1. It works before we make decisions. It helps us know what is good. It helps us consider the results of our choices
2. It works while we are making the decision. It brings about feelings of peace or discomfort depending on the choices we have made or are about to make.
3. It works after we make decisions. It enables us to judge, as good or evil, the decisions we have made.
"Conscience" in ordinary people is responsible for producing guilt, anticipation of consequences (punishment) , insecurity, shame, remorse, compassion and empathy.
Narcissistic and psychopathic personalities do not experience feelings of guilt or shame, or remorse but why? we know the narcissist does not feel impelled by his conscience to do what's lawfully or morally right but how do we get our heads around this unless we ourselves have little or no conscience?
Conscience is not just mere recognition of right and wrong. Conscience is an act of the mind that affirms and enforces moral obligation, like a judge that convicts of guilt, passes sentence and enforces the moral obligation to obey the law in the future.
(Even though most of this post is directed towards Christians, it will still apply to non christians)
The bible actually talks about many different types of "the conscience" ...... A "good conscience" (1 Timothy 1:5), and a "clear conscience" (1 Timothy 3:9), a "weak conscience" (1 Corinthians 8:12), a "seared" conscience (1 Timothy 4:2), a "corrupted" conscience (Titus 1:15) and "an evil conscience" (Hebrews 10:22).
The Seared Conscience
The seared conscience "Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;" (1 Timothy 4:2)
To elaborate: the narcissist knows the law, he knows right from wrong, and he is aware of moral obligations, yet does not feel impelled by any empathic feeling or affirmation of moral obligation to do his duty. His conscience does not arraign him, does not convict him, it does not condemn him. This is the state of mind of the narcissistic / psychopathic personality and clearly indicates a seared conscience.
The Evil Conscience.
An evil conscience is one that substitutes that which is wrong for that which is right.
"Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled."Titus 1:15,
"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"Isiah 5:20
A conscience is defiled because of a defiled mind!
The Inner Warning System
When your skin in burned, it develops a callused area of scar tissue, and that area loses its sensitivity likewise our conscience can be desensitized if we fail to listen to it, even to the extent that we become morally blind, stumbling around in moral darkness
There are many persons such as narcissists whose consciences are seared on almost all moral subjects, and seem to have been so for a long time. They seldom or never appear to be impressed with the deep conviction that they deserve judgment and sentence.
The conscience is generally seen by the modern world as a sign of weakness . The ability to sense your own guilt is a tremendous gift from God. He weaved the conscience into the very framework of the human soul.
It is the automatic warning system that cries, "stop stop!" that keeps you from getting run over. The light turns green, the traffic stops and the pedestrian can cross.
The disordered mind has no inner warning system, he has either repressed it, or it has become defiled and seared through abuses or through his own free will. The narcissist also has poor impulse control, Impulsive people are quick to do things, they do not take enough time to plan or consider the consequences of their actions.
It is possible to virtually nullify the conscience through repeated abuse. Paul spoke of people whose consciences were so convoluted that their "glory is in their shame" (Philippians 3:19; cf. Romans 1:32). Both the mind and the conscience can become so defiled that they cease making distinctions between what is pure and what is impure (cf. Titus 1:15).
After so much violation, the conscience finally falls silent. Morally, those with a seared or defiled conscience are left flying blind. The irritating warning signals may be gone, but the danger certainly is not; in fact,the danger is greater than ever.
If you set your hand on a hot stove does the searing pain tell you to remove your hand to prevent furthur injury? yes it does! you find yourself whipping your hand away and this communication (warning message) from hand to brain happens in milliseconds and does not require conscious thought on your part, it is a reflex! much in the same way the conscience in healthy individuals is a reflex, the alarm system will be set off to stop you in your tracks, to give you "pause for thought" so you can consider the right choice or path.
The Narcissist has NO warning system, no internal traffic signals, no alarm bells. The narcissist does what he wants regardless of the pain he or she is inflicting upon others. The only time the narcissist might consider his options is whether or not he will be inconvenienced and therefore unable to continue his games in society, he does not stop for guilt he does not stop for shame , nor remorse. The green light is always ON for the disordered it is "One for all and all for one" with the psychopath.
The disordered personality often mistakes the seared conscience for an approving one! He professes to be conscientious in what he is doing, he feels no compunction in doing as he does!. Now the absence of the approving smiles of conscience should teach them, that they are laboring under a delusion in believing they are acting in accordance with the dictates of conscience. The narcissist sneers at such talk or reforms. He puts a false colouring upon facts related by you, or a hypocritical covering up of the real truth, where truth ought to be known. He resists, screams and defiantly refuses to listen to truth. He hates truth and loves evil.
The narcissists self justifications for wrongs inflicted upon others hardens his heart even further, He will resort to any form of excuse for his behaviour and actions. He does not consider cause and effect only when he can apply it for his benefit and for his own manipulations.
Most of us will often examine ourselves and our actions after choices we have made, we might umm and ahh over whether to make a right or wrong decision, we grapple with consequences, and we feel the shame when we are seriously considering hurting someone else to gain what we want. Most of us however listen to our conscience and we turn away from what is morally or criminally wrong, and sometimes we do ignore our conscience and go down the wrong path, but we usually feel ashamed, guilty and we feel remorse.
With a narcissist it is different. When you can neglect to scrutinize your motives of action, and go on day after day without self-examination in this respect, a day after day neglect without remorse, your conscience becomes seared until the day it is non existent and irreversible.
Light, truth and argument pass over the narcissists mind, he does not feel convicted and converted, by a reasonable degree of evidence--he does not feel himself shut up to the necessity of yielding to a preponderance of evidence, or falling under deep condemnation.
The narcissist will ALWAYS have an excuse for his wrong behaviour, he will blame everyone but himself! this is the "blamers reality" not actuality, not reality but his own Unreality.
When the narcissists behaviour does NOT produce the desired effects and negative consequences are the result it will be YOUR fault and not his, he can then
1) Protect his core beliefs that he is perfect and everyone else is at fault
2) confirm he is in the right
3) Meet his desires.
He is protecting his precious little ego from being wounded by any annoyances such as guilt , remorse or shame. He is dedicated to protecting himself from anything that would cast him in a bad light.
Narcissists don't learn from painful experiences. How many times has your narcissist used one of these excuses?
* Making Excuses: "I couldn't help it, I was abused"
* Blame shifting: - "It was your fault, not mine!"
* Justifying: - Much like a child says "If you can, I can!"
* Redefining: - Shifting the focus of the problem to avoid dealing with the problem.
* Superoptimism: - "I think therefore it is"
* Lying: - Lies the narcissist actually believes!
* Assuming: - He assumes the victim did him a wrong and therefore feels entitled to rob them of their money, love, happiness.
* Minimizing: - "It wasn't that bad, look at what you did, that was worse"
* I am God complex: - "The narcissist believes he is unique or special and he is above punishment"
* Anger: - used to control others, or to use power in a situation
* Power plays: - Refusing to listen, puts his fingers in his ears.
* Victim Role Playing: - "poor me I am the victim"
* Entitlement: - "If I want it, it's mine!"
* Grandiosity: - "You can't get in my way, I am the best"
* Vagueness: - Unclear, vague and non specific.
* Omission: - leaving out major sections of the incident and inserting his own dramatizations.
A normal healthy individual would read the above list and just feel exhausted thinking about putting it into practice, rather than listen to whatever conscience he might have left the narcissist has a checklist of options he would rather choose from in his mind and rather than making things easier on himself he makes the situation 10 times worse! and it's an infinite loop! it never stops until the narcissist has exhausted every avenue and has to move onto new victims! or change strategies! this is why the narcissistic personality can never hold down a job, marriage, friends or commitments for very long! yet he doesn't see his errors, because he does not feel remorse he does not feel guilt or pain only psychological injury to his image! and ego!
His mind set is: "I know everything and I can handle things alone." "I don't need anyone, no one understands me anyway." "No one can tell me what to do." When you point out the narcissists ridiculous thinking errors, (his illogical ways of thinking and acting) , he will filter those out and go through the whole process again. It's a never ending cycle, an infinite loop of evil.
He doesn't realize that what he is doing isn't working, he doesn't learn from his mistakes and just goes ahead and makes new ones! that is why oftentimes you will hear the same or similar stories from other victims of narcissists that so closely mirror your own experiences that is because narcissists are very much alike in their pathology!
When a man chooses to go his own way, God will ultimately wash his hands of him, and "God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done" (Romans 1:28).
If we choose not to give God the place he deserves in our lives, then the inevitable consequence is moral decline. This is the way His judgment works. At the end of chapter 1, Paul gives the end result of this process. "They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practise them" Romans 1:28-29
The narcissist reaps what he sows!
The Narcissist & Good Deeds
If the narcissist does any good deed, it is not a morally, conscience driven deed, it is one that is born out of greed, and used for his own purposes eg: the narcissist saves a child from being hit by a car - he did not do this to save that child's life or the parents any lifelong pain, it was done for his own recognition , heroism, and fame, to be recognized as the hero he believes he is. The narcissist may find a missing pet but only for the reward money. He may also work in a hospital helping the very sick or infirm but only to pilfer medication for his addictions or to achieve the carer of the month award. There is always an ulterior motive with the narcissist.
Evil will often cloak itself in virtue and light, but it is a wolf in sheeps clothing!
This leads us to another part of the conscience, motivation! are we doing what is right because it is right or because we can gain something from it? some of us do err when it comes to our "heart motivations" but the narcissist is ALWAYS thinking: "What's in it for me?" there never is any guilt to produce the right behaviour/action. Whenever the narcissist is doing something good or "morally just" you can bet he is doing it for himself.
He is completely of the mind that "If I don't care, it doesn't matter"
When the abuser kicks, punches or emotionally damages you and he apologizes later on does that mean he he has been compelled to do so by his conscience? no , he is compelled by his motives, and bad heart attitudes.
Why do you think so many abused women go back to their abusers? because they believe the abuser has a guilty conscience, shame, or remorse. They believe he has changed because the abuser is very good at mimicking empathy and remorse. The reality is people don't suddenly acquire a conscience! it is inbuilt from birth/childhood!
Take note that the abusers apology for any abuse inflicted will be coupled with the "Thinking Errors" listed above such as minimizing the abuse, victim role playing, blame shifting, and making excuses. There is always a catch and never true repentance with a narcissist which is why so many abused women take on the narcissists excuses for themselves to justify HIS bad behaviour such as:
"He had a bad abusive childhood he will change it will just take time"
"What he did wasn't that bad this time"
"I made him angry, I made him react that way"
"He always makes up for the bad abuse with gifts or flowers"
"I need more grace/patience/love/prayer/faith/ to put up with the bad situations and the abuse"
The last one bothers me more than all of the above! especially when it's enforced in the church!
Christian women/men normally suffer the worst when it comes to abusive relationships because they believe/or are told they either
A: Have to forgive & forgive and forgive
B: Have to acquire more grace & patience to deal with their abusive partner
C: Are encouraged to take the punches and kicks to their heads and hearts every single day and still be expected to turn the other cheek.
D: Made to attend couples councelling where the narcissist gleans information from the therapist to manipulate the sessions and turns the therapist against the victim by blame shifting and using covert tactics.
Some churches actually ENFORCE these rules on the women/men! it's downright un-biblical and sick! and NO loving God, would ever ever agree or enforce such a thing! God is The God of agape, of Love! and certainly has lots to say in the bible about abuse. The women and men abused in the church are denied a defence - And He spoke to the congregation, saying, “Depart now from the tents of these wicked men! Touch nothing of theirs, lest you be consumed in all their sins.” Numbers 16:26 NKJV
Don't condone evil by standing by it, by supporting it or by approving of it! NO! walk away from evil , from the abusers who are lovers of themselves!
God is NOT a pacifist he encourages self defense! not where your faith is concerned (belief in God) but where your health, body, mind and soul are concerned God commands Self Preservation and Preservation of life!
We protect our children from drug dealers and pedophiles and all other sort of lowlifes. We lock our doors of our homes. We are to be vigilant against evil and take precautions to prevent it. We will keep our car keys on our person, we do not leave them in the ignition switch saying I have trust. We do what we can so we do not become sick. We do take preventative measures for our safety.
So why are so many pastors , churches, therapists and family members so intent on preventing the victim from protecting themselves? and demanding they keep quiet about the abuse for the sake of the family name, church or beliefs?
To watch an act of cruelty to children without trying to intervene is morally inexcusable. To permit a murder to take place when we could have done something to prevent it is ethically wrong. If we fail to use force to protect another whom is confronted with evil we are in fact failing to show love toward them. It would instead be sin to sit by idly and watch as physical harm is perpetrated on them when it can be avoided or prevented by force. Not resisting evil is a sin of omission, and a sin of omission can bring the same result as one committing evil. Any man who refuses to protect another from an abusive person fails in his moral obligation! yet why do so many recognize intervening when a murder takes place or when a child is abducted or harmed yet fails to intervene when abuse behind closed doors is taking place? It boggles my mind!
There are no evils that should be omitted, none, there are NO exceptions!We have a moral duty to preserve life whether its our own or someone else’ if directly confronted.
Is violence never a justified act? What of self-defense? Do we stand by and watch someone being abused or physically threatened with harm?
Christians and non Christians should not disarm, allowing abusers to continue their abusive ways. This becomes an issue of self defense, and not sitting by idly while others are abused physically or emotionally, it is not an issue of faith
Never, never, never preach prime-time morality at the victim making it a sin for him or her to yell right back at the abuser. Though yelling back may not be wise in all cases, it IS the victim's right. It at least lets him or her preserve self-respect through showing a backbone.
The victim NEEDS to know that he or she did what they could to resist their abuser! Don't EVER try to stop the victim from doing that!
Truth has to be paramount! it has to take first priority! when you hide the truth from the victim, when you refuse to help the victim and instead ask them to appease , forgive, beg and change for the abuser you are re-abusing the victim tenfold! the amount of damage this will cause will be devastating!
Kathy Krajco said:
"When you cannot resist, you at least have the comfort of knowing that there was nothing you could do. But when you have the power to put up some resistance and don't - when you in effect say, "Here, take me and do what you will with me" - you feel like an abject worm."
"For, what does it mean when a person accepts pain for another's pleasure? That goes against the instinct for self-preservation. So what happens to the victim's self? The victim no longer belongs to him- or her-self. The victim is possessed by the abuser. Like an arm or leg of his for him to use or abuse as he pleases. It is the ultimate degradation..."
The narcissist denies his true wretched self, he would rather project a false image of himself, and once you deny your true self you become completely amoral.
An Amoral person denies the existence of morality, whereas an immoral person believes in the existence of morality but chooses not to comply with it.
An immoral person who violates a certain moral code may still believe in the underlying truth of that moral code. For example, a thief may not deny that stealing is immoral, but may attempt to deflect the blame or offer excuses in order to justify his or her actions.
Healthy individuals can put on another man's shoes and walk a mile in them, because they can relate to their pain, they can empathize and have a working conscience. A narcissist cannot put himself in other people's shoes, he cannot even imagine how they feel.
Without empathy there can be no love or conscience. People are objects to the narcissist and that is all they will ever be to him.
Narcissists have repressed their conscience , they have used their God given free will to ignore the warning signals, and developed this choice until it became second nature, a habit, because to them, to the abuser, a conscience is a sign of weakness and is to be despised. They don't realize that a lack of conscience is the real weakness. They call evil- good and good - evil. It is their twisted, upside down, backwards ass way of thinking.
Any slither of conscience that leaks through to the narcissist at times when his self awareness is at a peak is often times repressed immediately and reburied over and over again.
Hurting you, abusing you emotionally, abusing you physically is not something narcissists do by accident, please remember this! when you are on your knees in the dirt looking up at him/her pleading for a kind word or repentance for his abuse towards you, watch him rage at you, watch him retaliate in anger! that is NO accident.
He will Feign victimhood: he feigns persecution by manipulating people through their emotions, especially guilt, he uses YOUR conscience against you! whilst at the same time repressing or ignoring his own.
If you are in an abusive relationship, you have to understand that you cannot change the narcissist/abuser, you are the last person on earth who can change them. Leave now , preserve your life, health and soul and never go back! if you stay you will forever be in the infinite loop of evil and the cycle will never end.
"I have all the characteristics of a human being: flesh, blood, skin , hair; but not a single, clear, identifiable emotion, except for greed and disgust. Something horrible is happening inside of me and I don't know why. I feel lethal, on the verge of frenzy. I think my mask of sanity is about to slip"
Gareth Edward(s) Rodger
Masks Of Sanity is an online blog offering advice, support and education for those who have fallen victim to the Psychopath/Narcissist. (NPD)
We explain why Narcissists behave the way they do, how they operate and how you can protect yourself from the Narcissist in society, in the home and online!
You can find my own personal experience with a psychopath in the links on the right. I have a very personal understanding of the Narcissistic Personality Disorder and I am proof that there is hope after abuse!