There are different types of narcissism. There is a type called Covert narcissism. It’s very difficult to spot. You can be in a relationship with a covert narcissist for a long time and not know. But the general rules still apply with covert narcissism.
The first thing to understand is that the covert narcissist will NEED to make it appear the war he is waging is being waged on him. So rule 1:
1- All accusations are admissions. Their accusations are the most reliable compass you have. So for instance, screaming coup while attempting to assert sovereignty of party members over democracy, and claiming that any rebellion against a Labour leader is treachery after years of doing just that. That would be an example.Claiming to be bullied while bullying is the defining feature here. Projection of dysfunction onto the object to be abused. Imagine it like arguing with a mirror.
2- Their attacks will be covert. Any defensive response from the victim will be portrayed as aggression. They will use EVERY response to escalate. Every single one. Please see Len McCluskey declaring Tom Watson sabotaged talks in which it was clear that the threat was that Corbyn stays or the Labour Party ends.
3- The covert narcissist will exert as much effort projecting the image that they are the victim, as they will waging the war. Its all about their image, the war is about their self image. Their first priority is to project their identity their second to protect it. To maintain the false reality they have constructed they will go far and wide seeking validation and trying to expand that false reality. In relationships this will include befriending the victims friends and family and ensuring they see the victim as responsible. Please see Corbyn’s approved rallies, and Momentums efforts to swamp PLP meetings, video messages. The victims of abuse from Corbyn’s followers will be further attacked so the abuse can be denied.
4- At the core of what the narcissist cannot accept is that the victim has autonomy. See Corbyn’s statements that MPs can talk to him which ignore a vote of no confidence and the very clear boundaries they have set that they do not wish to serve under Corbyn. The refusal to acknowldege the existence or power of the electorate. This is a trait you see in romantic relationship with narcissists. A complete inability to respect the boundaries of their victim disguising abuse with claims to want to help them and be supportive made to other people.
4-The covert narcissist will distance themselves from their abusive actions and spend a great deal of effort demanding other people adhere to their false reality. This can be seen in the Corbyn supporters who do not necessarily abuse but spend their time denying the existence of that abuse and attacking the victims of it and demanding proof.
5- They will do whatever they can to perpetuate the conflict that provides cover for their abusive behaviour. They will change the goalposts each time, they will use each reaction to escalate, and any reaction and all reactions will escalate the situation. Do not engage a narcissist in the conflict they define for you it is just a cover for abuse.
6- The Covert Narcissist needs to be seen as a saviour, as acting for other people. Please see using austerity and the Iraq war as cover for a new leader, who refused to act when IDS binned our benefit blueprint and Chilcot used to sustain an isolated leader who doesn’t want to consult with MPs or concern himself with democratic mandate. This is why it is so threatening to discuss the role of the Labour left, UNISON, and PCS in whitewashing austerity for Labour.
With a covert narcissist their need is to be seen as the victim and saviour, in Corbyns case the leader of the opposition claiming that any discussion of their office is bullying, and will do whatever they can to maintain the image that they are caring for someone, and will resist any way to act overtly and openly threat. Saying that you will not resign and the Labour Party will be split before you will stand down is aggression dressed as a defence.
The best way to deal with a covert narcissist is this. Let them expose themselves, let them expose who they are and do nothing. Stand back and let them demonstrate. Be what they cannot be and do not engage them in conflict they define.
It would appear that narcissism can shape a culture as well as a person. The personality cult around Corbyn is dangerous and abusive and holding the country hostage. While claiming to want democacy and hiding behind the bodies of war dead and the damage of austerity. It was probably a mistake to make a leadership bid and it would have beem more sensible to let him demonstrate the problem.
What is really important is to understand that the PLP have all the cards Corbyn wants, all the cards Momentum want, and all the cards the Trade Unions want. Not the other way round. The noisier and more vicious they get the weaker they are, the less cards they hold. The more frantically they rally to create the appearance of a false reality the less grasp they have on reality. It really was best just to let Corbyn expose himself as he has done. His appearance on Marr was disturbing, the behaviour of his personality cult is dangerous, and visibly so, and the toxicity of the hard left he represents can no longer be hidden.
We’ll see how it plays out but quite frankly the Labour civil war now has to happen and Labour need to deal with an archaic and dysnfunctional left wing culture they should have dealt with years ago. THis is just an opportunity to do so and Mr.Corbyn’s escalation of this crisis to the point where it could destroy his party is everything the PLP needed. And more than they ever could have dreamed of.
Narcissism isnt just an insult. Its a set behaviour pattern. The narcissist cannot deviate and when their victim refuses to indulge or be part of it they flap like a goldfish on the pavement. Individual or culture, let them make noise and decide what you want and wait until they have exposed themselves sufficiently that you juts have to take it.