Indifferent Narcissist

Uploaded 9/14/2010, approx. 4 minute read

I am Sam Vaknin, and I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.

The narcissist lacks empathy. Consequently, he is not really interested in the lives, emotions, needs, preferences and hopes of people around him.

Even his nearest and dearest are to the narcissist mere instruments of gratification. They require his undivided attention only when they malfunction, when they become disobedient, independent, or critical of him.

The narcissist loses all interest in them if they cannot be fixed, for instance when they are terminally ill, or when they develop the modicum of personal autonomy and independence. When they stop being sources of narcissistic supply, they no longer exist, as far as the narcissist is concerned.

Once he gives up his erstwhile sources of supply, the narcissist proceeds to promptly and peremptorily devalue and discard them. This is often done by simply ignoring them, a facade of indifference that is known as a silent treatment, and is at heart a hostile, aggressive and sadistic reaction.

Indifference is therefore a form of devaluation.

People find the narcissist cold, inhuman, heartless, clueless, robotic or machine-like, precisely because of this inbred, in-depth, inherent apathy.

Early on in life, the narcissist learns to disguise his socially unacceptable indifference, and pretend that it is a form of benevolence, equanimity, cool-headedness, composure or superiority.

He says, it is not that I do not care about the others, I am simply more level-headed, more resilient, less emotional, more composed under pressure.

They mistake my equanimity for a lack of empathy and apathy.

The narcissist tries to convince people that he is compassionate.

His profound lack of interest in his spouse's life, occasion, interest, hobbies and whereabouts, he cloaks as benevolent altruism.

He says, I give my wife all the freedom she can wish for. I don't spy on her, follow her or nag her with endless questions. I don't bother her. I let her lead her life the way she sees and feels, and don't interfere in her affairs.

He makes a virtue of his own emotional truancy and absence. All very commendable, but when taken to extremes, such benign neglect turns malignant, signifies the avoidance of true love and attachment.

The narcissist's emotional and often physical absence from all his relationships is a form of aggression and defense against his own thoroughly repressed feelings.

In rare moments of self-awareness, the narcissist realizes that without his input, even in the form of feigned emotions, people will abandon him.

He then swings from cruel aloofness to maudlin and grandiose gestures intended to demonstrate the larger-than-life nature of his sentiments.

This bizarre pendulum only proves the narcissist's inadequacy at maintaining adult relationships. It convinces no one and it repels many.

The narcissist's guarded detachment is a said reaction to his unfortunate formative years, but the logic of narcissism is thought to be the result of a prolonged period of severe abuse by primary caregivers, parents, peers or authority figures.

In this sense, pathological narcissism is a reaction to trauma.

Narcissism is a form of post-traumatic stress disorder that got ossified and fixated and mutated into a personality disorder.

All narcissists are traumatized and all of them suffer from a variety of post-traumatic symptoms, abandonment, anxiety, reckless behaviors, anxiety and mood disorders, somatoform disorders and so on.

But the presenting signs of narcissism rarely indicate post-trauma. This is because pathological narcissism is an efficient coping and defense mechanism.

The narcissist presents to the world a facade of invincibility, equanimity, superiority, skillfulness, coolheadedness, unvulnerability and indifference.

But that's only a facade of course. The frond, this frond is penetrated only in times of great crisis. Crisis that threatens the narcissist's ability to obtain narcissistic supply.

The narcissist then on these occasions falls apart in the process of disintegration known as decompensation. The dynamic forces which render him paralyzed and fake. His vulnerabilities, weaknesses, frailties and fears are starkly exposed as his defenses crumble and become dysfunctional.

The narcissist's extreme dependence on his social milieu for the regulation of his sense of self-worth are painfully and pitifully evident as he is reduced to begging and controlling for narcissistic supply.

At such times the narcissist acts out self-destructively and antisocial. His mask of superior equanimity is pierced by displays of impotent rage. He becomes self-loathing. He displays self-pity and craves manipulation of his friends, family and colleagues. His ostensible benevolence and caring evaporate. He feels caged and threatened and he reacts as any animal does by striking back at his perceived tormentors and his hitherto nearest and dearest who with all narcissistic supply from him. He's a drug addict in cold turkey.

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Narcissist Never Sorry

Narcissists sometimes feel bad and experience depressive episodes and dysphoric moods, but they have a diminished capacity to empathize and rarely feel sorry for what they have done or for their victims. They often project their own emotions and actions onto others and attribute to others what they hate in themselves. When confronted with major crises, the narcissist experiences real excruciating pain, but this is only a fleeting moment, and they recover their former self and embark on a new hunt for narcissistic supply. They are hunters, predators, and their victims are prey.

How Narcissist Experiences/Reacts to No Contact, Grey Rock, Mirroring, Coping, Survival Techniques

Narcissists are victims of post-traumatic conditions caused by their parents, leading to ontological insecurity, dissociation, and confabulation. They have no core identity and construct their sense of self by reflecting themselves from other people. Narcissists have empathy, but it is cold empathy, which is goal-oriented and used to find vulnerabilities to obtain goals. Narcissism becomes a religion when a child is abused by their parents, particularly their mother, and not allowed to develop their own boundaries. The false self demands human sacrifice, and the narcissist must sacrifice others to the false self to gratify and satisfy it.

The Signs of the Narcissist

Narcissists are difficult to spot, but there are subtle signs that can be picked up on, such as entitlement markers, idealization and devaluation, and a lack of empathy. Narcissists are often perceived as anti-social and are unable to secure the sympathy of others. They are also prone to projecting a false self and using primitive defense mechanisms such as splitting, projection, projective identification, and intellectualization.

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.

Self-Aware Narcissist: Still a Narcissist

Narcissism is pervasive and defines the narcissist's waking moments, infiltrating and permeating their dreams. Narcissists only admit to a problem when they are abandoned, destitute, and devastated. Narcissistic behaviors can be modified using talk therapy and pinpointed medication conditioning, but there is a huge difference between behavior modification and a permanent alteration of a psychodynamic landscape. Narcissism may improve with age, but it is rare.

Narcissist as Spoiled Brat

Narcissists require attention and narcissistic supply, and when they cannot obtain it, they may experience decompensation, which can lead to acting out in various ways. Narcissists may resort to several adaptive solutions, including delusional narratives, antisocial behavior, passive-aggressive behavior, paranoid narratives, and masochistic avoidance. These behaviors are all self-generated sources of narcissistic supply. Masochistic narcissists may direct their fury inwards, punishing themselves for their failure to elicit supply, and this behavior has the added benefit of forcing those closest to them to pay attention to them.

Discontinuous Narcissist's Multiple Personas

Narcissists do not have criminal intent, but they do victimize, plunder, terrorize, and abuse others as a manifestation of their genuine character. The narcissist is a walking compilation of personalities, and each of these personalities has its personal history. The narcissist is unable to link his past acts or inaction with their outcomes in the present. The slicing of the narcissist's life is what stands behind the narcissist's apparent inability to predict the inevitable outcomes of his actions.

Narcissist: Your Pain is his Healing, Your Crucifixion - His Resurrection

Narcissists need their victims to suffer to regulate their own emotions and feel a sense of control. They keep a mental ledger of positive and negative behaviors, with negative behaviors weighing more heavily. Narcissists need counterfactual statements to maintain their delusion of being special and superior. The grandiosity gap is the major vulnerability of the narcissist, and they are often in denial about their limitations and failures.

Narcissist's Impossible Jigsaw Puzzle

Narcissists are fascinating due to their contradictory traits and behaviors. They can be highly intelligent and creative, yet emotionally immature and self-destructive. They can appear self-sufficient but are extremely dependent on others for validation. These disconnects challenge our understanding of psychology, as narcissists seem to defy the typical integration of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral aspects of a person. Narcissism remains a perplexing and unchanging phenomenon, providing valuable insights into the human mind.

Predator Narcissist: YOU are the Prey!

Narcissists have the ability to see through other people's emotional shields and know when they are deviating from the truth. They can intuitively grasp other people's self-interested goals and accurately predict their strategies and tactics. Narcissists can't stand self-important, self-inflated, pompous, vigorous, self-righteous, sanctimonious, and hypocritical people because they recognize themselves in them. They expose people's vulnerabilities and force them to confront their true selves, their dead-end careers, their mundane lives, the death of their hopes and dreams and wishes, their shattered illusions.

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