Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Psychology of Karen II: The Vigilante Karen sub-type

 Last November I wrote a post about "Psychology of Karen", but I realized I had left something out... a subtype of Karen that base their actions on their supposed superiority (narcissism) rather than entitledness. I call this subspecies of Karen the "vigilante Karen". 

To recap, I postulated that "regular" Karen do things because she:

["Karen"] feels entitled to service (narcissism) and due to either temporary or permanent psychopathy, refused to see her own mistake(s). When confronted by others, instead of self-reflect, her response was to counter-attack by any means available, including doubling down on her mistake, and making false reports to police, because she MUST win, even if she had to engage Machiavellianism by lying. 

However, this is not quite the case in "vigilante Karen". A vigilante Karen, for one reason or another, decided to take on someone else's problem, even though there is either no problem or is none of her business. A vigilante Karen decided to "right some wrong" with her inappropriate behavior. This is in contrast to most "regular" Karens where her behavior is self-centered: "serve me!" "listen to me!" and so on.

Two examples of Vigilante Karens:  

"Vigilante Karen" (a): Karen mom, towing her own child, stalked an unaccompanied minor at an airport because she believed the child's a runaway (she's just waiting for the next flight). 

"Vigilante Karen" (b): picked up a baby from a stroller and was unwrapping the baby despite repeated "no" from the mother, gets accused as a kidnapper and bolted (without the baby). 

The decision-making process is actually quite similar, except the behavior did not stem from entitledness ("I deserved to be served!") but rather, a different aspect of narcissism: a sense of their own importance, that they know better than you. 

If you read through both of the links above, you'll see that both "Karens" believe something and they *must* be right. In (a), Karen believed the child must be a runaway and in (b) the baby should be held, not left in a stroller. And they decided to "right the wrong" by aggressively going after the target, despite multiple indications that their help is neither necessary nor appreciated. 

"Vigilante Karen" feels she knew better than anyone else narcissism) and due to either temporary or permanent psychopathy, refused to see her own mistake(s) and/or why her behavior was inappropriate.  

In case (a), Karen was only stopped by an airport gate employee, who threatened to call security on her, after apparently walking through half of the airport looking for her target. In case (b), Karen apparently realized she really did behave like a kidnapper and bolted. (Though it's possible she really is out to kidnap a child?!)


So how do you deal with the vigilante Karen? 

A vigilante Karen wanted to be "right", and will probably WANT to cooperate with the authorities. She probably would not lie, as she may genuinely be concerned, though her "solution" may be wildly inappropriate. In (a) she wanted to drag the target to a different terminal (where her own flight) and turn her over to the authorities, never mind this is practically kidnapping. And in (b) she decided the baby should be held, and picked the baby up despite objections from the mother. 

Unfortunately, if you are the target, there's nothing you can do to convince Karen she's wrong. Her superiority complex will cause her to ignore all such evidence as happened in (a) "That doesn't prove anything", maybe escalated to "you're lying". 

Generally, you will need to involve the authorities yourself, or shout out and demand attention from everyone nearby, and if the transgression is so egregious, people will react (hopefully). Which should get Karen to back off, and/or authorities be summoned. 

Vigilante Karens do not escalate when people around started paying attention, esp. when summoned by heinous accusations like "kidnapper!", or stopped by someone who actually has authority (like airport gate personnel). They wanted to be "right", and having the crowd or the authorities turn against them is not in their plans. 

This is a marked contrast to the "regular" Karens who can and will exaggerate the problem to authorities. Regular Karens wield authorities (police, manager, etc.) as a "tool" in order to "win", to "punish" people who will not obey her.  Vigilante Karens wanted to be "right" so they will generally want the facts on their side, so they will generally NOT lie and make false reports because that would prove they were wrong to start with. They will usually quit when they realize they can't win. 

VIgilante Karens, being Karens out of "righting some wrong", is less destructive than "regular" Karens who act that way out of entitledness, and therefore inherently less destructive in general. They know when to quit, whereas regular Karens will double- or triple-down, make false reports to police, and so on, and don't know when to quit. 

But they are definitely related.