We have a tendency to view people who are abusive or aggressive, as “bad”, as if they were born evil. Or, we attribute something defective within them, which causes the desire to hurt others. We rarely think about the origin of abusive behavior: victimization.
Those who are repeatedly victimized, fixate upon gaining power over their perpetual, or many past experiences, of powerlessness. This focus upon protecting oneself and avoiding feeling victimized. This extreme focus upon preventing feelings of powerlessness, causes them to dis-identify themselves with being in the position of perpetrator, because deep down, they have solidly identified with being a victim.
We throw around the word “narcissist” as a means to label the cause of selfish, delusional, destructive and violent behavior in certain people. They are those who are typically some of the most aggressive and violent of us all, yet proceed to get away with it, over and over again, through their entitlement to “rights” above others and to their form of justice, convictions, capacity to deceive and manipulate. These so-labeled individuals often victimize and exploit others, and feel justified in doing so, through denying and disconnecting from, the full rights and humanity of others, in the name of finding safety and “peace” within their own skin.
I have seen several people label Kavanaugh as a Narcissist. I understand to diagnose someone with a disorder like this is inappropriate, while not being their psychotherapist and/or assessor, and thus having limited information. Though, the phenomenon of many labeling him in this way, points to the widely held perception that during this whole process, he has chosen to “play the victim” and instead make the whole experience about how badly he has been hurt. He has done this, while also allegedly lying about a variety of details that were clearly evidenced through prior testimony or other’s testimony, refusing to take an iota of accountability, and “power-tripping”. Which, during his brief testimony in front of the Senate, the power-tripping manifested in an explosive display, haranguing Democrats, mocking questioners, and in refusing to propose or cooperate with a proper investigation.
So, let’s just talk about observable behaviors that people are pointing to in calling him a Narcissist, rather than on the diagnosis itself. As, there are millions of articles on Narcissism, anyways. But, looking at the origin of these “Narcissistic” behaviors, might actually lead to a new orientation towards people like this, as well as these characteristics, when we might observe them within the self, and those closest to us.
The above behaviors, do not come from a truly empowered person. They come from someone who, deep down, feels perpetually powerless, who’s extremely fragile. They come from someone who feels compelled to compulsively protect their self, and feel assured through power and control. They arise from this man whom hates himself, experiencing low-self-worth, and a resulting pathological amount of shame.
Shame is a core fear response, and if left unchecked or unhealed, creates a resulting inability to tolerate one’s and another’s humanity, and the severely disables natural human tendency to tolerate being receptive, impactful, imperfect, and to perceive and admit to being hurt and hurting others. Pathological shame requires one to be perfect and unable to be influenced, hurt, or accessed. Thus, due to this shame, he cannot handle the supposed dent in, and unraveling of “self” he might experience within if he were to express an apology, softness, receptivity, humility, vulnerability, compassion, remorse, or empathy. So, instead he feels to seek justice is in acting entitled to immunity from doubt, questioning and investigation, and is thus justified in acting the part of a victim who must angrily and passionately protect himself, his family and community, and cast shame and doubt upon to all those that suspect he is not justified in doing so. As, if his emotional response is extreme, clearly he is being hurt, and it casts all those who are “hurting him” as perpetrators.
The more unaware, internally unhealed, and thus damaged the person is, the more insistent, rigid, and entitled they are in compulsively repeating this same response, no matter the context or the external measures in place to help them choose another way to respond. This rigidity, compulsion, entitlement, and insistence are so strong, it helps to view this Kavanugh-esque way of being as like that of an interpersonal form of extreme Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Viewing it this way, helps one understand how automatic, unconscious, and out of control one is of their self when dealing with anything complicated and painful in regard to being in relationship, and how far away the individual is, from being able to make sound and appropriate judgement in this realm.
Understanding more about the internal experience of Kavanaugh, as well as other people who behave in this way, demystifies their “power” to get what they want, and their ability and granted access to keep hurting others, despite the repeated direct feedback, as well as evidence that they lack the right to do this. These people shouldn’t fool you in to believing they know it all or they have the right, by their sheer conviction they are right and justified. They abuse you, me, and everyone, because they hate their self, and they feel they “must” abuse as a means to “deal with” their self.
These people, through their rigid and delusional conviction, and all the trail of harm they leave behind them, are showing you and us, how badly they need compassion, understanding, and strong limits. They need boundaries. They need, “no contact”, they need to see direct and dire consequences from the choices within their actions. They need these limits and consequences so they can finally begin to go within, heal their wounds, learn to love their self, and thus learn how not to hurt themselves and others anymore.