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Sadistic Narcissism: Margo's Story (1)
By: Beth McHugh 2010
In our previous introduction to Sadistic Narcissism (see forum category), we looked at the difference between narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), sexual sadism and narcissistic personality disorder with sadistic tendencies.
Today we will look at Margo, who sufferers from NPD and has a sadistic side to her personality which was apparent by the time she was in her very early teens and possibly earlier.
Margo was an only child for twelve years and as personality disorders do not become apparent in terms of a firm diagnosis until emotional maturity is reached in the early twenties, it is unclear what was happening in the developing mind of Margo in her childhood years. What we do know is that after the birth of her sister, Leah, Margo became increasingly aggressive at school and was regarded as being 'bold' by her teacher and a bully to the younger girls in her school.
Her mother was a rigid, strict woman who herself suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). It is likely that Margo felt marginalized, not only by the demands of a new baby, but felt the usual pangs of discomfort at the arrival of a sibling rival coupled with what were likely her mother's fears of letting Margo hold the baby. It is unlikely that Margo ever bonded with her little sister. This simple but crucial detail cemented Margo's personality forever, as we shall see in later articles.
By the time Leah was three, she and Margo were sharing a room. Margo derived great pleasure through enticing the little girl to get into bed with her on weekend mornings. Leah would be persuaded to leave her own bed and cuddle up with her then 15 year old sister. The latter would then pretend to have a secret to tell her and as Leah leaned in closer to hear, Margo would begin a story then scream in her ear causing pain to little Leah.
Not satisfied with this level of pain, Margo would then push her little sister down between the bed and the wall, pushing Leah's face into the wire mattress. Screams would bring the mother to the bedroom but little could be done to curb Margo's behavior. At 15, she was in her final year of schooling and was skilled at bullying girls much older and sophisticated than Leah.
The difference between what might be a childish lark and what was going on in the relationship between Margo and Leah, such as it was, is that Margo was deriving pleasure out of the pain she was causing her sister. Other, better adjusted teenagers would either not have committed these acts in the first place, having the intelligence and sensitivity to realize that pain would be the result. But not Margo. Pain was her aim and she smiled when she saw the sufferings of others. Leah soon learned never to show tears or any signs of pain, and she herself was learning this ugly game as well. The more she reacted, the more it pleased her sister.
In the next article we will look at Margo's continuing sadistic behavior, the development of that behavior over time and the increasingly stunted emotional development of Margo. We will also look at how Leah coped with this situation into which she was born.
Sadistic Narcissism: Margo's Story (2)
In the first instalment of this series on narcissistic personality disorder with sadistic tendencies, Margo was 15. We looked at her behavioral problems which involved both her peers at school who she bullied, and her three-year old sister who she physically abused for pleasure.
As time went on, the relationship between Margo and the world did not improve. By 16, she was laughing at girls who became pregnant and delighted in theirs and their family's despair. Her now four-year-old sister because the target of her verbal taunts, since she had learned that continuing with physical punishment was counterproductive to Margo since her little sister would scream if she was hurt.
One day, Margo was entrusted to look after her sister while her parents went to church. Margo decided to play one of her sadistic games on her sister and playfully invited her to lie down on the area rug in the living room and she would roll her up like a sausage. Margo was very clever and charming, as all narcissists can be when they want something, and little Leah thought that she and her sister were going to actually play a game while their parents were out.
If Leah had been older, she would realize that, as Margo had never once played even Happy Families with her sister, that this ploy was just that. Leah lay down willingly on the area rug and Margo rolled her up. And left her for the entire two hours that the parents were gone. Leah cried, trapped in the heavy carpet rug, rolled up with her arms pinned to her side, having difficulty breathing and completely helpless.
But Margo showed no mercy. Instead she laughed and left the little girl alone in the room. When the family car rolled into the garage, Margo released her sister and acted as though nothing had happened. However, it was obvious from Leah's tear-stained face that something had happened and when Leah told her mother what Margo had done, the mother didn't believe it. Marge had very cleverly left the living room as she found it and the mother simply couldn't believe that her elder daughter could do such a thing. The girls' father also ignored the incident.
At 16, Margo was already displaying classic sadistic tendencies and her narcissistic symptoms were apparent but not yet diagnosed. No-one in the family suspected that Margo was mentally ill, nor what behaviors she would exhibit as the condition deepened. We will look at Margo in her late teens and early twenties in the next article in this series.
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