On June 20 CNN-IBN expectedly ran a program on Rahul Gandhi (RG) as PM following Digvijay Singh’s (DS) comments. That was Face the nation by Sagarika Ghose, of course. I can understand the likes of Vinod Sharma (Hindustan Times) and Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan being there to defend all the great qualities of Rahul Gandhi. However, I do not understand why sensible journalists like Swapan Dasgupta or Prem Shankar Jha come on to these programs. Do they really need to participate in these absurdities? Anyway, there are reports now that Sonia Gandhi is miffed with the glowing remarks made by DS. That sounds strange. By now DS would know what Sonia likes and dislikes, probably even down to her footwear maybe. So I believe DS would have only said things that would please madam’s ears and, surely, the future-PM’s ears. Never mind that either.
Sagarika Ghose, intelligent as ever, raised a question in her program: Does Rahul Gandhi have a vision for India? At the risk of sounding boringly repetitive I am reproducing a statement made by her own boss at CNN-IBN, Rajdeep Sardesai (when RG was declared Indian of the year 2009 by CNN-IBN):
“Rahul Gandhi has been chosen CNN-IBN politician of the year over many of his more experienced colleagues and rivals because no one toured India the way he has in the past 60 months. Nobody has enunciated a vision of new India the way he has and none has understood the immediate need to bridge the city-country divide the way Rahul Gandhi has. His efforts show that hard work pays even in the uncertain world of politics.” So Sagarika should remember statements from her own channel before raising silly questions.
Well, if Digivijay Singh is stupid and a known gutter-mouth, the media isn’t too far behind. However, what is now and consistently coming forth is that there is a strange relationship between Rahul Gandhi and Digvijay Singh. All of us would like to be appreciated and praised for some good work or some accomplishment. It’s quite human. But if someone were to keep on praising and flattering me for no particular reason and even crediting me with skills and talents I do not posses I would start to suspect that person and at some point would find that person obnoxious enough to ask him to shut up. I would even start to loath such a person.
|The Narc's reflection|
All we have seen so far of Rahul Gandhi is the behaviour of a ‘Mr. Hit and Run’, stray stories of Kalawati, parachuting suddenly into places of agitation, uttering nonsense that college students have laughed at, accepting no responsibility for election losses. In fact accepting responsibility for nothing. On Sagarika’s program Prem Shankar Jha pointed out that we know nothing of views on anything. What is that? Is that supposed to our blind side? And for a person to be revelling in the utterances of a DS so frequently must indicate some psychological or neurological disorder. RG has shown nothing but traits and indications of such disorders, especially that of a narcissist. I am no shrink. But I now firmly believe that to understand the RG-DS equation one has to really understand the equation of a narcissist and a sycophant. I don’t think even DS would deny that he is a great sycophant. But what makes RG a narcissist which sustains this relationship? A definition or attributes or behaviour of a sycophant is not as hard to define and understand as that of a narcissist. Let us therefore rely on some experts who have laid out the following:
From ‘The mind of the narcissist’
According to the legend of Narcissus, this Greek boy fell in love with his own reflection in a pond. In a way, this amply sums up the nature of his namesakes: narcissists. The mythological Narcissus rejected the advances of the nymph Echo and was punished by Nemesis…Narcissists are punished by echoes and reflections of their problematic personalities up to this very day.
Narcissists are said to be in love with themselves. But this is a fallacy. Narcissus is not in love with himself. He is in love with his reflection. There is a major difference between one's True Self and reflected-self.
Loving a reflection has two major drawbacks:
1. One depends on the existence and availability of the reflection to produce the emotion of self-love.
2. The absence of a "compass", an "objective and realistic yardstick", by which to judge the authenticity of the reflection. In other words, it is impossible to tell whether the reflection is true to reality – and, if so, to what extent.
I would dare to say RG loves his reflection. His drama-queen behaviour, his choreographed public meetings, his parachuting at trouble spots and then suddenly reclining in to extreme solitude would explain his narcissistic behaviour. Mr. Hit and Run suits him. Especially when the reflection takes a beating, like the 4 seats in Bihar elections, it drives him into a hiding. This is because his hollow reflection starts to confront him, while his sycophant(s) continue to adore him and tell him his clothes are fine and that he is not naked. This is a problem RG is probably grappling with. So let’s see if his behaviour matches narcissistic disorders:
A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behaviour), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
3. Believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
4. Requires excessive admiration
5. Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
6. Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
When I searched more for the relationship between a narc and a sycophant I found this brilliant piece and I believe it explains the RG-DS equation quite well:
“Let’s begin with some descriptions. A narcissist is a person with inordinate fascination with himself or herself. They have few social control mechanisms, fewer friends, little or no psychic demands to do the right thing (even though they give lip service to this concept) do not look for approval from others, lack social barometers of how to conduct themselves, and are driven to be captivating, inspirational, charming and seductive. They have a desperate need to get others to buy into their worldview–their vision, to create a world that they populate with their devoted followers. They are grandiose, don’t listen to others, are prone to angry outbursts (often used to control others who disagree with them), bully subordinates, dominate meetings and are often isolated and paranoid. According to Twenge and Campbell, narcissism is “a disease that causes others to suffer.” Narcissism is nearly always corrosive to social relationships as it breeds distrust. Narcissists are prone to using people like they use books, information and knowledge—they pump them for information and then when they are through, throw them aside. To the narcissist, there are only friends or foes; you are either for or against their vision. There is no middle ground.
Sycophants are self-serving servile flatterers and are often slavishly submissive to the narcissist. The narcissist and the sycophant need each other. The narcissist is completely dependent on the sycophant to feed his ego, to feel important and powerful. The sycophant, on the other hand, is also dependent on the narcissist for the narcissist makes the sycophant feel included and connected to someone the sycophant believes is powerful and important and will elevate the sycophant to great success, recognition or social standing. The sycophant derives a lot of self-worth from the narcissist as the relationship with the narcissist gives the sycophant social standing he otherwise would not have. In short, the relationship between the narcissist and sycophant is symbiotic; each feeding and dependent on the other. Without sycophants, the narcissist struggles, becomes depressed and feels his or her life has no meaning. A narcissist must have blind allegiance and the adoration of sycophantic followers because that is the food of the narcissist. Most often, a narcissist surrounds him or herself with “yes men” (slavishly submissive flatterers) who the narcissist sees as no threat to him or herself but yet, who are also not much good for advancing the narcissist’s vision. But that is ok with the narcissist, because he or she has all the answers, knows what is best and right and doesn’t listen to others anyway. The “yes men” are the means to an end, they help the narcissist get what he or she wants and will only be kept close as long as they serve a purpose.
As a group, sycophants find meaning and purpose out of protecting and becoming the narcissist’s handlers. They bond with other sycophants in this common purpose and are simultaneously validated by each other for how dysfunctional this interpersonal interplay is, either on a conscious or unconscious level, depending on the dysfunction of each individual. In such groups, everyone suffers. There are no winners in this symbiotic relationship. The narcissist’s hold is so great it is hard for the sycophant to escape the narcissist’s seductive embrace. At some point, depending on the amount of pain the sycophant has had to endure, they will wake up when they are no longer able to tolerate being used or when their own ethics or integrity will no longer permit them to be passive participants in the destructive world of the narcissist. Faced with abandonment, the narcissist acts more and more out of desperation, devolves deeper into his or her pathology and ends up alone and even more isolated, completing the cycle of narcissistic self-destruction.
In the end, narcissists die alone and sycophants suffer stunted emotional and psychological growth, unless they grow strong enough to break their addiction and choose to value their own self-worth instead of abandoning it for the advancement of the narcissist…”
Digivijay Singh’s career of any public responsibility is already over. He will inadvertently kill Rahul Gandhi’s too. The sycophancy has reached a point that we will know RG only by what RG allows DS to speak of him. Trouble is Subramanian Swamy has once again pointed out that Rahul Gandhi is legally not eligible to become the PM of India. I really don’t care if RG is saved from the viciousness of DS. I do care that India is saved from the laughing stock that Rahul Gandhi is. My prediction is that India’s luck will hold out.