There is a new class of students, Bonbonim, and all the other types of students tuning in to this channel in order to edify, elevate and educate themselves.
My name is Sam Vaknin, I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited, and a smiling professor of psychology.
I have no idea why I'm smiling. I must be a bit deranged.
Okay, let's delve right in.
In our previous dialogues, Richard and I touched upon a series of dynamics between you and the narcissist. And we ended the last dialogue by saying that we're going to make a special video, a special dialogue on separation individuation as a prerequisite to recovery and healing because you can't really recover and heal before you separate and individuate from the narcissist.
Let me explain this bit. You remember from previous videos, those of you who are still alive, you remember that the narcissist poses as a good enough mother. He adopts a maternal role. He broadcasts it. He tells you, listen, I'm going to love you unconditionally the way your mother should have loved you, the way a good enough mother loves. And so I'm going to love you unconditionally, and I'm going to idealize. And then through my gaze, you can idealize yourself. You can love yourself. So it's a kind of a double yummy.
On the one hand, you get a new mother in the shape of the narcissist. And it's a mother who is good enough, loving, caring, unconditionally supportive. And on the other hand, you get to see yourself through the narcissist's eyes as this ideal, perfect, super good, drop dead, gorgeous, super intelligent creature, a new woman in effect. And this is irresistible. You fall in love with yourself. You develop infatuation and limerence with yourself, not with the narcissist.
And so this is the narcissist's way of getting you addicted to him as the sole conduit and the sole venue and the sole channel through which you can see yourself this way.
Okay. So the narcissist plays the maternal role. He plays the mother.
Because he plays the mother, you regress, you become a baby and you regress to the stage before separation, individuation, the stage before you had separated from your actual mother and had become an individual.
Now we have two phases of separation, individuation.
One of them is an early childhood between 18 months and 24 months. And the other one in adolescence when there is something called identity diffusion. So the narcissist regresses you to infancy. He infantilizes you.
And at that point, you merge and fuse with the narcissist, you become one with the narcissist. And it's like your separation, individuation from your original mother had been reversed. And now you're no longer separate. There's no separateness. This is the shared fantasy. You're one organism with two heads. It's you against the world. It's a cult.
So you're not separate anymore. And of course you are not an individual. The narcissist appropriates your individuality. He eliminates your contours by bridging your boundaries. He sort of erases the demarcating, delineating lines that separate you from him and from reality. You dissolve and you melt and you merge with him.
So separation, individuation.
Going again through this phase, reacquiring the ability to separate and to individuate are critical to recovery and healing. And this is something I would like to discuss with Richard in a future dialogue.
Similarly, there's the issue of parentifying, which I hope to discuss with another of my interlocutors, Daria Shukowska, a psychologist. But before we even get into these issues of parentifying, separation, individuation, before we get into any of these issues, I would like to make a few comments or make a few remarks, which you should bear in mind when you watch the future videos about parentifying, parentification, separation and individuation.
The first thing is that the narcissist creates a snapshot of you. He creates an introject. He creates an inner representation of you, an internal object that stands in for you, represents you in his mind.
But your introject in the narcissist's mind is muted. It doesn't have a voice. It doesn't have a voice because the narcissist cannot allow you to be independent or autonomous in any way, shape or form. He wants you to be an ancient Egyptian mummy, an inert object. So he kind of mutes you. He disables your voice.
And so the snapshot is mute. It's silent. It's like a silent film, silent movie in the narcissist's mind.
The narcissist superimposes on the introject his own internal voices, his own internal dialogue or monologue. So in other words, he attributes to you speech acts that are not yours. There is a representation of you in the narcissist's mind. It's an image, literally an image. It's exactly like a snapshot or a video. The narcissist photoshops this image.
This is the process called idealization or more precisely co-idealization. And then he superimposes on that image texts, speech, words that come from his mind.
But because the narcissist is exactly like the psychotic, confuses internal with external objects, he tends to regard the text and the speech attributed to your introject as yours. In other words, he is the one who is putting words in your mouth through the introject.
But then he convinces himself that these words were actually yours, not his, but yours. He forces you in his mind to say certain things. And then he says, you see, you said these things. So he constantly believes that he's being gaslighted. That's the irony. It's a form of self-gaslighting.
Because by manipulating your introject, by attributing to your introject certain texts and certain words and certain acts of speech, the narcissist is actually gaslighting himself. But he believes that you are gaslighting him by projecting it.
So the narcissist has an introjective view, which is muted, silent, but you have an introject of the narcissist in your mind, which is very active, very vociferous, constantly criticizing, berating, diminishing, debasing, demeaning, degrading, humiliating, chastizing, castigating, criticizing and analyzing you.
In other words, the narcissist becomes a second, harsh, sadistic inner critic. The narcissist supplants your super ego. That's why narcissists can make you do things which you find unbelievable, which run against your grain, which defy who you are, which contravene your essence.
Because what he does, he disables your super ego and your inner critic and he replaces them with his introject. His introject becomes your conscience. His introject becomes your conscience. His voice in your head becomes the benchmark and the yardstick of proper behavior, acceptable conduct.
You consult the voice that represents the narcissist. You consult this voice before you do anything to get approval and approbation and affirmation from that voice.
The narcissist becomes the head of a tribunal, a judge, a Supreme Court judge, sitting constantly in judgment of you, like a Kafkaesque trial. And so he's in your head, embedded, metastasizing, deleting, eliminating or disabling other constructs like the super ego, but not only the super ego. The narcissist actually takes over ego functions. He creates what we call external ego boundary functions, but this is topic for another video.
Okay. So the narcissist has your introject in his mind. It's muted and it spews out words, text and speech attributed to the introject by the narcissist. So you're kind of a marionette, a puppet, a marionette. The narcissist is pulling your strings, but because he's totally delusional, he believes that your motion, your motions, your movements are autonomous, agentic, independent and chosen when actually he's pulling your strings.
On the other hand, you have an introject of the narcissist in your head, which is fully active and fully activated and fully activated and talks a lot and makes you do things and sits in judgment of you and kind of criticizes you harshly.
So it's a theater play, in effect. It's the narcissist theater play. Like Shakespeare said, it's a stage, but only for two actors. Actually, it's a monodrama because you are nothing but a prop. Ostensibly you are an actress, but you are not on the pay bill. You're not on the poster. It's a monodrama. It's a narcissist using you as a puppet. He scripts the play. He directs the play. You act in the play, but your strings are pulled and you're just a prop, property, theater prop.
So you have an external locus of control. All your decisions, choices, cognitions, emotions and moods come from the outside. They come from the narcissist.
And this is the process known as entraining.
Richard and I have had another dialogue dedicated to entraining, which you advise to watch.
If what I'm saying is true, and of course it's true because I'm saying it's true because it's based on research, but if what I'm saying is true, then all the current advice online and a lot of the advice offline is wrong. It's counterproductive. It's detrimental. It's bad for you because the current advice online and offline is you should recognize and embrace your victimhood. You should accept that you had been victimized. You should cope with it and you should get over it.
But if you accept that you had been a victim, what you're doing is you're continuing to participate in the narcissist theater play.
The narcissist had allocated to you a role in the script, a role in his play. We call this in psychology and sociology. We call it emergent roles.
So the narcissist had allocated to you an emergent role and it emerged spontaneously and organically from the interaction between both of you.
But when you consider yourself as a victim, when you adopt a victimhood stance, or when you simply admit that you had been victimized and act accordingly, you are freezing the emergent roles. You are accepting them. You're internalizing them, interiorizing them. You're identifying yourself with these emergent roles and you are becoming the role that the narcissist had allocated to you.
The locus of control, therefore, remains firmly in his hands. He is still in your mind, even if and when and though you are separated physically. He may even be dead, dead and still very much alive in your mind. As long as you accept to participate in the narcissist theater play, you can never become anything else but a prop, anything else but a footnote, anything else but a victim, anything else but what he wants you to be.
You need to extricate yourself from that theater. You need to shout fire and head for the exit and try to avoid the stampede. You need, in other words, to reverse the roles. You need to create your own theater play.
In this new theater play, you write the script. You direct everyone, the narcissist included, and the narcissist is the prop. He is the mutant actor. Whether he's physically present or whether he is just an introject in your mind, the voice in your mind, you still need to treat him very much as a clear and present danger, as an entity or a being that is very much present, that is very much there. So whether he's there physically or not is irrelevant. He is there. He is always there.
And the only way to get rid of him is to reduce him into a prop, into a muted actor, a walk-in or walk-by actor, a statist in a film, a decoration, an ornament.
You write the script. You direct the show and you allocate roles to the narcissist. And you re-acquire your voice where the narcissist's voice speaks to you. You silence it and you answer back. And you answer back in a contrarian way. You contradict what the narcissist's voice or introject had said to you. You disagree. You criticize. You fight back. You create a new theater production. And this is how you begin the process of separation, individuation.
And I will leave it to much later when Richard and I will tackle it, hopefully, in a dialogue.
But this, everything I've just said, you must bear in mind when in some future tense you watch the dialogue between me and Richard on separation, individuation, as a precondition for healing and recovery.
Thank you for listening.