Masochism: Borderlines, Psychopaths Self-trash

Uploaded 4/15/2021, approx. 30 minute read

I am what is left of Sam Vaknin in this pandemic. I am the author of Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited, I think, and also a professor of psychology in various countries around this ever-shrinking globe.

Today we are going to discuss a very interesting phenomenon, sexual masochism, especially among people with borderline personality disorder, but also in general.

Sexual masochism wears many very surprising disguises. It is difficult to spot, actually.

Many behaviors that appear to be psychopathic are actually masochistic.

Now, I have dealt with masochism in my previous two videos. There is one video about a masochistic anti-narcissist and there is another video where I discuss fantasies, borderline fantasies and so on and so forth. There, I expound on masochism citing and quoting early literature.

Masochism is one of the most well-documented phenomena.

Krafft Ebing, who was a very early scholar of human sexuality in his famous book, Psychopathia Sexualis, he described sexual masochism. He was possibly the first one to describe sexual masochism in clinical terms.

Ironically, he named this book Psychopathia Sexualis in order to deter prurient, porn-consuming people. He wanted the book to be read only by the learned, by scholars, by academics, by clinicians. He thought if he gave this book a title in Latin, the Hoi Po Loi, the Great Unwashed Masses will not bother to buy it.

Regrettably for him, and fortunately for us, it became a bestseller. People were buying thousands of copies and making good use of these copies during the night. It became the first pornographic hit literature.

Okay, anecdotes aside, let's delve straight into the subject.

But as usual, I'm going to take you on a circuitous route. Before we get there, I would like to answer one of your questions.

People ask me about switching. I describe switching in borderline personality disorder. When the borderline faces humiliation, rejection, abandonment, real or imagined or anticipated, she switches. A self-state comes out, emerges.

This is a psychopathic self-state. It is intended to protect the borderline from hurt and pain. And the psychopathic self-state has all the hallmarks of a psychopath. It's dysempathic, it's defiant, it's impulsive, it's promiscuous, etc., etc., etc.

But people ask me about switching in actual psychopaths because you see, the borderline's psychopath or borderline psychopathic self-state is actually a secondary psychopath. It's a psychopath who may well behave as a psychopath, has psychopathic traits, makes psychopathic choices and decisions, but still maintains access to empathy, some sort of empathy, and to positive emotions.

Typical primary psychopaths have neither.

So what about switching in psychopaths?

People have written to me to describe situations where the mask dropped suddenly and they saw behind the mask into a hideous, obnoxious creature. People have even described it in terms of demon position, lacking a better vocabulary, more appropriate vocabulary, having no access to clinical literature. They resorted to religion.

And so yes, in the case of narcissists and psychopaths, there is no switching. They don't switch. The narcissist has self-states, but as opposed to the borderline personality disorder, the switching in the narcissist is much more gradual and incremental and basically imperceptible. And sometimes the narcissist is overwhelmed by moods and by negative emotionality and then he, for example, rages, but the rage is directly attributable to the self-state than in action and possession.

So the switching in narcissist occurs, but it's subterranean, it's underground, it's subversive, and then there's an eruption and a startling transition to another behavior or another mood.

Not so with the borderline. The borderline you see the switching happening. Borderline one disappears and borderline two appears. The secondary psychopath takes over. The secondary psychopath has a different body language.

So the secondary psychopath that takes over the borderline has a different face actually. The face changes. The face morphs. It's like morphing in computer software. The face changes dramatically sometimes to the point that some borderlines are not recognizable almost when they switch to the secondary psychopathy phase.

So the face changes, body language changes and the same happens with psychopaths, but in psychopaths there is no actual switching. What happens in psychopathy is the psychopath as well as the grandiose narcissist, which today we think maybe one and the same. Both psychopaths and grandiose narcissists have a mask. They present to the world a dazzling array of masks and when the masks are rendered ineffective, inefficacious, they drop the mask. They don't bother to keep it on. They don't care enough about people to keep on the mask. So they simply drop the mask and then you see behind the mask, the person behind the mask is the real person.

So if you catch a psychopath in the act or if a psychopath unexpectedly displays some weakness, frailty, vulnerability, the psychopath then drops the mask.

You see, psychopaths are capable of shame, self shame, self directed shame. So when they're caught in the act red handed or when others witness some kind of weakness or failure or vulnerability, they're very ashamed of themselves. At that point they don't have the mental energy to maintain the mask and it drops.

Let me summarize it for you.

The borderline switches visibly, perceptibly, discernibly, switches between two self states. Each of these self states has a different body language, a different appearance, a different facial features. It's like using Photoshop. It's a total change and it's like a new person had emerged and usurped, hijacked and kidnapped the original borderline. That is switching in borderline.

Switching in narcissism happens. It takes time. It's incremental, it's subterranean, it's underground, but then it suddenly erupts and the narcissist rages or becomes insanely envious or acts out in some way.

So in narcissism there is not visible discernible switching. And usually the narcissist maintains his body language and facial expressions throughout, even when he had actually switched to another self state. The narcissist has much more continuity, at least bodily continuity than the borderline.

Although some people describe that the narcissist becomes hideous and frightening and sinister when he transitions between self states, it's still the narcissist, identifiable narcissist.

In the case of a borderline, sometimes you can't tell it's the same person.

Now psychopaths don't have switching. They don't switch. They have masks. And when they are exposed, when you see through them, when they are caught in the act, when their vulnerabilities and weak underbelly, weak parts are exposed, they feel ashamed and they drop the mask.

Similarly, the promiscuity of psychopaths is very different to the promiscuity of borderlines.

Psychopaths self trash in the sense that they are promiscuous off-handedly. Their promiscuity is off-handed, like absent minded, haphazard, totally impulsive, utterly indiscriminate. It's like an afterthought.

The psychopath's sex is like an afterthought. It just happens and then it's gone and then he has no memory of it or doesn't care to remember. And it's like drinking a glass of water, not a memorable event. Of course, there are no emotions, no empathy, no connection, no nothing. It's a form of self trashing.

But because psychopaths do not perceive their promiscuity as negative, their promiscuity is egosyntonic. They actually love to be promiscuous. There is not much trauma involved and they don't perceive their promiscuity as self trashing, even when they self trash extremely.

So even in situations where a lot of self trashing is involved, bottom of the barrel self trashing, the psychopath would not perceive it as self trashing. He would perceive it as agency.

The psychopath would say, I wanted the sex. I initiated the sex. I controlled the situation. I selected the partner. It was good. I loved it. I was excited.

So then the psychopath reframes his self trashing or herself trashing in a way that would be egosyntonic.

Okay, we'll come to all this a bit later.

This leads us, of course, to sexual masochism.

Sexual masochism, and by the way, also emotional masochism, all types of masochism, they are forms of self trashing.

Now, self trashing is very common in borderline personality disorder.

Harvey Cleckley in The Mask of Sanity in 1942 described numerous incidents of self trashing with what he called psychopaths, but today we know many of them were not psychopaths. They were actually grandiose narcissist or borderline, but he called them psychopaths. They didn't know any better in the 40s.

So in 1942, he describes women, for example, who pick up groups of strangers and have sex with them at the drop of a hat on a dime with no rhyme or reason. In a bit of a racist note, he says disapprovingly that many of these strangers were blacks. So he's like shocked that the white woman could pick up a gang of black workers and have sex with all of them simultaneously.

And he describes another incident of a woman who had an uninterrupted, interminable series of one night stands with total strangers. She would just pick them in a bar and go with them to a room and have sex with them. And he attributes this kind of impulsive sexuality to psychopathy.

And he is the first to note or among the first to note that psychopaths actually don't care. There's nothing invested in the sex. It's a totally physical right. It's a gratification of a physical impulse. It's a release, in a way, masturbating with others.

But the psychopaths choose to have sex in circumstances, which involves essentially self trashing.

So there is surprisingly sexual masochism in psychopathy.

Both borderlines and psychopaths actually feel bad when they feel good and feel good when they feel bad.

What would make healthy people feel very bad, makes the psychopath happy, elated, euphoric. What would make normal people feel very bad when the borderline is in her secondary psychopathy state would make her feel very much in control, very much validated and empowered.

So situations, choices, decisions, events, sexual encounters that would make every healthy person feel seriously bad about herself or himself. These kind of situations or events or people or circumstances would make the psychopath and the borderline secondary psychopath feel very good. They feel very good when they should have felt bad.

And yes, of course, this is inappropriate affect.

One of my previous videos I've dealt with reduced affect display and inappropriate affect. I encourage you to watch it.

There is a disconnect between the borderline's emotions and her actual acting out decompensating behavior. There's a disconnect between the psychopath and anything internal. The psychopath is a total shell.

So these people engage in sexual masochism and sexual self trashing, but the psychopath and the borderline do not perceive it as such until possibly the morning later, in the case of the borderline.

But during the act, they perceive the act as actually a form of agency, a form of control of empowerment or validation of agency, of self-efficacy. So they feel good about it. Feeling bad, being trashed leads them to sexual arousal. They're sexually aroused by situations that would create deep shame and guilt in healthy people.

And so they find themselves in four types of sexual contexts and all these four types lead to trashing and trashing leads to sexual arousal and sexual arousal leads to a sense of empowerment, validation, resilience, strength, euphoria and good feelings.

So these are the four situations.

Number one, despoiling. It's when the borderline or the psychopath give their bodies away. They simply give them away. They select random strangers, many of them sexual predators, and then they recklessly put themselves at the complete disposal of the predator.

And the predator can do with their bodies as he wishes. He can denigrate them. He can humiliate them. He can despoil them. He can beat them up. He can inflict sexual, physical damage. He can hurt them in a variety of ways, emotional and physical. He can rape them. He can sexually assault them.

The more the merrier, the more egregious and extreme the despoiling, the more egregious the despoiling, the more extreme the sexual sadism of the predator, the more the psychopath and borderlines are sexually aroused. When they find themselves in very dangerous situations, for example, in uncontrollable group sex or subject to a clear, dangerous sadistic predator alone in a room drunk, unable to extricate herself.

At that point, the sexual arousal is maximal.

It seems that sexual arousal in borderlines and psychopaths is intimately connected with a sense of pending doom, imminent annihilation, self elimination, self eradication.

The borderline and the psychopath are therefore sexually aroused by the presence or potential presence of death. They are, as Freud used to call it, thanatic, They have a death wish. They are motivated by the death drive, not by the life force, not by Eros or Libido, but by mortido and destrudo, the opposite, the mirror image.

So borderlines and psychopaths, when they engage in sex, they engage in destructive sex, self destructive sex, sex that is guaranteed to annihilate them morally, to destroy them mentally, to inflict and afflict them psychologically, to cause pain, to cause hurt, and sometimes to injure them bodily.

This is the type of sex that brings them to orgasm and to climax. It's of course a form of sexual masochism as described in the 19th century, mid 19th century, actually, last third of the 19th century by Kraft Ebbing. So it's a very well documented and very old documented and very old phenomenon.

Cleckley also describes despoiling in his master masterpiece.

Second, cheating. Both borderlines and psychopaths are notorious for cheating. They cheat a lot.

Now, cheating in some cases, in some cases, is compulsive. So it's a serial cheater who cannot control herself or himself. And they cheat.

But that is a totally different psychodynamic. It doesn't have to do anything with self thrashing. It has to do with couple dynamics and so on. And I deal with these issues in other videos.

But there is a form of cheating that is intimately connected to sexual masochism. It's connected to sexual masochism because the cheating takes place in shameful, disgraceful circumstances. The cheating takes place in a way that is socially frowned upon, socially unacceptable. The cheating negates and conflicts with social mores and values, or even with the values of the individual.

So borderlines and psychopaths engage in the kind of cheating that confirms or supports the view that they are bad, immoral objects.

So in the morning after, the typical borderline would feel shame and guilt. The psychopath would not feel ashamed, would not feel guilty, but the psychopath would feel seriously bad. Like I'm a bad person. I'm an immoral person. I'm an evil person. There would be no emotional resonance to these statements.

The psychopath is not saying I'm an evil person and I'm ashamed of it. I want to change. No. The psychopath actually takes pride in being an evil and mean and nasty and immoral person. But still, it's an egodystonic statement. I'm evil, I'm mean, that's an egodystonic statement in most cases.

So the cheating is a way to transition into dissonance. Cheating is a way to torture yourself, to denigrate yourself, to demean yourself. In other words, cheating is another form of self-trashing.

And so cheating leads to sexual arousal, the act of cheating, the very act of cheating, the forbidden fruit, breaking morality, negating the contract you have with your intimate partner for sexual exclusivity.

The very act is defiant. This very act is contumacious in your face. I'm going to do whatever I want to do. I'm a free person. I have a free will and no one will tell me what to do. It's a defiant act.

So in this case, cheating is a part of sexual masochism. The cheating leads to feelings of shame and guilt in the borderline or to affirmation that the psychopath is a bad unworthy object and that in itself arouses sexually, creates sexual excitation in the borderline and the psychopath.

And this is the second type of behavior that caused sexual arousal by masochism.

The next type of behavior is substance abuse. Substance abuse, of course, is a form of self-trashing. It's also a form of suicide, slow-mo suicide. If you consume substances long enough, you die. It's very simple. You end up seriously incapacitated.

So substances, substance abuse, alcohol, drugs, pills, opioids, abuse of substances is a form of masochism. It's a form of masochism, but it creates sexual arousal because in borderlines and in psychopaths, self-trashing, masochism causes sexual arousal.

So psychopaths and borderlines, when they consume substances, when they abuse substances, they are simultaneously sexually aroused. That's why there is such an intimate, powerful, intense connection and correlation between substance abuse and promiscuous behavior in borderlines and psychopaths.

The chain is very simple. Self-trashing leads to sexual arousal. Abusing and consuming alcohol and drugs and pills is self-trashing. So it leads to sexual arousal and to sexual acting out. Sexual reckless acting out, self-endangering, risky.

So in both borderlines and psychopaths they reach maximum sexual excitation, maximum sexual arousal when they consume alcohol and drugs.

This is not the case for the vast majority of the population. In healthy people, the consumption of alcohol and drugs actually suppresses the sex drive in the long term. Ironically, alcohol, for example, is a suppressant. It's not a stimulant. It's a depressant.

But in borderlines and psychopaths, alcohol and drugs have the exact opposite effect because they're intimately linked to psychological self-trashing.

Here I am, killing myself, damaging my body, destroying my mind, ruining my brain. How exciting, how sexually arousing, how wonderful. I want to have sex. Let me find anyone, eligible or not, appropriate or not. Let me just find anyone to despoil me, to abuse me, to demean me and humiliate me and sadistically torture me in sex. And then, I'm in heaven, my bliss is complete. That's the sequence.

Now, very often, borderlines and psychopaths are in committed relationships and they may even have the best intentions in the world. They may even seriously vow and promise and pledge to themselves as well that they will never cheat or never find themselves in compromising situations with others.

But substance abuse is likely to drive them to do exactly this, egodystonic, dissonant cheating and self-trashing, sexual self-trashing brought on by substance abuse.

Now, since the majority of people with borderline personality disorder and majority of psychopaths abuse alcohol and drugs and pills and opioids on a regular basis, actually as a major clinical feature of these disorders, these people are very likely to cheat as a form of self-trashing and they are very likely to engage in very risky, reckless, sadistic, humiliating, demeaning, sadomasochistic sex to the point of physical risk practices such as choking, for example.

Okay, so this is the third pathway to self-trashing, sexually arousing self-trashing, masochistic sexual arousal.

And there's a fourth way, choosing inappropriate mates.

Borderlines and psychopaths are notorious for this. Their mate selection is all awry, it's skewed, they consistently choose the wrong mates.

But of course they choose the wrong mates because they're wrong. Only the wrong mates are right for the borderline and the psychopath because wrong mates, inappropriate mates are likely to cause strife, conflict, pain, hurt, abandonment.

When you choose an inappropriate mate, you are in for a ride, a ride into agony.

In other words, choosing an inappropriate mate is a form of self-trashing. And because it is a form of self-trashing, initially when the psychopath and borderline choose the wrong mate, they are highly sexually aroused. They realize unconsciously that they are choosing someone who will end up hurting them, will end up harming them, will end up causing them enormous pain, or will end up negating their defiance, will end up clashing with them, if they're psychopaths, will end up confronting with them.

In other words, if it's a borderline, she realizes that the inappropriate intimate partner will cause her a lot of pain via rejection, abandonment and humiliation. If it's a psychopath, the psychopath chooses an inappropriate mate because he or she realizes that sooner or later it's going to degenerate into an all-out war, into a conflict.

And psychopaths thrive in conflict because conflict involves, inevitably, damages, self-inflicted damages. Conflict involves, in other words, self-trashing.

So to choose an inappropriate mate, an inappropriate intimate partner, is a surefire way, it's a guaranteed way to hell. And hell is where borderline narcissists thrive. It is there that maximum torment is assured. It is there that the ultimate forms of self-trashing are available.

So let me repeat the four techniques, the four strategies of self-trashing that cause sexual arousal in secondary psychopaths known as borderlines, any primary psychopaths.

So these are the four ways of self-annihilation, self-eradication, self-elimination, self-trashing, self-humiliation in psychopaths and narcissists.

Number one, sexual despoiling, sexual torture, sexual torment, sexual sadism, sado/maso, being humiliated in sex, being forced to do disgusting things or revolting things, participating in the kind of sex where one is totally objectified, like, for example, gang rape or gang bang or group sex.

And that starts very early on. I've heard of instances of women aged 12 participating in gang bangs and so it's not an adult thing.

Despoiling can, of course, be also psychological, but in the borderline in the psychopath, they immediately transition from psychological despoiling to sexual despoiling. Sex is the lingua franca. Sex is the ultimate vocabulary of the borderline and the psychopath. They use sex as a language. They communicate via various manifestations of sexuality.

So number one strategy leading to self-trashing, leading to sexual arousal is sexual sadism, despoiling and sado/maso.

Number two strategy, second strategy, cheating. Cheating causes the borderline to feel shame and guilt. Cheating causes the psychopath to feel like a bad, unworthy object. Both are dissonant. They create dissonances. So they are a form of self-trashing, but both borderlines and psychopaths find cheating irresistible. It's very exciting and arousing, sexually.

Number three strategy, third strategy, substance abuse, abuse of alcohol and drugs. It's the ultimate form of self-trashing because it leads to disability and death. Consequently, because it is a form of self-trashing, because it's a masochistic act to drink to excess, to inject drugs, to swallow, to gorge down on pills, to consume opioids to the point of overdose. That's the ultimate act in self-trashing, that's almost suicidal.

So of course, it's intimately linked in the mind of the borderline and the mind of the psychopath with sexual arousal. Every time the borderline drinks heavily, every time the psychopath pops a few pills, they become sexually aroused. It's an atypical reaction actually.

It doesn't happen with healthy people, but with borderlines and psychopaths, the consumption of alcohol, the abuse of drugs and other substances leads inexorably to sex because they are aroused by the thought that they are destroying themselves.

And the fourth strategy is much more long-term.

It is selecting inappropriate partners, inappropriate mates. People who are incompatible with the borderline and the narcissist often get selected as spouses or intimate partners.

So the borderline and psychopath have a very bizarre form of mate selection, but they do it on purpose because if you choose the wrong spouse or the wrong boyfriend or the wrong girlfriend, you're bound to end up in conflict. If you're a borderline, you're bound, you're sure to experience abandonment, humiliation and rejection. If you're a psychopath, this is going to end badly in conflict, in war, in combat.

So by choosing an incompatible partner who cannot, by definition, constitutionally cater to the needs, sexual needs, emotional needs of the borderline and cannot cater to the needs of the psychopath, by choosing such a partner, inadequate, wrong, the borderline and the psychopath guarantees self-trashing. Self-trashing in the form of conflict in the case of the psychopath or self-trashing in the form of hurt and pain in the case of the borderline.

Of course, this will push them to sexual promiscuity and sexual acting out reckless and again self-destructive.

Now, all these personality disorders are founded on forms of supply, not narcissistic, but forms of supply.

So for example, in the case of borderline personality disorder, the borderline patient, her supply is to prevent abandonment. If she succeeds to keep her intimate partner, if she succeeds to preserve the relationship, to maintain object constancy, to keep his presence in her life in extreme cases, if she is also codependent, to merge and to fuse with the intimate partner, that is her supply.

The intimate partner's presence, his availability and his obsequious submissive agreement to partake in the fantasies and drama of the borderline. And of course, the regulatory functions that he provides because he helps the borderline regulate her moods and emotions. All these are forms of supply to the borderline personality disordered person.

In the case of the narcissist, narcissistic supply or sadistic supply. In the case of the antisocial or the psychopath, money, sex, power. These are all forms of supply. And Cluster B personality disordered people are goal-oriented. The goal is to secure the supply.

Histrionic personality disordered people derive their supply from their heightened sexuality, seductiveness, flirtatiousness, from serial romantic and sexual encounters, from teasing, physical exercises, shape and state of their body, etc. This is their supply.

Narcissists derive their supply from garnering attention, both positive, adulation, admiration, and negative, being feared, notoriety. If they are sadistic, they also derive sadistic supply by humiliating, verbally abusing, sexually assaulting, etc., other people.

The borderline patient, woman or men, they derive their supply from the presence of other people. They suffer from separation anxiety and they are terrified of being abandoned. So the very presence of other people is a form of supply.

And finally, the antisocial personality disorder, the psychopath, derives supply from accumulating money, power, control, and having sometimes sadistic fun.

Borderlines, for instance, can be described as narcissists with an overwhelming fear of abandonment because they're grandiose. They are careful not to abuse people. They do care deeply about not hurting other people, but they care about not hurting other people for selfish motivation, for selfish reasons. They want to avoid rejection and abandonment.

Borderlines depend on other people for emotional sustenance, for emotional regulation, for mood regulation, reduction, amelioration of lability. A drug addict is unlikely to pick up a fight with his pusher. And it's the same with borderlines. Borderline is an addiction to the partner, addiction to an intimate partner.

And finally, I would like to reiterate what's the difference between self-trashing and promiscuity, because many people had written comments and had written to me. And it's clear that I didn't get the point across.

Self-trashing has nothing to do with promiscuity.

From the outside, they look the same because there's a huge number of sexual partners. And both behaviors involve impulse control or lack of impulse control. And both behaviors are pretty much indiscriminate, but they're very different.

Self-trashing is always compulsive. Promiscuity is rarely compulsive. Promiscuity can be impulsive. Promiscuity is a reaction to a situation.

For example, the promiscuous person would react to an opportunity to have sex. The promiscuous person reacts to availability cues.

So a promiscuous person is likely to immediately seek to have sex with someone who signals interest or availability. So promiscuous people are opportunistic.

People who self-trash, like borderlines and psychopaths, they are compulsive. They can't help it. They need to self-trash because only when they self-trash, they feel alive. And only when they self-trash, they can regulate their sexual impulses and attendant emotional landscape.

So self-trashing in borderlines and psychopaths is regulatory, and therefore it's compulsive. It's not something, it's not a choice. It's not a reaction to circumstances like an opportunity. It's not even about availability of someone, because very often psychopaths and borderlines initiate the self-trashing. They're not, it's not reactive. It's proactive.

But self-trashing has many very critical functions in borderlines and psychopaths.

Promiscuity is an active role. The sex, promiscuous sex, is an active role. Promiscuous people report that they experience promiscuous sex as empowering, as a lifestyle choice, as a conquest. Engaging in promiscuous sex usually boosts the participant's self-esteem. It provides an inner locus of control. People emerge from promiscuous sex gratified, elated, stronger, more resilient, happier, more egosyntonic. That's promiscuous sex.

Exactly the opposite happens in self-trashing.

Self-trashing is masochistic. It's self-punitive. It's self-degrading. It's self-dispoiling. It's demeaning. It's passive.

The main function of self-trashing is to experience, finally, sexual arousal, to experience emotions that are dysregulated and threaten to overwhelm the borderline, for example. To experience being alive, in the case of the psychopath, and to reduce anxiety.

You could say that borderlines and psychopaths self-medicate with self-trashing, especially sexual self-trashing. They reduce anxiety by having sex. They restore and revive their sexual drive by having sex, by having self-trashing sadistic sex, by subjecting themselves to sexual mistreatment and assault.

When they become objectified, when they are taunted and humiliated and tortured and made to do disgusting things and so on, when they find themselves in situations which involve fear and enormous risk, reckless situations, it is then that they feel alive. And it is then that their sex drive is activated.

Only then do they feel sexual. And when they feel sexual, they feel in control. And at that moment, anxiety is reduced.

In other words, self-trashing sex is an anxiolytic. It is the exact opposite of promiscuity. It is an anxiolytic and antidepressant.

So the motivation of the promiscuous person is actually to feel better, to feel good, to feel empowered, to feel validated, to feel strong, to feel attractive, to feel desired, to feel accepted, to feel warm, to feel comfort, to feel compassion, to feel affection. It's all positive. The emotional background of promiscuity is essentially positive.

We often confuse and conflate promiscuity with self-trashing. The emotional background of self-trashing is 100% negative.

Masochism, anxiety, depression, self-punishment, self-defeat, self-destruction, self-humiliation, self-annihilation, despoiling, degrading oneself, demeaning oneself, objectifying oneself. It's only negative. It involves extreme self-loathing and an attempt for self-destruction via sex.

In self-trashing, therefore, the process that leads to self-trashing is very different from the process that leads to promiscuous sex.

Self-trashing is actually an immediate impulsive act. There are no preliminaries. There's no courting. There's no flirting. There's no dating. There's nothing. The self-trashing party just picks up a stranger and after one hour or two hours goes to bed with him.

Sometimes the self-trashing party picks up a group of strangers and immediately proceeds to have sex with them after a few drinks.

So there are no preliminaries. There's no getting to know the other party. There's no intimacy. There's no acquaintance. There's no background.

If the sexually trashing party has a few drinks, if she talks a little with her potential sexual partner, it's perfunctory, it's minimal, or even non-existent. Sex in the case of self-trashing is not the last move. It's not the culmination of anything. It's the first move.

The self-trasher, the person who self-trashes, actually ends up bedding strangers, most of them unattractive strangers. She doesn't want to have sex at all in most of these cases. But she ends up having sex because having sex with unattractive mates or even repulsive people is the ultimate in self-trashing.

In other words, someone who self-trashes would tend to have very bad sex with very disgusting people, very repulsive people. The more repulsive, the better. The worse the sex, the better, because it makes her feel bad about herself. It is self-trashing.

So engaging in unwanted sex with repulsive people or with people she's not attracted to, it's a form of despoiling. It's a form of degrading herself. And of course, gender pronouns are interchangeable. Same applies to men.

So the sexual trasher, the person who sexually trashes, typically engages in kinky, reckless or extreme sexual acts and degradation in the first few minutes with totally unknown strangers. She would do intimate things, super intimate things with these strangers as though they had been in a relationship for 10 years and there is deep love there.

It's a form, it's a manifestation of self-trashing.

Alcohol and drugs, as I've said, frequently precede both types of sex. But the promiscuous use substances to disinhibit themselves.

In other words, the promiscuous person first decides to have sex and then disinhibits herself by drinking. The drinking doesn't provoke the wish to have sex. It's not the drinking that leads to sex.

The alcohol is just used to free, to disinhibit, to allow the promiscuous person to engage in sex.

In the case of self-trashing, the person who self-trashes, she drinks and she does drugs in order to numb herself, to bring herself to the brink of a blackout or to unconsciousness because she can't face what's being done to her in sex.

The sex is so bad, so ugly, so disgusting that she can't face it. She has to numb herself out of existence. She has to be so drunk or so dragged that she's essentially unconscious, essentially renders herself a total object.

The promiscuous person never does this. The promiscuous person drinks to excess and can do drugs. But she does this because she regards the sex as a wonderful thing, as a positive experience, and she wants to have the sex and so she needs to remove inhibitions. She needs to disinhibit.

Promiscuity is egosyntonic. Self-trashing is always egodystonic.

People who self-trash describe the sex as cursory, disappointing, objectifying, disgusting, unpleasant, or uncomfortable. Many of these people report, especially if they're borderline, report shame, regret, anger, disappointment, and guilt, emotional blunting, and an increase in anxiety and depression after the act.

So we've taken a grand tour of sexual masochism.

In the case of borderlines and psychopaths, sexual masochism, self-inflicted sexual wounds, sexual sadism, self-demeaning, self-destruction, self-dispoiling, self-degrading is mediated via totally impulsive sex, which is essentially allied and associated with negative emotions. The sex makes the borderline and the psychopath feel bad.

Psychopaths and borderlines have a negative valence of sex. They regard sex essentially as bad or even repulsive. It's the same with histrionics, by the way. Histrionics are actually hypo-sexual. They have a low sex drive. That's the irony.

So all these groups have actually a low sex drive. But in order to feel sexually aroused, and frankly, in order to feel alive, they need to self-mutilate.

Now the typical borderline cuts or burns herself with cigarettes. Many borderlines and all psychopaths, they self-mutilate via sex.

It is when they are involved in extreme self-trashing that they feel ironically good, where other people would have felt so bad that they would need, you know, medication or even commit suicide. The psychopath and the borderline revel, flourish, thrive in this environment.

The worse the situation, the more horrible the degradation and the sadism involved, the more extreme the self-trashing, the more negative emotions are evoked afterwards, the more the borderline and the psychopath find the experience irresistible and inexorably gravitate towards it from time to time.

And they use the strategies that I've mentioned.

Sexual masochism, despoiling, degrading oneself, cheating, which involves egodystony, dissonance, substance abuse, which leads to sexual arousal, but is in itself also a form of self-trashing and choosing inappropriate mates, which guarantees unfavorable outcomes, which are painful and hurtful and conflict-ridden.

And this bad atmosphere is actually extended, expanded self-trashing within which the borderline and the psychopath feel alive and sexually aroused.

These people, if you observe them, the worse off the situation, the more they're happy. They feel good only when they feel seriously bad and on the brink of extinction, either by being objectified, by numbing themselves with substances, alcohol, or by destroying themselves completely.

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

Abuse Victim's Body: Effects of Abuse and Its Aftermath

Abuse and torture have long-lasting and frequently irreversible effects on the victim's body, including panic attacks, hypervigilance, sleep disturbances, flashbacks, intrusive memories, and suicidal ideation. Victims experience psychosomatic or real bodily symptoms, some of them induced by the secretion of stress hormones, such as cortisol. Victims are affected by abuse in a variety of ways, including PTSD, which can develop in the wake of verbal and emotional abuse, in the aftermath of drawn-out traumatic situations such as domestic divorce.

Test Yourself: Mortification, Hoovering, and Attraction Scales

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses two tools he has developed based on his database of people diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder. The first tool, the Heartbreak and Recovery Scale, helps gauge mortification and predicts how long it will take a narcissist to recover from a traumatic breakup or infidelity. The second tool, the S1-S2 score, measures promiscuity and self-efficacy, and helps identify traits that make a potential partner irresistible to a narcissist. These tools are not peer-reviewed or vetted but are based on Vaknin's extensive research and analysis of his database.

Narcissist's 10 Body Postures, Psychopath's Physique

The text discusses the body language and body image of narcissists and psychopaths. It delves into the complex relationship these individuals have with their bodies, including how they use body language to manipulate and control others. The text also touches on the treatability of body dysmorphic and somatoform disorders through therapy.

Why Won't They Change? Insight and Personal Transformation

Insight is a crucial concept in psychology, but it is not always easy to obtain. Introspection is a blunt tool, and people often go to therapists to secure insights. However, narcissists and psychopaths are not amenable to insights because they are emotionally invested in their disorders and do not see any reason to change. Insights require the involvement of four factors: cognitions, emotions, motivations, and actions. Insights are useful mostly with healthy people, as they are more likely to manage it, assimilate it, react to it emotionally without fear, and then change themselves, their behaviors, and actions.

From Insecure to Flat Attachment: Narcissists, Psychopaths Never Bond (Compilation)

Sam Vaknin proposes a fifth attachment style called "flat attachment," where individuals are incapable of bonding or relating to others at all. They view others as interchangeable and dispensable, transitioning seamlessly from one person to the next without mourning or processing grief. This style is common among narcissists and psychopaths. Vaknin also discusses the confusion between intimacy, emotions, sex, and attachment, emphasizing that intimacy does not necessarily involve emotions, and emotions do not always lead to intimacy. He highlights that attachment styles are stable across the lifespan and are influenced by early caregiving experiences, shaping one's expectations and beliefs about relationships. Vaknin's work suggests that individuals with cluster B personality disorders, as well as those with complex trauma, exhibit insecure attachment styles, which can manifest in behaviors like stalking, and are often rooted in dysfunctional early relationships with caregivers.

Unlimited Freedoms of Psychopathic Narcissist: Reactance Theory

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the concept of reactance theory and its relevance to narcissists and psychopaths. He explains that these individuals are obsessed with unlimited freedom due to their defiance and sense of entitlement. Reactance theory suggests that when people feel their freedoms are threatened or eliminated, they experience distress and resistance, leading to a strong desire to restore their freedom. In the case of narcissists and psychopaths, this can lead to immediate and unstoppable actions to preserve their freedom. The lecture also delves into the psychological implications of reactance and the ways in which it influences behavior and decision-making.

Coping Styles: Narcissist Abuses "Loved" Ones Despite Abandonment Anxiety

Narcissists abuse their loved ones to decrease their abandonment anxiety, restore their sense of grandiosity, and test their partner's loyalty. Abuse also serves as a form of behavior modification, as it signals to the partner that they need to modify their behavior to avoid abuse. Coping styles for dealing with abuse include submissiveness, conflicting, mirroring, collusion, and displacement, but some of these styles can be harmful and should be avoided.

Ironic Rebound in Narcissism, Borderline, Psychopathy

Ironic process theory, introduced by psychologist Daniel Wegner, suggests that the more we try to suppress certain thoughts, the more likely they are to surface. This theory is relevant to narcissism, borderline personality disorder, and psychopathy, as these individuals attempt to suppress thoughts that threaten their inner balance. In abusive relationships, the abuser and the victim both engage in ironic processes, amplifying and magnifying each other's troubling thoughts. This cycle of abuse can lead to severe long-term mental damage.

Narcissist's Reactions to Abandonment, Separation, and Divorce

Narcissistic abusers often resort to self-delusion when faced with the dissolution of a meaningful relationship. They may adopt a masochistic avoidance solution, punishing themselves for their failure, or construct a delusional narrative in which they are the hero. Some may become antisocial psychopaths, while others develop persecutory delusions and withdraw completely from social contact, becoming schizoids. Finally, some abusers resort to an aggressive stance, becoming verbally, psychologically, and sometimes physically abusive towards loved ones.

Narcissist Therapy Notes

The notes of a therapist's first session with a patient diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, Sam V, reveal that he presents with anhedonia and dysphoria, complains of people's stupidity and selfishness, and is a hermit who fears being mocked and ridiculed. Sam is convinced that people envy him and are out to get him, and he feels that his work is not appreciated because of his elitist nature. He is disarmingly self-aware and readily lists his weaknesses and faults, but only in order to preempt risk scrutiny or to fish for compliments.

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2024, under license to William DeGraaf
Website Copyright © William DeGraaf 2022-2024
Get it on Google Play
Privacy policy