Anxious Psychopath, Borderline Mask

Uploaded 4/11/2021, approx. 19 minute read

The pace of global vaccination is so glacial that I will probably be the first person to be inoculated post-mortem. And that would make me the first corpse immune to COVID-19.

Now don't raise your hopes too high. Remember, necrophilia is still illegal in most jurisdictions.

Welcome to the Sam Vaknin Narcissism Horror Show.

And today, a paupuri, a smogus board, a collection of vignettes about psychopathy, new discoveries about borderline, new insights about narcissism, old faces.

And so stay with me for this train ride, which has no final destination.

My name is Sam Vaknin. I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited, and a host of other books, silly books and DVDs and recordings, and you name it, about cluster B personality disorders. I also happen to be accidentally a professor of psychology in several universities around the globe. And so let's delve right in.

And the first issue is the apparent switching or shifting between personalities in people with cluster B personality disorders.

And honestly, not only with cluster B, I would say with personality disorders in general. People with personality disorders who are high functioning are very disconcerting. They compartmentalize their promiscuous, antisocial, addictive, sadistic, and defiant behaviors.

During the day, these people are competent professionals, diligent students, pillars of the community, responsible citizens and fathers or mothers, loving husbands or wives, and thriving entrepreneurs. Come evening though, come evening as the sun sets exactly like in vampire lore, the mask drops, the drink and the drugs are out, replete with dissolute reckless sex with virtual strangers, gambling or any number of self-trashing and dysfunctional, even self-destructive behaviors, reckless driving, for example.

What Baffron's scholars, what confuses us is that all these self-states are part of the personality. This is not faking. There is no faking involved.

The switching is abrupt, but it's also seamless. Dissociation is often involved, but never to the point of rupturing continuous autobiographical memory and core identity, at least not in high functioning individuals.

Collectively, in desperation, called it the mask of sanity. He raised his hands having worked in a mental institution for decades. He said, I don't understand these people. It's like they look sane, but it's a mask of sanity.

Behind it is something that is deeply depraved and insane. It challenges everything we thought we knew about psychology and personality.

Consider, for example, the borderline. Person, a man or woman, usually woman, diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, BPD. Recklessness and fantasy are both clinical features of borderline personality disorder.

As a form of self-mutilation and self-trashing, borderline women often place themselves in harm's way with relative strangers, and so they end up ineluctably being defenseless and sexually assaulted. Having been raped, these women then use fantasy to fend off, to defend against the trauma, and to resolve the cognitive dissonance.

So these women are likely to say, I initiated the sex. I wanted the sex. I found him attractive or I thought we could have a relationship after that.

This is a way to square the circle, to live, to coexist with the realization of having been raped, having placed yourself in a situation which inevitably leads to rape.

And the thing is that they keep doing this. They keep coming back for more. To prove the point, these women may even meet and have sex with the attacker again, and they definitely keep creating and gendering engineering situations where the same is going to happen.

So most borderline women are victims of multiple sexual assaults and rapes, all of them eerily familiar. Eerily familiar settings, eerily familiar preceding behaviors, it's creepy, this repetition compulsion. Fantasy characterizes the borderline's intimate relationship as well.

So the borderline doesn't only fantasize in order to resolve some dissonance or to somehow ameliorate anxiety, but she fantasizes as a way of life.

Watch my previous video about the fantasy life of the borderline.

So it characterizes her intimate relationships as well, but her self destructiveness, her emotional dysregulation, her mood lability are such that she always sabotages what she has.

I would add to this her grandiosity.

As reality intrudes on the fantasy, which the borderline finds intolerable and anxiety inducing, borderline hates reality with a vengeance.

So when reality breaches the fantasy, when it challenges and undermines the fantasy, if the borderline can't tolerate it, it's unbearable to her.

And so she begins to devalue the partner. She begins to act out egregiously.

The resulting deterioration in the quality of the bond justifies and legitimizes bouts of cheating on the partner and reckless self trashing on the way to a new man with a new fantasy.

Generally, these kinds of behaviors are known as reactants.

Reactive in personality disorders often masquerades as boundaries.

The psychopaths defines and contumaciousness is hatred of authority, for example, they can be easily mistaken that way, they can be easily misconceived and misperceived as boundaries.

But true personal boundaries are endogenous, they come from inside. The true personal boundaries are proactive.

In other words, true personal boundaries are not triggered by the environment. They are immutable certainties. They are given. They emanate from a healthy and stable sense of self worth.

True personal boundaries are forms of internalized self defense. Fake boundaries are reactive to events and reactive to people. They're hair triggered by events and people and circumstances. Fake boundaries are inconstant. Their content shifts all the time. They do not reflect any inner reality, any processes, anything stable. They're forms of externalized aggression.

And this leads me to recent discoveries about psychopathy.

You see, we have this stereotype of psychopaths as fearless people, people who experience no fear, and people who therefore are able to be ruthless and callous and cruel and aggressive and defiant and reckless and so on, because they don't foresee the consequences of their actions. And if they do, they don't care, they're fearless.

Recent studies are teaching us something completely different. It seems a psychopathy is an anxiety disorder.

I had written about it many years ago, suggesting that psychopathy is actually an anxiety disorder.

And this is why borderlines, when they are exposed to abandonment anxiety, become psychopaths, secondary psychopaths.

Psychopathy is a reaction to anxiety. In the case of the borderline, psychopathy is a reaction to abandonment anxiety, separation anxiety.

But in the case of other people, psychopathy is a reaction to generalized anxiety or specific anxiety.

There's an article, there are many articles about this. One article, for example, which I chose, honestly, pretty randomly is psychopaths show enhanced amygdala activation during fear conditioning.

It was offered by Douglas Schultz, Nicholas Bolderstone, Ariel Baskin-Somers, Christine Larson, and friend Hellesacker. This name should be outlawed.

Okay, and here is the abstract.

Primary psychopaths exhibited a pattern of activity in the dorsal and ventral ACC, consistent with enhanced fear expression. That's primary psychopaths.

It's not actually that they have no fear, they have too much fear. They have anxiety.

While secondary psychopath exhibited a pattern of activity in these regions, consistent with fear inhibition, we got it completely backwards.

Primary psychopaths cope with fear via anxiety. Secondary psychopaths inhibit the fear.

These results, say the authors, contradict the low fear model of psychopathy and suggest that the low fear observed for psychopaths in previous studies may be specific, actually, to secondary psychopaths.

Okay, so we are beginning to see the confluence of the convergence between borderline psychopathy as anxiety reactions.

In the case of the borderline, of course, the anxiety reaction is post-traumatic, very similar to the narcissist, but psychopaths cope with anxiety unlike narcissists and unlike borderlines because psychopaths are constitutionally different.

First of all, there is ground to believe that psychopaths have normalities of the brain and that there is an element of a genetic hereditary component in psychopathy.

So I want to find something to read to you that I had written long ago. Let me see if I can find it. If I can't, not a big deal. But long ago, I had suggested that psychopaths are actually, psychopathy is actually a form of anxiety.

I had written this in the year 2000, the anxious psychopath.

Psychopaths are said to be fearless and nonchalant. Their pain tolerance is very high. Still, contrary to popular perceptions and psychiatric orthodoxy, some psychopaths are actually anxious and fearful.

Their psychopathy is a defense against an underlying and pervasive anxiety, either hereditary or brought on by early childhood abuse.

Psychopaths nurture and cultivate an image of themselves as free-spirited, daring, nonconformist geniuses who are grievously misunderstood and mistreated by Lilliputian society and its mindless cohorts.

This grandiose and romantic self-narrative legitimizes three classes of antisocial behaviors, defiance, passive aggression, and reactance. I'm not going into it right now.

So I've written this 2020 years ago, 21 years ago, and only now the first studies are appearing that support this contention.

I would like to read to you two comments made on YouTube by intelligent viewers, these rare species, extinct species. Two of them appeared mysteriously out of the woodwork and posted comments, and I was so dumbstruck and awestruck that I decided to read these comments, share them with you.

Jenna Basel, B-A-S-S, sorry, I-L, wrote, My heart anguishes for you, Sam. I never wanted to believe that hardwiring was true. I'm beginning to understand. It is an abyss. The flat line was for too long.

They are technically alive, she discusses narcissists. Narcissists are technically alive, but in a coma, unaware of their state, sleepwalking through all the nightmares.

Your attempts to break through and to help ultimately gets fitted and distorted through their confused subconscious and an integrated horror. If they could only wake up, they would realize there is so much beautiful, meaningful life to be had.

You mourn as deeply as that abyss for what could have been while they wither away, clinging to the tubes and wires of a mechanical life support machine that only affords them the very crude, tethered, and degenerate form of survival that they have grown desperately dependent on, beautifully written. If they would only wake up, they would be free of it and truly live.

I'd like to hope that at the very least, some of our kind words and gestures do filter through and are received as genuine love and support, giving them a lull of peace from their perpetual haunts.

It is quite something, a treasure of gold glimming into the abyss.

Stay golden, Sam.

Stay golden, Sam.

Another well-written comment by pokethis. Don't try to dial at home.

She or he writes, it is possible they intend to self-trash not only to punish themselves for not gaining supply, but also to punish others, loved ones, the world or the world, for not giving them the kind of supply they think they deserve.

Don't you think there is an element of revenge, martyrdom, blaming, escape from taking responsibility or getting narcissistically injured, shamed, rebellion, a power play to have control over their failure, an experiment to see how low they can get and still thrive by extreme denial and ignoring of needs of theirs and of others?

Loss of motivation and hopes from oneself to finally be free and independent of all the expectations and hopes they themselves have set up for themselves, which they can't live up to.

Rupam Rupam. Yes, even intelligent viewers have unintelligent names.

Rupam Rupam had written this.

I do data and evidence-driven psychophysiological analysis of emotional health.

This video is a gem, Sam. My observations are absolutely in line with that of what you stated in this video.

I myself fall in the narcissistic spectrum side with continuous reality check as the means of keeping the trait below clinical level, subclinical.

One, borderline and narcissism prevalence is higher in female and male, respectively. Both are compensatory mechanisms to deal with childhood trauma.

Number two, traumatype, abusive father, beating mother, child, drug, alcohol abuse, aggression. Girl, borderline with victim, shared fantasy. Guy, narcissism with saviour, guru father.

So these are reactions to the traumatype, abusive father, beating mother.


Another traumatype, golden child with silver spoon, parents loving but giving more materialistic love than time in heart. Girl reacts with borderline with two type fantasy, promiscuity. Guy reacts with grandiosity. God, omnipotent, messiah, the world depends on him.

Next traumatype, traumatype, triangulation. Parents give time and love, but the love is conditional. You come first in class, we will love you more. So the child works hard to get that love.

They are compared with other children.

Girl reaction, borderline with grandiosity and switch between a strict mother and a helpless daughter. At times, she will become motherly. At other times, a little girl who grew up too fast and never had a childhood with a girl. Guy reaction, passive aggressive, covert narcissist, unsecured, high on anxiety, virtue signaling, afraid to take accountability, no core, honest stories and beliefs, very opinionated, experiences no positive emotions, loves conflict, doubts people around, snooping is characteristic, feels low about self if he could not meet parents' expectations, feels high if he indeed had met parents' expectations. His shared fantasy is all about switching between strict father and helpless child.

Next traumatype, traumatype, dead mother, promiscuous mother or career mother who was unavailable. Girl reaction, borderline with promiscuity but is violent from core, sees father as weak and so attracts rank narcissist as they appear strong and alpha.

In her shared fantasy, this kind of woman is the Cleopatra of Julius Caesar. Guy reaction to this type of trauma, overt narcissist with no emotions, mostly hypersexual and BDSM types shared fantasy. They're strong men who own females.

All the above are trauma bonding, very, very addictive relationships that hang on a thin thread of attention, adulation, admiration, availability and anxiety. All are unhealthy relationships where it is hard to get away and even if one partner does, the damage to the mind is never repaired because a child's mental development stops at the age of 12.

Most of the characters and behaviors are not changeable. One can just manage the damage, no repair.

Shared fantasy is just an easy but unhealthy way to get away from harsh reality.

Behavioral psychology may well be thought of as a compensatory psychology of the masochist's psychology.

That would take the diagnosis to root cause of trauma.

Thereafter, rapid retraumatization or other such methods can be used for therapeutics. If not, at least power thread meaning framework PTMF can be used to explain the mind to a subject, in which case the subject can build better tools to deal with.

I love this video, Sam. Keep enlightening us with your knowledge. Your wish is my command.

Rupam, Rupam.

Okay. Onward to the next subject.

Christian pioneers said the Jew.

And so the next subject is the narcissistic, anti-narcissistic masochists.

You cannot wrap your heads around this. It confounded you. It confused you. It discombobulated you. It provoked personality disorders in many of you.

Some of you emigrated. Some of you vowed off YouTube for life.

This video, the anti-narcissistic masochistic narcissist, ruined you for life.

We call it trauma. Let me help. I was not the one to invent the anti-narcissist-narcissist masochistic suggested diagnosis or category.

I mentioned some names. Wallace, Green. I mentioned them in the video.

But I would like to read to you excerpts from a series of psychoanalytic dictionaries.

Let's start with the first excerpt about the narcissistic masochistic character.

So I'm reading from the dictionary. Described by Arnold Cooper, the late Arnold Cooper, died last year. Described by Arnold Cooper in 1988, the narcissistic masochistic type is characterized by, number one, pursuit of rejection or disappointment by others.

Number two, drawing of secret pleasure from the predictability of rejection, which is invariably greater than the predictability of love.

Number three, obtaining secondary pleasure from exhibiting one's hurts and from self-pity.

Number four, excessive harshness of superego in a critic.

Number five, a constant sense of envy.

Number six, an unshakable conviction of being wronged.

Number seven, a hypersensitive self-esteem alternating between grandiosity and humiliation.

Now, this is pretty close to the covert narcissist with a few important differences.

The passive aggression, for example, is more extreme. The tendency to self-mutilate, self-harm, self-trash, self-defeat and self-destroy, much more pronounced in the masochistic narcissist than in the covert narcissist.

I'm continuing from the dictionary.

In some cases, the narcissistic features are more overt. In some others, the masochistic features are more overt.

However, both features are sooner or later found in one and the same individual.

The unconscious aim of such character organization is not a fantasy reunion with a loving and caring mother. Rather, it is fantasy control over a cruel and damaging mother.

And there is something called the narcissistic masochistic position, quoting from another, quoting from the dictionary.

Noting the inherent contradiction in the proposition that the masochist feels pleasure in pain, for if it is pleasurable, where's the pain?

Daniel Lagash, L-A-G-A-C-H-E, in 1968, suggested that one needs to view the masochistic pleasure differently. Lagash said that the passive, dependent, submissive child must experience some satisfactions at being submitted to the beneficent omnipotence of the other.

So, the passive, dependent, submissive child must experience some satisfactions at being submitted to the beneficent omnipotence of the other.

And so, replaced pleasure in pain by a state of well-being by submission.

Lagash's stance emphasizes that the essential component of masochism might not be suffering per se, but the position taken by the masochist in the masochistic relationship, the position of submission.

Since this assures the masochist a sense of safety and well-being, it is appropriately called the narcissistic masochistic position. It's a selfish position.

One last word about narcissistic neurosis.

People ask me about neurosis and so on.

Neurosis, or originally psycho-neurosis, and then divided to two, action neurosis and so on.

So, neurosis in general was a code word, a buzzword, for psychological disorders which had no organic or bodily or somatic origin, whose etiology did not lead to an organ or abnormality functioning or biochemical, but was up in the air, was diseases of the mind, if you wish.

Now, we have something called neuroticism. Neuroticism is one of the five factors of personality, together with agreeableness, extroversion, etc.

Neuroticism is not neurosis. People with neuroticism are more prone to psychotic disorders, for example. They have extremely high levels of anxiety. They react to stress and threats very badly.

And so neuroticism is a personality dimensional feature which is not the same as neurosis. Neurosis is simply another name for a group of disorders.

So, and we don't use it anymore. Since 1980, we don't use neurosis anymore. It's an obsolete term.

Today, what used to be neurosis, the family of neurosis, today is divided in three, depressive illnesses, anxietyneurosis.

Now, narcissistic neurosis.

I'm reading from the dictionary. A term from the earliest days of psychoanalysis when neurosis were divided into actual neurosis and psycho-neurosis.

The former actual neurosis were caused by disturbances in contemporary sexual life, and the latter psycho-neurosis by childhood conflicts and trauma.

Psycho-neurosis was divided into transference neurosis, Jung coined this term in 1907, where libido was displaceable and the possibility of developing transference existed, and narcissistic neurosis, where libido turned back to the ego and a clinically meaningful transference did not develop.

Owing to its intensely self-centered nature, this condition was not amenable to psychoanalysis.

In today's terms, the category of narcissistic neurosis would encompass severe narcissistic personalities, psychotic character, and psychosis.

Additionally, today we know that narcissists actually do not have an ego, functioning ego, or a constellated self.

So the libido is turned inwards, but it's turned inwards on the internal objects and introjects, not on any ego or anything.

But this was the early days of psychoanalysis.

Freud himself had changed his position multiple times until he died.

So that's all for today, the potpourri of today.

I hope you had fun and see you next time.

If I'm not vaccinated and I vanish suddenly, you will know what happened to me, and you will celebrate, no doubt.

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

How Narcissist Experiences His Collapse (Grandiosity Bubbles and Delusional Solutions)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the collapse of narcissists when they are unable to obtain supply. He explains the internal dynamics and various solutions narcissists adopt in response to this deficiency, such as delusional narratives, antisocial behavior, paranoid schizoid tendencies, and masochistic avoidance. The narcissist's withdrawal symptoms are compared to those of a drug addict, and the role of magical thinking in their behavior is explored.

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.

Collapsed Narcissist, Collapsed Histrionic

Pathological narcissism is a post-traumatic condition that is a result of severe abuse by primary caregivers, peers, or authority figures. Narcissists require a form of narcissistic supply, and when the supply is deficient, they resort to several adaptive solutions. These solutions include the delusional narrative solution, the antisocial solution, the paranoid schizoid solution, the paranoid, aggressive or explosive solution, and the masochistic avoidance solution. In extreme cases, the collapsed narcissist or collapsed histrionic falls apart in a process of disintegration known as decompensation, which is accompanied by acting out.

Narcissism Shapeshifting Camouflage: Conceals Other Disorders (University Lecture)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the concept of narcissism as a spectrum of behaviors and traits, united by specific factors. He argues that narcissism is not a specific disorder, but rather a reactive process that can be attached to other mental health issues. He also explores the idea that narcissism is a survival mechanism and a positive adaptation in extreme situations. Additionally, he delves into the concept of narcissistic defenses and their role in coping with mental illness and trauma.

Alcohol+Covert Narcissist=Antisocial Grandiose Narcissist

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the effects of alcohol on covert narcissists. He explains that alcohol can transform a covert narcissist into an overt narcissist, leading to reckless and psychopathic behavior. He argues that alcoholism is a choice, not a brain disorder, and that alcohol affects empathy, disinhibits behavior, and distorts perception of attractiveness. He also delves into the psychological reasons why covert narcissists turn to alcohol and the impact of alcohol on their behavior and self-perception.

Psychopathic (Malignant) Narcissist: Best of Both Worlds (with Jim Mora, New Zealand)

Sam Vaknin, a diagnosed psychopathic narcissist, explains that narcissism is a desperate attempt to obtain attention to regulate the internal landscape of the narcissist. He describes the signs of narcissism, distinguishes between narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic style, and argues that it is impossible for narcissists to have successful relationships. Narcissism is not treatable because it is the entire personality that is deformed beyond reconstruction in early childhood. Sam Vaknin discusses his journey of self-discovery and how he became an expert on narcissistic personality disorder.

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.

Why Narcissist APPEARS So STUPID (Borderlines and Psychopaths, too!)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the topic of narcissistic abuse and the intelligence of individuals with Cluster B personality disorders. He explains that while these individuals may possess high IQs, they often exhibit behaviors that appear foolish and self-defeating. Vaknin attributes this to factors such as grandiosity, lack of empathy, identity disturbance, and external locus of control. He argues that these individuals are ultimately disabled and ill-equipped to navigate life and human relationships, despite their intellectual abilities.

Manipulate the Narcissist and Live to Tell About It? (Lecture in Budapest)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the manipulation of narcissists, the prevalence of narcissistic traits in society, and the impact of aggression on children. He emphasizes that the only effective way to deal with a narcissist is to go no contact, as staying in contact can lead to adopting narcissistic behaviors oneself. He notes that narcissism is on a spectrum, with healthy narcissism at one end and narcissistic personality disorder at the other. Vaknin also observes that narcissism and psychopathy are becoming more socially accepted and even encouraged in certain contexts. He mentions that narcissists can recognize each other but not psychopaths, and that psychopaths prey on narcissists. Lastly, he discusses the impact of aggression on children, stating that witnessing or experiencing physical or sexual aggression can lead to destructive or self-destructive behavior, while verbal aggression tends to perpetuate verbal abuse within the family structure.

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.

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2023, under license to William DeGraaf
Website Copyright © William DeGraaf 2022-2023
Get it on Google Play
Privacy policy