Saturday, March 21, 2015

Scapegoat Survival In Uncertain Times

As I have said in the past several posts, the United States is a narcissistic nation which is facing the constraints reality is now placing on the fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance and beauty which have been poured into the American psyche from the founding of this nation until now. The truth is that these fantasies were never really meant for anyone but their creators and masters, who happen also to be the people who ruled and shaped this country from the start. The enjoyment of those fantasies came at a certain cost – a price paid by the less privileged residents of the United States, including dark-skinned minorities, Native Americans, and for a while, women. The cost was also borne by those nations unlucky enough to have things that the United States wanted, without also possessing the means to defend themselves from having those things taken by force.

When people with a grandiose view of themselves become constrained by a reality that teaches them that they really are not “all that,” such people frequently react badly. This is the reason for the rolling back of equal protection and the escalation of violence against people who have historically been scapegoated in this country, such as people of color. The rollback is now being expanded to target women. The people doing the rolling back and committing the violence are predominantly rich, white and male (although there are a few women going along for the ride).

Therefore, unfortunately, the times we all live in have gotten more uncertain than ever for some of us. To those of us who are tired of being treated as scapegoats for dysfunctional American society, I have the following suggestions: 

  • Know your opponent (and his disease).
  • Know yourself.
  • Learn to heal your trauma.
  • Become rich in things which cannot be taken away from you.
  • Disengage from the system as much as possible.
My last few months of blogging have been an attempt to help people with suggestion #1. There are other resources as well for those who want help. Those who want to survive and thrive in these times must learn about malignant narcissism, not only as a problem in interpersonal relationships, but also as a driver of national culture and the policies of the wealthy and powerful members of our nation. One benefit of learning these things is that you will be able to stay strong mentally when the privileged (and formerly privileged) try to dump their hostility on you, and you will have tools for protecting yourself.

We'll explore the other suggestions in future posts.  That exploration will lead us in some directions which are not normally associated with life in the United States, as we consider the adaptive strategies which are being used by many residents of the developing world.  Stay tuned.

1 comment:

Aimee said...

I love the advice to "become rich in things which cannot be taken away." This advice has often been scorned as the resort of the powerless and as a kind of rationalization or capitulation.... but nothing could be further from the truth. It is in fact the conventionally wealthy and powerful who are deluding themselves as to the real value of their possessions. This is a truth many discover only on their deathbeds.