Brazil, an abusive relationship

Salvador Dalí, Metamorphosis of Narcissus, 1937
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By VITOR SILVEIRA*

The narcissistic personality and Brazil, a clear example of a non-empathetic nation

I'm getting out of an abusive relationship. Or rather, I'm coming out of two abusive relationships. Toxic relationships, as the name itself says, poison us, kill us little by little. I know well that the damage caused by years and years of suffering will take a long time to overcome. If that is ever going to be really possible.

When you live with someone who is manipulative for a long time, abuse becomes normal. It often works like this: at first the victim is coerced into submission, then he ends up naturalizing the abuse, thinking that there are no relationships that can be given in other terms and that it is normal to be attacked, disrespected, humiliated, treated like garbage, etc.

When someone tries to understand the mind of a pervert and ends up researching narcissistic and antisocial personality disorders, they find a frightening pattern that repeats itself: those situations to which we silently subjected ourselves because we thought they were too terrible to be true and that they could only really exist in works of fiction are shown as the modus operandi these emotional predators. Here or in Japan, the perverse act in the same way, almost as if they followed the same manual of conduct.

It may seem that they are calculating geniuses or members of some satanic sect that teaches them how to act, but the truth is that they follow the most basic and primitive impulses of the human brain, that so-called reptilian part. They are immune to ethics, culture, norms of coexistence or any other cultural invention created to regulate life in groups (although they can fake it very well); many also have neurological damage, something that prevents them from feeling empathy, something natural in many animals, especially mammals.

Narcissistic personality disorder was for a long time virtually ignored by mental health professionals and was actually on the verge of being almost excluded from the DSM, the American disease classification system that serves as the basis for many countries. As I'm not an expert in the field, I won't venture too far into giving definitions, but what I can say based on what I've studied is that narcissists are a kind of psychopaths (antisocial) in a slightly less radical version. While psychopaths don't feel any emotion, narcissists only feel emotions related to themselves, in fact they feel a lot of emotions, but everything is always about them, the other is a mere object, so they think they have the right to use and abuse from whoever they want.

As I've already said, it's amazing how you can find a pattern of behavior among them. Today, with the advancement of the internet, there are many video channels, blogs, articles and forums dealing with the subject, something uncommon until a few years ago. In these places, where survivors recount their cases, it is soon realized that it is not just shots or blows that kill someone; humiliation and abuse repeated over years also kill, and the worst, slowly.

The number of victims who commit suicide, irrevocably lose their sanity or simply become a shadow of what they once were is enormous. The theme of malignant narcissism has fortunately been gaining prominence worldwide, but it is still very little. There is a lack of trained professionals and laws that support the victims. Congress recently passed a law against stalking, hateful practice that is used en masse by narcissists, and that's already some progress. Hopefully this evolution will continue.

Another thing that is noticed when studying the subject is that companies, institutions, entire populations and even countries can also adopt a narcissistic and/or antisocial posture (something that is more easily perceived by those who believe in the collective unconscious, egregors and similar things). .

The high incidence of these people in leadership positions is notorious, whether in the public or private sector. These personalities are basically attracted by power and money, in addition to pleasure, which is always easier to achieve with a full pocket and in a prominent position.

There are even those who speak of an epidemic of narcissism, fostered by the dominant ideology today in Western society that increasingly preaches individualism and non-empathy. Therein lies another great danger: people in positions of power, instead of restricting space for these dysfunctional beings that are harmful to society as a whole, instead open all doors to them.

Brazil, in my very modest opinion, is a clear example of a non-empathetic nation. Just look at the way most of our people are treated, apart from the chronic and demeaning inequality that we have naturalized. Any accident in Europe or North America that leaves 29 dead is portrayed as a catastrophe and the fact is reflected for days on end in all the media, when the police go up the hill armed to the teeth and leave 29 bodies lying in the ground, there we naturalize. “29 suspects,” says the media. “All with a criminal record” says a high official, even before the identification of the bodies. “They died in exchange of gunshots” says another communication vehicle, despite the fact that none of the police officers was even grazed…

As for the mentality of the head of the federal executive, much has been said, renowned psychiatrists have given different diagnoses and, therefore, I will not risk characterizing him. For purely educational purposes, I list some general characteristics of the perverse, in addition to those already mentioned: they never admit they are wrong, they do not accept any criticism or questioning; they respect no limits; they think the rules don't apply to them; they think in black and white, that is, whoever does whatever you want is good and whoever doesn't is bad; they diminish others to magnify themselves; they promise to change when they are at risk, but in fact they are incorrigible; when they are execrated for their behavior they often say they were just joking; they cause a new trauma to cover up the previous one; they are pathological liars; they are paranoid. Did you find any similarities?

Doctor Ana Beatriz Silva is one of the people who deals with the personality disorders mentioned above. In a video she talks about the enormous amount of “evil genes” that remained in our country after so many centuries of slavery. Yes, because to find it normal to exploit to death, whip, rape, buy and sell human beings as if they were animals, you have to be dead inside. Or, if it wasn't like that before, you lose your soul in the process. “Slavery will remain for a long time as the country's national characteristic”, sadly predicted Joaquim Nabuco.

In fact, in addition to the genetic factor, there also seems to be a strong influence of the social environment on the emergence of these disorders. And this I can say with certainty: no one comes out of a highly toxic environment normally. We become scapegoats, we become like our executioners, we flee or we die, the options are basically these.

Looking at the world picture, it is noted that this type of behavior is more or less the standard of our still primitive humanity and it is like this in the four corners of the earth. The difference basically is that instead of being isolated individuals who are exploited and abused by others, they are, in the global context, entire peoples. Europe learned very early to transfer its ills overseas, “may other peoples suffer so that my children may have the good and the best”, she seems to say.

The Americans, perhaps also because of their slavery heritage, are not afraid to make a part of their people suffer as well, the scapegoats there are the blacks, the Latinos and in these times of general crisis, all the poor. In Latin America, things are even worse, the neocolonial powers don't even need to get their hands dirty: they always find and in every corner of the “big homeland” lackeys of the local “elite” willing to be the executioners of their own people. Nor nationalists, like North Americans, Latinos are…

And so walks humanity: centuries and millennia have passed and despite all the supposed development we have achieved, we continue to live in a far from civilized way. And it really seems that things are not going to get better any time soon, on the contrary, in the great crisis we find ourselves in, we run the risk of a regression to barbarism.

For all that, I decided to leave not just one abusive relationship, but two at once. I am leaving my beloved Brazil. A “love” that only harms us is not worth living. I've already spent my entire youth in this toxic relationship, I don't want to suffer anymore. I am well aware that when we end a relationship of this type, we inevitably leave broken, we lose everything and sometimes we don't even know who we are anymore. In such a condition, it's difficult to have the strength for anything, especially for a radical change that involves starting over from scratch. However, it is in walking that the path is made and if a situation is really unsustainable, well, then any other is better.

I'm decided, I won't go back. I doubt he'll change, that's always been his way. I leave the fight right now to those who are stronger, to those who still have the health and courage to face this battle. Good luck my brothers and sisters, always remember: you deserve more, react, don't let yourself be abused.

*Vitor Silveira graduated in social communication, writer and photographer. Author, among other books, of Once on the Road.

 

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