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Narcissism, Mob Mentality and Politics
Narcissism, Mob Mentality and Politics
Narcissism, Mobs and Politics How Does This Impacts the Political Climate
Group Psychology, the Mob Mentality and Collective Group Fantasies
A Psychohistorical Approach
Joan Jutta Lachkar, Ph.D.
February 13, 2020
Joan Jutta Lachkar, Ph.D. is a licensed Psychotherapist in private practice in Sherman Oaks, California, an affiliate member for the New Center for Psychoanalysis, is the author of The Narcissistic/Borderline Couple: How to Talk to a Narcissist, How to Talk to a Borderline, The V-Spot, and many other publications. She is also a psychohistorian a discipline which analyzes political and historical events from a psychodynamic perspective. Wrote such articles as The Psychological Make-up of a Suicide Bomber and The Psychopathology of Terrorism.
Welcome to the Mob!
The effort here is to illustrate how people in politics with a high conflict personality e. g., a narcissist impacts the political climate. Many have accused present and past presidents of being “narcissistic!” But are they? First, I will start defining narcissism along with eight kinds of narcissists including the healthy narcissist, the pathological narcissist, malignant narcissist, the artist, the cross-cultural narcissist. Second, how people in groups tend to identify or over identify with leaders forming collective group fantasies and how these individuals aimlessly lose the ability to think or develop a “group mind.” Now with our country so divided how do we find truth? We turn to two sources. First, the role of history and the role of psychohistory. The historical approach enters data describing as to “when” things occurred e.g.,the holocaust! The psychohistorian tries to explain “why” things happened, interpreting unconscious meaning through collective group fantasies that drives people to lose the ability to think. More specifically psychohistory works as an adjunct to history. Thus! The Mob!
“We will drive the Jews into the Sea!
To explore these collective group fantasies we turn to two disciplines, psychohistory and group psychology, but first let us begin with describing narcissism. Let us start now with defining narcissism.
When Woody Allen was asked what religion he is
“I used to be an atheist but converted to narcissism!”
Today we live in a narcissistic society everything is all about me, me and me. How do you know you are in the presence of a narcissist? You’ll know because all they do is talk about themselves! Everyone wants their voices to be heard. We all want to talk but no one wants to listen. In my newly published book, How to Talk to a Narcissist. 2nd Edition, it introduces two special languages along with methods not only “how to talk” but also how to listen to them (or not listen). The first is the language of empathology abstracted from works of Heinz Kohut to meet the mirroring and self-object needs of the narcissist and the other is the language of dialectics to meet the splitting mechanism within the spectrum of the borderline personality. Although this is not the focus of this paper the borderline is often a common object choice for the narcissist (see The Narcissistic/Borderline books on Amazon.com).
The narcissist is the special child of God (also known as “His Majesty the Narcissist). You know when you are around because they are totally preoccupied with themselves. Narcissists are dominated by a grandiose and exaggerated sense of self. They believe the world owes them something, have excessive entitlement fantasies, a sense they are superior to others and when they run out of narcissistic supplies will continue to search for others who offer and perform as mirroring objects. They lack empathy and have a way of diminishing the other person’s existence!
In court custody cases they are most difficult. They are the ones who feel entitled, want all the visitation, the money, all the furniture, and when narcissistically injured or not properly mirrored will withdraw. People in groups often identify with narcissistic leaders that they revere and identify with which leads us to “the mob!”
In many of my publications I describe eight different types of narcissists (refer to Lachkar books on Amazon.com. The healthy narcissist is one who may be totally absorbed with their work, profession. In all the others primitive defenses do get in the way of having healthy relations and contaminate or destroy relationships (envy, jealousy, control, domination, competition, oedipal rivals). For example the pathological narcissist may manipulate, lie, belittle others but are not basically cruel where as the malignant narcissist is cruel and sadistic.
· The Healthy Narcissist
· The Pathological Narcissist
· The Malignant Narcissist
· The Narcissist the Artist
· The Cross-Cultural Narcissis
The Mob Mentality
We know our leader is destructive, but he is our father and our savior, and we worship and revere him.
These primitive types of groups band together like sheep joined by collective group fantasies and myths. When this happens, the individual no longer exists. As Wilfred Bion states, these are thoughtless thinkers or thinkers without a thought—those who identify with certain leaders and revere fantasized role models, heroes, and messianic saviors. “Gee, I want to grow up just like my terrorist uncle!” Many of these charismatic/messianic leaders give people in these regressed groups a sense of purpose and allow them to feel they can make meaning out of the meaningless.
We never wanted to drive the Jews into the sea, but now we have meaning and purpose in our lives!
It has taken me years of analytic training to understand concepts of the mob mentality and even to this day I still don’t understand it. It is still a challenge to understand how the German people with high morals got into some trance mass hysteria along with the Nazis to exterminate millions of Jews. Before that they lived side by side with the Jews and went to schools together.
The first example I start with is Kristallnacht 1939 an article written by Professor Peter Loewenberg recounts when Hiltler in Germany started with the motive to confiscate money and wealth from the Jews. Ironically, violating all German people’s moral values, respect for other people’s property, respect thy neighbor, houses of worship, orderliness/cleanliness and later morphed into mass hysteria burning of every synagogue and later to degradation and humiliation of the Jews e.g. no toilets, Germans spitting on them! Suddenly they because the opposite of German morality (obsession with cleanliness) seen as filthy pigs! Sweinhunts!
A second example of the group mind is the funeral of deceased Korean President Kim Jong-un where he got his starving impoverished people to stand in cold freezing weather in a trance like state in tears for a leader they idealized and revered or what I refer to as“Crocodile Tears.”
The group mentality is like that of a mob banded together like sheep. When this happens, the individual no longer exists. As Wilfred Bion states, these are thoughtless thinkers or thinkers without a thought—those who identify with certain leaders and revere fantasized role models, heroes, and messianic saviors. These leaders give those in the group a sense of purpose and allow them to feel they can make meaning out of the meaningless.
So, what is the glue that holds them together? These are people pre-programmed pre-scripted to identify with certain group myths/fantasies or leaders they revere and idealize. In psychological terms it is known as collective group fantasy where people together as one in harmony and total synchronicity! “We are now one! Not a far cry from cult-like behavior. I turn now to psychohistory.
Psychohistory offers a broader perspective from which to view cross-cultural differences using new tools and concepts to examine history via psychohistorical lens. Psychohistory does for the group and culture what psychoanalysis does for the individual, a discipline that analyzes historical events very much like analyzing a patient’s dream. One might say “So where are the facts?” Both the analyst and the psychohistorian use analytic tools and methods to explore conflict by studying the patient’s dreams, free associations and unconscious fantasies.
To penetrate these seemingly impermeable borders the psychohistorican takes into account aspects of culture such as religion, childrearing practices, ideology, ritual, mythology as well as their varying psychodynamics e.g., how each culture experiences such dynamics as shame, honor, saving face, guilt, dependency, envy, jealousy, devotion, and meaning of self.
This allows a better understanding of individuals, nations, governments, and political events—very much as a therapist analyzes the couple as a symbolic representation of a political group or nation. The psychohistorian takes the liberty to extend these concepts to cultures, nations, and groups by exploring the leaders they identify with, and their collective group fantasies and myths.
The question often comes up what gives us the right to analyze people, groups, dictators putting them on the couch without ever meeting, treating or evaluating them in our clinical office? No, we don’t have the right but we do have the right to analyse people who adhere to identify certain group leaders. Not everyone adheres to these myths. beliefs, or ideologies, but the ones who do are the ones who perpetuate the aggression.
In today’s contemporary clinical practices, many therapists are completely baffled by the inextricable, complex link of culture, customs, and traditions connected to individual and self-identity. Psychohistory and group psychology are the two disciplines I that I have found most valuable in my treatment of cross-cultural couples.
The Sheep Mentality, the Mob, The Followers
Wilfred Bion’s (a renowned psychoanalyst) work on group psychology provides a methodology for understanding cult-like behaviors in groups. How people are pressured and coerced to act like sheep and collude with certain leaders. In many of my earlier contributions, I have applied Bion’s formulation of group psychology to the study of cross-culture not only in my work in treating cross-cultural couples, but how people in groups bond together and identify with destructive leaders. More than any other psychoanalyst, Ion understands the primitive, unconscious mechanisms operative in groups and how people identify with charismatic destructive leaders and collective group myths. Many of these group myths are based on historical archaic injuries that one has never mourned or dealt with loss e.g., the burning of Temple Mount.
This is a methodology that helps us understand cult-like behaviors. Why people in these regressed groups tend to fuse, collude, conspire to find a scapegoat or fantasized enemy project their hatred, envy and aggression. Group psychology helps us understand how people with twisted minds form idealized parasitic bonds with destructive leaders who collude with the group's collective myths and fantasies. Furthermore, how people in groups/nations are blindsided by narcissistic leaders who lie, cheat, manipulate, and perform horrific acts against humanity? Idealization is a defense mechanism that gets in the way of seeing reality as they view them as Gods who can do no wrong. Leaders like Hitler, Mussolini, Milosevic, and bin Laden knew how to manipulate the group’s omnipresent fear of imminent danger (real or imagined). Milosevic the Serbian President who tortured his people stood above the crowd while the crowd cheered.
I am your father and will save you!
· Group psychology is the study of group myths and group fantasies
· Cult-like behaviors dominated irrational/delusional thinking, group myths
· Bond through collective group mutual fantasies
· Idealization and identification with destructive group leaders
· Form collusive/parasitic ties with one another.
The Work Group Vs the Basic Assumption Group (Regressed Group)
Bion further expands on group psychology as he describes two kinds of groups, the “work group,” and the “basic assumption group” (or the regressed group). The work group is where people have a task and no matter what happens nothing gets in the way. The basic assumption group starts out with a task when suddenly primitive defenses start to invade and contaminate the group distracting them away from the task (envy, jealousy, shame, guilt, domination, control, power, competition). To expand on these archaic vulnerable injuries, I have coined the phrase-the “V-spot.”
Another Concept I Originated is the V-Spot
The V-Spot is a term I devised to describe the most sensitive area of emotional vulnerability that gets aroused when one’s partner hits an emotional raw spot in the other. It is the emotional counterpart to the physical G-spot (if you don’t know where you’re G-spot is come see me after). The V-spot is the heart of our most fragile area of emotional sensitivity, known in the literature as the archaic injury, a product of early trauma that one holds onto. With arousal of the V-spot comes the loss of sense and sensibility; everything shakes and shifts like an earthquake (memory, painful experience). Do Cultures have a cultural V-spot? In noting the parallels between marital and political conflict. I do believe like couples, cultures also have V-spots, archaic traumatic injuries bonded through losses or a lifetime of governmental violations keeping them forever embroiled in endless feuds. Do they blow at the slightest provocation? I believe they do.
Do countries/nations have a cultural V-spot, whereby an entire culture adheres to certain ideologies, collective group myths fantasies based on painful archaic injuries and age-old sentiments handed down from generation to generation? Do countries look at each other and say, “Hey, you hurt our feelings!” Transposed to the cultural level, the vulnerable spot might sound like, “Don’t insult our Prophet!” “I’d rather die than give up allegiance to my country!”
These archaic traumatic injuries have been handed down and have sustained a lifetime of violations societal and governmental abuse, keeping countries forever embroiled in endless feuds. Here are some V-spots:
· Jews as the Chosen People
· Caricature of Mohammad
· Arabs as the Abandoned Orphans, the Victims
· 72 Virgins in Paradise
· Existence of the Holocaust
· Denial of American Holocaust
· Denial of Japanese War Crimes
· Suicide Bombers Bring Honor
· Denial of Holocaust
· The Japanese denial of War Crimes
· Isaac denied first birthright and Ishmael abandoned to desert
· Burning of the First Temple
· We will only have peace when all the infidels are destroyed
· Fake news impeachment as the final solution
The First Archaic Injury or Original “V-spot
The “Chosen Child” Vs. the “Abandoned Orphan”
Sara was barren at the age of 90 and could not bear children. Meanwhile her handmaiden Hagar as concubine got pregnant and gave birth to Ishmael. Miraculously, Sarah gives birth to Isaac. Once Isaac and Ishmael began to grow, Sarah asked Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael away to the desert and not allow Ishmael to share an inheritance with Isaac.
Mythologically speaking of course, Isaac becomes the chosen child and Ishmael the abandoned orphan one. Isaac is then the recipient of the “good breast, “The Land of Milk and Honey,” and Ishmael and his followers, the dry/desert. The Arabs not having a strong based father figure soon embraced Allah and the Prophet Mohammad never to be revered and never criticized. This led to my first book, The Narcissistic/Borderline Couple, whereby I describe what happens when a narcissist and a borderline join together in a marital bond. Without sounding too narcissistic myself, if figured if I could understand Arabs and Jews why not marital relationships. Next this brings up the question.
Do We have the right to Stereotype?
Can we diagnose an entire group of people? No! We can’t, but we can diagnose their religious ideologies/belief system, rituals, myths, folklore, and collective group fantasies
Some Examples of Stereotypes
· Russians Paranoid
· Germans a Guilt Society
· Japan a Shame/Honor/ Compliant Society (Denial WW11)
· Islam Shame/Saving Face Society
· Jews Narcissistic The Chosen Ones/Entitled
· Arabs the Abandoned Orphans
The effort has been how people in politics with a high conflict personality e. g., a narcissist impacts and can contaminate the political climate. Many have accused present and past presidents of being “narcissistic!” But are they? This presentation was divided into three parts. First. I defined narcissism along with eight kinds of narcissists including “the healthy narcissist.” Second, I took into consideration how people in groups tend to form a mob mentality how they go into a state of mindlessness punctuated by identifying with powerful destructive leaders who play out the groups collective unconscious group myths and fantasies
Joan Lachkar books Amazon.com