Autism, ADHD, BPD, or Narcissism? (Compilation)

Uploaded 11/18/2023, approx. 2 hour 48 minute read

Is she a borderline or is she a narcissist?

Is he a narcissist or is he a psychopath?

Does she have borderline or is she simply traumatized?

CPTSD complex trauma.

Is he a covert narcissist or is he a covert borderline?

Is he a covert borderline or is he a covert borderline?

This is a serious problem in modern diagnostic psychology, clinical and abnormal psychology. We call it the polythetic problem.

We have comorbidities. Comorbidities means that two or more mental health issues are diagnosed in the same individual.

And sometimes these mental health issues are mutually exclusive. They contradict each other.

For example, when we diagnose psychopathy and borderline personality disorder in the same person, psychopathy, no empathy, no emotions, borderline personality disorder, only emotions, dysregulated emotions.

So it's a joke. The whole thing is a joke.

Differential diagnosis. Differential diagnosis are feeble attempts in the diagnostic and statistical manual to help us to tell these disorders apart.

Diagnostic and statistical manual had doubled its pages in the past 20 years, actually went up 10 times in terms of pages since 1952. We had 10 times mentally ill, 10 times more mentally ill, it seems, according to the committee of the DSM.

Until such time as the distinguished and venerable members of the diagnostic and statistical manual committee gather the courage to oppose the insurance of pharmaceutical industries and to do what the ICD, International Classification of Diseases Edition 11 had done, until such time as we recognize that there's only one personality disorder and that this one personality disorder is actually a form of complex trauma, CPTSD, post-traumatic condition.

Until such time, we are forced to cope with the whole zoo of literally indistinguishable, allegedly different conditions, hence differential diagnosis. It's a mess. It's a joke. It's a caricature of science. It's pseudoscience.

But it allows therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists to get reimbursed by insurance companies because they can point to a specific page or article in the DSM and it allows the pharmaceutical industry to inundate you with antidepressants, anxiolytics and other mind effing drugs.

Now all is well in the land of capitalism. I have prepared for you a playlist.

A playlist is a series of thematically connected videos.

So you go to the playlist and you watch a series of videos about the same topic.

Now if you look at the description under the video, you will find that there is a link. If you click on the link, you will see a variety of videos. Each one of them will help you to distinguish autism from narcissism, narcissism from borderline, borderline from complex trauma, complex trauma from narcissism, narcissism from psychopathy, etc.

It's over and I encourage you to watch it.

Today we are going to discuss autism, narcissism and borderline and we're going to end.

I'm going to add to the mountain of videos I've already made by calling your attention to a few additional similarities and differences between these disorders.

We start with autism and borderline.

There is an affinity between low functioning autism and borderline personality disorder.

Low functioning autism is the stereotypical autism. It's the kid who bangs his head on the wall, can hardly dress himself, is silent most of the time and suddenly erupts in rage, etc.

The classical picture, stereotypical picture of autism.

Now most people with autism spectrum disorder are actually high functioning. They have families, they have jobs, they go out into the world and they're almost indistinguishable from other people.

But there's a minority of people with autism spectrum disorder. There's a minority who are low functioning, people with low functioning autism.

And they live a lot in common with borderline personality disorder, which of course raises the tantalizing possibility that both conditions are actually brain abnormalities.

In both cases the sufferer is overwhelmed by stimuli. The person with autism spectrum disorder is overwhelmed by external stimuli. He drowns in the environment, he's flooded by cues, messages, signals and information from his environment. He doesn't know how to react to this avalanche. He doesn't filter it as normal people do. He cannot relegate 95% of it to the unconscious as all of us do.

So instead of being exposed to 5% conscious content, he is exposed to 40 or 50%.

And of course such a person falls apart. It's terrifying. It's a feeling of being hemmed in, strangled, suffocating, smothered by the environment, the environment closing in on you like walls and it's very claustrophobic.

But the same way the autistic person is overwhelmed by the external environment, the borderline person is overwhelmed by her internal environment.

As the autistic person is exposed to external stimuli and then dysregulates behaviorally, his behavior becomes out of control. The borderline is exposed to an avalanche, a tsunami of internal signals, internal stimuli, especially affects, emotions.

And similarly she dysregulates. She falls apart. She's incapable of coping with the onslaught of emotions and so she emotionally dysregulates.

Indeed autism and borderline personality disorder appear to be flip sides of the same coin.

It is a form of dysregulation in reaction to stimuli, stimuli induced dysregulation.

In both cases self-harm serves to fulfill three self-soothing functions.

The autistic person self-harms bodily, bangs his head on the wall, scratches himself, what have you.

The borderline person does the same. He cuts himself or burns himself with a cigarette.

So both people with low functioning autism spectrum disorder and people with borderline personality disorder engage in self-harming, self-mutilating behaviors. And these behaviors have the same three functions in both cases.

Number one, to reassert control over the dynamic of irritation and aggravation by the stimuli.

Imagine the stimuli is an invading army. An invading army and the autistic person and the borderline person have no defenses.

The borderline person is besieged internally by a fifth column, a Trojan horse, traitors from within and she can't cope with it. She's aggravated. She's irritated. She's terrified. She's anxious.

The same applies to the autistic person. He reacts this way to external stimuli.

Both of them are trying to reassert control over this dynamic.

The elective act of self-mutilation and self-harm. This act is a form of I'm in control. I am cutting myself. I am burning myself. I am banging my head against the wall, but I'm in control of this.

A similar dynamic plays out, of course, in eating disorders. It's all about self-control.

There is a niche. There is an act. There's a choice. There's a decision which I control fully. I can't control my external environment. I can't control my internal environment, but I can control how much I eat or how I harm myself or how I mutilate my body.

The second function of self-harm is to drown out sources of frustration and pain with even greater agony.

So the self-inflicted pain of the autistic person and the borderline person, they counterbalance and cancel out the pain, the hurt and the anxiety that they feel in reaction to over-stimulation.

So if the borderline cuts herself for a minute there, she's focused on the pain of the cut. She no longer is preoccupied with her emotions and what her emotions are threatening to do to her, which is to kill her.

Indeed, 11% of borderlines, people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and upcomitic suicide. They're cutting self-harm, self-mutilation. These are desperate attempts to create an external pain, an external torture that counterways the internal battle, the internal battle that often is lost.

And the third function is to reawaken, feel alive as a self-inflicted hurt negates the numbing, the erstwhile numbing.

Both autistic people and borderline people react to their inner turmoil with numbing, what we call reduced affect display.

They acquire habits which deny to observers the ability to discern what's happening inside them.

So their emotions are shallow affect or flat affect. Their emotions are shallow and numb until the point where they decompensate and become rageful.

But most of the time they have numb emotions and in the case of the autistic person they have numb affect.

In other words, they don't show any emotions and any affects.

The only exception is of course the rage attacks, the aggression, the externalized aggression which are common to both the borderline and the autistic person.

Cutting self-harming, self-mutilation, they revive the borderline. They revive the autistic person.

They imbue the borderline and the autistic person with a renewed sense of being embedded in reality. They bring them back to reality in a sense.

Now these are autists and borderlines.

What about narcissists and borderlines?

Again, go to the description. There's a link there. It's a playlist.

Click on the link. You will find a wealth, a plethora of videos about the differences between borderlines and narcissists, borderlines and complex trauma victims, borderlines and covert narcissists, etc. Watch these videos.

I'm not going to repeat myself. I'm going to add to what I've said in the past.

The narcissist experiences periods of collapse.

If you look at the recent videos I've made over the past week or two, you will find a video dedicated to the collapse phase in narcissism and psychopathy.

So the narcissist experiences go through horrible, harrowing periods of collapse, usually coupled with something known as narcissistic mortification, but not always and not necessarily.

Collapse simply means a sustained failure to obtain narcissistic supply despite all efforts, attempts and strategies.

This tries everything, attempts everything, changes himself, escalates his behavior. Nothing works. He's unable to obtain supply, so he collapses.

The collapse can be subclinical collapse. That's a protracted, drawn out, incremental type of collapse because there is some incoming narcissistic supply. It's barely sufficient and it's a maintenance dose of supply, but there is still some supply coming in, drips and drops of supply coming in.

And so the narcissist is able to somehow maintain the precarious balance of his disorganized chaotic personality.

A proper meaning.

So this is called subclinical collapse, slow, inexorable, injurious traumatizing process of gradually and incrementally losing your supply day in and day out, less and less supply by the day.

That is in contradistinction, in contrast to traumatic collapse.

Traumatic collapse is abrupt. It's when the narcissist loses all his sources of supply simultaneously.

For example, when he goes to prison, it's an example, or when he becomes very ill and is hospitalized, or when he joins the army.

So this is an abrupt collapse. Or when everyone abandons him because he has been canceled or he has been outed or he has been shamed and humiliated in public, which also leads to mortification.

Okay, so that's the background of collapse.

As long as the supply keeps coming, the narcissist is egosyntonic, is happy go lucky. He is comfortable in his own skin. As long as the supply keeps coming, the narcissist is a-okay.

The collapse results in severe egodystony, the opposite of egosyntony, being dejected, unhappy. Uncomfortable with yourself is called egodystony.

When you are very self-critical, self-punitive, self-loathing, self-defeating, self-destructive, it's a manifestation of egodystony.

So the collapse leads the narcissist to severe, very harsh egodystony and dysphoria, often to the point of depression.

So in this sense, the collapse in narcissism resembles decompensation in border lines.

Decompensation is a clinical term. It simply means the inactivation, the disabling of all psychological defense mechanisms so that you are left naked, immediately exposed to the environment or as a scholar once said, without skin.

The borderline goes through decompensation when she is abandoned, rejected, humiliated, or when she anticipates such things.

And so she decompensates.

And then later on, she acts out, she switches to secondary psychopathic self-state and acts out.

But decompensation resembles very much collapse in narcissism, very, very much actually, with one exception.

Collapse does not include emotional dysregulation because the narcissist doesn't have access to his positive emotions.

His negative emotions, however, do get dysregulated.

His anger, his rage, his anger, all these, they do get dysregulated in the collapse phase.

Only positive emotions don't.

In the borderline, decompensation leads to an emotional dysregulation that is all-encompassing. Both her positive emotions and her negative emotions become dysregulated, go out of control, threaten to overwhelm her and destroy her, which is why she switches to a secondary psychopathic state.

So the first distinction between narcissism and borderline is that both of them go through collapse in the borderline case, it's called decompensation.

Both of them lose everything, all their defenses, because narcissistic supply and the false self, it's a defense. It's a compensatory defense.

So both of them lose their defenses, but with a narcissist, only his negative emotions get dysregulated and with the borderline, all her emotions get dysregulated, which further supports Groztine's idea that borderlines are actually failed narcissists. They didn't make it. They got stuck in the middle.

And so they still have access to their emotions and they still have empathy.

So once the narcissist experiences collapse, he transitions from one type of narcissist to another type of narcissist. He transitions, for example, from cerebral to somatic, or he transitions from being overt to being covert. And this is exactly what happens with the borderline.

The borderline switches between self-states.

Again, when she's abandoned, rejected, humiliated or stressed, she then switches from borderline to secondary psychopath.

In this sense, the narcissist's type in constancy, his tendency to change his type like a chameleon subject to environmental cues and stressors, this is very similar to the switching process in borderline.

But in borderline, the switch is very short, no longer usually than a few days, typically a few minutes or a few hours, but no longer than three or four days.

In the narcissist, the switch could last years, even decades. Narcissists could switch, could transition from being cerebral to being somatic and it could last years.

I for example, have switched from cerebral to somatic a few years ago and it's still ongoing.

Similarly, I have switched from somatic to cerebral and I've stayed in a cerebral mode for 15 years. This is our long.

So the only difference, the only clinical psychodynamic difference between narcissists and borderlines is that when the narcissist switches between self-states, when he alternates and cycles between self-states, it's for long, it's for keeps. It could take years until the next switch is upon him.

When the borderline switches, it's a remedial measure. It's an adhesive. She's just trying to lick her wounds, to cater to her injury.

And then when this is done in a few hours, in a few days, she's back to her original state.

So the cerebral type in narcissism, sexual abstinence is a form of self-supply. In other words, sexual celibacy, abstinence makes the cerebral narcissist feel superior. He creates a whole ideology around it that he doesn't have sex, just goes to prove that he is the next stage in evolution, that he is far above the bestial instincts of the Hoi Po Loi and the Great Unwashed.

In other words, the cerebral narcissist's asexuality, in effect asexuality, almost there, is at the service of his grandiosity.

It's an integral part of his identity and of the ways that he buttresses and sustains and supports his grandiose view of himself.

In other words, he regards sexlessness as meritorious and virtuous, the same way the church regarded it during the Middle Ages.

It is the collapse-induced depression that drives the narcissist to become sexually voracious in the somatic phase.

Now this is mind-warping. It's a mind-boggling insight.

In all people, and I mean all people, even mentally ill people, even schizophrenics, even people with borderline personality disorder, even bipolardepression means a decrease in sexual libido, a decrease in the sex drive.

When you're depressed, you don't want to have sex. End of story.

Very often, one of the ways we diagnose depression in clinical settings is we inquire about the sex life of the patient.

If we see precipitous and sudden drop in sexual activity, we tend to immediately suspect depression.

But contrary to the rest of humanity, as usual, in narcissists, depression leads to enhanced libido, a higher sex drive, a stronger sex drive.

When they're depressed, they want to have more sex.


Because sexual conquest and sexual performance are antidotes to the depression. Because it's not really depression. It's a depression that is reactive to the loss of supply.

So the narcissist tries to garner new supply through sexual activity.

So depression, the chain of events is this.

The narcissist loses his narcissistic supply. He becomes depressed. He needs to find new supply urgently or he will fall apart.

So he begins to have sex because sex is immediate narcissistic supply.

And so with a narcissist, when he's depressed, he's likely to become a hypersexual, sexually hyperactive as opposed to all other humanity, the rest of humanity.

Now in narcissism, and when it comes to borderline, the situation is different.

The borderline who is depressed will become highly abstinent and highly celibate.

Actually in borderline, we have periods of extreme promiscuity, unbridled, unbound rate, self-trashing sexual misconduct, followed by periods of withdrawal, avoidance and utter total sexual abstinence.

It's similar with the narcissist.

He goes through periods of sexual abstinence and period of sexual promiscuity, exactly like the borderline.

But as you see, the etiology, the reason this is happening is not like the borderline.

In the borderline, these alternations in sexual behavior are an outcome of her internal dynamics, for example, her perception of having been abandoned and humiliated and rejected by many people, by many intimate partners.

In the narcissist, these alternations between sexual hyperactivity and sexual hyperactivity, low activity, they are driven by the fluctuations in supply.

Supply runs dry, the narcissist gets depressed, becomes sexually active. Supply runs high, the narcissist becomes grandiose and idealizes sexlessness.

Completely different ideologies, same behaviors.

Now back to the types in narcissism.

We're not somatics, we're a verb or verb covert.

The types are actually highly dissociative self-states.

In narcissism, these self-states are almost full-fledged personalities, which is why I think narcissism is a very close cousin, a first cousin of dissociative identity disorder, essentially a post-traumatic condition.

Because in narcissism, the self-states are very demarcated and they don't share a lot of information with each other. They have impermeable dissociative partitions. They don't have full access to the same database, for example, of memories. Each self-state has its own set of memories, which it doesn't share with the other self-states.

So this is the narcissistic condition.

And because they're not one and the same in narcissism, we in narcissism sometimes encounter binary systems.

We find narcissists which are both covert and overt at the same time, both cerebral and somatic at the same time, and the two self-states are in conflict, are in dissonance.

These are passing phases, usually, except in extremely pathological conditions, but they're there.

And so we could have a situation where the narcissist transitions from a cerebral phase to a somatic phase, and then the somatic phase, the somatic reification of the somatic embodiment of the narcissist mourns the years of cerebral sexlessness.

So you would talk to this newly minted somatic narcissist who used to be cerebral, and this somatic narcissist is in mourning and very angry at the cerebral for having denied the common body they both share sex.

So for example, I transitioned from cerebral to somatic a few years ago, and I'm furious at myself for having denied myself sex for 15 years. My somatic reincarnation is furious at my erstwhile cerebral manifestation for having denied our common body sex.

But similarly, the cerebral grieves over the time wasted by the somatic in the relentless pursuit of sexual conquests. Both of these types fail to recall the bliss that they had experienced during the time spent as the other type, regardless of the so-called sacrifices made, because these types don't share information fully and don't have access to the same memories, they're very monopolistic and exclusive when it comes to memory, because they don't share a common template even though they share a body. They're very angry at each other and they don't remember. The somatic doesn't recall, doesn't remember how good it was, how good it had been to be a cerebral. And the cerebral doesn't recall.

What a wonderful time the somatic has had. They simply don't remember.

And all they do remember are the sacrifices.

The somatic remembers that the cerebral had sacrificed their sexuality. And the cerebral remembers that the somatic had sacrificed their common time. These are the sacrifices.

But they don't recall at all that when they had been in the phase, when they had been a different type, they were happy. They were egosyntonic. They don't remember that.

So if you were to tell the somatic, "But wait a minute, why are you angry at the cerebral?" These 15 years that you didn't have sex, the cerebral was perfectly happy. It was a blissful period.

And the somatic would deny this. He would say, "Not true. The cerebral had been depressed." But there's a misattribution here. There's a misunderstanding. The cerebral had been, the somatic remembers that the cerebral had been depressed because this depression had led to the emergence of the somatic. It's a bit complex. Let me try to explain again. I know it's a bit complex. Mini break. The narcissist is sometimes cerebral, sometimes somatic. He transitions from cerebral to somatic because of collapse. He cannot obtain supply, so he becomes somatic to obtain supply via sex.

Get supply sex quick. Okay. That much is clear. When he transitions from cerebral to somatic, the somatic is angry at the cerebral for not having had sex during the cerebral phase. And the somatic says, "The cerebral was depressed. Cerebral experienced depression." And he experienced depression because he didn't have sex or he didn't have sex because he experienced depression.

Somatic links the memory of the depression of the cerebral to the absence of sex. But the somatic is getting it wrong.

The reason the cerebral was depressed had nothing to do with the sex. The reason the cerebral had been depressed is because he couldn't get supply. The only reason for depression in the narcissist is collapse, inability to obtain supply. Depression in the narcissist is 100% reactive.

And so the somatic is getting it wrong. He'sit wrong.

He's saying, "Look at this idiot. The cerebral, he didn't have sex and consequently, he has had depression."

But the truth is the cerebral didn't have sex and was very happy with not having had sex. Very happy.

It supported his grandiosity. He felt blissful and blessed and superior for not having had sex.

That's not the reason he got depressed.

The cerebral got depressed because he couldn't obtain supply anymore.

It has nothing to do with the sex.

And so they keep blaming each other. They misattribute the depression brought on by imminent or actual collapse to the compulsive behavioral constriction of the other type.

And so this is very common in borderline as well.

This misattribution error or attribution error.

The borderline attributes to her previous state, errors, mistakes and misbehavior, guilt and shame.

So for example, when the borderline transitions to the secondary psychopathic phase defending against abandonment, anxiety, humiliation and stress, the secondary psychopathic borderline would criticize her behavior as a pure borderline before she had switched.

Each of the self states of the borderline is critical of the other. The psychopath would say, "Look at this stupid borderline. How gallibi she was, how dependent she was, how weak she was." So the psychopath criticizes the borderline. The borderline criticizes the psychopath.

When she switches back from secondary psychopath to borderline, she would say, "Look at this psychopath, how reckless she had been, how stupid her decisions were."

So this conflict between the self states, this dissonance, is common to borderlines and to narcissists. And attribution errors are common as well.

And the memory, the recall of the mood disorder that preceded like a harbinger, like a warning sign preceded the immediate switch.

So sequences, a collapse or an injury or humiliation or rejection in the case of borderline and then a mood reaction, a reactive mood and then the switch to another self state.

Finally, both borderlines and narcissists experience separation insecurity colloquially known as abandonment anxiety. Both of them are terrified of being abandoned because both of them have something called object in constancy. I've made a zillion videos about this topic.

So please search the channel, use the magnifying glass, use the downward arrow on a smartphone.

In constancy simply means that the borderline and the narcissist cannot maintain a stable representation of another person if he's not with them physically.

So in their minds, there is no avatar or representation of the real person. The real person has to be with them, present physically.

The narcissist has a snapshot, but the snapshot has nothing to do with the real person. It's an idealized version of the real person.

So both of them suffer from abandonment anxiety. Both of them also merge and fuse with an intimate partner in a symbiotic phase, the shared fantasy. This is common to borderlines and to narcissists, but the borderline distances herself from her intimate partner owing to an overwhelming and government anxiety. When she gets too close to her intimate partner, she feels suffocated. She feels subsumed, submerged, assimilated. She feels that she's about to disappear. This creates in the borderline approachavoidance, repetition, compulsion, a cycle of approaching the intimate partner because she needs him to regulate her internal environment, moods, her emotions.

But then she's terrified of too much intimacy because she feels that she's drowning. This is overwhelming. She develops a motion of dysregulation and runs away, decompensates and acts out in a secondary psychopathic phase. This is why the borderline is distancing herself.

But the narcissist does not have an engagement anxiety. He devalues and discards his partner exactly as the borderline does, owing to his need to separate from a maternal figure.

Again, I recommend that you watch the several videos I've made, including conversations with Richard Grannon, on the topic of separation and individuation.

The borderline and the narcissist create a shared fantasy with the intimate partner.

The borderline wants out because she feels that she's vanishing. She's disappearing within the shared fantasy.

The narcissist wants out because he needs to separate from his intimate partner who had become his surrogate new mother, a maternal figure.

He needs to complete the unfinished business, the cycle, complete the cycle, the early conflict and the unfinished business with his real mother. He needs to separate and become an individual.

These are a few of the differences between borderlines and other mental health disorders.

Again, go to the description. There's a link with a playlist. This playlist has placed all the videos that deal with comorbidities and differential diagnosis.

In other words, differences between various mental health diagnosis.

I wish you a good day despite this video.

Try to recover. Don't listen to me too often. It could be harmful to your health.

But exactly like cigarettes. I am addictive. My name is Sam Vaknin. I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love, the Narcissism Revisited and the most handsome and your favorite professor of psychology.

Be well. Everyone and her mother-in-law are now experts on cluster B personality disorders. It's all the rage. It's a money spinner.

So here's a message to these self-styled experts.

Autistic thinking is not the same, repeat not the same, as autism spectrum disorder or more generally autism. Autistic thinking has little to do with autism, despite the label.

Here's a piece of free advice.

I usually charge 500 euros an hour and here I'm giving it to you for free.

Go and actually study psychology under Professor Sandvakni preferably. Or much easier and much more pleasant, watch this video to the end and you will be enlightened and educated and edified about autistic thinking and de-reistic thinking.

But not before we travel through multiple service announcements.

For those of you who don't want to listen to the service announcements, fast forward, find where the video starts, the actual content starts.

And for those of you who are curious as to what is happening in the esteemed, venerable Professor Sandvakni's life, this is for you.

Okay, first of all, my name is Sam Vaknin and I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited. I'm a former visiting professor of psychology in Southern Federal University, where I left when the war started, and I'm a long time faculty member in CIAPS, Commonwealth for International Advanced Professional Studies in Toronto, Canada, Cambridge, United Kingdom and an outreach campus in Lagos, Nigeria.

Here are the service announcements preceding the actual content of the video.

For one, there's an artificial intelligence channel called Mindful Wealth Mastery, link in the description. The channel summarizes the thought, the thinking of public intellectuals such as Jordan Peterson, Yuval Noah Harari and so on and so forth.

And among these public intellectuals, poor humble me. I'm also, my thinking and teachings are also summarized there.

Go to the channel, have a look around and please pay attention to the number of views. Hint, hint. Enough wackling, enough self-congratulating and self-bragging. People might think that you're a narcissist.

Okay, a pro-poor narcissism. I'm honored and privileged to have been the latest guest in the Human Rights Podcast of the University of Cambridge. The podcast is called "Declarations" and it is put together by the Center of Governance and Human Rights at the University of Cambridge. It's available on Apple Podcasts and on Spotify.

And again, there's a link in the description.

Now, during this podcast, I suggested a new approach to abuse involving dual concepts, borders versus boundaries.

The host was Nima Jayasinghe and the panelist was Dr. Magyar Tanvir.

And we dealt with the discourses regarding personal border violations in mental abuse versus boundary violations.

It's very interesting because I identified several behaviors which are not considered abusive as actually abusive.

Go there and listen if you didn't have enough of a wackling dose for the day, overdose on wackling is the new black.

Okay, next.

As you well know, or some of you may know, I have a PhD in physics.

So there are several videos I've made about physics.

A theory that I came up with in 1984 in my PhD dissertation is now being elaborated upon by scientists all over the world.

So there are several videos on physics.

There are videos on economics.

I used to be an economic advisor to several governments. I used to be the senior business correspondent of United Press International, UPI. I was the business correspondent of Newsweek and RTL, TV Hungary, and so on and so forth. And I'm the current columnist in Brussels Morning, which is a European Union newspaper.

Now, all these contents and materials are available on my wacknin musings channel. And again, there's a link in the description.

Another channel that I maintain is about nothingness. Finally, the last service announcement, I'm uploading academic papers, academic articles that I've published, that I've offered and published. And I'm uploading academic articles and papers where my work is cited. There's a total of 1,500 academic papers where my work has been cited. And I'm uploading all these to my page on

Recently selected me to be top 0.5% of 270 million academics around the world. It's a huge honor. And I accept it, and typically, atypically, I accept it with due humility.

Top 0.5% of all academics in the world confirmed by I'm also a member of their editorial board and other positions.

So these are the service announcements.

As I promised, today we are going to discuss a very fascinating topic, autistic and de-reistic thinking.

But before we go there, I want to mention a school of thought known as activism.

An activism is the proposition that minds arise and take shape through the precarious, self-creating, self-sustaining, adaptive activities of living creatures.

Living creatures regulate themselves by interacting with features of the environment.

Now, the insights of an activism went into my recent IPAM model, intra-psychic activation model.

There's a video on my channel dedicated to IPAM, and there are already a few papers published in academic journals about IPAM.

So an activism is a part of IPAM because it recognizes that the minds of creatures are the outcomes of regulatory or self-regulatory activities in the environment.

Now, the term an inaction was first introduced in a book called The Embodied Mind, co-authored by Varela, Thompson and Roche and published in 1991.

At the time, the authors defined cognition as an action, and they defined an action as the bringing forth of domains of significance through orgasmic activity that has been in self-condition by a history of interactions between an organism and his environment.

Mentality, never mind how complex, never mind how sophisticated.

Yes, even my mentality has to do with living beings dynamically interacting with their environment.

From the activist perspective, minds cannot be described unless you specify all these interactions because they are at the heart of mentality and mentalizing in all their forms.

Now, this leads directly to autistic and dariistic thinking because these two types of cognitions are actually divorced from the environment and fly in the face of an activism.

Have fun, Jeladim, the Jeladot. Look it up.

Autistic thinking, also known as dariistic thinking, is the topic of today's video.

And what qualifies me to hacktor and preach and chastise and castigate all the plagiarists and self-styled experts out there?

My credentials. My name is Sam Vaknin. I am the author of the first book on narcissistic abuse, Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited, first published in 1999 when the dinosaurs roamed the earth. I'm also a former visiting professor of psychology in a southern federal university in Rostov-on-Don, Russian Federation. And I am a long-term member of the faculty of CIAPS, Commonwealth for International Advanced Professional Studies, with offices in Toronto, Canada, Cambridge, United Kingdom, and an outreach campus in Lagos, Nigeria. Here you are. You span the globe with me. Join Vaknin Tours.

Okay, Neshamot. Look it up.

Let us delve right in and discuss autistic and de-re-istic thinking.

Autistic and de-re-istic thinking are ways of relating to reality, to personal experience, to logic itself, and to other people, interpersonal relating.

Autistic and de-re-istic thinking are fantasy-infused. They're based on fantasy.

However, they are technically speaking, or clinically speaking, cognitions.

De-re-ism and autistic thinking, as the name implies, deal with thoughts, with cognitions.

But these cognitions are somehow distorted. These are cognitive distortions.

Where autistic thinking is narcissistic and egocentric, self-centered, and self-absorbed. That's autistic thinking.

De-re-istic thinking is totally fantastic. It revolves around fantasy and daydreaming. It is divorced from reality. It involves impaired reality testing.

Self-autistic and de-re-istic thinking are self-referential. They cause the individual to withdraw from the world and to focus upon oneself to the exclusion of all others, everything else, and even the logic, order, and structure that rule the universe.

So these patients have illogical and idiosyncratic cognitions. Their thinking is very bizarre to the point that often they are misdiagnosed as schizotypal.

But the thinking, or, I mean, autistic thinking and de-re-istic thinking derive from an overarching and all-pervasive daydreaming or fantasy life.

In other words, they are not isolated figments or mechanisms that are not integrated well into other psychodynamics.

They form a part and parcel, and very often the pivot or the axis of the total mental world, psychological universe, inner landscape of the person involved.

Cognitions in this case, de-re-istic conditions, cognitions, autistic cognitions actually form the internal universe of the patient so that everything becomes suffused with fantasy, themes, highly unusual, very specific and unique to the individual thinking, idiosyncratic thinking, very stereotypical or concrete thinking, a defiance of logic and an inability to relate to other people as if they were real.

Of course, if you deny reality, also deny the reality of other people with the exception of plagiarists out there.

Okay, Shoshanim.

So we have a patient. He is illogical. He is odd. He is weird. He misinterprets his own experience in ways which are delusional or strange.

He has a very poor interface with reality. He misjudges reality.

And we have this kind of patient and they infuse people and events around them with completely subjective meanings.

It is on the thin line with psychosis actually because there are strong elements of hyper-reflexivity and the usual confusion between internal and external objects.

This patient regards the external world as an extension or projection of the internal one.

Such patients often withdraw completely. They retreat into an inner private realm, unavailable to communicate and to interact with others.

This is very common in specific phases of the narcissistic cycle, for example, the schizoid phase.

And so there is a close affinity between narcissism and autism- mediated via autistic thinking.

The narcissist is the only clinical case who engages in both autistic thinking and de-reistic thinking, depending on the phase in the cycle.

So narcissists are like a compendium of these types of counterfactual, unrealistic modes of thought and relating to the environment.

People with autism spectrum disorder, they engage in autistic thinking.

Autistic and de-reistic thinking are not limited to these mental disorders.

If we were to consider the belief in God and other supernatural beings as a form of delusional disorder, a much psychogenic illness, the way I do, that's how I regard this idiotic nonsense.

Well, these are mentally ill people. These people are mentally ill and some of them, not all of them, some of them can easily degenerate into autistic and de-reistic thinking.

For example, many of them believe that God himself is taking care of them specifically, personally, individually, monitors them, micromanages their lives and rewards them or punishes them according to their behavior or misconduct.

This is delusional, autistic, de-reistic thinking, self-absorbed and divorced from reality.

So we have an example of socially acceptable delusions which actually involve de-reistic and autistic thinking.

Similarly, paranoia, paranoid ideation is a form of narcissism, it's grandiose.

The paranoid believes that he is at the center of some malign attention, malevolent conspiracy. He is so important that everyone is out to get him, to take him down.

So the paranoid engages in autistic and de-reistic thinking as well.

What I'm trying to say is that autistic and de-reistic thinking are crucial components of many mental illnesses and also many mentally ill but socially condoned behaviors.

Not only religion, political movements such as Nazism, for example, or communism, they engaged in autistic and de-reistic thinking.

It's an exceedingly dangerous phenomenon and one of the main tasks in therapy, in psychotherapy, is to negate or to confront and to ameliorate and to subdue and to suppress and to repress autistic and de-reistic thinking by somehow confronting them with countervailing information, data and evidence.

This is precisely what is done in cognitive behavior therapy.

I'm not a therapist, I'm a counselor, but this is what is done in CBT.

So autistic and de-reistic thinking, if you go one level down and if you accept that emotions are a subspecies of cognitions, then of course autistic and de-reistic thinking would affect emotions as well.

More precisely, access to emotions.

Autistic and de-reistic thinking would deny the patient access to his emotions because emotions would be perceived as out there, external part of reality.

And so there will be a gap or a chasm or a schism, an internal fragmentation of the patient where, for example, the narcissist cannot access positive emotions and is left only with negative affectivity.

Access to emotions is totally denied in the case of the psychopath and in the case of the borderline there's emotion and dysregulation, which is also a direct outcome of misjudging her emotions, weighing them improperly, again involving autistic and de-reistic thinking.

It's a much neglected field and could be the key for future advances in the study and treatment of Cluster B Personality Disorders, hopefully not by self-styled experts, their mothers in law and other plagiarists.

I need a humongous glass of wine to get through this topic.

The topic today is high-functioning autism.

Are these people psychopaths? Are they narcissists? What the heck happened to Asperger's syndrome? And how do we view autism today after the massive revision in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Edition 5, 2013?

Let's start with observations.

Many of you who had come across people with autism spectrum disorders described them as somewhat antisocial, somewhat psychopathic, a lot grandiose and entitled, a narcissistic.

Many people say he's not a narcissist, he has Asperger's syndrome, or he's not a psychopath, he's a high-functioning autistic, or the other way around, he's not autistic, he's actually a psychopath.

There's a huge confusion in the field. And by the way, this confusion extends not only to you, the laymen, but to my colleagues, professors of psychology, to therapists, to psychologists everywhere.

And this is the autistic moment to tell you.

My name is Sam Vaknin, and I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited, and I'm a professor of psychology.

Okay, Shavar, let's get to business.

And business is not as usual.

Let's start with the most cutting-edge knowledge we have.

Psychopathy begins to emerge as a kind of global feature, global trait, possibly global behavior or global cognitive deficit in a variety of disorders.

Just yesterday, I made a video regarding a new study which supports Theodomilans' view, and more modestly, my view of narcissism as compensatory.

Grandiose narcissists are actually psychopaths, said the study.

You may wish to watch yesterday's video to understand what am I talking about?

Psychopathy is almost indistinguishable from grandiose narcissism.

But people with borderline personality disorder, classic borderline, also become secondary psychopaths or primary psychopaths under conditions of stress when they feel rejected, humiliated, and abandoned.

That's why I came up with a new diagnosis which I'm proposing, which is a hybrid between primary psychopathy and borderline, and that is covert borderline.

This borderline is a very strong, psychopathy is a very strong feature of borderline.

One of the self-states of the borderline woman is a psychopath.

And I'm saying woman because we have studies only about the psychopathic self-state in women.

Mysteriously, no one bothered to study men in relation to this.

So psychopathy, borderline, narcissism, they're all interlinked, which is one of the main reasons I'm proposing to eliminate all these distinctions and to come up with a single personality disorder with various overlays, manifestations, and emphases.

But what about autism?

Let me start by saying we have no idea what causes autism. We have a perfect idea what doesn't cause autism.

Vaccines do not cause autism. This is discredited research, discredited research, which had been withdrawn in disgrace by the authors and the journalists that had published it. It was fake. It was wrong. There's no connection, correlation, causation, anything whatsoever to do between vaccines and autism.

However, we don't know what causes autism. We suspect that genetics may be hereditary, maybe some abnormalities in the brain.

We are not sure. We can demonstrate pretty conclusively using functional magnetic resonance, PET, and other methodologies we can demonstrate that people with autism spectrum disorders have abnormal brain activity patterns, mainly abnormal blood flow. Various areas of the brain are activated in the wrong sequence at the wrong time and with the wrong stimuli.

So something is wrong with the brain of the autistic, but something is wrong with the brain of the psychopath.

Psychopaths have severe brain abnormalities. For example, when it comes to white matter, to multi-unit activity, electrical activity debris, to activated areas, they don't respond, for example, to emotional photography or photography displaying all kinds of stressful situations. Their brains do not process fear. Even their skin conductance, the skin conductance of psychopaths is different. They don't sweat it, so to speak. Their heartbeat is not heightened. They don't develop tachycardia. They don't react. Their bodies don't react to situations of fear and terror.

So something is very fundamentally different in the brain and the body of the psychopath, same as it is in the brain and the body of the autistic person.

Now, we are trying to map the abnormalities in the brain of the autistic person to the abnormalities in the brain of the psychopath.

And to complicate matters further, there are abnormalities in the brain of the borderline. And there are very strong indications that both borderline and psychopathy have a hereditary component that's somehow inherited.

We can't prove it, but there are strong indications.

If you have first degree or second degree relatives with borderline and psychopathy, you are likely to develop borderline and psychopathy to a much higher degree, four or five times higher.

To some extent, this is the case with autism.

So we are beginning to see similarities in the transmissibility of this disorder across generations and in the fact that the brains of these people are abnormal.

What about the behavior?

There are quite a few studies actually linking high functioning autism and criminal behavior. Several studies have shown that features associated with high functioning autism increase the probability of engaging in criminal behavior.

Of course, criminal behavior is one of the diagnostic criteria for antisocial personality disorder, aka psychopathy in extreme cases.

So there is a lot of thrust, there's a lot of effort doing research in this area. We don't know why people with high functioning autism, and in a minute I will define high functioning autism. We don't know why people with this variant of concern of autism are the ones who commit crimes well way and above the statistical average in the general population. We don't know, that's why we are conducting the studies and the research. We think maybe it has to do with a lack of empathy.

Another thing linking high functioning autism and psychopathy and narcissism of course is a lack of empathy.

Later in this video lecture I'm going to discuss the connection between autism and narcissism and why they are very difficult to tell apart.

And so there is a lack of empathy.

There is also social naivet, inability to decipher, properly interpret, embed in a context social cues.

And when you don't understand people, when you don't understand what they mean, what they want to say, what they are communicating, you may end up doing things which are stressful and distressful. You may end up actually committing crimes without meaning to do so.

So there is a question here of mens rea and actus rea.

In other words, does the autistic person mean, does he mean to be violent?

Because most autistic crimes are violent actually. They involve violence. Does he mean to be violent? Or is he just flailing and thrashing about because he doesn't understand where he is and what people are trying to tell him, which is very disorienting and very frightening. Is he in panic or is he a hardwired, hardcore criminal owing to a lack of empathy?

And so another very interesting feature is that both psychopathy and borderline, but not narcissism and not autism. Both psychopathy and borderline remit in midlife and late life. After the age of 40, 45, depending on the study, 50% of people with borderline personality disorder lose the diagnosis spontaneously. There's hope for borderline.

Borderline is a very hopeful disorder because it's treated very effectively with DBT, with medication and it remits spontaneously. I would give my right arm for this to happen to me because narcissism is hopeless. Hopeless.

Now, the same happens with psychopaths, believe it or not.

Psychopathy, antisocial features of the personality, remit and literally disappear late in life. Latein life could be 50, 45, sometimes 60, but always disappear. The psychopath ceases to be a psychopath when he reaches the second half of his life, which is a very, very hopeful message.

Something unites and links the borderline with the psychopath on a biological, cerebral, neurological level.


It's not the same for narcissism and autistic spectrum disorders, especially high functioning autism. That's why I'm going to analyze the connection between these two things, these two disorders a bit later.

Now, of course, in psychopathy, we distinguish between primary psychopathy and secondary psychopathy the same way we distinguish between grandiose or phallic narcissists and covert or vulnerable or shy or fragile narcissist. There's no such distinction in borderline.

The construct of shy or quiet borderline failed the test of clinical studies and trials. There's no proof that it exists.

However, it does exist in narcissism and it does exist to some extent in psychopathy, where we have primary and secondary psychopath.

The behaviors of the primary and secondary psychopath are the same, but the secondary psychopath has emotions.

Imagine a psychopath with emotions. It's like reckoning with empathy and impossibility, but it exists.

Secondary psychopathy involves emotions, especially dysregulated emotions, strangely, a little like borderline, and it involves empathy.

No wonder the borderline patient, when she is exposed to stress, humiliation, rejection and abandonment, real or imagined or anticipated, she becomes a secondary psychopath.

She cannot become a primary psychopath because she has emotions and empathy.

So she becomes a secondary psychopath and displays the full panoply, full range of behaviors of a psychopath, but with empathy and emotion.

Okay, let me read to you an excerpt from an article which I'll refer to later, which gives an overview of autism spectrum disorder.

Autism spectrum disorders are neurodevelopmental disorders that comprise a heterogeneous group of conditions, which are characterized by impairments in social interaction and communication, as well as repetitive and stereotyped interests and behaviors.

Adjacent prevalence rates have risen markedly in recent decades. There is up to 1% lifetime prevalence, with more and more adults being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

It is assumed that the male to female ratio is between three and four to one, although nearly half, and there exists particular gender differences in autism spectrum disorders, although nearly half of individuals with autism spectrum disorders are not intellectually impaired and have normal cognitive language skills, such as individuals with high functioning autism or Asperger's syndrome.

The social interaction and communication deficits and difficulties in seeing the perspective of others, so the social interaction and communication deficits, the difficulties in seeing the perspective of other people, and intuitively understanding nonverbal social cues, these put together constitute hidden barriers to the development of romantic and sexual relationships.

Sexuality related problems can arise, especially at the start of puberty, a time when the development of autism spectrum disorder in individuals' social skills cannot keep up with increasing social demands, and the challenges of forming romantic and sexual relationships become particularly apparent.

Now, before we jump into the issue of what is high functioning autism, a warning.

High functioning autism is not a clinical construct accepted in academe, among scholars, in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, or even in the more advanced, conceptually more advanced, international classification of disorders. So it is a kind of phrase that clinicians use very frequently, but has no foundation in clinical research and studies. It's anecdotal. It results from observations, self-reporting, and reporting by family members.

Many scholars and many autism rights activists, they disagree with the categorization of high functioning low functioning. They disagree because the functioning of a typical person with autism fluctuates. One day this person is high functioningThe next day, for whatever reason, this person is very low functioning.

So you can't look at someone with autistic spectrum disorder and say, "Oh, this guy is consistently high functioning."

Because there will be many days when he will be low functioning.

And what about medium functioning people? Where do you categorize them? Aren't they the majority?

We don't know. We don't know because we don't use the construct of high functioning.

High functioning autism is usually reserved for people who have diagnosed autism spectrum disorder, but no intellectual impairment, no intellectual problem.

They can speak, they can read, they can write, they can handle basic life skills, they can eat by themselves, get dressed by themselves, they can live independently, and many of them attain positions, their professionals and so on.

Starting in the 1990s, we began to have a more nuanced and subtle view of autism spectrum disorders. We began to recognize high functioning autism, Asperger's disorder, or wrongly called Asperger's syndrome.

And these are people who actually function in society. They have families, they have jobs, everything.

In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association decided to get rid of all this mess and they created a single diagnostic group called Autism Spectrum Disorder. That's it, ASD, no Asperger's, no nothing. There's a single diagnosis, there's level one ASD which corresponds roughly to Asperger's disorder.

But there's only one diagnosis. Of course there are different levels of functioning, different levels of empathy, different levels of deciphering social cues, different levels of social behavior, etc. There's a spectrum, there's a spectrum. That's why it's called Autism Spectral Disorder.

But it's a single diagnosis.

And so people with high functioning autism, exactly like everyone else with Autism Spectrum Disorders, they are very bad in social interaction and communication. All manner of social interaction and communication, including later in life, dating, job interviews, holding a job, a career.

Now this from the outside may look like social anxiety or like avoidant personality disorder. This is the reactive side.

The autistic person tries to integrate, tries to interact, tries to belong, tries to be accepted, tries to be loved, tries to become a part of a peer group and keeps being rejected, keeps being shunned.

And so she develops or he develops social anxiety and avoidant behaviors. These are secondary and reactive artifacts of the initial rejection by everyone around the autistic person.

They don't read social cues. They find it extremely difficult to make friends, let alone date. And they get very stressed in social situations because they anticipate rejection and they shut down. They don't make eye contact. They don't make small talk.

People on the spectrum who are high functioning, they're very rigid. They're very structure and order oriented. They make lists, for example, or they go through robotic routines.

Wine at 330. Like me. So they're very, very kind of predictable. They're machine-like. And they have repetitive and restrictive habits. And very often people find them very odd because they're very compulsive and insistent on these habits, on these procedures, on these routines. They're devoted to them and they become very dysregulated, very anxious.

If they can't carry out these routines at the prescribed time and usually in a prescribed location, and people find it extremely bizarre.

So people with autism spectrum disorder sometimes are misdiagnosed as schizotypal personality disorder. There's a wide range of functioning in school and at work. Some actually do very well in school. Others get overwhelmed, can't concentrate. Some hold a job. Other finds it's very hard, very difficult to hold a job.

It all depends. And that's why high functioning, low functioning, middle functioning sounds a bit strained, sounds a bit wrong. Even for someone on the spectrum who can do a lot, who is very functional, the commonality among everyone diagnosed with ASD is underdeveloped social skills, which is one hell of a barrier, makes it extremely difficult.

So if one has to summarize what is high functioning, what's high functioning autism, it's trouble with social interaction, impaired communication, restricted interests, restricted interests and repetitive behavior.

This leads to social isolation, employment problems, family stress, bullying by others, self-harm.

That's where it begins to be difficult to distinguish autism spectrum disorder from borderline personality disorder.

And so the thing that sets high functioning of autism apart is there's no intellectual disability. There are deficits in communication and emotion, recognition, cognition, expression, social interaction, yes, but no intellectual disability.

And in this sense, high functioning autism is actually level one autism spectrum disorder, which used to be called Asperger's syndrome or Asperger's disorder more precisely.

And so in all these cases, including high functioning autism, there had been a significant delay in the development of, in the developmental path.

Now in Asperger's syndrome, level one Asperger's disorder, what used to be called Asperger's disorder in high functioning autism, there was no language delay. They began to use language on time. There is language delay, speech delay, language skills delay among other types of autists, people with low functioning autism.

These people start to talk at age three and later.

So it's a distinguishing feature, language skills, high functioning autists have no problem with language.

And there are other differences.

People with high functioning autism have a lower verbal reasoning ability. People with Asperger's disorder have a higher verbal reasoning skill than people with high functioning autism. People with high functioning autism have better visual and spatial skills, higher performance IQ than people with Asperger's. People with HFA, high functioning, they don't have deviating locomotion, clumsiness. They're not clumsy. People with Asperger's are. People with FHA have problems functioning independently more often than Asperger's. People with FHE high functioning autism, they're curious. They have interest in many, many things. People with Asperger's have limited and restricted interests. People with Asperger's are better at empathizing with another person. People with HFA almost completely lack empathy and in decent resemble very strongly narcissists and psychopaths.

And so autism spectrum disorder, low functioning, high functioning always includes almost always is diagnosed with anxiety. Anxiety is very commonly occurring mental health symptoms in high functioning autism.

And the reason I'm mentioning it is anxiety is a hallmark of psychopathy and a hallmark of borderline. And remember, borderline and psychopathy are two brain disorders. And both of them in both cases, there's a very high comorbidity of anxiety disorders and depressive disorders, which is exactly the case in high functioning autism, but not the case with other types of autism.

There are other comorbidities and they include bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder. This is number one comorbidity.

The link between high functioning autism and obsessive compulsive disorder is very strong. And it seems that in both cases, there is a problem with serotonin in the brain.

There's also ADHD. There's also Tourette syndrome. Now ADHD is intimately linked to narcissism. I encourage you to watch the relevant video videos, I think one or two on my channel, but there's no intellectual disability in high functioning autism.


And there's no there are no differences in sexuality between high functioning autism people and normal people, healthy control, as they're called. I refer you to the article sexuality in autism, hypersexual and paraphilic behavior in women and men with high functioning autism spectrum disorder published in the academic journal Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, December 2017. I think it was volume 19.


The short and the long of it that there is no difference. There's no difference in sexuality between high functioning autism, the normal population, more or less.

So before we go to narcissism, what do we have?

We have strong similarities in behavior between psychopathy and HFA, high functioning autism. We have a lack of empathy. We have brain artifacts or brain abnormalities. We have criminal behavior, including violent behavior, which indicates of course, lack of impulse control and defiance and recklessness. We have inability to decipher social cues, which doesn't sit well with psychopathy.

Psychopaths have called empathy. They're actually excellent at deciphering social cues. And that's why psychopaths are very good con artists.

We have dysfunctional social life, including problems with dating and so on and so forth, not sex, dating, social interaction, psychopaths usually don't have this, they're very skillful in social settings, many of them are gregarious and charming, they're manipulative, they're good people, they're good with people, they're not good people, they're good with people.

So it would seem on the face of it that artificially when you look from the outside, you see someone who is cold, detached, legible, empathy, gore oriented, even to the point of compulsiveness, a bit criminal or antisocial and you say to yourself this guy is psychopathic, it could be a high functioning, a person with high functioning autism, the critical elements, critical differential diagnosis or differential factors I mentioned, so go deeper, don't make snap judgments.

What about autism and especially Asperger's Syndrome, Asperger's Disorder, what about Asperger's Disorder and Narcissism?

Asperger's Disorder to repeat for the ninth time was renamed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Edition 5 as Autistic Spectrum Disorder Level 1 and it is often misdiagnosed as Narcissistic Personality Disorder, though it is evident as early as age 3.

Which narcissism is not. Pathological Narcissism cannot be safely diagnosed prior to adolescence and I would even say late adolescence because adolescents are narcissistic, babies are narcissistic. You can't diagnose narcissism, pathological narcissism in young people but you can of course diagnose Asperger's Disorder in someone who is age 3.

So here is the first difference between the two.

In both cases narcissism and Asperger's, the patient is self-centered, engrossed in a narrow range of interests and activities. Social and occupational interactions are severely hampered and conversational skills give and take or verbal intercourse are primitive.

The Asperger's patient body language, eye to eye gaze, body posture, facial expressions, the body language is constricted, artificial and it is very reminiscent of the narcissist body language which is haughty and superior. Non-verbal cues are virtually absent and the interpretation of non-verbal cues in other people is lacking, solely against something very common to narcissists and Asperger's.

And yet the gulf between Asperger's and Pathological Narcissism is vast.

The narcissist switches between social agility and social impairment and he does this voluntarily. The narcissist chooses to retreat into a schizoid phase or to become gregarious and charming.

The narcissist's social dysfunctioning is the outcome of conscious haughtiness and the reluctance to invest scarce mental energy in cultivating relationships with people who are deemed inferior and unworthy.

When the narcissist is confronted with potential sources of narcissistic supply, however, he easily regains his social skills, his charm and his sociability.

Many narcissists reach the highest levels and runs of their community, church, firm, voluntary organization. Most of the time, narcissists are high function. They function flawlessly.

Though the inevitable blow-ups and the grating extortion of narcissistic supply usually put an end to the narcissist's career and social liaisons.

Narcissist always ends badly, but until then he functions perfectly.

The Asperger's patient often wants to be accepted socially, wants to have friends, wants to get married, to be sexually active, to sire offspring. He just doesn't have a clue how to go about it. His affect is limited, his emotional repertoire is limited. His initiative, for instance, to share his experiences with his nearest and dearest or to engage in foreplay during sex, the initiative is thwarted. His ability to divulge his emotions. This ability is tilted in the asperger's.

The asperger is incapable of reciprocating, is largely unaware of the wishes, needs and feelings of his interlocutors or counterparties.

Inevitably Asperger's patients are perceived by other people to be called eccentric, insensitive, indifferent, repulsive, exploitative or emotionally absent.

To avoid the pain of rejection, they confine themselves to solitary activities, but unlike the schizoid, they don't do this by choice and also unlike the narcissist.

The asperger patient limits his world to a single topic, single hobby or person and he dives in with the greatest or consuming intensity, excluding all other matters and everyone else.

It is a form of hurt control, pain control, pain regulation, if you wish.

And so while the narcissist avoids pain by excluding, by devaluing, by discarding other people, the asperger's patient achieves the same result by withdrawing, by avoiding, by passionately incorporating in his universe only one or two people and one or two subjects of interest.

Both narcissist and Asperger's patients are prone to react with depression to perceived slights and injuries, but the Asperger patient is far more at risk of self-harm and suicide resembling very much the borderline.

The use of language is another differentiating factor.

The narcissist is a skilled communicator.

Narcissist uses language as an instrument, a weapon, if you wish, to obtain narcissistic supply, to obliterate his enemies and discarded sources.

Cerebral narcissists derive narcissistic supply from the consummate use they make of their innate verbosity.

Just look at me. So the same with the Asperger's patient.

Asperger's patient is equally verbose at times and taciturn on other occasions, but his topics are few. And so he is tediously repetitive.

The Asperger's patient is unlikely to obey conversational rules and etiquette. For example, he is unlikely to let other people speak in turn. The Asperger's patient is also unable to decipher nonverbal cues and gestures and to monitor his own misbehavior on such occasions.

Narcissists are similarly inconsiderate, but only towards those who cannot possibly serve as sources of supply.

I want to make a comment about refrigerate and mothers.

The concept of refrigerated mothers has been long debunked. It's rank nonsense.

Autism is a brain disorder. It is not linked to bed parenting, but a dead mother, narcissistic mother, absent mother, selfish mother, she can cause her autistic child to defend himself by developing narcissism.

In other words, a bed mother can push the autistic child, the congenitally autistic child with a brain disorder to become a narcissist.

ADHD has been intimately linked to the precursors in children of adult narcissism and psychopathy. These precursors are conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder.

So a bed, dead, cold mother, a refrigerator mother, fosters in the autistic child narcissistic defenses and in her other children, attention deficits, hyperactivity and antisocial behavior. These dysfunctions make it difficult for the child to translate his or her reflexive empathy into a mentalizing theory of mind.

In other words, the child cannot, because of these deficits, the child cannot understand other people. This process is called mentalization. He cannot understand other people. He has no theory of the minds of other people.

Early childhood abuse and trauma, therefore, inhibit the development of a mature form of empathy with cognitive and emotional components.

There are three problems with raising awareness and educating people about autism spectrum disorders.

We don't know the etiology of autism, what causes it and whether the brain abnormalities often observed in autistic patients cause the autism or are caused by the autism or merely correlated or effectuated by a third common factor. We don't know.

Number two, autism is a family of disorders which have little in common with each other.

Some autistic persons are high functioning and accomplished, as I mentioned. Others self-harm, are hypersensitive to stimuli or non-communicative.

Number three, the long discredited aforementioned refrigerator mother theory blamed emotionally unavailable, dead or frigid mothers for the pathogenesis of autism in their children. And these deterred parents from seeking help.

The mother was terrified should she be blamed for her child's autism.

The ignorance, taboos, stigma, biases, prejudices and lack of evidence based theories and practices that pervade mental health apply even more so or maximally even to autism.

I would recommend I'll give you now a reading list.

McDowell, Maxson, the image of the mother's eye, autism and early narcissistic injury in behavioral and brain sciences.

And James Robert Brannon, pervasive developmental disorder, Asperger's syndrome. Autism spectrum disorder is one amazingly one of a least explored areas.

Numerous studies, a lot of interest, a lot of money sloshing around, but we are very far from understanding it. We're very far from even realizing whether it's a single clinical entity or a family of disorders that just artificially resemble each other.

And so clearly it's easy to confuse autism spectrum disorders with narcissism, as I've just demonstrated. It's equally easy to confuse it with psychopathy.

Don't make this mistake.

What better way to open the week than with some Vaknin.

Glorious Monday to all of you.

Shoshanim and Shoshanimot.

And today I'm going to embark on a mission impossible to make myself even a bigger hate figure than I already am. And I'm going to do this by referring to scientific studies that prove repeatedly over at least 10 years that number one, people on the autism spectrum disorder lack empathy. And yes, of course I've been saying it for many years.

Number two, so-called empaths are actually narcissists and psychopaths who engage in deceptive virtue signaling. And yes, of course I've been saying this also for many years.

But now I'm adding to a corpus of videos that I've already made with two new additional studies. There are dozens by now, but two new additional studies.

I do recommend that you watch my recent video about victimhood, competitive victimhood. And my previous videos about autism spectrum disorder compared to cluster B personality disorders, especially high functioning autism spectrum disorders.

Okay, got the picture. I wish you a bumpy ride and let us delve right into what I have to tell you.

Okay, there's this new study. It's authored by Van Trigt, Colonesi, Jorgensen, Nikolic and others. It is titled Autistic Trace and Self-Conscious Emotions in Early Childhood. It was published in Childhood Development recently, a few weeks ago.

I'm going to read to you from the abstract.

Self-conscious emotions arise from evaluating the self through the eyes of other people.

Given that children with autistic traits may experience difficulties with understanding other people's minds, they might show less attuned self-conscious emotions.

So self-conscious emotions include guilt, embarrassment and shame and so on and so forth. Shame leads sometimes to avoidance and sometimes to other reactions.

So there was this experiment and in the experiment, the experimenter pretended that the kids broke his toy. The experimenter was playing with the toy and then he said to the kids, "Oh my God, you broke my toy." He shamed them and named them.

And so there was data. The experiment lasted almost a year and a half and was repeated very often.

Here are the conclusions in the abstract.

Children with more autistic traits showed less theory of mind.

Theory of mind is the long phrase for mentalization, the ability to perceive or conceive of other people's minds and what makes them tick.

So children with more autistic traits showed less theory of mind and more shame-like avoidance.

But associations were not mediated by theory of mind.

In other words, the children's tendency to avoid shame were not the outcome of their inability to perceive other people's minds.

This provides initial evidence that children with more autistic traits may show disturbances in some but not all self-conscious emotions, which could hinder their social functioning.

Nothing new here.

This has been established in numerous studies in the past but never with young, young, young children, like two years old, three years old, four years old.

All the previous studies were conducted on adolescents and adults, not on children but like nine-year-old children, eight-year-old children, not two and three and four-year-old children.

So what the researchers in this particular experiment have done, they wanted to find out whether autistic traits are associated with a deficit in theory of mind, whether autistic traits make or render the child incapable of understanding other people's mental states and predicting their behaviors, and whether deficits in the theory of mind, deficits in mentalization, are related to the experience of self-conscious emotions with emphasis on shame-like avoidance.

Remember, self-conscious emotions include guilt, include many elements of empathy.

Actually one could say that self-conscious emotions are the foundation of empathy.

Empathy is predicated on self-conscious emotions like guilt and shame and embarrassment and so on and so forth.

If you lack these emotions, you're extremely unlikely to have emotional empathy.

You may be able to have what I call empathy, which includes reflexive or instinctual empathy and cognitive empathy, but you will never have full-fledged empathy because you must have to, in order for you to have a full-fledged empathy, you must have an emotional component.

Autistic children seem to be unable to conceive of other people and their emotions and so on and so forth.

The results of this study show that children with higher level of autistic traits did demonstrate a clear deficit in their ability to perceive other people's mental states, in other words, in their ability to empathize, in their ability to construct a theory of mind.

Additionally, autistic traits were positively associated in the study with verbal shame-like avoidance.

I will explain this in a minute.

Now, there is definitely a need.

There was a lacuna.

There was a need to understand or conceptualize the relationship between autistic traits and self-conscious emotions in very, very young children because that's where it all starts, the formative years.

Astoundingly, no one studied the formative years in autism spectrum disorders when it comes to guilt and shame and empathy and avoidance and so on, critical features of the formative years.

Self-conscious emotions such as guilt, embarrassment and shame play a crucial role in social interactions. They motivate pro-social behaviors or when they are absent, they inhibit pro-social behavior.

When people transgress when they misbehave, when they act out or when they break mores and rules of conduct and conventions and norms, when they act normatively, when people transgress, self-conscious emotions are automatically triggered and they are known colloquially as conscience actually.

So when you do something bad, when you do something you shouldn't have done and then you feel shame, you are not likely to repeat it.

You feel guilty, you are likely to offer some amends or try to make amends or somehow recompense.

So these emotions, self-conscious emotions are the ones that regulate and maintain social relationships and minimize transgression, transgression, misconduct, misbehavior via a form of disinhibition and negative reinforcement.

So previous research has conclusively demonstrated disturbances in self-conscious emotions in older children and in adults with autism spectrum disorders. This is beyond debate.

I'm sorry to tell you this.

Older children above the age of six and adults with autism spectrum disorder lack empathy. They have extreme deficits or deficiencies in empathy. They are comparable to some types of borderline personality disorder and even narcissistic style or narcissism. This is known, this is not debatable anymore. It may not be palatable, it's not politically correct and everyone online present themselves as victims and perfect and beyond reproach and empathic and loving and caring. That's online hype and BS.

Psychology is merciless because it pursues the truth. The truth is often inconvenient to quote Al Gore.

Today, but what we didn't know is whether these disturbances present in early childhood and whether they are related to autistic traits in early childhood.

And the answer is now, yes, they are.

Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental condition. It is characterized by significant deficits in social interaction, reduced social awareness and communication, inability to decipher social and much later sexual cues, restricted emotional engagement, reduced affect display, stereotype behavior patterns and concrete thinking and communication speech acts.

Children with autism spectrum disorder display severe impairments in their capacity to consider the thoughts and emotions of other people. They are unable to construct a theory, a theory as to how other people think, what other people feel, what makes other people tick, what are the dynamics and motivations of other people and how other people fit into the environment, social or otherwise. This is known as theory of mind and the process is known as mentalization and it's absent, literally absent in autism spectrum disorder.

And of course this leads to severe disturbances in self-conscious emotions, post transgressive behavior.

So the people, someone with autism spectrum disorder misbehaves egregiously and then is unable to experience shame or guilt.

And when he does experience shame, he avoids it verbally or otherwise.

He shuns, he shuns the self-conscious emotions and he's rarely embarrassed.

If a child fails to comprehend that they have broken a norm, transgressed against the conventions of society, if they fail to understand that they've hurt someone, someone else's feelings, someone else's interests, someone else's property, this kind of children cannot feel guilty or embarrassed.

They may experience shame and they experience shame because of the reactions of other people.

And then when they experience shame, they display withdrawal or avoidant behaviors.

Gradually over the years, many of these people, many of these children develop narcissistic defenses to the point of narcissistic personality disorder in a small minority of them.

Statistic defenses simply are a form of alloplastic defenses.

Now, narcissistic defense means other people are the problem. They are deficient. Something's wrong with them.

I'm okay. I'm all right. I'm perfect. I've done nothing wrong. It's a form of shame avoidance or shame withdrawal.

Studies investigating the association between autistic traits and self-conscious emotions now prove conclusively in all age groups that there are fewer signs of guilt and more signs of shame.

Mind you, it is still unclear when these disturbances develop exactly. What are the underlying mechanisms? Are they neurological? Are they environmental? Are they genetic? We don't know enough. We know very little about autism, strangely. Autism has been first described 90 years ago. That's like nine zero years ago.

And we know very little about autism. Same with narcissism first described 110 years ago. We still know very little about narcissism.

It's the disgrace of the profession.

In the new study, Shana van Treet at her colleagues, they investigated these relationships between autistic traits, self-conscious emotions.

And remember, there's no empathy without a theory of mind. There's no empathy without self-conscious emotions, period.

So if autistic children lack a theory of mind and they lack most self-conscious emotions, in the best case, they have extremely impaired empathy.

And really, in reality, they lack empathy exactly like narcissists.

It also raises interesting questions about narcissists.

Someone should study children who are exposed to abuse and trauma between the ages of two and four and see whether they traverse the same developmental trajectory as children with autistic spectrum disorder.

With autism spectrum disorder.

So it could be that children at these ages, children fail to develop a theory of mind, fail to understand or to read appropriately other people, fail to experience shame and guilt, shame because they avoid it, and guilt because they simply don't experience it.

They don't have such a thing.

It's possible that children, what I call idiosyncratic children, children with mental health problems, neurodevelopmental problems, problems in the environment, they're being abused or traumatized.

It's possible that this is the typical reaction to idiosyncrasy.

It is as if the child says, "I'm special. I'm special because I'm rejected, I'm ostracized by society, by my peers, by my parents and so on."

Only special children are rejected by society.

And so they develop narcissistic defenses.

The child says, "My mother rejects me." She's a dead mother, yes.

"She rejects me or she breaches my boundaries or she won't let me separate or she hates me or she loves me too much or whatever.

All these are forms of abuse."

The child says, "What? It must mean that I'm special."

I think autistic children undergo this exact same process.

Even though they feel, to some extent, inferior, damaged and broken, they convert this into uniqueness.

They say, "Yeah, I'm a special child."

You know, we have these special needs children, this special element.

So I think narcissistic defenses are provoked very early on in children who are idiosyncratic.

And when I say idiosyncratic, it doesn't have to be autistic. It doesn't have to be an abused child. It could be an immigrant child. It could be a child who's exposed to racism, systemic racism, peer racism. It could be a child who's obese. It could be a child who is gifted, a child who stands out, a child who never fits in, a child who cannot conform for whatever reason, neurodevelopmental reason, environmental reason, you name it, intellectual reason.

Intellectually challenged children as well.

This kind of children would tend to develop a theory of themselves in internal working mode, which renders them special.

And so this hypothesis of mine needs to be tested.

We need to see whether children who are about to become narcissists in adulthood are indistinguishable from children with autism spectrum disorder.

I believe that they are.

I believe you can't tell the difference at age two or age four.

Now the researchers were faced with a dilemma.

They needed to separate what we call confounding factors, factors that affect each other and contaminate the picture.

There's no pure situation.

So for example, higher levels of autistic traits correlate with reduced guilt and embarrassment. They also correlate with increased shame, avoid shame- based avoidance and withdrawal.

But do these deficits, do these problems, are they associated with the inability to form a theory of mind because both are present and it's very difficult to say whether there's causation correlation or whether these two phenomena are related somehow to a higher level third phenomenon.

So they found that children with more autistic traits showed more verbal shame like avoidance.

What they mean is that they tended, these kind of children tended to verbally withdraw or avoid social interactions or situations after they have committed a transgression.

They did something wrong and then they just ran away. They avoided other people. They didn't want to talk to anyone.

Because they didn't want to feel shame. They didn't feel guilty. They didn't feel even embarrassed, but they did not want to be shamed by other people. They wanted to avoid the consequences of their actions.

Sounds familiar?


Narcissists and psychopaths.

There was also some evidence of nonverbal shame like avoidance, but it was not statistically significant so we're going to ignore it.

The study, it's important to emphasize that the study did not support the idea or the hypothesis that children with more autistic traits experience less guilt and embarrassment after doing something wrong than normally.

In other words, it seems that the level of guilt and embarrassment in people with autism spectrum disorder is stable. It's not reactive to having done something wrong.

Let me tell you what it means in plain English, politically incorrect as I can make it.

These children have no conscience. That's why they don't feel guilty. They don't feel guilty when they do something wrong. They don't feel guilty when they don't do something wrong. They just don't feel guilty.


The researchers also found that children with more autistic traits had reduced theory of mind abilities as I told you.

But the disturbances in self-conscious emotions, as I said in the beginning, they were not directly related to this.

So it looks like the inability to experience guilt and shame are constitutional. They are not the outcome of the inability to empathize with other people. They are not the outcome of the inability to make, to create a theory about other people, to put yourself in other people's shoes.

So it's just a built-in, hardwired inability to experience guilt and embarrassment.

Here again, I propose a study, psychopaths are like this.

The developmental trajectory of psychopathy between the ages of two and four, the developmental trajectory of narcissism between the ages of two and four, and the developmental trajectory of children with autism spectrum disorders between the ages of two and four. They all strike me as identical.

So there must be a common denominator here. What is it?

Neurological, brain, abnormality, genetic, environmental.

That exactly creates the same psychological, psychopathological outcomes when theoretically the pathway geology is different.

Autism is not psychopathy, psychopathy is not narcissism.

Yes, psychopathy is not narcissism. Don't listen to self-styled experts online. They are blabbering nonsense.

So these are three different conditioners. And yet they have so many commonalities in early childhood that it's shocking. They're almost indistinguishable, developmentally.

Overall the findings of these studies suggest that children with more autistic traits may experience difficulties in some self-conscious emotions, particularly shame-like avoidance, but not necessarily in guilt and embarrassment.

This wouldn't bother them because they don't experience it.

And these disturbances in self-conscious emotions may be related to autistic traits, but they are not solely explained by a deficit in theory of mind.

There's something else at work.

And the same thing, the same mysterious X factor is at work in the development of narcissism and the development of psychopathy and possibly borderline as well.

These are amazingly important findings.

I think even the authors themselves don't fully grasp what it is that they've stumbled across.

There's all social interactions.

These disorders are relational.

Narcissism, psychopathy, these are relational disorders.

They reflect social deficits and deficiencies in social interactions.

And this is the core problem in autism spectrum disorders.

Having other people's perspectives, needs, emotions, cognitions, intentions, motivations.

There's a failure here in all three conditions which ostensibly are not related.

But here they are phenomenologically definitely related.

There's a positive association between autistic traits and verbal shame-like avoidance and lack of guilt and embarrassment. There's an identically positive correlation or association between narcissistic traits and verbal shame-like avoidance and lack of guilt and embarrassment.

Same goes for psychopaths.

And all three experience harsh, overriding, overpowering difficulties in social interactions and social functioning.

Something to look into, one should think.

Okay, so people with autism spectrum disorders lack empathy, exactly like narcissists and psychopaths.

Let the hate fest begin.

All the haters, this is your cue.

Next, I'm going to make an even bigger group of enemies.

Empaths, so-called empaths.

The self-aggrandizing, self-infatuated group of one of the victims, have been victims online.

There's a new study which tends to support what have been seen for six years.

And yes, to the best of my knowledge, I've been the first to say it.

Empaths are in all likelihood covert narcissists, failed covert narcissists, collapse covert narcissists.

Covert narcissists who have been abused by covert grandiose narcissists and by psychopaths.

I'm not taking away the facts of the abuse, or these people have been victimized, probably.

But the way they react to having been victimized is narcissistic and psychopathic, because they are narcissists.

And according to the most recent study, they are also psychopaths.

I repeat this, empaths are self-styled victims and they leverage their victimhood to coerce people, to manipulate people, to deceive people.

The entire empath community is exactly this, supergalactic, supernova empaths included.

And there's a recent study that tends to support this.

And the study is titled, one minute, give me a minute, the study is titled, signaling high sensitivity to influence others, initial evidence for the roles of reinforcement sensitivity, sensory processing sensitivity, and the dark triad.

The study was authored by Montana Kaijic and Malchin Moron, although they're not Morons.

So the study simply says that what we call empaths are actually narcissists and psychopaths who engage in deceptive, virtual signaling.

Yes, Vaknin vindicated and others now in my footsteps.

So the study suggests that high sensitivity label is used by narcissists and psychopaths is a manipulative tactic.

The study was published in psychological reports and it says that labeling oneself as highly sensitive person, which is not a clinical label, by the way, it's not a clinical entity, highly sensitive person.

It's a suggested construct, popular hype, more or less.


A bit like the inner child or emotional flashbacks and so on.

So or quiet borderline.


So this label, self applied, self-imputed label, I'm a highly sensitive person, is often a manipulative tactic used by individuals with dark personality traits, particularly narcissism and psychopathy.

And I quote, to sway others' behavior and to gain advantages.

The researchers conducted this study to better understand the construct known as sensory processing sensitivity. That's the clinical term, sensory processing sensitivity.

It refers to individual differences in sensitivity to external stimuli.

So emotional dysregulation in borderline personality disorder is a form of sensory processing sensitivity.

In this sense, borderlines can say that they are empaths and yet empaths claim to have been victimized by borderlines.

So in this trait of sensory processing sensitivity is popularly relabeled, was popularly relabeled online as highly sensitive person in public discourse, is even a book about highly sensitive people and it erroneously, of course, claims that 20% of the population are highly sensitive.

That's nonsense. That's absolute nonsense. It's not nowhere close to 20%.

And such individuals identify as highly sensitive on online forums, expressing a need. And may I add a coercive demand to be treated specially, special care, special understanding and concessions.

Does it strike a chord? It should, because narcissists are entitled. Narcissists demand special care.

They narcissists have special needs and narcissists require special concessions and understanding.

This study aimed to investigate the associations between sensitivity to external stimuli and the tendency to signal high sensitivity to other people. And it took into account any sort of a study, which does this, by the way, I recommend that you watch my video on competitive victimhood, where I cite 10 other studies who actually reach the same conclusions.

So this particular study took into account dark triad personality traits.

Now, mind you, dark triad is not the same as narcissism and psychopathy. Dark triad personality includes subclinical narcissism, narcissistic traits and style that cannot, that do not amount to full fledged narcissistic personality disorder, subclinical psychopathy, psychopathic behaviors and traits that do not amount to psychopathy and Machiavellianism. Machiavellianism, the ability and tendency to manipulate other people in order to obtain favorable outcomes, a form of self-reficiency.

So these scholars, these researchers studied highly sensitive people. I'm using the media high online label.

So they studied highly sensitive HSPs and then they delved deeper and asked themselves, are these people narcissists and psychopaths?

And they correlated narcissism and psychopathy with signaling, highly sensitive people who keep signaling. I'm a victim. I'm super sensitive, amazingly delicate. You should treat me with the kid gloves. You should respect me. You should make concessions because I'm brittle and I'm broken and I'm damaged and I'm amazing and I'm fantastic and I'm supernova and all other disgusting, manipulative, virtual signaling, deceptive practices, which narcissists and psychopaths do on a daily basis online and offline.

The researchers hypothesize two possibilities, assertive signaling of specific needs where individuals genuinely expressed their sensitivity in order to alert others to their unique situational needs. These are people who say broadcast, I'm sensitive, please take this into account when you interact with me. It's called assertive signaling of specific needs and it is contrasted with deceptive signaling where the expression of high sensitivity is used to manipulate other people. It's a manipulative strategy.

And I'm going to quote from the study, "Due to the advantages that could be achieved as a result of signaling victimhood, the public displays of one's weakness and oppression by personal limitations might be considered as a two-sided social strategy.

On the one hand, it could help individuals with particular sensitivities, neurotics, that's in the study, not my word, neuroticism, to better satisfy their needs in everyday social interactions.

On the other hand, listen well, a number of studies showed that victimhood signaling was also used as a deception strategy by individuals high in the dark triad, namely narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy traits. It's pretty unequivocal.

And so the researchers found a weak association between sensory processing sensitivity and signaling high sensitivity to influence other people. It means that there are people out there who are sensitive. They have high, they score high on sensory processing sensitivity.

But these kind of people are actually less likely to signal their sensitivity. They're likely to be loners, schizoids, avoid other people, withdraw, protect themselves against overstimulation. They're not likely to go online and seek additional stimulation. They're not likely to troll. They're not likely to have fights with other people online. They're not likely to make a public display of themselves. They're not extroverted, they're introverted, they're terrified, they're overstimulated, they're in pain constantly.

The last thing they want is to interact with thousands of other people.

No way.

The very fact that someone is online rules out, almost rules out the possibility that it's a truly highly sensitive person.

Individuals who score high on sensory processing sensitivity, it reflects a heightened depth of stimulus processing and awareness of subtleties in the environment. These people are constantly traumatized, like death by a thousand cuts. It's like they have no skin. Their nerve endings are exposed to the environment without any isolation or firewall. And they don't signal their sensitivity to others.

Your way, definitely not more frequently and online, it's nonsense.

There was a statistically significant association between signaling high sensitivity to influence other people and behavioral inhibition system sensitivity, BIS sensitivity.

BIS sensitivity is related to the tendency to respond to aversive or threatening stimuli with caution and inhibition.

And so it seems that there is a correlation between the wish to signal victimhood in order to manipulate other people and affect them somehow, make them do your bidding, coerce them into satisfying your entitlement.

So there is a correlation between this and the tendency to respond to threats in aversive situations with caution and inhibition.

But the correlation is very weak. The association is weak. It's statistically significant, but it's weak.

It seems that many of the empaths, for lack of a better word, online are at the same time also aversive to threats and risks. They're cautious.

This is not a typical psychopathic trait, but it is a typical trait of narcissists.

I have breaking news for you. Nasties are cowards, total cowards, the craven. Everyone knows that bullies are cowards and it's true. It's not just a platitude or a cliche. It's absolutely true. Bullies are cowards and the vast majority of bullies are narcissists. Nasties are cowards. So they're likely to try to manipulate other people via deceptive signaling, lie to them that they are victims or even self-perceive as victims. Nasties believe their own BS. They believe their own confabulations and their own fantasies and constructs.

So there could be narcissists online who firmly believe that they have been victimized and therefore they are victims. The world's biggest victims ever, of course, because they are narcissists.

But when they do so, they are aware of threats and risks in the environment and are trying to avoid them. And this is even further proof of narcissism to my mind among empaths.

There is a positive association, a much stronger positive association between signaling high sensitivity to influence others and the behavioral approach system, BAS.

BAS is related to reward responsiveness. It reflects an individual's motivation to seek positive outcomes, positive reinforcements and rewards. It's a dopamine thing, kind of, dopaminergic thing.

And so this kind of person would use victimhood signaling, signaling of high sensitivity in order to secure rewards, to secure pleasure, narcissistic supply, positive outcomes, sex, or over a group of people in a forum, for example, as a moderator or whatever.

These individuals with high reward responsiveness are more likely to engage in self-presentational strategies such as signaling high sensitivity in order to gain positive reactions and outcomes from others, to finagle benefits from others.

Individuals with higher scores on dark personality, so I want to quote to you something, "individuals with higher scores on dark personality traits, especially narcissism and psychopathy, were more likely to engage in signaling high sensitivity to influence others."

This finding supports the deceptive signaling hypotheses, indicating that the expression of high sensitivity can be a manipulative interpersonal strategy employed by grandiose and callous individuals to gain advantage in social interactions.

I couldn't have said it better myself.

I continue, "It suggests," I'm quoting, "It suggests that individuals with dark personality traits may use the perception of high sensitivity as a means of garnering sympathy or obtaining special treatment from other people.

This result showed that signaling high sensitivity is also a deceptive interpersonal strategy used by grandiose and callous manipulators.

And this is a quote from the study, not my words, I swear.

Studies suggest that signaling high sensitivity to influence other people is a complex phenomenon.

Not everyone there is a full-fledged narcissist and psychopath, but I dare to venture, I go on a limb here and say that the vast majority of them, if not all of them, have narcissistic traits and psychopathic traits. And definitely they display narcissistic behaviors, if not psychopathic behaviors.

And so some highly sensitive individuals may seek help online. I would find it very shocking, very much against type, but maybe, maybe there are a few, I don't know, 3%, 5%.

But the majority, and I'm quoting again, "Particularly those with high reward responsiveness and dark personality traits may use it as a calculated tactic to elicit specific responses from others.

And now I have become definitely the number one hate figure on the internet. I'll drink to that, and yes, I've read all your comments that I'm encouraging alcoholism. Cheers.

My name is Sam Vaknin and I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited. I'm also a professor of psychology in several universities.

And today I would like to discuss the connection between ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism and narcissism.

It's kind of a new triad.

Are these linked somehow? Are these connected?

There will be a lot, I'll be quoting a lot, citing a lot from scholarly literature and trying to demonstrate that there are intimate connections between these.

But before we go to scholarly literature, I would like to set out a conceptual map.

I think, mind you, I think it's speculation based on 25 years of studying pathological narcissism, but it is still speculation to be tested, experimented on, repeated, the experiments should be repeated, etc., until we see if there's any truth to my speculation.

But this is my gut feeling. That's my hunch. That's my intuition.

Intuition plays an important part in scientific progress because it helps us formulate research goals and it helps us to direct our studies in a way which would yield meaningful results or not.

So my gut feeling is that the narcissist as a child, because the narcissist doesn't have a primary object, a mother who is responsive, who is warm and pathic, loving, unconditionally loving, embracing, accepting. He doesn't have a safe base to come back to once he had explored the world.

The narcissist has no focus of attention. He has no object.

Mother in this case, or you know what, even father, caregiver. He doesn't have an adult figure, but especially mother.

Mother is much more critical than any of the other figures. He doesn't have an adult figure upon which he can latch, upon which he can hang, towards which he can direct his attention. Mother is rejecting. Mother is painful. She's humiliating. She's cold. She's absent. She is self-preoccupied. She's self-centered. She's selfish. She resents the child for infringing on her free time and leisure. She sometimes regards the child as the reason for all her troubles. So very often she is aggressive towards the child. She induces terror in the child, panic reaction.

So the child is afraid, simply afraid to direct his attentionat the primary object.

He never learns how to pay attention. He never learns how to laser focus his mental resources so that he can, so that he hones in, he zeroes in another person.

And this is the foundation, in my view, the psychodynamic foundation of attention deficit.

The child never learns to become attentive because there's no one there, who could absorb his attention, who could accept his attention and reciprocate in a way which would reinforce this attention positively.

Reciprocate, respond in a way which would encourage the child to continue to pay attention.

Whenever the child tries to pay attention to mommy, he rebuffed. He's attacked, he's criticized, humiliated, or even punished, sometimes punished corporeally, bodily.

So the child learns that attention is bad. Paying attention is bad. He's conditioned via negative reinforcement to not pay attention. He regards attention as a form of threat.

And so he develops attention deficit.

And yet these mental energies have to go somewhere.

Children have a very, very, very steep learning curve and developmental curve, including body development, including brain development. The brain doubles in size every few months.

So the child has a lot of pent-up energy which usually is directed to the primary object.

When there's a good enough mother, safe base, the energy goes there.

And the mother loves this energy and accepts this energy, encourages it, and absorbs it in a positive way and reflects it back.

So as to encourage the child to develop boundaries and to explore the world, however grandiosely, and to separate from her and become a healthy individual standing on his or her own two feet. That's a healthy mother, a non-narcissistic mother, a non-laboral mother, a mother who regulates her emotions, not a dis-regulated mother, not a borderline mother.

But when there's a mentally ill mother or mentally disordered mother, the child is in trouble because all this energy has to go somewhere.

So he becomes hyperactive. And he learns that hyperactivity garners him, gets him the attention that he's not getting otherwise.

So there's a vicious feedback loop, a negative reinforcement from mommy actually rejects him.

So inability to develop positive attention, attention span, and there's attention deficit. And attention from other adults and from mommy when he's a bad boy, when she's a bad girl. So being bad comes to be associated or being hyperactive, a problem maker, comes to be associated gradually with garnering and getting much desired, much sought attention and the child gets conditioned and develop ADHD.

And this is doubly true.

If the child is on the autism spectrum disorder, if an autistic child would have severe difficulties to interpret, for example, body cues, body language cues, social cues, an autistic child processes the world very differently, akin to borderline, an autistic child doesn't have a skin, doesn't have protection. So his emotions are enormously disregulated. It's like the emotions develop an escape velocity, like in rockets. They move with such energy, the emotions up and down, that one day they just go into outer space and they are never to be found again.

Autism preconditions predisposes the child to develop, in essence, narcissism as a defense.

So narcissistic defenses in autistic children are very common. And one of them, of course, is a pronounced lack of empathy or at least discernible empathy, functional empathy. That's one of them.

Second thing, many autistic children are grandiose in some highly specific ways. And all autistic children have severe attention deficits.

We are beginning to see the connections here.

Possibly there's an autistic child who reacts with narcissistic defenses and learn dysfunctional ways of regulating attention, both because he has a biological proclivity and predisposition to dysregulation of attention and because he learns from his human environment that certain types of attention, the negative ones, go hand in hand with hyperactive behavior.

So all these three conditions become enmeshed, entangled and cannot be separated. They feed on each other. They feed on each other and it's very, very difficult to break.

This part that there is such a connection, this part is not speculation.

And this is why I want to read to you from scholarly studies.

In the book, Sadism: Psychoanalytic Developmental Perspectives, which I mentioned in yesterday's video, there's a scholar by the name of Damien McCann. And I'm quoting from his article in the book.

He says, "According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, almost half of those diagnosed with oppositional Defiant Disorder or Conduct Disorder are also diagnosed with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, ADHD."

So for you to understand, oppositional Defiant Disorder and Conduct Disorder are the precursors of psychopathy.

Most children, about 80% of children with conduct disorder, grow up to become psychopaths.

So here we see early on the connection between oppositional Defiant Disorder, ODD, and conduct disorder, the precursors for narcissism and psychopathy, how they're intimately linked with ADHD.

Half of children with ODD and conduct disorder also have ADHD.

And continuing from the article, adolescents living with ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

So adolescents living with ADHD and a coexisting conduct disorder, such as oppositional Defiant Disorder, these adolescents are at higher risk for antisocial behavior and suspension from school.

The school dropout rate for this group is 12 times greater than the rate among adolescents who are not affected by ADHD.

Outcomes that underline the importance of early identification.

The McCann continues, "It has been suggested that parents of children living with ADHD and conduct disorder often feel frightened and intimidated by their child's behavior. They worry about danger or injury to other family members. Parents may also be shocked or embarrassed by their child's sadistic behaviors.

At one and the same time, family members can act in ways that either reinforce or diminish the patient's problematic behavior or thoughts so their involvement is helpful and often essential.

This is McCann.

And this connection between ADHD and early nascent narcissism and psychopathy is extremely strong.

What is ADHD actually?

The American Psychiatric Association says symptoms of ADHD include inattention, not being able to keep focus, hyperactivity, excess movement that is not fitting to the setting, and impulsivity exactly like borderlines and psychopaths by the way.

Impulsivity, hasty acts that occur in the moment without thought. It's a very good description of a primary psychopath by the way.

They are exactly like this.

The American, the APA continues, an estimated 8.4% of children and 2.5% of adults have aged ADHD.

By the way, 2.5% of adults, amazingly, that's also the percentage of psychopaths in the general population and also the percentage of narcissists in the general population. That's the median among many studies.

So if you make a meta-analysis of studies, that's the number you get.

So ADHD, psychopathy, narcissism, they have the same incidence and the same prevalence in the general population, identical number.

ADHD is diagnosed as one of three types, inattentive type, hyperactive impulsive type or combined type.

A diagnosis is based on the symptoms that have occurred over the past six months.

Inattentive type, six or five for people over 17 years of the following symptoms occur frequently.

So, in the inattentive type, doesn't pay close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in school or job tasks.

Has problems staying focused on tasks or activities such as during lectures, conversations or long reading or listening to long VACNID videos, does not seem to listen when spoken to, seems to be elsewhere, does not follow through on instructions, doesn't complete schoolwork, chores or job duties, may start tasks.

Not quickly loses focus.

Has problems organizing tasks and work, for example, does not manage time well.

Has messy, disorganized work, misses deadlines, avoids or dislikes tasks that require sustained mental efforts such as preparing reports and completing forms.

Often loses things needed for tasks or daily life such as school papers, books, keys, wallet, cell phone and eyeglasses.

Tell me about it.

Is easily distracted, forgets daily tasks such as doing chores and running errands.

Older teens and adults may forget to return phone calls, pay bills and keep appointments.

That's the hyperactive impulsive type.

As I go through the list of characteristics of various types of people with ADHD, you will immediately identify your narcissist or your psychopath.

Many of these features are very, very typical of psychopathy and narcissism, pathological narcissists.

And every one of you will confirm this, I'm sure.

Feel free in the comments.

That there is the hyperactive impulsive type.

Again, fidgets with or taps hands or feet or squirms in the seat, not able to stay seated in classroom or workplace, runs about or climbs where it is inappropriate, unable to play or to do leisure activities quietly or ways on the go as if driven by a motor engine, talks too much.

That's me. Blurts out an answer before a question has been finished.

For instance, may finish people's sentences, can't wait to speak in conversations.

Very typical of narcissists.

There's difficulty waiting his or her turn, such as while waiting in line, again, a feature of entitlement in pathological narcissism.

Interacts or intrudes on others, for instance, cuts into conversations, games or activities, starts using other people's things without their permission.

Older teens and others may take over what others are doing.

All these are features which describe ADHD, but also features in pathological narcissism and in primary psychopathy.

There is a very powerful connection between these diagnoses.

And again, I repeat my hypothesis, my working hypothesis to be tested.

I think the child in a dysfunctional family with a dead mother, nonresponsive mother, not good enough mother, with the wrong kind of mother, selfish, inattentive, cold, detached, narcissistic, self-centered, instrumentalizing and parentifying mother, which uses the child to gratify her wishes and needs, smothering and pampering and don'ting mother, teaching the child that he can do no wrong, isolating him from reality.

Mothers who don't allow the child to develop boundaries, to separate, to individually, because they have abandonment anxiety and the child is there to cater to their needs, to reduce their anxiety.

The child is a kind of anti-anxiety medication and anxiolytic.

These kind of mothers, the child cannot develop the skill of paying attention because he doesn't have a focus of attention.

The mother is rejecting and or she is not there, or she treats him as an object, not as a person.

And so he doesn't learn to pay attention and his attention is all over the place.

Wonders, he has attention deficit.

When he fidgets, he doesn't have long enough interactions with the mother.

She's cold, she's detached, she just walks away. She creates object inconstancy by her frequent absences.

So he doesn't learn to develop an attention span.

Even when he does have attention, when he does show attention, this is very brief attention and then his attention wanders.

The mother never teaches him to pay long-term attention to anything.

And the media are doing the same to us, by the way.

They're reducing our attention span, advertising and even television.

This kind of media, they are destroying our ability to focus, to have long-term attention span and they induce attention deficits that is backed by many studies.

And so the child compensates for this by becoming hyperactive.

It becomes hyperactive for two reasons.

First of all, he has a lot of energy. It has to go out somewhere. He develops outlets, dysfunctional outlets for this energy.

And the second reason, he gets attention. When he misbehave, he gets attention. He learns the connection.

Now, this creates a problem in mentalizing.

In mentalizing is a crucial foundational prerequisite for developing empathy.

Now, let's start by explaining what is mentalizing.

Mentalizing is a process by which we make sense of each other and of ourselves, implicitly or explicitly, in terms of subjective states and mental processes.

Mentalizing is a profoundly social construct in the sense that we are attentive to the mental states of those we are with, physically or psychologically.

We pay attention. We ask ourselves, what is he thinking? What makes her tick? What did she want?

These innocuous questions are actually attempts to theorize, to create a theory of other people's minds and indeed is called a theory of mind.

In psychology, mentalizing or mentalization is the ability to understand the mental state of oneself or others, the mental state that underlies overt behavior.

The first stage, we observe behavior and then we speculate, like I'm doing now, we speculate about the motives, the dynamics behind the behavior. We speculate about the state of the mind that had generated this behavior.

Mentalization can be seen as a form of imaginative and creative mental activity, fiction writing that lets us perceive and interpret human behavior in terms of intentional mental state.

Mentalization goes with the assumption of intentionality. That is very confusing to many victims of narcissistic abuse because we observe the narcissist behaving.

We observe a behavior with the narcissist or the psychopath or the borderline. Of course, we try to mentalize the narcissist. We try to understand the narcissist. We try to construct a theory as to what made the borderline do what she did or what drove the psychopath to act the way he had done.

We construct theories, but these theories fall flat. They collapse. They disintegrate because we can't really penetrate the minds of narcissists, psychopaths and borderlines. We can't create an efficacious theory of mind for these people.

A theory of mind.

And so there's a huge gap with discrepancy between our theory and the ultimate observable behaviors because our theory yields predictions.

When we construct the theory, he tells us, well, the narcissist did it because of this. So he is likely to do this because of that.

And then he doesn't.

The same with the psychopath, same with the borderline. They are so unpredictable, disregulated and labored that all our theories fall like houses of cards.

A theory of mind is an important social cognitive skill. It involves the ability to think about mental states, your mental states, other people's mental states.

And in theory of mind, we use beliefs, desires, intentions.

And where do we find information about these beliefs, desires and intentions inside ourselves?

We make the wrong assumption that the narcissist is exactly like us. That he has the same base desires, the same intentions, the same urges, the same drives, the same hopes and fears and dreams, that he has the same, in other words, mental state, that he has the same mind like us. That is absolutely wrong and erroneous.

This is where everything fails. This is why you keep being victimized and abused.

Narcissists don't have a mind that's like yours. They don't have a human mind.

And I'm not saying this in a pejorative term, I'm not cursing or demonizing the narcissist because they lack empathy and they lack access to positive emotionality. They lack the two pillars upon which the edifice of the human mind rests.

Like Samson, take away these two pillars and the temple crashes. The temple collapses on you if you're inside.

So be careful. Make no assumptions about the narcissist and the psychopaths and the borderline because they are utterly alien to you. They have almost nothing in common with you. Their inner space is, I don't know, galactic interplanetary. It's not earthly and it's not human by any extension of this word.

And so we use theory of mind to understand why someone acts in certain ways and does not act in other ways.

And this hypothesizing, this scientific method is not working with people who are not like you.

For example, if tomorrow an extraterrestrial, an alien were to land on Earth coming all the way from Alpha Centauri, you know, and total alien from another planet in another galaxy were to come to Earth, we would be very foolish to assume that such an alien has the same desires and the same mental states and the same fears and the same hopes and dreams and wishes as we do. That would be a very foolish assumption, very dangerous assumption, because we need to assume that an alien from another galaxy has nothing in common with us.

We may discover gradually similarities, resonances, echoes of our mind, but we should not make an a priori assumption that an alien is like us.

This comes from another planet, from a galaxy of pain and hurt, from a planet of rejection, humiliation and abuse, from a place where he could not become.

Narcissism is a work in progress that had been arrested, stopped midway. He is like a construction site never completed. There's nothing in common between an apartment that's never been completed and liveable, liveable quarters, liveable apartment. Nothing in common. The walls are bare, the electrical wiring is all over the place. It's dangerous.

And theory of mind is the ability to attribute mental states, beliefs, intents, desires, emotions, knowledge, cognitions, our mental states to ourselves and to others.

We really make the assumption that we are 99% the same.

Theory of mind is necessary to understand that others have the same beliefs, desires, intentions and perspectives like us. The content of these beliefs, the content of the desires, the intentions, the perspectives may be different, but the vessels, the containers are the same.

Narcissists are not using your cutlery. They are not using your pots and pans and spoons and forks. They are using something you are not going to recognize.

Now empathy has three components and that's why I'm against the term cognitive empathy when attributed to narcissists and psychopaths.

Narcissists and psychopaths have two forms of empathy out of three.

They have reflexive empathy and cognitive empathy, not only cognitive empathy.

So it's wrong to say that narcissists have cognitive empathy and healthy people have emotional empathy. It's absolutely wrong.

There are three layers, reflexive, cognitive and emotional.

Psychopaths and narcissists lack the emotional part.

Borderlines, by the way, have all three, but they cannot regulate.

So let's talk a bit about reflexive, reflexive empathy because cognitive empathy, you can find huge amount of information online.

Emotional empathy, needless to say, millions of videos and everyone experiences cognitive empathy and emotional empathy.

I mean, when you see someone crying, when you see someone smiling, you have a cognitive reaction.

You say, she's sad, he's happy and you have an emotional reaction. She said, I'm sad, he's happy, I'm happy.

I remember how it feels to be sad and I'm sad for her. Remember how it feels to be happy and he makes me smile.

So emotional cognitive empathy are not alien to you, but the vast majority of humans, unless they get stuck at a seriously early stage, don't remember and don't know what is reflexive empathy.

And I want to elaborate a bit on this because in the next video, I'm going to propose a new theory of empathy and reflexive empathy is a crucial part of it.

I'm going to quote from the book, Sadism: A Historical Perspective, by Gershon Ralston.

I'm going to quote from Graham Music.

Yes, music.

Someone is called music.

Wonderful name.

From Graham Music's article, he's a scholar.

So I'm citing the article.

By about four months, infants can know that they are the subject of another person's attention.

They show cold-heartedness, for example, and that is based on studies by Reddy, in 2000.

Soon, most infants, most babies have sufficient understanding of other minds to be able to tease in mutual enjoyment.

Again, Reddy, 2008.

A crucial developmental window at about nine months allows much more sophisticated understandings of other minds as seen in joint attention, social referencing and secondary intersubjectivity.

These are terms coined by Travaden and Hubley.

Travaden and Hubley, very early on in 1978, kind of deconstructed empathy.

And they demonstrated the role of joint attention, the baby pays attention to another, and the adult pays attention to the baby.

It's crucial, this feedback loop, social referencing and secondary intersubjectivity.

I'll discuss all this a bit later.

I'm continuing from the article by music.

With these skills come early empathic capacities, but only if infants receive experiences that we tend to take for granted.

In particular, this includes what minds in 2002 has called mind- mindedness.

That is an awareness of someone being responsive to and caring about our thoughts and feelings.

The infant needs this response.

This is so often missing in maltreated abused children who lack early experiences of attunement.

And so they do not develop empathy or care for others.

They don't get this feedback early on.

And without this feedback, they can't develop attention.

And without attention to others, they can't develop a theory of mind.

They can't develop empathy.

So you see the sequence, you see the chain, bad upbringing, bad mother, dead mother, no attention, inability to focus attention, inability to focus attention, inability to notice other people, can't notice other people.

You can't develop a theory of mind.

You can't mentalize.

You can't mentalize.

Of course, you cannot have empathy.

By around, I'm continuing from the article, by around 14 months of age, most children have an innate desire to help other children.

So Masello, Varenik, in 2009, they found that in experimental situations, when an adult has a tricky problem, such as fetching out of rich objects or opening a cupboard door with full hands, most toddlers were quick to help the adult, spontaneously motivated by empathic concerns and disliking, seeing wrongdoing and suffering.

There's another study by Vage, in the same year, 2009, was a good year for empathy studies.

So children, when they see you in trouble, they try to help you already when they are 14 months of age.

Indeed, babies as young as a few months old show preference for kindly as opposed to nasty puppies or animated characters.

So they prefer animated characters who help over animated characters who hinder another figure.

That's a study by Hamlin in 2007.

Young babies appear to comprehend another person's intention to help or to be nasty.

And they show surprise when an innocent character approaches a seemingly nasty animated object, but not when the same character approaches a good guy.

Paul Meyer, 2003.

Such experiments, for example, by Bloom in 2010, they show that babies can distinguish pro-social and anti-social behaviors. Even babies can already tell the difference between a good, healthy person and a narcissist and a psychopath.

Babies, that's why I don't buy your stories, that you didn't see anything, you didn't spot anything, you had no intuition.

The narcissist is such a great actor that he put the wool over your eyes, he misled you, nonsense.

As early as nine months old, babies react clearly to psychopaths and narcissists, babies.

And that's studied by Bloom in 2010.

Maybe more surprisingly, such babies also prefer puppets that punish the bad guys or the puppets who are nice to the bad guys.

In other words, babies have a rudimentary sense of justice and a desire to see bad behavior punished.

And yet early empathy and healthfulness, they depend on receiving attuned and mind-minded attention.

"Containment" as Bion called it in 1962.

Babies need good enough parenting, Winnicott, 1996.

By the end of the first year, children have built up considerable expectations of relationships, based on past experiences. And these expectations include whether or not other people are likely to be kind or helpful.

Dweck in 2009, he described abused children and how they recoil. It's horrible to see by the way.

"Maltreatment inhibits the capacity for empathy," continues Graham.

"Ordinarily, toddlers respond kindly to other toddlers' distress in nursery.

But abused children generally can show little or no empathy or concern for another's distress, and indeed could be quite aggressive to such children.

Abused children? Abuse children?

Maine and George, 1985.

"Securly attached children who have been sensitively attuned to consistently show more empathy." That's a study by Mikulinsa in 2005.

The circuits in the brain central to empathy turn off in the face of stress, fear and trauma.

Schurcliffe, 2009.

Analogous with what neuroscientists and other researchers seem to be discovering about developmentally sensitive periods in general. It's a big study by Thomas and Johnson, 2008.

And so, music says, "I hypothesize that in many maltreated children, an early window of opportunity is missed when they might have developed ordinary empathy and compassion."

And I would add to that, in the same window we develop attention. In the same window we develop regulation of impulses. In the same window we develop regulation of emotions. In the same window we develop control of moods.

When this window is shattered with a stone of abuse and maltreatment and rejection and coldness and self-centeredness. When the mother is dead and bad and detached and cold and rejecting and humiliating and wrong for you.

This window closes and it's too late for you later to develop all these capacities, empathy, compassion, attention, activity control, impulse control and so on.

I want to read to you a fragment, a snippet, an excerpt from an article by Reina Fuwuhar in Financial Times September 3rd, 2020.

"Several years ago, she said, "a wise colleague wrote a wonderfully contrarian column arguing that no organization should hire more than a few very clever people.

Sure, clever people are great with facts, abstract ideas and vigorous debate, but put too many of them in a room together and they can gum up the system with their love of complexity and conflict.

As we, knowledge-worker, know, clever people aren't always the most collaborative in what they have in brain power. They often lack in empathy.

She continues, "In his 1958 book of dystopian fiction, The Rise of the Meritocracy, Michael Leon predicted that the hubris of the meritocratic elites would eventually trigger a political revolt resulting in the downfall of meritocratic elites.

Is that where we have come or where we are going?

Whatever the November election result in the United States or the ultimate outcome of Brexit, we would be wise to heed Young's advice.

If people were valued according to their kindliness, courage, imagination and sensitivity, and not just according to their intelligence, education, occupation and power, there would be not classes.

A very human being would then have equal opportunity not to rise up in the world in the light of any mathematical measure, but to develop his own special capacities for leading a rich life.

Perhaps in some post-meritocratic world it will be so.

End of the quote from the column, great column by the way.

The author mentions a lot of other literature on meritocracy and empathy.

But sometimes we come across people who grew up in apparently functional families with a lot of love and acceptance and so on.

Why these people don't have empathy when their upbringing was normal and the family was highly functional?

And so we speculated there may be a genetic problem or a brain abnormality.

But the evidence for this is very sparse.

Lack of empathy owing to abuse and trauma, breach of boundaries, no safe base, dead mother.

When the child is not allowed to separate and deviate, we understand this.

We understand why this might lead to a lack of empathy.

Lack of empathy owes to instability, arbitrariness, capriciousness, reversal, discontinuity, unpredictability.

One day the child is on the pedestal.

The next day the pedestal is on the child.

That could destabilize anyone, let alone the child.

Children in functional families, where the mother is his good enough mother, where there's unconditional love and acceptance, where boundaries are set and encouraged, where separation and individuation is a normal process without emotional blackmail and so on and so forth.

Most of the overwhelming majority of these children develop very healthy empathy, which lasts a lifetime.

But at some stage a tiny sliver, small minority of these children, are exposed to other influences, other out of the family influences, a bad sadistic teacher, a group of peers bullying the child.

A drug dealer, a neighborhood drug dealer, I mean media, visual content on television, on social media.

I mean you never know.

There's so many extra family influences that you never know.

And these influences if they come early enough before the age of six, and in some cases before the age of nine, they can hamper and hinder and obstruct and undermine empathy.

Albert Schweitzer, who was a great humanitarian, wrote in his book, "Philosophy of Civilization" 1923, "If I am a thinking being, I must regard life other than my own with equal reverence, for I shall know that it longs for fullness and development as deeply as I do myself.

Therefore I see that evil is what annihilates, hampers or hinders life.

Goodness, by the same token, is the saving or helping of life, the enabling of whatever life I can to attain its highest development.

And it's precisely the philosophical point of view of Harvey Klechly, who is still by far the most preeminent scholar of psychopathy and narcissistic psychopathy.

When Klechly had at the end of the book to summarize his thinking, he said, "Well, I can't offer you anything. The field is very new.

It was in 1942. The field is very new, but I can tell you this.

Psychopaths reject life. And this rejection of life is a decor.

I came up a few years ago with the I equal MCU theorem.

It's like I wanted to be like Einstein, you know, because I think I'm better looking than Einstein.

So I wanted to be like Einstein where Einstein invented the E equals MC squared.

I invented the I equals MCU theorem of empathy.

I postulate the existence of three basic modes of interpersonal relatedness.

I equals MCU.

In other words, I am seeing you.

It's one way of relating to other people.

I am seeing you.

I equals MCU.

Another way, I UCM.

I am what you see in me.

I equals UC me.


I am what you see in me.

I'm defined by your gaze.

So the first one is I MCU.

I am seeing you.

Second one is I UC me.

I'm defined by your gaze.

And the third one is you equals ICM.

You is what I see as me.

You is what I see as me.

So one and three, they're variants of empathy.

I am seeing you and you is what I see as me.

I and you have a lot in common, but I'm seeing you.

So you're seen, you're not transparent.

I realize that you exist as a separate, boundary, autonomous, self efficacious agent, agency, this agency there.

And this is the foundation of empathy, recognizing others.

They have a right to live. They have a right to happiness. They have a right to boundaries. They have a right not to be hurt and abused and molested.

And the third one is you is what I see as me.

I realize that we have so much in common. We're human.

And so one and three are variants of empathy.

The ability to see the other is indispensable to the development and exercise of empathy.

Even more crucial, I would say, is the capacity to identify with the other, to see the other. See the other as me.

But the child who grows up in a dysfunctional family with a dead mother, with a rejecting mother, with a cold, detached mother, he has no other.

He hasn't. He has no other to exercise on.

Empathy takes developing. It's a skill. It's an acquired skill.

The reflexive part is biological.

But then to become social, you have to exercise and develop it as a skill.

But if you don't have a mother, you don't have a partner. You don't have a partner to develop this skill.

And so the second mode, the second mode, I am what you see in me.

I'm defined by your gaze.

This is pathological narcissism.

The narcissist forges a false self that is designed to elicit external input in order to sustain itself.

And just to perform some important ego functions, the narcissist needs other people.

He cannot do anything by himself. He does not exist by himself. He's an absence.

It is the intersection of multiple gazes, the intersection of the minds of multiple observers in this intersection, in this circle created by their combined views.

This is the narcissist. It's like a hurricane.

But inside there's a quiet dead eye, which is the essence of the narcissist.

He is the outcome of multiple reflections. He is a whole of mirrors.

But inside there's nothing. The narcissist exists merely as a reflection in the eyes of others.

In the absence of narcissistic supply, he crumbles.

And with us, like an apparition, an enchantment, magic is a mirage.

I granted an interview to the National Post in Toronto in July 2003. And I would like to read this interview to you. It's short. And it's the last segment of this video.

Yay! And I would like to read it because I think it's a relatively benign summary of empathy.

The first question was, how important is empathy to proper psychological functioning?

My answer.

Empathy is more important socially than it is psychologically.

The absence of empathy, for instance, in narcissistic and antisocial personality disorders, this absence predisposes people to exploit and abuse others.

Empathy is the bedrock of our sense of morality.

Arguably aggressive behavior is as inhibited by empathy as it is by anticipated punishment.

So empathy, interiorized, becomes conscious. And our conscience tells us not to do some things because they're bad.

So we are afraid of punishment externally, but we are also afraid of punishment internally. Our internal punishment is called guilt or shame. And it is built on empathy interiorized.

I continue my answer to the National Post.

But the existence of empathy in a person is also a sign of self-awareness, a healthy identity, a well-regulated sense of self-worth and self-love in the positive sense.

The absence of empathy denotes emotional and cognitive immaturity, an inability to love, to truly relate to others, to respect their boundaries and accept their needs, feelings, hopes, fears, choices, wishes and preferences as autonomous entities.

In addition, the journalist asks, "How is empathy developed?"

My answer.

Empathy may be innate. Even toddlers seem to empathize with the pain or happiness of other people, such as their caregivers.

Empathy increases as the child forms a self-concept, identity.

The more aware the infant is of his or her emotional states, the more the infant explores his limitations and capabilities, and the more prone he is to projecting this newfound knowledge onto others.

By attributing to people around him his new gained insights about himself, the child develops a moral sense and inhibits his antisocial impulses.

The development of empathy is therefore part of the process of socialization.

But as the American psychologist Carl Rogers taught us, empathy is also learned.

When inculcated, we are coached to feel guilt and pain when we inflict suffering on another person.

Empathy is an attempt to avoid our own self-imposed agony by projecting it onto another.


Is there an increasing dearth of empathy in society today? Why do you think this is so?


Remember, this is an interview given 20 years ago, in 2003, 17 years ago.

So my answer.

The social institutions that had reified, propagated and administered empathy have all imploded.

The nuclear family, the closely-neaked extended clan, the village, the community, the neighborhood, the church, friendships, they've all unraveled.

Society is atomized, syndic.

The resulting alienation fostered a wave of antisocial behavior, both criminal and legitimate.

The survival value of empathy is on the decline.

It is far wiser to be cunning, to cut corners, to deceive and to abuse than to be empathic.

Empathy has largely dropped from the contemporary curriculum of socialization. It's not on the menu.

In a desperate attempt to cope with these inexorable processes, behaviors predicated on a lack of empathy have been pathologized and medicalized.

The sad truth is that narcissistic or antisocial conduct is both normative and in today's environment, rational.

No amount of diagnosing it, treating it and medicalizing it, and medication it, no amount of such things can hide or reverse this basic fact.

Psychopathy and massiveness work.

Ours is a cultural malaise, which permeates every single cell and every strand of the social fabric.

Question, is there any empirical evidence that we can point to of a decline in empathy?

My answer, empathy cannot be measured directly, but only through proxies such as criminality, terrorism, charity, domestic violence, domestic abuse, violence, antisocial behavior, related mental health disorders, other types of abuse. These are all proxies for empathy.

Moreover it is extremely difficult to separate the effects of deterrence from the effects of empathy. Sometimes it would behave properly because we are afraid, not because we have empathy.

If I don't battle my wife, if I don't torture animals, if I don't still shoplift, is it because I'm empathetic or because I don't want to go to jail?

No one knows.

Rising litigiousness, zero tolerance, a skyrocketing race of incarceration, as well as the aging of the population.

There's been sliced intimate part of violence and other forms of crimes across the United States at least in the last decade.

There's been a precipitous decline for example in the murdering, it's down 50%.

But this benevolent decline had nothing to do with increasing empathy, I think.

The statistics are open to interpretation, but it would be safe to say that the last century has seen the most violent and the least empathetic period in human history.

Wars, terrorism are on the rise. Charity giving is on the wane measured as percentage of national wealth. Welfare policies are being abolished.

There's an altruism fatigue. Darwinian models of capitalism are spreading.

In the last two decades, that's remember the interview is 17 years ago, the last two decades, mental health disorders were added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association. And these mental health disorders, their hallmark is the lack of empathy.

The violence is reflected in our popular culture, movies, video games, the media. There were no social media when this interview was given.

Empathy, supposedly a spontaneous reaction to the plight of our fellow humans, is now channeled through self-interested and bloated non-government organizations or multilateral outfits.

The vibrant world of private empathy has been replaced by faceless state-largest. Pity, mercy, the elation of giving, they're all tax deductible.

And generally speaking, it is a sorry sight, it's the demise of empathy.

So this was an interview in 2003 and I, by far, I haven't been the only voice.

I mean, long before this interview in 1974, in 1978, Christopher LaChiusa wrote The Cultural Narcissist and Emil Eysenck, a hundred years before, described anomic societies where empathy will vanish and suicide will flourish.

And then you had, I mean, this we, when I say we, I mean, psychologists, sociologists, academics, public intellectuals, re-monavon, Sartre, you name it, dozens, hundreds of names, I mean, Santayana, we have been warning against this for like ages. And no one would listen. And no one would listen because the efforts of money, efforts of power, efforts of manipulating other people to obtain desirable goals and preferable outcomes, it's taken over.

Even public intellectuals who tell you how to live your life, how to become better people, they're not telling you how to become better people. They're telling you to become, they're teaching you how to become more efficient people, very often at the expense of others.

I'm sorry, I can't think of a single public intellectual who is not narcissistic, psychopathic, well-centered, egotistical, lay pile, dysregulated, sadistic to some extent. And all of them are teaching you, all of them are teaching you not how to develop empathy, compassion and care and love towards your fellow beings, but how to make maximal use of your natural endowments and to fake and to lie and to pretend so as to obtain whatever and to extricate whatever you can for lovers.

In other words, the view of public intellectuals today is that the world is a win-lose situation. And in this sense, I'm terribly sorry, terribly sorry to say that I can't see any difference in principle between Donald Trump's jungle, Darwinian view of the world and any public intellectual I know, they all seem the same.

But some of them are saying it in a high-faluting way. Some of them, you know, in a pub, pub with a pint kind of way, but they are all saying the same.

It's eat or be eaten, kill or be killed, manipulate or be manipulated.

Don't be the sucker, get ahead, make the most and the hell with others.

So many women are asking to interview me lately that I'm beginning to seriously consider the possibility that I'm actually a desirable man.

Well, talk about delusional disorder.

My name is Sam Vaknin. I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited, and I'm a professor of psychology.

And today we are going to discuss a very intricate problem.

For those of you who are my students, this is within the unit on presentation intake interviews and what was the last part?

Presentation intake, and presenting signs and symptoms.

So, here's the question.

Even skilled diagnosticians, even diagnosticians, therapists, psychologists with decades of experience in institutional settings find it very difficult to distinguish between psychopathy, autism, schizoid personality, and PTSD or complex PTSD.

Let me repeat, psychopathy, the extreme form of antisocial personality disorder, autism spectrum disorder, schizoid personality and schizoid personality disorder, and complex post-traumatic stress disorder or straight out post-traumatic stress disorder.

These are present, the people with these problems present so identically that in the intake interview, the first time the therapist or the diagnostician comes across the patient or the client, it's very difficult to tell them apart.

Now we already know that people with borderline personality disorder, emotional dysregulation disorder, people with this disorder are actually indistinguishable from secondary psychopaths when they are exposed to stress, humiliation, and rejection.

So there is a confluence, there is a confluence or a convergence between borderline personality disorder and secondary, facto two, psychopathy.

But we are talking about facto one psychopathy, the classic psychopath, the animal, the beast, the monster, in short, me.

Facto one psychopath, someone with autism spectrum disorder, mainly high functioning autism or formerly known as Asperger's disorder, level one autism, Asperger's disorder, schizoid personality and personality disorder, and complex trauma.

How do we tell them apart?

All four conditions present the same.

In all four conditions, there is extreme reduced affect display.

The reduced affect display is a fancy name because we psychologists will like fancy names. It gives us the illusion that psychology is a science.

So reduced affect display simply means not showing emotions, flat affect, not displaying any emotional reaction to past events, to present occurrences, to future catastrophizing or speculations.

No emotions, no display of emotion.

A flat presentation of emotions and a flat presentation of personal experiences.

These people describe the most harrowing, most traumatizing, most exceptional, most extreme situations and you don't see a hint of a flicker of anything resembling an emotion of their faces.

This is a poker face.

And there is reticent self disclosure. It's like pulling teeth, talking to these people.

They refuse to kind of come clean. They refuse to share, confess, admit. They refuse to talk.

It's very, very difficult to get these kind of people, these kind of patients or clients to actually talk about their lives.

What had happened? How they had failed? What led to these events? And how do they extricate themselves and how do they feel about these occurrences nowadays?

They absent themselves. They shut themselves off.

You can see the curtain falling. You can see there's nobody there suddenly.

When you try to talk to them about emotions, about personal experiences, when you try to kind of coerce them or convince them or cajole them into self-disclosure, they become reticent, reluctant and their body language changes. It becomes very defensive or very aggressive for both.

And this is common to all four types, including survivors of trauma and including survivors of complex trauma, complex post-traumatic stress disorder.

So the first thing we see when such a patient or a client enters the clinic, the first thing you see is the body language.

The body language is again, very defensive and very aggressive, a bizarre mixture, kind of passive aggression.

And the second thing you see is that when you try to talk to them, they shut off. They vanish. They absent themselves.

And the third thing you see, they refuse to talk about emotions, personal experiences. They refuse to self-disclose and they refuse to attach emotions to anything they divulge on their personal histories.

All four types of patients also use language in a highly idiosyncratic way, in a special way.

Narcissists abuse language. Narcissists leverage language as a weapon. They use language to be fuddled, to confuse, to gaslight. So they abuse language.

But psychopaths, people with autism spectrum disorder, schizoids and victims of trauma use language not in order to obtain any goal or to score points, as the narcissist does.

They simply corrupt language. They undermine language. They render, it's like their language festers. It's like it became infested or infected with something.

First of all, they are likely to use a very vulgar type of language, you know, with obscenities and profanities and so on. The language is likely to be patered, as though it's rotting from the inside. They're likely, whenever they try to communicate something, which is very rare, or if they have to respond to the therapist or the diagnostician or the psychologist, for example, in court-mandated evaluations, they tend to play with language. They tend to become ambiguous and equivocal.

If you ask them, "Did you do this and this?" They're going to say, "How do you define doing this and this?" Or they're going to answer in a way which is essentially hair-splitting and nitpicking, wiggling their way out, finagling their way out of conundrums and predicaments using language.

Language is their exit strategy. They think that if they can redefine and reframe situations, behaviors and traits, they're scot-free, they're home-free. It's like a monopoly game. They're playing a game all the time. And you can feel it. Their language is a gambit, like in chess.

So it's very ambiguous and very equivocal and leaves place for vagueness and kind of finagling and wiggling.

The language is non-committal. It's clinical. It's impersonal. They're likely to describe the most terrifying, traumatizing, horrific experiences in very, very impersonal and clinical terms, as though they were talking about the third party at making clinical observation for some medical chart or some paper about to publish in an academic journal.

They corrupt the language and they render it circumspect and cynical and cold and detached.

And so this is the fourth thing you notice, the misuse of language.

All four types of patients, the psychopath, the autism, the autistic, the schizoid and the traumatized victim, trauma victim, all four types of patients are inaccessible.

You feel that there's a kind of transparent partition that you cannot penetrate.

They look at you, they're watching you and you're watching them through a glass darkly.

There's something standing between you and them. It's ephemeral. It's ethereal on one hand, but on the other hand, it's very real and it tends to regenerate all the time.

The more intimate the conversation becomes, the more the clinician tries to broach difficult topics, painful topics or threatening topics, the more the partition solidifies, becomes thicker.

And so there is this membrane between the patient and the diagnostician or therapist.

The patient is inaccessible. The client is sealed off from the world when you talk to a psychopath or trauma victim or schizoid or an autistic person, you feel that he is ensconced and cocooned in his own tiny bubble of a universe, drifting away from you.

Nevermind how desperately you're trying to reach out and hold on to them. They're out of grasp. They're like slimy goldfish. You can never get hold of them. You cannot nail them down. You cannot get them to commit, even linguistically.

So they're sealed off and they're emotionally numb. They're incapable of true intimacy, true communication, let alone intimacy.

You can never get anywhere with them because you keep getting the feeling that there is somebody there, but out of reach, out of reach. And you feel that you are being reduced by these patients into caricature, a two-dimensional icon, avatar, a symbol.

They don't relate.

These four types of patients don't relate to the clinician or the therapist as another human being.

They reduce him to a function and then they become very defensive and they try to isolate themselves from the situation and from the other person, that's the therapist.

And so you have this eerie feeling that the temperature had dropped, the oxygen had been sucked out of the room and you're in the presence of someone who is suspending their humanity.

These people, all four types, the psychopath, the schizoid, the trauma victim, the borderline, which is a form of psychopath and the Oatis.

Deep inside we now know from multiple studies, starting in the 90s, we know that deep inside, they harbor, they have, they experience self-loathing, self-hating.

And so sometimes they act out, they act out by becoming self-defeating or self-destructive or self-trashing or aggressive or passive aggressive.

And so even the schizoid who is utterly detached ostensibly from the outside world, happy in his own nest, in his own den, happy, thriving in his solitude, even the schizoid actually has moments of rage and acting out and reaching out desperately trying to connect.

Actually the prevailing theory of schizoid personality is that the schizoid defense is an attempt to maintain object relations, an attempt to maintain relationships with other people by somehow rejecting them, by somehow isolating them.

Because even rejecting someone, even isolating yourself from someone is a form of connection.

So it's one step removed from psychosis or schizophrenia. That's why it's called schizoid, almost schizofrenia.

So even the schizoid has these moments of rejecting others, sometimes aggressively rejecting others, especially when he feels uncomfortable or discomforted by the presence of others, when he feels overwhelmed.

And so all these four patients are self-destructive and all of them act out one way or another.

The psychopath is defiant and contumacious and reckless and impulsive.

Borderline of course when she becomes a secondary psychopath.

The trauma victim is dysregulated, heavily dysregulated emotionally.

She has typically mood lability and I'm saying she, because majority of victims of complex post-traumatic stress disorder are women. Not all, but a majority.

Now one thing, so to summarize this part, as a clinician, as a diagnostician, as a therapist, there's a conundrum.

How to tell these apart?

Of course you wouldn't treat a trauma victim as you would treat a psychopath. You wouldn't administer the same techniques to a borderline as you would to an autistic person and definitely would not try to treat someone with autism spectrum disorder as you would someone with schizoid personality disorder.

These are seriously different problems, issues in mental health and they require totally different approaches.

It's very dangerous to misdiagnose. And misdiagnosis is very common in clinical practice precisely because all the presenting signs and symptoms on the face of it and initially sometimes for five sessions, 10 sessions, they seem to be the same.

Only when you delve deeper, you begin to discover differences.

For example, attitude to sex and intimacy.

The psychopath's attitude to sex and to sexuality, psychopath's psychosexuality is very unique and is not typical of the schizoid, of the trauma victim, the borderline and definitely not of someone with autistic personality, autistic disorder.

So the psychopath, first of all, makes a distinction between sex and intimacy.

There's the Madonna horror complex, which also applies to narcissists.

The psychopath is very likely to regard his sexual partner, even his long-term sexual partners, as intimate.

He doesn't do intimacy at all, not with his sexual partners, not with anyone.

So consequently, his sex is devoid of intimacy.

And when it looks outwardly as intimate, it's not.

Psychopaths regard their bodies as dispensable, disposable objects.

So they trash themselves. They self-trash sexually.

It's very common for a psychopath to engage in very extreme sexual practices, reckless or not.

Sexual practices which objectify his or her body, sexual practices which trash the psychopath, disrespect his boundaries, physical or otherwise.

It is only in sex that the psychopath allows himself to be abused in effect by his sexual partners.

So they regard their bodies as a kind of coin or commodity. They leverage their bodies, the psychopaths leverage their bodies and use them to obtain goals.

The goals could be instant gratification, satisfaction of an impulse.

Harvey Klechly said in his famous "Mask of Sanity," the masterpiece, "Mask of Sanity," Harvey Klechly said in 1942 that psychopaths, the sexual activities of psychopaths are like scratching your back.

He said that psychopaths act on a whim. They rarely have any deep motivation to engage in sex. They engage in sex because they want to scratch their backs.

It's just an impulse, an itch, they scratch the itch.

So sex for them is utterly meaningless. Their bodies are utterly meaningless.

Actually in the psychopath's life everything is meaningless.

And so it's very shocking, very unsettling, I would even say horrifying and gross to observe the sexual history of a psychopath.

The sexual history of a psychopath, he or she subjects herself to the most degrading and despoiling treatment by others. She is likely to find herself in situations which no healthy or normal person, not even a mentally ill person would find herself or himself.

Psychopaths are unlikely to have sexual boundaries. They are unlikely to be sexually dysregulated. They're likely to engage in extreme and reckless sex from a very early age.

It's very common in the history of psychopaths to engage, for example, in group sex in teenage years or to give a series of 100 low jobs on consecutive days to all the boys in the school. It's utterly normal occurrence in the sexual history of psychopaths.

And the same people, psychopaths, usually develop comorbidities or dual diagnosis like eating disorders and some of them suffer from body dysmorphia, although this is much more common in secondary psychopathy and therefore in borderline personality disorder.

So attitude to body, attitude to sex, attitude to the bodies of other people, the willingness to self trash sexually, the willingness to be objectified, degraded and despoiled, subjecting oneself to these situations, seeking them actually.

This is a hallmark, a major hallmark, by the way, according to Pletley and many other authorities. It's a major hallmark of psychopathy and it is a differential diagnosis in the sense that it does not exist in trauma victims among people with autism, schizoids and narcissists. It is common among psychopaths all year long and it's common among borderlines when they switch into a psychopathic state, secondary psychopathic state.

So this is the first differentiating or differential sign.

Now psychopaths are deceitful.

They're deceitful, they're disloyal, they're unfaithful, they're manipulative, they're parasites.

Psychopathic women are usually gold diggers. They're gold oriented.

This is not, this is another differential diagnosis. This is not the case with schizoids, with borderlines, with people with autism spectrum disorder and with trauma victims.

Only psychopaths are like this.

So when you see a history of deceitfulness, cheating for example in multiple relationships, aerial cheating, betrayal, a history of adultery and unfaithfulness, extramarital sex, non-consensual extramarital sex, when you see a history of parasitism, when you see a history of antisocial, even criminal activities, when you see extreme goal orientation, which is without scruples, without boundaries, without rules and without limits, which is reckless and callous and ruthless, when you see these things, this is a psychopath.

Finally a psychopath is likely to be very devaluing and humiliating of others.

Psychopaths hold everyone in disdain and contempt, which is not the case with the narcissist by the way.

The narcissist does have role models. The narcissist tends to adopt public intellectuals, important politicians, footballers, you name it, he tends to adopt public figures and idealize and idolize them.

This is not the case with the psychopath.

The psychopath holds everyone, and when I say everyone, I mean everyone, in disdain and contempt.

So psychopaths are compelled, it's almost compulsive, they're compelled to devalue you, to humiliate you and this is apparent and transparent in the therapy setting, where the psychopath embarks almost immediately on doubting the therapist's credentials, experience, knowledge, intelligence, wisdom etc.

The valuation and humiliation, degradation and despoiling of other people are psychopathic acts when they are indiscriminate and when they don't target only specific individuals like intimate partners.

Psychopaths are also very hypervigilant and very paranoid, much more so than trauma victims.

Much more so than trauma victims.

So when we see someone who is viciously, viciously, contemptuous, disdainful, hatefully devaluing, totally hypervigilant and paranoid, that's likely to be a psychopath, not a trauma victim.

The etiologies of this identical presentation, the etiologies couldn't be more different and this is why it makes it crucial, it's crucial to apply the differential diagnostic signs and symptoms and criteria that I've just described.

Because if you get it wrong, as a clinician, as a therapist, you can wreak havoc and create enormous damage.

The etiologies of these four groups or classes of disorders is very different.

The psychopath has no empathy, he has no positive emotions. The narcissist has no access to his positive emotions but he does have positive emotions.

The psychopath does not have positive emotions, there's nothing to access, nothing there.

He has no empathy, he has nothing to report. His self-reporting is denuded, minimal or sometimes non-existent, not because he's playing mind games or not because he's a power play, although they're prone to both.

It's because he has nothing to report, there's nothing there.

So the psychopath is goal-oriented, he defines himself via his environment. He derives his identity from his actions and from his environment and this is why his goal orientation is extreme.

Psychopaths are primitive two-state devices, almost animals, almost in an animalistic level. Feel good, feel bad.

So they're two-state devices, they mimic humans because they're great mimics, they have thespian skills exactly like the narcissist but it's mimicry, it's not real.

The etiology of the psychopath is severe damage, probably cerebral, probably brain damage to the ability to experience empathy or positive emotions, that's the root of psychopathy in effect.

The autistic person is oblivious to social and sexual cues. He cannot read other people, he cannot read their body language. His thinking is concrete, so he is incapable of understanding and applying metaphors, similes, similes jokes, he has a problem with humor, so his language is very concrete and very simplified. It's a dictionary language, it's like it's a walking, talking lexicon or dictionary.

So he doesn't understand other people, he doesn't get them. He is no clue, he is clueless and this renders his reactions weird, even antisocial sometimes, unintentionally.

The autistic person is reluctant or unable to verbalize his internal world, his inner world and that is partly because this inner world overwhelms him and partly because he had been rejected all his life, owing to anticipated rejection.

He doesn't want to expose himself, he doesn't want to be mocked, shunned, ostracized, ignored, punished.

The schizoid just wants to be left alone, that's all he wants.

He is incapable of strong emotions, he is incapable of intense experiences. The schizoid flatlines into solitude. The schizoid's solitary confinement is his comfort zone.

It defies belief because we are all social creatures, even narcissists, even psychopaths, but not the schizoid.

He thrives when he is alone.

And the survivor of trauma, she represses, she numbs her emotions because she finds her emotions and the memories that are attached to these emotions threatening. She feels that she will be overwhelmed if she allows herself to directly touch upon and interact with what had happened to her, with her trauma.

So she is reluctant to revisit her harrowing experiences and she is triggered by any attempt to be intimate with her in any way.

Though all four present identically in clinical settings, you need to dig deeper, you need to delve deeper, you need to ask yourself how do they regard their bodies, how do they regard sex and intimacy, are they deceitful, unfaithful, goal-oriented, parasitic, to the extreme? Are they immediately vicious in evaluating and humiliating other people? Are they hypervigilant to the point of paranoid ideation?

And if the answer to all these is yes, that's a psychopath.

And you did your job.

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