Narcissism results in the molestation of the soul. This molestation starts in the one who engages in narcissism and continues with all who they relate to in any degree or depth. The molestation is against the natural way of being in which we are true to ourselves and others.
Narcissism is a distortion or lie which hurts the heart and soul of everyone it touches, much like someone who molests a child. Children are innocent. When a molester touches a child sexually, this molester corrupts the child’s soul with their unconscious evil. Similarly, a narcissist corrupts the soul of innocent people with their lies. By nature, innocent open hearted humans generally believe what other people say. We want to trust them and be open to how they present themselves. Narcissists take advantage of this innocence and feed on the power of lies. Narcissism is a disease that is passed from perpetrator to victim. Often narcissists experienced narcissistic abuse in childhood.
What is Narcissism?
Narcissism is a personality disorder defined in the DSM V (Diagnostic Statistical Manual) as “a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts.” According to diagnostic statistics on the Discovery Village Website, .5%-1% of the U.S. population are diagnosed with the disorder. In modern society, there appears to be an uprising of people who believe they have been abused by narcissists. It is my personal belief from experiences I’ve had at work and in dating, that narcissism is much more common than the statistics would indicate. I would estimate that 20% to 30% of the people I know display significant symptoms of narcissism. I believe we are all on the spectrum of narcissism just by nature of having egos. The more we accept these tendencies in ourselves the less we act from them.
Narcissism is Unconscious
Narcissists are not trying to be narcissists. It is a result of a deep and complex wounding structure that has made narcissists incapable of feeling their feelings and relating to others in a more authentic way. I call it evil because it distorts the soul. It’s evil in the sense that it is a pattern of unconscious action emanating out of fear and manipulation. It’s evil in that it has a harmful or detrimental effect on both the individual and the people with whom the individual comes into contact. Unchecked narcissism profoundly limits the potential in any interaction.
The narcissist unconsciously molests the innocence of anyone who believes their lies. Narcissists take advantage of and feed off of the goodness and trust in the ones they profess to love. At root, a narcissist feels fundamentally bad about themselves. We all feel this way somewhere inside at times. However, the narcissist hides this fundamental badness or the core wound that they can not ever feel or know about with an essential lie. Once the narcissist commits to this lie, they can never relax and be at ease again.
They must stay vigilant to avoid ever feeling the wounding trauma again. Many narcissists create a lie as to why it’s hard for them to form friendships or how people don’t understand them. My longtime mentor considered himself to be an especially deep feeler, and thought that no one could ever understand him. Yet it wasn’t his depth of feelings that made him hard to be with, it was the depth of his egotism and manipulation that turned everyone away from him.
The Narcissist Wound
All of us have core wounds from childhood. Much of our life path is a reaction to this core wounding. Many of us are not fully in touch with this wounding. Yet, the narcissist does something very special and disturbed with this wounding. They pretend it’s not there, or create a fake narrative around it, denying the truth of their actual experience. Nearly everyone denies the full extent of their trauma. If we didn’t it would be hard for us to live our lives. We simply cannot face everything all at once. The natural denial we all have is simply a lack of awareness of the impact of something. In the narcissist, however, it becomes a huge lie they’ve spun around it. The narcissists have suffered an extremely heavy blow to the ego in childhood. They have created a false self around this blow in order to never feel it or be vulnerable again. Instead of the wound, they have a story of grandeur which works around the essential trauma. This is completely different from the common kind of denial that everyone else lives within.
My former mentor had lost his sister at a young age. He had constructed a fantasy that he would learn to transcend death and bring her back as a result of his deep denial to the pain of losing her. He constructed a cult that hid his deep wounded inner core. His fantasy centered on believing in attaining immortality and transcending death. He was dreaming that he would and could one day be reunited with his sister on this side, I believe. When he dies, he may be reunited with his sister. However, some of the ego’s desires are not meant to be fully realized in life.
One narcissist who worked in my company was irate when I asked him to be vulnerable and open rather than continue to defend. He told me it was a crime for an employer to ask an employee to be vulnerable. This is because narcissists are terrified of true vulnerability.
Narcissists become masters of deception. They weave together lies and spin half truths to make you love and adore them. They play poker with human emotions and go through many of the motions of a loving connection. For example, in Northern California many narcissists love giving really deep hugs to show you how much they care. This is the culture of the open Californian. All of the motions of giving a hug in a culture valuing that seem right, but it doesn’t feel good. The narcissist feels nothing for the other person. They are walled off from themselves and incapable of real feelings until they confront their core wound and get honest with the truth of their self-deception.
DARVO: the Narcissist’s Weapon of Choice
I had never heard of DARVO before I began my study of narcissism. However, I have experienced many people using this weapon repeatedly and it always feels confusing.
The first step the narcissist takes is to deny the truth of another. D stands for Deny. The narcissist pushes away from their reality anything that doesn’t fit or maintain their falsely positive self image. You might share with them a way in which you felt hurt by them, and they immediately deny any responsibility for what you are feeling or what happened. Next they attack you. That’s what the A stands for. They attack you for feeling the way you feel and suddenly put you on the defensive when you were simply sharing your feelings. The clincher is what follows: Reverse Victim Offender relations. R stands for reverse, V stands for victim, and O stands for offender. DARVO is an amazing and awful strategy the narcissists use to manipulate reality.
In this reversal of victim and offender roles, the narcissist claims that you are blaming them. All of the sudden, they are victims of your emotional imbalance. If you’re used to relating with honest people, this doesn’t ever happen. When dealing with a narcissist, it’s easy to start to be confused and question yourself. You might ask yourself, “Was I in the wrong or misperceiving the situation?” Or, you might say to yourself, “They seem so certain of themselves and this was just a subtle feeling in me. Maybe they are right and I am wrong.”
The narcissistic abuse pattern is a kind of soul rape or emotional rape in which they defend their false self at all costs and try to hurt anyone they perceive as a threat to them. They rape every feeling that doesn’t conform to their self image. This rape can be subtle or overt.
Narcissists are proficient at turning your own gifts and strengths against you and using your kind of language and the things you say to find fault with you. They use DARVO in so many different kinds of ways it’s staggering. Sarcasm and jokes can be a disguise for it. Subtle belittling or put downs can be common. Even trying to support, while saying you are not as good as I am at this in a way that feels condescending. Narcissists deal in power. They absolutely require power and control at all costs, so they don’t get hurt again.
Anyone who has experienced the deleterious effects of DARVO knows firsthand how much a person can feel fucked with by this kind of psychological mainipulation and warfare. The narcissist is so desperately afraid of their ego being attacked that they are engaged in constant warfare against the outside world. Their warfare is almost always justified by a story of how many people have betrayed them and misunderstood their good intentions. This story hooks many of us because we all have stories of sincere betrayal and we can empathize with this.
Empaths: the Victims of Narcissists
People who have a tendency toward empathy often feel insecure about themselves. Empaths feel sensations from their immediate environment all the time, and have trouble telling what is theirs apart from their surroundings. With all these feelings and inputs to sort through, it can be difficult to know what is what. The narcissist, on the other hand, knows exactly what is happening. They generally have extreme confidence which is actually arrogance. The self-assuredness of the narcissist is very comforting to the empath who is unsure of most everything. Empaths are drawn to narcissist’s confidence, as we are seeking more confidence in ourselves.
Instead of closing off to the wound, the empaths open their heart to the wound. This creates psychic abilities and gifts. And, in the places where the empath has not fully loved their core wound, they have developed ways to protect themselves from any other kind of wounding.
Narcissists Rape Vulnerability
The narcissist is terrified of true vulnerability. They avoid it at all costs. Often they have found a way to create a false sense of vulnerability in order to fit into society and build friendships. This false vulnerability will always feel a little hollow to anyone who is sensitive. Not only are they terrified of it, they actively rape vulnerability and exploit it in others. When I say “they rape it,” I mean this metaphorically, although there are many literal narcisstic rapists. Rape is an act of narcissism. Rape is an act of taking power over another body. Similarly, the narcissist takes power over another’s heart, soul, and mind. The narcissist worms their way into a position of trust in your life and exploits that trust for their own advantage.
Since you can’t prove this on a physical level, they use this pain to create disassociation. They isolate their victims with this disassociation. Because the pain is often invisible, the victims of this pain start doubting themselves. The narcissist is experiencing dissociation already, as they need to stay out of their body to avoid their core wound. When they interact with others, they spread this dissociation and confusion to all their interactions.
The Narcissist Delusion
The narcissist takes advantage of this ability to draw others to them and uses the energy of empaths and others to empower their delusions. The more people believe in the narcissist’s sham, the more inflated the narcissist can be. Donald Trump is a great example of this. He took his sham of a personality all the way to becoming the president. Why did people vote for him? Are they stupidly looking for a savior, or are most of us just narcissists in hiding? I’m not certain of the answer to these important questions.
American Exceptionalism is Narcissistic
Growing up in the United States of America there’s so much narcissism. Just look at our name: we call it America, yet Canada, Mexico, and all of Central and South America are part of the Americas. So why do we take the name America, as if we are the sole America? We think we’re the best and that we’re better than everyone else. This isn’t just myopia: we are one of the most narcissistic countries on this planet. And, we are propagating our narcissism all over the world. I’ve always hated the narcissism at the root of this country.
Our World Breeds and Reinforces Narcissism
In our world, the ones who bravely declare themselves and their offerings succeed. Narcissists will do anything they can to get ahead in the world. They will often bury their fears and insecurities. The business world, built on the need to get ahead, is replete with narcissists. In fact, I had an employee who trained in ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) and I showed him the ropes. He became a BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) under my supervision. After four years, this person started a rival company and poached my employees and stole clients. When I voiced my ethical concerns, many people met this with the saying, “That’s just business.” No, it’s not just business, it’s evil cruelty, and an open hearted person would never engage with that.
The Path To Redemption
I believe any narcissist is capable of redemption, if they are willing to feel and be vulnerable. The narcissist must seek the real truth over their false idea of who they think they are in their minds. This is a tall order, as everything they have done in their life is to avoid their essential wounding. If a narcissist has a real desire to break free from the spell, they must find someone they trust who will hold their feet to the fire. The path to redemption is not an easy road.
I’ve worked with empaths recovering from narcissistic abuse, as well as with narcissists. I love both of these forms of work and I consider it a sacred calling. The first step in working with a narcissist is to build a bond with them in which they trust you enough for you to be real with them and for them to not run away from the truth. After this happens, we get to the essential strategy, which I call “narcissist whispering,” which is to love them gently sometimes, and other times directly and clearly debunk anything false or grandiose that they say.
Sacred anger is the guiding principle here. This is the anger an open heart feels in response to lies. Essentially, with their consent, I model for them how a healthy person relates to lies. Sacred rage and anger is in the service of the narcissist’s true potential. I derive no pleasure in having power over anyone. When they are in their true and vulnerable nature, I reinforce this with praise and gentle encouragement. This is the softer side of the whispering. The whispering is technically moving between gentle loving kindness and firm tough loving fierceness, as they call for it from their actions and behaviors.
We embody love for the narcissist’s true self. We don’t allow them to be false and we love them when they are true. Loving Our Way Out of Narcissism shows a path to this as well.
Developing Nardar to Stop the Spread
I’ve coined a term I call “nardar,” which is radar for narcissists. As you become more aware of narcissistic patterns, you will notice that narcissism is everywhere. I’ve had many narcissist lovers, employees, friends, and mentors. They are in every field or industry and they thrive in this society. The better you understand the spectrum of narcissism the easier it is to spot and help be a part of the cure for it.
Narcissists are not bad people at heart. In the heart, all people are united in love. If narcissists can return to their heart, they will find that their true goodness and potential has always been waiting for them. They have lost touch with their hearts and become unconsciously walled off in their wounding. Let’s stand together for the open heart. Let’s stand together for empathy and truth. Let’s take a stand against narcissism and support everyone in the recovery from narcissism and narcissistic abuse.
If you need help getting free of narcissistic patterns in yourself or narcissistic abuse from another, please reach out to Adam Bulbulia for coaching to support you.
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