This morning, over buttermilk pancakes, bacon, and coffee, Bill and I had an interesting discussion about narcissists and their “humor”… or lack thereof. Our discussion started because I had been reading a thread about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry on the Recovery from Mormonism messageboard. Yesterday, someone started a thread about shunning, and how Christmas is when a lot of people get excluded from family events. And, in what appeared to me to be a rather one-sided take on the Prince Harry/Meghan Markle situation, the person pointed out that a lot of people are going to be treated badly by their families this holiday season.
Since Harry has a book coming out, and Meghan and Harry have just dropped their Netflix series, a lot of people are buzzing about them. Some people have seen the series and said it was very boring and rehashed. Others have come away with a renewed sense of sympathy for the couple, who are now outside of the British Royal Family, seemingly “shunned”. Someone else started a thread likening their situation to having left a “cult”– referring to British Royal Family as the cult.
Personally, I don’t subscribe to the viewpoint that Meghan Markle has been that badly treated. She probably has suffered due to the press, and she probably has experienced racism. But I don’t think she’s been a complete angel, and the constant complaining about how Harry’s very famous and established family members have treated her is getting pretty tiresome… at least to me. It’s hard to feel sorry for an attractive, healthy couple living in a beautiful mansion in a very expensive and exclusive part of the United States. Because they are rich and famous, they have a platform, and they haven’t hesitated to use and abuse it to their hearts’ content. A lot of the regular folks living in the real world are about tapped out on Harry and Meghan’s sad tale of woe, even if there is some truth to their story.
I’ve mentioned before that Meghan makes my “cluster B chimes” go off. I don’t know her at all, and it’s possible that I’ve completely misread her. However, I have found that my instincts are usually pretty accurate when it comes to spotting behavior that is self-centered and narcissistic. I don’t know enough about Meghan Markle to comment on her sense of humor. I know that she tries hard to present herself as a kind, considerate, loving person, even if there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that she’s not really like that. But honestly, I don’t know… all I know is that I get a lot of familiar vibes that tell me she’s probably not a very funny person… at least not when it comes to humor that isn’t at someone else’s expense. I did notice, for instance, that she Meghan had Mariah Carey on her Archetypes podcast, and Mariah said that Meghan gave off “diva vibes”, Meghan seemed unamused. She didn’t laugh and say, “you’re right, Mariah.” She later clarified the “diva vibes” as something powerful and positive, when that clearly wasn’t what Mariah meant. Mariah owns being a diva. Meghan doesn’t.
As we were talking about Meghan and Harry, we somehow got on the subject of the narcissistic sense of humor, or lack thereof. I’ve found that one of the easiest ways to spot a narcissist is to observe whether or not they can take a joke, and what they find funny. And, I suddenly remembered some of the best examples of the narcissistic sense of humor I’ve seen in my lifetime.
I’ve mentioned before that when Bill went to Iraq, he had the burden of serving with a very narcissistic boss who used to make humiliating jokes at Bill’s expense. During their sixth month stint in Iraq, he’d send me pictures of Bill, literally buried up to his neck in paperwork and make jokes about his work or even his physical stature. I remember at one point, he referred to Bill as a “welterweight”. Later, Bill told me that his boss used to laugh at his “nasty artistic streak” that needed to be “quashed”. When he found out I’d served in the Peace Corps, he had a good laugh, because he saw it as a “wimpy” and “woke” thing to do. I’ll bet he wouldn’t have enjoyed the living conditions I experienced over there. He also implied that another soldier’s wife was stupid because she didn’t catch his “humor”, quipping to Bill “Your wife would have gotten [the joke] right away.” He tried to ingratiate himself to me, telling me that Bill missed me very much. I totally could see that he missed me, on so many levels, mainly because every week he would call me from Baghdad and tell me about how much his boss reminded him of Ex.
A few years later, this very same colonel, who had been slated to pin on as a brigadier general, was very publicly fired for abusing troops. There was a huge expose about it in which his behavior was described in detail. I can no longer find the whole article, since it was published in 2011. But I have found snippets of it, such as the quotes below:
Bill often told me about how his boss enjoyed humiliating people in front of their peers. He thought it was “funny” to embarrass his soldiers, while they were in a war zone. When Bill went to Iraq with this man, it was both of their first times at war. The boss wasn’t running a brigade that time, so Bill got most of the abuse. I was very angry when I heard about it, because it seems to me that being in a war zone is hard enough without some asshole boss getting their kicks out of belittling and humiliating their underlings. But because it was just Bill in this situation, he didn’t feel that he could speak up about it on his own behalf. A couple of his “brothers in arms” spoke up instead. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to stop Bill’s ex boss from leading a brigade in Iraq and abusing them. And, like most malignant narcissists, he had a very embarrassing and public fall. We see the same thing happening to Donald Trump right now… as he pitches his ridiculous NFTs.
Then I remembered Halloween 2021, when I read about the costume Ex’s teenaged son with “severe autism” wore to go trick or treating. Ex is a big fan of children’s movies from the 70s and 80s, as well as child friendly characters. I know she is a great lover of all things Peanuts. In fact, Bill has told me that she reminds him a lot of Lucy Van Pelt, especially when she offers to hold a proverbial football to be kicked.
Well, Ex’s son, who is reportedly non-verbal, wore a Peanuts themed costume in 2021. Ex dressed him up like Charlie Brown. Not as the usual Charlie Brown with the striped shirt, but in the ghost costume Charlie Brown wore. If you’ve seen It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, then you probably know that Charlie Brown famously got rocks for Halloween. And his ghost costume was full of holes.
Looking at the images on Google, I can see that this isn’t a particularly original idea. A lot of people dress up in a Charlie Brown style ghost costume on Halloween. The difference is, they probably chose that costume themselves and understand the snarky humor behind it. Ex’s son, from what I’ve heard, is not quite at that level of thinking. I wrote about this incident last year, and in my post from November 2021, I noted:
Ex dressed her son up like Charlie Brown on Halloween. He carried a sign that said something along the lines of, “All I got was a rock.” Ex wrote that people didn’t seem to get the joke. That’s probably a good thing, when you consider that she was parading her apparently severely autistic son around– a boy who is supposedly “non-verbal” and may never live on his own– as Charlie Brown, the butt of everyone’s jokes who can’t make a simple ghost costume and always gets rocks from his neighbors.
I doubt that Ex’s son came up with the “joke”. I think this was something Ex dreamed up and decided to have a little fun at her son’s expense. And while some people probably didn’t get the context of Charlie Brown wearing a holey ghost costume and getting rocks from his neighbors on Halloween, others probably thought the costume was in extremely poor taste. I continued in last year’s post:
As I mentioned before… I have never met her son. I don’t know what level of functioning he’s attained. She did publicly state that he was capable of uttering a carefully rehearsed line to anyone who asked about his costume– “I had some trouble with the scissors.” She implied that it took some time to teach him that line, which makes me wonder if there are issues with his intellect. But again, I don’t know. I do think it’s kind of strange to publicly declare so much love for a child, but then dress him up as an obvious “loser” for Halloween, laugh at the spectacle of it, and then tweet it publicly. Maybe Ex thinks of it as “harmless fun.” And, to her, it surely is– maybe it also is to strangers who don’t know anything about her or her children. For the boy, I’m not as sure… If he gets the joke and agrees with it, okay. But if he doesn’t get it, and has just been unwittingly made the butt of a joke– scoring laughs for his mother at his own expense– maybe not.
See… this is the kind of “humor” I’m referring to when I reference “narcissistic humor”. It’s belittling, sarcastic, mean-spirited, and rude. Some people find that kind of humor funny. And for some folks who have narcissistic bents, it’s the ONLY kind of humor they find funny or understand. I went into a lot more detail about this situation in last year’s post, but the one other thing I want to reiterate for this one is that what makes the Charlie Brown costume so insidiously offensive is that the slight isn’t obvious. It’s a subtle dig. If she’d been more obvious– say put her son in blackface or some other obviously offensive costume– that would have put a lot of negative attention on her. But with the Charlie Brown ghost costume, she can be mean, but not seem obviously so. It’s not cool to be obviously mean to someone who has severe autism, and other people would call her out for doing that. However, those who aren’t severely affected by autism are fair game for her meanest and most humiliating digs. That’s what she thinks is funny. Last year, I wrote:
The Charlie Brown costume is more subtly humiliating, especially for a boy who may not realize that he’s being made the object of derision by his own mother. Now… if the boy chose the costume himself and has the capacity to understand the implication of wearing it, okay. But I doubt he does or did… I think, once again, Ex used someone else to get her jollies… to make herself feel better for what, apparently, hasn’t turned out to be the fantastic life she envisioned for herself.
Dr. Les Carter made a great video about this subject. If you would like to learn more about narcissistic style humor, I would highly recommend that you watch this video. As almost all of Les Carter’s videos are, it’s very insightful.
Well, that about does it for today’s blog post. It’s still extremely cold here in Germany, but at least the sun has come out. Tomorrow, the temperatures are supposed to rise, so maybe that will mean Noyzi’s water bowl won’t be constantly frozen. Our neighbor has invited us over for an hour of Gluhwein this evening. Glad I have some heavy sweaters now!