by Richard Boyd, Body Mind Psychotherapist, Energetics Institute, Perth, West Australia
The topic of Narcissism is gaining wide circulation in society. Examples of narcissistic excess in our societal leaders, sports stars and society figures is increasing if the number of media reports is anything to go by. Any number of authors, commentators and books are now observing, recording and documenting the destructive advent of narcissistic lifestyles and narcissism in men and women today.
Narcissism essentially involves the affected person creating a false self which is rooted in superficial, materialistic images, and which has a distorted and unearned sense of entitlement and grandiosity. Life is all about the Narcissist, and while they learn to "feign" or act emotions, they are essentially cut-off from their own authentic feelings, and so are unable or unwilling to moderate their selfish behaviours based on emotional cues and feelings from themself and others. They seek to dominate and control others as a primary way of navigating life.
The narcissistic trend in society is certainly not a healthy one and if it continues as the evolutionary path of man then I am pessimistic for the state of our future. Whilst history has always had its share of narcissistic leaders and individuals, never before have we confronted this emotional plague on such a scale within a global reach society. Narcissism appears to now be jumping natural cultural "firewalls" where the old societal values once precluded narcissistic traits becoming normalised and established en masse as healthy or an esteemed value of some sort within itself.
Some writers such as Wilhelm Reich (1976) and Christopher Lasch (1984) see such forces as Fascism and Nazism as being at least one historical root of a culture of rigid perfectionistic superiority that partly defines the Narcissistic view of life. Other writers such as Andrew Harvey (2009) and Scott Peck (1984) see the advent of the New Age spiritual movement as being a Narcissistic philosophy masked in self absorbed spiritualism.
Mankind has always historically dabbled in prophecy. Every culture has had its prophets and its tools of prophecy, whether they were based on the reading of the entrails of slaughtered animals, seers who read astrological charts and astronomical signs from the heavens, fortune tellers who read lines in hands, tea leaves, and significant birth numbers, etc.
Some of these prophets relied on divine or supernatural forces by which they channelled the future. Nostradamus for instance used a tripod which held a container in which was filled with some liquid. He gazed intently until images appeared and he wrote down cryptic quatrains or verses of 4 sentences to describe the event he had seen. Still others such as Buddhist Tulkus were channellers who allowed spirits to enter their bodies and warn of events or make prophecy.
The biblical times were full of prophets, spiritualists, and all sorts of diviners and seekers of hidden knowledge and future events. The Old and New Testaments, plus archaeological evidence of the Middle East, reveal a rich history of prophecy and divination in all the key cultures of the bible lands. The problem has always been that much of what was foretold was plainly untrue, whilst a lot of the remaining pronouncements are often veiled and symbolised by their writers who feared persecution or whom wanted to keep their revelations cryptic apart from an "inner circle" of devotees. Nostradamus suffers from this confusion. His writings were not only made cryptic and symbolic so as to prevent persecution by the church as a heretic or "from the devil" by the feared Inquisitions of the day, but the various chronological order of his works known as the "Centuries" were mixed up and placed out of order so as to further confuse any accusers.
Every year there appears a new book about Nostradamus prophecies and invariably each author interprets the known quatrains in some new way, contradicting other author's interpretations. Interpretation of such cryptic and symbolised language renders much of his quatrains tantalisingly open to various interpretations and often what happens is that recent events are "reverse engineered" to fit into the symbols and context of a not yet decoded quatrain. This renders their authenticity and merit degraded and open to challenge and criticism. We will never know what these quatrains really were representing unless new information or a new version turns up with plain language and intact chronological ordering.
There is a lot written in the bible about future prophecy both from Old Testament and New Testament sources. The bible also has a historical and cultural context that needs interpretation with its writings, but that interpretive process is quite advanced and pursued today. Much "future time" biblical prophecy is found in the Old Testament writings of Daniel, and in the New Testament writings in the Book of Revelations, which seems set aside for documenting a symbolised and interpretive account of future times and events. Again these writings are the subject of numerous interpretations which makes direct observation at times difficult.
Interestingly I accidently came across how the Bible also contains a direct New Testament quote that is striking in its detail in as much as it alludes 2000 years ago to a coming "End of Days" age where Narcissism is rife in society. I am no expert or zealot on Biblical prophecy or partake of the Apocalyptic movement within Catholic and other circles that often write about dramatic "end of time" signs, warnings and events. I simply note here and expand on a clear verse about what is clearly the narcissistic personality or individual for which I find fascinating given the verse was written almost 2000 years ago.
The biblical quote is from the New Testament and from the Apostle Paul in his second letter to Timothy, Chapter 3, verses 1 to 7. Paul was writing about the "Laodicea era" of the Church or church time, which is recognised as the seventh and last great age of the Church before a prophesised second coming of Christ. This is the age of the "Lukewarm church" where the faith has waned and the church is rendered a pale imitation of its original form. The traditional text reads as follows:
"But know this, that in the last days grievous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, railers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, implacable, slanderers, without control, fierce, no lovers of good, traitors, headstrong, puffed up, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding a form of godliness, but having denied the power thereof. Have nothing to do with them. They are a kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires."
The uncanny accuracy of this set of verses is that it almost matches completely some of the various versions of definition of narcissism that now exist in psychological writings. In my companion article Narcissism – Living without Feelings, I note some of the key theories concerning Narcissism, and have compiled a 20 point set of characteristics that depict a narcissistic personality as summarised across the various writings on Narcissism by other authors.
Using this article as a reference, and drawing on additional material gathered since that publication, I shall show this biblical prophecy cannot be otherwise interpreted except as alluding to Narcissism. The verse is quite blunt and unambiguous which is of great assistance to interpretation.
Analysis will be undertaken by breaking down the quote into each key point and giving commentary on what was being alluded to here by the apostle Paul. The commentary shall draw on current research and writings about Narcissism by a host of authors as well as additional commentary and opinion by myself.
"But know this, that in the last days grievous times shall come"
This sentence gives context to the prophecy that then follows. Surprisingly the prophecy comes not from The Book of Revelations where much of the biblical futuristic prophecies are held. This prophecy was contained in a letter written by Paul, who was one of Jesus of Nazareth's 4 key men on earth after Jesus was no longer on the earth himself in the flesh.
Apparently as there developed a number of Christian spiritual communities throughout Asia and the Mediterranean regions the key apostles wrote to them letters of guidance and support. This letter is one of these. Historically several of the key apostles ended up incarcerated and persecuted by the Romans for their beliefs, and so letter writing from imprisonment was one way they could keep preaching and building spiritual communities.
The sentence advises that the words which are to follow are in the context of the prophesised "End of Days" or "Last Days" which was widely preached about at the time of Christ in the Bible. Indeed there have been numerous predictions by all sorts of persons, sects and followings about the "End of Days" occurring, ever since Christ was crucified. Early writings show that even 50 years after his death there were people predicting the "End of Days" had come.
Well we are all still here and so as prophecy the words that follow are still relevant inasmuch as they relate either to our present or future time if one has a spiritual faith and path that believes in prophecy. From a psychological point of view the prophecy has merit as it uncannily depicts quite accurately the understood key and secondary traits of what we now call the personality type or disorder of Narcissism.
"For men shall be lovers of self"
This statement underlines the essential nature of the Narcissist who is in total self absorption and vain self love. In a narcissist's world, it's all about them, as Narcissists are in total love with themself just as the original myth of Narcissus portrays. Narcissistic personalities think they are the best, the most beautiful and have a sense of arrogance and swagger that comes from being self-absorbed and in love with who they are.
Having a sense of self-love is healthy and necessary in life but this narcissistic form of self-love is not healthy. Studies have repeatedly shown that Narcissists possess no real self-love or feelings such as empathy. They feign or act empathic, while they delude themself that they are entitled to special treatment, and to not having to bother with detail or drudgery (Babiak:2006). Narcissists are also full of self-hatred and self-loathing but have disowned it and are not in contact with such feelings and consciousness(Lowen:2004).
Narcissists portray their sense of self-love via image and association with the best things in life. As they lack good self-esteem they instead compensate via externalising and having "other-esteem" or the association with and gathering of objects of value and prestige as a way of covering up for their felt sense of emptiness. In their love of themself they tend to act like kings or queens and so position themselves at the top of any endeavour as they feel this is their entitlement.
They need others to love them and constantly prove and remind them how good they are, as they have a psychic black hole that no amount of praise or appreciation can ever fill. These narcissists often gather a following of helpers or "sidekicks" to manipulate into worshipping and doing any effort based work for them. This then frees them up so they can spend their time managing their "image", being a "visionary", being "strategic", establishing key "contacts", that they argue only they are able to successfully do(Lewi-Martinez:2008).
Narcissists are also obsessed with superficial appearance and groom themselves into perfectionistic appearances that support the image they project to others as being desirous, successful, the best, and powerful. Self-love for the narcissist is superficial, materialistic, physical and shallow.
Likewise they love to talk endlessly about themselves and have a grandiose and exaggerated sense of achievements or skills or talents, and expects to be recognised as superior even when having no demonstrated record in this area. They need to convince you that they are special and the best in their field. There is no effective "walk your talk" as they often lack values, and speak from superficial images and "spin" in the moment which reinforces their grandiose image.
They talk about themselves constantly but are indifferent to getting to know you as all you serve to them is an audience with which they can puff themselves up and get worshipped and complimented. They expect you to love them as much as they love themself and are offended when you cannot see their perfection and excellence.
They often posture and pose either in obvious in-your-face gestures or via subtlety. They may socially project an image of power and push their grandiosity through a subtle detached pose where they "drop" information that garners admiration and acclaim, but also with a controlling detached air that is designed to induce inferiority and envy in the listeners, thus reinforcing the grandiosity of the narcissist.
Narcissists CV's are often stories of self-love and grandiose and glorious self-worship. In organisations one may find their CV's are overstated and full of every possible minor achievement which represents their grandiosity. Quite often their CV is also a fabrication as they lie routinely and rely on the statistic that only 20% of companies ever check out the claims made in senior appointment CV's.
The self-love focus relates to their focus on perfectionism, image creation, success, wealth and power. They May use plastic surgery, augmentation, gym, salons, day spas, to create and keep perfect body image. They are preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love. Their belief in themself is not rooted in reality as normally their image hides a litany of lies, deceptions, false claims, and actual under-achievement in life.
An exception to this rule is the "functioning narcissist" whom actually does portray truth in what they claim, and does achieve greatness and achievement. Such persons are quite powerful and driven to succeed, and normally do, but equally are cold, hard, ruthless, and suffer the absence of feelings, empathy or compassion that denote emotional intelligence and a value system rooted in "we" and not just "me".
A "functioning narcissist" still has many of the qualities noted in this article but will often not need to lie about their accomplishments as they are high performing and successful in their chosen field. They are still "lovers of self" in the narcissistic sense and are brutal and demanding in the ways noted for other narcissistic personalities. They also lack feelings and their value system is more-or-less tied to perfectionism which will often see them follow rules rather than moral codes.
"Lovers of money"
Narcissists are attracted to money as a demonstration of wealth, power, status and success. Money is an enabler for the Narcissist to surround themselves with symbols or "camouflage" of objects, trinkets, and environments which portray success, wealth, and power. This is a critical part of their cover-up for having low self-esteem. The Narcissist then often physically does a physical "makeover" of dress, appearance and image, complete with stories of impressive achievements and contact with other professionals or famous people that make them look elitist, privileged or special.
Both male and female Narcissists use money to convey and power and to impress. They also need money to furnish their image as they will often drive a flashy car, or shift to a prestigious suburb, or dress or be seen in special places to cultivate this idealised false self image. They put themselves on a pedestal and expect others to worship them as they worship themselves.
Many Narcissists have been uncovered in the GFC living "the good life" on borrowed bank finance or illegally on clients' monies. For example, Wall Street executives have been found to have lost their clients vast fortunes of money and investments whilst still generating and defending "success or performance" fees based on their unethical and poor behaviours. Under scrutiny they defend and reposition such behaviours and self awarded fees as their due and their "hard earnt" fortune . The absence of concern for bankrupt clients, their own double standards and their uncovered hypocrisy goes to the heart of their unfeeling and unethical natures. In their world they simply brush off all concerns and challenges.
The display of wealth by Narcissists is tied to its portrayal of power, and is often accompanied by a typical act where in an understated, aloof way they simply convey "I'm special, can you not see that". They may use their money to portray the god-like lifestyle of a perfect home with opulence, finest furnishings, and hold grandiose entertaining parties or "events" at their "palace".
In social settings they often create an impression, is the life of party at external events to gather and keep attention, or is cool, aloof, and judgemental, rising above others in their god-like stance, "sniffing" at the dress, grooming or behaviour of others.
A key trait of Narcissists is their boastful natures. If life is "all about them" then they like to cultivate their grandiose image by boasting about their conquests, their wealth, money, achievements, occupation, investments, experiences, and wins. They are often loud and superficial and crass to many who have to put up with their self-flattery and boasting behaviours. They often do not get that others find them annoying, grasping, self-centred or hard to believe.
Their boastful nature is also part of their seduction technique for luring other, often low-self esteem people into their world of claimed success. They attract others who live "through them" and who want to be around "success" or power for various reasons of a co-dependent nature. Narcissists exploit and use such persons as "sidekicks" until they have served their purpose and then they are simply discarded without remorse or consideration.
Narcissists will want to discuss themselves constantly. Their language is peppered with constant use of "I", "me", and "my", and in group settings, when the topic of conversation leaves them, they either steer it back to themselves with arrogance, impatience and restlessness If this fails they may leave the group and find someone else they can brag to about themself, their accomplishments, their connections to important people, resources, information etc.
The definition of haughty is basically a state of emotional reactivity and sensitivity that is bound up in pride. The haughty person is at once both prideful and reactive to feedback which does not pay justice to this sense of pride.
Narcissists react to and are overly sensitive to any criticism, laughter at their self or their claims, or of any threat of being exposed, which is countered with rage and retribution. As the narcissist is always right in their own mind, and will lie without conscience, you cannot constructively argue or negotiate with them. They can be reactive and will attack and humiliate those who they already judge as inferior, which is most of the rest of us.
An aggressive attack is not only usually effective against those who are defenceless or in an unequal power relationship with the narcissist, but in the moment the aggression overcomes any other uncomfortable feelings from coming up internally which the narcissist finds hard to tolerate.
If someone has equal or more power, or the resources the narcissist needs, or is effectively a peer, then the social mask is maintained and they feign but do not feel fake humbleness, humiliation and shame. They also become haughty and react to negative feedback personally as it threatens their whole false self, and so a tantrum may erupt which the social mask cannot contain, and they will mark anyone who crosses them with plans for revenge, humiliation and destruction, which then dominate their paranoid thinking.
The definition of "railing" is basically a person who is aggressive, attacking and abusive. Narcissists are very much in this mould, either in a covert or an overt way. They are preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love. Their belief in themself is not rooted in reality unless they are a truly "functioning narcissist" who may achieve many of their claims. Otherwise they will often compare themself to the real leader in their chosen or imagined field, and with envy state out loud statements like "why is he or she so successful, I have more to offer than them!!". In that statement they are railing against the real leaders out of envy and an ungrounded, deluded sense of who they are, compared to the leaders.
Alexander Lowen M.D. defines the Narcissists as an aggressive personality and in this sense that is a railing personality. Narcissists abuse and belittle rivals, and understate others achievements from this place, as they cannot entertain being upstaged, even when reality does not match their grandiose imaginings of their supposed real standing in life. They cannot understand why others do not see or perceive this grandiose reality. A rival threat is often simply someone else making a success of their own life or career that the paranoid narcissist wrongly infers undermines or challenges them.
Narcissists may rail against the other person directly and openly if they are emboldened and want to project a powerful, warrior-like, leader image to their follower group, or to the public or employees. More likely they are subversive, and go underground with their railings, and employ character assassination, disinformation, and rumours to politically and emotionally "white ant" the other person, before attempting any obvious coup or attempt to usurp that person's place or position. As the narcissist is always right in their own mind, and will lie without conscience, you cannot constructively argue or negotiate with them. They will "rail" against you till you are defeated, humiliated or give up.
Narcissists use character assassination as a subtle railing tactic to undermine critics and others who pose a threat to them via potential exposure of their activities. Narcissists will use gossip, confidential one-on-one chats or talks, using a mask of either "being concerned" about the person they are attacking, or with a trusted "sidekick", will outright denigrate or belittle, lie, defame, and otherwise destroy their reputation, knowing that perception creates reality and doubt. Abuse becomes the norm once they go after another person.
The old saying, "mud sticks" is well demonstrated here. The "sidekick" will often lack their own adult critical thinking and instead will already subscribe to the narcissists worldview and so is conditioned to accept their behaviour, their modus operandi, and "truth", without question. The "sidekick" often becomes the unwitting character assassin for the narcissist, further spreading the disinformation, and creating degrees of separation from the narcissist, who will later deny they are the source of the disinformation, and will sacrifice and cut loose the "side kick" if they risk exposure in this dynamic.
Narcissists are attracted to organisations or spiritual communities which use character assassination and policies of attacking critics as it mirrors their own beliefs and sustains their cover-up. Narcissists in real power may use their organisation to rail against critics and enemies via legal action, threats to withhold business from third parties if they do business with the competitor or enemy.
At a spiritual level the Narcissist is also "railing" against God for in their own mind they will not submit their will to anyone, even God, and also want his power, status and specialness. Many Narcissists have a "God Complex" where they act like the Caesars of old Rome who considered themselves living Gods.
"Disobedient to parents"
This characteristic has a biblical context. In biblical times the parents represented "authority" as the family unit was sacred and absolute in terms of a son or daughter being compliant, in servitude, and having love and goodwill towards the parents. Self interest came second to the obligations and servitudes towards parents and family.
This prophecy statement refers to a characteristic of the Narcissists self-entitlement and sense of having a selfish approach to life where they serve only their own needs, and are disobedient to authority, laws, rules, conventions, contracts, etc. Narcissists have contempt for the fact that others are constrained and bound by such things. They themselves feel special and feel free to disregard others, including their own "blood" such as family, parents, and relationship partners, who they will routinely betray, minimise, dismiss or be uncaring about as they pursue their own agenda.
Narcissists do not have an inner life driven by values. We learn many of our values from our parents and our family systems where traditions and ways of doing and being are generationally handed down and preserved. Narcissists sneer at tradition and obligation as a waste of time and not of their concern. Narcissists are not interested in going out of their way to preserve traditions, the past, or others values, rules and laws, as these constrain them and make them accountable, which they refuse to be.
In family systems narcissists are often found to assert themselves over the family, to attempt to control other family members, and to manipulate the elderly parents towards favourable treatment of them. This may include gaining control via various Power of Attorney instruments, and then redirecting family resources their own way via the appearance of a "new will" which no longer represents or respects the parents' wishes, but instead vests power, resources and assets towards the Narcissist.
Narcissists are ungrateful and unthankful for whatever they have been given in life. Their sense of entitlement means they take others and things for granted as something they deserve and expect, and should not need to feel thankful for. Narcissists take everyone and everything for granted in their world of self adornment, self delusion and self worship. They feel saying "thankyou" is demeaning to them and so will be quiet and avoid such recognitions.
They will not acknowledge others achievements, normally belittling or minimising such achievements, and instead will try to bring the focus back to them, and use exaggerated claims, or will hide others achievements, or claim others achievements as their own. Narcissists are highly competitive, and envy others but will never acknowledge that envy.
They only envy until they have surpassed or overcome the competitor, as the acquisition of power means that once they dominate or surpass another, they are relegated to indifference or contempt, or to be used as a victim if they possess some utility for the narcissist. Partners of Narcissists routinely report feeling used and betrayed as a consequence of being in relationship with a Narcissist, who in turn is unfeeling or uncaring about this felt state in the other person.
People who have been seduced into being the "sidekick" of a narcissist often report after being dumped by the narcissist that they feel used, abused and traumatised. They remark that even after years of free and dedicated service and support to the narcissist they are simply dropped and replaced with someone else, and there is no thanks for all their efforts. Narcissists are ruthless and cold hearted in this way.
The word "unholy" relates to the way a person relates to themself, others and to the concept of God. Holy people are grounded in a sense of interconnectedness and sacredness in all things. Holy people have a reverence for all other things and work only within spiritual and natural laws of wisdom, compassion and love.
Narcissists are cut-off from both their own true selves, from others, and from God or spirit. A narcissist is a solitary being who lives from a false self that neither truly relates or cares about anyone or thing outside itself, except to use, consume, or devour that thing for itself. In this sense the Narcissist is a predator who is "unholy" and cut-off from life and the sacred.
Narcissists tend to be evil instead of holy in that they use their free will in a negative direction, and they have pre-meditated plans of action, thought and impulse when using others for their own self gain. Narcissists are conscious to their actions which are totally under their control and are not simply acting out some unconscious defence or distorted impulse.
Paul Babiak PHD, in his book, "Snakes in Suits", notes that narcissists are conscious in their plans to get to the top of the organisation and how knowingly they realise that others will lose, suffer, or be victims as a result. They do not concern themselves with this issue as it does not affect them personally and is the "cost" of progressing their career or place in life.
He notes they use all the guile, concentration, skill and disguises of a predator who will approach their goals with a great determination and relentless nature till they make it, whatever the cost, and without consideration for the damage they cause to others in doing so.
"Without natural affection"
Narcissists are cut-off from their own inner life and their own feelings. In this way they cannot act or show any natural affection or love. They lack true empathy for others, and are cut-off from their own feeling consciousness centres in the heart and so are accurately depicted as closed or cold hearted. They will "feign" or act feelings and empathy from their idealised false self mask they present to the world, but beneath this camouflage and social veneer what then intrudes from the real personality are arrogant, haughty behaviours and attitudes from their unresolved angry and self doubting suppressed inner life.
In organisations they have no issue or feelings about "downsizing" staff or betraying a colleague as it proves to their superiors they are a "person of action and decisiveness", when really it simply represents their disdain and predatory nature to use and devour others to their own end. In organisations they manoeuvre to the top where status, power and wealth lie. It is these attainments that motivate the Narcissist and they see feelings as a sign of weakness in others, and as a tool for manipulation when employed by themself to seduce, convince or project an image of concern, empathy or interest in another's welfare.
In relationships they also lack affection for the same reasons. Narcissists enter love relationships for self gain and self worship and are often found to say to their partner "so what did you do for me today". Narcissists tend to attract and be attracted to two types of mate. In the first scenario they seek vulnerable and impressionable partners who can serve the dual functions of appearing good for their image as a "couple" or in social settings as well as being their servant.
Such a mate will normally be selected who is also passive or of low self-esteem and can be manipulated, harassed, controlled and kept subdued. Narcissists do not trust by nature, and fear betrayal, and so seek to make themself safe by using all their techniques to keep their partner in subservience. The partner also serves the utility value of doing the more mundane functions of home or work life for the narcissist who often feels "above" such duties. One finds no warmth of affection from the Narcissist for their partner.
Behind closed doors the Narcissist will often rage at, belittle, shun or abuse their "love" partner, who is expected to ceaselessly and endlessly worship and serve the Narcissists never ending demands. Whatever service and support is rendered by the partner will be found to be "not perfect" or good enough for the narcissist who will criticise the partner constantly, and then remind the partner "how lucky" they are to be his or her mate, and how others are lining up to take their place if they are unhappy. This psychological assault and mind control is what the Narcissists serve up as "love" to their partners.
You cannot placate a Narcissist. They are demanding and even when they get their goal or their demand met they are thankless to others from a place of entitlement. They often will then make new demands as their appetites are insatiable, and they resist being controlled by others and often interpret being placated as being controlled.
The nature of the pursuit of power, success and status that tends to dominate the thinking of the Narcissist is such that they are implacable in the pursuit of such image enhancing attainments. Narcissists typically cannot be compromised with, mediated, or negotiated with, in good faith. They are obsessed with winning and not win-win, whatever the cost. The other person(s) in the business deal or dynamic are unimportant to the narcissist and its winner take all, with the narcissist always feeling a sense of entitlement to what they crave.
Narcissists resist seeing their blind spots and insatiability. Due to their state of denial and reality about their true nature, this means that they see nothing wrong with themselves. It is better to move away from a narcissist than to try to change them, manage them, bargain with them, or partner with them, in business or in a romantic sense.
Compromise is weakness in their reality, and they will punish and seek revenge as routine, if they can orchestrate that through others. You are only in a narcissist's life for as long as you have "utility" or value for them, as life is all about them, not you. They will tend to hound you with their demands and their fault-finding with you.
Narcissists use endless demands and confrontation as psychological assault to wear down their competitors, partners, team members, and anyone would stands in their way of attaining a goal. Emotional and mental forms of assault are common forms of attack by the Narcissist who understand how an emotionally connected person can stress, then become anxious and then collapse under psychological assault.
Implacable also means unforgiving and the narcissist marks their enemies for life in a way that means they are incapable of forgiving. They will rage incessantly at critics and enemies and never miss the opportunity to attack or criticise them.
The Narcissist is an image based individual who understands intimately how perception is reality and how another's reality can be manipulated through subtle but undermining messages via other third parties. Narcissists use character assassination as a subtle tactic to undermine critics and others who pose a threat to them via potential scrutiny and exposure of their activities and claims.
Narcissists will use gossip, confidential one-on-one chats or talks, often using a mask of feigning either "being concerned" about the person they are attacking, or having heard from unnamed third parties some negative claims about them. They will also engage with a trusted and compliant follower or person under their domination, who I term as a "sidekick", and make damaging allegations about the targeted third person. Their aim in character assassination via defamation and slander is to outright denigrate or belittle, lie, defame, and otherwise destroy the targeted person's reputation, knowing that perception creates reality and doubt. The old saying, "mud sticks" is well demonstrated here.
The "sidekick" will typically already subscribe to the narcissists worldview and so is conditioned to accept their behaviour, their modus operandi, and "truth", without question. The "sidekick" often becomes the unwitting character assassin for the narcissist, further spreading the disinformation, and creating degrees of separation from the narcissist, who will later deny they are the source of the disinformation, and will sacrifice and cut loose the "side kick" if they are exposed or risk exposure of having acted in an underhanded way in this dynamic.
Narcissist have no real value system because they are disconnected from their feelings and value formation in children and adults comes partially from the feedback loop that we get when we undertake actions. Positive feelings tend to reinforce attitudes and beliefs into core values, and bad encounters via resulting distaste, shame and negative feelings tend to teach a person to desist from such actions and to learn and adapt to more acceptable norms.
A narcissist has effectively disabled this internal feedback loop and so operates without remorse, feelings and value centric behaviours. Instead they are cold, ruthless and self-serving in various guises of behaviours and social masks of presenting themselves to others and in social settings.
Paul Babiak PHD, in his book, "Snakes in Suits", notes that narcissists use character assassination within the rumour mill and gossip culture of organisations to undermine the authority, reputation and relationship networks of competitors or threats within the organisation. At the same time they also use this same network to build their own reputations, make grandiose claims, steal kudos for others accomplishments, and build power networks and alliances as they climb to the top of the organisation.
This aspect of a Narcissist is a paradox but at the same time true. Narcissists invest all their time and energy into a constant maintenance and evolution of their perfectionist image that projects a facade of being totally self-controlled, cool, calm and confident. This at one behavioural level is true and part of their need to control themselves to project the required positive mask to the world to fool others.
At a deeper level there is a constant internal battle of self-control going on that is dominated by intense insecurity, paranoia, rage and depression which must be kept hidden and subdued internally so it does not leak out into the carefully crafted public persona. From the carefully crafted public persona which is on show to impress others one finds that narcissists possess a rigid perfectionistic component to their personality. Alexander Lowen denotes the narcissist as being an aggressive personality having both psychopathic and rigid perfectionistic sub-character structures.
The "without control" aspect of their personality develops in part from their rigid, inflexible thinking which leaves them prone in their paranoid reality to personalise others different opinions or arguments as an attack or criticism of themself. This conclusion coupled with an intense demand for instant gratification and attention will often spark their intense and angry retribution or tantrums against others. A characteristic of narcissists is they will never offer an apology to you. If caught out being wrong they tend to rationalise or blame their way out of it. Narcissists are "above" apologies and being perfect they never lower themself to admit faults which would threaten their false grandiose reality.
The narcissist is also out of control with their insatiable demands for more power, success, attention and whatever they crave. Narcissists often have an underlying addiction which they use to self-soothe or medicate their held in anxiety and stress that is hidden from public view. In this sense they are also out of control by having to deal with some form of addiction such as sex, alcohol or drugs.
The word "enough" does not show up in the Narcissists world as they have an inner black hole of emptiness that they are constantly trying to fill by attaining accomplishments in the "out there" world. This "out there" focussed individual is compensating for low inner self esteem by attempting to use "other-esteem" meaning attainment of external objects of success, to compensate and cover-up for their felt inner emptiness and low self esteem.
Due to this way of being with the world they are "out of control" due to the fact that "out there" attainments will never fill their inner emptiness, but they do not recognise this and are compulsive and obsessive in chasing external objects of success. Narcissists also lack impulse control when triggered into anger which quickly can turn into out of control rage and emotional outbursts. They react to and are overly sensitive to any criticism or threat of being exposed, which is countered with rage and retribution.
Narcissists are fierce or brutal in a number of ways. They have already been noted as being out of control and from this place they become fierce as their lack of impulse control when triggered into anger can quickly turn into out of control rage and emotional outbursts. They react to and are overly sensitive to any criticism or threat of being exposed, which is countered with rage and retribution that is brutal in nature.
They are fierce in as much as they are an aggressive personality who uses anger and aggression as a tool of manipulation and control. An aggressive rage attack is not only usually effective against those who are defenceless or in an unequal power relationship with the narcissist who typically employs a range of physical, mental, emotional and behaviourally fierce techniques of domination.
The identification with power means that being fierce or brutal is an admirable quality for the narcissist who often identifies with warrior archetypes in their idealised view of themself and heroes to aspire to. Life is seen as competitive and that all that life has to offer is there to be taken, usurped and conquered and this requires one to be fierce, ruthless, and driven to make this happen, in their worldview. Domination equals pleasure in their world.
If someone has equal or more power, or the resources the narcissist needs, then the fierce eye of the narcissist plots at how to take this for themself. They take criticism personally and fiercely as it threatens their whole false self, and so a fierce tantrum may erupt which makes challenging them not worthwhile and will often result in a barrage of abuse and a turning around of the challenge till you come away thinking you are the bad person, the faulty, irrational, mentally unwell or thankless one.
Narcissists argue fiercely and personalise challenges and so whoever crosses them will come under consideration for fierce plans of enduring revenge, humiliation and destruction. Revenge is not an event but an ongoing process such is the fierce rage that burns within the narcissist and which dominates their paranoid thinking.
"No lovers of good"
Psychological studies reinforce the notion that while men and women are primarily motivated by self-interest and selfish motivations, we also have impulse controls, boundaries, and restraints which come from deep belief and core value systems. Narcissists have already been noted earlier as being disconnected from a personal value system as their feelings are internally disconnected and it is our feelings which help form and remind us of our human value driven ideals.
From this place Narcissists operate from the primary impulse drives of self interest and selfish motivations. They lack a social conscience, and lack compassion or empathy for others as these arise from states of heart-felt feelings. As a consequence they have no real value system in place. Self glorification, self-gratification, and an obsessive concern for their physical image, status, being right and reputation instead occupy the vacuum of emotional and moral values.
From this bankrupt sense of self it is easy for the Narcissist to rationalise criminal and morally wrong actions as being justifiable to them. They have a grandiose sense of entitlement which makes them feel as if the world owes them, and that rules, laws and morals and standards of conduct do not apply to them. Narcissists are often scornful of such restrictions which they see as applying to only the weak and to others but never themselves.
From this place they are "no lovers of good" and only "lovers of self". They see others who do good as weak and pathetic and often hold such persons in contempt. They will of course boast that they themself are very moral, very compassionate, very righteous, and will lie and tell stories of their generous benefactor nature.
They portray all the "good" attributes of life as being who they are when engaging with others as part of their deceptive ruse or camouflage in life. Such convincing displays disarm others into thinking they are dealing with the most wonderful and compassionate person alive. It's all a lie and it's all part of the games of deception that Narcissists play with others as they con their way to a goal in life or to the top of an organisation.
Narcissists betray their loved ones and associates all the time. The worldview of the narcissist is basically that they will ignore you unless you serve some useful purpose in their life. However narcissists need other people around them to sustain them and feed them resources and narcissistic supplies. Narcissists have no need for authentic relationships or connection. They only devote time and energy to pursuits and relationships that are going to yield them a return or payoff in some way.
Narcissists are always scanning their world for "potentials". A potential is someone who has some utility value or put another way a person who has some resource or value to the Narcissist in the short or long term. A "potential", once identified, will be targeted by the predatory narcissist, like prey, who the narcissist will then apply seduction and focussed effort toward so as to attract them into the narcissist's world.
Once in the glare and attention of the narcissist then the "potential" must be further assessed and qualified for exploitation and utility value. Narcissists view everyone only in terms of what value or use does that person have for them. Narcissists are quite visible in the way they ignore other people who are of no use to them. You will see them at a social function with laser like eyes scanning the crowd, reading the body language and room dynamics, looking for the "power group" or powerful person, and then moving in for the kill. You will notice them join a group and introduce themself, ask everyone who and what they are, and if they are of no importance then quickly exit and group and keep scanning for the person or group who can best serve their needs.
They are quite predatory and rely on the "herd" mentality of others to assume that people basically act from good intentions and benevolence. If a person in a group setting is targeted they will attempt to separate them from the "herd" of protective friends and colleagues and go to work with one-on-one attention, wooing, concerned attention, seduction, flirting, and self puffery plus puffery of the other person. Such a person is now a "potential".
Once a "potential" has been qualified as of use to the Narcissist then more intense attention will be paid and that persons value system, interests, and needs and wants will be ascertained. This is so the Narcissist can then craft supportive messages and feigned interest in that person and their interests, or mock alignment to that person's way of viewing work, life or whatever has emotional value to that targeted person.
The narcissist only invests in this person because they have something of value to the narcissist. Narcissists have no real interest in anyone other than themself. Once they have obtained from that person what they need as a resource, information, experience, money, sex or status, then that person is now a victim. Basically once having "devoured" the victim and possessed their targeted resource, the narcissist will now abandon the victim to their confused state of feelings and mind control messages of who and what they were supposed to be to the narcissist. Many victims live in denial for a long period of time about what happened when they were dumped, used or abandoned by the narcissist in their life. Many will suffer trauma as a result of their encounter with the narcissist.
Narcissists in this way are traitors as they consciously set out to use, abuse and spit out those for whom they would "befriend". Paul Babiak, in his book "Snakes in Suits", on Corporate Narcissists, explains how they typically employ a 3 phase game plan when engaging with victims. The first phase is selecting their victim or prey based on assessing the potential victim's utility value, and identifying their psychological strengths and weaknesses.
The second stage involves manipulation of the potential victims with carefully crafted messages plus using constant feedback from the potential victim to build and maintain rapport and control. Phase 3 occurs when the narcissist has finished "devouring" the victim and whose utility value has been exhausted. The drained and bewildered victim is abandoned without remorse as the predatory narcissist looks afield for new victims higher up the corporate ladder, which equates to more power in their reality.
Conversely as part of the Narcissists social mask they often hide behind a "victim" stance and claim that they have been betrayed. This is merely psychological projection of their dark natures onto others and an attempt to justify whatever punitive retaliation and punishment they mete out to those who stand in the way of their goals and climb to the top.
This trait which can also be termed as "rash" has several connotations. Firstly it relates to an emotional impulsiveness and in this respect many Narcissists are impulsive and emotionally driven even though they can often subdue and hide this behind a facade of a controlled and micro-managed self presentation to the world. This headstrong nature can see them not being reasonable as their reason is overridden by their demands on others from a headstrong place.
Many narcissists are headstrong in their pursuit of goals and will not give up on a plan of attainment, revenge, or achievement. They will often take risks without due care for consequences and may exert their will to get their way, and override sensible advice that does not match their aims.
Headstrong is also an attribute in the sense that Narcissists are normally quite intelligent. They live "in their heads" as they have no effective feeling centres of relatedness, and so are strong in the intellectual or mental centres of self which are based in the head. In this sense they are strong in their heads.
In Body Mind Psychotherapy traditions we say that energetically the Narcissistic personality has a strong energetic "charge" in their upper bodies. In this way they often are very alert, hyper vigilant, quick thinking, logical, and also tend to live in a sustained form of predatory sensitivity where they watch and take in all that is happening around them. They often have magnetic or noticeable eyes which can either be seductive, look right through you, or evoke a stare that chills, or threatens. They accentuate their presence through their heads via voice, looks, and receptivity of their environment.
The concept of being "puffed up" or conceited has both a bodily and a mental component. In terms of ego and their mental life a narcissist is definitely "puffed up" or conceited in terms of their sense of their own importance, achievements, and worth. Narcissists tend to have a grandiose and exaggerated sense of achievements or skills or talents, and expects to be recognised as superior even when having no demonstrated record in this area. The person is usually charming, charismatic, seductive, confident and well groomed, and project stories of success as a primary false self image to the world. Their conceit or puffery often does not come from achievement but is all part of their overblown image they hide behind and portray to the world.
We all pass through a stage of childhood where we feel "puffed up" and all powerful. Sigmund Freud(1953) in his pioneering work, entitled "On Narcissism", identified that we all pass through a primary development stage of narcissism where we as infants believe we are the centre of the universe. However this is given up when the child realises that they do not control the parents but are entirely dependent on them. Freud believed that narcissists did not reinvest their emotions back to the parents, but instead redirected them back to themself thus starting the process of a self absorbed, grandiose, self entitled person whose ego is overblown.
In terms of the body, Alexander Lowen(2004), notes that these intelligent but "in their heads" personalities often have a body structure that is a harmonious and athletic shape, with males often also having broad shoulders whilst well developed thighs on the woman. In both cases their bodies have a partially "puffed up" physical aspect. This is how we project power through our bodies.
In western society we see how men with a "V" shaped body of small waist ballooning up into broad shoulders is desirous, admirable and powerful. These are all adjectives of what the narcissist wants to be. As our mind influences the developing body there is a noted correlation between these body shape or types and the "puffed up egos". If you look in gyms they are full of men working their upper bodies to build and create a projection of power through a powerful upper body. They often minimise the work they do on their legs.
It is important to note that these attractive outcomes in body shape and features act to reinforce the adult narcissist in their ability to seduce, influence, attract followers, and become extremely vain and self obsessed in their bodies. The use of botox, the body shape augmentation industry and "transformation makeover" businesses all reflect this narcissistic obsession with physical beauty and perfection.
"Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God"
Narcissists are hedonists and believed they are entitled to experience and possess the best things in life. To them this is their rightful place in life and as life is all about them. They then go about seeking ways to get to the top or ways to associate with the richest, most powerful, most exciting, most glamorous, most experientially arousing environments that life has to offer.
There is often an obsession with having the latest gadgets, status symbols of wealth, being seen with important people, or dropping the names of senior organisational people(when they are still climbing the ladder themselves), and often cultivating a youthful, healthy, perfect appearance where possible. These externalised self esteem objects and associations are compensations for the internalised reality of low self esteem that narcissists possess.
Their energy is being constantly poured into maintaining this false self which then becomes their operative identity and they convince themselves that their mask is their real self. The narcissist often suffers an underlying addiction that will typically be to a self-soothing or emotionally medicating substance such as alcohol or drugs. Others want to be worshipped in their body and deal with insecurity, anxiety and stress via sex addiction. They gravitate to sensual experiences of food, wine, and people but demand that they do this with the finest examples of each as their entitlement in life.
Narcissists reject God and instead place themselves in the role of godhead and demand that others worship them as a living god, which is just like ancient Rome. They want followers, they want adoration, they want worship and they want the power of a god. At the same time they reject God as to accept God places someone above them which they cannot accept, and also it brings limitations, constraints, rules, laws, and the obligation to worship, all of which they reject. Narcissists see religion as irrelevant and for the weak, but will exploit it if it suits their image and manipulation of others.
Spiritual life by definition involves one's feeling senses as one connects at an emotional level with others suffering(compassion), and where one has a desire for others to be happy and free from suffering(love). Narcissists are not able to genuinely love. They learn to mimic the actions and gestures of love but they have cold, closed hearts which prevents them from being able to have authentic spiritual lives.
Some of the recently defrocked church leaders, and disgraced CEO's of big companies publicly portrayed themselves as devout Catholics until they were found to live and act in total opposites to what that adherence to such a spiritual life would compel. Narcissists often hide behind senior roles as church helpers, charity devotees, and in public fundraising bodies, as a way of carefully crafting an image that they are spiritual, compassionate, kind, selfless, and one of the "good guys" that you can trust. My advice is never trust the salesman that dangles their crucifix on a chain down the front of their shirt to you in an obvious way!!
"Holding a form of godliness, but having denied the power thereof"
We have already noted that narcissists reject God and instead place themselves in the role of the godhead and demand that others worship them as a living god. They want followers, they want adoration, they want worship and they want the power of a god. The Narcissists false self is quite deluded. They think others should recognise their special "godly" qualities and be enamoured just to be with them. In groups the narcissist needs to obtain narcissistic ego supplies from others by being seen as special or the best or seen as godlike. Narcissists will want to discuss themselves constantly.
Note that the biblical reference is for "a form of godliness". This means one type or aspect of a god. This is true as they have no way of convincingly carrying off the idea that they are truly compassionate and loving. Their adoration of the godhood, and their modelling of a form of godliness, is those aspects that relate to the power of god, the status of god, and the retribution or punishment of a god.
We must remember that in the biblical times when these verses were written the Jews and Christians were quite familiar with the concept of a wrathful god who demands obedience, worship, and respect lest he smite the unfaithful. It is this form of godliness that the Narcissists aligns to, and not the compassionate Buddha of eastern religions nor Jesus as the humble carpenter or the gentle lamb of God.
The last part of this sentence states "but having denied the power thereof". I have linked this with the first part that states "holding a form of godliness" for it appears out of context to split the two. When you take these together as a full sentence then a new and relevant context appears that requires explanation and which can be interpreted in a number of ways.
Firstly the narcissist projects power from their image, and abuses power when in a position to do so from seniority in the workplace or physical or mental/emotional domination of another. They actually use such power from a place of feeling empty and powerless as a form of compensation and defence. Power through force, violence and intimidation is limited and relies on its constant application to be effective. In their false-self of portraying and behaving like a god they are quite powerless beyond a certain point. They are bluffers, posturers and deceivers, who must constantly apply their techniques to maintain control and the deception. Their energy is "dark" and is based in ignorance and lies.
In a spiritual sense real power comes from love and compassion. These states of feeling and being are what we spiritually call as being in the "light". The wisdom, truth and power of such qualities reveals why the power of "light" dispels the "darkness" whereas darkness can never put out the light. The narcissist who thinks they are God lacks any spiritual power whatsoever.
Regardless of your own spiritual beliefs there are people in society who follow religions and beliefs around the concept of spiritual powers in every culture of the world. Mankind has always been attracted to the concept of a God and the ultimate power that it alludes to. In Western society there are a hardcore and normally secretive group of people who practice the "dark arts" of Satanism and "dark" occultic practices, whilst others gather in secret societies where "special", "powerful" and "hidden" knowledge and power are claimed to lie.
It does not really matter whether you and I believe in God or these practices for these people do believe in the concept of the Godhead, but seek in their dark occultic ways to learn master and assume vast powers of domination, control, and rewards that such a person can manifest using such godly powers. Secret societies more or less constellate around similar beliefs and crossovers occur between secret societies and occultic or Satanic worship.
There is evidence that some Narcissists are particularly drawn to secret societies and dark occultic groups who preach power, domination, control, and also doctrines of how to hurt or kill your enemies. They often include a basic winner take all philosophy that narcissistically focuses on oneself as the all powerful one, or under the patronage of the "all powerful one" such as Satan for a price(your soul).
The aims of satanic covens are actually not really different from those of a narcissist. It's just the type of power and "specialness" being pursued, and the rituals or ways in which they secretly go about their quest for special knowledge, special powers, special relationship with the all powerful Satan, and how the power of the Coven, that sets them apart from your everyday suburban narcissist.
The attitude to life and the positioning of oneself to life and others is remarkably similar between the two groups. The most surprising fact is that the New-Age philosophies and spiritual movement basically has the same attitude as the Satanists in many ways, except at the other extreme or polarity. They occupy the "light" whereas occultic groups tend to occupy the "dark" ends of the spiritual spectrum. The both denounce the concept of a personal God or they compete with such a god, or want his power, and effectively in this moment elevate themselves to "God" status.
The various New-Age philosophies promote the narcissistic idea that we each are "God" and we each just need to realise that and start to act this way(narcissistically). The New-Agers let everyone off the hook by saying that shame, evil and sin do not exist(Narcissists believe this too), and that we each just need to pursue without measure all our needs and wants and pleasures(sound familiar?). There is no restraint in this philosophy for the universe is abundant and there is enough for all so do not consider yourself greedy(Narcissists never do), just embrace the infinite manifesting powers you have and that which the universe wants you to have(hedonism masked over with spirituality).
New Agers are not too concerned with others as if you get hurt by their pursuits of power, bliss, material accomplishments and enlightenment. If that occurs then that must be your fault and your issue that you got in the way. It's your karma baby and do not ask me for compassion or second thoughts about you. Do not spoil my day with "bad energy" of disasters or bad news as the universe is all light at the end of the day, there is no evil, no darkness so get back to your bliss and partying and your practicing being the most ascender master with special gifts and insights. Sounds like a Narcissistic philosophy to me!!.
Narcissists often flock to spiritual groups, cults, and Self-Help transformation programmes where they naturally insert themselves as the godhead and then tell everyone they are "mystics", "enlightened", and some even claim to have healed more people than Jesus himself!! My article entitled "Emotional and Mental Mind Control of Leaders in Groups" gives an in-depth overview of this particular variety of Narcissist and how they typically behave. Have a read because the operative psychological techniques mentioned in that article also apply to all narcissists in other settings.
From a spiritual perspective what is being said in this biblical sentence of the quote is that these narcissistic forms of godhead have no real power for they are not in truth and are acting out a form of godliness, rather than being authentically godly. Given the Bible is a Christian text the sentence is alluding to what elsewhere in the Bible is described as false prophets and idolatry. Both are portrayed in the Bible as lacking truth and any real power.
"Have nothing to do with them"
This is a warning that nothing good comes to another person by associating or being in relationship with a narcissist. Given that life is all about them then you will by definition come off second best. Survivors of narcissists consistently warn others not to engage with a narcissist as they are too wily and manipulative to be dealt with via reasonableness and good boundaries.
"They are a kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women"
This observation applies to both male and female Narcissists. In the traditional biblical sense this line refers to men and relates to how the Narcissist will often take as their partner a "weak-willed woman whom today would be labelled as a "caretaker", "co-dependent" or "co-narcissist". This type of woman is often quite attractive as they need to make the Narcissistic male look good and boost their image by having the "trophy wife" or girlfriend. Unfortunately it's all still about them even in intimate relationships.
A narcissist is a predator who seeks out those they are able to seduce, control, manipulate and then finally betray when they decide it's all over. A weak-willed woman often relates to a woman who has low self-esteem, who has problems setting and maintaining their own personal boundaries, and whom struggles to have a strong self-identity or who struggles to maintain strong adult critical thinking line when in the company of a dominant or convincing personality.
The attraction for the weak willed woman is they feel privileged or special in being swept of their feet by this man whom they would have thought may not have been interested in them. The seductive charm and effort that a narcissist uses to grab the attention of their partner will certainly be intensive, convincingly and often be successful.
Interestingly a Narcissist is often not very good with finances as in their grandiose and deluded sense of image management reality, they burn through excessive amounts of money on lifestyle, grooming, entertaining and external surroundings. Narcissists do not enjoy slumming it in this life. They are predatory in the sense they will target a wealthy woman and "worm their way into their home" as the prophecy states. A narcissist will be known to "devour" a wealthy woman of their money, assets, health, sound mind and stable reality over time.
How they do this is clearly stated in the prophecy by the words "and gain control". Narcissists are control freaks who must be in control to feel safe and keep their underlying paranoia at bay. The Narcissist will employ a range of physical, emotional, mental and even spiritual level control techniques on their partners as their way of doing "love". A narcissist has no compulsion about worming their way through their partner's wealth and fortune. They even reframe reality to convince all those around them that it was theirs or their efforts that made the wealth in the first place.
Romantic relationships are often an extension of the grandiose false self of the Narcissist. Partners will need to be beautiful, public "show ponies" or acceptable extensions of the narcissists self image. Some writers state that the narcissist sets up a Madonna-whore complex, where they have a "public accessory", submissive and compliant, wholesome effigy, whilst secretly the narcissist has a whore-like affair partner on the side. Effectively the partner is weak willed and a "sidekick" who is normally passive, co-dependent or even possibly mentally ill themself in some way.
Sex inside the relationship drops away soon after marriage, as sexual love involves feelings and emotional intimacy all of which the narcissist cannot deliver. In the bedroom narcissists instead try to "perform" but only in the sense that it still is all about them and the partner needs to tell them how good they are, and worship them. Once the "honeymoon" is over then increasingly the social mask of the narcissist drops away and they start to punish or belittle the partner in private. They often then entitle themself to have affairs or fantasise affairs with a whore-like figure who represents the narcissists contempt for the other sex.
Romantic partners of narcissists often suffer post traumatic stress disorder, or suffer some form of breakdown in a long term relationship. Partners of narcissists have to live with the projection of the narcissist's inner world that is an environment of bitterness, suspiciousness, meanness, self absorption, reality manipulation, aggression and pettiness. Partners are often reported to living with resulting feelings of self-guilt, self-reproach, self-recrimination, self-punishment, and self-denial, all which eventually cause a partner to collapse in some shape or form.
Narcissists typically try to "educate" or mind-control their partners from a compulsive, incessant, harsh and critical position. The effect is to erode their partner's reality and self esteem, to humiliate, create reality dependence, to intimidate, to restrain, control and isolate the partner. Narcissists often labour on the "sacrifices" they make for the partner, invoking guilt instead of accepting that such actions are just part of adult responsibility.
Only a masochistic or co-dependent partner can survive such attention for any long period as they do not protest but instead turn their anger and hatred inside and against themself. They are effectively getting doses of hatred from without(the narcissist) and within(from themself).
Is it any wonder that ex-partners of narcissists often suffer complete collapse either during or after the relationship. Ex-partners of narcissists take time and often trauma therapy or counselling to recover their reality after living in such a chaotic hell with such a "loved one". Narcissists often denounce their ex-partners as crazy, mentally unwell, betrayers or liars, never admitting their part in their partner's descent into divorced, collapsed, ill or unwell outcomes. This mirrors their denouncing of ex-business partners and colleagues in business settings when things take a turn for the worse.
Some authors note that a person with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) will often be attracted to a person with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).
It is worth noting that female narcissists often have different agendas and behaviours and ways of expressing their narcissism.
Narcissism has traditionally been viewed through the lens of it being a male affliction or disorder. In patriarchal societies the role of women was typically submissive and secondary and hence Narcissism was not a recognised issue. The changing roles of women in society, the rise of women-power through feminism, and the advent of personal liberation attitudes have all contributed to the permission for women to self-actualise, self-promote, indulge, create, explore and go after their dream. Some chose to go after the false ideals of Narcissistic lifestyles either through their own conquests in business or Corporate arenas, or through a more muted and subtle expression that is still tied to archetypes of femininity(Lowen:1986).
The projection of an idealised false sense of perfection can be projected onto any role in society. Being the good wife and home maker is just one role that lends itself to becoming the focus of perfectionism, image creation, success, wealth and power. In this arena it is typically the female that enacts such a role. The result starts to look like The Brady Bunch meets Desperate Housewives.
Some of the ways in which female narcissists stake out their territory and create the false ideal are:
- Can be Divas, martyrs, whingers, or caretakers;
- Likely to express through appearance, grooming, body, household and through being superwoman taking on all society endorsed stereotypical roles;
- May create "mini me's" in daughters and little princes in sons. Lives through them as extension of themself;
- Usually status, asset and money obsessed;
- May be more covert in seeking attention;
- Can be victim to a narcissist and then narcissistically gather constant attention and sympathy as both the "victim" and then as the "show pony" when trotted out in public;
- Will feel entitled as a "princess" to marry a "prince"(often also a Narcissist) who provides them a rich lifestyle they feel entitled to;
- May use plastic surgery, augmentation, gym, salons, day spas, to create and keep perfect body image;
- Envious and critical at same time of more beautiful or successful other women;
- Has an entourage or at least one other low self-esteem "side kick" who looks up to her and feels wanted by being part of this princesses world;
- She will capture you with exasperated discourse on how much she has to do, has done, will do, and won't be appreciated for. You will not get mentioned or a word in edge-wise.
- Has a perfect home with opulence, finest furnishings, and hold grandiose entertaining parties or "events" at her "palace";
- Creates an impression, is life of party at external events to gather and keep attention, or is cool, aloof, and judgemental, "sniffing" at the dress, grooming or behaviour of others; and
- Is critical, cold, abusive or emotionally unavailable of or to children behind closed doors, or has favourites and the disapproved as children. Female narcissists often emotionally "take hostage" another "weak-willed woman" who is not as attractive or a threat to her on any of the traits that the female narcissist values.
The weak-willed woman will tag along and hope they will get some crumbs of acknowledgement, or the men gathering around the "princess" narcissist might give her a second look. The weak-willed woman feels lucky to be included in the female narcissist's life as her own life is often dull and uninspiring in comparison. They will listen endlessly to the female narcissist talk forever about themself, their lovers, and who is looking at her now. They may even sigh and wish they could be so lucky.
"Who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires"
Narcissists typically lead a trail of destruction and damaged people in their wake over time. Given they have no feelings and are cut-off then from an authentic value system, they will be seen to act coldly with self interest at all times and without regard to others. Narcissists tend to have a "past" full of misdemeanours and moral and ethical violations through pursuit of such self interests.
Paul Babiak in his book "Snakes in Suits – When Psychopaths go to Work", documents how Narcissists tend to have to shift location, move interstate and overseas as over time their "sins" become obvious and known to others and their very effective image management and camouflage techniques fail to contain the opinion of others, and victims come forth to expose their sometimes criminal actions.
Paul Babiak outlines how the narcissistic individual will conduct themselves unethically, immorally, and criminally in pursuit of self gain, and how they simply relocate, create a new persona and personal history, and then go on to start all over again within a new organisation, community, and set of victims.
We have already noted that narcissists are insatiable in their desires, impulsive, relentlessly driven and grandiose, and so from this combination of traits they can be said to be "swayed by all kinds of evil desires" in this way.
This line of prophecy from the Bible was written over 2000 years ago when the concept of Narcissism was not spoken of in such detail except in the Greek myth of Narcissus from where we today get the term Narcissism. Narcissists certainly existed in their day as seen by the Caesars of the Roman empire and from interpreting the cultural relics of Greece and Rome. The traits outlined in this prophecy can not in my opinion be attributed to any other persona or personality type other then what we today know as the Narcissist. The words lend the Bible a credibility that goes against the modern revisionism of the Bible as a mythic or fictional set of documents.
The body of knowledge concerning the psychology of Narcissism is in itself still evolving. Many of the current texts and self-help books fail to cover and recognise all the traits that this prophecy announces. The prophecy is from this perspective a stunningly accurate observation of this personality type with nuances and characteristics that are still very relevant today. In my opinion the originator of this prophecy was gifted with remarkable insight and understanding of this personality type.
What is also telling is that sociologists, psychologists, and media commentary are all announcing that we are now moving into an Age of Narcissism or that a cultural plague of Narcissism is affecting society. The Biblical prophecy also is stating that at a future time this would occur. Chillingly this is also predicted to occur in the period of our human future called "The End of Days". Certainly the world is now at an age where a range of crises and changes are wreaking havoc on various aspects of our existence. After a few false claims of the end of days being upon us over the last 2000 years one must wonder that the world certainly seems to becoming more problematic, chaotic, and dysfunctional leading to crisis after crisis. One could easily imagine such a setting for claims of the "End of Days". It is an interesting prophecy for our times!!
Article and Book References
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- Trauma and the Body – A Sensorimotor Approach to Psychotherapy; Ogden Pat etal, 2006, Norton & Co Publishers.
- Healing Trauma: Attachment, Mind, Body, and Brain; Siegel D. And Solomon D., 2003, Norton Publishing Group.
- The Feeling of What Happens; Damasio, A.; 1999, Harcourt & Brace Publishers.
- Wilhelm Reich: The Evolution of his Work; Boadella D., 1973, Penguin Books.
- Snakes in Suits – When Psychopaths go to Work, Babiak Paul & Hare Robert D., 2006, HarperCollins.
- An Age for Lucifer – Predatory Spirituality and The Quest For Godhood, Robert C. Tucker,1999, Holmes Publishing Group.
- You May Be a Narcissist If...How to Identify Narcissism In Ourselves and Others, Paul Meier, 2009, HarperCollins Books
- Narcissism: Denial of the Self, Lowen Alexander,1986, Bioenergetic Press.
- Identifying and Understanding the Narcissistic Personality, Ronningstam Elsa;2008,John Wiley & Sons.
- Feeing Yourself From The Narcissist in Your Life, Matinez-Lewi,2008,John Wiley & Sons
- People of The Lie, Peck Scott, 1983, Simon & Schuster.
- Disarming the Narcissist – Surviving and Thriving With The Self Absorbed, Behary Wendy T., 2008, New Harbinger Publications.
- King James Bible, various authors, 2000, International Edition, Bible Press.