Collapsed Covert Narcissist: Dissonances, Indifference, No Boundaries

Uploaded 7/25/2020, approx. 47 minute read

My name is Sam Vaknin. I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited, and a series of other books and ebooks about personality disorders and other topics. I'm also a professor of psychology and a professor of finance in several universities.

In October of this year, I'm going to publish a very long paper in a prestigious academic journal in the field of psychology, and in this paper, I'm going to make a claim which is bound to be controversial because I never make claims that are not controversial. It's not fun.

So this controversial claim is that all narcissists are both overt and covert. There's no type of constancy. Narcissists oscillate between being overt and covert, and they do so in reaction to changing life circumstances and especially to incidents of extreme narcissistic injury, leading usually to a mortification.

And so that's the first claim.

And the second claim I'm going to make has to do with the behaviors of covert who are predominantly classic. In other words, when the classic narcissist or overt narcissist becomes covert, he is not fully covert. There's a kind of sub-variant of covert, which I call collapsed covert narcissist.

Every personality disorder has a collapsed state. There is a collapsed narcissist. I have a video on this channel which deals with collapsed histrionics. There is a collapsed borderline. I will dedicate a video to this a bit later this week. And there is a collapsed covert narcissist.

Now, this gives me the opportunity to teach you a useful tool. If anyone confuses failed narcissists with collapsed narcissists, they are not the experts they claim to be. And I don't know the first thing about narcissism.

Failed narcissism is a phase in the development of borderline personality disorder. It was first discovered, suggested and described by a scholar of great importance. His name was Grotstein.

Grotstein said that borderlines are actually failed narcissists. As children, they had tried to develop narcissistic defenses in the face of extreme abuse and trauma, but they had failed. And instead they remain exposed. They remain without a skin. They remain vulnerable to their own emotions and to pain emanating from the outside.

And consequently, they become hypervigilant. They anticipate rejection and humiliation and abandonment, and they react with decompensation. They lose it and they act out. They misbehave recklessly, defiantly, if they are antisocial.

And so today we are trying to unify the diagnosis of borderline personality disorder and secondary psychopathy. So that's a topic that I've dealt with in at least three separate videos on this channel.

Failed narcissism is a stage in development of borderline.

When we talk about a narcissist who fails, a narcissist who does not succeed to obtain narcissistic supply on a regular, predictable and repetitive basis, a narcissist with deficient narcissistic supply, that's not a failed narcissist. That's a collapsed narcissist.

And any self-styled expert with or without the title doctor who confuses the two, simply never read the literature and is exactly that, a self-proclaimed wannabe expert. Be very careful. There are a lot of fakes out there, out for your money and nothing else.

So the collapsed narcissist, hitherto we thought that the collapsed narcissist simply goes through a phase of withdrawal, a schizoid phase, or becomes antisocial, becomes a bit psychopathic or delusional, reframes situations in a grandiose way and so on.

I'm suggesting that one of the main strategies of the collapsed classic narcissist is to become for a while a covert narcissist. He becomes a covert narcissist and he in this way copes with his collapse.

Now this would mean that there is no type of constancy, that every overt or classic narcissist can be covert and essentially every covert can be overt.

To test this hypothesis, I conducted two studies and this is the paper that will be published in October. It's being peer reviewed right now. I conducted two studies to remind you I have the world's largest database of people diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder. This database comprises 1,800 people.

The first one in my database dates back to 1997, so it's a longitudinal database, it's very long. I've also interviewed an average of five family members, colleagues, and so on of each of these narcissists. The database in totality has something like 15,000 people.

Each of these people had responded to a questionnaire composed of 683 questions modeled roughly on the MMPI-2. It's a database with a gigantic number of data points and allows me to data mine at my leisure using tools that are off the shelf, so statistical tools.

I conducted two studies. The first study, I simply data mined the database and found out the patterns, the patterns of conversion from collapse to covert and back. Then I administered a questionnaire to close to 3,000 family members who had agreed to participate, about 70% of them women, 30% of them men.

I asked them a series of questions about how they had experienced this switching between overt or classic and covert. I'm using the word switching very judiciously because switching is how we describe the word that we use to refer to a change in personalities in multiple personality disorder, shifting from one personality to another from one alter alternative personality to another in multiple personality disorder today known as dissociative identity disorder. This shifting is called switching.

I think the narcissist switching from classic to covert is exactly a dissociative state. It's a self state exactly like borderline.

In general, the picture emerging is that all these personality disorders are forms of multiple personalities. They all involve multiple self states which approximate and are asymptotic to full fledged personalities and they all involve switching.

There I was with this majority of the 3,000 to my good surprise responded and now I had a complete picture of how people experienced the narcissist when he switches from overt to covert and I incorporated it in the paper.

Now, in this particular video, I don't want to be too academic or too dry. Maybe it's too late for this and so on. And what I did instead, I had rewritten the paper with a first person pronoun. It's like I've rewritten the paper as though it were a personal testimony.

Now, I am a classic overt malignant psychopathic narcissist. So I am 99% of the time I'm not covert. So the majority of what you're about to hear has nothing to do with me. Even though I will be using I, my mind, most of it doesn't have anything to do with me, but it is a composite, a collage, an agglomeration, an aggregation of all the information provided in the two separate studies.

Bear that in mind before you bombard me with comments about my personal life and so on and so forth. Some of it applies to me, of course. I have gone through covert states, I now realize, but the bulk of it, the bulk of it describes hundreds of narcissists and their family and thousands of their family members. So it's a valuable, I think, contribution to interpersonal dynamics within the experience of switching from overt to covert.

First of all, when the overt becomes covert, he develops immediately conflict aversion. Conflict aversion is in every possible situation. In business, at work, with family members, in romantic or interpersonal relationships, such narcissists would suddenly lose boundaries, not enforce boundaries. They will not fight for their rights. They will allow other people to prefer their ideas. They will never protest. They will never take action. They will never fight back. They don't stand up for themselves, not because they're cowards, but because of other reasons.

So I asked these people, why don't you stand up for yourself when you become covert?

What happens to you when you become covert?

It's not a question of shyness or vulnerability or fragility. None of these have to do with not fighting back. It's a question of, it seemed to involve other psychodynamic processes and motivations.

And this is what these people told me.

I don't fight back. I don't protest or stand up for myself, not because I'm coward, but because I am just, or because I'm practical, or because I'm indifferent, or because I'm grandiose.

And I broke it down this way, just.

Many narcissists said, I cannot satisfy the emotional, sexual, or business needs, or whatever. I cannot satisfy needs.

In the case of interpersonal relationships, I cannot satisfy the emotional and sexual needs of my women. So I have no right to set boundaries. I have no right to make demands or to enforce rules of conduct. I encourage women in my life to look after themselves and to outsource their needs. That's in interpersonal relationships. Same in the workplace or in business.

I cannot provide the goods. So I encourage outsourcing.

The second reason covert narcissists gave to becoming doormats, to becoming submissive, to becoming reticent, to withdrawing, to not fighting, to not standing up for themselves, to not enforcing their rights. The second reason was practical.

Many covert, many narcissists said, there is no point in fighting back. Some of them said, my reputation is so short that no one will ever believe any of my claims or intentions, not even my so-called nearest, dearest, intimate friends, and significant others.

So for practical reasons, I'm not fighting back.

And then there was a very big group, which we will focus on today, of narcissists who had switched from classic to covert. And they said that their character had changed. They became indifferent.

They say, I easily switch off. I tune out. I repress. I dissociate. I reframe. I move on. I sometimes mind some things, but I never care about them. Everything and everyone becomes meaningless to me, imbued with no emotions.

They were describing the process called dicafexis, imbued with no emotions.

They admitted that, I'm quoting, this confuses people, especially women, and drives them to test me and to test my boundaries in an attempt to ascertain the extent of my involvement, but it doesn't work. I remain indifferent.

And finally, some of them admitted that one of the reasons they're not fighting back is because they are grandiose. Fighting back means that I care. Caring is vulnerability. I don't want people to see that I care. Not caring is the ultimate form of personal strength. It enhances my feeling of omnipotence.

So they're not fighting back. They're not imposing rules. They are not enforcing boundaries because they're grandiose. That's for the lesser mortgage.

So for them, it's all for them.

So the only times switched covert narcissists, collapse covert narcissists, engage in conflict is when they are afforded the opportunity to statistically humiliate other people, preferably in public.

Covert narcissists are very insidious, very pernicious, very subterranean, very passive aggressive. And if they can't humiliate in public, they will give them statistical supply.

So it is only then that they may suddenly come alive and erupt in conflict.

And I focused in my study, I focused on the issue of sexual exclusivity. And the reason I chose the issue of sexual exclusivity in a dyad, in a couple, in an intimate interpersonal relationship is that sexual exclusivity provokes our most primordial defensive instincts.

Like if someone homes in or zeros in on the woman with me, I would become an animal. I would be romantically jealous. I would act out. I may even become violent and sexual.

Nothing, nothing, nothing provokes more basic reflexes, instincts, drives, urges, and reactions. Nothing, absolutely nothing provokes more aggression than breach of sexual exclusivity.

That's why people react to cheating, for example, with extreme trauma.

So I decided to choose this because it combines into the intellect, primordial, basic, primitive drives, the body, body and the mind. So it's like a package deal.

And I focused on this, and I tried to see how the behavior of the overt or classic narcissist would change if he were to become a collapsed covert narcissist.

And I'm going to use the first person singular, although I remind you that this is not about me. This is a composite or a collage of hundreds of testimonies by narcissists and thousands by their family members.

As long as the sex continues, I enforce strict exclusivity, sexual exclusivity. When the sex ceases or sexual attraction between us wanes or is absent, including owing to physical separation, she is not my woman any longer. Though she can be present in my life, in other functions, she is not a woman to me. And I do not care. I'm not romantically jealous. I'm not possessive about sexual exclusivity any longer. I sometimes even encourage the woman in my life to be with other men in order to get rid of the relationship altogether, or to transform it into a sexless, sexless companionship.

Women interpret it.

So now I'm drawing on the study of the family members. Women interpret it as proof that I do not care about them. They want to test me and my boundaries and to see if I would mind when they misbehave with other men, if I would impose and enforce rules and boundaries.

Children do the same with their parents. We recreate our childhood with each other, of course.

So the first sign of switching from classic narcissism to collapsed, covert narcissist is losing, losing interest, losing interest in difference. I have described indifference within sexual, romantic, interpersonal relationship, but this indifference extends to all realms of life.

And so I'm continuing with the collapse covert narcissist.

I have a feeling that I don't know how to be a man. I switch between hero macho, all women be damned and zero resistance is futile. Any passing male is more men than I am and is going to beg and bed the woman in my life.

And here I took experiences described by hundreds of narcissists, I amalgamated them, I put them together as a first person testimony.

Men just walk to women who are with me, lovers, girlfriends, wives, and they pick them up in my presence.

This is because when we are in public, I show zero interest in the woman with me. And I give no hint of intimacy of any kind with her. I ignore the woman completely. Or if I pay any attention to the woman at all, it is briefly just to mock and to berate her painfully. And this sometimes arouses the other man's savior, protective damsel or princess in distress instincts.

I've been told by men, you don't protect your women. Men talk to me about my women, disrespectfully. Men don't respect me. They disrespect me. They misbehave with the woman who is with me, and they know it.

But they think that I do not mind. They think I do not care.

So they see an opportunity to take advantage of my sad and mad partners, and of my blatant indifference.

Showing an utter lack of interest is tantamount to communicating a license to proceed. It's like saying to the other men, you're not disrespecting or offending me by absconding with my woman. Go ahead. Go with her. Do with her. Do with her whatever you want.

When I make clear that their behavior bothers me, they explain, they apologize, they minimise, and they all stop immediately.

And of course, this is a collapse, covert narcissist describing his behaviour when he becomes a classic overt narcissist again.

So the same narcissist can go through periods of total indifference, encouraging, actually, his woman or giving her license or giving other men license to misbehave, to slip around, to cheat.

And then suddenly, having switched back from collapsed covert narcissist to overt narcissist to classic narcissist, he regains his sense of possessiveness, ownership, romantic jealousy, and he demands sexual exclusivity. It can be extremely disoriented. It's like two personalities. One could even argue these are two personalities. One of them doesn't care about sexual exclusivity at all, doesn't care about the intimate partner at all, is unable actually to have any kind of intimacy. And the other one is very possessive, very jealous. It's the same person.

We are not talking about two people. We're talking about an overt classic narcissist who goes through a phase of collapse and becomes covert narcissist.

These men don't take the woman away from me. They don't do anything against my will. They don't do anything against her will.

I give up on the woman. I discard her publicly. And she wants the other men.

There's no underhandedness. There's no coercion or expropriation. It's all out in the open with full knowledge and consent, consent of everyone involved.

And so I cannot really claim innocence. I cannot say I didn't know that they're going to have sex. I didn't know he was going to have a sexual.

It is I who actually foretell, I foresee the sex and I give them my assent and my assurance that I don't mind. I know that they're going to spend the night together. I know they're going to dream together. I know they're going on a vacation together.

And I realize that when they get drunk or when they are isolated on an island, into vacation, and when she flirts with him shamelessly in my presence, I realize what's going to happen.

I decline to force myself on them. I don't insist to join them. I don't insist even when I'm invited. I withdraw. I withdraw and give them full freedom.

I have only myself to so-called blame. Men don't abscond with my woman property. I give my woman to the men because I'm not interested in her in any way.

This is how this is the inner experience of a collapsed covert narcissist.

If he experiences indifference, whether it's really indifference or feigned indifference, it's an open question because when the collapsed covert narcissist reverts to classic form, he experiences horrible pain, horrible agony over what had happened.

So it's like he's leading himself to mortification. It's like in a classic narcissist, mortification leads to enlightenment and self-awareness.

But in a covert narcissist, mortification leads to classic narcissism.

Mortification is the way the covert narcissist awakens himself and becomes a full fledged overt classic narcissist.

And the classic narcissist, when he experiences mortification, he experiences self-awareness and then a covert face.

Mortification, therefore, is the bridge between overt and covert and back. That is the mechanism we've been missing. We've been racking our brains for the last at least 30 years, asking ourselves, how is it possible that an overt narcissist can become covert?

They are such diametrically opposed types. How can a single individual be both?

Well, through the process of mortification, which shuts down the false self for a while and allows the covert, indifferent, withdrawn, schizoid, self-effacing, passive aggressive mode to emerge.

Classic narcissist said, I'm immersed in interacting with a male company, trying to impress her. I usually meet in groups.

So the role of the woman by my side is very unclear. Is she a hangarole? Is she an admirer, a student, a guest andstrange wife and ex? Did we have a lover's quarrel? I leave that hanging in the air.

I never protest when a man when a man flirts with the woman next to me, when he picks her up. I give the impression that I couldn't care less, that I'm not bothered at all, that I have better, more important things to do than to get involved.

In truth, I'm kind of afraid of confrontation. I feel weaker, much less of a man than the other man.

I'm also certain that the woman will mock me and humiliate me in front of the other man and still abscond with him, still go with him.

I don't have the power, I don't have the right to stop her and that's already a classic narcissist.

Actually, he's not aware, but he's describing a covert mindset.

I never stand up for my woman. I never protect the woman in my life, even when I know that she is vulnerable, very drunk, unhappy, sad, depressed, or sick. Even when I know that the man she had picked up to spend the night with or to have an affair with is a dangerous man, a lowlife scum, an alcoholic, a criminal, a junkie, a loser, a pedophile.

I let the woman go with him. I let her get hurt.

I don't care if my intimate partner is mocked, physically attacked, falls ill, is depressed, sexually assaulted, or needs me in any way.

Except if helping her generates narcissistic supply as a guru, a psychologist, an advisor, a wise man, a father figure.

So this is a description of the transition back from covert to overt.

We have the two sides. We are dealing with sexual exclusivity in interpersonal relationships to remind you because they evoke and provoke the most intense emotions. And these emotions are partly primitive, reptilian, if you wish, and partly civilized, and partly intellectual, and partly bodily.

There's no other realm of life which provokes this concoction.

So that's why I decided to study this.

And so many, many narcissists used a phrase that I invented, virtual single.

They say, my women behave like virtual singles. In my presence, they always prefer to communicate with other men, aggressively pick them up, flirt with them, spend long stretches of time with them. Days, sometimes whole nights, go to bars, go to night clubs alone, and pick up men there.

They have emotional affairs. They cheat repeatedly. They become so desperate that they signal to men in my presence. They give them their phone numbers. They flirt with them. Even when they are having an evening out with me, they feel no real bond with me. They're starved for sex and intimacy, to be wanted, to be cherished. They feel used and abused by me. They want out by any means. They feel exploited. Cheating and ostentatious infidelity is their exit strategy, as you have said in your videos, right swallow.

By the way, this puts paid to the myth that narcissists are not self-aware. Had narcissists been totally not self-aware, processes like narcissistic injury and mortification would not have been possible. It would not have been possible to penetrate the narcissist's mind.

It requires a modicum of standing outside yourself and looking at yourself, of introspection.

The narcissist continues, when asked directly, the woman with me lets the other men know that I don't care, that I don't mind her misbehavior, and that I have no interest in her. I don't care about her whereabouts, or who they're spending the time with, or when and if they will return to me, and how she chooses to act.

The woman in my life is likely to say he's busy with his work, or he rejects and abuses me. He's very sick. He has mother issues.

He told me he told me I can sleep with others. I mean, they would use a variety, a monopoly of excuses and explanations.

Some of the narcissists feel this, experience the covert phase, following the collapse, experience the covert phase, is deeply humiliating. Men disrespect me completely into my face for letting them have my women, in whom presumably I'm invested as my property.

So they imply that I'm a doormat. Some of them say that I'm not involved in my intimate partner's life, and I don't involve her in mine, that I'm not human.

Even men who admire and value what I have to give, intellect, or contributions to business, or pity and mock me, as a pompous fool, a deranged freak, a doormat, non-men in other realms of life.

Okay, so this was an example of the collapse, covert's experience of indifference in a field, an area of life, where we would have thought indifference is impossible, and that is interpersonal sexual exclusivity with his intimate partner. Even there, he's rendered totally indifferent.

But this is an aspect and dimension of a larger phenomenon, which is a form of people pleasing.

And we must contrast people pleasing with primary psychology.

So many of the narcissists say men have been taking away what's rightfully mine all my life, my time, my ideas, my money, my reputation, my history, my women, my contacts.

Based on my indifference and collusion in this plunder, all men have reached two conclusions.

One, as a people pleaser, I have no boundaries, no dignity, no self-respect, and no sanity. I'm defenseless.

What they can do to me and to mine is limited only by their own pity, compassion, morality, and sense that there is nothing more to take, or that the maintenance cost is becoming too high.

And this makes people in my life feel unsafe and unprotected, and makes my partner feel disillusioned.

And the second conclusion that people reach when they observe the covert phase, the collapse covert phase, is that the person who is undergoing this switch is very mentally ill, utterly dysfunctional, incapable of maintaining even the rudiments of a relationship, or capable of having sex, gauge reality, or act in reality self-efficaciously, even if only to the extent of holding on to what and who is his.

So many narcissists describe the moment of loss, the moment where they had lost their spouse, their family, their money, their business, their freedom. They describe the moment of loss as intimately connected to a phase of mortification followed by collapsed covert narcissism.

It is then having been observed from the outside that people got alarmed, got frightened, and walked away, because it is then that the underbelly of the narcissist, the hidden black hole-like deep space, void, and darkness, the totally empty hall of mirrors, it is then that the non-existence, the absence of the narcissist in his own life and in his own mind, became glaringly apparent, and it's a terrifying sight.

It's like confronting an alien, and so most people just, they are deterred, they walk back, they don't want anything to do with this kind of person.

As long as the overt or the classic narcissist maintains the show, as long as the show goes on, there will be people charmed by him, succumbed to his charisma, play along with his stratagens, collude, co-opt, and collaborate with his plans, etc., as long as it keeps it together.

But when it disintegrates and switches and transitions via the mortification mortification bridge to a collapsed covert state, it is then that they see the true face of the narcissist, the nothingness, the absence, they see that there's no one there.

It's a most terrifying experience.

The narcissists say, gradually everyone comes to regard me the same way, with a mixture of weariness, pity, revulsion, and contempt. Some are envious of my gifts and project their envy and their sense of guilt and shame for having abused me by becoming even more aggressive. They compensate. I mean, they feel guilty and ashamed. When they see the narcissist disintegrating, there's an immediately an empathic reaction, like you feel bad.

And some people feel guilty and ashamed. They feel that they had caused the disintegration. They push the narcissist over the edge. And even though it's a narcissist, and even though, you know, some monster, they say that they still feel bad.

But some people, if they're immature, if they're narcissistic themselves, they would react to their own discomfort, to their own shame and guilt, with extended and advanced aggression. The majority would just walk away having squeezed the narcissist's drive of any usefulness.

The narcissists say, from time to time, I try to fight back. But when I asked the narcissist in the sample to tell me how, how do they fight back? How do they extricate themselves, like the baron von Munchausen, lifting themselves by their own hair? How do they extricate themselves from the pit, the cesspool of covert narcissism? How do they restore themselves back into an overt or classic state?

I found out that they do it by conning people, cheating people, deceiving, making false promises, lying, or engendering a fantasy and then drawing people into the fantasy.

For example, drawing women into the fantasy via the process of grooming. There's a series of videos I made about this shared fantasy.

So they con people, they cheat people out of money, out of love, out of compassion, out of, they simply pretend to be who they are not. They assert themselves by taking instead of giving.

And at that point, gradually, they regain their classic narcissism, their overt narcissism. And suddenly, suddenly, with the same intimate partner, they would make a new list of demands, boundaries, and rules, which include, for example, sexual exclusivity.

Some narcissists said, even when I failed, even when I failed, I still try to call people. But even there, as a con artist, I failed time and again. People saw right through me. People walked away. Women cheated on me repeatedly, their needs unmet.

And the hope that I will not be free, let them go once they make me aware of their betrayals. That is the force that drove all of them.

In other words, what this narcissist is saying is that when people discovered that he is conning them, that he's lying to them, that he's deceiving and cheating, they transgressed against him. And they were saying, I'm not going to do this. I'm not going to do this. I'm not going to do this. They transgressed against him. They betrayed him and they did it ostentatiously, openly, so that he would let them go.

Calling people, said this narcissist, was setting boundaries for and asserting, not myself, but the fictitious character that I had created for the con.

So again, it defeated the purpose. Again, I ended up giving everything of myself freely to another entity or be it an entity that I myself had conjured up.

It's a very, very fascinating observation.

The narcissist says that when he felt himself transitioning from classic through mortification to collapse and from collapse to covert narcissism, he wanted to go back. He wanted to be classic again. And he felt that the only way he could do this is by calling people, cheating, deceiving, taking from them.

So he tried to do this. But in order to do this, he had to come up with a fictitious figure, with a false self, with an act.

And then he suddenly realized that whatever he's taking from other people, it's not he who does the taking. It's the false self. It's the invented character. It's the conjured up entity. It's again, not him. Whoever is calling other people, deceiving them, cheating them, stealing from them, taking from them, it's not him. It's the character he had invented.

Again, he has been usurped. Again, he has been replaced, displaced and substituted for.

And similarly, I make women fall in love with a false apparition, an emanation, a thespian project, a role play, never with the real me.

The grooming phase over upon entering the shared fantasy, all my women discovered to their dismay that I'd con them into a relationship with a complete, abusive and mentally disabled stranger, which is the real me.

Of course, the most fervent wish of these women is to up and walk away by any and all means necessary, including by having casual sex with strangers ostentatiously.

So grooming is like making women fall in love, not with the narcissist or the psychopath, but with another person he had created, a facade, a potemkin person, a fictitious entity. So they'll fall in love with this.

And then they discover the real, the real thing, the real McCoy, and they walk away.

Again, by luring women into my lair, I am, I am giving myself abundantly to another man. That other man is a fictitious character.

In my case, for example, is the irresistible genius. I am doing the dirty work of this fictitious man. I'm doing his dirty work for him. I'm satisfying his grandiose and sadistic needs to uphold and prove his irresistibility, and then to taunt, frustrate, humiliate and despoil the women he captivates. Those are his needs, not mine.

I dedicate all my resources to catering to these needs on his behalf.

Again, there's a situation of exploitation and gallibility. Again, the real narcissist is not catered to, is not satisfied.

Women in committed primary relationships often complain to casual sex partners, to their days, to their lovers with whom they cheat. They often complain about their relationship and how its dysfunction is brought on, brought on the adultery.

So in a typical classic relationship, women complain about their relationship and they say, well, their relationship is not working well. That's why I'm fornicating. That's why I'm cheating.

But the intimate partners of the narcissists don't describe the relationship as the problem. They describe the narcissist as a problem.

They actually like many elements in the relationship. They miss these elements, but there's no way they could countenance the narcissist himself. It's a mirror image of normal reality.

In normal reality, you love the person you're with, but you're having difficulties in the relationship. When you're with a narcissist, you love some elements of the relationship. It's exciting, it's thrilling, it's adventurous, but you have serious problems with the person you're with. Something is seriously awry with the narcissist, which makes even the greatest rewards and gifts he can offer and incommendable compensation.

And so these are the only two modes the narcissist has, the doormat and the psychopath.

The narcissist either goes through notification and becomes a collapse, covert, or he becomes a total antisocial psychopath. One of them is comatose, one of them is recessive, one of them is dominant at any given time.

At some points, the narcissist becomes avoidant, celibate, and a con artist. At other points, he becomes a psychopath. At some points, in the psychopath, Michael manages the shared fantasy. At some points, the doormat is the one who is modified.

You remember the mortification leads from overt to covert, from covert to overt.

And so sometimes the doormat is modified. It's when we force two alternative self-states to encounter each other and to communicate.

But even as the doormat continues to process the mortification, the psychopath continues to a pace with his exploits, forcefully dissociating the doormat in order to function.

So when the overt transitions via collapse and modification to the covert, when the covert transitions via collapse and mortification to the overt, there is a short period of dissociation where the dominant personality at that moment is fighting back, doesn't want to go away.

So if you're covert, you're mortified, you're about to become overt, the covert will reassert himself. And if you're overt or psychopathic and you're mortified and you're about to become covert, you will become even more psychopathic and you will dissociate the covert.

This is part of, again, a bigger problem of delusionality.

One of the main management problem in narcissism, both in therapeutic setting and for the narcissist himself, when he tries to manage his life, his cognitions, his emotionsis this delusionality. It's not only a lack of self-awareness, it's taking the information available and then reframing it in a way that supports grandiosity, grandiosity, or other misconceptions. It's delusionality in the sense that the reality testing is impaired. The narcissist is divorced from reality at any time.

And so, for example, in the vast majority of cases of narcissists, everyone who comes in contact with the narcissist shunts him and ultimately flees, runs away. I mean, look at, for example, Donald Trump. He's a president of the United States, but look how many hundreds of people have abandoned him already in the last three years.

Men do it one way and women do it another, but all of them flee. All of them run away. All of them escape. All of them scatter. All of them don't want anything further to do with narcissists. They shun him. Men don't mind or even relish being seen as assertive and decisive, so they just vanish or they tell the narcissist off.

Women prefer to be thought of as sluts rather than heartless, traitorous bitches, so they cheat ostentatiously to get rid of the narcissist.

So each gender has its own coping mechanisms and so on and so forth.

If you are online, people will avoid the narcissist, like the virus of the mind, which can cause systemic infection, even when people recover from exposure to the narcissist. There's always multiple organ long-term damage, like the COVID-19.

But the narcissist doesn't see all this. Even if he is the greatest analyst to have ever lived, he's still totally blind to his own life and to interactions and people in his life. His compensatory grandiosity compels him to reframe everything counterfactually, counterfactually and delusionally.

Let's take a few examples.

Narcissists might tell you, everyone is addicted to me, everyone misses me horribly, and it is their loss that I'm out of their lives. And the reality is people, especially women, can't wait to get away from the narcissist. They do anything. They do everything. They even go to extremes to set themselves free, to immediately go no contact with the narcissist, unless and until the narcissist can be of use. And they proceed with their lives happily after the narcissist and profitably. And they decline the narcissist attempts to over or renew contact. And sometimes they do this aggressively and hatefully.

And yet all of this doesn't affect the narcissist's perception that people are addicted to him, that they miss him, that they want him in their lives.

And so the narcissist doesn't realize that it's 100% his loss that people flee in a boring, having crossed paths with him. He doesn't realize. I think it's their loss.

And he's very traumatized. The reason for mortification is that he's traumatized.

When he realizes that he can be humiliated, he can be made unsafe, even by non-core issues, not important issues, even by useless people. When the narcissist goes through mortification, he feels unsafe, disoriented. The whole situation looks nightmarish and surrealistic because his grandiosity impairs his reality testing. He is inside the delusion. He has selective attention. He filters out things. And this renders him dangerously unaware of his environment, gullible to a frightening extent.

The narcissist delusionally, for example, considers himself witty or funny, fascinating, authoritative, omniscient, transformative, addictive, irresistible, hyper-intelligent, or hyper-sexual.

Naturally, the overwhelming majority of narcissists come across as loathsome, arrogant, fraudulent, foolish, buffoonish, pompous, gullible, sadistic, hurtful, pathetic, creepy, inhuman, and sarcastic.

And yet, very few narcissists would use these terms to describe themselves.

On the other end of grandiosity, there's paranoia, persecutory delusions.

Everyone, especially women, try to deceive me, to manipulate me, to lie to me, and to get away with abusive misbehavior. I am such a treasure. I have so much to give. Everyone wants a piece of me.

But actually, people perceive the narcissist as histrionic, as provocative. And they don't respect him. They don't admire him. They are not owed by him. They're not afraid of him. None of this is true. Actually, they loathe the narcissist. They pity him. They deride him. They're exasperated. They ignore the narcissist on many occasions. They often conspire to hurt the narcissist. But they do so in extremes when the narcissist is sadistic or bullying or threatening.

And even then, when there is a real conspiracy, a real collusion to hurt the narcissist, the narcissist will fail to notice it because of his grandiosity, cognitive deficit.

The thing is that it's all based on cognitive dissonance.

When the overt or classic narcissist fails, he rejects reality, he rejects life, and he refuses to accept his responsibility for his own life. He becomes, therefore, covert in the shadows, hiding a reflection.

So it's rejection which is intended to settle the dissonance, to resolve the dissonance, and to ameliorate the anxiety that comes with dissonance.

The narcissist deludes himself that he provides value added. I don't know what analysis, money, insight, healing, support, succor. He convinces himself that he's so unique that people will never give up on him. Never mind how negativistic, passive aggressive, sadistic, frustrating, withholding, and hurtful he is. They will never give up on him because what he has to give is unique, can't be found anywhere else, and invaluable, has no price, worth every price, priceless.

In reality, the narcissist provides value added that sometimes is a bit unique, but it's not indispensable. It's not irreplaceable. It's definitely not worth the emotional price that people have to pay for his abuse.

So people, men and women, give up on the narcissist with alacrity. They go into contact, post-haste.

People may respect the narcissist for some accomplishments or for his intelligence, but this is also very misleading. It's false sanitizing because an intelligent, charming, magnetic, charismatic narcissist, it implies that he's wise or mature, and narcissists are not wise or mature.

When people get to know the narcissist up close, they lose all respect for him. And coupled with their envy and revolt at his obnoxious and pompous personality, it sometimes leads, if they are narcissists, if they are psychopaths, if they are victims of abuse, who are vindictive and vengeful, sometimes this confluence of disrespect, envy, and revolt, revulsion, leads them to virulent displays of public humiliation, shaming, narcissist shaming, and passive-aggressive or punitive acts, which in turn lead to mortification and collapsed covert state.

Such disrespect is also communicable, contagious. People catch it from each other, you know, and this contagion is exacerbated by the narcissist's own behaviors.

Ironically, when he feigns indifference in a covert state, it increases the incentive and the motivation to hurt him even more, to get through his firewall of apathy.

And when he is reactant, when there's reactance and defiance, when he's antisocial or psychopathic, of course you want to put him down like a rabid dog.

The apathy of the narcissist in the collapsed covert state is not perceived as a sign of strength, but on the contrary, it's perceived as a doormat, cowardice, weakness, absence of enforceable boundaries. The narcissist opens himself up to contempt, abuse, and derision exactly by becoming covert.

When alternatively, people perceive the narcissist's feigned and ostentatious disinterest as passive aggression. The narcissist's disrespect for an ostentatious disinterest in his intimate partners is interpreted by extension as a lack of dignity, lack of strength, lack of resilience, and lack of self-respect.

Who doesn't care for his property, for his intimate partners? Who doesn't protect people he loves?

Because only a non-entity zero nobody, you know, a wretch.

So similarly, if the narcissist switches from collapsed covert state to a psychopathic, antisocial, defined and overt narcissistic stage, if he then pendulates, if he swings, if he switches from covert to malignant, his reactance, his defiance, his aggression, they're not perceived as credible. He's about as intimidating and deterring as a spoiled brat and equally repulsive and antagonized.

It's one of the few points where I fully agree with Jordan Peterson. Nothing more repulsive than a spoiled brat.

And the narcissist's conspicuous attempts to man up, to deter, to intimidate, they provoke the offended parties to escalate into egregious territory.

Narcissist induces escalation in a war he can never win. People and men, and much more so perhaps women, they have very, very little to, to very few strategic options in such cases. They have to become aggressive and they have to hurt the narcissist. In a way, they have to modify. He's like in a, in a daze, in a trance, they have to wake him up. They have to bring him back to reality, screaming and kicking and, you know, there's no other way. He can go into deep space. He can, he's, you know, he's in a trip. He's high on his own grandiosity. Even as a covert, he's high on his own grandiosity because the covert feigned indifference is a form of grandiosity. I mean, different. I don't care. See if I care. I don't mind. You can do anything. Who are you? You, you, you know, I can't touch me. It's, it's grandiosity. And so this is, this is the dynamic that the switching from overt to covert provoke. And the inner dialogue of the narcissist, both classic and covert, and covert, they share a single template. It's a little like Microsoft word with the same software. You can write this novel or that novel. You can write a novel or a poem with the same template. You get overt classic narcissist and covert. So the dialogue goes like this. People says the narcissist to himself, men and much more so women, they have very little to offer me compared to alternatives like books or films. People are bore me to death. They can teach me nothing, of course, nothing relevant or useful as I know everything. They are wasteful. They're inefficient. They're untitled. They're inflated. In other words, the narcissist projects.

He says, everyone is a narcissist. Everyone is grandiose to maximize return on investment because narcissists like to think, like to think in objective terms. They consider themselves optimizing machines, optimizing devices, all wise, all knowing robots.

And they, everything is like dictated by ultimate supreme rationality. You know, unless, unless they play the spiritual, the spiritual guru or the public intellectual philosopher, psychologist who has all the answers, unless they play this game, majority of narcissists would pretend to be optimizing machines.

So to maximize return on investment, the bottom line in the balance sheet, the narcissist says to himself, I need people to adhere to strict standards and rules and to obey me. It is my way or the highway. Take it or leave it. He's not flexible.

And so this insistence on following the narcissist rules of conduct, this has the added bonus of gratifying the last is sadistic impulses because it frustrates and hurts other people. And that's fun. Frustrating and hurting other people is fun. It's even more fun than sex.

But of course, the reality is other people are not inferior to the narcissist. I would even say as a general rule, the offer, welcoming vast majority of people are way superior to the narcissist in almost every conceivable way, perhaps with the exception of intelligence or intellect in some isolated cases.

Narcissist is deficient, cognitively deficient, emotionally non-existent, is as clueless in social situations and in sex as the most autistic person.

Women cheat on the narcissist because as he is, he is not lovable. And this creates in them a frustrating and infuriating, tantalizing dissonance.

They love an unlovable person.

Additionally, the shared fantasy of the narcissist is an extension of his creepy and sick mind.

And so men equally reject the narcissist because of this incongruence, lack of cohesion and coherence between what he promises and what he shows, the appearance and the substance, or actually the lack of substance. There's nobody there. It's a zero in the fullest sense of the word, not as a value judgment, but as a mathematical description. The narcissist is a zero. This is nobody there.

And when a woman cheats on the narcissist, the narcissist tells him, so how could she have chosen? How could she have opted for such an inferior man? Look at me. I'm intelligent, I'm irresistible, handsome, I'm rich, I'm powerful. How could she have ended up with him?

They don't understand that other men, regardless of how they look or behave by comparison, are a breath of fresh air. They bring normalcy into the life of the narcissist's intimate partner.

His abuse creates claustrophobic, suffocating, hypervigilant bubble with no atmosphere. He sucks the oxygen out of every environment.

Women don't perceive the narcissist's absence in their lives after the breakup as a punishment or a loss. They perceive it as wonderful liberation, as a relief, as a reward.

Of course, his intimate partners miss some aspects. Some narcissists are very insightful, so they miss maybe the psychological insights. Other narcissists are reasonably good lovers. They miss the sex. You always miss something in someone.

Generally, most intimate partners would miss something, but largely and overwhelmingly, they are relieved. They're relieved, they're liberated, they're happy. They're happy to have gotten rid of the narcissist and his sick shared fantasy. They are much happier. They're much happier when the narcissist is away. Even when they are together, ostensibly, they try to avoid the narcissist.

All women, if the narcissist allows them closure or closure dialogue, they compile this long and exhaustive list of the narcissist's shortcomings, deficiencies, disadvantages, etc. These lists are very, very, very long, almost internal, almost endless.

This by itself proves that all other men, alternatives are vastly superior to the narcissist and way more attractive to his intimate partners.

What the narcissist fails to understand is that women first connect to a man as a person. They want a person who loves to be with people, or more specifically, loves women. They want someone who is kind, who is interesting, who is passionate, who is horny. They want openness, gregariousness. They want safe acceptance, a core, a good time.

They end up being with other men.

What I'm saying here applies to business as well. It applies to the workplace. It applies to organizations the narcissist belongs to. I don't know, church, political party. People want people. People want human beings. People want persons to be with.

They don't want to be with pale and dysfunctional and the glitchy imitation of humans, like the narcissist. Other people allow for intimacy to develop patiently and attentively.

When the narcissist intimate partner betrays him, cheats on him with another man, it's because they see in that other man, the man, the person.

This is the foundation of sexual attraction. Women are attracted to other men because of the personality. The sex is a derivative.

Many narcissists are functional schizoids. In other words, even if they socialize a lot, they don't really socialize. They are averse to people. They hate men. They hate women. They hate children. They hate humanity, except when and for as long as other people are of some use to the narcissist. I don't know, give him supply, money, access, sex, services.

In this sense, all narcissists are very psychopathic. They are out to get narcissistic supply. It's a goal. They will instrumentally use other people to obtain this goal.

But otherwise, they are very averse to humanity and this applies to people of the opposite sex.

Sex is not a sufficient compensation as far as the narcissist is concerned.

Anyhow, narcissists never have sex.

Women are no exception. They are useful to the narcissist in his pursuit of sadism, to despoil them, to degrade them, to humiliate them. They're useful to provide them with services.

The three S's, supply, services, statistic sex. He's willing to invest in order to extract benefits, but only when there is an immediate specific and high return on his investment.

Instant gratification, entitlement, or one of the other goals that I mentioned.

With women, the investment horizon is longer. Women demand reciprocity in some respects, sexually, emotionally, time-wise. Women also tend to taper off their sex, their supply, and even services. So, it's a bargain. And if the bargain is not kept, women end up being with other men. They cheat and deceive when the investment tap is the force that is closed or when there is asymmetry or imbalance.

The narcissist intimate partner could even end up with other men who are as abusive, grandiose, entitled or sadistic as the narcissist is.

But these men give them something. Attention, support, money, children, stability, reliability, goals, sex, good time, social life, something.

The narcissist only takes.

Even the narcissist's sex is autoerotic, sadistic, using the woman's body. There's no reciprocity there. Nasties can give insights. Nasties can be entertaining. But even these can be overbearing, meandering, compulsive, pompous, wrong, aggressive, sadistic.

And ultimately, he degenerates into unwanted ramblings. He's too much.

The narcissist is a caricature of a human being. He's too much, too emphasized.

And so when a woman has to make the comparison between the narcissist and any other man, I mean, narcissist usually end up losing, end up losing the game.

And I'm again mentioning sexual exclusivity and interpersonal relationships, because this is the most intense domain of human life. It's where everything is revealed. There's maximum intimacy, maximum emotions, primordial and contemporary, civilized, bodily and mental, intellectual and emotional, cognitive and feelings. I mean, everything is there. It's a microcosm and a microcosm. It's the cosmos itself.

The workplace has a subset of these features.

Frenchie has another subset of these features, but only an intimate relationship with an intimate partner, an interpersonal, prolonged interaction. Only there, the true face of everyone involved gets revealed. And only there, the narcissist can transition via mortification from one state, self state to another, from overt to covert, from covert to overt.

And now to round it up, to sum it up, I want to discuss the issue of whether anyone is preferable to the narcissist.

Because this seems to be the behavior of the narcissist intimate partners, the narcissist business partners, the narcissist friends. They all seem to give up on the narcissist and then proceed to develop relationships, sometimes instant relationships, sometimes one night relationships with perfect strangers. Does it make sense?

If you have known the narcissist for years, does it make sense for you to replace him with a total stranger overnight? If you have worked with the narcissist for years, does it make sense for you to dump the narcissist and start something with somewhat totally new?

The answer is yes. It's a rational choice.

Consider, for example, dating a perfect stranger. When you're dating a perfect stranger, there is a one to 3% chance of ending up with a narcissist or a psychopath, one to 3% of a population, a narcissist and psychopath.

So when you are with a stranger, these are your chances.

But when you are with a narcissist or a psychopath, you are 100% guaranteed to be with a narcissist or a psychopath. So it's much better to take the odds of 3% than to take the odds of 100%.

It is rational to trust and to take chances with strangers and not with a narcissist or the psychopath. And it's wrong to think that spending time with a narcissist, having a relationship with a narcissist, having a previous acquaintance with a narcissist, regardless of length and intensity, should change this calculus.

Because it doesn't.

First of all, the psychopathic narcissist is a pathological liar. So he's self-reporting. He's very suspect. Can't learn much by spending time with you.

And second thing, from the very first moment, he abuses lies, tortures, manipulates, openly throughout any relationship, business, personal. So you gain nothing by spending time with a narcissist. You gain nothing.

Narcissism is a guarantee of ultimate loss and abuse.

Why take the chances?

So this is what I wanted to tell you, that there is no time consistency.

Narcissists switch from classic to covert when they go through collapse and mortification. They switch back from covert to overt when they go again through collapse and mortification.

And I wanted to reassure you as victims of narcissists, survivors of narcissistic abuse, or people who contemplate being in relationship with narcissists or exposed to people you suspect are narcissists, it's very rational to walk away. And it's very rational to prefer even relationships, even one night stands, even dating, even with perfect strangers than with the narcissist you know, because you don't know. There's no such thing as knowing the narcissist.

I just demonstrated to you that narcissists have self-states, exactly like minos, exactly like people with dissociative identity disorder. There's nobody there. And because there's nobody there, anyone can be there and everyone is there.

The narcissist you think you know, can suddenly experience narcissistic injury, mortification, a collapse, and he becomes covert. And that's a narcissist you don't know, surreptitious, undermining, underground, passive aggressive, maliciously dangerous.

And then it goes back to being overt by another collapse, another mortification.

And you have a grandiose abuser with sadistic overtones. Why do you need this? Why do you need any of this? No contact.

In 1995, I suggested a coherent strategy of no contact in a series of papers. The no contact strategy is not simply going no contact. It has dozens of steps of what you should do to ascertain that you are in a real no contact state. And I encourage you to watch the videos on my channel, which deal with no contact.

These transitions, it's a new way of looking at the narcissistic dynamic, but it doesn't really add any meaningful insight to the question, to the doesn't really provide a new answer to the question. Should I be with him or not?


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