Narcissistic, Passive-aggressive Organizations and Bureaucracies

Uploaded 4/16/2015, approx. 4 minute read

My name is Sam Vaknin. I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.

Collectives, especially bureaucracies, for example, for-profit universities, health maintenance organizations, the army, the government, municipalities, the church, well, bureaucracies tend to behave passive aggressively. They tend to frustrate their own constituencies.

This misconduct is often aimed at releasing tensions and stress that the individuals comprising these organizations accumulate in their daily contact with members of the public.

Additionally, as Franz Kafka astutely observed, such misbehavior fosters dependence in the clients of these establishments. It cements a relationship of superior, in other words, the obstructionist group, versus inferior, the demanding and deserving individual who is reduced to begging and supplicating.

Passive aggressiveness has a lot in common with pathological narcissism. The destructive envy, the recurrent attempts to buttress grandiose fantasies of omnipotence and omniscience, the lack of impulse control, the deficient ability to empathize, and of course, the sense of entitlement, often incommensurate with real-life achievements.

No wonder, therefore, that negativistic, narcissistic and borderline organizations share similar traits and identical psychological defenses with a narcissist. Most notably, denial, mainly of the existence of problems and complaints, projection, blaming the group's failures and dysfunction on its clients rather than on its management or on its workers.

In such a state of mind, it is easy to confuse means, making money, hiring staff, constructing or renting facilities and so on, with ends, providing loans, educating students, assisting the poor, fighting wars. Means become the ends, and ends become the means to further means.

Consequently, the original goals of the organization are now considered to be nothing more than the goals on the way to realizing new aims.

Borrowers, students, the poor, are mere nuisance to be summarily dispensed with, as the board of directors considers the erection of yet another edifice, office tower, and the disbursement of yet another annual bonus to its members.

As Parkinson noted, the collective perpetuates its existence, regardless of whether it has any role left and how well it functions.

As the constituencies of these collectives, most forcefully its clients, protest and exert pressure in an attempt to restore these institutions to their erstwhile state.

Well, as this happens, the protests, the pressure, the complaints, the collectives develop a paranoid state of mind, a siege mentality, replete with persecutory delusions and aggressive behavior.

Yes, collectives can be aggressive, and they can be paramount.

This anxiety is an introjection of guilt.

Deep inside, these organizations know that they have strayed from the right path.

They anticipate attacks and rebukes, and they are rendered defensive and suspicious by the inevitable, imminent, impending onslaught.

Still, deep down, bureaucracies epitomize the predominant culture of failure.

Failure is a product, the intended outcome, the end result of a complex, deliberate and arduous manufacturing process.

Like the majority of people, bureaucrats are emotionally invested not in success, but in failure.

They thrive on failure, on calamity, on emergency. The worse the disaster and ineptitude is, the more resources are allocated to voracious and ever-expanding bureaucracies.

Do you remember what happened to the U.S. government after the 9-11 terrorist attacks? Do you remember how it grew, exploded exponentially? Do you recall how many more resources it appropriated from the economy?

So 9-11 was good for the U.S. government.

Paradoxically, the measure of success of these institutions is in how many failures they have had to endure or have fostered, not how many successes.

These massive organs tend to attract and nurture functionaries and clients whose mentality and personality are suited to embedded fatalism.

In a globalized, competitive world, the majority are doomed to failure and recurrent deprivation. Those rendered losers by the vagaries and exigencies of modernity find refuge in Leviathan. Imposing, metastatically sprawling, nanny organizations and corporations who shield them from the agonizing truth of their own inadequacy and from the shearing winds of entrepreneurship and cutthroat struggle.

A tiny minority of Mavericks swim against this inexorable tide.

These people innovate, refrain, invent and lead.

Theirs is an existence of constant strife, as the multitudes and their weaponized bureaucracies seek to put these people down, to extinguish the barely flickering flame and to appropriate the scant resources consumed by these forward leaps.

In time, ironically, truly successful entrepreneurs themselves become invested in failure and form their own vast establishment empire, defensive and dedicated, rather than open and universal networks.

Progress materializes despite of, and in contradistinction to the herd-like human spirit, not because of it.

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Why Narcissists Love Borderline Women and Why They Hate Them Back

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Narcissist: Confabulations, Lies

Confabulation is a common human trait, but the distinction between reality and fantasy is never lost. However, the narcissist's very self is a piece of fiction, concocted to fend off hurt and pain and to nurture the narcissist's grandiosity. The narcissist fails in his reality test and is unable to distinguish the actual from the imagined, the real from the fantasized. The narcissist's countenance, no disagreement, no alternative points of view, no criticism. To him, his confabulation is reality.

Fanatic Narcissist and Group Affiliation: Church, Community, Team, Collective

Narcissists are prone to magical thinking and believe they are chosen or destined for greatness. They believe they have a direct line to God and that their life is micromanaged by God himself. Narcissism and religion go well together as religion allows the narcissist to feel unique and God-chosen. The narcissist likes to belong to groups or frameworks of religions and derives easy and constantly available narcissistic supply from these affiliations.

Narcissist Hates Happy People and Holidays

Holidays and birthdays are a difficult time for narcissists, as they provoke a stream of pathological envy. The narcissist is jealous of others for having a family, being able to celebrate lavishly, or being in the right mood. They hate humans because they are unable to be one and want to spoil it for those who can enjoy. Holidays remind the narcissist of their childhood, the supportive and loving family they never had, and what could have been.

Narcissism, Friendship, Egoism: Self-Interest is not Self-Welfare

Narcissists fail to meet the criteria for friendship, as they lack empathy, have cognitive deficits, and are impulsive and predictable. True egoism is the active pursuit of self-welfare, not just self-interest, and altruism is the outcome of social conditioning to avoid anxiety. The optimal mix of self-interest and altruism exists for individuals and society, and the narcissist fails to understand this due to their lack of empathy and inability to optimize their behavior.

Narcissism of Small Differences

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Narcissists are often anxious about their performance and feel like frauds, which leads them to be comfortable in their failures. They become experts at floundering and are adept at the art of blundering. They use projective identification to coerce people around them to help them fail and recreate their spectacular downfalls. Being a loser becomes an identity, and they are proud of their mishaps with fortune and institutions.

Narcissist's Routines

Narcissists have a series of routines that are developed through rote learning and repetitive patterns of experience. These routines are used to reduce anxiety and transform the world into a manageable and controllable one. The narcissist is a creature of habit and finds change unsettling. The narcissist's routines are often broken down when they are breached or can no longer be defended, leading to a narcissistic injury.

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