Empathy As Narcissistic Psychotic Defense It's About YOU, Not The OTHER

Uploaded 9/13/2020, approx. 28 minute read

You may not have noticed, but I am wearing my Count Dracula outfit.

Okay, kiddos and kiddettes, women and womenettes, third time lucky.

This is the third video of the day. I am testing your resilience and your inner strength. Let's see who will break up first, you or me.

I'm going to keep making videos until one of us lies down and lays his weapons.


So today's video is a kind of a new theory of empathy.

There's a question here. When you empathize with someone, are you empathizing, are you relating to, are you interacting with an external object? With the representation of this external object in your mind with a kind of internal object that represents the external object with an avatar, an icon, I don't know how you want to call it, a handle? Or are you interacting and relating to a totally internal object that has very little to do with the external object?

So these are the three possibilities, totally external, representation of the external internally, or totally internal.

And the common answer today is that when you empathize with someone, you are interacting 100% with an external object, with an entity out there, and that you are relating to this entity, that this entity, this external entity, provokes in you internal psychodynamics, internal processes.

We're going to study this in depth. And I'm going to come up with an alternative, which is a bit shocking, because my proposed new theory of empathy is that when we empathize, we are actually reacting to a totally internal object that has extremely little to do with the external object.

The external object, the other person, is just a trigger. It triggers the internal object.

Now, if this is true, the whole nature of empathy should be completely reconceived. And many disorders of empathy, like narcissism, like psychopathy, should also be reconsidered.

And then there's a question of partial empathy, such as cognitive empathy, which is reflexive plus cognitive. And in babies, reflexive empathy, babies have only reflexive empathy. It opens a whole can of worms.

But before we go there, just a clarification, I never actually in several videos and several interviews on my channel, I made very clear that I regard autism to be a brain disorder. I do not think that autism is caused by a refrigerator mother, by a bad mother, by a dead mother.

What I did say in the previous video, had you bothered to listen carefully, is that an autistic child would react, an already autistic child, with flawed genetics, brain abnormality. We don't know exactly what causes autism, by the way. There's no agree theory on what causes autism.

Well, what I'm saying is, an already autistic child, a child with a foundation of autism, would react to a dead mother, would react to an emotionally unavailable, distant, cold mother, by developing attention deficits and narcissism.

That's all I said. I don't think autism is caused by upbringing, or by mothering, or by bedparenting, or by any of the theories that prevailed in the 1950s and 1960s.

So now, to the topic of today's video, a new theory of empathy.

First of all, the very existence of empathy should be questioned.

It is often confused with intersubjectivity. What is intersubjectivity?

The Oxford Companion to Philosophy defines intersubjectivity this way. It says, intersubjectivity refers to the status of being somehow accessible to at least two, and usually all, minds or subjectivities.

Intersubjectivity implies that there is some sort of communication between those minds, which in turn implies that each communicating mind is aware not only of the existence of the other minds, but also of its intention to convey information to the other minds.

Intersubjectivity is a kind of idea which, if subjective processes can be brought into agreement, then perhaps this is as good as the unattainable status of being objective, completely independent of subjectivity.

In other words, if we could bring all minds into sync, if we could bring all minds into agreement on something, perhaps this is a good enough definition of objectivity.

And in this sense, ironically, empathy, enhanced empathy, theoretically should lead to objectivity.

By the way, this is not the case. The more empathic you are, the more you misread people. This is what studies have shown.

So empathy does not lead to objectivity. It does not lead outside. It seems to lead inside. The more empathic you are, the more you withdraw from other people, the less well you read them, the less well you understand them.

It's a shocking recent discovery in many, many studies.

And so if this is true, empathy has something to do not with other people, but a lot more to do with you, the empathizer.

The companion, the Oxford Companion to Philosophy continues, the question facing us is whether intersubjectivity is definable without presupposing an objective environment in which communication takes place, the wiring from subject A to subject B.

At a less fundamental level, however, the need for intersubjective verification of scientific hypotheses has been long recognized.

So for example, in quantum mechanics, we talk about the contribution of the observer to the experiment.

Okay, here's the thing. If empathy was about other people, then empathizing with a huge number of other people would have led you to a better grasp of reality.

But this is not the case. The more you empathize, the less, the more impaired your reality testing, the less correctly you grasp reality, at least about other people.

So therefore, the inevitable conclusion is inescapably that empathy is much more an internal process, much more to do with you than with others.

On the face of it, the difference between intersubjectivity and empathy is dual, double. One, intersubjectivity requires an explicit communicated agreement between at least two subjects. And it involves external things, so-called objective entities, other people.

These differences look very fundamental, but actually, they're pretty artificial. This is how empathy is defined in a textbook, Psychology and Introduction by Charles G. Morris, 1996.

He says, closely related to the ability to read other people's emotions is empathy, the arousal of an emotion in an observer that is a vicarious response to the other person's situation.

Empathy depends not only on one's ability to identify someone else's emotions, but also on one's capacity to put oneself in the other person's place and to experience an appropriate emotional response.

Just as sensitivity to nonverbal cues increases with age, so does empathy.

The cognitive and perceptual abilities required for empathy develop only as a child matures.

In empathy training, for example, Morris continues, each member of the couple is taught to share inner feelings and to listen to and understand the partner's feelings before responding to them.

The empathy technique focuses the couple's attention on feelings and requires that they spend more time listening and less time in rebuttal.

So empathy does require the communication of feelings and an agreement on the appropriate outcome of the communicated emotions. We call this an effective agreement.

Not effective, affective. In the absence of such an agreement, in the absence of an agreement on the outcome of the communicated emotions, we are faced with inappropriate affect.

For example, laughing at a funeral. Laughing at a funeral is inappropriate, and it happens because we don't agree on the outcome of communicating emotions such as sadness.

Moreover, empathy does relate to external objects. It is provoked by them.

There is no empathy in the absence of an empathy, someone you empathize with.

It's true that intersubjectivity is intuitively applied to the inanimate, while empathy is applied to the living, animals, humans, even plants.

But this is a difference in human preferences, not in definition.

Empathy can be redefined as a form of intersubjectivity, which involves living things as objects to which the communicated intersubjective agreement is applied.

It is wrong to limit our understanding of empathy to the communication of emotion. Rather, it is the intersubjective, concomitant experience of being.

The empathor, the person who empathizes, empathizes not only with the empathy's emotions, but also with the empathy's physical state and other parameters of existence like pain, hunger, thirst, suffocation, sexual pleasure, and so on.

So I disagree with the distinction between intersubjectivity and empathy. I think empathy is a private case of intersubjectivity.

And I also disagree with Morris and others that in the absence of communication of emotion, there's no empathy, because you could empathize with non-emotional states of being.

So empathy is not about emotions. It's about existence. It's about being.

What is it that we feel in empathy? Do we feel our emotions? Do we feel, do we experience our sensations provoked by an external trigger, which is classic intersubjectivity? Or do we experience some kind of magical enchanted transfer of another person's objects, another person's feelings, and another person's sensations to us? Do we see someone, he triggers us, and then we experience our own emotions and sensations? Or that person transfers to us emotions and sensations? Which of the two?

Well, let's start with the basics.

A transfer from one person to another is physically impossible as far as we know. So following shallow poems, if you deem something impossible, whatever remains however improbable must be the truth.

So if it's impossible for one person to transfer feelings, emotions, sensations to another person, it means that empathy takes place 100% inside. It's an internal phenomenon. It has very little to do with anything external or any one external.

The other person just triggers in us a cascade of emotions, cognitions, sensations, feelings. It's a trigger.

Empathy is a set of reactions, emotional and cognitive. It's reactions to being triggered by an external object, by the other.

It is equivalent of resonance in the physical sciences or flashbacks in PTSD.

But we have no way of ascertaining that the wavelength of such resonance is identical in both subjects.

Do we really know the frequency of another person? Do we know what another person is feeling? Do we know the subjective experience of a specific emotion in another person?

We have no way to verify the feelings, emotions, sensations or even cognitions invoked and evoked and provoked and elicited in two subjects are the same.

I don't know if my subjective experience of the color red is your subjective experience of the color red. When we use the word red, are we talking about the same thing? And this is the color red, which is an objective light-wave frequency.

Imagine when we talk about love or hatred or repulsion. These are compounded multifaceted schemas of everything, cognitions, emotions, values, experiences, memories, thoughts, identity, cultural and social worry. They all interfere and intervene and compose and recompose and recombine and everything to yield sadness.

When you're telling me I'm sad and I'm telling you I'm sad too, are we talking about the same thing? Is there a procedure? Is there a test? Is there an experiment we can conduct that will tell us that what I call sadness is what you call sadness?

No, the answer is no.

Colors, for instance, have unique, uniform, independently measurable properties, the energy, and even so, no one can prove that what I see as black is what another person would call black.

A Daltonist, a colorblind person, uses the word black, but what he means when he says black is not what I mean. If this is true with colors, which are objective, measurable phenomena, it is infinitely more true in the case of emotions and feelings, and we are forced, therefore, to refine the definition.

Let's try again.

Empathy is a form of intersubjectivity, which involves living things as objects, to which the communicated intersubjective agreement relates. It is the intersubjective concomitant experience of being.

The empathor, the person who empathizes, empathizes not only with the empath's emotions, but also with his physical state and other parameters of existence such as pain, hunger, thirst, suffocation, sexual pleasure, but the meaning attributed to the words used by both of us, by the empathor and the empathy, the meaning attributed to the words, the meaning attached to the intersubjective agreement known as empathy, the meaning is totally dependent upon each party.

There is no dictionary. They can never be a dictionary between two people. Minds are inaccessible. Minds are firewalled by definition. I can never enter your mind. I have to rely 100% on what you report to me. If you tell me I'm sad, you may be faking. I have no way of knowing. I have no way of proving it, not even with a functional magnetic resonance imaging machine, because you can fake that too. There's no way, no known way to establish with 100% certainty what's happening in your mind.

And moreover, even if tomorrow we invent a machine that shows conclusively that when you say that you're sad, you're not lying and you're really sad, how you experience your sadness, the subjective experience, the introspective experience of sadness, I can't prove that it's the same for you as it is for me. The same words are used, the same denotations, but it cannot be proven that the same connotations, the same experiences, the same emotions and sensations are being discussed or communicated.

We are lying to ourselves. We create a lexical dictionary convention. We say, listen, let's agree that the word sadness means the same for you as it does for me. Let's agree that your love is my love, which is the source of a lot of misunderstanding in many couples.

They use words which describe emotions and even cognitions and they don't agree on a common dictionary and why they don't agree on a common dictionary, because it's impossible to do it. This is impossible to accomplish.

Even if I put two members of a couple, a man and a woman, and they talk for the next eight years, they discuss for the next eight years, what is the meaning of love? It would still be something extraneous. They would still not be discussing the experience of love. How does she experience love? How does he experience love?

The physiological manifestations may be the same, heartbeat, blood pressure, pupil dilation, but that's it. What's the subjective experience? What does love mean to her in the deepest, most profound sense? How does he go through love? How does he become through love?

There's no way to communicate this. We are utterly isolated, solipsistic islands. We are ships passing at the night. In the night we blow our foghorns and we call this love and communication. Then we are gone. Then we are gone. Language and by extension art, culture, they serve to introduce us to other points of view.

What is it like to be someone else? To paraphrase Thomas Nagel. By providing a bridge between the subjective inner experience and the objective words, images, sounds, language facilitates social exchange and interaction. It's useful. It is a dictionary which translates one's subjective private language to the coin of the public medium.

Knowledge and language are thus the ultimate social glue, though both are based on approximations, guesses, and frankly, lies, confabulations.

I refer you to George Steiner's After Babel. I had the privilege of spending three years with him in Geneva. Amazing intellectual. True intellectual. Old-fashioned type. Old school.

Whereas the intersubjective agreement regarding measurements and observations concerning external objects is verifiable or falsifiable using independent tools.

So when we talk about objective things, we can conduct lab experiments. We can conduct studies and we can reach an intersubjective agreement on the size of this laptop. We can even to some extent reach an intersubjective agreement on how big St. Vaknin's nose is.

But can we reach a true intersubjective agreement about whether my nose is ugly, about how you feel about my nose, what sensations my nose gives you when it's used appropriately, your emotions, your experiences? Can you communicate these? Of course not. None of these are verifiable or falsifiable using independent tools.

I cannot construct a laboratory experiment to tell me how you really feel about my nose.

And even if you report how you feel about my nose, I don't know how it feels to you.

The interpretation of empathy, this second kind of intersubjective agreement is dependent upon introspection. Upon introspection, it's an assumption that identical words used by different subjects still possess identical meaning and it's a fallacious.

This assumption is not falsifiable or verifiable. It's totally fallacious. It's neither true nor false. It has no truth value. It is a probabilistic statement, but without probability distribution or actually even a probability object. It's a meaningless statement to say what I feel is what you feel, what I think is what you feel.

These are meaningless statements.

Empathy, therefore, is meaningless. It's meaningless because it relies on a confabulation of communication. It relies on a total misunderstanding. It relies on confusing words with essence, confusing reports with experience, confusing objective with subjective. No one can access your subjective world. You are trapped. You are trapped there and no one can ever get to you.

We are all hostages of our minds. We are the ghosts in our own machines.

In human speak, if you say that you are sad and I empathize with you, it means that we have an agreement. I regard you as my object. You communicate to me a property of yours, sadness. And this communication triggers in me a recollection of what is sadness or what it is to be sad. I say that I know what you mean. I say that I know how you feel because I have been sad before. I know what it is like to be sad. I empathize with you. We agree about being sad. We have an intersubjective agreement.

But alas, such an agreement is meaningless. We cannot yet measure sadness, quantify, crystallize it, pulverize it, access it in any way from the outside, measure it, and most importantly, experience it.

We are totally and absolutely reliant on your introspection and my introspection. There is no way anyone can prove that my sadness is even remotely similar to your sadness.

I may be feeling or experiencing something that you might find hilarious and not sad at all. This happens a lot, by the way. Someone is communicating some tragic experience and someone else finds it very funny. Still, I call it sadness, and I empathize with you, regardless of the internal context.

In St. Peter Britannica, young children's growing awareness of their own emotional states, characteristics, and abilities leads to empathy. In other words, the ability to appreciate the feelings and perspectives of others.

Empathy and other forms of social awareness are in turn important in the development of a moral sense.

Another important aspect of children's emotional development is the formation of their self-concept or identity, their sense of who they are and what their relation to other people is.

According to Leip's concept of empathy, a person appreciates another person's reaction by a projection of their self onto the other.

In his book An Aesthetic, it's a German book, published between 1903 and 1906, he made all appreciation of art dependent upon a similar self-projection into the object. He said that when you empathize with someone, you project yourself into someone. Similarly, when you see a work of art, you project yourself into the work of art.

This may well be the key.

Empathy has little to do with the other person, the empathy.

Empathy is simply the result of conditioning, of socialization.

We are taught empathy. In other words, when we hurt someone, we don't experience his pain.

We experience our pain. We project ourselves.

Hurting somebody hurts us. The reaction of pain is provoked in us by our own actions, including the act of observation.

We have been taught a learned response, a conditioned response, operant conditioning, of feeling pain when another person is in pain and also when we inflict pain.

But we've also been taught to feel responsible for our fellow beings. This is guilt, Judeo-Christian guilt, Nietzsche would say.

So we are taught two things.

We are taught to appropriate other people's experiences as ours.

In other words, to experience our pain, for example, our sadness and mislabeling and say it's not I who is sad, it's he who is sad.

It's not I who is in pain, she is in pain.

We misappropriate other people's emotions, states like pain, hunger first, and then we attribute these to ourselves.

We mislabel, we mislocate, we dislocate.

And the second thing, we have been taught to feel responsible for what happens to other people via guilt and conscience.

So we experience pain or any other state.

Whenever another person claims to experience it as well, we feel guilty.

And when the emotion is positive, we feel responsible somehow.

Very often we meet someone and she's happy. And unconsciously we would say to ourselves, I had something to do with it. I had something to do with it, even if I only share this happiness. Just sharing is caring. Sharing also makes her happy. So her happiness is multiplied by sharing.

And this is a social instinct. It's nothing to do with psychology. It's a social conditioning, part of socialization.

So when we see another person, there are two processes immediately, two reactive processes that start immediately.

Another person's presence, just the fact that he's there breathing, triggers two processes.

Process number one, we appropriate, we steal from him. We confiscate his emotions, his facial expressions, his body language, his everything.

And we emulate, we imitate, we mold ourselves, we shape shift to become him.

Numerous experiments have demonstrated that body language is contagious. When someone crosses legs, you cross legs. It's a fact. When someone repeats a certain word a lot of times, you repeat the same word a lot, much more. These are facts.

Social behavior is contagious.

So that's the first thing. We appropriate these emotions, these states of being, and we attribute them to ourselves. We steal them in effect. It's shoplifting.

So this is the first thing.

And then we mistakenly say, his sadness is my sadness, so I'm experiencing sadness.

Second thing, we feel responsible. If the emotion is negative, the other's emotion is negative. We feel guilty. What did we do? If the other's emotion is positive, we feel that by sharing it, we're amplifying it. We are giving back to him his emotion. We are like mirroring or reflecting the emotion, thereby amplifying it.

You know, when you shine a light to a mirror, it's amplified. We can use mirrors to amplify light. We can use this process of mirroring to amplify happiness.

In sum, to use the example of pain, we experience pain in tandem together with the other person because we feel guilty. We feel somehow responsible for his condition.

A learned reaction is activated, and we experience our kind of pain as well. We communicate it to the other person, and an agreement of empathy is struck between us. He's in pain. I resonate. It triggers my pain or a recollection of my pain. I communicate to him this recollection and this resonance, and we have an agreement now about pain.

Pain, its nature, its experience, and its very existence. We attribute feelings, sensations, and experiences to the object of our actions. It is the psychological defense mechanism of projection.

He was right. This guy, the German guy I quoted before, he was right, Lieb. We do project.

Unable to conceive of inflicting pain upon ourselves, we displace the source.

So there's someone with pain. We look at him. We observe him. It triggers pain in us.

But inflicting pain on ourselves is no, no. It's taboo. It's wrong. It's pathological.

So we say, well, the pain we are feeling, it was not self-inflicted. It was imported from the other guy. It was transferred from the other guy to me. I'm experiencing his pain, not my pain, and defending, defending against the realization that I'm the one who is causing pain to myself. I'm acting, in a way, mini, micro-suicidally, a proper mini. Hello. Ah, where would I be without her? She's my liquidity.

So this is, again, a second layer of confabulation.

The first layer of confabulation, we can experience what other people experience.

Wrong. Second level of confabulation.

An emotion is triggered in us.

But we attribute this emotion to someone else, to the other.

We say we got this emotion from him by contagion. He infected us with this emotion.

I appropriated his emotion. It's another confabulation. It's not true. The emotion is ours. The emotion I feel when I see someone sad is my sadness, not his sadness.

The Britannica, Cyclopedia Britannica.

Perhaps the most important aspect of children's emotional development is a growing awareness of their own emotional states and the ability to discern and interpret the emotions of others.

The last half of the second year is a time when children start becoming aware of their own emotional states, characteristics, abilities, and potential for action.

This phenomenon is called self-awareness. I must add that it is coupled with strong narcissistic behaviors and traits, primary narcissism.

Coming back to the Cyclopedia Britannica, this growing awareness of an ability to recall one's own emotional states, one's own emotional states, leads to empathy or the ability to appreciate the feelings and perceptions of others.

Young children's dawning awareness of their own potential for action inspires them to try to direct or otherwise affect the behavior of others.

With age, children acquire the ability to understand the perspective or point of view of other people, a development that is closely linked with the empathic sharing of other people's emotions.

One major factor underlying these changes is the child increasing cognitive sophistication. For example, in order to feel the emotion of guilt, a child must appreciate the fact that he could have inhibited a particular action of his that violated the moral standard.

The awareness that one can impose a restraint on one's own behavior requires a certain level of cognitive maturation, and therefore the emotion of guilt cannot appear until that competence is attained.

That empathy is a reaction to external stimuli that is fully contained within the empathor, the person who empathizes, and then projected onto the empathy is clearly demonstrated by inborn reflexive empathy. It is the ability to exhibit empathy and altruistic behavior in response to facial expressions.

Newborns react this way to mother's facial expression of sadness or distress.

And the fact that newborns can react, can imitate, can emulate mother's facial expressions six hours after they're born, six hours after they're born, they turn their head to follow mother, and within four months they imitate expressions.

This serves to prove that empathy is very little to do, very little to do, with feelings, experiences, or sensations of the other, like the empathy.

The child, at age four months, when he is already clearly empathic, does not perceive the existence of other people as separate. He does not perceive other people as autonomous, independent entities. He has a unitary view of the universe. He is the world, like the famous rock song. You know, we are the world.

The child regards himself, the child is so expansive, he regards himself as the world, he and the world are one. There's no concept of me and others.

So where does the empathy come from? If it crucially depends on feeling another person, experiencing another person, sensing another person, and on the feelings, experiences, and sensations of other people, how does it manifest at age four months?

Surely the infant has no idea what it is like to feel sad, definitely not what it is like for his mother to feel sad. In this case, it is a complex, complex reflexive reaction.

Later on, empathy is still rather reflexive, the result of conditioning.

Empathy, therefore, technically, is a form of psychosis.

What is psychosis?

In psychosis, we have hyper reflection. The self of the psychotic expands to include the world. And as it includes the world, the psychotic confuses internal objects with external.

He thinks that his internal objects are actually outside himself. They're external.

This confusion, he has a voice in his head. It's an introject. He hears it coming from the corner of the room. There's an image in his head. He sees it standing there. He confuses, he kind of projects his internal objects to the outside.

And that's what we do in empathy. We actually, empathy is a totally self-contained internal process. It is treated by the presence of another person.

So there's another person. That other person triggers a cascade of emotions and cognitions inside and memories inside us. This cascade is totally, totally internal. It involves only internal objects, only internal emotions, only self-generated internal cognitions, only it has nothing to do with the external object.

And yet, anyway, and yet we make, we are confused. We make the mistake of thinking that these emotions and cognitions come from the other person, not from us.

Everything happens inside, but we think it comes from the outside.

This is an excellent definition of psychosis. Everything happens inside, but we think it's coming from the outside.

That's what a psychotic would tell you. It's coming from the outside.

Empathy is the same. It happens inside, but we misspecific. It's coming from the outside.

So empathy is a form of psychosis.

The Encyclopædia Britannica quotes fascinating research, which dramatically proves the object's independent nature of empathy.

In other words, that it's a totally internal process.

Empathy is an internal reaction triggered by an external cue provided by animate objects. It is communicated to the empathy other by the empathor, but the communication and the resulting agreement, I know how you feel. I know how you feel. Therefore, we agree on how you feel.

This resulting agreement is rendered meaningless by the absence of a monovalent, unambiguous dictionary.

And so the Britannica says, an extensive series of studies indicated that positive emotions feelings enhance empathy and altruism.

In other words, when we feel good, when we're happy, when we're in a good mood, we are much more empathic.

By the way, when we had just exercised physically, we are much more empathic. When we are sick, ill, physically, we are less empathic.

Empathy depends critically on what's happening to us, not on anyone outside. It's a totally internal thing. It reacts to our state of mind and to our health and to exercise and to neurotransmitters and to hormones. It's totally, totally internal thing.

And yet we keep saying, no, it's not internal. It's external. I empathize with him. I empathize with her. I feel bad for him. I feel good for her. They have nothing to do with it. It's psychotic to claim otherwise.

Britannica continues. It was shown by the American psychologistAlice M. Eisen, that relatively small favors or bits of good luck, like finding money in a coin telephone or getting an unexpected gift, this kind of serendipitous events or small favors or some small gift, they induce positive emotion in people and that such emotion regularly increased the subject's inclination to sympathize, to empathize, to provide help.

Several studies have demonstrated that positive emotion facilitates creative problem solving. One of these studies showed that positive emotion enabled subjects to name more users for common objects. Another study showed that positive emotion enhanced creative problem solving by enabling subjects to see relations among objects and among other people. And these relations between objects would have gone unnoticed otherwise.

Positive psychology, positive emotionality, positive experiences like gifts, positive everything makes you much more empathic.

What is empathy?

Empathy is observation of a trigger and then all networks inside you come to life. Empathy and livance makes you come alive. That's why people seek connection. That's why they want friendship. That's why they socialize.

Britannica continues. A number of studies have demonstrated the beneficial effects of positive emotion on thinking, memory and action in preschool and older children.

But if empathy increases with positive emotion, if empathy increases with good luck, with good mood, with exercise, then it has little to do with the alleged objects of empathy, with the other people. There's a lot to do with a person in whom the empathy is provoked. It's a lot to do with you.

It's again about you. It's in a way narcissistic. Empathy is a narcissistic, psychotic defense.

And that's the new way, a totally new way of looking at empathy.

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Professor Sam Vaknin discusses various psychological complexes, including the Martyr complex, Persecution complex, Brother-Sister complex, Casanova complex, Don Juan complex, God complex, Guilt complex, Hero or Saviour complex, Inferiority complex, Oedipus complex, Electra complex, Parental complex, and Romulus and Remus complexes. He explains the origins and characteristics of each complex, linking them to childhood experiences and psychological issues. Vaknin emphasizes that it is rare to find someone without any complex and encourages the audience to identify the complex that is most typical of them.

Push Narcissist’s 4 Secret Buttons: Gamma Man or Agent of Chaos, Madness?

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the four secret buttons of the narcissist, which are the operating system of the narcissist's internal landscape. He explains how to push these buttons to manipulate or detach from a narcissist. Additionally, he delves into the debate about IQ tests and their limitations, and discusses the concept of gamma males in the social sexual hierarchy. He also explores the discomfort and chaos that narcissists bring into relationships.

Addicted to Trauma Bonding? WATCH TO THE END! (with Stephanie Carinia, Trauma Expert)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses trauma bonding with Stephanie Carina, a clinical psychologist specializing in trauma and personality. Trauma bonding involves an extreme, one-sided attachment where the abused is attached to the abuser, but not vice versa. It is fostered by unpredictable, intermittent reinforcement and involves a power asymmetry. The abused often confuses intensity with truth and attention with love, leading to a fear of loneliness and self-deception. Trauma bonding is a collaborative form of self-mutilation and self-harm, serving to numb emotions, make the victim feel alive through pain, and punish themselves. Vaknin emphasizes that the abuser uses the victim to fulfill their own needs, and the victim is often addicted to the drama and intensity of the relationship. He suggests that society should teach people to cope with being alone, as many will not have relationships, and that therapy for trauma bonding must be carefully managed to avoid creating new dependencies.

What Love Is NOT!

Love is an elusive and highly individual experience that cannot be defined. However, it is possible to identify what love is not. Loving someone is not the same as loving the way they love you, loving to be in love, merging with your partner, being dependent on them, or using them to self-soothe. Love is grounded in reality and involves seeing your partner as a separate entity with all their gifts and potentials. It is a give and take with boundaries, compromises, and negotiations towards common goals and values.

Leap of Faith: Love Someone! Be Bold! Take Risk: Be Vulnerable!

Love is a paradoxical experience that requires vulnerability and self-transformation. To love is to take a risk and to be open to the possibility of heartbreak and destruction. Love is an act of faith that requires trust and the suspension of disbelief. The younger generations are too afraid to attempt this leap of faith from loneliness to love, and they avoid love and intimacy because they feel threatened.

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2024, under license to William DeGraaf
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