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#2998 - 12/30/07 12:09 PM Ego Masturbation
Meq Offline
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Registered: 08/28/07
Posts: 861
One recurring observation I've made is the self-deceptive way in which people react to their own cruelty towards others.

I've seen people treat lovers, family members and friends like dirt, before consoling themselves that they didn't really hurt the other person because, as they tell themselves, "I'm a nice person".

Psychologists have studied such defense mechanisms as denial and projection, but in my experience it is blindingly obvious what happens when a person likes to believe that they are more moral than they are. Blame (and responsibility) gets shifted to others, one's own selfishness gets downplayed and one's self-sacrifice exaggerated in one's eyes. Suffering one causes others is simply denied.

The irony here is that 'morality' leads to more suffering, as a person denies the impact of their actions upon others as a way to maintain a feel-good egotistical image as a "good person".
If "being good" wasn't so important, the person would have no need to live in denial of their own actions.


Some examples (all based on real-life observations):

- A Buddhist tells a 'friend' that they are 'too needy' (when their 'neediness' amounts to one phone call in 6 months), before "wishing him well" from the "genuine compassion" in his heart.
Actually, the Buddhist doesn't give a shit about the other person - he is just imagining he feels compassion as a way to masturbate his ego and make him feel good about himself. Unable to live with the thought that he harbours apathy towards another person, he retreats to a 'fantasy feeling' of 'compassion'.
This, in my view, is the real purpose why many Buddhists practice metta-bhavana. It must give such an ego boost to believe that one really cares, even when this belief directly contradicts the evidence of one's actual behaviour!
"Praying for one's enemy" can also fall into the same category.

- A teenager falls victim to severe depression. Although his/her parents are largely responsible through their emotional abusiveness and failure to provide a supportive and nurturing environment, they both tell themselves that they are not to blame, as they are such good and loving parents, who have always been there, listened and supported their offspring.
As this ego masturbation directly contradicts the evidence, they blame their kid for 'making' them feel guilty when he explains what is really happening. "If you weren't so fucked up, you'd recognise how damned lovely people we are!"

- A mother listens to her young daughter's screams through the door as her father brutally rapes her. Afterwards, she dutifully comes in with a mop and bucket and mops up her daughter's blood. "He's a good man really, it can't harm her that much, and it's best for us to keep the family unit together". She then adds, "I'm doing the right thing. I'm a good mother".
This is a little more complex, as it is another person who is being defended here. However, there is still a good deal of ego masturbation involved here - think about how the mother justifies her behaviour to herself as being in her daughter's interest, to attempt to justify her righteous image of herself.
(Maintaining a 'good' image of her partner can also be seen as an extension of ego masturbation, given how intimately linked her own ego is with her partner's).


All these examples have one thing in common: Denial of reality as a means of relieving the tension between reality and ideal. The social consequences are far from pleasant for all people involved - even forgetting about moral rules.

Fortunately however for some, such a strategy has its weakness.
A glimpse of reality is enough to momentarily break through such delusions and induce a highly painful sense of self-awareness. (Until denial, possibly helped along with booze and drugs, soothes the nasty feelings and helps the person to sink into a pleasant state of delusiory self-righteousness).

What I'm looking for is to use reality as a weapon, to force such narcissists to come to such a vivid and agonising realisation about themselves that they are stopped in their tracks.
Quite the opposite approach to 'morality', which imposes rules on people in an attempt to make them 'good'.

I wouldn't mind forcing certain individuals to look at themselves honestly, by their OWN standards (no moralising necessary). If they are so keen on believing that they are a 'good person', which they regard as very important - and hold their own personal standards of what a 'good person' is, which they regard as equally important - then any inconsistency between ideal and reality in themselves, skilfully pointed out, should (by their own standards) be a pretty whopping realisation.
Unless they don't really believe in their own values - which would be another agonising realisation, should it hit home hard enough...

So, I'm looking for somewhat of a practical method for bringing such ego masturbators to their knees.
The trick seems to be in triggering such self-awareness (painful or not) in such a way that it appears to come from within, in a way that CANNOT be ignored - rather than leading them to 'shoot the messenger' by accusations of "making me feel guilty", before falling back into comfortable delusion.

Does anyone here have any experience in breaking people's narcissistic bubbles with a skilful application of reality - especially to one's own or others' advantage?

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#3009 - 12/31/07 04:25 AM Re: Ego Masturbation [Re: Meq]
L Fern Tej Offline
pledge


Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 65
Loc: Las Vegas, NV. (u.s.)
very refreshing read.
but if there were such a method... it would've been used to bring christianity to it's knees ages ago ;]
maybe on their knees they'd realize how bad there shit actually smells.
point being, that they will always flippantly deny their own actions while pointing a shit covered finger to the first person who comes to mind.
ignorance is unpreventable.

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#3014 - 12/31/07 08:14 AM Re: Ego Masturbation [Re: L Fern Tej]
daevid777 Offline
active member


Registered: 08/30/07
Posts: 951
Loc: Hell's Pisshole, Texas
Do you really mean that if we all were to follow Mequa's advice, the world would somehow be a better place?

Do you really think a true Buddhist would act in such a way towards what he or she thought was a true friend?

Do you really think kids are fucked up only because their parents aren't the right way for them?

The molestation scene was really too much to comment upon... but if we're talking masturbation... this would be of the mental variety here.

These are hypotheticals - and useless as such. Bringing Christianity to it's knees? It wouldn't even bat an eyelash.

Bleah.
_________________________
Where we're going, we don't need roads.

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#3015 - 12/31/07 08:16 AM Re: Ego Masturbation [Re: L Fern Tej]
daevid777 Offline
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Registered: 08/30/07
Posts: 951
Loc: Hell's Pisshole, Texas
Kinda like learning the first move in Karate class... "but you have to come at me like this..." (Jim Carey, I think)
_________________________
Where we're going, we don't need roads.

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#3018 - 12/31/07 09:59 AM Re: Ego Masturbation [Re: daevid777]
Knothead Offline
stranger


Registered: 12/30/07
Posts: 11
Putting power trippers in their place? Who wouldn't like to see that! But these people are often so disillusioned they genuinely believe their own rationale for their behavior. Anything else, to them, is "wrong."
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#3028 - 12/31/07 01:02 PM Re: Ego Masturbation [Re: Meq]
Asmedious Moderator Offline
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Registered: 09/02/07
Posts: 1725
Loc: New York
 Quote:
So, I'm looking for somewhat of a practical method for bringing such ego masturbators to their knees


My first question would be, why would we care, to shatter anyone’s self delusions, if they do not effect us? Isn’t that a form of “Ego masturbation,” as well?

As to how to do it. It’s not all that difficult.
Often times, one merely has to point out, the results that the delusional person is getting. Psychologists do it all the time.

For example, the mother who allows her daughter to be raped by the father figure, while convincing herself that she is indeed a good mother. One might point out, that mopping up blood, which is the life force of her daughter, is not the kind of result that a good mother would get.

Or to the Buddhist, who claims that serenity is found in accepting things “as they are,” one might point out, that if that was the case, then we would still be naked, and getting eaten by animals. It was the individuals who refused to accept things as they are, who can be credited for the betterment of the human condition, while the ones who “accept things as they are,” are merely leaching off the achievement of others.

Simply put, results talk, bullshit walks, or gets torn to pieces by life. Kind of like “Money talks, bullshit walks.”
_________________________
"The first order of government is the protection of its citizens right to be left alone."

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#3032 - 12/31/07 02:05 PM Re: Ego Masturbation [Re: Asmedious]
Knothead Offline
stranger


Registered: 12/30/07
Posts: 11
 Originally Posted By: Asmedious
 Quote:
So, I'm looking for somewhat of a practical method for bringing such ego masturbators to their knees


My first question would be, why would we care, to shatter anyone’s self delusions, if they do not effect us? Isn’t that a form of “Ego masturbation,” as well?


Yes, but there are some situations where a person's "ego masturbation" (or power trips as I call it) can affect you. Take the OP's 2nd Example:

 Quote:
- A teenager falls victim to severe depression. Although his/her parents are largely responsible through their emotional abusiveness and failure to provide a supportive and nurturing environment, they both tell themselves that they are not to blame, as they are such good and loving parents, who have always been there, listened and supported their offspring.
As this ego masturbation directly contradicts the evidence, they blame their kid for 'making' them feel guilty when he explains what is really happening. "If you weren't so fucked up, you'd recognise how damned lovely people we are!"


I know what's it's like to have to deal with parents who are all about the "power & control" and while it might seem like an unlikely problem, or something that could probably be handled in a better way, it does affect you. There's no need to go around bursting people's bubbles otherwise.

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#3048 - 12/31/07 08:02 PM Re: Ego Masturbation [Re: daevid777]
L Fern Tej Offline
pledge


Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 65
Loc: Las Vegas, NV. (u.s.)
 Originally Posted By: daevid777

Bringing Christianity to it's knees? It wouldn't even bat an eyelash.


how so?

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#3059 - 01/01/08 03:43 AM Re: Ego Masturbation [Re: L Fern Tej]
hellbent666
Unregistered



Brutal honesty in all senses of the word is the only way I can think of to break people out of their delusions. It's worked a few times for me in the past but I'm agreeing with Asmedious on the fact that it doesn't really matter and who honestly cares, but I'm also trying to add more substance to this topic that just being a sour puss about it.

Fundamentalist Xtians cannot be made to see things any other way other than theirs so there is no point in trying. Being brutally honest and pointing out their flaws is really pointless because they don't care what you have to say.

With normal people that are suceptable to reason and logic you can be brutally honest with them and manage some results in thinking changes. Pointing out that most issues are black and white can also be beneficial in bringing around changes in others behaviours/thinking. Not just anyone is gonna listen to what you have to say though. You kinda have to mean something to the other person in order for them to truely listen and give a shit.

I was fucking around on my space editing my profile information and it said that I don't sugar coat things for people, my mom said you should put that you are brutally honest instead and I laughed because that's how I am. No matter who I talk to I'm brutally honest with, there is no sense in letting others be delusional if you can put in your two cents.

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