Posted by: Botolff | September 6, 2009

Shame: The Underside of Narcissism- Part 2 Cont.

I’m back.  Things have been a little quiet around here this week.  I thought I’d clean the dust out of the blog box with a follow up to “Shame: The Underside of Narcissism- Part 2”.  There have been a few comments, and I appreciate your forthright responses brinkmanship and rodmaster.  What I thought I would do, so as not to just react to or cater to your thoughts, is to develop my own response to what Michelle said using a story I read in the Seattle Times today as the basis for that response.

Often when I consider the faceless victim, I think of war.  It is my understanding, from the few veterans that I have spoken with, that there is a certain approach to preparing military personnel for war.  One primary element of that training is desensitization.  In order for someone to be prepared to take the life of another, a value judgement must be taught.  Maybe it is the value of one’s own family over another’sone’s belief system or agenda over another’s, and then in the case of close hand to hand combat, the value of one’s life over the other’s.  But no matter how you cut it, in order for us to prepare for killing another person, we must be able to disregard something of the humanity in the other.  There is no better example of that than denying the look of another’s face.  I have what seems to be a very fitting example of this that I found in today’s issue of the Seattle Times.  I will be mentioning some sensitive material in the next paragraph so that you can prepare yourself if you want to keep reading.

A 24 year old “Ex-Soldier” will now be serving three consecutive life sentences in prison as a result of his decision to murder the father, mother and sister (5 years old) of a 14 year old girl in Iraq, who he then raped (after two other soldiers raped her) and then killed as well.  If you would like to read the article yourself, you can find it here.  The judge overseeing the case remarked, “What the defendant did was horrifying and inexcusable.”  The soldier’s remarks to the judge…”If I had not joined the Army, if I had not gone to Iraq, I would not have got caught up in anything.”  You know, he may be right.  He was definitely wrong in what he did, and needs to be held accountable for his decisions, but he may also be right.  Maybe the U.S. military trained him to carry out such heinous crimes.  Am I saying that he took courses on doing just such things?  No.  What I am saying, is that any military force trains its personnel to desensitize their levels of guilt and shame, lessen their inhibitions and act more forcefully, with the freedom and even command to place value judgements on people and life.  So, did the military make him do it?  No, he did it under his own volition, and maybe would have done something of the like had he never gone to war, even if only in his mind.  Whatever the case, it’s possible that his military involvement helped release him from his moral inhibitions, or even encouraged him to bring possible fantasies into the realm of reality.  I could continue down that trail, but what I wanted to point out particularly was how he killed the 14 year old girl. 

He shot her in the face…and then burned her body in the back yard of her home.  

The face is so important.  It carries the very essence of life…and of shame.  Not just the shame of the victim, but the shame of the offender.  You see, it is in the expression of pain in another’s face that should bring us literally face to face with our own shame; particularly the shame of the pain that we have caused.  But if we don’t have to see the face of the other, or can look past or avoid the face of the other, then we can avoid our own shame.  I wonder if Michelle was exceptionally pleased not to have to look into, or even visit, the face of her lover’s wife.  Because in doing so, she could follow through on her own desires, and minimize her shame enough to keep the cycle going.  However, although I have hope for both, I hold out more hope for Michelle’s recovery than the “Ex-Soldier’s”.  Why?  Because Michelle felt enough shame not to want to see her victim’s face.  The “Ex-Soldier” took the life of his victim out of her face and then tried to get rid of the evidence that she was human at all.

Narcissism, the inordinate fascination with oneself, is deeply rooted in shamelessness, which ironically is deeply rooted in shamefulness.  More to come on that soon.


Moments after finishing this post, I read the comments people have left in response to the article in the Seattle Times…

“Monsters like these should be at the bottom of a sewer for the rest of their lives and be shitted on along with the rest of the jews who got us into this mess.” 

Boy it’s a good thing we’ve got the right guy locked up huh?

God help us all with our narcissism!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: