Dorner Deemed Narcissist by FBI Profiler: Some Co-Parents Can Relate to Scary Similarities in Symptomatic Behavior
Christopher Dorner has terrified Southern California residents for nearly one week, since his murderous rampage began last Sunday. Since that time a massive man hunt has ensued to find the killer who is intent upon destroying the lives and families of those he feels have wronged him. The week long investigation has brought troubling details to surface about Dorner’s life that FBI profilers say strongly indicate a case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
This is the same personality disorder that affects hundreds of thousands of people across the nation. The most vocal of those affected are divorced or separated parents who are forced into co-parenting arrangements with people who have the disorder. As details of Dorner’s past behavior have come to light, many of those familiar with narcissist abuse are cringing at the similarities in his past behavior and those of the narcissist in their own lives.
The Great Blame Shift
It was reported yesterday by the Huffington Post and other AP outlets that Dorner applied for restraining orders against two of his former girlfriends, one of whom was a fellow officer. In another case, he married another fellow officer but both parties filed for dissolution within nineteen days. The first restraining order was filed against the civilian girlfriend, after she posted a warning about Dorner on the website Dontdatehimgirl.com. In her posting, the woman stated, "Just be careful because this guy is a police officer and he will probably think that he can get away with anything. ... If you value your sanity, stay away from this guy." She went on to describe him as emotionally unstable and extremely paranoid. This warning evokes chillingly familiar feelings for those who have intimately encountered narcissism.
Anyone who has split from a narcissist relationship understands that this behavior is par for the course during the break-up. It is textbook-typical of narcissists to accuse their ex-partner of some kind of abuse. Narcissists are often incapable of processing the possibility that someone chooses not to be in a relationship with them. If the ex-partner is vocal about red flags or abuse they have encountered with the narcissist, they should be prepared for the backlash. The narcissist will almost certainly create or manipulate allegations which paint the other person as some kind of monster in order to avoid facing their own failures in the relationship.
Dorner went on to blame his training officer, the LAPD administration and his legal representation for his ultimate termination for allegedly making false statements about his training officer. Whether Dorner’s firing was based on justifiable terms or is in fact a case of blue shield cover-up is up for debate. However, shedding innocent blood (or even threatening it) in response is without excuse.
Lack of Empathy
In his manifesto Dorner has shifted blame to the extent that he wishes for his victims to not only live with the pain he intends to cause them, but also to “look your wives/husbands and surviving children in the eyes and tell them the truth as to why your children are dead.” He portrays himself as a victim of circumstance left with no choice but to utilize intelligence to locate the “residences, spouses workplaces, and children’s schools” in order to exact his murderous revenge.
Narcissists, as survivors of their abuse know all too well, blame their victims for the abuse. They also do not experience regret or unease over the suffering they cause their victims. They are unable to identify with the pain that others feel. Instead, narcissists are driven to envelop others into their own feelings. The narcissist views those in relationship with him/her as extensions of himself/herself rather than as individuals with their own feelings.
This same dynamic applies to narcissist parents. They do not experience empathy in the same way that people without the disorder do. Often, the narcissist parent will dole out punitive blows to both the children and the other parent without relent or remorse. They see the children and even the ex as extensions of themselves, who must be kept in line.
Need for Control or Authority
Dorner outlined in his manifesto the changes he intended to make to the infrastructure of the LAPD. He went on to give opinionated directives regarding political offices and future elections. Dorner threatened anyone (from officers in outside agencies to civilians) with their own deaths and loss of loved ones if they were to intervene with his violent plans. He addressed the children of his enemies, and instructed them to reconstruct their perceptions of their parents. Dorner appears to have appointed himself leader over each person and group mentioned in his manifesto by making dire threats on anyone who opposes him.
Those who have been in a relationship with a narcissist have experienced this harsh rule of terror. If they have children with the narcissist, this rule of terror is likely to ensue for decades. Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of this dynamic for families attempting to navigate the impossible waters of co-parenting with a narcissist is the misconception that they are somehow complicit in the abuse. They are seen as contributing parties and the narcissist is in turn justified for their actions.
Family court judges and mediators are especially ill equipped at handling this dynamic. Like Dorner, narcissists present well. They obtain good jobs and high statuses, because this matters to them more than anything. Many of them are intelligent and articulate, able to talk in circles until they have convinced a significant group of followers that they are victims of racism while calling out their victims by racially organized groups. They are able to convince judges that they are excellent parents while terrorizing their exes and children in the same breath. Friends and even family may be lured into defending the narcissist, overlooking or even justifying the horrific acts of physical or emotional terror they commit against their perceived enemies.
Narcissists believe they are invincible. Dorner, who has admittedly elite training for his mission, believes he can take on thousands of officers to carry it out. He also understands that he will not ultimately survive, but apparently believes that will be on his own terms. Dorner believes he will personally take out so many of his enemies that “orphanages will make a comeback in the 21st century.” Narcissists typically inflate their importance while devaluing their targeted victims (or anyone else who threatens their delusion) to the point of literal insignificance. Paired with a lack of empathy, authoritarianism, and blame shifting, the narcissist equates to terrorist when they are engaged in active rage against a target. An ex-spouse or partner who rejects relationship with the narcissist, or [God forbid] decries their abuse, is the most likely to become a target of abuse for as long as it takes the narcissist to feel vindicated.
Christopher Dorner is a self-described sleeping giant. How many sleeping giants are actively exacting terror upon their families, while protective parents are waiting for them to awaken and snap? Families forced into living in this dynamic would love to ask their order-signing judges if they themselves could co-parent with Christopher Dorner. Many more are hoping that this tragedy brings awareness to a significant disorder that is destroying the lives of children and families across the nation.