As I watched the Lifetime Docuseries Surviving R. Kelly and drowned myself in online conversations about Hip Hop culture, Kelly’s sickening enablers who facilitated the serial rape of underage girls, and his upbringing that is partially due to his illness, I’m compelled to continue the discussion around rape in relation to narcissism.
R. Kelly Presents with Narcissistic Traits
Outside of the pedophilia and cultish leadership, the docuseries revealed Kelly’s overbearing narcissistic traits. When psychotherapist Jessica Meiman discussed his need to be in control to feed his “delusional sense of power.” She was spot on in describing a huge aspect of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Kelly appears to have these young women under his control, using threats of harm, pressure, and deception.
The textbook narcissist is that same prince charming qualities at the beginning of a relationship, which is the bait. When this person switches and unveils his true character, there is nothing appealing about them. A narcissist is often extremely entitled and lacks empathy for others. These traits alone create an increased edge for an already rich and famous Pied Piper to get what he wants whatever means. According to Motherboard, Dr. Emily R. Mouilso found through research on college campuses that men with a history of perpetrating multiple times had higher scores for Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
The research included other factors like lack of consent education and social pressure, excuses we aren’t taking from Mr. Robert Kelly. Other research indirectly links narcissistic traits to rape; they mention that similar to a general narcissist, the sexual narcissist does not mind manipulating the person to get what he wants.
There are four domains of sexual narcissism:
- Sexual exploitation
- Sexual entitlement
- Low sexual empathy
- Perceived sexual skill
According to Kelly’s survivors’ accounts, he fits 2-3 of those traits. You may have noticed a few. For example, when he is on stage instructing front row fans to wipe all over his face, when he stands up and insures their hands touch his penis, or that he allegedly has unprotected sex with the girls, and fails to report STDs, Mono, etc.
Don’t Mistake Intensity for Intimacy
According to Medical Express, Dr. Ilan Shrira, a psychologist who teaches at the University of Florida states, “Narcissists have a heightened sense of sexuality, but they tend to view sex very differently than other people do,” she continues, “narcissists see sexuality as a source of power, influence and as something daring, versus people with low narcissistic qualities who associate sex with intimacy.” This, I believe, is a good point; when dealing with a narcissist (or anyone really) it is important you do not mistake intensity for intimacy. The thirst for danger, a secret get-away with someone you don’t know well, or feeling like your dreams will be answered in this one person can tie you into a full-on relationship with a narcissist that you did not know you signed up for. The narcissist, like the average abuser, will separate you from your sources of support so it will be just you and him. The influence of such relationship along with feelings of closeness can trigger a chemical response that bonds people to their abuser. This side effect of abuse is one of the least socially understood. The bonding is considered a survival strategy for victims of abuse and develops subconsciously and involuntary. Scientifically, it is a result of oxytocin and cortisol released in the body. Theoretically, it is called Stockholm Syndrome.
The Industry & Rape Culture
The entertainment industry has been an accessory in rape culture. The industry participates in keeping secrets, blaming the victims, and supporting entertainers who are rapist. Obviously, money plays a huge role in how people get away with criminal activity. However, the level of offense and the duration for which it takes place makes Kelly’s situation a different story. In a Complex interview, Dame Dash told Kenyatta Griggs, he did not want the money from the Best of Both Worlds album. He stated “If you remember the Best of Both Worlds, you don’t see my name on that… I didn’t want no parts of that.”
I don’t understand why it is difficult to stand up in this way. Don’t work with a person in a capacity that would allow them to fund activities that you don’t agree with unless you’re in agreement with that lifestyle. Based on reports Kelly’s activities were organized and strategic in a way that screams predator. He had direct support. This level of staffing, wherein friends help pick and groom young women, is evidence of a person who believes they are above the law. Based on reports from XXL, Kelly is threatening to sue Lifetime network for releasing the docuseries that he says is “packed with lies.”
When you review the signs of narcissism, you’ll notice there is a pervasive pattern of haughty behavior and a delusional sense of self-importance. In a video released in 2018, he brags, “It’s too late, they should have done this shit 30 years ago, the music has been ejected into the world.”
He goes on to say “I hired my mother fucking self,” basically alluding to the idea he believes he is untouchable and had delusional thoughts of superiority.
It’s all so sickening.