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By Jay Carter
The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Copyright © 2004Jay Carter
All rights reserved.
The small Hitlers are around us every day. —Robert Payne
It's hard to recognize an invalidator, because a truly good one can bypass the scrutiny of your logical mind, and his victim will find himself feeling bad without knowing why. The invalidator is underhanded, and the person being invalidated is often unsuspecting except for knowing that he feels bad. The invalidator actually feels inferior to some other person, so he tries to make that other person feel small. Thus, the invalidator can control the victim. Have you met anyone like this? Whether you are completely aware of it or not, you probably have. You probably know one or several invalidators.
The invalidator uses various suppressive mechanisms to chop away at your self-esteem. He pretends to acknowledge something you are proud of and then later makes some negative insinuation about it. He feels out what you think your shortcomings are and then exploits them at calculated times when he knows you are vulnerable. The invalidator may persist in invalidating you until you succumb. He has to control you because he perceives you as being superior to him. He takes accusations that have "some truth," and fires them at you "in all honesty," "just being your friend," "to help you."
The difference between an invalidator and a real friend is that a real friend will tell you one negative thing about yourself and then back off to give you space to consider it. An invalidator will lay many of your faults out for you and persist until you feel as big as the period at the end of this sentence. An invalidator will pick out the qualities about you that are most important to you and then tear them apart. An invalidator will listen to you share something that you don't like about yourself and then later use it against you. This is all done in such a subtle way that you are unaware of it.
If you do confront an invalidator on what she is doing, she will say something like, "Oh, come on now! I love you. I'm your friend. Where did you get these silly ideas?" And she may really like you. She may really want to be your friend but only on her terms and only after she has you in her control. She will make you look silly for even thinking such things about her. She may make you feel guilty or cheap in front of your friends for accusing her of invalidating you. She may get angry at you for your accusations. Whatever she can do to invalidate you further, she will. If she really thinks you are onto her, she may apologize and then not invalidate you again ... until later when you are unsuspecting.
In short, the invalidator does whatever is necessary to control you. He is control-crazy, and anytime he perceives himself to be not in control, he will be scared.
Portrait of an Invalidator
One of the most famous invalidators was Adolf Hitler. He was quite typical of the controlling invalidator. He was a brilliant man. He created beautiful pictures. He was a writer. He saved the lives of his comrades when he was in the regular army. He loved his dogs. He had a love relationship with Eva Braun. He spoke beautiful words, for example:
Since 1914 when, as a volunteer, I made my modest contribution in the World War which was forced upon the Reich, over thirty years have passed.
In these three decades only love for my people and loyalty to my people have guided me in all my thoughts, actions, and life. They gave me the strength to make the most difficult decisions, such as no mortal has yet had to face. I have exhausted my time, my working energy, and my health in these three decades.
It is untrue that I or anybody else in Germany wanted war in 1939.
Not only was he eloquent, but he lived up to his promises. He brought Germany out of a recession, making his words credible. People believed in him. It seemed he was never to blame. He was righteous.
He never killed anyone face to face but got his followers to do it. The sight of the Jews being slaughtered sickened him. He barely looked the one time he witnessed it. He really believed in what he was doing. Before he gained power, he tried to commit suicide, but one of his friends (a superior officer) saved him from it.
If you had met Hitler, you might have thought he was charming. You would probably not have guessed what devastation he was capable of. The following are excerpts from The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler by Robert Payne (italics are my own, for emphasis):
Hitler was the arch-destroyer, determined to stamp out and destroy everything in the world that did not serve his purposes.
Yet the man who spilled so much blood, and was so bloodless, never dared to look at the dead or the dying, never visited a military hospital, and never showed any sympathy for the maimed, the wounded, the blind. He drove millions of people insane and millions died in his concentration camps. He had no conception of the suffering he had brought to the world; and had he known, it would have made no difference. When he traveled through bombed towns, he drew the window shades for fear that the sight of the destruction he had caused would weaken his resolution. In darkness, behind shuttered windows, remote from the world as in a grave he terrorized the world he never understood and never wanted to understand.
He especially liked one portrait of himself with his eyes raised to heaven in angelic innocence. He also admired a portrait of himself in shining armor.
The voice is seductive, and his logic, if his premises are accepted, is unimpeachable.
He believes in his own absolute authority over the people.
In the present age we are only too aware of his existence, for he still walks among us.
It is strange that we do not speak about Hitlers in the plural.... The small Hitlers are around us every day, tormenting us with their promises, rejoicing in our weaknesses, demanding our trust, our votes, and our lives, while remaining totally indifferent to everything except their thirst for power. Power to order the lives of other men consoles them for their own insufficiencies, their lack of humanity. They must have power or perish, and it is all one to them if they misuse their power or crush others in their efforts to seize power.
So you see, these invalidators can be particularly nasty characters if they get into positions of power. And they are always, in fact, striving for positions of power because they are "small Hitlers" with an obsessive need to control people and events.
The more clever invalidators don't use their powers until it's absolutely necessary. The invalidator can appear to be quite friendly for a very long time. Then it comes time for a promotion in management, and it's either you or him. He chews you up and spits you out in front of upper management before you know what hit you—all the while, of course, being your good buddy. He will even invent perfectly logical reasons why you wouldn't have wanted the job anyway—that is, unless he wants to destroy you completely. Then he will just make you look bad in front of everyone for a long time. He might do all this with information you told him about yourself in confidence, when he so endearingly listened to you.
You've probably met many people capable of being invalidators, but it probably caught you off guard and perhaps you didn't understand how it worked. The next section of this book will explain the methods used by invalidators. Read it thoroughly, but keep in mind that there are many methods of invalidation and many ways to handle an invalidator. And the minute you handle an invalidation is the minute it starts looking fo
Excerpted from NASTY People by Jay Carter. Copyright © 2004 by Jay Carter. Excerpted by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..
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