Experts suggest ways to correct habits that keep us from resting well
Verified by Psychology Today
Sorry, but while I find this post's analysis intriguiing and thought-provoking, I cannot agree with its subsequent advice. While I entirely sympathise with the IMMEDIATE, short term benefits of the "Say nice things, even if you don't really mean it, just to keep the peace" tactic, its LONG TERM effect (after a couple of years) is that you become progressively incapable of saying what you actually think: reasonable criticisms of bad behaviour stick like a lump in your throat, choking you. You tell yourself that you will stand up to them over a crucial issue, but in their actual presence, you find that you have been trained by them, and have trained yourself, to agree, to compliment, to give in. It's quite Pavlovian, and you are the dog.
Here, the idea that you give in on small things in order to 'save your willpower' for the bigger issues that effect your personal ethical integrity is also simply wrong. You lose your integrity and your capacity to resist the greater wrongs PRECISELY by giving way on the little things. An adept narcissist will salami-slice their way through your boundaries until you have no strength to do anything but capitulate on the big issues. Dealing with narcissists on a daily basis is a constant clash of moral authority, and most of us fail. As Milgram showed fifty years ago, if you accept the idea of giving someone a small, mildly uncomfortable electric shock because someone in authority told you it's okay even though you felt bad about it, then for most people it takes us less than an hour before we are delivering fatal electric shocks to screaming, incarcerated victims. As Milgram himself stated:
"Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority."
Do not mistake me for someone who does not understand how difficult it is to stand up to a narcissist, particularly when you have known them long enough to have worked out that they are one (particularly the covert narcissist): by this time, your moral centre is almost certainly compromised. I understand that it is difficult, that people are just trying to "safeguard [their] emotional and mental welfare" in the here and now. But that is approach is one steeped in victim mentality. Narcissists do what they do to others because they have found that they get away with it, day after day, year after year. THIS is the basis of their sense of entitlement: because not enough people are willing to call them on small bad behaviours, then on medium bad behaviours, then on egregious bad behaviour. They destroy people's lives BECAUSE WE LET THEM: because we want to heal them, to gain their favour, to have sex with them, to avoid their rages, and, worst of all, because we don't want to look judgemental. To recommend that we CONTINUE to do this just to save ourselves from difficulties seems an extraordinary stance.
Why is this moral precept so imperative yet so precarious?
Reviewing past knowledge can lead to new, beneficially updated understanding.
What most drives the endless pursuit of power?
Get the help you need from a therapist near you–a FREE service from Psychology Today.