Self-Preservation vs. Narcissism; Three Tales Of Three Brothers

Why is one behavior self-preservation, and another "Narcissism"?

Since humans are born with built-in survival mechanisms, like all life forms, we all have self-serving behaviors automatically if we have "normally" functioning self-preservation and self-care. Making sure we breathe, eat, sleep, and protect ourselves from the elements and from harm are embedded in our normal and healthy brains when we're born.

Self-preservation is normal and healthy, but Narcissism is detrimental to the species. The difference between them shows in our interaction with others.
So between a group of 3 brothers, there is one loaf of bread, a half pound of ham, and one pint of milk. If all 3 brothers share the bread, ham, and milk equally, then all 3 get enough nourishment to go about their day. Their goal for the day is acquiring more resources. All 3 of them go to town and build a stone wall together, for which all 3 are paid. The bread, ham and milk gave them the strength to do this task, and now they have combined money enough to get more food, pay their rent, and buy more tools. They share the home comfortably because they treat one another with respect, and respect one another's space, privacy, preferences, stuff, and basic  needs.
(No one invades the other's room, takes their stuff, or interrupts their sleep or concentration. No one belittles or demeans anyone else. When someone is sad or angry, they are supported, not rejected. When someone has an idea or an observation, the others hear them out with interest and courtesy. When someone needs something, the others share willingly.)
The brothers also share a mutual love for music, humor, and wildlife. They sing and play together all the time, and hike and swim in the lake whenever they get the chance.

With a safe and sound place to live and sleep, food to nourish them, and more tools, they work together cooperatively and build a stone Church, for which they are paid well. Now they're also building their reputation, because people saw them working, listened to their polite manner, and are talking well about them.

With the money they were paid from the Church, they pay their rent, buy more food, and build a shed to store their tools.

As time goes by, their work improves, their reputation grows, and their business prospers. Each of them speaks highly of the other two publicly, never disparaging or implying negativity, so their reputation keeps expanding. In private, they treat each other well, even when they're in disagreement. They treat others with the same ethics and fairness as one another, so they don't have conflict regarding "ethical decisions" or financial decisions. They simply do their best, treating others the way they would want to be treated.

When one brother is insulted and disparaged by a mutual acquaintance, the other two don't hesitate to stand up for him; the targeted brother feels safe and secure - "backed up", and the gossip is shut down before it spreads.

When one brother falls in love, the other two are welcoming to her and supportive of their union, and consider her another member of the family when they marry. They respect her as a person the same as they respect one another, and don't ever treat her like she's "other" or "not one of them".

When there are children, they are welcomed with joy and celebration, and are treated always as "belonging" to the clan. They grow up in this respectful atmosphere, learning courtesy, civility, respect, empathy, caring, cooperation and supportiveness. by watching the adults around them, and being treated this way. The brothers' business grows, and the children who are interested learn the skills, joining the business. The adults don't try to "assign" certain skills to certain children; they teach all the children the skills, regardless of their sex or their size. The children themselves reveal their interest and ability while they're all being taught equally.

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In another place, there are 3 brothers who have one loaf of bread, a half pound of ham, and one pint of milk between them. One of the brothers decides that he needs more nourishment because he's slightly larger, and that the smallest brother needs less. So, he consumes half of everything, leaving the other half for the two brothers to split. The middle brother decides he needs more than the smallest brother, so he takes more than half of what's left, leaving the smallest brother with a very small portion.

The three of them go to town together where they see a sign "help wanted". All three enter the building and approach the manager, who says "I need a stone wall built out front."
One brother says "Oh I can do that no problem! I'll start this afternoon!" The second brother says "Oh hell I'll start right now, if you have the tools!"
The third brother says "I'll help either one of you, let's get started~" but the manager says "You're too small to do this job, let your brothers do it."

Now, instead of the other brothers standing up for their smaller brother, they laugh and go along with the manager's arrogant put-down.
The smallest brother leaves, going to look for another place to work. The other two stay, and argue over who gets to be "the boss" while they try to build the stone wall.
Since they didn't really know how to build the wall, they lose the job after a few days. The smallest brother was the only one with masonry experience, but they apparently forgot about that in their ego tripping with the manager.

In the meantime, the smallest brother found a job cleaning in a local hotel. His pay isn't very good, but at least he can buy food.
Since the other two wasted three days trying to fake being stone masons, they don't have any food or money. They see that their smaller brother has a job, so they plead with him to help them out. He feels badly for them and hands them his hard-earned money, forgetting that he doesn't get paid again for a week. Now he has to scrape by. When he runs out of food, he goes to his brothers and asks for help; they make fun of him, call him a "loser", and throw him a crust of bread. He makes it through to the next paycheck, but when he goes to cash it, his brothers are back, begging for more.

This pattern continues until one of the other brothers gets a job at a local bar. When he realizes he is getting paid more than the smallest brother, he returns to his habit of treating him like a "loser". The second brother notices this, and tries to create a faction with the smallest brother in order to get him to continue to support him.

In the meantime, they are behind on their rent and are falling behind on their bills. The smallest brother tries to pick up the slack, but can't actually afford to support all three of them on his  paycheck. The one with the job at the bar buys his own food, but refuses to share, and seems to always need help with his share of the rent, even though he makes more money.

The second brother finds a job at local restaurant. Now the three of them each have a job, but they are barely making enough to cover their expenses, and after being exploited and demeaned, even the smallest brother is wary of sharing.

The smallest brother tries to get a second job to take up the slack, but strangely, no one seems interested in hiring him, even though he has an excellent work record. He can't figure it out! Until one day he overhears his brothers talking in town to a group of acquaintances, putting him down, making fun of his smaller stature, implying to everyone that he's not only inept, has no common sense, but is also a weakling with "short man's syndrome". With disparagement like that, of course no one will hire him!

When no one is home, each of the two older brothers go through the others' possessions, looking for things to steal and sell. Several times the youngest brother finds that something he had acquired was missing, costing him the money he had paid for it  every time. One time is was a set of stone masonry tools for the brothers to start their own business again, another time it was an antique chair he had gotten for a very good price that he had planned on selling for a good return, another time it was a rare coin collection that he had acquired, that was worth a great deal of money (that he had planned on using to open a restaurant). Little things always go missing as well, and no one ever seems to have any knowledge about it. Thousands simply "disappear" this way, along with the plans and goals for each missing item.

Years go by, and the three brothers still have the same jobs and still struggle. The two brothers still scapegoat and diminish the third brother, and still talk him into paying any extra bills.
When the third and smallest brother meets a lovely and very kind woman, the other two make it a point to treat her with disrespect to "show her" how tough and self-righteous they are, until she finally can't take anymore and moves far away.

More years go by and nothing really changes, because when one brother gains something, another one takes it away or sabotages him. The smallest brother wants to leave and improve his life, but can't seem to get past his fear of change and fear of failure in the world.

One of them finally meets a woman who has children, and moves in with her. She supports him in the same way the smallest brother supported him, and in return he doesn't help her very much at all, and treats her children with contempt. She puts up with it anyway, convinced that she's better off with any man than being single.
The other two brothers stay where they were, and don't really see the other brother much, or the children.
The children grow up and repeat a similar pattern as their mother and stepfather.
That's pretty much all there is, they all just grow old and eventually pass away, believing that they had been dealt a "losing hand".

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In another town, 3 more brothers have a loaf of bread, a half pound of ham, and a pint of milk between them. One of the brothers steals all of it while the others are asleep, and consumes it all. He finds a wealthy man in another town and befriends him, and never mentions his brothers. With his learned deception, he fools the man into believing he is trustworthy and has a lot of experience. The man hires him. He kisses up to the wealthy man so much that the man falls for the flattery and promotes him to a high position in the company, paying him a large salary. The wealthy man never catches on that this man has manipulated him in so many ways; he doesn't even know about the embezzling or the selling of insider information because he trusts him so much. Wealthy and powerful, he lives in a beautiful home with a wife (whom he married because he thinks tall, thin women are "trophies", not because he likes her as a best friend or loves her) and three cats. He sends his brothers Christmas cards every year with a picture of the house on the cover. They have asked his assistance a couple of times but stopped after his third rant, berating them and calling them "losers".

In the meantime, the two other brothers struggled for a long time, finally landing low paying jobs in a mill. Their brother's betrayal and the destruction of their family traumatized them more than they realize, and they feel inside like they're incapable, unwanted and not belonging in the world. They keep trying to make something of their lives through the years, unaware of the real reason they can't seem to make things "work out"; their hearts are broken and they have bought into their brothers' cruel (and completely false) assessment of them as "losers". 

They both eventually find love, and have children, and create pretty decent lives for themselves, but they don't ever feel "complete" or genuinely happy; there's always something missing. They don't reach their dreams, and they decide that life is just counting the years going by, making the best of it until your days are done. The children pick up on this of course, and also have a hard time  finding fulfillment or like they really belong, or deserve success. Since this is what their parents believe, their parents don't try to convince them otherwise, or help or encourage them to fulfill their dreams.

And so the stories continue...

By M.M.Black ©2013

Freedom Fighters, Control Freaks, Patriarchy, Matriarchy

Trying to "knock someone off their high-horse" is a common behavior in a narcissism-infused community or group.
The behavior is fueled mostly by fear of rejection and disfavor, desire for approval and acceptance,  self-righteousness, envy, and the desire to dominate.
Women and girls are targeted more than men IF a narcissistic community is Patriarchal, because Controllers are dependent on the false hierarchy already created in their region to maintain their control. This goes for both male and female Controllers.

(Football plays don't work very well in a baseball game, so if the game that you're good at is Football, you're going to want everyone to keep playing Football. Female Controllers don't want other females to gain confidence and therefore esteem and power; they want things to stay the way they are so they can use the tools they've learned within the game that's already in play. Female Controllers HELP male Controllers oppress females; that takes half the population out of the "competition" for recognition and resources. and therefore power and privilege, which is the Controller's main focus, whether it's in a small local group, or a large organization, business or government.)

If the community was Matriarchal and narcissistic, then men would be targeted more often in order to keep THAT hierarchy intact.
The same thing occurs in regions where one race holds power over another; Controllers of all races tend to "play the system" the way it's already set up, they don't want it to change, because they know how to play it the way it is.
The exception to this rule is when a Controller desires the TOP power positions, then they will often create a cult to help them carry out their agenda to topple the current hierarchy, and replace it with their OWN.
These kind of Controllers will play the "race card" or "freedom card" right to the moment they "win", but as soon as they achieve the power position they were seeking, they implement the exact same oppressive hierarchy that they pretended to be against. They didn't actually WANT "freedom and respect for everyone", their real goal was to REPLACE the King or Queen, and gain power and privilege for themselves. They will often turn the tables once they achieve the position, rallying hatred and oppression toward other groups, or they may keep the oppression just the way it was.
Genuine "freedom fighters" and "peace warriors" don't seek the position of power as a general rule, they seek to spread awareness and peace, and to uncover the dynamics of Narcissism (control, corruption, oppression, crime, bullying). Since their focus is not trying to amass a cult, posse, or army of hostile bullies like Controllers do (because they are genuinely about PEACE), there is a long trail of persecution against them throughout human history; they are usually targeted by Narcissists and their followers who don't want them to spread awareness, be an example for others to see, or teach true peace.

~M. Black