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How Narcissist Dreams You (+Interpreted Dream)

Uploaded 11/7/2023, approx. 47 minute read

This interminable video is divided in two parts.

The first part we are going to discuss the narcissist experience of the shared fantasy as a dream state.

And then the second part is a treat.

Post Halloween treat, it's an analysis of the dream of a narcissist.

One dream, one narcissist.

And those of you who are interested in my dreams, the dreams that I'm having at night when I sleep, not during the shared fantasy.

There's a link in the description, go down, the description is still mysteriously under the video. And there's a link, click on it and you could read some of my dreams.

Not univised, but just described.

And the second part is a dream which was forwarded to me by a client at the time, long time ago.

I analysed it and it reflects on the narcissistic mindset and how dreams help us to interpret and understand the narcissist in ways which other therapeutic techniques and tools do not.

Who the heck am I?

My name is Sam Vaknin. I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited, a former visiting professor of psychology in Southern Federal University, a Russian Federation. I am also a long time faculty member of CIAPS, Commonwealth for International Advanced Professional Studies, Cambridge United Kingdom, Toronto, Canada, Lagos, Nigeria.

In dispense with the legalities, let us delve right in.


Now, just to be clear, today when we discuss dreams and dream states and dreaming, we are in the age of neuroscience.

We no longer hold psychology to be the ultimate authority and we have of course dispensed with what we consider to be nonsense, such as psychoanalysis.

So today the dominant model in dreaming is AIM, the AIM model.

It is a model that proposes that various states of consciousness may be defined and differentiated according to the position on three axes of brain activity.

First one is activation, how active is a brain when there is some type of activity.

One is awake for example, in non-REM sleep, rapid eye movement. Non-rapid eye movement is a state of being which is described as wakefulness.

And similarly, how active is a brain in REM sleep, rapid eye movement sleep. And this is all measured by electroencephalography, EEG or other ways.

Today we also use FMRI, functional magnetic resonance imaging and so on.

So this is the AIM model.

The I is input-output gating.

How is information that is processed by the brain during each phase in the sleep wake cycle, how is it generated?

By external sensory input, as in external stimuli during waking or internally, as in dreams.

And the third part is modulation, which neurochemical modulatory system is predominant during each phase, the aminergic or cholinergic.

So we've been using this model in neuroscience and in psychology to investigate all kinds of altered states of consciousness, not only sleep states, not only dream states, but also for example, drug-induced states and also various phenomena associated with dreaming.

For example, lucid dreaming.

The same model is applied in philosophy, but we're not going to it to deal with the mind-body problem.

Anyhow, the model was first suggested by J. Allen Hobson, who is a US psychiatrist. It was an expansion of the earlier activation synthesis hypothesis that he, Hobson, developed with another psychiatrist, US psychiatrist, Robert McCrae.

But today's video, I'm not going to discuss neuroscience and I'm not going to discuss the AIM model. I'm not going to discuss the hardware. I'm going to discuss how we experience the hardware's activity.

The AIM model is a hardware model and psychology is a meta-language. It's a language that describes the inner experience and the outer expressions and manifestations of the activities of the hardware, which is the brain.

So the narcissist imposes a shared fantasy on all his relationships. It's an extension of the fantasy defense that gave rise to the pathological narcissism of the narcissist to start with.

The narcissist couldn't cope with the traumatic, abusive, boundary-britching, reality-denying, instrumentalizing and parentifying environment.

So rather than cope with the hurt and the pain and the frustration and the anger and the envy triggered by reality, the narcissist beats reality farewell and engages fantasy instead.

Narcissism is fantasy defense can arise, fantasy defense re-read large.


However, the distinction between fantasy and dream is not very clear.

How does a narcissist experience his own fantasy, the shared fantasy, other fantasies? How does he experience them?

I suggest that the narcissist experiences his fantasies the way you experience dreams.

It's a dream state.

When you are inside the dream, when you're having the dream, you cannot tell that it is a dream.

Well, except in very rare cases of lucid dreaming, but generally you cannot tell that it is a dream.

As far as you're concerned, it's reality.

And then you wake up, you sober up and you realize you've been dreaming. You are in the throes of a nightmare. You want it over. You force yourself to wake up. You wake up.

So the narcissist is constantly embedded in a dreamlike state, surreal state, and he's unable to wake up.

Number one, because he doesn't see the need to wake up.

He absolutely believes counterfactually that his fantasy is reality.

He cannot tell the difference between fantasy and reality.

That's why narcissists don't lie. They confabulate. They don't lie, they are honest about their intentions. They confuse and conflate fantasy and confuse fantasy with reality.

So this is the first reason not to wake up.

The fantasy is real.

Are you a butterfly dreaming that you're a person or are you a person dreaming that you're a butterfly?

It's an ancient conundrum which a narcissist is unable to solve.

And the second reason the narcissist doesn't want to snap out of the fantasy or to wake up from this dream is that it is very adaptive.

It is very functional.

As far as a narcissist is concerned, the fantasy renders him self-efficacious, helps him to accomplish his goals, especially his dire need for his drug of choice, which is narcissistic supply.

So why would he wake up from a dream?

Jung suggested in analytic psychology that a fragment of the conscious ego is always active during the dream state. He called it the dream ego.

The narcissist is in a constant state of dreaming.

So the only ego he has, so to speak, is a dream ego.

It's a fantasy ego.

It's not a real ego.

The main function of the ego, one of the main ego functions, is interfaced with reality, reality testing, because the narcissist doesn't have an ego. He's incapable of reality testing.

And exactly as he has substituted the false self for his true self, he substitutes his dream ego for a real ego.

You see, the whole thing is make believe.

The narcissist is a concoction, a piece of narrative, a story, a piece of fiction. It's not real in any sense of the word.

As far as a narcissist is concerned, the dream is reality.

Waking up from the dream is entering a dream state.

Reality to the narcissist is the dream state.

His fantasy is reality. It's an inverted human being.

Now, if this is true, then you, the narcissist's intimate partner, the narcissist's family member, the narcissist's friend, the narcissist's child, you are embedded in the shared fantasy.

And because the shared fantasy bears an uncanny resemblance to a dream, you within the shared fantasy, you are part of the dream content. You're a symbol. You're an element of the dream. You're figment of the dream.

You see, in dreaming, when we dream, we see other people in our dreams.

Very frequently, actually.

So your status in the narcissist's fantasy is exactly the same as people that you see in your dreams when you go to sleep.

Exactly.

These people, the people who populate your dreams while you sleep, these people are two-dimensional. They are representations. They are symbols.

And we will discuss in a minute symbols for what?

They symbolize what?

But they're not real. They, for example, people in your dreams act, but they act in a way that is essentially dictated by you or is totally illogical and disjointed and crazy a bit.

Nothing.

So the narcissist sees other people the way you see people in your dreams.

Now, the dream content includes the images, ideas, and impulses expressed in a dream.

We distinguish between two types of content, the latent content, the hidden, or disguised meanings, wishes, and ideas beneath the manifest content of any utterance or other form of communication or an action.

So in the dream, there are meanings, wishes, emotions, ideas that are expressed via symbols. And we'll discuss it a bit later.

Psychoanalytic theory, the unconscious wishes to seek expression in dreams or in fantasies. The unconscious material is, in three traits, the dream.

And then some of it is censored. Some of it is distorted by the work of the dream, the workings of the dream, the mechanisms of the dream. Some of these content that erupted emerged from the unconscious, the repressed material. Some of it is censored and transmuted and transformed into symbolic representations in order to protect the ego.

In psychoanalysis, they use dream analysis so as to uncover the latent content, latent content that is rendered symbolic via dream censorship.


So let me encapsulate this and summarize this.

You have a desire, an urge, a drive.

It is socially unacceptable for some reason or shameful or traumatic. So it is repressed. It is buried in the unconscious.

When you dream, this buried material, this repressed material comes to the surface.

But it is still forbidden. It is still traumatic. It is still hurtful. It is still threatening this material.

So to protect the ego, the sensa, there's an element there, sensa changes the repressed material, disguises it, camouflages it in the form of symbolic representations, including other people.

So the manifest content is the material that is overtly expressed and consciously intended in utterances, forms of communication, actions and so on.

In psychoanalytic theory, the manifest content, these are the images and events of a dream or a fantasy as experienced and recalled by the dreamer or by the fantasies.

And this is, of course, a distinction from the latent content.

We have access only to the manifest content.

To convert it or to uncover or to reveal and expose the latent content, we need to work on it.

We need to analyze the dream.

In psychoanalytic theory, dream censorship is the disguising in dreams of unconscious wishes that will be disturbing to the ego if they were allowed totally conscious expression.

According to Zingman Freud, the forlorness and intensity of dream disguise varies directly with the strictness of the censorship.

In psychoanalytic theory, the sensor used to be the mental agency located in the preconscious that is responsible for repression.

Everything that is forbidden, traumatic, hurtful, socially unacceptable, dangerous, threatening, the sensor represses it.

The sensor determines which wishes, which thoughts, which ideas may enter consciousness and which must be kept unconscious because they violate one's conscience or society's standards or because they are in conflict with other wishes and perceptions or because the affect associated, the emotions associated with this content is disturbing, overwhelming, threatening.

So the sensor is responsible for the distortion of wishes that occurs in dreams and this is dream censorship.

This was an early perception.

Freud later developed the sensor and renamed it superego.

Okay, now in dreams there are various mechanisms in action according to Freud's masterpiece, interpretation of dreams.

The first mechanism is known as condensation.

It is a fusion of multiple meanings, concepts or emotions into one image or one symbol.

So in the dream you have a single symbol, a single image and it represents many many meanings, many memories, many concepts, many wishes, many drives, many emotions, many cognitions and so on. It's like a zip file, a compressed file.

Condensation is common in dreams.

One dream character fuses the dreamer's feelings towards several people or one dream action combine different emotional impulses, for example.

Now the narcissist, remember the narcissist's shared fantasy is almost indistinguishable from a dream state. As far as the narcissist is concerned, you're a character in a dream so you are condensed. You represent to the narcissist multiple memories including traumatic memories, early childhood memories, meanings, drives, wishes, concepts and emotions and thoughts. They're all in you, you're like a zip file, like an archive file of all these things. Your presence in the shared fantasy is exactly like the presence of some person in a dream.

And the narcissist crumbs into you, attributes to you, projects onto you, numerous elements, numerous psychological elements. And so you become this walking talking library or encyclopedia of the narcissist in a world which is precisely why the narcissist must separate and deviate from you, separate from you, I'm sorry, in order to become an individual.

Because you are the repository of the narcissist's mind.

As a dream character, you represent the narcissist's mind.

He needs to take his mind back from you. He outsources his mind to you, projects it onto you and he needs to take it back from you.

And the only way to take it back from you is to separate from you and then to individualize.


The next mechanism in operation in dreams is known as symbolization.

In classical psychoanalytic theory, symbolization is a substitution of a symbol for some repressed, forbidden impulse, affect, in order to avoid censorship by the superego.

So you can dream of a cigar, but actually it's a phallic symbol, a penis. That's an example of symbolism, of symbolization.

Substituting innocuous, innocent looking objects which represent a latent content of sieving, voluptuous, passionate, crazy, antisocial wishes, drives, instincts, urges, hopes, dreams, in the daydreaming sense, and cognitions and emotions, effects. So this is known as symbolization.

In social cognitive theory, symbolization is the ability to think about one's social behavior in terms of words and images, and the narcissist combines these two elements.

Remember, the shared fantasy is a dream and you are a character in the narcissist's dream. You are a character, but you're also a symbol. You are condensed and you are then symbolized.

The narcissist crumbs into you, introduces into your character in the fantasy. The narcissist attributes to you, projects onto you all kinds of psychological elements such as wishes and dreams and hopes and emotions and cognitions and fears that they all projected onto you. You become all these things.

The narcissist outsources his mind to you, but then confronted with this outsourced external mind, the narcissist has to deny it because it is the seed of shame and trauma and abuse and bad negative effects.

So having converted you, having transformed you into in his dream, into a condensed representation of his mind, the narcissist cannot look you in the eye, even in his dream state.

He then symbolizes, he transforms you, substantiates you, transmutes you into a symbol.

What do you symbolize in the narcissist mind?

You symbolize everything the narcissist cannot countenance and accept in himself, every element of himself that he rejects.

In short, you become the narcissist externalized bad object.

This is in preparation for separation and individuation, having, thus, converted you symbolically into a bad object, essentially having handed his bad object to you in his dream state shared fantasy, the narcissist now is ready to consider you as all bad.

The narcissist is ready to split you and say she is all bad. I'm all good. I have to get rid of her. I have to get rid of her. I have to separate from her. I have to individually.

These mechanisms, which are essentially superego or dream state mechanisms, help the narcissist ignore your humanity, dehumanize you, objectify you, instrumentalize you, use you as a tool to allow your conversion into a dream character, allows the narcissist to apply to you the mechanisms of dreaming, condense you, use you as a symbol, hand over to you the elements of his mind that he cannot support, that he cannot tolerate.

And then use projective identification to force you to behave as the bad object that he has attributed to you in the first place and then separate and individually.

Now this involves a mechanism known as displacement.

Displacement is a transfer of feelings or behavior from their original object to another personal thing.

So in psychoanalytic theory, displacement is a defense mechanism.

The individual discharges tensions associated with, for example, hostility or fear by taking these tensions out on a less threatening target.

So when you have a huge fight with your boss, you can't tell him he's an a-hole because he will fire you and you need a job.

So you go back home and you have a huge fight with your girlfriend.

That's displacement.

The emotions are redirected at another target, that other target being less threatening.

The consequences are reduced by redirecting hostility, fear, anger, envy, and every other hatred, any other form of negative affectivity.

An angry child might break a toy, yell at a sibling instead of attacking his mother or his father. A frustrated employee will criticize his spouse instead of his boss. A person who fears his or her own hostile impulses transfers that fear to objects such as knives or guns or other objects which may be used as a weapon.

There's also displaced aggression, drive displacement.

We'll not go into all this.

In the dream there's a lot of displacement, especially internal, external displacement.

The narcissist experiences emotions that he cannot live with like huge aggression, fear, envy, hatred. And these emotions are unbearable.

So what he does, he displaces them onto you.

Rather than be internally aggressive, which is life threatening, he becomes externally aggressive. He attacks you. Rather than admit that he's hostile, he begins to perceive you as hostile and converts you into a secondary object.

Rather than hate himself and loathe himself, he begins to hate you and loathe you, etc.

Displacement is a crucial mechanism in dreaming.

And in the dream state, that is the shared fantasy, displacement and projection and projective identification are the three reigning defense mechanisms. And they follow on the footsteps, hot on the footsteps of splitting.

The narcissist renders you all bad by condensing you, symbolizing you, transforming you into the bad object and then he displaces, attacks you essentially.

And finally, there are two other mechanisms involved in dreaming.

One is known as dramatization.

Dramatization in daily life is attention seeking behavior, exaggerating the symptoms of an illness to make it appear more important than the occurrence of the same illness in someone else.

For example, of a drama queen, dramatization.

But in psychoanalytic theory, dramatization is the expression of repressed wishes or impulses in dreams via some kind of a story, a narrative.

So a dream is very much like a fairy tale, a proper Bruno- battle kind.

A dream is a short fiction and you in the shared fantasy, you are supposed to follow a script.

With the shared fantasy is a lot like a dream and a dream is a lot like a movie, a short movie.

So you're supposed to follow a script.

If you don't follow the script, you're undermining the whole dream. You're destroying the narrative cohesion of the dream and you're not allowing the narcissist to dramatize the whole thing.

So narcissist is very insistent on you acting the way he wants you to act.

He idealizes you, he idealizes not you, but he idealizes the internal object that represents you in his mind and then expects you to behave in accordance with his idealization. He expects you to conform to the contours and features of the idealized object that represents you in his mind.

And this is, I call this coercive snapshotty.

Coercive snapshotty is simply the attempt to enforce dramatization on the dream state of the shared fantasy and to make you conform to the condensed symbolic state as a character in the narcissist's dream.


Now in typical dreams, when you sleep at night, very often dreams incorporate stimuli from the environment. They integrate stimuli. You're having muscle cramp or there's a sound of a telephone ringing or a siren passes by. You incorporate it and integrate it in the content of a dream on the fly. You change the narrative of the dream, the story changes to incorporate the ringing form or the ambulance siren or your muscle cramp. And this is an incorporation dream.

The shared fantasy is a prime example of incorporation dream. The shared fantasy is responsive to what's happening in the environment, to environmental cues, signals and messages.

There is what we call a dream stimulus.

The narcissist absorbs, is cognizant of, notices stimuli that initiate dream content in the shared fantasy.

External stimuli, internal sensory stimuli, mental stimuli, feelings, memories, interactions, actions and so on. This takes in reality by incorporating it into the shared fantasy on the fly, preserving the dreamlike character of the shared fantasy.


Okay, this is the introduction.

Yeah, you can believe it. This is only the introduction.

Now let's go to a specific dream.

The dream was related to me by a male, 46 years old, who claims to be in the throes of a major personal transformation.

Whether he is a narcissist, as he believes himself to be, or not a narcissist is quite irrelevant.

Narcissism is a language. A person can choose to express himself in this language, even if he is not possessed clinically of the absolute exact disorder.

And the dreamer in this case made this choice.

He presents himself as a narcissist.

So henceforth, I will treat him the way he wishes to be treated. I will treat him as a narcissist, though insufficient information renders a real diagnosis impossible.

Moreover, the subject, and I'm going to call him henceforth the subject, feels that he is confronting his disorder, and that this could be a significant turning point on his way to getting healed.

It is in this context that this dream should be interpreted.

Evidently, if he chose to write to me, he is very preoccupied with his internal processes.

There is every reason to believe that such conscious content invaded his dream.

So let's delve right into the dream in his own words.

Pay close attention, because the interpretation follows and the interpretation relies on the details of the dream.

I says the subject, I was in a rundown restaurant bar with two friends sitting at a table in a large open area with a few other tables in a bar.

I did not like the music or the smoky atmosphere or other customers or greasy food, but we were traveling and were hungry and it was open and the only place we could find.

There was a woman with other people at a table about 10 feet in front of me that I found attractive.

He found the woman attractive, yes not the table, that I found attractive.

I noticed that she was noticing me as well.

There was also another woman with other people at the table about 30 feet to my right, bald with heavy makeup and poorly dyed hair, loud, obnoxious drunk, who also noticed me.

She started saying negative things to me and I tried to ignore her. She just got louder and more derogatory with horrible rude and jabbing comments.

I tried to ignore her but my other friends looked at me with raised eyebrows as if to ask how much more are you going to take before you stand up for yourself.

I felt sick to my stomach and did not want to confront her, but everyone in the place was now noticing her confrontation of me and she was almost screaming at me.

I couldn't believe no one was telling her to stop it, to be civil, to be nice.

I finally looked over at her and I raised my voice and I told her to shut up.

She looked at me and seemed to get even angrier and then looked at her plate and picked up a piece of food and threw it at me.

I couldn't believe it.

I told her I wasn't going to take one more thing and to stop it now or I would call the police.

She got up, walked towards me, picking up a plate of popcorn from another table and I ended it flat upon the top of my head.

I stood up and said, "That's it. That's assault. You're going to jail." And went to the cash register area by the door and called the police.

The police instantly appeared and took her away with her resisting arrest the whole time.

I sat down and someone at the table next to me said, "Now you can open up the dam gate."

I said, "What?" And he explained how the woman was actually pretty powerful and owned the dam and had shut the gate down years ago, but now she was locked up.

We could go up to the dam and open it up.

So we piled into a truck and I was led into a cavernous room and shown a small room with a glass wall in it and a big wheel, a control valve.

I was told that I could turn it whenever I wanted.

So I started to turn it and the water started flowing.

I could easily see through the glass and the level on the glass rose higher the more I turned the wheel.

Soon there was a torrent and it was thrilling.

I had never seen such an incredible roar of water.

It was like the Niagara Falls flowing through the huge room.

I got frightened along with being thrilled, but I discovered I could lessen the water with a valve if it got to be too much.

It went on for a long time and we whooped and laughed and felt so excited.

Finally the water grew less no matter how wide I opened the valve and it reached a steady flow.

I noticed the pretty woman from the grill way across the huge area and she seemed to be looking for someone.

I hoped it was me.

I opened the door and went out to go to meet her.

On the way out I got grease on my hand and picked up a rag on the table to wipe it off.

The rag had even more grease on it so now my hands were completely covered in grease.

I picked up another rag on top of a box and there were wet spark plugs stuck with globs of grease to the underside of the rag lined up in order as if they used to be in an engine and someone stuck them in this order on purpose and some of it got on my clothes.

The guys with me laughed and I laughed with them but I left without going to meet the woman and we went back to the grill.

I found myself in a tiny room with a table in it and a picture window looking out into the area where everyone was sitting and eating.

The door was opened into a black hallway.

I started to go out but a man was coming into the room and for some reason he frightened me and I backed up.

However he was robot like and he walked to the window and looked out to the dining area making no indication that he even noticed me.

He just stared blandly at the people having fun.

I left and went out into the dining area.

I noticed everyone staring at me in an unfriendly way.

I started for the exit but one of the policemen who had arrested the woman from the night before was off duty in plain clothes and grabbed my arm and twisted me around and shoved me face down on the table.

He told me that what I did to the woman was wrong and that no one liked me because of it.

He said that just because I had the law on my side and was in the right didn't mean anyone would like me.

He said if I was smart I would leave town.

Others were around me and spit on me.

He let me go and I left.

I was driving in a car alone out of town.

I didn't know what became of the friends I was with.

I felt both elated and ashamed at the same time, crying and laughing at the same time and had no idea where to go and what I was doing.


What about the interpretation Sam?

Let's try to look at the dream.

As the dream unfolds the subject is with two friends.

These friends vanish towards the end of a dream and he doesn't seem to find it worrisome.

He says I didn't know what became of the friends I was with.

But there's no distress in the text.

This is a strange way to treat one's friends.

It seems that we are dealing not with three dimensional full blown flesh and blood friends but with friendly mental functions.

Indeed, the other ones will encourage the subject to react to the old woman's antiques.

They say to him, "How much more are you going to take before you stand up for yourself?"

They ask him, cunning him.

All the other people present at the bar, at the bar restaurant, do not even bother to tell the woman to stop, to be civil, to be nice, in the subject's words.

This eerie silence contributes to the subject's reaction of disbelief, mushrooms throughout the nightmare.

At first the subject tries to emulate their behavior and to ignore the woman himself.

She says negative things about him. She goes louder and more derogatory, horribly rude and jabbing and he still tries to ignore her.

When his friends push him to react, I felt sick to my stomach and did not want to confront her.

But he finally does confront her because everyone was noticing as she was almost screaming at him.

The subject emerges as the plaything of other people.

A woman screams at him and debases him.

Friends prompt him to react.

And then motivated by everyone, he does react.

His reactions are determined by input from the outside.

He expects other people to do for him the things that he finds unpleasant to do by himself, for example, to tell the woman to stop.

His feeling of entitlement, I'm quoting, "I deserve this special treatment. Others should take care of my affairs."

In his magical thinking, I quote, "If I want something to happen, it surely will."

They're so strong that he is stunned when people do not do his silent bidding.

This dependence on others is multifaceted.

They mirror the subject to himself.

He modifies his behaviors.

He forms expectations.

He gets disbelievingly disappointed.

He punishes and rewards himself and he takes behavioral cues from other people.

For example, the guys with me laughed and I laughed with them.

When confronted with someone who does not notice him, he describes him as robot-like and he's frightened by him.

The word "look" disproportionately recurs throughout the text.

In one of the main scenes, his confrontation with the rude, ugly woman, both parties do not do anything without first looking at each other.

He looks at her before he raises his voice and tells her to shut up.

She looks at him and then gets angry.

The dream opens in a run-down restaurant bar with the wrong kind of music and of customers, smokey atmosphere and greasy food.

The subject and his friends were traveling and hungry and the restaurant was the only open place.

The subject takes great pains to justify his lack of choice.

He doesn't want us to believe that he is the type of person to willingly patronize such a restaurant.

What we think about him is very important to him.

Our look still tends to define him.

Throughout the text, the subject goes on to explain, justify, excuse, reason and persuade us.

Then he suddenly stops and this is a crucial turning point.

I'll drink to it.

It is reasonable to assume that the subject is relating to his personal odyssey.

At the end of his dream, he continues his troubles.

He continues his life ashamed and elated at the same time as he puts it.

We are ashamed when our sense of propriety is offended and we are elated when it is reaffirmed.

How can these contradictory feelings coexist?

How can we be ashamed any later?

This is what the dream is about.

The battle between what the subject has been taught to regard as true and proper, the shoulds and the odds of his life, usually the result of overly strict upbringing and what he feels is good for him.

What he feels he should do, how he should behave, is not good for him.

These two do not overlap and they foster in the subject a sense of escalating conflict and acted before our very eyes.

The first domain is embedded in his superego to Boris Freud's quasi-literary metaphor.

Critical voices constantly resound in his mind.

An uproarious, opprobrium, sadistic criticism, destructive chastising and even an unfair comparisons to unattainable ideals and goals.

On the other hand, the powers of life are reawakening in him with a ripening and maturation of his personality.

He vaguely realizes that what he missed and what he misses, he regrets it and he wants out of his virtual prison.

In response, his disorder feels threatened.

His disorder flexes its tormented muscles, a giant awakened atlas shrugged.

The subject wants to be less rigid, more spontaneous, more vivacious, less sad, less defined by the gaze of others and more hopeful.

But his disorder begs to disagree.

His disorder dictates rigidity, emotional absence, automatism, fear and loathing, self-flagellation, dependence on narcissistic supply and a forced self.

The subject does not like his current locus in life.

It is dingy. It is downtrodden. It is shabby and inhabited by vulgar ugly people.

The music is wrong. It is fogged by smoke. It's polluted.

Yet even while there, the subject knows that there are alternatives, that there is hope.

A young, attractive lady, mutual signaling, and she is closer to him, 10 feet, than the old ugly woman of his past, 30 feet.

His dream will not bring them together, but he feels no sorrow.

He leaves the place, laughing with the guise, to revisit the previous haunt.

He owes it to himself.

And then he continues his life.

The subject finds himself in the middle of the road of life, in the ugly place that is his soul, his psyche.

The young woman is nothing but a promise.

And there is another woman.

As he describes her, old, with heavy makeup, poorly dyed hair, loud, obnoxious, drunk.

And this is his mental disorder. This is his narcissism.

It can scarcely sustain the deception. Its makeup is heavy. Its hair dyed poorly. Its mood a result of intoxication. It could well be the false self of the superego.

But I rather think it is the whole, the totality of the sick personality.

And this ugly woman notices him. She berates him with derogatory remarks. She screams at him.

The subject realizes that his disorder is not friendly. That his disorder seeks to humiliate him. It is out to degrade him and destroy him.

His disorder gets violent. It hurls food at him. It buries him under a dish of popcorn. Popcorn is a cinema metaphor, a theater metaphor. The war is out in the open. The fake coalition, which glued the shaky structures of the fragile personality together, this fake coalition exists no longer.

Notice that the subject does not recall what insults and pejorative remarks were directed at him. Or at the very least, he doesn't recount them. He deletes all the expletives because they really do not matter. The enemy is vile and ignoble and will make use and excuse of any weakness, vulnerability, mistake and doubt to crack the defenses set up by the subject's budding, healthier mental structures.

The young woman. It's a war. It's a civil war.

There is mental disorder in the healing process. There is no self-hate more insidious and pernicious than the narcissist.

The end justifies all the means and it is the subject's end that his disorder seeks.

But to fight his illness, the subject still resorts to all solutions, to all the habits and to all behavior patterns.

He calls the police because they represent the law and what is right. It is through the rigid unflinching framework of a legal system that he hopes to suppress what he regards as the unruly behavior of his disorder.

Only at the end of his dream, he comes to realize his mistake.

I'm quoting.

He said that just because I had the law on my side and I wasn't the right didn't mean that anyone would like me.

The police who appear instantly because they were always present there arrest the woman but their sympathy is with the woman, not with him.

His true aids, his true help can be found only among the customers of the restaurant bar whom he found not to his liking.

I did not like the other customers, he says.

It is someone in the next table who tells him about the dam.

The way to health is through enemy territory.

Information about healing can be gotten only from the sickness itself.

The subject must leverage his own disorder to disown it.

The dam is a potent symbol in this dream. It represents all the repressed emotions, the now forgotten traumas, the suppressed drives and wishes, fears and hopes. It is a natural element, primordial and powerful and it is damned by the disorder.

The vulgar now imprisoned lady. It is up to him to open the dam. No one will do it for him.

Now you can open the dam gate, they tell him.

The powerful woman is no more. She used to own the dam and she guarded its gates for many years.

This is a sad passage about the subject's inability to communicate within or with himself.

To experience his feelings and mediate, to let go.

When the subject does finally encounter the water, his emotions, they are safely contained behind glass. Visible but described in a kind of scientific manner as if he were just an observer.

The level on the glass rose higher and the more I turned the wheel.

He says.

And it is absolutely controlled by the subject using a valve.

So the subject is not dysregulated or overwhelmed by the emotions because he is one step removed from them.

The glass.

The language chosen is detached and called protective.

The subject must have been emotionally overwhelmed but his sentences are borrowed from the texts of laboratory reports and travel guides, myagreful.

The very existence of the dam comes as a surprise to him.

I said, what?

And he explained.

Still, with all these caveats, this is nothing short of a revolution, an internal revolution.

It is the first time that the subject acknowledges that there is something hidden behind the dam in his brain, cavernous room, and that it is entirely up to him to release it.

I was told that I could turn it whenever I wanted, he reports.

Instead of turning around and running in panic, the subject chooses to turn the wheel.

It is a control valve, he hurries to explain to us.

The dream must be seen to obey the rules of logic and nature and physics and engineering.

The subject describes the result of his first encounter with his long-repressed emotions as thrilling, incredible, roaring, torrential.

It did frighten him, this encounter, but he wisely learned to make use of the valve and to regulate the flow of his emotions to accord with his emotional capacity.

And what were his reactions?

Whooped, whooped, laughed, excited.

Eventually the flow became steady and independent of the valve.

There was no need to regulate the water anymore, no need to regulate his emotions anymore. There was no threat.

The subject learned to live with his emotions, even diverted his attention back to the attractive young woman who reappeared and seemed to be looking for someone, and he had hoped that she is looking for him.

But the woman belonged to another time, to another place, and there was no turning back.

The subject had yet to learn this final lesson.

His past was dead.

The old defense mechanisms are unable to provide him with the comfort and illusory protection that he either too enjoyed.

The subject had to move on to another plane of existence.

But it is hard to beat farewell to a part of you, to metamorphosize, to disappear in one sense and reappear in another.

A break in one's consciousness and existence is traumatic no matter how well controlled, well-intentioned and how beneficial.

So our hero goes back to visit his former self.

He is warned.

It is not with clean hands that he proceeds.

They get grisier the more he tries to clean them.

Even his clothes are affected.

Rags, wet, useless spark plugs, the ephemeral images of a former engine, all star in this episode.

Those are passages worth quoting and in parentheses my comments.

He says, "I noticed a pretty woman from the grave, from my past, way across the huge area, in his brain, and she seemed to be looking for someone.

I had hoped it was me.

I opened the door and I went out to go meet her.

I went back to my past.

He went back to his past.

"All the way out I got gris on my hand, dirt, this kind of warning, and picked up a rag on the table to wipe it off.

The rag had even more gris on it.

The subject is telling himself there is no way to disguise the wrong move, the potentially disastrous decision to revisit the past.

It's dirty. It's wrong.

The subject continued, "I picked up another rag on top of a box and there were wet dead spark plugs stuck with globs of gris to the underside of the rag, lined up in order as if they used to be in an engine.

It's an image of something long gone.

Someone stuck them in this order on purpose and some of it got on my clothes.

The guys with me laughed and I laughed with them.

He laughed because of peer pressure, not because he really felt like it.

I left without going to meet the woman and we went back to the grill, in other words, to the scene of his battle with his mental disorder, the ugly woman.

Butthe subject, the subject, goes on to the grill where it all started, this undefined and untitled chain of events that changes life.

This time he's not allowed to enter, only to observe from a tiny room.

Actually he doesn't exist there anymore.

The man that enters his observation post does not even see him or notice him.

He is no longer in his past, he is no longer in his mental illness, he is no longer.

The grounds to believe that the man who entered was the previous sick version of the subject himself.

The subject was frightened and backed up.

The robot-like person looked through the window, stared blandly at the people having fun.

The subject then proceeded to commit the error of revisiting his past, the restaurant.

Inevitably the very people that he debunked and deserted and abandoned, the elements of his mental disorder, the disease, occupants and components of his mind, they were hostile.

The policeman, this time off duty, not representing the law, assaults him, advises him to leave.

Others spit on him.

This is reminiscent of a religious ritual of excommunication.

Spinoza was spat on in a synagogue, judged to have committed heresy.

And this reveals the religious or ideological dimension of mental disorders.

I keep saying that narcissism is a private religion.

Not unlike religion, mental disorders have their own catechism, compulsive rituals, set of rigid beliefs and adherence, mental constructs motivated by fear and prejudice.

Mental disorders are churches.

They employ institutions of inquisition. They punish heretical views with a severity, defeating the inquisition and the darkest ages.

But these people, this setting exert no more power over him.

He is free to go.

There is no turning back now. All bridges burned, all doors shut firmly.

He is a persona non grata in his own former disordered psyche.

The traveler resumes his troubles not knowing where to go and what he's doing, but he's laughing and crying and ashamed and elated all at the same time.

In other words, he finally, after many years, experiences emotions.

On his way to the horizon, the dream leaves the subject with a promise veiled as a threat.

If you were smart, you would leave.

If you know what is good for you, you will get healthy.

And the subject seems to be doing just that.

Point of interpretation of the dream.

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