Narcissicism and care-giving

The recent Penn State University sex abuse scandal has brought to the fore again the psychological profile of sex offenders.  The following link connects to a Washington Post story by a Jesuit priest who elaborates on the narcissism of sexual offenders, in this instance,  but also in the Catholic Church sex abuse saga which still rears its ugly head from time to time.

I think that narcissism is a human trait and that all of us should consider its relevance in our own life.  It is a challenge to get to the point in our maturity where we consider from day to day, “This is not all about me” whatever “this” might happen to be at the particular moment.  There is always a context and it is human nature to interpret any phenomena in a self-flattering, egotistical manner.
Being a professional care-giver by training (and disposition), I have learned to monitor myself from time to time and issue that reminder:  This is not about me!   It is so easy to care for some of us, especially we bleeding-heart liberals, but what we don’t want to realize is that this “I feel your pain” tendency is often just simple co-dependency.  We are sometimes just feeding on the anguish of our clients or charges.
And then there is the Jerry Sandusky sexual offender profile, where this “feeding” is not just simply naivety and immaturity, it is outright predatory.  This is garden-variety, plain-and-simple, evil sociopathy.  He purported to care, behaved in a “caring” manner (to all appearances), but he was a wolf in sheeps clothing.

The following posting is in reference to material from the blog posting of 11/3/1, “Paean to Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

When Ali was five, her grandmother orchestrated a “female circumcision” on her, seizing the opportunity provided by Ali’s father’s imprisonment.  Her father had opposed the procedure.  First, it is interesting to note that her father opposed this procedure and was able to prevent it when in the household even though it was a cultural/religious mandate.  I’m curious how he could have done that but am pleased that he did.    Second, can you imagine the balls of that grandmother????   Wow!  In some perverted fashion, she was a version of a “women’s libber” in that she acted contrary to the specific wishes of Ali’s father, a man. (And, this compliment is intended to be wry.  I’m not approving of anything that beastly woman ever did.)   But, of course, she did this in subservience to a “higher truth” which was the unequivocal mandate of the Koran.  It must have been an interesting moral dilemma for her but “moral dilemmas” are more easily resolved if you have a command from On High that you are obeying.

BUT, can you imagine having swallowed any cultural mandate or decree of Holy Writ to the point that you would brutalize a five year old girl, your own granddaughter?   And the brutality was not only physical, but sexual!  What a warped sense of personal and sexual identity it would give any girl.  No wonder that women in cultures of that sort are so subservient.   I would hope that if “God” should ever weigh on me to commit any deed so offensive to basic common sense and contrary to any basic human decency, I would readily tell him to “Fuck off.”  But, or course we routinely read/hear/see in our media gross examples of human stupidity in blind obedience to “God” speaking to them.

I think that it would behoove each of us to just take a time-out anytime “The Spirit is upon me” or “God is speaking to me.”  If we have any thoughts of this sort, we should be given pause for in these communications often lies the portal to gross stupidity and even brutality.  But in that moment, the “old brain”, that reptilian brain…..dare I say “Sataaaan”….is clamouring in our brain and we have a tendency to “know” that we are receiving the truth.  But, even if so, what harm would it do to pause and perhaps get feedback.

And I do think that each of us can say on occasion that “God is speaking to me” or “The Spirit of God is upon me”—I don’t doubt this in the least.  BUT, does it do any harm to give pause and consider the message?  I wish God would impose an early-warning system in our neurological depths and that anytime He was about to speak to us, we would hear…and perhaps see….a “WARNING” message like we see on our car’s dashboard when the engine is overheating.The issue here is meta-cognition.  So often it is lacking.  So often it is turned off when cultural mandates, i.e. the Word of God, is involved.  And I think God is then insulted, that we feel we have to turn off our brain when he is “speaking” to us or even when he is speaking to us.  God is not stupid.  But we often are.

I close with Goethe who in Faust noted, “They call is Reason, using light celestial, just to outdo the beasts in being bestial.”

narcissism temptation with all care givers.

all of us are healers when we can forget about ourselvesd.


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