Narcissism: The root of altruism; the bastard son of Platonism; the seed of sadism (Conclusion)

“The more you bend your will to me, the more you function as a constant source of my own affirmation, and perpetually concede my right to claim you for myself and mine own ends, so that I may demand your ongoing succor, worship, adulation, and capitulation to my vacillating and fickle needs and whims; and thus, the more I can love myself.  Which is, of course, the point of it all.  Mine own adulation is the single greatest and most prestigious moral action in the entire universe.  The purpose of all that exists is to facilitate my adoration of myself.  In this sense, you are at the same time needed and wholly unnecessary to the purpose and material reality of the universe.  I am eternal, you are non-existent.  You, insofar as we choose to label you “you”, are merely an extension of me, so that I can feel through you, and claim your life-force for myself.  And yet, the contradiction which is so obvious to everyone except me is this:  without you and the succor and affirmation you are obliged and commanded by me to grant, I am faced with the crushing guilt of what I know is my infinite inadequacy.  And worse, I am made aware of the actual truth, which is not that I am spectacularly inadequate, but that I am merely an average man.  I am not particularly brilliant nor successful nor smart nor special, and even my failures are unimpressive.  And this is something that I,the narcissist, cannot endure.  Because I cannot accept average because there is no, and never has been any middle ground with me.  I am either the paragon of life gone utterly wrong, which I lived with for a time as a child, or I am God incarnate to the universe, which I became in order to kill that useless child.  And so now I am not average, you see…for this I cannot accept lest I die. I am Him and He is me when He affirms me.  And you are me when you affirm me.  And when you and He does not, then you both are void.”

This is the lie in the mind of the narcissist; it is his creed, if you will.  It is perpetually before him as the singular philosophy which defines his every living moment.  The inherent contradictions are brushed off as either irrelevant or the narcissist considers it his divine right to define and/or re-define reality in service to his “perfection”.  The never-ending violations of logic are like the climaxes of a serial rapist, feeding his false sense of intellectual and even physical superiority.  For he truly believes that he is able to see things others cannot see, to know things others cannot know, to do things others cannot do.  His presumed ability to redefine reality at will so that it bends to his emotional and psychological needs does not tell him that he should seek professional help, or that his understanding is skewed, for it is impossible for him to concede that he could ever make an irrelevant or irrational statement, or believe a contradictory belief.  So, rather than prove his need for psychiatric treatment and remediation from his destructive lifestyle, the narcissist’s irreconcilable “logic”, on the contrary, is abject evidence that no mere mortal understands the depths and complexity of his psyche (when the reality is that the narcissist is about as uncomplicated a personality as exists…all narcissists, though they think they are so unique, think the same, and their thinking is not particularly deep).  The narcissist is the lone genius in a sea of imbeciles who pretend to understand him, to counsel him, and yet he knows that they cannot possibly apprehend his mind and emotions.  When he is happy, you cannot fathom the degree of happiness, for it so transcends your pitiful emotions.  And when he is in despair, his suffering has no equal in the world, and the circumstances surrounding his anguish are of course positively epic in scope…you could never understand the weight of the responsibility he shoulders; the burdens his poor soul must endure.  You simply don’t understand, and never will, so don’t try.

Your purpose is never to criticize or offer counsel, suggestion, or advice…for this is a rank insult to his superior status.  And never, ever hint at his own culpability in the matter, for to do so will invite an onslaught vitriol and invective.  The only thing you can possibly offer him is a shoulder to cry on; to be the one who affirms his greatness and tells him that all men of infinite moral worth and intellectual perfection must frequently endure the torches of the commoners –those empty-headed automatons who run in pointless circles, only shells of life.   You must reassure him that his plight is merely proof that he is far above the rest; that his Tower of Babel he has been successfully built, and its greatness is such that not even God can  bring it down.  Reassure him that his victory in the face of such Herculean odds is inevitable; that he has proven time and time again the superiority of his intellectual and psychological fortitude and his physical stamina, of which no mortal words can adequately describe.  Tell him without reservation that he is the personification of stalwart resilience.  He is invincible, everyone else temporal, expendable, and doomed to eternal failure and to the curse of the fires of hell.  After a while he will come out of his funk, brimming with narcissistic supply, and able to see once again that all the universe rises and falls by his will and purpose.

Well…he will come out of his funk for a time, anyway, until his narcissistic supply runs shallow, which it always inevitably does, as reality has a cruel way of inexorably intruding upon the narcissistic fantasy…and then the cycle will begin again.

*

You think I am exaggerating?  Really? Then I submit you have never met a true narcissist.  Your incredulity is irrelevant…and I mean that not as an insult, but only as a matter of fact.  Not only is this not an exaggeration, I have likely not done justice to his perceptions of himself.  The level of self-deception and false hubris is likely beyond what one who is not a narcissist can adequately explain.  Truly, these are sick people, and that is the primary thing you need to know.

And they have their own theology, in the form of neo-Calvinism and the resurgence of Reformation ideals.

And they are quite probably right now running your church.

Are you afraid?

You should be.

*

The narcissist will regale you with long and ostentatious tales of his unconditional love; of the free gift of his grace and doting heart; of his immaculate and infinitely sacrificial charity…

…and then he will proceed to innumerate, without skipping a beat, your countless moral deficiencies which constantly foil and restrain his “free” grace and his “unconditional” love.  In short, you soon find out that with the narcissist, every day is opposite day.  “Unconditional” means absolutely conditional in every way imaginable.  “Free” means absolutely at severe cost to you.  If you want to partake of his divine and corpulent dispensations, you must pony up the narcissistic supply.  Your claim to your self-ownership is the single greatest condition which prevents the narcissist from bestowing upon you anything at all, even the mere recognition of your existence.  You are either a source or potential source of narcissistic supply, or you are void.  Irrelevant. Non-existent.  Disregarded.  Out of sight and out of mind.

The narcissist will never hesitate to contradict himself to your face in service to his full-on farce of existential superiority…for what does he have to fear?  Again, need I remind you that your existence is so immaterial that it isn’t even truly recognized.  Whatever contradictions you may point out to him are dismissed or savaged as yet another condition of yours which presents a stumbling block to his “unconditional” love.  His “free” and “unfetter” desire to show you his perfect grace is fettered by your faults, of which he is, of course, categorically allowed (hypocritically) to point out.  And your stubborn insistence on your existence is the biggest motherfucker of all your “conditions”.

Let do that again.

Your existence is the insufferable condition which will automatically exclude you from the grace and love of the narcissist.  The narcissist, in so many words, will explain that it is, at the root, your very being which is the primary problem…why you can’t understand him, why you can’t possibly commune with him, why you must be punished.  For your own good, he will hypocritically and contradictorily explain.  He will deflect the accusations (either from you or from the small, thin voice of his “true self” which is little more than a dried up husk of the actual human being he used to be) of his own hypocrisy by arguing that the reason his unconditional love may appear hypocritical is because you persist in the lie that you are actually YOU…that you even exist to have an opinion concerning him or anything else at all.  You, not him, are the hypocrite who makes your own existence the condition which then must preclude an unconditional love.  Your refusal to renounce your individual, autonomous SELF is why instead of unconditional love he is forced to heap upon you hate and violence and endless criticism. The sin of your existence has created a condition in you which is the root of all your pain (of which you are of course wholly culpable for, somehow).  And the condition is defined thus:  that you insist (rightly) that you must be YOU in order to receive love, grace, adoration, revelation, and reconciliation, which, of course, renders the unconditional love a categorical contradiction in you.  Your very existence is the condition which precludes the unconditional love.  This is otherwise known, in certain peculiar theologies, as “total depravity”.

For you neo-Calvinist survivors…is any of this sounding more and more familiar?  Of course it is.  Narcissism is narcissism is narcissism.  Wherever it is found, in whatever form, the template is always the same.  You exist to serve someone else, or you do not exist.  In other words, you don’t exist…you are merely an extension of those who claim to rule over you by divine mandate.

By demanding that “unconditional” love require an object in YOU that it may be defined and known as love, you have contradicted the narcissist’s root assumption:  that he alone is actually aware of SELF.  By insisting that YOU are a prerequisite to any relationship involving something specifically directed at YOU–that YOU must come first in any equation involving the transference of value between YOU and someone/something else–automatically proves that you cannot possibly be elect.  As in Calvinism, the entire problem narcissists have with people is that they always want to BE people, individually, and self aware.  That is the sin of them totally defined.  And that is what the narcissist despises, because it demands that the entire philosophy is one of relationship, not of rule.  And the narcissist, like the Calvinist, insists that the only real existence is one in which you have no actual volition of your own.

You see, in a relationship, moral worth is equal.  In rule, right is claimed by special, unknowable, divine mandate, which always ends up “verified” to the masses through their wholesale slaughter and oppression.  And human value is replaced by divine right to either own or destroy the opposition.  For indeed, the right to destroy the premise of humanity’s own existence is the narcissist’s idea of a perfect world.  He rules you, period.  Full stop.

It is this claim–that of your autonomous self–which enrages the narcissist like nothing else can.  He does not tolerate the presence of any other volitional agent, not even God.  Your claim to self-being and self-ownership invites his wrath like a line of cocaine invites a drug addict to snort.  Because what it says to the narcissist is that he is obligated to consider you in the relationship, and thus may not then reserve all his unconditional love for himself.  By claiming your own SELF–and even worse, the moral and existential equality of your own SELF–you deny him his “rightful” place at the center of the universe.  Interaction cannot be wholly self-serving.  He must share his charity and affection with you…and this notion utterly contradicts and distorts the narcissist’s twisted definition of love.  You see, to the narcissist, unconditional love means love which is completely self-directed.  Since your existence presents a condition which denies his definition of “unconditional”, he rejects your claim to SELF entirely.  He will see you dead or destroyed…or, more likely, will abandon you, before he cedes one inch of love to you.  The only love is the love reserved for him.  If it is not directed solely inward, it is not love, by definition.  It is a lie, a farce, and a sin.  He is the only one who does not present a condition which precludes unconditional love.  Because he is the source of all love (and everything else), due to the fact that he alone is morally perfect, he alone gets to say what is done with it.  And since no one else can receive it because no one else exists–and those who “do” deny the unconditional love by the condition of their existence–all the love must go to him.  

(As an aside, those of you with narcissistic parents might have noticed how they abandoned you emotionally and psychologically as soon as you attained a modicum of self-sufficiency and self-acknowledgement.  Oftentimes, narcissistic parents are less likely to be violent with their children (though they certainly can be) and will instead resort to savage emotional abuse and the “silent treatment” as punishment for perceived slights to their perfection.  The most egregious slight being, again, any claim to your self-ownership/existence.)

A person with clinical Narcissistic Personality Disorder is, unfortunately, beyond hope and beyond help.  The human being who once embodied the vacuous shell which is now seen has been emaciated and destroyed by a long, tortured death inside the narcissist’s psychological iron maiden.  The vacuous shell is merely a semblance of a human being; a robot, charged and rebooted by the souls of others which program love into him so that he can “feel”.  Nothing is real to the narcissist.  Everything is a contradiction, a lie, a masquerade.  The love he feels for himself isn’t love at all.  It is hate.  The love he feels for others isn’t love at all.  It is rage.  The things he concedes about himself are the stuff fantasy movies are made of.  Reality brings the realization of his average status, and his wholly inadequate ability to live up to the illusion he has created.  Thus, reality is death, and he avoids it like the plague.

If this series on narcissism reads like a Calvinist theological catechism, do not be surprised.  You have judged correctly.  For Calvinism, like narcissism is merely another bastard son of Plato.  The Primary consciousness is the narcissist’s shell, rather than the Pastor/Priest-in-the-stead, but the functional assumptions are precisely the same, as are the outcomes.  Nothing beyond the cult of personality is real.  All either sacrifices itself to the “authority” of the vessels of the “revelation”, or it is sacrificed to the vessels by divine mandate.

Existence is sin.  SELF precludes love.  You do not get to be you.

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7 thoughts on “Narcissism: The root of altruism; the bastard son of Platonism; the seed of sadism (Conclusion)

  1. Is this like another way of saying that “by faith and not of works lest any man should boast” is backwards? People always boast on faith not works, lest anyone should prove them to be liars. You can prove what people do, not what they believe.

  2. Argo, Been traveling in the mountains with very little wifi but reading your narcissism posts on my phone and yelling: YES!!!

    I have been studying narcissism/sociopathy for a few years now. Perhaps because I was trying to figure out what was going on in the mega church world that made NO SENSE from a “Jesus” perspective.

    But what is interesting is not just the narcissist….as evil is banal after a while as Hannah Arendt pointed out….but the people who are sucked in by a narcissist. They are NOT stupid concerning who they target. Most often people who are fair and want to cooperate with others are targeted. They are easier to manipulate because of their morals/ethics. In other words, decent people are usually targeted because they are easy to manipulate as they will question themselves before they question others. Funny how that works.

    Now the pastor narcissists are usually isolated from too much contact with the pew sitter so they can play the stage persona game for a long time. And if you study those closely aligned with them on staff, you most often see people who are beholden to them financially. But you have to be able to get up close to even see that much. They hitched their star and even when they see through the façade they are stuck.

    Narcissists best represent evil. And that is because their game is deception. They don’t show up with a cup of poison and horns. They show up as personable, empathetic people who suck you in. they are ever so nice. They learn this by watching others. It is total fake but usually too late by the time you figure it out.

  3. One more thing, I have spent the last 8 years or so engaging Neo Calvinists….mostly the young ones. And one cannot help but see a pattern of innate narcissism taught as doctrine. Their entire argument is based upon: You don’t understand it or you would be one.

    I have never in my life seen such indoctrinated non thinking. The entire doctrine is a form of manipulation of others.

  4. David,
    I see what you are saying. It is a bit like that. Don’t judge me by what I do because you CAN’T understand, and will never understand, my reasons for doing them. In other words, you are right…works are meaningless. Either you have been granted the gnosis or you have not. And I can assure you the narcissist thinks that HE is the only one who has divine revelation. There is no distinction between himself and God.

    And this is Reformed theology to a T (tee?…I don’t really get that phrase, but whatev).

  5. I am a survivor of a calvinist takeover in my church, and a husband who has became a narcissist. This has been a slow fade for about 10 years. He started attending a mens bible study which was teaching biblical manhood. He was taught that men were the head of the house, and their job was to make the wife and children submit. Even if the wife protests, she really does not mean it because she desires and want to have someone rule over her. Of course, this was packaged with a beautiful bow. It made the men think that having a family was like being the CEO of a company. The family did not have feelings or opinions, but they were to be managed like a company. I would try to express my feeling, hurts etc., and he would justify his behavior, twist and turn his words, lie, tell half truths, and finally say that I am unforgiving which means that I am the one with the problem. I would go away, pray, read my bible, cry out to God to change me and help me forgive him. I have even asked him to pray for me that I would be able to forgive him. The whole time he was guilty of the accused action , but he would never never never admit it. He let me suffer for years. How could someone say that they love you when they are willing and causing your suffering. I began to think I was crazy. I lost myself. I became depressed and gained a lot of weight. I was involved in a church that had a calvinist pastor who lied when he was hired. He knew the church he was going into was not reformed. The church ended up splitting, we left, but the abuse continues on. My job (according to this theology) was to never talk bad about him to anyone and to make him look good. I did my part, but I have recently found out that he threw me under the bus to my kids. He turned them against me by using brainwashing and subtle hints to accomplish this. If he wanted them to clean their rooms, he would not just tell them he would say, “Your mom is so tired, and you should not make her do all this work blah blah blah.” My kids were convinced that I was complaining to him, but I never did. He is a coward. This theology tears people and homes apart. They may look beautiful on the outside but the victims are just shells because the narcissist has snuffed out every bit of life from the family.

  6. Survivor,

    Welcome to the blog, and thank you for sharing. I know how hard it is to talk about these things and how difficult it can be to put into words. I think you will find a lot of understanding voices on this blog; almost all of us have, like you, witnessed first hand the destruction Calvinism can wreak upon a church, and not the least of the fallout is the destruction of the individual family, as you well describe. I am terribly sorry for what has happened to you. But know this: you are not alone. Many of us have had our families and our psyche’s wrecked by this evil philosophy, and for as many as it spits out and destroys, that many are able to rise from its ashes. Of this I am convinced. But understand that by simply questioning the lies; by seeing, though perhaps not altogether articulating, the contradictions and observing the massive discrepancies between what is taught and what is observed, you already know more than those who abuse you. You already are beginning your journey to recovery. Don’t stop. Don’t give up. And never forget that what you are rejecting, having witnessed its very real destruction and felt its very real pain, has nothing to do with the Christ they pretend to promote. It is a lie. It is unworkable. It is death worship. NEVER forget this. No matter how packaged and organized and washed the philosophy may be presented, it is no angel of light. It is an evil which rejects both God and man, and those who demand you concede its rule over you have NO interest in YOUR life. You exist to be exploited and consumed for THEIR good pleasure, nothing more. And even if they themselves are too intellectually lazy or vacant to apprehend the depths of its evil, you are not.

    You are on the right track. Just never forget that YOU are good and YOU are SUPPOSED to exist as YOU, and that YOU and the pursuit of YOUR own life are necessary to truth, reason, and reality. YOU have nothing to be ashamed of. YOUR reflection in the mirror is God’s perfect will for you. Pursue that, and LIFE shall be your reward.

    If you don’t mind, I would like to share your comment as a post. I would love to get some of my regular commenters opinions on what you shared. I think it would be both enlightening, helpful, informative, and comforting. So I am going to do that…I would wait for a response from you, but I know I have been derelict in getting back to you (but know I did not forget your comment), and I’m not sure you are still reading here. I will not use your online pseudonym nor, of course, your name or email. I will keep the new post anonymous.

    Blessings to you,

    Argo

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