for other reasons, you may be sorely tempted to get overly hopeful about small concessions that he finally makes.
If he doesn't budge for five years, or twenty years, and then he finally moves an inch, your ehaustion can make you think, Hey! An inch! That's progress! You may wish to overlook all the glaring signs indicating that his basic attitudes and strategies remain intact. Beware of his deception and your own self-deception.
I have heard such heart-rending sadness in the voices of many dozens of abused women who have said to me, "I wish I could somehow recover all those years I wasted waiting around for him to deal with his issues." Save yourself that sadness if you can, by insisting on nothing less than complete respect.
The previous was excerpted from the book "Why Does He Do That" by Lundy Bancroft, pgs 346-351
(Bancroft wrote this in the male gender. Your abuser may well be female.)