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I'm looking for intelligent viewers, intelligent commenters. Where are you?
Okay, bon bonnim.
My name is Sam Vaknin. I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love and Narcissism Revisited, and other books and e-books and videos and you name it about narcissism and later on personality disorders. I'm a professor of psychology in several universities on several continents.
And so today I'm going to release three videos. Three videos, run for shelter, run for cover.
The first one is going to be very brief, relatively speaking, and I'm going to respond to a few of your questions. The second one is going to discuss the forthcoming changes in the international classification of disorders and the next version of the DSM, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, so the changes to the very concept of personality disorders, its revolutionary stuff.
And the third video is going to discuss the Myers-Briggs Inventory, the MBTI, and how valid is this very very widespread test, also known as the 16 personality types test. So how valid is it? Is it for real or is it a scam?
So three videos, one after the other, rapid fire shooting.
And we start with the first one where I essentially cater to your unending litany of questions, queries, and quizzes. Let's start with the first question.
How come the narcissist doesn't notice my sexual cues, my sexual advances, etc.
Narcissists sexually gray rock women.
You remember the famous coping strategy, gray rock, where you render yourself uninteresting to the narcissist. You don't react, you don't adulate, you're not alive. You pretend to be a rock, and not only a rock, but a gray rock, a very very dull and boring rock, so that the narcissist finally gives up and walks away.
The narcissist does the same to potential sexual partners. I call it sexual grayrocking.
The narcissist gray rocks sexually throughout his adult life.
Some narcissists are paranoid, so they gray rock women because they are afraid of, I don't know, blackmail, or compromising information, or compromising situations, or finding themselves trapped somehow.
Other narcissists gray rock women because they are sadistic, and they want to frustrate women, and to hurt them by ostentatiously rejecting them. Other narcissists are simply terrified, terrified of women. They are misogynists, or they have performance anxiety, or something, and so they gray rock women.
Some narcissists are autistic. They simply, sincerely and honestly, don't notice when you come onto them. They are oblivious to sexual and social cues, and cannot read behaviors such as flirting or courting.
And so, sexual gray rocking is very common among narcissists.
Believe it or not, even somatic narcissists gray rock sexually. They gray rock sexually everyone except the target. They home in. They zero in on a particular target, a victim, a prey, and then they sort of ignore everyone else around the target, unless they try to triangulate.
So gray rocking is an essential narcissistic technique.
Your second question was, what's this thing with the with the schizoid cerebral narcissist? It seems that you really found it very difficult to wrap your head around the so-called bizarre arrangement between the schizoid cerebral narcissist and his ostensibly intimate partner, which I like to call his insignificant other.
So usually the schizoid cerebral narcissist had experienced a kind of rejection or abandonment or humiliation early on in one of these very, very early relationships, usually the first or second relationship.
And he came up, he had learned a lesson from it.
Having been cheated upon, having been betrayed, having been abandoned, he came very close to mortification. And he realized that mortification could be life threatening.
So he spends the rest of his adult life trying to avoid the same early experience. And he tries to do this, he tries to accomplish this by squaring the circle in subsequent relationships.
Essentially, this is the deal he offers his intimate partner. This is the pact. This is the compact and the agreement that he suggests that he puts on the table.
And now we are talking about a heterosexual narcissistic male and his female partner.
But of course, it applies to all kinds of relationships. And it applies with gender reversal, where the woman is the narcissist, and the man is the intimate partner.
So here's the deal. I will be your child. I will be your child. You will be my mother. You will not abandon me. You will provide me with services. You will adulate me like a mother does. Unconditionally, never mind how much I abuse you, how often I abuse you and in which ways I abuse you. You will do all this for me.
In return, I accept that you must find love, intimacy and sex with men because I am not a man and I cannot provide you with these needs.
Of course, this is a very self-defeating strategy because the elements in this strategy are unsustainable. The adulation ceases because who can adulate a worm? Who can adulate a wimp? Who can adulate a wuss? A non-man?
So gradually, the adulation ceases. And then most intimate partners react, as I have explained yesterday, with frustration, with anger, with disappointment. They feel deceived. They feel they had been exposed to false advertising. They feel they had been subjected to broken, fallacious promises.
So the adulation ceases. And then as the intimate partner begins to develop a parallel life, a second life, because she's dating other men, she's sleeping with other men, she's intimate with other men, she spends most of her time outside home, outside the shared fantasy.
Within the shared fantasy she's a mother, within the shared fantasy she's a playmate or a companion, but nothing much more. The shared fantasy does not provide intimacy, does not provide emotions, does not provide passion and desire and many other things that the intimate partner requires.
So she outsources these needs, she farms them out and gradually she develops a parallel life, full-fledged parallel life.
Actually, over time, she spends less and less time in the shared fantasy and more and more time outside the confines of the shared fantasy, which creates, of course, abandonment anxiety.
And so adulation is gone, abandonment, anxiety is heightened. And then finally, inexorably and ineluctably, the intimate partner abandons the narcissist, because no one can survive in such a surrealistic setting, such an insane setting.
So after some time, it could be a year, it could be two, could be a decade, could be two decades. At some point, there is actual abandonment.
So it's a self-defeating strategy.
The three elements of the strategy, the three pillars are unsustainable, and definitely not long-term. And they force the narcissist, the cerebral schizoid narcissist, to recommence the cycle over and again, time after time.
And it's an inefficacious solution. Many cerebral schizoid narcissists end up life all alone, because they give up on the possibility of a functional shared fantasy, and they don't have at their disposal any other efficacious solution because of how they're constructed mentally.
Okay, I want to read to you, as had become our habit, I want to read to you a comment. Yes, yes, by an intelligent commenter for a change. The name is Kate Papa. Apologies for that. And this is what she had written. She, I assume, had written.
The cerebral narcissist and his significant other are both dead inside. Neither are capable of healthy adult relationships.
It's not that they cannot let each other go. They simply refuse to.
Both parties are getting their needs met. The narcissist can feel satisfied with his sense of moral and intellectual superiority. She's referring to a cerebral narcissist, yes.
So the cerebral narcissist can feel satisfied with his sense of moral and intellectual superiority and his ultimate control over a partner that he knows would never abandon him.
The narcissist's broken, probably mentally ill partner, can feel sexually satisfied by any man, but refuses any real intimacy. She wants to eat her cake and have it too, and then go running back to daddy for confirmation that she's blameless, justified by her bad treatment of not only the narcissist, but the triangulated third party.
Well said, Kate Papa. It's exactly the way it is.
Okay, your next question. Are you sure that narcissists cannot be cured, cannot be healed, cannot be recovered? Because Dr. So-and-so says otherwise, and Dr. So-and-so claims to have a great experience healing and curing and recovering narcissists. So are you sure? Because they're doctors, they're professors.
Well, I don't care much about academic degrees in this context. Anyone with or without academic degree who claims to cure narcissists, to heal narcissists, or to recover narcissists, whatever the heck it means, I have no idea what is a recovered narcissist, whoever makes these claims is either totally ignorant of narcissism, someone who fakes expertise and doesn't have it, or a con artist. I repeat, anyone who makes these claims is either utterly, profoundly ignorant of narcissism, or he's a con artist.
And to substantiate this very harsh statement I've just made, I'm going to quote three seminal texts.
I'm going to start with a quote from the book, Psychopathology, Foundations for a Contemporary Understanding, fifth edition, published by Rutledge, 2020. That's last year. It's pretty recent, wouldn't you agree? Here's what they say.
Personality disorders are among the most difficult of disorders to treat, because they involve well-established behaviors that can be integral to a client's self-image. And they quote Theodore Millon, 2011.
Nevertheless, much has been written on the treatment of personality disorders. And here they quote Beck, Freeman, in 1990, Clarkin, Fonagy, Gabbard, in 2010, Crichfield and Benjamin in 2006, Gunderson and Gabbard in 2000, Leisley in 2003, Magnavita in 2010, Yank, Kolsko, Weishar in 2003.
So they quote all these studies, and they say, well, many people have written about the treatment of personality disorders, and they continue. I'm continuing to quote from the book. It's the book about psychopathology.
And they say, there is empirical support for clinically and socially meaningful changes in response to psychosocial and pharmacologic treatment, Magnavita, 2010.
But the development of an ideal or fully healthy personality structure is unlikely to occur through the course of treatment.
But given the considerable social, public health and personal costs associated with some of the personality disorders, such as the antisocial and borderline, even moderate adjustments to personality functioning can represent substantial social and clinical benefits.
I'm going to repeat this. I'm going to repeat this because this is what you should listen to, not to talk to this and talk to that online, and let alone people with no academic degree and self styled experts and coaches and I don't know what else, listen to this well.
The development of an ideal or fully healthy personality structure is unlikely to occur through the course of treatment. But what can occur are moderate adjustments to personality function. That's what they say. And that's what I had said in yesterday's video. And that's what I've been saying since 1995.
Here's a text I had written in 1995. Can narcissism be cured?
It's part of the book Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited, which first edition was published in 1999, when most of these self-styled experts and coaches were teenagers and couldn't spell the word narcissism if their lives depended on it.
So here's what I had written. Can narcissism be cured?
Adult narcissism can rarely be cured, though some scholars think that behavior can be modified.
Still, the earlier the therapeutic intervention, the better the prognosis.
A correct diagnosis and a proper mix of treatment modalities in early adolescence guarantees some success without relapse in anywhere between one third and one half of cases.
Additionally, aging moderates or even vanquishes some antisocial behaviors and traits.
And now I want to read to you someone who is a much bigger authority than me. And that's, of course, the one and only Theodore Millon.
Theodore Millan had written in his book Personality Disorders in Modern Life, third edition, 2004.
Most narcissists strongly resist psychotherapy. That's Theodore Millan, not Sam Vaknin. Most narcissists strongly resist psychotherapy.
For those who choose to remain in therapy, there are several pitfalls that are difficult to avoid. Interpretation and even general assessment are often difficult to accomplish.
I want to provide you with another quote from the third edition of the Oxford textbook of psychiatry published by Oxford University Press.
People cannot change their natures. People cannot change their natures, but can only change their situations.
There has been some progress in finding ways of affecting small changes in disorders of personality, but management still consists largely of helping the person to find a way of life that conflicts less with his character. Whatever treatment is used, aims should be modest and considerable time should be allowed to achieve these modest aims.
Not very encouraging, is it?
And finally, the fourth edition of the authoritative review on general psychiatry published by Prentice Hall International. It says, people with personality disorders cause resentment and possibly even alienation and burnout in the health care professionals who treat them. Long-term psychoanalytic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis have been attempted with narcissists, although their use has been controversial.
The picture is bleak. We can modify certain abrasive and antisocial behaviors, very frequently not for long. These people have to come back again and again for the same re-treatment. We can control mood lability psychotropically with medication usually, pharmacologically, and we can control obsessive compulsive aspects of behavior. End of story, nothing else.
Cold therapy, which is the treatment modality that I had invented, essentially dismantles the false self, reduces the need or eliminates the need for narcissistic supply and tackles grandiosity as a cognitive deficit. End of story, it does nothing else.
The narcissist remains the same, same a-hole, dysempathic, exploitative, entitled, none of these changes.
Narcissism is not tuberculosis. Narcissism is the personality. Narcissism is the person, borderline is the character.
Personality disorders, as the DSM says, are pervasive. They are in every cell of the person. They are in every interaction, they are in every setting.
You can no longer, no more cure or heal the narcissist of his narcissism, then you can change your own personality.
Can I make you another person? No. Can you make the narcissist another person? No.
And I repeat, anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar and a con artist and a thief because he's taking your money or she's taking your money.
And above all, ignorant of the very basics of personality disorders.
And I'm saying this with full responsibility and judiciously, based, as you've just heard, on the latest cutting-edge knowledge in psychology and psychiatry.
So, caveat emptor, beware, ask questions, don't trust authority and don't be impressed by the title doctor before the name.
Psychology is a huge field that someone is a doctor of psychology doesn't make him or her an expert on narcissism or on personality disorders.
Did they publish anything? Are they teaching the topic? What makes them experts? What qualifies them as scholars in the field? Or did they just wake up in the morning, found out how much money there is in the field and declare themselves experts?
In one of these cases, and I'm not going to names, I have this in writing from the person who is now one of the leading self-styled experts on narcissism.
Be very careful. Thank you for listeni