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Narcissist Abuse

Momentum is building about NKT's specialty....narcissist abuse. Over the last several essays there are related commentaries.

It's the core ingredient of a cult like NKT. Abuse spirituality to abuse you.

From researcher Kim Seed,

"How could anyone in their right mind ever believe that the systematic devastation of another person’s life could possibly contain a hint of spirituality?

Narcissistic abuse is deliberately inflicted by someone you love and it targets you for who you are, the very ESSENCE of you. It is a long-term, calculated campaign to make you feel unworthy and despise yourself, and to have you believe other people view you in the same light.

The narcissistic abuser wants you to believe that no one cares about you, and that no one should care about you, because you, as a person, are not loveable, have no redeeming qualities, and are a waste of space and time.

They take advantage of your forgiving personality and repeatedly exploit your fear of abandonment in order to make you more dependent on them and more likely to stay attached to them—despite (or rather, paradoxically, because of) the misery you find yourself in.

Narcissistic abuse, by all accounts, is soul-crushing. That is why the trauma is so difficult to overcome. We are left feeling so utterly helpless and hopeless in our spirit. We feel we lack the spiritual strength to stand up for ourselves and escape our misery, so we instead keep digging ourselves into a deeper spiritual hole.

After being narcissistically abused, my self-worth was stripped. And why wouldn’t it be when every insecurity, fear and inadequacy I’d ever felt about myself, others and life had erupted and blown up in my face?

After being narcissistically abused, not only did I doubt that I was lovable, desirable, capable or adequate, I even doubted my ability to survive my wounds or live as a human being on this planet."

From psychoanalyst Daniel Shaw,

"The Relational System of the Traumatizing Narcissist

The stories of former members of high-demand groups don’t get told as often as they should. Being swindled, deceived, controlled, or betrayed in a cultic group is an experience that many thousands of people have been through. Unfortunately, the vast majority of such people who identify their experience as abusive do not speak out. As is still the case with rape and domestic violence, in spite of many gains in those areas, victims shrink at the possibility of being dismissed, blamed, or rejected—of being retraumatized when no one will bear witness. They try to put it all behind them; they try to avoid thinking and talking about the experience. In this paper, I present some of the ideas I have been developing about the leaders of cultic groups, people I describe as traumatizing narcissists, and the relational system such people create. I draw from my clinical research, from psychoanalytic theories (especially intersubjectivity theory), and from my personal experience as a former member of a high-demand group for more than ten years.

So, to begin, let’s think about what we mean when we say a group is a cult. On the one hand, cult is a term most people think of as describing a group with a charismatic leader or leaders. This group, in the public imagination, has followers who fanatically embrace an ideology dictated by the leader—an ideology that involves rituals of self-purification and a mission to eliminate impurities in the world, and one in which followers adopt ritualized, idiosyncratic modes of speech, dress, and behaviors that are typical of the group as a whole. These ideas about cults are in fact more or less accurate. On the other hand, where the average person’s image of a cult goes wrong is that most cults never gain much public attention, and only a very few gain tremendous size and involve bizarre displays such as mass weddings, or horrors such as mass suicides. Additionally, cults exist not only in religious groups, but also in political, therapeutic, business, academic, technological, artistic, and almost any other kind of community.

So who is this traumatizing narcissist? Sometimes it’s a cult leader, sometimes a parent, a boss, a sibling, a teacher, a therapist. For a long time, psychoanalytic writers have used the term pathological narcissist to cover a wide range of behavior and character traits. A thin-skinned, shame-prone, or deflated pathological narcissist is someone with fragile self-esteem, easily wounded or insulted; in therapy, such individuals feel attacked and humiliated by expressions of the analyst’s separate subjectivity; they may masochistically seek approval and recognition from idealized, grandiose others.

The traumatizing narcissist has typically been exposed to cumulative relational trauma throughout the developmental years, in the form of chronic shaming at the hands of parents or other significant care givers who are severely narcissistically disturbed. The traumatizing narcissist parent envies and resents the child’s right to dependency and demands, covertly or overtly, that the child recognize the exclusive validity of the parent’s needs and wishes.

The adult traumatizing narcissist is obsessed with maintaining a rigid sense of omnipotent superiority and perfection—of infallibility, self-sufficiency and entitlement—to the extent that she establishes an intensely defended conviction of righteousness and justification. In other words, she has adopted the complementary moral defense.

I have never met a former cult member who did not admit to entering the group willingly, fighting hard to maintain membership in the group, and upon leaving, doing so with much confusion, fear, and grief. The cult leader is an attachment figure, and followers often invest all their hopes for deep recognition, perhaps deeper than what they had experienced in their own upbringing, in the leader. For years, cults have recruited on college campuses, because this is where they can find intelligent recruits who are likely to be struggling with identity issues, with idealism, with social adjustments—and with separation issues, and all the complicated fears and rebellions that are part of growing up.

I think it is safe to say that most people join cults at a point of vulnerability, and that most who join tend to be somewhat idealistic. Many may have had disappointments in their family situations; many may be seeking positive ways of feeling more connected, more in control of their lives, more purposeful.

People do not seek to join a cult; they are recruited. And recruitment happens when you are especially vulnerable, when you are human and you have unresolved problems, when you are seeking a greater sense of purpose or meaning, and when you happen to encounter people who are recruiting.

Followers in cults are traumatized in various ways by the different kinds of abuses they are exposed to as they accept the leader’s control over them; these abuses typically include intimidation, belittling, and humiliation, and, more concretely, severe overwork and deprivation of sleep and proper nutrition. The follower’s rewards, which are recognition from the leader and the ensuing prestige the followers gain within their group, are bestowed and rescinded at the leader’s whim, keeping the follower in a state of instability and fear about displeasing the leader and thereby losing status and favor.

What is often most traumatic for followers who leave cults is the realization that what led them to blind themselves to the sadistic cruelty and the selfishness of the traumatizing narcissist leader was how desperately hungry they became —how willing they became to abandon their own subjectivity and allow themselves to be violated—for any bit of recognition they could get from the leader they idealized. Eventually, the realization that their devotion and labor within in the group led to no real personal growth, and to no significant contribution to society, will also become a source of deep shame and regret.

My colleagues at the International Cultic Studies Association and I are aware of a tremendous amount of abuse in cultic groups, worldwide, that never makes the headlines and that goes unnoticed, even in the mental-health community, in the same way that the sexual abuse of children, or rape, or the battering of women by violent partners once went unnoticed. In fact, former members very often describe the experience of being abused in a cult as akin to what it must be like to experience incest, rape, or battering. Although we can compare the betrayal and violation that occurs in cults to some aspects of rape and incest, what truly corresponds is the lack of empathetic witnessing many former cultists experience with friends, family, and therapists as they make their way through postcult recovery."

Exacerbating NKT cultic abuse, NKT or a surrogate will threaten your livelihood, eg the assault against Dr. Michelle Haslam. see here

NKT will 'get' you one way or another. Another example,

CAUTION regarding NKT. If you visit, perhaps reconsider joining. Hundreds of survivors learned the hard way about this cult.

For more information, search Narcissist Abuse, Spiritual Narcissist, Attachment Trauma, NKT scandal, Kelsang Gyatso scandal.

Take care.


Dr. Michelle Haslam further explores spritual narcissism and NKT's persecution complex, from which they assault and threaten NKT survivors and anyone questioning their abuse (eg, real teachers of Buddhism, researchers, authors, the media, this web site).

Spiritual narcissism and hypocrisy in the NKT