It is difficult to deal with a narcissist when you are a grown, independent, fully functioning adult. The children of narcissists have an especially difficult burden, for they lack the knowledge, power, and resources to deal with their narcissistic parents without becoming their victims. Whether cast into the role of Scapegoat or Golden Child, the Narcissist's Child never truly receives that to which all children are entitled: a parent's unconditional love. Start by reading the 46 memories--it all began there.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Narcissists: they are everywhere

Narcissists are everywhere. You will come across them at work, at play, on the road, in the shops. That guy who thinks nothing of carrying on a conversation on his cell in a movie theatre, that woman who rushes ahead of you in the supermarket and then blocks your access to the display of on-sale fruit, that man who saw you politely waiting for a parking space then zooms in and takes it with a smug smile…probably narcissists. They are everywhere—even on line.

The internet, in all truth, is a narcissist’s dream come true. Here predators can become compassionate, understanding men just looking for a good woman, they can become gurus delighted to lead your undecided self to their promised land, they can become repositories of secret knowledge kept from you by greedy corporations and complicit government. The internet was just made for narcissists, those masters of deceit and false personas, and our ability to ferret them out over the web is not nearly as good as it is if we can observe and evaluate them in person.

Common wisdom tells us that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. What it doesn’t tell us, however, is that if something looks logical and it is about a subject you know little about, it may well be a lie. Narcissists and their flying monkeys set you up to believe their twaddle by creating what looks like a very logical, persuasive argument and then discourage you from seeking the truth by doing a pre-emptive strike against the very people who actually have the truth, telling you the experts are liars who are only saying what they say because there is money in it for them. No place is this more true than in the anti-vax movement.

Very few of us understand how vaccines work or even how our immune systems function. Our public education system has declined in its delivery of hard biological science to students, students who grow up to be parents who know nothing about how their bodies function. Ignorance is the playground of the exploiter and people who are both ignorant and gullible—those who will believe anything that makes logical sense to them—are ripe for being exploited. To cinch the deal, however, these exploiters have to make sure that their targets don’t accept contradictory information from a competing source, so they poison the well. Big Pharma is painted as an evil entity that wants to keep you sick so they can continue to make money off of you and the scientists who work for them are just looking to line their pockets. Doctors who prescribe these Big Pharma products are in league with Big Pharma because they don’t make any money if you aren’t sick, so the whole thing is a conspiracy to keep you and your family sick so all of them can make money.

A little real logic bursts this conspiracy bubble all to hell. Big Pharma actually can’t make money unless it keeps coming up with new drugs because the patent on the drugs they make expire and, once expired, become public domain. That means that if Joe’s Drug Company invents a fancy new antibiotic, and he patents it, nobody can make an antibiotic using Joe’s formula for the life of the patent (20 years). Once that patent expires, however, anybody can use that formula to make an identical drug—that is where generics come from. So, to keep money coming in, Joe not only has to keep coming up with new drugs, they have to work because if they aren’t effective one of two things happens: 1) the FDA won’t license the drug and Joe can’t sell it or 2) doctors won’t prescribe it, patients won’t take it. Either way, Joe makes no money from a drug that doesn’t work and he has a limited span of time to make his money off of it.

So, Joe is greedy, right? It costs him $1 to make a pill he sells for $15 each…that is just greed! Well, not so fast. What did it cost Joe’s Drug Company to come up with this pill? What did they pay out in salaries for all of the people who worked on it? What about cost of facilities, testing the drug, clinical trials, and FDA submissions? None of this is free and a single PhD scientist can command $200,000 a year in salary, not to mention his support team of assistants, admins, procurement specialists, etc. It literally costs billions of dollars to invent, test, and market just one new drug and the company has to put up the money up front, from the profits it made on other drugs, and recoup the investment through the sales of the drug after approval. And if it doesn’t get FDA approval? If the drug doesn’t work or has heinous side effects? All that money is lost and has to be recouped through the sales of successful drugs.

So just how greedy is Big Pharma? Well, ask yourself this: if you had cancer and the doctor gave you a pill that was said to cure cancer, would you want that pill developed by a bunch of kids who barely passed high school biology? Or by a team of people who had as much as 12 years of education after high school, all of it specializing in biology and drugs? And what would you expect to pay a scientist with multiple post graduate degrees and a good ten years of experience in medical research? At least as much as your GP makes, right? The median income for an American GP is $156,051, topping out at $210,8751. A Research Fellow in the biotech industry can expect a median salary of $153,680, topping out at $198,7292. How many of these people, earning $150k to $200k a year, does a drug company have to pay just for one project to come up with one drug, and how long is a drug in development? According to the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development3, $2.5 billion and ten years. And every penny of that money has to be advanced by the drug company in the hopes that the drug will work and that the FDA will approve it, before they make the first dollar on it.

Considering that these scientists probably have a shipload of student debt and that they went to school an additional 6 to 12 years after high school, it is difficult to argue that they are overpaid. And a drug company has teams of these people, each team working on a different project. And all of it is funded out of that $2 or $5 or $15 per pill that you pay at the pharmacy. (Yes, there was a greedy little twit who bought a patent and jacked up the cost of the drug astronomically, but he is the exception, not the rule, and when the patent expires all of his competitors will delight in making and selling the drug for 10% over their production costs in order to steal his market.)

So the stories about Big Pharma wanting to keep you sick and pick your pocket are all lies. Big Pharma is working on the next generation of drugs, drugs that have to work or you won’t buy them, and we are so very good at sabotaging our own health through carelessness and self-indulgence, and viruses and bacteria are so good at mutating and needing new drugs to control them that Big Pharma doesn’t need to conspire with doctors to keep us sick. We do that all by ourselves with no help needed.

So why do these people peddle these lies and why are they narcissists?
Narcissists are all about feeling powerful and in control. What do narcissists do? They take the truth and twist it to fit their position. They lie to make themselves look good, smart, powerful. They denigrate others and lie about them to destroy their credibility. Sometimes they do it for the personal power trip, other times there is more in it for them. And that pretty much describes the anti-vax community.

How about Dr. Andrew Wakefield4? He did it for money. Or, more accurately, for the chance to make a lot of money. In 1998 he published a fraudulent research paper in The Lancet, a prestigious British medical journal, claiming there was a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. It has since been proven untrue by numerous follow up studies, The Lancet retracted the paper, and Wakefield’s credentials as a doctor and surgeon were revoked.

Why on earth would someone endanger his career in such a way? Well, according to the Toronto Star, Wakefield applied for a patent on a “single jab” measles vaccine before he began his campaign against the MMR: he was after discrediting the existing vaccine so that he could come in later with his own vaccine to take its place. This would be like a company trying to convince the public, through faked tests, that aspirin causes Alzheimers and then coming along six month later and unveiling an OTC painkiller that is “proven” to not cause it. It was a ploy designed to scare parents away from the MMR, leaving the market open for a new vaccine that he could advertise as not causing autism. Isn’t this exactly how a narcissist operates?

He gave no thought to the patients, the children, who would be affected. “Wakefield's study and his claim that the MMR vaccine might cause autism led to a decline in vaccination rates in the United States, United Kingdom and Ireland and a corresponding rise in measles and mumps, resulting in serious illness and deaths, and his continued warnings against the vaccine have contributed to a climate of distrust of all vaccines and the reemergence of other previously controlled diseases…”4 Children have died due to this man’s pride and greed and despite dozens of other well managed, and bona fide studies that disprove his contention (and none that support it), he refuses to admit the truth. “As recently as February 2015, he publicly repeated his denials and refused to back down from his assertions, even though—as stated by a British Administrative Court Justice in a related decision—"there is now no respectable body of opinion which supports [Dr. Wakefield's] hypothesis, that MMR vaccine and autism/enterocolitis are causally linked."”4

“…no respectable body of opinion which supports…[the] hypothesis that MMR vaccine and autism…are causally linked.” And yet, anti-vaxxers, whose campaign started with this man and his greedy attempt to corner a market by scaring parents who don’t know anything about how the immune system works and will trust what a doctor says, continue to not only spread this lie but, in their zealous ignorance, build upon it.

How do they do this? With specious, twisted logic. In the same way I got blamed and punished for my younger brother’s misdeeds—I was supposed to keep him out of trouble so, if he did something bad it was my fault for letting him, not his fault for disobeying—science is subjected to the specious logic of people who know nothing about science or the immune system. If it doesn’t make sense to them, they can’t go remedy their ignorance because the scientists have been demonized as money-grubbers who will lie to fatten their pockets, so they rely on the phoney logic of the guru. And the guru lies. The guru tells them that the vaccines contain mercury even though the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says “…thimerosal is no longer used in children’s shots, except some types of flu shots. You can ask for a flu shot without thimerosal.”5 The guru says vaccines don’t work…they do and a Google trip through the internet can provide you with records, charts and statistics showing the decline in such diseases as polio, measles, mumps, whooping cough, diphtheria…all diseases that killed thousands of children every year before vaccines were invented. The guru tells them that it is just a way for Big Pharma and the doctors to make money off of you but if that is the case, why was the small pox inoculation eliminated from the vaccination schedule sometime between 1966 and 1973? The disease was eliminated world wide (The last naturally occurring case in the world was in Somalia in 1977.6) So, the latest attack on science by the ignorant was on Facebook last week where someone claimed that “smearing blood and pus from a cow won’t prevent smallpox,” and exhorted people to “think about it,” thereby proving her ignorance not only of history but of science and the human immune system. A fellow named Jenner noticed that milk maids who contracted cowpox from the udders of cows they were milking…leaving a small scar on their hands…never contracted small pox and the discovery of vaccination began7.

So what kind of people do this? What kind of people prey on the ignorant and fearful rather than educate and empower them? People who, themselves, feel powerless and seek control over others in order to feel empowered themselves. All of the hallmarks of narcissism are there: grandiosity in believing they know more than people who were educated and trained in the discipline; lack of empathy in that they don’t care that children will suffer and die from preventable diseases; a sense of entitlement, like they have a right to lie to the uncertain and gullible and to co-opt them; exploitative, exploiting the ignorance, naïveté, and concern of loving parents to make them disciples so they can feel powerful; envious, certainly these exploiters are envious of those whom they perceive as having more power or prestige than themselves; requires excessive admiration, these anti-vax crusaders expect admiration for their “moral courage” to come out against large, faceless, gluttonous corporate entities—they see themselves as the hero of the little man who cannot stand alone against them; shows arrogant, haughty behaviours or attitudes, what is more arrogant than having no education or experience in a discipline and purporting to know more than credentialed experts? believes that he or she is "special" and unique, because only this person and the other cognoscenti know the truth, and s/he is the guru, the one dispensing the special knowledge; is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love, it is difficult to know what preoccupies their thoughts, but certainly being thought of as brilliant and powerful are in there, as they trample the truth in their drive to gather followers and spread the lies.

How powerful does a person believe himself to be when his goal is to bring down Big Pharma? How empathetic is he when he risks the health and lives of millions of children to achieve this goal? Do normal people find it goal-worthy to deprive millions of little kids of a chance to go through life free of dreaded—and often deadly or maiming—diseases? The truth is available: there are seven links below that will bring you to the truth and the internet has thousands more, but these people discount or ignore it. Why? Because the truth will take their feeling of power away.

And how narcissistic is that?