Or, How too many cooks spoiled the Lawless America stew
We’ve been talking about narcissism in general like it’s a bad thing. But we are all narcissistic, narcissism is necessary to the development of a healthy ego. When we refer to someone as being narcissistic, we refer to a pathological condition, an unhealthy balance of narcissism. The exact causes of imbalance are unknown. Experts theorize that it is caused in a child, with a perfect combination of just the right genetic, social and psychological factors, by excessively doting care givers, by abusive and/or neglectful care givers or some other trauma. Simply put, it appears narcissism is a method of defense to protect a damaged ego.
There are varying degrees between normal narcissism (which is neither good, nor bad) and the extreme end of the narcissism scale, like Hitler. In between normal and a person with NPD (narcissistic personality disorder), there are the ordinary narcissists. Ordinary narcissists may not suffer from NPD but may have some narcissistic tendencies due to persecution, abuse or injury. In an effort to satisfy NSS, some ordinary narcissists seek external validation in groups that mirror an individual’s purpose.
In his publication ‘Collective Narcissism”, Dr. Sam Vaknin asserts that purpose driven groups take on a life of their own. The longer they are together, the more persecuted, the more intense the physical and emotional experiences are of the individuals, the stronger the bonds and the history are between individuals, then “the more rigorous might an assertion of a common pathology be”.
These groups begin to function as a narcissistic entity and become the ideal-hungry followers for the mirror-hungry leader. Dr. Vaknin provides a list of criteria, of which, if 5 are met indicate a pathological level of function:
- feel grandiose and self-important (e.g., they exaggerate the group's achievements and talents to the point of lying, demand to be recognized as superior - simply for belonging to the group and without commensurate achievement).
- are obsessed with group fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, unequalled brilliance, all-conquering ideals or political theories.
- are firmly convinced that the group is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status groups (or institutions).
- require excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation - or, failing that, wish to be feared and to be notorious (narcissistic supply).
- feel entitled. They expect unreasonable or special and favorable priority treatment. They demand automatic and full compliance with expectations. They rarely accept responsibility for their actions ("alloplastic defenses"). This often leads to anti-social behavior, cover-ups, and criminal activities on a mass scale.
- are "interpersonally exploitative", i.e., use others to achieve their own ends. This often leads to anti-social behavior, cover-ups, and criminal activities on a mass scale.
- are devoid of empathy. They are unable or unwilling to identify with or acknowledge the feelings and needs of other groups. This often leads to anti- social behavior, cover-ups, and criminal activities on a mass scale.
- are constantly envious of others or believes that they feel the same about them. This often leads to anti-social behavior, cover-ups, and criminal activities on a mass scale.
- are arrogant and sport haughty behaviors or attitudes coupled with rage when frustrated, contradicted, punished, limited, or confronted. This often leads to anti-social behavior, cover-ups, and criminal activities on a mass scale.
Susan Harbison (aka Snoozan) was right and wrong when she posted that Bill Windsor is not dangerous. The failure of Lawless America was predictable. Bill does not appear to be a danger to the general public. That may be one reason why Bill is not named by the SPLC. I sleep better at night knowing we have experts watching groups like this one, that know because of the inherent dynamic it will never get any real traction. But, some of Bill’s associates are named by the SPLC, they are still active. It’s the groups with a single purpose and narcissistic pathology we need to keep an eye on. If Susan still wants to argue that Bill is not a danger, she should check in with Wynette Boushie and the University of Montana.
Collective narcissism is not always a bad thing. It was collective narcissism through which this country was founded. Religions and patriotism are also examples of collective narcissism. Without purpose driven groups there would be no balance, no change, no progress – for the good and betterment of society we need and should not oppose or censure purpose groups with healthy narcissism.