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Narcissism? Not What You Think! (An El-Nadi-Vaknin Convo)

Uploaded 2/5/2020, approx. 28 minute read

Hello, everyone, and welcome to this exclusive interview for my channel, The Pickup Trap, dedicated to educating about narcissism, and the top source in Arabic about the topic. I'm Sahar El-Nadi, and today we will learn about narcissism from one of its sources.

Dr. Sam Vaknin is our guest today. He has written one of the first books on narcissism when it was first being explored in depth. This is where the terms come from that we use today to describe narcissistic behavior. We'll get to that shortly, but first let me introduce my guest.

Dr. Sam Vaknin is visiting professor of psychology at Southern Federal University, Rostov in Russia, professor of finance and psychology at the Centre for International Advanced and Professional Studies. He has an incredible amount of work on malignant narcissism and psychopathy since 1995, including books, podcasts, blogs, articles, and videos.

And so, of course, his work was one of my rich resources of information when I started researching for my book, The Pickup Trap, in Arabic called Fakhr Tawus, published last year, and then for this channel as an audio companion to the book.

Sam, it's a great pleasure to have you here with us today.

You are extremely kind to have me. Thank you.

My listeners and readers have many questions on dealing with narcissists and recovering from narcissistic abuse, so we will be all ears listening to your insights today.

First of all, why are you an economist by education and practice, so interested in narcissism and educating and counseling people about it? Is there some connection between success in business, for example, finance and narcissism?

Well, actually, my academic degrees are in philosophy and physics and similar fields, but not in economics. I used to be economic advisor to governments. I used to be a businessman, I used to be a banker.

And there's a lot of narcissism, of course, in all these fields, as evidence, for example, in Wall Street. And narcissism, that only goes to show that narcissism is actually a positive trait. Healthy narcissism.

Interesting. Okay. Yeah, healthy narcissism.

I would appreciate if we don't have these interjections all the time, because it derails my train of thought, my apologies. It's my personal idiosyncrasy.

No problem. No problem. I'm sorry. I need to...

No, no, no, no. Don't your fault at all. It's my thing.

So healthy narcissism, known also as primary narcissism, is a very good thing. It leads to productive lives. It underlies a sense of self-worth. It underlies self-confidence and self-esteem. It drives people to have ambition and to compete with other people, to obtain relative positioning, and so on and so forth.

So healthy narcissism is, as the name implies, healthy. It is when narcissism goes awry, or to use the phrase coined by Kernberg, when it becomes malignant, that we have a problem, when it is pathologized, when it becomes cancerous.

But today, there is a growing body of evidence in academe as well, that there is subclass of narcissists. They're known as high-functioning narcissists, or productive narcissists, and even productive and high-functioning psychopaths, which are actually beneficial to society, and very successful in certain professions, and needed in order to further social goals, and to enhance the cohesion of society.

So we can't throw the baby with the bathwater, we need to make this distinction between the malignant forms and the healthy forms.

Perfect.

So your fascinating book, Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited, is one of the first books to talk about narcissistic personality disorder, when it was just starting to gain recognition. Narcissism was only recognized as a mental health category in 1980, in the DSM-3. Is that correct?

Yes.

Narcissism was first included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Edition 3, and then expanded massively in the text revision, which was 14 years later.

Okay. So what do we need to revisit about narcissism, in addition to the few points you just told us about how functioning narcissism, and narcissists, and psychopaths are useful to society?

Well, the truth is that the study of narcissism stagnated in the 1970s with Kohut. And ever since then, since the publication of the book by Christopher Lasch, The Culture of Narcissism, and the publication of Alexander Lowen's book, they died, the whole field died.

From the 1970s onwards, there hasn't been a single serious study of narcissism. There hasn't been a single book published about narcissism.

My book was not among the first, it was the first.

The website set up was the first, and for 10 years, the only website. The support groups that I have established for victims of narcissistic abuse have been the only support groups for well over six or seven years.

And the reason I'm mentioning this is to show you the lack of awareness, the lack of realization, even among victims, that they have been exposed to a unique form of abuse. Not run of the mill abuse, but a unique form of abuse.

And let me, with your permission, delineate the differences between the two.

Please. Yes.

In 1995, I coined the phrase narcissistic abuse. And of course, this raised immediately the question among scholars at the time and others, why do we need a subspecies of abuse? Why not just say abuse?

It's because narcissistic abuse is different.

In typical abuse, the abuser targets a dimension of the victim. The abuser can target the victim's body in physical and sexual abuse. The abuser can target the victim's insecurities, finances, legal status, whatever.

A typical abuser isolates a vulnerable dimension of the victim and attacks it relentlessly and repeatedly until the victim succumbs.

In narcissistic abuse, the picture is very different. The narcissist does not attack a single dimension. Actually, the narcissist does not single out any dimension or any aspect of the victim.

The narcissist attacks the very existence of the victim. The victim's being, the victim's separateness, the victim's individuality and personal autonomy, the victim's ability to operate in all settings, not only in a single setting. The victim's separateness, the victim's social milieu, the victim's financial independence, everything is attacked simultaneously in order to obliterate the victim as a separate object, as a distinct object in order to subsume the victim, to digest the victim, to merge and fuse with the victim.

Now, of course, this is understandable because narcissism, pathological narcissism, is the outcome, is the reactive pattern to a consistent repeated premeditated breach of the child's emerging boundaries as an individual.

When the child begins to separate from the parent and becomes an individual, a process known as separation and individuation, the immature parent, the narcissistic parent reacts with panic.

The parent tries to obliterate, to destroy, to eradicate the child's emerging boundaries, to prevent the child from acquiring any modicum of self-efficacy, agency, and personal autonomy.

The parent tries to take over the child as an extension of the parent, as an instrument of gratification, as a tool to realize the parent's unfulfilled dreams, as anything.

So the parent breaches the boundaries, again, physically, and that would be incest or sexual abuse or beating, repeated beatings, psychologically, verbally, in any possible way.

The narcissist, when he grows up, simply replicates the parental pattern. He treats his partner as a child and tries to prevent her from forming boundaries with him. And if she does have boundaries, he tries to remove them by force, by coercion, by bullying, and generally with a variety of transformations of aggression.

Narcissist panics when he's confronted with a disparate, distinct intimate partner.

Narcissist identifies intimacy with death.

The narcissist is an ancient Egyptian. He wants to mummify everyone.

Okay.

That's an interesting description I've never heard before. But actually, I thank you so much for the very detailed and accurate and precise description of the psychology of how a narcissist is made in childhood. Would you call that, is this acquired narcissism or should people have some biological predisposition to be narcissist or how does it work?

One should be very careful with the term acquired narcissism, because it was first proposed by Millman, a professor in Harvard, and Millman coined the phrase acquired situational narcissism. It describes late onset narcissism. Narcissism that begins to transpire in adulthood, and in response to certain life circumstances.

So Millman studied rock stars, and he discovered that these rock stars have been totally normal, non-narcissistic individuals, but owing to their exposure to celebrity and the onerous conditions of being famous, they reacted with narcissistic defenses so extremely that they had actually become narcissists. So this is late onset narcissism, like late onset dementia.

So as distinct from that, the typical pathological narcissism begins to develop between the ages of four and six. These are known as formative years, and it is in almost 100% of the cases, a reaction to an immature narcissistic parent who tries to force the child to not separate and to not individuate in a variety of ways by breaching boundaries, as I have described.

So narcissism is acquired.

However, there's a caveat. Ten children can be exposed in the same family to the same parents with similar upbringing and similar methods, yet only typically, only one of them would become a narcissist.

So it stands to reason that there is a genetic propensity and predisposition to narcissism, although we hadn't proved it yet. There's no specific gene or gene array, which is associated with narcissism, nor is there any knowledge about anything in the brain that corresponds directly with narcissism.

In psychopathy, we know that the brains of psychopaths are not the same as the brains of normal people. We also know that the bodies of psychopaths react very differently to the bodies of normal people, for example, when they are exposed to fear.

That is not the case with narcissists. We don't have a single physiological, cerebral, neural or genetic correlate between the body of the narcissist and his mind.

Yet the fact that not all children become narcissists when they are exposed to the same parents, and we are talking even about identical twins, proves probably that there is some genetic component. We have yet to discover it.

But as normal people, as everyday people, is there a way for us to be able to differentiate between a narcissist or malignant narcissist and a psychopath? Are there any differences?

Yes, quite a few, actually.

In dealing with them, if we are not having brain scans or anything like that in everyday life.

Absolutely. And that's precisely the reason why the committee of the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the fifth edition, which was published in 2013. This committee, which had deliberated for almost 20 years, the committee had decided to leave intact the two diagnoses, not to merge them. Although there were many voices, some of them influential, and even my voice, I was among the first to suggest that these are actually two sides of the same coin.

These views were rejected decisively. And over the years I grew to accept this rejection, and I reached a conclusion that I had been wrong, and these are really two distinct clinical entities.

Take into account, for example, the fact that narcissists are pro-social. In other words, they need other people. They need something called narcissistic supply, which is a fancy term for attention. The attention could be positive, could be negative, but they need attention all the time. They use this attention to regulate their sense of self-worth to establish a reality test. This attention is what tells them everything they need to know about themselves and their place in the world.

In the absence of this attention, they are very disoriented and gradually begin to crumble and disintegrate.

This attention is very crucial, and it is in effect what we call an ego function. It's something that most people perform from the inside, but the narcissist needs to import it from the outside.

The narcissist is dependent on other people. Because he's dependent on other people, he knows how to work with people. He knows how to flatter them. He knows how to manipulate them. He knows how to... He needs them.

The psychopath, on the other hand, in the vast majority of cases, is a lone wolf. The psychopath is anti-social, not pro-social. Even when the psychopath engages in a charm offensive, even when the psychopath has very well-developed social skills, even then, it's very short term. The psychopath would deploy the charm, would use his social skills, would strike like a snake, take what he wants, money, sex, power, and then turn it off.

The narcissist would never turn it off. The narcissist needs this to go on forever. Pro-social, anti-social.

The other thing, narcissists depend and seek only narcissistic supply.

The light motif, the main obsession and compulsion of the narcissist is to obtain narcissistic supply.

If the narcissist is interested in money, it's because he wants to use money to show off and to brag. By showing off and bragging, obtain attention.

Okay. That's the end that he needs, just to be able to show off with what he has. This is the objective of his objective.

The objective is to garner attention.

The psychopath is actually goal oriented. He wants money, so he gets money. He wants sex, he gets sex, he wants power, he gets power. He's goal oriented. He doesn't care what people think of him, about him. He's utterly uninterested in narcissistic supply. He's interested in the instruments that the narcissist uses to obtain supply, but he's interested in these instruments as the ends, not as the means.

Not as the means, exactly.

One interesting aspect of your book, Malignant Self Love, when I read, is that you actually include narcissists and psychopaths in the book as some of its audience. That is very fascinating. What do you hope to achieve from addressing people who are described, as you just told us right now, who are manipulative, who want to use other people, who want to grow their image and their place in life on the shoulders of others? How can they be your audience as well?

Well, everyone likes to read about, especially narcissists, likes to read about themselves. It's like a mirror.

Actually, narcissists are emotionally invested. They have a process called cathexis. They are emotionally invested. They're cathected in their own disorder.

It is untrue. It's a myth that narcissists are not self-aware. The vast majority of narcissists are totally self-aware.

Only they regard what other people regard as a disorder or a dysfunction, the narcissist regards as an evolutionary advantage. The narcissist considers this disorder as the next stage in evolution.

There is narcissists and there are inferior humans. When all humanity becomes narcissistic, this is the transition stage to the next level of evolution.

Narcissists are proud of their disorder and their dysfunction. They believe that it renders them unique. It renders them creative.

Many narcissists would say if I get rid of my narcissism, I will not be creative anymore. I will become humdrum. I will become like everyone else. I'll become an average Joe.

It is my narcissism that drove me to these accomplishments and this recognition and celebrity and whatever.

Narcissists cherish their narcissism as an asset. This is another distinction between narcissists and psychopaths.

Psychopaths are proud of the instrumental aspects of their disorder. A psychopath would tell you, I don't tolerate nonsense. Or if someone insults me, I kill him.

They are proud of their behavior, patterns and reactions. Narcissists are proud of the totality. Narcissists are proud of who they are.

Psychopaths are proud of what they do.

Okay. Interesting distinction. Very interesting distinction.

I shared your description of narcissists pathological envy in my episode about pathological envy for my listeners in Arabic. They were shocked at how dark it is. You put it really, really eloquently. You really have a way with words, Sam.

Can you tell us more about the deepest dark side of a malignant narcissist's psychology? The side that drives them to manipulate and use and maybe abuse other people? Can they control those urges? Are they able to distinguish between right and wrong? Are they able to stop themselves even if they have this very powerful drive to use others or abuse others? Do they have the tools to tell themselves, no, I'm not going to be doing that. Or are they compulsive about it? Are they forced to do it?

Well, the answer is both, strangely.

When you look at prison populations, which is a work done for many decades by Robert Hare, the foremost authority on psychopathy. When you look at prison populations, both narcissists and psychopaths know how to behave. They follow codes and rules, even unwritten rules among criminals. They don't breach boundaries. They don't challenge. They don't, so they know how to restrain themselves.

Why? Because to not restrain yourself in prison could be life-threatening.

So it seems that given the right incentives, for example, if you do this, you would be dead, which is quite an incentive, you must admit. Given the right incentives, psychopaths and narcissists know how to behave themselves. They know how to pay attention to the needs and boundaries of other people. They know how to respect other people and so on and so forth.

But in day-to-day life, in daily life, they don't care. And they don't care because there are no real sanctions. There's no real punishment for any of the things I've described.

Psychopaths and narcissists rarely get punished, extremely rarely, and they get away with a lot all the time.

And so they learn by process of, if you wish, operant conditioning or reinforcement. They learn that being daring, not paying attention to other people's rights, wishes, needs, emotions, boundaries, priorities, pays. Crime pays. Social crime, let's call it, pays.

Indeed, psychopaths, psychopathy, not long ago, until the 1940s, we used to be described as a character disorder. Or as a social disorder, not as a clinical entity, not as a psychological disorder.

And to this very day, I personally do not think that psychopaths are mentally ill. I think there are people whose view of society and what they can do and how they can operate in society is highly nonconformist and highly detrimental, of course, to everyone around them. But that doesn't amount to mental illness.

Not so narcissists. Narcissists are mentally disturbed.

And so there's another distinction between the two.

But both narcissists and psychopaths, if you give them the right incentives, if you threaten them with punishment, if you impose costs on their behavior, modify their behavior. And they become a lot more pro-social, conformist and observe other people's rights and boundaries. That's a fact.

So that means that can control their behavior. They just don't care.

Okay. This is very interesting and very important because of course, a lot of people who are interested in this topic, being victims of narcissistic abuse, want to know whether they should have more empathy for the narcissist since he or she is sick and unable to control the urges or whether he or she choose to do what they do and do it intentionally and fully aware of what they're doing. So he just gave us a very clear answer right here. Thank you.

Let me also, let me also be clear with your permission.

Yes, please.

Narcissistic personality disorder and personality disorders in general are not, are not mental illness. They are not forms of mental illness. They are disturbances in the regulation of some ego functions.

In other words, disturbances in the relationship between the individual and reality, an inability owing to underdeveloped empathy, something which I doubt cold empathy.

Inability because of, of a deficient form of empathy, inability to engage in intimacy, to have real interest in other people.

So these are, I would say, as Milan suggested, Theodore Milan, narcissism is actually, actually in my view as well, a personality style.

It's a very grating and abrasive and unpleasant and repulsive and dangerous and what have you personality style, but it is a personality style.

It is very unfortunate that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual owing to commercial insurance related reasons had polluted and contaminated the whole field of clinical psychology with problems which do not amount to mental illness.

Schizophrenia is mental illness. Bipolar disorder is mental illness, some form of depression, mental illness. No question about this.

Pedophilia to a large extent is mental illness, paraphilia, sexual paraphilia. I can give you a whole list. There's, there's enough mental illness to go around.

There was no need to include personality disorders, certain types of addictions and so on and so forth.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the first edition was published almost 70 years ago. The first edition had 100 pages. Today, the diagnostic and statistical manual is a thousand pages.

No other field of medicine had such inflation of diagnosis. If you look at cancer textbooks of the 1940s, they have more or less the same number of pages as cancer textbooks of today. There's no other fields in which the number of diagnoses went up 50 fold. There's something wrong with this inflation of diagnosis, you know?

So can, can, can narcissists be treated?

That's the next question related to what we were just discussing right now of whether it is a mental illness or a personality disorder or a character type. Do you think, there comes a moment for a narcissist, that makes him or her think, okay, enough of that. I need to look in the mirror, see who I really am, recognize that I'm hurting the people I love the most and seek help.

And if they do seek help in the end, can they really change? Would they heal from narcissism or will they only be given tools to control it?

I have to contest almost every part of your question.

Please.

First of all, you're using the terms treatment and heal, which relate to an illness, but narcissism is not an illness. Consequently, it cannot be treated and there's no need to heal from it.

Interesting. Okay.

That's the first thing.

Second thing you said, I'm hurting the people I love, but the narcissist hurts people because he's incapable of love. So there's no such thing as the narcissist's loved ones or then it's a contradiction. It's an oxymoron. It's a contradiction in terms. If you're a narcissist, you don't have loved ones.

So that's the second bone of contention in, in the question itself, not narcissism.

Narcissism, as I said, is not a mental illness. It's a mode, a complex mode, of relating to the world via the mediation of a psychological construct, which we call the false self.

It's simply a way of obtaining from other people some information and some emotional support that usually comes from the inside in a healthy person.

The narcissist lacks some equipment to regulate his internal environment, to regulate his emotions, to regulate his moods, to regulate his self-esteem, his self-confidence, and his sense of self-worth.

So what he does, the narcissist, because he doesn't have this equipment, to his so-called intimate partners, to people around him.

And he says, listen, guys, I'm an invalid. I'm crippled. Can you please help me? I don't have these and these functions. Can you help me with these functions?

And to motivate them to help him, the narcissist presents to them a facade, which is very convincing, a grandiose facade, which is also charming and manipulative and so on.

And so this coerces them in some way to help the narcissist in regulating his internal environment.

Now this does not amount to mental illness because we all, including healthy people, we all manipulate our human environment to obtain certain goals and to regulate our internal processes.

The question is a question of degree. Healthy people do it 10 and the narcissist does it 60. So it's only a question of degree.

The best we can hope to achieve with the narcissist is to teach him to regulate his psychology by himself to some extent, thereby weaning him off his dependence on other people and off his addiction to narcissistic supply.

There comes a point that he says, wow, I can do this by myself. I don't need other people. I don't need supply.

We can try to do that and we can try to teach the narcissist to modify certain behaviors which are counterproductive. In other words, which result in damage to himself.

The narcissist will not ever be motivated to modify behaviors which hurt and damage other people because he doesn't care about other people and he doesn't care about other people because they do not exist, in his mind, and they do not exist because he doesn't have empathy.

So the only way to convince a narcissist to modify his behaviors is to demonstrate to him conclusively that his behaviors are bad for him. They're counterproductive. They undermine his goals. They defer and postpone accomplishments that he could have had without this behavior and they alienate people around him, render them enemies, and then they conspire against him and hurt him and so on.

Once the narcissist is convinced that certain behaviors are bad for him, these behaviors change. That has been proven in therapy.

Now all treatment modalities, all therapies, all psychotherapies that exist today are absolutely useless and helpless when coping with narcissism.

This has many reasons, one of which is the fact that the narcissist competes with the therapist. He converts the therapy into a power play and he tries to either win over the therapist or subjugate the therapist or co-opt the therapist, bribe, corrupt the therapist.

So the dynamic is sick to start with is unhealthy and it's impossible to establish proper distance, therapeutic alliance, and so on. So all therapies fail with the narcissist.

This is precisely the reason why seven years ago I started to develop another treatment modality, which I dubbed Cold Therapy. This is a treatment modality that is built on a totally radically different perception of narcissism.

And starting from this, from this radical new way of looking at narcissism, I came up with a treatment modality that I at this stage applied to 47 people, all of them diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder officially. And six, five, four, and three years later, they score very close to zero on the relevant tests. So they have lost, they have lost their narcissism.

The cold therapy is based on two conceptual foundations, which view narcissism in a startling new way. I don't know if you want to talk about it, it's your show. So you'll tell me if you want.

We have a little time finished, so I'd like to move on to the next question and then you can come back and we discuss more in the next episode, if you like.

The question relevant to what you just told me is, can narcissists be manipulated?

I saw that in one of your articles, you were discussing this topic. What kind of person can do that, if at all?

Narcissists can easily be manipulated.

Tell us how.

Because narcissists believe that they are omniscient, they know everything, they're omnipotent, they are capable of everything. And they're godlike, they consider themselves gods. I actually regard narcissism as a form of private religion, where the narcissist worships his own false self.

So the narcissist is both God and worshiper.

So because of that, the narcissist believes himself to be invulnerable. He believes that no one can be better than him. No one can cheat him. No one can deceive him. No one can pull the wool over his eyes.

So he is not on his guard. He is utterly wide open to attacks by conmen and fraudsters and so on.

And psychopaths prey on narcissists.

In the ecosystem of mental disorders or psychological disorders or character, whatever you want to call them, psychopaths prey on narcissists and narcissists prey on victims. This is the packing order.

Because narcissists have something called pseudo stupidity. They are really pretty stupid.

Because their reality test is so distorted, they cannot perceive reality properly. They don't read social cues. They are grandiose, so everything is filtered through their grandiosity. They're hypervigilant, so they scan all the time for insults and humiliations.

So they are so preoccupied with this high cost, high energy maintenance of this regime that their flanks are wide open and psychopaths attack them and prey on them simply.

Thank you, because this is very important to our female listeners. The reason why I asked you this question is because a lot of women who are in love relationships with narcissistic men who are abusing them have the illusion that they can somehow acquire superpowers to be able to manipulate them, despite the fact that those women are themselves the victims.

And as you had just described to us in the ecosystem, the narcissists can be manipulated by someone like a psychopath, but definitely not by his own victim, probably.

And so we come to the next question of how can women in particular protect themselves from falling for the bad boy charm and charisma of a malignant narcissist? Can they at all avoid falling in the peacock trap? And how can they protect themselves from that kind of manipulation?

Well, they can't.

They can't?

They have fallen for narcissists for their own psychological reasons. And unless they treat these psychological reasons and change their own psychology, they are likely to fall in the same trap again and again and again, because they fall in this trap as a choice.

And by the way, usually with eyes wide open, they fall in this trap because the narcissist offers them a deal. The narcissist offers them excitement, offers them thrill, offers them risk, offers them abuse. This is the comfort zone of the vast majority of these women. From my experience, 20 something years, I have the biggest database in the world of victims and of narcissists.

And from my experience, women victims of narcissists are divided into three groups.

Healthy women, mentally healthy women, who simply misread the signs or were misled by a particularly astute and practiced narcissist. They discover the true face of the intimate partner as a narcissist and then they walk away. This is the first group and it's a minority group.

The second group are covert narcissists, inverted narcissists, women, themselves narcissists who find in the narcissist the perfect match. As a covert narcissist a narcissist who cannot obtain supply by herself. She needs to team up with a narcissist in order to obtain supply. And then she becomes an inverted narcissist.

So this group of women are narcissists.

Among the so-called empaths online, I find that the majority are actually covert narcissists who have been out-narcissized by a classic, classic overt narcissist. And this is also a minority group, a vocal, a very vocal minority group. They dominate the online scene.

And the third group, which is by far the majority group. These are women who are codependent, borderline, have problems, severe problems with attachment, extreme abandonment and separation anxiety, styles of interaction, which involve clinging and extreme dependency, attempt to merge and fuse with the loved one, attempt to control the loved one via merger and fusion, etc. All kinds of dysfunctional.

Would you call all them codependent? Are those codependent people or?

Some are codependent, some borderline, some others.

Okay.

But in all, in all these cases, these are dysfunctional attachment styles.

So this is the majority of women victims and they team up with narcissists because narcissists cater to their psychological needs. Narcissists are the perfect answer to their psychological needs. It's not an accident that they end up with narcissists. It's because narcissists gratify them because they need narcissists. Narcissists are helpful to them.

And so some of these women, for example, abuse is their comfort zone. They know how to cope with an abuser. They know the ropes, they know the rules, they know how to predict the abuser's behavior. Some of them force their intimate partners to become abusers in order to be in the comfort zone. Some of them are codependents.

And so they want to subsume and merge and fuse with the narcissist and the narcissist gives them the illusion through love bombing that this is possible, etc.

These are all very sick, pathological dynamics.

At the end of the day, these are sick relationships that should not be replicated, that should not be tolerated. The victim does have part of the responsibility of the abuse or going into the relationship that is hurting her without seeking help.

Sam, you have an enormous amount of information. I can't believe that we have managed to discuss so much in just 40 minutes, but this is getting a bit longer than usual. And I would like people to have the time to digest what you just told us.

So you are definitely welcome to come back and continue this interesting conversation, if you like.

With pleasure, it's up to you.

Thank you so much, Sam. It's been a pleasure talking to you. You're welcome to come back definitely. We have more exclusive surprises coming up, so please stay with us, people subscribe, stay with us. See you next time. And while you wait, please don't fall in the peacock trap.

This is Sahar El-Nadi wishing you health and happiness and see you next time.

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Narcissists may modify their behavior to become more socially acceptable, but they never heal or get better because they have an emotional investment in their disorder. Narcissistic personality disorder serves two critical functions: it endows the narcissist with a sense of uniqueness and provides an alibi for their misconduct. Narcissists reject the notion that they are mentally ill or disturbed, and their disorder becomes an integral and inseparable part of their inflated self-esteem and grandiose fantasies. The narcissist is emotionally attached to their narcissistic personality disorder and loves their disorder passionately.


Narcissist's Accomplices

Narcissism is prevalent in Western society and is encouraged by individualism, materialism, and capitalism. Narcissists are aided by four types of people and institutions: adulators, blissfully ignorant, self-deceivers, and those deceived by the narcissist. The narcissist rarely pays the price for their offenses, and their victims pick up the tab. The abused often believe they can rescue, heal, cure, or change the narcissist with their love and empathy, but this is a grandiose fantasy.


Insider View on Narcissism: What Makes Narcissist Tick (News Intervention Interview)

Narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by a lack of empathy, grandiosity, and attention-seeking behavior. Narcissistic abuse is a subtype of abusive behavior that is pervasive, sophisticated, and manipulative, with the intention to negate the victim's personal autonomy and well-being. Victims of narcissistic abuse often experience depression, anxiety, disorientation, and trauma bonding. To cope with narcissists, one can employ various techniques, such as setting boundaries, avoiding confrontation, and seeking support from others.


Narcissist Never Sorry

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


Narcissism 101 and Narcissistic Abuse 101 with Robert Stark

Narcissism is on the rise due to societal changes that encourage self-promotion and attention-seeking behavior. Narcissists are pro-social and dependent on others for validation, while psychopaths are anti-social and do not depend on others. Narcissism is considered an environmental condition, reacting to trauma and adapting for survival. Therapy for narcissism has limited long-term effects on the core of the disorder, but can modify behaviors and communication patterns.


Idealized, Devalued, Dumped

Narcissists have a cycle of overvaluation and devaluation, which is more prevalent in borderline personality disorder than in narcissistic personality disorder. The cycle reflects the need to be protected against the whims, needs, and choices of other people, shielded from the hurt that they can inflict on the narcissist. The overvaluation and devaluation mechanism is the most efficient one available to the narcissist, as the narcissist's personality is precariously balanced and requires inordinate amounts of energy to maintain. The narcissist's energies are all focused and dedicated to the task concentrated upon the source of supply he had identified.


Your Empathy as Narcissistic Injury: Narcissist Never Learns, No Insight

Narcissists reject empathy and intimacy because it challenges their grandiosity, and they become paranoid and aggressive when someone tries to be intimate with them. Narcissists lack empathy and access to positive emotions, leading to a truncated version of empathy called "cold empathy." Narcissists are self-aware but lack the incentive to get rid of their narcissism, and therapy is more focused on accommodating the needs of the narcissist's nearest and dearest. Cold Therapy is experimental and limited, as it removes the false self but does not develop empathy or improve the narcissist's interpersonal relationships.

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