Who died and made you queen?

My daughter has frequently come home from soccer fulminating about certain girls on her team who keep “yelling” at her.  I have to admit that I didn’t initially take her complaints very seriously.  Being a teen she (a) has thin skin and (b) is prone to exaggeration.  Also, in a good soccer game, there is lots of communication going on.  “Mary, be open!”  “I got it!”  “Watch out, Jane!”  It wouldn’t surprise me if my daughter took “Watch out” as an insult.

And then I saw her team play.

In fact, my daughter was absolutely right.  There are a handful of girls who have taken it upon themselves to tell everyone else on the team what they’re doing wrong.  In shrill, teen girl voices they scream out “You shouldn’t have missed that.”  “You’re in the wrong place.”  “You’re doing that wrong.”  “I told you to be mid field [never mind that the coach said something else].”  As the game goes on, they get more and more shrill and dictatorial.

The person mostly at fault for this is the coach, who should squash this type of behavior immediately.  He doesn’t, though. and the fact that this is a recreational league staffed by parent volunteers means that there’s not a lot other parents can do.  I’ve advised my daughter to pull a sweet-tempered “dumb blonde” in the face of this hectoring.  She should, in dulcet terms, keep saying “I’m sorry, I can’t hear you,” until those girls are embarrassing themselves by screaming at the top of their lungs.  Meanwhile, my daughter should pay attention only to the coach.  Whether my daughter has the guile and self-control to pursue this approach is questionable.

Why am I writing about this if I can’t change the passive coach and it’s unlikely that my daughter will do anything other than get angry?  I’m writing because I find it almost incomprehensible that there are people out there who think that they have the right to yell at anyone.  This kind of narcissism is so alien to me.  There are certainly situations in which one has the right and even the duty to tell people what to do and to tell them what they’re doing wrong:  a parent to a child, a teacher to a student, a sergeant or chief to a new recruit, an employer to an employee, etc.  What my daughter is dealing with, though, are just ordinary girls (usually popular in school) who believe that they are entitled to tell everyone else not just what to do, but what they’re doing wrong.

It’s narcissism, plain and simple.  One of my favorite romance novels (you know I like them), involves a woman escaping from an abusive relationship to a narcissist.  In Lisa Kleypas’s Blue-Eyed Devil, Kleypas has as good a summary as I’ve ever seen of what a narcissist is, how he or she thinks, and how he or she controls people:

I was welcomed into a small, cozy office with a sofa upholstered in flowered yellow twill, by a therapist who didn’t seem all that much older than me. Her name was Susan Byrnes, and she was dark-haired and bright-eyed and sociable. It was a relief beyond description to unburden myself to her. She was understanding and smart, and as I described things I had felt and gone through, it seemed she had the power to unlock the mysteries of the universe.

Susan said Nick’s behavior fit the pattern of someone with narcissistic personality disorder, which was common for abusive husbands. As she told me about the disorder, it felt as if she were describing my life as it had been for the past year. A person with NPD was domineering, blaming, self-absorbed, intolerant of others’ needs . . . and they used rage as a control tactic. They didn’t respect anyone else’s boundaries, which meant they felt entitled to bully and criticize until their victims were an absolute mess.

Having a personality disorder was different from being crazy, as Susan explained, because unlike a crazy person, a narcissist could control when and where he lost his temper. He’d never beat up his boss at work, for example, because that would be against his own interests. Instead he would go home and beat up his wife and kick the dog. And he would never feel guilty about it, because he would justify it and make excuses for himself. No one’s pain but his own meant anything to him.

“So you’re saying Nick’s not crazy, he’s a sociopath?” I asked Susan.

“Well . . . basically, yes. Bearing in mind that most sociopaths are not killers, they’re just nonempathetic and highly manipulative.”

“Can he ever be fixed?”

She shook her head immediately. “It’s sad to think about what kind of abuse or neglect might have made him that way. But the end result is that Nick is who he is. Narcissists are notoriously resistant to therapy. Because of their sense of grandiosity, they don’t ever see the need to change.” Susan had smiled darkly, as if at some unpleasant memory. “Believe me, no therapist wants a narcissist to walk in the door. It only results in massive frustration and a waste of time.”

(Kleypas, Lisa, Blue-Eyed Devil (pp. 92-93). Macmillan. Kindle Edition.

When I look around at the number of people, from the White House down, who believe that they exist on a different plane and are therefore entitled unfettered right to criticize others, I have to ask whether this was always the case, or if the last fifty years — since Marxists took over parenting ideas and education — have created a generation of self-righteous narcissists.  What do you think?

Oh, and here’s just the right video for this post:

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  • Katja

    There are plenty of narcissists out there, but it’s not a new phenomenon.  However, I believe that back in the day, there was less of a need to try to “accommodate” them; that eventually, there’d be someone or something, whether a teacher, coach, boss, or even situation, that would “knock them down a peg or two”.  Now, we teach children not to stand up for themselves or what is right, hoping to let situations simmer down.  Teachers – if they notice at all – don’t want to hurt the little darlings’ “self-esteem”.  I think many are so juvenile that they enjoy the “privileged” status that the narcissists, even if children, give them, because they’re not adult enough to actually be fair among a group of “subordinates”, if you will.  

  • Mike Devx

    I’m almost certain that in team sports, one or a few members of the team have the gravitas to become team captains.  It has to be earned.  In some atmospheres, especially college football, they are elected.  And football is different from soccer:  Teams huddle, and offense and defense spend time on the sidelines.  The team captains speak their “corrections” in the locker room, or on the sideline, or in the huddle.  They don’t run around the field screaming their brainless little heads off.
    I don’t know how that would work in soccer, with no huddle, no sideline time.  I think soccer is generally arranged in three tiers, offense, midline, and defense, so I suppose a coach could arrange for the team to select three captains, and they would be the ones to communicate, remonstrate, demonstrate verbally, etc.  When the ball temporarily is not in play, there’d be some small amount of time to have private words of strategy, encouragement, or correction.
    Generally, a leader always has to learn: “Never criticize in public.”  That’s as true in business, of managers, as it is of sports, with coaches and team leaders.  Very rarely, it’s true, they can break that rule, but it’s always for a specific alternative purpose, where the public criticism for some reason has become required.  Eg, the coach has lost the team, or the teacher has lost the classroom, etc, or the business work culture has become across-the-board lax. The public lashing becomes necessary as part of a strategy of forcing a whole-culture reset across the entire team, group, organization.  But even there, you’re looking at fixing a failure scenario.  In general, never criticize in public is the golden rule.

  • Charles Martel

    Well, my takeaway on this essay is that it is futile to hope that Obama will improve.

  • Mike Devx

    Charles M says
    > Well, my takeaway on this essay is that it is futile to hope that Obama will improve.
    You got me thinking, is there any tenet of wise leadership that Obama doesn’t violate?
    I’m tired of everything in my life becoming politicized.  Politics is all Obama knows.  Everything is political to him.  And he drags us down into that gutter with him, 24/7/365.   It’s his only way.  This must be what suffering, I mean, living under the Communist Party in Russia was like.
    So I’m counting down the days until Jan 20th, 2016, Charles.  Counting down the days.

  • Charles Martel

    Mike, me too. Obama and his crew are pigs. Don’t get me wrong, I like pigs in general. But slop is all they know. Never let them near the good furniture—like what you’d find in the White House.


    Timely header, Bookworm, after reading this one … Amber Alert Taken Down, But Michelle’s “Let’s Move” Still Up

  • Libby

    I would imagine that DC rivals Hollywood in having the highest number of narcissists per capita. Not only politicians, but the media as well as the leaders of organizations that lobby or do business with the federal government. I don’t think this will end after Obama exits because he seems to have freed his fellow Dems from even pretending to be moderate. Now they’re saying what’s on their mind and going for broke with their legislation and political maneuvers.
    It’s not just teachers and parents who are allowing these budding narcissists, it’s the whole ‘everyone must get along’, anti-bullying environment, too. Kids can be pretty quick to verbally smack down a friend or classmate who gets too big for her britches, but now they have to worry about being labeled a bully and sent to the principal’s office.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    “There are a handful of girls who have taken it upon themselves to tell everyone else on the team what they’re doing wrong.”
    I’ve seen a few like that from my school days. They’re merely betas, people who want to usurp authority, but have no idea how leadership actually manifests for the benefit of human survival. After a few atrocities and decades of corruption, they’ll become just another Enemy of Humanity in my eyes.
    Get em while they are small and young. That’s how it works.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    This has ALWAYS been the case. Always.
    In the past, people who enforced the rules that benefited humanity put them in their place, shut them down, executed them, or strung them up and exiled them from town.
    These days, those with the power to do so are teaching your daughters how to kiss other women, whether they like it or not, forcing them to in public, whether they like it or not. That is the New AUthority.
    put a mad dog at the top of the pack, and the rest of the pack will become mad with rabis as well. Just watch, if you don’t believe. If you don’t believe, the Left will convince you of the truth one way or another.
    Humans desire leadership. Humans are much like sheep, they need somebody, equal or superior, to tell them what to do, when it is safe, where they should run when danger comes. In the absence of this leadership, while feeling threatened and abused by the Authorities, they splinter, fracture, and humans attempt to take the role of the leader for social lubrication, and fail. Fall into despair, curse the gods, fate itself, life in general, and start shooting up schools when under medication.
    You know what the sweet spice and sugar deal is? All of this, is used to blame Republicans and demonize Republicans. All of these problems are internalized via psychological conditioning methods most people have no idea exists, to project the blame and hate, unto one group in America. This is called preparing the subject for brainwashing and manipulation in the future. What they will be brainwashed to do, what atrocities they will be conditioned to perform… well, you’ll just have to wait and see.

  • Gringo

    I am sorry to hear that Book’s daughter has some horse’s patoots on her soccer team. With a team of boys not supervised by adults, a punch in the nose would most likely settle it.
    I like Book’s suggested solution that her daughter keep repeating “I can’t hear you.”
    I played various sports with a group of peers from junior high until I left town in my twenties. There were some decent athletes in the group, such as the only one from my high school to toss a no-hitter for the school’s baseball team. We had very few quarrels over the years, for probably two reasons. First, your opponent one day was your teammate the next, so there was no point in getting heated about it. Second, because  in our  village  there was a limited number of peers to play the sports, there was no point in alienating someone to the point where he would not want to play.