Rehabilitation: Oasis, or Mirage? (Part II)

Is it possible for a criminal to change?

Having established that crime comes from egotism, I launch on my search for the answer to this question posed to me while I was on a community outing during my prison sentence.

By Colin McGregor

My next step is to visit the little prison chapel library that J., our chaplain, has filed with books. One title leaps out at me: The French version of Help! I’m in Love with a Narcissist by Steven Carter and Julia Sokol (Au secours ! Je vis avec une narcissique). The front photo is hilarious: a macho man with a goatee, mirror glasses and an unbuttoned shirt sneers at me from the cover page.

Inside, the content is much more serious. A narcissist is self-absorbed and oblivious to what others are experiencing. Narcissism and egotism are often considered to be Siamese twins. And it can be exhausting to live with an egotist: “To be blunt, it’s a lot of work… Basically, narcissists hate solidarity and are neither accommodating nor cooperative and it’s extremely rare that they do more than just what they have to…”

To effect a change, the narcissist must first be brought to truly regret what they’re doing to others, the book says.

The fact of being incarcerated, the hatred of your peers, the barbed wire, the prisoners’ uniforms, the collective meals, becoming a number rather than a name: all these are enough to break the ego of even the most committed narcissist. For some, it takes years to lose your false pride. For others, it never happens.

First sen in: Reflet de Société, Vol. 27 no. 1, printemps (spring) 2019, pages 26-27.

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