Wetiko – Exploring the Alarming Rise of Narcissism

By Kim Saeed | Narcissism

Jan 04

I recently had the great pleasure of watching the movie I Am, written and directed by Tom Shadyac (creator of comedy films such as Ace Ventura and The Nutty Professor).  His message was a timely one, considering the new direction I want to take, which has mostly to do with exploring the foundations of happiness, freedom, and love.

In the film, Tom asks two central questions: What’s Wrong With the World? and What Can We Do About it?  He explores topics such as materialism, human connectedness, and scientific concepts related to human nature.  What I learned has given me a wonderful starting point, with plans to not only live my life in a more wholesome and loving way, but to continue helping others leave abusive relationships and find themselves…perhaps discovering their own happiness in the process.

Another interesting topic that came up during the movie was a concept called “Wetiko”, a Native American word for cannibal; not of the flesh, but of another’s life…destroying them mentally.  Wetiko is what the Native Americans attributed to the Europeans’ greed and today’s institutions such as consumerism, materialism, and even genocide.  Of course, this immediately went into my mental files for further exploration as to its similarities to malignant narcissism of today.  Following is what I found…

According to Paul Levy, author of Awaken in the Dream and Dispelling Wetiko:

“Wetiko disease is an expression of the convincing illusion of the separate self gone wild. Bewitched by the intrinsic projective tendencies of their own mind, full-blown wetikos are unconsciously doing the very thing they are reacting to while simultaneously accusing other people of doing it.

Projecting the shadow onto others, they will accuse others of projecting the shadow onto them. To use an extreme, but prototypical example, it is like someone screaming that you’re killing them as they kill you.

If their insanity is reflected back to them, they think it is the mirror that is insane. Suffering from a form of psychic blindness that believes itself to be sightedness, full-blown wetikos project out their own unconscious blindness and imagine that others, instead of themselves, are the ones who are not seeing.

Governed by the insane, self-perpetuating logic of fear and paranoia, those taken over by the disease fear that if they don’t attack and rule over others, they are in danger of being attacked and ruled over themselves. In their convoluted, upside-down, flawless illogic, wetikos’ act to their own projections in the world as if they objectively exist and are other than themselves, thinking that they themselves have nothing to do with creating that to which they are reacting.

In wetiko disease, the psyche takes the ‘terror’ that haunts it from within, and in its attempt to master it, unwittingly becomes taken over by it, thus becoming an instrument of terror in the world. We have then become the thing we most feared, ‘creatures of the European nightmare world,’ as we psychologically terrorize ourselves, as well as terrorizing the world at large.

 Because full-blown wetikos are soul murderers who continually recreate the on-going process of killing their own soul, they are reflexively compelled to do this to others; for what the soul does to itself, it can’t help but to do to others. In a perverse inversion of the golden rule, instead of treating others how they would like to be treated, wetikos do unto others what was done unto them. The wetiko is simply a living link in a timeless, vampiric lineage of abuse. Full-blown wetikos induce and dream up others to experience what it is like to be the part of themselves which they have split off from and denied, and are thus not able to consciously experience – the part of themselves that has been abused and vampirized. In playing this out, wetikos are transmitting and transferring their own depraved state of inner deadness to others in a perverse form of trying to deal with their own suffering. Paradoxically, wetikos both try to destroy others’ light, as it reminds them of what they’ve killed in themselves, while simultaneously trying to appropriate the light for themselves.

The disease itself is now demanding that we pay attention to it, or it will kill us.”

“An eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind.” ~ Ghandi

Native American philosopher Jack Forbes further adds:

“This disease, this wetiko (cannibal) psychosis, is the greatest epidemic sickness known to man.” We, as a species, are in the midst of a massive psychic epidemic, a virulent collective psychosis that has been brewing in the cauldron of humanity’s psyche from the beginning of time. Like a fractal, wetiko operates on multiple dimensions simultaneously — intra-personally (within individuals), inter-personally (between ourselves), as well as collectively (as a species). “Cannibalism,” in Forbes’s words, “is the consuming of another’s life for one’s own private purpose or profit.” Those afflicted with wetiko, like a cannibal, consume the life-force of others — human and nonhuman — for private purpose or profit, and do so without giving back something from their own lives.”

Rather profound, don’t you think?  

Is this what’s wrong with our world today?  Could this be why there is no cure for narcissism, and further, why it seems to be rapidly and increasingly coming at us from all angles?

Will our healers and light-workers be able to illuminate and heal this psychosis of our collective consciousness before it’s too late?

Will this concept help those who are in abusive relationships be able to finally leave and join the army of teachers, healers, and ambassadors?

Share your thoughts below!

**Following his recovery after a cycling accident which prompted this documentary, Shadyac, a then-millionaire, sold most of his possessions, donated significant amounts of money (including a homeless shelter in Charlottesville, Virginia, and made a key donation to an initiative in Telluride, Colorado to set aside a natural area at the town’s entrance), sold his mansion and moved into a trailer park in Malibu, California.  Shadyac sought to reorient and simplify his life—he removed himself from the film industry—and wrote about his experience in Life’s Operating Manual. (Wiki)

“My life is my message.” – Ghandi

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(29) comments

Sue February 10, 2017

Can this be an inherited disorder? I was married to one for 18 years and his mother had the same disorder and now my daughter has it and has destroyed our family and ripped her kids from us as well. I didn’t fully realize what I was dealing with until 4 years ago when someone told me that I was dealing with a narcissist. I started researching it and was amazed at how many characteristics they have in common throughout the three generations. Thank God my other child is not affected. By the time I was able to get out of my marriage, I was a wreck physically and emotionally and it was a long road to healing only to be faced with the same hell from my daughter. I have been knocked down again and this time it is a thousand times worse because I have two grandchildren that I am not allowed to see after keeping them for 12 years. They have been told who knows what kind of vicious lies about me and have been ripped away from their aunt and cousins as well. I have no Legal rights and have suffered unspeakable torment and threatened by a restraining order if I try to see my grandchildren. The only thing that I can do now is turn it over to God completely and trust Him to fight this spiritual and physical battle for me and speak out to others who are enduring the same hell and wait until my grandchildren are grown. This is the hardest thing I have ever experienced and the most evil. You cannot change a narcissist. My ex-husband and his mother died as they lived…a narcissist…and my daughter will too.

Reply
    Kim Saeed February 12, 2017

    Hi Sue, that’s a great question (and thank you for sharing your experience).

    There are some cases where a person is born with brain abnormalities that may cause them to lack empathy. However, in more cases than not, narcissism is a disorder one forms through their childhood environment. To put it shortly, when a child grows up with a narcissist as their parent or caregiver, then the child typically grows up to be either narcissistic or codependent. Both personality traits are formed as a coping mechanism. Sadly, narcissism cannot be cured – unlike codependency which can be overcome with time and commitment.

    Hope that helps!

    Reply
kathy cassity August 31, 2016

I was married to this, and nearly lost my mind in the end.

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ThePinch August 30, 2016

It is interesting how many cultures have names for this behaviour.

I obsess on narcissists, because I’m trying to understand them. Like Native Americans, I’m looking for the one name that helps me define them.

I thought about a character who was mysterious, magnetic, and compelling. Always the center of attention, immaculately presented, and unfailingly polite. Possessed of great culture, utterly charming (at least, in the beginning). You dare not look away.

You are the only woman in the world. His pursuit is relentless. He flatters; charms; he leaves you breathless. He is the antidote for every insult and hurt that you’ve ever felt. He. Wants. You.

Surrender is a head spinning combination of a pounding heart, and exquisite erotic tension. He’s the venue. He gives you permission to unleash your own desires, without reservation. He’s going to take you higher … and higher. He’ll show you things about yourself that you kept hidden, even to yourself.

His name is … Dracula!

Hey, it’s a trip. But It’s hard to see straight when you’re down a quart. You just want MORE.

There are other disciples out there, and when the supply starts to run low, there ya go. When you replenish and recharge, he’s back. And on and on. But he will never change what he is. And you run the risk of becoming something you never intended.

One more thought: half of the chemistry between you and him was YOURS. He showed you something about yourself that brought out a more feral yet fascinating aspect of yourself. It’s still yours, and always will be. May it be reserved for a better time, and a better place.

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Sean Alden Fitzgerald September 20, 2015

Honestly, this does seem a growing problem. Further, I think your ascription of said narcissism is accurate and insightful.

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    Kim Saeed September 21, 2015

    Thank you, Sean – and thanks for stopping by! 🙂

    Reply
Laura January 16, 2015

which reminds me (sorry for lot of comments, Im absorbing sponge information 🙂

Every Abuser was first Victim…but at some point they make choice to Abuse… and thats Evil Wetiko

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Laura January 16, 2015

I am afraid I am becoming Wetiko… lol interesting calling

But actually no. I have to heal.I can heal. I dont want to become like him

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Joyce M. Short January 12, 2015

Unfortunately, the advent of technology seems to be reinforcing and developing an extremely narcissistic set of values. Growing up in colonial times meant you had to conform to the norms that were set by your parents and your village. Today, people in every corner of the world have access to images, concepts and ideas that set a new “normal.”

From an early age our kids play tech-games where they pound the opposition. They’re bombarded with sexual imagery and content. Being righteous and virtuous are portrayed as weakness. And the allure of property surpasses the value of morality.

Perverse people, who might previously have been confined to their corner of the universe, can instantly transport themselves to new feeding grounds where they can prey on new quarry.

So yes, I think there’s a growing number of predators in society AND their access to the pool of potential victims has expanded as well.

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MeowCat January 7, 2015

Dear Kim, at first, I want to thank you for your fantastic blog! But, Kim, what really bothers me: how do I know that I am not the Wetiko? How will I know it´s not ME being insane? I often fear that I am the one being crazy, as I have been traumatized as a child and as an adult… I do not know how to figure out who is the vampire as I, in my despair, acted destructive too to my Ex. Is there anything that helps me to find out? Greetings from Germany! 🙂

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    Kim Saeed January 18, 2015

    MewoCat, first…if you are worried that you are the Wetiko, then it’s likely you’re not. If you are able to self-reflect then you aren’t crazy, you just need to heal. I can relate to how you are feeling because I experienced the same confusion before I left my Ex, including acting in ways that were completely out of character for me.

    Healing from this type of abuse takes place on subconscious and biological levels and therefore requires transformational healing methods such as consistent meditations, reiki massage, yoga, and quanta healing. Some even seek out shamanic healing with great success. Explore those things, practice what resonates with you, and if you do them consistently, you will experience true healing.

    Reply
Tricia January 6, 2015

Thank you, Kim, for writing this article. It is so timely for us all. It is sad that we have become so ‘disconnected’ from ancient wisdoms. Why do we rarely learn from the past? Or from the experience of others. Wetiko. Proves narcissists aren’t just a modern phenomenon. I want to learn more now!

However, I do believe that we are capable of changing the world. People power is crucial and efficient. Governments are the very essence of Profit, Power, Control, as are big organisations. Yet, look around the world and how, when people cannot take any more, they rise up. Together. As one. I’m not suggesting we need to physically fight. Yet, small steps/actions have a ripple effect, like a pebble in a pond. Information is crucial. Standing back and looking. Really looking at what is happening to our world. There is a pattern. But through research, reading, talking to people we can make a difference. Now. It is already happening. The world is out of balance. If we don’t step up, nature sure as hell will!

But this forum is more about psychopaths, narcissists, unbalanced people. Subtle or obvious. Until a few months ago, I didn’t have a clue there was a ‘name’ for the behaviour I experienced. Once I came across ‘Narcissist’ it was a true revelation! I was lucky in that my instinct saved me….I know and feel such hurt and sadness that kind, caring people are targeted by these monsters (even though they can be extremely clever at hiding their predatory, life-sucking existence, meaning that outsiders just don’t believe us!). I do think having a ‘name’ is an enormous help in making us understand these ‘personalities’. Somehow makes it ‘real’ and not just in our heads. Even more important is the realisation of their patterns of behaviour and the sheer numbers affected!! Quite astonishing!

Yet, the more we read and share our experiences, the more knowledgeable we become. The stronger we (eventually) become. We heal ourselves. That, in turn, will have that ‘ripple’ effect upon others, which will become wider and more encompassing. We are all ‘connected’ in the Universe. Cause and effect.

Sites like this one has a huge part to play. We need each other for support. Together, we can help free the trapped, starve the afflicted vampires and become whole, loving persons again in our own right. Then our balanced selves will, in turn, positively affect those near to us….and so will ripple out….. Obviously it will take time. But where has our fast-paced, materialistic little lives got us? I’m not suggesting a hermit existence! Just a little more ‘balance’, standing back and taking stock. Good things take time. Experience of Narcissists can heal us. I personally believe it is Karma. A lesson we must learn and understand. To change. Many of us may have taken lifetimes, repeating the same patterns over and over. How liberating is it when we finally see it for what it is??! Whatever your chosen faith or beliefs.

Is there really an increase, I wonder? Or is it that we are more aware of them now?? Looking back in time, it seems there has always been an abundance of them…..

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    kittytailstomper January 16, 2015

    Wow. This resonated so deeply with me. I need to let it all sink it and come back when I have time to really engage. Superb post!!! Thank You, Namaste

    Reply
      Kim Saeed January 17, 2015

      Thank you so much for stopping by and for commenting 🙂

      Reply
Karin January 4, 2015

Your timing is spot on for me again Kim. A lengthy bout with flu inspired me to opt in to Netflix and I’ve been compiling my “must watch” list today. In the days before I knew what I know now of Narcissism, I would sometimes think to myself “The Wendigo has taken him”, when his mask would slip.It was the only way I could articulate to myself what the bizarre personality and behavioural changes were like to live with on a daily basis.
Very much looking forward to checking out the movie and some new insights!

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    Kim Saeed January 4, 2015

    Thanks for stopping by, Karin, and for commenting. It’s great to see you here.

    Let me know what you think of the documentary 🙂 I thoroughly enjoyed it and came away with some wonderful insight.

    Reply
Kari January 4, 2015

I think it matters less what it’s called, be it Wetiko, Narcissism or Emotional Vampirism. the thrust of the energy is powerfully destructive. I agree that we need to raise awareness. But sometimes I feel like people think I may have lost it myself as this can sound pretty extreme.

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    Kim Saeed January 4, 2015

    Kari, you’re correct, it doesn’t really matter what we call it. The damage is still the same.

    You do have to be aware of who you share the details of your situation with. My advice is, if it feels awkward when you begin talking to someone, then change the subject. Many people haven’t experienced this type of abuse, so they cannot relate to it…meaning that our stories do sound very bizarre to most people.

    Reply
Mary January 4, 2015

For over 3 years I have been on the narc roller coaster ride from hell. As an empath, I was compelled to help this man and his obviously wounded soul. The psychic vampire in him finally won. I am a shell now, knowing that the dreams I had warning me about him were true, and in effect saved me from marrying this monster of a man. He never hit me, but the emotional and verbal assault, slow but steady, the jabs, the controlling stirred me into a watered down person and a shadow of my former self. I know I can’t see or talk to him again, and he lives right up the road from me, so the chances of seeing him driving are there. I can only hope he moves. Not that I don’t love him and “feel” him, he is still a vampire of my soul. The connection I have is still there and I am searching every topic to learn how to cut this cord. I have to so I can move on from this. I know I will always carry this man in my heart and it hurts. I know I am better off without him. He will always be my ghost. No contact 3 months almost. It’s not as bad now but I know why-it’s because I have dulled myself to do it. That may hurt worse than any of it, the taking of my soul. I will continue to work towards the closure my mind needs. And I pray and hope for others that have gone through this as well; there are many. Too many. This behavior is criminal. I am waiting for my healing and look forward to my future. But this will be a part of me for the rest of my life. Bless us all, we need it.

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    Anonymous January 12, 2015

    I have been reading and following this wonderful site for about a month now and the descriptions of how you felt and feel are exactly what I would have written about myself and how I am feeling at this time. It has been a few months since starting this new chapter in me and my sons life and I agree with you it is so freeing and without a doubt a more pleasant energy to be in. The negative we had experienced will forever be with me, it will not define me. Most important, I have awareness of the characteristics of a narcissist now but my mind will never wrap around the energy that they can drain, (yet we allow) without missing a beat in their lives. We are not suppose to be able to understand it, that is a blessing.

    Reply
Laura January 4, 2015

Hi Kim, I have currently subscribed to your newsletter and find the information you provide on narcissism very helpful. I have recently left a relationship if 1 year with a narcissist sex addict. My discovery of his secret life happened about a month and a half ago. I gathered information, made copies and walked away. However, I am dealing with the aftermath day by day. Can you shed light on what you know about narcissism/ sex addiction combined. I should add that my partner exposed himself to both men and women during the course of our relationship. Thank you. Laura

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maryleemorgan January 4, 2015

Wow! “…unconsciously doing the very thing they are reacting to while simultaneously accusing other people of doing it” sounds so much like my soon-to-be-ex-husband and his convoluted, upside-down view of the world. Some of them are very subtle, and it took me a long time to figure it out.

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Joyce M. Short January 4, 2015

So glad you brought this out!

I was terribly disheartened at the recent controversy over our country’s sanctioned torture in Guantanamo and other places. We were once the bastion of morality, guided by virtue and decency. But here we are, in the name of preserving the moralistic society we cherish, stooping to the vices we decry.

Society needs to make a choice. Do we become brutal in the name of thwarting brutality? If so, aren’t we simply subverting our own values from the inside? Aren’t we doing to ourselves what we intend to prevent from others? Have we yielded to accepting a societal lack of conscience in order to protect ourselves from people who lack conscience?

Are we seeing the end of moral expectations in our world? Will only those without conscience survive to wreak havoc on the perceived “weak;” those who prefer to cherish the humanity in mankind?

I think our society has, indeed, reached the tipping point. And I think we see it expressed in our daily living as more and more people diminish others for their personal gain. It’s a fear that compels me to attempt to create laws to prevent immorality, before it’s too late.

Joyce

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Paula January 4, 2015

Wetiko is powerful. It is insidious. Even those without full-blown narcissism or sociopathy express behavior characterized by wetiko. We as survivors see this so clearly. We are immune to wetiko as long as we remain diligent and continue fighting against it. The battle is not easy, considering we are surrounded on all sides and from every angle by wetiko influences: money, consumption, vanity, power and control. Our society is governed by the necessity of ALL of these things today. Those with the most over take those with the least and weaken us. So how do we shift the collective focus from one of outside, materialistic acquisition to one of internal, spiritual freedom from material acquisition? This is no easy feat and must first happen at the individual level before it can move to the organizational level and finally to the community level. This is the theory of transformational learning and it’s being put into practice by all of us who refuse to give up despite the many setbacks and struggles we have encountered getting to this point. A shift is on the horizon and sharing this news is exactly how to make that shift a reality sooner rather than later.

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    Kim Saeed January 4, 2015

    Thank you for such insight, Paula. I’m glad to be walking beside you as we continue to spread awareness into 2015 <3

    Reply
Anonymous January 4, 2015

Interesting post and commentaries. I have studied Native American Spirituality for many years and have heard of a Wetiko but will look into it further as well as watch the movie. Since my husband showed his true self and the mask slipped off and he left I have been researching and finding comfort in these sites. It has been almost 6 months since that time and I too agree that narcissism and psychopaths are on the raise and believe it is a battle that we must not ignore. I am a light worker and have studied and practiced healing modalities for many years and I believe they are attracted to us, to the light as I know some colleges who have had run in’s with these types as well. I was lucky that he moved on to a new source and left me for my energy was very low and I believe I was in grave danger ……they are energy vampires, He was sucking the life out of me and the energy returned and the fog lifted the moment he and his crap was out of my home! I immediately felt the need to help others in this situation and to share my story and my ongoing path to healing. Thank you for this site. I look forward to more information and guidance.

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    Mary January 12, 2015

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. It is mind boggling to try to wrap my head around this kind of mentality. Today I am down. I don’t want to see or hear from him again. I just want the closure that I will never get. He lives close to me and I get panic attacks driving down my own road. I don’t want to move. I hope he does. Love and blessings to you and your son on your new and improved life.

    Reply
inspiredbythedivine1 January 4, 2015

Wonderful post. I’m going to watch “I Am”. I’ll let you know what I think of it.

Reply
    Kim Saeed January 4, 2015

    Great! I was awestruck, quite honestly 🙂 Would love to know your thoughts!

    Reply
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