Disturbed Characters Who Lust for Power

Lust for Power

Some disturbed characters have a particular lust for power. They rabidly seek it. Moreover, they seek it for its own sake. Folks who regard power in this way will inevitably abuse any power they manage to come by. You can count on it. It’s a major aspect of their character dysfunction.

Many narcissists adore power. Some nearly worship it. They tend to see the power they might acquire over others as evidence of their special worthiness or greatness. And the more malignant their narcissism is, the more prone they are to abusing power in heinous ways.

Thoughts on Power Dynamics

There’s a famous quotation attributed to Lord Dalberg-Acton. It goes: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Many regard this axiom as an undeniable truth. But is power really inherently corrupting of character? Or are corrupt characters inherently prone to abusing power?

Abraham Lincoln also spoke of character and power. He famously said: “Nearly all men can stand adversity. But if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” I think Lincoln showed some wiser insight here. There’s the kind of man (person) with the strength to weather difficulty. But it’s a very different character who has the strength to mindfully handle power.

I’ve written before on character and power. And I’ve written before on how some characters lust for power. (See, for example:  Disturbed Characters Abuse Power.) Moreover, I’ve made the point in 3 books that if power itself were inherently corrupting no newborn child would ever have survived infancy. That’s because the power an infant’s caretaker has over them is infinite, absolute. Any mindful caretaker knows this all too well.

Thankfully, most caretakers are not just in awe of the incredible power they hold over a newborn. They also tremble in the face of the responsibility they intuitively understand comes with such power. The reason power doesn’t go to their heads is because their heart governs the whole encounter. And as you know, the problem with some disturbed characters has to do with what’s lacking in their heart, namely empathy.

Corrupt Characters and Power

I wrote a bit last week about sadistic characters. And I’ve written about them before. (See: The Sadistic Aggressive Personality.) (See also: pp. 120-121 in Character Disturbance and pp. 41-42 in In Sheep’s Clothing.) These are the folks who take delight in wielding power over others. They derive pleasure from witnessing others suffer or grovel. In some cases, the pleasure they derive can become sexualized.

All the aggressive personalities I’ve spent a lifetime writing about hurt people. But hurting people is generally not their aim. Simply getting what they want is mostly their aim. They may have no compunction about hurting others in the process. But their principal aim is to gratify themselves, not to hurt.

Sadistic characters are different. Very different. Like bullies, they relish in the pain they cause others. They like to torment. It makes them feel powerful. Moreover, seeing the “weak” quiver in their presence or suffer at their hands excites them. It bolsters their perverted sense of superiority. Their lust for power has a particular aim: the pure satisfaction of dominating those they perceive as inferior.

We used to think a lot of weird things about bullies and sadists. We imagined them inwardly cowards, picking on the weak only because they were afraid of the strong. And we also imagined them inwardly insecure and fearful, picking on the kinder-hearted to ensure feeling more powerful. In rare circumstances these old notions may hold some truth. But thankfully, we’ve come to know better about most bullies and sadists. (See: Why Narcissistic Bullies Really Taunt.) Sadistic characters may generally prey on the weak. It’s simply easier. But given enough power, they’ll prey on anyone.

The Sadistic Spectrum and Abuse

I’ve dealt with many cases of abusive relationships. And I found many abusers to be on the sadistic spectrum. Their lust for power took a particularly heinous form. And I’ll be talking more about this, giving examples, over the next few weeks.

9 thoughts on “Disturbed Characters Who Lust for Power

  1. I’m so glad you refuted that oft-quoted “power corrupts” quote. It’s nonsense. So, so many people buy into it and believe something transformative occurs due to power’s inherent corrupting ability. Nonsense.

    What people consistently do with power shows who they are. And the most unsavory people, those who you’d want least to have any kind of power, are those most apt in getting it.

    And sadism is a rampant problem with men. So many men are sadists. Women have suffered all sorts of horrors and torture. And that’s not only historical, but very much the here and now.

    1. Betty; thanks for your post.

      Please try to recognize your small error in seeing men as sadists. It’s not a gender issue – it’s a character issue. There are just as many women as men suffering from it, and causing others to suffer.

  2. I do think power can corrupt those who do not abide by moral principles whether it is their acknowledgement of God and His guidance or a strong moral core. Temptation can be hard to resist when rewards are high. I know of many that aren’t narcs or bad guys necessarily but who were tempted by the rewards of their position to do the wrong thing.
    I shudder to think of narcs in high positions, I wish there were a narc spectrum test that could be taken by every public official that would rule out narcs!

    1. You said, “temptation can be hard to resist”, however, that’s a function of one’s character, one’s sinfulness, and has nothing to do with power. Power is but a means to the end. Power affords choice. Power affords the individual the opportunity to do as they want. Power is but a tool. It’s neutral.

      I so appreciate Dr. Simon’s example of an infant. The adult has total power over an infant. Whether or not that newborn baby lives or dies is totally in the power of the adult. The infant is entirely at the mercy of the adult. If a person is tempted to abuse the infant, that is due to their inherent corruptness, not due to the power rush of being an adult with a dependent infant in one’s care. The power didn’t corrupt the person, the person was corrupt and power afforded him the opportunity to abuse and harm a helpless infant.

    2. Kat;

      It’s a great idea – a narc test. But you seem to forget that most people are narcs and would approve of other narcs. This would get us nowhere as they would just trash the test results and rage against those who approve of the results. (This is displayed in the media every day…) This is why you can never vote out a lying thief in politics. There are too many people who want this and see it as beneficial to their goals and life. This is also why things continue to get worse around the world. Leadership is sick and the majority of people like this sickness and promote it.

      All you can do is “Love God, love your self, love your neighbor” and fasten your seat-belt, we’re in for a rough ride.

  3. ” And I’ll be talking more about this, giving examples, over the next few weeks.”

    Your example have historically been bullshit based on the factual biased bullshit that women are always the victims and most narcissists are men, your view on this is just skewed as a fact. “Women are victims” is your view, and is factually incorrect and a psychologist should know better, as women are superior in psychological manipulation. Only an idiot thinks violence and manipulation are only what manifests in the physical. Men are physically stronger on average and they tend to abuse physically. Women do abuse, and the abuse is almost always undetected because it’s subtle and not physical-direct.

    Any psychologist who denies this is full of shit. It’s not me but someone else on the internet who said “Dr Simon is a big square”; I follow the blog because there is some insight in it, but the feminist biased I mentioned above is one of the many things wrong with it. Also the cultists in the comments. I am saying things as they are, period. Denying facts proves they’re facts.

    Feminist bias, Dr Simon being a “square” and not always right in absolute obviously, but just a man with opinions like any other, and cultists in comments who whorship him a bit too much are facts. There is no argument that proves I am wrong on these two. It’s only wishful thinking that I am.

    using the word “shit” as often as I did is simply being honest and direct. People who never swear are hypocritical idiots who subtly manipulate, the idea that swearing is wrong is not correct. Maybe it is in front of the Queen of England, which none of you are.

    1. https://avoiceformen.com

      Not my site. Just to inform that I’m not the only one who sees the bullshit that Dr Simons’ “examples” are. Where he decides the woman is the victim just because she’s the woman, and judging the case extremely superficially. Just because a woman claims victimhood, it does not mean she is, and a manipulator will play the victim. A psychologist should not dare have a gender bias in this, and Dr Simon commits that sin.

      Of course there are also male psychopaths and narcisissts etcetera who will play the victim. But women do it more, it’s a fact of life such as the fact that there are two genders and gender is the genitals, not what the crazy individual wants it to be.

      Feminism, pro-trangenderism and thinking disagreeing with it is a “phobia”, all these leftists ideas are cultural degeneration, and a LOT of people know this. That the left isn’t the truth isn’t a bias, it’s the truth. The truth is center. Both right and left are wrong is the neutral facts.

  4. I never have got the impression Dr. Simon judges narcissism as being gender specific, if anyone knows it is Dr. Simon who has counseled these individuals for all his working career and has written ground breaking books on the subject.

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