Pride, Greed, Lust, Envy, Gluttony, Wrath and Sloth Are the 7 Deadly Sins.
I read that the above seven sins are called the Capitol Sins or the Cardinal Sins and that all other sins merely evolve from those seven. If I were to add another sin to this list, it would be Abandonment–the act of an adult’s abandoning his responsibilities to his children or to another–but when I look at the list of the Cardinal sins and when I consider the nature of Abandonment, I must agree that Greed and Pride and Lust and Envy are probably behind Abandonment, too.
Consider a parent who abandons his or her children. Lust is probably the main reason that a parent walks away from his family. It might be the lust for another person. It might also be the lust for more money or for more power, and the one who abandons feels restricted by his current relationships. In that case, it would seem to me that Greed is also behind part of that person’s Lust. Therefore, as I begin to look at the 7 Basic Sins, I am beginning to wonder if there actually are 7. It would seem to me that several of the deadly sins are linked into single behaviors.
For instance, let’s return to the person who abandons his children because he believes that in staying, his potential for earning and increased power are sabotaged. That person has Lusted for more power and for more money. He has seen that someone else has more than he has, and he Envies that other person. He is Greedy for more, and because he can never get enough, he is also a Glutton. Gluttony is not always about food. There are money gluttons and power gluttons, too. A glutton is someone who simply cannot get enough.
When I look at human behavior and the 7 Cardinal Sins, I can see that sinning does not fall into 7 neat compartments. I see that the categories of sin are melded together. In my opinion, there is only 1 Deadly Sin, and that is the inability to Feel or to Empathize. All of the other sins–the 7 Deadly Sins or any others that I might add–stem from a person’s inability to Feel.
The narcissist lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.
The American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-IV
“Lack of empathy is one of the most striking features of people with narcissistic personality disorder. It’s a hallmark of the disorder in the same way that fear of abandonment is in borderline personality disorder.
“Narcissists do not consider the pain they inflict on others; nor do they give any credence to others’ perceptions,” says Dr. Les Carter in the book Enough of You, Let’s Talk About Me (p. 9). “They simply do not care about thoughts and feelings that conflict with their own.” Do not expect them to listen, validate, understand, or support you.” Read the rest of this article Here
Several years ago, I read Scott Peck’s book People of the Lie. I had suffered from a particularly painful experience that involved another person who absolutely seemed to have no empathy at all. Without empathy, there can be no conscience, and without conscience, evil can easily occur, because people who cannot feel for others, never see their own behaviors–in regard to those others. It has been 25 years since I read the book, but if I am not mistaken, excessive lack of empathy and the resultant narcissism is essentially the phenomenon that Peck addressed in People of the Lie. The book opened my eyes.
In this absorbing and equally inspiring companion volume to his classic trilogy—The Road Less Traveled, Further Along the Road Less Traveled, and The Road Less Traveled and Beyond—Dr. M. Scott Peck brilliantly probes into the essence of human evil. – Amazon
Since that time, I have had encounters with other similar people, and it would seem that the people of the lie are sociopaths and/or narcissists. I believe that all of us are a bit narcissistic. That is how we survive. Narcissism can occur at various levels, but at an extreme, the narcissist becomes a sociopath.
Being Successful Is Not the Same As Being Correct
Because many of the most successful and powerful people among us–the corporate demigods–are severe narcissists, the lines become fuzzy. Too often, we correlate being successful with being correct.
Narcissists Are Masters of Deception
Another confusing detail is that when it is to a narcissist’s advantage, he/she can be relentlessly charming. That is the narcissist’s most powerful weapon. Since other people seem to love the narcissist, we begin to doubt ourselves and not the narcissist. Keep in mind that the narcissist is alluring and that he often is deceptively so.
Narcissists Deceive Themselves
Perhaps the most frustrating thing about a narcissist is that he/she is absolutely unaware of any of his/her wrongdoing. Like an alcoholic, if a person cannot see a problem, the problem cannot be fixed. There simply is no reasoning with a narcissist about any way that you feel you have been wronged.
Narcissists React Violently to Criticism
In my experience, confronting a narcissist about how he/she has hurt you is an effort in futility. A narcissist, who cannot tolerate criticism at all, is only enraged.
Narcissists Are Vindictive
And then there’s hell to pay.
For more information about narcissism, the following article from Psychology Today is helpful:
The following are some of the narcissists’ traits mentioned in Psychology Today:
1. Are highly reactive to criticism. Or anything they assume or interpret as negatively evaluating their personality or performance….
2. Has low self-esteem [but seems to be overly self-assured] This facet of their psyche is complicated, because superficially their self-regard would appear to be higher and more assured than just about anyone else’s. Additionally, given their customary “drivenness,” it’s not uncommon for them to rise to positions of power and influence, as well as amass a fortune (and see here my post “Narcissism: Why It’s So Rampant in Politics”). But if we examine what’s beneath the surface of such elevated social, political, or economic stature—or their accomplishments generally—what typically can be inferred is a degree of insecurity vastly beyond anything they might be willing to avow. ..
3. Can be inordinately self-righteous and defensive. Needing so much to protect their overblown but fragile ego, their ever-vigilant defense system can be extraordinarily easy to set off. …
4. React to contrary viewpoints with anger or rage. [I am adding this: But because they are masters of deception and vindictive as well, that rage may not be obvious to others. Like a ticking time bomb, it may be hidden–out of sight, but still threatening]. …
5. Project onto others qualities, traits, and behaviors they can’t—or won’t—accept in themselves. …
6. Unconsciously viewing others as “extensions” of themselves, they regard them as existing primarily to serve their own needs—just as they routinely put their needs before everyone else’s….
In closing, if I did not see myself in at least part of the above list, I would be the very worst person of the lie. I absolutely do have some of the very unattractive qualities named above, and I continuously appraise myself and buffet myself–seeking to keep potential problems in check. Therein is the distinction, and I believe my own saving grace: I DO recognize some of my own negative behaviors. A severe narcissist does not. Have you met the Queen of Denial? She is probably a narcissist.
In conclusion, when I am asked what 8th sin that I would add to the list of 7, I would not add any. I would scratch the list entirely and I would name one basic sin. It would be the inability to Feel, which includes the inability to care about another’s situation and the inability to see things from another’s perspective.
If the person who wanted to abandon his family had taken the time to sufficiently Feel with his family, Greed, Gluttony, and Lust would not have controlled his behavior. I dare say that I could analyze almost any wrong behavior and I would see that a lack of feeling was part of the recipe. At first glance, however, we might look at sloth and think that sloth would not pertain. I argue that even sloth is a result of an inability to feel. The slothful have no feeling for themselves–or if there are children and a mate in their homes, they again have no feeling for them.
©Jacki Kellum January 30, 2016
The Eighth Sin