"Bipolar" Narcissist Euphoric, Dysphoric Fantasies

Uploaded 8/2/2023, approx. 17 minute read

Okay, Barwaz-o-Nim, look it up.

Today we are going to discuss the ups and downs of the narcissists.

Now, very many self-styled experts online confuse lability with dysregulation.

Lability, for example, mood lability, is cycling. Cycling between euphoria and dysphoria, feeling good and feeling bad, feeling up, feeling down. Mood lability is very common in borderline personality disorder.

Dysregulation is something completely different. Dysregulation is when you are overwhelmed by some internal process. It could be emotions and then this is emotional dysregulation, but it could be many other things.

So dysregulation is simply being overwhelmed, drowning in some internal process that takes over and disables you. You are no longer able to function. Bear this distinction in mind as we delve into the question, is the narcissist bipolar in some way? And what about the confusion between borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder? Very common in Europe, this confusion.

And of course, utterly wrong, bipolar disorder is a mood disorder.

Borderline personality disorder is as the name implies, the personality disorder.

So we are going to discuss the role of fantasy in regulating the narcissist moods, affects and to some extent negative affectivity, is negative emotions.

Why the narcissist presents as an up and down cycling type of person when actually it's much more complex and intricate than this.

My name is Sam Vaknin. I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited, a former visiting professor of psychology and currently on the faculty of CIAPS International Advanced Professional Studies. Whew! That was a mouthful.

Start with a few service announcements. There is a new channel with translations to Portuguese of my videos. Shortly there will be two, three videos available there. And the owner of the channel, Mirna Lise, is adding videos almost daily. So a channel in Portuguese with translations of my videos. The channel is called Narcissismo com Mío Na. And I hope I know what I'm saying. And you can find the link in the description. Description is under the video, not over the video. And in the description many, many goodies. And one of them is Mirna Lise's channel of Portuguese translated videos of the one and only, luckily for humanity, Sam Vaknin.

Before I proceed to the topic at hand, I advise you to watch two videos. Again, the links are in the description.

Narcissist three depressions and bipolar disorder misdiagnosed as Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Start with the fact, indisputable fact, that Narcissism is a fantasy defense. It's a defense against intolerable, burdensome, unbearable reality. It's an infantile defense. It's an early childhood defense against trauma and abuse by primary objects, caregivers, parental figures, and so on and so forth.

Now, as you all know by now, abuse also means tampering and smothering and isolating the child from the environment and from his peers.

Idolizing the child, instrumentalizing the child, parentifying the child, ignoring the child, neglecting the child. I mean, abuse is any situation or any environment in which the child's boundaries are not recognized and the child is not allowed to evolve and to develop naturally, normally, and in a healthy manner.

So, a reaction to such abuse is trauma and a compensation for the trauma is fantasy. "I'm not here," says the child. "I'm somewhere else." That's the Paracosm. "I'm not me. I am someone else." That's the false self. And this someone else is godlike, omnipotent, all-powerful, omniscient, all-knowing, perfect, brilliant, handsome, and so on and so forth.

So, narcissism, pathological narcissism, is a fantasy. It's a fantasy defense that starts in childhood and then as adulthood creeps in, it goes awry.

It is writ large. It's out of control. The fantasy takes over, subsumes the narcissist, consumes him, and leaves nothing behind but the bones, the ossified bones of a true self, sacrificed on the altar of the deity, the new deity, the false self.

Now, when I say him or her or he, of course, you can easily interchange it with she and her and so on. The gender pronouns are interchangeable. Everything I say applies to women, female narcissists, women narcissists, as well as to men.

Okay, so narcissism is a fantasy. How does a fantasy survive in the face of reality?

Reality keeps challenging the fantasy, undermining the fantasy, throwing at the narcissist, countervailing information that makes it very difficult to defend the fantasy and to believe in it.

The fantasy becomes less and less convincing as life unfolds and unfurls as the narcissist gets in touch with other people. As other people mock the narcissist, disagree with the narcissist, challenge the narcissist, undermine the narcissist, compete with the narcissist.

I mean, there are like thousands of stimuli every year which should have ruined the fantasy beyond repair and yet the fantasy survives and actually grows stronger by the day.

How is this accomplished via a mechanism known as cognitive distortions?

The fantasy as a defense mechanism in the narcissist's life is mediated through and protected by firewalls, by cognitive distortions.

Now, cognitive distortion is an inability to perceive reality as it is. It is a form of impaired reality testing.

The narcissist is no longer in touch with reality, he is in touch with an interface that somehow reframes reality, falsifies reality in a way that is rendered palatable and acceptable in a way that buttresses and supports and enhances the core underlying primary fantasy.

Cognitive distortions are an essential feature of the fantasy and we are all acquainted with some of these cognitive distortions in narcissism.

Grandiosity for example is a cognitive distortion. I am godlike, I am perfect, I am brilliant, I am amazing, I am infallible, I am handsome, I am a genius etc. These are all fantasy defenses but they are grandiose, they are inflated and so grandiosity is a way of falsifying reality.

Internalization is another way of avoiding external objects by converting them into internal objects, by introjecting and internalizing them and later on identifying with them.

And this is what I call snapshotting, it's a cognitive distortion.

Hyper-reflexivity is a cognitive distortion, it's actually a psychotic feature, a feature of psychosis and hyper-reflexivity allows the narcissist to treat other people as if they were not separate, to not recognize the separateness of other people, to interact with other people as if they were extensions of the narcissist or internal objects within the narcissist's mind or some internal organ.

So hyper-reflexivity and all these are forms of impaired reality testing which is inherent in cognitive distortions which are indispensable to the maintenance and enhancement of the fantasy defense.

Take an example, a narcissist may consider himself to be awe-inspiring, respected and admired for his accomplishments when actually people regard him with morbid fascination, ill-disguised, contempt and utter disdain and derision. A narcissist may consider himself irresistible to the other sex, to women if he's a male, so irresistible to women for example, when actually women find him disgusting and obnoxious and abusive and a whore to be with.

Narcissists deceive themselves much more than they deceive anyone else around them. This self-delusionality, self-deception is at the core of the fantasy defense and the narcissist gets addicted to this mechanism.

It is this process of self-deception, reframing and falsifying reality to the extent of dispensing with reality altogether. It is this that causes the narcissist to experience euphoric fantasies, euphoria in fantasies.

Some fantasies are elating, the euphoric, they cause the narcissist to feel invincible, immune to the consequences of his action, manic, all accomplishing, unstoppable, relentless etc.

Fantasy could be either euphoric or dysphoric but the only case I'm aware of in psychology where dysphoric fantasies are entertained regularly is with narcissism.

There are dysphoric fantasies in psychotic disorders, in some other personality disorders for example paranoid personality disorder but they are rare occurrences.

Narcissists, there's an equal representation of euphoric and dysphoric fantasies and I'll explain in a minute why.

A euphoric fantasy is indistinguishable from the manic phase in bipolar disorder one.

That's why I ask you to watch the video that I've made a long long time ago when we were all much younger to watch a video that I've made about misdiagnosing bipolar disorder as narcissism.

With the way the narcissist is in the throes of a euphoric fantasy he appears to be totally manic.

The euphoric fantasy involves grandiosity, inflation, the narcissist expands outwards and subsumes the world which is a psychotic feature and in cooperation the narcissist incorporates external objects, you, his intimate partner, co-workers, neighbors, friends, you name it, incorporates other people inside himself as internal totally controllable objects.

At that point the narcissist comes up with hair-brained schemes of get rich quick or become famous quick.

He misperceives his position in society, his accomplishments, academic or otherwise, his interactions with other people, sexual, social, business. I mean he totally misjudges the narcissist, totally misjudges who he is, how he's perceived by others, what is happening, where is it all going and and consequently it all usually euphoric fantasies usually end in misery, devastation, destruction and self-destruction.

Euphoric fantasies of self-defeating, self-handicapping, self-trashing and self-destructive.

The inability to read reality properly leads the narcissist to behave in ways that other people perceive as abusive or even as criminal and he is unable to extract or to extricate himself to acquire a position of a disinterested observer.

In short he is unable of introspection.

I give you the example of a narcissist who believes that he inspires all and admiration and respect when actually he is hated or derided or decried or feared or disgust people or causes disdain and contempt.

This is an extreme detachment from reality which could be dangerous in many situations.

If the narcissist, exactly like some people with autism spectrum disorder, is incapable of reading cues properly, so his reactions may be such that he would end up coercing people abusing people and so this is the euphoric fantasy.

Euphoric fantasy involves an internal locus of control and auto-plastic defenses.

So when the narcissist is embedded in a euphoric fantasy he believes that he is in control, he believes that he's in charge, he's the mover, he's the shaker, he's the decision maker, he, and only he settles on choices and alternatives, he dictates everyone's moves and decisions and choices and he is the prima causa, the first cause and the last cause.

He is it, he's the pivot, he's the axis, everything revolves around him, that's an internal locus of control.

And consequently the narcissist would attribute everything that's happening outside to himself, and these are of course auto-plastic defenses.

He would say, I made it happen, this occurred because of me, I aimed for this to happen, I planned all this, I caused these behaviors in other people, etc.

So he would position himself, he would position himself as the engine of creation.

Now, this internal locus of control coupled with auto-plastic defenses completely flips when the narcissist transitions to the dysphoric fantasy separation individuation which I keep reminding you is the main goal of the narcissist in intimate relationships, and narcissist converts his intimate partner into a maternal figure in order to separate from her, and to individuate, to accomplish what he had failed to accomplish with his biological mother.

Separation individuation is a private case of euphoric fantasy when the narcissist separates, he feels free, he feels unshackled, he feels empowered, he feels new refreshed so this is a very good feeling it's a cheerful feeling it's a feeling of unbounded optimism and bounded rationality so separation individuation is euphoric fantasy now sooner or later the reality intervenes pushes back and all the filters in the world and all the reframing and all the falsifying and all the self-deception and all the other deception and all the narratives and all the stories and all the pieces of fiction and everything they don't work anymore because the evidence is overwhelming reality floods the gates breaks all the dams and penetrates and invades the narcissist consciousness willy-nilly the narcissist is then forced to accept that he had been delusional that all his life has been a fantasy that he had misperceived and misjudged other people situations environments processes developments and events this is terrifying to recognize that you have been divorced from reality for so long is nothing short of terrorizing so then there's a dysphoric fantasy the reaction is a dysphoric fantasy the dysphoric fantasy is indistinguishable from depression

and that's why i ask you to watch the video the three depressions of the narcissist having been overwhelmed by reality the narcissist becomes essentially a borderline dysregulated and depressive but the dysphoric fantasy still involves the narcissist habitual quintessential perennial cognitive distortions even the dysphoric fantasy involves grandiosity but the shape of the grandiosity in a dysphoric fantasy is different it's paranoid paranoid ideation paranoia and referential ideation are two forms of grandiosity the

manifestations of grandiosity within the dysphoric fantasy paranoid ideation is grandiose of course paranoid says i'm the center of a conspiracy i'm sufficiently important and sufficiently crucial and sufficiently pivotal for other people to take interest in me this interest is malevolent malicious but it's still there i am at the core of a whirlwind a maelstrom of interests and and conspiracies and designs and strategies so this is a very grandiose self-perception paranoia

paranoia is a grandiose perception so paranoid ideation is a form of grandiosity but it is dysphoric it is dysphoric it's frightening it's depressing and so is dysphoric so this is grandiosity in the dysphoric fantasy similarly referential ideation or ideas of reference is the belief the misguided belief that you are the center of attention of people if they are laughing at the corner they're laughing at you if they are whispering to each other they're gossiping about you if they're doing anything it's intended to harm you or refers to you somehow this is referential ideation both paranoid ideation and referential ideation are delusional they're grandiose and they are at the core of dysphoric fantasies normally dysphoric fantasy as distinct from euphoric fantasy dysphoric fantasy involves an external locus of control an alloplastic defenses you remember euphoric fantasy involves an internal locus of control i'm god i make everything happen the dysphoric fantasy involves an external locus of control i'm the subject of the of the malign attentions of evil people there is a conspiracy against me my fate and destiny and life are decided by others they are guilty for everything that's happening to me all the mishaps and the defeats and the failures are attributable attributable to people who are envious of me and want me dead or want to destroy me these are alloplastic defenses within an external locus of control examples of dysphoric fantasies the devaluation of a per secretary object the inevitable phase in every relationship with the narcissist remember idealization devaluation the devaluation part is a dysphoric fantasy the idealization part is a euphoric fantasy narcissistic injury is a dysphoric fantasy because usually it's only in the narcissist's mind the narcissist is hyper vigilant he imagines slides and insults where there are none even in innocuous speech even in innocent situations he sees only conspiracies and an attempt to put him down or to humiliate him in some way. This is narcissistic injury and of course it's a fantasy, it's a delusional fantasy and it's a dysphoric fantasy even more so.

These are all cases of dysphoric fantasies.

So I hope I gave you the keys to understand the mechanisms behind many many epinoply of narcissistic phenomena. It's all based on fantasy, even your relationship, your intimate relationship with the narcissist, which goes through the phases of idealization, devaluation, discard, and so on. Even those are intimately connected to fantasies.

First, euphoric fantasies and then dysphoric fantasies. Even separation individuation is a euphoric fantasy. Even narcissistic injury is a dysphoric fantasy. Everything is a fantasy, everything in narcissism can be reduced to a fantasy. And of course fantasy defense, a fantasy defense that is so all pervasive, so ubiquitous, so prevalent, is a post-traumatic reaction.

This is one of the main reasons I'm proposing that narcissistic personality disorder is actually a post-traumatic condition, not a personality disorder.

Okay, I hope you survived this lecture. And I remind you again, there's a new channel with translations of my videos into portuguese shortly there will be two, three videos. There but the owner of the channel will be adding more.

I'm being told by her and the channel is titled Narcisismo com milena, milanese and the link is in the description. Other channels with translations to russian for example, check other languages. These other channels are available at the very bottom of my youtube channels page. You scroll down the page of my youtube channel and the very bottom there are links to other channels. A total of 10 other channels there's a link to other channels. This is one channel in russian with more than 20 000 subscribers which I think could be of interest to you.

Now there's this new channel in portuguese. I just want to add that Dr. Claudia Gicken has been translating my videos into portuguese from time to time here and there. So you can find a few of these videos on her channel as well. She's a dear friend, neuroscientist in São Paulo and Brazil. And the first person to introduce cold therapy at the time to Brazil.

So have fun with the portuguese renditions of my videos and see you next time.

Those of you who are masochistic enough to listen to me again.

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