Use and Abuse of Others
All narcissistic individuals use and abuse others to some extent. But malignant narcissists will use and abuse you without compunction or remorse. And often, there’s no limit to the degree that they’ll do so. That’s because they lack empathy. (See also: Narcissism and Empathy Capacity.) And their lack of empathy makes an already bad situation worse.
Disturbed characters of all types might experience regret for some of their actions. But regret is always about what someone’s decisions might have cost them personally. Remorse is something quite different. It’s about feeling bad for hurting someone else. A person can regret something they’ve done (especially if they’ve had to pay a hefty price for it) but still have no remorse. (See also: Shame, Guilt, Regret, Remorse, and Contrition.)
The use and abuse of others has become chillingly common these days. And that’s because there’s so much character dysfunction in the world. Too many folks these days have failed to outgrow the natural tendency we all have toward self-centeredness, egoism, and self-serving ambition. To put it more succinctly, there are too many folks out there with underdeveloped consciences. And such folks inevitably treat others poorly. They use and abuse others in a variety of ways. And the more lacking in conscience a person is, the more serious their abusive ways are likely to be. Moreover, a person lacking in both conscience and empathy is capable of all manner of victimization.
When It’s Subtle
Subtle use and abuse can be as simple as striking up a relationship with someone because they have money, the connections that can help advance a career, or the physical or social “looks” to boost one’s own image. People establish relationships for many reasons. And in our character-impaired times, too often the reasons are other than genuine positive regard for the other person.
There is a spectrum of use and abuse when it comes to relationships. And that spectrum mirrors the spectrum of character disturbance. Mildly disturbed characters tend to subtly and sparingly use and abuse. Severely disordered characters, on the other hand, maliciously and egregiously victimize. And predator types establish relationships primarily to exploit and victimize. I discuss predator types extensively in all my books. And I’ll be talking about that more on the next installment of the “New” Character Matters.
- Predators Among Us: The Psychopaths
- Understanding Predatory Aggressors
- Character Disturbance – pp. 121-127
Conscientious folks hate to judge harshly or wrongly. They tend to see the best in others and want to assume the best. Unfortunately, that’s risky in modern times. It’s arguably easier than ever to acquire the skills fundamental to practically navigating the world. But it’s harder than ever to forge good character and to find a partner with the qualities essential to forging a healthy and lasting relationship. That’s why I’ve written my books. And I’ll be talking more about use and abuse on Character Matters, as I wrap up the series on malignant narcissists. Access the most recent podcast here.
Another Online Interview
I’ve recently given another online interview. You can access my interview with Pi Venus Winslow of Trusting After Trauma here (but you’ll have to register with the host’s blogsite).