I also learned that exploitation and power imbalanced situations can come in many forms because “toxic humans” can come in many forms camouflaged as many things. So even after we recover from abuse, like with any addiction (and abuse victims do suffer from “pain addiction”), we can be targeted and triggered when we least expect it. We can have a single abusive or toxic mate, lover, co-worker, spouse or we can be exposed to toxicity and power imbalance in toxic “groups” that also come in all forms – families, work groups, religious groups, political groups, or what I experienced recently, a branch of a world-wide fundraising organization that is over 100 years old.
So to effectively heal after narcissistic abuse and not be vulnerable to narcissists, I’d like to remind you, “All that glitters is not gold.” This is why.
Pathological Narcissism is a Pandemic
Narcissism is now a world-wide pandemic. It has infiltrated all aspects or our lives and is rampant in “good deed” communities like politics, the medical community, churches, and even fundraising organizations where many emotional manipulators can exist for years going unnoticed, providing illusions of generosity and “goodness” and feeding off the unlimited supply of power and energy of innocent members of the community while hiding true intentions of superiority and self-righteousness. Gary Bell, a valued community member at Yourlifelifter describes it perfectly, “Service organizations frequently come to be fraternal organizations with a bit of charity work to make it seem legit – fraternity and sorority houses for ‘grownups.'”
Narcissists are even posing as healers on Facebook. What better people to target than the vulnerable wounded ones they harmed who admittedly need help and whom they continue to abuse and exploit “by proxy” by posing as a healers? What a novel idea, right? Well, it is not so novel. It may be pretty new to Facebook but narcissists infiltrated the medical and psychological professions a long long time ago like pedophiles infiltrated the priesthood.
Kathy Krajco, a formidable pioneer in educating the world on narcissism and narcissistic abuse, describes in What Makes Narcissists Tick how the “helping professions” that supply an abundance of vulnerable prey attract pathological narcissists. Kathy cautions us to “think not only of vulnerable children in the case of teachers but also vulnerable children or grieving and hurt adults in the case of priests and ministers. Think of the vulnerable patients supplied to psychiatrists.” She also warns us about the serious problem narcissism poses in the public sector and private nonprofit institutions that use the do-gooder and moral elitist facade to cloak their true self-righteous intentions to not do good but to be “seen as doing good” and “show how good they are by pointing at someone else and telling them how bad they are.” Politics, she points out, “is an ideal arena for narcissists…the list of them who have conned whole nations to become dictators is breathtaking.”
What Can We Do to Protect Ourselves
Do “do good” organizations do good for the community? Possibly but beware the true intent of their members! Is it to simply give back to and benefit the community which was my sole personal objective or are there “hidden” underlying objectives? Look closely at their actions and do not assume their intentions, like yours, are good ones. Fact check! The more important question to answer is to determine why the members are really there? Does their objective for being there and donating their time align with yours? Look how they routinely treat all members. Do they play favorites? Are there cliques that seem to manipulate all the decisions in the organization to favor themselves and those in the clique at the expense of others? Do they portray in their home lives the ethics and moral codes of the organization? Do their actions contradict their thoughts and words and vice versa?
The point is this. Anyone can provide an illusion of doing good by hiding in a “do good” organization or even places of worship that are really filled with manipulative covert aggressive self-righteous people who are exploiting others and are languishing in their superiority over the “needy” they profess to help and are providing a very toxic and emotionally unhealthy environment for its innocent and truly compassionate members who simply are there just to “do good.” Wolves can be cloaked in many versions of sheep’s clothing and snakes can be cloaked in many colors of suits. So it doesn’t matter how appealing it “looks” or “sounds” even if there is a handsome “shiny as a new penny” person at the helm or is a rich Presidential candidate in a $2000 suit…..if it looks like, if it smells like, it is. And if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
So even after we heal, we must remain vigilant and confident in our personal power. And never forget that truth is truth and never again let anyone manipulate you into compromising yours even if they appear as glittered “do gooders.”