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Mortification in Borderline Women, Narcissistic Men: Let Me Go, Give Me Life

Uploaded 5/9/2020, approx. 30 minute read

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

I wrote the book, but I haven't read it yet. Once I do, I will tell you what I think about it, and about the author.


Right.

So today we are going to continue to discuss mortification and the false self, but this time in Borderline Women.

A bit later in the video, I will recap and summarize the previous video.

Some of you have complained that it was too complicated, a bit confusing, too academic, and that I wasn't wearing my glasses through a part of it, which traumatized them.

So I promise to summarize the previous video in colloquial speech, so that everyone can understand it, and I will do my best to remember to wear my glasses, because the number of casualties is beginning to exceed the number of my subscribers.

So as I promised, today we will discuss the Borderline Woman, who is, by many accounts, the natural complement to the narcissistic man.

I always mention my friend, Joanne LaChappelle, who in 1983 wrote the seminal ground-breaking book, The Borderline Narcissistic Couple. She was a pioneer at that time, but today is common wisdom that Borderline and Narcissists team up together, because they gratify each other's emotional needs.

In the language of Joanne LaChappelle, they solve each other's archaic wounds. There's a resonance, later she renamed it the V-Spot, the vulnerability spot.

So if the narcissistic man is subject to mortification, so should the Borderline Woman be? Why is that?

Because both the narcissistic man and the Borderline Woman have a false self, and both of them have very pronounced grandiosity. I'm moving the laptop because the lighting changes all the time. It's a conspiracy of the celestial bodies against my videos.

So both of them have grandiosity and both of them have a false self. If these constructs and these processes and these cognitive deficits are identical, then they should undergo similar psychodynamic processes, such as mortification.

And indeed, the Borderline Woman does undergo mortification.

But before we go there, I want to discuss elephants and snakes.

No, I haven't gone out of my mind yet. It has something to do with Narcissists and Borderline.

And then I want to quote from a book called The Problem of the Poire Aeternus, The Problem of the Eternal Youth, by Marie-Louis von Franz. I didn't invent this name. And the book was published in 1970. It's an amazing book about people, mainly men, who don't grow up, people who remain eternal youths, remain children forever, refuse to grow up. Later it was renamed by the therapist Dan LaChappelle. It was renamed the Peter Pan Syndrome.

So I want to quote from this book, I mean, The Problem of the Poire Aeternus, by Marie-Louis von Franz. In antiquity, I'm quoting, it was thought that elephants were terribly ambitious, that if they were not accorded the honor due them, they would die from disappointment for their feeling of honor was so great that they had to be honored.

Snakes love to drink the cool blood of elephants. Snakes creep under the elephant and drink its blood. Suddenly the elephant collapses, which is why whenever an elephant sees a snake, he goes for it and tries to trample it down.

In the Middle Ages, the elephant stood for a man who was generous, but unstable and moody in character. For the elephant was said to be generous, intelligent, and therefore taciturn.

But when he once gets into rage, he cannot be appeased by sensual pleasures, but only by music. And so she says that she has taken this information from a very amusing book. She finds very strange things amusing, but okay.

So she says, this I have taken from a very amusing book, Polyhisto-Symbolus, by Jesuit father, Nicolaus Caucius. And in that book, I found another sentence that the elephant is perfection, except for being moody and inclined to feats of rage.

So here's the elephant, unstable, rageful, and very, very hypervigilant. He is very concerned with the question of, is he being properly honored? He believes that he is due honor, he is due respect, and if he doesn't get it, he begins to rage.

And there's a snake which sucks the elephant's cold blood. I would say that this captures the essence of the narcissist and borderline relationship.


Now, as I said, in my view, the main reason borderlines and narcissists resonate is because to a very, very large extent, they are pretty identical.

For example, they have a false self.

But with a narcissist, the false self, yes, I took off my glasses, warning red alert.

In the narcissist, the false self has many functions. And the two most important functions of the false self in the narcissist is number one, to serve as a decoy.

The false self attracts the fire, attracts the abuse. It is a proxy for the true self. It is tough as nails, and it can absorb any amount of pain, of hurt, negative emotions. The child invents the false self in order to develop immunity to the indifference, manipulation, sadism, smothering, or exploitation, in short, to the abuse inflicted on him or her by the parents or by other primary objects in the child's life.

So the false self is like the invisibility cloak in the Marvel movies. It protects the child, renders him invisible and omnipotent at the same time. It's like a Superman cloak, which also confers invisibility and impermeability and renders the child absolutely immune to pain and to hurt.

The second function of the false self is that the narcissist misrepresents the false self and claims that this is his true self. He says, here's who I really am. There's nothing else. He says, there's only the false self. That's me.

The narcissist is saying, in effect, I'm not who you think I am. I'm someone else. I am this false self.

And therefore I deserve better. I deserve a painless, more considerate treatment. I'm entitled.

The false self, thus, is a contraption, a device intended to alter other people's behavior and attitude towards the narcissist. It's a manipulative tool. It's an adaptation in the sense that it allows the narcissist to act upon the environment to be self efficacious, to obtain favorable outcomes.

In other words, the narcissist agency in the world is mediated via the false self.

But the false self replaces the true self. And in this sense, the narcissist very early on in his childhood sacrifices himself to the false self.

Someone said in one of the comments that the narcissist is kind of a hostage of the false self. And I said it yesterday in the video. And it's very true. He's held hostage. He's held prisoner. He's incarcerated by the false self. He's incarcerated in a magnificent palace, but he still can never leave the palace.

Gradually, the narcissist vanishes. And what's left behind is this mirage, this Fatima Ghana, this facade, this concoction or piece of fiction, this movie.

Narcissist begins to feel de-realized. He feels that he's observing himself from outside. He's depersonalized and he's beginning to be more and more dissociative because there is a disconnect between the narcissist and himself and his real, his true self. And this disconnect creates discontinuities in memory, which later on translates into a very, very disturbed identity.

And so at some stage, the narcissist feels utterly smothered by the false self, utterly trampled upon, utterly enslaved by the false self. And he wants out.

It's exactly like an abusive relationship. The narcissist is narcissistically abused by the false self and he wants out.

And so hemortification. He seeks the terror of mortification because this terror causes him to disintegrate, to fall apart. And when he falls apart, he doesn't have the energy to maintain the false self. He doesn't have the whittle, the attention span, the focus, the mental energy to obtain narcissistic supply.

When the false self gradually dissipates, fades away. And so terrorizing, the terror of mortification is the narcissist's main tool to get rid of the false self, if only for a few days, a few hours, a few minutes, just to feel liberated.

And so after the mortification, the narcissist is exposed because it is the false self that forms a shield around the narcissist, like a firewall. And the false self is gone. The narcissist is open to the malware of life, is open to abuse, is open to be mocked, ridiculed, humiliated, exploited. He's gullible. Remember, he's a child. He's nine to 11 years old.

The false self protects the narcissist. He has very important functions.

And so immediately after the mortification, when the false self is disabled, kind of, the narcissist hurries, even though he feels good with the newly acquired freedom, he's terrorized. He's in a panic state. It's realistic without this big daddy, without this godlike figure that is protecting him.

So he hurries to reestablish the false self. And he does this by idealizing and punishing the self or by devaluing and punishing the other.


Let me explain.

One way is to idealize the person or the situation or the discovery that caused the mortification, to say, that person is all good. Yes, he aggressed against me, but he's all good. This situation was actually good for me.

And so on. So idealizing, re-idealizing actually, the source of the mortification while punishing oneself.

And the other method is devaluing the source of the mortification and punishing the other.

I will come to it a bit later.

I said earlier that the borderline patient also has a false self. But the functions of the false self in the borderline personality disorder patient is utterly disconnected to the functions in the narcissist. The structure is the same. It's the same. It's a godlike, it's a divinity. It has all the attributes of a godhead, of a deity. It is omnipotent, it is omniscient, it is perfect, it is brilliant and so on and so forth. Exactly like the narcissist false self. All knowing, all powerful, perfection itself, brilliance, reifa.

But the false self in the borderline has a different function.

The function is the equivalent of a host personality in dissociative identity disorder. I recommend to you to watch the series I've made about borderline women. There are four videos in this series.

And there I explain that actually today we are reconceiving of borderline personality disorder as a combination dissociation or dissociative disorder and secondary psychopathy. We think it's a confluence of these two disorders.

And so the dissociative part, dissociative identity disorder used to be called before once, used to be called multiple personality disorder. And in multiple personality disorder, we have a central personality, a central fragment of personality if you wish. It's called the host personality.

And many other personalities which are called alters, they're like alternative personalities. So the host personality moderates these other personalities, moderates the alters. He moderates the internal dialogue between these alters, which is totally unconscious. And also he gives cues, he gives signals, he outs, he switches between the various personalities.

So there's a personality that tackles difficult situations. A personality that is sexy, a personality that is a child, and the host personality is like a moderator. And like in a presidential debate, you know, okay, you can talk now, okay, you can go out.

And then there's a process called switching. The person with a multiple personality disorder, with a dissociative identity disorder, switches between personalities, which are very distinct and very, very clear.

Now the false self in the borderline patient maintains the same function as the host personality in dissociative identity disorder. The host, the false self in the borderline moderates and switches between self states.

Now, borderlines don't have full fledged personalities. They are not exactly like people with multiple personalities.

So borderlines don't suddenly become someone completely different. They don't become suddenly a child or suddenly a woman or suddenly an old man or suddenly, you know, a painter or whatever. They don't switch between utterly distinct, demarcated personalities, but they switch between what we call self states. Each self state is clearly different to others.

So we have like variations in the basic personality of the borderline, which are sufficiently big, the variations are sufficiently big, to say that the borderline is transition has transitioned to another set.

So it's like the borderline instead of many personalities has many selves and mediating and moderating and switching between these selves, between these self states is a central core. And this central core in the borderline is the false self.

And in most cases, in most cases, the host personality, the false self in the borderline has many features of a secondary psychopath.

So it would be defined, it would be impulsive, it would be a bit aggressive, it would be this empathic and so on and so forth. So there is this core, which is essentially a secondary psychopath, moderating a whole kindergarten of self states and switching between them according to circumstances and according to internal dynamics. And this false self also regulates the resulting defense mechanisms.

Each time the borderline switches from one self state to another, she provokes or she evokes and elicits certain infantile defense mechanisms. Sometimes it's repression, sometimes it's dissociation, sometimes denial, splitting, and other infantile defenses. And the borderline is doing this because she needs to maintain self constancy, evocative constancy. And to do this, she needs the host personality to regulate and to control everything, to micromanage everything, the switching, the self states, the defenses, and to cohere them, to put them together in a coherent, cohesive narrative that makes sense.

So the borderline is offering her life as she goes along. It's like she's writing a short story or a novel in which she's the protagonist.

While the narcissist has problems with object constancy. In other words, the narcissist finds it very difficult to maintain a clear distinction between an external object and an internal object.

And when the external object is gone, the narcissist resorts to the internal object just in order to maintain the belief that the external object has some existence.

The borderline has the same thing, but that is not the crucial problem of the borderline. That is the problem of her partners, of her intimate bodies.


Let me try to explain again.

These are very, very complex and difficult issues in the cutting edge, the bleeding edge of psychology today.

So I apologize if it's very difficult to get these things clear.

I'm going to first go and I have to repeat myself again and again in a desperate attempt to make sense to you and of course to me. Let me try again.

Both the narcissist and the borderline have problems with object constancy, object permanence. And this problem is known as object in constancy, creatively solved. Object in constancy simply means out of sight, out of mind.

When the narcissist doesn't see someone, when that person is not in the presence of the narcissist, physical presence, not mentally, the narcissist cannot conceptualize that person. So when that person is away, the narcissist is kind of not convinced that the person who is away still exists.

So the narcissist's solution is to take a snapshot of that person and when the person is away, to interact with the snapshot.

The borderline is an identical problem, out of sight, out of mind. She doesn't see the person, even her intimate partner, spouse, children. She doesn't see the person, he or she doesn't exist. She finds it very difficult to maintain the continuity of external objects around her. If she doesn't feel them and touches them and shouts at them and argues with them, makes love to them or something, she is not fully convinced that they exist.

But while the narcissist's solution is a snapshot of the external object with which he continues the interaction when the external object is away.

The borderline's solution to object inconsistency is simply to forget about the object, about the external object.

Narcissist, out of sight, out of mind, so now I will interact with a snapshot of that external object who is gone.

Borderline, out of sight, out of mind, out of existence, he is gone, he is dead, end of story, I am free, I am alone, I can do whatever I want.

Which would explain of course many borderline behaviours, reckless behaviours, impulsive behaviours.

The borderline knows cognitively that when she cheats on her husband, it's going to hurt him a lot. It's going to devastate him maybe. It's going to cause trauma for life.

An example.

But he is not with her at that moment. He is not sitting next to her, he is at home.

And so in the borderline's mind he doesn't exist. Even worse, she may perceive it as abandonment and rejection that he is not with her.

But at the very least he doesn't exist. So she feels that she is free and alone. She is single. She can be with that other man.

She is not really cheating on her husband because there is no husband. Why there is no husband? He is not sitting next to her, she cannot touch him.

In extreme cases, borderlines carry with them objects that belong to loved ones or to significant others. And when they feel that they are losing object in constancy, they touch these objects.

It's a little like psychic mediums. When you go to a medium, psychic medium, she tells you, did you bring me a handkerchief of your daughter? Et cetera.

So it's like through the object, through the handkerchief, through the, I don't know what, it's a souvenir, it's a trophy.

Serial killers have this as well. They take trophies from their victims. The trophy reifies and symbolizes the victim.

And this whole psychological process is known as synagogue.

So borderlines and narcissists have difficulty to move smoothly and continuously from one minute to the other because people go out of the room, habitually.

People go out of rooms, into rooms, way back on business meetings, something.

And this ruins completely the continuity and consequently the consciousness of narcissists and borderlines.

Only the borderline doesn't care.

At the core of the borderline, there's a secondary psychopath and that secondary psychopath regulates her internal environment.

It is her false self. And this secondary psychopath is very defensive and very protective of the borderline and will not let anyone and anything hurt the borderline.

So in the case of the borderline, mortification has different consequences.


Let me define again, what is mortification?

Motification is an extreme and in tolerably painful form of shame induced, traumatic depressive anxiety.

When you are humiliated, when you are ashamed, when you are ashamed, disgraced in public, you are forced for a brief moment to see yourself as other people see you.

And these people are hostile. They're not your own. Otherwise you would not be shamed.

If you're healthy, you have your own internal equilibrium, internal balance, some homeostasis. You know who you are, you know your limitations, you know, your good sides, your bad sides, and nothing much from the outside is any real long-term effect.

But what if you depend crucially on outside input, on feedback from the outside, from others, on other people's gaze? What if you regulate everything, your moods, your emotions, your sense of self-worth, your self-esteem, everything, self-confidence, everything you regulate, your schema, your cognitions, your everything you regulate by resorting to feedback from other people, then they become super critical.

It's dangerous if these people are hostile. It's dangerous for your internal peace, for your inner peace, for your ability to function.

So, mortification, as we will discuss a bit later, is very dangerous to the narcissists. I would even say in many, many cases, life threatening.

With borderline, it's a bit of a different picture. The narcissist seeks mortification to be able to get rid of the false self for a split second. When he's mortified, it's extremely painful. It hurts. He wants to die. But at the same time, he is finally himself. It doesn't last long because immediately the narcissist tries to re-establish the false self. But it lasts. It can last even months, up to a year. Up to a year without the false self, imagine. This scar tissue taken away, all the scabs reopened, the narcissist bleeds profusely. It's a death sentence.

But the narcissist still seeks mortification because together with the death sentence, it's also a life sentence. He finally feels true to himself for the first time, or for the second time, whenever there's mortification, he feels himself, not the outcome of multiple gazes of a hundred people. His mind, the mind of the narcissist, is a hive mind. It's like a beehive. Input from this person, judgment by this person, opinion of that person, feedback from this woman, input from that man. He puts all of these together. He makes collages. He makes kaleidoscopic collages of all this constant stream of narcissistic supply.

And based on this, he reconstructs himself time and again and again and again. He reinvents himself and reconstructs himself. He vanishes and reappears, vanishes and reappears, vanishes and reappears. It's absolutely dizzying. Not to say nauseating.

And so it's very hard work to be a narcissist. This is very energy depleting, no wonder. Most of them are depressed, anxious. And it's very liberating, this freedom from the false self, no matter how brief. And only mortification affords this freedom.

And that's why narcissists seek it.

Borderlines, on the other hand, have a different reason to seek mortification. They pursue mortification in order to feel alive, not free like the narcissist, alive.

The borderline patient has a psychopathic core, secondary psychopathic core. She needs to introduce novelty. She's a novelty seeker. She is addicted to thrills. She's an adrenaline junkie. She's reckless. She's a risk taker. And she all the time destabilizes her life by engaging in or engendering chaotic drama. She's a drama queen. The reason she's a drama queen, because the only drama guarantees novelty, thrill, risk, recklessness and so on. Drama is her way, the borderline's way of gratifying or satisfying the needs of the inner psychopath, the inner secondary psychopath.

And so that's why she's so dramatic. And that's the only way she can experience transformation. And so mortification is the ultimate form of drama.

In a mortification state, borderline patient is confronted with the truth about herself, her vulnerability, her weakness, her fragility, the constant danger she's in to disintegrate and harm herself. The borderline is suicidal. At the very least, they self mutilate, many of them, not all of them, many of them.

So, mortification is the borderline's way of feeling alive. It's a form of self-mutilation, if you think about it, because it's humiliating. It's insulting. It's confrontational. It's dangerous. It's frightening. There's hostility in the air. There's a lot of hatred. There's shame. These are negative emotions. She brings it upon herself and that's the equivalent of self-mutilation, but she does that in order to create drama, to experience transformation.

It's the only method open to her. Sometimes she uses mortification as a form of self-trudging, self-punishment, and that's also a kind of self-mutilation. Mortification in borderlines is self-inflicted and it is self-inflicted because the borderline constantly anticipates abandonment and rejection.

Many borderlines are terrified of abandonment and rejection. They have abandonment anxiety or separation anxiety or loss anxiety, but some of them are not. They're not anxious about this, but all of them, without a single exception, anticipate, predict that they are going to be abandoned, going to be rejected. Important things are going to be withheld from them and ultimately they're going to suffer through this process of separation.

The borderline copes with this anticipatory abandonment, with this fear or anxiety or prediction that abandonment and rejection are about to happen. One of the ways the borderline copes with it is by inflicting mortification on herself. When she's mortified, she is effectively abandoned because what is mortification is when you are humiliated, when you're ashamed, when you're disgraced, when someone aggresses against you, when you are in a hostile environment or when you realize things about yourself which are utterly unacceptable and if you realize it and others will realize it, they will abandon you, etc., etc.

So, mortification is a form of self-inflicted preemptive abandonment.

The borderline type of mortification is different to the narcissist.

The narcissist's mortification is 99% cognitive.

Narcissist is totally self-aware, totally there in the situation, monitors, absorbs and remembers every single moment, every insult, every humiliation, every shameful incident, every disgrace emitted and inflicted upon him. And he keeps regurgitating it, he keeps ruminating, it becomes utter total obsession.

With the borderline it's different. She wants to feel alive. She also anticipates abandonment.

She creates mortification. For example, she misbehaves egregiously and everyone says, you know, you're horrible, how do you behave this way? You deserve punishment and so on. So she creates mortification artificially. She brings upon herself mortification.

Then she feels alive because mortification always entails drama, always entails chaos, thrills, risks, so she feels alive but she realizes that because she had inflicted mortification upon herself she's about to be abandoned.

So there's preemptive abandonment there. She abandons and then she dissociates. She cuts off the memory. She becomes dissociative.

What is to dissociate? Dissociate is to disappear. So once she is mortified the borderline chooses to disappear.

But some borderlines, instead of dissociating, thereby disappearing, become total secondary psychopaths.

What is to be a psychopath? It's to make other people disappear. By mistreating them and they go away or by killing them or something, one way or another you make people disappear.

So the borderline, once she's mortified, chooses one of two, one of two routes, one of two forks in the road. Either she disappears, she dissociates, she's gone, bye-bye, or she makes people disappear by abusing them extremely, psychopathically, disempathically, horribly, causing hurt that can never be amended and can never be fixed.

Disappearance, the disappearing act is at the core of the borderline.

First she disappears as a personality. She's fragmented, she's fractured, she's disorganized and chaotic. That's why Kernberg uses the term borderline to describe a near psychotic state.

And then other people disappear because she has no object of constancy and when they're not next to her, she has no one. She's all the time, throughout her life, alone, existentially alone, solipsistically alone. And then she creates mortification and then either she disappears via dissociation or she makes other people disappear via psychopathic behavior. Disappearance, that's the core behavior and the main leitmotif of a borderline.

While in narcissism, presence is the core motif, the core leitmotif.

Narcissists want to be too present, present too much. They want to be uber-present. They want to force all other people to vanish by merging with them. They treat all other people as extensions of themselves. They want to be, in other words, omnipresent, like God, everywhere.

The borderline is exactly the opposite. She wants to not be. That's why 11% of borderline, 10% to 11% commit suicide.

The borderline's main preoccupation is to not be. The narcissist's main preoccupation is to be too much.

The narcissist has an ideal, fantastic and grandiose view of his self, we all know this, and when an aggressive person challenges this view, the narcissist feels like he is disintegrating and it's a state of terror.

There's a famous painting by Salvador Dalí, Galatea, where you see there's a painting of a beautiful woman, but the back part of her skull is disintegrating into molecules, sort of evaporating into thin air. That's a narcissist.

When he's challenged either by an aggressive person from the outside or by some realization from the inside, come to that, but when he's challenged by an aggressive person, he feels like he is disintegrating. It's a state of terror. He wants sort of to collect the molecules and put them back together, all over the place. He feels that shortly nothing will be left of him, and that is external mortification.

Similarly, when the narcissist realizes that his grandiose, fantastic, ideal view of his self is totally wrong, for example, if he realizes that he's mentally ill or somehow deficient or limited, he reacts exactly the same way. He feels that he's disintegrating into molecules, that he's being atomized, but this is internal mortification.

External mortification is caused by an aggressive person, internal mortification by an inner realization of deficiency, of lack, of shortcoming, of course, in both cases, the continuity, the stability, the coherence, and the well-being of the self are utterly compromised, totally compromised.

It's a very, very bad feeling, and mortification reflects the activity of infantile strategies of coping with frustration.

The narcissist and the borderline were babies. They developed, like all babies, strategies of coping with frustration. Mommy doesn't want to breastfeed me. It's very frustrating. Where's my toy? I can't put my big toe in my mouth.

Babies go through horrible frustrations, the likes of which adults can only imagine.

And so they developed coping strategies to cope with frustration and to also cope with repression. There's a lot of mortification.

First of all, there's an avalanche of information. I mean, the baby is besieged by ginormous, humongous amounts of data, and his brain is growing like mushrooms. And so a big part of it has to be repressed, and baby has to learn.

The main skill the baby learns is what to ignore, not what to assimilate, but what we ignore. And this is called repression.

But babies cope with repression and with frustration. The borderline and the narcissist develop a dysfunctional coping strategy, grandiosity, for example.

And they have also defense mechanisms that never disappear. While in healthy people, normal people, many defense mechanisms stop operating at all, and are disabled about age two.

Once you become an individual, once you separate from your parents, and you become your own man or woman, your own girl or boy, your own toddler, your own, you have your own individual, your own individuality separate, distinct, utterly cut off, demarcated from mommy and puppy, especially from mother.

Many defense mechanisms become unnecessary. For example, magical thinking or splitting. They're no longer necessary. So they die away.

Not so with the borderline narcissist because the borderline narcissist failed to separate from mother and cannot become, do not become individuals.

And so all these defense mechanisms continue to work well into adulthood.

And when we look at these people, our initial reaction is, wow, they're so childish. Yes, you're right. They're childish. They're infantile.

In adulthood, a self-inflicted internal modification usually is used to compensate for an external modification or at the very least to disguise it. And an external modification is used to compensate for an internal modification or at the very least to disguise it.


Let me give you an example.

But before that, yet another reminder, forgive me for repeating so much.

People clearly find the material very difficult to digest and its new material is perfectly understandable.

External modification. Usually when an aggressive person or group of people attack you, challenge you, humiliate you, shame you, disgrace you, mock you, ridicule you, etc. That creates external modification.

Internal modification when the narcissist or the borderline are exposed to insight, insight with the tea, realization, some understanding. When they suddenly see themselves in the mirror, they say, I am not fantastic. I am not grandiose. I'm not brilliant. I'm not perfect. I'm far from perfect. And I'm definitely not omniscient and omnipotent.

That is shocking. It's like you would look at the mirror and you would see someone else's face. It's as shocking as this.

There's a syndrome called the cup- dress syndrome in psychology where people mistake their loved ones for other people. So a husband would look at his wife and see another woman. It's absolutely breathtakingly terrifying. It's the stuff of horror movies.

And the narcissist goes through this many times and this is internal modification.

So when there's internal modification, narcissist cannot cope with it. And he comes up with external modification. And when there's external equally, he cannot cope with it. He comes up with internal modification.

Generally, narcissists and boarders became narcissists and con-man lines because they're weak.

Constitutionally weak is a genetically or for some other reason. They're fragile. They're vulnerable. They're damaged. They're broken. They can't cope.

The main thing is that they're the main thing a borderline patient would tell you in therapy, I can't cope. The main thing a narcissist would tell you in therapy, of course I can cope. While at the same time, clearly, clearly displaying total inability to cope.

So coping is a problem.

And what these people do, modernized narcissists, instead of coping, you know, tackling the problem head on, honestly, sincerely, maturely. Instead of doing this, they confabulate. They lie. They create substitutes. They disguise. They modify. They hide. They refrain. They're playing games. The whole thing is a game. That's why the narcissist is looking for a playmate. The whole thing is a movie. It's not real. Derealization, depersonalization.

Many, many borderlines describe their lives as autopilot. They describe themselves as observers and spectators. It's a theater show. So clearly they can't cope with external modification or internal modification.

Too much for them. So they compensate. They disguise. When there's internal modification, they will use external modification to disguise. They will invent an external modification to disguise it.

So for example, imagine that someone, that the narcissist realizes that he is evil. That he's evil, simply. He is hateful. He is cantankerous. He is unpleasant. He is obnoxious. He is mean and nasty, etc. In other words, typical narcissist.

Imagine the narcissist realizes this, but I mean realizes this, not just knows it, knows it cognitively, not just having been taught this, but suddenly from the inside, there's an insight, cognition coupled with the equivalent of emotion.

The narcissist says, oh my God, if he's religious, oh my God, I'm bloody evil. I'm hateful. What have I been doing to people all my life? That's internal modification, but he can't cope with it.

So what he does instead, he replaces it with an external mode.

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Mourning Yourself After Narcissistic Abuse

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the concept of prolonged grief disorder (PGD), previously known as complicated grief, which is characterized by an inability to move on from a loss. He explains that grief can become a central organizing principle in a person's life, leading to a constricted existence and an inability to enjoy life. Vaknin suggests that everyone experiences prolonged grief at some point, and it is considered pathological if it lasts longer than a year. He also delves into the relationship between narcissists and their victims, describing how narcissists can induce a state of prolonged grief in their victims by offering a simulation of unconditional love and then withdrawing it, leaving the victim feeling abandoned and mourning the loss of the relationship, which was never real to begin with. Vaknin emphasizes the importance of separating from the narcissist both physically and mentally to break the symbiotic relationship and begin the process of healing and individuation.


How 2 Types of Gaslighting Affect You

The video discusses gaslighting from both verbal and behavioral angles, emphasizing the distinction between narcissistic confabulation and psychopathic gaslighting. It also delves into the experiences of victims and the tactics used by perpetrators, highlighting the differences between narcissists and psychopaths in their approach to gaslighting. The video concludes by encouraging viewers to walk away from such toxic dynamics.


Narcissism Narrative Therapy ( Fix Your Narrative, Heal Yourself)

Narrative therapy is a form of psychotherapy that helps patients identify values and skills associated with them, and provides them with knowledge or ability to experience these values and exercise these skills in order to confront problems. The therapist encourages self-authorship and co-authoring a new narrative about themselves. Narrative therapy is closely associated with other therapies, such as collaborative therapy and person-centered therapy. The therapist and the client are perceived as having valuable information relevant to the process and they create together the content of the therapeutic conversation by imbuing it and suffusing it with this valuable information.


Passive-Aggressive (Negativisitic) Patient Therapy Notes

The negativistic, passive-aggressive personality disorder is not a formal diagnosis in the psychiatric community, but it is widely diagnosed and treated. In a simulated therapy session, Mike, a 52-year-old male diagnosed with negativistic or passive-aggressive personality disorder, attends therapy at the request of his wife. Mike is emotionally absent and aloof, and he regards psychotherapy as a form of conartistry. He admits to being unappreciated and underpaid at work, and he believes that he deserves more than that. Mike is a cantankerous curmudgeon who sulks and gets into arguments.


Flat Attachment, Dreading Intimacy, and Defiant Promiscuity

Flat attachment is a type of attachment style where people are incapable of bonding or relatedness to others. They commodify people and treat them as replaceable objects. Flat attachment is common among narcissists and psychopaths. With the rise of dating apps and social pressures, people are becoming more atomized and isolated, leading to an increase in flat attachment.


5 Reasons To Grieve, Mourn: Varieties Of Grief And Mourning

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the different types of grief and their underlying causes. He explains that grief can be triggered by unrealized potential, the discrepancy between fantasy and reality, catastrophizing, irretrievable loss, and the loss of identity. He emphasizes that grief can become prolonged and pathological, leading to conditions such as narcissism and borderline personality disorder. Vaknin also highlights the role of shame in exacerbating grief and the profound impact of early childhood abuse on fostering lifelong grief disorders.


Narcissists and Negativistic (Passive-Aggressive) Personality Disorder

The negativistic, passive-aggressive personality disorder is not yet recognized by the committee that is cobbling together the diagnostic and statistical manual. People diagnosed with a negativistic passive-aggressive personality disorder resemble narcissists in some important respects. Despite the obstructive role they play, passive-aggressives feel unappreciated, underpaid, cheated, discriminated against, and misunderstood. Passive-aggressives may be sullen, irritable, impatient, argumentative, cynical, skeptical, and contrarian.


Narcissist as Grieving Infant

In this video, Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the concept of prolonged grief disorder and its connection to narcissism. He explains that narcissists are like traumatized children trapped in adult bodies, and they experience profound sadness and depression as a result of their childhood experiences. He also references a recent study that links childhood maltreatment to depression, insecure attachment styles, and difficulties in maintaining intimate relationships in adulthood.


Grieving Your Dead Narcissist

In this transcript, Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the phenomenon of grieving the death of a narcissist. He explains that prolonged grief syndrome is typical of ex-partners who were or are narcissists and that closure becomes impossible when the narcissist dies. The grieving process is complicated by the narcissistic abuse, which is an invasion, a breach of boundaries, and a torment intended to modify behavior to the point of vanishing. The narcissist's absence in relationships and internal emptiness are on full display when he dies, and the introject of the narcissist is extremely active, taking over the mind of the grieving person.


Narcissism? Munchausen and Munchausen by Proxy Syndromes

Munchausen Syndrome and Munchausen Biproxi Syndrome are forms of shared psychosis, where patients feign or self-inflict serious illness or injury to gain attention from medical personnel. Munchausen Biproxi Syndrome involves the patient inducing illness in or causing injury to a dependent to gain attention as a caretaker. These syndromes are not the same as classical narcissism, as patients with Munchausen Syndrome desire acceptance, love, and caring, and have a clinging, insecure, traumatized, deceitful, and needy true self. Patients with Munchausen Syndrome derive emotional nurturance and sustenance mainly from healthcare practitioners.

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