I have come across these five questions on a number of occasions. They are often regarded as the five fundamental queries which are raised about our behaviour. They are usually answered in a forthright manner by certain commentators in order to drive the message home. However, these observations and answers are provided by people who are not of our kind. They are naturally entitled to comment but the true value arises from someone who is on the other side of the fence, the perpetrator of the actions, the doer. Furthermore, the usual observations are provided without regard to the fact that narcissists are both similar yet different because we operate in certain schools which are linked to our degree of functioning and malign outlook. Accordingly, the traditional answer provided to one of these questions may be correct for the greater of our kind, but not for the mid-range or for the lesser narcissist. Here are the five answers to the five central questions, beginning with those of our kind who are from the lesser school.
- Do we know what we are doing?
The lesser does not know. He or she is a creature of knee-jerk reactions, impulse responses and almost machine like programming. The lesser narcissist behaves in his or her manner as a matter of routine response. Push button A and you will get response A. Push button B and you will get response B. It is an unsophisticated system for an unsophisticated person. The lesser narcissist is something of a blunt instrument and has no understanding as to why he or she acts in this way. Out of all of our kind if you try to get a lesser to understand what they are doing, that they must realise what is happening and they are aware of their behaviour, you really may as well go and find a brick wall and slam your head against it as it will be more productive. The lesser does not know and your questions will only serve to enrage him for yes, again reasons he does not know, only that he knows he does not like your questions and he wants you stop asking them so you had better do so or else.
- Do you know that you are hurting people?
The lesser may be low-functioning but he or she will know that he or she is hurting people. They are not so stupid as not to not recognise that whatever he or she is doing is causing pain, distress and upset to somebody else. They recognise such emotions even though they do not feel those emotions themselves. They see the product of their behaviours and like all of our kind extract fuel from this although they will not understand that this is what they are doing. They will not recognise the concept of fuel. Instead the lesser narcissist will just regard the reaction of the victim as their own fault and they deserved it because they did something the narcissist did not like. The lesser often cannot even point to what it is that the victim has done that has provoked the annoyance, the irritation and the ignition of fury and being invited to do so just increases the hostile reaction. There are occasions when the lesser will respond sometimes with something specific but more often with a general expression along the lines of:
“You just wind me up.”
“You know how to push my buttons.”
“You get on my nerves.”
“You really bug me sometimes.”
The lesser experiences the irritation, the annoyance and the ignition of fury but does not know why and therefore he is not in a position to tell you what it is that has caused him to hurt you, but he just has to, because once he has, the irritation and so forth recedes. He has gathered fuel and addresses the restlessness that comes with the low provision. He has gathered fuel and repaired the wound caused by your criticism (real or more likely perceived) but he doesn’t not know that this is the process. He sees the hurt he causes but has no idea why he is doing it.
- Is the behaviour deliberate?
With the lesser it is not deliberate. He or she does not plan to respond in the way that he or she does, it just happens. There is no scheming or plotting with the lesser narcissist, they are not of sufficient function to achieve this. In the same way that if you are hit on the knee with a small hammer there will (usually) be a reflexive action, it is the same for the lesser. He needs fuel, although he does not realise this. He needs to provoke you but again does not realise this. He just reacts and responds. He is a victim of some unseen and unknown higher force that causes him to react. He is already programmed this way but has not been granted any insight or understanding into why he acts as he does. This is why the lesser narcissist will never accept there is anything wrong with him, why he will never admit that he is defective in some way and why he will never concede that he is a narcissist. This is how he is. Isn’t everyone else this way as well? He has no ability to recognise what he is doing. I appreciate that this is often one of the hardest things for a victim to understand. Surely the narcissist knows what he or she is doing? How can they not see it? If you can, why can’t they? This is because they have been wired in a different way to you and with a lesser narcissist this means that their world view is so different that they consider it the only way that people behave and that there is nothing wrong with it.
- Can you control it?
In the same way that you might think that the lesser narcissist must surely understand what they are doing, you would expect that they can control it. The answer is that they cannot. As I have explained, their responses are programmed and they do not act in the same way as you. It is knee-jerk, immediate and automatic. For instance, let us say that you are walking along the street when you see a large man running towards you. You will do the following:
- Regard the behaviour that you can see;
- Evaluate what that behaviour means;
- Consider the range of responses available to you;
- Consider the most appropriate to the situation;
- Consider the consequence of such action;
- Execute your response.
Thus you realise the man is just out jogging because as he nears you he is wearing sports kit and headphones, so you keep on walking and smile at him, he returns the smile and all is well.
The lesser narcissist sees the behaviour and then responded. Parts b through to e are omitted. This is why the response, viewed through your world lens, may seem disproportionate, outrageous and wrong. To the lesser narcissist, it just is and why are you complaining about it?
The lesser narcissist has an extremely low ability to control his behaviours because of this programming. Whereas the mid-range and greater (as I shall explain separately) can exert control, evaluate and form decisions before responding, the lesser cannot. This is why lesser narcissists have a greater propensity to more extreme responses, including physical violence, because they cannot control their actions and do not evaluate the repercussions of that action. They just react.
- Can they stop it?
It is often thought that our kind can stop our behaviours and therefore if we do not we must be enjoying what we are doing. With the lesser of our kind they can no more stop what they are doing than you can halt a runaway train with your bare hands. The lesser is a creature of response and reaction. It happens and if you are in the way when it happens, that is your fault. He does not know why he behaves this way so has no basis for stopping it. He is programmed to respond in a knee-jerk manner and therefore is unable to stop the behaviour. If you tell him to stop, you are tapping in to this inability to control his behaviour and this amounts to fuel or a criticism (if delivered emotion free) but in either instance all it will do is cause the behaviour to continue, although the lesser will not know this. In some respects, this lack of understanding, insight and control makes the lesser of our kind a pitiful creature but in other respects it makes him especially volatile and dangerous.