Did you know? The number one side effect of a head injury is typically a propensity for anger? That’s right. And egocentrism. And a lack of empathy. And a propensity for blurting. And belief in complex delusions that include taking in some but not all parts of reality, devising a cohesive theme, and running with it while they frame the world they want to live in — complete with targeting caregivers who they decide are not there to help them but are actually out to get them? That is right — mix a bag of blurting, paranoia, extreme anxiety, PTSD waves of memory, a bunch of foggy years, and what do you have? Captain Head Injury, ready to play the royal patient and demand his (or her) family hop to it and get to steppin’ when and if they bellow to demand something.
If your antagonist has a head injury, it’s much easier to depersonalize their confusing and cruel verbal jabs and barbs they spit out while having their “episodes” once you realize that blurting, impulse control, and narcissistic rages are completely normal TBI symptoms. If a person with TBI also has a propensity for losing touch with reality, has grandiose or complex delusions at times, or fades in and out of touch with the NOW moment, understand that a major part of their rage might be directed at a targeted caregiver to blame.
But really, the person with the head injury is likely to feel confused, embarrassed, out of control, lost, alone, fearful, and is most likely projecting venom at you, they REALLY wish they could use to lash out and beat the insidious injury themselves. If you happen to be the person who cares the most about them or are the person who spends the most time with them physically, chances are your head and social reputation as a family member or life partner is about to be campaigned against with vim and vigor.
Narcissistic Abuse from a TBI person or patient who has done psychological, social, or emotional damage to you can be painful, but one never needs to react in kind. Their behaviors may boggle the mind — especially when they appear normal physically — so resist the urge to let them gaslight you into believing you are the person who is irrational, illogical, angry, hostile, out of control with your behavior or just plain out of your own mind.
Empathy emotions are suppressed and egocentrism takes over when and if the brain is damaged. For that reason alone, consider inquiring about the health history of any person who acts erratically.
Parents and grandparents with head injuries [many times] don’t even bother telling children they ever suffered one. Why? Because back in their day if you got hit in the head or knocked out, as long as there was not a hole in your head to bandage or fill, if you woke up, you got back up.
That was literally all the care and treatment for head injury patients prior to the turn of the 21st century. If a person was not bleeding and could report their own name and date of birth correctly, that’s pretty much where patient care and family advising about TBI stopped.
As late as in the early 2000s, no one in the medical community or in academia was really trained to understand that even something like a football injury from young boys crashing helmets on a field could impact personality or behavior of a youngster maturing. No one discussed when little Johnny fell out of that tree and ended up in a coma for two or three weeks.
Once little Johnny (who landed on his head) woke up and could say his name, he was sent home with his parents and let loose on his schoolteachers, friends, and family.
Little Johnny — like so many others who suffered head injuries before him — now faces a lifetime challenge of both figuring out his own personality problems and (for the safety of others) needs to figure out his own triggers. But here’s the rub…
Since Little Johnny’s parents were uneducated in general about medicine, psychology, behavioral psychology, developmental psychology in children, and aberrant psychology, they missed all the key red flags and warning signs their beloved son has a hitch in his giddyup.
Little Johnny suffers mood swings with highs and lows that resemble manic depression, now, thanks to landing on his head and knocking himself out as a kid. What triggers and provokes his rages no one is quite sure — including him… not for lack of ability to know but because no one in HIS family cares enough about him to educate themselves in order to try to help him.
You see, Little Johnny’s family — in their own arrogance and stubborn refusal to believe that their son could have suffered an injury that changed not only his personality but the very real way he now is physically responding to daily life stressors — willfully refuses to support his need for psychoanalysis and behavioral management therapy. Instead of seeing his rage and domineering, caustic temperament as something to be ashamed of, they have instead decided to brag about his rebellious personality and to see his behavior as being something “all boys do as teenagers”.
Here’s the problem.
Little Johnny, after having become a rebellious child with an erratic personality, failed to psychologically mature. While his intelligence rose from experience in day to day life, his Emotional IQ never rose above the age of the head trauma incident.
While that’s all cute and funny that that guy from high school acts no different at 50 years old than he did in 7th or 8th grade but that he looks like a grown man now, his behavior is ultimately shameful and embarrassing to his wife and children. Sadly, because his intellect stopped robustly developing at the ripe old age of not even in teen digits, Little Johnny only cares about his short-term and immediate needs to do whatever attention-seeking antic he thinks will get the biggest rise out of his spouse (who he perceives as his antagonist rather than partner) and impress his narcissistic peer group — including his Enabling Henchman dad and Narcissistic Mother.
See the loop? It’s a terrible problem when families hide from one another or a new romantic partner that any member of a family has a personality disorder or a head injury that causes a person to act as if they are irrationally narcissistic and at least partially sociopathic.
Little Johnny runs red lights when he’s late for work. He runs red lights when he’s bored driving and does not feel like waiting. Sometimes he looks to see what’s coming. Other times, he will drive at top speed straight through a red light or stop sign without looking. He will do this move with a passenger in the car. If the passenger complains, he will do it again to scare them while laughing. Some may claim this is acting like a Narcopath — egocentric, grandiose (10 foot tall and bullet proof), and without a single care for public safety. Toxic people who have actual Cluster B traits will find his behavior both exciting (because it causes an adrenaline rush) and funny. Empathic people who hear about it shudder. Those forced to ride in a car with Little Johnny are likely to develop a lifetime of C-PTSD trigger issues related to riding as a passenger in cars.
Little Johnny has road rage. He yells and screams and drives erratically. It does not matter if someone provoked him or he triggered then started provoking other drivers — Little Johnny gets behind the wheel and ignores all traffic laws and safety precautions on a whim for fun and sport because… bottom line… he simply loves driving while raging. Most people would see his decision to take the keys and drive while angry as foolhardy, reckless, socially and physically irresponsible, and worse. But little Johnny’s parents? They laugh and make jokes about his driving at every family dinner. Johnny, unable to process things maturely or rationally, sees this as an attention-getting success. Rather than feeling ashamed or catching the subtle social clue that he’s doing something totally socially inappropriate, he sees their jests as a reason to drive crazy more (not less). They don’t have to ride with him or put their young in a vehicle with him to do simple everyday things like run errands or take the little ones to school. They praise the TBI person for all behaviors that are toxic, claiming that his behavior is simply his character.
Guess what, mom and pop? It’s not.
Only Little Johnny’s wife knows the enormous physical and psychiatric pressure he faces as a daily challenge to control and moderate his behavior. If she’s lucky, he will be smart enough on a purely IQ level to force himself to enter behavioral therapy and to go low to no contact with his unsupportive and (quite frankly) undermining toxic parents and other narcissistic family members.
Little Johnny is not his head injury. His head injury causes symptoms to manifest in his personality at times that are more like a ghost — a shadow nature that sneaks out to terrorize the world and occasionally raise hell.
Before the head injury, the child was sweet, loving, bright, articulate, interested in academia, a team player, and had a fully developed ability to perceive the emotion empathy. After the head injury, the same child became distant emotionally. he withdrew from school activities. He stopped reading and never learned anything in school — not math, science, literature, anything. Little Johnny headed into adulthood with an undiagnosed TBI and no education past the year(s) before he landed on his head after that fateful day he slipped and fell while climbing.
Forget the fact the brother pushed him.
Hush the fact that the family — after being TOLD about the TBI and were given all the information they needed to make a team support effort to help him they elected to refuse.
Little Johnny’s family — as a TOXIC family — refuse to give any credit to “stuck up know it alls” like his well-educated wife by admitting that he needs help. Knowing that as long as his behavior remains predictable in its erratic nature they can control his emotions on a minute to minute basis, they continue to think about their own needs rather than his.
If Little Johnny’s family would simply admit they failed to get the behavioral therapy he needed as a child to help him learn to control his own outbursts and feelings of frustrated emotion, even he might wake up to the fact that his personality type is NOT his symptoms. If he knew why he rages and has such a hard time regulating what flies out of his mouth, he might be able to take pride in himself enough to try to stop himself from self-aggrandizing and making a total social and emotional fool of himself.
But, because Little Johnny’s mom and pop laugh rather than recoil in horror when they hear reports of him lashing out, he feels pride in his behavior. He feels pride where a rational person biologically capable of processing complex thoughts and emotions without them being artificially interrupted by a re-route would not.
Every day, Little Johnny struggles with headaches (sometimes that go on for days). He struggles when his sleep patterns are interrupted. He won’t tend to do well unless he eats regular meals that are nutritionally supportive and at designated hours.
Bedtime is a 10. Dinner’s at 7, anyone? Dinner’s at 5 or 9 creates a meltdown of epic proportion… and god help you if it’s after 10 pm and Little Johnny’s wife needs to ask him a question or tries to snuggle up in bed next to him.
Every day, Little Johnny feels lost, alone, and powerless over his own emotions. He struggles to make it through not only the day but very often the hour. His emotional dysregulation problem leads him to try self-medicating to soothe sourceless anxiety and physical discomfort. Legal drugs purchased over the counter are something he eats like candy like he’s eating Dots or White Caps while at the movies. Illegal drugs like medical marijuana can help him greatly but his family bias towards stoners (claiming they are hippies and unmotivated losers) makes him shy away. Instead of using the helpful herb to calm his nerves and clear his thinking, he opts to use the family’s choice of mind altering substances they approve of in order to help him cope with daily life and ease his “pain”.
Good old mom provides him with prescription narcotics — pain pills — to help him sleep or get through the workday. Which one, no one is ever actually sure because she herself has a pill problem… and never tells anyone — including Little Johnny’s wife or kids — that she’s illegally slipping him drugs to self-medicate.
Good old dad… what a champ. His advice to Little Johnny? Start drinking beer during the week at the end of the workday. Or have a few at lunch. And go out for cocktails and get flatline hammered every Friday and Saturday. As long as someone ends up at church once or twice a year on a holiday or random Sunday, everything will be okay.
Little Johnny’s sister? She does all she can to triangulate herself into some sort of attention-dominating situation. Her role as the Golden Child of the family was confirmed when her brother’s noggin knocked the ground initially. She’s the first person to push her brother’s trigger buttons and then to proclaim his lunacy while denying having provoked him in any way. She’s the first to point her blaming finger at him while he rages in plain view of God and family claiming he’s nuts but she’s great. But guess what? She’s Machiavelian. Not only does sis deeply resent all the attention her parents and other people paid to her little brother when he was a child, she was angry at all the attention he got when he got hurt initially. She’s been to college. She’s taken basic psychology. But do you think she would show the wife and her brother’s family even the slightest bit of empathy by backing their story that TBI causes NPD-like symptoms, ASPD affectations in logical processing, or that impulsivity and addictions issues commonly develop in patients post head injury? No freaking way. It’s too much fun for her to meddle and pot stir then play innocent to garner sympathy for false victimhood. If she can get her parents to buy her something or pay for a new toy like a car, that’s all that matters. Poor her, terrorized by her brother after spending every family holiday together baiting and provoking him while situationally abusing him in private in an attempt to cause him to lose it and publicly embarrass himself and the family while he goes full frontal Narcissistic Rage.
Little Johnny’s brother? He’s a different sort altogether. He’s the conformist. Whatever his parents do or say is right in his mind. Jealousy of other siblings is suppressed under a sinister mask of passive-aggressive negatives. Every time someone in the family — not just Little Johnny — has something positive or life-affirming to say, “Brother from another mother” has to interject a negative. Johnny’s brother is the guy who can be counted on to help other people fall off the wagon. He’s the dream crusher. He’s the man who can suck the life right out of the most sunshiney of personalities simply by spending 20 minutes talking to them on any given day. A master manipulator of the most covert sort, he sits back and observes his family’s cycle. Knowing the precise time to whisper a triangulating comment into another person’s ear to manufacture chaos and create discord he can observe is his specialty. When his brother comes to him for advice and admits he’s struggling with addictions issues and keeping his emotional outbursts contained, his brother minimized and invalidates Little Johnny’s claims. Then, he hands him a beer — cracked open already of course. He tells him not to worry about it… to quit talking like a fag. He tells him to “man up” and explains it’s no big deal… “Have another drink.” As Little Johnny looks lost and drinks his beer, Brother takes a sip of his own. A smirk creeps across his face, knowing that Johnny is likely to tank with either his parents, his siblings, or his wife and kids that day.
Does Little Johnny have NPD? Not technically speaking. But what he does have is a head injury and he comes from an incredibly toxic family.
People with NPD — meaning “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” — tend to function solely from an egocentric perspective — not due to a biological limitation most of the time but rather because they like to…
People with NPD have issues with impulse control. They tend toward addictive behaviors related to things like gambling, sex, drinking, and drug use — just like Little Johnny.
People with NPD will proudly tell you they have no earthly idea what they are going to blurt out of their stupid mouths at any given time or place. And yes — we did say stupid. Why? Not because we’re trying to insult anyone or cause “narcissistic injury”. Stupid mouths are ones that speak aloud without the brain in control of them contributing thoughtful or respectful behavior towards themselves or others in any way.
People with true NPD typically don’t manage to offend one person in their life they target. They tend to insult every single person on the planet on a regular basis. They go out of their way to insult and offend any person who shows them care, concern, empathy, or kindness in an effort to demoralize them. What’s more, they refuse to acknowledge they have been pleased by another person’s efforts in any way — unless (that is) they are enmeshed in striving to foster something like sibling rivalry or are striving actively to manufacture a triangulation.
Mind control games are oftentimes played by bored Narcissists who are either sadistic or into power and control. Brainwashing techniques ranging from depriving a person of sleep to hiding their personal belongings from them are played for no other reason than to watch the target get frustrated.
Ridicule and the teaching of toxic shame is a daily part of the family ritual Little Johnny experiences each and every day. He’s given zero social or emotional support for behavior management and is actually made fun of for making progress. Only when he’s behaving cruelly to his wife or strangers he rages at in restaurants, at stores, or on the road is Johnny praised by his bio family. The most atrocious war stories are told as if he’s got bragging rights as the Anti-Social Personality Disorder KING.
To that end, not only has Little Johnny’s life potential been capped, his habits of acting with entitlement and irrationality nearly psychologically and emotionally destroy his nuclear family. His bio family thinks it’s hilarious that he abuses his wife and children. They tell the wife to toughen up, that her skin is “not thick enough”, and that she, “had better find a way to deal with it because this is how life in this family IS.” Note, they always seem to manage to end a dramatic foreboding threat with a dangling participle.
Families affected by head injuries number in the millions, yet few people have even heard of TBI. Military families with sons and daughters are just now starting to hear medical terms like percussive injury, Traumatic Brain Injury, and C-PTSD. Baby Boomers and WWII Generation folks (for the most part) remain clueless, not even aware that the reason Grandpa or Great Grandpa came home and acted funny after the war was because he witnessed extreme atrocities, was under intense traumatizing stress, and quite possibly had his melon jarred more than once when and if a bomb, artillery shell, or mortar blast rattled his head.
Women tasked with caretaking brothers, sons, fathers, and husbands after WWI, WWII, the Korean War, and even the Vietnam war were given no social or emotional support as caretakers. Not understanding medically what happened to change the personality of their men, many were left in positions of themselves being terribly neglected and abused. Those same women were tasked with explaining to children why Grandpa acted mean towards them or why Daddy needs total and absolute quiet at the end of the day when he comes home from work.
What they really were tasked to do is lovingly explain that things like excessive sound or chatter can trigger a person with a head injury to rage. So can too much light, heat, cold, loud noises like those that come from a rainstorm, traffic noises, a doorbell ringing unexpectedly, a glass accidentally knocked over on a table, or milk spilled on a floor. Basically, the wind can shift direction and cause a person with a TBI to lose the ability to self-regulate. Some can control it — and do — with help from their family to compassionately note when and if they have been triggered. Denied responsible mental health care, Little Johnny’s family won’t end up that lucky.
The likely outcome of any relationship with a TBI person who has not been diagnosed or treated on an ongoing basis is any person close to them will end up feeling or being actively physically abused in some way. Whether Little Johnny abuses them by screaming obscenities at them for some reason when he does not get his way or he takes control of the car keys and forces them to remain in the car while he puts their lives in jeopardy and traumatizes them by doing things like curbing the wheels hard intentionally while driving down the road when they are mid-sentence saying something he does not want to hear them say, he’s going to act out due to his limited conception of how his actions impact both himself and the world around him.
Little Johnny will never be more than a mediocre bully at best. His marriage will be a source of stress for his wife and children rather than a source of comfort. His life — once promising — over the decades further and further decays.
As his behaviors escalate rather than decrease over time, his aging family still only think about their own needs to be right in justifying and defending his obnoxious and self-destructive behaviors.
It’s like the ultimate “COCK BLOCK” (excuse our pop-culture reference to French) — meaning every time his wife (as the mother of his child or children) starts to advocate on his behalf for the sake of himself, herself, the family unit as a whole, and for their children that his bio family and narcissistic peer group does all they can to sabotage and undermine him.
It’s almost as if they are mad at her for trying to help him. Why? Who knows. Maybe because they feel secret shame for sabotaging their own blood relation — a person they are supposed to truly care about and strive to help protect — at every given opportunity and occasion. Or perhaps they see that if he did get help, he’d be likely to thrive if he did accept the paradigm that living according to the parameters of Narcissism is toxic thinking.
Whatever the case, Johnny traumatizes his wife the most, followed by his children. After that, who he chooses to rage against at any given time is to be anticipated but will most likely be personalized (and therefore fundamentally misunderstood) by everyone he victimizes.
You see, Little Johnny’s caustic commentary and obscenity-riddled mocking of other people he’s trying to intimidate, control psychologically, and emotionally shame are people he abuses to make himself feel in control of his life and emotions. People unaware that folks with head injuries tend to exhibit extreme bouts of anger, blurt compulsively things they think but have not filtered, and to feel at a loss to control of their own emotions tend to personalize abuse rather than realizing that when he says crazy stuff or acts mean it’s the head injury and biological stress on neurological function at the core of his spewing observant but mean-spirited filth at them.
Notice how after a meltdown it enrages Little Johnny when and if his wife, a friend, child, or co-worker brings up a verbatim account of something he said to them when in a rage. Watch him re-launch if he’s held accountable for something he said or did that was hurtful to another person. Watch him rage again, minimize, re-write history, and compulsively invalidate.
The cycle of Narcissistic Abuse repeats when Little Johnny goes from rage to acting somewhat normal to starting to seethe again. During the “honeymoon” phase of the cycle, abusive and trauma-drama incidents are not allowed to be discussed. Victims are not allowed to seek validation, comfort, mental health care services, or moral support because the act of simply discussing what really happened and how everyone around the Abuser was affected causes the bio-family to encourage Little Johnny to defend his right to act immorally.
Mobbing against the wife, friend, or any family member who tries to encourage Little Johnny to get help is the typical toxic family daisy chain. Johnny, feeling empowered to abuse and be rewarded with what he perceives as positive attention from toxic friends and family members starts making fun of his wife or any person who is willing to be there at his side to help him help himself learn how to be more human in spite of his physical limitation to cogitate fully with ease that he faces as a life challenge every day.
Refusing mental health services isn’t Little Johnny’s biggest life mistake. It’s alienating anyone with his true best interest at heart while choosing to remain a pack animal.
Raised in a toxic family, the most likely personality trait for a TBI patient to display is a propensity to exhibit selfish, illogical, and irrational behaviors rooted in a culturally taught and subsequently reinforced proclivity to defend entitlement-based egocentrism. It’s like living with a person who has NPD and Borderline Personality Disorder simultaneously, living with a person who has a head injury.
The difference is, however, that a person with NPD is just a dick (regardless of gender — and yes, we’re name calling to simplify our need to explain anything — not to insult anyone but for the sake of brevity). A person with a head injury can act just like them — only add a helping heaping of reckless behavior coupled with social and emotional irresponsibility.