Narcissists come in many flavors, with “harmless” being the most popular; however, a dangerous type of narcissist can ruin people’s lives, destroy reputations, and cost people their jobs—and often, the narcissist is oblivious to the damage he or she causes.
Fortunately, it’s possible to recognize many of these people, as they exhibit a few common warning signs:
- The narcissist likes to pretend to be somebody he or she is not, even in dressing the part, talking the talk, faking credentials, and cutting off ties to anyone who can expose the narcissist as a fake.
- The narcissist tends to lie about little, seemingly meaningless details in order to build the fake persona. This is not a case of pathological lying, in which the perpetrator lies about anything and everything; instead, the narcissist lies about the fake persona. He or she isn’t late to work repeatedly, but late because of something that builds the lie. Here’s an example: if a narcissist wants everyone to think she’s rich, she says she couldn’t watch last night’s big television event because she was at the bank, filling out paperwork about a new account she’s opening. Get it? The lie always serves the fake story, even if it’s something trivial.
- The narcissist loses any sense of truth or fiction in the lies. After days, weeks, and months of telling these lies, the narcissist can’t even tell the difference between reality and his or her fictional life. As a consequence, he or she starts to get pretty convincing about lying, even masking visual cues or body language that tells the average person “I’m full of it.” The narcissist can lie flat out, maintaining eye contact, maintaining an even voice, and not looking around when pressed for additional details. There won’t even be a pause when coming up with a new lie on the spot; as a result, narcissists get good at fooling a lot of people, at least initially.
- The narcissist will not accept reality when confronted. Most narcissists get exposed eventually, especially in our connected age. You can only lie so much about your past when Tommy from your sophomore year of high school is exposing “who you really were” on Facebook. But the narcissist will just continue to lie, build up more creative explanations, or proceed to tell the same old lies to new acquaintances, as if the confrontation never happened.
- The narcissist will also dismiss the truth-tellers to others, either playing down the truths (“that’s old news; move on”) or wrapping up the explanations into the overall lie for dramatic effect (“this is part of a vast, right-wing conspiracy to destroy me”). You’ll recognize both Bill and Hillary Clinton there.
Although politicians are often narcissists, and many actors make a good living by playing convincing fictional roles, there’s a growing class of narcissists out there: the anti-racists.
Sure, Jussie Smollett is a good example. He wanted to be a pitied, empathetic figure; he went to great lengths to stage a racist attack on him, and when confronted with the truth, he insisted he had a winning hand. Even when the truth was finally exposed as to who he really was, he continued to raise the stakes on his story. When he lost that media poke match, he left the table still insisting he was cheated.
The Bully Victim
Naperville, southwest of Chicago, is Illinois’ fourth-largest city with a population of 148,000 mostly middle-to-upper-middle class residents and tons of super-expensive estates and manses. Its school district, 203, is vast and encompasses multiple buildings and thousands and thousands of children.
Dan Bridges has been 203’s superintendent since 2011, and this is his first superintendence. The Czar understands from a couple of 203’s former teachers (prior to Mr. Bridges’ position) that 203 is a particularly difficult district: a common complaint was teachers would fail or reprimand a student…and then get a visit from the family’s attorney. The Czar heard from the two former teachers who swore that on rare occasions, an attorney would show up for parent-teacher conferences in lieu of the parents; they didn’t seem to be kidding. It’s that aggressive a place to teach.
So, understandably, Superintendent Bridges is likely under a microscope every minute of the day. Lately, he’s been criticized for not having a school reopening plan, despite the majority of his neighboring communities already opening to in-person classes most days of the week. This was corrected today, as 203 publicly released its plan to reopen. But his fortunes turned even worse when he attempted to fix a problem that Naperville wasn’t really having.
District 203 hired a self-title anti-racism coach named Dena Simmons to present her theories to the entire teaching staff; this was done via web conference on February 26th. To the embarrassment of the District, numerous teachers began texting each other during the lecture criticizing the incoherence of the slides, the nonsense jargon, and the hate-filled thesis that, once again and quite predictably, revealed that all white people are horrible, horrible folks. Many of these texts went public, and the District suddenly found itself on the defense with parents, wondering why—in lieu of a then-opening school plan—teachers were discovering that they were pretty terrible people for having been born in white skin.
Superintendent Bridges appears to have screwed up his PR recovery plan, repeatedly insisting that the problems were with the parents and residents, and that the program—seriously, honestly—was totally worth the money they paid to Ms. Simmons and, you know what? Frankly, it’s good if you were “uncomfortable” with the content. That means you’re probably hiding something.
Superintendent Bridges fails to realize parents and residents were uncomfortable with the fact that Ms. Simmons appears to receive payments for delivering a ridiculous presentation, riddled with nonsense buzzwords and critical race theory hoaxes. We’ll get to her in a moment.
So why did Bridges endorse this? Because he needed to be seen doing something—anything—to address the growing anti-racism (that is, critical race theory) in K-12 schools. As you may or may not know, the Illinois State School Boards is entertaining CRT and recommending—if not mandating—its expansion and incorporation into educational curriculum.
Superintendent Bridges was unwittingly bullied into hiring somebody the District knew little about, did not vet, and did not understand. Afraid of public backlash—as someone in his role always is, thanks to our litigious-friendly culture—he felt it was better to turn over the school lunch money to the anti-racist bullies.
Curiously, Naperville District 203 has a robust anti-bullying program for students. Maybe the school board should sit in on that and learn how easy it is to be a victim and not realize it.
Now to Dena Simmons and her source of income. From the evidence supplied in February by teachers in the 203 community, the Czar makes these suppositions about Ms. Simmons:
- She continually presents herself as professional educator and presenter, despite her disorganized and “incoherent” presentation that would have gotten a D from a sympathetic high school teacher.
- Ms. Simmons continues to explain that her Naperville presentation was a success, even though it has effectively become a minor meme on social media for its sheer incompetence.
- No matter what objections you offer, analysis or evaluation of her claims you provide, it’s just further evidence for her theories that all white people are racist.
- Her Twitter feed is full of dismissals of any substantive criticism. She ignored a request to respond to a pending story about the event.
- Ms. Simmons has begun attacking the author of that piece as part of a racist conspiracy to ruin her.
Yep, those check the five boxes for classical narcissism. And that’s the good news.
Because the bad news is that collecting checks for selling people something you know to be untrue is a con game. The difference here is that the confidence trickster knows it’s deceitful; the narcissist can no longer tell the difference between truth and reality. She believes the stuff she’s peddling because she is incapable of accepting why and where it’s wrong. She doesn’t even know she’s cheating at cards.
Maybe the next school district will be less prone to this sort of bullying, but having met a bunch of superintendents in our day, the Czar isn’t willing to bet on this hand.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.