I Can Achieve and Do Anything If I Only Put My Mind to It

Uploaded 10/16/2011, approx. 4 minute read

My name is Sam Vaknin. I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.

From an early age, usually in the school system, we are taught, at least in the United States, that there is no limit to what we can achieve. That if we wish to accomplish something, all we need to do is set ourselves goals and then apply ourselves to their attainment.

With time, dedication, we are told, positive outcomes are guaranteed and indeluctable, no matter how high we set the bar.

There are no unrealistic aspirations we are informed, only insufficient perspiration and lacking inspiration.

This narrative is narcissistic and delusional. It is counterproductive, because in reality, we do have limitations. We suffer defeats. We make mistakes. No one is infallible, invincible, omnipotent or omniscient.

But exposed to this onslaught of propaganda aimed at boosting our self-esteem and puffing our self-confidence, when inevitably we fail in some endeavors, we tend to blame ourselves. We say, if only I had tried harder, or, and such a loser, a lazy good for nothing, I never get it right.

Such inner-statistic voices tend to deplete our energy and discourage us from trying again.

In hock to the official line that casts us as absolute masters of our own fate, we'd rather abstain than be proven wrong.

By attributing failures to our failings, we become the reification of our own bad fortune or indolence. We give up on life's challenges, engulfed by fatalism and defeatism.

Some of us choose another path when confronted with failure or defeat. We say, if I botched and bundled it, surely I did not want it that badly.

This is known in psychological jargon as cognitive dissonance. This kind of self-deception is equally self-destructive. It teaches us that nothing really matters. Everything is fun and games and should not be taken too seriously.

Reality and personal history are what you make of them and are subject to rewriting, reframing and outright confabulation.

So how to avoid these pitfalls?

First, you should develop a realistic, albeit garbled, garble of your forties and weaknesses, talents and shortcomings, skills and limitations. Make a list of your own positive and negative traits.

Make others – family members, friends, co-workers, people who know you well – to commit to paper their observations of you, your good and bad sides.

If they are reluctant to risk your ire, find a way to allow them to submit their input anonymously.

And now, once you have your list and their list, compare them. Compare the one you have generated with the ones others have provided you with.

Are these lists largely congruent? Are they in agreement? If they are, it means that you know yourself well and that you evaluate your capabilities or let their own courageously and objectively.

If, however, there is an abyss between the way you see yourself and the way others view you, something is wrong with your self-assessment.

Concentrate on the questionnaires of those who know you best, longest and in a variety of situations. Single out their responses with conflict with your responses. Proceed to grade these answers on a scale of one to five, with five being, I completely agree.

Isolate these reactions and descriptions that you have rated most highly.

Are you ready to change your mind about some issues? Do you recognize yourself in some of the feedback? Give yourself time to digest all this conflicting information.

Think about it hard and long. Can you come up with incidents and events in the past which support your view or theirs?

Try to return to your list and redo it in light of these new data.

This protracted inner dialogue is important. You are bound to emerge from it with a better, more functional appraisal of yourself.

You will learn to set goals that are realistic and that are unlikely to result in frustration and emotional pain.

Getting acquainted with your limitations is the first step towards a balanced, mentally healthy part. You, in your nearest and dearest, will benefit from it immensely.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like the following:

Narcissist's Grandiosity: Omnipotence, Omniscience, Omnipresence, Perfection

Narcissistic grandiosity has four components: omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, and the omnivore. The narcissist believes in their own power and that they can do anything they choose to do and excel in it. They often pretend to know everything in every field of human knowledge and endeavor. The narcissist is an omnivore, incapable of enjoying anything because they are in constant pursuit of perfection and completeness.

Narcissist: Confabulations, Lies

Confabulation is a common human trait, but the distinction between reality and fantasy is never lost. However, the narcissist's very self is a piece of fiction, concocted to fend off hurt and pain and to nurture the narcissist's grandiosity. The narcissist fails in his reality test and is unable to distinguish the actual from the imagined, the real from the fantasized. The narcissist's countenance, no disagreement, no alternative points of view, no criticism. To him, his confabulation is reality.

Narcissist's False Modesty

False modesty is a defense mechanism used by narcissists to protect their grandiosity from scrutiny and to extract narcissistic supply from others. The narcissist publicly chastises themselves for being unfit, unworthy, lacking, and not formally schooled, but this is only to hedge their bets and secure adoring, admiring, approving, or applauding protestations from the listener. False modesty is a bet, and having received the narcissistic supply, the narcissist feels much better. The narcissist is a pathological liar, and with false modesty, they seek to involve others in their mind games and manipulate them.

Magical Thinking in Personality Disorders and Conspiracy Theorists

Today's topic is malignant magical thinking. Magical thinking is a healthy stage of development in early childhood, but in adulthood, it can indicate underlying pathology. It involves the belief that thoughts can affect reality, and can lead to delusional disorder. Magical thinking is common in mental health disorders and is exploited by scammers. It is associated with narcissism, borderline personality disorder, psychopathy, and conspiracy theories. It is also linked to ignorance and conspiracism. This refusal to grow up and embrace reality can have destructive consequences for society and the individual.

Self-sufficiency and Narcissism (ENGLISH responses, with Nárcisz Coach)

Narcissism is problematic because it leads to a zero-sum game mentality, where collaboration and cooperation are seen as unnecessary. This mindset is exacerbated by technological advancements that make people self-sufficient, leading to a decline in collaboration and cooperation in various aspects of society. As a result, narcissistic societies perpetuate income inequality and create a majority of losers and a minority of winners. This ultimately leads to negative outcomes for society as a whole.

Narcissist’s Relationships Via Two Pets (True Stories)

Narcissists may show more affection and empathy towards their pets than their human relationships. The speaker shares personal stories about their pets, a snail and a goldfish, and how these experiences reflect their marriages. The snail's demise symbolizes the breakdown of the speaker's first marriage, while the struggles of the goldfish mirror the challenges in the second marriage. The pets' experiences serve as metaphors for the complexities and failures of the speaker's relationships.

Narcissist: Confabulates, Gaslights, Or Lies?

Narcissists often make you doubt your sanity and perception of reality, but this is not gaslighting. Narcissists confabulate, creating false memories to bridge gaps in their memory, but they believe these fabrications are true and are not consciously trying to deceive others. Confabulation is a way for narcissists to maintain their grandiosity and protect themselves from the realization of their imperfections. It also helps them reconcile their internal and external worlds and allocate roles to people in their lives within the shared fantasy. Confabulation is a critical psychodynamic function in the economy of the narcissist's mind.

Narcissistic, Passive-aggressive Organizations and Bureaucracies

Bureaucracies tend to behave passive-aggressively, frustrating their own constituencies and fostering dependence. This behavior is similar to pathological narcissism, with a lack of impulse control and deficient ability to empathize. Collectives perpetuate their existence regardless of whether they have any role left and how well they function. The measure of success of these institutions is in how many failures they have had to endure or have fostered, not how many successes.

Narcissist's Routines

Narcissists have a series of routines that are developed through rote learning and repetitive patterns of experience. These routines are used to reduce anxiety and transform the world into a manageable and controllable one. The narcissist is a creature of habit and finds change unsettling. The narcissist's routines are often broken down when they are breached or can no longer be defended, leading to a narcissistic injury.

Expose Narcissist’s Secret Speech

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses how narcissists use code and a cipher to manipulate others, including various techniques such as counterfactuality, victim language, projection, gaslighting, and passive aggression. He advises ignoring the hidden message and not responding to the occult message when communicating with a narcissist. He also discusses the evasiveness of narcissists and psychopaths, their competitive nature, and their use of alloplastic defenses to shift blame and deny responsibility for their actions. Finally, he explains that mentally ill people cannot be reasoned with, and their speech acts and decisions need to be deconstructed.

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2023, under license to William DeGraaf
Website Copyright © William DeGraaf 2022-2023
Get it on Google Play
Privacy policy