Is Shelter a narcissistic organisation?Make Text Bigger
I was just reading an article about narcissism and noticed some spooky similarities with Shelter.
Of course we are used to seeing narcissists defined as individuals who engage in a range of manipulative behaviour which is abusive to others. But studying Shelter’s behaviour, I kept seeing parallels, leading me to ask the question: is Shelter narcissistic? The organisation certainly seems to demonstrate many of the signs of narcissistic behaviour. This is not an exhaustive list, but it sets out the main thrust of why I came to think this:
‘Manipulative people often use projection as a way to deflect from their own shortcomings. Projection is a way of putting the emphasis on another person and highlighting (or making up) a negative aspect of their behaviour.’
As private landlords we see Shelter doing this constantly, when they accuse landlords of not providing decent, safe, affordable or secure housing. Since they provide none of this themselves and do not want this fact to be noticed by the general public, they lash out at landlords to divert attention away from their serious shortcomings. They play down all evidence of the private rented sector’s crucial role in supplying a huge range of housing for people with all different needs, they ignore the fact that more than 80% of private tenants are satisfied with their housing – more than the percentage in social housing who are satisfied – but instead use ‘broken record’ techniques to keep the spotlight on private landlords’ alleged deficiencies and away from the serious problems with their organisation.
‘Gas lighting is a form of mental manipulation in which the perpetrator uses emotional and psychological methods of intimidation to convince his or her victim that they are going insane.’
So, here we are as landlords, doing a good job, or so we thought. Our tenants are happy, our rents are often reasonable, we look after the properties, but Shelter says we’re doing a terrible job. Are we going mad?
- ‘Frustrating conversations:’
‘[This happens]…Especially if you happen to be challenging them. They will do everything in their power to confuse, distract and frustrate you from knowing the truth.’
This is a method I experienced previously, when challenging a so-called academic’s views on the PRS. Click here Shelter seems to be staffed by many who have worked closely with politicians and will be adept at using this as a method.
- ‘Moving the goalposts:’
‘A manipulative person doesn’t actually want you to succeed in anything and therefore they will do their utmost to make sure this doesn’t happen. They will move the goal posts in order to see you fail. Once this has happened they can then be justified in their disappointment in you. Even if you reach their expectations time and time again, be prepared for the goal to be higher than you realised. It is their way of saying to you that you will never be good enough in their eyes.’
So, Shelter will push for further regulation on the PRS, and when the law gets changed, they will shift the goal posts and pick on a new way of demonstrating that we are not good enough and that we need to have our businesses restricted even further. I honestly believe that we will never be good enough for them – and they act as though they are our judge and jury (self-appointed and without expertise or experience in providing housing).
- ‘Changing the subject:’
See 3 above.
- ‘Love-bombing and devaluation:’
Unfortunately, Shelter don’t bother with the love-bombing part.
This consists of using a third party who can be fêted and praised against you. Shelter only tends to use this implicitly, with the assumption behind much of what it does that the social sector is superior to the private (it isn’t by any credible criteria), and it also implicitly supports the expensive and luxurious end of the rental market; its collaboration with Legal and General, which is engaged in Build to Rent is a case in point. It seems that anyone apart from us is doing a great job (victims of narcissists will be very familiar with this form of attack).
- ‘Cruel comments disguised as jokes:’
I am not aware of Shelter itself having a sense of humour; some of its ‘supporters’ however, are happy to make the kind of jokes about murdering all landlords and nailing us to trees and so on, which only a psychopathic narcissist could dream up, think it is okay to publish or think was funny. Substitute the word ‘landlord’ for ‘tenant’ or ‘Jewish person’ or ‘school teacher’ and it is clear how unfunny this is.
- Being ‘condescending and patronising:’
Shelter is of course very fond of puffing up its own self-importance. On its websites it often quotes big figures of the numbers it has helped – I think they may count everyone who visits their site, so because I have looked on their sites I would be included in their figure of ‘millions helped.’ The fact that it thinks it has the right to tell us how to provide housing is also certainly condescending and patronising, as well as deluded.
Finally, a narcissist will try and gain complete control over you and what you do. Shelter demonstrates this in many of their campaigns – such as the one trying to change the law so that we have to offer mandatory 5-year tenancies. Why should Shelter think it has the right to dictate this? There is also its current campaign to remove choice for landlords and letting agents regarding whom they wish to accept as tenants, and effectively force them to accept tenants on benefits, on pain of litigation. This is also evidence of its ultimate hypocrisy. Their spokesperson says that this is no riskier – but if that were the case, why don’t lenders and insurance companies agree? They are after all experts in what is and isn’t a risk. It is reassuring though to hear that Shelter feels this way as it is now bound to offer a great national scheme to underwrite landlords who otherwise would be reluctant to take on this client group.
Bravo to Shelter for putting its money where its mouth is! (not)
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