“She didn’t like to be alone. Even more, she didn’t like being with people.” ― Elizabeth Strout, from the novel Olive Kitteridge

Dependency is the cainist’s bugaboo. He lives in a fantasy world where he’s  special to a fault and the Enabler has no value. Yet, he’s dependent on the her to obtain admiration and attention, to pilfer her thoughts and ideas, and to use her as a model or prototype on how to act in public. A sympathetic Enabler has saved a haughty cainist from the gallows more than once. He knows this and loathes it.

His selfishness wears thin over time. One study showed that cainists became unpopular after 7 weeks or after approximately 2.5 hours of contact time. [i] However, that doesn’t stop him from exploiting, devaluing and discarding the Enabler when she is no further use to him.

A cainist will use an Enabler to put him through college, then ditch her when he lands a lucrative job. One cainist, who had trouble keeping a job, remains with an Enabler because she brings home the paycheck, then boasts to everyone that he only has to work part-time and loves it.

There’s little, if any, loyalty from him. Once he’s convinced that he’s too exceptional to remain with a minion, he quickly, and often abruptly, moves on. In romantic affairs, he usually lands someone new before he leaves the previous Enabler because he hates being alone. He’s like a vulture, picking at a carcass for the last remnants, then ditching it when there’s no meat left on the bones.

[1] Why Are Narcissists so Charming at First Sight? Decoding the

Narcissism–Popularity Link at Zero Acquaintance


All About Me, Me, Me, Me

narcissism2Here’s a YouTube animated cartoon talking in full about being a narcissist. It covers all the bases.

Click below:


How To Spot A Cainist – Who Does That?

egoHow do you decide if you’re in a normal relationship, one that is overly selfish or with a true-blue cainist? Perhaps, this will help to identify the person who keeps you tied to drama.

Cainists are: (1) Obsessively self-absorbed, (2) Jealous and envious, (3) Grandiose, (4) Rigid, (5) Superficial and shallow, (6) Insensitive, (7) Think they’re special, (8) Crave endless attention and admiration, even worship, (9) Demand loyalty regardless of merit and (10) Refuse to offer an honest apology in which they admit their fault. They might say they are “sorry” something worked out a certain way, but they will never admit that their conduct and choices caused you pain or harm. Their pride and arrogance will always override your feelings. They are the type who, to use an old cliché, can’t see past the end of their nose.

However, their biggest deficient, which sets them apart from a normal relationship, is lack of empathy and the inability to recognize emotions in others. Martha Stout, author of The Sociopath Next Door (2006) points out that cainists “are able to feel most emotions as strongly as anyone else does.” The problem is, the empathy and emotions are for themselves, not others.

Therapist Sandra Brown, who writes a column for Psychology Today and author of the book Women Who Love Psychopaths: Inside the Relationships of inevitable Harm With Psychopaths, Sociopath & Narcissists (2008), explains that there is a spectrum of empathy. At one end is the sociopath who has no conscience or empathy and at the other end is the cainist who has extremely low levels of both. Cain knows the difference between right and wrong–socially, legally and ethically–but mostly he doesn’t care if he violates the rights and needs of others if it interferes with what he wants, needs and desires.

TV personality Bill O’Reilly, host of the Fox cable show “The O’Reilly Factor“, is a major example of someone who is lost in thought about his own power and brilliance, and lacks empathy or concern for others. It’s common for him to yell “shut up!” to his guests several times throughout his show. Some of that might be for the ratings, but as Sandra Brown suggests, if you have doubts about someone’s conduct and behavior, stop and ask yourself the question: “Who does that?” If it doesn’t fit into a reasonably normal paradigm, one with a conscience and compassion for others, you’re probably looking at a cainist…or worse.

One of O’Reilly’s callous comments stands heads about the rest. It related to the Shawn Hornbeck kidnapping in 2002. The eleven-year-old boy, Shawn, was kidnapped while riding his bike in Richwoods, Missouri. It took almost five years for him and another boy to be found and rescued from the kidnapper. News reports revealed that Shawn had had occasions to escape, but didn’t. The explanation turned quickly to the idea of the Stockholm syndrome—a state of mind that sometimes develops in hostages where the hostage or a victim becomes attached to his captor in a desperate act to survive.

Lacking normal, human compassion, O’Reilly dismissed the Stockholm Theory, accusing the child of liking his new situation because he didn’t have to obey his parents, go to school and could do whatever he wanted to do. In reality, during the first month of captivity, Shawn was tied to a futon all day, sexually abused, and his abductor terrorized him with threats that he would be killed if he didn’t do exactly as he was told. Although O’Reilly was condemned for his cruel insensitivity, he never apologized or admitted he was wrong.

Who does that?

In closing, perhaps, the quote from big shot character, Buddy Ackerman, in the 1994 film Swimming With Sharks sums cainism up best:

“What you think means nothing. What you feel means nothing. You are here for me. You are here to protect my interests and to serve my needs. So while it may look like a little thing to you, when I ask for a packet of Sweet-N-Low, that’s what I want. And it’s your responsibility to get what I want.”

That, my friends, sounds exactly like words that would come from an arrogant cainist’s mouth.


Cain Is A Bore and Drama His Game

bored-boredThere is something missing on the inside of Cain that prevents him from feeling. “They don’t feel much in their relationships unless something intense is going on,” points out Dr. Gina Simmons Ph.D. co-director of Schneider Family Services and a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist for twenty-five years, currently located in San Diego county.

The Enabler wants the relationship to stay calm and stable while Cain itches to stir things up so he can feel something, anything. Says Simmons, “They have to keep raising the bar of intensity to feel. What is more intense than anger?”

Other times they simply don’t like the way their day is going so they stir the emotional pot to shake things up. They might be bored or uncomfortable but lacking introspection, they aren’t motivated to think about what problem is inside them. Instead, they push others’ hot buttons to relieve the monotony. People, then, are merely objects to release their agitation or emotional discomfort. They push an emotional button and stand back to watch another person become hysterical.

No doubt that is the reason rules of performance changed frequently at the cainistic church. I called it the “Church of Drama” because just when you thought you could breath and relax, something changed. Cain loved to mix things up, keeping everything certain off-balance which gave him power and influence. I’ll never forget how he clung doggedly to his ruling about how ushers had to remain standing until after the first song was sung on Sunday morning. This required us to stand throughout the introduction, announcements, a prayer and a song, all of which lasted no less than ten minutes.

I suffered severe back and nerve pain due to degenerative arthritis of which Cain was aware. Standing for long periods provoked intense throbbing and numbness in my back, feet and legs. I don’t know if he even remembered this fact about me (cainists are often offensive simply because they don’t remember much about anyone except themselves), or if this new rule was yet another sneaky way to punish me for a crime I didn’t know I had committed.

Whatever was going on, I was hearing lots of complaints from congregants that they couldn’t see around the ushers who stood in front of them for so long. I shared this information which meant I was speaking against his rules. Cain abruptly called a mandatory volunteer meeting scheduled for nine the following Saturday morning. There would be no sleeping in for volunteers that weekend.

After much discussion at the meeting, the majority decided to drop the new decree and let the ushers sit after the service began. But within three months, the rule to have ushers stand for a lengthy period was reinstated. This is typical. Cain might go along at the moment but he always returns to his old ways as soon as possible. No one will tell him what to do.

Something more happened at that mandatory meeting that revealed the lengths to which Cain would go to punish and control. When we moved into our new church, personnel provided coffee and baked goods at volunteer meetings. That was thoughtful; it reflected gratitude for our service. During the mandatory Saturday morning meeting, I chose coffee and a big muffin. As Cain led the meeting, he kept staring at my muffin, watching me eat every bite. It was spooky and uncomfortable. By then I had learned how to predict some of his behavior and guessed that there would never be big muffins at volunteer meetings again. That’s precisely what happened. He was scrutinizing what I liked so he could eliminate it. It was punishment for speaking against one of his dictates.

Every time someone turns against Cain, even if it is in the best interest of the majority—in this case church attendees who were complaining they couldn’t see around ushers—punishment will follow. Can you imagine wasting that much time watching people just to control them in petty ways? But that is exactly what a cainist does. It was one more way to push emotional buttons and show me who was in charge. One more way to stir things up so he could feel something. I had wised up by then. I never said a word about big muffins. It’s wise to pick your battles with a cainist, and I wanted to stop the drama. Cain often gets what he wants simply because Enablers get worn down and stop fighting to have their needs met.

Not only does he grow bored with himself but others grow bored with him, too. He regales people with the same stories again and again, especially if he doesn’t like something. For example, one Enabler had moved on months ago when a restaurant shut down, but her cainistic husband was still carping that the food in the contemporary restaurant wasn’t as good as the former one. He won’t let anything go. In most instances, you can learn everything you need to know about a cainist in less than a month. After that, he’s dull, repetitive and tedious.

Scapegoating: The Genesis of Human Evil

1_123125_2093564_2208788_2213739_090317_sci_narcissism2tn.jpg.CROP.original-originalCainists couldn’t survive without a scapegoat—someone or something on whom he dumps his faults and inadequacies. Without a scapegoat, he would need to accept responsibility for his behavior, and he will never do that.

As mentioned before, it’s vitally important that Cain views himself as the good guy dressed in white and the Enabler as the bad seed dressed in black. Scapegoating, then, is equal to the funny line, “The devil made me do it” used in the seventies by the late comedian and actor Clerow Wilson, Jr., known professionally as Flip Wilson. The line became a national catch phrase to deny accountability.

By all means scapegoating is anything but funny. It’s painful.

Projection and scapegoating, although unfair, let cainists disassociate from feelings of failure and shame. He’s brilliant, an Einstein. The Enabler is dumb, a sucker.

He kicks off a smear campaign to make her look appalling or slothful so he can look awesome and ambitious. He’ll suck up to authority even though he holds intense rage toward all authority to project a false image to hide his real feelings. And when he maligns someone, he cleverly merges humor into his projection to make it seem palatable or publicly acceptable.

Cain’s scapegoats include everything from loved ones to business associates, from his car to the weather—anything that shifts the blame beyond himself. For example, when condo resident, Angela, scratched the paint off the wall with her fingernail and accused the contractor, Mason, of applying only one coat of paint, he adamantly denied it, blaming the problem on defective paint. In other words, the subnormal paint was the scapegoat for his inaction.

It’s sad that families and organizations throw cherished members under the bus, but it’s done all the time in dysfunctional systems, such as, alcoholic homes and cainistic families and organizations.

It might take the Enabler years to understand that she was set up to deflect Cain’s inauthentic, deceitful behavior so he can look better than Jesus Christ himself. In fact, some Enablers go to their graves feeling like complete failures when they did nothing wrong.

According to psychiatrist M. Scott Peck, scapegoating is “the genesis of human evil.”

Good News for Enablers

550px-Recognize-a-Manipulative-or-Controlling-Relationship-Step-2Previously, victims of cainists were lumped together as co-dependents, victims of domestic violence, those suffering from dependent personality disorder or pushovers for pathological love relationships none of which is precise. These labels or catchphrases have become outdated to describe traumatizing relational patterns. Counselors today use the phrases “trauma-based relating” or “PTSD-type feelings” to describe what the Enabler experiences. According to Sandra Brown, psychopathologist and CEO of The Institute for Relational Harm Reduction & Public Pathology Education and author of several books on psychopaths, there might be a flashing neon sign for the Enabler after all.

Brown was one of the first to study Enablers—family members, spouses, partners, friends, colleagues, children, or anyone drawn to and then left in the wake of Cain’s caustic behavior. In her book Women Who Love Psychopaths: Inside the Relationships of Inevitable Harm with Psychopaths, Sociopaths, and Narcissists (2009), she refers to these interactions as “relationships of inevitable harm.” She writes, “Some of the most disturbing realities are not that pathology exists but that so little public education for the general public exists.”

Brown found that stable, well-educated people are subject to Cain’s entrancement. Because of his extraordinary skills at exploiting the suggestibility of his targets, the dynamics for the Enabler are similar to being under a hypnotic spell. The misdiagnosis of these destructive relationships has failed to offer Enablers effective strategies.

The insatiable envy of a cainist

handcuffsAlthough similar, there are clear differences between the emotional states of envy and jealousy. Aristotle defined envy as “the pain caused by the good fortune of others.” Thomas Moore called it “the longing to live someone else’s life while spurning one’s own life.” Those two quotes describe Cain’s envy precisely. He will become spitefully envious if the Enabler has an idea more important than his. Or for that matter if her idea is valued at all. Likewise, he lives for praise but takes potshots at anyone who steals his thunder.

That’s exactly what happened in the church I attended. When a new minister joined the ranks, he preached an exceptional first sermon. Attendees were raving about it and praising him. No one outperforms or outshines Cain—ever. He’s insanely envious if the congregation loves or venerates any staff member. For the next year this new cleric sat in the front pew every Sunday listening to Cain’s sermons before he was given another opportunity to preach again, and only then because Cain went on a vacation.