Those Sneaky Selfish Brats
An Article on Narcissism
You will find them in town and on the sports field, and oh the trouble they cause at home! Don’t expect their parents to help you however, because the monsters I want to warn you about today are adults brats . . .
Do you remember the girl at school who stole things, started rumours (about kids the least able to defend themselves) and always got away with it because she had the charm to convince the teachers that someone else was to blame?
We all remember kids like that, don’t we? If you ever wondered what happens to those kids if they keep getting away with it, well . . .
Meet the Narcissists
With a good education, they may end up in charge of other people’s resources and run a healthy company or nation’s finances and management into the ground. The uneducated men, however, are more likely to end up in jail. The women, once too old to seduce and exploit men any longer, end up dying alone, rejected and despised by all. They don’t win and neither does anyone else.
The first person with narcissism I knew was my sister. She hung out with kids less intelligent than herself at school, so she would look like the star. She stole their clothes and jewellery and started vicious rumours. She was so cute (whenever questioned by an adult) that she generally succeeded in blaming others for her crimes. “Why didn’t I ‘tell on her?” a psychologist friend once asked me . . . “Because I would get in trouble,” I said, “But you got into trouble anyway!” That’s when my ‘aha’ moment came. I hope one day that she will find a person strong enough to give her the parenting she needs. Someone that will see through her lies and say “No, you can’t blame anyone else any more, your game is up.”
Once they get older they get brash and blame the very people they abuse, for what they do.
Of course, I didn’t tell you I took the money out of your purse. You are so angry and defensive, as if I could have told you,” or “Like, I could have talked to you about it. You never listen to what I want.” (after they have yet again exploited you in any number of ways).
I know the whole line these brats take because my husband Steve had the narcissism bug too, but thankfully, and this is the subject of my eBook “Back from the Looking Glass”, I helped him grow up.
Steve can now spot a narcissist (or it’s close cousin a misogynist) a mile off. He calls these men babies.
You see, narcissists are not the fascinating and incurable creatures that they would have you believe they are. “I can’t help lying, it’s incurable!” It sounds just like an adult brat doesn’t it! Nice try Sam Vaknin, but I don’t buy it . . .
The world has been blessed in recent years with some excellent teachers in the areas of parenting psychology. Gordon Neufeld, Steve Biddulph, and The Super Nanny are but a few. They don’t tolerate the kind of bad behaviour that bratty children dish out. They have taught us to ask questions and find the truth in wrong doings with kids, to set boundaries and limits on behaviour with justice and without violence. In doing this, they have helped a generation of kids to grow up feeling loved, happy, secure and able to share.
Because learning to share is what it’s all about isn’t it? If we don’t learn that we need to share, consider others and take responsibility for our own mistakes when we are children, then as adults we put society, our homes and communities at great risk. The current divorce, crime and suicide rates and number of isolated, lonely and depressed people are at an all time high and the state of the world economy reflects the lack of maturity in many of our adult members of society. This immaturity is then perpetuated by high divorce rates, and the growing list of distractions from family life, further straining a families ability to parent their children to full maturity.
The Solution for Narcissism Already Exists
Fortunately, we have the frame work already in place to start changing this cycle. Our police, community services and legal systems are modeled on a parental family structure where punishment is intended to be remedial where ever possible. I have seen it’s success in remedial parenting. It is really quite simple, once a person gets a grasp of it (and the system works as it should). If someone has gotten away with lying, blaming and manipulating others to get their own way, they will continue to do the same until someone calls their game, and says, “Your lies are not going to work this time, we are on to you.” Once they see there is no way out but they are safe if they drop the game (which requires a united community effort), it is remarkable how quickly the bad behaviour can change. The community and police need to move beyond the “We can’t take sides in a family disputes” mentality. With a little education it does not take long to learn to deduce who the offender really is. The police need training in this as disputes obviously arise as to who is causing the trouble, but this should not deter their response. All criminals blame their victims [NOTE- In the real world, however, you cannot trust that the police are educated in these matters (if you need them). Do your homework on how best to approach the authorities (there are some very important points on this in our ebook ‘Back from the Looking Glass’) or you might make the situation even worse for yourself. Those sneaky selfish brats are not above lying to the police and you might end up in jail yourself!]
This is a community matter. The current status quo of telling victims to leave their abusive partners does not solve the problem and places responsibility for fixing the situation on the victim. This is just what the Narcissist wants, to shift responsibility. If the victim does leave, it means the perpetrator is then free to find another victim, if that can indeed be called freedom!
Perpetrators must be held accountable for their actions by the entire community, while being shown that if they decide to play fair, they will be treated fairly. In their hearts (and yes they do have them) this is what they long for; a parental figure that is smart enough to call their game while showing them that they are safe. A perpetrator only feels so superior because they keep getting away with fooling everyone. Feeling superior in this way is a very terrible, lonely place to be.
My husband Steve is the happiest man I know now. He had two families disintegrate, as he calls it, between the age of 8 and 14. He was also abused by a step father. He is charming and handsome and was captain of the football team but, unfortunately, he got away with lying, being irresponsible and blaming it on others for most of his life. If he didn’t have so much charm he wouldn’t have become a narcissist. But that is often how it works and that is what he became.
The bad old days of his disorder are over for us now however, and helping others save their marriages is the life work we have chosen. Having been through the domestic abuse cycle ourselves, it is impossible to ignore it around us in the community.
There were many things that helped Steve but one was his day in court. In his own words (from Back From the Looking Glass), Steve explains:
The experience of court was horrible. I realised that I had made a terrible mistake and that the law was there to punish me. The Domestic Violence (DV) Officer, from the police, explained the terms of my Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) which were that I was to obey the terms or be thrown in jail. His words were simple and matter of fact,”Prison is a tough place to survive.” That was enough for me. But I did need to be told. Kim was sad the day we went to court. I could see that she was very disappointed that our relationship had come to this, but she kept a brave face and knew she was doing the right thing. This experience I will remember forever as I cannot ever have my conviction for ‘common assault’ overturned. Society, through a magistrate, was able to make a statement to me that my behaviour was unacceptable. I had crossed a boundary that I obviously had no respect for.” S.
I was very fortunate that one of the police officers stationed near my home was well educated in domestic violence issues. He was the head of DV at our station and the closest person I have met to an angel. He was very mild mannered, but knew how to show Steve that the law was on my side and that he was on very shaky ground.
I had not fared as well with the police that I had called before I contacted the head of DV, but this man gave me invaluable advice in dealing with the police and community services more effectively.
I was not blameless in all of this. Steve certainly blamed me and I had behaved badly as well. I was very angry and very upset, but I had not been lying and I did not manipulate and deceive Steve to control more of the household resources (including money, time, love and attention) as he was doing to me. This is important to grasp, as it makes it simple to get to the bottom of who is really causing the trouble.
Perpetrators always blame their victims and convince their victims that it is the victim’s fault. This makes it difficult for the police or anyone else to help. Narcissistic PD sufferers have a lot of charm and by the time their victims call for help they are usually upset to the point where they are very lacking in charm. Consequently, it is very easy for the perpetrator to turn the situation in their favor. This is a large part of our eBook “Back From the Looking Glass”, coaching victims in what they need to know and to maintain their credibility and how to develop a support network within their community. Learning to ask for assistance and support from professionals, and earn people’s respect during the process, has been one of the most valuable life skills I have learned.
If you are dealing with narcissism in your home or community, you might consider buying our ebook before you call on the police! They can help, but you really do need to know how to approach them.
Parent the Perpetrators
Steve and my message to the world now is to ‘parent the perpetrators’. If families continue to disintegrate without being educated about the solution, the problem will continue to get worse. Abuse has ever widening cycles, including its children turning into abusers themselves. Most of the advice that I got when I needed it, was bad advice. I am glad that I didn’t leave . . . and entering marriage counselling (as I was often advised to do) with a narcissist is like swimming with a shark and asking nicely for it not to bite you. We have better advice for families – we have been there.
There are things that do work and they need to be taken on by the whole community, for now that unfortunately requires the victim finding and educating their own support network. In time, with greater understanding, community awareness and further education, together, we hope that this might change in the future.
Kim Cooper – Author of “Back from the Looking Glass” Living with the personality disorder that causes domestic and emotional abuse.