Communal, Prosocial Narcissist: Misanthropic Altruist

Uploaded 8/28/2010, approx. 3 minute read

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

Some narcissists are ostentatiously generous, donate to charity, they lavish gifts of their closest, they abundantly provide for their nearest and dearest, and in general they are open-handed and unstinctingly benevolent.

How can these be reconciled with the pronounced lack of empathy and with the pernicious self-preoccupation that is so typical of narcissists?

Well, the act of giving enhances the narcissist's sense of omnipotence, his fantastic grandiosity, and the contempt he holds for others. It is easy to feel superior to the supplicating recipients of one's largest.

Narcissistic altruism is about exerting control and maintaining it by fostering dependence on the beneficiaries.

But narcissists give for other reasons as well.

The narcissist flaunts his charitable nature as a bait. He impresses others with his selflessness and kindness, and this way he lures them into his lair, entraps them, and manipulates and brainwashes them into subservient compliance and of secret collaboration.

People are attracted to the narcissist's larger-than-life posture, only to discover his true personality traits when it is far too late.

Give a little to take a lot, is the narcissist's creed.

This does not prevent the narcissist from assuming the role of the exploited victim.

Narcissists always complain that people are unfair to them and that they invest far more than their share of the profit.

The narcissist feels that he is the sacrificial lamb, the scapegoat, that his relationships are asymmetrical and imbalanced.

He keeps saying, she gets out of our marriage far more than I do.

Another common refrain, I do all the work around here and they get all the perks and benefits, and so on and so forth.

Faced with such misperceived injustice, with such embedded asymmetry, and once the relationship is clinched and the victim is hooked, the narcissist tries to minimize his contributions.

He regards his input as a contractual maintenance chore, and the unpleasant and inevitable price he has to pay for narcissistic supply.

So he tries to minimize it.

After many years of feeling deprived and wrong, some narcissists lapse into sadistic generosity or sadistic altruism.

They use their giving as a weapon to taunt and torment the needy, to humiliate them.

In the distorted thinking of the narcissist, donating money gives him the right and license to hurt, to chastise, to criticize, and to be raped the recipient.

His generosity, feels the narcissist, elevates him to a higher moral ground, makes him superior.

Most narcissists confine their giving to money and material goods.

Their beneficence is an abusive defense mechanism. It is intended to avoid real intimacy.

Their big-hearted charity renders all their relationships, even with their spouses and children, business-like.

Giving retards intimacy. Their relationships are structured, limited, minimal, non-emotional, unambiguous, and non-ambivalent, using the currency of money.

By doling out bountifully, the narcissist knows where he stands and does not feel threatened or abused or exploited by demands for commitment, emotional investment, empathy, or intimacy.

In the narcissist's wasteland of a life, even his benevolence is spiteful, sadistic, punitive, and distancing.

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Narcissist Has No Friends

Narcissists treat their friends like Watson and Hastings, who are obsequious and unthreatening, and provide them with an adulating gallery. Narcissists cannot empathize or love, and therefore have no real friends. They are interested in securing narcissistic supply from narcissistic supply sources. The narcissist overvalues people when they are judged to be potential sources of supply, and devalues them when no longer able to supply him, ultimately leading to the alienation and distancing of people.

Remain Friends with the Narcissist?

Narcissists are only friendly when they need something from you, such as narcissistic supply, help, support, votes, money, or sex. They also become friendly when they feel threatened and want to smother the threat with pleasantries. Narcissists are also over-friendly when they have just been infused with an overdose of narcissistic supply. Some people prefer to live with narcissists because they have been conditioned to treat narcissistic abuse as background noise and are compensated for the abuse by the thrills provided by living with a narcissist. However, inverted narcissists are typically unhappy and in need of help, which suggests that they are victims who experience the Stockholm Syndrome.

Communal, Prosocial Narcissist as Compulsive Giver

Compulsive givers are a type of narcissist who feel superior to those they give to, and feel exploited when they have to pay for the needs of others. They are people pleasers and co-dependents who force themselves on others and have unrealistic expectations of gratitude. They have alloplastic defenses with an external locus of control, meaning they rely on others to regulate their self-worth and blame the world for their failures. They keep a mental ledger of what they give and receive and use false asceticism and fake modesty to prove their nearest and dearest are ingrates.

Narcissist Grooms Sources of Narcissistic Supply: Exploits Tragedy, Crisis, and Misfortune

Narcissists are callous and ruthless enough to exploit the tragedy of others. They are obsessed with the maintenance of their delicate inner balance through the ever-increasing consumption of narcissistic supply. The narcissist regards and treats his sources of narcissistic supply as full-fledged human beings, but only as long as they can provide him with what he needs. The narcissist always evaluates the victims of tragedies to see if they can become sources of supply or can be used as props in the theater of his life.

Narcissists Have Emotions

Narcissists do have emotions, but they tend to repress them so deeply that they play no conscious role in their lives or conduct. The narcissist's positive emotions come bundled with very negative ones, and they become phobic of feeling anything lest it be accompanied by negative emotions. The narcissist is reduced to experiencing down-steerings in their soul that they identify to themselves and to others as emotions. Narcissists are not envious of others for having emotions, they disdain feelings and sentimental people because they find them to be weak and vulnerable.

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.

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.

Some Giving is Wrong

Giving does not necessarily make people happy, as the style of giving is important. Ostentatious and transactional giving can create resentment in beneficiaries. True giving is hidden, unconditional, and comes from the heart, not the wallet. It is about helping others and is altruistic and empathic. All other forms of giving are manipulative and wrong and can result in adverse outcomes for the giver.

N-Magnet: Narcissist's Ideal Victim?

Narcissists are not drawn to empathic, sensitive people, but rather repelled by them. Victims of narcissistic abuse come in all shapes, sizes, professions, genders, and ages, and there is no specific profile. People should not think of themselves as a "narcissist magnet" and instead review their life in detail to see that they have control over their destiny and can learn from their experiences. Bed relationships, no matter how harrowing, are opportunities to learn lessons.

Narcissist Re-idealizes Discarded Sources of Narcissistic Supply

Narcissists keep discarded sources of supply in reserve and seek them out when they have no other supply source. They frantically try to recycle their old sources and re-idealize them without admitting to having been mistaken in the first place. To preserve their grandiosity, they come up with a narrative that accommodates both the devaluing content and the re-idealized image of the source. If you are an old source of narcissistic supply, simply ignore the narcissist as indifference is what they cannot stand.

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