Jacki Kellum

Juxtapositions: Read My Mind

Category: Empathy

A Narcissist Might be the Most Evil Person that You Know

Several years ago, I read Scott Peck’s book People of the Lie. I had suffered from a particularly painful experience that involved another person who absolutely seemed to have no empathy at all. Without empathy, there can be no conscience, and without conscience, evil can easily occur because people who cannot feel for others never see their own behaviors–in regard to those others. It has been 25 years since I read the book, but if I am not mistaken, excessive narcissism is essentially the phenomenon that Peck addressed in People of the Lie. The book opened my eyes.

In this absorbing and equally inspiring companion volume to his classic trilogy—The Road Less Traveled, Further Along the Road Less Traveled, and The Road Less Traveled and Beyond—Dr. M. Scott Peck brilliantly probes into the essence of human evil. – Amazon

Narcissism is a complex issue and narcissists appear in many shapes and forms. But most narcissists have a glaring lack of empathy, which is a kind of numbness. In my opinion, the anecdote to numbness is the ability to see. By this, I don’t mean the ability to look. Looking and seeing are two separate things. Even flies can look. Looking is nothing more than image recognition. Seeing is a deeper thing. It has to do with perceiving, with understanding, and with feeling. Seeing has to do with empathy, and empathy is not the same thing as having sympathy. Sympathy can be nothing more than pity. Empathy is an ability to feel another’s pain.

Douglas LaBier, Ph.D., a business psychologist and psychoanalytic psychotherapist, is the Director of the Center for Progressive Development in Washington, DC. LaBier distinguishes between empathy and sympathy, and he points out that many of the people who have lost empathy are the people who have become obsessed with acquiring–with greediness.

“But many of the people I see everyday, whether in psychotherapy or executive consulting, struggle with their own versions of the same thing through too much emphasis on acquiring – both things and people. That’s going to promote vanity and self-importance. Then, you become increasingly alienated from your own heart, and equate what you have with who you are.” Read More Here

Narcissists Are All Around Us.

In fact, a narcissist is probably the evilest person in many of our circles, but narcissists have the skill to make other people question themselves and not the narcissist. In this post, I will point out some important things to know about narcissists.

Important Things to Understand about Narcissism

Being Successful Is Not the Same As Being Correct

Because many of the most successful and powerful people among us are severe narcissists, the lines become fuzzy. Too often, we correlate being successful with being correct, and that is not always true.

Narcissists Are Masters of Deception

Another confusing detail is that when it is to a narcissist’s advantage, he/she can be relentlessly charming. A narcissist’s charm is his most powerful weapon. Since other people seem to love the narcissist, we begin to doubt ourselves and not the narcissist.

Narcissists Deceive Themselves

Perhaps the most frustrating thing about a narcissist is that he/she is absolutely unaware of any of his/her wrongdoing. Like an alcoholic, if a person cannot see a problem, the problem cannot be fixed. There simply is no reasoning with a narcissist about any way that you feel you have been wronged or even misunderstood.

Narcissists React Violently to Criticism

In my experience, confronting a narcissist about how he/she has hurt you is an effort in futility. A narcissist, who cannot tolerate criticism at all, is only enraged by confrontation.

Narcissists Are Vindictive

And then there’s hell to pay.

For more information about narcissism, the following article from Psychology Today is helpful:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolution-the-self/201311/6-signs-narcissism-you-may-not-know-about

The following are some of the narcissists’ traits mentioned in Psychology Today:

1. Narcissists are highly reactive to criticismOr anything they assume or interpret as negatively evaluating their personality or performance….

2. A narcissist has low  self-esteem [but seems to be overly self-assured] This facet of his psyche is complicated because superficially, a narcissist appears to be highly self-confident.

3. A narcissist can be inordinately self-righteous and defensive. Needing so much to protect his overblown but fragile ego, a narcissist’s ever-vigilant defense system can be extraordinarily easy to set off.

4. A narcissist reacts to contrary viewpoints with anger or rage. [But because narcissists are masters of charm and deception, that rage may not be obvious to others. Like a ticking time bomb, the rage may be hidden, out of sight, but it is still threatening].

5. A narcissist projects onto others qualities, traits, and behaviors they can’t—or won’t—accept in themselves.

6. A narcissist unconsciously views others as “extensions” of himself and regards others to serve their own needs.

7. A narcissist routinely put his own needs before everyone else’s.

8. A narcissist has no empathy.

In closing, if I did not see myself in at least part of the above list, I would be the very worst person of the lie.  I absolutely do have some of the very unattractive qualities named above, and I continuously appraise myself and buffet myself–seeking to keep potential problems in check. Therein is the distinction, and I believe my own saving grace: I DO recognize some of my own negative behaviors.  A severe narcissist does not.

Image result for jacki kellum queen of denial

Have you met the Queen of Denial? She is probably a narcissist.

©Jacki Kellum September 11, 2017

Sympathy

It Is Better to Light A Candle Than Curse the Darkness – A Prayer for Empathy

“It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Our world has become a dangerous and confusing place to live. Innocent people–even those who have dedicated their lives to keeping peace and to helping the community–are senselessly murdered, and they are often killed by another person who doesn’t even know them or who doesn’t have a personal quarrel with them. The murderers are simply others who have completely lost empathy or the ability to care.

Empathy is “the power of understanding and imaginatively entering into another person’s feelings. It is an identification with and an understanding of another’s situation, feelings, and motives.”

If a mass murderer stopped to think about all of the children that he was leaving fatherless or motherless before he began randomly pulling a trigger, he might reconsider his senseless taking of lives,  but mass murderers seem to have lost the capacity to think empathetically. And mass murderers are not the only people who lack empathy. Lack of empathy is global and it is poisonous. It is at the root of greed and wickedness. It also enables simple misdeeds, like the abandonment of children so that a parent can pursue another romance or whim. Lack of empathy also allows the selfish social climber or the power-hungry to run over everyone that they feel is blocking them from reaching their goals. Lack of empathy is destructive on many levels.

I write about the problems associated with lack of empathy quite often. People from every country in the world have read one of my blogs, which, at the time of this writing, has  been viewed about 64,000 times and by people in every country of the world. Yet, I doubt if my writing has actually changed anyone else’s behavior. Perhaps it has helped other people to begin to think and to begin to look introspectively, and that is good, but In reality, my primary goal in  writing is not that of saving the world. My primary goal in writing is that of saving myself.

Writing is the way that I refresh my own awareness of every aspect of my life, and it is the way that I organize my thoughts. It is also the way that I seek to understand why people do the thoughtless things that they do, but above all else, my writing is the way that I monitor myself and shine a light on my own motives. I continuously assess myself for signs of lack of empathy.

There are people who have offended me, and I realize that I have also offended others. The dynamics of the offenses take on lives of their own. The simple and thoughtless reaction to an offense is to form a grudge or to become vindictive, but the healtheir stance stems from empathy. When people hurt me–even when they anger me–I can always discern the reasons for their behaviors–the things that have not been ideal in their lives that may have caused them to act in the ways that they do. I have discovered, however, that most people do not have the ability to see situations through the eyes of others. While mutual empathy may have allowed a situation to be resolved. lack of mutual empathy creates impenetrable walls.

It is unrealistic to believe that everyone in the world will be perfect and that all of us will cease from doing things that hurt and anger others. While I would like for that to happen, I know that it will not. But I do wish that everyone in the world would become more empathetic. I often write about denial, and lack of empathy and denial are closely connected. As long as our own states of denial enshroud us and prevent us from seeing our own behaviors, we will persist with lack of empathy. I pray that all of us could remove the gauze that prevents us from seeing ourselves. I pray for enlightenment–that all of us could become aware of our own misdeeds and the ways that we continue to offend. I also pray that we could all learn to understand the reasons that other people behave as they do–to be more empathetic.

Eleanor Roosevelt said that it is better to light a  candle than to curse the darkness, and I pray for Eleanor Roosevelt’s candle in my life, so that I can continue to examine my own behaviors, and my greatest wish for the world is that everyone else would light their own candles, too.

Think about it: If every person in the world would scrutinize himself and light a candle in his own heart, there would be no darkness at all.

It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness. Eleanor Roosevelt

©Jacki Kellum May 6, 2017

Better

It’s Better to Light A Candle Than Curse the Darkness – A Reason That I Write

“It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Our world has become a dangerous and confusing place to live. Innocent people–even those who have dedicated their lives to keeping peace and to helping the community–are senselessly murdered, and they are often killed by another person who doesn’t even know them or who doesn’t have a personal quarrel with them. The murderers are simply others who have completely lost empathy or the ability to care.

Empathy is “the power of understanding and imaginatively entering into another person’s feelings. It is an identification with and understanding of another’s situation, feelings, and motives.”

If a mass murderer stopped to think about all of the children that he was leaving fatherless or motherless before he began randomly pulling a trigger, he might reconsider his senseless taking of lives,  but mass murderers seem to have lost the capacity to think empathetically. And mass murderers are not the only people who lack empathy. Lack of empathy is global and it is poisonous. It is at the root of greed and anger, and it enables parents to abandon their children to pursue another romance or whim. Lack of empathy also allows the selfish social climber or the power hungry to run over everyone that they feel is blocking them from reaching their goals. Lack of empathy is destructive on many levels.

I write about the problem with lack of empathy quite often. People from every country in the world have read one of my blogs, which, at the time of this writing, has  been viewed 50, 877 times and by people in every country of the world. Yet, I doubt if my writing has actually changed anyone else’s behavior. Perhaps it has helped other people to begin to think and to begin to look introspectively, and that is good, but In reality, my primary goal in  writing is not that of saving the world. My primary goal in writing is that of saving myself.

Writing is the way that I refresh my own awareness of every aspect of my life, and it is the way that I organize my thoughts. It is also the way that I seek to understand why people do the thoughtless things that they do, but above all else, my writing is the way that I monitor myself and shine a light on my own motives.

Eleanor Roosevelt said that it is better to light a  candle than to curse the darkness, and while I would love to believe that through my blog, I enlighten the world, I realize that I do not. The more important thing, however, is that through my writing, I shine a light on my own darkness, and hopefully, that has become a torch that leads my way.

Think about it: If every person in the world would scrutinize himself and light a candle in his own heart, there would be no darkness at all.

It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness. Eleanor Roosevelt

©Jacki Kellum October 14, 2016

Candle

© 2017 Jacki Kellum

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