Let me start by making this clear. I am not saying my brother David has a narcissistic personality disorder, I am simply trying to understand why my brother would do what he has done, and why he would lie to both myself and my mother just for financial gain. I am searching for a reason, an explanation that works, and closure – I read the article below by David Holmes, psychology lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University and it struck a chord. It is food for thought only.
Narcissistic personality disorder:
- Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
- Expecting to be recognised as superior even without achievements that warrant it
- Believing that they are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
- Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner
- Having a sense of entitlement
- Expecting special favours and unquestioning compliance with their expectations
- Taking advantage of others to get what they want
- A tendency to bully and intimidate then feel no remorse
- Having an inability or unwillingness to recognise the needs and feelings of others
- Being envious of others and believing others envy them
- Exaggerating their achievements and talents
- Requiring constant admiration
- Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
All sound familiar? If so, you may know somebody with narcissistic personality disorder.
If they’ve got it, you’ll know – People with narcissistic personality disorder exhibit traits that make it fairly easy to spot. Above all, it’s characterised by selfishness, according to David Holmes, psychology lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University.
“They have a very, very high valuation of themselves,” he says. “They think of themselves as people of note who deserve attention, no matter who they are.
“They can only relate to people of a high standing. They tend to be very dismissive of people they perceive as ordinary.”
Being the person trying to bring a narcissist back to earth can result in “abrupt violence or vitriol” – even if what you’re saying is clearly recognisable as the truth.
If it doesn’t fit the narcissist’s imaginary success narrative, it’s not true.
It might be the parents’ fault… Dr Holmes hypothesises that very encouraging parents can fan the flames of narcissism in young people.
“It happens to quite ordinary individuals,” he says.
“They’ve often been preferentially treated by parents. There are often very nurturing, supportive parents who will tell them they’re very good at something even when they aren’t.
Personality disorders “tend to come in twos and threes”, says Dr Holmes, with psychopathy and narcissism closely linked. What many of the disorders in the cluster share, however, is callousness.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing in the cut and thrust of business, or even politics, these days.
“They don’t care. They will sacrifice others just to make a few extra quid,” says Dr Holmes.
“People with these disorders tend to be more common in the upper echelons of life – among business leaders, bosses, financial whizzkids. Anything where callousness does help you in terms of your career.”
The associated unshakable self-belief can also be a benefit.
Treatment isn’t much use
“You can treat it,” says Dr Holmes. “You can try to erode these feelings, try to get them to be more empathetic.”
But you can’t cure it – and even current treatment strategies are not that effective.
“It will revert back to where it was before, more often than not,” he says.
“These are not episodes, this is lifelong. It starts in childhood, it gets worse in adolescence, and it moderates slightly in middle age.”
Negative Emotions. Many narcissists enjoy spreading and arousing negative emotions to gain attention, feel powerful, and keep you insecure and off-balance. They are easily upset at any real or perceived slights or inattentiveness. They may throw a tantrum if you disagree with their views, or fail to meet their expectations. They are extremely sensitive to criticism, and typically respond with heated argument (fight) or cold detachment (flight). On the other hand, narcissists are often quick to judge, criticize, ridicule, and blame you. Some narcissists are emotionally abusive. By making you feel inferior, they boost their fragile ego, and feel better about themselves.
Manipulation: Using Others as an Extension of Self. Making decisions for others to suit one’s own needs. The narcissist may use his or her romantic partner, child, friend, or colleague to meet unreasonable self-serving needs, fulfil unrealised dreams, or cover up self-perceived inadequacies and flaws.
Another way narcissists manipulate is through guilt, such as proclaiming, “I’ve given you so much, and you’re so ungrateful,” or, “I’m a victim—you must help me or you’re not a good person.” They hijack your emotions, and beguile you to make unreasonable sacrifices.
He’s lost out . . . .
Footnote: I have struggled to understand the actions of my brother on the last day of my mother’s life. She was taken to hospital with a suspected stroke and after being under observation for a several hours her condition worsened and David was informed by the hospital she would most likely not make it through the night. He did not call me to tell me this.
He drove for some considerable time to get to the hospital and still he did not inform me. He stayed with my mother for hours and watched her die and still he did not call me. After she passed away he drove home to bed and still he did not call me.
I called the hospital at 8.00am to be informed she was dead.
I could have made it to the hospital to see her but David chose to take that option from me – why?
He still didn’t call me later in the day to inform me but he found time for witty banter on social media later that day . . . .
DC: If it’s any consolation, Sue doesn’t know anything about this. I’ve never told Sue. I never discuss anything like this with my wife.
DC: It’s none of her business.
AC: Bloody Hell! . . . Gosh. . . .
IC: It’s between you two boys.
AC: I can see . . . . . Are you still in rough patch with Sue or?
DC: Point of Equilibrium. I don’t think we’re any different from anybody that’s been married 20 years to be honest from what I can observe.
I cannot but mention . . . .
To be perfectly frank I think I do deserve . . .
If he was thinking of you . . . .
My Mother died 13 September 2014 – Not only did I have to deal with the trauma of losing my mother, I was also now faced with trying to understand what had really happened. It would be months before I could obtain any information because my brother David was now sole executor and in complete control. This was bad enough but it could have been so much worse if I hadn’t had the opportunity to speak to my mother about it first – I would never have understood how this could have happened. I would never know the truth. At least this way I had been told by my mother face to face what she wanted and David could not take that away.
What’s a Narcissist’s Punishment? By Darius Cikanavicius
How Abusers Get Away with Their Behaviour
People with strong narcissistic, psychopathic, or sociopathic tendencies, abusers, manipulators, and otherwise harmful people tend to hurt others. Sometimes they do it overtly, even proudly, and in other cases it’s covert or maybe even unconscious. Sometimes it’s well planned and calculated, while other times it’s careless and reactionary.
Sometimes these people are identified and are forced to accept the consequences of their wrongdoings, while other times they get away with their behaviour. And in certain social environments they, horrifyingly, are rewarded for their narcissistic and otherwise hurtful behaviour.
It’s no surprise that people who like to abuse and manipulate others tend to look for positions of power. They seek careers as CEO’s, lawyers, politicians, police officers, celebrities, and so on. Some go into helping and teaching fields and work as doctors, therapists, priests, or teachers.
All of it serves two purposes. One, you have (legal) power over others. And two, you are perceived as respectable, educated, even caring, so you increase your chances of getting away with your bad behaviour.
On top of that, people with malignant narcissistic tendencies can be really smart and cunning. They become experts at gaslighting, deception, and manipulation, so much so that they confuse others by their behaviour but no one can quite put their finger on why. Many bystanders don’t even care about the truth. These kinds of people flourish in today’s outrage culture since many people are lightning quick to find a reason to feel angry and act out, and consequently they are easily controlled and manipulated by those seeking power over others.
As a result of all of those and other factors, hurtful people sometimes get away with their behaviour with no negative consequences. Or do they?
What’s a Perpetrator’s Punishment?
While sometimes it is indeed true that there are no significant external consequences for a hurtful person’s actions, it’s not that simple either. There are always internal consequences for everything. And this is what matters the most.
Sadly, it’s true that sometimes our society tends to reward certain narcissistic behaviours and character traits: power, deception, aggressive behaviour, possessions, and other status symbols. But if we understand that these things don’t bring us a true sense of happiness, then we don’t see them as huge rewards. In many cases, they can be seen as punishments more than rewards because the person valuing and receiving it is less likely to change and grow.
If status symbols were an accurate indicator of true happiness, then all these rich, famous, powerful people would be the happiest people in the world: CEOs, politicians, celebrities, famous Internet people, etc. But to anybody who understands anything about psychology it is quite clear that they are not happy people. Some of them even kill themselves because they would rather be dead than stay in their toxic social and internal environment, despite of all the money, power, fame, sex, and acclaim that they have accumulated.
Do you think people who beat, rape, shout at, con, and otherwise abuse others are happy people? Do you think you can abuse a child and still be a genuinely happy person? Do you think you can sexually and physically abuse someone and feel authentic happiness?
Do you think it really matters that some of them have money or a respectable job? Sure, money can provide a sense of safety, and having social power can indeed be useful. But ultimately, the price that they pay for it is an even bigger loss of self. This makes their feelings of misery and self-loathing even stronger. And it’s not like they wake up one day and change their mind and behaviour. All the lies, deception, hiding, being abusive, creating stories and justifications, fighting with people—all of it continues to spread and pile up.
Eventually decent people don’t want to associate with them, but they are older and more miserable, so they start feeling more and more desperation. Some of them try to change their behaviour out of fear of mortality or loneliness or need for narcissistic supply. Some try to guilt-trip or shame or bully others into giving them resources, but it becomes harder and harder.
You can’t concentrate on external things and status symbols and be happy. You can’t be happy and abusive at the same time. You can’t mistreat and manipulate others and be happy. That’s not what real happiness is about.
Real happiness comes from within, from a strong sense of self, from growing as a human being, from being a decent person. So if your core self is rotten, if you are severely disconnected, if you are not growing, and if you are a hurtful person, it’s impossible to be genuinely happy. The best you can do is desperately manage your shaky and skewed false self.
So what’s a malignant narcissist’s punishment?
It’s their existence. It’s their inner prison. It’s waking up every day into their life that—despite possessions, power, and status symbols that they may have—they hate deep down. And then one day they die, and it’s all over. That’s the sad reality of a wasted and miserable life. And that’s their natural punishment.If you can keep your head when all about youAre losing theirs and blaming it on you,If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,But make allowance for their doubting too;If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;If you can meet with Triumph and DisasterAnd treat those two impostors just the same;If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spokenTwisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winningsAnd risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,And lose, and start again at your beginningsAnd never breathe a word about your loss;If you can force your heart and nerve and sinewTo serve your turn long after they are gone,And so hold on when there is nothing in youExcept the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,If all men count with you, but none too much;If you can fill the unforgiving minuteWith sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
Nothing is ever settled until it’s settled right – Rudyard Kipling