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Goals of Narcissists, Borderlines, Psychopaths

Uploaded 4/19/2023, approx. 14 minute read

I keep telling you that psychopaths are goal-oriented and narcissists are not.

But surely there are nuances.

For example, the narcissist needs narcissistic supply, the way a junkie needs drugs, the way an alcoholic needs alcohol, and the way I need viewers.

So isn't narcissistic supply a goal?

My name is Sam Vaknin. I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited, and a former visiting professor of psychology.


Today we are going to discuss goals and goal orientation in cluster B personality disorders, the narcissist, the psychopath, and queen of them all, the borderline.

Let's start with the narcissist.

The narcissist couldn't care less about goals.

Again, self-styled experts online lead you astray.

Narcissists are not interested in anything. They couldn't care less about anything. They don't want sex. They don't want money. They don't want power. They don't want fame. They don't want anything.

They want narcissistic supply.

And with the intimate partner, there are the four S's, two of which are satisfactory.

So sex, supply, narcissistic or sadistic, services, and safety.

Generally, these are the goals, so to speak, of the narcissist.

The narcissist doesn't care about his vocation. He doesn't care about his insignificant others. He couldn't care less about his location, his circumstances, his balance in the bank. He couldn't care less about anything.

Narcissists are carefree because they're not there. Internally, there's an emptiness. Externally, they are divorced from reality. They have impaired reality testing.

Narcissism is a fantasy defense. Gone awry.

The narcissist inhabits his fantasy land and within his fantasy land. The narrative that surrounds the fantasy land is some kind of firewall. The narrative protects him from narcissistic injury and in very extreme and public cases, narcissistic mortification.

And yes, many self-styled experts online confuse egregiously narcissistic mortification and narcissistic injury.

So if you want the real deal, watch my videos on narcissistic mortification.

Nownarcissists, therefore, go through life as if life were a movie, as if they were tourists in their own reality.

So they can't be emotionally invested in any long-term goals. As long as they are obtaining narcissistic supply, extracting it, coercing it if needed from the environment, they're happy-go-lucky. They're ego-syntonic.

Problem starts when they cannot obtain supply.

And I have multiple videos of this channel which deal with deficient narcissistic supply, lack of supply, narcissistic collapse.

Again, a failed narcissist is the wrong term, often used by self-styled experts.

So if you hear someone saying a failed narcissist, that's not an expert. The correct term is a collapsed narcissist.

So this is the narcissist.

We say in clinical terms that the narcissist is not affected in his goals. He is not emotionally invested in them. His goals are fungible, interchangeable, utterly replaceable, dispensable, and on the fly.

The narcissist improvises. He can't be a, he can't be something, he becomes something else. He can't do something, he does something else. He can't pursue something, he pursues something else. He can't be with someone, he is with someone else. He ends up being with someone else.

So this is the narcissist.

Ephemeral, fleeting, unreal, hard to capture, transparent in many ways.

Here today, gone tomorrow, an on the fly reconstruction of a human beingreinventing himself as he goes along.

And if you look at the biography of narcissists, you can't discern any rhyme or reason, any pattern. It's not going anywhere. And it's not the case, of course, with psychopaths.

Psychopaths are gun oriented. They are after money, they are after power, fame, celebrity, success, women, sex, you name it.

Psychopath is goal oriented.

Psychopath is an optimizing machine.

Psychopath is called, calculated, obsessed with his goals, will trample on anyone, at any age of any description on the way to his goal, ruthless, callous, has no moral compass, defiant, contumacious, rejects authority, reactant, and generally reckless.

This is the psychopath.

Of course, when we have comorbidities, for example, many psychopaths are also narcissists, and quite a few psychopaths have borderline personality disorder.

And today we know that most psychopaths actually suffer from anxiety disorder.

So when we have these comorbidities, of course, the picture is tainted, is contaminated.

The goal orientation, the pursuit of goals is not absolute.

So for example, psychopaths who are also emotionally dysregulated, who also have borderline personality organization, this kind of psychopaths are likely to be reckless. They are not likely to plan ahead very well. They are likely to ignore the potential consequences of their own actions, and they're likely to end up in prison.

And you should read the writings by Robert Hare.

Robert Hare studied prison populations. He was a prison psychologist, and he found out the overrepresentation of people with antisocial personality disorder, an extreme form of antisocial personality disorder, his psychopathy.

He found an overrepresentation of these people in the prison population.

And the reason is that they lack the ability to plan. They lack foresight.

And their time horizon is very limited. They live in the here and now. They're mindful. They exercise mindfulness. They live in the here and now. They have a very distorted perception of time.

And also, similar to the narcissist, they don't feel responsible for or accountable for their own actions, because they don't inhabit themselves. They don't own themselves. It's as if someone else has done it.

Why are you punishing me? They're indignantand they can't identify with who they were yesterday.

So both psychopaths and narcissists, let alone Mollies, they have an issue with the regulation of self-states and the dissociation between self-states, the inability of self-states to share a common database of memories and form a continuous identity.

But as distinct from narcissists, the psychopath is emotionally invested in his goals.

The psychopath pursues his goals with conviction, with fervor, with rigor, with power, with investment. The psychopath is nothing without his goals.

And when he does achieve, obtain his goals, he is more relaxed. His anxiety is reducedand he's able to move on to the next target or to change the goal altogether.

This is the psychopath.

The borderline is a very interesting case.

The borderline affects goals. The borderline emotionally invests in goals exactly like the psychopath and unlike the narcissist.

This is why a growing body of research tends to show that one of the dominant self-states of the borderline is a secondary psychopath.

When she decompensates, when she's exposed to rejection or abandonment, rehumiliation, the borderline becomes a secondary psychopath.

She acts out cruelly, ruthlessly, aggressively, sometimes or often actually, violently.

So there is a psychopath in every borderline, a lurking psychopath.

And this is the self-state that emotionally invests in goals, affects goals.

The borderline is very goal-oriented.

But unlike the psychopath, she experiences her goals as emotional states.

In other words, she mislabels her goals. She misapprehends them. She misunderstands herself.

So for example, if there's a borderline and she's in the pursuit of money, she's after money, she wants money. That's a very psychopathic thing.

And exactly like the psychopath, she would be ruthless and callous and unidirectional and trample on everyone and everything on her way and have a tunnel vision like a horse and blinders.

Exactly.

And in this sense, she resembles the psychopath 100%.

But while the psychopath is very reality-tested and reality-based, psychopaths, unlike narcissists, do not have an evolved fantasy defense.

The borderline does have a fantasy defense, again, similar to the narcissist.

So she pursues her goals as a psychopath would.

But then she constructs a fantastic narrative, a fantasy-based narrative. And she explains her behavior to herself by labeling it or rendering it an emotional state.

Again, let's take an example.

A borderline is money-oriented. She's a gold digger. She wants money. Or she feels unsafe, insecure financially. So she would find an intimate partner and she would begin to extricate and extract and mine his money. She would mine his coins.

But she wouldn't tell herself as the psychopath would. The psychopath would say, I'm a gold digger. I found a patsy. I found a sucker. And I'm going to bleed him dry. That's a psychopath.

Psychopath is even going to be proud of it. It's a source of pride at his own proficiency, at his own skill.

The borderline can't do that because she has very strong inhibitions and cultivates self-image as a good person, which conflicts with her bad object, by the way.

So the borderline would say, I love him. She would say, I love this man. She wouldn't admit that she's with him because of his money. But she would say, I love him.

And not only would she say this, she would really experience it. She would affect or emotionally invest in her goal and then misapprehend it, missperceive it as love. She would say, see, I love him. That's why I'm with him.

So this is the difference. This is the major difference between borderline and psychopath.


The techniques, strategies are the same. The emotional labeling or mislabeling is different. And both of them have nothing to do with the narcissist.

The narcissist is not goaloriented. Everything is means to an end. And the end is narcissistic supply and lassoing in, capturing, captivating someone for the shared fantasy. These are the ends of the narcissist.

But the means, money, access, sex, power, all these are meaningless to the narcissist. This is a source of enormous confusion, online and offlinein literature as well.

Because people misunderstand the narcissist. They think the narcissist is goaloriented exactly like the psychopath.

He's not.

They label certain narcissists as psychopaths when they are not. And they label psychopaths as narcissists when they are not.

And there's a Godawful confusion online. This is a very useful tool, how to tell them apart.

If you see someone who doesn't care less about what he does, who he does it with, where he does what he does, and so on and so forth. Someone who moves easily between professions, between locations, between people, between intimate partners. Someone who is not committed and not invested in anything ever, except attention.

Then this is a narcissist.

If you see someone who is hell-bent on obtaining his purpose, he has an aim, and until mission is accomplished, he is absolutely compulsive and obsessive. That's a psychopath.

And if you see someone who behaves like a psychopathin every way, a gold digger, for example, and he or she tells you that it's an emotion. Andan emotion.

And with him, because I love him, not because of his money, or I want to gain access.

I want to become powerful because I want to do good.

These kind of things.

This is a covert borderlineor someone with a covert, I'm sorry, a covert narcissistor someone with borderline personality.

So now you know.

You have a new goal to tell these people apart.

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Narcissists have a cycle of overvaluation and devaluation, which is more prevalent in borderline personality disorder than in narcissistic personality disorder. The cycle reflects the need to be protected against the whims, needs, and choices of other people, shielded from the hurt that they can inflict on the narcissist. The overvaluation and devaluation mechanism is the most efficient one available to the narcissist, as the narcissist's personality is precariously balanced and requires inordinate amounts of energy to maintain. The narcissist's energies are all focused and dedicated to the task concentrated upon the source of supply he had identified.


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