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Do Narcissists Truly Hate?

Uploaded 1/31/2017, approx. 8 minute read

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

I am not lovable. I can never be loved. Fact is, I am constantly being punished, abused, degraded and demeaned. This proves that I am not lovable.

So, if I cannot be loved, better be hated. If I cannot love, better hate. It's kind of preemptive abandonment.

These kind of children not only act out antisocially, but also seek to provoke hatred in parents, caregivers and authority figures.

At least, in this comfort zone of mutual antagonism, there is no risk of being shattered by the disappointment and frustration that are the ineluctable, inevitable outcomes of hope.

Abused children do not have hope. They are hopeless. And because they are hopeless, they can never love.

Of course, he who loves to be hated and hates to be loved also loves to hate and hates to love.

In other words, these kind of people, these kind of children, when they grow up, fear intimacy.

Narcissists are usually adult versions of abused children.

Abused, as you might recall, is not limited to physical, psychological, verbal or sexual abuse.

Putting the child on a pedestal, idolizing the child, smothering, pampering, spoiling the child, not recognizing the child's boundaries, using the child as an instrument of gratification, forcing upon the child the parents unfulfilled wishes and dreams.

All these are forms of abuse.

So when I say abused children, I mean children whose boundaries are constantly breached and who were not permitted to separate from the parents, to individuate, to become autonomous, independent, happy entities.

So when these children grow up, many of them become co-dependence and the small percentage become narcissists. And the narcissist's emotional complexity, ambivalence, towards significant others is notorious.

The narcissist's love often comes laced with bouts of vitriolic or even violent abuse and aggression.

Narcissists hate mostly those whom they claim to love. They abuse overwhelmingly their internet partners, their so-called nearest and dearest.

Love and hate, hate and love.

This is a distillation of the narcissist's existence.


But the narcissist's hatred is atypical.

Ramble and Burris suggested in 2005 that hate is a stable experiential state, that it is an emotion and that it involves a goal-driven motivation to diminish or utterly eradicate the well-being of the target of hate.

In contradistinction, the narcissist's hatred is not a stable experiential state. It is provoked or invoked or elicited, but never there constantly. It is a transformation of resentment and therefore an aggressive reaction to frustration in line with Donald's frustration-aggression hypothesis.

And the narcissist does not care about his victim's well-being. He doesn't want to diminish it. He doesn't want, of course, to enhance it or to increase it. He simply doesn't care about the welfare and well-being of his targets and victims. He just wishes to remove the fount of frustration, the source of frustration altogether and expediently.

So by the lights of Ramble and Burris, by the lights of this motivational model, the narcissist's hatred or hate does not qualify as hate at all.

I doubt whether it qualifies as an emotion. I think it's more akin to trying to remove a nuisance or get rid of some obstacle or hindrance.

The narcissist resents the core or the source of all this, is that the narcissist resents his object dependence on his sources of narcissistic supply. He is heavily dependent on other people for the regulation of his sense of self-worth, the esteem and self-confidence without the input from other people, without this constant reflection of his false self back at him.

Without this, and without this, the narcissist crumbles, disintegrates, evaporates. He needs this constant input. He needs this constant feedback.

And he is therefore heavily dependent on the people, on others, on those who provide him reliably and consistently with such input and feedback.

In other words, he is heavily dependent on sources of narcissistic supply and he resents it. He hates it.

In his mind, he is omnipotent. He is God-like. He is divine. Why would he be dependent on lesser mortals? Why would he be dependent on people who are manifestly less intelligent than he is, less superior than he is, less qualified, less skilled, less talented?

Why is this dependence? He hates it.

And so, by ridding himself of the constant presence of his sources of supply, he seeks to ameliorate the irritation that they cause him repeatedly.

Of course, even as he hatefully acts against his sources of supply, he is also terrified of and anxious to lose him. And he attempts to placate and to bribe these sources of supply into staying and fulfilling their function.

So, it's an approach avoidance repetition complex. He needs the source of supply.

He tries to bribe the source of supply, to placate the source of supply, to flatter, to attract, to captivate, to capture, to hoover the source of supply.

And then, once the source of supply is there and the narcissist realizes how dependent he is on that source, he becomes hateful and aggressive.

And he wants to destroy the source of frustration. He wants to destroy the source of supply because it's a constant reminder how ludicrous, how idiotic the narcissist fantasies are. How his inflated self-image is anything but real. How his whole existence is a piece of fiction, a narrative which is valid only in his imagination, in his febrile mind.

The narcissist is reminded by the very existence of sources of supply that he is a drug addict, that he is a junkie, that he needs supply, that he cannot survive without supply.

They bring to his attention his decrepit state of existence. They disabuse him of the notion that he is above everyone and everything.

They show him vividly that he is far from perfect and definitely not superior.

They, in other words, sources of supply are a constant challenge to the narcissist's grandiosity and therefore an existential threat.

But hate and fear are also sure generators of attention.

It is all about narcissistic supply, of course, the drug which narcissists consume and which consumes narcissists in return.

So narcissists attack sadistically, not only sources of supply but also authority figures, institutions. Anyone who tries to get close to them, any threat of impending intimacy, provokes narcissistic rage and worse abuse.

And so narcissists love to be hated and hate to be loved.

I wrote once about myself. If I had to distill my quotidian experience in two pithy sentences, I would say I love to be hated and I hate to be loved.

Hate is the complement of fear and I like being feared. It imbues me with an intoxicating sensation of omnipotence.

I am veritably inebriated by the looks of horror or repulsion on people's faces. They know that I am capable of anything. Godlike, I am ruthless, unpredictable, devoid of struggles, capricious, unfathomable, emotionless, asexual, omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent, a plague, a devastation, an inescapable verdict.

I nurture my ill repute, my notoriety. I stalk it. I fan the flames of gossip. It is an enduring asset. I bask in the incomparable pleasure of being superior and right. I derive my grandiose superiority from the contrast between my righteousness and the humaneness and humanness of others.

But it is not that simple. It is never simple with narcissists, of course.

Fostering public revolt and the inevitable ensuing social assumptions, this fulfills two other psychodynamic goals.

The first one I alluded to, it is the burning desire, or even need, to be punished. It's the masochistic streak in narcissists. It's the internalized bad object.

In the grotesque mind of the narcissist, his punishment is also his vindication. Byhis vindication.

By being permanently on trial, the narcissist claims the high moral ground and the position of a martyr, misunderstood, discriminated against, unjustly roughed, outcast by his very towering genius or other outstanding qualities.

To conform to the cultural stereotype of the tormented artist, the narcissist provokes his own suffering. He is thus validated, passive aggressively.

The narcissist's grandiose fantasies acquire a martyrlike substance by being singled out, by being pursued, by being persecuted, by being penalized, by being ostracized.

All these render the narcissist unique.

If I were not so special, says the narcissist, they wouldn't have persecuted me so.

Paranoia is another form of narcissism. It puts the paranoid at the center of attention. It renders him important, sufficiently important, for other people to conspire to pursue him and punish him and track him down and limit him and constrict him and then ultimately destroy him.

So the persecution of the narcissist is his uniqueness.

The narcissist must be different, for better or for worse. The streak of paranoia embedded in the narcissist makes the outcome inevitable.

The narcissist is in constant conflict with lesser beings, his spouse, his shrink, his boss, his colleagues, his neighbors. He is forced to stoop to their intellectual level.

He feels like Gulliver, a giant, strapped by lily cushions. The narcissist's life is a constant struggle against the self-contented mediocrity of his surroundings.

And this is his fate, which the narcissist accepts, though never stoically.

The narcissist sees himself as a cosmic mission. He has a calling and being punished, being pursued, being persecuted, this recurring, masochistic, self-humiliation or humiliation in his stormy life, these only tend to kind of engender and buttress the narrative of this unique cosmic mission.

After all, Jesus had been prosecuted and crucified, wasn't he?

Deeper still, the narcissist has an image of himself as a worthless bad and dysfunctional extension of others.

In constant need of narcissistic supply, the narcissist feels humiliated, as we have said.

The contrast between his cosmic fantasies and the reality of his dependence, neediness and often failure, this gap between grandiosity and reality, that I turned grandiosity gap, this is an emotionally harrowing experience to be constantly reminded how deluded you are, how far from the truth, how divorced from reality.

That is a very painful experience. It is a constant background noise of devilish demeaning laughter. These voices, these internal voices say to the narcissist, you're a fraud, you're a zero, you deserve nothing, you're a failure, if only they knew how worthless you are, or in Donald Trump's terminology, you're a loser.

The narcissist attempts to silence these tormenting voices, not by fighting them, but actually by agreeing with them, unconsciously and sometimes consciously.

The narcissist responds to these voices by saying, I do agree with you, I'm bad and worthless and deserving of the most severe punishment for my rotten character, bad habits, addiction and the constant fraud that is my life. I will go out and I will seek my doom and now that I have complied, now that I have become self-destructive and self-defeating, will you leave me alone?

He says to these tormenting voices.

And of course, these voices never do.

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