[UPDATE: When I originally posted this post, I attached the wrong Patrice O’Neal video. In the one I accidentally attached, he wasn’t dealing with an especially narcissistic woman at all. I corrected that and replaced it with the video of the episode I was actually referring to.]
I just want to clear up some things up front. Some people think that my last two posts were somehow advocating people to seek out confrontation with narcissists and try to destroy them at their own game. This isn’t the case. What this post as well as the last two posts are doing is simply describing rather than prescribing. In fact, I even gave some warnings of the downside of trying to beat the narcissists at their own game. The worst being, you end up adopting many of the nasty aspects of the narcissist yourself. At the end of this post I added a video by Sam Vaknin that describes this mechanism, which he calls narcissistic contagion.
A while back, I recommended the movie Darling. In it, one of the main characters turns the table on the narcissist by doing what I describe in the last few posts: he goes from appealing to her sense of decency and guilt and instead just shames her. He sleeps with her, then tosses her out, all while treating her like something fundamentally flawed and repulsive. Since all Cluster Bs, especially narcissists, are shame-motivated, this is their Achilles heel. She totally disintegrates, as you can see in the clip below.
But the most important thing in this clip is to see what the process of turning the narcissist’s game back on the narcissist does to the man. Note the exchange around 1:18:
Diane: It doesn’t put me off, you know. Being vile to me doesn’t put me off.
Robert: It puts me off. It disgusts me.
Diane: What does?
Robert: To hear myself. To hear the way I want to treat you. I don’t want to feel like this
a moment longer than I have to.
It goes back to what Vaknin said in the video I posted earlier. It’s foolish to believe you can beat the narcissist at their own game without ending up adopting some of the very same traits that disgusted you about the narcissist. And some people, like Robert in the movie, can’t stand the idea of becoming the very thing they hate, which is something he realizes as he’s abusing her. He realizes how empty the revenge is and just wants to get her out of his life for good, hence he speeds her off to the airport.
Another thing to note is how Diana says “It doesn’t put me off you know. Being vile to me doesn’t put me off.” Because narcissists are shame-based and deep down hate themselves, they can only respect people who treat them as badly as they treat other people. That’s why many times when you a narcissist does fall head over heels for someone and ends up in the one-down position in a relationship, it’s usually to someone who is as big an asshole to them as they were to everyone else. But for most of us, paying such a price for revenge would be like giving up a chunk of our soul. Many don’t want to pay that price and drag ourselves down to that level.
So again, understand, I’m not trying to rally people on to try to confront, manipulate, and outmaneuver narcissists in their lives. They have much more practice at manipulation, needless drama, and evil behavior, plus they are more emotionally and physically comfortable at behaving without empty and being cruel.
That being said, I know there are times where confronting a narcissist is unavoidable. Maybe you are feeling cornered or in a position where you can’t just walk away for whatever reason. Maybe you are in a position where if you do take the high road, it will just lead to more problems down the line. Maybe you are just sick of always taking the high road and refuse to do it any more and want for once to be on the asshole side of the equation. Maybe you just want closure. Who knows? If you know the risks and still want to go ahead with it, more power to you.
Now, on to the examples:
Cracked had a great article called The 10 Most Satisfying Cases of Hecklers Getting Destroyed. It has 10 Youtube clips of comedians expertly destroying hecklers, with written commentary accompanying every video. Important to note is how my discussion of guilt versus shame comes into play, because note that they never appeal to the sense of guilt of the heckler. They attack the heckler by shaming instead. Shame is about appearing defective in one’s own eyes and worse, before an audience. Humiliation is a big part of shame.
The article makes an observation that I made last post:
If this list is a core sample of heckling as a whole, you’ll notice that the two most likely people to butt fuck an act are drunk men and pretty girls … who are also drunk.
Like I said, drunks and pretty girls are huge narcissists, which is why I think these videos are great examples of how to deal with narcissists,
The other thing to note is that in some of these clips, the comedians may seem to be using guilt because they are making lecturing the hecklers on how reprehensible and tacky and impolite their actions are. But this is not what is actually happening. What they’re actually doing is using toxic guilt. Toxic guilt is when you examine someone’s actions, but you’re discussing these actions to “reveal” that the person’s identity, the core of his very self, is fundamentally defective and inferior, especially in front of an audience. Toxic guilt is guilt that is fused with and results in shame. Even though the comedians may sometimes be using logic, they are not seriously expecting to sway the heckler with the logic. Even though the comedians may sometimes be making the heckler aware of how bad his actions were, they are not seriously expecting the heckler’s conscience and sense of guilt to be swayed. The real purpose is to humiliate and shame.
The true master of confronting via toxic guilt was Patrice O’Neal. His social intelligence, ability to read human nature, and confrontation skills were astounding. He was so good at confronting narcissistic women that he seemed to make that his target demographic. He not only knew how to confront them in the ways I described, he seemed to truly enjoy it. He had a show called the Black Phillip show, and you can find every episode of it here. The best episodes however, are the ones whenever he had a very narcissistic woman to play off of though, like the episode below:
The female guest in the studio is incredibly arrogant and annoying. Patrice keeps mentioning her “sickness” and how he’s going to enjoy curing it. Then he proceeds to beat her over the head with confrontational logic and unflinching aggression. This is something he does on his show often. But you can tell that he never actually seems to seriously expect the logic to sway her on an intellectual level. He is using his logic to embarrass her, throw her off-balance, enrage, and humiliate her. It’s really a shame attack disguised as a logic or guilt attack. Patrice, however, is a master, and I doubt any of us could do this as expertly and effortlessly as he does. But even more important, I don’t know how many of us would want to.
First off, Patrice obviously has a lot of his own arrogance and bullying issues. He’s a perfect example of someone who adopted a lot of narcissistic traits in order to combat narcissists. But second, and most importantly, the whole exercise is incredibly draining. Even just listening to it all is draining. I tried to do marathon listening sessions of his radio show and the constant confrontations he would have with narcissistic women just drained the hell out of me even as an observer, and I couldn’t imagine myself having the patience to actually be a participant firsthand in such exhausting, lengthy drama. I’d personally rather just move on and get the peace of mind of avoiding the lengthy, head-butting session.
Patrice, however, really seemed to thrive on the drama and the sport of it. He would often describe women as bunnies, deers, and bears (this is a description of personalities and temperaments, not appearances. A slim, supermodel 10 could be a bear just as easily as a big fat woman). He would proudly call himself a “bear hunter.” He claimed hunting bears and breaking them in was his forte. In his main relationship, he would describe how he had to be vigilant to maintain his dominant position in the relationship dynamic and how if he was nice too long she would start to creep up the disrespect levels again. Even though he was good at it, it just seemed like a major waste of mental energy that sapped up a lot of his time and attention that could have been put to better, more productive uses. It goes back to the means/end paradox I mentioned in an earlier post. In that post I described how for a normal person, peace of mind and no drama is the goal, and occasional drama is just a means to that goal, but for the narcissist the drama itself is the goal. Listening to Patrice made me wonder if the reason he was so good at dealing with narcissistic people was because for him drama was a goal also, so he had the endurance to deal with narcissists head-on for long stretches.
It’s just another example of the warnings I mentioned before. Confronting emotional vampires is risky because (1) it often leads to you becoming more of a vampire yourself and (2) most of us aren’t equipped with the tools and experiences needed to play the same game as the narcissist, and would be disgusted with ourselves if we did develop those tools and experiences.
UPDATE: Commenter Kevin reminded me of a scene from the Louie TV show that I thought was a great illustration of shame vs. guilt, even if it is fictional. In the clip below, note how he shames the narcissistic heckler and demolishes her, then look at how he changes tactics and appeals to her sense of guilt later on outside and it backfires on him: