Around seven years ago, I went through a big ‘birur’ process around the topic of dealing with narcissists.
I wrote a lot about my experiences on one of my old blogs, and this morning, seeing all the ‘cognitive dissonance’ occurring in Israel and other parts of the Jewish community – where we know ‘the State’ is not our friend, but we can’t quite manage to break out of the brainwashing yet – I thought I’d rehash some of it here.
But updated to reflect the fact that we are all currently dealing with a Narcissist Motherland that has been brainwashing us from the cradle, about how great, and fantastic and holy and good it is.
So, let’s begin with this:
The Narcissist MotherLand’s 10 Commandments:
- I am your motherland. My opinion is the only one that counts in the media, in schools, and in your social media interactions.
- Thou shalt not worship anyone other than me – and especially not Hashem.
- Nothing is more important than keeping up appearances, so please keep spending more taxpayer’s money on yet more flags and big posters and ‘media campaign’s bigging up the army while the soldiers in the field don’t even have basic supplies or flak jackets.
- Thou shalt remember my (fake…) secular holidays and keep them holy.
- Respect your fatherland and motherland (if you don’t want to end up in the chokie….)
- Thou shalt kill anyone who makes me look bad – anyway you can.
- Thou shalt slander anyone who disagrees with me, or dares to challenge ‘the mainstream view’ of my actions.
- Thou shalt lie to cover up all my bad actors and evil behaviour.
- Thou shalt take the blame for any problems I’m causing, especially if you are a sincerely religious Jew.
- Thou shalt put all of your time, resources and energy at my disposal, and expect nothing in return.
I have come to the conclusion that this big, massive klippah we are currently struggling to fight can basically captured with the broad term ‘narcissism’.
The more we uproot ‘narcissism’ from our inner world, our private lives, our own interactions, and spot how it really ‘operates’ in the world, the easier it gets to spot the ‘bad actors’ in the wider world.
The people who are still under the spell of ‘narcissism’ in their own private lives will find it v.v.v. hard, bordering on impossible, to figure out what is really going on here, with our narcissist motherland – and other bad actors who are serving the forces of evil.
So that end, here is another snippet of something I wrote seven years ago, called ‘Leaving the Cult’.
A few notes, before you read on.
I’ve kept the wording to refer to ‘parents’ here, but really, it can and should be applied to anyone, anything, in a position of authority in our lives – including elected officials, ‘influencers’, rabbis, doctors, and anyone else that we elevate into a position of telling us what to do.
And of course, also our ‘motherland’ itself.
NPD stands for Narcissistic Personality Disorder – but I’ve moved on from believing in unfixable personality disorders at this stage.
Everything is just a function of bad middot, and everything, everything, can be fixed with enough prayer, sincere remorse, putting God firmly in the picture, and connecting back to the advice of our real Tzaddikim, like Rebbe Nachman and Rav Berland.
So, bear in mind that this was written a while back, and my grasp of what is going on with all this has now changed.
But at the same time, this is still a good basic description of why so many otherwise sane, clever people literally cannot see the truth of what is staring them in the face, at the moment.
Stuff in [square brackets] is from now.
When the parents in a family have NPD, the family unit tends to function like a sort of ‘mini-cult’.
Remember that the main (but by no means only…) ‘issue’ for people with NPD is maintaining an external appearance of complete perfection.
That means they can’t acknowledge any mistakes, bad behavior, bad character traits or anything else that will mar the appearance of perfection to the outside world.
Of course, narcissists are probably some of the most poisonous, toxic people to be around, particularly for their kids [and citizens of their country the happen to rule], as they’re full of anger, spite, vengeance, soul-destroying put downs, hatred and other types of emotionally abusive behavior.
For as long as you’re towing the narcissist’s line and not challenging them, the true extent of their mental illness isn’t obvious.
It’s only when you start to challenge the picture of perfection that they’re painting for you (and everyone else) that the narcissist’s mask really comes off, and you get to see the scary monster lurking underneath.
Because narcissists can never admit to anyone, especially themselves, that their poisonous behavior and attitudes to others are the cause of so many of the difficulties occurring in their relationships, they fall back on two things to shore up their appearance of perfection:
- They lie brazenly about what’s really going on and why.
- They find a convenient scapegoat to pin all the problems on.
It’s hard to appreciate just how big the lies get when you start challenging the narcissist’s false picture of perfection, if you haven’t experienced it yourself.
Because you can’t get a narcissist to admit any ‘truth’, however obvious, that doesn’t accord with their self-image of being perfect, sooner or later you have to make a choice with enormous ramifications for your relationship with the narcissist:
- Choice 1: Acknowledge the objective truth and continue to be true to yourself and your experience of the narcissist as a flawed, and frequently very difficult, hurtful and even dangerous player in your life.
- Choice 2: Disconnect from your own feelings, thoughts, experiences and ability to protect yourself and from standing up for yourself by entering the narcissist’s fantasy world where everything they do is perfect and you are the cause of all the problems and issues in the relationship.
Good emotional health requires you to go with Choice 1.
Going with Choice 2 is a sure-fire recipe for depression and a slew of other serious mental illnesses including schizophrenia and personality disorders.
So why do people continue to go with Choice 2, even when it causes them to disconnect from their souls and their own true selves?
To put it very simply, when you are being raised by narcissists [and ‘educated’ by them, in a million different ways] – the effective ‘cult leaders’ – you can’t go against them.
If you try, you will be mercilessly tormented and punished until you fall back into line, and go back to believing that the narcissist [motherland] is only ever completely perfect, and you are the one causing all the problems.
So Choice 2 is the ‘default’ option that nearly every child of a narcissist parent [or motherland] has to struggle very hard to escape from.
Children of narcissists undergo a sort of self-induced ‘brain-washing’ process where they literally jettison their own subjective sense of self, and disconnect from what they really feel and what they really know in order to ‘fit’ into the fantasy world created by the narcissist [motherland].
It’s almost impossible for a child to go against their narcissist [motherland], as the [motherland] is the one defining reality for that child.
Which is how you end up with a whole family of individuals who are effectively part of a brainwashed cult that the narcissist has built up around them, with a central belief that ‘the narcissist [motherland] is perfect, and can do no wrong.’
That’s the bad news.
Here’s the good news: as soon as you come back to your real self, your true self, the holy, beautiful, brave soul that Hashem created you to be, full of light – all this darkness will vanish by itself.
The forces of evil only have ‘power’ over us, because we give them that power.
We listen to their brainwashing via the media, we continue to let them gaslight us with explanations that make totally no sense and are absurd, we push down any uncomfortable feelings warning us that ‘something is wrong here’.
As soon as we give ourselves permission to really feel our own experiences, and to validate them, and to experience our own thoughts without being ‘told what to think’ all the time – their power over us totally disappears.
In a nutshell: Do hitbodedut for an hour a day.
But if you can’t manage an hour, start with five minutes every single day, and work from there.
And also – TURN OFF THE NEWS.
Turn off all those ‘influencers’ and ‘discussions’ and ‘media campaigns’ that are keeping you brainwashed, in the cult – and cut off from your own true self.
If you do this, then congratulations!
You already began your personal redemption process.
And when enough of us walk down that path, the ‘general redemption’ will follow very quickly afterwards.
Because we will finally see through all the lies being told, and they will no longer be able to control us, and keep our souls bound up in their lies.