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Insecure Attachment Styles In Cluster B Personalities ( YOU, The Dead Mother)

Uploaded 8/14/2020, approx. 56 minute read

Today, we are going to discuss attachment styles, attachment disorders, and attachment dysfunctions in narcissists, psychopaths, borderlines, and histrionics. We are also going to study attachment styles and disorders in people diagnosed with CPTSD, complex trauma, complex post-traumatic stress disorder.

The reason is that people with CPTSD often display psychopathic and narcissistic behaviors and traits, reactively and temporarily. They also experience periods in which their attachment is disordered and dysfunctional. We are going to study this as well.

But we are going to go through a very peculiar path. We are going to start with a dead mother, and then we are going to think about something we know but we can never think of, etc.

So, I promised you a fun ride in the Sam Vaknin theme park. Don't sign off after 10 minutes. You will be missing all the fun.

At the end of this presentation, I hope you will have a handle, you will get a grasp of how we interact with each other, how we relate to each other, because attachment is not only about romantic relationships. We get attached to workplaces. We get attached to assignments. We get attached to objects.

Attachment is a general attitude towards the world, a general emotional investment in something.

Some people are very afraid to make this emotional investment. Some people make this investment and then run away. Some people make this investment and remain invested for life.

So, to understand how people interact with each other, interpersonal relationships, workplace relationships, we need to understand what makes them tick in terms of the ability to attach.


My name is Sam Vaknin and I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited. I also wrote other books and e-books about personality disorders. I'm a professor of psychology in several universities.

And without further ado, let's dive in.

But before we do that, if you look at the upper part of your screen, you will see a navigation bar. I mean on YouTube. You go to my channel, my YouTube channel, you look up, there's a navigation bar. To the right-hand side of the navigation bar, there is a word about. Next to about, next to about, there's a magnifying glass. The magnifying glass is a search box. All you have to do is type a few keywords in the search box and the ever-obliging YouTube will give you a series of recommended videos which include this keyword or relate to this keyword or however obliquely and tangentially refer to this keyword.

So I encourage you to use the search box in order to avoid my very blatant and rude responses to your questions.

Okay, please and be bets.

I'm going to use now my bedroom voice.

Kiyo, mass exodus of screaming and puking ladies.

And the reason I'm going to use my bedroom voice is the moment you've all been waiting for.

No, no, no. I'm going to keep my clothes on. And now Kiyo, collective sigh of relief. Few reckless women tiptoe wearily back.

I'm going to discuss today attachment styles, attachment dysfunctions as I had promised.

And there's an included bonus if you stay to listen long enough.

There's an attachment style which you've never heard of before. And the reason you've never heard of before is because I invented it.

In my lectures in various universities, when I teach attachment, I teach it in a very peculiar way which I haven't seen elsewhere, not online and not offline.

And so if you bear with me, I will take you on a ride, the likes of which you are unlikely to encounter anywhere else.

And of course, it all starts with childhood. Children grow among adults. This is a much neglected fact. Children grow among adults. When they look around them, they see people who are not like them. They see people who are chronologically advanced, hopefully mentally advanced, very different to them.

They have to emulate and imitate these people in order to carry favor, in order to get food and shelter, in order to secure love and safety. They have to adhere to the tenants' beliefs, rules of conduct and demands of these adults.

And gradually, they realize that they have to become adults.

And there's a process of becoming.

And this process of becoming is dialectical.

The child interacts with the adult and the adult interacts with the child.

That's another much neglected aspect of growing up.

It's not only children who have an impact. It's not only adults, sorry, who have an impact on children.

Children have an impact on adults.

It's a loop. It's a self-modifying, self-assembling loop.

So children's thoughts about their caregivers, together with their thoughts about themselves, you know, when you put these two together, this is what we call the working model.

Every child embarks on constructing a working model of the world very early on, we believe, perhaps at age six months.

And the working model that children construct includes elements which relate to their physical environment, elements which relate to adults in the environment, and elements which relate to themselves.

For example, children often think about the question, do I deserve to get good care? Do I deserve to be loved? Am I entitled and worthy of safety and support and comfort and affection?

And the answers to these questions are very, very critical throughout life because the child has to develop a sense that he is a good worthy object in order to function properly later in adult life.

So working models of attachment are very critical.

And the best types of working models, working models that work, they are founded on something called the safe base.

The safe base is a parental figure usually, but could be any caregiver, a grandmother in case the parents are absent for some reason, a grandmother, a teacher, an adult role model.

But usually it's the mother.

So a safe base is simply a mother that allows her child to separate from her, to individually.

Ironically, a safe base is a mother who pushes her child away, but pushes the child away compassionately, lovingly, empathically, encouragingly. She doesn't push the child away out of spite, out of insecurity, out of narcissistic injury, out of rage, out of hatred. She pushes the child away because she loves the child. She wants the child to become an autonomous, independent entity.

It's very painful to the mother. It's very painful to the mother because mother and baby live in a symbiosis. They merge, they fuse. It's a codependent relationship which could last two years even.

But a mature mother pushes the child away.

And when she pushes the child away, she constitutes a safe base, exactly like a military base. The child goes out, explores the world with the knowledge that he can always return to mommy, that mommy is there, that mommy is safe, that mommy is not going away anywhere, that mommy is not going to abandon him, not going to punish him, not going to punish him for becoming his own person with boundaries, with wishes, with a will, and with a grandiosity to explore the universe because it takes a lot of grandiosity to explore the universe. It's a healthy kind of narcissism. It's what we call primary narcissism. It's a healthy type of grandiosity. It's the grandiosity that allows the child to take the immeasurable, terrifying risk of abandoning mother even if only for a second, even if only for a minute.

And going out there, there's an issue of object constancy. When I look back, will mother still be there? When I want to return to her, will she accept me? Will I try to hug her leg? Will she reject me?

It's a huge gamble to leave mommy, to go away from mommy, to in a way push mommy away, to individuate, to separate. It's a traumatic gamble.

And if the mother is the wrong kind, this first attempt at becoming you fails.

And so the International Classification of Disorders, Edition 10, and probably Edition 11 is forthcoming, and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, they discuss attachment in terms of situations where the child has attachment problems, attachment dysfunctions, either generally, or to a specific attachment figure.

But this is very narrow. It's also misleading, as we will see when I continue. It's also misleading, but it's also very narrow.


And so there was a guy, scholar by the name of Andrei Green. In 1993, he published an essay, and he used the evocative phrase, dead mother complex. He said that some mothers are dead. They are not dead in the sense that they are clinically dead, like no pulse, no brain activity, although I know many mothers who are like that while alive. But they are dead in the sense that they are very depressed. They're depressed. They're emotionally unavailable, or they are narcissistic. They're too grandiose to take care of a child. They feel that the child had disrupted their lives, prevented them from reaching the pinnacle of their profession, ruined their lives in a way. So there is narcissistic rejection. There is depression. There is emotional unavailability because the mother herself has attachment disorder or attachment dysfunction. All these types of mothers, they are dead mothers.

This is a contrast to Donald Winnicott's good enough mother. These are not good mothers, and they are not enough mothers.

They, and the child, the only model that the child has of attachment, of emotions, of love, of relationship, is a painful model, inordinately painful, existentially threatening, harrowing, terrorizing, horrifying model. It's a destructive process of identifying with a dead body, emotionally at least.

This kind of mother is there and not there.

And this mixed signal, this dual signal, is intolerable. We do not tolerate, human beings don't tolerate well, ambiguity and uncertainty. We try to disambiguate in a variety of ways, most of which are destructive.

And this kind of child exposed to a dead mother, he is exposed to a mother who is the epitome and quintessence of ambiguity. And she's depressed and she's unavailable. She's rejecting. She's hurtful. And as Andre wrote, it's a mother who was initially, initially emotionally engaged with her child, but then switched off from emotional resonance to emotional detachment, perhaps under the influence of loss and mourning in her own family of origin.

And when the child goes through this roller coaster, idealization, devaluation, when the child is unable to restore this warm empathic embracing, accepting the loving contact with the mother, he then, the child then internalizes a hard, unresponsive, emotional core. And this, of course, is a prerequisite to narcissism because narcissism is a reaction to this internalization. Mother is hurtful. Mother used to love me, now she doesn't love. I will never let anyone do this to me again. I will never put myself at the mercy of anyone who could cause me such pain and really threaten my existence.

Because when you're six months old or one year old or two year old and your mother is emotionally unavailable, distant, doesn't care about you, neglects you, you can die. It's life threatening.

And in this kind of people, they become narcissistic later on in life and unable to form attachment. And we see this, for example, even in settings where attachment is minimal, like in therapy, where they can't go through the phase known as transference. They can't bond in some way with a therapist. They can't even project their own emotions onto the therapist. They can't regard the therapist as a parental figure.

So there's no transference in treating such people. Dead mother syndrome is the acute form of this.

And there are many dead mothers out there because we live in an narcissistic and psychopathic age. More and more people are technically narcissists and psychopaths. And these people, for some reason, procreate. They irresponsibly have children and they raise these children as dead mothers and dead fathers.

The mistaken attachment theories is to say that when a child doesn't have a safe base, when he has a dead mother, he runs away. He avoids. He runs, he develops avoidance strategies. He withdraws internally. He becomes narcissistic. And then he has like an imaginary friend, the false self, or a godlike entity, which is the false self. Or he withdraws and becomes a co-dependent, thereby suspending his own existence and merging with the mother figure. Or he withdraws and becomes psychopathic, antisocial, contact disorder. It's known in children. It's called contact disorder.

So the general thrust of current attachment theories, starting with Mary Ainsworth and to these very days in I and others, the thought is that when children are raised by the wrong kind of parents, by not good enough mothers, by dead mothers, they simply detach. And because they detach, they learn a coping strategy for life, which is a coping strategy of detachment.

And this is the part where I think attachment theories get it very wrong. They get it very wrong.

If you ever saw a baby crying inconsolably at the body of his dead mother, really dead mother. And if you ever watch the movie Psycho, Hitchcock's movie Psycho, where the son who was running the motel, Bates, keeps his mother's body mummified and continues to interact with her as though she were alive. If you've ever been exposed to these experiences, however vicariously, you would realize that the child does not run away from a dead mother, but learns to love her.

Children love their mothers, whether they're alive, whether they're dead, whether they're good enough, whether they're vicious and atrocious, whether they're psychopathic, whether they're narcissistic, whether they're there, whether they're not there, emotionally available or not, rejecting or accepting. The child has no choice. He has to love mother and he learns to love a dead mother.

And when you fall in love with him and he claims to have fallen in love with you, he tries to convert you into a dead mother too. He wants you to play the role of his dead mother. He wants you to die and to be a mother.

And this is as good a description, as good and concise a summation of relationships with narcissists that I've ever come across.

The narcissist tries to do two things with his romantic intimate partner. He tries to kill her and he tries to convert her into a mother. He tries to recreate, reconstruct and re-experience and re-enact the unresolved conflict with a dead mother.

And the dead mother role is all yours.

But of course, being in love with a dead object, loving something dead is unthinkable.

So people with cluster B personality disorders, although they are capable of loving only dead people, dead mothers, dead mother substitutes, dead father substitutes. Still, they don't dare to contemplate this. They're not aware of this.

On the contrary, they lie to themselves. They're telling themselves, I'm trying to make her come alive. I'm reviving my intimate partner. I'm infusing her with life. I'm giving her thrills and adventures in color. I am the engine of excitement in her life. When she's with me, she's much more alive than when she's not with me.

So there is this self delusional confabulation, this self fallacious narrative that the narcissist and the psychopath and the borderline tell themselves, I'm not doing anything wrong to my partner. I'm not doing anything bad to my intimate partner.

On the contrary, I'm Lazarus like raising him from the dead.

And it's of course, projection.

This is what happens. It's the intimate partner who raises the narcissist and the psychopath and the borderline from the dead, because they are dead.

Narcissists, psychopaths and borderlines are dead at the core. And they're dead at the core because they have internalized a dead mother, a dead object.

But they don't dare to think about it. And instead what they do is called emotional thinking. They're not thinking with their heads. They're not thinking cognitively.

But whenever they need to think about relationships, they think emotionally. They let their emotions control their cognitions, not the other way.

And what they do, narcissists, psychopaths, borderlines and victims of trauma, by the way, they affect death and they affect aggression. And what the hell is the effect?

If you're asking, the effect is emotionally invest.

Caffexis is emotional investment.

So they invest emotionally in death because their first emotional investment as children was in a dead mother, a dead object.

So they know only how to invest in death and in dead people and in dead others and in dead intimacy.

So they invest in death. Of course, death is aggression. Aggression leads to death and death is aggressive by definition.

And this is called destrudo, the opposite of libido. Libido is the force of life. It comes from Eros. And destrudo is the force of death, the force of destruction, the force of aggression, and it emanates from Thanatos, the force of death.

And when we, in our current culture and civilization, we are emotionally invested in our smartphones, in our beautiful luxury cars, in our jobs, we are invested in inanimate, inanimate inert material goods.

Materialism is the ultimate, consumerism is the ultimate expression of destrudo, of the force of death, because objects are dead.

Breaking news, news alert, all objects are dead. I don't know if you realize that real objects, physical objects, the ones you can lock on, they're dead. And they are substitutes for the dead mother.

And so our culture and civilization encourage us to emotionally invest in dead things.

And these people, narcissists, borderlines, psychopaths, histrionics, trauma victims, how do they react to this emotional investment in a dead object?

The dead object cannot reciprocate, refuses to reciprocate adamantly, insists on rejection, insist on humiliation, insist on notification, injures you all the time, wounds you, the archaic wound in the words of Freud.

So it's a wounding process. It's death by a thousand cuts.

So you withdraw, you love, and you withdraw, and you identify love with withdrawal.

If love then away, if love then push, if love then withdraw, if love then not be, to love is to not be. Love is an absence in the minds of these very, very sick individuals. It's an absence, not a presence.

And the minute it becomes a presence, it's very threatening, existentially threatening, because this presence is bound to be withdrawn and they are bound to feel pain, the pain of ultimate rejection. They anticipate rejection.

Borderlines, for example, anticipate abandonment, rejection, humiliation, and react to this anticipation, not to any real developments or they reframe reality in these terms.

So these cluster B personalities, they can't afford to love because their first experience with love has been an experience of annihilation, annulment. They were not seen. It's critical to be seen when you're a child. It is through the gaze of the meaningful other, through the gaze of the primary object, primary caregiver, through the gaze of mother, that you are defined. It is mother's gaze that constitutes and constructs your boundaries. It is through her that you realize that you are separate from her. She is the one. She is the agent, the agent of society. She is a socialization agent, but she's also the agent of the physical universe. And above all, she is your agent. She is the one who helps you become. She's the primary agent of becoming.

And if you have a dead mother, you become a corpse, narcissist, psychopaths, borderlines, other walking dead.

And so they, in an attempt to avoid, repeat, to avoid the repetition of the same type of painful relationship, they never allow themselves to truly love, to truly get emotionally invested. And they are very self-sufficient. They even self-parentify. They act as their own parents. And they're very autorerotic, sexually speaking. They gratify themselves sexually, masturbation, pornography.

And so to be able to love you, these people have to kill you first. It's like the famous joke. If I tell you the truth, I'll have to kill you. If I fall in love with you, I'll have to kill you. They have to kill. They have to kill the mother figure in order to love her. They snapshot you. They convert you into an inert photograph. They merge with you. They fuse with you. You disappear. You are digested. You are assimilated. You become an extension.

These are various ways of killing you, negating your existence, annihilating you.

And then when you're dead, when you're no more, when you have become an absence, then they can love you, of course, because they're expressive, loving, dead mothers.

And they identify love with absence. Their introjects, the introjects of their mother, their father, their mother figures, the inner voices, the representations, the avatars of these crucial adults, they are all non-interacting, dead, inert, mute objects.

The narcissist and the psychopath and the borderline of the histrionic cluster B, they're the only people on earth whose introjects are essentially mute. They can't talk. They don't talk. They don't interact. They don't communicate. They're there. It's natural.

So they need to take away from you speech. They need to deny you the speech act. They need to prevent you from communicating because communication is pain. They need to fend you off and to fence you in and to stratify you, to ossify you and to mummify and to fossilize.

And this way to own you and to control you because if you own and control someone, he cannot hurt you. She cannot hurt you. It's all about pain aversion and hurt aversion. And of course, this makes it impossible to distinguish internal objects from external objects. If your loved ones are inside you because you need to control them, micromanage them, if they're inside you, then they're internal.

But they're also external. So internal is external. External is internal.


The narcissist, the borderline, to a lesser extent, the psychopath make very little distinction between internal and external objects.

And in this particular sense, Otto Kernberg was right. These are people on the cusp, on the verge of psychosis, of a psychotic disorder.

There was a guy called Christopher Bolas, and in the miracle years of the 1980s, which to my mind was the renaissance of psychology, or at least the psychodynamic and psychoanalytic schools of psychology. So in those miracle years, he came up with a concept called the unfought, the unfought, known.

His work was based probably, we don't know for sure, because he doesn't mention it, but probably on some comment that Freud reported in one of his endless series of monographs and books and articles.

Freud was a machine. So Freud reported that he had a patient. And this patient told him, I've always known something, but I never thought of it.

And Freud was kind of thunderstruck. He said, wait a minute, can you know something and not think of it ever? Is it possible to know, but not cognitively? Is it possible to be fully aware of some fact, some environment, some other person, and never to think of them?

And so Christopher Wallace coined the phrase unfought, known in the 1980s. And he said that these are experiences which in some way are known to the individual, but about which the individual is unable to think.

I would add the individual is afraid to think. It's an inhibition. It's inhibitory.

And Ehrlich Scimata for interpreting the object world that preconsciously determine our subsequent life expectations are such are an example of the unfought known.

We're all born with scimata with a kind of arrangement of cognitions, emotions, beliefs and facts. So this scimata allows us to interpret the world, to interpret the object world. And they are preconscious, and they determine what we expect of life. And they're an example of the unfought known.

So the unfought known is pre-verbal, unschematized, early experience. And of course, it can also be early trauma. Early trauma creates facts, but these facts are so painful, so frightening, so devastating that we know them, but we never think of them. They are fenced off, they're isolated, they are removed from consciousness.

These unfought knowns, they affect behavior. They do it unconsciously and preconsciously, but they affect behavior.

But even though they affect behavior, they never, never access consciousness. Conscious thought has no access to these knowns, and yet they're known.

And in therapy, very often, when we introduce the patient to the unfought known, the patient says, I've known this all along, but I never thought about it.

And there's, of course, Beyonce's idea of better elements. Beyonce said that there are psychic experiences, which people cannot process in any way by the mind. They are psychic. Their experiences does not deny them.

There is knowledge that they had happened. But this knowledge is kept via a variety of defense mechanisms, probably, like repression, maybe, or denial. This knowledge is kept under the radar. The person cannot afford to think about these schemata, all these experiences, these traumas, because if he does, he will disintegrate.

And Bolas suggested that there are quite a few elements in the substance of the unfought known. He said that, for example, when you have persistent moods, probably, these moods preserve elementary, but pre-schematized states of mind. He said that the moods are reflections or reservoirs of these unfought knowns. And he said that very early in childhood, when the self interacts with the primary object, with the mother, for example, this interaction, if it's very emotionally loaded, for example, if you have a very painful interaction with your mother, if she's a dead mother, you will relegate it to the unfought known.

Similarly, if you see something of great beauty, when you're a child mainly, pre-verbal, you can't verbalize it, you can't capture it with language, so you kind of store it, it's a storage area, it's a warehouse.

The unfought known is a warehouse of experiences and things and judgments and beliefs and values and facts that you have no conscious access to because they were all pre-verbal and language as a barrier prevents you from going there. These are all parts of the unfought known.

Narcissists and psychopaths and borderlines and histrionics, they have a huge amount, a huge number of unfought knowns.

If you healthy, normal people, empathic people, I don't know, 10 unfought knowns, a psychopath or a narcissist would have 100.

Now this means, this is massive implications, it means that the narcissist's interpersonal relationships, they are recreations of his original relationship with a dead mother, but because it's so devastating, so painful, so frightening, so hurtful, this whole thing, the whole relationship will be processed through the unfought known.


Let me try to explain it a bit.

The narcissist, psychopaths, borderline, they are born into a dysfunctional family, the primary caregiver, mother in this case for example, is one way or another abusive, one way or another emotionally unavailable, one way or another exploitative. She parentifies the child, she idolizes the child, she instrumentalizes the child, she abuses the child sexually or physically or verbally or psychologically or whatever.

There's something wrong going on there. She is dead to the child. The child still loves his mother even when she's dead, so he learns that love is painful and that you can love only dead things.

And so this thought, this realisation is so mind-boggling that he knows it but never thinks about it. It becomes an unfought known.

And then when he meets the love of his life, when he meets an intimate partner, when he tries to develop a relationship, have a family, whatever, he interacts with his intimate partner via the unfought known.

In other words, he interacts with his partner, recreating the original pattern of interaction with his dead mother, dysfunctional mother, sick mother and he interacts with his intimate partner, not thinking about it.

When you confront him and say, don't you see what you're doing? He says, no, what am I doing? He's utterly unaware. It's not a pretension. He's not faking it. He really is not aware. And it's also not a result of set delusions or reframing, but a result of his inability. He cannot afford, he cannot allow himself to think of the known. He knows but he doesn't dare go there. He doesn't dare to think about it.

So in order not to create a dissonance, not to create a conflict, not to force him to think, he kills you. He simply kills you. He renders you a dead mother.

The minute you're a dead mother, you conform to the earlier pattern and there's no conflict. There's no dissonance and no risk that he will be forced to think about what he knows. No risk of bringing the unthought, the unthinkable from the unconscious to the conscious where it will create a massive conflict and may endanger the life of the cluster B personhood.

So this is the sequence, bad early, bad dysfunctional early relationship, suppression of this information, knowing it, but not thinking about it. Then finding an intimate part, forcing her to recreate the early pattern by becoming a dead mother so that what is known will not become thought. What is known will not become a cognition, will not generate overt life threatening conflict.

Ross in his work also linked the concept of the unthought known to Donald Winnicott's notion of the true self. So there is direct connection between Bolus's work, Winnicott's work and narcissism, true self, false self and so on. These are not just wild speculations on my part, but actually Bolus almost touched upon it, almost went there.

In terms of system centered therapy, in system centered therapy, they make a distinction between what they call apprehensive knowing and comprehensive knowing. Apprehensive knowing is knowing, but not being able to verbalize what you know, not being able to use language to communicate what you know to yourself and to others.

And then there's comprehensive knowing. Comprehensive knowing is knowledge that you can communicate to yourself and to others via language.

So we allow ourselves to formulate in words, comprehensive knowledge or comprehensive knowing, but we don't allow ourselves access to apprehensive knowing, perhaps because it's apprehensive, it's frightening, it's threatening.

And in therapy, the unthought known can become the subtext of the therapeutic interchange. The therapist becomes kind of a parent figure and he picks up the patient, he contains the patient and the patient allows himself or herself to think about the unknown via the therapist.

Maybe we'll talk about it some other time. It's a process called projective identification.

Back to attachment disorders.

Three prominent scholars of attachment disorders are Zena, Lieberman and Boris. And they suggested that attachment disorders start in childhood, which I agree. And they said that children who don't have, who did not have the opportunity to form an attachment, or where children who had a distorted relationship with a parental figure, or when an existing attachment was for some reason, abruptly disrupted. In these three cases, there's an attachment disorder.

And they use the term disorder of attachment. It's when a young child doesn't seem to bond with or attached to any particular adult caregiver. And so these kind of children are indiscriminately sociable. They approach all the adults. And they sometimes approach total strangers. And they're very cute, very sociable. And they ask for love. And they ask for compassion and affection. And they ask to be comforted.

But they do thisnot with mother specifically, not with father, grandmother, or grandfather, but they approach any other wherever.

So there is a promiscuity. It's a promiscuous sociability, promiscuous behavior. And it's a disorder of attachment.

And these, as I said, are children who didn't have the opportunity to form an attachment with a specific figure, as the DSM says, or where there's a distorted relationship or existing attachment has been disrupted.

So some children react by becoming promiscuous. They attach to any other.

And others react exactly the opposite. They withdraw emotionally. They fail to seek comfort from anyone, any other.

And so very often we mistake these children for shy children, say, Oh, he's shy. This is not shyness. This is extreme pain aversion, extreme aversion to hurt. The child totally identifies any attempt at an interaction with another with life threatening pain and hurt and abandonment and neglect and rejection and humiliation, total threat of disintegration.

So these children withdraw emotionally and fail to interact. And this is, this is reminiscent of reactive attachment disorder.

Because in reactive attachment disorder, we have inhibited and disinhibited forms. Disinhibited forms are children who approach any adult for attachment and inhibited forms are children who approach no adult for attachment.


Now Boris and Zina describe a condition that they call secure- based distortion.

Secure- based distortion is when the child does have someone, a mother, a father, a grandmother, a grandfather, some caregiver, teacher, and he prefers this familiar figure. But the relationship with this figure is such that actually the adult does not provide the child with safety.

When the child starts to explore the environment grandiosely, this kind of an adult does not encourage the exploration and does not provide a safe base, does not broadcast to the child. Go ahead, find yourself, find the world. I will be here when you return. I'll be here when you need me.

On the contrary, the broadcast or a transmission is opposite, is who do you think you are? What are you doing? You're hurting me. You don't love mommy anymore. You are impudent, insolent. You are impertinent. You are misbehaving. You are impolite, etc.

These are all inhibitory messages, messages that inhibit, prevent the child from exploring the world.

And such children, they don't know what to do. And many of them are disinhibitory. They cling to any adult. They endanger themselves. They are excessively compliant, submissive. Or they try to become a parent because they don't have a parent. They try to become a parent.

And they try to parent themselves and even to parent the adult or even to punish the adult as a parent.

So these children are in total mess, total confusion as to roles, roles, who they can trust and how they should function once there is an interaction which implies directly or indirectly some type of attachment.

And Boris and Zina discuss a lot what they call disrupted attachment. Disrupted attachment is any abrupt separation or loss of a familiar figure, a mother, a father to whom the child is attached. So the child gets attached and then suddenly this figure is gone. It's gone because it died. It's gone because of a divorce. It's gone because it's lost interest in the child. It's gone because there's a new sibling, a newborn and the attention of the parent is totally diverted to the newborn and the parent abandons and neglects the first born or the previous child.

And so whenever there's a process of devaluation after idealization or after idolizing, as I mentioned, sibling rivalry, the child perceives such abrupt absence as rejection.

So even if the parent has to travel, it's perceived by the child as abandonment, abandonment and rejection, essential rejection, rejection of his essence, of who he is.

So the child decides that he is not worthy of love, not worthy of object constancy, not worthy of the parent being there for him, not worthy of safety.

In other words, a bad object.

As the child becomes an adult, he will try to sustain this self-image because it's his comfort zone.

And a promiscuous child would become a promiscuous adult, inhibited child would become an inhibited adult.

And a child who had lost an attachment figure for whatever reason, a child who has been devalued, a child who has been dumped, a child who's been neglected and abandoned and humiliated and rejected, or just, you know, let go. This kind of child will try to recreate this in his intimate relationships. He will try to force his intimate partner via projective identification to play this role of the dysfunctional, not good enough, dead mother.

The young child's reaction to such a loss is grief. It's exactly grief, exactly the same.

This five stages of grief is described by the Swiss American psychologist, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.

The child protests, he cries, he searches for the attachment figure.

Then the child is depressed. He is desperate. He's sad. He withdraws from communication and play. He detaches from the original relationship and gradually, very, very gradually he accepts. He accepts the attachment figure, mother, for example, he's gone and he resumes, gradually, slowly and usually dysfunctionally, social and play activities.

Scholars such as Daniel Schechter and Erica Wilhelm, they've shown a relationship between maternal PTSD and secure base distortion.

In other words, when the mother is violent, physically abusive, or even worse, sexually abusive, it creates a safe base distortion and the child becomes reckless. He develops separation anxiety, hypervigilance and role reversal.

And if this sounds familiar, it's because these are elements of borderline personality disorder.

Fraley and Shaver, these are two scholars, they describe the central propositions of attachment in adults.

They said that all attachment in adults recreates the behavioral dynamics of infant and caregiver.

In other words, adult relationships are nothing but a repeat, a replay, a reenactment of childhood relationships.

When we observe individual differences during childhood, these differences will be preserved to adulthood. Actually, we have learned that attachment styles are pretty stable throughout the lifespan. And only in 20% of cases, attachment styles are mildly modified. In 80% of cases, attachment styles, which are usually determined by age two to six, the formative years, attachment styles survive lifelong.

Individual differences in adult attachment behavior. They are reflections of expectations and beliefs people have formed about themselves and about close relationships. And these expectations have to do with attachment history.

The working models that we started with, if you remember, we all build working models about ourselves, about other people. And these working models are stable, and they reflect early caregiving experiences.

And so romantic love involves an interplay of attachment, caregiving, intimacy, and the attachment part is actually unalterable, immutable.

And Rhodes and Simpson, they suggested that biology is involved somehow. It's biology that that propels children to form attachment with caregivers. And it's shaped by interpersonal experiences. And they said that experiences in early relationships, they create the internal working model, and they create the attachment style. And these systematically affect attachment relationships. And the attachment orientations of adult caregivers influence the attachment bond of their children. This is how crucial it is to be good parents.

Working models and attachment orientations are relatively stable over time. They're impervious to changes, very dangerous.

Some forms of psychological maladjustment, some clinical disorders, including cluster B personality disorders, they're attributable in big part to the effects of insecure working models, insecure attachment styles.

So biology drives attachments, but attachment is largely shaped by learning experiences. And it depends crucially on expectations and beliefs that people have about their relationships. And these expectations and beliefs come from internal working models.

These internal working models, they guide relationship behaviors. They are relatively stable, as we said, and they hark back to childhood.

Individual differences in attachment contribute positively or negatively to mental health.

So we have four main types of attachments.

In adults, now it's very crucial because people make the most god-awful mess, confusing childhood attachment styles with adult attachment styles. They are not the same.

In adults, we have secure, anxious preoccupied, dismissive avoidant, and fearful avoidant attachment styles.

And to this, I've added a fifth one, my contribution, my attempted contribution, a flat attachment style.


So Cindy Hazen and Philip Shaver, they observed that interactions between adults share similarities to interactions between children and caregivers as the issue of closeness, comfort versus anxiety or loneliness. And even in adult relationships, there's an issue of secure base.

Secure base, you want to know that you can trust your intimate partner, that she will be there for you, that you have somewhere to come back to. And it helps you face the surprises, the opportunities, challenges, it helps you face life. Everyone has an attachment style.

Now, I would like to talk a bit about my contribution or attempted contribution to attachment theory.

I suggest to introduce a fifth, a fifth style.

I'm going to discuss each of the other four later, but I'm trying to introduce a fifth one called flat attachment.

These are people who are incapable of any kind of bonding and any kind of relatedness at all. Flat attaches regard other people as utterly interchangeable, replaceable, and dispensable objects or functions.

When a relationship is over, people go through a period of latency. They mourn the defunct bond, they process the grief, and there are withdrawal symptoms associated with the breakup. They go catatonic if you wish. Flat attaches are different. They react to the disintegration of even the most meaningful or primary relationships by becoming defiant and becoming mad rather than heartbroken and sad. They are mad, not sad.

The flat attacher transitions instantaneously, smoothly, abruptly, and seamlessly from one insignificant other to the next target. She fully substitutes a newly found bold lover, mate, or intimate partner for the discarded one whose usefulness has expired for whatever reason.

Many narcissists and almost all psychopaths are actually flat attaches.

In 1995, I coined the phrase idealize devalue and discard, and I should have added idealize devalue, discard, and replace.

Flat attachment is often confused and conflated with commitment formula, the fear of committing to a joint future, but it's different. Flat attaches are constitutionally incapable of bonding with other people. Commitment folks anticipate with anxiety the expectations that their attachments to others engender.

So, commitment folks are terrified of the expectations of their intimate partners and the emotional and pragmatic outcomes of liaisons, of intimate relationships. They are simply in a state of anxiety. Flat attaches have no anxiety. They simply don't bond. They don't attach and they don't give a hoot about your expectations.

Commitment folks are avoidant. They're not emotionally dystonic. On the contrary, they're very strong emotions.

Flat attaches are emotionally not there. They're emotionally absent.

Intimacy increases with time together, but the more time you spend with a narcissist or with a flat attacher, the less intimate you get.

I call this effect reversed intimacy.

It's the outcome of the fact that one is interacting with the narcissist's false self.

It's a piece of grandiose fiction, a placeholder where an entire person should have been.

Traumatized victims of narcissistic abuse have learned to emulate the narcissist himself in a post-traumatic state, as you know.

They try to slap a label on their tormentor and then to ignore him and relate only to the label, total labeling. Where no intimacy is involved, of course, where no intimacy is possible, stereotypes take over.

So this is my attempted contribution.

I suggest that there's a fifth style because all the other four styles that we have for adult attachment, they assume some kind of interplay. They assume some kind of need for attachment that is either frustrated or avoided, but flat attaches don't have a need to bond or to attach, nor do they have the capacity to do it.

The secure attachment style in adults corresponds to the secure attachment style in children. The anxious preoccupied attachment style in adults correspond to the anxious ambivalent attachment style in children. The dismissive avoidant attachment style and the fearful avoidant attachment style in adults are separate and distinct, but in children, they are one, and it's called avoidant attachment style.

So children have a single avoidant attachment style, while adults have dismissive avoidant or fearful avoidant.

So there are two scholars, Bartholomew and Horowitz. Bartholomew and Horowitz, together with Pietro Monaco and Barrett, they created all kinds of tables and models of attachments, and Bartholomew and Horowitz proposed that working models consist of two parts.

The first part of the working model deals with thoughts about one's self. The other part of the model deals with thoughts about other people, and they propose that the person's thoughts about the self are generally positive or generally negative, and the same applies to someone's thoughts about others.

So you can be positive about yourself or negative about yourself. You can be positive about other people or negative about other people, and so what you do, you can construct a table, which is exactly what Bartholomew and Horowitz have done. They created a table of relationship between attachment styles, self-esteem and sociability, and they said that if your sociability is positive and your self-esteem is positive, you have a secure attachment style. If your sociability is positive and your self-esteem is negative, you have an anxious preoccupied attachment style. If your sociability is negative and your self-esteem is positive, you would have a dismissive avoidant attachment style, and if both are negative, you will have a fearful avoidant attachment style.

So the secure and dismissive attachment styles are associated with higher self-esteem compared with anxious and fearful attachment styles, and this corresponds to the distinction between positive and negative thoughts about the self in working models.

The secure and anxious attachment styles are associated with higher sociability. Dismissive and fearful attachment styles are less sociable people, and this corresponds, of course, to the distinction between positive and negative thoughts about other people in working models.


But narcissists, psychopaths, borderlines, victims of trauma, complex trauma, and histrionics, they have only insecure attachment styles.

We'll start with the first one, anxious preoccupied.

The anxious preoccupied attachment style characterizes the compensatory narcissist, the inverted narcissist, other covert narcissist, borderline personality disorder, and dependent personality disorder, colloquially known as codependent.

The anxious preoccupied attachment style is people who have a negative view of the self, but they have a positive view of others.

If you think of the compensatory, or if you think of the borderline, for example, she has a negative view of herself usually, but she has a positive view of her intimate partner. She wants her intimate partner to help her to regulate her internal environment. She believes in the intimate partner's omnipotence. That's why the borderline is a perfect match for the narcissist because she encourages his grandiosity. She agrees with it. She wants him to be grandiose. She wants him to be godlike because she expects him to do miracles. She expects him to give her inner peace. She expects him to reduce the liability of her moods and to regulate her emotions.

So the borderline is a positive view of others.

Similarly, the covert narcissist, he has a very negative view of himself. He is shy, he is fragile, he is vulnerable, but he has a positive view of others.

In the case of an inverted narcissist, he has a positive view of the overt narcissist she is with.

Again, there's a lot of magical thinking here because they expect their intimate partners to do miracles, to do the impossible, to accomplish the impossible. They expect their intimate partners to make life tolerable for them, to regulate both their internal environment and their external environment.

The inverted narcissist busks in the glory and accomplishments of her overt partner. The covert narcissist undermines and manipulates his intimate partner in order to self-regulate and to obtain his or her own goals.

And these kind of people say, I want to be completely emotionally intimate with others, but I often find that others are reluctant to get as close to me as I would like.

Or they say, I'm uncomfortable being without close relationships, but I sometimes worry that others don't value me as much as I value them.

This kind of attachment, the anxious preoccupied attachment, these people want intimacy, they crave intimacy, they seek high level of intimacy approval and responsiveness from their attachment figure. They value intimacy to an extent that they become overly dependent on the attachment figure because they consider the attachment figure the only source of intimacy.

Mini-break.

And these people feel a sense of anxiousness and this anxiety recedes only when they are in contact with the attachment figure.

In a way co-dependency can be easily reconceived as an anxiety disorder.

These people doubt their worth as people, they blame themselves for the attachment figure's lack of responsiveness. They have auto-plastic defenses, they feel guilt, they feel shame, they feel egodystonic, they feel at ease, they feel discomfort, they feel apprehension, they feel anxiety.

These are neurotic defenses. These people are essentially what used to be called neurotics.

And this dependence and idealization of the intimate partner, they render the attachment figure the sole source of solace and comfort and decor.

The dependence is total upon the source of intimacy. And this, the intimate partner serves as an anxiolytic, an anxiety reducing medication.

They self-medicate.

These people, borderlines, covert, inverted nurses, they self-codependence, they self-medicate with an intimate partner.

And they exhibit high levels of emotional expressiveness, emotional dysregulation, worry, impulsivity, and it easily and seamlessly can glide into psychopathic or histrionic territory.

So there is a lot of back and forth and a lot of switching, which is very reminiscent of multiple personalities, by the way. They are like self-states that they switch between.

So a borderline can easily become secondary psychopath. And the change is so pronounced and so amazing and so startling that you feel that this person is possessed, taken over by another entity, unrelated to the original.

And so there's a lot of this switching going on. And this switching is triggered by perceived rejection, humiliation, neglect, abandonment, being ignored by the intimate partner.


The second type of insecure attachment style is dismissive avoidant. It characterizes the overt narcissist and the primary psychopath.

A dismissive avoidant attachment style is when you possess a positive view of yourself and a negative view of others. When you, for example, hold other people in content, when you devalue others, when you consider them inferior to you.

And these kind of people say, I'm comfortable without close emotional relationships. It is important to me to feel independent and self-sufficient. I prefer to not depend on others or to have others depend on me.

And these people desire a high level of independence. They are fiercely independent.

Independence is their autonomy, self-autonomy, self-agency, self-efficacy, is their religion, their ideology.

And the desire to attain these goals of independence, it's like it translates into avoidance of attachment. They avoid all types of attachment whatsoever.

We are not talking only in romantic relationships, but for example, they can't hold a job. They are itinerant. They don't live in one place for long. They move around. They are ruthless, ruthless, like R-O-O-T-L-ESS. They have no roots and they are ruthless in pursuit of ruthlessness.

They view themselves as self-sufficient, invulnerable.

And this blends into sustains and buttresses their grandiosity. Their grandiosity is founded on self-containment, self-sufficiency, independence, autonomy, self-efficacy, the ability to extract by force, if needed, beneficial outcomes from the environment, including the human environment. And they are invulnerable.

And because they want to remain invulnerable, they perceive attachment as a weakness, as a vulnerability, as a chink in the armor.

And they don't want to be closely associated with others. They deny that they need close relationship. And they view close relationship as unimportant in the best case, if not outright, weak and stupid. And they seek less intimacy with attachments, with attachment figures.

They often view their intimate partners less positively than they view themselves. They tend much more to devalue others, including their intimate partners.

And they have a defensive character. It's actually a defense.

The irony is that these people are actually highly insecure. That's why we call it an insecure attachment style.

The dismissive, avoidant attachment style, they're not really heroic or victorious or impermeable or invulnerable. They are suppressing and hiding their feelings.

Remember the unthought-known? They can't afford to get in touch with their emotions. They can't afford to know what has really happened to them.

They tend to deal with rejection by distancing themselves from the sources of rejection. And they tend to do this not only when actual rejection is happening, but also when they predict or anticipate rejection, when they misinterpret some behaviors as rejection. And they tend to misinterpret most behaviors as rejection. Their attachments are very fragile. And they are very fragile because they are fragile. They're fearful. They're unresolved.

And so this leads to the next attachment style, which is fearful, fearful, avoidant attachment style.

This characterizes some borderlines, compensatory narcissists, and secondary psychopaths.

The fearful, avoidant, unresolved, cannot classify attachment patterns. They are people who have unstable, fluctuating and view of themselves and unstable, fluctuating view of others.

So they tend to idealize, idealize, and devalue themselves as they idealize and devalue others.

By the way, everything in the psychology of cluster B personality disorder has a self-dimension and an other dimension.

Narcissistic supply, there is self-provision of narcissistic supply. The narcissist sometimes can provide himself with supply. There is self-devaluation. There is self-idealization. I call this process core idealization.

As the narcissist idealizes his partner, he's actually idealizing himself. If he's deserving of such an ideal, perfect, brilliant, most beautiful partner, then he himself is perfect.

So everything has, in these people with the fearful, avoidant attachment style, they fluctuate, they're lay by, they're not stable, they're not regulated. Their view of themselves and view of others is fluctuating.

And these are people usually with losses or massive traumas, including, for example, sexual abuse in childhood and adolescence.

And these people say, I'm somewhat uncomfortable getting close to others. I want emotionally close relationships, but I find it difficult to completely trust others or to depend on others. I sometimes worry that I will be hurt if I allow myself to become too close to other people.

So they tend to feel uncomfortable with emotional closeness. They feel ill at ease when they're loved. When someone tries to get intimate with them, they become aggressive, rejecting and pushing away.

And these are mixed feelings, mixed signals, mixed messages. It's crazy making, right?

They drive their intimate partners insane because they have unconscious negative views about themselves and about their attachments. They view themselves as unworthy of responsiveness from their attachments.

They say, I'm a bad object. Can't you see? I'm unworthy. Why do you give me love? If you give me love, either you're blind and stupid, or you are cunning and manipulative.

These are the only two reasons to give me love. You can see that I'm damaged goods. You can see I'm broken and defective and dysfunctional.

And yet you give me love. Something is wrong with you. Or you're doing this for a purpose. There's some hidden agenda. There's some ulterior motive.

They don't trust the intentions of their attachments.

And similar to the dismissive avoidant attachment style, people with a fearful avoidant attachment style, they seek less intimacy from attachments. They suppress, deny their feelings, and they are much less comfortable expressing affection and love.

And finally, Baldwin and others, they've applied the theory of relational schemas to working models of attachment. The relational schema is a scheme which contains information about the way the attachment figure regularly interact with each other.

So a relational schema is a schema which pertains to a relationship.

And for each pattern of interaction, the schema contains information about the self, information about the attachment, and information about the way the interaction usually unfolds.

So the relational schema has a predictive value, a prognosticating value. In other words, if you have a schema in your head as to how you're interacting with your intimate partner, this schema tells you something about yourself, tells you something about the relationship, tells you something about your partner, and tells you a lot about how your partner is likely to react to your signals, to your advances, and to your attempts to be close.

Relational schemas help us to guide behaviors and relationships because they allow people to anticipate, to predict, to plan for the responses of the intimate partner.

Relational schema is simply a lot of experience from which we derive heuristically a rule. This is a rule-based system, a rule of thumb, if you wish, heuristic rule, based on experiences.

Relational schemas are therefore in the shape of if-then.

If I try to kiss her, she will kiss me back. If I try to hug her, she will reject me. If I try to have sex with her, she will have sex with another man.

So you see, I have a morbid mind.

So the relational schema kind of augments and improves the working model because the working model is static. The working model says this is who you are, this is who you think you are, this is who you think other people are.

And the relational schema adds to this by saying this is who you think you are, this is who you think other people are, and this is what you think will happen if you do this and this.

People with attachment styles were less likely to, people with various attachment styles, were less likely to operate outside the relational schema.

Now the relational schema exists in each and every one of us. Differences in attachment styles actually reflect differences in relational schema.

When you have a relational schema, it dictates your behaviors. You're trying to avoid rejection, you're trying to avoid pain, you're trying to avoid hurt, there are some things you will not do. You know that you will be reciprocated, you know that you will receive pleasant experiences and pleasant feedback, so you're drawn to do so. It's positive and negative reinforcements to use behaviorist theories.

Relational schema incorporate information about positive and negative reinforcements. You will try to avoid negative responses, you will try to seek positive responses and gradually it will shape the way you attach to your intimate partner.

Relational schemas involved in working models are organized into hierarchy.

I will quote Baldwin.

Baldwin said, a person may have a general working model of relationships, for instance, to the effect that other people tend to be only partially and unpredictably responsive to his needs.

At a more specific level, this expectation will take different forms when considering different role relationships.

For example, we will not have the same relationship with a customer, as we will with a romantic partner.

Within romantic relationships, expectations might then vary significantly depending on the specific attachment, on the specific situation, or the specific needs being expressed.

Baldwin, 1992.

And so this hierarchy is three levels. There are three levels to this hierarchy.

The highest level contains very general relational schemas that apply to all relationships. These are general expectations about relationships, all relationships, romantic, business, workplace, with parents, with children, with neighbors, with others, with strangers, and so on.

The next level of the hierarchy contains relational schemas that apply to particular kinds of relationships.

So you would have relational schemas that pertain to customers, relational schemas that pertain to bosses, relational schemas that pertain to your underlings and subordinates, relational schemas pertain to your parents, to your intimate partners, to your children, to your neighbors, to strangers you meet in a bar, etc.

These are the second level in the hierarchy of relational schemas. And it's a differentiated level, depending on the specific type of relationship.

And the lowest level of the hierarchy contains relationship schemas that apply to specific relationships, relationships with this specific wife, with this specific intimate partner, with this specific boss, in this specific burpolis right right now.

These are time dependent relational schemas that are, of course, replaced. If you divorce your wife and marry another wife, you will have a totally different relational schema, hopefully for you.

Pietro Monaco and Barrett wrote the following, from this perspective, people do not hold, do not hold a single set of working models of the self and of others. Rather, people hold the family of models that include at higher levels, abstract rules or assumptions about attachment relationships, and at lower levels, information about specific relationships and events within relationships.

These ideas also imply that working models are not a single entity, but are multifaceted representations in which information at one level need not be consistent with information at another level.

In other words, for example, that's Pietro Monaco and Barrett, 2000.

For example, you can have on the second level, you can have a general relational schema with regards intimate relationship.

So you have a general relational schema regarding intimate relationships.

But on the third level, you have a relationship schema that pertains to your marriage. And the relational schema that pertains to your marriage could contradict completely the relational schema that pertains to intimate relationships.

Why? Because your marriage is not intimate, is not functioning well.

So evidence that general working models and relationship specific working models are organized into hierarchy is abundant.

And for example, I refer you to overall Fletcher and Frost.

Okay, let's try to wrap it up.


When you're securely attached, you look for support.

And looking for support is your most effective coping strategy. You're not afraid ofpeople, you believe people can help you, you believe they're good, essentially good. You believe they can provide you with what you need emotionally.

So you go, you go looking out for them. That is secure attachment.

When you have avoidant attachment, you tend to devalue the relationship, and you tend to withdraw. When you have anxious attachment, you use emotionally focused coping strategies, you think emotionally, and you pay more attention to experience distress.

Pistole in 1996 studied anxious attachment in death in 96 95. So securely attached individuals have less negative overall emotional experience than insecurely attached. We said it before, their early challenges, much happier, they had a safe peace.

And there are many studies, including recent studies, for example, Fox and to Colada, that show that anxious and avoidant attachments predict predict behavior such as stalking. When you're anxious, when you avoidant, you tend to act anti socially, you become psychopathic.

And this is where we tied in with victims of complex trauma, victims of CPTSD, being exposed to multiple repetitive trauma can induce temporary, anxious and avoidant attachment styles.

For example, every trauma victim, every victim of narcissistic abuse will tell you how difficult it is for her to trust again, to date people again, to go on dates. She becomes avoidant, she becomes anxious.

And these attachment style encourage encourage psychopathic and narcissistic behaviors and traits.

And for example, there's a huge correlation between anxious and avoidant attachment style and behaviors such as stalking. Now ironically, stalking is about being committed. The stalking means commitment, the stalker is committed to you, a stalker is attached to you.

And the anxious person is committed to you, he's anxious because he's committed, he's afraid to be rejected. And the avoidant person is negatively attached to you in a way, he's attached via his avoidance, he's attached to his avoidance.

So ironically, these behaviors actually reflect commitment and variations of attachment. And so attachment, commitment, trauma, pain, hurt, they're all one complex, you can organize them in a relational schema can organize them in an internal

working mode. It doesn't doesn't really matter what you call it doesn't matter. Psychopathic and narcissistic behaviors are induced by distress and by pain and by hurt and by trauma. These are reactions, these are defense mechanisms. These are attempts to reassert control, attempts to be seen to become visible, attempts to diffuse or reduce and ameliorate anxiety, self medication, sometimes with recklessness, or with impulsivity, or with antisocial conduct. These are coping mechanisms.

And what people don't realize is that these coping mechanisms actually increase anxiety, increase distress. That's why we consider them dysfunctional. In psychology, there's no value judgment, no morality, we don't say to be psychopath is bad. It's not okay, it's even. Well, youtubers do that. But academics don't. What we are concerned with, is it working? Is it functional? Does it fulfill the role? Does it do things? Does it accomplish things? And to become a psychopath and a narcissist, because you have been traumatized, or you've been hurt, or you're anxious or you're avoidant. This is dysfunctional, because we have proven conclusively in many studies, that psychopathic and narcissistic and borderline strategies, coping strategies, defiance, impulsivity, consummationness, secondary psychopathy, all these things, they increase distress, they enhance anxiety, they don't work. There's a lot more to narcissists and psychopaths and borderlines than the disorders. I started my work 25 years ago as a pioneer. And my work to some extent has been misunderstood, because people tend

to reduce the narcissist to a figment, to his pathology, they ignore the person behind the persona, they ignore the core of the narcissistic nuclear meltdown of attachment, lack of self-base, lack of object constancy, fear of being loved, and fear of loving. The need to love a dead mother because dead objects are fully controlled, inanimate, dead objects, never betray you, never abandon you, never hurt you.

And this renders any type of meaningful communication with the narcissist all but impossible and inefficacious, because the narcissist's main strategy is absence. He upsets himself and he wants to upset you, and he wants to have an intimate relationship between two absences, a relationship between one non-existence and another, between two voids, between an emptiness and a void.

The borderline to a large extent is the same. The borderline is a failed narcissist, but still highly grandiose and has many, many narcissistic features.

And the same with the psychopath, both primary and secondary.

The variation has to do with the existence of empathy and with the regulation of emotions or access to emotions.

But these are variations on the theme.

The theme is that these people as children, they were instructed, told, and encouraged to not exist. They were not seen. They were not allowed to become. They were given permission to exist only as elements of the parent, attributes of the parent, dimensions of the parent, and instruments of the parent, or not at all.

Love was conditioned on not being. It's a lesson that is impossible to eradicate because attachment starts are stable.

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Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the distinctions between different types of narcissists and their progression from narcissism to sadism and ultimately to a schizoid phase. He also recommends literature on schizoid personality disorders and reads an excerpt from an article by Philip Bromberg about the connection between dissociation and personality disorders. Vaknin emphasizes the role of dissociation in personality disorders and the need to keep others at bay to maintain equilibrium.


How To Recognize Collapsed/Covert Personality Disorders

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the concept of Occam's Razor in science and proposes that all personality disorders are a single clinical entity. He delves into the covert states of various personality disorders, such as covert narcissism, covert histrionic, and covert borderline, and their characteristics and behaviors. He also touches on the collapsed states and the transition between different states in each overlay. Additionally, he mentions the collapsed histrionic and the covert antisocial personality disorder.

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