The narcissist cruises through his life as a tourist would through an exotic island. He observes events and people, his own experiences and loved ones - as a spectator would a movie that at times is mildly exciting and at others mildly boring. He is never fully there, entirely present, irreversibly committed. He is constantly with one hand on his emotional escape hatch, ready to bail out, to absent himself, to re-invent his life in another place, with other people. The narcissist is a coward, terrified of his True Self and protective of the deceit that is his new existence. He feels no pain. He feels no love. He feels no life.
III. Immunity and Magical Thinking
The narcissist's magical thinking and his alloplastic defences (his tendency to blame others for his failures, defeats, and misfortune) make him feel immune to the consequences of his actions. The narcissist does not feel the need to plan ahead. He believes that things will "sort themselves out" under the aegis of some cosmic plan which revolves around him and his role in history.
In many respects, narcissists are children. Like children, they engage in magical thinking. They feel omnipotent. They feel that there is nothing they couldn't do or achieve had they only really wanted to. They feel omniscient - they rarely admit that there is anything that they do not know. They believe that all knowledge resides within them. They are haughtily convinced that introspection is a more important and more efficient (not to mention easier to accomplish) method of obtaining knowledge than the systematic study of outside sources of information in accordance with strict (read: tedious) curricula. To some extent, they believe that they are omnipresent because they are either famous or about to become famous. Deeply immersed in their delusions of grandeur, they firmly believe that their acts have - or will have - a great influence on mankind, on their firm, on their country, on others. Having learned to manipulate their human environment to a masterly extent - they believe that they will always "get away with it".
Narcissistic immunity is the (erroneous) feeling, harboured by the narcissist, that he is immune to the consequences of his actions. That he will never be effected by the results of his own decisions, opinions, beliefs, deeds and misdeeds, acts, inaction and by his membership of certain groups of people. That he is above reproach and punishment (though not above adulation). That, magically, he is protected and will miraculously be saved at the last moment.
What are the sources of this unrealistic appraisal of situations and chains of events?
The first and foremost source is, of course, the False Self. It is constructed as a childish response to abuse and trauma. It is possessed of everything that the child wishes he had in order to retaliate: power, wisdom, magic - all of them unlimited and instantaneously available. The False Self, this Superman, is indifferent to abuse and punishment inflicted upon it. This way, the True Self is shielded from the harsh realities experienced by the child. This artificial, maladaptive separation between a vulnerable (but not punishable) True Self and a punishable (but invulnerable) False Self is an effective mechanism. It isolates the child from the unjust, capricious, emotionally dangerous world that he occupies. But, at the same time, it fosters a false sense of "nothing can happen to me, because I am not there, I cannot be punished because I am immune".
The second source is the sense of entitlement possessed by every narcissist. In his grandiose delusions, the narcissist is a rare specimen, a gift to humanity, a precious, fragile, object. Moreover, the narcissist is convinced both that this uniqueness is immediately discernible - and that it gives him special rights. The narcissist feels that he is protected under some cosmological law pertaining to "endangered species". He is convinced that his future contribution to humanity should (and does) exempt him from the mundane: daily chores, boring jobs, recurrent tasks, personal exertion, orderly investment of resources and efforts and so on. The narcissist is entitled to "special treatment": high living standards, constant and immediate catering to his needs, the avoidance of any encounter with the mundane and the routine, an all-engulfing absolution of his sins, fast track privileges (to higher education, in his encounters with the bureaucracy). Punishment is for ordinary people (where no great loss to humanity is involved). Narcissists are entitled to a different treatment and they are above it all.
The third source has to do with their ability to manipulate their (human) environment. Narcissists develop their manipulative skills to the level of an art form because that is the only way they could have survived their poisoned and dangerous childhood. Yet, they use this "gift" long after its usefulness is over. Narcissists are possessed of inordinate abilities to charm, to convince, to seduce and to persuade. They are gifted orators. In many cases, they ARE intellectually endowed. They put all this to the bad use of obtaining Narcissistic Supply. Many of them are con-men, politicians, or artists. Many of them do belong to the social and economic privileged classes. They mostly do get exempted many times by virtue of their standing in society, their charisma, or their ability to find the willing scapegoats. Having "got away with it" so many times - they develop a theory of personal immunity, which rests on some kind of societal and even cosmic "order of things". Some people are just above punishment, the "special ones", the "endowed or gifted ones". This is the "narcissistic hierarchy".
- Created: 02 January 2008
- Last Updated: 21 August 2014