This beautiful article I read online this morning (find the link below) pointed out the differences between two types of personalities, the well-known Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Machiavellian personality. I still believe that Narcissistic is the wrong choice for labeling that disorder. The Erotic Disorder would be a better fit, not only because what leads the individual to self-love as described in the case of NPD, which Freud also nailed it, come from the dysfunctions in one’s sexuality and which the individual seeks to disguise or fix it up with different forms of eroticism, but also because of the many contradicting accounts of how this story about Narcissist is brought forward to us from the ancient Greek writers. But today, in this post, I would not argue any longer about the labeling of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Instead, I would like to mention some of the great points that this article raised, and I would like to elaborate on these points even further.
The author of the article, rightly points out the characteristics of NPD which are also approved and listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders ( DSM-5). These main characteristics of NPD are: 1) delusional vision of self-grandeur, believing to be more superior than others, exaggeration of their abilities and achievements. 2) Attention seekers and need for admiration. 3) Never face criticism without getting extremely defensive and dismissive. 4) Bloated sense of entitlement, believing they deserve more than others. 5) Extremely selfish and do not like to see others succeed. They will do anything in their power to belittle others or degrade others’ achievements. 6) Take jealousy and envy to a whole new level. I love the way this article points this fact out, “Expect to face their wrath should you ever think putting someone else ahead of them-especially in relationships.” 7) Impulsive behavior if it provides what the ego seeks.
On the other hand, characteristics of Machiavellian type of personality, often misunderstood as NPD manifestation, are: 1) Machiavellians put self-gain before almost anything else. Winning is the ultimate aim, and if this is at the expense of others, then so be it. 2) They desire wealth and power over all else, and it is their detachment from conventional morality that allows them to chase their lofty goals without remorse and free from conscience. 3)They employ different faces in different situations as a tool for getting what they want. They will use lies and deceit where necessary, while also being capable of charm and friendliness. 4) They will disclose “truths” about themselves to garner trust and utilize guilt to make people do their bidding. 5) Their manipulations are subtle – they seek to accomplish their aims without drawing too much attention to their less desirable qualities. They may have many acquaintances, but they struggle to form strong friendships or relationships. 6) They are generally very calculating and careful when it comes to their actions. Everything needs to be planned and executed with precision so as to maximize their chances of success. 7) They are distrustful of human goodness; they see it as weak and naive to rely on others for anything.
If I would put these characteristics in the order of cause effect I would list them as follows: 1) Seeks control and use others to their advantage 2) To obtain control they use people as stepping stones, 3) to use people they have to act nice and friendly at first in order to gain their trust, 4) to gain people’s trust they have to employ many different faces and attitudes, 5) to deceit people into believing that they are telling the truth they often reveal or disclose some “truths” about themselves that may not be so glorious, which gives them a vulnerable impression, often mistaken for honesty. 6) By manipulating others in such forms that makes it hard for us to see their real intentions, they start feeling superior toward us. 7) Because they feel superior toward those who they manipulate, they then start thinking in black or white, either/or.
I would like to add more about points 5 to 7 in this list, because I have such a rich experience from coming into contact with Machiavellian personality type, that sometimes I don’t know if I should consider it as something good because it taught me about the way they act to victimize their pray, or bad that I had to deal with them so often. But anyhow, the point is that for this type of people to earn others’ trust they would often use phrases like “stupid me,” or “my bad,” and they would act as if they did not know what they were doing wrong, or did not foresee the consequences of their actions. They want others to belief that their mistakes were because they were careless or even stupid, but not evil. It’s nothing wrong with using these phrases, because we all do, but that’s the point I want to make. While many of us use these phrases, “stupid me,” or “my bad” to show that we are sorry, to accept our responsibility and to let out the frustration for making such mistakes, these people use these phrases to manipulate the rest of us into believing that they are honest. Therefore, if someone would still be upset with them for doing certain mistakes and pointing out how stupid or foolish they were to think this way or that way which then led to the inevitable mistake, they don’t feel hurt at all. They seem unmoved by others’ criticism; in fact they seem to enjoy it. Indeed they do, because this is exactly the reaction they expect from others so that others’ attention will be distracted away from the real intentions. By revealing just some little mistakes that they make and some less desirable qualities this type of people draw our attention away from their true aim.
After manipulating us into believing that they are sincere and honest, it will be very hard to convince ourselves otherwise. Therefore, even if other facts will be revealed we will have that tendency to dismiss these facts, or at least to justify their actions, just as we did before. It is a matter of pattern once we form a habit of trusting and believing someone.
As for point 6 and 7, the truth is that they categorize the rest of us as either naive, hence deserve to be mistreated and taken advantage of, or as guilty and manipulative as they are. They cannot understand human goodness; somehow they are incapable of experiencing that kind of feeling and that is why they are very distrustful of kindness. Because of this they often apply guilt tripping, a method that will reveal whether their opponent is a naive human being or another form of themselves. A normal human being will feel guilty and will either become defensive or helpless, by expressing the two extreme emotions of anger or depressions, associated with these self-defense mechanisms. Another Machiavellian personality type will be unmoved by guilt trip, and will find ways to prove you wrong and guilt tripping you for daring to accuse them. They fight each other with the same weapons.
By coming into contact and constantly dealing with this type of personality I learned their methods, and I understand when they try to use their guilt tripping method on me or others, and I even remind myself what they do and why they do it, yet, I cannot remain unmoved by their manipulations. I feel both extremes of anger and guilt by doubting my judgment and my decisions. Knowing their methods will give you the advantage to think carefully before acting when fueled by the emotions that they trigger on us, however, it is not always easy manage anger or doubts. That’s because one of the characteristics of human soul is empathy, the love for one another, the need to belong and be loved as Maslow indicated in his pyramid of needs, and empathy is quite the opposite of what Freud believed that drives humans. Freud, just like Aristotle reduced human being into a social animal, or an animal that is able to think and reason. Indeed, to be a human, we must first be an animal, as the evolution dictates this fact, however, because we are humans, we reason but we also feel empathy and love for one another.
Differently from animals, we are able to mirror each other’s feelings and emotions, while animals cannot do this. They would protect their babies as a duty or instinct, they will also live in groups as a necessity to survive, which indicates some form of thinking and reasoning, yet they do not do this out of love. Animals feel no empathy. Hence, I am worried at this point and I am questioning whether these Machiavellian types of people are humans at all or are they just some advanced form of animalistic being? Are their souls, their energy, their consciousness (if we wish to be more scientific) from earth at all or are they some alien entity, some form of energy that enables them to look like humans and advanced enough at thinking and reasoning but not advanced at feeling love and empathy for one another? Are these entities living among us, dependently from us, or as parasites attached to us by means of technology? Are these entities the Greek gods, the archetypes or are there two different forms of archetypes, the ones that belong to earth and others who imitate them and take their place? We are in for a hell of a ride, and we just started it seems.
The link to the article: Are you mistaking Machiavellianism for Narcissism?