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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Behaviour of the Brown Family - Narcissistic in Nature?

I have thought for a long time that certain Brown family parents display tendencies that could be considered narcissistic in nature.  Apparently, many posters agree with me if you read the comments we receive here at SWB.  This “theme” of narcissism really stuck out to me when I read what happened in court on Friday, December 16 and learned that the investigation into the Browns wasn’t only about polygamy.  If the Browns knew this they certainly hid it well.

I am not a medical or mental health professional and I don’t play one on TV.  However, I know quite a bit about narcissistic behaviour and Narcissistic Personality Disorder because of family experiences.  But that is another story for another time and another blog.  Let’s just say I know enough to discuss this subject.  

Narcissists generally have a sense of self-importance and an unusually strong (and often unfounded) idea that they are super-special – and you better think so, too.  So that is what I saw when I read about this lawsuit and the investigation:  the Browns thinking that, of course Utah would pursue them solely for the crime of polygamy when that state says it does not do that, and in recent times it only prosecutes for polygamy when other, specific, crimes are also involved.  I thought, how special do they think they are that Utah would not only prosecute them but also persecute them?

Then I realized, they DO think they are special.  They specifically sought out a TV show to display their super-specialness to the world and to receive the respect and esteem they felt they deserved.  By the way, an excessive need for admiration is a a type of behaviour that can be considered narcissistic.  In their thought process did the Browns  believe they were so special that people would overlook their “financial indiscretions” and less than stellar interpersonal relationships?  Did they believe that they have the right to do those things because of their “specialness”?  The lack of a mature conscience that understands whether what one is doing is right / wrong is typical of narcissist-type behaviour.

Their interpersonal relationships bring me to another characteristic that is typical of narcissists:  interpersonal exploitation.  Strongly narcissistic people treat others as tools, utensils for their own personal gain like a chair or a pencil (or a baby-maker); they are useful while they are useful and are put down without another thought when that use has ended.  Narcissists don’t think about the feelings, needs and dreams of these “utensils”; they don’t even realize that anyone other than them might have those things because they lack empathy (yet another narcissistic trait). 

This goes along with narcissistic cruelty toward others.  In my observation this cruelty is casual, because narcissists don’t see their behaviour as cruel.  How can you be cruel to someone who has no feelings?  That is how narcissists see their interactions with others (e.g. hormonal monster-gate; Logan-prospective-sitter leaving-gate).  Narcissists often pretend to understand emotions or emotional cues to “fit in”, but when listening to them speak it becomes apparent that there is a disconnect; discussions with them are strange and uncomfortable. 

Yet, narcissists are VERY sensitive to any perceived criticism.  They tend to overreact because they believe that, being the super-special beings they are, they must be perfect and superior or else they are worthless failures.  They often attack others to prevent people criticizing them.  The best defence is a good offence, right?  This psychological quirk also tends to make them paranoid (e.g. of sharks) and to avoid initiative because if you don’t start / finish something you can’t fail at it.  But boy, oh boy, do they talk a good game (because they are super-special).

They don’t let others get close for fear of revealing their true selves.  They are masters of the superficial.  This also makes them naive and vulnerable.  Because humor and time are both contextual, narcissists tend not to have a good sense of either (or typically have a strange sense of humour). 

Paradoxically, narcissists who are always working to project this false image of specialness and perfection need other people to view that image and tell them that they are special.  So they need others around them; they can’t stand to live alone.  They, of course, like to pick people to live with who will feed into that image of super-specialness.  One name for the folks narcissists tend to pick as partners is “co-dependents”, or emotionally needy people (rhymes with “Jeri” and “Manelle” perhaps?).

What other evidence do I have to think that some of the Brown parents display behaviours that could be considered narcissistic in nature?  I watched interviews with them.  Narcissists lie and contradict themselves very frequently, even when it would be easier to tell the truth and they ALWAYS deny that they have lied and contradicted themselves.

By now you know which Brown parent(s) I think display behavior that could be considered narcissistic in nature, if you are/were a faithful “Sister Wives” viewer.  But this is just my opinion.  What is yours?

Written by: Terrasola


  1. I suspect that the Browns THINK they are showing us how to live. Their way is the right way and they are going to show us how its done. They are teachers.
    Im just waiting for Kody to break away from the AUB and start his own group, which will be filmed of course.

  2. What I find most disturbing is Kody's lack of a relationship with any of his children. He seems to talk about Sol lately...but I think that's because he is obsessed with Robyn.

    When viewing Kody in the same room as his kids, it's obvious he knows nothing about them...I would bet he doesnt even know any of their teachers names...it's painful to watch him with them....he wants all these kids but acts like a distant friend than a father...

  3. Wow, that would be a reality show to trump all others. Kody the prophet. TLC could film him getting his revelations from god. I would pay to see that on film LOL

  4. Does this mean that if Robyn gets all the attention that Kody will turn on her?

  5. He wont turn on her, he will control her! and she'll let him.

  6. almost sounds like a cult..

  7. Good editorial, Terrasola !! As Always !!!!

    Yes, this is narcissism in full bloom.
    He has such an inflated sense of self..it just has to be pathological !!!
    Still thinking about the episode with the high school friends who freely admitted on camera that Sperm King was an attention junkie even back then....that some thought he was gay.

    Agree about the kids....it was and is so sadly obvious that he has little contact with his pre-Robyn children, other than seeing then come out of the womb and announcing their lineage.
    What a colossal waste of space as father !!!.

    Yet, because Solomon, the latest fruit of his loins, has been filmed from conception to birth; he is all over that child. How utterly sad for his 'other 13' children.

    And we do have to wonder if the original accommodating, adoring wives may be, indeed, just needy sycophants...
    Or....are they also narcissists who were just waiting for a leader ??? Who knows??

  8. I believe we have accidentally stumbled upon the perfect new ne for Kody.


  9. Since the Browns and TLC read here, you can bet future episodes will feature the kodster in role of involved father. The producers are working on it as we speak.

  10. I wonder if TLC would continue the show if only Christine is convicted and has to go to jail, and the rest go free.

  11. LOL anon 5:20 "almost sounds like a cult." YUP.

    Border Collie--good point. Looking forward to some staged father/child outings next season (/sarcasm)

  12. Interesting point, anon 9:19.

    If the Brown's are successful in decriminalizing polygamy, then only the other charges they're being investigated for would stand. If the other charges are for things that only one of them did, you would think only that one would get charged.

    So even if the other charge came because someone misrepresented financial support from the rest of the "family", seems like only the one doing the misrepresenting would go to jail.

  13. When asked about their lifestyle, Christine gets this distorted look on her face and tries to convince us how "normal" they are and like everybody else...but they are far from normal..

    In "normal" families its usually both parents taking a common interest in their children ie: both attending sporting events for their kids etc...not the dad off on a "date" with one of his other wives...and how disturbing is it that Meri is so starved for Kody's attention that she doesn't insist that he attend was it Logan or Hunters wrestling match...but that he keep his date with her instead...how incredibly selfish of her...not one of the adults put their children first...the wives are all fighting for Kody's attention...while Kody is like a junk yard dog in heat after Robyn, while trying to make a sorry attempt to keep the other wives happy..

    Interesting how near tears Christine was in receiving a watch from Kody...I guess gift giving is rare in this family...and I would imagine in this group gifts are compared to who is getting what....

    Robyn now acts so confident and outspoken in their couch interviews because she knows she now is the #1 wife...God knows what her and Kody's pillow talk is like...the other wives know this too...and it's affecting Christine the most being she has to medicate herself just to survive in this dysfunction...

    Notice at family events the older children do not interact with Kody...they interact with each other, or with their moms....

    How often have we seen Kody out in his yard tossing a football or baseball with his kids...or taking his sons on a fishing or camping trip...his time is divided to include only interaction with the wives and the wives are too selfish to insist Kody use some of those allotted hours to take the kids out somewhere...

    This family is a mess...and Christine, if you read this, your family is far from "normal"

  14. Perhaps it is because of the situation she is in, but I think Christine is a narcissist as well. Example: Having to be accepted by the actors at Plymouth Plantation. Out of the fantastic five, I think maybe only Meri and Janelle are NOT narcissists. I think it is interesting that female narcissists would choose to be in polygamous relationships since they have to share. I thought about it for a bit and realized that maybe they choose this lifestyle because they are constantly "proving" to themselves and others that they are "better" than everyone else- or at least they think they are in in their minds. Example: Christine commenting how her and Kody had the "best" marriage.

    Whatever the case may be, also fitting the stereotypical profile of most narcissists, Kody, Robyn and Christine are all horribly obnoxious and irritating.

    Good post.

  15. "...while Kody is like a junk yard dog in heat after Robyn, while trying to make a sorry attempt to keep the other wives happy.."
    Yes, 'This'......is what they have poignantly relayed to the TV masses.

    For the other three.......
    That their lives as adult women and mothers are consumed with securing whatever fleeting bits of his attention they can (and I don't mean his scheduled house to house booty calls, that IS what a junk yard dog is all about)....hoping that it is their turn to sit beside him for the couch talks, to be right next to him for the photo shoots, hoping that it is their turn for TLC to want to do a clip that is about their kids, filmed at their house.... with Kody present.
    Brief, edited, staged time with the man and father of your kids. Normal...??? Not !!!!!

    TLC, if you watching this blog...you should know by now that Kody comes off as a selfish, horny adolescent with the parenting instincts of a hamster.
    The endless clips of him just driving up or down the street to his next "scene"....fluffing his "going bald and don't want it to show" hair has only proven what a lazy, self-indulgent and entitled ass he is.

    Yes, TLC.....heed the suggestions offered here.
    Stage more scenes of him at least pretending to interact with his many children. It may be all pretense, but at least some of the kids may actually feel "daddy-ed" for that short time.

  16. Anonymous 12:26: EXACTLY! That's what I've been saying all along as well: we see Kody running around trying to "nurture" the adult relationships, going on dates with the Mom of the day, with the few hours in the a.m. and p.m. spent with the kids of that mom..... Or else it's a huge camping trip or other group excursion with the whole gang..... which doesn't look like fun to me....I felt so stressed just watching them pack and unpack and the repack (we didn't see that but it had to happen) for that Christmas up in that cabin. WHAT FOR???? None of the older kids wanted to go! Yes, WHERE are the camping/fishing trips, baseball/football/pick your sport with JUST Kody and the older boys? Or just time with the older daughters? Or taking just the little kids to the park? We only saw Kody with ALL of the kids at once, "baby-sitting' his own kids just to show us what a martyr he is for living this life and that it's NOT all about him, blah blah blah. We're not idiots, you know, we all know that usually there is more than 1 mom around with all the kids and the older siblings take care of their own full siblings, like Mykelty seems to always be carrying Truelly, and Logan making breakfast for his full siblings etc. But of course, how CAN Kody go away for 2, 3 or even 4 days camping with the boys? Those are nights taken away from the wives! And we all remember how upset they all were when he went on a honeymoon with Robyn.....

  17. Excellent post, Terrasola; as always, you are a very thoughtful writer.

    The only thing I would like to add is that I would hate to be the target of Kody in a narcissistic rage.

    I seem to recall catching him wearing this rather dark look on his face, at certain unguarded moments.

    It usually cropped up when someone was saying something contrary to the party line; or, there was a conversation in progress that did not immediately involve him.

    If anyone wants to know of specific instances, I'd encourage them to look at some of the "couch klatches" and you'll quickly see what I mean.

    My point is if, on television, after a lot of editing and PR-wizardry, this type of change in his demeanor can be noted by someone like me (I am not always clued into the subtext of this show), then I can imagine he would be quite unpleasant to behold in private.

  18. What other crimes were they investigated for? Is there an article with this info? It definitely seemed suspicious how quickly they rushed out of Utah.

  19. anon 4:16---I think the other charges are being kept hush hush right now.

  20. "Rubber Tree Plant said...
    Excellent post, Terrasola; as always, you are a very thoughtful writer.

    The only thing I would like to add is that I would hate to be the target of Kody in a narcissistic rage."

    Word, bloggers, word. But I think that simply being the target of Kodster's "attentions" *wink* is a special kind of hell all by itself!!

  21. Rumour in Utah is that the browns are being investigated for welfare and bankruptcy fraud, as well as fraud for using the same last names and signing documents as such. It's just a matter of time before the law files charges. Let's see how narcissistic they are then.

  22. Rubber Tree PLant I agree with you that Kody gets a dark look on his face when anyone disagrees with him. He believes that he is the leader and ruler of the family so if someone gets out of line I'm sure he feels entitled to "discipline" as he pleases. The scenes when he was with all the kids were pathethic. Parents don't "babysit" children! they are supposed to parent. Kody was yelling at the girls for not reading his mind. He yelled at Mariah to do something and he didn't even know what. When Aspyn and Mykelti were arguing he threatened to ground them. An involved parent doesn't threaten to punish kids right away, they have nothing to work with then. Kody seemed mad to be corrected about the marker especially in front of the camera. If he paid attention to his kids drawing pictures he would know about the markers.

  23. Thanks Terrasola, very perceptive. I have definitely observed narcissists within AUB. Men who feel entitled to be followed and adored and are drawn towards groups where they can indulge their notions of being "special" and unlike others. That is why people like the Browns say that polygamy isn't for everyone, - its only for the elite like themselves.

  24. what does AUB stand for?

  25. After learning the particulars of this religion, it appears following it inherently requires narcissism. The idea that a man has women lauding him with praise & servitude, the more the better his chances of attaining a better celestial kingdom of course requires conceit! The more I learn about polygamy, the less I feel inclined to "live & let live" because of the incessant production of offspring and the lack of attention paid them by the father after they are born. What happens to them once they all reach the celestial planet? Are they treated THEN as children should be treated, with loving attention? Hmmmmm.

  26. I'm very interested in the outcome of the season finale when Robin gave birth to Solomon and then "offered" to carry Meri and Kody's child. I believe Meri will be thrilled at the prospect of having another child, I'm not so sure the other wives will as accepting. Of course Kody will be delighted to have another child, but he will have to be sensitive to the fact that the child will be Meri's not Robins.

  27. If the second wife's mom is the second wife of kody's father, then her and kody are step brother and sister. That's incest. Gross!

    1. Actually, Janelle's (Kody's 2nd wife) mother Sheryl is the THIRD wife of Kody's father Winn Brown. They are related by spiritual marriage, only.

  28. Very good article. I too find Cody Brown to be highly narcissistic and have seen his wives acting sadly co-dependent. The best example of this to me was when Cody gave Meri a birthday gift of a trip to Mexico and made the situation all about himself and what a great husband he was in doing so. To him it was not about giving a gift to his wife it was about HIM. I live in Utah and know many polygamous families. I believe the nature of polygamy was created to support the narcissistic co-dependency "dance". All the adults are role players to such an extent they dont realise themselves. I do feel the children in this family as well as other families I've known are sadly left out of the picture as the adults go about this "dance". I would also add that many polygamous people I've known don't pay taxes, don't have health insurance (for obvious reasons, how could you with four wives and one legal marriage?), many are on welfare. I don't know that the Browns live that way and I'm not accusing them of that but this show is all about them showing how "normal" they are and how they've chosen their lifestyle when the real topic should be those I've mentioned as well as the children and how they share their dad with many other siblings and are often left out of the picture. Polygamous children I've grown up with often leave their clans and don't look back! All those kids and one is likely to be gay; I wonder how, in such a religion, Cody will let that one unfold on television!

  29. Well I am a mental health professional and I absolutely think Cody is delusional, that he has NPD and his wives are co-dependent. I believe that he is 100% harming his children emotionally and I can't help but think that Meri is on anti-depressants. She has gained weight and is absolutely flat in her affect (facial features) when she speaks, in the later episodes, as opposed to the anxious/depressed Meri of the earlier episodes. I watched the entire first season in 2 days and let me tell you, one gets a very very different picture of the situation when you see the episodes back to back. I wonder, how many of these kids will actually grow up to hate and blame their father/parents for subjecting them to the incessant need for fame and attention. I could not help to notice that the wives drive older model cars while Cody drives that flamboyant sportscar. Honestly I think alot of people might think he was gay if they did not know his situation, given how flamboyant he is. No doubt, this man needs therapy. Hands down, this is psychopathology in action. I am for religious freedom but this is really hurting these children. Its a setup for failure. Not one of them is thinking of the children and their needs in this situation. Its hard to watch, but psychologically fascinating to watch a personality disorder in action, for all of America to see....hmmmm

  30. Bou you nailed the behavior of the Browns. Being raised in that society seems to bring on this behavior. The immaturity adds to the behavior and lack of problem solving.