Understanding flame wars

Dr. Santy gets to the core in Hillary and the politics of personal destruction. While the example is politics, the behavior describes what you can see in many I’net forums and discussions.

To the extent that a person’s behavior is mostly motivated by perceived insults to their self–i.e., their narcissistic core; then the “insult” will usually prompt a typical display of narcissistic rage directed toward the unfortunate individual who threatens them.

Such rage responses are invariably destructive, mean, and petty. Additionally, these rages are generally not beneficial to society-at-large (in fact, such actions often have strong sociopathic or antisocial elements to them) , although the person in the throes of narcissistic rage will often convince themselves that they are behaving perfectly appropriately and even for “the good” of others.

Their sense of self is starkly invested in the desire for power over others (always, of course, “for their own good”) , constant admiration and adulation and grandiose ambitions. This makes them remarkably adept at what is called the “politics of personal destruction”.

For the narcissist it is always a zero-sum game she plays with other individuals. From the perspective of the narcissist, if someone else “wins”, the narcissist “loses”. … Thus, the behavior of the classic narcissist is mostly directed toward making others lose so they can win by default. To that end, there is no behavior or tactic that is considered out -of-bounds or over-the-top.

While politics still occasionally brings out those who have strong personal integrity and values; often it is the people of no demonstrable integrity and elastic values who are obsessively attracted to the field and who triumph

those who would actually make the best leaders generally opt out of the process, because they tend to be too healthy to generate the continual rall-consuming age necessary to destroy all opponents; or they lack the required– and mostly distorted –sense of personal “perfection” and grandiosity that drives the power-hungry.

It is the win/lose approach towards others in discussion that leads towards personal attacks and disingenuous ‘debate’ that drive the more mature individuals who prefer less conflict, less stress, and less abuse elsewhere. It can be in politics but we experience it more directly in online discussions and in our clubs and associations.

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