Villains and Violence Part 2 – Narcissist Personality Disorder and Abusers

Some probably aren’t familiar with the full nature of the two descriptions in the subtitle above nor will people who have never had experience with them necessarily link the two together, but for those who are in the know, the reality is, they are very much intertwined.

Narcissism is an “inordinate fascination with oneself” or a condition where “erotic gratification [is] derived from admiration of one’s own physical or mental attributes.

However, Narcissism that rises to the level of a legitimate personality disorder is more than simply being selfish and self-centered. Narcissist Personality Disorder (NPD) “is a long-term pattern of abnormal thinking, feeling, and behavior in many different situations.” It manifests itself in an extraordinarily diverse number of ways, though certain aspects tend to form a very consistent set of core characteristics that don’t just happen periodically but are a clear pattern of repeated behaviors and thought processes.

NPD often produces the underlying motives that drives people towards abusive behaviors. It can certainly manifest in many other settings, such as work or friendships, but it is commonly prominent in domestic relationships.

Abuse entails several other areas besides physical attacks and many abusers will never become physically violent, but the worst wounds can often be emotional and mental, those that cripple someone from living who is otherwise fully capable. By means of fear and vicious conditioning their ability to freely function and thrive is cut off. In fact, the aftermath of enduring a relationship with an NPD individual is often more destructive than the acts of abuse themselves. It certainly can last a lifetime for some.

The following are several typical characteristics of a person with Narcissist Personality Disorder that you can work into character creation when writing your villain.

  • Amoral / Conscienceless
    • They have their own personal moral scheme
    • Their wants are needs that supersede other’s true needs
    • Their desires become their ethic
    • No sense of guilt or wrong doing / Lacks Remorse
    • Justify and Rationalize their wrongful actions
    • Master Blame shifters
    • Minimizes or Denies Abusive Actions
    • Exaggerates your actions / Drama Queen
    • No sense of Responsibility or Accountability
      • Blame you or something else for their actions
    • People are Possession or Resources to meet their needs
    • If someone is a Possession it aids in justification of abuse
      • What you own, you control and set the rules of what is and isn’t acceptable
  • Immensely Selfish / Entitled / Superiority
    • Belief that he has special status with exclusive rights and privileges not available to others. He will expect:
      • Physical Caretaking
      • Emotional Caretaking
      • Sexual Caretaking
      • Deference shown by his partner
      • Freedom from Accountability
    • Entitlement produces unfair and unrealistic expectations
      • Unmet expectations frequently produce anger and possibly rage
    • Self-contradictory – what should be the standard for others does not apply to self
    • Inflated sense of Self-Importance
    • Consider themselves far superior to others in their opinions and beliefs
      • Will casually disrespect those who disagree with their views
      • Depersonalization of people
      • “Others” people as not like them and unimportant
        • Makes it easier to abuse or assault
      • Deem others:
        • Less Intelligent
        • Less Competent
        • Less Logical
        • Less Sensitive (sometimes)
      • Cannot see the perspective of another
      • If you don’t agree you are wrong and will be judged as stupid, ignorant, etc
      • Contemptuous / Arrogant / Extremely Judgmental and Critical of others
      • Low tolerance for Frustration
  • Authoritarian / Controlling
    • Attracted to Vulnerability / Power Imbalance in potential partners
    • Seeks to establish and enforce a Power Imbalance
    • Control is the Goal – Abuse is a Tool
    • Spheres of Control
      • Arguments – sees them as a war to be won
      • Decision Making – want you to rely on them to make decisions
      • Personal Freedom – Want you to assume same interest and activities as them / no life of your own
      • Finances
      • Parenting
    • Will Isolate partners
      • Wants her life focused on him
      • Wants her dependent on him
      • No outside sources of strength or support to aid her in developing independence
    • Emotionally Volatile when told NO or does not get his way
      • This is one of the earliest and easiest signs to spot…IF the partner is looking for it.
    • Intimidates when Angry – Verbal Explosions, Intentional and Perplexing Mood Changes, Body Positioning, Physical Touch
    • Vindictive
    • Will viciously challenge you if you contradict him
    • Liars – will try to dictate the narrative and make the partner doubt their own experiences and perceptions, sometimes even completely denying an abusive act took place at all
    • Manipulative / Prone to Con people
    • May have “sidekicks” or minions to inflate sense of self by belittling
    • Manipulative Rage trains people how to act with them through punishment
    • Often use Silent Treatment to punish and manipulate
  • Deep need for admiration from others
    • Dependent on others to meet their emotional needs – Requires caretaking
      • All responsibility relies on partner to fulfill his social needs
    • Jealous of not being the center of attention with partner
      • Isolates, Monitors, Controls interaction with other people
      • Accusations of Infidelity are common as a controlling tactic
    • Hyper-sensitive to criticism
    • Exhibitionist
    • Can be inappropriately flirtatious or sexually seductive
    • Must be the center of attention / “If you’re Sick, they’re Dying”
  • Lack Empathy / Emotionally Shallow
    • Turn conversations to their interests / Irritated if they cannot do this or you change topics
    • Dismisses other people’s feelings
    • Will easily write people off / no redemption available
  • Superficially and intentionally Charming
    • Will mirror you upon first meeting to draw you in then change
    • Maintains a charming public image
    • Intentionally restrict rage moments to locations away from public view
    • Secretive of who they really are
  • Easily Bored / Need Stimulation
    • Impulsive / Poor Impulse Control
    • Tend to Thrive on Conflict – Will bait people into conflict
  • May have low self-esteem
    • Feelings of inadequacy
    • Concerned about how they are seen by others
  • Maintain a Good Public Image
    • Wants good PR outside of house / relationship
    • Angry in private, calm and smiling in public
    • Selfish and self-centered with partner but generous and supportive of others
    • Domineering in private but willing to negotiate and compromise or non-confrontational in public and with others

 

So, just here, my dear writers, we have a veritable cornucopia of material available to help flesh out characters who are violent and / or abusive and provide an abundance of clues to their motivations. These behaviors, beliefs and thought processes can be mined to provide information to the reader that may foreshadow problems to come and give them something to pick up on and discern. You can make promises of worse things to come and generate tension and suspense by putting these things on display by your character’s actions and interactions with others. Motivations can be layered and revealed in stages in a way that connects and builds towards more violent and rash behaviors.

And when it comes to abusers, never forget, the most dangerous time is when a partner decides to leave. The more emotionally attached the abuser is to his partner the more likely he is to become volatile and therefore a greater threat. The mere choice by their partner to leave will bring great shame to the abuser. His personal moral scheme will dictate what he is willing to do to get rid of that shame and restore his sense of honor and self-esteem. He may leave and just talk absolute trash about them to others and lie about them. He could lash out in anger physically on a lower scale. But he might become enraged and violent toward his partner and even towards himself if his own self-image was sufficiently crushed. This is how many Murder / Suicides occur. They are compelled to lash out but either can’t stand living with the aftermath of it all or can’t live with the consequences that will result from their criminal actions of retribution.

On a final note, remember, these behaviors do not happen in isolation. They overlap and interact and form an ongoing pattern of behaviors. And by presenting these things you can create an authentic NPD and / or abusive character.

In Part 3 we will look at Pre-assault Indicators that can be used to foreshadow when the violent attack is getting ready to happen and how it may unfold. From body language to tactics, as well as violation of social norms that give things away, plus more. Stay tuned!

For further reading to explore the dynamics and motivations behind these villainous behaviors, check out Leslie Vernick’s The Emotionally Destructive Relationship and Why Does He Do That? – Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft. Also, see this link as well:  http://www.halcyon.com/jmashmun/npd/traits.html

 

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