Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Here is a suggestion you can make to a bystander who doubts you, believing the smear campaign of the devil in the group.
I warn you at the top though that it often won't help. But even in failure it does a good thing: it proves that the bystander is willfully believing lies and doesn't really want to know the truth. Then you know the truth about that bystander.
Nonetheless, there are some people honestly mislead among the pack. They should jump on this bit of good advice.
I learned it while caught for awhile in a mini holocaust - a back-stabbing melee in the mud orchestrated by a malignant narcissist.
The wildest stories were circulating about people I had known for years... just before they got thrown out and blackballed. I didn't know about NPD at the time. So, I couldn't imagine why anyone would go to so much trouble calumniating one person after another. The source of this witch hunt had to be spending the greater part of his working day, every day, on private conversations with one person after another, planting lies in their ears to keep this conflagration going.
You'd think that, for purely practical reasons, nobody had that much time to waste on character assassination. So, not knowing that destroying others is vaunting yourself on them and a huge NPD high that no narcissist boss with unchecked power can resist, I was asking myself the proverbial question: "Now, why would anybody do that?"
To judge what I was hearing objectively, I began running a little test on it. Here's how it goes.
When you hear Person A insinuate or tell you something bad about Person B, just compare it with what you already know for for a FACT about Person B's CHARACTER.
(If you don't know Person B and Person A is telling to NOT TO SPEAK TO Person B... make it your business to get to know Person B for yourself for a while before judging them.)
If this is someone in your family, neighborhood, or workplace, you usually know a lot about them and their character. Know that you know it. For, you have seen them in action daily for many years. And actions speak much louder than words.
For example, you have seen them in trying circumstances. Think back. How did Person B react in trying circumstances before? You WILL see a pattern. Does Person B's behavior in all those instances square with what Person A is trying to tell you about him or her today? If not DON'T BELIEVE IT!
You can know with a good deal of confidence that Person A is lying, because you know with a good deal of certainty that Person B is not the kind of person who would do that.
Failing to know what you know about someone IN ORDER TO BELIEVE JUICY LIES about them is hateful. It's a breech of faith. Infidelity. Bad faith. Treason. Because you are betraying that person to character assassination. Indeed, this was the Original Sin the Bible = believing the sneaky serpent's transparent lie that God was the liar.
This is why one of the most ancient and venerable principles of jurisprudence demands that people be tried in their own home town or in the place where a crime was committed. The assumption is that THERE people know the accused. So, no liar can come along and tell them just ANYTHING about him and have them believe it. They would know he is a false accuser, because what he says about the accused doesn't square with what they know about him.
So, we are not helpless when it comes to distinguishing truth from lies. Forget the TALK that blows all weathercock minds in the wind and judge by ACTIONS you have observed firsthand. In other words, don't trust hearsay. Stick to known facts.
For example, you have seen accused Person B happy, sad, and angry many times in the past. Think back. How have they reacted to situations that would tempt people to lie? You have heard how Person B talks about other people, so you know whether they have a bad mouth or a wholesome one. You have seen proof of whether they are sensible or a sarcastic fool. You have seen proof of whether they keep their promises. You have seen proof of whether they overreact. I could go on, but you get the idea.
In your memory, you have a treasure house of evidence about Person B's CHARACTER that applies to whatever Person B is being accused of. Consider it. Weigh it.
When someone with NPD is the accuser, your task is easy, because the accusations are a joke. That's because he or she is projecting their own faults off onto the accused and trying to smear one of the accused person's VIRTUES with it. Therefore, the moment you consider the past conduct of both Person A and Person B, your Irony Detector goes wild.
For example, a red flag of NPD is maligning others all the time. The narcissist will project that off onto the most conspicuously well spoken person in the group, someone who avoids gossip and never spreads vicious rumors about others, someone who often praises and speaks well of other people instead. Therefore, you have to be a complete idiot to believe the narcissist when he tells you that this person is maligning him.
It's a simple matter of having the brain on to examine information before letting it into your head = The Garden.
What's more, if Person B is accusing Person A of abusing her, she has a high degree of credibility, simply because she has never before spoken badly of anyone = she must have a damned good reason to be doing so now.
This process of weighing words is like you do in school when studying the characters in a novel or play. The author doesn't tell you that the hero is "thrifty, clean, and reverent." The author SHOWS you that he is "thrifty, clean, and reverent" through what that character DOES.
In Hamlet, for example, Shakespeare methodically compares Hamlet with Laertes this way. We see how Hamlet reacts to the killing of his father. Then we see how Laetres reacts (starts a civil war but immediately gets happy when bribed not to pursue it). We see Hamlet's true grief at Ophelia's grave and Laertes' grandstanding for attention. Even in death Laertes is a shallow ass thinking only of himself and behaves in a manner sharply contrasting with Hamlet's.
Having enough sense to judge people by their actions instead of by the words of others about them is the key to understanding that play. This thunders at the climax when you have to ask, "Who is crazy here? Hamlet, or this whole gang (the Court of Denmark) stampeding off into the dark crying for - of all things - "LIGHT."
And why? Simply because they are that determined to unknow the truth. Their willful contempt for it shows in the end when they are eye-witnesses to the treason of Claudius and Laertes but cry out that Hamlet is the traitor.
Shakespeare knew the human race well.