Background

Alcohol+Covert Narcissist=Antisocial Grandiose Narcissist

Uploaded 7/5/2020, approx. 46 minute read

I have something horrible to share with you. I have reached a conclusion that my meaning has borderline personality disorder.

Let me tell you why.

First of all, she disappears overnight and appears only during the day. I don't know what she is doing.

Second thing, she always starts hot, but the more intimacy we have, like this, the colder she gets, hot and cold. This is what we call in psychology, splitting, dichotomous behavior.

Second thing, I caught her several times in the local dishwasher with some exceedingly good-looking mugs. I can't tell you how much this hurts.

So, all in all, she vanishes, her only object constancy seems to be in the dishwasher, and she disappears overnight.

I think I have a borderline on my hands, or in my hands, but I still love her.

Look. So, I've proposed drinks. You can discuss a different kind of drink today. It has been known throughout history as alcohol.

My name is Sam Vaknin. I'm a professor of psychology and the author of Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited in a series of books and other books about personality disorder. My most recent book has been co-authored, and it's The Narcissism Reader, which you can find on Amazon. I'm one of the authors.


So, today we're going to discuss what alcohol does to the covert narcissist, not to the grandiose overt narcissist, but to the covert narcissist.

Remember that the main feature of the covert narcissist is shockingly that he is covert. He presents a facade of being humble, of being modest, and free-facing even. He hides. He's surreptitious. He's subterranean. He's passive-aggressive. He never seeks attention or adulation directly, but through other people.

He is very envious. He lacks moral standards. He's morally compromised.

Above all, he is a collapsed narcissist. He's a narcissist who failed to obtain narcissistic supply in the classical ways of reaching out to the world, going out to potential sources of supply, and then grooming them or converting them into active sources of supply.

It's bad enough as it is, but it gets much worse when the covert narcissist gets drunk, gets wasted, when the covert narcissist teams up with alcohol.


But before we go there, perhaps it would behoove us to remind ourselves what alcohol does to the human mind.

Alcohol has basically seven effects.

Many of these effects are not well known, and many of them are counterintuitive, and many of them are misrepresented in literature online.

There is a fad or a fashion nowadays to try to find an equivalent in brain activity or blood flow in the brain to every mental health condition.

And also, there's another fad of pathologizing things or medicalizing things.

Today, alcoholism is considered a brain disease for some reason. Of course, alcohol induces changes in the brain, some of them irreversible.

But the cause and effect are not clear. One cannot say with any certainty that alcohol is the outcome of the changes in the brain. It's much more likely, actually, although this is speculative, but it's much more likely that it's the alcohol that has caused the neuroplastic transformations in the brain rather than the other way around.

So I am not an adherent of the medical school of psychology, which attempts to transform psychology into a form of medicine.

And so I don't buy this story that alcoholics have a brain disease, because if they really had a brain, if it really was a brain disease, they would not have been able to stop.

And there are numerous alcoholics who succeeded to win themselves off alcohol. They no longer consume alcohol. And they don't consume alcohol for years, sometimes decades.

Can you win yourself off tuberculosis? Can you just wish away brain cancer? Can you decide to not have COVID-19?

So in my personal opinion, as someone who had been trained in medicine and in psychology, I don't buy this story that alcoholism is a brain disorder. I think alcoholism is a choice.

Now, alcoholism has seven effects.


Number one, it changes empathy.

Not, not as the misinformation online goes, it does not eliminate empathy. It changes the targets of the empathy.

Alcohol reduces empathy towards loved ones, nearest and dearest. In other words, the alcoholic would feel less empathic, with his spouse, or with his children, or with his co-workers, or with his boss, or with peoplemeaningful, significant people in his life.

But at the same time, alcohol has a very bizarre effect. It enhances empathy towards perfect strangers.

So alcohol tends to encourage attachment and bonding with perfect strangers, and also motivates the alcoholic to take care of these strangers, to care for the well-being of these strangers, and to try to enhance it. Which explains, of course, why many alcoholics, or many people, many problem drinkers, many people who had consumed alcohol, end up having sex with other strangers, as a form of, as an empathic expression, as a way of making the stranger feel good, catering to the stranger's emotional needs.


The second effect of alcohol is that it disinhibits. We all know this. It removes inhibitions. Inhibitions are inculcated in us. Inhibitions are put in us via the process of socialization and acculturation. Social agents, for example, as teachers, role models, or even peers, teach us what is not socially acceptable, what we should not do, because we will end up being punished, or because we'll end up being ostracized or excommunicated, or because we'll pay the price of some kind.

So anticipating the consequences of our actions prevents us from acting on pre-existing wishes. But it's very important to understand.

An alcoholing, or someone under the influence, is disinhibited in the sense that he no longer avoids or controls his behavior, and so he acts on pre-existing wishes.

In other words, if someone under the influence tells you the next day, I really didn't want to do that. I didn't want to do that. I can't believe I did this. It's not me. I'm shocked. I'm surprised. I don't believe a word of it. He wanted to do whatever he had done. He wanted to aggress. He wanted to be violent. He wanted to sleep with that beautiful woman. He wanted to do all these things, or she wanted to do all these things. But she didn't dare.

When sober, we have these social constraints. We have these voices, introjects in our head, which tell us, don't do this. It's not nice. It's not okay. It's not moral. You will be punished.

These are called inhibitions.

Alcohol removes these voices, silences them, and then we are free to act on our real wishes. But these wishes predate the alcohol. These wishes exist in our mind.

A woman enters the bar. She sees a drop-dead gorgeous heart-throat guy at the end of the counter. She wants to have sex with him. She will not, because she's married and she loves her husband.

But after a few drinks, her empathy towards her husband will vanish, and she will act on her wish. She will have sex with that gorgeous stranger, because she's disinhibited.


The next effect is colloquially known as beer goggles. It simply means that under the influence of alcohol, we find other people, especially people of the opposite sex, if we are heterosexual, we find other people much more attractive than we would have found them without alcohol.

Alcohol affects our perception of attractiveness of other people.

One of the ways alcohol does this is by having an effect on the part of our brain, on the center of our brain, that perceives symmetry. We are naturally attracted to symmetrical faces. When we drink, we perceive everyone to be symmetric. Even very asymmetric, asymmetrical people, are perceived by us to be symmetrical. Our symmetry perception is affected by alcohol, and we regard everyone as symmetrical, symmetric with symmetric faces, and so as attractive.

Attractiveness is enhanced.

This is why, again, many encounters with alcohol end up in casual sex with partners, which the next morning we find to be very, very unattractive physically.

The next thing alcohol does is it disguises hesitancy. If you feel like a fraud, if you feel like an imposter, if you feel that you are acting the role, acting, for example, the gender role, if you feel that you're not really a man, but you're acting the man, you're not really a woman, you have low self-esteem, low self-confidence, you have body image problems, but you're acting the woman.

So if you feel that you're acting, if there is this pause for thinking, pause for planning, pause for if there is this hesitancy, this delay, microsecond delay, which normal healthy people don't have, alcohol helps to disguise it.

If you want to act in a certain way and you have to think about it, it doesn't come to you naturally and automatically, but it's part of a script, it's part of an act.

When you raise the glass to you by time, simply by time, and you are able to camouflage the hesitancy, you're able to camouflage the delay by engaging in an activity which is socially acceptable, drinking, and this activity makes you also look more sophisticated, more of the world, so to speak.

Of course, I'm not talking about getting wasted or getting drunk, this is the opposite of it.

But at the very beginning of the evening, if you raise a glass and you drink, you're sophisticated and you are disguising your hesitancy.

Drink also provides for an alibi or an excuse.

A drink is therefore, alcohol is there, provides for an alloplastic defense.

In other words, the next morning you can say it wasn't me, it was the drink. It's the drink's fault. The alcohol made me do it.

I would have never done it had I not been drunk.

I go drunk and he goes lucky, etc.

So these are alloplastic defenses.


The sixth effect is memory.

Alcohol affects memory from the very beginning.

From the first imbibing of the tiniest amount of alcohol, the memory begins to be affected.

When you reach a certain level, a certain concentration of alcohol in your blood, your long-term memory shuts off.

The hippocampus region shuts off and you're unable to form long-term memories.

This is known as alcoholic blackout.

So memory is affected.

But prior to that concentration, even the concentration is lower, short-term memory is affected and there are memory gaps.

In other words, alcohol is dissociative.

Ironically, alcohol is also depressive. It creates depression. It emulates and imitates a dysphoric state.

But that comes much later.

First it disinhibits and then it depresses.

And throughout this, it helps you to dissociate.

Dissociation is also egosyntonic because you can claim, I don't remember what I've done or I don't fully remember what I've done. I've been so out of it. I've been so wasted a bit.


The seventh and last effect of alcohol is known as alcohol myopia.

Alcohol encourages stereotypical grandiosity. In other words, alcohol renders the drinker a narcissist, a temporary narcissist.

It's kind of a quiet situation of narcissism.

But the narcissism is focused on grandiosity and it is very stereotypical.

So a man who drinks would become a stereotypical macho, a savior, a messiah, a tough guy, protector, you know, a violent guy.

So an imitation of exaggerated caricature gender role.

Grandiosity is induced by alcohol, sometimes to extremes.

And people engage in activities to which put them at risk.

So alcohol encourages reckless behavior. You do things that you're not skilled to do, you're not qualified to do, you're not trained to do. And that can cost you your life sometimes.

Similarly, women, for example, would go into a hotel room with a perfect stranger they've never met before. They know nothing about.

And so they end up being sexually assaulted. It's a form of grandiosity. Nothing will happen to me. I'm immune. I'm invincible.

So this grandiosity affects recklessness.

Okay, these are the effects of alcohol.

Alcohol serves several psychological purposes, several psychological needs very effectively.

And this is why alcoholism is so intractable, difficult to get rid of, difficult to treat.

Before I continue, just to correct something I've said, blackouts and brownouts, the dissociation induced by alcohol depends crucially not only on the level on the concentration of alcohol in the blood, but how fast you had consumed the alcohol, whether you had consumed a huge amount of alcohol in a very short period of time. Otherwise, there will be no blackout or brownout, no matter how much you drink.

So if someone tells you that he had drunk six bottles of vodka over 12 hours and he had a blackout, don't believe him or don't believe her.

So it depends crucially on how fast you drank the alcohol within what period of time.

Alcoholism is also should be distinguished from problem drinking and binge drinking.

Binge drinking is a social activity. These are social drinkers.

Problem drinkers are people who resort to alcohol in order to regulate emotions and moods, but they are not addicted to alcohol. Only when they have a mood that they wish to eradicate or when only when their emotions are out of control and they overwhelm them, only then do they do they use alcohol.

So these are problem drinkers or what's collectively called neurotic drinkers.

Alcoholism is a different, different issue. It's an addiction.

But all these behaviors are very difficult to get rid of and to treat because alcohol is adaptive, adaptive. It serves very important functions.

And this is also why recidivism is as high as 60 percent within the first year after rehab. In other words, 60 percent of people who go through rehab start to drink again within one year.

The functions of alcohol can be divided into four.

First, palliative. It helps the alcoholic or it helps the person under the influence to cope with dissonance, with pain, with frustration, with anxiety, with anger, with stress, with sadness, with panic, with other negative emotions, with other mood disorders. This is palliative drinking.

Then there is restorative drinking. Helps the alcoholic to restore his or her self-confidence and self-esteem via the aforementioned grandiosity. Also helps people to reenter fully or occupy fully gender roles as men or women, especially men and women who have body image issues.

The third function of alcohol is disinhibitory. It lowers inhibitions.

Alcohol legitimizes narcissistic traits and behaviors like lack of empathy, extreme selfishness, a sense of entitlement or cheating on your loved one. It allows the alcoholic to express his or her repressed promiscuity and aggression. Traits that he or she find egotistonic when they are sober. In other words, when the person under the influence is sober, she dislikes or he dislikes or finds denigrating or unacceptable promiscuity or aggression. But under alcohol, she or he allow, allows, allow themselves to behave this way. Alcohol legitimizes.

Alcohol renders the alcoholic much more sociable, for example, much more grandiose, much more sociopathic, to use a colloquial term. The alcoholic becomes volubly defiant, hates authority figures, feels in control, recharge of others and of the situation, capable of doing anything she puts her mind to.

Irresistibly attractive, charming, charismatic and unfettered by rules or social, social mores. The alcoholic or the problem drinker says, I can do whatever the hell I want to. No one will tell me what to do.

As a result of these cognitive and emotional changes, the drunk person engages in reckless behaviors like unprotected sex with a stranger or compulsive shopping or compulsive gambling or of course reckless driving.

The final function of alcohol is instrumental. It allows the alcoholic to accomplish goals to become goal oriented. These are goals that he would never even try when he is sober.

And for example, going after a beautiful woman that you desire or attempting to accomplish something which normally you would not even dream of trying.

So, as you are beginning to see, alcohol would bring out the narcissist in the covert narcissist. Alcohol would eliminate the covert part and leave behind only the narcissist part.

The problem with the covert narcissist when he gets drunk is that the covert part falls away like so much unneeded skin. He sheds.

The covert narcissist under the influence of alcohol sheds his covert nature. He is no longer humble, he is no longer modest, he is grandiose, he is antisocial and so on.

The problem with the covert narcissist when he gets drunk is that he also becomes psychopathic.

I have another video which I advise you to watch where I explain the transition from doormat, doormat covert narcissist to a primary psychopath. This transition is often encouraged by alcohol.

In other words, covert narcissists induce this transition on purpose by drinking. Covert narcissists drink in order to become primary psychopaths, in order to have Dutch courage. Dutch courage, you know, alcohol gives you courage.

So, they are doormats, covert narcissists are doormats. They are afraid of the world, they are terrified of the limelight, they are avoidant, they are socially shy, they are pseudo humble, fake modesty. They are very wary of challenges because they can take rejection and failure and criticism and disagreement, much more so than the narcissist, they are very hypervigilant, much more than the classic narcissist. So, they have all this and it constrains them, it constricts them, it makes them people pleasers on the one hand and on the other hand it narrows their lives.

They live like in a tunnel vision, they have a tunnel and so they want to break out. They are like prisoners, hostages of their own disorder and they want to break out.

One way to break out is to disinhibit and become grandiose at the same time and alcohol does that for the covert narcissist.

So, many covert narcissists drink on a regular basis and they are problem drinkers or binge drinkers. When they want to socialize they drink, when they want to have sex they drink, when they want to go after a sexual target they drink, when they get cold feet they drink, whenever they are faced with stressful situations with performance anxiety or abandonment anxiety or whenever they want to go after unattainable targets or targets they perceive to be out of their reach normally and so they would drink because when they drink they are transformed, it's like a werewolf, you know.

One minute they are human, they drink, they become wolves in their own minds at least, they become wolves, they become animalistic, bestial, psychopathic narcissists, they can do anything to anyone at any time, anywhere. They are limitless, they are perfect, they are brilliant, they are omnipotent, they are all powerful, they are all knowing, they are saviors, they are messiahs, they are protectors, they are there, they are everywhere. This is the mindset, the sick, extremely frightening mindset of the covert narcissist when he drinks. This is why some people ask me, I consider covert narcissism by far the most dangerous type of either narcissist or psycho. Nothing terrifies me more than a covert narcissist.

I have witnessed over 25 years, I have witnessed covert narcissists when they undergo this transformation under the influence of alcohol. They cheat on their loved ones, fiance, girlfriend, wife, they have sex with totally inebriated and intoxicated sexual partners.

I'm not saying the sex is not consensual or consensual, but it's a fact. I've seen them when drunk not giving a damn on professional obligations, on proper conduct, on moral standards. I mean, they give up, they are utterly out of control and they have so much pent up rage, so much pent up frustration and aggression and envy that when these are let loose, they're like the hounds of hell. They're like the four horses of the apocalypse.

It's nothing more frightening, nothing more intimidating and nothing more repulsive than a drunk covert narcissist.

He suddenly transforms from this non-entity into this extreme psychopathic narcissistic grandiose biac of a non-human and monstrous with no standards, no rules, no empathy, no thought for others, utter unmitigated recklessness and the ability to damage, hurt and ruin everyone around them.

I'm saying this in professional settings, when they pick up strangers in a bar, I mean, you name it, whatever the setting is in a family, whatever the setting is, the covert narcissist plus alcohol is an exceedingly bad idea.

Here's the problem, habituation.

First time transgressions, cheating on your fiance, doing drugs, having sex with intoxicated partner, stealing money from your boss, being late for a very important professional engagement with 10 people waiting for you. I mean, all these things, acting immorally in other ways, pretending to know things you don't know, all these things under the influence of alcohol.

When the covert narcissist does it for the first time, it involves emotional preparedness.

Covert narcissist would engage in this kind of behavior when they're bored, when they're bored, they possess a low arousal or low boredom threshold, very much like psychopaths. And so they have this kind of background, prepared, a big background substrate, and then add to this disinhibition, induced by the alcohol, overcoming guilt, overcoming shame, overcoming peer pressure, ignoring the environment, and then losing impulse control.

And then there's a cognitive choice.

So first there is boredom, frustration, stress, anxiety, depression, envy. This is the emotional substrate, petri dish, within which the covert narcissist is festering and multiplying.

Then there is alcohol, which creates disinhibition and loss of impulse control. And this is a cognitive decision, cognitive choice. I'm going to go for it. I'm going to go get it. Nevermind the price. Nevermind who I'm going to hurt. I'm just going to do it.

So this is the first time. So you can see that the first time transgression, the first time the covert narcissist uses alcohol to overcome the covert part of his disorder is not easy. It requires multiple steps and it requires synergy and collaboration between various constructs within his personality.

But the second time is different because it had already become a habit.

First of all, the covert narcissist discovered the charms and the magic of alcohol. He realizes after the first time that alcohol made him a different person.

He did score with that girl. He did end up with someone else's money. He, I mean, he says to himself, wow, that's the winning formula. All I have to do is, you know, down a few drinks and I'm a different person. I'm a narcissist. I'm a go-getter narcissist. I'm a daredevil psychopath and I'm self efficacious. I can do it. There's a giant inside me waiting to wake up.

Now you understand why I consider these messages by a variety of coaches to be extremely pernicious and dangerous messages.


The second time covert narcissist uses alcohol is very different. It had become a habit with practice.

Abituation often leads to addiction. It's a form of compulsion. It's a confluence of physiological and psychological factors that conspired to render the newly formed behavior a pattern of behavior. It's the thrill of the illicit or the dangerously risky and reckless self destructiveness and masochism go into it.

Affirmation of oneself as bad and worthy object.

And on the other hand, in control, someone who can get things done, someone who everyone is frightened of. So all empowering, omnipotent. And of course, all this goes with the bodily effects. It's a witch's brew.

Covert narcissist under the influence is like he had consumed Macbeth's witch's brew.

There are two types of habits, intensive and extensive. Intensive habits are for example, smoking, binging on food, libation. Intensive habits cater to and satisfy a limited array of needs and cravings, predilections and proclivities, pathologies and wishes. They're easier to dispense with because they satisfy a limited set of needs. So these needs can be satisfied otherwise or can be ignored.

But extensive habits, like for example, cheating on your spouse or antisocial conduct, these are very difficult to get rid of because they gratify and they reflect the totality of the personality. It's quirks, it's idiosyncrasies.

When you cheat with someone, it's not only that part, the genitalia, the terrible soul of you, all of you, even in a one-night stand, it's all of you.

The serial adulterer brings into play every aspect and dimension of who she is or who he is.

Only a miracle will slow her down. Same goes for the drug addict, the pathological gambler or the alcoholic.

So what I'm saying is that the alcohol satisfies so many needs and reduces so many deficiencies in the covert narcissist that it becomes an extensive habit.

When the covert narcissist drinks, he perceives himself as much more than he is and he also perceives his deficiencies, his defects, his deformities, his problems, as gone. He says, wow, alcohol not only makes me a different person, it also heals and cures me of everything that had troubled me before, everything that pulled me down, everything that kept me hidden. I'm no longer a collapsed narcissist. Alcohol eliminates the collapse. It makes me perfect, makes me brilliant, makes me self efficacious. I can do things.

If I only put my mind to it, plus alcohol, plus alcohol. I have to put my mind to it and then imbibe, drink a little and then I'm all good. I'm all set. Set to go. I'm going to get there. I'm like a rocket. I'm unstoppable. I'm invincible. It's to someone like the covert narcissist who spent all his life being a doormat, a failure, a loser, a defeat, a defeated person, to suddenly experience this ability to extract beneficial outcomes from the world, to suddenly experience efficacy, efficiency, to suddenly be able to act upon the environment, to make the environment do what you want. This in itself is intoxicating. You don't need alcohol for this.

Now, if you add alcohol to this, it disinhibits you, so you're free to do these things.


You know what? In many ways, the covert narcissist is right.

When the covert narcissist drinks, he becomes a narcissist. A narcissism is largely egosyntonic.

In other words, narcissists are proud of who they are. They're happy with who they are because they think they're the next stage in the evolutionary ladder. They think they are much better adapted to life and to reality than normal people.

They hold neurotypicals. They hold normal people, healthy people in contempt and disdain because they belong to an inferior race. They are like the Neanderthals. All other people on the Neanderthals and the narcissist is the chroma neon. He is the future.

And so the covert narcissist feels even less than the Neanderthals. He feels like a failed Neanderthal.

But then when he drinks, he suddenly belongs to the elite of narcissists. He suddenly joins the fraternity of narcissists. He gets rid of his covert label and he becomes full-fledged narcissist, a member of the fraternity of the elite, the future rulers of the world who can resist this, not the covert narcissist.

The abuse of substances such as alcohol and drugs provides the addict with much more than a fuzzy feeling or a high. This is why it is nearly impossible to eradicate or to reverse and recidivism rates are stratospheric, as I mentioned.

The daily consumption of the substance is ritualized, involves special implements. The day is structured around securing the drugs or the alcohol, imbibing, injecting, smoking, sniffing, snorting at regular intervals.

And in this sense, drugs and alcohol are very much like an institutionalized religion. It's an exoskeleton. It prevents the addict from falling apart from disintegrate.

And the addict wakes up in the morning and so the drugs and alcohol provide him with goals.

The drugs and alcohol render the addict's life comprehensible. They give his life meaning.

He has to get up in the morning. He has to obtain the cash to buy the drugs. He has to obtain bitcoins to purchase illicit goods. He has things to do. He has a schedule. He has goals. He has targets. He has meaning. His life suddenly makes sense.

He has to set up the utensils. He has to interrupt the day, to drink, to get stoned, to repeat the cycle.

And when he drinks, especially when he's a covert narcissist, he feels godlike. He feels divine. He can get any girl. He can do anything. There's nothing he cannot do if he puts his mind to it. It's magical thinking. My mind is the world. If I think something, it is. If I imagine something, it will happen.

And this is, of course, what all these pernicious, poisonous coaches are teaching you. That all you have to do is imagine something in your mind and it will happen. You will attract. That's the secret. You will attract reality to you. It's a totally, totally sick message.

Also happens to be counterfactual. They are scammers. They're stealing your money.

The interactions with these substances, they are bound to an organizing and hermeneutic principles. They introduce order into existence.

The alcoholic is a very orderly and structured person. The drug addict is even more rigid in his timetables.

And they imbue, as I said, life itself with meaning and direction.

One thing you need to understand about the covert narcissist is because he is collapsed, because he had essentially failed to become a narcissist. His life is utterly chaotic. It's like his life had imploded or exploded or some imploded. And it's all over the place. It's fragmented and no shard has anything to do with any other shard. And he can't put it back together. And even if he tries, the glue is visible and it's not holding under the tiniest stress. It falls apart again.

The same with borderline, but in this sense, covert narcissism and borderline share this low level of organization of personality.

The alcohol is the glue. Alcohol helps the covert narcissist put all these pieces together so that they make sense.

And what is the sense? Grandiosity. Who else has this sense of the world?

The narcissist, the classic narcissist.

So when the covert narcissist drinks, he becomes a classic narcissist. He organizes the world around his newfound grandiosity.

Alcoholics and drug addicts congregate also. They get intoxicated or wasted or stoned or high, usually socially together.

So alcohol also provides the covert narcissist with a social setting, with a social context, with social activity. It's a form of social, I mean, social drinking is a form of getting integrated into a network or interacting with other people.

Covert narcissists, by definition, are covert because they have what Adler called an inferiority complex. They regard themselves as defective, deficient, inadequate zeros.

And suddenly when they drink, they're heroes from zero to hero in no time. And they're heroes to others. Who are these others? Fellow drinkers. They go to a bar, they go to a pub. They pick up three or four or five men and women around them. They all drink together and they know well that they may end up going to bed with one of these men or women.

So there's this added bonus of benefit. There's a future, there's a prospect, there's hope, there's fun, there's fantasy.

Consider alcohol, social drinking and sex. Alcohol encourages each of its ways to socialize. It makes them more outgoing and self-confident, as I mentioned, but it does not alter choices.

Rather, alcohol affects goal-seeking behaviors by increasing grandiosity, increasing confidence, eliminating empathy and elevating short-term gratification of impulses, urges and desires over consideration of long-term consequences.

I'm just summarizing what I said before. Alcohol also enhances the perception of attractiveness of potential mates, as you remember. So it often results in reckless casual sex.

But can you decide to not have cancer? Can you decide to not have tuberculosis or AIDS or bipolar disorder? Of course not. Once you have contracted these conditions, you need intervention of one kind, medication or another, surgery, to heal or somehow to suppress these conditions.

And so alcoholics make people who drink, alcoholics are not alcoholics, problem drinkers, alcohol abusers, that's the official clinical term, they make choices, it's choice. It's not a disease.

And so, back to back, to social drinking, into the effect alcohol has on perceiving attractiveness in others.

I want to elaborate a bit on this. Attractiveness is gender-neutral. Of course, depending on the genders involved in interaction, it may lead to sex, to romance, to romance or to any other outcome on a spectral friendship or collaboration.

But both men and women react with attraction or with repulsion to other men and women. Attractiveness is a composite of character traits and behaviors.

But to be deemed attractive, these character traits and behaviors have to conform to social and cultural mores, prejudices, preferences, biases. What would be considered attractive in one civilization or cultural society would be judged off-putting, totally repulsive in another.

Language also plays a role. Stinginess can also be described as frugality, for example. Eloquence can be described as verbosity, self-care as vanity, self-confidence as narcissism.

So there are two components here.

One, any interaction has a social dimension or is culture-bound, depends on culture and social, societal context, but also depends crucially on language. Context is influential. Peer consensus is crucial.

Women find more attractive men who are always in the company of other women. It's a fact. The time of day, alcohol consumption, events immediately proceedingly encountered, all of them determine attractiveness.

And surprisingly, body shape and good looks are less crucial and far more variable than they are made out to be by evolutionary biologists and by miktows and incels and red pillows and black pillows and other pillows.

Actually, consistently in studies, we have demonstrated that body shape and good looks are not important. In different parts of the world, opposite body shapes, lanky versus fat, for example, attract and criteria of beauty are disparate.

It seems that in determining attractiveness, when I say attractiveness, I want to say not only sexual attractiveness, but social attractiveness, the wish to spend time with that person.

It seems that the mind plays the biggest role. The brain is indeed the largest sex organ and the largest social organ. Intelligence, resourcefulness, optimism, charisma, attentiveness, empathy, self-assurance, sense of humor, kindness, creativity, generosity, all these are far more creative than possessing the right kind of body.

And so, the covert narcissist lacks his serious deficiencies in all these departments, at least in his mind. It's not always the objective reality, but definitely in his mind, he feels utterly inadequate and deficient.

Alcohol compensates for that, covers up for that, renders him attractive, and again, attractive not only sexually, attractive socially, for example, to socialize with other people. Soit renders him attractive, he feels much more self-confidence, much more, but the problem with the covert narcissist is the compensatory wave is not a wave, it's a tsunami.

In other words, because he has very primitive defenses like splitting and so on, he goes from one end of the pendulum, I'm a zero, I'm a nobody, I'm inadequate, I'm a doormat, I'm stupid, I should please people. He goes from this end to this end, I'm perfect, I'm brilliant, and he goes from total beta gamma male, or beta gamma, or dog, I don't know what you want to call it, to the absolute extreme narcissism, like from zero to hero.

And it is this enormous swing, compensatory swing, that renders the transition, especially when watched from the outside, observed from the outside, rather the transition very creepy, there's something very wrong with the covert narcissist when he drinks, something awry, you feel that, you know what, had I been a religious person, I would have said demon possession, you feel it is overtaken by another entity. Of course, it's not another entity, compensatory features in his mind, if he is trying to compensate by exaggerating, which is essentially what many compensatory narcissists do. But observing it from outside is horrible.

Like a minute before he drinks, he's very modest, self-effacing, self-deprecating, attentive, kind, generous, gentle, you name it, then he has a few drinks, and he's a jerk. He's a jerk, he's dysempathic, he's vulgar, he's unpleasant, he's sadistic, he's repulsive, he's aggressive, and all this could be within the space of 30 minutes.

And this is like exactly like switching in multiple personality disorder, exactly like changing from the host personality or from one personality to another in dissociative identity disorder, like an alter, alternative personality taking over the body.

Indeed, the body language changes. The typical body language of the covert narcissist is containing, is restrictive and constrictive. The covert narcissist kind of has this invisible firewall, invisible moat, he is within a fortress, he's self-contained, he avoids people, he's avoidant, he's shy, he's fragile, vulnerable, he's afraid to be hurt, he's hurt averse, pain averse.

The minute he drinks, he becomes expansive, his body language is aggressive, all out, he touches, he slaps, he hugs, he kisses, he is coercive, he can even sexually assault, given the right circumstances. So I would even venture to say that most sexual assaults are perpetrated by covert narcissists under the influence.


What is, when we talk about this, you know, covert narcissism, problem drinking, we need to remind ourselves, what is narcissism? This covert narcissist has two features, a negativistic, passive-aggressive feature, which is the covert.

But he's also a narcissist, don't forget that. An inverted narcissist is a narcissist, it's a codependent with narcissism.

A covert narcissist is a passive-aggressive with narcissism, these are narcissists.

And pathological narcissism is an addiction, it's an addiction to narcissistic supply, attention, bad and good. Narcissistic supply is a drug, it's a narcissist drug of choice.

It is therefore not surprising that other addictive and reckless behaviors, alcoholism, alcoholism, drug abuse, pathological gambling, compulsory shopping, reckless driving, you name it, even pathological lying in case of psychopathic narcissists.

So all these piggyback, piggyback on the primary addiction, on the primary dependence on narcissistic supply, it's an addictive personality, is an addictive personality.

We know from practice in rehab centers, I've been an advisor to two rehab centers, medical advisor to a rehab center in Israel and psychological advisor to a rehab center in the United States, one of the biggest in the world.

And so we know from experience in rehab centers that if you take an addict and you eliminate his addiction, let's say you take an addict and he's drunk, he's an alcoholic, he's addicted, you eliminate the alcohol addiction, he will find some other addiction. He will become a love addict, a sex addict, or he will do drugs, or he will begin to shop recklessly.

I mean, the addictive personality is a personality in search of addiction.

And so the narcissist has addictive personality and he found the drug, it's called narcissistic supply.

But if you take away narcissistic supply, many narcissists end up being alcoholics or drug addicts.

The narcissist, like other types of addicts, derives pleasure from these exploits, these addictive exploits, but they also sustain and enhance his grandiose fantasies.

Because when the narcissist abuses substances or drives recklessly or is a wokaholeko, if it's unique, if it's superior, entitled, chosen, which are exactly the emotions that the covert narcissist misses, the unsatisfied psychological needs of the covert narcissist.

He also wants to feel unique, superior, entitled, chosen. He wants to feel this way at least once. So he drinks.

This kind of feelings and emotions place the narcissist above the laws and pressures of the mundane, of the pedestrian, of the day-to-day life, away from details.

Narcissists hate details. They see the big picture away from the humiliating and sobering demands of reality. They render the narcissist the center of attention, but also place the narcissist in splendid isolation from the madding and inferior crowd from the great unwashed from the chimpanzees.

Such compulsory and wild pursuits provide a psychological exoskeleton. They are substitute to quotidian existence. They afford the narcissist with an agenda, with timetables, goals, and with fake achievements.

The narcissist is an adrenaline junkie. He is exactly like the psychopath he's addicted to risk and thrill and novelty. He feels that he is in control, that he's alert, that he's excited, that he's vital when he engages in addictive behaviors.

He does not regard these conditions as dependence. God forbid, narcissist depends on nobody and no one and nothing.

Narciss firmly believes that he is in charge of his addiction, that he can quit at will and on short notice. The narcissist will typically tell you, I don't need you. I don't need you in my life. I don't need you. I can get whatever you're giving me elsewhere.

He often perils and announces and proclaims and promulgates his ostensible independence.

The covert narcissist doesn't have this luxury. He cannot do this. He cannot afford to lose people.

He is at the end of his rope. He is out of choices, out of options, out of alternatives.

But when he drinks, he becomes a narcissist and he can delude himself. He can deceive himself into believing that the world is his oyster. He can choose anyone and anything and no one will stand in his way. No one will say no.

If he wants sex, there's no woman who will turn him down. If he wants money, there's no man who will not give it to him. If he wants the job, he will get it.

This is precisely again the message that scammers and con artists sell all around the world, many of them with millions of followers.

The narcissist denies his cravings for fear of losing face.

Because if the narcissist were to admit that he needs something, that he craves something and then not get it, there will be a slap in the face. There will be a challenge to his grandiosity.

The narcissist believes that he's omnipotent. He can do anything. He's all-powerful. He's good luck.

So if he wants something and doesn't get it, that reminds him that he's not. It mortifies him, this mortification.

So the narcissist prefers to say, I don't want it. This is cognitive dissonance.

How to resolve cognitive dissonance?

When you want something and cannot have it, you say, I don't want it. I actually don't want it. You know, I don't want this guy. He's ugly. I don't want this girl. She's stupid.

So the narcissist spends a big part of his life denying that he needs anyone, that he loves anyone, that he's anyone's friend, that anyone has power over him.

Because if he does, it may end up subverting the flawless, perfect, brilliant, immaculate, omnipotent, omniscient image he projects. It may end up subverting his god-like or divine self-imputed status.

It reminds me that Spinoza, Benedict Spinoza, Baruch Spinoza, who was a Jewish philosopher, he suggested that God cannot want anything. It doesn't have a will, doesn't have volition.

Because if God were to want something, it means this something is outside God. You can't want something that is inside you. You don't want your own liver. You don't want your own, or you don't miss your own heart.

But if you want something, it means it's outside you, and God includes everything. God is everywhere. God is everything.

So how can he want something? There's nothing outside God.

Very clever guy. By the way, as an anecdote, my great, great, great, great, very great ancestor, a rabbi by the name of Pardo. Pardo is my mother's family name. He excommunicated Spinoza, threw him out of the Jewish community, and he had to go through a very humiliating ceremony ritual in the local synagogue, which was orchestrated and organized by my ancestor.

And so he excommunicated him and threw him to the docks, basically, because of what Spinoza had said about God. It was considered sacrilegious. Luckily, I'm much more open-minded.

So when caught red-handed, impotent, the narcissist underestimates or rationalizes or intellectualizes his addictive and reckless behaviors. He converts them into an integral part of his grandiose and fantastic false self.

If he's caught cheating with a totally drunk woman, he would aggrandize himself. He would say, I'm irresistible. That's a narcissist.

The covert narcissist, on the other hand, would react with guilt, shame, blame, imitation of remorse, self-legilation, because the covert narcissist is a masochist.

Essentially, the masochist. He hates himself.

The covert narcissist has enormous self-loathing and self-patriot. He regards himself as a failure, as a collapse.

It's not good enough.

And so any time he's caught doing something wrong, he is the first to castigate, chastise, and punish himself.

A drug-abusing narcissist may claim to be conducting firsthand research for the benefit of humanity, or that his substance abuse results in enhanced creativity and productivity.

He says, if I don't consume these drugs, I'm less productive, less creative, and I'm doing this for the benefit of humanity.

The dependence of some narcissists on substances becomes a way of life.

For example, busy corporate executives, race car drivers, professional gamblers, they all, many of them, consume substances.

But substance abusers can decide to stop the consumption of alcohol or drugs. And then they abstain for years at a time.

Like everything else we do in life, eating, sex, binge watching of TV series, drinking and resorting to illicit drugs affect the body.

But not everything that affects the body is a disease in the strict medical sense, as I said before.

So why are we being misinformed that alcoholism and other addictions are illnesses when they are manifestly nothing of the kind?

There are three reasons, actually.

One, money.

Once doctors medicalize a behavior, once they pathologize some behavior, they begin to charge big time for curing this behavior or healing the condition.

So the original edition of the DSM was a hundred pages. Now it's a thousand pages. The more the better, the more the merrier. The more behaviors they pathologize, the more behaviors they medicalize, the more they claim to find new diseases and new disorders, the more money there is from insurance companies.

And the second reason is feel good narcissism.

People can say my egregious hurtful traumatizing misconduct is not my fault. I am sick for me. Little I can do about it. What a relief.

The third reason is so you very often find covert narcissists who would say I've been struggling with alcohol since I was a teenager, but now I know that it's an illness, a disease. And so I'm not responsible for it. It's not my fault.

Everything that I had done, not my fault that I cheated on my loved one, that I had misbehaved professionally, that I, none of this is my fault. I'm sick.

The third reason is the general tendency to pathologize everything. Habits, personality traits, choices, relationships, behavior patterns, social norms, interactions, technology, everything is pathologized.

So covert narcissists use alcohol to change from covert state from a covert state to an overt state and from an overt state to a psycho psychopathic state. Alcohol legitimizes immoral and socially unacceptable misconduct, which often ends up hurting significant others.

And the covert narcissist needs this legitimacy because he lacks the self-confidence and self-esteem, exaggerate self-confidence and self-esteem that overt narcissists have.


One last comment.

One last comment.

In previous videos, especially the video about the difference between CPTSD and borderline, I have explained that victims of complex post-traumatic stress disorder are essentially developed narcissistic and psychopathic traits. They become covert narcissists.

If you go online into forums of empaths, you will see what I mean. They are all covert narcissists.

The label, the nonsensical clinically meaningless label, empath, is used for self-aggrandizement.

I'm an empath. Now they have gradations by the way. Empath, super-empath and nova, super nova empath. Do you believe this? I mean, they are, it's transitioning from the grandiose to the pathetic and the pathetic to the creepy. So these women are not technically indistinguishable clinically indistinguishable and easily diagnosable as psychopathic narcissists.

Now, unfortunately, most victims of CPTSD have to go through this overlay, through these phases. Luckily, most of the people who self-diagnose as having CPTSD don't have CPTSD. It's another form of self-aggrandizement.

My abuser was so horrible that I ended up with CPTSD. He's special. My abuser is special. My narcissist is special. So that makes me special and my story special.

I'm going to write a book and make some money. So it's really a swamp, a cesspool. We need the equivalent of Donald Trump to clean the online narcissism environment. It's more sick than narcissism, but don't get me started.

Prolonged abuse in an intimate relationship changes some women, some victims, don't have to be women, of course, changes some victims and some survivors.

And so profoundly alters the psychology and behavior that they're rendered unrecognizable, even to themselves.

Having emerged from the black hole of a dysfunctional liaison, these broken, vulnerable people are transformed into the dark mirror images of their former selves.

For example, having been faithful before, now they become sexually promiscuous.

They avoid intimacy. Trust no one, haveno one.

Have developed a secretary in paranoid ideation, addictions, abuse alcohol, abuse drugs, engage in a panoply of reckless behaviors, generally self-destructive. They become covert narcissists.

Why is that? Someone with a pre-existing mental health condition would internalize the abuser's rejection and the sentence that the abuser pronounces.

What's the abuser's message? The abuser's message is you're worthless, you're bad, you're a slut, you're stupid, you're crazy, you're repellent, whatever.

And the victim internalizes this, interjects it, accepts it as part of his or her identity. And the victim begins to behave in ways to conform to her abuser's already internalized voice, to the interject, confirm the verdict, the verdict that he had passed, confirm his observations.

And such congruence is intended to avoid dissolence and inner conflict.

So if the victim were to disagree with the abuser, he would have created conflict and dissolence, which are the things the victim tries to avoid, the most.

Victims try to avoid dissolence and conflict.

The drunk person, during an alcohol-induced state, is fully aware of what he's doing, who he's doing it with, whether what he's doing is right or wrong. And if he's hurting loved ones with his promiscuity, immoral or antisocial or even criminal acts.

And during the entire episode of being under the influence of alcohol, she or he makes multiple choices and decisions based on rational analysis and emotional states.

It's not true that people under the influence are not in control. They are 100% in control.

And that's why, of course, people under the influence of alcohol go to prison. They are held accountable for the misbehavior.

So it's true that alcohol affects orientation, reasoning, moral sense, short-term memory, decision-making, and sometimes long-term memory. It's true.

But these effects are minimal. All these executive functions are intact. The only thing that is truly affected, irreparably, if you consume a huge amount of alcohol within a very short period of time is long-term memory.

Some people who experience this the next morning have zero recall of what had happened during the blackout or the brownout. And this is precisely why sometimes it's very difficult to tell a drunk person from a merely inebriated person, from a social drinker, or from a sober person. They all appear to be fully present, fully cognizant throughout the incident, and they are.

Motive functions are affected. So you wobble a bit, swagger, your motoric functions are affected. There's a tendency to repeat the same sentences over and over again, but that's more or less it.

This is the only effect of alcohol. So it's a magic, it's a charm, it's a spell, it's a magic, magic solution for the covert loss.

The effects are minimal, where, you know, it doesn't impair him.

But when he consumes alcohol, he becomes a legend. He becomes a monster. He, he, like, like an overt, like a classicist. When he consumes alcohol, he doesn't care about anything or anyone but himself.

Behavioral inhibitions are down.

Empathy towards his nearest and dearest is turned off or redirected to strangers. A sense of invulnerability, invincibility, omnipotence, impunity sets in.

The drunkard experiences attraction or even infatuation with all and sundry. And the high and the buzz of the dream compensate for any frustration, any depression, stress, anxiety, deficiency, inferiority. It is a heightened sense of well-being, heightened sense of control and aggression.

And so the covert narcissist gets addicted not to the alcohol, but to what the alcohol does to him.

Ironically, alcohol being a depressant, all these effects are viciously reversed upon sobering up, especially with the covert narcissist.

Once the covert narcissist sobers up, the experiences of the night before are the worst ever. Like he remembers, he recalls, he's immersed in shame, in guilt, in self-hatred, self-loathing, self-destructiveness. He tries to repent and make up for what, not because he's a good or moral person, he's not, but because he's terrified. He's terrified of losing people around him because he has nothing. He's a collapsed narcissist. He's very few people in his life, very few aspects, and he's terrified to lose this.

In the covert narcissist's mind, that he had become a narcissist is an unacceptable risk because he may alienate people, he may lose money, he may lose his job, and it's very difficult for him to find replacements and substitutes.

He's not like the narcissist, he's not outgoing, he's usually introverted, he's shy, so he's flabbergasted, he's utterly shocked that he had done it. He wants to kill himself and he swears to himself. He makes vows and pledges and promises, sacred promises, that he will never ever do this again, until the next time, of course.

And people, covert narcissists, get that drunk in order to feel better about themselves and about their lives, legitimize their promiscuity in cheating, and trash themselves in the bout of self-destruction. And in the case of the covert narcissist, even these things are major accomplishments.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like the following:

Transient Narcissist: Substances, Circumstances

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses various topics related to narcissism, including transient and acquired situational narcissism, the effects of cocaine and alcohol on individuals, and how victims of complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) can develop narcissistic and psychopathic traits. He explains how alcohol can fuel grandiosity and lead to reckless behavior, and how covert narcissists can become addicted to alcohol and other reckless behaviors. Vaknin suggests that treating the underlying personality disorder is necessary to address the narcissist's addictions, and that techniques such as 12 Steps may be more effective in treating the narcissist's grandiosity, rigidity, sense of entitlement, exploitativeness, and lack of empathy.


Collapsed Covert Narcissist: Dissonances, Indifference, No Boundaries

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses his upcoming controversial claim that all narcissists oscillate between being overt and covert in reaction to changing life circumstances and extreme narcissistic injury. He also delves into the behaviors of covert narcissists and the collapsed state of narcissism. Vaknin emphasizes the importance of recognizing the signs of a collapsed narcissist and the rationality of walking away from relationships with narcissists. He also discusses the concept of "no contact" as a strategy for dealing with narcissistic abuse.


How Narcissist Falls Apart (Compilation)

The transcript is a compilation of various lectures and discussions by Professor Sam Vaknin, an expert on narcissism. He delves into the behaviors and reactions of narcissists when they are deprived of narcissistic supply, comparing their withdrawal symptoms to those of drug addicts. Vaknin explains that narcissists consume admiration and attention to sustain their self-esteem, and when these are lacking, they experience a state he terms "narcissistic deficiency dysphoria," which can lead to depression, mood swings, and aggressive behavior. He also discusses how narcissists may resort to delusional narratives, antisocial behavior, or paranoid ideation as coping mechanisms. Additionally, Vaknin touches on the concept of "collapsed narcissists" and "collapsed histrionics," who are individuals that have failed to maintain their narcissistic or histrionic facades and have retreated into more covert or self-destructive behaviors. He emphasizes the importance of understanding these dynamics for both therapeutic interventions and personal interactions with individuals exhibiting such traits.


Doormat Covert Narcissist Turns Primary Psychopath

In this video, Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the covert narcissist and their potential for change. He explains that the covert narcissist can transform into a primary psychopath under stress, and that they experience identity disturbance and difficulty in maintaining relationships. He also touches on the concepts of switching and modification in the context of covert narcissism.


Mortified Narcissist, Borderline Switch Places: New Ideas for Therapy? (and Supply)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the concept of narcissistic modification and its effects on the narcissist's psyche. When a narcissist experiences modification, their defense mechanisms shut down, leading to emotional dysregulation and a sense of shame. This process can lead to a temporary transition to a borderline personality organization. The restoration of the narcissistic state hinges on narcissistic supply, which is preceded by a phase of self-supply. The lecture also explores the mirror image of this process in borderline personality disorder and suggests therapeutic implications for both conditions.


Can Narcissism be Cured?

Pathological narcissism is difficult to cure, and most narcissists resist psychotherapy. However, some progress has been made in effecting small changes in personality disorders through talk therapy and medication. The earlier the therapeutic intervention, the better the prognosis, and aging tends to moderate or even vanquish some antisocial behaviors associated with pathological narcissism. The existence of empathy is a serious predictor of future psychodynamics, and the prognosis for a classical narcissist with grandiosity, lack of empathy, and all is not good as far as long-term, lasting, and complete healing.


Trusting After Narcissistic Abuse, Narcissism Reconceived, Treated: Cold Therapy (with Pi Winslow)

In this interview, Professor Sam Vaknin discusses narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and its treatment. NPD is a result of trauma and abuse in early childhood, and narcissists create a false self as a defense mechanism. Treatment for NPD is difficult, as narcissists often do not see their disorder as a problem. Cold therapy, a treatment modality developed by Vaknin, involves re-traumatizing the narcissist to weaken the false self. However, even with treatment, some narcissistic traits will remain. Vaknin advises those living with a narcissist to avoid labeling them as such and to leave abusive relationships.


Anxious Psychopath, Borderline Mask

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the concept of the narcissistic masochist, a type of personality disorder characterized by seeking rejection, deriving pleasure from self-pity, having a harsh superego, experiencing envy, feeling wronged, and having a fluctuating self-esteem. He also mentions that the narcissistic masochistic position is not about pleasure in pain, but rather the position of submission, which provides a sense of safety and well-being. Lastly, he clarifies the difference between neuroticism and neurosis, with the former being a personality trait and the latter being an obsolete term for a group of disorders.


Take These 4 Steps BEFORE Therapy for Narcissistic Abuse (with Daria Zukowska Clinical Psychologist)

Professor Sam Vaknin explains that narcissistic abuse is a unique and total form of abuse that aims to destroy the victim mentally and take over their mind. He outlines four steps to take before seeking therapy: 1) stop considering oneself a victim, 2) recognize one's contribution to the abuse, 3) identify and separate authentic and inauthentic internal voices, and 4) silence the inauthentic voices. Vaknin emphasizes that narcissistic abuse requires reconstruction, not just recovery, as it causes massive damage to the victim's body, mind, and ability to function.


Can Narcissist be Tricked Into Healing? (with Daria Zukowska)

Sam Vaknin explains that while certain behaviors of narcissists can be modified, the disorder itself is very difficult to reverse. The realistic treatment goal for NPD is to make the narcissist more acceptable to others and less problematic. In therapy with narcissists, conditioning and reinforcement are critical. The therapist should provide a constant stream of narcissistic supply and explicit praise when the narcissist modifies their behavior in accordance with treatment goals. Narcissists have emotional distortions because they have cognitive distortions, and they have access only to negative emotions.

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2024, under license to William DeGraaf
Website Copyright © William DeGraaf 2022-2024
Get it on Google Play
Privacy policy