Narcissists: Among the Most Dangerous Predators Walking the Earth
Written by Narcissistic Abuse Expert and Coach, Randi Fine
Author of Close Encounters of the Worst Kind Second Edition: The Narcissistic Abuse Survivor’s Comprehensive Guide to Healing and Recovery©
Narcissistic Abuse Awareness and Guidance with Randi Fine
dānjər - a person or thing that is likely to cause harm or injury.
Have you ever felt as if there was something inside you wreaking havoc in your life, and you weren't sure exactly what it was? Have you ever felt as if anger and fear lurked around every corner when no danger was actually there? Have you lost the essence of who you are and don't know why? Are you reacting in ways that are incompatible with your personality? Are you becoming more and more dependent on someone to tell you who you are? Are you finding it difficult to make simple decisions?
The simple explanation for all these experiences is...your mind has been hijacked.
Who or what could possibly take your mind over this way without your awareness or consent? Why can't you regain control of these things? There is a simple answer to all these questions. You've been brainwashed by the grand-master of the art, a narcissist.
Is this really possible? In the article Brainwashing As A Criminal Offense, written for The Criminal Law Review, the following is stated:
"Brainwashing is used to describe an abrupt, induced attitudinal change. Methods used to induce this change include isolation, monopolization, debilitation and exhaustion, drugs, torture, enforcement of routine, and hypnosis."
In the article, How Brainwashing Works, written by Julia Layton & Alia Hoyt for the online magazine, How Stuff Works, they share psychologist Robert Jay Lifton's defined set of steps that are involved in the brainwashing cases he studied from former prisoners of Korean War and Chinese war camps. Narcissists use the same process. This is serious mind control.
Breaking down the self
Assault on identity: You are not who you think you are. This is a systematic attack on a target's sense of self (also called his identity or ego) and his core belief system. The agent denies everything that makes the target who he is: "You are not a soldier." "You are not a man." "You are not defending freedom." The target is under constant attack for days, weeks or months, to the point that he becomes exhausted, confused and disoriented. In this state, his beliefs seem less solid.
Guilt: You are bad. While the identity crisis is setting in, the agent is simultaneously creating an overwhelming sense of guilt in the target. He repeatedly and mercilessly attacks the subject for any "sin" the target has committed, large or small. He may criticize the target for everything from the "evilness" of his beliefs to the way he eats too slowly. The target begins to feel a general sense of shame that everything he does is wrong.
Self-betrayal: Agree with me that you are bad. Once the subject is disoriented and drowning in guilt, the agent forces him (either with the threat of physical harm or of continuance of the mental attack) to denounce his family, friends and peers who share the same "wrong" belief system that he holds. This betrayal of his own beliefs and of people he feels a sense of loyalty to increases the shame and loss of identity the target is already experiencing.
Breaking point: Who am I, where am I and what am I supposed to do? With his identity in crisis, experiencing deep shame and having betrayed what he has always believed in, the target may undergo what in the lay community is referred to as a "nervous breakdown." In psychology, "nervous breakdown" is really just a collection of severe symptoms that can indicate any number of psychological disturbances. It may involve uncontrollable sobbing, deep depression and general disorientation. The target may have lost his grip on reality and have the feeling of being completely lost and alone. When the target reaches his breaking point, his sense of self is pretty much up for grabs — he has no clear understanding of who he is or what is happening to him. At this point, the agent sets up the temptation to convert to another belief system that will save the target from his misery.
Layton and Hoyt explain the steps this way: "First, the brainwasher shows leniency. With the target in a state of crisis, the agent offers some small kindness or reprieve from the abuse. He may offer the target a drink of water or take a moment to ask the target what he misses about home. In a state of breakdown resulting from an endless psychological attack, the small kindness seems huge and the target may experience a sense of relief and gratitude completely out of proportion to the offering, as if the agent has saved his life. Next, the brainwasher offers an opportunity for confession. For the first time in the brainwashing process, the target is faced with the contrast between the guilt and pain of identity assault and the sudden relief of leniency. The target may feel a desire to reciprocate the kindness offered to him, and at this point, the agent may present the possibility of confession as a means to relieving guilt and pain.
Guilt is the real reason many subjects are in pain. After weeks or months of assault, confusion, breakdown and moments of leniency, the target's guilt has lost all meaning — he's not sure what he has done wrong, he just knows he is wrong. This creates something of a blank slate that lets the agent fill in the blanks: He can attach that guilt, that sense of "wrongness," to whatever he wants. The agent attaches the target's guilt to the belief system the agent is trying to replace. The target comes to believe it is his belief system that is the cause of his shame. The contrast between old and new has been established: The old belief system is associated with psychological (and usually physical) agony; and the new belief system is associated with the possibility of escaping that agony."
Narcissists are dangerous. The danger is not usually physical (in some cases it can be), but it is mental, emotional and psychological. Within days of meeting someone, they have the ability to hijack the person's mind. So adept at destroying someone from the inside out, physical violence is rarely needed. Those who physically abuse often have additional components of Anti-Social Personality Disorder (psychopathy or sociopathy).
Simply put, narcissists quickly infiltrate the psyche of their targets and then maneuver their minds around like a puppet master. Their goal is to destroy their targets slowly and tortuously. No other predator walking this Earth uses that method. Predatory animals kill their prey quickly, and they don't do it for sport like narcissists do. They do it because they have to eat to stay alive.
Narcissistic predators abound in society. You must be diligent in prevention. Determine who they are and don't allow them to get close enough to trap you. Your very survival depends on it.