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Elliot Rodger, Narcissistic Defiance, Misogyny and the Power of a Gun

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What Elliot Rodger said about women reveals that misogyny is not at all harmless. Frustrated by the fact that women, inferior creatures he felt he was entitled to, rejected him romantically, he decided to get even by going on a shocking shooting rampage with a semi-automatic gun in order to "annihilate" them. There were plenty of warning signs that foreshadowed what was to come from Elliot Rodger's virulent hatred of women.

All narcissists hunger for power. Most often we think of narcissists as the sports hero with his extensive fan club, or we think of a ladies man like George Clooney who goes through a slew of short term relationships, but rarely do we think of the loner who builds bombs in his garage as a narcissist. Many factors point to the fact that Elliot Rodger may just have been that loner type narcissist, and truthfully they are really two different sides of the same coin. Since all narcissists have that strong duality of needing people and wanting to be left alone, they continuously struggle between their desire for perfect autonomy, and their need for narcissistic supply.

Elliott's loneliness in fact, seems to have been much of his own making. His friend Andi Chan said: “Me and my friends tried to help him” and “He doesn’t like to talk or hang out,” indicating Elliot's refusal to socialize rather than being an outcast whose desperation grew. Most likely Elliot refused to socialize because he felt superior which is exactly how he comes across in his last youtube clip, where he shows a stone cold, arrogant and defiantly superior demeanor.

The self-imposed isolation and his final act of misogynistic retribution was more a matter of narcissistic defiance than it was an act of desperation.

Narcissists are highly misogynistic, because one of the most important places that narcissists feel entitled to their power is with women. This is overwhelmingly evident in that chilling "retribution" youtube clip left by Elliott Rodger before he embarked on the mass shooting.

Elliot was the son of a film director, who drove a BMW, and never had to work a summer job. Though he felt rejected by women, what stands out is that he never even bothered to approach women, he just went out in his BMW and expected the women to approach him, as the entitled spoiled brat that he seems to have been.

Elliot’s intense self-absorption, also known as narcissistic personality disorder, is acutely displayed in the obsessive manner in which he placed so much his life story on the web.

A privileged child of Hollywood, he was accustomed to obtaining throughout his life any number of material objects that he desired. However, he was evidently unable to win the hearts of the females of whom he sought affection. He expressed outrage over the concept that women were not desirable of him, despite his outward signs of wealth, success, social stature, etc.

His Facebook page is replete with selfies that chronicled his opulent lifestyle, including his attendance at the red carpet premiere of “The Hunger Games” and a private Katy Perry concert.

Here is an example of the extreme nature of his misogynistic messages contained in his manifesto:

"It's not fair. You girls have never been attracted to me. I don't know why you girls have never been attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it. It's an injustice, a crime, because I don't know what you don't see in me. I'm the perfect guy, and yet you throw yourselves at all these obnoxious men, instead of me, the supreme gentleman."
"I will punish all of you for it," he says again, and then he laughs.

"On the day of retribution I will enter the hottest sorority house of UCSB, and I will slaughter every single spoiled stuck up blonde slut I see inside there. All those girls that I've desired so much, they would have all rejected me and looked down upon me as an inferior man if I ever made a sexual advance towards them. While they throw themselves at these obnoxious brutes. I'll take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you. You will finally see that I am in truth the superior one. The true Alpha Male."

His rants also show many characteristics of the typical narcissistic blaming, self-pity, pathological envy, the vengeful desire to destroy what he cannot have, and the delusion of grandiosity.

The narcissist's hunger for power over women finds its greatest expression in their attitude towards women. Even in this aspect we come across that duality between their desire for perfect autonomy and their desire for women. Simply put, women are seen as sources of narcissistic supply (which the narcissist craves) and of intimacy (which the narcissist fears). As Sam Vaknin, author of "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited" says:

Narcissists are attracted to women, but simultaneously repelled, horrified, bewitched and provoked by them. They seek to frustrate and humiliate them.

Most narcissists are misogynists. Their sexual and emotional lives are perturbed and chaotic. They are unable to love in any true sense of the word – nor are they capable of developing any measure of intimacy. Lacking empathy, they are unable to offer to their partners emotional sustenance.

The narcissists' sense of entitlement makes it easy for them to feel refused. At the same time women are not as attracted to narcissistic players as one might think......they actually have a natural aversion to a narcissist as they sense their shallowness, and find their charm over the top, contrived and somewhat creepy. Many women instinctively steer clear of the obvious players regardless of how well they put on their game. Loner narcissists who don't even attempt to put on their game, have an even harder time "scoring."

Narcissists can even convince themselves that romancing a girl is hardly worth the effort, as Sam Vaknin, a diagnosed narcissist himself, explains:

Women are a nuisance and annoyance. Obtaining voluntary sex requires too much effort and is a waste of scarce resources.

Because narcissists desire perfect autonomy they are also emotion-phobe. Narcissists abhor feeling influenced in any significant way and the very fact of having a feeling in the presence of another person suggests you can be touched emotionally by friends, family, partners. That's why they are repelled by intimacy, it interferes with the power and control they so adamantly seek.

This kind of emotion-phobe behavior often has them diagnosed as (high-functioning) Asperger's, which was also the case with Elliot. Elliot's parents divorced when he was 7 years old, and his father was emotionally distant, compounding the difficulties for an already troubled child. Though his parents tried hard to help him, they didn't really have a clue but to shower him with expensive gifts like the BMW his mother gave him for the fall semester. Elliot had asked for the BMW since image and appearances mattered greatly to him.

His parents together with his step-mom also took him to see a psychiatrist who prescribed Risperdal, an anti-depressant used to suppress angry tendencies.

Elliot's severe misogyny however was part and parcel of the undiagnosed narcissistic personality disorder as postulated in many articles, and a known characteristic of npd.

Elliot even posted vile rants about women on bodybuilding.com and refused the help of fellow site members who were concerned about him. One of the friends who knew Elliot through the bodybuilding forum revealed that many had rightfully thought he was “a serial killer in the making.”

Elliot also used a website called PUAHate.com, the ‘Anti-Pickup-Artist' hate forum to post his misogynistic thoughts:

“If you could release a virus that would kill every single man on Earth, except for yourself because you would have the antidote, would you do it? You will be the only man left, with all the females.

“You would be able to have your pick of any beautiful woman you want, as well as having dealt vengeance on the men who took them from you. Imagine how satisfying that would be.”

Elliot may have suffered from narcissistic personality disorder but he was also the product of a culture that objectifies, demeans and sexualizes women.

Nearly one in five American women report being raped at some time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The raging sexual assault epidemic in our military and on our college campuses is a reflection of the entitlement too many men feel they have to women’s bodies.

Every day we hear of another military man — powerful, disciplined, bulging with Game — who sexually assaulted a woman in uniform. This month, investigations began at 55 colleges and universities over the way their officials have handled sexual assault. These are our nation’s thought leaders — privileged, educated, bursting with tweedy Game — who have rebranded rape as “non-consensual sex” so they won’t have to deal with the misogyny on display on their campuses.

Why are we teaching women self-defense classes rather than teaching our men to treat women with respect? Next time any of us women attend a women's self-defense class, we need to make sure the men who are teaching us self-defense aren't misogynist themselves. In the martial arts world where these classes are often taught, misogyny is frequent.

On a final note:

As long as masculinity is based in hatred of and fear of femininity, it will be expressed in violence—against men, against gay people, and against the marginalized. And most of all, it will continue to motivate violence against women.

Lets create an awareness that even the common misogynistic jokes aren't harmless either. All too often men like Elliot feel justified to take their anger out on women due to the socially "acceptable" objectification of women, and the culture of narcissism.

As horrendous as it is, the orchestrated use of guns by a misogynistic narcissist comes as no surprise. It is by far the tool of choice to express their hate and inflict maximum harm, and thus represents the ultimate act of power and control.

Women need to know the signs and protect themselves against the all too real harm of misogynistic narcissism. But even more important is this: Violence against women is mostly a men's issue, so where's men's roar?

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