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Can You Love the Narcissist and Rescue Him?

Uploaded 1/12/2011, approx. 7 minute read

My name is Sam Vaknin. I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.

The victim of the narcissist's abusive conduct resorts to fantasies and self-delusions to solve their pain. They are rescue fantasies. The victims say it is true that he is chauvinistic, it's true that he is narcissistic, and that his behavior is unacceptable and repulsive.

But all he needs is a little love, and he will be straight in love. I will rescue him from his misery and misfortune. I will be the mother he never had. I will give him the love that he lacked as a child. Then his narcissism will vanish, and we will live happily ever after.


But what is it like loving a narcissist?

Don't misunderstand me. I believe in the possibility of loving narcissists if one accepts them unconditionally in a disillusioned and expectation-free manner.

Narcissists are narcissists and narcissists. Take them or leave them. Some of them are lovable. Most of them are highly charming and intelligent.

The source of the misery of the victims of narcissists is their disappointment, their disillusionment, their abrupt and tearful realization that they fell in love with an ideal of their own making, a phantasm, an illusion, a pathemorgana.

This waking up process, this cold turkey, is traumatic. The narcissist always remains the same. It is the victim who changes. It is true that narcissists present a luring facade in order to captivate sources of narcissistic supply.

But this facade is easy to penetrate because it is inconsistent and too perfect. The cracks are evident from day one. The narcissist is too good to be true, but this is often ignored.

Then there are those who knowingly and willingly commit their emotional wings to the burning narcissistic candle. And this is a catch-22. To try to communicate emotions to a narcissist is like discussing atheism with a religious fundamentalist.

Narcissists have emotions, very strong ones, so terrifyingly overpowering and negative that the narcissist hides them, represses them, blocks and transmutes them.

Narcissists employ a myriad of defense mechanisms in order to cope with their repressed emotions. Projective identification, splitting, suppression, intellectualization, rationalization. We have discussed some of these in other videos.

Any effort to relate to the narcissist emotionally is doomed to failure, alienation and rage. Any attempt to understand, in retrospect or prospectively, narcissistic behavior patterns, reactions or his inner world in emotional terms is equally hopeless.

Narcissists should be regarded as a force of nature, or an accident waiting to happen, or a predator.

The universe has no master plot or mega-plan to deprive anyone of happiness. Being born to narcissistic parents, for instance, is not the result of a conspiracy. It is a tragic event, for sure, but it cannot be dealt with emotionally, without professional help, or appassingly.

So stay away from narcissists, or face them aided with your own self-discovery through therapy. It can be done.

Narcissists have no interest in emotional or even intellectual stimulation by significant others. Such feedback is perceived as a threat.

Significant others or insignificant others, in the narcissist's life, have very clear roles. The accumulation and dispensation of past primary narcissistic supply in order to regulate current narcissistic supply. Nothing less, but definitely nothing more.

Proximity and intimacy breed contempt in the narcissist.

The process of devaluation is in full operation throughout the life of the relationship. A passive witness to the narcissist's past accomplishments, a dispenser of accumulated narcissistic supply, punching bag for his rages, co-dependent, a possession, though not a prized one, but taken for granted. Nothing much more is reserved for the partner or mate or spouse of a narcissist. These are her roles. This is the ungrateful, full-time draining job of being the narcissist's significant other.

But humans are not instruments, to regard them as such is to devalue them, to reduce them, to restrict them, to prevent them from realizing their full potential.

Inevitably, narcissists lose interest in their instruments, these truncated versions of full-fledged humans, once they cease to serve them in their pursuit of glory and fame.

Consider friendship with the narcissist as an example of such thwarted relationship. One cannot really get to know a narcissist's friend. One cannot be friends with the narcissist and one cannot love the narcissist in the fullest sense.

Narcissists are addicts. They are no different to drug addicts. They are in pursuit of gratification through the drug known as narcissistic supply. Everything and everyone around them is an object, a potential source to be idealized or not a potential source to be cruelly devalued, discarded.

Narcissists hone in on potential suppliers like cruise missiles. They are excellent at imitating emotions, at exhibiting the right behaviors on cue, and at manipulating. Of course, at all generalizations of force. There are bound to be some happy relationships with narcissists out there.

I discussed the narcissistic couple in one of my other videos. One example of a happy marriage is when a somatic narcissist teams up with a cerebral narcissist or vice versa. Inverted narcissists and classic narcissists also usually form strong bonds.

Narcissists can be happily married to submissive, subservient, self-deprecating, echoing, mirroring and indiscriminately supportive spouses. They also do well with masochists.

But it is different to imagine that a healthy, normal person would be happy in such a folio di, madness in Tucson or shared psychosis. It is also difficult to imagine a benign and sustained influence on the narcissist of a stable, healthy, mate, spouse and partner.

But many a spouse, friend, mate, partner, intimate partner, like to believe that given sufficient time and patience, they will be the ones to rid the narcissist of his inner demons. They think that they can rescue the narcissist, shield him from his distorted self as it were.

The narcissist makes use of this naivete. He exploits it to his benefit. The natural protective mechanisms which are provoked in normal people by love are called bloodedly used by the narcissist to extract yet more narcissistic supply from his writhing victim.

Narcissist affects his victims by infiltrating their psyches, by penetrating their defenses. He is like a virus. He establishes a new genetic strain within his or her victim. This penetration, this intrusion, echoes through the victims. It talks through them. It walks through them. It is like the invasion of the body's nature or a demonic possession.

You should be careful to separate yourself from the narcissist seed inside you. This alien growth, this spiritual cancer that is the result of living with the narcissist. You should be able to tell apart the real you and the parts assigned to you by the narcissist.

To cope with the narcissist, to cope with him or her, the narcissist forces you to walk on eggshells and develop a false self of your own. It is nothing as elaborate as his false self, but it is in you as a result of a trauma and abuse inflicted on you by the narcissist.

Thus, perhaps we should talk about a new diagnostic category, victims or narcissists. Victims and survivors experience shame and anger for their past helplessness and submissiveness. They are hurt and sensitized by the harrowing experience of sharing a stimulated existence with a stimulated person, the narcissist. They are scarred and often suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Some of them lash out at others of them setting their frustration with bitter aggression.

Like his disorder, the narcissist is all pervasive.

Being the victim of a narcissist is a condition no less pernicious than being a narcissist to start with.

Great mental efforts are required to abandon the narcissist.

Physical separation is only the first and least important step.

One can abandon a narcissist, but the narcissist is slow to abandon his victims.

He is there, lurking, rendering existence unreal, twisting and distorting with no respite and inner remorseless voice lacking in compassion and empathy for his victim.

The narcissist is there in spirit long after he had vanished in the flesh.

This is the real danger that the victims of narcissists face, that they become like him, bitter, self-centered, lacking in empathy.

This is the last bow of the narcissist.

He is curdled in curdle by proxy as it were.

He renders his victims more and more like him as time passes.

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

How Narcissist's Victims Deceive Themselves

Narcissists cannot be cured and are a threat to those around them. Victims of narcissists often confuse shame with guilt and attribute remorsefulness to the narcissist when they are actually feeling shame for failing. Narcissists are attracted to vulnerable people who offer them a secure source of narcissistic supply. Healing is dependent on a sense of security in a relationship, but the narcissist is not interested in healing and would rather invest their energy in obtaining narcissistic supply. Narcissists lack empathy and cannot understand others, making them a danger to those around them.


Narcissist's Romantic Jealousy and Possessiveness

Narcissists experience anxiety when they become aware of their possessive and jealous tendencies. Anxiety characterizes all their interactions with the opposite sex, especially in situations where there is a possibility of rejection or abandonment. The narcissist's envy of their female mate is a result of an unconscious conflict, and they exercise their imagination to justify their negative emotions. Narcissists often strike an unhealthy balance by being emotionally and physically absent, which drives their partner to find emotional and physical gratification outside the relationship.


Can Narcissist Truly Love?

Narcissists are incapable of true love, but they do experience some emotion which they insist is love. Narcissists love their significant others as long as they continue to provide them with attention, or narcissistic supply. There are two types of narcissistic love: one type loves others as one would get attached to objects, while the other type abhors monotony and constancy, seeking instability, chaos, upheaval, drama, and change. In the narcissist's world, mature love is nowhere to be seen, and their so-called love is fear of losing control and hatred of the very people on whom their personality depends.


Narcissistic Abuse: Not Your Fault, Nothing You Can Do (Wellness Insider)

Narcissists have alloplastic defenses, blaming others for their problems and considering themselves perfect. They may resort to therapy when they hit rock bottom, but they seek to return to their old selves rather than change. Narcissists have an external locus of control, perceiving everything as happening to them and regarding their intimate partners as extensions of themselves. To support victims of narcissistic abuse, loved ones should provide validation and support without perpetuating the victimhood stance.


Your Empathy as Narcissistic Injury: Narcissist Never Learns, No Insight

Narcissists reject empathy and intimacy because it challenges their grandiosity, and they become paranoid and aggressive when someone tries to be intimate with them. Narcissists lack empathy and access to positive emotions, leading to a truncated version of empathy called "cold empathy." Narcissists are self-aware but lack the incentive to get rid of their narcissism, and therapy is more focused on accommodating the needs of the narcissist's nearest and dearest. Cold Therapy is experimental and limited, as it removes the false self but does not develop empathy or improve the narcissist's interpersonal relationships.


Paranoia, Narcissistic Mirroring, and Narcissistic Reflection

Narcissists tend to react with paranoia when they feel threatened, but these attacks tend to fade and the narcissist frequently homes in on new agents of persecution. The narcissist's paranoia is a grandiose fantasy aimed to regulate their sense of self-worth. The narcissist's partner tends to encourage their paranoid or threatening attention, and this is a game of two. Living with a narcissist can tilt one's mind toward abnormal reactions, and even after separation, the narcissist's partners typically still care for the narcissist greatly.


Narcissists Hate Women, Misogynists

Narcissists view women as objects and use them for both primary and secondary narcissistic supply. They fear emotional intimacy and treat women as property, similar to the mindset of European males in the 18th century. Narcissists frustrate women by teasing them and then leaving them, and they hold women in contempt, choosing submissive partners whom they disdain for being below their intellectual level. The narcissist projects his own behavior and traits onto women.


Self-destruction as Narcissistic Supply: Narcissist's Self-denial and Self-defeat

Narcissists frustrate others to satisfy their masochistic tendencies and sadistic urges. By withholding love, sex, and intimacy, they torment those around them while obstructing their own gratification. Self-denial, self-destruction, and self-defeat buttress the narcissist's sense of superiority and uniqueness, as they prove to themselves that they are the strongest and can overcome powerful desires and emotions. These behaviors and choices engender narcissistic supply, as they demonstrate the narcissist's independence from society, nature, and even themselves.


Narcissist: Women as Sluttish Huntresses or Sexless Saints

Heterosexual narcissists desire women but are frustrated by their inability to interact with them meaningfully. They hate women virulently, passionately, and uncompromisingly, and their hate is primal, irrational, and the progeny of mortal fear and sustained abuse in early childhood. Narcissists are infinitely pessimistic, bare-tempered, paranoid, and sadistic, and their daily routine is a rigmarole of threats, complaints, hurts, eruptions, moodiness, and rage. They are their own worst enemy and cannot conceive of life in one place with one set of people, doing the same thing in the same field with one goal within a decades-old game plan or career path or relationship.


Why Can't You Breakup with the Narcissist?

Self-styled experts online exploit victims of narcissistic abuse by pandering to their desire to be seen as blameless victims. They profit from perpetuating victimhood and validating the victims' feelings. Victims may stay with narcissists for selfish reasons, such as seeking validation, feeling needed, or benefiting from the relationship in various ways. The narcissist's control and the victim's own psychological needs contribute to their reluctance to leave the relationship.

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2024, under license to William DeGraaf
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