Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Ego Mechanisms of Defense in Narcissists
This political season we have someone who is a complete outside running for president in a major party who appears to a be bird of another feather.
Here is what I mean. A true narcissist is someone who is flamboyant and braggadocios on the outside, to the point of being intolerable, but who is really quite fragile on the inside. When a narcissist is challenged, their thin eggshell exterior can quite easily crack and they fall apart or explode. The ways that they maintain peace within themselves are several fold. The first mechanism that they use is repression, which means that they keep unpleasant facts about themselves out of their conscious mind. So it is possible that they would say that they respect women at one point and yet say demeaning things about women's weight, looks, intelligence and abilities on the other. They would not see a connection between these two. If repression fails, then there is outright denial, which means just that. They will assert that an incident that is distressing to them did not happen. No, I did not assault a woman, that did not happen. The denial of facts is common for a narcissist. Another ego defense used is distortion and lies. There can be an almost compulsive nature to it. Finally, the narcissist uses projection to shield themselves from realizing unpleasant facts about themselves. So instead of seeing that he is a liar he calls his opponent crooked. When people speculate that his persistent sniffing in the first two debates was evidence he was using cocaine he says that his opponent should be drug tested. Instead of admitting his own affairs and unwanted sexual advances he points to the behavior of his opponents spouse. It is almost as if the public should look at his latest accusations of his opponent to figure out what he is now afraid that we will find out about him. Oh, and these mechanisms of defense, while normal in young children, are not normal even by the teenage years, and adults largely grow out of them and move on to more mature mechanisms like altruism.