How Narcissist Dupes, Lures YOU Into Shared Fantasy

Uploaded 1/10/2021, approx. 41 minute read

In the wake of the giants and the fathers of the field of personality disorders, scholars like Otto Kernberg and Theodore Millman, I keep telling you almost in every video that the narcissist does not exist. There's no one there. It's deep space. It's an emptiness.

The narcissist is not a presence, but an absence, a hole of mirrors, a carnival attraction, a kaleidoscopic mirage.

One of you asked yesterday in a comment, how does the narcissist create the delusion that people experience when interacting with the narcissist? How does it make them mistake this being for a complete or real persona?

In other words, if there's nobody there, if it's an emptiness, how does this emptiness, this absence, how does this void convince you that it's a human being, it's a person? How does the narcissist fool you into his shared fantasy if he does not exist in any sense of the word and if he is not human by any stretch?

So I will start by summarizing a few other videos that I've made where I provided snippets of the answer.

Start with the Pollyanna defenses.

We all believe that people tell the truth most of the time. This is called the Bayes Raid Fallacy. We tend to trust people. We tend to assume that information they are providing, especially about themselves, is voracious, is correct, is honest. That is of course a fallacy because people lie most of the time about everything and especially about themselves.

Some of the lies are innocuous, white lies, other lies are much more egregious and serious and yet 95% of the time we tend to believe that people are telling the truth counterfactually.

Another Pollyanna defense is the belief that people are essentially good. We have this tendency to assume that people have our best interests in mind, that they are empathic, that they will not hurt us, that they will not cause us pain, at least not unnecessarily.

Even if they are goal-oriented, they would choose collaboration or cooperation. They are teamworkers. So we have this assumption that people essentially are harmless under normal circumstances.

That is of course a wrong assumption. Many people, many people, psychopathic, narcissistic, selfish, socially inept, autistic and so on and so forth, and they are likely to hurt you a lot. In the overwhelming majority of your interactions with people, you are going to suffer minor razor-cut injuries or severe injuries. You are being traumatized thousands of times a day, but many of these traumas are microscopic traumas and so you don't pay attention to them.

You have powerful defense mechanisms such as repression and denial and so on and so forth and you use splitting in case you are less mature and you use these defense mechanisms to reframe and rewrite reality in a way that is less injurious.

But Pollyanna defenses set you up for failure, set you up for misjudgment, render you, pray when you come across a predator.

The second explanation of how narcissists and psychopaths fool you, how they make you believe wrongly that they are human and that they are good people.

The second reason is malignant optimism. Malignant optimism relies on two pillars, two foundations.

One, exceptionalism. Even when you come across a predator and it is clear that he is a predator, you tend to minimize these unsavory aspects of his personality. You tend to say, well, he is not that bad, he has his good side, he has suffered a horrible childhood and so on and so forth.

So you tend to reframe, minimize and rewrite, recast the negative aspects of the person you have come across. This is exceptionalism.

And the second pillar, second element of malignant optimism is the saviour complex, the messiah complex or the saviour complex.

They believe that you can fix the person, you can save the person. If I only give him love, I will heal him. It is a healer complex. It is a narcissistic defense. It is an integral part of your own grandiosity. Your own grandiosity blinds you to the impossibility of fixing people, of healing people, of saving people. This is nonsense.

When a human being, when a person passes a certain age, there is nothing much you can do to change his base personality, his foundational, constitutional mental structure.

So when you come across a psychopath or a narcissist, you cannot save him, you cannot fix him, you cannot even change him.

Behavior modification is extremely difficult and definitely you cannot heal him or cure him.

But the saviour complex, coupled with minimization, rewriting, reframing, exceptionalism put together, they create a new optimism, malignant optimism because it's bad for you, it's deadly, it lures you, it attracts you into the honey trap.

The next explanation as to how narcissists and psychopaths fool you into believing that they are not narcissists and psychopaths, or at least that they are not that bad, is a universal problem.

We have no access to anyone else's mind. I repeat this, we have no access to anyone's mind. There is no philosophically or logically rigorous way to prove that another person is human. It could be a highly sophisticated robot. We don't have any way to access his or her mind and ascertain what's happening there.

We have to rely on self reporting, we have to rely on language and communication, which always distort meaning, recast or reframe reality, impair reality testing.

Because we have no access to anyone else's mind, we tend to adhere to something called the intersubjective agreement. It's a piece of fiction. It's the assumption that other people are like us, similar to us. It's a theory of mind. It's called mentalization.

We tend to take the information we think we have about ourselves and extrapolate it, project it. If we are kindhearted, we tend to assume that everyone is kindhearted. If we are narcissistic, we tend to assume that everyone is narcissistic. And if we are a psychopath, we tend to assume that everyone is a predator.

We know no better. The only mind we have unfettered access to is our own mind.

And so this is a sample of one. We have access to a single exemplar of a human mind, which happens to be our mind.

We study this mind throughout the lifespan. We never stop studying this mind.

And we derive erroneously general and universal truths, axions, statements, and rules from this study of an extremely non-representative limited sample.

Empathy is founded on the intersubjective agreement. We empathize with other people by assuming that what they're going through is what we had gone through.

So if they say, I'm sad, we assume that they are sad the same way we are or were sad. If they say, I'm in pain, we immediately project our pain onto them.

We feel very guilty and ashamed if we fail the empathy test.

So empathy has a strong element of superego, inner critic judgment. We are motivated to empathize with people partly because we are afraid of the punitive outcomes if we were to not empathize. It's a form of social control. It's an integral part of socialization.

And this leads me to cold empathy.

Narcissists and psychopaths have a form of empathy, which is devoid of the emotional component. They are very good at analyzing people. They're very good at reading people. They have x-ray vision. They spot immediately your vulnerabilities, your weaknesses, your frailties, your insecurities, and they charge through the chinks in your armor. They leverage your shortcomings against you.

It's like the famous Miranda warning. Anything you say, we can and will be used against you in your relationship with a narcissist and psychopath.

Narcissist uses cold empathy, but has no emotional resonance. Narcissist will notice that you are sad, but will not become sad, consequently. He will not react to you emotionally.

A psychopath would notice that you are sad and will try to take away your money or have sex with you.

So vulnerabilities and weaknesses are opportunities. Narcissists and psychopaths are opportunistic, but because they have cold empathy, they can imitate empathy, warm empathy, full empathy, very effectively by gaining insight into your mental processes, into your mind, into your emotions and into your moods via cold empathy.

They can give you the wrong impression, the mistaken impression that they actually feel for you, that they are in your shoes, that they understand you and have gone through the same or are going through the same, that they are soul made or twin flame.

That's another explanation, how they fool you.

I want to quote from my book, Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited. The weaker variety of narcissists tries to emulate and simulate emotions, quote, unquote, or at least the expression of emotions, the external facet, affect.

These narcissists mimic and replicate the intricate pantomime that they learn to associate with the existence of feelings.

But there are no real emotions there. No emotional correlate. This is empty affect, devoid of emotion.

This being so, the narcissist quickly gets tired of it, becomes impassive and begins to produce inappropriate affect.

For example, he remains indifferent when grief is the normal reaction. The narcissist subjects his feigned emotions to his cognition. He decides that it is appropriate to feel this or that way.

His emotions, so-called emotions, are invariably the result of analysis, goal setting and planning. The narcissist substitutes remembering for feeling, for sensing.

He relegates his bodily sensations, his feelings and his emotions to a kind of a memory vault, Fort Knox.

The short and medium term memory is exclusively used to store his reactions to his actual and potential narcissistic supply sources. The narcissist reacts only to such sources. The narcissist finds it hard to remember or recreate what he had ostensibly, though ostentatiously, felt.

Even a short while back, the narcissist finds it very difficult to recreate the emotional state that he had faked.

And when he is in an interaction with the narcissistic source of supply, it's very evident. There's a feeling of discontinuity. There's a kind of dissociation, forgetfulness.

And the supply source, you, you keep saying to yourself, what's wrong with this guy? You know, like a few minutes ago, he said that he understands me. A few minutes ago, he claimed to be sad. And I was happy. I mean, what's going on here?

It's like two different people, three, four, seven different people. And this is especially evident when the source of narcissistic supply ceases to be one after devaluation or discard or in the bargaining phase.

In his attempts to recall his feigned feelings, ersatz emotions, the narcissist draws a mental blank. It is not that narcissists are incapable of expressing what we would tend to classify as extreme emotional reactions. They are capable.

They mourn, they grieve, they rage, they smile, they excessively love and care, for example, in the love bombing, grooming phase, love, quote, unquote, care, quote, unquote.

But this is precisely what sets the narcissist apart from healthy, normal people.

This rapid movement from one emotional extreme to another, lability, and the fact that they never occupy the emotional middle ground. The narcissist is especially emotional when he's weaned off his drug of narcissistic supply.

Breaking a habit is always difficult, especially a habit that defines and generates one's very self. Getting rid of an addiction is doubly taxing. The narcissist misidentifies these crises with an emotional depth.

And his self conviction is so immense that he mostly succeeds to dilute and deceive his environment as well.

But a narcissistic crisis, for example, losing a source of narcissistic supply, obtaining an alternative source of supply, moving from one narcissistic pathological space to another, or in extremist narcissistic mortification, all these narcissistic crises, they must never be confused with the real thing with emotions.

The narcissist never experiences emotions. He experiences crises.

Many narcissists have what I call emotional resonance tables. We're going to discuss later, affective computing. And you will see that in affective computing, they construct exactly such tables.

So many narcissists have emotional resonance tables. They use words, as other people use algebraic signs. They use words with meticulousness, with caution, with precision, the precision of an artisan. They sculpt in words, the fine-tuned reverberations of pain and love and fear.

To them, language is the mathematics of emotional grammar, the geometry of the syntax of passion. They are devoid of all emotions, but devoid of all emotions, narcissists closely monitor other people's reactions and they adjust their verbal choices, their body language, their facial expressions accordingly, until their behavior and their vocabulary resembles that of their listeners.

Later on, we're going to discuss the uncanny valley effect and mimicry in biology. This is as close as narcissists get to true empathy and true emotions, mimicry.

So in many respects, therefore, we could say that the narcissist is an android. An android is a robot, a kind of an artificial creature, and it is designed to resemble a human.

Some androids, especially recently, especially Japanese androids, are made of flesh-like material. You touch it, it feels like flesh. Androids have emerged from the domain of science fiction, film, television. They are here. Modern-day current robot technology had already created numerous and is creating numerous humanoid robots.

Do you remember the Replicant in Blade Runner, the best science fiction film ever, except maybe 2001? So there's a kind of android humanoid robot there. It's called the Replicant. It's bio-engineered. It makes another appearance in the sequel, the 2017 sequel, because Blade Runner was a 1982 film, major achievement for that period.

And then there was a sequel, Blade Runner 2049, which was released in 2017. And Replicants make an appearance there, too. It's the next series of Replicants.

Here's the thing. The Replicants in the movies, in these two movies, they're identical to human beings, but they have superior strength, speed, agility, resilience, and intelligence. And a Replicant passes for a human being.

It's not possible to detect a Replicant just by looking at it, interacting with it, or even having sex with it. You need to apply a fictitious test. It's called the Voigt-Kampf test.

And the emotional responses of the Replicant and the nonverbal responses of a Replicant in the Voigt-Kampf test are different to a normal, regular flesh and blood, carbon-based human being. And there's a version of the test called the Baseline, and it detects any mental or empathic damage.

And when there's mental and empathic damage, the Replicant is retired and destroyed.

And the Nexus Replicants, they have a safety mechanism. They have a four-year lifespan because there is the fear that the more they're exposed to interactions with human beings, the more they will develop empathic abilities and will become immune to the Voigt-Kampf test.

Narcissists are the same. The more they are exposed to interactions with humans, not with other humans, with humans, because they are not, the more they develop the resonance tables, the better they are able to imitate empathy and emotions.

The next generations of Replicants, they have an open-ended lifespan. And this, of course, immediately leads to a rebellion. And that's the core of the movie.

There's another type of Android known as Actroid. It's very human-like. It was developed by Osaka University, and it was first unveiled in 2003.

The current generations are amazing because they look exactly human. There was an Actroid woman, and it's a real machine, and it's a Gynoid. In other words, a female Android. And it looks exactly like a human being. It has lifelike functions. She blinks. She speaks. She breathes. This breathing. I mean, wow. If you are near-sighted, if you are nearly blind, you know, with macular degeneration or something, and you interact with this Gynoid, with this robot, it might be difficult for you to tell that it's not a human being.

And there's a replica model. These are interactive robots, and they recognize and process speech and respond in kind. It's mind-boggling on the one hand, and it's chilling on the other.

If you study androids, Gynoids, these kind of robots, you will immediately be reminded of the narcissists.

End of the psychopath.

And we're going to come to that when we discuss the uncanny valley.

There's the whole science, Android science. It's a framework which studies human interaction, human cognition, based on studying robots exactly the other way, not from humans to robots, but from robots to humans. They study robots. They elicit human-directed social responses, and then they learn from this about human beings.

It's a little like social biology, where you study animals, ethology, study animals, and by studying animals and very primitive and ancient societies, but maybe animals, you derive lessons about human society.

So from animals to humans, Android science is from androids to humans.

And they have recently conducted the most amazing experiments with human participants and the way they interact and react to robots. And so humans have very strong social, psychological, cognitive, and neurological reactions to human-like robots.

Actually, there's been an experiment that had demonstrated that people react much more strongly. The mirror neurons in the brain, which are responsible for empathy and interaction with other human beings, the mirror neurons in the participants were triggered and activated much more powerfully by androids, by robots, than by humans.

And this is the source of the power of the narcissists and the psychopath. They trigger your mirror neurons much more powerfully than normal human beings.


Because they're perfect or near perfection. They have huge mental brain processing capacity. They accumulate a gigantic database of behaviors, facial expressions, body language, traits, reported emotions. They correlate all these together, and they're able to come up as a form of artificial intelligence because psychopaths and narcissists are the first artificial intelligence forms on Earth. And they're able to come up with such imitations that are so convincing that they're even more convincing than the original true full-fledged, full-fledged human being.

And so Android science studies cognitive science in conjunction with engineering, and there are discoveries that there are synergistic relationships. There's a deepening understanding of how humans react to non-human human-like forms.

Silicone-based humans, because who says that all humans have to be based on carbon? Future humans could be based on silicon, could be made of silicon.

And so all the effects of engineered human likeness, the impact of human-like robots on other people, the relationship between human perception and anthropomorphism.

Anthropomorphism is a powerful tool in the arsenal of the narcissists and the psychopath because we tend to attribute human traits, human behaviors, human mental processes, human psychology, human motivation. We tend to attribute humanity to non-humans. We anthropomorphize pets like dogs and cats. We talk about, we discuss our dog, we discuss our dogs as though they were human. We even anthropomorphize snakes and goldfish, I did. We even anthropomorphize inanimate objects, like in this case, mini.

How many of you have sent me, have written comments about mini and treated mini as though she were a female human being? You anthropomorphize, even mini, who is a mug, mind you, for those of you who didn't know.

So if you did this to mini, imagine your overwhelming, powerful, automatic reaction to someone like the narcissist and psychopath whose inside is not human, but the shell is human and triggers you to anthropomorphize.

And this is intimately connected to Masahiro Mowi's, the famous roboticist, Masahiro Mowi's observation of the uncanny valley.

In a nutshell, he said that people are more sensitive to deviations from human-like behavior or appearance in non-human forms. He referred to it as uncanny valley.

So we're going to discuss uncanny valley a bit later.

And uncanny valley explains why when you are in the presence of narcissists and psychopaths, although you are totally fooled, you're totally duped to believe that they are human,

there's still a small, tiny voice in your head, a gut feeling, an intuition, a discomfort. Something tells you it's all right. It's wrong. It's wrongly put together. The pieces don't fit. There's an off key, off note, something somewhere.

This is the uncanny valley effect.

Generally, we react very powerfully to people who look to add to objects who look like us. There is something called the cross-race effect, the cross-rate, the race bias or cross other race bias, all race bias. It's a bias. It's a tendency to recognize faces, identify and understand behavior in people who are of the same race.

So it's politically incorrect to say, but it would be much more difficult for you to understand an African-American if you're not African-American. And you would be hard pressed to tell one Asian apart from another. And this is the cross-race effect.

Narcissists and psychopaths emulate and imitate your own gender, your own race, your own age.

In all these three parameters, gender, race and age, we tend to identify with people who are like us.

And when I say identify, I mean, we tend to feel much closer affinity. We tend to consider them more human, to cut a long story short.

So yes, racism is biologically, psychologically inbuilt, hardwired. If we are white, we tend to consider African-Americans less human because of the own race bias.

It's politically incorrect to say this, but it's well established in numerous studies. And there are multiple, multiple theories that explain this.

So I encourage you to go online and read about the cross-race effect.

But one thing the narcissist and psychopath does, one thing they do is they imitate you. They repeat your own words. They echo you, you know, they dress like you gradually. They claim to have the same interests. They claim to have the same values and the same beliefs, the same political convictions. They imitate you.

And this process is called in biology, the biological world, the animal world. It's called mimicry, not only among animals, also among plants.

In biology, generally, it's called mimicry.

And we're going to discuss mimicry in the second half of this video.

Alan Turing, the genius mathematician who was hunted to death, owing to his homosexuality, suggested the test. He called it the imitation game.

Today it's known as the Turing test.

He suggested to conduct a test where a human would interact with someone separated by a curtain. So there'd be a human judge in the curtain and then someone beyond the curtain.

And that someone could be human or could be a machine, a computer, a digital computer.

And Turing said, if the digital computer can deceive the judge to believe that it is human, it is human.

Turing test says that the test of humanity is whether we can fool someone into believing that we are human.

So if I'm not human, if I'm a robot, as many of you seem to believe, and I convince you that I'm human, I'm human. That's the only test.

According to Alan Turing, humanity, the quality of being human is performance- based. It's impression- based because we have no privileged access to anyone's mind, even a robot's mind. We don't know what's going on in a sentient intelligent mind.

Yes, even in artificial intelligence, when the program is complex enough, it begins to behave in ways which were not predicted by the programmers, and which are not inherent in the program, not part of the program.

There are complex emergent phenomena, this epiphenomenon. When the complexity reaches a certain point, we can no longer control, nor can we predict the behavior of the complex system. If the complex system succeeds to deceive a panel of human judges into believing that it is human, then that program is human. And if we embed this program in a robot, which looks like a human being, smells like a human being, tastes like a human being, and has flesh like, is made of flesh like substance, then perhaps it's human.

This is precisely the narcissist and the psychopath.

And so I encourage you to read about the Turing test. It was published in his 1950 paper, Computing Machinery and Intelligence, Imitation Game or Turing Test.

And this leads me directly to the uncanny valley.

Un uncanny valley is a concept that suggests that humanoid robots, which imperfectly resemble actual human beings, provoke discomfort, provoked uncanny, or strangely familiar feelings of eeriness, creepiness, revulsion in the observer.

If you interact with a robot that looks 99.99% human, but something is wrong in the behavior, something is wrong in the behavior.

The choice of word is strange. There is some stuttering or some discontinuity. You're going to pick up on this. Even if it's minimal, even if it's a microsecond, your brain is going to pick up on this. And you're going to feel extremely uncomfortable.

This is the uncanny part. Uncanny is a translation of Freud's Heimlich, not at home, not homely. Not a homely feeling.

So that's the uncanny.

What's the valley?

Valley is the deep, the trap in a human observer's affinity for the replica or the android. So as the android looks more and more human, as the android, the robot behaves more and more like a human, you feel that you are more attached to the robot. You bond with the robot. Exactly like a pet.

Immanuel Kant, the world's greatest philosopher ever, he was convinced that pets are machines. They're robots. They're devices. And we get attached to pets. We bond with pets because we project onto them our humanity. We anthropomorphize.

So Masahiwo Mugi, the roboticist, says, as the robot looks more and more human, we tend to bond with it, attach to it. We feel affinity up to a point. At that point, when the robot looks really, really human, behaves really, really like a human, talks to us in a way that is indistinguishable from a human. Still, glitches, bugs, discontinuities, bad code is going to affect us somehow. We're going to feel uncomfortable. We're going to feel discomfited, suspicious, unpleasant.

You must admit that this is very common with narcissists and psychopaths. We have this feeling something's wrong. Something is awry. Our intuition is in full blare alarm, ten-bell alarm. And we don't know why. We can't put our finger on it.

So we convince ourselves that we are wrong. Nothing's wrong. We say to us, why am I feeling so uncomfortable with this guy? Why do I feel that he's so creepy, so eerie, so freakish, so outlandish? What's wrong with me? Not what's wrong with that guy. What's wrong with me? Or, you know, I've had my period, or I've had a fight with my boss, so we're trying to convince ourselves that something's wrong with us.

The narcissists and psychopath take advantage of our auto-plastic defenses, the tendency to blame ourselves for feeling uncomfortable. So when we come across a narcissist and psychopath, our intuition tells us that something is seriously wrong.

But then we say, yeah, something is seriously wrong with us, with me. Something is seriously wrong with me. Nothing is wrong with this guy. He's perfect. He's too good to be true. He's amazing. He's the one I've been waiting for. He's the one. You know, he's a twin flame, soulmate. I don't know what. He's perfection embodied, reified.

So something must be wrong with me. Look at my previous relationships, which ended badly. I don't know how to do relationships. I don't know how to love. I don't know how to empathize. I mean, we tend to blame ourselves.

Nothing's wrong with us. Nothing's wrong with you.

The narcissists and psychopaths are badly put together robots. Not badly, I would say, but imperfectly, imperfectly put together, imperfectly assembled robots.

And you are reacting to this.

Morrie's original hypothesis stated that the appearance of a robot is made more human in order to deceive observers, but observers react emotionally to the robot more positively, more empathically, only up to a point.

When they reach this point, there is strong revulsion.

And so the robot's appearance continues to become less distinguishable from a human being, but the emotional response reverses. The closer the robot comes to a human being, the more glaring the discrepancies and imperfections.

And this arouses a repulsive response because the robot is barely human, not fully human. That's the uncanny valley.

And so many philosophers and scholars and psychologists try to explain the uncanny valley phenomenon, which, by the way, had been repeatedly substantiated.

The last major experiments with uncanny valley effects were conducted as late as 2011. It's absolutely true, this effect.

So the philosophers and psychologists try to explain it.

So there's one explanation which has to do with mate selection.

Yes, mate selection.

When you date a narcissist, when you date a psychopath, you're looking for a mate. You're looking for a partner for casual sex, or maybe you're looking for a partner for a relationship.

But whichever the case may be, you're looking for a partner, you're looking for a mate.

So there is this theory that automatic stimulus-driven appraisals of uncanny stimuli elicit aversion because there's a cognitive mechanism of avoiding mates who are imperfect.

We have an inbuilt biological mechanism that tells us to shun, to avoid potential mates who show some discrepancy, some imperfection, some mismatched parts, so to speak, asymmetry, including asymmetry of the face.

That's why when we drink alcohol, we are much more gullible, much more amenable, and open to a much wider range of sexual partners because one of the major effects of alcohol is to alter our perception of face symmetry.

Everyone looks symmetrical. Another explanation is the mortality salience.

A robot reminds us of death. It's an inanimate object, so we are afraid of death, so we are afraid of the robot.

But this explanation, of course, assumes that we know it's a robot.

When we date a narcissist or a psychopath, we don't know in most cases that there are narcissists and psychopaths. We just feel that something is wrong.

We avoid narcissists and psychopaths.

Our reaction is similar to avoiding a pathogen. We are not sure that the virus is in the air or the bacterium is in the air, but we tend to react as though it is.

And then there is the psoriasis paradox.

The psoriasis paradox is that stimuli with human and non-human traits undermine our sense of human identity by linking quantitatively different categories and qualitatively different categories, human and non-human.

So a robot is both human and non-human. A narcissist is both human and non-human. A psychopath is much more inhuman than human, and this creates a psoriasis paradox.

There's a degree of human likeness, but not full. There's a violation, so to speak, of human norms.

And Cany Valley may be symptomatic of entities that elicit a model of a human other, but do not measure up to it.

So there are many issues with conflicting perceptual cues. There are numerous cues that we absorb.

On a first encounter, we emit a molecule, a real molecule. And this molecule includes 100 items of data. We exchange it via smell.

So before we say a word that's across the room, we exchange thousands of items of information, and they are arranged in databases and matrices, in platforms and templates.

And if some of these items don't fit together, we feel unease. We feel discomfort. We feel alarmed. We sometimes feel threatened.

But of course, many of us abuse substances. And so this limits and reduces anxiety and our judgment. Many of us consume substances in order to reduce anxiety and judgment.

In our modern, postmodern, post-industrial world, regrettably, we need to dull our senses and even our empathy. We need to dehumanize ourselves and to objectify others in order to have any interaction, however meaningless.

It's a sad testimony.

And narcissism psychopaths thrive in such environment because they can provide fake simulations, fake simulacra of intimacy, of empathy, of emotions.

And somewhere in your mind, you know that narcissists, psychopaths, deep inside, unconsciously realize they are mere androids, they're imitations, they're robots.

And so there's an exit strategy. Like, I can safely have something with the narcissist and the psychopaths because they are not human.

And this gives me the moral and ethical justification, a legitimacy to abandon them in due time. They don't care. They don't mind whatever I do. It's liberating in a sense.

Dating narcissism psychopaths is liberating because you can do to them with impunity and things that you would never do to a real full-fledged, empathic, loving, intimate partner. You can abandon the narcissist, you can dump the psychopath, you can behave, you can triangulate, you can cheat on them, you can do anything to them because they don't care. They don't mind and they don't care and don't mind because they're not human and they're incapable of attachment or bonding or intimacy. You're not hurting them. You're not injuring them.

It's a sense of liberation. It increases the space of possible actions and exit strategies just in case.

On the other hand, of course, you're playing with fire because they can do the very same to you. They don't see you as a human being because they're not human. They don't know what it means to be human. They don't have the inner experience of having been or being human.

So when they hurt you, when they abuse you, when they maltreat you, when they reject you and humiliate you and cheat on you, they don't really grasp what they're doing to you. They don't resonate with your inner sadness, depression, hurt, grief. They don't have this.

So that's playing with fire because they are like out of control machinery, out of control devices. And you're playing with these machines, pretending that they're human. And you're saying to yourself, well, they're just machines. I can buy version 12 much later and dump version 11.

Yeah, but version 11 can kill you and kill you off-handedly, absent-mindedly and sometimes with pleasure if it's a sadistic machine. Simply because it doesn't make any distinction between you and an insect. You're an object. It doesn't have an inner life.

You must understand this.

Psychopaths and narcissists are shells. They have no inner life. Nothing is happening there. They're like CGI virtual actors. They are what they want to be. They age. They age. They act. They are empathic. You want empathy? They'll give you empathy. You want emotions? They'll give you emotions.

You want Robert De Niro? They'll give you Robert De Niro, 30 years younger.

Virtual actors are generated from original actors by computers. They use CGI streets, but they're not real. The Robert De Niro that is a virtual actor is based on Robert De Niro. The real Robert De Niro, the empathic, laughing, kind Robert De Niro, if he's like that, I don't know him personally, but it's not Robert De Niro.

Narcissists and psychopaths are virtual actors and they undergo self-renditions. They mourn themselves. They shapeshift by will. They will themselves into shapeshifting. It's a kind of deep fake.

Narcissists and psychopaths are deep fake coupled with machine learning, deep learning. It's dangerous because they imitate facial expressions borrowed from other people. They borrow other people's faces, expressions, body language. They are like Zellig in Woody Allen's famous movie. They are chameleons and they shapeshift totally. It's not something that you guys are. This is grafted. This is not the real narcissist. No, they vanish completely and reappear completely. It's the equivalent of teleportation, if you wish. It's science fiction. It's not an accident that the initials of shared fantasy SF are the same initials as science fiction.

And this leads me to a whole new field called effective computing.

Effective computing is a new field in computer science. It's the study and development of systems and devices that can recognize, interpret, process and simulate human emotions, human effects. It's a combination of, I mean, computer scientists work together with psychologists and cognitive scientists, neuroscientists, and they create these amazing software programs that imitate emotions very, very convincingly. It's bloody frightening. The field started in 1995 by Rosalind Pickard, but now it's way off. It's way advanced. The machines interpret the emotional state of humans and then they adapt and adopt the emotional expressions and alter their behavior and provide uncannily accurate responses. It's shocking to observe. I mean, had they not been metal-based, you would have thought these are people. They detect and recognize emotional information. They process physiological data, speech recognition, natural language processing, facial expression detection. They imitate emotions. They are computational devices that exhibit innate emotional capabilities, not reactive, not reactive, generated from the inside, and they simulate emotions amazingly accurately.

Effective computing is one of the most frightening fields of human knowledge I've ever come across. And simulation of emotions today, effective computing today, is integrated into conversational agents to enrich and facilitate interactivity. It's human-machine interface.

And Marvin Minsky related emotions to the broader issue of machine intelligence. He wrote a book called The Emotion Machine. He said that emotion is not especially different from the processes that we call thinking. And he was right, much later we came to the conclusion that emotions are forms of cognition.

I have a video about this.

So put together this effective computing with neuroscience, with psychology, with cognitive science, and we are beginning to be able to create continuous or categorical, as we wish, discrete emotions and negative emotions, positive emotions, calmness, arousal. We create discrete classes of emotions like happy emotions, sad, angry, fearful, surprised, disgust. All of these have been perfectly simulated. We even are beginning to imitate psychological defense mechanisms.

We are now moving into what we call emotional speech based on facial effect detection. And all this is based on databases. In 1995, long before there was effective computing, I suggested that narcissists engage in effective computing.

They create emotional resonance tables within huge databases. And then they imitate facial expressions. They imitate emotions. They detect your expressions and even micro expressions, your body language, and they react to it. They engage in emotional speech.

Paul Ekman isolated a range of positive and negative emotions which are utterly universal. You find them in Brooklyn, New York, you find them in Papua New Guinea, you find them in Siberia, and you find them in Saudi Arabia. They're all the same. All humans have these emotions. They're encoded into our facial muscles.

Amusement, contempt, contentment, embarrassment, excitement, guilt, pride in achievement, relief, satisfaction, sensory pleasure, and shame.

And so now they're creating facial action coding systems. And it's coming to a point that computers will be able to imitate everything, including body gestures. They're going to monitor your physiological responses. They are going to monitor your body language. They are going to analyze everything you say in what is known as the information model. And they are going to come up with responses that are emotional and you will not be able to tell them apart from human beings.

Narcissists and psychopaths are already there long before robotics.

The last thing I would like to discuss is mimicry. Narcissists and psychopaths are biological entities. And exactly like millions of other species, there is mimicry in the behavior of narcissists and psychopaths. They mimic.

What is mimicry? Mimicry is evolved resemblance between an organism and another organism, or sometimes an organism and an object.

But we will focus on organism-organism mimicry. Mimicry can evolve even between different species or between individuals in the same species.

Narcissists and psychopaths engage in same species mimicry. Mimicry functions either to protect you from predators, to protect the mimicking individuals from predators, or to become a predator. Mimicry helps certain individuals to become predators.

So mimicry has both functions. It is an anti-predator adaptation, but it is also a predation strategy.

When it is an anti-predator mechanism or adaptation, a predator receives wrong information. And the information is that a certain individual belongs to a species which is of no interest to the predator. And the mimicry is visual, acoustic, chemical, tactile, electric. Any combination of sensory modalities, and in the case of human beings, it's also cognitive and emotional. It's advantageous. It creates a form of mutualism in many cases.

So in some cases, it's symbiotic. But in most cases, it's actually parasitic or competitive. And so it's a selective action. It encourages or counters selective pressures.

There are numerous forms of mimicry, masquerade, numerous forms. And everyone engages in it, flowers, plants, animals. There's no reason to assume that humans, especially humans with in-built disadvantages, like louses and psychopaths, there's no reason to assume that humans are the only exception and that humans don't engage in mimicry. There isn't even a form of intersectional mimicry where members of one sex imitate members of another sex.

So mimicry is a very important evolutionary, adaptive strategy that is used in a, I mean, automatically, biologically, by narcissists and psychopaths.

And the thing with narcissists and psychopaths, they use multiple forms of mimicry simultaneously because humans have brains and brains multiply, amplify the capacity to mimic.

And so narcissists and psychopaths present a smorgasbord, a buffet of mimicry strategies, which makes it extremely difficult for you to spot the mimicry.

When you have seven mimicry strategies at the same time, six of them work and one doesn't, you would tend to doubt your own senses. You would say, I feel that something is wrong with the seventh strategy, but it must be me. Something's wrong with me because the other things are perfect.

So there are many types of mimicry. For example, Bayesian mimicry is when a harmless mimic poses as harmful. And I would say that narcissists and psychopaths have inverted or inverse Bayesian mimicry. They're harmful. They present themselves as harmless.

This is the case with covert narcissists, for example. Malarian mimicry, where two or more harmful species mutually advertise themselves as harmful, deterrence, don't come near, you know, you'll pay a price. There's a price for disrespecting me, humiliating me, etc.

This is the case when psychopaths and narcissists interact with each other. There's Mertensian mimicry, where a deadly mimic resembles a less harmful, but lessened teaching model. That's the most common type of mimicry among narcissists and psychopaths.

And I would say that vavilovian mimicry, which is usually reserved for plants, also operates in narcissists and psychopaths. Vavilovian mimicry is where weeds, bad plants, weeds with no value, pretend mimic crops, they mimic grain, they mimic, you know, corn. And so bad plants, which kill and destroy other plants, pretend to be good nutritional plants, the vavilovian mimicry.

Now, most many predators engage in aggressive mimicry, predators, parasites. Aggressive mimicry is wolf in sheep's clothing. You could say even, as I had argued in some of my videos, that this is not evil. There's no intention of planning. It's just automatic. It's what the narcissist is. It's how the psychopath is. They imitate and mimic harmless people, good people, kind people, loving people, caring people, not because they have a master plan or a mega plan to destroy you, to torture you. This is online nonsense, propagated and perpetrated by self-interested, so-called experts and coaches. They want to keep you in a state of victimhood to take your money away from you. They are laughing all the way to the nearest bank.

The truth is that narcissists and psychopaths are not really evil. They're goal-oriented. They're callous. They're relentless. They're ruthless. They have no conscience. They have no empathy. It's all true. But they don't act in order to be malicious. They don't act because they enjoy inflicting pain, except the small percentage who are sadistic.

The psychopath acts as a psychopath because he's a psychopath, and the narcissist misbehaves. The narcissist does mainly because he's a narcissist. A narcissist can no more be normal than you can be a narcissist. A psychopath can no more be empathic than you can be psychopathic. These are mutually exclusive categories, and all aggressive mimicry is about duping, about deceiving, about luring prey. Spiders, for example, engage in aggressive mimicry. Aggressive mimicry, I would say, is the most relevant strategy, most prevalent strategy. It's not a coincidence that aggressive mimicry is intimately or closely connected to sexuality, to sex, because males use aggressive mimicry in nature to lure sexually receptive females.

If you have ever dated a narcissist or a psychopath, you'll immediately identify this love-bumping, grooming, duping, luring face, and it's somewhat irresistible, even in nature, because it works. Females get captured, females get eaten.

These signals, they deceive, they even change behaviors and physiological cycles in females. Sometimes the signals are not connected to mating directly, but still they induce mating.

Aggressive mimicry in plants like carnivorous plants, insects, birds, in mammals, fish, this is such a widespread category of imitation that I feel that it's impossible that it did not infect or permeate or penetrate the human species, mankind.

I think what happens is mimicry in mankind is limited mostly to narcissists and psychopaths. I think they are the repositories, agents, and ambassadors of mimicry in the human species, because all other human beings, relatively normal, relatively healthy, non-narcissistic, non-psychopathy, all other human beings don't do mimicry. When they're exposed to narcissists and psychopaths, they have no antibodies. They don't have an immune response to the narcissists and psychopaths' mimicry, because it's a very limited phenomenon.

The only thing which comes close to mimicry is makeup in females. Makeup is on the border of mimicry and perhaps plastic surgery, but makeup definitely. But even that is not overt mimicry. It's not for the sake of mimicry. It's a relic. It's a vestige of the past.

But narcissists and psychopaths engage in active mimicry behaviors, and we don't, normal people don't know how to identify these behaviors.

Definitely they don't know how to react to these behaviors.

In a sense, the narcissists and the psychopath, they are parasites. They're parasites because they mimic aggressively and they're goal-oriented. They want to take something from you. That's classic parasitic reactions.

One of the main mimicry strategies of narcissists and psychopaths is to act as parasites to take from you, but to give you the impression that it's not a parasitic relationship, it's a symbiosis.

What I call the shared fantasy is a symbiosis. You both feed off each other. You both fulfill psychological functions, cater to psychological needs of each other. This mutual contribution, this mutual affinity, bonding, attachment, this organism, one entity with two heads, this merger, this fusion, appeals to co-dependence a lot. This symbiosis is fake because in the relationship only the narcissist and psychopath take. They rarely give anything of value or long-lasting value in return.

This is a mimicry strategy. They pretend to be symbionts. Symbionts, they pretend to be organisms that participate in symbiosis. When actually they're not symbionts, they are parasites.

I gave you many examples of mimicry. There are other types of mimicry, for example, reproductive mimicry, which narcissists and psychopaths engage in.

Mimicry is a crucial feature of narcissism and psychopathy. I think it merits close scrutiny and close study, because I think if we were to apply mimicry models developed in anthology, botany, biology, zoology, if we apply these models to psychology, the psychology of cluster B personality disorders, we will gain many very important insights.

Many, many species in nature pretend to be harmless and pretend to seek symbiosis, but actually they're harmful and they seek a parasitic relationship. That's the be-all and end-all of mimicry, the mimicry of narcissists and psychopaths.

We cannot ignore the fact that mimicry is an evolutionary adaptation. Narcissists and psychopaths always claim to be the next step in evolution. The next rung in the evolutionary ladder, the transhumanists, the supermen, Nietzschean supermen, and here, ironically, they have an argument, because mimicry is adaptive and evolutionary, provides an evolutionary advantage.

If only narcissists and psychopaths engage in mimicry, perhaps it gives them an edge that healthy and normal people don't have, and this leads to current day thinking about high functioning narcissists, productive psychopaths, and how actually we benefit from narcissists and psychopaths as a species, even if certain individuals pay a horrible price for having been in a relationship with them.

So on the individual level, many people suffer, but on the species mankind level, narcissists and psychopaths are indispensable because they contribute to evolution, and that's at least the new thinking among certain scholars in various countries.

Okay, I hope I've somehow answered your question. How does the narcissists and psychopaths, how do they fool you into the shared fantasy?

And if you have any further suggestions or advice or questions, let me know. Have a nice day, nice, authentic, genuine, non-imitated, non-mimicry day. If your gut tells you that something is wrong, it's wrong. If it's too good to be true, it's not true. Walk away, listen to yourself. Evolution has equipped you with devices, detection, alarm, intrusion detection devices, firewalls, and it took four billion years to develop. Don't discard them, don't ignore them. You do this at your peril. Listen to yourself and you will avoid the world of hurt and shame and guilt.

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Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the manipulation of narcissists, the prevalence of narcissistic traits in society, and the impact of aggression on children. He emphasizes that the only effective way to deal with a narcissist is to go no contact, as staying in contact can lead to adopting narcissistic behaviors oneself. He notes that narcissism is on a spectrum, with healthy narcissism at one end and narcissistic personality disorder at the other. Vaknin also observes that narcissism and psychopathy are becoming more socially accepted and even encouraged in certain contexts. He mentions that narcissists can recognize each other but not psychopaths, and that psychopaths prey on narcissists. Lastly, he discusses the impact of aggression on children, stating that witnessing or experiencing physical or sexual aggression can lead to destructive or self-destructive behavior, while verbal aggression tends to perpetuate verbal abuse within the family structure.

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Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the success of narcissists and psychopaths in society, attributing it to their ability to thrive in a world that values fantasy and manipulation of symbols in fantastic spaces. He explains the distinction between "cat" narcissists and "green" narcissists, with the latter being more focused on internal feelings and fantasy. Vaknin argues that modern civilization is constructed on the manipulation of symbols and fantastic spaces, providing an advantage to narcissists and psychopaths. He also predicts a future dominated by narcissism and psychopathy, with individuals needing to adapt to this reality to succeed.

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Why You Buy Into Narcissist’s Simulated Existence

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Narcissists: Evil?

The concept of evil is ambiguous and slippery, and the definition of evil is suffering that results from morally wrong human choices. Evil must be premeditated, and the evil person can and does consciously choose the morally wrong over the morally right. Narcissists satisfy the two conditions for evilness only partly, and their evil conduct is utilitarian. Narcissists act maliciously only because it is expedient to do so, not because it is in their nature. In the pursuit of the study of narcissism, we need to invent a new language to capture this phenomenon and what it does to people.

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2024, under license to William DeGraaf
Website Copyright © William DeGraaf 2022-2024
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