The rage and denial of
the self-proclaimed righteous
when coming across mirrors.
There is a type of therapy (Rogerian) where a big
thing is "mirroring" – reflecting the person back to
themself. Through this the person is supposed to realize things about
themself and in this way change. The theory: there is much about people that they do not see, at any rate not fully. Seeing it, recognizing it - through having it recognized by someone - leads to development.
Maybe I don't have the theory quite
right, but that's not why I'm writing. I'm writing about what can happen when there is mirroring, especially unexpected mirroring.
I've felt the power of being mirrored. A friend says: "You're looking sad. Is something the matter?" I start crying. I hadn't been aware of feeling sad, let alone of showing any sadness. But she saw it - and my sadness gripped me.
Top athletes often use video footage to improve their already excellent performance.
But the outcome can be quite different.
I think of Muslims
raging at a Danish cartoon
and later at a quote in a speech by the pope, while not raging at Muslim violence. The Danish cartoon: the Muslim prophet has his turban turned into a bomb. The quote: a fourteenth-century Christian emperor speaks against the concept of jihad, holy war, saying that violence in the name of religion is against the nature of god.
My guess: both the cartoon and the quote give Muslims an glimpse of themselves in a mirror. The first impulse
is to break the mirror instead of to take a closer look.
I remember a friend telling me that she was sure my
camera was broken when I showed her a picture of herself. I'd passed
her the picture because I saw it as flattering. She was stunned - she
had no idea she looked that heavy.
In a dance class, one sees oneself in a mirror - and
what a surprise that can be. One isn't doing what one thought one was.
Much to learn.
I'm not suggesting mirroring is a cure-all. I'm
only wondering if it couldn't be one possible very helpful technique
for the raging self-righteous.
But one has to get past the pain and shock. When my friend took in that the image was not the result of a broken camera, she took action, lost weight - so that her inner self-image went with reality.
On the other hand, how often did Hitler see himself?
Very often, I am sure, as masses of images of him remain. He seems to
have had such distorting inner lenses, that he could see himself as admirable
when he was a raging egomaniac.
Inner blocks. Powerful inner distorting lenses supported by massive inner walls of rage and denial. Narcissistic disorders, leading to narcisstic behavior - malignant narcissism.
Would it make a difference if news clips of body parts from the latest Muslim suicide bombing were juxtaposed against massive Muslim protests against … what…? a quote
saying it's wrong to do violence in the name of religion? Would it make a difference if the Danish cartoon was placed against images of Muslim violence done in the name of the Muslim religion?
Would anything sink in? Likely not into most heads.
But some people are more open to seeing, and it might make a big difference.
Not always, of course.
Bush springs to mind. He has seen himself thousands
of times. It has not made any dent that I am aware of. If anything, he
seems ever more armored, ever more repetitive. Once again, narcissistic distortions, narcissistic disorders, malignant narcissism - and of course narcissistic behavior.
Once again, mirroring is not universally effective.
The more one is in the grip of narcissistic disorders, when anything goes against the distortions, narcissistic behavior kicks in - rage, outrage and violence against anything that counters them. Islam religion of peace - if that is the rigid belief, then all evidence to the contrary does not make one act to bring Islam in life with the belief, but to shut out the evidence.
But antibiotics are administered against infections
even though some strains of bacteria are resistant to even the strongest
known drug combinations. One result: lots of infections are rooted out
(and the most resistant remain, unfortunately).
I'm thinking of an early twentieth century Canadian
feminist, Nellie McClung. She used humor to reflect the politicians of
her time back to themselves. The premier of her province, adamantly against
granting women the right to vote – in her mind's eye, she saw a
bull she had known in her childhood. When he had drunk until he could
drink no more, he would plant himself over the trough, making sure none
of the cows could get even a sip of water.
I don't know if the premier learned anything. But probably
a lot of other people learned. Women got the vote. He got voted out.
Maybe those Muslims least taken in by Muslim extremism
will move increasingly not only away from, but (where they
are safe enough and in enough numbers) against the Muslims filled with
I can, by the way, think of lots of other people who
could use mirrors. I'll just give two examples.
Those North American blacks who see all whites as
fair prey to be attacked, made fun up, put down.
Those committing genocide in Darfur – but I
don't know if any mirror could crack the shell around those at the center
of the genocide.
That's the thought for the day – the
potential benefits of mirroring.
Mirror mirror on the wall
Who is that horror...?
There is, by the way, a more cynical
interpretation of the same rage at the mirror. Maybe someone knows full
well what they are doing - and just does not want anyone else to dare mention it, like many abusers want their victims to be silent.
is also that thing called denial, so well identified among alcoholics
- the shell of rigid denial around what is apparent to observers with
eyes to see.
So while, among some of the raging, the
rage at the mirror may be entirely knowingly self-serving, my guess is
that at least for some people, it comes from not recognizing - and
not wanting to recognize - the horror in the mirror.
September 18, 2006
copyright © Elsa Schieder 2006, 2009 - all rights reserved
here to go from
his exploration of narcissistic behavior to
The Rage of the Righteous,
the beginning of this exploration of
Muslim outrage and rage at a Danish cartoon.
here to go from narcissistic disorders to
Give Peace a Chance,
a request that Muslims do more to make
Islam a religion of peace.
here to go from
this exploration of narcissistic behavior
to all the issues explored at
The Idea Emporium,
from animal rights, to Islam,
to gambling, to the ultimate reality.
Narcissistic Behavior: Self Righteous Outrage.
Narcissistic Disorders: Grandiosity.
Muslim rage vs Islam religion of peace.
Is this malignant narcissism?.
Emporium on Narcissistic Behavior,
especially Malignant Narcissism
One of my lifelong concerns has
been trying to make sense of reality. What is happening? Why is this
happening? And one thing I've been seeing, one thing that has crossed my radar is Muslim rage, Muslim outrage and Muslim insistence, Islam religion of piece. Yet over and over, day after day there is Muslim violence done in the name of the Islamic religion.
And that has gotten me to thinking about narcissistic disorders, malignant narcissism - where a major outcome is of course, narcissistic behavior: reality kept out, rage against what one does not want to perceive.
September 6, 2009
copyright © Elsa Schieder 2009, 2011, all rights reserved
Resistance, denial, rage among the self-righteous
when coming across mirrors.
Narcissistic behavior: raging.
Narcissistic disorders: grandiosity.
Malignant narcissism: denial vs perception.
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