The narcissist’s grandiose persona is a counter-reaction to his inner insecurity and emptiness. His fears of being exposed for what he subconsciously perceives himself to really be – a loser and a fraud – makes the narcissist paranoid. The paranoia tends to escalate over time as people around the narcissist inevitable abandon him due to his selfish and exploitative nature, fueling (affirming) his perception of people as inherently hostile and unreliable. To retain his grip of his narcissistic supply — loyal followers (personal cult), positions etc — the narcissist becomes increasingly desperate and demanding, which, of course, just acts to perpetuate the cycle and leave him ever more isolated and unhinged from reality.
All of this is on spectacular display in the case of David Miscavige, the leader of Scientology. Ever since he couped his way to power in the 80’s, he’s been ruling the secretive church with iron fist. The man who was outmaneuvered by Miscavige for the leadership position fled the organization and was pursued by private investigators, reporting directly to Miscavige, for two decades. Former top executive Marty Rathbun was subject to a bizarre gang of “Squirrel Busters” sent out to harass him into silence. Mike Rinder, a former spokesperson of the church, was physically abused on a regular basis by Miscavige (violence is a classic trick for narcissists to impose subjugation) and has been smeared ever since he left. It’s all manifestations of Mascavige’s paranoid chase after his inner demons.
Just yesterday Scientology had a grand opening of a new church building, an Ideal Org, in downtown Portland. One would think such an event would be a great PR-opportunity for them to put out on as big public display as possible. Well, apparently not. Mark “Wise Beard Man” Bunker, a long time Scientology critic, tried to make a recording of the event from a balcony across the street, but was tracked down and eventually forced to leave after Scientology harassed the owner of the building he stayed in. All this effort to obstruct some perfectly peaceful documentation (Bunker obviously had no intention to disrupt in any way) of an event the Church splashes out as a well-attended, triumphant success just one day later anyway.
Mike Rinder, the aforementioned former Church spokesperson who is now a vocal critic himself, puts it this way:
You can sort of understand that a movie studio may not want the key scene of a movie given away many months before it is released to the public. But an event supposedly to “announce the opening of our new facility to SERVICE this community and people from all walks of life” (and believe me, that WILL be in the speech by Miscavige and probably by the other “officials” they conned into taking the stage with the Chairman of the Blind).
Miscavige is becoming increasingly paranoid that something will put him in direct contact with the outside world. In his mind, anyone could be a protester or internet reader, or worse yet a reporter or OMG — a process server! His world is populated exclusively by sycophants inside his self-created bubble. Anyone seeking to enter his bubble uninvited is seen as a hostile agent trying to destroy his life.
Update: Speaking of inner emptiness, what about this promotional video for a nearby Scientology Org, that features exactly zero people? Three minutes of grand architecture, huge numbers of square feet, nicely lit interior shots of squeaky clean floors and surfaces – but not a single life form. And this is the “science of mental health”…
Update II: Oh my. It seems Scientology photo-shopped some of the Portland event pictures by cut-and-pasting people to the audience to make it seem bigger. Now that’s just sad.