People of The Lie ~ M. Scott Peck, M.D.

people of the lieSo, I am reading People of The Lie in a second attempt in about a decade to try and understand the nature of malignant narcissism. I was raised by one, and I have often wondered did I become like this person, or was I simply scarred in my attempts to defend myself from this person; attempts which continue to this very day. The following is a quote from Dr. Peck describing how he defines “evil.” He approaches the concept both scientifically and theologically.

“….Utterly dedicated to preserving their self-image of perfection, they are unceasingly engaged in the effort to maintain the appearance of moral purity. They worry about this a great deal. They are acutely aware of social norms and what others might think of them…..The words “image,” “appearance,” and “outwardly” are crucial to understanding the morality of the evil. While they seem to lack any motivation to be good, they intensely desire to appear good. Their “goodness” is all on a level of pretense. It is, in effect, a lie” That is why they are the “people of the lie.” Actually, the lie is designed not so much as to deceive others as to deceive themselves.” pg. 75

Dr. Peck wrote this after having seen a teen-age boy whose older brother had committed suicide with a .22 rifle, which the teen’s parents then gave to him as a Christmas gift. He had become increasingly depressed, grades dropping at school whereas he had been a good student before, and his parents had finally taken him to a hospital where Dr. Peck interviewed the boy and his parents separately. The parents maintained the present of the gun for Christmas was the best they could do being hard-working, upper blue-collar people. The boy had asked for a tennis racket which the parents didn’t appear to remember. Gun which his older brother had committed suicide with. Tennis racket. Big difference.

I guess my main goal in pursuing the study of narcissism as a form of “evil” is because I was raised by one, and I periodically wonder how much of my mental dysfunction is a result of defending myself against something I intuitively knew wasn’t right, but didn’t seem wrong either. I was too young to completely process it. And, now I am having to deal with this person again in an entirely different manner (my being adult now), and I am finding that after having to interact with this person, I am tired, I am emotionally and mentally drained, I am depressed (enough for suicidal ideation), and that I cycle rapidly between mania, depression and “normalcy.”

Has anyone else dealt with this type of person who has no use for things and people that do not fit into their idea of “good” and “perfect?” If so, I would appreciate comments because I think this person is making me lose what is left of my chemically saturated brain.

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2 Comments

  1. That is a very interesting book that really made me think. Great post! It is a hard topic to sort through and understand.

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    • I have never been able to understand Axis II disorders, and the first time I read this book, I was a newly diagnosed Bipolar dealing primarily with my own feelings and problems since I had just gotten hit with a semi-truck. It is a whole new experience now that Bipolar isn’t such a huge issue for me, but someone else’s Narcissistic personality has become a huge issue for me.

      I have a affective disorder, so I am trying to muddle through interaction with this person that I have always found slightly repulsive, and my moods are going every which way due to the intimate nature of the relationship (its a parent).

      I have trouble (since I am empathetic) understanding how someone’s ego can be so inflated yet so much like spun candy that it will melt at the slightest perceived offense. And, they will then respond in an “evil” manner to save their precious illusion of themselves. Very tangled and confusing…..

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