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Horcruxes and Narcissism

November 22, 2010

The soul of evil resides in many places. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, he is told that fragments of the evil Lord Voldemort soul resides in Horcruxes – dark magical objects. In the real world we find fragments of evil in pathological behavior and in all kinds of dark places — the darkness of the mind where avarice, greed, gluttony, pride, cruelty, and all other forms of vice reside, and the darkness of the heart where pain, loneliness, and suffering settle in and displace joy and well-being. But we find some of the worst ‘evil’ behavior in extreme narcissists – sociopaths. The fragmented soul of the sociopath, like Voldemort’s, is well-documented. The analogy of the Horcrux is an apt one.

In an online diary entry, Rowling described a Horcrux as a “receptacle in which a Dark wizard has hidden a part of his soul for the purposes of attaining immortality.” With part of a witch or wizard’s soul thus stored, he or she becomes immortal so long as the Horcrux remains intact, similar to the Eastern European idea of a lich, as in the myth of Koschei the Deathless from the Slavic mythology. For this reason, Horcruxes are typically hidden in a safe location. Even if the witch or wizard’s body is destroyed, a portion of their soul will remain preserved within the Horcrux. However, the destruction of the creator’s body leaves the witch or wizard in a state of half-life, without corporeal form.

The delusion that evil acts can make us immortal is a time honored tale. The pride that preceded the fall of Satan is all about the God-complex, a term used to describe unhealthy narcissism — to feel that one is above all others, including God himself. But in real life cases, it is really the inflation of the grandiose false-self that makes criminals and extreme narcissists feel all powerful.

Rowling is quite clever and effective in her construction of Lord Voldemort. He is evil personified, but not so fantastical that we cannot see the evil and vices that reside in him are unfortunately found in many a mortal. And the half-life we find in Voldemort is not so unlike the maladapted personalities of extreme narcissists. They are anxiety ridden, contentious, controlling, and lacking self-awareness. In all the research I did for my book on unhealthy narcissism I found the consensus by experts was that unhealthy narcissism cannot be cured or reversed. Many people with this type personality are unaware of their problem and go see psychologists for depression. The depression can be treated, but behavior modification has been found to be ineffective as the unhealthy narcissist is not motivated to change, has difficulty seeing their behavior as problematic, and will not express remorse for their bad behavior. Many psychologists have written they do not tell their patients they are suffering from unhealthy narcissism as it is risky to do so for it could drive them deeper into their depression or further damage their fragile fragmented self-image.

A Horcrux can be magically undone only if the creator goes through a process of deep remorse for the murder committed to create the Horcrux. The pain of this remorse is so excruciating that the process itself may kill the creator.

Source: Wikipedia, Harry Potter book series, and my book, It Has A Name!

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