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Narcissism, Demonic Possession as Morality Plays

Uploaded 5/24/2020, approx. 57 minute read

Okay, ladies, it's safe to exit the lockdown.

First of all, I've had a professional haircut, and I look much less threatening, I hope.

Second thing, I've reconciled with Minnie Mouse. Two videos ago, some of you might recall that I had cheated on her with another goos.

But we are back together, and she's giving me her wonderful coffee, yet again.

In between, we had a few fights, normally, and she said that I'm demonic, which led me to the topic of today's video, demon possession and narcissism.

Anyone who has trawled YouTube for videos by self-styled experts, life coaches, and other luminaries, has come across the inevitable comparison between narcissists, psychopaths, demons, vampires, and other supernatural creatures.

While I'm deeply flattered by the company, I would like to differ a bit and to propose, as usual, a historical and linguistic context with some very surprising outcomes. So stay tuned. This is not your typical debunking video.

The ones I do with conspiracy theories, alien reptiles, 5G, and similar. This one has to do with a smooth transition between demonology and its twin psychiatry.


And so let us start by first, perhaps, agreeing on a common language.

Quarks. Quarks. Q-U-A-R-KS. These are supposed to be the building blocks of matter in the universe, yet no one has seen them. No one has captured the quark. And in all probability, they don't really exist in the classical sense.

Same with God. No one has captured God. No one has spoken to God outside of mental asylum.

Same with demons. Same with ego, superego, and id, Freud's famous inventions. Last time I checked, none of my colleagues, professors of psychology, psychologists, therapists, and psychiatrists has ever interacted with an ego, sat down with an ego for coffee, or discussed matters with a superego.

All these are not real entities. They are not ontological entities. They are not objects.

Like, for example, your television set, or your money, what's left of it. All these are language elements. They are words. Words that we use, metaphorically usually, to capture the essence of something.

The essence of an object. The essence of a process. The extent of an observation. These words are useful because they really give us an instantaneous way to communicate to others what it is that we had been seeing or observing.

So, in the Middle Ages, there were no psychiatrists. Good for them.

Instead, they had priests. There was no Sigmund Freud. There was his substitute at the time, his replacement, the temp, God.

So, in the Middle Ages, they were aware of mental illness, of course. They had hysterical people. They had psychotic people. Quite a few of them, actually.

And when they tried to discuss and describe these phenomena, to communicate them to others, they invented entities. They invented entities, and the class of these entities were known as demons. Demons were a satanic manifestation. The servants of Satan in some religions, or a satanic class of angels in other religions.

And demons were language elements. Exactly as today, we will talk about ego, superego, id, unconscious. Conscious. These are also language elements.

And so, it's very important to understand that all we have done in the past six, seven hundred years is we had transitioned from one type of vocabulary, one type of dictionary, to another type of vocabulary. We have changed the words we use, our language elements.

But have we changed the essence? Can we easily compare a demon to the ego? Is a demon another word for ego? A demonic person another word for an egotistical person?

Don't forget that in the Middle Ages, there was something called morality play. Morality play was a theater play, also called an interlude. It was a type of allegory. There was a guy, the protagonist, and he was walking around on the stage, and he met all kinds of ramifications, personifications of various moral attributes. There was a character that represented God, another one, death, every man, good deeds, angel, knowledge, beauty, discretion, strength, wealth, worldly possessions, this, that. So, there were all kinds of people, actors walking on stage, and each one of them reified or symbolized a kind of trait or behavior or class of objects or characteristics.

And so, this was the morality play. And every man was interacting with these, and they were discussing wealth, worldly possessions, the imminence of death, God's power, importance of holding values, and through the morality play, the morality and ethics of the age were communicated to the observers.

There were other characters, pity, perseverance, imagination, contemplation, free will, etc., and all of them blatantly, openly represented moral ideals. Some of these characters were good, some of them were evil, some of them were in between, some of them were classical characters like Mary, or the child Christ, or angels, and so on, or God, and some of them were demons. And demons were considered to be alien spirits, entities.

And the characteristic of demons, as opposed to the others, was that demons controlled people's actions.

In the book Witches and Neighbors, written by Briggs, he says, position might be defined as a direct action of the devil, operating on an individual whose own sins had exposed him to this terrible fate.

In other words, the individual, the possessed individual, was to blame for his own position. He was guilty. He became possessed because he sort of opened the gates to the dark side, to the dark entity, to darkness. He opened the gates to evil, to satanic emanations.

And he did this by sinning, by doing something wrong. He was the victim of his own past transgressions, of his own remorse and regret.

Now that's very interesting, because it's exactly contrary to narcissism. In narcissism, there's no remorse, there's no regret, and there's no perception of sins. The narcissist commits sins, but is not aware of these sins, nor is this sin instrumental or functional. It's more kind of a byproduct, side effect, off-handed, a result of goal orientation.

Narcissistic supply, narcissistic supply. And in the process, we'll stop at nothing. He is ruthless, relentless, and callous. Same with the psychopath.


What we'll come to a little bit later.

The demon, once he enters the person, he seizes the entire personality. It's a diabolical being that actually becomes the person, even physically.

And in this sense, demonic possession is the erstwhile, the predecessor of what today we would call in science fiction, body-snatching. It's like an alien entity that becomes the person.

Narcissism is the same. It's an alien being, in effect. It's a fictitious being, the false self, who takes over the narcissist, possesses the narcissist, if you wish, becomes the narcissist. There's nothing there except the false self. The narcissist does not exist. There's nobody home. It's a hole of mirrors, as I keep telling all of you. It's a kaleidoscope.

So the narcissist is an apparition. We'll talk about it a bit later in this video. It's an apparition possessed or controlled by a piece of fiction.

The difference between the narcissist and classical demon possession as it had been perceived in the Middle Ages is that the false self is invented by the narcissist. It's a concoction. It's a piece of fiction offered by the narcissist. It's exactly like someone would write a book and the book would take over, or someone would make a sculpture. The sculpture will take over, or someone would paint the painting, and the painting will take over the life of the painter, which is the famous case of Dorian Gray in the novel.

And so in the Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft, there is such a thing, believe it or not, they say there are two ways to become possessed by the devil. Either the devil passes directly into a person, or someone, usually said to be a witch or a wizard, working with a devil, sends a demon into the victim through the witchment.

The Jesuit professor Dr. Malachi Martin in Hostage to the Devil outlines the stages of possession.

First there is the actual entry point, when the evil spirit first enters the victim. Then there is a stage of erroneous judgment by the possessed in vital matters, perhaps including the making of unethical choices.

Until now it sounds like classical narcissism.

Then there is the voluntary yielding of control by the possessed person to the invading spirit, even though he knows the spirit is alien to his personality. It's a good metaphor of the false self.

And finally there is perfect possession.

And indeed narcissism, as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual says, is all pervasive, it's ubiquitous.

Until now the metaphor of demon possession really has very close similarities, strong similarities, to narcissism.

Narcissism had narcissism been typified, characterized, described and diagnosed in the Middle Ages. Probably these people would have been described as demon possessed.

But some important characteristics are missing. Some are missing and some are not.

For example, in texts written about demon possession in the Middle Ages, one of the distinguishing features of possessed people is that they are missing memories, they have missing time.

And this is what today we call dissociation. Dissociation is an integral and crucial part of many cluster B personality disorders, notably borderline personality disorder, where dissociation is a diagnostic criterion, and narcissistic personality disorder, where the narcissist tries to compensate for his lapses of memory by lying and confabulating.

So dissociation is common to both the demon possessed person and the narcissist and the borderline.

Then there is perceptual distortions.

The perceptual distortions describe in possession literature, medieval possession literature, up to the 18th century, I would say. These perceptual distortions are what today we would call hallucinations, delusions, illusions.

But some of them, a small part, is what today would be titled cognitive deficits. It's an impaired or defective reality testing. It's when the possessed person does not perceive reality properly, misinterprets cues from the physical environment, from the social environment and from other people.

For example, hyperperception, he would tend to interpret behaviors of other people as hypersexualized, and he would tend to act on these cues inappropriately. For example, he would rape a woman.

Superceptual distortions. These are also common to narcissism, pathological narcissism, and demon possessed people.

There's a loss of sense of control in demon possessed people. They feel that they are controlled by a demon. They feel they are alienated. They are what we call clinically, they are estranged. They feel that whatever they are doing, it's not entirely they who are doing.

So a borderline woman diagnosed with borderline personality disorder very often would say, I felt like I had been on autopilot. I felt that it wasn't me, depersonalization. I felt that whatever was happening was not real, derealization, or I forgot what had happened, dissociative amnesia.

This sense of loss of control is very central to demon possession and to narcissism, borderline. To some extent, psychopathy as well.

Many psychopaths describe the moment that their impulses took over and they couldn't control the impulses.

Actually, classical texts on psychopathy by Cleckley, by Cletley, by others.

Classical texts mention repeatedly that psychopaths are out of control, that this is the main feature, that the most transient whim, the most transitory thought, cognition, the most fleeting emotion, kind of prompts the psychopath to act and to act impulsively and to act without due consideration to possible consequences, including very adverse consequences.

By now we have missing memories dissociation, the sexual distortions, impaired reality testing and loss of sense of control, which is lack of impulse control or an external locus of control.

The narcissists in the borderline feel that they are controlled from the outside. They are the victims of other people, of circumstances, of envious bosses, of the government, or in extreme cases.

This sense of loss of control, coupled with another psychological trait known as conspiracism, this leads to conspiracy theories. So people who believe in conspiracy theories have this sense of external locus of control, very morbid, very malignant, coupled with conspiracism.

And indeed, a lot of the demon possession literature reads like modern conspiracy theories.


The next feature is hyper suggestibility.

The person who is possessed by the demon claims that the demon makes him do things, but makes him do things not necessarily by brute and crass force, not via violence and aggression.

Very often the demon is very seductive, very flirtatious, very convincing, very rational even.

And so the person, the victim of demon possession, the possessed person, is hyper suggestible, is reacting as though he were in a hypnotic state.

And this is very, this is one of the diagnostic criteria, actually, of histrionic personality disorder, which today is being reconceived as combination narcissism and secondary psychopathy.

Hyper suggestibility.

And indeed, the narcissist is equally hyper suggestible, because the narcissist is grandiose. He believes he knows everything. He believes he's all powerful. He is also very gullible. It's very easy to cheat narcissists, to deceive a narcissist.

Con artists have a failed day with narcissists, because they are buffoons. They're idiots. They're bumbling fools.

And narcissists are like that, because they don't believe that anyone can be smarter than they are. They don't believe anyone can pull the wool over their eyes. They don't believe anyone can make them do things, because they are all powerful. They're godlike.

So it's very easy to cheat and calm them.


Then there's a series of features of demon possession, which have no equivalent. They're important features, and they have no equivalent in any cluster B personality disorder.

So while I would say the hyper structure of demon possession shares some common denominators with narcissism, psychopathy, borderline, let's call it the cluster B kaleidoscope.

The rest of the features and they're very important behavioral features, they don't have anything to do with cluster B.

I think the reason for this mix up, the reason for this cocktail is that demon position has been misapplied very frequently in the past to mental illness. People who have been mentally ill were described as demon possessed.

The Catholic church was so alarmed by this tendency to misidentify mental illness as satanic manifestations. The Catholic church was so alarmed that it had created a whole bureaucracy of exorcists and a whole library of texts which deal with exorcism.

And the first few stages, the bulk of the first stages is to make sure that what is being described as demon possession actually has anything to do with the supernatural realm.

So the Catholic church says most of the reports about demon possession actually have nothing to do with demons or with possession. They are reports of mental illness.

And so Catholic church very often sends the psychiatrist to interview people who claim to be demon possessed or their relatives who report them in. The psychiatrist comes and conducts an interview, a structured interview and administers tests in order to rule out mental illness before a licensed exorcist from the church comes on the scene.

And so I think demon possession, classical demon possession confuses and conflates classical psychosis, psychotic disorder with other manifestations which have little to do with psychiatry or psychotic disorders.

For example, maybe cultural influences, societal influences suggest suggestions by religious texts, some context within which demons are accepted as reality. And we'll come to all this a bit later.

So here's a series of manifestations of demon possession which have no trace in any other form of mental illness, contortions, paranormal capabilities, superhuman strength, knowledge of previously unknown languages, knowledge of future events, unnatural body movements or angles. The head turns 180 degrees. Glosolatlalia, speaking in tongues. Insults.

Evil spirits sometimes can even mimic the clergy and speak of Christ. Blasphemies.

Appearance of wounds that vanish as quickly as they appear. They are not stigmata. Stigmata remains for a few days.

Ones that appear and disappear within minutes.

Thinking oneself as possessed. So the possessed usually would describe themselves as possessed. Leading a wicked life. Living outside the rules of society as these are sides of demon possession.

Being persistently ill. Falling into heavy sleep and vomiting. The appearance of strange objects out of nowhere. The claim that one had made a pact with the devil.

Being troubled by spirits. Being tired of living. Being uncomfortable. Being ugly, believe it or not. Being violent. Making sounds and movements which are bestial, like animals.

And in the Roman ritual, the ritual that deals with demons, their containment, their castigation, their exorcism, the Roman ritual coalesced in the Middle Ages.

And so they described several sine qua non-manifestations.

In other words, these things must exist for demon possession to be diagnosed, so to speak.

Manifestation of superhuman strength. Speaking in tongues or languages the victim cannot have known. Revelation of knowledge, distant or hidden or occult, that the victim cannot know. Blasphemous rage, obscene hand gestures, using profanity and an aversion to holy symbols, relics, places or water.

And position is bad in Christianity or more precisely in Catholicism.

But in a variety of other religions and beliefs and sects and so on, possession is a way to interact and communicate with the supernatural, with the paranormal. And it's not always bad.

And sometimes even human beings should help spirits and ghosts and demons to obtain some ghosts.

So for example, in Judaism there is a concept called Debuk. Debuk is a soul which inhabits a victim. But why does it inhabit a victim? A human living victim?

Because it has a task to perform on Earth. Or because it has to atone for some sin. So the human inhabited victim is not a victim actually. It's a cry for help. And he's supposed to help this spirit obtain closure and inner peace. Make peace with its creator and transition up or down or wherever it's supposed to go.

When there is a situation of possession where Satan or some demons take full possession of the body without the consent of the victim, it's usually because this person did something that caused this to happen. Opened the gates as I said. Made it possible for a satanic emanation or influence to enter.

Obsession is also usually involved. It includes sudden attacks of irrational intrusive thoughts. Usually involving some kind of suicidal ideation and infiltrating into unconscious or preconscious visuals.

Like for example, dreams. And that is something called oppression. In oppression there's no loss of consciousness. There's no involuntary action.

But there is an inner torment. Inner torment which reflects, which is reactive, reflects a series of misfortunes from business, family, nearest and dearest, health, something. Satan and his minions, the demons, they cause external physical pain. And they can infest houses, things or animals.

So they can have an outside manifestation. And they can subject a person.

There comes a point where some people are so weak, so broken, so damaged, so frightened, that they voluntarily submit to Satan or to a demon.

And in charismatic or evangelical Christianity, for itself, they also believe in demons. And they conduct exorcism by groups that are called deliverance ministers or deliverance ministries.

But they believe, the evangelicals believe that possession is coupled with ineluctable bad human behavior. And so they regard addiction to pornography, for example, or alcoholism as a form of demon possession.

To this very day, they consider homosexuality to be a form of demon possession. And even physical manifestations, for example, if you're constantly tired and you have chronic fatigue syndrome, they would consider it as demon possession.

And so evangelical Protestant creeds and Protestant sects, charismatic, evangelical Christianities, and so they begin to make the transition, the seamless transition between demonology and psychiatry.

They are trying to kind of create a realm, create a territory where both converge, both coalesce, both are conflated.


Some individuals, therefore, are much more open to demon possession according to these Christian crees because they are already corrupted in and of themselves. In other words, conditions such as narcissistic personality disorder, dissocial personality disorder, borderline, they would be considered as predispositions. They predispose the individual to be possessed by demons. They are kind of proclivities. They are bad inclinations, which open the individual wide open to satanic malevolent diabolical influences.

In Islam, there is quite a taxonomy of demons, there's jinns, shayateen, alphavid, uf, and other types. Rolling over all of them is Iblis, the leader of evil spirits.

But Islam is much closer to charismatic and evangelical Christianity than it is to, for example, Catholicism.

Because in Islam, an evil spirit cannot tempt and seduce humans into sin unless these humans are already addicted totally to what Islam would call lower desires. These people are addicted to alcohol consumption, alcoholics. They're addicted to sex, they're sex addicts. They are unethical in their conduct or misconduct, and so on.

So Islam agrees with evangelical Christianity that first, the first condition, the first step into demonic territory is via unethical conduct. And very often this kind of impulsive, defined, unethical, antisocial conduct reflects a mental health condition is typical of a mental health condition, such as narcissism or psychopathy.

So this is the sequence, this is the chain. You're mentally ill, you misbehave, you're possessed by demons.

Islam also has exactly like Judaism, pretty benign spirits, jinns, for example. A jinn can try to possess an individual because the jinn fell in love with the individual, or because the jinn takes revenge for someone who hurt him, or for similar reasons. So it's much more human like transaction, and the jinn is very human like.

By the way, there's no trace of jinns in the Quran, or even the Qadith. Jinns are kind of folk religion or folk entity. And jinns are not evil. Some of them are, but the vast majority are not.

And therefore, possession by jinn is not at all like possession by devils or demons. And this is contrasted to the shayateen. Shayateen are always evil. The hadiths, the interpretative texts of the Quran, which were passed verbally from one generation of scholars to another.

So the hadiths suggest that demons or devils are distinguished from jinns in many ways.

And one of the most critical ways is what they call west-west. West-west are whispers, voice, internal voice, like very similar to introjects in psychology. In psychology, voices of important people, known as objects for some reason in psychology, so voices of primary objects, like mother and father, voices of role models, adult role models, when the child is growing up, teachers, or even influential peers, these voices are internalized. Internalized, they continue to operate within the human mind, and they are known as introjects.

And in Islam, the shayateen, the evil spirits, they are introjected. They are internalized within the human body, within the heart, usually, because the belief at that time was the seat of wisdom and thinking and so on.

Emotions definitely was the heart. No one considered the brain of any importance.

So the devils, these devils would inhabit the heart. They would establish residents near the heart, and they would talk from there. They would whisper devilish whisperings, very similar to introjects.

And this is actually the core possession in Islam. And in this sense, Islam is much closer to our modern perception of psychiatry, modern perception in psychiatry.

In psychiatry, today, we believe that the self is constellated in big part from these voices.

We believe that in the process of socialization and acculturation, separation and individuation, all these processes of personal growth and maturation, starting in very, very early childhood, these voices are very, very critical.

If they are sadistic, if they are unforgiving, if then we have an inner critic, which kind of reduces us to mental illness. If they're benign and benevolent and loving, unconditionally loving and accepting, we grow up to be healthy individuals.

And these voices are integrated into our self concept and into various self states in cluster B personality disorders.

I mean, Islam is very similar.

These voices can be malevolent. This they can contain malice. And when they do, they drive the person to behave in ways which are counterproductive, self destructive, dysfunctional, very similar to mental illness in the modern conception in psychiatry.

In Buddhism, demons are confined to hell, where they're actually suffering. But when they descend to earth, when they encountered, I'm sorry, when they encountered on earth, they're not really in Buddhism, they're a delusion. And so they're called maras. And they their main role is temptation, and you're supposed to overcome them.

And there are numerous forms of Mara, the four classes of Mara, and they embody emotions which are not processed, like greed and hate and delusion, defilement, and wholesome states, they embody death itself, they embody, they serve as kind of simile or metaphor for existence. So existence and death, they're considered low, low level states.

And they are somehow allied with these demons who are actually delusional. So existence and death are delusional.

And the sensuous realm, the realm of touch, and senses and smell, and they are also associated with demons, because to be truly liberated, and to experience the cycle of rebirth, you need to go through a process of enlightenment, which is a release from the physical world, and from its sensuous manifestations.

And so the physical world and sensuous realm are demonic, in effect, they are desire and temptation.

It's another very interesting view.

And there is even a process in Buddhism where you appease the demon, and then he goes away. And unless, of course, he's still in lockdown, we have to check.

But demons who are appeased, they depart, and they go to a different room where they cannot touch you anymore. I don't know how many of you know, but in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, edition five, 2013, the latest edition, there is a category for people who believe in demonic possession. It's called possessive trance disorder.

And the literature, this literature in psychiatry, there were many studies of demonic position in psychiatry, because the affinity between demonic position and certain types of mental health, illness or disorders, diseases, the affinity is very clear, very evident, explicit.

So for example, we know that that possession symptoms of certain disorders were ascribed to possession, with a hysteria to psychosis syndrome, epilepsy, schizophrenia, conversion disorder, and of course, dissociative identities.

So in the DSM five, the text that deals with dissociative identity disorder say it says openly, I'm quoting from the DSM, possession for identities in dissociative identity disorder typically manifest as behaviors that appear as if a spirit, supernatural being or outside person has taken control, such that the individual begins speaking or acting in a distinctly different manner. So even demon possession, spirit, supernatural beings make an appearance in a classical V of the profession in the DSM five. Not as real entities, but as ways to describe certain manifestations of a disorder, dissociative identity disorder, formerly known as multiple personality disorder.

Why am I mentioning this? I'm mentioning this because I've spent the last 25 years trying to convince colleagues and laymen that narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, post-traumatic conditions that are essentially variants of dissociative identity disorder. And we try to convince people that narcissists and borderlines suffer from limited versions, private cases of multiple personality disorder.

And so the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual edition five, it says that the personality states of dissociative identity disorder, or self-states in borderline, they may be interpreted as position in some cultures. Spirit possession, spirit possession in many cultures are very often associated with traumatic experiences. We have numerous stories where someone goes through a traumatic experience, and then he's overtaken by a spirit or by a demon or by an alien entity and so on and so forth. Possession experiences very often in literature in the middle ages, and again, up to the 18th century, possession experiences are associated with stress, distress, trauma, painful experiences, hurt, injury, narcissistic injury, narcissistic mortification, and so on.

And there is a question here, because in these cultures, most dominantly in Asia, in Africa, people would automatically say, oh, he's possessed by the demon. And then, you know, nothing to do about it, except perhaps some witch doctor or some exorcist from the Vatican or something, but they wouldn't bother. They wouldn't bother to rule out mental illness by referring the person to a psychiatrist.

In some countries in Africa, there's one psychiatrist for the entire population. And in other countries, supposedly Western and advanced, such as Spain, Italy, United States, there are more people who believe in spirit possession and demon possession, believe it or not, than in the miracles and wiles of psychiatry itself. So more people would tend, first of all, to go to a clergyman, to a priest, to the church, to their community.

And the psychiatrist or psychological therapist would be a third or fourth or fifth choice.

And that is bad. That is bad because in many of these cases, we are actually dealing with psychotic disorders. Even in the case of narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, definitely. In some cases of psychopathy, we deal with people who already have psychotic macro episodes, people whose dissociation is so extreme that the personality is totally fragmented.

In narcissism, there are two personalities, the false self and the true, dilapidated, true self. So the false self and the true self.

The same in borderline personality disorder, the false self and true self. In psychopathy, the transitions are so abrupt and so impulsive that many people compare it to switching in multiple personality disorder. There's something there. There's some common core of dissociation, some common core of self-states which are distinguishable from each other, which resemble very much demon possession.

If people are not educated, they wouldn't know. They wouldn't know. And they wouldn't go. They wouldn't revert or resort to mental health practitioners who can help.

Because we do have help, very effective help for psychosis. And alleged demon possessions, when we analyze reports of demon possessions, the vast majority of which are rejected by the Catholic Church, by the way, have nothing. These reports have nothing to do with demon oppositions.

So when we started these reports, we discovered that actually we are dealing with post-traumatic states or psychosis. And in specific cultures, we have numerous conditions that mimic demon possession. And some of them are even in the diagnostic and statistical manuals of these countries.

For example, in China, the Chinese diagnostic Chinese classification of diseases contains quite a few of these conditions. I'll mention only two. Amok. Amok is a male specific culture-bound syndrome. It's an alternating pattern of dissociation, brooding, intrusive thoughts and violence directed at objects and people. It's provoked by real or imagined criticism or slight.

So there's a lot of hypervigilance there. And it is accompanied by the secretary ideation, amnesia, automatism and extreme fatigue. Sometimes Amok occurs with a psychotic episode.

This is very reminiscent of narcissistic injury or narcissistic mortification followed by narcissistic rage in a process of hypervigilance or paranoid ideation. Amok is common in Malaysia, where it was discovered, in Laos, in the Philippines, in Polynesia, where it's called kafald or kafald, in Papua New Guinea, in Puerto Rico, where it's called multipleia and among the Navajo Native Americans, where it's called the icha. I hope I pronounce it remotely correctly.

Another condition is the shimbung. Shimbung is another culture-bound syndrome, typical to a specific culture. And it's in Korea, where I worked for a few years. Shimbung is very common there. It's an illness that progresses from general unease, anxiety, somatic complaints like weakness, dizziness, fear, parorexia. Parorexia means eating disorders, insomnia and gastrointestinal problems. So it starts like this and then progresses to dissociation.

And when dissociation sets in, these people report possession by ancestral spirits.

So 25 years ago, I suggested a methodological framework. I compared the narcissist to a person suffering from dissociative identity disorder, formerly known as multiple personality disorder.

I'm going to quote myself, of course. So I'm going to quote myself an article I had written in 1997.

A debate is starting to steer. That was 1997. Today is much more evolved.

A debate is starting to steer. Is the false self an alter? In other words, is the false self, is the true self of a narcissist, the equivalent of a host personality in dissociative identity disorder? And is the false self one of the fragmented personalities, also known as alters?

Actually, today, my view is, is the obverse is exactly the opposite. I think the false self is the host personality and the true self is one of the authors.

I'm continuing to quote sight from the article, 1997. My personal opinion is that the false self is a mental construct, not a self in the full sense. It is the locus of the fantasies of grandiosity, the feelings of entitlement, omnipotence, magical thinking, omniscience, and magical immunity of the narcissists. It lacks so many elements that it can hardly be called a self.

Jungians would say that it's not a constellated self.

Moreover, I continue in the article, the false self has not cut off date. Dissociative identity disorder alters alternative personalities. These personalities have a date of inception when they started. They are reactions to a specific trauma, moment of abuse.

The false self is a process, not an entity. It is a reactive pattern and a reactive formation. All taken into account, the choice of words had been poor.

The false self is not a self, nor is it false. It is very real to the narcissist, more real to the narcissist than its own true self. A better choice would have been abuse reactive self or something like this.

I'm continuing in the article, 1997.

This is the core of my work. I'm saying that narcissists have vanished and have been replaced by a false self.

Again, it's a bad term, not my fault, right to Winnicott or Kernberg. There is no true self in the narcissist. It's gone.

The narcissist is a whole of mirrors, but the whole of mirrors itself is an optical illusion created by the mirrors.

It's a little like Asher paintings. Malignant personality disorder, dissociative identity disorder is more common than believed today.

By the way, this was written in 1997 when everyone thought it's very rare, but I already felt after two years of work in the field that it's very common. Today, we know that about 3% of people have dissociative, severe dissociation. Many of them have dissociative identity disorder.

A multiple personality disorder, dissociative identity disorder is more common than believed. The emotions are the ones to get segregated.

The notion of unique separate multiple whole personalities is primitive and untrue. Dissociative identity disorder is a continuum.


Here we come to the crux of the matter.

All personality disorders, except narcissistic personality disorder, suffer from a modicum of dissociative identity disorder or incorporated somehow.

Only the narcissist does not.

This is because the narcissistic solution is to emotionally disappear so thoroughly that not one personality or emotion are left.

Hence the tremendous insatiable need of the narcissist for external approval. The narcissist exists only as a reflection, a hive mind.

Since the narcissist is forbidden from loving his true self, he chooses to have no self at all.

It is not only dissociation, it is a vanishing act.

Let me explain this because there's been an evolution in my thinking since 1997, shockingly.

I would disagree with what I had written here. I would today say that both the true self and the false self exist and that in this sense the narcissist is dissociative to the point that he has dissociative identity disorder.

But it is true that all the functioning has been relegated to the false self.

I'm continuing in the article. This is why I regard pathological narcissism as the source of all personality disorders.

The total pure solution is narcissistic personality disorder, self-extinguishing, self-abolishing, totally fake.

And then there are variations on the self-hate and perpetuated self-abuse themes.

There's histrionic personality disorder, narcissism with sex or body, a source of supply, narcissistic supply. There's borderline personality disorder, emotional lability, movement between poles of life wish and death wish, and so on.

So why are narcissists not prone to suicide? Simply, they had died a long time ago. They are the true zombies of the world.

If you read vampire and zombie legends, you will see how narcissistic these creatures are.

And of the quote from my article in 1997, you already see here the seeds of comparing narcissism to supernatural entities such as vampires, zombies, or well, demons are not mentioned here, but they might as well have been mentioned here.

And this is because the narcissist vanishes as a human being in any meaningful way. It must be stated categorically, if you don't have empathy and you don't have access to your emotions, or maybe if you have only negative emotions, in no way that I'm aware of can you be defined as human. You're not human.

A person without empathy, without emotions, is not human in any sense of the word. It's a good simulation of you.

It has resonance tables that enable him to imitate a human. So it's a good mimic, it's mimicry, it's mimetic, it's a good artificial intelligence creation. It's an alien that takes over, it's any metaphor that you wish. It's a demon, it's not human.

Narcissists and psychopaths are not human because they lack these two ultra critical features of humanity.

And so this is perhaps why people feel intuitively and counterfactually that narcissists are demonic, that psychopaths are satanic.

People are trying desperately to explain to themselves how is it possible to have a human form? How is it possible to mimic perfectly empathy, emotions? How is it possible to give all the right responses? To have to possess ostensibly all the right values? How is it possible to analyze accurately situations, real life situations and give excellent advice? How is it possible to do all this?

If you lack the most critical modules of being human, and so they say well this is supernatural. There's something supernatural going on. This is satanic, this is an imitation. It's a facade intended to deceive us and mislead us and tempt us and seduce us.

The phenomenon of narcissism and psychopathy is so harrowing and so out of our human, daily human experience that we have to resort to archetypes, Jungian archetypes, to religious motifs and symbols, to a proliferation of supernatural entities in a desperate attempt to grasp somehow what is supposedly the essence of this thing that is sitting opposite us smiling, talking, crying, pretending.

Is it real? Can a simulation be that convincing? Is something wrong with us? Something wrong with us? Are we perhaps defective? Is something wrong with our empathy maybe?

I mean it's so unsettling and the Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori called it the uncanny valley. He said that when robots become totally humanoid, when they become totally human-like, we're going to feel very uncomfortable around them because we would still feel something off key, off note, but we won't be able to put a finger in it.

It's the same with the narcissism psychopaths. They're like the super highly sophisticated robots of the future. They come from the future. They were sent to us from the future. I don't know how to say that they're like from the year 2500. They are creatures from Kurzweil's singularity.

They resemble humans so convincingly, so amazingly well, and yet we know that they are not. We feel, I mean healthy people, feel normal people, neurotypicals, they feel that something is missing, something is off key, something is, there's a wrong note there, somewhere, a false note. It says that. It's an imitation. This brand is counterfeit.

But when push comes to shock on you, can you explain why? No one can. It's just a feeling, an intuition.

So we regress. We regress to the middle ages. We're looking for other types of language to help us because we experience the world via language. Language creates consciousness, and so to create an awareness and consciousness and interpretation of these creatures, narcissists and psychopaths, we need another different language.

The language we have is insufficient. It breaks down. It collapses, and this is how we experience narcissists, but how does a narcissist experience his own life?

Nastiest experiences life as a prolonged, incomprehensible, unpredictable, frequently terrifying, deeply saddening nightmare. This is a result of the functional dichotomy fostered by the narcissist himself, by the way, between his false self and his true self.

The true self, the fossilized ashes of the original immature personality, the true self is the one that does the experiencing in normal people.

The false self is nothing but a concoction, a figment of the narcissist's hall of mirrors, a glint in his eyes. The false self is incapable of feeling, emoting, experiencing, yet it is fully the master of the psychodynamic processes which rage within the narcissist's psyche.

Narcissist is a volcano. This inner battle between true and false, you see, it's a morality play, true and false, good and bad, good and evil, God and Satan. It's binary, it's dichotomous.

The narcissist uses splitting defense mechanisms to see the world and to idealize and devalue people in rapid succession, but himself is split. He is splitting reified.

This inner battle is so fierce that the true self experiences it as a diffuse, though imminent and eminently ominous threat.

There's also identity diffusion, typical also of borderlines, mini break.

How would you feel if you had this ongoing warfare, conflict dissonance inside you? You would feel anxiety. The narcissist feels anxiety.

He finds himself constantly ready for the next blow, next loss, next calamity. He does things, he acts and he knows not why he's doing these things.

Wherefore, he says things, he behaves in certain ways which he knows endanger him, put him in line for punishment.

Psychopaths describe their inner experience the same way.

Narcissist hurts people around him, breaks them all, violates accepted morality. He knows that he is in the wrong, and sometimes he feels ill at ease on the rare moments that he does feel.

As opposed to psychopaths, some narcissists are capable of remorse, regret, shame and guilt, although it has more to do with being found out, losing face.

Psychopath is utterly incapable of any of this.

The narcissist sometimes wants to stop, but he doesn't know how.

Gradually, he is estranged from himself. He is possessed by some kind of demon. He feels like a puppet on invisible mental strings.

The narcissist resents this feeling of course. He wants to rebel. He is repelled by this part in him with which he is not acquainted.

So in his efforts to exorcize this devil from his soul, the narcissist dissociates, cuts off, splits, vanishes, gone. You've all seen this vacant look in his eye. The eyes are the windows to the soul. You've all seen the vacated soul where a soul should have been, there's only deep space. You see it through the eyes.

An eerie sensation sets in and pervades the psyche of the narcissist in such moments.

In times of crisis, of danger, of depression, of failure, of narcissistic injury, not to mention narcissistic mortification, which is the ultimate, the narcissist feels that he's watching himself from outside. This is called depersonalization.

This is not an out of body experience. Don't cast it in any supernatural terms. It's not an astral, astral body or whatever.

Narcissist doesn't really exit his body. It is just that he assumes, involuntarily, the position of a spectator, a polite observer, mildly interested in the whereabouts of one Mr. Narcissist.

And the feeling is very much like watching a movie. The illusion is not complete. You know it's a movie. It's so precise also.

But you know, watching a movie involves dissociation. You dissociate the rest of the world when you watch a movie.

And this detachment continues for as long as the narcissist's ego-dystonic behavior persists, for as long as the crisis goes on and he feels uncomfortable, for as long as the narcissist cannot face who he is, what he's doing, the consequences of his actions.

That moment he dissociates, cuts off, detaches. And then he is an actor in the movie, the movie of his life.

Since this is the case most of the time, the narcissist gets used to seeing himself in the role of the protagonist, usually the hero, of a motion picture or of a novel. It also sits well with his grandiosity, of course, with his fantasies.

And sometimes the narcissist talks about himself in the third person singular. So, so Donald Trump calls himself Trump. Sometimes he calls his other narcissistic self by a different name. That's also common.

The narcissist describes his life, its events, its ups and downs, vicissitudes, pains, elation, disappointments. He describes all this ensemble of things that constellate into a coherent cohesive life in normal healthy people. He describes all these in the most remote professional and quietly analytical voice, as though he were describing with a modicum of involvement, the life of some exotic insect.

If you read Kafka's Metamorphosis, where the protagonist wakes up on morning and finds out that he had turned into a cockroach, mind you, there are echoes of this because the guy wakes up and to his horror, he's a cockroach, but he doesn't freak out. He starts to analyze his cockroachness.

So now what the narcissist does, narcissist watches himself, derealizes, depersonalizes and dissociates, of course, watches himself from outside. And then as though he were some scientists observing a very exotic form of life, he starts to sort of analyze, synthesize, offer synoptic views, make projections as though it's none of his business. As though he were talking about someone else and that someone else is the false self.

The metaphor of life as a movie gaining control by writing a scenario or by inventing a narrative is therefore not a modern invention. Cavemen narcissists have probably done the same.

Neanderthal narcissists are still Neanderthal. But this is only the external superficial facet of the disorder. Don't forget this.

The crux of the problem is that the narcissist really feels this way. He's not only showing off, look how sang for, I am, look how detached, look how cold headed, it's the way he feels.

He actually experiences his life as, as though it had been, it belongs to someone else. His body is dead weight or as an instrument in the service of some entity.

His actions, his deeds is amoral, not immoral, not immoral, but amoral. He cannot be judged for something he didn't do, can he? It's not him, it's not he.

So that's why narcissists are very shocked when they are arrested or punished. They didn't do it. Narcissist doesn't feel that he had done this. Someone else did, the false self, arrest the false self.

What do you want from me?

As time passes, the narcissist accumulates a mountain of mishaps, conflicts unresolved, pains well hidden, abrupt separations, bitter disappointments, losses, losses, losses. He is subjected to a constant barrage of social criticism and condemnation. He rejects life. He destroys life. He squanders every opportunity. He's ashamed. He's fearful. He knows that something is wrong, but there is no correlation between his cognition and his emotions. He doesn't want to do. He doesn't want to do. He cannot form what we call in psychology shamans, cannot form a scheme. He cannot unite some emotion, some cognition, some value, some belief, some theory of others, theory of mind, theory of the world. It's all over the place. It's like some improvised explosive device keeps detonating and doesn't allow him to integrate.

So he just wants out of it, is exhausted, is depleted. He prefers to run away and hide as he did when he was a child.


People, what people do, they reflect to the narcissist this mask that he had created until even the narcissist comes to believe that it exists. He comes to acknowledge its dominance. He forgets the truth. He knows no longer, because so many people had told him, had confirmed and affirmed and reflected the false self that he says, well, maybe, you know, maybe the false self exists and I don't.

The narcissist is only dimly aware of the decisive battle which rages inside him, the dishonest, the unresolved dissonance, or as Freud used to call it, the unresolved conflict and the archaic wound, or as John Lachka calls it, the V-spot, vulnerability spot.

Narcissist feels threatened, very sad, very suicidal, but there seems to be no outside cause of all this, makes it even more mysteriously menacing.

You see where I'm leading with this?

This leads to demon possession because if you are religiously inclined, if you're superstitious, if you are conspiracy theories, you have a conspiracy, conspiracism personality trait, if you are paranoid and have persecutory delusions and paranoid ideation, if you have all this, it's one short step from this to the supernatural and paranormal.

This is especially true, by the way, if you live in certain cultures and societies which legitimize talk of demon possession, wizardry, magic and so on. In these societies and cultures, if you say, I've been possessed by a demon, I've been cursed, I've been cursed by my enemy, my enemy put a hex on me, put a spell on me.

In some cultures and societies, they would mock you, or worse, administer some very powerful anti-psychotic medication.

In other cultures and societies, they would refer you to the local witch doctor, the local spell caster, local fortune teller and soothsayer to take off the spell or to cast out the demons.

Depends on, so culture and society are very important in what kind of language is legitimized, what metaphors can be used to describe inner states.

These dissonance, these negative emotions, these nagging anxieties, they transform the narcissist's motion picture solution into a permanent one. It becomes a feature of the narcissist life.

Whenever he is confronted by an emotional threat or by an existential threat, the narcissist retreats into this haven, this mode of coping. He enters, he reenters the movie, he becomes a two-dimensional character and no one can hurt a celluloid character, you know, you are impregnable, immune.

The narcissist relegates responsibility and submissive, he assumes a passive role. He who is not responsible cannot be punished, runs the subtext of this capitulation.

The narcissist is thus conditioned to annihilate himself, both in order to avoid emotional pain and in order to bask in the glow of his impossibly grandiose fantasies.

And the narcissist does all this with fantastic zeal, fanatic zeal, with efficacy.

Prospectively, he assigns his very life to the false self. Decisions to be made, judgments to be passed, agreements to be reached, not my business. Let the false self take care of it.

False self is like a kind of combination, a super efficacious butler and tyrannical master.

Retroactively, the narcissist reinterprets his past life in a manner consistent with the current needs of the false self.

It is no wonder that there is no connection between what the narcissist did feel in a given period of his life or in relation to a specific event, and the way that he sees or describes or remembers these later on.

The narcissist may describe certain occurrences or phases in his life as tedious, painful, sad, burdening, even though in reality what had happened is that he had experienced these periods, these occurrences, these phases, these events entirely differently.

At the time he was very happy. The same retroactive coloring occurs with regards to people. The narcissist completely distorts the way he had regarded certain people, the way he had felt about these people.

His inclination is directly and fully derived from the requirements of his false self during the process of recasting and rewriting and reframing and inventing new narratives.

In other words, a person can be all good, wonderful, perfect, brilliant, beautiful, amazing, gorgeous, and the day after, the exact opposite of all these things, idiot, ugly, this, that.

Why?

Because the false self had rewritten the script overnight, and you need to change your view of that person.

So these are the transitions between idealization and devaluation.

In sum, the narcissist does not occupy his own soul, nor does he inhabit his own body. There's no continuity there. It's discontinuity and body reified.

Narcissist is a servant of an apparition, of a reflection, of an ego function.

To please and appease his master, the false self, the narcissist sacrifices to the false self his true self, his own life. It's human sacrifice.

From that moment onward, the narcissist lives vicariously through the good offices or the bad offices of the false self. And throughout all this mess, the narcissist feels detached, alienated, estranged from his self, even from his false self.

He constantly harbors the sensation that he is watching a movie with a plot of which he has but little control and to which he is not privy.

It is with certain interests, even bemusement or fascination, that he watches this film. Still, he is watching. Only that is just watching. He's a mere passive observer.

The narcissist also engages in permanent Orwellian alterations to the emotional context, rewriting history. The content which accompanies certain events and people in his life he constantly rewrites it. He has like 200 versions of the same event, same love affair, same marriage. He rewrites his emotional history according to instructions emanating from the false self.

Thus, not only does the narcissist relinquish control of his future life, the movie, he gradually loses ground to the false self in the battle to preserve the integrity and genuineness of his past experiences. The false self gobbles up not only the narcissist but even his memory.

And because there's no identity without memory, therefore, narcissist loses his identity, identity dispersion or diffusion or erosion. He is eroded by these two processes and the narcissist gradually disappears and is replaced by his disorder to the fullest extent.

And of course, all this can happen also as a result of medical conditions.

For example, many of these phenomena occur when there's traumatic brain injury.

And this is why in some cultures and societies and some periods in history, people with brain injury, traumatic brain injury or brain problems in the brain, problems with brain biochemistry, there were schizophrenia and paranoid brain problems. These people were described as demon possessed or alternatively as prophets with privileged access to supernatural divine voices.

Much closer to our period, Phineas Gage was a 25-year-old construction foreman. He lived in Vermont in the 1860s. While working on a railroad bank, he packed powdered explosives into a hole in the ground using tamping iron. The powder heated and blew up in his face. The tamping iron that he had been using rebounded and pierced the top of his skull ravaging the frontal lobes. Eight years later, his doctor, a guy aptly named Harlow, reported the changes to Phineas Gage's personality following the accident.

The good doctor says, Phineas Gage became fitful, irreverent, indulging at times in the grossest profanity, which was not previously his customs, manifesting but little deference to his fellows, impatient of restraint or advice when he conflicts with his desires. At times, pertinaciously obstinate, yet capricious and vacillating, devising many plans for future operation which are no sooner arranged than they are abandoned, in turn for other plans appearing more feasible. His mind was radically changed so that his friends and acquaintances said he was no longer Gage.

In other words, the brain injury turned Phineas Gage into a psychopathic narcissist.

Rewind and listen again. It is a psychopathic narcissist.

Similarly, startling transformation has been recorded among soldiers with penetrating head injuries suffered in World War I.

Same, exactly. They became narcissists as psychopaths.

Orbital media movements made people pseudo-psychopathic and quoting from the literature, grandiose, euphoric, disinhibited, puerile.

When the dorsolateral convexities were damaged, the soldiers affected became lethargic and apathetic, and so they were called pseudo-depressed.

A doctor by the name of Bischwind noted that many had both syndromes. They were both psychopathic and depressed.


Back to the issue.

In a study titled Gray Matter Abnormalities in Patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, published in June 2013 in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, the authors conclude, relative to the control of narcissistic personality disorder patients had smaller gross matter volume in the left anterior insula, independent of a gray matter volume in the left anterior insula, was positively related to self-reported emotional empathy.

Complimentary whole-brain analysis yielded smaller gray matter volume in front of our limbic brain regions, comprising the rostral and medium cingulate cortex, as well as the dorsolateral and medial parts of the prefrontal cortex.

Wow, it's quite a mouthful. Here we provide the first empirical evidence for structural abnormalities in front of our limbic brain regions of patients with narcissistic personality disorder.

The results are discussed in the context of narcissistic personality disorders patients' inability for emotional empathy.

The diagnostic and statistical manual is clear. The brain injured may acquire traits and behaviors typical of certain personality disorders, but head trauma never results in a full-fledged personality disorder.

And so it says in the DSM, in the general diagnostic criteria for personality disorder, if the enduring pattern is not due, not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance, for example, given a drug of abuse, medication, or a general medical condition such as head trauma.

In my book Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited, yes, I'm the author, I had written, it is conceivable though that a third unrelated problem causes chemical imbalances in the brain, metabolic diseases, such as diabetes, pathological narcissism, and other mental health syndromes.

There may be a common cause, a hidden common denominator, perhaps, I don't know, a group or array of genes.

Certain medical conditions can activate the narcissistic defense mechanism.

Chronic ailments are likely to lead to the emergence of narcissistic traits or narcissistic personality style. Traumas such as brain injuries have been known to induce states of mind akin to full-blown personality disorders.

Such narcissism, though, is reversible, tends to be ameliorated or disappear altogether when the underlying medical problem does.

Other disorders like bipolar disorder may need a depression in the past. They are characterized by mood swings that are not brought about by external events, endogenous mood swings, not exogenous.

But the narcissist mood swings are strictly the results of external events as he perceives it, in intubation, of course.

But phenomena which are often associated with narcissistic personality disorders such as depression or obsessive compulsive disorder, these phenomena are treated with medication.

Some indications are that SSRIs such as fluoxetine, known as Prozac, might have adverse effects if the primary disorder is narcissistic personality disorder. They sometimes lead to the serotonin syndrome which includes agitation and exacerbates the rage attacks typically of the narcissist.

The use of SSRIs is associated at times with delirium in the emergence of a manic phase and even with psychotic microorganisms.

This is not the case with the heterocyclics, MAO, and mood stabilizers such as lithium. Blockers and inhibitors are regularly applied without discernible adverse side effects as far as NPD is concerned.

Not enough is known about the biochemistry of NPD. There seems to be some vague link to serotonin, but no one was for sure. There isn't a reliable non-intrusive method to measure brain and central nervous system serotonin levels anymore. So it is mostly guesswork at this stage.

And so we have gone a long way in this video. We started with demon possession. Then I tried to show the equivalent in mental illness and how certain mental illness can be easily perceived as controlled from the outside, which would be conducive to the perception of demon possession in some cultures, societies and periods.

And now I want to finish by discussing time.

Time is a quality of the physical world, or at least of the way we perceive the physical world.

And many narcissists do not feel a part of reality. They feel unreal. They feel like as though they are fake facsimiles of tangible normal people.

And this dents the perception of time in causality.

That the narcissist possesses a prominent false self as well as a suppressed and dilapidated true self is common knowledge.

Yet how intertwined and inseparable are these two? Do they interact at all? How do they influence each other? What behaviors can be attributed squarely to one or to the other of these two protagonists?

Moreover, does the false self assume traits and attributes of the true self in order to deceive the narcissist himself or others?

Many researchers and scholars and therapists try to grapple with the void, the emptiness, and the core of the narcissist and the borderline.

The common view is that the remnants of the true self are so ossified, shredded, atrophied, cowed into submission and repressed, that for all practical purposes, these remnants of the true self are functionless and useless.

In treating the narcissist, the therapist often tries to invent a healthy self rather than build upon the distorted wreckage strewn across the narcissist's psyche.

So one way of looking at it is that what used to be called demon was parental influence in early childhood. This demon-like influence entered the narcissist, fractured the narcissist, fragmented the narcissist. False self was created, which is of demonic character in many ways. It's an alien kind of spirit or ghost or whatever you want to call it.

And then the therapist's role is to get rid of all this debris, all this flotsam and jetsam, and reconstruct from scratch another entity, another functional, constellated self.

But would that not be also an artificial creation? A cane, I don't know, to some computer program, some robot, or in medieval terms, some demon?

One of the rare glimpses of true self that the unfortunate to interact with narcissist keep reporting.

Many victims of narcissists keep saying he has in a child, he has a true self when they're in crisis or when they're sad or when he's broken, I can see through him, can see someone is there.

If the pathological narcissistic element is but one of many other disorders, the true self may well have survived.

In other words, if there's pronounced comorbidity, for example, if narcissism goes hand in hand with borderline in a specific individual, the borderline side may have preserved some empathy, some access to emotions, however dis-regulated, and in this sense has infused the true self with some life, with some energy.

Gradations and shades of narcissism occupy the narcissistic spectrum. Narcissistic traits, overly, are often co-diagnosed with other disorders, comorbidity.

Some people have a narcissistic personality but not narcissistic personality disorder.

These distinctions are very important.

A person may well appear to be a narcissist but is not in the strict psychiatric sense of the word.

In a full-fledged narcissist, the false self imitates the true self. And to do this artfully and successfully, the false self deploys two mechanisms.

First one is reinterpretation. It causes the narcissist to reinterpret certain emotions and reactions in a flattering, true self-compatible light.

Narcissists may, for instance, interpret fear as compassion. If I hurt someone, I fear, for example, an authority fear. I may feel bad afterwards. I may interpret my discomfort as empathy and compassion.

To be afraid is humiliating, but to be compassionate is commendable, and earns me social acceptance and understanding.

Freud described similar processes and he called them sublimatory processes, sublimatory channels, or sublimation.

The second mechanism the false self uses to appear to be the true self is emulation.

The narcissist is possessed of an uncanny ability to psychologically penetrate other people, called empathy. Often this gift is abused and put at the service of the narcissist's control, fricative and sadism.

The narcissist uses called empathy liberally to annihilate the natural defenses of his victims by faking unprecedented, almost inhuman insight and empathy.

And this capacity is coupled with the narcissist's ability to frighteningly imitate emotions and their attendant behaviors. The narcissist possesses resonance tables, correlates, correlations. He keeps records of every action, every reaction, every utterance, every consequence, every datum provided by others regarding their state of mind and their emotional maker. He sort of collects, he hoards observations.

She was sad, she was crying, so if people are sad, they're crying. So if I want to fake sadness, if I want to imitate sadness, I have to cry.

From these, he then constructs a set of formulas which often result in impeccably and eerily accurate renditions of emotional behavior.

And this could be enormously deceiving.

Another source of belief that a narcissist is demon possessed, because in medieval lore, well into the 18th century, one of the distinguishing hallmarks and features of demons was their ability to imitate humans so deceptively and so perfectly that no one could tell the difference, except highly trained people of the church, experts from the church.

We have no church anymore. We have no religion anymore. God is gone and left us to our own devices. We are the mercy of narcissists and psychopaths. And they are at the mercy of their own creations, the false self. And the false self is merciless, ruthless and relentless. God save us all.

And now, goodbye from minnie.

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Sam Vaknin discusses his personal journey with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), his role in developing the language and understanding of narcissism, and the impact of his work on society. He explains that in 1995, he invented a new language to describe the internal dynamics of narcissism due to a lack of existing literature or terminology. Vaknin's work has been pioneering in the field, and he has coined many terms that are widely used today. He also discusses the difference between narcissistic style, narcissistic personality disorder, and malignant narcissism, as well as the societal trends that have led to an increase in narcissistic behaviors, especially among the young. Vaknin emphasizes the importance of no contact as the only effective strategy for escaping the damaging effects of a relationship with a narcissist or psychopath. He also touches on various topics such as victimhood, boundaries, addiction, triangulation, gaslighting, and self-destruction.


My Name is Sam Vaknin: Narcissists, Psychopaths, Abuse

Sam Vaknin discusses the prevalence of narcissists and psychopaths in society, their manipulative and dangerous nature, and the importance of recognizing and coping with them. He emphasizes the unique and pervasive nature of narcissistic abuse, and the necessity of implementing a comprehensive "no-contact" strategy to protect oneself from it.


Transformed Against Your Will Behind Narcissist's Glass, Darkly (with Luke Elijah)

Dr. Sam Vaknin, a professor of psychology and finance, discusses the differences between bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and psychopathy. He advises against confronting narcissists on their toxic behaviors and explains the psychology behind gaslighting and hoovering. Dr. Vaknin believes that while narcissists can change their behaviors, their internal state remains unchanged. He also clarifies the concept of healthy narcissism and expresses concern about the misinformation surrounding narcissism online.

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2023, under license to William DeGraaf
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