Are You Narcissist’s MOTHER Or TOY?

Uploaded 7/13/2023, approx. 31 minute read

Lõdik means "playful" and playful means "sambachnin" - the author of Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited - a former visiting professor of psychology and a current member of the faculty of CEAPs.

OK, to team and to thought.

Nope, don't look it up.

It is summer.

I am in a good, lenient mood.

I am going to look it up for you.

To team in Hebrew means "strawberries" and to thought presumably means "female strawberries".


Who said that Hebrew is a dead language, not fun?

I think it's a great language.

Today we are going to discuss the games the narcissist plays with you.

You is the narcissist's favorite toy, the lõdik narcissist, the playful narcissist.

As usual, it goes much deeper than appearances.

Oscar Wilde wrote, "Yet each man kills the thing he loves.

By each, let this be heard.

Some do it with a bitter look, some with a flattering word.

The coward does it with a kiss, the brave man with a sword.

There is a movie, it is widely considered the best movie ever made. It is called Citizen Kane.

Citizen Kane as a child had a sled. The sled was manufactured by a company called Rosebud.

Never mind, watch the film. I am not going to provide you with a spoiler. That was his toy, but it was way more than a toy. It defined him.

This toy, the sled, was connected to a pivotal event in his life, his abandonment actually. So it came to symbolize the totality of his biography.

And as he was dying on his deathbed, he said, "Rosebud".

This is how the movie starts. It is an amazing film. And it deals with the relationship between the narcissist and his toys.

Initially inanimate toys, real objects, and then animate toys, objects in the psychological sense because in psychology, object is a person, a human being, which tells you a lot about psychology.

So when we say, for example, object relations, we mean relations or interpersonal relationships with people. Objects are people.

So the narcissist transitions from real, hard, inanimate, dead, inert objects to the more fun kind, to the more entertaining kind known as human beings.

And yes, you are the narcissist's toy.

The narcissist regards life as a playground or a toy store in two caveats.

One, everything I'm about to say applies to psychopaths as well.

Number two, I'm going to use gender pronouns, which are masculine. I'm going to say he, him, his.

It applies equally.

Unfortunately, in today's world, lies equally to women, to females.

So with these caveats in mind, we proceed.

The narcissist is derealized on a constant basis. Derealization is one of the mechanisms of dissociation. It's when we feel that everything that's happening to us, the environment, things and people which surround us, they're not real. We feel that it's all like a dreamscape or a nightmare or a memory.

So derealization is a form of dissociation.

The narcissist constantly derealizes.

Narcissist never experiences the external world as real. The narcissist feels embedded in some kind of a movie, a character in a theater play, maybe even an animated cartoon character. He doesn't fully trust himself to have an ontology. In other words, he doesn't feel that he has a presence, existential presence.

The narcissist is all about absence.

And so as far as the narcissist is concerned, you're not real. That's why narcissists never interact with external objects. They immediately internalize them. They immediately create an internal object which represents you in their minds. And they continue to interact with this internal object, not with you.

Because you are out there. You belong to reality. You belong to the world. You belong to the universe. You belong to the galaxy. And these are alien concepts and alien experiences to the narcissist.

You could say that the narcissist is estranged from the world.

And so everything is a playground or a toy store. People are toys. Professions are toys. Hobbies are toys. Locations are toys. Everything is a toy. Everything is a plaything. Everything can be imbued with enthusiasm and excitement and everything can be co-fected, emotionally invested in.

And then devalued, de-co-fected, discarded.

And the narcissist moves on to the next toy.

If you want to understand the narcissist's relationship with you and with other people, think a two-year-old playing with his toys.

What does a two-year-old do with his toys?

The terrible toys. He breaks his toys. He explores his toys by taking them apart.

A child this age wants to see what makes his toys tick. What are the inner mechanisms that kind of animate them, the toys? What's the dynamism or dynamics of the toy?

Children are very destructive with toys.

Also children go through an up and down, a labile attachment to the toy. They start with extreme enthusiasm and excitement and thrill and then gradually they get habituated. They give up a habit, the toy becomes a fixture and loses its allure and the child loses interest in the toy and moves on, usually discarding the toy under the bed or something, out of sight, out of mind.

That's exactly what a narcissist does with not only with objects in his life, not only with his jobs, not only with his professions, not only with locations where he resides, not only with his family members, not only with his friends, but also with his intimate partners.

It's exactly a two-year-old playing with his toys.

Now in healthy people, exactly like music, toys generate attachment. They come to symbolize a specific period in life. People would look back on their toys with nostalgia, a twinge, a pull at the heartstrings.

Toys are good things. They're affective forever. Toys actually are the first attachment objects. We'll come to it in a minute.

They're known as transitional objects.

And so toys are critical for the development of secure and healthy attachment, as critical as mother actually.

And here the narcissist is again an outlier.

The narcissist doesn't get attached to his toys, including human toys.

The narcissist fails to affect his toys, to emotionally invest in the toys on a prolonged basis.

It's not quite clear why, not even to me. It's not quite clear why.

Is it about abandonment anxiety or separation insecurity? Is it because most narcissists are also antisocial?

And so they have the traits and characteristics of psychopaths.

Psychopaths are novelty seekers, thrill seekers, risk seekers. So psychopaths are unable to attach on a regular basis because then they develop boredom, which is a form of internalized aggression.

Maybe that is the issue.

Narcissists are somewhat antisocial. And of course psychopaths are antisocial.

But in healthy people, in most people, toys are what are known as transitional comfort objects.

The second half of this video, I will elaborate on Donald Winnicott's theory of comfort objects.

But suffice it to say that comfort objects are the bridge between mother and others. The bridge between mother and other.

So initially the child is merged with mother, fused with her. The child can't tell the difference between mother and himself. There's no boundary. There's no distinction between mommy and the baby because mommy brings the world to the baby. She is the intermediary. Without mommy, the baby has no access to the world.

And so mommy becomes the world.

And there is a phase that used to be called symbiotic phase where mother and the baby are one.

And then gradually the baby grows up.

Mother frustrates the baby. She's not always there. She's not always available, not always amenable to the baby's demands.

The baby learns that mommy is external to it. He's not actually a part. Baby realizes mommy is not a part of me and I'm not a part of mommy. Mommy is out there. She's capable of frustrating me. She could be a bad object.

And so the baby begins to detach from mommy, which is a healthy process known as separation. He begins to detach from mommy.

But detaching from mommy is horrifying. It's traumatic because the baby has nothing except mommy. The whole world is mommy.

So how to detach from mother without losing the totality of your universe?

Well, you adopt a blanket, a security blanket or a teddy bear or a truck, a toy truck, toys and objects such as blankets, they serve as mother substitutes. They're always there. They're controlled and owned by the child. And the child considers them as part of itself, even though the child realizes this blanket is not mother. This toy is not mother. So it must be external to me.

And this is the way the transitional objects bridge the gap between mother and other.

The child develops attachment and begins to interact in increasingly more mature ways with the objects in his life.

He realizes for the first time the difference between himself and the rest of the world. He develops healthy boundaries, externality, internality, the hyper reflexive instincts. Every child has almost psychotic in the first two years of life.

Child confuses himself and the world. He thinks I am the world. The world is me. So comfort objects teach the child that there is something out there that is not the child. The gradually the child extends this newfound knowledge and applies it to other people. Other people become objects of the child's curiosity, the child's emotions, child's love, the child's attachment, bonding, social urges and so on. Other people become the comfort objects.

So the child discuses a teddy bear and finds a cute girl in class. And later he gets married with this cute girl and they have their own cute girls. As far as I remember, it's been a long time.

So this is the process. Toys are critical, psychologically critical because they allow the child to separate from mommy and yet to feel safe. Feel safe and that's why it's called the security blanket in many ways. It's to feel safe.

The comfort objects make the child feel safe, allow the child to explore the world and then to retreat back to the comfort object if mother is not there, mother is absent.

In short, the comfort objects provide the first form of object constancy.

Because here the narcissist again and the cycle again has a major problem.

However the narcissist never separates from mommy.

Separation and individuation in narcissism is disrupted.

So the narcissist never transitions to object relations.

Yes, the narcissist never transitions to object relations. That's why the narcissist cannot perceive you as an object out there with which to have a relationship or with whom to have a relationship.

Because you are not out there, narcissist has never separated from mommy, he's never exited the symbiotic phase.

And because he hasn't, he is unable to develop the kind of healthy relationship that the overwhelming vast majority of humanity develops with toys.

Narcissist is unable to derive comfort from his transitional objects. He doesn't use objects to replace mommy and as a launchpad to explore the world.

Narcissists are incapable of attaching to anything, animate or inanimate, because they don't recognize the externality of the world because they never separate from mother and never become individuals.

Consequently, narcissists are stuck at age two.

They are trying to break you apart, to see, to learn how you tick and then of course to abuse it. They get tired of you, bored. They want to discard you the way a child discards an old toy and welcomes a new one.

You're a toy, but you are never a transitional object. You're never a comfort object because you are never out there. You're a toy the same way a child of two interacts with toys.

As far as a child of two is concerned, his toys or her toys are an integral part of her. They're extensions of herself.

She doesn't regard or he doesn't regard, they don't regard age two. They don't regard toys as external. They have no concept of external yet. They haven't separated from mommy yet.

So toys are us. Toys are the children. His children perceive toys as another, another hand, another arm, another leg, you know, another organ.

And the narcissist is the same. He treats you as if you were an extremity, a part of his body, definitely a part of his mind because you've been internalized as an object.

So how can the narcissist remain attached to you if he doesn't see you as external? If you don't serve any function in terms of comfort or transition to object relations, if you're not perceived even as an object, another person, if your separateness is not recognized, so you're a toy.

Okay. If you're a toy and the narcissist is incapable of getting attached to you because, you know, he needs to move on to the next story.

But if you're a toy and the narcissist never transitions to object relations, why doesn't the narcissist emotionally invest in you?

I tried to explain what I'm asking.

The narcissist is stuck at age two. He hasn't separated from mommy. So she's still there. She's always there until he dies. It's a lifelong thing. It's a lifespan pathology.


But she's there. And the narcissist begins as a child, in early childhood, the narcissist begins to experiment with separation.

The narcissist has toys as a child and then he gets stuck. He is unable to convert the toys into transitional objects. He's unable to replace mommy with the toys and then replace the toys with other people. He's unable to transition to object relations.

Why doesn't the narcissist get stuck on the toy, in the toy phase? Why doesn't the narcissist get attached to his or her toys?

It's clear that the narcissist cannot develop adult mature relationships with other people.

Narcissist has no object relations. We get it. It's understandable that the narcissist hasn't separated from his mother. We get it.

But narcissists do play with toys. They play with toys at age two. They play with toys at age 20 and they play with toys at age 60. They play with toys.

Why don't they get attached to these toys the way they are attached to mother? Why do they separate from these toys?

These toys are not comfort objects. They are not transitional objects. They don't allow the narcissist, they don't expose the narcissist to the outside world.

So why doesn't the narcissist simply merge with these toys, fuse with these toys, becomes one with these toys?

And remember when I say toys, it means also the narcissist's intimate partners.

Why does the narcissist devalue and discard his toys, including his intimate partners?

Because they want to separate and individually.

Narcissists do want to transition from narcissistic relations to object relations.

The narcissist is unhappy with himself. He is egodystonic. He is in a state of grief because he won't be allowed to move on. He's been denied his freedom. His freedom to separate and to individuate.

It's a child in grief and this child wants to push mommy away and to become an individual.

And the way to do this, of course, is to go through toys, through transitional comfort objects and then to mature and ripen and have relationships with real objects, external objects, also known as people.

So, narcissists have an urge, they have a drive, they have a wish, they have a hope for separation and individuation.

This is why they cannot get attached to their toys.

The wish, the drive, the urge to push everything away, to separate, to become an individual, to break apart, to go away is much stronger than the wish to attach or to bond or to love.

The narcissist's overriding need is separation and then individuation, not attachment and then love.

Attachment and love are adult things. Attachment and love are mature things.

Separation and individuation is an infantile thing. It's a baby's thing. It's a toddler's thing.

Don't forget the narcissist is a baby. It's a toddler. It's an infant.

So of course the narcissist's emphasis is on separation and individuation.

And because this is the key motif, this is the key drive in the narcissistic psychopathology, the narcissist is incapable, unable and unwilling to attach to anyone or anything because attachment means stagnation. Attachment means inability to separate. Attachment means merger and fusion and losing your identity and your individuality. Attachment is the opposite of separation and love is the opposite of individuation in the narcissist's mental universe.

So narcissists regard you as toys, but as opposed to healthy people, as opposed to normal people, the fact that you are a toy pushes them away from you. The fact that you can become a comfort transitional object forces them to separate from you, to push you away, to get rid of you because you threaten them with your attachment. Your love is a menace. These emotions that you can provoke in the narcissist are detrimental and deleterious to him.

He needs to move on in attachment and love. Keep him grounded, keep him tethered, keep him bonded and bound. He wants to break free.

And here you are with your love and attachment pulling him back. You're like gravity, not allowing him to soar above the clouds into his individuality. You'll discover individuality.

So even though clinically speaking, the narcissist's intimate partner fulfills the role of a transitional object, the bridge between mother and other. Still she suffers the fate of the narcissist's mother. Individually as the narcissist tries to separate from his mother to individually, he tries to separate from his intimate partner and to individually.

The intimate partner is a maternal substitute. She's perceived as a mother substitute or he is perceived as a mother substitute, the dual mothership concept.

And so the narcissist intimate partner, partners are defective, deficient transitional objects because the narcissist immediately converts them to mother substitutes.

And the whole thing, the whole separation and individuation conundrum is reenacted. The narcissist's need to separate causes valuation, discard, I discussed it in other videos, but how does the narcissist experience it?

He devalues and he discards by emphasizing variety, novelty, thrill, risk.

So the antisocial element in the narcissist is the one that converts you into a persecutory object, an enemy forces the narcissist to devalue you and separate from you as a reenactment of his original conflict with his mother.

And at the same time, imbues the whole sordid process, imbues it with positive effects.

So when the narcissist gets rid of you, he is thrilled when he finds a substitute for you, the next intimate partner in a new shared fantasy, he is happy, he is excited.

There's novelty there, there's some risk and there's variety.

So what the narcissist does, he tars the process of devaluation and discard with a brush of exploration, curiosity, novelty, thrill, and so on and so forth, is motivate him to move on to the next intimate partner and start the cycle all over again.

So let me summarize this and then go to the work of Winnicott.

All children transition from an attachment to mother, bonding with mother, fusing and merging with mother in a symbiotic phase, not being able to tell the difference between themselves and mother. All children transition from this to an interim phase with transitional objects like a teddy bear or a blanket.

The transitional object teaches the child that there is something external and also teaches the child rudimentary lessons in attachment and bonding.

The child gets attached and bonded to its toys.

And then later on, the child is able to apply the same lessons to another person, to an object in the psychological sense. The child is able to develop object relations.

Child loves another person the way he used to love his teddy bear and he recognizes the externality of another person the way he accepted that the teddy bear is not part of him but outside him.

Okay, this is a healthy normal child in a healthy normal trajectory of personal growth and development, not so the narcissist.

The narcissist is unable to decouple from mother, to separate from her and to move onto transitional comfort object as a stage toward object relations.

The narcissist does not complete this course. He stays stuck with mommy. There's no separation and no individuation.

Consequently, any relationship the narcissist has with another person is effectively a relationship with his mother in a desperate attempt to render the other person a transitional object.

When this inevitably fails, the narcissist attempts separation via devaluation and discard and he convinces himself that such measures like devaluing the other, discarding, abusing the intimate partner, ruining the relationship, breaking up, he convinces himself that this is great fun. It's wonderful. It's novelty. It's thrilling.

And this is the psychopathic aspect of the narcissist.

Donald Woods Winnicott, who was a pediatrician by the way, many, many giants of psychology have never studied psychology. He was a pediatrician.

Later he became a psychoanalyst.

So Donald Woods Winnicott introduced the concept of transitional object and transitional experience. And he said it's an inevitable part of the developmental sequence.

Winnicott meant that there is an intermediate developmental phase between psychic reality, totally internalized, no interface with the world, between this kind of reality, which is let's say up to age 18 months, and external reality. This is the transitional space.

And within the transitional space, there are transitional objects.

When the child begins to separate me from not me, when the child evolves from complete dependence to relative or budding independence, the child begins to use objects, external objects, inanimate objects, transitional objects.

The child initially sees himself as mother. He can't tell the difference between himself and mother. So as far as he's concerned, he is also a mother. The child is also a mother. The mother is the world. She brings the world to the child.

And this gives the child the illusion that the child's thoughts can affect the world. This is known as magical thinking.

The child says to himself, "I am mother. Mother is the world. So I am the world. So anything I wish, I can make happen. I can create the objects of my desire simply by wishing them into existence."

And this is a sense of subjective omnipotence.

But unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, subjective omnipotence clashes with objective reality.

And objective reality is the fact that even very young children are aware of the environment.

They pretty early on begin to develop doubts about the theory that they are the world.

They realize that there is some separateness from the desired objects because money, for example, keeps frustrating them.

And if they are mother, how can they frustrate themselves?

They realize something is wrong with theory.

So the subjective omnipotence experience makes the child feel that he can wish something, desire something, becomes reality, and then there's a huge gratification.

And so when the child is confronted with objective reality, he tries to apply the same paradigm to objective reality.

The child says, "Okay, maybe there's something out there that is not me, but I can still wish it to exist or I can wish it to not exist."

Magical thinking persists later into life.

The child does come to realize that mother is a separate entity, but this is perceived as a loss, as a trauma, and there is a sudden overwhelming sense of dependency.

It's new.

Ironically, when the child is most dependent, the child doesn't feel dependent because the child believes that he is mommy and he can wish mommy into existence.

But when the child grows up a bit and becomes more independent, objectively, the child feels more dependent, subjectively, and there's a gap between how the child feels and reality, and it creates a difficult period of frustration and anxiety.

Mother is not always available to bring the world to the baby.

This realization is exceedingly hurtful and painful and menacing, frightening, onus, and the child is consumed by it for a while.

He doesn't know how to square the circle.

Half of his brain is still there with the belief that he is mother and mother is the world and that he is omnipotent.

The other half is becoming open to the realization that all this is not true.

The child develops a fantasy of wishing objects into existence or that the objects out there are actually out there to comfort the child or to satisfy the child's needs and cater to his dynamics.

The child begins to imbue reality itself with enchantment, with magic.

This is where transitional objects come in.

The transitional object is the first position which is not me.

It's a not me position.

It belongs to the child, but it's not the child.

So again, a blanket, a teddy bear.

But transitional objects were originally defined in a way that, for example, words or music can be transitional objects.

Anyhow, much more common is to have real life objects as transitional objects.

The transitional object is a mother.

It's a mother's substitute.

It represents all the components and functions of mothering.

By owning the transitional object, the child owns or reacquires mother, closes the distance between himself and mommy.

The child used to be mommy. Child and mother were one. And then mother broke off.

And there was this schism, this division of the world, which is terrifying and traumatic.

And then the child found a teddy bear. And teddy bear became mother. And the child owns the teddy bear.

So he owns mother.

And so again, this reduces the child's anxiety because the child again becomes omnipotent. He owns mother. He can create whatever he needs. He can wish into existence any object of desire as embodied in the emblem of the transitional object.

It's a fantasized bond with mother through the transitional object.

And yet the relationship with the transitional object allows the child to actually separate from mommy. He is no longer dependent on mommy because he has a teddy bear.

It's important.

Transitional object is critical as a defense against the anxiety of separation.

Children calm down with the transitional objects. They sleep more easily.

There have been studies in Brazil, other places.

At the later stage, the child no longer needs a transitional object, of course.

It makes a distinction between me and not me inside and outside and so on and so forth.

And there's no more use of magical thinking.

Instead and fantasy defense is much reduced.

Instead the child uses symbols, for example, language and other objects and so on and so forth.

We'll not go into all this.

The transitional object has an objective component and a subjective component.

It occupies a real space and it occupies a mental space.

And so it is a perfect bridge into adult life.

The child gradually relinquishes the mental space in favor of the real space.

The child literally walks on the bridge of the transitional object into his life and his reality.

His separation is obstructed and disrupted. The child is never able to develop a proper relationship with a transitional object and never enters reality.

And so this kind of child, as an adult, would try desperately to reenact, replay this fixation, this disrupted phase. He would convert his intimate partner into a mother and then he would try to separate from her as a mother and make her into, shape her into a transitional object.

And of course this is impossible because she is a mother in his mind and then he would need to devalue her and discard her and move on to the next mother, to the next intimate partner.

Because in a shared fantasy, the narcissist is able to devalue and discard his intimate partner and introduce into the shared fantasy a third party, not in order to triangulate, but in order to use the third party as a transitional object, as a teddy bear.

So you would see a situation where the narcissist is embedded in a shared fantasy with an intimate partner that functions as a mother and he has a lover or a mistress or a playmate who serves as a teddy bear or a blanket, a safety object, a calming object, a transitional object.

And the narcissist hopes to be able to transition through the third party into object relations and then apply them to the partner.

But of course this is impossible because you can't use a transitional object to convert your mother into something else.

You can only move away from mother.

Transitional objects are catalysts. They speed up the process of separation from mother and render it safe and secure.

You can't use a transitional object in order to regain attachment and bonding with your intimate partner and this time not as a mother.

The narcissist converts the intimate partner into a mother and there's no going back from this.

Definitely not via transitional objects.

This is the picture. You're the narcissist's mother and then sometimes you're the narcissist's toy, transitional object.

And of course these two roles are incompatible. You can't be a mother and a transitional object because the transitional object's function is to push the child away from mother, to help the child separate from mother.

So because these are contradictory, mutually exclusive roles, the narcissist is unable to reconcile them.

Ultimately he gives up on you and then there's the valuation, discard and I describe it in other videos.

Now I created two new playlists.

One is about the shared fantasy and the dual mothership and another playlist about healing and recovery from narcissistic abuse.

So they're available on this channel. I hope you had fun, to team and to talk and see you next time.

If I succeed to separate from you. You've been one hell of a transitional object until now.

Thank you for listening.

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In summary, the narcissist's intimate partner plays a crucial role in the shared fantasy by fulfilling the roles of admirer, playmate, and mother. This allows the narcissist to experience maximal grandiosity and feel safe enough to separate and individuate. However, the intimate partner's presence also leads to the narcissist's self-hatred and inability to maintain meaningful communication with both the outside world and himself. The intimate partner ultimately becomes a threat to the narcissist, as they make the narcissist feel human, which is something the narcissist does not want to be.

Why Narcissist Can't Get You Out of His Mind? (Introject Constancy)

Narcissists use splitting as a defense mechanism, which involves seeing themselves as all good and others as all bad. They idealize their partner, but then need to discard them to separate from their original mother. To do this, they devalue their partner by taking the idealized snapshot of them and imbuing it with negative qualities. However, they cannot get rid of the internal object, causing them to devalue and discard their partner in reality. This is due to introject constancy, where the narcissist creates internal objects that are constant and reliable, unlike external objects.

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