Cultural relativism is interesting to study academically and from a theological perspective in part because ethnocentrism almost inescapably colors subjective opinion. It’s the macrocosmic version of courtship rituals humans mock when proposing marriage. If you are involved with a person who is biologically capable of experiencing a full range of human emotions, chances are they are the kind of person who naturally feels respect or empathy for others. Then there are those born with a different sense of what it means to be human. Psychologists and Psychiatrists call them people with personality disorders — and by golly (sakes alive), when and if one of them tells another member of their clique they don’t like you, prepare to be targeted for psychological and emotional abuse designed to invalidate, shame, estrange, and socially disenfranchise.
You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world and out there is some crass or mean-spirited person who simply cannot wait for the right opportunity to tell you all about how much they and everyone else hate peaches. Understand, this habit of attacking others and maligning them in a competitive fashion is absolutely one of the most obvious warning signs that a person is at BEST a Covert Narcissist — or something worse if ridiculing abuse happens a second time.
Narcissists wear emotional combat boots and use their words to harm faster than a swift kick to the shin. Steel toed boots applied to bone seldom hurt as much as the pain of being betrayed and back-stabbed by a person of trust, most specifically a blood relative, close personal friend, or a love interest.
Everyone deserves to be cut a little slack. We all have tough days where the raw physicality of emotion places us into positions where we can sometimes say things that come out wrong or that are less than helpful. We even say or do things at times intending zero disregard or disrespect to another group, party, or person that hurts their feelings or causes conflict. There are simply days everyone on the planet feels like they don’t have the social or emotional strength to wear anything much more on their feet than the softest pair of bedroom slippers or an incredibly well-worn and much-loved pair of flip flops.
Let’s be clear… that is not even remotely what is being discussed here. We’re not talking about enabling abuse, overlooking anything, minimizing, or in any way suggesting that a person cannot heal unless they offer to forgive.
What we are talking about is cultural relativism. What we are talking about is narcissism in modern culture as toxic thinking patterns that are taught to children by narcissistic parents. We’re talking about narcissism that is nurtured in otherwise functionally capable, empathetic human beings who engage in habits because everyone else does without giving them a close examination.
We’re talking about kids who eat meat or hamburgers at McDonald’s because those are the food products provided to them — not because they went to a slaughterhouse and thought everything was okay about how farmers were treating cattle or that they truly felt like grabbing a happy cow standing in a field and running over to take a big ole’ bite out of one of them.
[And for the record, only a Narcissistic person would twist these words to mean this article is about cows. No one involved with writing it or promoting it is likely to share it actively promoting we all be Jainists or Vegans.]
Don’t let a Flying Monkey convince you that cutting an abusive person who actively lies, consciously deceives, ruthlessly manipulates the emotions of all they encounter and gets a sadistic thrill from manufacturing chaos. Enablers are famous for having bought their own narcissistic peer group’s con or having a personality type that is harmful but covert. Their propensity to gossip and say things behind people’s back they would never admit in front of a target’s face gives these petty little-winged circus monkeys true nature away.
We are talking about not wearing moon shoes, jumping hastily to illogical or fallacious conclusions [claiming that because someone says a hurtful thing or does something a person does not like that they are narcissistic by temperament, as in narcissistic by nature]. If that were the case, every person who eats a hamburger could be accused of being a narcissist (for acting narcissistic and eating a cow because it’s common to include beef in the diet as part of American and most European Culture).
If you are a Hindu, to slaughter a cow for a meal borders on the unthinkable. Cows roam free in most parts of India because they are considered a sacred, spiritual animal. In the West, they are murdered and served with a side of fries and ketchup. But not before they use the milk to make milkshakes for their entitled selves before they elect to maim and eat a heifer.
When in America, American people tend to overlook the well-being of a cow in favor of their tummy growl. Is the craving for meat and a willingness to overlook slaughter of an animal in order to get the protein inherently narcissistic? Absolutely. But that does not mean anyone who hits up the drive through window is a hardcore Narcissist with a raging personality disorder by nature.
What it does mean is when you see a farm with farmers and ranch hands callously and cruelly abusing animals, it is a warning sign they may have issues. When they go home and kick the family pet, smack the crap out of the kids, and shame bully the wife while laying hands on her because they are angry about what is (or conversely what is not) ready to eat for dinner that they have a gravely serious and most likely comorbid personality disorder.
People who are addicts or alcoholics are all narcissistic by nature. But it’s only a selfish and entitled person who chooses to abuse drugs, their family, their co-workers, their relatives, and the general public by getting wasted and acting in such ways that they force other people to bear witness to their stupid, self-entitled, arrogant, abusive, dangerous and unpredictable irrational behaviors.
People prone to engage in mobbing behaviors are also suspect. Schoolyard bullies oftentimes grow up to act like pack animals.
Whatever the case, if you or a loved one are actively being abused by a Narcissist, toxic family member, or narcissistic peer group, make like Nancy Sinatra and hit the trail. These boots are made for walking is not just a catchy tune; it’s a call to action, one that requires putting one boot pro-actively in front of another in order to allow change to happen in your life.
Change is something that will never happen while living with or still being held under the thumb of a toying predator. Like abusive partners, cultures that encourage victim shaming, mobbing, bullying, smear campaigning, and teach children entitlement values reflect terminal thinking.
Breaking up with a Narcissist is hard. Breaking up with a cultural tradition of enacting, enabling, or overlooking abuse is harder.
Overlooking and enabling abusive people leads to events like we’ve seen in 2015. Namely, the attacks in Paris and the San Bernadino shootings.
Note, we said harder. Not “impossible”.
That means there is even LESS of an excuse not to bother trying. The way change happens in the world is the same way it starts in our homes. When you put your foot down with a child and won’t allow them to abuse other people or re-enact known bad behavior, you have a chance to save the child from themselves — even if the benefits don’t start consciously showing up until years later.
Eliminating toxic thinking from our lifestyles at home on a day to day basis is a start. The next step is when we act as positive role models for our friends and family, bringing faith and education to kind people that they are not alone in thinking people who act abusively towards others display toxic behaviors.
Narcissism is prevalent in modern culture most likely due to people with Cluster B traits throughout history setting trends and pop culture history patterns. Once you know better, forgive yourself for what you did not know before and get on with the business of learning how to treat yourself (as well as other people) karmically better.