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Narcissism, altruism, guilt, entitlement

You can call a classical narcissist arrogant, but nothing beats the arrogance of a nice guy aka helper. In fact, I wonder if the two are not intrinsically entwined. Surely I would be less puzzled if I took the time to study the literature, but here I am and do not give a damn if I am psychologically correct.

The following excerpt from Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Grey illustrates my point:

Dorian Gray shook his head. ‘No, Harry, I’ve done too many terrible things in my life, and I’m going to change. I began my good life yesterday, in the country. […] There was a girl in a village. A very beautiful girl, an honest country girl. She loved me, and was ready to come away with me yesterday, but I said no. I refused to destroy her young life, and I’ve left her as honest as I found her.’

Lord Henry laughed. ‘You’ve left her with a broken heart, you mean. How can she be happy now with a country boy, after she has known you?’

The element that unites both is an idiotic vanity.

A former friend of mine – if he ever was so much – is a Scientologist. He looks at me with that blank confident stare and talks with that very controlled, suave tone. He looks into my face with a confident grin and says he likes to help people, that is why they interest him.

He does this so convincingly that he comes off like some kind of Jesus. So convincingly that I am instinctively repulsed by it.

I mean: Dude, who are you? You are there to help, all nice and good. But who is behind that mask? And yes, it is a mask, a grandiose one indeed.

Fucking unreal. Indeed, frightening. As if this guy did not exist. All that I could see was this pretense and strong sense of him thinking he was better than me for some reason. And why? Because he was helping people.

And how exactly do you help, man? With what do you help? What are your skills?

But whom am I fooling? Having that kind of nice guy background, I can relate to it.

When I was the best programmer at school, nothing could stop me from helping all those poor girls, which made me feel powerful and superior. I would then have the same condescending and patronizing smile on my face. My face, with which I would say: Oh, that is nothing. I like to help people.

And I would believe it. And because I would believe it, I would say it with absolute confidence.

And yet, if there was no one to help, the confidence waned. If there was no one to help, there was nothing there to distract me from my own problems in life.

And what does a helper do if there is no one to help? He creates and seeks situations in which help is needed.

A girl cries? Oh, there is tragedy. White knight, ahoy! Guy makes a sad face? Surely some deep-seated issues that need to be talked about! Oh, how often would I offer myself to talk about it, if you want.

Nice Guys are givers. Nice Guys frequently state that it makes them feel good to give to others. These men believe their generosity is a sign of how good they are and will make other people love and appreciate them.

No More Mr. Nice Guy by Robert Glover

And, of course, people like to have pets and slaves. No one would admit it, because no one understands what it means. So people respond positively to your help and attention and you can then go to sleep in the delusion that you did good.

But that is all there ever is. The delusion that you do good. And let me ask you, by whose definition are you doing good, exactly? Ah? Ah?

Exactly. If you want to always be good, you need some kind of objective measure of good. An ideology. If you have an ideology that you always follow, you can always feel good about yourself. And when you surround yourself with wimps, there is always someone to help. And the wimps learn to help, too. You create a big organization to save a world that does not need saving.

But let’s face it, whom did you really help?

That girl you helped with her homework? You only prevented her from figuring it out herself and she will be coming back the next day.

Which you love, of course. You love it when others depend on you.

That guy you told that you understand his problems and empathize and then gave some bland tips about acceptance and self-love? He thought it sounded nice in that moment, thanked you and the next day, he kept doing stuff as usual.

That stressed hostess you complimented on her looks and gave a warm smile to? She smiled back and forgot you after five minutes. If she was half-way confident, she thought you were a prick.

Yes, yes, helper. You are so much better than anyone fucking else that you do not need anything yourself.

But everybody half-conscious around you sees that you are not taking responsibility for your own life, instead distracting yourself with the needs and troubles of other people. Underneath that broad grin, there is bound to broil a pool of self-loathing by all the heroical denial of your own desires.

You fucking helper, who are you? You are unreal. You are an arrogant ass who needs to be better than anyone else.

There was supposedly some enlightened guy back in Peru, running around the streets and proudly proclaiming how he lost his ego.

Another dude keeps telling me about my soul and sending smileys even when I treat him like shit. Fucking unreal.

Another dude keeps running after his girl even after she leaves him for another.

Come on. Be someone.

And how arrogant is it anyhow, to think that you have or are the solution to anybody’s problems? What kind of hubris is that, eh?

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  • Oliver Maerk

    I always like “No more Mr. Nice Guy” by Alice Cooper. Not because of the Music, but of the lyrics alone. Nice Guys suck! I know what I am talking about – for many years I was one of them too. Tried to satisfy everybody around my and permanently avoiding conflicts and being liked by everyone. It doesn’t work at all.

    • Oliver, you still have that sympathetic edge on you. You advocate reason – on your site. I find that most of my life, reason has been something that kept me from being myself. Words in my head, competing for truth, distracting from what is really important. I am thus somewhat appalled by reason at the moment. It is not what I feel, you know.

      There is this rage inside me and when I show it, they all stand by and give their reasonable advice. Fuck it. I want somebody to understand. To express the pain. Back when I was with my dad, I was accessible to reason. It was no coincidence, I figure. There, without knowing, I had what I was really missing. A link to men. It is gone right now.

      How did you become a nice guy? I remember that I was quite an asshole with a lot of rage when I was a small kid. I half destroyed a room in a kindergarden. That same rage burns in me now, as people attack my livelihood. I want to murder.

      I became a nice guy – I think – when the state took me away from home and I learned that I get approval when I am nice. Yeah, and that worked for me as a kid. But as you know, later it does not.

      So I am not sure. Are nice guys really always complete nice from their background? Cause I was not, I think. I adopted that different strategy a bit later. So Jekyll and Hide live alongside each other in my head. But maybe my memory is failing me, who knows.