How to Deal with Narcissists by Michael Trust

how-to-deal-with-narcissistsReading How to Deal with Narcissists was a bizarre full circle experience for me. I first discovered Michael Trust (aka Anonymous Conservative) two years ago, using his scientifically-backed writings on r/K selection, narcissism, and the amygdala to shape my writing style. By transitioning from my previously aggressive, profanity-laced prose style to a more calm and unaffected one, I discovered a formula by which I could hone my writing for maximum impact. The big reason for the viral success of “Why Fat Girls Don’t Deserve to Be Loved” and “The Case Against Female Self-Esteem,” for example, is because they were written in a style designed to trigger narcissistic feminists and leftists.

My writing is so successful in this regard that Trust actually cites my articles in this book as examples of how to emotionally manipulate narcissists.

How to Deal with Narcissists, despite its flaws, is a necessary book, quite possibly the most important book I’ve read this year. The reason why it’s important is because Trust not only accurately explains the psychology of narcissists, he offers scientifically-proven methods of dealing with them. Narcissism is an epidemic in our society: everyone from our leaders to our loved ones is infected with this disease of the mind, and they’re slowly wrecking our world because of it.

You need to know how to handle narcissists not simply to protect your sanity but your safety.

Trust succeeds because unlike most people who write on this subject, he understands narcissism. Most people take narcissism to be a synonym for egotism, but this is completely wrong. While narcissists do act infatuated with themselves, this is to cover up the fact that they have no inner self, unlike egotists. Narcissists have no independent identity, leading them to construct false identities and narratives in order to maintain their fragile self-images and obtain narcissistic supply. To put it another way, they don’t have souls:

My favorite narcissist, Bob, routinely told those around them that they were clueless. Those around him laughed because Bob often seemed the very definition of clueless himself. He damaged and broke things, ranging from wine glasses to statues to vases to furniture, everywhere he went. He routinely destroyed anything positive that would produce happiness in his family members and friends, from crashing a new car borrowed from a family member to ruining a business deal that would have enriched him as well as his relatives.

Trust explains that the defective personalities of narcissists inspire them to make everyone around them miserable, oftentimes hurting themselves in the process (for example, Trust mentions a woman who murdered her husband with antifreeze even though doing so reduced her to poverty). Narcissists behave the way they do because of their amygdalae, the portion of the brain responsible for determining the emotional significance of stimuli. As Trust wrote in his previous book, The Evolutionary Psychology Behind Politics, leftists have smaller amygdalae on average than conservatives, rendering them less capable of judging threats properly and explaining their freakish and bizarre behavior. Narcissists also have smaller amygdalae on average than normal people, the result of a lifetime of avoiding struggle and stress, and problems that would roll off the back of you or me cripple them psychologically. The narcissist’s constant manipulations are in part a coping mechanism to avoid having to deal with the “brain pain” his amygdala gives him:

Unfortunately, Bob’s brain didn’t work that way. When he encountered negativity, it had become so traumatic that he denied it was possible, and thus he never had the ability to structure his life in such a way as to become successful—at work, with friends, in his family, or even as a person. As time went on, his environment became ever more negative and he retreated ever farther into his bubble of denial—his hyper-sensitive amygdala retreating behind ever more false reality. Even confronting his self-inflicted cognitive shortcoming became stressful, so eventually he learned to tell himself that every bad thing which happened was inflicted upon him by everyone else. Although his hatred and bitterness for everyone only grew, that anger was minimal compared to confronting the fact that his brain was fundamentally faulty, and he needed to start confronting reality or more negativity would be in his future.

There are two unpleasant conclusions we can take from this. The first is that narcissists cannot be cured. Their innate repulsiveness isn’t because they were a nerd in high school or because their daddy didn’t hug them enough, it’s a product of the very way their brains are designed. Unless scientists develop a way to repair or enlarge underdeveloped amygdalae, narcissists are condemned to live out their lives in self-perpetuating misery. This is why despite the fact that much of How to Deal with Narcissists is about ways to manipulate narcissists with amygdala hijacks, Trust states that the best way to deal with a narcissist is to cut him or her out of your life.

The second is that virtually all leftists are narcissists.

This is why I don’t debate politics or care about it anymore: my ideological opponents are mentally ill. You don’t reason with the insane, you ignore them. There is no rational way to argue with someone who thinks that a man can become a woman by chopping his genitals off, that stealing guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens will keep criminals from using them, that depriving working people of their money through taxation is a moral act. While How to Deal with Narcissists is not an explicitly political work, unlike The Evolutionary Psychology of Politics, Trust includes a preface explaining the connection between left-wing ideology and narcissism:

Dr. M. Scott Peck wrote in People of the Lie that evil was “[t]he exercise of political power—that is, the imposition of one’s will upon others by overt or covert coercion, in order to avoid… spiritual growth,” and that evil was often rooted in narcissism. Narcissists expect everyone else to sacrifice and stifle their own accomplishments and ability, so that the narcissist’s insecurity will not bother them as much. You see this with leftism everywhere. Where others are rich, the leftist expects to be allowed to take their wealth through government fiat, so they won’t be so rich in comparison to the leftist. Where others can defend their families, the leftist expects them to weaken themselves by surrendering their weapons, so the leftist will not feel so inferior and impotent in that regard. The leftist is unable to confront a reality where they are not dominant and superior, so they seek to use government to force others to lessen themselves. Rather than focus on their own growth and development of their own self-sufficiency, the leftist seeks to have government steal the accomplishments, and suppress the self-sufficiency of others, on their behalf.

You can see this every day. For example, when I look at President Obama, I see a hollow man, a man without a sense of self. Obama’s own writings show that he is incapable of dealing with what little struggle he’s faced in his life; for example, he nearly suffered a nervous breakdown when Bobby Rice defeated him in a Congressional race in 2000. Obama’s defective psychology is why he is regularly played for a fool by Vladimir Putin, a man who, whatever his flaws, is an functioning human being. The only reason he’s survived this long is because the media coddles him and because his fear of having his false identity punctured has led him to behave like a African strongman, arresting Republican leaders on bogus charges, revoking the Redskins’ trademark with zero justification, and using the IRS to illegally harass Tea Party groups. Like a true bully, Obama can only look powerful when he picks on targets who can’t fight back.

I wager that all the great tyrants of history—Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mugabe—were/are narcissists who were driven to mass murder by their malfunctioning amygdalae.

It’s worth noting that narcissism isn’t limited to leftist politicians: since the Republican establishment is more left-wing than the party’s grassroots, GOP politicians are more narcissistic than their Tea Party challengers. Compare Eric Cantor with Dave Brat, for example, or Thad Cochran with Chris McDaniel. Trust points out in the book that politicians and lawyers tend to be more narcissistic than average because the combative nature of those professions allows narcissists to slake their need for interpersonal conflict in a socially acceptable way.

Trust wisely spends much of the book’s space on practical strategies for dealing with narcissists, the much-ballyhooed “amygdala hijacks” that are so effective. Because narcissists fear being discovered for who they really are and subsequently rejected by their in-group, amygdala hijacks revolve around psychologically isolating narcissists and puncturing their false identities. However, Trust warns that triggering a narcissist can have adverse consequences if you’re not prepared:

In Matt Forney’s case, one expects written articles to be relatively unemotional. Additionally, he was saying things in his articles which the feminists innately expected should be eliciting shame and immediate supplication from him. The feminists expected him to say such things meekly and weakly, and to exhibit the type of mien which they could swiftly rebuke and manipulate to elicit shame, supplication, and regret from.

Instead, he provided his anti-feminist ideas boldly, shamelessly, and with a brashness and amusement which they were not prepared to see. His writing style was a violation of expectation. As a result, their ACC began to light up as it flashed a weak alarm indicating some error of expectation was present in their environment. As it did, his amygdala hijacks hit, called up even more aversive stimuli, and in the presence of his violation of expectations, some feminists apparently found that their ACC triggered a panic attack that had profound physical symptoms and disabled much of their higher cognitive function. That semi-coherent feminist warning about Matt’s article is perfectly expected of one undergoing an amygdala hijack.

Dealing with narcissists isn’t simply a matter of making Tumblr feminists vomit, though: it’s a reality for most people alive today. We all have at least one narcissist in our lives—a parent, a friend, a lover—and letting them work their manipulations on us slowly rots us from the inside. As the narcissist blots out the light in your life, your brain virtually shuts down in response, all the better to minimize the pain that he or she is causing you. Trust names several examples of people with chronic fatigue or other illnesses who miraculously recovered when they were separated from a narcissistic influence.

I imagine that the soul-deadening feeling most normal men (and women) get from reading feminist and social justice warrior drivel is the effect a narcissist has on a normal human.

I have two criticisms of How to Deal with Narcissists. The first is the editing. While not horrible, Trust overuses comma splices, which gives sections of the book an amateurish feel. Secondly, Trust rarely if ever mentions the r/K selection theory that forms the basis of his blog/previous book and its connection with narcissism (r-selected individuals tend towards being narcissists). While it’s somewhat unrelated to Trust’s thesis in this book, this volume feels a little unfinished because of it.

Aside from these minor issues, How to Deal with Narcissists is an absolutely must-read book. We live in an Age of Narcissism, where half of the population has defective brain chemistry. They are literally brain damaged. They can’t be reasoned with or cured, and as our society degenerates, their ranks will only swell. Learning how to push their buttons and defuse their machinations is the only way you can survive.

Click here to buy How to Deal with Narcissists.

Read Next: The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon

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  • Bob Wallace

    I’ve pointed out many times narcissists do not have high self-esteem. They have no self-esteem, covered up by grandiosity. It’s why I point out the Dark Triad is not what its deluded supporters think it is.

  • Jeremy

    I did notice the change in your writing. I didn’t think much of it at the time as I figured it was just your own maturation with how you expressed yourself. I certainly noticed the change in the response to your writing. Where “Three Years of Hate” and the prior site had people just ignoring you, your recent pokes in their eye have stirred up a lot more wrath.

    I would only amend to say that all modern leftists are narcissists. The traditional left ideals (much like the traditional right ideals) actually has good arguments, but that element was hijacked long before I was born. Basically, anyone who calls themselves a progressive can be triggered in this manner. I’ve actually done it to my boss unwittingly during a conversation about gay marriage. He had no counter-argument to what I had said (basically that male-female pair-bonds are the *only* method of constructing a stable society, therefore gay marriage is an irrelevant distraction at best), but had to walk-off in a huff, getting a “last word” in as he walked away about how inhumane I was thinking. I still work here, he still respects my intellect, but he is a lot more cautious lately in discussing wordly things with me. Mind you, I had no intention of triggering him.

  • http://minaisarmed.blogspot.com/ Mina Smith

    I had skimmed the Anonymous Conservative once and forgotten about it, I read your review of it here about 1.5 years ago and it changed my life! Thanks again for that.

  • maxsnafu

    Outstanding review of what sounds like a VERY important book.

  • Daniel

    Narcissists certainly are emotional vampires, and it’s worth knowing how to deflect them. I’ll check this book out.

    That said, I think its bit convenient (and a bit cliche) that you can categorize virtually all your ideological enemies as a) invariably mentally ill, b) literally and forever incapable of understanding The Truth, c) a world-wrecking epidemic that needs to be taken care of. You seem just a hop, skip and a jump away from being convinced of killing all leftists (how far left?) with “obvious” justification.

  • U Nderwater Glockenspiel

    Borderline Personality Disorder sufferers constitute an estimated 4 percent of the populations of any given western country. It’s important to learn their traits so as to avoid them.
    Note that the mainstream media focuses only on “Bipolar” which is an exceedingly rare personality disorder.

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  • Kvothe

    I was always interested in personality disorders, but have not found a good book about these things. When I read books from academia, they seem really shallow and not getting to the point of anything. Is there any recommendations on “no-bullshit” books about these things?

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  • chiiill

    FYI, the amygdala produces fear, hate, and lust, and gives primal emotional content to memories. By producing fear, it somewhat contributes to directed attention, but not always in a productive way.

    There is no evidence that the amygdala is smaller in narcissists; I looked for it. I looked for it because it makes no sense for their amygdalas to be smaller, since they act out of fear and hate (and lust) so often.

    Brain structures also change and grow throughout life as a result of life experiences, like learning, or how blind people devote more brainspace to processing sound.

    This article is pseudoscientific bullshit.

  • chiiill

    While psychopaths (and sociopaths – the difference in name comes from where you think the problem comes from, primarily nature – “psycho-” or primarily nurture – “socio-“) are narcissistic in that they’re fundamentally selfish, it’s not classic narcissism born of a deep inner sense of being inadequate. If you are so unempathetic that you see people as objects which you don’t really think exist in a meaningful way when you’re not there to perceive them, you’re not going to crave approval to heal your wounded self. It would be meaningless. Who wants approval from an appliance? You may try to cultivate a reputation of dominance for personal gain, but it’s not the same thing. Psychopaths don’t have painfully wounded senses of self. Narcissists are looking for adulation as a balm for their pain, whereas psychopaths are looking for it because it is a useful tool. Totally different etiology.

  • chiiill

    The ideas in this book will not deflect people with actual narcissistic traits; they will enrage them and make them get obsessed with ruining your life. Do not follow the advice in this book if you have any self-preservation.

  • chiiill

    Ahaha, oh wow, three or so of my more critical comments disappeared. Classy? They didn’t have swears, just scientific understanding.

  • Shinobi Theninja

    Hmmm while biology can certainly lead us to do many crazy things. I’m not sure how I feel about looking at Leftists and going “Their biology is messed up so that’s why they’re evil.” It has a dangerous air of “It’s natural so it’s right!” or the more popular “It’s natural so support me!” vibe. I think that Leftists might have their ‘natural’ brain problems that might make it easier for them to develop a narcissistic persona. However I think willful ignorance and a propensity for wickedness is more to blame. I think leftists are evil. I think evil is a choice, I think these buttplungers are evil AND more inclined to be narcissistic! Still…

    I want to hijack amygdalas and watch the eyes boil.

  • Robert What?

    Fascinating: the media as Obama’s helicopter parents.

  • Bo Jangles

    The amygdala theory seems weak. Cities have vastly more lefties than the country..so its poisoning in the water? This also ignores the fact that for probably a few million years at least we were hardcore socialists..i suspect this is why so many contries go back to communism dispite its horrible track record. I do agree about narcicists, they present an image that isn’t really them and lve or die based on how you react to that image.

  • Bo Jangles

    I cant speak for sociopaths but my brother is a narcicist. Underneath it all is a scared little boy that few see. Any self esteem is practiced aping. Critisize anything that he seems to be proud of and youll see that self esteem dissolve.

  • Brian L

    Reminds me of of a friend who, every time someone got mad at him on the road, he’d just smile at them like an idiot. Drove them nuts…. Pardon the pun…. People can’t stand when an action, or reaction, does not fit into the ‘proper’ narrative of their life, and are left dissatisfied with the aftertaste.

    I try to stick with the saying “he who walks away angry, loses”. Let’s face it; stewing on your own anger totally sucks.