The following post was written by our friend Left oCenter at THE BLUE REPUBLIC . Initially we suggested that George W. Bush suffered from Antisocial Personality Disorder, but as we read this we wondered quite seriously if he didn't suffer from aspects of two disorders--Antisocial Personality Disorder and Malignant Narcissism. Both are pesonality disorrders with disturbing symptoms and characteristics and neither is easily cured (read cannot be cured). But whether Bush is a sociopath or a maligant narcissist is less important than the fact that we have a highly aggressive president with a proclvity for violence and an inability to feel sympathy for anyone except himself.
And this man has just been given the right to torture and the right to limit habeas corpus without impunity. With that in mind, please be so kind as to consider the following Guest Post
Main Entry: ma·lig·nant
Etymology: Late Latin malignant-, malignans, present participle of malignari
1 a obsolete : MALCONTENT, DISAFFECTED b : evil in nature, influence, or effect : INJURIOUS c : passionately and relentlessly malevolent : aggressively malicious
2 : tending to produce death or deterioration <malignant malaria>; especially : tending to infiltrate, metastasize, and terminate fatally <a malignant tumor>
nar‧cis‧sism /ˈnɑrsəˌsɪzɛm/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[nahr-suh-siz-em] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
1. inordinate fascination with oneself; excessive self-love; vanity.
2. Psychoanalysis. erotic gratification derived from admiration of one's own physical or mental attributes, being a normal condition at the infantile level of personality development.
(1) has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
(2) is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
(3) believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
(4) requires excessive admiration
(5) has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
(6) is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
(7) lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
(8) Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
(9) shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
by Paul Levy
Psychologically speaking, Mr. George W. Bush is what is called a 'malignant narcissist.' A narcissist is someone who has become hypnotized and entranced by their own inflated self-image. They have become so self-absorbed that not only are they not in genuine relation with others, but they relate to others (including the environment) as objects to satisfy their own need for self-aggrandizement. A 'malignant' narcissist, however, is a narcissist who reacts sadistically to others who don't support and enable their narcissism. For example, instead of self-reflecting and taking in critical feedback, the Bush administration reacts with ruthless contempt for anyone who disagrees with them. Like a mean and cruel-spirited malignant narcissist, Bush and Co. deny the accusation and try to destroy the messenger. Ultimately, a malignant narcissist wants to annihilate anyone who in any way threatens their illusory self-image and self-serving agenda.
Malignant narcissists can be very charismatic, and are very adept at charming and manipulating others. They are clever at camouflaging their malevolent agenda, even to themselves, and can appear to be very normal, regular, and seemingly loving people. To quote the great doctor of the soul, psychiatrist C. G. Jung "only a very small fraction of so-called psychopaths land in the asylum. The overwhelming majority of them constitute that part of the population which is alleged to be "normal."" And, I might add, that many of these so-called seemingly 'normal' psychopaths are drawn to positions of power. Malignant narcissists are very skilled at entrancing others, at putting other's under their spell. They are master hypnotists. They are like 'black magicians,' in that they are very talented at hooking others through their fear by using 'mind-control' techniques such as lying and propaganda to control them.
The narcissism of a leader such as Bush resonates with the narcissism inherent in his supporters, who identify with Bush's seeming certainty and lack of doubt (it never occurs to them that, to quote John Kerry "You can be certain and wrong."). This creates a very dangerous and pathological situation called "group narcissism," in which a large group of people have dis-connected from their critical faculties and entrusted their power to their narcissistic leader. This is a perversely symbiotic, co-dependent relationship in which all members of the group are colluding with and enabling each other's narcissism. For example, George Bush, in his utter narcissism thinks that God speaks through him. Instead of being seen as deluded, his supporters reflect back to him that they, too, think that God speaks through him. This, of course, just reinforces Bush's narcissistic delusion. Seeing Bush as God's instrument concurrently fulfills in the Bush supporters their adolescent fantasy of having someone who is playing the role of the divine leader to protect them. This mutually interdependent and reciprocally reinforcing delusion is what is called a 'collective psychosis.'
By playing with people's fear, Bush is hypnotizing people to give their power away to him. Unfortunately, by doing this he has hypnotized himself as well, which is to say he is deceiving himself in the process of his deceiving of others. Malignant narcissists are pathological liars. They are very adept at both lying and then believing their own lies. The conviction they carry in this act of self-deception can easily 'entrance' people. To quote Jung "Nothing has such a convincing effect as a lie one invents and believes oneself, or an evil deed or intention whose righteousness one regards as self-evident." A malignant narcissist plays with people's fears so as to gain their trust and control them, which is based on the abuse of power over others that is the signature of a true dictator.
At their core, a malignant narcissist's desire is to dominate and have power over others. The perverse enjoyment of complete domination over another person(s), which involves transforming a person into an object (a 'thing'), in which their freedom is taken away, is the very essence of the sadistic drive. Their sadism is a way of transforming their feelings of powerlessness and impotence into an experience of omnipotence.
A malignant narcissist is the incarnation of the separate, alienated self spinning out of control to a pathological degree. They are unconsciously identified with and will protect at any cost an imaginary 'separate self' that is alien from the rest of the universe. Paradoxically, at the same time that they experience themselves as separate from others, the malignant narcissist lives in a state of 'unconscious fusion' with others. To a malignant narcissist, other people don't truly exist as autonomous beings. Other people only exist as disposable pawns to feed and support their narcissistic, masturbatory fantasies. A malignant narcissist hasn't developed a sense of their own authentic self, which is why they are unable to be in genuine relationship with others. Psychologically, malignant narcissism is a very primitive and un-evolved state, one which is totally lacking in eros (relatedness).
Because they don't relate to other people as independent and separate from their own inflated, narcissist self, the malignant narcissist doesn't respect other people's boundaries. Their self-serving, narcissistic illogic allows them to justify, even in the name of God, transgressing other's boundaries, be them an individual's civil liberties, or another nation's sovereignty. Interestingly enough, etymologically, the word "evil" is related to the word "transgress."
Malignant narcissists are not conscious of the interconnectedness between themselves and others. They are unable to feel empathy for others and have an overwhelming lack of genuine compassion (so much for compassionate conservatism). Concerned about nothing other than themselves, malignant narcissists are indifferent to other people's suffering, all the while, though, professing their compassion. Malignant narcissists are unable to genuinely mourn, for they are ultimately only concerned with themselves. They will show grief, however, just like they will try and appear compassionate, if it is politically correct to do so and, hence, to their advantage, as they are master manipulators. They are a true 'wolf in sheep's clothing.'
Malignant narcissists are unconsciously possessed by the power-drive of the archetypal shadow. Being possessed by an archetype means that the malignant narcissists have lost their freedom, as a more powerful transpersonal, archetypal force has so unconsciously taken them over that it compulsively acts itself out through them. They themselves are being used and manipulated like puppets on a string by the more powerful archetypal force. Becoming possessed by an archetype like this, to quote Jung, "turns a man into a flat collective figure, a mask behind which he can no longer develop as a human being, but becomes increasingly stunted." Jung continues "Since nobody is capable of recognizing just where and how much he himself is possessed and unconscious, he simply projects his own condition upon his neighbor, and thus it becomes a sacred duty to have the biggest guns and the most poisonous gas."
Malignant narcissists can seem confident and self-assured, but are, in reality, covering deep insecurities and fears through an inflated self-image. Intense feelings of revenge, fury and rage verging on insanity manifests when their fear is exposed, and their narcissism threatened. At the core of their process is self-hatred, as malignant narcissists split-off and dissociate from a part of themselves. As Jung points out, "a habitual dissociation is one of the signs of a psychopathic disposition." Jung talks about this condition by saying it may even result in "a splitting of the personality, a condition in which quite literally one hand no longer knows what the other is doing…..Ignorance of one's other side creates great insecurity. One does not really know who one is; one feels inferior somewhere and yet does not wish to know where the inferiority lies, with the result that a new inferiority is added to the original one." A malignant narcissist falls into an infinite regression of being in denial about being in denial and hiding from their own lies. A malignant narcissist such as Bush is continually in a state of hiding from himself.
Malignant narcissists have contempt for and flagrantly violate the rule of law, which, in their inflation, they believe themselves to be above. "International law?" Bush arrogantly smirked in December 2003, "I better call my lawyer." Malignant narcissists, like a true bully, abuse their power simply because they can. They can endlessly 'talk' about taking responsibility, but they never genuinely face up to and become accountable for their actions.
Malignant narcissists are unwilling and unable to experience their sense of shame, guilt or sin, as their narcissism doesn't allow these feelings. This inability to consciously feel their 'negative' feelings is at the root of the dynamic in which they dissociate from their own darkness, blaming and 'projecting the shadow' out there onto some 'other.' This splitting-off and projecting out their own evil results in always having a potential enemy around every corner, which is why malignant narcissists tend towards paranoia. Malignant narcissists continually 'need' an enemy and will even create new ones to ensure that they don't have to look at the evil within their own hearts. They react with aversion to the reflection of their own evil, going so far as to want to exterminate evil from the world. Or as George Bush would say "to rid the world of evil-doers." Ridding the world of evil is an act that can never be attained, however, as by 'projecting the shadow,' malignant narcissists themselves become the very evil-doer that they see out there and are trying to destroy. George Bush has become possessed by the very thing he's fighting against.
Caught in the vicious cycle of the repetition compulsion of the traumatized soul, malignant narcissists create more of the very evil that they are fighting against, as is evidenced by the way George Bush is fighting terrorism. He has become a terrorist in the way he has reacted to terrorism. In essence, Bush is at war with and trying to destroy his own shadow, which is not only a battle that can never be won, but is a form of insanity. And he's acting it out on the world stage.
Thai intellectual and social critic Sulak Sivaraksa likens Bush to two other malignant narcissists, Hitler and Stalin, pointing out that Bush's "axis of Evil," Hitler's "Final Solution," and Stalin's "pogrom of peasants" were actually analogous attempts "to perfect the world by destroying the [projected] impurities." Interestingly enough, another modern day malignant narcissist is none other than Saddam Hussein.
If left in power, malignant narcissists ultimately destroy themselves and everyone around them. Malignant narcissists are what are called 'necrophiles,' in that their impulses are perversely directed against life, the spontaneity of which they are afraid of, and towards death and destruction, which they are secretly attracted to. To quote the psychologist Eric Fromm, this "severe mental sickness….represents the quintessence of evil; it is as the same time the most severe pathology and the root of the most vicious destructiveness and inhumanity." The 'force' used by malignant narcissists to achieve their ends, to use Simone Weil's definition, has the capacity to turn a man into a corpse- literally. To quote Eric Fromm "Just as sexuality can create life, force can destroy it. All force is, in the last analysis, based on the power to kill. I may not kill a person but only deprive him of his freedom; I may want only to humiliate him…...behind all these actions stands my capacity to kill and my willingness to kill." Malignant narcissists have a sadistic 'willingness to kill' so as to protect their own self-serving delusions, which makes them particularly dangerous, as they will literally stop at nothing to hold onto the position of power they find themselves in. Malignant narcissists are murderers who are criminally insane.
Malignant narcissism is a deadly illness that deserves our genuine compassion. However, it is an extremely dangerous situation if the malignant narcissist, like George Bush, is in a position of power where he can create endless, unnecessary suffering and destruction. If we fall under Bush's spell and elect him to be our leader for another four years, we would be in a situation similar to the Germans in WWII, who, to quote Jung "allowed themselves to be driven to the slaughterhouse by their leading psychopaths like hypnotized sheep." It is time to wake up from our spell. We need to do everything and anything in our power to remove George Bush from office, for God's sake, as well as our own.
Paul Levy is a spiritually-informed political activist. He can be reached at email@example.com. Please visit his website at www.awakeninthedream.com, where his article "The Madness of George Bush: A Reflection of Our Collective Psychosis" is available. Please feel free to pass this article along to a friend if you feel so inspired.
I have posted this in part to punish you for posting such long pieces as to torture those of us with ADHD.