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Dead Parents Clone Narcissists (and Codependents And Borderlines)

Uploaded 8/30/2020, approx. 1 hour 5 minute read

My name is Sam Vaknin. I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited, other books about personality disorders, and I am a professor of psychology.

There are three types of trauma. There is trauma that is self-inflicted, that you inflict on yourself. There is trauma that reality inflicts on you, trauma that is the outcome of friction with reality, when reality, for example, negates, contradicts, undermines your self-image, self-perception, beliefs about other people, delusions you have held.

And there is parental trauma, trauma inflicted by parents. And yes, parents have a privileged position. You can be traumatized by peers. You can be traumatized by teachers. You can be traumatized by role models. You can even be traumatized by primary caregivers, such as grandparents.

But parents have a special role in personal development, in childhood development, in psychological development. And of the two parents, mothers have a much bigger role than fathers. Not only is it much bigger, it's also substantially different.

So it is not in vain and not because we are male chauvinists. And not because we would like to mother shame. You know, it's not mother shaming. And it's not like we find a convenient scapegoat under the patriarchal view of psychology. It's none of these things.

It's just a fact that mothers are critical to personal development, personal growth, the construction of inner constructs, introjection, very critical psychological processes.

And that's why we keep emphasizing mothers.

So there are two, three types of trauma, self-inflicted, reality-inflicted, parental-inflicted.


And the first two and more specifically reality-inflicted traumas actually induce growth. They bring about growth.

The more you conflict with reality, the more reality puts you down, pulls you down a peg, reduces you to size. The more countervailing information reality provides, the more it challenges and undermines your delusions and beliefs and long-held biases and prejudices, the more you grow.

Contact with reality is crucial to growth. And that's why pampered and smothered and spoiled children never grow. They remain eternal adolescents, where out items they remain permanent children. And they don't grow because they are isolated, isolated from reality. They are removed from reality. They're withdrawn from reality by overprotective parents or by narcissistic selfish parents who want to leverage the child, to use the child as an instrument or a tool to gratify their own wishes, to buttress and support their own self-image, their own delusions.

At any rate, when the child is removed from reality, he never grows. Growth stops, seizes, the child becomes a fossil, ossified, ossilized, caught in amber.

So reality-based traumas are very critical. Self-traumatizing, self-inflicted traumas are also very critical. They are junctures, they are junctions and they are tipping points in personal growth.

We all know the feeling when we suddenly feel, when we think about something, we analyze something, we recreate an event, something that happened to us, and suddenly we feel very, very bad. We feel very traumatized, very dysregulated, very depressed, very sad. Some of us feel even suicidal.

This is self-traumatizing. And it's growth-inducing. It's healthy.

Actually in the majority of treatment modalities, in the majority of psychotherapies, we induce such traumas artificially in a controlled environment. Most psychotherapies do it in a holding environment, in a containing environment, in a safe area, safe space. And others do it without these prerequisites.

But all psychotherapies and all psychologists believe that experiencing trauma that is the outcome of insight, the outcome of understanding, the outcome of realization and comprehension, the outcome of an aha moment, these kind of traumas are very good for you.

The only type of traumas that are extremely bad for you are parental traumas, traumas inflicted by parents. It could be classical traumas like sexual abuse, physical abuse, verbal and psychological abuse, etc, but could be hidden, surreptitious, stealth, ambient traumas, atmospheric traumas, so to speak, traumas that are in the air, unspoken traumas, implicit. And it could be, for example, incestuous, incestuous relationship, not necessarily physical, but emotional incest. It could be parentifying, forcing the child to behave like a parent. It could be inducing and pushing the child to realize the parents' unfulfilled dreams and wishes. It could be idolizing the child, placing him, the child on a pedestal, isolating the child from peers, from pressures, from criticism.

These are all traumas. This is all abuse. It's abusive behavior.

And these kind of traumas induce dysfunction, dysregulation, and lability later on in life.

All human beings go through rejection and trauma. Actually, I'm developing a model that I call double rejection, double trauma model.

The first rejection is, of course, when you're born. What is birth, physically speaking? I mean, don't try to be too smart. Just answer the question. What is birth? Birth is when you exit your mother's body.

But you don't exit it. You don't exit your mother's body in a peaceful, pacified manner. It's a struggle. It's a conflict. It's violent. It's bloody in the fullest sense of the word. It's a tearing, your torn from your mother's body. You don't have the minimal skills to survive. You don't even know how to breathe.

And yet you are dumped into the world. Birth is a rejection. Birth is a form of rejection. Mother rejects you. Mother ejects you. Every birth is the primary, primal rejection. Of course, as a result, it's extremely traumatic.

That's not my discovery. There is even a therapy called primal scream, primal therapy, which is based on this fundamental realization that birth must be very traumatic.

The child, when the child is born, he doesn't have a brain, effectively. The brain develops in the first year of life. And clearly, he doesn't have conscious and unconscious and or fully developed unconscious, etc.

But the child, even in the womb, the child is able to discern sensa, sensory input. Children react to music, to sudden sounds. So there is something there. And this something is traumatized.

I think the major trauma, following the first rejection, which is birth, the major trauma is that the child has to adopt a point of view. When the child is in the womb, there's no need for a point of view, because there's no view. And there's no point in a point of view.

But when you're born, suddenly you need to adopt a point of view. This tectonic shift, this earthquake is a major trauma. And I think it's the fundamental first trauma, the need to have a point of view.

And we all know that whenever we adopt a point of view, whenever we suddenly evolve a new point of view, we are mini traumatized. It's shocking. It's always surprising. It's always shocking, always disorienting, always dislocating. It's always dis-regulating.

To have a new, to adopt a new point of view is to revolutionize yourself. It is to become someone else. Indeed, most psychotherapies are based exactly on this.

In treatment modalities of mental health issues, what we do is we ask the patient and sometimes we force the patient to adopt a new point of view.

This isn't the core of techniques like imagery and reframing, reframing in cognitive behavior therapy, or chair work, chair work in Gestalt and other therapies, where you are forced artificially or integrally, internally, to suddenly see things differently, to suddenly adopt a new point of view, someone else's or something else's.

So the child, when he's ejected from his mother's body, when his mother rejects him in the most forceful, violent way possible, has to immediately adopt a point of view.

So it's rejection coupled with the trauma and all within the first split second of existence. Months pass, years pass, and around the age of two, around the age of two, there's another phase described by the likes of Melanie Klein and Mahler. There's another phase called separation individuation.

The separation individuation is when the child develops sufficient grandiosity to take on the world. He becomes sufficiently delusional, in effect, sufficiently narcissistic to believe, to develop the belief that he can cope with the world, that he can explore the world, that he can enter the world, that he can meander and he can walk around and he can see things and he can satisfy his curiosity.

And this, of course, requires an inflationary approach to the child's ego, nascent ego. The child becomes a mini-narcissist.

And indeed, this phase is called primary narcissism.

And the first thing the child does, the child rejects mother. When the child was born, mother rejected him. Now it's his turn. Now he's rejecting mother. He's pushing her away, sometimes literally and physically, and he walks. Of course, then he panics and runs back and he hugs mother's leg. She's a safe base.

But still, there is an act of rejection. And that is the second rejection. You remember? Double rejection, double trauma. That's the second rejection, separationindividuation.

And the trauma in this case is the beginning of selfhood, the development of the self.

Why is this a trauma? It's a trauma because until the self develops, in the first phase of life, in the first, shall we say, six months of life, some people say two years of life.

Jean Piaget thought that in the first two years of life, Melanie Klein was more inclined to believe that it's like six months of life.

Marla was in between. But whatever it is, however long it is, there's a phase. There's a phase where there's no distinction between internal and external. There's no difference between in and out, inward and outward, me and there.

It's like the famous song, you know, We Are The World.

The child makes no distinction between external and internal objects. Everything, everyone, is one. It's oneness. It's holistic oneness. It's a primary primordial condition of the single atom.

It's like before the Big Bang when the universe was created.

And the child is this atom.

Within him, there's the potential for a whole universe. And yet, he is one. He doesn't make a distinction. He doesn't say this is me and this is mother. This is me and this is father. Or this is me and this is the chair. He doesn't have this. Everything is him. There's only him. It's not even narcissism. It's not like the narcissist says, you know, I'm the most important. It's not question of superiority. There's no one to be superior on. There's no like inferior. There's no hierarchy because there are no, there's no multiplicity of objects.

So this is a unitary phase.

And yet, when the child, since the child had adopted this unitary approach, it leads to frustration.

Because for example, he wants to eat and mother is not available. He's wet. No one changes his diapers. He cries. No one comes to comfort him.

So suddenly, gradually, he begins to realize that even though everything is one, there is a question. There is an issue of control. Either he cannot control areas within himself, which later would become mommy and daddy, you know, or the unitary approach is wrong.

Cracks appear in the unitary view of the child. He begins to notice that perhaps it's wrong to think that only he exists. Maybe other things, other objects exist. And these objects are the ones who are or which are frustrating him.

Frustration emanates from the fact that the world is not unitary, and therefore not controllable. This is a major schism, schismatic break. It's the world falling apart. It's like a nuclear bomb. It's an amazing mind boggling, mind shocking, mind destroying, soul destroying realization that oneness is wrong, that there is no oneness.

This is why all the mystic traditions, all the religions, they want to go back to this phase. They want to regress to this early childhood stage where everything was one, because there was an oceanic feeling of peace. There was total calmness. There was total acceptance, and there was total immersion and total integration. There was no need to manage anything, to cope with anything. And there was no possibility to get hurt, because who can hurt it with you? There was only one, the oneness. Oneness guarantees peace of mind. Oneness guarantees the kind of nirvana, the kind of inner enlightenment that comes only from the most intimate possible knowledge of everyone and everything, because they are you. We'll come to it a bit later when we will discuss the work of Martin Buber.

But this phase doesn't last long. The frustrations that reality forces upon the child, not being fed, not being taken care of, etc. These frustrations lead to growth, and the first act of growing up is growing away, going away, withdrawing.

Jung said that at this stage we develop extreme narcissism, but this narcissism is invested internally, not externally.

The whole narcissistic energy is introverted. Jung calls it narcissistic introversion.

And he says that this energy is internalized and introverted and is used gradually to constellate a separate entity, separateness, separation, and division. This entity is the self.

Jung makes a distinction between self and ego, unlike Freud. And this entity is the self. He calls it the constellated self.

It is this withdrawal from painful reality, reality that frustrates you, reality that hurts you, reality that frightens you.

You say the hell with reality. Reality is not pleasant. I don't want reality. I'm going to go inside.

Because of one-word reality, maybe if I go inside, I will still be in reality, but I will feel more comfortable, more safe.

And so there's a withdrawal, and all the energies that should have gone outside should have been directed at other objects, etc., go inside. They are redirected internally through a phase called introversion.

But ironically, this redirection of energy actually breaks the oneness, because suddenly it constellates the self.

This is how the self is formed. And from that moment on, the universe can never again be unitary. It can never again be one, because there is self and everything else. The universe had broken down. We'll talk about Descartes a bit later. Descartes took this realization and ran with it and developed essentially important schools in modern philosophy.

So now the universe is broken. The universe is broken. And essentially it has two components. It has a privileged object, an object that we call the self.

Why is it privileged?

Because it's the only object that is accessible to the child.

The child can interact with this object, invest energy in this object, get to know this object, explore this object. This object feels safe. This object feels permanent. It provides object permanence in the language of Jean Piaget or object constancy, as we say today.

This object is the first constant object. And because it's the first constant object, it allows the child to shift the safe base from the mother internally.

As the mother used to be the safe base, now the self is the safe base. This is the first act of introjection. It's the first act of assimilating mother, assimilating father, assimilating others, assimilating their voices, storing their voices, listening to their voices.

And this process creates introjects. These are the voices of meaningful others, most importantly of mother.

And the child feels safe with him, with his self.

Finally, the child is able to be, gradually, self-sufficient. It's another form of grandiosity. The initial grandiosity, which was involved in the first phase of separation and individuation, was a grandiosity that was more like psychopathic grandiosity. It was reckless. It was ill-informed. It was impulsive. And it was not real. It was pretend. And this time, the grandiosity that is invested in the self, in the constellated self, the introverted narcissism, as Jung calls it, this grandiosity is much better grounded, much more realistic, much less delusional, much better informed. There's an intimate relationship between the child and his self. These are the roots of intimacy and the capacity to have intimacy with others. As the child feels safe with his self, as the child feels that he had explored his self, that they are on intimate terms, the child is a safe base.

And now he can wander off exactly as he did with mother. Yes, mother was a safe base and he felt comfortable to wander into the world. It's the same with his self. The self is a safe base. And now the child can abandon the self for a few minutes and go out and see what's out there, who is out there. And we call this process object relations.

So energy is invested in the self. And then later when the self becomes constellated, integrated, strong, safe, believable, trustworthy, the child then feels that he can safely exit the self and look around and connect with others, with other people. And this connection with other people means that he is redirecting his energy from self to others and he's creating object relations.

Because in psychology, the word object means person. So objects are people. Tells you a lot about psychologists.

Okay, this process is minutely, was minutely studied and described in the work of existentialist philosophers and existentialist psychologists, including the classics like Kierkegaard and Sartre.

Here I'll take a break and answer the 2.5 million people who wrote to me that one should not pronounce the name Kierkegaard as Kierkegaard, but as Kierkegaard.

Yes, in Danish, it's Kierkegaard. But in English, it's Kierkegaard. We don't pronounce names in English as they are pronounced in the original. For example, we say Charles de Gaulle. When in French, we would say Charles de Gaulle. And we say Moses, when in Hebrew, we say Moshe. Got it? Great.

So Kierkegaard, who was the first existentialist, the father of existentialist, he was the first to point out that this schism, this break between self and others is very critical to personal development.

He suggested to make what he called the leap of faith. He thought only God can bridge only belief in God, the choice to believe, the choice to have faith. Only this can bridge the abyss that opens between self and world.

Leave this alone for a minute. He was the first to put his finger on this process.

I would like to mention someone who is a bit more obscure, less known than Kierkegaard, and that's the Jewish, Viennese philosopher, Martin Buber. Martin Buber's work has been seminal, and it's very telling that he had been forgotten at this day and age, tells you where we are as a species.

Buber suggested that there are two types of interactions between people. One type is called encounter, and one type is called experience. He said that encounter is when we regard other people as holistic, when we relate to them via empathy, when we take them to be exactly like us, three-dimensional, four-dimensional, full-fledged entities with an internal life, with love, with lust, with hope, with fear, with laughter, and with sadness, with tragedy, and with comedy.

I mean, when we see people in their totality, when we don't reduce them, when we don't caricaturize them, then we have encounter. And he said that this encounter is I vow, I vow. He said that the prime example of such an encounter is God.

Like when we relate to God, we relate to God in God's totality. We never reduce God, we never caricaturize God, we never relate to one-dimensional people.

But for us, God is total. He includes everything, and everyone, and every period, past, future, present. I mean, God is it.

So, every experience we have with God is an encounter, can never be anything else.

And he said that therefore, the prototypical, archetypical, I-thou encounter is with God through faith and through religion. And that includes also secular religions. That is something he didn't say. That is something I'm saying.

God had been replaced in secular religions by other constructs, with other constructs.

In communism, it's the working class. In capitalism, it's money. In Nazism, it's race, and so on.

So, the construct of God, the construct of a totality, something that captures reality in all its dimensions, in all its periods, in all its hues, in all its colors.

So, religion is God, but we have since developed secular religions, ideologies, and there are substitutes to God.

And with these secular religions, we also have encounters, not experiences, but encounters, full-fledged. We also feel, when we interact with God, when we interact with these constructs in secular religions, money, race, whatever it is, we also feel that it's a different type of interaction. That it has power that no other type of interaction has.

And we will come to it a bit later when we discuss the functions of such things.

But at this stage, Buber said that there is this type of interaction called encounter. And then he said there's another type of interaction. It's called experience. Encounter is I-thou. Experience is I-it.

When we objectify others, when we dehumanize others, when we see others as means to an end, when we try to take something from others, when we have a kind of interaction that minimizes others, reduces them to a single aspect, a single dimension, a single occurrence, a single event, a single function, sex, whatever. This is an I-it experience, according to Buber, and that's narcissism. That's not only narcissism, of course, because narcissists do that, but it's also materialism, for example. Materialism is when we reduce everything to matter, to objects. Objects are I-it. They're not thou. Objects are defined by their function.

What good is a refrigerator if it doesn't refrigerate? What good is a television if it has no signal?

Objects are one-dimensional.

Coming back to the trauma of selfhood.

So remember, the child creates a self and it's very traumatic.

Why is it traumatic? Why is it traumatic that the world breaks down and suddenly there are two elements in it?

Before the world broke down, there was one element, wholeness, oneness, and now there are two, the self and all the rest. The world broke in two.

Why is this traumatic? It's traumatic because it implies a loss of control, of course. The minute you become self-confined, the minute you become confined, I'm sorry, in yourself, the minute you become limited, the minute you become contained, there's a loss of control of everything outside you.

In the stage of oneness, in the stage of homogeneity, in the state of, in the unitaristic, of a single entity, you control everything. Mother was you. So, you know, she was fully controllable.

But when there is a self and there is mother outside of you, you don't control mother. You don't control father. You don't control anyone.

There's a total loss of control.

You gradually begin to realize that you don't even control yourself because your self creates moods, emotions, thoughts, cognitions that come from nowhere. You have no idea where they came from.

Nor can you control them. We are all acquainted with the process of, for example, intrusive thoughts, thoughts that keep repeating, we don't know why. We all have this experience of suddenly sudden sadness, which we have no idea where it came from.

So, creation of selfhood, creation of the self, implies a total loss of control. And therefore, an alien nation from the world, you are now an alien.

There's the world and there's you. And you're kind of a visitor. You're a guest. And there's an estrangement also from oneself.

So simultaneously, you have lost yourself and you have lost the world, both. You've lost the world through alienation and you've lost yourself through estrangement.

Freud suggested that there are two forces in life, Eros and Thanatos. Eros is the force of life and love. And Thanatos is the force of death. And they manifest through energies. Eros manifests through libido. Libido is the energy of life, which also includes, of course, the energy of sex. And Thanatos manifests through another kind of energy called destrudo.

And the thing is that we invest libido or destrudo. It's energy that we invest. And this process of investment is called kafexis.

So we invest these energies in the self. We invest it in the self via kafexis.

And now, how do we decide? What's the decision making procedure? How do we decide if we want to invest force of life or the force of death? Depends crucially on the mother.

And before you say anything, of course the father can traumatize and the father could be a very bad influence and a very bad example. And the father could stunt your growth, could affect you badly, could be a figure that looms large in your nightmares.

No one is disputing this. And fathers have very critical functions in socializing, which even exceed the mother's functions. So they are social agents. Fathers also teach you skills. And this is something a mother rarely does.

So fathers have a different type of kind of job description. It's the mother though. The mother determines who are you. Not only who are you, but how do you feel about yourself? And I'm not talking about how do you feel about yourself this afternoon. How do you feel about yourself for the rest of your life and who you are for the rest of your life?

The mother shapes you, molds you, determines you. She carves you out of the non-differentiated slab of marble. She renders you a sculpture. You are the mother's work of art. You are her handiwork.

It's important to understand.

And generally there are two types of mothers. There's a dead mother. This is a coinage, a phrase coined by Andrei Green in 1983. There's a dead mother. And there's a good enough mother. Good enough mother is a phrase coined by the pediatrician and psychologist Donald Winnicott.

The dead mother is a mother who is not available emotionally. Not available emotionally because she's selfish, narcissistic, depressed, is going through a difficult, a rough patch, a difficult period in her life, generally has problems with attachment styles, is cold, unemotional, withdrawing, frustrating, withholding.

I mean there are numerous ways to be a dead mother. But she's dead.

And yes, many of you have written to me to say that children don't love dead mothers. Who mentions the word love? Love is not attachment. Attachment is about survival. Love is a luxury. Children attached to their mothers, never mind if they're dead or alive.

It's like these famous posters from the Wild West. Wanted, dead or alive. They get attached to the mother. They try to please the mother, because if they don't please the mother, they're dead. They need the mother.

There's total dependence on the mother. They can't afford to be choosy and selective and picky. This is what they have. That's the deal. That's the hand life gave them. This is their destiny and fate, at least in the first decade of their lives.

So they have to accommodate and they have to incorporate and they have to integrate and they have to gratify.

And so even if they don't love the mother in the fullest sense of the word, which child loves in the fullest sense? It's total nonsense.

Children attach. Love is an adult thing. Love requires maturity, boundaries, self-definition, a coherent, integrative, functioning self. I mean, forget it. Love comes much, much later in life.

Adolescence are not capable of love. Children are definitely not capable of love. They're capable of attachment. And yes, they get attached to the dead mother as much as to the good enough mother.

Actually, one could even argue they get attached to the dead mother even more because they feel the instinctive, reflexive need to manipulate, to somehow gratify her to the extreme because she's never happy. She's never satisfied. She's never there. She's never holding. She's never loving. She's never accepting. She's never warm. She is not a safe base. She's frightening. She's terrifying.

They live in a horror movie. Anything can happen. She's unpredictable, capricious, arbitrary, lay by, dysregulated, nuts. She's absolute nuts.

So when you have this type of mother, you develop in one way. And when you have a good enough mother, but pay attention. When he was very emphasized very clearly, he said, not good, good enough.

She doesn't have to be, you know, she just has to be a safe base. She has to provide safety, a sense of safety, some predictability, satisfaction of needs, a little cuddling, a kiss from time to time. Good enough mother.

The dead mother rejects. She's death. She represents death. She rejects. She's a thematic force. She's fanatic. And she has the energy of destrudo.

The good enough mother accepts, accepts she's life. She has the energy of libido. It's not possible to develop similarly or identically with these two types of mother.

A child who grows with the dead mother develops one way. A child who grows with a good enough mother develops an entirely different way.

Before I proceed, people tell me, yeah, but you know, co-dependence and borderlines and people pleases, they also grow in dysfunctional families. Sometimes they have dead mothers and they're not like narcissists. They're not like psychopaths. They don't abuse people. Of course they do.

But co-dependence and borderlines and people pleases abuse people big time, big time. But they have a self-justifying narrative. They present themselves as victims of martyrs. I don't know what. They are egosyntonic in the sense that they don't feel bad about what they're doing, exactly like overt narcissists.

But co-dependence and borderlines abuse people, objectify their intimate partners. They use their intimate partners to gratify their own emotional needs. Both borderlines and co-dependence blackmail, emotionally blackmail their partners with their helplessness, neediness and clinging.

The borderline creates a totally unpredictable ambience. An environment where her arbitrary and capricious, sometimes psychopathic behavior is terrifying to the partner and conditions him to behave in certain ways to walk on eggshells.

Walking on eggshells is to do with borderline, much more than with the narcissists. People who grew up with dead mothers become dead. They die as children and they never ever get resurrected. That happened only once, two thousand and twenty years ago. It doesn't happen too often. It didn't happen since.

If you grew up with a dead mother, you will have died as a child. And you grew up to be one of the whole spectrum. You could become co-dependent, you could become borderline, you could become narcissists, you could become psychopath, you could even be healthy. But still, even as a healthy person, you will have very big dead areas in your soul, in your psyche. I don't believe in your soul, but I'm using soul as a metaphor, in your psyche. And these dead areas will be reflected, will impinge on, will affect, will infringe upon your relationship.

So people pleases for example, they please people because it pleases them. Like Lidia Langelowska says, they need to be needed. It's their need. They don't please you because it's you. They don't think about you, you're nothing. You're a means to an end. You're an instrument of gratification. If you don't want to be pleased, they will coerce you to be pleased. They will force, they will force their generosity down your throat.

There is something called the prosocial or the communal narcissist. And that's the kind of narcissist who is altruistic and charitable. A giver.

When I coined the phrase communal or prosocial narcissist, I call this narcissist a compulsive giver. So it's compulsive. So forget about it.

Of course, if you grow up with a dead mother, you're dead, you're dysfunctional, and you are an abuser.

But there are many ways to abuse. A lot of abuse masquerades as benevolence. A lot of abuse masquerades as empathy. A lot of abuses disguised as good deeds.

I am much more terrified of do-gooders and busybodies in the name of narcissists and psychopaths. I can see a narcissist and psychopath coming, but I can't see these people coming. They are underground. They are subterranean. They are stealthy. They are surreptitious. They are covert.

I'm much more frightened of these kind of people.

Coming back to the dead mother and the good enough mother. So the child grows with the dead mother or good enough mother, and he develops what we call a schema. A schema is a combination of thoughts, cognitions, beliefs, emotions, values, etc.

So a whole internal landscape, an internal capsule, an internal bubble. And he applies these schemas to objects.

Not only, I mean, once he had acquired, once he had acquired via the interaction with the parent, once he had acquired the tools, once he had acquired the schemas, he applies them to objects.

Remember, the self is also an object. So the child will apply whatever he had learned to himself as much as to others and in the same way. So the child will apply it to himself, to others, and to collectives, which he regards as objects.

We are beginning to see that you can't, you can't damn or limit individual psychology to the individual. It has global effect, it has global effect on his family and through his family, on the school and through the school and the community, through the community of the city, through the city of the nation.

Individual psychology reverberates and is amplified via human interactions, via socializing, via politicizing, via communication, via mass media and social media.

In today's day and age, of course individual psychology is automatically also collective psychology, exactly as Jung had suggested in his work. He refused to make this distinction between collective and individual. He thought it was nonsensical. We'll come to it a bit later.

So the child makes a distinction between dead objects and good enough objects. Exactly as a child would make a distinction between dead mother, good enough mother. If he grew up with a dead mother, he would relate to all objects as dead. And if he grew up with a good enough mother, he would relate to all objects as good enough.

Now what does it mean? Good objects, dead objects and good enough objects. Dead objects are objects. They're inertial. They are materialistic. They are inert. They are dead. They generate confusion and they lead to disordered, disorganized personalities because they're often on life. They're often on feedback, no pushback, no input. Therefore they stunt growth.

Now we have created, in the West at least, but now all over the world, we have created a materialistic culture. Culture centered around dead objects.

A car is a dead object. A refrigerator is a dead object.

And if you learn to relate to everything as cars and refrigerators, next thing you know, you're going to relate to your spouse and your children as dead objects.

Our civilization is a death cult. It's built, constructed around death. It worships death. It worships the inanimate, inanimate, not animate. No anima, no life, no breath, no air. It's a claustrophobic civilization which surrounds you and buries you with objects.

No wonder in many worlds, objects are the main, the main threat. And you have even objects who come to life, like via ventriloquists, you know, dummies.

So dead objects, death cults, dead civilizations, these are thematic, the expression of the, of thanatos. They're thematic, the expression of the force of death. And they're imbued with destudo. Destudo is called destudo, not for nothing. It's destructive. It destroys.

Our civilization is centered and focused not on construction, but on destruction. It's utterly shocking that we've come so far, because we spend like 90% of our time destroying, destroying each other, shooting each other, manipulating each other, destroying relationships, destroying love, destroying objects, destroying the enemy, making enemies, creating them if they don't exist.

I mean, we are a warring, we are in constant conflict, the constant warfare. It's our natural state. Peace is the exception.

Construction, productivity, building something, that's the exception.

The vast majority of the time, we are in the throes of frenzied, frantic, zombie-like, out of control destruction. And when we can't destroy others, we destroy ourselves. We consume drugs, we drink alcohol. These are not small numbers, by the way, 40 million adults in the United States consume alcohol to a destructive, self-destructive level, obesity rates, and so on.

I need to tell you. We internalize destruction. What is cancer? Cancer is internalized destruction. I mean, we destroy the environment. The environment destroys us. End of story.

What's COVID-19? We push the environment. The environment is pushing back.

It's not metaphysics. It's not a metaphor. A report has just been released yesterday, linking intimately, leading with a chain of being, you know, with diagrams and everything. How A leads to B leads to C leads to coronavirus.

These all are doing.

And so, dead objects in civilization centered around death, cater well to the needs of children who became adults and grew up with dead mothers.

This is why narcissists and psychopaths are on top of the world today. And this is why women, many, are trying to emulate and imitate psychopathic men. And this is why men, many, are radicalized in a variety of ways, where violence is flourishing, etc.

I mean, this is because the environment is permissive. It rewards these kinds of behaviors. It's a positive adaptation to be narcissistic like Donald Trump. Half insane, like Duterte in the Philippines, or Bolsonaro in Brazil, or a psychopath like Putin in Russia. It pays, absolutely pays.

And then we have good enough objects. And good enough objects as opposed to dead objects, they result in mentally sound personalities.

What are good enough objects?

Good enough objects are usually people. And we see them as good enough.

It's not that we are naive. It's not that we are gallimardos. It's not that we are stupid. It's not that we can be taken for a right. It's just that we see the essential goodness with which we can connect via bridges of empathy and compassion and attention and so on. People who grew up with good enough mothers are primed and conditioned in a way to try to seek to be constructive, to seek other people who are the same, to be productive, to create. Creativity crucially depends on good enough parenting.

There is creativity that emanates from dead parents, from dead mothers and so on. That is dark and sick creativity. It is not, of course, an accident. It's not by accident, not a coincidence.

The dark creativity dominates in today's world. Horror movies, thrillers, mysteries, murder mysteries. I mean, it's all dark, it's all bad, it's all dead. We had all these things in the 17th century, 19th century, even in the 14th century. But these were outliers.

The majority of the literature at that time, there was only literature, no television, the majority of the literature at that time was about good enough objects. Only a tiny, tiny percentage.

And when you had someone like William Blake, who espoused darkness, described it intimately, chronicled it, drew it, and people were shocked. It was like, wow, this guy seriously, you know, effed up.

But today it's the rule. Today nine of ten creative acts and creative arts has to do with darkness, with the dark side, with our inner demons, with our dead mothers, with our dead selves, and with the dead objects that we surround ourselves with more and more and more, until one day we will drown in a mountain of smartphones.

The key difference between healthy people and unhealthy people is their ability to distinguish external objects from internal objects. The relationship between external objects and internal objects is crucial to mental health.

Dead mothers make it very difficult for us to make this crucial distinction because we need our only secure, our only safety is in the self. So the self becomes kind of separate, kind of externalized in a way.

And so external and internal objects. If you can't tell the difference or distinction between external and internal, something's wrong with you. If you have internal objects, for example, internal voices, internal images, and for some reason you erroneously believe that they're external, you believe that voices are talking to you, you see someone there and he's not there, he's inside your head. That's a psychotic disorder. You need medication. And worse, maybe you need to be committed. It's the definition of mental illness.

And when people confuse and conflate internal and external objects, they're lost. They're terribly frightened.

This explains the rise, the tsunami of anxiety disorders and depression and so on because people are really, really lost in this sense.

Psychotics confuse the internal with the external. Narcissists are the opposite. They confuse the external with the internal.

We'll come to it a bit later.


And so how do we organize internal and external objects?

We embed them. We embed them. We put them in the framework of narratives. We create stories. We are storytelling species.

So everything we do via stories, the Bible is a story or a group ontology of stories.

But even a manual, a computer manual is a story. It's a story about the computer and how to operate it and what it can do for you and what you have to do for the computer in order to have a reciprocal long-term productive relationship. A computer manual is a relationship manual.

So everything is a story. And what we do, we take external objects and internal objects and we embed them in a meaningful story. And the key word is meaning because meaning is safety. If you know, if you understand the meaning, if you understand the significance, if you have a narrative, you can predict the future. You can predict the future. The tiger will not eat you. The building will not fall on your head, collapse on your head. Your wife will not leave you or cheat on you.

You need to understand the meaning because reality is intolerable and reality is unbearable and terrifying because the boundaries between internal and external are very fuzzy, very unclear.

Remember that the self is also an object. The self is as much an object as your children, your boss or your president. They're all objects.

Your self is a privileged position because you are much more in touch with yourself and you have much more access to yourself than to all other objects, but it's still an object.

And very often it's very easy to confuse yourself as an object with other objects.

And so there's a lot of to and fro. There's a lot of fuzziness and ambiguity and equivocation and ambivalence.

And this renders the world very unsafe.

And at some point in everyone's life comes a point that you say, well, I want to withdraw. I want to go away. I don't want this. I don't want to be in reality. I want to escape somehow.

And if you have a clear distinction between external and internal objects and this distinction is embedded in a story, a script, a narrative that makes sense to you, that makes sense of the world, that makes sense of your objects, it makes things easier, renders your life more tolerable.

And so there are phases of trying to create meaningful narratives.

Narratives have three functions.

One, to organize the world.

Two, to explain the world, to explicate, to interpret the world, to help you to understand the world.

So the first thing a narrative does, it takes all kinds of objects, internal, external, what have you, and it arranges them in a template, in a scheme, in a diagram. It arranges in a hierarchy, in a network. Whatever the organizing principle is, it's a main function of a narrative, to organize.

It's an organizing principle.

And then the next thing it does for you, the narrative, is to tell you, listen, is the organization?

It's not random. It's not random. It has a meaning. The meaning is the outcome of the structural facets of the organization.

Organization is constructed in a way that it conveys the meaning. The meaning dictates how we organize the objects.

The significance of the structure is exactly in this. It reifies the meaning, embodies the meaning, and it conveys the meaning.

And the meaning makes you feel safe, as I said before.

So that's the second function of the narrative, to make you feel safe via meaning.

But meaning doesn't only make you feel safe, it also gives you direction, provides you with purpose and goals, because you are also an object. And because you're also an object, you are within the narrative. You're never looking at the narrative from outside. The narrative always includes you.

To be meaningful, the narrative always needs to include you. Even if the narrative is biological, like proprioception, the narrative of perceiving your own body, it must include you.

And so the minute it includes you, it puts you in context, provides context, and it makes sense of your life, of your world, of your future. So it provides direction and purpose.

And so these functions, organizing, explaining, and providing meaning, purpose, and direction, they are the functions of narratives.


But there are three ways to do this, three types of narratives.

The first narrative is the psychotic narrative. It involves something called hyper-reflexivity, which I will explain in a minute.

The psychotic narrative characterizes people with, believe it or not, psychosis, psychotic disorders. But it also characterizes, for example, people with borderline personality disorder, people with dependent personality disorder. Dependent personality disorder is known as codependency. Codependency is a colloquial term, it's not a clinical term.

Clinical term is dependent personality disorder.

So these people, codependents, borderlines, psychotics, they share a lot, they have a lot in common. That's not Sam Vaknin, that's Otto Könberg. Otto Könberg said that borderlines are on the border, that's why they're called borderlines. They're on the border between neurosis and psychosis, they're almost psychotic.

And if you push a narcissist, if you stress a narcissist, if you challenge a narcissist, if you mortify a narcissist, it becomes psychotic.

Narcissists have psychotic microepisodes in therapy or after a major life crisis or stressor, like divorce.

So narcissists are also on the border of psychosis.

Actually, I personally think that narcissists are much more psychotic than borderlines.

But they're all involved somehow with the psychotic narrative.

Psychotic narrative is about hyper-reflexivity.

Hyper-reflexivity has several elements.

First of all, there's an expansive identity diffusion. You remember the song We Are The World that I mentioned before?

So this is psychotic narrative. Expansive diffusion.

What does it mean?

The psychotic expands his self. So he has a self and he has the world, right? He has a privileged object and outside objects.

What he does, he begins to pump to inflate his self so that his self becomes so big that it incorporates the entire universe, God-like in a way.

The psychotic becomes the world.

Because the psychotic becomes the world, of course, he cannot no longer make a distinction between internal and external.

If he thinks about something, it's there. If he has an introject that whispers in his ear, it really whispers in his ear. It comes from the outside.

Why?

Because for him there's no difference, no distinction between inside and outside. It's all one and the same.

And by expanding his self infinitely, he has no self anymore, of course.

By identifying his self with the world, he had lost his self.

This is a process called diffusion.

So he has expansive identity diffusion.

Identity diffusion is a form of identity disturbance.

And identity disturbance is one of the diagnostic criteria of borderline personality disorder.

When you have an identity disturbance, you have no fixed core identity.

Today you believe one thing, tomorrow you believe another. Today you behave in one way, tomorrow you behave in a diametrically opposed way. Today you make one claim, tomorrow you deny that you have made a claim.

It's not gaslighting. It's not lying. It's just you are not the same person from day to day, from minute to minute sometimes.

You have self states.

So this expansive identity diffusion, which again characterizes borderlines, codependents, psychotics, means that the self vanishes. There's no functional, not even functional self, but not like the narcissist.

Kernberg said that the borderlines have a huge emptiness. I think later he corrected himself and he said every narcissist relies on a borderline foundation.

I think Kernberg's work was pioneering, amazing, but very odd. It was mostly done in the 70s.

We've come a long way since then.

The narcissist has the emptiness that Kernberg described.

What the borderline has is a shattered self, a self that had expanded so much that it burst open at the seams, that it exploded, shards, and it's like imagine a tire. You're pumping the tire. You're pumping the tire, pumping the tire, pumping the tire until the tire explodes.

And that is the self of the borderline and the psychotic codependent.

There's a diffusion as a result of inflation.

So the self in these people is dissipated, it's a dissipated self.

The clinical term is diminished self affection and diminished self presence. The world is internalized and consequently there's no external and internal, but one big totality.

Yes, you're right.

This is a regression to the first phase of childhood where there was oneness.

How many spouses of borderlines would tell you the borderlines like a child?

Same with the codependent. And of course, same with the psychotic.

The children, they have regressed so far to the six months of life. They've regressed, they went back so far in life that they have become, they went back to the phase where the whole world was one, where objects were unitary.

There were no separate objects, but everything was a single object. There was no mother in me, mother was me.

So they go back to that phase and they have a conflation of internal and external.

That's the psychotic narrative.

There is another alternative, another narrative.

Remember, we are talking about narratives for organizing objects. We need internal objects and external objects and we need a narrative to make sense of this break in the world.

Because if we don't have a narrative, it's terrifying. It's terrifying that everything is outside and we have no control and we don't understand what's happening. That is terrifying.

So we need a narrative, a way to organize the relationship between internal and external, and to make meaning, create meaning, to give direction and purpose, etc.


The first way to do that is the psychotic way.

Then there is a second way, and that's an narcissistic grandiose way.

This has been extensively described by existentialists.

In the 17th century, there was a French philosopher. All French are philosophers, but he was a real French philosopher. His name was René Descartes.

René Descartes coined the famous phrase, cogito e gusso. I think therefore I am.

What Descartes said was essentially this. I can't be sure about any external object. I don't know. Maybe these objects that appear to be external, maybe I'm imagining them. Maybe they don't exist. Maybe they exist only as figments of my imagination. How would I know? There's no way for me to prove anything. I can touch them. Maybe it's an illusion as well. Maybe my mind creates a delusion that I'm touching the object. There's no end to this. I can't prove that the outside world exists. But I can prove one thing with 100% certainty. I am the one thinking these thoughts. When I'm thinking about the outside world, there's someone who does the thinking, and that's someone who does the thinking about the outside world is me.

So Descartes was the father of the narcissistic grandiose narrative. A kind of solipsism. Only I exist. The outside world is an extension of me. The outside world is a projection of me. The distentialist took it to a totally higher level.

When I say the distentialist, I have a bit of an expansive definition, a psychotic definition, which includes even the likes of Tostoevsky and Nietzsche.

Not only Kierkegaard and Sartre, but others.

So these people, actually what they were saying is, there's only you. Focus on you. Manage life as though you are the only object and only entity. Not in a bad way. Don't exploit and abuse. That's all that they were saying. They were saying the only certainty is that you exist, so focus on that. Focus on that. Manage your life. Reduce your anxiety. Angst. Make choices.

Viktor Frank, who survived Auschwitz, went on to develop logotherapy.

Frank said, meaning will keep your life, but meaning has to come from you. You are the father of the meaning. You must invent it somehow.

Yes, of course you invent the meaning. And then you can say, wait a minute, I invented the meaning. It's meaningless. No. The fact that you had invented the meaning doesn't render it meaningless. On the contrary, maybe. On the contrary, because you are intimate with the meaning that you had created. Maybe it has more meaning for you.

And this is the essence of logotherapy.

So these are all proponents and fathers of the narcissistic grandiose narrative.

And what are the elements of this narrative?


You remember that in psychosis, in the psychotic narrative, the self expands to include the world.

In narcissism, the world minimizes. The world is reduced so that the self can digest and assimilate it.

In other words, where in psychosis there is expansion of identity.

In narcissism, there is actually deflationary identity diffusion.

In other words, everything around the narcissist becomes almost zero. The size of an electron, the size of an elementary particle.

So that the narcissist can do this.

And that's it. From that moment on, there's only the narcissist.

Whereas the psychotic is in the world and one with the world.

The narcissist, in the case of the narcissist, the world is in the narcissist and is one with the narcissist.

It's like the famous saying by Louis XIV in France.

He said, l'état s'est moi. I am the state.

In my person, you have France.

Nixon said almost the same, by the way.

So deflationary identity diffusion, not inflationary identity diffusion.

But here's the irony.

If you deflate the world around you, if you make it much, much, much smaller so that you can actually own it, control it, digest it, assimilate it, integrate it.

If the world is you, you see that the psychotic says we are the world. The narcissist says the world is I.

So that also means that yourself is infinite.

To incorporate the world, you need an infinite self.

The psychotic solution is to get rid of the self.

So say, wait a minute.

The psychotic says I don't need this distinction between self and world because I am the world. So I don't need the self.

The psychotic gives up on the self.

So does the borderline, by the way.

So does the codependent.

All these people, they give up on the self because they are the world.

The narcissist, on the very contrary, he gives up on the world so that he can have an infinite inflated self.

But of course, an infinite inflated self is counterfactual. It's against the facts. It's not realistic.

Or simply put, it's false.

Now you understand the source, the psychodynamic source of the false self.

The narcissist is exactly like the psychotic.

He conflates and confuses internal and external.

But whereas the psychotic regards internal elements, internal figments, internal constructs, internal objects, internal voices, introjects, psychotic regardsthe internal is external.

He confuses, he's confused. He thinks whatever happens inside him actually happens outside him.

It's a form of magical thinking, malignant magical thinking.

That's the psychotic.

The narcissist is exactly the opposite. He says whatever happens externally is actually internal.

Psychotic says whatever happens internally is actually external.

Narcissist says whatever happens externally is actually internal.

Exactly the opposite of the psychotic.

Both these narratives are obviously problematic because they're not real. They're counterfactual. They're dysfunctional. They're counterproductive. They are not what we call self efficacious narratives.

They're narratives that lead nowhere fast. And they don't secure beneficial outcomes in a healthy environment.

Mind you, in a sick environment, in a sick culture, in a pathologized society, these narratives rule. They're much preferable to healthy narratives.

But in a relatively normal society, society that is not anomic, to use Durkheim's phrase, society that is functional, that is healthy, that is happy, that is goal oriented in a good sense, that is collaborative and cooperative, that is peaceful.

In such societies, these two narratives are not only destructive, but they are self destructive.

They prevent the individual from self actualization, which according to Maslow is the top of the pyramid.

And they foster and engender cognitive biases, cognitive deficits, errors in judgment, policies, which very often and badly.

And so in a healthy world, in a healthy civilization, the third type of narrative is the only acceptable one, the only good one, the only self efficacious one.

And that's the narrative of nothingness.

I want to explain this because I've made by now several videos, I think two videos about nothingness and it's totally, it's been totally misunderstood.

Nothingness is not about being a nobody, doing nothing all day and the being late in justifying laziness and intelligence.

And nothingness is not about everyone becoming Jeffrey Lebowski, my favorite character.

I'm in love with this guy.

That's not nothingness.

Nothingness is boundaries, boundaries.

What is a boundary?

What is a healthy psychological boundary?

It's the realization that this is where I end and the world begins. This is where I cease to exist. This is where I stop and other people start. This is me. This is my privileged object. This is the self.

And this is the world. This is internal. This is external. Boundaries is about seizing to exist. Boundaries is about not being anymore. Boundaries is about recognizing that you can't be everywhere at the same time, that you have boundaries, that you are demarcated, that you are a limited, finite entity.

Boundaries, healthy boundaries are concerned with your secession, with your end, with where you stop and cease and not be. It's about not being or unbeing in the German term.

So therefore, boundaries, healthy boundaries have to do with nothingness.

In the psychotic solution, the identity is diffused, is destroyed in the narcissistic solution. The identity becomes false, infinite.

In the nothingness narrative, the identity is suspended. It's suspended not in the bad sense that it's not active, but it's suspended, like suspended in the air. It's clear. It's identifiable. It's separate. It's hanging. It's not enmeshed. It's not fused. It's not merged. It's not rapacious. It's not predatory. It's not inflationary. It's not deflationary, so diffuse. It's none of these things. It's simply there, suspended in mid-air.

So we have boundaries which define where you end, where you cease to be, where you don't exist anymore, and the world starts, and other people start.

And you have a suspended identity, which is like a globule, a globule of tranquility.

I think this is as close as one gets to nirvana, to true enlightenment.

This is not a suspension of the ego or elimination of the ego. It's absolutely wrong way to look at it.

When Indian mystical traditions are interpreted, they're interpreted to mean that you should destroy the ego, suspend the ego, get rid of the ego.

That's absolutely not what they're saying.

But they are talking about this, what I'm saying, the crystallization of you.

The crystallization of you is distinct from the world, divorcing the narcissistic narrative that you can swallow the world, digest the world, rape the world, kill the world. It's a dead narrative, dead objects narrative, dead mother narrative, and getting rid of a psychotic narrative where you have to kill yourself, where you have to be the dead object so that the world can survive, so that you can be in the world.

The only way for you to be in the world is by not being, by not being totally, not at the boundary, but totally.

These two are Sikh narratives.

You need to find the balance.

The balance is a crystallized, well-defined, boundary identity that is divorced from the world, divorced from the world, but recognizes the separateness of the world, recognizes the schism and break that happened early on, and yet feels comfortable within itself and thereby respects all other objects as similar.

It's as good a definition of empathy as I've ever come across.

The self, in this case, doesn't cease to exist like in psychosis, doesn't become infinite and godlike like in Buddhism, but it's calibrated, validated but calibrated.

Calibrated, there's a feedback mechanism, feedback loop that makes sure that it's within the proper boundaries.

Human history is nothing but an extension and an amplification of individual psycho-history, or shall we say, the psycho-histories of the individuals comprising the collective.

We have this in evolutionary embryology.

We have something called vestigial structures.

You know, when the human embryo develops, it starts with a tail, like a lizard has a tail, like dinosaurs, and then it develops gills, like fish, fish have.

So the human embryo goes through all the phases of evolution, in effect, at least symbolically, with vestigial structures.

And this is called evolutionary embryology.

The human embryo unfolds.

Jung himself suggested something called the collective unconscious, archetypes.

He said that the individual unconscious includes the unconscious of all previous generations mediated via archetypes, via representations, usually visual and character representations.

So you have the archetype of the divine youth, the archetype of the god.

So he said that our unconscious is not totally chaotic and primordial, like a soup.

Our unconscious is organizing drawers.

It's classified. There's a taxonomy of our unconscious.

And this has handed down the generations.

Everything I'm describing is intergenerational. Everything has also genetic components.

So theseare intergenerational transmission mechanisms.

If you have dead parents, you will become dead in all likelihood, and you will have dead children, and they will have dead grandchildren.

Death is passed on as a legacy, exactly like life.

And so Jung called it the collective, Jung said that there is collective unconscious with archetypes.

It's true on the individual level, but it also true on the collective level.

Collectives go exactly through a psychotic phase.

What is a psychotic phase in human collectives?

It's when we invent, we come up with internal entities, internal objects like God, like nation state, like my football club, like my family.

These are internal objects in the sense that it's arguable if they exist, or at least it's arguable if the abstract notion represents anything real.

And yet we relate to these invented internal objects as though they were external.

When we came up with the nation state, by the way, it's a very late 19th century. When we came up with the nation state, suddenly it acquired the life of its own.

And tens of millions of people died defending it, protecting an internal object that suddenly became an external object.

That's psychosis.

When we invented God, millions of people died in his name. God was an internal object.

And then suddenly it became externalized. That is a psychotic solution.


So collectives also go through a psychotic phase followed by a narcissistic phase.

The narcissistic phase is when the self becomes the overriding object, the totally inflated object, the infinite object.

When the self usurps the role that other internal objects had before, like God, the self becomes God, the self becomes more important than the state.

When the self becomes more important than any collective, when the self becomes more important than your own family, when the self suddenly inflates to the point that it becomes the only object.

Again, regression to child.

And so we see this not only in relationships and not only in religion and not only in politics.

I'll give you an example from physics.

In physics is a branch theory called quantum mechanics.

And the dominant interpretation of quantum mechanics is the Copenhagen interpretation from the 1920s.

And what the Copenhagen interpretation says is that the specific results of experiments in quantum mechanics are determined by the observer and by the observer's decision.

The observer decides and his decision determines the outcomes of the experiment.

What is this, if not conflating the observer with the creator, rendering the observer God-like?

It's a narcissistic narrative, narcissistic script.

So it's a collective started with psychotic scripts.

The psychotic scripts or psychotic narratives included religion, divine religions, but also secular religions like racism, communism, liberal democracy, capitalism. They're all secular religions and they have their own gods. They have their own gods, their own internal objects that are externalized.

We owe money. Money is an agreement.

It's a totally internal object that suddenly acquired an external life.

And the only reason I'm willing to give you something in return for your money is because we have an agreement.

What is an agreement? It's totally internal.

There's no such thing as agreement out there in reality.

Agreement is an internal object.

So all these secular religions are identical to divine religions in the sense that they all, without exception, externalize internal objects.

Then people are willing to die for them.

So this is the psychotic phase followed by the narcissistic phase where these externalized internal objects are dumped, discarded, and instead the self takes off.

The self becomes this overriding, all encompassing, inflated, single, unitary, unique object.

And we are living in this transition phase between psychotic narratives and narcissistic narratives because all our psychotic narratives failed.

Religion failed. Communism failed. Nazism failed. Capitalism failed. Liberal democracy is failing. Science is failing. Science is a psychotic, of course, narrative.

The science worships reason the same way religious people worship God.

It is the same structure, by the way. Paradigm shifts in science are within these confines.

They don't really change the essence of science.

So science is a psychotic script.

All these psychotic narratives failed us.

And the elites that propagated and promulgated and promoted them had failed us and betrayed us.

So we are now moving to a narcissistic narrative, a phase of narcissistic narrative in human history.

And we see, look around you, people are becoming more and more selfish, more and more narcissistic, more and more self-contained, more and more self-sufficient technologies helping.

Of course, we invent technologies to support the narrative. It's not an accident and it's not a coincidence that social media erupted on the scene only in the last 10 years because they have to cater to new narcissistic narratives.

The role of sex, similarly, is modified.

So will we ever move to a nothingness narrative? Will we ever move to a healthy narrative where we know our boundaries? Where we feel confident and safe and calm and anxiety-free with ourselves? Where we know the difference between self and world? Where we recognize the reciprocity and similarity and even identity of other objects like us, other people? Will we ever come there, this utopia?

I don't know. The prophecy is not a part of my job description.

And I can't say I'm optimistic. It's the maximum I'm willing to say at this stage.


I see signs that we are moving into an overwhelming and all-prevalent and ubiquitous narcissistic narrative.

I think narcissism is becoming a religion where everyone is a god and everyone is a worshiper. It's a network religion. It uses a technological metaphor.

And I've dealt with these issues in other videos. And you can find all these videos in my other channel. My other channel is Vaknin Musings. My name plus the word Musings. M-U-S-I-N-G-S.

So there is an expansion. I'm expanding on these issues and I'm discussing them at length.

But I'm not optimistic. And I'm explaining in the videos on that channel, on the other channel, I'm explaining why I'm not optimistic.

At this stage I think we have just started. We've just embarked on the narcissistic narrative and the psychotic narrative.

It took us five thousand years, if not ten thousand years.

To get rid of the psychotic narratives or to exit the psychotic narratives, to emerge. And it wouldn't surprise me if it would take us two, three, four thousand years to exit the narcissistic phase.

I think we're just starting actually.

So I think nothingness is way off and far off. And we have adopted all the wrong morals.

We have this propensity, proclivity to adopt the wrong morals.

I don't think anything substantial is going to change.

I think the pandemic is hastening and catalyzing some of these processes.

But I don't think it will induce any sudden leap, to use Kierkegaard's term, leap of faith from narcissism to nothingness.

On the very contrary, I see all these coaches, public intellectuals, real psychologists, fake psychologists, real doctors, fake doctors. Yes, fake doctors.

I advise you to check. I see all these people. They're just encouraging narcissism. They are the prophets of narcissism. They profit from narcissism. They encourage the narcissism of victims.

Ever see the empath movement?

This is a narcissistic victimhood. They encourage collective narcissism. They are embedded in narcissism. They benefit from narcissism. They leverage narcissism.

I don't see any incentive for anyone not to collaborate and cooperate with narcissism and narcissistic trends and tendencies.

On the very contrary, our society is built as an incentive structure that rewards narcissism richly.

And so it's not surprising that New Scientist has a Kierkegaard story in July 2016.

Parents, teach your children to be narcissists. Truer words when never spoken. Have fun.

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