Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Limits of Humiliation

Malignant Self Love - Narcissistic Humiliation and Injury by Dr. Sam Vaknin

As do normal people – only more so. The narcissist is regularly and strongly humiliated by things, which, normally, do not constitute a humiliation. It would be safe to say that the emotional life of the narcissist is tinted by ubiquitous and recurrent humiliation.

Any event, action, inaction, utterance, or thought, which negate or can be construed to negate the uniqueness or the grandiose superiority of the narcissist – humiliate him. Living in a big city, belonging to a group of peers, any sign of disapproval, disagreement, criticism, or remonstrance – reduce him to a state of insulted, sulking agitation.

The narcissist interprets everything as addressed to his person ("ad hominem") rather than to his actions. The list of things, real or imagined, by which a narcissist might be slighted is dizzying indeed. When contradicted, when deprived of special treatment, when subjected to an attitude or comment which he judges to contravene his grandiose, superior self-image or his sense of entitlement – he is beside himself with indignant rage.

Real Clear Politics - The Frog Jumps Out of the Pot

This also implies that the assumption that the newfound intransigence of the right is a temporary "fever" that will break after enough political humiliation—which is the theory behind President Obama's shutdown strategy—is wrong. This looks more like a fundamental, long-term hardening of opposition on the right to the expansion of government.
And it's not just the further expansion of government. To a large extent, this is a backlash against prior expansions of government. You have probably heard about Frog Pot Syndrome, in which a frog placed into a pot of water supposedly will allow itself to be boiled so long as you turn up the heat slowly. Each incremental increase in temperature is too small to be noticed until it's too late, and the frog is cooked to death. My sense of the Tea Party reaction on the right is that the recession, the bailouts, and above all ObamaCare simply turned up the heat too quickly. The frog suddenly realized it was being boiled and jumped out of the pot.

Of course if you begin with the supposition that Republicans are "reckless" and ignore the fact that debt-ceiling brinksmanship is nothing new, what you want is probably to have your prejudices reinforced, not to understand. And Greenberg does deliver. His organization, Democracy Corps, "issued a report this week on six focus groups conducted with Republican subgroups--two each with Tea Partiers, evangelicals and moderate Republicans."

Bloomberg - Why Republicans Shut Down the Government

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