Contrary to prevailing stereotypes, suicide bombers and other terrorists are well-educated, well-traveled, technologically-skilled, and relatively or recently affluent. They feel strongly about the way their civilization (culture, religion, and society) is being manhandled and mistreated by the West and its allies. Such slights may be imaginary but they still exert a morbid influence on people with grievances and personal issues.Terrorists can be phenomenologically described as narcissists in a constant state of deficient narcissistic supply. The “grandiosity gap” – the painful and narcissistically injurious gap between their grandiose fantasies and their dreary and humiliating reality – becomes emotionally insupportable. They decompensate and act out. They bring “down to their level” (by destroying it) the object of their pathological envy, the cause of their seething frustration, the symbol of their dull achievements, always incommensurate with their inflated self-image.They seek omnipotence through murder, control (not least self control) through violence, prestige, fame and celebrity by defying figures of authorities, challenging them, and humbling them. Unbeknownst to them, they seek self punishment. They are at heart suicidal. They aim to cast themselves as victims by forcing others to punish them. This is called “projective identification”. They attribute evil and corruption to their enemies and foes. These forms of paranoia are called projection and splitting. These are all primitive, infantile, and often persecutory, defense mechanisms.
Narcissists, Group Behaviour, and Terrorism
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