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Featured White Knight Narcissism (Pro-Social NPD)

Discussion in 'Psychology and MBTI' started by Hostarius, Feb 1, 2020.

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  1. Ren

    Ren Pin's android

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    Yeah, this can happen, and it annoys me too. That said, I'm not sure these qualify as cases of scapegoating.

    Are there people that you felt were treated unfairly and left the forum as a result?

    Yeah, I can speak from direct experience that this happens :D But don't you think that in this case it's just decent human behaviour to defend those who are attacked behind their backs? It seems quite different from cases where you agree that someone is an asshole but still stick up for them out of principle.

    He was being very disruptive, I personally don't think he deserved to be defended, but I get you. If anything I felt the reaction to his actions was too soft. I mean, the dude literally created a thread openly defying Wy for no reason except to troll. I think it's quite a serious case where the authority of a mod is called into question like that. But ultimately I suppose my different take is rooted in a different valuation.

    This reminds of the little 'altercation' you had with Korg. I didn't really see the scapegoaty treatment of those who essentially put an end to that thread gratuitously. So I did agree with Korg (despite disagreeing with some of his more personal attacks) that your reaction seemed a bit out of proportion to the facts of the case. That said, I would never doubt that you were acting in good faith, and that's fundamental. I have no doubt that you act from principle, not shadowy ulterior motives.

    I think it depends. If someone was truly wronged by another member they might think you're being unfair to them by defending the wrongdoer—'underdog' is a really unfortunate term I think, I would be cautious about using it in those cases because it casts the wrongdoer under a positive, benevolent light—and I would understand where they are coming from. If someone has been wronged, the onus should not be on them to make sense of why you're taking their aggressor's defense, even if the nature of the defense is principled/abstract. So I suppose the best course of action would be to always make sure it's clear you're supportive of the 'victim' first and foremost, and then like you said, taking a step back and balancing the discussion.

    I'm not saying I disagree with your approach, but I do think it requires exceptional communicative and ethical skills to pull off.
     
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    Hostarius

    Hostarius Saudade Retard

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    Legitimate critiques. I like the way this is going.

    Just quickly, though:
    I'm not referring to his most recent antics. I meant back in the day when he first turned up on the scene and ruffled feathers.

    I suppose it's being a bit like a defense attorney or devil's advocate. Sometimes the defendant is such a twat that people will begin to find him/her guilty of things that he/she never actually did, and that needs some balancing through a social mechanism.

    The key point is this: individuals don't need to be balanced, as long as the system is balanced.

    In the case of the discussion with Korg, I was taking a position to play a role in such a balanced system. It doesn't matter if I, personally had to position myself off-centre slightly, as long as the effect of my influence rebalanced the system.

    Or, to put it another way - suppose that the balance of a system currently resides at '+5' but really you would like it to reside at '0'. Attempting to influence the system by hitting it with '0' (even if that's what you believe) isn't going to be as effective as putting in a '-5'. You're not trying to get to '-5', you're trying to get to '0' by advancing an individually unbalanced perspective that balances the system as a whole.
     
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  3. Ren

    Ren Pin's android

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    I getcha, and I agree. But I suppose this works best if your intent is correctly perceived and appreciated as such. And that requires good communicative skill, I think.

    That said, you’re right that there is another side to this, which has to do with developing a reputation as the “devil’s advocate”. Once you achieve this reputation across the entire forum, the risk of your intent being misunderstood in individual cases reduces drastically.
     
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  4. Fidicen

    Fidicen Community Member

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    There have been cases like that, but nothing pops into my head as a decisive factor, rather those cases might have been just something that contributed to the feeling which more generally is that I can do without the forum drama. So many conflicts, people taking sides, judging others to be too offensive or too sensitive etc. I pop in every now and then but I don't read threads regularly and hardly post. Also, I never liked how serious threads often turn into joke threads by the end of the first page. Digressions in themselves are fine if the conversation continues. But that's just me not finding most of the jokes funny, so I feel the chance for a good discussion has been wasted. If there's too much of either of those things, I'm better off reading something else, or even going out to actually meet people.
     
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    Hostarius

    Hostarius Saudade Retard

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    Yep, and on this last occasion the fact that my intent was misperceived indicated that I didn't do this too well.

    That's the idea, yes.

    On the other hand, in some situations someone this whole approach has to be abandoned out of loyalty - there are cases where loyalty to that person trumps the concerns of balancing the group.
     
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  6. Wyote

    Wyote ○●○
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    Yea that's how you roll. Not always appropriate, but statistically moreso it is than it isn't.
    idk if normalizing it is the best pursuit, nor how long it is obtainable, but to your own ends it is at least worth pursuing to find out.
     
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  7. slant

    slant Fairly Tragic

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    I think this is also called "nice guy syndrome" which I also have
     
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  8. sassafras

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    As many people in this thread have pointed out, its important to understand the difference between narcissistic traits and full-blown Narcissism. We're all somewhere on the narcissistic spectrum simply because we are social creatures and the desire for validation and approval is necessary to a healthy ego. It just comes down to how individually crucial that desire is, and how we balance our self-regard with the desire for the regard of others as being separate from ourselves. One can have some narcissistic tendencies without being a Narcissist.

    Still, since we are talking about True Narcissism, I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss a 'White Knight' as a mask that a narcissist would wear. True Narcissists propagate whatever self-image they think will charm the type of co-dependent relationship they want to attract. The whole point is, though, is that it is a mask; everything depends on whether or not someone is watching. If you're true to yourself, if you're not just playing at being a good person, you're less concerned with the image you project than the reputation you build for yourself in private. For example, a narcissist doesn't actually feel remorse for failing to perform a moral action if no one was around to see that failure (though they might perform that remorse if that wins them authenticity points). If you really want to 'check' yourself for narcissism, consider how much of what you think and feel and do is for the benefit of yourself vs. the approval of others. Who are you when you're truly alone? Would you still do what you do if you couldn't tell anyone about it? What is the reputation that you're building with yourself? Do you like what you've accomplished so far? What must you do to keep your self-respect? Do you do it?

    IMO, the best way to avoid narcissism, in yourself and others, is to work on a healthy self-esteem. Draw and maintain your boundaries, set realistic goals, sustain positive influences and strive for healthy emotional regulation both in public and private. Don't pretend to be someone people would be proud of; be someone you're proud of and then whether other people approve will not matter.
     
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    #68 sassafras, Feb 3, 2020
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  9. OP
    Hostarius

    Hostarius Saudade Retard

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    Thank you for the contributions, everyone.

    I think with me the question wasn't 'public face vs private reality' - I behave in the same way when no-one's looking, for myself. With me it was a question of if these motivations were simply grounded in a service to the ego rather than something like 'real morality' (whatever that might mean).

    There's that (or another) switcheroo in that concept of 'White Knight Narcissism' whereby it claims that the WKN isn't really empathetic even when their motivations are internal, but that it's simply a sort of 'self-observer effect' - you're watching yourself and giving yourself the glory. You're giving yourself the supply.

    Of course, that just sounds like the superego to me, and some ideas about the role of the Godhead, &c., but it still provokes doubt.

    For example, the other night as I left the cafe, I saw a homeless girl by the side of the street (and of course, mentioning this to you guys means that I can't legitimately feel good about it, lol - deed nullified! Though, I don't particularly feel good, or anything about it at all other than 'not guilty') and my response to seeing her was something like this:

    'I should give her the change I have'

    It was a compulsion; a reflex to the rule rather than from compassion or pity. It was duty rather than care.

    I fished around for my change and knelt beside her as she started to talk to me about her predicament. I didn't much care about 'caring'; about giving her some comfort; I didn't care about listening to her story. I just wanted to give her the money and be on my way. But I talked to her a little bit anyway before shaking her hand and leaving. As I walked off, I did get a little hit of feel-good, and hoped that my actions would've normalised the behaviour a little to whoever was on the street at the time. So I was aware of having been seen, but not because I wanted to look good, but because I hoped that it would have an effect. Actually, I did wonder if people thought any better of me, so there was some external ego effect. I also thought if some might disagree with me for helping her at all ('it'll only be spent on drugs').

    Now, usually with the homeless, if I give, it will be a very quick affair. Money in hat > nod/handshake > on my way. If I don't then I'll have a little internal chastising dialogue to myself where I have to excuse myself for not giving: 'you can't afford it, right now, Jamie'.

    When I'm actually out there in the world the behaviour is motivated by an adherence to rule. It's all 'shoulds' and 'oughts' and massive amounts of internally generated guilt. I feel very responsible. However, I can't decide if it's real compassion or if I'm just doing it for myself and the self's sense of... all those words I'm overly fond of: 'nobility', 'honour', &c.


    P.S. I have no doubt that I feel compassion and empathy, that's not in question. It's just, are those things my principal motivation?
     
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  10. sassafras

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    Interesting. So, in your view, where does real compassion come from? What does it feel like? Am I supposed to just act out of detached moral obligation or is it normal to feel good about doing the right thing?

    I have never intellectualized my compassion this way before, to be honest. I always figured that how you feel is part and parcel to what you do and who you are. Emotions exist for a reason; they're our guidance system. They're not selfish indulgences separate from our pure godly reason. If I know what is right and I do what is right, I feel flow and alignment -- and that's good. If I know something is right but I don't do it, I feel guilt/shame-- and that's bad.

    That being said, I’m not particularly motivated by how I’ll feel about something when I make the decision to act on my compassion in the moment. Most of the time, it’s just... instinct. The right thing to do. I never really stopped to consider where the impetus to do anything moral comes from. It’s just... part of me? How I was raised? I don’t really have these kinds of conversations with myself where I outright label things as right or wrong. I just know. (But then, I don’t really understand much of why I do the things I do, period. I just do them and sometimes I’m very detached about it)

    As to how this all relates to narcissism, I figure giving yourself supply would essentially be the positive sort of narcissism we talked about. Healthy self-esteem is having a good reputation with yourself and feeling good about what you do means you're in alignment with who you really are.

    On the other hand, if you have a poor reputation with yourself but manage to convince others in believing in your idealized self, your actual alignment with your ideals doesn't matter because what other people think of you is what gives you your supply.

    Unless I'm misunderstanding something here?
     
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    Hostarius

    Hostarius Saudade Retard

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    I'm going to have to take a running jump at this, because the answer is complex and tied up in how I, in particular, experience the world.

    For now, let me just say that when you're raised as the spawn of evil incarnate, there's a lot of internalised self-doubt that comes with that. Even though I might 'feel' that I'm good and know what's right, there's always the niggling doubt in the back of my mind 'what if she's right'. A lot of the counterintuitive questioning is being generated from that place. I was recently feeling a bit of self-doubt, in general anyway, so it hit me somewhat.
     
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    Hostarius

    Hostarius Saudade Retard

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    For some background, I think it's important to see where my approach to these issues is coming from. I'll try to be concise. Essentially my father was abusive and violent and left when I was around 4/5 (I don't know really). I experienced some of this abuse and the terror that it generated. My mother certainly did. However, she was so afraid that I would grow up to be just like my father, that she raised me practically as a potential abuser. Simultaneously as the most precious thing in the world and the almost literal 'source' of its evil. I grew up, therefore, having experienced the abuse first hand as a little boy - knowing what it felt like - and being absolutely terrified of myself; terrified of what I might do; terrified that there was some 'evil' within me that was only contained by the saintly instruction of my mother. Any aggression or temper that I might show she would square up to me and hypercharge the situation, almost daring me to 'show my true colours'. And of course, any time I did something good, courageous, caring, thoughtful or whatever, it was simply a reflection on her and not me - the 'compliment' was 'oh, I've raised you well *big smile*'.

    So this is the message: 'you are naturally evil, only made into something good by my upbringing'. Imagine experiencing abuse at the hands of an awful, uncontrolled tyrant, but also feeling and fearing that you are him.

    Now, some people are going to be pissed off that I'll raise the category of gender here, but I think it's relevant. Women with an abusive parent - victims - aren't generally raised to believe that they are the perpetrators too. They might have an occasional reflection after a bit of temper and wonder 'maybe I get that from him', but they don't generally come to internalise the overwhelming fear of their own power should they ever lose 'control' of it. Society will reinforce this, too: men are perps, women victims.

    It's takes a long time to finally let your guard down and realise 'oh, phew, I'm not him. I'm not a nutcase' and then actually be able to experience your 'natural self' (and to ignore what your mother says). However, in times of self-doubt, it can come rushing back, as happened to me a few days ago when I came across this idea of 'White Knight Narcissism'. It was plausible, and not only that would confirm my worst fears. When I say 'worst fears', I don't want to describe how visceral the feeling is, but needless to say it's deep. The idea that I might be capable of causing harm to a woman or a child fills me with absolute, inexpressible dread. So tell me that everything I believed I was is some kind of a lie (WKN) and all of this baggage is unearthed.

    The 'intellectualisation' is more a function of that kind of self-doubting process than something my rational faculties, and only my rational faculties, are engaged in.


    Now... approaching this from a more objective place...
    'Acting in detatched moral obligation' is exactly Kant's solution. To him the only 'truly' moral compulsion was 'duty', because only then could you be sure that you're not inadvertently 'gaining' from the act somehow.

    The other problem is that your 'feelings' about moral situations aren't generated from some kind of natural 'moral instinct', but from the collection of evolutionary adaptations we refer to as 'altruism'. There's a lot of crossover between altruistic instincts and 'morality', for sure, but it's not 100%.

    We already mentioned the 'natural victim' problem above, where we're simply hardwired to be more sympathetic to small vulnerable people than we are to big scary people, no matter who's 'really' right or in the need of the most support. This is because, historically, keeping women and children alive benefited the tribe much more than keeping men alive. Women are simply much more valuable than men in evolutionary terms, and that shit is hardwired into our brains.

    There's the case of the scientist George Price, who helped discover the biological bases for altruism, and particularly the fact that we are more kind and caring to people that look like us, and less so towards people that don't, because as phenotypical difference increases, it's likely that genetic distance increases, too. 'Altruism' is just genes trying to propagate copies of themselves. You look like me? We have facial symmetry? We're going to be kinder to each other for that reason - my kindness to you is simply the recognition that you might share some of my genes, and it would be good for them if I was (gene-centred view of selection). Price was eventually so horrified by this that he took extreme measures to try to be philanthropic to people that were very different from himself, on one occasion taking a black homeless man into his home a scaring his wife and children. Price tortured himself over the idea that he simply felt more compassion for his wife and his family than he did for these strangers. His worldview collapsed; he had proven to himself that altruism and human kindness were simply romanticisations of brutal, selfish, selective mechanisms. Finally, unable to bear it any more, he committed suicide by cutting through his carotid artery with a pair of scissors.

    In other words, 'instinct' simply cannot be relied upon as any sort of guide, otherwise we'd see things happen like... white-majority countries freaking out when something like wildfires affects another white-majority country, and yet not really giving a fuck when yet another civil war, epidemic orfamine tears through central Africa. Wait...

    So for me, the intellectual reflex to consider the 'principles' in tandem with the 'instinct' - to hold the instinct to account and treat it with mistrust - is the only way that any sort of truly moral action can be accomplished. Otherwise we're simply obeying our programming and floating through life without any real sort of directiveness.


    EDIT: If anybody is interested in this stuff, and can get hold of All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace, then I can't recommend it enough. One of the best things I've ever seen - absolutely mindblowing at the time. Actually, Anything by Adam Curtis is going to blow your mind.
     
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  13. Ren

    Ren Pin's android

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    Yeah, I understand where you're coming from. The drama can be annoying.

    Personally I think that if you have a good social life in the real world, it's always better to favour that over an online forum. Doesn't mean the forum can't bring anything positive, but the relationships with people of flesh and blood are obviously more wholesome (and allow INFJs to express their Fe in a wholesome, 'organic' way). Even all the drama that happens here and elsewhere—how much of it would happen irl? A lot of the people who create the drama know they wouldn't be able to indulge in it irl, which is why they indulge in it online, unfortunately.

    Pssst: that said, there are lots of cool threads on this forum that have been more or less preserved from derailing.

    Hmmm, I take it you mean loyalty to the person wronged. This suggests you're friends with that person rather than just acquaintances. Would you still try to make them understand your point of view, before you decide to abandon your approach? If they are friends, perhaps they are more likely to understand that approach.

    Have you been in situations of this type on the forum since you joined?
     
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  14. Sandie33

    Sandie33 Love Often & Absolutely ♡
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    Interjecting this question in regards to your answer to Sassafras...

    Not sure where it got to, but were you privy to the conversation regarding Imposter Syndrome? In relation to feelings of self-doubt I mean that it sounds more like a natural reaction. Uncertainty sets in.

    (Not to sound offensive, but I tend to interact with INTJ's with kidgloves.)

    I go through spells of time where when too many people are making demands of my attention in a period when I'm trying to regroup my own thoughts, I get extremely selfish and accused of narc behavior. It's far from it, and more like a survival mechanism as opposed to defense mechanism.

    I'm also thinking that attachment styles that form in early childhood could pour fuel into this concept of White Knight narcissism.

    However, as I mentioned in another post here, I think it's quite healthy for individuals to support their own idea of a healthy sense of worthiness and esteem if they are not getting it from outside sources. I'm thinking this is another point in analysing what is healthy and what is not.

    On a side note, the term narcissism has been turned into an incidious buzzword like so many others causing us to be damned if we do and damned if we don't.
     
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  15. sassafras

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    Hos, you’ve spoken at length about your background before and I sympathize and do my best to understand where you’re coming from. Especially the bit about men being more likely to be seen as abusers whereas women the victims... especially given my own experiences. You grew up in fear of yourself and it’s only natural that you’d be preoccupied by doing the right thing and how to recognize it.

    I absolutely see the wisdom in analyzing one’s ethical choices. I do this for big moral decisions and dilemmas. When I said I never ‘intellectualize my compassion,’ I mean I haven’t sat to think about it’s origins and function like you proposed. I’m not one for formalizing my thinking via philosophy, for one thing. And I have never considered if I’m a White Knight Narcissist (though perhaps I should, as I definitely have some rescuer tendencies... )

    Yes, this. That and people seem to conflate the term with anything that is self-focused or ego-based. Narcissistic behaviour isn’t narcissistic behaviour if there isn’t a willful element of control via duplicity in identity. That is, you’re trying to influence someone’s opinion of you to get them to behave in some way to rescue your ego in their eyes or endear you to them for the purposes of exploitation. But at the same time, there’s other words for it... such as passive-aggressiveness or guilt-tripping or playing the victim or blame-shifting, etc. which non-narcissists can engage in from time to time. Narcissism has just become the catch-all term.
     
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  16. Ren

    Ren Pin's android

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    The tricky thing is that acting out of Kantian duty is not necessarily proof of detached obligation, because it’s possible to imagine someone deriving pleasure from the very idea of being a detached Kantian. It could be pleasure arising from a sense of moral purity, pleasure arising from a sense of being morally superior to others—such as those who aren’t capable of following the call of duty in a consistent manner—or both.

    Ideally, a true Kantian should be so detached that they would wish everybody followed the same impersonal duty principle. They would be dissatisfied, rather than satisfied, with the idea of being seen as the ‘pillar of disinterested virtue’ in a group, because that would mean the others are looking up to them instead of taking it upon themselves to obey the moral law. The blueprint should not be individual embodiments of right moral behaviour, it should be the law itself.

    So this could be an interesting thought experiment for you, Hos, relating back to the original questionings about White Knight narcissism that led to the creation of this thread. Imagine a situation in which everyone on the forum adopted a Kantian moral stance, acted rationally and out of duty, impersonally and detachedly, etc. In some sense this would be your ideal of balance for the forum, but it would also coincide with the loss of your ‘status’ as the devil’s advocate, defender of the underdog, etc., since now everyone would be following the same driving moral principle.

    How do you think you would react to that? Do you think you would be very glad about that (as I think a true Kantian would) or would you experience it as a kind of threat to your unique identity as the ‘knight of duty’? Could it paradoxically encroach upon the source of your self-esteem? Depending on what you answer, you may uncover more about the underlying motives you questioned openly in your original post.
     
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  17. Daustus

    Daustus Meatbot

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    Have you read any Hellboy comics? I was reading your passage here and it jumped to my mind. Totally derailed, not important. Continue on folks.
     
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  18. mintoots

    mintoots Also: Tooth, 뚵수, Tootsu

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  19. Fidicen

    Fidicen Community Member

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    Kantian duty ethics is good for pointing out flaws in other people's behaviour. Unfortunately, once you start appealing to it, your own behaviour is most likely just as easy to criticize, because as Ren points out, it demands detachment that might not even be possible for a human being. You know you did a bad bad thing yourself, what if everyone else did that. Not to mention that duty may lead to tyranny.

    The thing with Kant and Hegel is that you may criticize their systems, but can never quite dismiss them.
     
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  20. OP
    Hostarius

    Hostarius Saudade Retard

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    I'd try to make them understand, but only in private.

    Perhaps only with my ex, who demanded an unconditional loyalty.

    No I wasn't, but that makes a lot of sense - they certainly seem linked, Sands.

    Agreed.

    This is linked in an interesting way to that 'culture of victimhood' that was discussed in Odyne's humour thread, because it's important to note who is typically wielding that word, and what sort of power and permissions they're imparting into it. The power of that term, and the lack of accountability with which it is thrown about, proceeds directly from the reverence in which we hold 'victims of abuse'. No-one would take it upon themselves to challenge or question the story of a victim, and so 'narcissism' as it is used is clothed in the same shielding aura. And yet, it can do an enormous amount of damage to anyone who is inflicted with it. It's very powerful magic; a hex which generates its meaning from the very weakness of the people who use it as, I suspect, is the case and origin for most 'witchcraft' historically. 'Magic' is the reflex of the powerless, and we are in a curious new age of magic; it pervades everything.

    Interesting thought experiment, Ren, and yes I agree that it would be very clarifying.

    In my case, the behaviour comes first and the 'reputation' comes after; I would engage in the behaviour whatever was said about me, though I would take critique on board, of course (if it just wasn't working).

    And of course, in the case of the forum, I literally attempted to normalise the behaviour in exactly the way you describe... *ahem*
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    It was going well, too, until corruption, scandal and internal coup (*cough* @sassafras *cough*) brought it down from within :expressionless:

    Yeah, I was making fun of myself with it, and it was a cheap excuse for a joke, but I was kind of serious about having the ideas accepted more broadly. I wanted people to get used to the idea of people running to the rescue of arseholes to say 'yeah, this guy's acting like a jerk (hey guy, stop it), but watch you don't go too far and turn this into bullying'. With some humour and some detatchment that kind of response could've been normalised with the object of 'balancing' the 'moral' response to flare-ups.

    Even so, yeah there's definitely some ego involved when I figure out what sort of 'reputation' I have - this happened when I taught, for sure. Initially I would hear the praise and feel shocked and surprised, but then I came to like it. Noble Hos, defender of truth and justice - absofuckinlutely I liked that :tearsofjoy:

    Oh Teresa was a PoS no doubt. Everybody's favourite INTJ Christopher Hitchens proved that a long time ago.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 4, 2020
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