Background

Grandiosity, Idea Of Reference, Other, Apophenia, Pareidolia, Hostile Attribution, Confirmation Bias

Uploaded 2/5/2024, approx. 31 minute read

And that, of course, is a highly grandiose statement.

But today I'm going to deconstruct grandiosity.

Grandiosity is not just about saying, you know, I'm unique, I'm godlike, I'm perfect, I'm omniscient, I'm all-knowing, I'm omnipotent, I'm all-powerful.

These are the superficial, supercilious external manifestations of grandiosity.

They are more common in narcissistic style, actually, than in narcissistic personality disorder.

Narcissistic personality disorder involves a lot more Machiavellianism and so on and so forth.

But this in-your-face type of grandiosity, known as haughtiness, kind of multifarious arrogance, this is more primitive.

Grandiosity is a cognitive distortion.

It operates unconsciously, consciously, and it involves multiple biases, mechanisms, and psychological processes.

And this is precisely why the narcissist is so emotionally invested in his or her grandiosity, in this inflated, fantastic self-image, because grandiosity is the core and the pivot of the fantasy defense known as pathological narcissism.

And apropos pathological narcissism.


My name is Sam Bachner and I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism, what else, Revisited.

I'm also a former visiting professor of psychology and currently on the faculty of CEOPS, Commonwealth Institute for Advanced Professional Studies, all over the globe, Toronto, Canada, Cambridge, United Kingdom, and an outreach campus in Lagos, Nigeria.

Grandiosity it is.

Let's delve right in.

It involves, as I said, multiple mechanisms and so on and so forth.

And one of the most formidable is known as ideas of reference or referential ideation.

Let me give you a few examples of referential ideation or ideas of reference, believing that somehow everyone on a bus or in a club or in a room is talking about you, feeling that people on television or radio are either talking about you or talking directly to you or somehow signaling something to you in a kind of code that is known only to both of you.

Believing that headlines, articles and newspapers have been written exclusively about you or your predicament or your situation or your future or your past.

Believing that events, even world events, have been deliberately contrived to put you on a spot to somehow manipulate you or to cater to your needs.

They have special personal significance for you, these world events.

Believing that the lyrics of a song are specifically about you.

Believing that social media post, YouTube video is actually meant as a coded message, a cipher just between you and the author.

Believing that the normal function of cell phones, computers and other electronic devices is sending secret and significant messages that only you can understand, believe and decode.

Perceiving objects or events as having been deliberately set up or positioned to convey a particular meaning to you.

Believing that the slightest, careless movement on the part of another person, a twitch, a tick has great personal meaning to you.

Increased significance, a kind of signaling.

Thinking that internet blogs, as I said, posts and so on, have hidden meanings or cult meanings pertaining to you.

Believing that the behavior of others is in reference to an abnormal, offensive dimension of either the personality or the body, which is reality non-existent.

This is known by the way as a reference syndrome and there is, for example, an olfactory reference syndrome where you believe that people are reacting to your abnormal or offensive body order.

Okay, so these are ideas of reference.

You're getting the picture.

The sense that events or actions of others, talking, whispering, smiling, relate particularly to yourself to an extreme and when this is taken to an extreme, it is known as delusion, delusion of reference.

It is the false conviction that the actions of others and events occurring in the external world, they have some special meaning or significance.

Very negative but not always in relation to yourself.

So ideas of reference, delusions of reference.

This leads in extreme mental illnesses such as schizophrenia.

This leads to what is known as a referential attitude.

It is an expectancy attitude, anticipatory attitude that is sometimes observed, as I said, in severe psychotic disorders where you seek justification via the environment for ideas of reference or delusions of reference.

So you misinterpret, the patient misinterprets the environment, rewrites it, reframes it.

And now we are beginning to see the first nexus, the first connection between grandiosity and ideas or delusions of reference, a misinterpretation, a misreading and a falsification of the environment and impaired reality testing.

But grandiosity involves a lot more than referential ideation.

The grandiose person does believe that he or she is the center of the world, the focus of attention, the life of the party, the pivot and the axis around which everyone revolves, the prime cause and the only cause for other people's states of mind, including their unhappiness or happiness.

There is this godlike persuasion that one is the mover and shaker of one's world and one's environment and depending on the level of grandiosity, it could even devolve into paranoid ideation and expand hyper reflexively, expand to include the world at large, including world events, as I mentioned earlier.

So this all is part and parcel and element and figment of grandiosity.

But there are other things involved.

The first is what I call, and yes, I'm coining another phrase again, what I call object apophenia.

Apophenia is a tendency to perceive meaningful connections between totally unrelated things.

An object apophenia is when you perceive meaningful relations among people or among elements in the environment which pertain in your mind, pertain to you, revolve around you, have to do with you.

So conspiracy theories, for example, are a form of object apophenia.

And especially if you're paranoid and you believe there's a conspiracy against you, that you are the target or the mark or the victim of malevolent intent and malicious actions on behalf of one or more group of people.

That is object apophenia.

When you see connections with their non tendency to perceive meaning, meaning when there is none and so on and so forth.

So when apophenia has been defined by Klaus Conrad in 1958, he said that it is the unmotivated seeing of connections accompanied by a specific feeling of abnormal meaningfulness.

And that's still the greatest description of apophenia that I'm aware of.

Apophenia is of course one of the antecedents, one of the first stages of delusional disorder.

It's a delusional thought pattern.

It's a kind of self-referential over interpretation of actual sensory inputs.

It's not a hallucination.

It's just a misinterpretation and mislabeling of information that emanates from the environment and it is delusional and it is self-referential and it is very common in grandiosity.

It's the human propensity to unreasonably seek definite patterns in random information.

And I call it also social pagedolia.

Pagedolia is the tendency to perceive or impose a meaningful interpretation, some significance on a stimulus or a series of stimuli, visually usually but not only, and in order to extract or to come up with some pattern or some meaning when there is none.

So pagedolia is a subtype of apophenia and when you combine object apophenia, apophenia that applies to all objects, animate and inanimate, when you combine this with social pagedolia, the tendency to see patterns of behavior, coordinated patterns of behavior when there's none, for example, conspiracy against you, when you combine these two, what you get is all forms of grandiosity, one of which is of course paranoia.

Paranoid ideation is grandiosity.

It's just a subtype, a subspecies of grandiosity because the paranoid person believes that he is the center of some evil, wicked plan involving one or multiple people, the how to get him, the how to destroy him, to incarcerate him, to arrest him, that he is the focus of attention, he is the pivot and the axis around which everyone revolves with a malevolent intent but still revolves.

Grandiosity therefore is when you see patterns either among objects, animate and inanimate, when you see, when you combine objects in ways that make sense to you but nobody else, only to you or when you see patterns in behaviors of people which make sense, these patterns make sense only to you.

So object apophenia and social pareidolia, these are strong elements, powerful elements of grandiosity because the grandiose person, even when he is not or she is not paranoid, the grandiose person fully believes that objects in the environment and remember that in psychology most objects are human beings, human beings in psychology are called objects.

The grandiose person, even the non-paranoid grandiose person, regards objects in the environment as arranging themselves, he believes that objects are arranging themselves in order to send a message to him, to yield the signal, to make sense of his self-perception or self-image, to support and buttress his fantasies etc.

Objects around the narcissist are there to fit into the narcissist's self-idealization and/or shared fantasy, that's their role because the narcissist is unable to perceive objects as external.

He interjects objects, he internalizes objects, he converts external objects including people into internal objects, he then tries to make sense of this zoo of internal objects by imposing on these objects a narrative, a storyline, a piece of fiction which upholds buttresses, supports and enhances his self-perception and self-image as godlike.

This is object apophenia, another element in grandiosity is social pareidolia when the narcissist attributes motivations, planning, intentions to one person or a group of people and these motivations and intentions and plans and actions they all revolve around the narcissist.

So this all had to do with the narcissist's inability to other, othering failure.

Remember that the narcissist because he the narcissist has never experienced separation individuation as a child, the narcissist is unable to perceive other people as external and separate, he does not perceive the externality and separateness of objects, of external objects.

To stand he converts external objects into internal objects in his mind and continues to interact only with the internal objects never with the external objects.

This inability to other, inability to regard other people as other, as out there, as external, as independent of the narcissist existence, perception, cognition and so on and so forth.

This inability is what I call othering failure and it has to do with a concept introduced by George Herbert Mead.

He called it the generalized other.

It's part of a larger topic known as symbolic interactionism.

Never mind I will deal with it in some other video but the generalized other is the general notion that there are expectations that are common to all people, kind of social expectations.

So all of us have a generalized other perception.

We believe that other people have expectations about actions and faults and so we try to conform to these expectations.

We also believe that these common expectations serve to clarify relationships between people.

So when you are a member of a social system you comply with these social, society-wide expectations and this determines how you relate to other people and how you behave.

And in your mind there is this faceless, anonymous, generalized other and this imaginary person kind of dictates your behaviors and your faults, your cognitions in accordance with elements of socialization and acculturation, in accordance with society's norms and mores and expectations and so on.

So all the time we walk around asking ourselves what is expected of me taking the perspective of the generalized other according to me at least.

So this is also known as imaginary audience.

It's a constructed audience and this audience doesn't have complete insight or complete information about the individual but the individual measures himself or herself in accordance with the imagined audience.

Imagined audience dictates to some extent who the individual is.

Now the narcissist, because he has a problem with othering, does not have a generalized other.

The narcissist does not ask himself or cannot ask himself what are the expectations of others of me, what do others expect of me, how do they expect me to think, how do they expect me to behave.

The narcissist is incapable of asking this question because he doesn't perceive others.

He doesn't really relate to external objects so he cannot ask himself and he does not ask himself what do others think of me, how do they think I should behave, how do speech acts, anything, actions, choices, decisions, I need to conform.

The narcissist doesn't say this because the narcissist has an othering failure and all the narcissist objects are never external, they're only internal.

The only generalized other in the narcissist's mind is the narcissist.

The narcissist is the measure of all things.

The narcissist is the source of all expectations about cognitions, about actions, about choices, about decisions, about behaviors.

The narcissist is the only law.

A law unto himself is the only rule, the only rule book is the rule book written by the narcissist.

The narcissist is solipsistic, he is the only person who exists in the entire universe.

So the only source or fount of expectations is himself.

Since he does not perceive other people as out there, they cannot have expectations of the narcissist, they cannot impose on the narcissist meaning they cannot dictate and direct the narcissist's choices, decisions and actions.

They are not there, out there, there's nobody out there, they're all in here, they're all in the narcissist's mind.

So the narcissist self-refers, he is self-referential, he refers to himself in order to derive meaning and sense expectations and directions, behavioral codes and scripts, everything emanates from inside the narcissist, never from outside, owing to othering, failure.

This applies even to sex.

The narcissist is auto-erotic, he is attracted to his own body, even when he is having sex with another person, the narcissist is having sex with his own body through the agency of another person's body.

In short, he is masturbating with someone else's body.

So this is a very important thing to realize because the narcissist's referential ideation, the narcissist's social expectations, the narcissist's perceived behaviors of other people, all these come from the inside, never from the outside.

So this creates a lot of dissonance.

For example, imagine that the narcissist develops a conviction that there is a conspiracy against him.

This conspiracy cannot be linked in the narcissist's mind to external objects.

It's a conspiracy of the internal objects representing these external objects.

It's a conspiracy inside the narcissist's mind.

The internal objects that represent the people who want to harm the narcissist, these internal objects are in collusion against the narcissist.

It is as if the narcissist is conspiring against himself via the agency of other people, exactly as the narcissist is having sex with himself via the agency of other people's bodies.

He is conspiring against himself via the agency of other people's minds.

They don't really exist except in his mind.

So this creates a lot of internal conflict and a lot of dissonance.

And this is the reason the narcissist is compelled to seek narcissistic supply.

Narcissistic supply is a compulsion.

It's an addiction.

It is intended, the narcissistic supply is intended to ameliorate and mitigate this internal conflict, to reduce it somehow.

When the narcissist obtains narcissistic supply from the environment, attention, adulation, admiration, even when he's feared, when he's noticed somehow, when he's seen by the environment, that reduces the internal conflict because this validates his grandiosity.

A narcissistic supply is like telling the narcissist, you're not delusional, you're really a genius, you're not crazy, you're really great.

The narcissist feels validated via narcissistic supply and begins to trust his internal world and his own cognitive distortions.

Narcissistic supply is like telling the narcissist, your cognition is not distorted.

It's perfectly okay.

You're not wrong about yourself and about the world and about the environment.

Your internal working model is in perfect order.

And this is compulsive because the conflict inside the narcissist is ongoing.

It's sub-paternal and it requires quelling and mitigating all the time.

Now, of course, grandiosity involves biases, not only cognitive distortions, but cognitive biases.

For example, a confirmation bias, the tendency to search for, interpret, favor and recall information only in a way that confirms and supports one's prior beliefs and values.

So the narcissist's bias, narcissist's belief is that the false self is not false.

That is, the narcissist believes that his inflated, fantastic, grandiose self-perception is accurate, reflects reality.

And so he needs to filter out, to deny, to suppress, to eliminate all information and data that may challenge and undermine this belief, this self-image, this self-perception.

So he creates his own echo chamber, thought silo, within which, into which he lets in only information that supports his grandiosity.

It's like a membrane, like a filter.

The narcissist filters out, literally forgets, dissociates information that somehow threatens the validity, the cohesion, the coherence and the longevity of his grandiose inflated self-image and self-perception.

Narcissist selects information that supports his views, his interpretation of the environment and of himself.

He ignores contrary information.

He interprets ambiguous evidence as supporting his existing attitudes.

There are desired outcomes for this, emotional outcomes and other outcomes.

Confirmation bias is very entrenched even in healthy people, but in the narcissist, it's a precondition for survival.

In notification, all these, all these mechanisms collapse.

It's a process known as decompensation.

So in notification, public humiliation, the narcissist defenses, the narcissist biases, the narcissist errors, cognitive errors, cognitive, they all collapse.

They're all deactivated.

At that point, the narcissist comes face to face with who he really is, pretty inferior.

He understands his narcissism is compensatory and fallacious.

It's a lie.

The false self is false.

It's a horrible feeling.

The narcissist becomes essentially a borderline.

The various forms that a fully functional narcissist, various forms that such a narcissist, not a high functioning narcissist, a high functioning narcissist is a narcissist who functions well in society, a fully functioning narcissist.

In other words, a narcissist whose narcissism is in action and unimpeded and unobstructed by anything.

Such a narcissist you would use uses several forms of confirmation bias.

There is what is known as attitude polarization.

When a disagreement becomes more extreme, even though the different parties are exposed to the same evidence, there is belief perseverance.

Different beliefs persist after the evidence is shown to be false.

Irrational primacy effect, a greater reliance on information encountered early on than later.

And in usury correlation, when people falsely perceive an association between two events and two situations, which is a form of apophenia or paretole.

Narcissism is characterized according to the diagnostic, the statistical manual by antagonism.

Narcissists hold other people in contempt.

Contempt is a precondition, both for grandiosity and for sadism.

So people are narcissists are hostile.

They're antagonistic.

They're in your face.

They're very low on agreeableness in the five factor personality model.

And so their attribution biases, their cognitive biases are likely to be hostile.

And this is known as a hostile attribution bias or a hostile attribution of intent or hostile attribution error.

It's a tendency to interpret other people's behavior as having hostile intent, even when the behavior is benign or ambiguous.

So someone with a hostile attribution bias would see two people talking or laughing and he would immediately interpret their behavior as if they were laughing about him, mocking him, gossiping about him, even though the behavior in this particular case is either benign or ambiguous.

But the term hostile attribution bias was first coined in 1980 by Naspi, Hayden and Deepaolo and together with other scholars such as Kenneth Dodge and so on and so forth, they spotted these kinds of defenses, hostile attribution bias in children.

Children are of course highly narcissistic.

We cannot diagnose narcissistic personality disorder in children.

But as even Freud had observed, children are narcissistic.

They have primary narcissism.

And so it's not surprising that most children have hostile attribution bias.

It's a bias in social information processing.

So individuals perceive, interpret and select responses to situations.

And when they perceive them as hostile, we have this kind of bias.

And this is what's happening to the narcissist all the time.

And when you have this across the development, across the lifespan, when you don't succeed to get rid of it after childhood, when hostile attribution becomes your style, your personality style, you're likely to be aggressive.

You're likely to externalize aggression, either verbally or physically.

This would go a long way towards explaining why narcissists are so abusive in the process of devaluation.

The narcissist doesn't only de-idealize you.

Devaluation is not only about saying, oh, I made a mistake, or oh, you have changed and now you're not as ideal as I thought you were.

No, that's not the case.

In the devaluation phase, you're converted into an enemy, a persecretary object.

And that's because the narcissist attribution bias is hostile.

It's the world the narcissist engages in a primitive defense mechanism known as splitting.

You're either all bad or all good.

In the idealization phase, you're all good.

In the devaluation phase, inevitably, you're all bad.

And this has to do with hostile attribution bias.

It's founded on splitting, in effect.

It's an important pathway through which other risk factors such as peer rejection or harsh parenting lead to aggression.

So we know this is the case with children.

And I've been saying all along that narcissists are children.

They remain stuck at a very early age.

And so their hostile attribution bias never goes away.

It explains how the narcissist aggression develops.

Why is he abusive?

That represents a kind of targeting mechanism, victimizing mechanism, which is totally automated, totally automatic.

Check two ideas of reference and delusions of reference.

How do they come about?

The scholarship is the orthodoxy, what we teach in university and so on and so forth, is that people who experience innocuous events or mere coincidences, and then immediately after that something bad happens.

They tend to create a linkage between these innocuous behaviors and coincidences and the bad adverse outcomes.

They also begin to develop the conviction that this is personal.

It has personal significance.

Of course, this should and does happen multiple times.

So for example, if a child has a bad parent, a dead mother, I mean, dead metaphorically mother, absent, selfish, depressed, parentifying, instrumentalizing and so on.

If a child is exposed to this kind of continuous abuse and trauma, the child is going to create a linkage between behaviors and bad outcome, parental behaviors and bad outcomes.

And of course, this is about the child.

The child is going to personalize this rule of thumb, this heuristic, the notion that everything one perceives in the world relates to one's own destiny, usually in a negative and hostile manner, because that's what the abused and traumatized child has learned.

Delusions of reference are part of one of the criteria for psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia, delusional disorder, bipolar disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, and even autism, paranoid personality disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, and also substance abuse, alcoholism and metamfetamines.

So it's very common, more common than we know.

Now in psychoanalysis, and I will dedicate a special video in the future to the psychoanalysis analytic view of ideas of reference, because it's a very fascinating view.

According to Zimont Freud, delusions of being watched present this power in a regressive form, thus revealing its genesis.

Voices as well as the undefined multitude are brought into the foreground again by the paranoia disease, and so the evolution of consciousness is reproduced regressively.

So according to Freud, this involved regression, infantilization, and some kind of paranoia, which are both very common and very pertinent and important clinical features of narcissism.

Carl Jung, Freud's contemporary disciple and then adversary wrote in 1928 that ideas of reference have something to do with synchronicity, meaningful coincidences.

When people are exposed to synchronicity, some of them develop ideas of reference.

Otto Fennekel in 1946 concluded that the projection of the superego is most clearly seen in ideas of reference and of being influenced.

Delusions of this kind merely bring to the patient from the outside what his self-observing and self-critical conscious actually tells him.

And how can we end without mentioning my doppelganger, my twin Jacques Lacan.

We look identical, by the way.

Jacques Lacan, L-A-C-A-N. He regarded ideas of reference as linked to the unbalancing of the relation to the capital other, to the big other, and the radical anomaly that it involves qualified improperly, but not without some approximation, to the truth in old clinical medicine as partial delusion.

The big other, the other of language, the names of the father, the signifier of words later which later become the unconscious, actually the realm of the superego and the unconscious.

Okay, I promised a separate video about all this.

There are other views of ideas of reference which I will deal with in this video.

I'd like to mention a few of them.

Anti-psychiatrists such as David Cooper, R. D. Lang, and so on, they actually used ideas of reference as a therapeutic tool, as an instrument in the arsenal of healing.

They regarded the patient I'm quoting, the patient's ideas of reference and influence and delusions of persecution are merely descriptions of the patient's parent's behavior towards her.

This happens to be my view as well.

There is certainly confusion between per-secretary fantasies and per-secretary realities, but ideas of connection with apparently remote people or ideas of being influenced by others equally remote are in fact stating their experience of social influence, albeit in a distorted form including their network of influence institutions as observed as Scotland Yard or the Queen of England or the President of the United States or the BBC.

So what they're saying, the anti-psychiatrists, is that ideas of reference are an attempt to act within society, to somehow integrate with society or even conform to society.

But this attempt fails for two reasons, hyper-reflexivity, the tendency to regard the whole universe as relevant to the individual, including the Queen of England or the BBC or the CIA.

And on the other hand, a bad parental experience which predisposed the individual to associate behaviors, actions, choices, decisions and language, however innocuous, however benign, with negative adverse hostile outcomes, because this is what the individual has learned in his relationship with his parents.

Lang shared David Cooper's view.

He said that the person who was saying that his brains have been taken from him, his actions are controlled from outer space, such delusions are partially achieved, derealization, realizations.

He considered how in typical paranoid ideas of reference, the person feels that the murmurings and mutterings that he hears as he walks past the street crowd, they're all about him in a bar.

A burst of laughter behind his back is some joke, cracked about him.

But he felt, Lang believed, that deeper acquaintance with the patient reveals that what tortures the patient is not so much the patient's delusions of reference, but his harrowing suspicion that he is of no importance to anyone, that no one is referring to him at all, which is the bed object core, the empty schizoid core of the narcissist and to some extent the borderline.

This is the driver.

The narcissist suspects that he is not being seen the way he has not been seen by his parental figures.

So the narcissist is compelled to force people to see him.

And if he fails to force people to see him in reality because they don't exist, he is incapable of interacting with external objects, then he's going to force people to see him in his own mind because they do exist as internal objects inside his head.

So the narcissist enacts a monodrama or a drama where the internal objects inside his mind that represent real people out there, they do see him. They do pay attention to him. They do notice him.

However, in most cases, in a hostile, negative manner, but not always.

Again, we must distinguish ideas of reference from delusions of reference.

They're similar in content, but the difference is the conviction.

Delusions of reference involve utter conviction.

The person in the former case, in the case of ideas of reference, has the feeling that strangers are talking about him or her.

But if he's challenged, he acknowledges that the people may be talking about something else.

The person with delusions of reference would never admit to it. No way they're talking about him. He knows it somehow. You can't transition from ideas of reference to delusions of reference.

And this happens very frequently in narcissistic modification.

After narcissistic modification, the narcissist develops delusions of reference. He becomes delusional, which is much more typical of borderline than of narcissism.

And so abortive ideas of reference, I'm quoting, abortive ideas of reference in the beginning of the development or in schizotypal personalities continuously may remain subject to the patient's criticism under adverse circumstances by minimal economic shifts.

However, reality testing may be lost and daydreams of this kind turn into delusions.

A person rigidly controlled by his super ego readily forms sensitive ideas of reference.

A key experience may occur in his life circumstances.

And quite suddenly, these ideas become structured as delusions of reference.

Within the focus of paranoia, that man crossing his legs, that woman wearing that blouse, it can't just be accidental or coincidental. It's a message. It's a signal. It has particular meaning. It is intended to convey something.

In many ways, the narcissist is delusional. He believes the environment and the world organizes themselves around him, around his self perception and self image and around his needs.

Because he's envious, he projects this envy onto others and assumes that they're as envious of him as he is envious of them, that they are as malevolent as he may be, that they are as that they're engaged in some conspiracy against him to destroy him.

Similarly, the narcissist may group together sources of narcissistic supply, idealize them and convince himself that they spend their time talking about him, admiring him, adulating him and so on and so forth.

Both are types of ideas of reference which base themselves on apophenia, pareidolia and a total utter failure of othering, perceiving people out there as external, separate individuals.

The narcissist enacts a narrative totally confined to his mind, he's a prisoner of his own mind. Everything is happening in his mind, the whole theater production, the whole movie unfolds and unfurls exclusively within his mind. Nobody's out there, this perhaps is the most terrifying thing of all, this perhaps is the cause root of narcissistic defenses.

It's the desperate attempt to have object relations with internal objects rather than with external objects, knowing somewhere unconsciously all the time that you're all alone, that there's nobody out there and there's nobody in there because if there are no external objects, what do these internal objects represent?

Nothing, nothingness, this is the core and the psychodynamic engine of the narcissist and borderlines emptiness.

The inability to recognize external objects in the case of the narcissist leads to the generation of internal objects which are highly dubious because again, what do they refer to in the absence of external objects?

So suddenly the narcissist is faced with a compulsion, with a need to generate an entire new world of which he is the ruler and the Godhead so as to avoid the profound existential loneliness of the black hole and the void of the emptiness and the absence that he is.


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Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the differences between self-confidence, high self-esteem, and narcissism in this lecture. He explains that healthy self-esteem involves self-acceptance and self-love, while narcissism is compensatory and volatile. He delves into the concept of attribution errors and how they relate to narcissism, as well as the cultural and societal influences on self-esteem. Vaknin emphasizes the importance of stability and self-regulation in healthy self-worth, self-esteem, and self-confidence, contrasting them with the external and unstable nature of narcissism.


What Your Ego Does for You in Daily Life, Narcissism (Compilation)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the concept of ego functions and their role in narcissism. He explains that the ego is a Freudian construct responsible for interfacing with reality and preventing impulsive, id-driven actions. The ego's main functions include reality testing, impulse control, regulation of affect, judgment, object relations, thinking, and defenses. Vaknin argues that narcissists lack a fully formed ego, leading them to outsource ego functions and rely on others. He also suggests that the ego's role is to decathect, or withdraw emotional investment from objects, to maintain an objective view of reality. Reality testing, a key ego function, is the ability to distinguish internal thoughts and fantasies from external reality. Vaknin critiques Freud's evolving theories on reality testing and emphasizes the importance of cognition in regulating behavior and maintaining self-awareness. He concludes that narcissists not only lack a coherent ego or self but also suffer from a cognitive deficit, leaving them with a distorted perception of reality and themselves.


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.


Alcohol+Covert Narcissist=Antisocial Grandiose Narcissist

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the effects of alcohol on covert narcissists. He explains that alcohol can transform a covert narcissist into an overt narcissist, leading to reckless and psychopathic behavior. He argues that alcoholism is a choice, not a brain disorder, and that alcohol affects empathy, disinhibits behavior, and distorts perception of attractiveness. He also delves into the psychological reasons why covert narcissists turn to alcohol and the impact of alcohol on their behavior and self-perception.


Narcissist’s Extrinsic Values How You Adopt The Fantasy Ratchet

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the concept of values, which are a confluence between how we view ourselves and the world ideally and how we think the world should conduct its affairs. Values are shaped by socialization and acculturation and can be intrinsic or extrinsic. Narcissists possess extrinsic values, which are associated with lower empathy and a focus on power and status. Societies with extrinsic values tend to be unequal and lack solidarity. The elites in such societies use fear, new frames of thought, and the values ratchet to manipulate the population. In individual situations, narcissists induce fear, redefine reality, and normalize the abnormal to control others. Values in the hands of narcissists are powerful instruments that reshape individuals and perpetuate fantasy as a substitute for reality.

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