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Narcissism Virus: Genes, Deception, Brain, Mind (Compilation)

Uploaded 2/22/2024, approx. 3 hour 43 minute read

My favorite pastime on Sunday, when I'm not drinking wine, of course, is to throw out the trash.

And so I will start with this. I will try to clear a lot of nonsense online, which unfortunately made its way offline as well.

And we will be discussing the role of genetics and heredity in narcissism.


Is narcissism, pathological narcissism, and more specifically, narcissistic personality disorder, is it an inherited thing? Are you born with it? Or are you made into a narcissist in early childhood, as the vast majority of psychological theories suggest?

Now, this is not the first video I'm making about this topic. There are a few others.

Your well advice to look for them, search the channel and to watch them, perhaps, before you watch this one.

This one is a bit more grounded in studies and literature and research and is cutting edge.

I'm going to bring you the latest in the field, as I always do on this channel because I am Sam Bakni, the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism, Revisited: a former visiting professor of psychology and currently on the faculty of CEAPs.

Let's start by clearing one major misconception.

Heritability is not the same as gene specificity. What a mouthful!

Heritability means that when we see a trait, a phenotypic trait in a population, a component is hereditary.

Some segment, some element of the trait is hereditary. We would tend to believe that or we would tend to think that the trait is manifested in the cohort, in the population because of some genetic transmission or transmission via genes.

This is heritability. So, heritability is never in individuals and it is an observational thing.

We observe traits, the manifestation of traits, and we make an assumption that there is a contribution of heritability or genetics or genes to the emergence of the trait the way it does and in the frequency it does in a population.

Now, this is not the same as gene specificity. In other words, by saying that a certain trait manifests because of heridity or there is a hereditary component, genetic component, it is not the same like saying that a specific gene is responsible for this trait.

There is no one-to-one correspondence or mapping. Moreover, genes never operate alone. It is not a light switch.

Genes never, even never express themselves alone. Genes work in groups known as arrays. So, gene arrays are responsible for the emergence of traits.

And the gene array, which sometimes includes thousands of genes, the gene array interacts with the internal environment, for example, hormones, and with the external environment, and this is known as epigenetics.

So, it's much more complicated. There is absolutely no such thing as a gambling gene or a narcissism gene, or this is rank, unmitigated, total horse, you know, total nonsense.

And the irresponsible scientists who appear in the media because they like to see their ugly faces reflected, it's a narcissistic grandiose thing, they are ruining the profession.

What they are doing is utterly unethical. There is no single gene that is responsible to any human trait, let alone a combination of traits, let alone a confluence of traits and behaviors, for example, in a personality disorder.

So, heritability means nothing. It just means that in large populations, a certain trait would be manifested more than probability would allow.

And this indicates an underlying genetic propensity, but not any specific gene and not a genetic substrate.

So, this is number one.

Number two, narcissistic personality disorder is not, I don't know, tuberculosis. It's not localized. It's all pervasive. Narcissism is the narcissist. Narcissism is a personality structure. It encompasses traits, behaviors, reactions, responses, emotions, cognitions. It's a multifaceted, ginormously complicated phenomenon that cannot be reduced to any single gene, any single neural pathway in the brain, any single area of the brain. It cannot even be reduced to the total activity of the brain or the total genetics or genetic map or genome of the individual.

No, it cannot be reduced this way.

And anyone who says otherwise is either a charlatan or someone in pursuit of instant celebrity, both frowned upon in academe.


Number four, the very definition of the construct of narcissistic personality disorder is in flux.

It's in flux. Today, we are phasing out the nine criteria of narcissistic personality disorder that characterize the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.

They're being phased out. They're being phased out in favor of a dimensional alternative model.

And this will be the diagnostic landscape in the sixth edition of the DSM, the forthcoming edition of the DSM.

Additionally, we are transitioning from a static view of narcissistic personality disorder type constant view, your grandiose.

So your grandiose. So your grandiose. That's it. We're transitioning from this very primitive view of narcissism to a much more nuanced and dynamic model where there is no type of constancy, where every overt grandiose in your face, defiant, obnoxious narcissist is also shy and fragile and vulnerable, depending on circumstances, on anxieties, on stress, on life events, life crisis and so on and so forth.

So there's no type of constancy. There's a dynamic landscape.

Narcissism is a flux. It's a river, not a pond.

And finally, we are transitioning from an egosyntonic view of narcissism, the belief that the narcissist is happy go lucky, is comfortable with who he is, admires himself, feels good about himself and believes that he is the next stage in evolution.

All true, all true at times. But we are transitioning from this model to an egosyntonic model, compensatory model, where we believe that pathological narcissism compensates for deep set insecurities and a sense of inferiority.

So we are transitioning from overt to an overt to a covert model.

Now, all this is still a work in progress. And therefore, it begs the question, if we don't know what is narcissistic personality disorder, how can we then map it onto a gene? How can we say a gene or an array of genes cause narcissistic personality disorder if we fail either to even define what narcissistic personality disorder is?

And remember, heritability is not gene specificity.

So the answer to the question is no, we are not aware of any gene or combination of genes which are responsible for narcissism. Period.

We are not even aware of any brain activity or abnormality, structural or functional, which causes narcissism. Again, period.

You can switch off now because the rest of the video substantiates what I just said.

Okay, we start by I will start by acknowledging that there is a hereditary contribution, a genetic contribution in other cluster B personality disorders, most notably borderline personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder, especially the malignant extreme form known colloquially but not clinically as psychopathy.

So I refer to a study by Dylala, Diaz, Jamnik and others titled Toward the Dark Side, Temperament, Personality and Genetics related to antisocial behaviors.

It was published in Behavior Genetics of Temperament and Personality Advances in Behavior Genetics.

It's a book by Springer published in 2020. And there's a great literature review there. That's why I'm referring to this specific.

Now in the literature under the in the description under the video, there's a literature list as is my habit.

And I'm going to read to you the summary of the chapter.

Several personality factors associated with criminality, for example, impulsivity, psychopathy have genetic components, specifically the dopaminergic system and various dopamine candidate genes may be related to these personality traits.

Preliminary research on gene environment correlations, it's known as RGE, gene environment correlations may shed some light on the relationship between genetic and environmental influences.

Although these assumptions remain challenging to test empirically.

In contrast, several researchers have found interactions between genes and environment, GXE, such that certain environmental stressors, harsh interactions, poverty may impact the phenotypic presentation of genetic vulnerabilities.

In other words, how specific genes express themselves and are observable via traits or behaviors. So to summarize, antisocial aspects, antisocial behaviors, antisocial traits in antisocial personality disorder, including but not limited to criminality, do probably reflect some genetic contribution, possibly even a pronounced genetic contribution.

It's a behavior, specific behavior. It's not a complex. It's not a whole picture. It's not a big picture. It's highly specific behavior.

So there there is a chance that one day we'll be able to reduce it to an array of genes and then maybe turn them off and prevent crime altogether.

Similarly, in borderline personality disorder, there is heritability. Your chances to develop borderline personality disorder is anywhere from three to five times higher.

So if any of your relatives has borderline personality disorder, which is why borderline personality disorder is definitely a clinical entity and anyone who says otherwise have no idea what he's talking about.

Borderline personality disorder is real and it is a clinical entity. However, it may be best captured and best described as a form of post-traumatic emotional dysregulation.

I agree. But clinically, of course, it exists and it has a strong, indisputable, observable genetic component.

Now, even when the relative in question, relative with a borderline personality disorder, does not reside with the child, does not educate the child, does not raise or care give, even then someone born into a family of borderlines is a lot more likely to develop borderline, even if that person has not been exposed to the family at all.

And that is a strong indicator of genetics. Also, we know that in both psychopathy and borderline personality disorder, there are abnormalities, structural and functional of the brain, multiple areas in the brain and multiple pathways and multiple interconnectedness between various areas.

So this is all true psychopathy and borderline. And this raises the question. If narcissism and borderline are so closely related, if their first cousins or even if they are flip sides of the same coin as Kernberg has claimed, and I'm very close to claiming, if this is the case, then is it not safe to assume that narcissism also has a pronounced genetic component?

Well, possibly. I'm saying possibly and not of course, and not certainly, because narcissism is a different set of defenses.

And these defenses manifest and are expressed in a way so dissimilar to borderline personality disorder that we are forced to give up on the assumption, however appealing, the assumption that they both share the same genetic substrate or the same genetic environment or the same genetic predisposition or proclivity.

It seems that narcissists and borderlines evolve so differently, choose different defense mechanisms, process reality very differently, because they are very different in the genetic sense.

They're very different. They're predisposed differently. They are similar in psychodynamic ways. They're similar in some ways. But these ways, the similarities are ironically not reducible to genetics, while the dissimilarities can easily be attributed to genetics.

That's why, no, we can't learn anything from the genetics of a reality of borderline personality disorder with regards to narcissistic personality disorder.

In a study published in 2015, researchers at the University of Michigan, they recruited 40 plus boys between the ages of 16, 17, some of them adolescents.

And they administered to them the MPI, the narcissistic personality inventory, and they isolated those of the boys who were more narcissistic than the others.

So they had like a control group of non narcissistic boys and a group of narcissistic boys.

Now, mind you, I am diagnosing narcissistic personality disorder in a 16 year old or a 17 year old is a no no. It's bad practice.

So the whole study is tainted from its very inception. We cannot safely diagnose narcissistic personality disorder prior to age 21, at least in many scholars say 25.

And these are dominant prominent scholars. So the whole study is questionable to use an understatement.

But they have discovered that teenagers with higher levels of grandiose narcissism had a higher activity in an area of the brain known as the social pain network.

So the more grandiose the kid, the more the more narcissistic the teenager, the more active was the part of the brain known as the social pain network.

It's a collection of brain regions, including the insula, the anterior, cingulate, cortex and so on and so forth.

And this area of the brain is associated with distress in the face of social exclusion.

That's fascinating because first of all, it implies vulnerability. It's more covert than overt. And it demonstrates on the cerebral neurological level the narcissist's absolute dependence on other people's input, acceptance, approbation, adulation, admiration, or at the very least attention, which what all scholars have been saying for like 100 years.

Even more interesting was the fact that the area in the brain which processes distress in social exclusion cases when the child is ostracized, burned, ridiculed, mocked, avoided, etc. This area lights up.

And there's a lot of distress, of course, subjective distress. As anyone who has short social anxiety or is avoidant, they will tell you how distressing this is. It's very traumatic and it leads often to depression.

So they asked the kids, they asked the adolescents, are you feeling distress? And none of them said I'm feeling distress. Even the narcissistic grandiose adolescents whose brain was signaling enormous distress, even they did not report subjective, experienced distress.

And that is the denial part in narcissism. Narcissists have no access to their own internal world. They have no introspection. They have access, but they have no introspection. They falsify everything. They have a pronounced fantasy defense. They deny any vulnerability and any imperfection.

There was another study by Joke and Gratz.

So Joke and his colleagues conducted a study, an FMRI study, with men and women. And they discovered something very interesting. Women react very, very differently to men. Very.

It's as if there were two species. Both men and women in the study had high levels of grandiose narcissism, and both of them were subjected to the same set of experiments.

And yet the men showed higher activity in parts of the anterior cingulate cortex associated with negative emotions, social pain, and so on and so forth.

And the women didn't, but the women reacted this way when they were shown images of themselves.

I'm going to repeat this. It's a very fascinating, fascinating experiment.

When men were exposed to what they perceive to be social pain, negative emotions and so on, and these men had higher levels of grandiose narcissism, they showed more activity in the area of the brain that is a part of the social exclusion or social pain network, area known as anterior cingulate cortex.

But women didn't react this way. Even when women were exposed to social pain and social exclusion, they didn't react like the men. They didn't react like the men.

So this is very interesting.

And it begins to tell us that narcissism in men is not the same as narcissism in women.

And of course, it falsifies many of the things I've been saying.

But I owe you the truth, and I follow where the evidence leads.

I was of the opinion that female narcissism and male narcissism, especially in today's world, where women are very masculinized according to studies, to many studies, especially in today's world, both women and men would basically have the same type of narcissism.

But brain studies demonstrate that women react very differently. At least they react very differently to rejection.

And so men are much more invested emotionally in being accepted, belonging, in influencing, in gathering narcissistic supply.

The bodies of narcissists, both men and women, indicate extremely elevated stress.

The bodies of narcissists are flooded with stress hormones, especially cortisone.

That is easily explained by traditional theory. Narcissists are constantly anxious.

Now we know that psychopaths are actually anxious as well.

There are even outliers, myself included, who are trying to reconcile psychopathy as an anxiety disorder.

But put that aside, anxiety is a very common reaction in narcissism.

So is depression. The narcissist is anxious. Will he be able to obtain supply? Will he fail to garner supply? Will he experience a collapse? Is someone insulting him? Is this an injury? Is he about to be mortified? Is he being betrayed? He's a big paranoid because paranoid ideation, paranoia is a form of narcissism.

It puts the paranoid in the center of attention. It places the paranoid at the heart of conspiracies and malevolent intent.

So paranoia is a variant of narcissism. Paranoia, of course, is all the time anxious. Narcissism is anxiety. It's very often comorbid with anxiety and depression, as we see in the work of Ilsa Roninztov.

So it's not surprising that narcissist bodies are suffused, drowning, flooded with cortisol and other stress hormones.

In 2020, there was a study by Royce Lee at the University of Chicago and his colleagues, of course, And they reported that people with NPD and also, by the way, BPD, both narcissists and borderlines, have greater concentrations of molecules associated with oxidative stress, a stress response at the cellular level.

So their blood was flooded with the byproducts of processing stress on the cellular level.

I want to read to you something that Jauk said in an interview we granted to the September 2023 edition of Scientific American.

He said, "Vulnerability is always there, but maybe not always expressed. And under particular circumstances, such as in the lab, you can observe signs of vulnerability at the physiological level, even if people say, 'I don't have vulnerability.' He continued to say that the neuroscience of narcissism is incredibly interesting, but at the same time, I'm very hesitant to interpret any of these results.

Actually, this was someone else. It was Mitya Beck, a psychologist in Germany.

So, I would say this is a great summary. All narcissists are vulnerable, but many of them are not aware of the vulnerability until they experience an adverse circumstance.

A life crisis, a threat, an abandonment, humiliation, modification, injury. Only then, the most in-your-face, antisocial, resilient, powerful, amazingly untouchable narcissists, even then, they fall apart and they discover their vulnerability.

It's point number one. Point number two, neuroscience and genetics are not conclusive sciences. They are correlative sciences.

And I'm hesitant to use the word sciences. So, be careful. Don't jump to conclusions and don't listen to know-it-alls online, including know-it-alls with academic degrees, who unscrapulously and unethically misinterpret results of flimsy research, non-representative samples, and basically useless studies, non-rigorous studies, in order to make proclamations and promulgations of breakthroughs and amazing discoveries.

Don't listen to these sensationalists. Science is not sensational. Science is incremental, gradual, slow, and glacial.

Now, let's proceed. It's from the Oxford Handbook of Evolution and Emotions, published by Oxford University Press, and it's a chapter titled "Narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Evolutionary Roots and Emotional Profiles."

I'm going to read to you, again, a paragraph.

"Behavioural genetics has established, say the authors, a heritability component for narcissism, and they refer to an overview by Vernon in 2008.

While this does not imply that specific genes are associated with narcissism because heritability does not signify a genetic substrate, remember how we opened the video?

And also, I refer you to a work by Jackson, 2011. The authors continue, "This finding that there is a heritable component in narcissism, this finding is a necessary yet insufficient condition for showing that narcissism is a genetic basis.

I refer to studies by Livesley, which I will analyze in a minute. These are the original studies of genetics in narcissism, 1993. I'll deal with these studies in a minute.

Evidence, the authors continue, evidence in search of specific genes that reflect narcissism is lacking.

There is scant research evidence on the molecular genetics of narcissism, so it is difficult to draw conclusions regarding putative gene narcissism associations.

Some researchers examine polymorphisms in the 5-HTTL-PR gene, which codes for serotonin transporters. This genetic variant has been linked to a variety of psychiatric disorders and symptoms, including several personality traits associated with psychopathy and narcissism.

And they are referring to studies by Bremer, 2016, Luo and Kai, 2018, Sadegh as early as 2010, and so on and so forth.

This particular gene is well studied, and it really makes an appearance in many mental disorders, dysfunctions and illnesses.

And still, this research, they say, and it's a recent book, this research is in its infancy, and it is not yet known what genes or combinations of genes might play a role in the development of narcissism.

Indirect evidence of a genetic basis for narcissism comes from genetic associations with antagonism and extroversion, and the corresponding biological psychology literature pertaining to these broad personality traits.

As noted earlier, both grandiose and vulnerable narcissism are antagonistic traits at their core, and they are referring to work by Crow, Weisz and others, 2020.

Consistent with this view, grandiose narcissism and vulnerable narcissism involve disagreeableness.

Miller, 2011, Paul Hausen, Williams, as early as 2002, Vasil and others in 2008, and so on and so forth.

In other words, there are traits. These traits are hurtable, but we are very far from identifying specific genes which work in narcissism, extremely far.

We are not even sure that there are such genes, and what would their individual contribution be. Maybe it's not the genes, maybe it's a combination of genes, and the interaction of the genes with the internal environment, or its response to an external environment.

Maybe 6000 genes are involved. We don't know yet.

Neighboring research has shown that narcissism, and I'm continuing to quote from the book, neighboring research has shown that narcissism, particularly the grandiose variant, is strongly positively correlated with extroversion.

Lee and Ashton, 2004, Paul Hausen, Williams, 2012, too, which is indeed evident across different measures of the big five, the big five personality traits.

Most research in this literature, including both self-report and behavioral measures, is consistent with Paul Hausen's minimalist assertion that grandiose narcissists are disagreeable extroverts.

Because grandiose narcissism manifests as disagreeable extroversion, any genetic basis for disagreeableness and for extroversion could be taken as indirect evidence of a genetic basis for narcissism.

Multiple studies have provided evidence of specific genes associated with extroversion and agreeableness.

Kim, 2015, Sanchez-Wooich, 2018, and others.

Although there is stronger such evidence for extroversion than agreeableness, Lure, 2017, and again Sanchez-Wooich, who kind of was critical of some of the studies.

These genetic factors, continuous detects, account for approximately one to 20% of the variants in extroversion and agreeableness in genome-wide association studies and polygenic studies.

We will use a round number percentage, let's say 10%, as a heuristic for the genetic basis for narcissism, recognizing that the confidence interval is large.

By the way, across the field, heritability has been linked to specific genes or gene arrays only 5% of the time. That's how weak the connection is.

We assert, say the authors, that the genetic components for these two traits, agreeableness and extroversion, are approximately 10%, which, albeit lower than the common heuristic of 50% heritability for personality traits based on behavioral genetic research, indirectly suggests a genetic basis for narcissism, because narcissism appears to be partly genetically inherited.

Next, we consider two primary pathways, perhaps somewhat positively intertwined, that may help explain the evolution of narcissism and how it was selected, sexual selection and natural selection.

Are personality disorders the outcomes of inherited traits? Are they brought on by abusive and traumatizing upbringing? Or maybe they are the set results of the confluence of both?

So, this is the question that I posed in the year 2000, exactly.

That's a question I posed.

And I would like to review the beginnings of the literature, how the initial, the first, the pioneers, try to tackle the question, because I think their choices, their decisions, their preferences, dictated the field and the study and the biases to this very day.

To identify the role of heredity, researchers have resorted to a few tactics.

They studied the occurrence of similar psychopathologies in identical twins separated at birth, in twins and siblings who grew up in the same environment, and in relatives of patients, usually across a few generations, and the extended family.

Tellingly, twins, those raised apart and those raised together, show the same correlation of personality traits, which is 0.5.

And I refer you to studies by Bouchard, Licken, Midyut, Sigel, Teledgan, 1990.

Even attitudes, values and interests have been shown to be highly affected by genetic factors in twins.

Waller, Cojiting, Bouchard, Licken, again 1990. That was the beginning of the whole field.

A review of the literature demonstrates the genetic component in certain personality disorders, mainly antisocial, schizotypal, is strong.

And I refer you to studies by Thapar and McGuffin in 1993.

Negan Goldsmith found a connection in 1993 between schizoid and paranoid personality disorders and schizophrenia, which we know is genetically determined, or at least as a strong genetic component.

The three authors of the Dimensional Assessment of Personality Pathology, Lice, Lichen Jackson and Schroeder, joined forces with Zhang in 1993 to study whether 18 of the personality dimensions are heritable.

They found that 40 to 60% of the recurrence of certain personality traits across generations can be explained by heredity.

Most notably, anxiousness, callousness, cognitive distortion, narcissism, antisociality, rigid thinking, and rigid behavior, oppositionality, rejection, restricted expression, social avoidance, stimulus seeking, and suspiciousness.

Each and every one of these qualities is associated with a personality disorder and with a hereditary component.

In a roundabout way, therefore, this study supports the hypothesis that personality disorders are hereditary.

And this goes a long way towards explaining why, in the same family, with the same set of parents in an identical emotional environment, children who were brought up the same way, like the same people, even twins, grow to have personality disorders, while others are perfectly normal.

So you could have five children, one of them becomes a narcissist, one becomes a codependent, and three of them are totally normal and healthy and mock the other two, lifelong.

Surely this divergence indicates a genetic predisposition of some people to develop personality disorders.

Otherwise, all children raised up in a dysfunctional family with a dead mother would have become personality disorder.

And that's absolutely not the case.

A very small minority of children go on to develop personality disorders.

And still, this oft-touted distinction between nature and nurture may be merely a question of semantics.

And this is where the origin of the field in the early 90s, in my view, created a stalemate, led to stagnation, to a dead end, because the original thinkers, including Liefsley, who is great, the original thinkers assumed that it's a yes or no proposition.

Either genetics influence, either genetic genes determine the emergence of personality disorders later in life, or they don't. There's no middle ground.

And there's no interaction between genes and environment, internal, external, circumstances.

They were not aware, in other words, of possible epigenetic effects.

I wrote in my book Malignant SiflareSiflave Nastisism Revisited in 1995.

When we are born, we are not much more than the sum of our genes and their manifestations.

Our brain, which is a physical object, is the residence of mental health and mental health disorders.

Mental illness cannot be explained without resorting to the body, and especially to the brain.

And our brain cannot be contemplated without considering our genes.

Thus, any explanation of our mental life that leaves out our hereditary makeup and our neuropsychology is lacking.

Such lacking theories are nothing but literary narratives. They're not science.

Psychoanalysis, for instance, is often accused of being divorced from corporeal reality.

I would just add that today neuroscientists are trying to create a bridge between neuroscience and psychoanalysis, with amazing results, by the way.

I'm continuing to read from my book Malignant Siflave Nastisism Revisited, written in 1995.

Our genetic baggage makes us resemble a personal computer.

We are an all-purpose universal machine.

Subject to the right programming, conditioning, socialization, education, upbringing, we can turn out to be anything and everything.

A computer can imitate any other kind of discrete machine, given the right software.

It can play music, screen movies, calculate, print, paint.

Compare this to a television set.

A television set is constructed and expected to do one and only one thing.

It is a single purpose and a unitary function.

We, human beings, are more like computers than like television sets.

It is true that single genes rarely account for any behavior and any trait.

An array of coordinated genes is required to explain even the minutest human phenomenon.

Discoveries of a gambling gene here and an aggression gene there are derided by more serious and less publicity-prone scholars.

Yet it would seem that even complex behaviors, such as risk-taking, reckless driving, and compulsive shopping, have some genetic underpinning.

And to end, I refer you to the seminal study, which is still cited decades later, by Lifesly, Jank, Jackson, and Vernon in 1993, titled "Genetic and Environmental Contributions to Dimensions of Personality Disorders".

It was published by the American Journal of Psychiatry, volume 150.

What a way to end.

Narcissism is a virus. Narcissism is a global pandemic.

It rages throughout the earth across cultures, civilizations, and societies.

I'm going to teach you how to vaccinate yourself.

The virus of narcissism evades your immunity and attacks you unexpectedly.

You need to be prepared. You need to be protected.

And above all, you need to make sure it never happens again.

Stay tuned. Here is what you need to know.

These are insights borrowed from the sciences of virology and epidemiology, and applied to the pseudoscience of psychology.

In 1998, I granted my first interview on narcissism.

It was titled "The Ambassador of Narcissism".

There I said that narcissism is an epidemic.

Many years later, Keith Campbell used it as the title of his book, "The Narcissism Epidemic".

Narcissism can be easily compared to a virus.

First of all, the incidence and prevalence of narcissism in the global population, and especially among the younger generation, is exploding.

There's no other way to describe it.

Young people are five times as likely to be narcissistic or full-fledged narcissists than older generations.

We have studies by Twenge, Campbell, numerous others, to substantiate this.

Social media had contributed to the emergence of this pandemic, but it is a pandemic.

What can the sciences of virology, epidemiology, and medicine in general teach us on how to protect ourselves?

Well, first of all, for a virus to spread, the virus needs a naive, susceptible population, a population that had never been exposed to this virus before and therefore has no immune, ready-made immune response.

In 1995, when I started my work in coin-de-freeze narcissistic abuse, the population was definitely naive and susceptible.

People didn't know anything about narcissism. They didn't know how to identify it. They didn't know how to defend themselves against it. They didn't know what to do. There were no prescriptive measures, no strategies, nothing. There was one huge vacuum.

Even among scholars, there were serious disagreements as to what on earth is narcissism to start with.

Juhé Dzur, who said that narcissism is a fixation on an early phase of development, with emphasis on autoeroticism, especially sexual autoeroticism.

Juhé Dzur, who said that narcissism is healthy actually, but it can go awry in the process of constellating the self, creating the self.

In the process of introversion, narcissism can take over and become malignant. You had Melanie Klein and her followers, including Otto Kanner, Harry Gartner, many of the object relations schools, Fairbairn and others, who said that narcissism are actually a schizoid phenomenon. It's a problem of people who withdraw their emotions, withdraw their involvement, withdraw their object relations and internalize it. They don't interact with other people properly or at all.

You had someone like Huud, who said that narcissism is a problem with a self-object, etc.

There was massive, substantial, fundamental disagreement as on what on earth is narcissism to start with.

And then if you don't know what it is, how can you shield yourself from it?

The situation is reminiscent to what had happened when new viruses emerge, when we don't know anything about the new virus.

And there are great, massive debates in the medical community as to what is the virus, how does it propagate, how does it infect, how should we protect ourselves, etc.

This was the situation in 1995.

So the population at large, laymen, were definitely naive and susceptible. They were open to infection with narcissism in two ways.

As victims of narcissism, in a process that I described as narcissistic abuse, and as victims of complex trauma, CPTSD, who develop narcissistic and psychopathic reactions, traits and behaviors, narcissistic and psychopathic, overlay.

So very much like vampires and zombies, if you were bitten by a narcissist, you could either become one or you could die mentally, sometimes physically.

So here was the virus of narcissism, unleashed on an unsuspecting, gullible, open, empathic, receptive, naive, susceptible population, and the experts couldn't agree as to what it was and what should be done.

There was 1995.

Now, every virus has a life cycle. It starts as what we call a wild type. A wild type is the prototype, the template, the initial virus. It could be a zoromotic virus, a virus that is transferred from an animal to a human being, and it could be human to human transmission virus, but it's a wild type.

Gradually, as the virus replicates within cells, there are replication errors. There are mistakes in the copying of the virus, and the virus begins to mutate. These mistakes are called mutations.

So slowly we are beginning to have mutant viruses, viruses which are not exactly identical copies of the original. Most of these mutations, the overwhelming vast majority of these mutations, are benign or even helpful. Viruses end up becoming enfeebled and weak, and finally peter out and die owing to such mutations.

The Spanish flu ended this way when the virus had mutated to its own disadvantage and couldn't infect people anymore.

So mutations are not a bad thing. But if your mutations accumulate, they can become dangerous, especially if they accumulate on critical parts of the virus, for example, the spike or the membrane.

So in this case, we have isolates, also known as variants. They are sufficiently recognizable as the wild type original, but they have important changes and alterations which allow them to enhance one or more traits, such as transmissibility, how contagious they are, how deadly they are, how lethal they are.

So we have variants, isolates. And then finally, if a sufficient number of mutations accumulate, we have strains.

Strains are deviations from the wild type original virus that are beginning to be actually new viruses.

The same process is happening with narcissism.

The wild type narcissism occurs in early childhood.

It is the outcome of trauma and abuse, including behaviors which are not recognized widely as trauma and abuse, but are actually traumatic and abusive.

If the parents does not allow the child to separate, to become an individual, to individuate, if the parents isolate the child from the beneficial impact of reality, don't allow the child to grow up.

If the parents idolize the child, thereby generating in the child a grandiose defense.

If the parents parentify the child, force the child to behave as an adult and to become their parent, all these behaviors, spoiling, pampering, all these behaviors are actually abusive because they bridge the boundaries, the emerging boundaries of the child.

At that point, some children become viral.

They develop a wild type virus, an original virus, that we call primary narcissism turned secondary.

So this is a type of narcissism that is already pathologized.

As these people, as these children grow up and become ostensible adults, they actually remain children for the rest of their lives.

The core, the core wild type virus of narcissism is always there and that's why they can never grow up.

But they give a good imitation, they give a good show of being adults.

So as they become adults or pseudo adults or imitation adults, as they emulate adults, the virus of narcissism mutates because they have to adapt.

They have to adapt to circumstances, they have to adapt to objects, to other people.

They have to adapt to expectations, they have to adapt to social mores, to the law.

I mean, numerous constraints act on the wild type viral narcissism.

So the narcissism itself mutates.

Now, if the narcissism is antisocial, for example, the mutations weaken the narcissism and psychopathic narcissists, antisocial narcissists get rid of most of their narcissism spontaneously by the age of 45 or 50.

But if the narcissism is not antisocial, not psychopathic, the mutations lead to isolates, lead to variants.

And these variants are more self efficacious than the original wild type.

Narcissism in the vast majority of cases becomes more dangerous, more transmissible, more lethal, more deadly, more risky as time passes because it mutates into variants.

We will discuss in a minute why variants are more dangerous than the wild type.

So narcissists evolve, shape shift, change, transform in ways that render them much more ominous and dangerous.

And finally, there are strains of narcissism.

A typology of narcissism, somatic, cerebral, covert, inverted, etc. etc. All these strains are not evident in childhood.

They are the outcome of cumulative mutations over the life of the narcissist.

Moreover, exactly like in nature, narcissism combines with other mental health disorders.

It disguises underlying conditions.

It undergoes something which in virology, in genetics, we call genetic drift and antigenic shift.


Let's go back to medicine for a while.

Viruses, as they mutate and so on and so forth, fluctuate.

They change some of their genetic material subtly, imperceptibly almost.

And this is the genetic drift.

But sometimes they undergo a massive change in genes, in the genetic material.

And this is called the antigenic shift.

They become effectively an almost completely new virus.

Now, narcissism undergoes both types of changes.

Narcissism, as a virus, undergoes genetic drift.

It changes minimally. It modifies behaviours. It keeps certain traits at bay. It emphasises other traits, depending on the circumstances and the expectations and the environment.

But by and large, it's the same core of narcissism.

There is identity disturbance. The core is unstable.

But this is the stable feature of narcissism and other personality disorders, the lack of a clear core identity.

But gradually, as time passes, many narcissists, and narcissism in general, undergoes an antigenic shift.

The narcissist becomes something else.

I have discussed this in my standard model of personality disorders, where I had suggested that there is no type of constancy.

That narcissists shift from an overt state to a collapsed state, and from a collapsed state to a covert state, and from a covert state to a collapsed state, and back to an overt state.

Similarly, they shift from a somatic state to a cerebral state, etc.

These are antigenic shifts.

The differences between the subtypes of narcissists are sufficiently pronounced for us to say that it's a new type of narcissism.

For example, a cerebral narcissist who becomes somatic.

These two have nothing in common. It's like two different personalities, two different identities, and I call it pseudo identities, self-states.

So narcissists literally shape-shift. They literally become different people under different circumstances, in different environments, with different people.

And this is the equivalent in virology, the equivalent in viruses, of changes in genetic material.


Now, here's the problem. Genetic drift and more so antigenic shift.

What they do, they help the virus to disguise itself from the immune system.

The immune system no longer recognizes the virus.

There is immunological evasion or immunological escape. The virus cloaks itself. The virus becomes invisible by altering itself sufficiently and by mimicry, by imitating cells of the body itself.

These are very complex mechanisms.

Now, let's apply them to narcissism.

As the narcissist shape-shifts from one subtype to another, he gradually begins to evade your immunity.

He begins to cloak himself. He imitates normal people, empathic people, loving people, compassionate people.

It's a form of false advertising.

He makes promises which are delusional and fantastic and in which he himself is invested emotionally.

So it's not future-fading. It's a shared fantasy.

But consequently, you are unable to identify and recognize the narcissist. He puts on such an excellent show, especially the covert narcissist, that he evades your immune defenses. He kind of skirts, circumvents your antibodies.

Never mind how many times before you had been exposed to narcissists. Never mind how educated you are, how well developed your immunological response is.

By shape-shifting, antigenic shifts, by altering, by transitioning between types, the narcissist and narcissism in general can evade anything you have to throw at it. You become defenseless.

So we're beginning to see that the analogues, the comparisons between viruses, viral entities and narcissism are very apt and almost perfect.


Another problem with antigenic shift.

So the first problem is that it can evade your immune system. Sort of penetrate your defenses, penetrate your firewall, intrude into your city under siege.

The second problem is it can reinfect you. If you got sick with one strain of the virus and there's a sufficient number of mutations so that there are new isolates, new variants, let alone new strains, which had diverged considerably from the wild-type original, I have a surprise for you.

You can get reinfected. Even if you had COVID, for example, even if you were ill with the original wild-type virus, you can get sick again with a new strain, with a new isolate, with a new variant.

You can get reinfected. Same with narcissism. Even if you had been exposed to a wild-type narcissist and you had developed immune responses, you had acquired knowledge, your firewall is up and running, you have red alerts and red alarms, you are hypervigilant, you're on your toes, you scan, you distrust, you mistrust.

I mean, you're all primed to detect the narcissist by antigenically shifting, by modifying behaviors and transitioning between types.

As my standard model predicts, covert types, overt types, collapse types, by doing all this, the narcissist can reinfect you.

The mimicry is one way of doing this or simply becoming a totally different type of narcissist to which you had not been exposed.

And so at that point, you can fall for it again, you can get reinfected.

Moreover, the greatest danger in viruses is community transmission. It's when people transmit the virus to other people.

The virus travels from one human host to another human host. This is community transmission.

This is what we are trying to prevent with the various measures now in place. We're trying to flatten the curve by disallowing the virus, not giving the virus access to this conveyor belt.

There is community transmission in narcissism. Narcissists abuse you. Narcissists challenge you, attack you, push your buttons. Narcissists invade you via the chinks in your armor. Narcissists leverage your vulnerabilities.

And your defenses are provoked, your immune defenses, psychological immune defenses, are provoked by the narcissist.

And these defenses are actually narcissistic and psychopathic defenses.

So when you're exposed to the narcissist, you catch the narcissism virus. You become mildly narcissistic and mildly psychopathic.

But if your exposure is long enough, if the viral load of narcissism is long enough, is great enough, if you catch a lot of narcissism viruses, you know, your immune system crumbles, is overwhelmed, and then your narcissistic and psychopathic defenses go haywire.

We have the same process in the human body. If the viral load is very high, the immune system goes haywire, and we have an autoimmune response known as a cytokine storm.

The narcissism virus can overstimulate your immune system if you're exposed to it for too long, or too intensively, or too extensively, or repeatedly.

This is complex trauma. And then your psychological immune system loses control in effect, becomes hyperactive, and your defenses render you a narcissist and a psychopath.

This happens in borderline personality disorder, when the borderline patient switches to a psychopathic, full-fledged psychopathic self-state known as secondary psychopathy, psychopath with emotions and empathy.

So, narcissism can over-trigger your immune system so that you become a narcissist, and in this sense, it's community transmission.

The narcissist passes his viral load, passes his viruses on to you. Your immune system is provoked, becomes hyperactive. You become narcissist. You abuse other people. You become a disempathic. You become vicious, antisocial. You lose impulse control. You become reckless. You become desperate.

And then, as you abuse other people, their immune system is provoked, and there's no end to it. Community transmission is in place.

What can you do? This is the background, borrowed from medicine, virology, and epidemiology.

What can we do against the narcissism epidemic, or now pandemic, cuts across every culture, every society, every region?

And it's been going on for decades now. What can we do against it?

What we can do against it is what we do against real-life viruses. Start with masks. Once a pandemic gets out of control, masking is obligatory.

It's a powerful defense against pandemic that are ubiquitous and in cases of rampant community transmission.

What is masking when the virus is a psychological virus? It's narcissism.

What do I mean when I say you have to mask?

Well, education, knowledge, learn, educate yourself, ask questions, be curious, exchange information, go to libraries, download books, get educated, become knowledgeable about narcissism in all its facets and aspects. That's why I keep making videos about the workings and the machinations of the narcissist's mind.

Because I think that's the key issue. The key issue is not to say I'm a victim for me. The key issue is not to talk to other victims who will tell you you are a victim for you.

That's not going to get you anywhere. You've got to learn everything there is to know about narcissism.

That's your only, that's your first line of defense. You've got to mask yourself.

Knowledge and education are the mask. Mask yourself against narcissism.

Number two, social distancing. Keep away. Keep away from people who appear to have caught the virus. Keep away from people who belong to vulnerable, susceptible, naive population cohorts.

Cohort is a group of population. So, for example, perhaps you should keep away from high powered business executives, people in show business, people in specific professions, including, for example, law enforcement.

Now, narcissists gravitate to certain professions. Maybe it's a good idea to avoid these professions for a while.

For example, when you're dating, you need to socially distance from population groups cohorts who are much more likely to catch the narcissism virus.

If you are dating, someone tells you I've been abused as a child, my heart goes out to you. But sorry, I'm not going to continue to date you.

If you are dating someone and he's a bit haughty and arrogant and mistreats the waiter, say goodbye nicely. Be alert. Be on your toes. Identify. Identify virus carriers. Identify super spreaders.

Socially distance from these people. It's for your own good.


Next, do not gather outdoors. What does that mean? Let me explain.

In a typical viral situation, the advice is to gather outdoors. What it means in the case of narcissism.

So my advice is gather outdoors. I'm sorry, I mispronounced, I misspoke.

Gather outdoors, exactly like in a typical viral pandemic. What does it mean? It means keep everyone outside. Don't allow people within your perimeter. Don't let people bridge your boundaries. Don't maintain secrecy about abuse.

Everything in the open, everything outdoors, everything you do should be visible to friends, to family, to colleagues. Keep your boundaries. Keep your private space. Don't trust so much. Don't be gullible. Don't be naive. Don't be susceptible. Be hyper vigilant.

Sorry, but that's the world today. Gather outdoors. You date outdoors. Outdoors, by the way, physically. Don't invite people into your personal private space until you're sure.

Keep boundaries. Keep limits. Establish border police controls. Don't let in incoming flights without a PCR test.

You know, so when I say gather outdoors, arms length, keep distance, hyper vigilance, clear, firm boundaries, enforceable, no secrecy, everything in the open, everything visible, everything known.

Do not jump on the bandwagon too fast. Do not be love-bombed. Do not allow yourself to be groomed. Do not move too fast in any relationship. Any attempt to push you to move faster than your instincts tell you, something's wrong.

If it's too good to be true, it's not true. If you feel something's wrong, it is wrong. Trust your gut instincts and keep them away.

Everyone. Everyone is assumed to have the virus until proven otherwise. It's exactly the opposite of the legal system. In the legal system, everyone is innocent until proven guilty. In our world today, which is a narcissistic, psychopathic civilization, everyone is assumed to have been infected with narcissism until he or she proves to you that they had not.

Gather outdoors. Wash your hands. Wash your hands. After every transaction, every encounter, every interaction, starting with one-night stands, casual sex, and ending with dating or conversation, every contact, after every contact, wash your hands.

And I don't mean your hands, of course, your literal hands. I mean your figurative hands. Sanitize.

Sit down. Analyze what had happened. Ask yourself questions. Listen to your gut instinct. Listen to the red alerts and alarms. Open your mind up and just let your stream of consciousness flow.

You will know at the end of such a process whether you have come across a carrier of the narcissism virus or not.

Wash your hands. Cleanse your consciousness. Take time. Take time. Take time. Take time out. Sit back. Relax. Be bored. Think about it. Let it flow. Give it a few days. Don't rush. Don't be terrified of loneliness. Don't panic. Don't panic because of anything. Don't panic because you're bored. Don't panic because you're alone. Don't panic because you're old.

This would lead you to bad places. Wash your hands. Sanitize your soul. Cleanse. And when the surface is clean, anything that is unclean, anything that is contaminated and adulterated, will stand out in stark contrast.

Clean your background so that you can see the shapes. And above all, vaccinate yourself. Vaccinate yourself against narcissism. How do you vaccinate against narcissism? Is it enough to know about narcissism? No, that's masks. That's masking. Is it enough to educate about narcissism? No, that's a surgical mask. That's N95.

One step removed, but still a mask. Vaccination is something else. Vaccination... What are vaccines?

By the way, I have a video here about vaccines. How they're made, how they work, how they operate in the human body and so on and so forth.

If YouTube hadn't taken it down in its infinite wisdom, it should still be here. It's a totally scientific video. No conspiracy theories, just teaches you the primary. It's a primer on vaccination. It should be in the COVID-19 playlist that I have on this channel and on my Vaknin Musings channel.

So what do vaccines do? There are two types of vaccines, but there are two relevant types of vaccines.

One is when we inject the human body with a weakened version of the pathogen, a weakened version of the organism that causes disease. It's so weak, it cannot cause the disease, but it's sufficiently alive to cause an immune response.

That's one type of vaccine. Another type of vaccine. We take an element, a segment, a fragment of the pathogen, fragment of the virus, fragment of the bacterium, and we inject it into the human body or we inject to the human body a series of instructions on how to generate this fragment.

mRNA. And then the human body generates this fragment or when exposed to this fragment reacts with an immune response. These are the two types of vaccines we have.

And we should vaccinate against narcissism in exactly the same way. You should expose yourself to weakened versions of narcissism and you should expose yourself to elements, fragments of narcissism.

As your psyche, as your mind, as your soul if you wish, is exposed to a weak narcissist, a weakened version of narcissism, it will develop an immune response. It will be able to identify and avoid shun stronger narcissist.

And as your soul or psyche or mind is exposed to an element of narcissism, it will develop an immune response and whenever it sees this element or similar elements, it will avoid and shun the person who carries these elements.

Let me be more precise. I suggest that you deliberately expose yourself to certain traits and behaviors which are the hallmark of narcissism.

For example, narcissists are grandiose. Expose yourself to arrogant, haughty, grandiose, verbose narcissist.

Expose yourself to grandiosity. It's a very unpleasant feeling. Similar to getting a vaccine. You have side effects.

But by exposing yourself to grandiose, haughty, vinglorious, grandiose-acquaint people, you will have vaccinated yourself. You will have immunized yourself.

And because grandiosity is common in 90% of the occurrences and manifestations of narcissism in the human population, it's a good vaccine. It's similar to Pfizer. Pfizer is 95% effective, so they say.

So, you know, exposing yourself to grandiosity and arrogance, that's 90% effective against the narcissism virus.


Expose yourself to entitlement. Entitlement characterizes 60, 70% of the population of narcissists, virus-infected, narcissism virus-infected people.

So, if you expose yourself to entitlement, you have the Johnson & Johnson protection rate, 66%. So, expose yourself to these traits. Entitlement, someone who demands, insists that he deserves your time, your resources, your money, special treatment without investing anything, without committing, without doing anything to deserve any of this.

That's entitlement. And the more aggressive entitlement, the better off you are. I'm not telling you to expose yourself to narcissists. I'm not telling you to date narcissists or to get married to narcissists or whatever.

I'm telling you to seek out people with narcissistic traits or what Len Sperry calls narcissistic style. These are not dangerous people. They are weakened versions of the narcissism virus. They carry a weakened version of the virus.

They are simply narcissistic or as they used to be called when I was young, a-holes.

Expose yourself to a-holes, you know, because they're grandiose and they're entitled. Put the two together and you will be able to avoid 90% of all future narcissists because your immune response will have been provoked and you will develop a variety of cells intended to cope with the narcissism virus, psychological cells.

What kind of cells will you develop if you seek out an interactive purpose with vain, self-centered, grandiose, entitled, black a-holes? You know, what kind of immune response should you expect?

And how will this immune response protect you and defend you from future exposure to real, the real thing, full fledged, mind criteria, narcissistic personality disorder, the strong version, the enhanced version of the virus, not the weak version.

A-hole is a weak version, narcissist, true narcissist. NPD is the strong version.


How being exposed to an a-hole vaccinates you against being exposed to a true blue narcissist?

When you create exactly like in nature, you create three types of psychological immune cells.

Number one, antibodies. The Russians call it active measures. Antibodies are cells that go after the virus or the bacteria and kill it, kill it or neutralize it.

By exposing yourself to narcissistic people who are not narcissists, weakened versions of narcissism or elements and fragments of narcissism without the full thing in context.

By doing this, you will have created antibodies, psychological antibodies. These are elements in your mind, constructs and sometimes introjects who will go after after the narcissistic infection, the narcissistic contagion.

Once the narcissist pushes your buttons, triggers you to narcissistic behaviors and psychopathic behaviors, your antibodies will wake up and prevent you from doing this.

They will attack the narcissism virus and contagion and force you to disengage and detach from the narcissist. That's the antibodies.

The second type of cells which are generated in the human body when you are exposed to a real life virus are memory cells. These are cells that bear the memory of the virus. It's a library. It looks exactly like a library where there's a volume dedicated to each pathogen, a volume for this virus, a volume for this bacterium and there are thousands of volumes.

The minute there is a re-encounter or reinfection or community transmission of the same virus, the body takes the book out of the shelf, opens it and here are the instructions how to fight the infection.

These are called memory cells and each memory cell is like a book in a library or a digital record in a database and the book or the digital record contains instructions on how to fight the pathogen.

Similarly, once you expose yourself to weak versions of narcissists, once you expose yourself to mere narcissistic traits and behaviors in isolation, not on the full-fledged version, but just to traits and behaviors in isolation, you will develop memory cells.

You will develop a library and the minute you come across the real thing, your psychology or mind will take the book off the shelf, will access the digital record and there will be instructions there on how to disengage, detach, avoid, protect yourself emotionally, regulate your emotions, regulate your labile moods, etc.

Build defenses, recreate the firewall and rebuild an army of antibodies. You will see it's an immune reaction. You wouldn't be able to help it and it would feel like egotisto.

You will feel extreme discomfort. These are the side effects of the vaccine.

Next time you meet a narcissist, having exposed yourself because this is called exposure therapy, having exposed yourself to narcissistic elements, narcissistic fragments, narcissistic traits and behaviors, weakened version of narcissists.

Having done this, your immune system is in full operation. Next time you meet a narcissist, you will have an extreme discomfort. You will be extremely ill at ease.

And these are the side effects of the vaccine.

Number three, you will develop like in every human body exposed to a virus or a bacterium, you will develop cells that attack the cells in your body that were infected by the virus.

So we have three types of cells. When the human body is exposed to a real life virus, there are three types of cells, antibodies, active measures, the guys who go after the virus and kill it, kill it in a variety of ways or neutralize it.

Don't allow the virus to replicate or to activate. You have memory cells, which are like a library of how to, how to library, how to fight this virus, how to fight this bacteria.

And you have cells that attack your own cells. It's an autoimmune response. Cells that attack, it's not exactly an autoimmune response, but it's an immune response that attacks your own cells.

But not every cell in your body, just cells who are already, which are already compromised. Cells which already contain the virus. Cells where the virus is already replicated.

So you will develop this third type of cells, exposing yourself to weaken versions of narcissism, exposing yourself to narcissistic traits and behaviors. You will develop this third type of cells. And these cells, psychological cells, will attack any part of you that had been infected. Any behavior, any trait, any speech act, any relationship pattern that had been infected by the brief exposure, even to a narcissist, and they will kill it. They will destroy it. In other words, it's a self-healing, self-repairing mechanism. By vaccinating yourself against narcissist in the way that I describe, exposing yourself to limited isolated traits and behaviors, exposing yourself to weak narcissist, weak versions of narcissist.

You will, you will have created three defenses, three neurological defenses. Active defense, pushing the narcissist away, avoiding and shunning the narcissist, killing all the narcissists, destroying all the narcissist's weapons before they hit the target.

A library of memory on how to deal with future narcissists, even much bigger and stronger and full-fledged narcissists.

And a defense which immediately will neutralize any contagion, any infection with a narcissism virus, and prevent you from behaving, acting, talking like a narcissist.

Ultimately, I believe the last few decades, we have seen an exposure of the general population to the, to the narcissism virus on the one hand.

So we had seen enormous community transmission on the one hand.

And on the other hand, we've seen herd immunity developing. We've seen a growing number of people becoming sensitized to narcissism, exposed to narcissism, aware of narcissism, protect against narcissism, defend against narcissism.

So we are beginning to see herd, herd immunity, regrettably, after many hundreds of millions of people had already been infected and they are one way or another, narcissist. Now, herd immunity creates selective immunological pressure. It forces the virus to mutate in order to survive. Herd immunity means that the virus has difficulty to find ready hosts, naive, susceptible hosts, because they are all immunized, they all have immunological response at the ready. So when the virus tries to enter the body, it's destroyed, neutralized, cannot replicate. So the virus has to mutate, has to become much more aggressive, much more violent. And we see this happening as herd immunity against narcissism, the narcissism virus has developed.

Psychopathy is on the rise. Psychopathy is the mutation of narcissism. It's the aggressive variant of narcissism. It's transmissible and it's deadly.

As we become immunized, as our defenses become stronger and stronger against the classic wild type and even variants of narcissism, as we begin to spot narcissism, avoid narcissists, shun them, isolate them, defend them, deactivate them, prevent them from causing harm.

And we take care of our own psychology. We see where we have gone wrong, where we are acting as psychopaths and narcissists, as our immune system operates against the parts of us which had been infected as well.

As all this happens, the virus of narcissism is going to be under enormous pressure to evolve, to change, to become more violent, more aggressive because the number of hosts will have become much smaller.

The competition is much fiercer. And we are seeing a transition from classic narcissism in all its forms to psychopathy, secondary psychopathy and more and more a growing number of primary psychopaths.

There are even scholars in academia who say that psychopathy is a positive adaptation. Good for us. We should put them in charge. I'm kidding you not.

And this is where humanity is going. And then we would need with this new virus of psychopathy to go through all the stages that I've just mentioned.

This community transmission, we would need to mask, get education. We would need to socially distance from them. We would need to gather outdoors, keep them out, not allow them into our private psychological and physical space.

We would need to wash our hands after every encounter with these contaminated beings. And above all, we would need to vaccinate.

What happens after that when we are immune to psychopaths? Anybody's guess. Many viruses, most viruses in human history, most bacteria actually in human history, just go away.

When herd immunity is reached, the pandemic dies, dies out. Spanish flu, even the Black Death, the plague. So the prognosis is good.

If we do our share, if we put masks on, educate ourselves with knowledge, we socially distance from these people. We isolate them, we render them ineffective. They are a reagent without a substrate. We gather outdoors, we get them out. We don't allow them into our private spaces, mental and physical. We wash our hands every time and above all, we vaccinate against them. We're going to win this war.

Ultimately, narcissism and psychopathy will have become obsolete survival strategies.

There will be always narcissists and always psychopaths, but these will be like schizophrenics. You know, people, unfortunate people with a disease to be treated in facilities or medication, they will not have access to society as they do now. They will definitely not run society as they're doing now.

We need to rinse, to cleanse, to purify human civilization.

There is massive community transmission. The infection is rampant and we should act now, vaccinate yourself so that you can contribute your share to this unfolding titanic battle, the real pandemic.


Dear colleagues, welcome to the 10th conference on psychiatry, psychology and brain studies held in Paris in April 2019.

My name is Sam Baknin. I am the author of Meligna's Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited and a few other books on personality disorders.

I'm also a professor of psychology in Southern Federal University in Rostov-on-Don in Russia. I'm a professor of psychology and a professor of finance in SIAPS, the Center for International Advanced and Professional Studies.

Having dispensed with this introduction, we can move on to my video presentation on the connection between trauma and brain and between trauma, brain, personality disorders and cerebral models, neural models.

Phineas Gage was 25 years old. He was a construction foreman and he lived in Vermont in the United States in the 1860s.

While working on a railroad bed, he packed powdered explosives into a hole in the ground using tamping iron.

The powder heated and blew in his face. The tamping iron rebounded and pierced the top of his skull, ravaging his frontal nose.

A few years later, in 1868, Harlow, the name of his doctor, reported the changes to Phineas Gage's personality following his accident.

And this is what his doctor wrote. He said he became fitful, irreverent, indulging at times in the cross's profanity, which was not previously his customs.

Manifesting but little deference to his fellows, impatient, over-restrained or advised, when it conflicted 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 others appearing more feasible.

His mind, Phineas Gage's mind, was radically changed so that his friends and acquaintances said he was no longer Phineas Gage, said the astounded doctor.

In other words, Phineas Gage's brain injury turned Phineas Gage into what we know today as a psychopathic narcissist, a grandiose narcissist.

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

Orbital meteor wounds made people pseudo-psychopathic in the language of those days.

They were described as being grandiose, euphoric, disinhibited and furorile.

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

The word pseudo indicates that the doctors of their time did not feel comfortable with the diagnosis of psychopathy or with the diagnosis of depression.

They felt that something was wrong.

After all, these people had not been psychopathic, nor had they been depressed before the brain injury, before the brain trauma.

It seemed that the physiological or physical alteration of the brain, the wound, the scar, the trauma, the severance of lobes, the ruination of neural pathways, had massive systemic effects on the personalities of the patients.

As Geschwind noted, many had both syndromes.

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 concluded, "Relative to the control group, narcissistic personality disorder patients had smaller GM volume in the left anterior insula.

Independent of group, GM volume in the left anterior insula was positively related to self-reported emotional empathy.

Complementary whole brain analysis yielded smaller GM volume in front or paralimbic brain regions, comprising the rostral and median cingulate cortex, as well as dorsolateral and medial parts of the prefrontal cortex.

And here we provide the first empirical evidence for structural abnormalities in front or paralimbic brain regions of patients with narcissistic personality disorder.

The results are discussed in the context of narcissistic patients with strict liability for emotional empathy.


This was more or less the first one-documented study of connection between brain structures or brain deficiencies, in this case, and a lack of empathy.

It is still debatable whether a lack of empathy should remain as a main diagnostic criterion for narcissistic personality disorder.

I was the first to suggest that narcissists and psychopaths actually do possess empathy.

Only the type of empathy is very different to normal empathy, or empathy in normal or so-called healthy people.

The empathy of narcissists and psychopaths is called, it lacks the emotional component.

It's merely cognitive and to some extent reflexive.

But still, they do possess empathy, and I dubbed it "cold empathy".

If they do possess empathy, the known exchanges in the brain observed by the authors in the aforementioned article may not actually be related to narcissistic personality disorder, but to something a lot more profound.

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.

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

You can find these texts on page 689 of the text revision of the fourth edition of the DSM.

In my book, Malignant Subflob Narcissism Revisited, I have written, it is conceivable though that a third unrelated problem causes chemical imbalances in the brain, metabolic diseases such as diabetes, morphological narcissism, and other mental health syndromes.

There may be a common cause, a hidden common denominator, perhaps a group of genes.

Certain medical conditions can activate the narcissistic defense mechanism.

Chronic ailments are likely to lead to the emergence of narcissistic traits, or a narcissistic personality style to borrow theodomilans terminology.

Traumas such as brain injuries have been known to induce states of mind akin to full-blown personality disorders.

As I have mentioned before, such so-called narcissism though is reversible, tends to be ameliorated or disappear altogether when the underlying medical problem does the same.

Other disorders like bipolar disorder, which used to be known as mania depression, these disorders are characterized by mood swings that are not brought about by external events, not exogenous or reactive mood swings, endogenous mood swings.

But the narcissist mood swings are strictly the results of external events, they are reactive.

As he perceives and interprets these events, so does he react with mood lability.

Phenomena which are often associated with narcissistic personality disorder, such as depression or obsessive compulsive attributes, these are treated with medication.

Rumor has it that SSRIs such as fluoxetine known as Prozac might have adverse effects if the primary disorder is indeed narcissistic personality disorder.

They sometimes lead to the serotonin syndrome, which includes agitation and exacerbates the rage attacks typical of a narcissist.

The use of SSRIs is associated at times with delirium and the emergence of a manic phase, and even with psychotic micro-exils.

This is not the case with heterocyclics, MAOs and other mood stabilizers such as lithium.

Blockers and inhibitors are regularly applied without discernible adverse side effects as far as NPD is concerned.

But this is curious. If changing brain biochemistry, never mind in which way, has an effect on personality, then all classes of antidepressants should have had a discernible observable effect on important aspects of NPD.

But that is not the case. That is not true.

It seems that we can interfere with brain biochemistry, can rewire the brain so to speak, can create new neural pathways or whatever, and yet NPD, narcissistic personality disorder, will remain monolithic as a clinical entity, will not be affected in any meaningful, discernible, clinical way.

Not enough is known about the biochemistry of narcissistic personality disorder.

There seems to be some vague link to serotonin, but no one knows for sure.

Others suggest links to dopamine.

There isn't a reliable non-intrusive method to measure brain and central nervous system serotonin levels anyhow.

So it is mostly guesswork at this stage.

I think the whole problem, the whole problematic, is founded on a fundamental misunderstanding of the brain.

And we seem to misunderstand the brain periodically and repeatedly because we borrow technological metaphors.

The brain and by implication the mind have been compared to the latest technological innovation in every generation.

The computer metaphor is now involved.

Computer hardware metaphors were replaced by software metaphors and lately by neural network metaphors.

Metaphors are not confined to the philosophy of neurology.

Architects and mathematicians, for instance, have lately come up with a structural concept of tensegrity to explain the phenomenon of life.

The tendency of humans to see patterns and structures everywhere, even where they are now.

This tendency is well documented and probably has its survival value, but it may mislead us considerably.

Another trend is to discount these metaphors as erroneous, irrelevant, deceptive and misleading as I myself have just done.

Understanding the mind is a recursive business rife with self-reference.

The entities or processes to which the brain is compared are also in effect brain children.

They are the results of brainstorming.

Everything is conceived by the mind, especially computers.

What is a computer? What is a software application?

What is a communication network if not the material representation of events in the brain?

So there's a kind of tautology here.

There's a kind of a closed logical loop.

We use brain children. We used our creations to understand the brain that made them.

A necessary and sufficient connection surely exists between man-made things, tangible and intangible, in human minds.

Even a gas pump has a mind correlate.

It is also conceivable that representations of the non-human parts of the universe exist in our own minds, whether a priori, not deriving from experience, or a posteriori, dependent upon experience.

This correlation, call it what you will, this emulation, this simulation, this representation, in short, this close connection between the excretions, the output, the sting of the products of the human mind, and the human mind itself, is a key to understanding the brain.

And this claim is, of course, an instance of a much broader category of claims that we can learn about the artist by his art.

We can learn about the mind of the creator by studying his creation.

And generally we can learn about the origin by any of the derivatives, the inheritors, the successors, the products, the byproducts, and the similes thereof.

This general contention that we can reverse engineer, so to speak, we can go from the product to the producer, from the child of the mind to the mind, from an object to the brain that designed it.

This general contention is especially strong when the origin and the product share the same nature.

If the origin is human and the product is human, for example, parents and child, there is an enormous amount of data that can be derived from the product and safely applied to the origin.

We can study the child and learn a lot about his mother and father, of course.

The closer the origin is to the product, the more we can learn about the origin from the product.

We have said that knowing the product, we can usually also know the origin.

The reason is that knowledge about any product collapses the set of probabilities and increases our knowledge about the product's origin, originating mind.

Yet the converse is not always true.

The same origin can give rise to many types of entirely unrelated products.

The same mind can give rise to numerous products which have little to do with each other.

A good poet can also be a great carpenter. A good painter can be a great general in the army. They can create products that have utterly nothing to do with each other, that share no common denominator, that are divorced from each other, and yet come from the same brain and from the same mind.

There are too many free variables here.

The origin, the mind, exists as a wave function, a series of potentialities with attached probabilities, the potentials being the logically and physically possible products.

And these products come into being as a kind of collapse of the wave function.

What can we learn about the origin by crudely perusing the product?

Let's assume that all we have are the products.

And let's assume that we don't have much time to study.

We can just, courageorially, glance at them, peruse them, and froth them.

Well, if we do that, we can learn mostly observable, structural, and functional traits and attributes.

We cannot learn almost anything about the true nature of the mind that made them.

We cannot know the true nature of anything, actually.

This is the realm of metaphysics, not of physics.

Consider, for example, quantum mechanics.

It provides an astonishingly accurate description of microprocesses and of the universe without saying much about the world, or about reality, or about the essence of the cosmos.

Modern physics strives to produce correct predictions, not to expound upon this or that worldview.

Modern physics describes, it does not explain.

Where interpretations are offered, for example, the Copenhagen interpretation, quantum mechanics, they invariably run into philosophical snags.

Modern science uses metaphors.

We use words like particles.

We use words like waves.

And we use words like the mind.

These metaphors have proven to be useful scientific tools in the thinking scientist's kit.

But these metaphors are not reality.

As these metaphors develop, they trace the developmental phase of the origin, but they are not the origin.

Okay, let's go back to the brain.

Consider the software metaphor of the mind.

The mind is software.

The computer is a thinking machine.

It is limited, it is simulated, it is recursive, it is mechanical, true, but it's a thinking machine.

Similarly, the brain is a thinking machine.

It is much more agile, much more versatile, much more non-linear, much more qualitatively different to a computer.

There is no question about that, too.

But both of them are thinking machines, the computer and the brain.

Whatever the disparity between the two, they must be related somehow to one another.

There are even people like Ray Kurzweil and others who say that it is only a question of time, until computers become brains, and brains can be utterly understood in terms of artificial intelligence computers.

This relation is by virtue of two facts.

One, both the brain and the computer are thinking machines, as we mentioned.

But there is a second reason.

It is the latter, the computer, is the product of the former, the product of the brain.

Thus, the computer metaphor is an unusually tenable and potent metaphor.

It is likely to be further enhanced should organic or quantum computing transpire.

At the dawn of computing, software applications were offered serially in machine language, and with strict separation of data, which was called structures, and instruction code, which was called functions or procedures.

The machine language reflected the physical wiring of the hardware.

This is akin to the development of the embryonic brain, the embryonic mind.

In the early life of the human fetus, the human embryo, the instructions, the DNA, are also insulated from the data, from amino acids and other life substances.

In early computing, databases were handled on a listing basis, and this was called a flat file.

Databases were serial, and they had no intrinsic relationship to one another.

Early databases in the 1960s, for example, in the '50s, constituted a sort of substrate, ready to be acted upon by functions, by the computer.

Only when they were intermixed with the computer, as a software application was run, these functions were able to operate on the structures, otherwise they were kept separately.

This phase was followed, in the history of computing, by the relational organization of data, a primitive example of which was the spreadsheet in the early 1980s.

Data items were related to each other through mathematical formulas.

This is the equivalent of the increasing complexity of the wiring of the brain as pregnancy progresses, as gestation progresses.

The latest evolutionary phase in programming is known as OOPS, Object Oriented Programming Systems.

Objects are modules which encompass both data and instructions in self-contained units.

The user communicates with the functions performed by these objects, but not with their structure and internal processes.

Programming objects, in other words, are black boxes, an engineering term.

The programmer is unable to tell how the object does what it does, or how does an external useful function arise from internal hidden functions or structures.

Objects are epiphenomenon, they are emergent, they are phase transient.

In short, objects are much closer to reality as described by modern physics, actually.

Though these black boxes communicate, it is not a communication, it is not a communication speed, or its efficacy, which determines the overall efficiency of the system.

It is the hierarchical and at the same time fuzzy organization of the objects.

This does the trick.

Objects are organized in classes which define their actualized and potential properties.

The object's behavior, what it does and what it reacts to, is defined by its membership of a class of objects.

Moreover, objects can be organized in new subclasses while inheriting all the definitions and characteristics of the original class in addition to new properties.

In a way, these newly emergent classes are the products, while the classes that they are derived from are the origin.

This process is so closely resembles natural and especially biological phenomena that it lends additional force to the software metaphor.

Software, as it is written today, resembles very much how biology works, especially genetics.

Thus, classes can be used as building blocks.

No wonder we have evolutionary software.

Their permutations of these classes define the set of all-soluble problems.

It can be proven that Turing machines are a private instance of a general, much stronger class theory, a la Queen's Sepia Mathematica.

The integration of hardware, computer, brain and software, computer applications, the mind, is done through framework applications, which match the two elements structurally and functionally.

The equivalent in the brain is sometimes called by philosophers and psychologists "appriori" categories or the collective unconscious, to use a Jungian term.

Computers and their programming evolve. Everything I'm saying now is already 20 years old.

Relational databases cannot be integrated with object-oriented ones, for instance.

To run Java applets, a virtual machine needs to be embedded in the operating system.

These phases closely resemble the development of the brain-mind couplet.

When is a metaphor a good metaphor?

When can we say that we have finally understood the brain via a very powerful comparison, a powerful simile?

A metaphor is good when it teaches us something new about the origin.

If we compare the brain to software, this comparison should teach us something new about the brain.

It must possess some structural and functional resemblances.

But this quantitative and observational facet, the resemblance, is not enough.

There must also be a qualitative kind of resonance.

The metaphor must be instructive, revealing, insightful, aesthetic and parsimonious.

In short, the metaphor must constitute a complete, self-contained, full-fledged theory and it should produce falsifiable predictions.

A metaphor is also subject to logical and aesthetic rules and to the rigors of the scientific method.

So, let's go back to the software metaphor.

The question we were asking is, if we interfere with the brain and it has no effect on personality, for example, if we administer medication and the medication is consumed and the medication interferes, interjects itself into brain biochemistry, alters biochemical pathways, changes neural pathways, changes conductance, changes the excretion of neurotransmitters, all very powerful elements in the brain ecosystem.

And yet, the personality remains the same.

What is the connection between personality and brain?

What is the connection between personality and mind?

And perhaps most importantly, what is the connection between mind and brain?

And so, if we go back to the software metaphor, if the software metaphor, if comparing the brain to a software, is correct, the brain must contain the following features.

Number one, parity checks through backpropagation of signals.

The brain's electrochemical signals must move back to the origin and forward simultaneously in order to establish a feedback parity loop.

The second requirement is that the neuron, the basic unit of the brain, cannot be a binary two-state machine.

A quantum computer, for example, is multi-state.

The neuron must have many levels of excitation, many models of representation of information.

The threshold, all or nothing firing hypothesis, must be wrong.

Either it is wrong or the software metaphor is wrong.

Both of them cannot be right.

We may yet discover that neurons have multiple levels of excitation and arousal, not yes or no, firing, not firing, black and white.

The third requirement is that redundancy must be built into all the aspects and dimensions of the brain and its activities.

Redundant hardware, different centers to perform similar tasks, is very common.

Redundant communication channels with the same information and simultaneously transmitted across them are also very common.

Redundant retrieval of data, redundant storage of data, redundant usage of obtained data through working upper memory, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Redundancy is built into all known processes and elements of computing.

If the software and hardware seem like it, if they elucidate the workings of the brain, the brain must have multiple layers and levels of redundancy.

And we know that to a large extent it's true.

In cases of brain injury and trauma, other centers of the brain take over and perform the same tasks and functions.

The fourth requirement is that the basic concept of the workings of the brain must be the comparison of representational elements to models of the world or theories of the world, or in case of mind, to theories of mind.

This is the foundation of empathy, the intersubjective agreement regarding the content of other people's minds.

We have no access to other people's minds.

We must create a theory about these minds.

We must presume, we must speculate, we must deduct, we must analyze.

The only way we can interact with other people is to make a series of hidden assumptions, for example, that they are more or less like us, that we are the same.

And so these models of the world, these models of the mind, must be some no compare to representational elements.

A coherent picture is obtained which yields predictions and allows to manipulate the environment effectively.

Should these comparisons fail, as is the case in pathological narcissism, we would have an impaired reality test and a form of autism in effect.

Many of the functions tackled by the brain must be recursive.

This is the fifth requirement.

We can expect to find that we can reduce all the activities of the brain to computational, mechanically solvable, recursive functions.

The brain can be regarded as a Turing machines and the dreams of artificial intelligence are likely to come true sooner rather than later.

I think we are going to discover that computers and brains are one and the same.

There will come a moment where our brains will be indistinguishable from sufficiently complex, self-assembling, self-recursive and self-learning machines.

At that point, the question will arise, what is the personality?

Could we then say that certain computers have certain personalities?

If we create androids, like in the famous movie Blade Runner, could we attribute a personality to them?

Is personality nearly the epic phenomenon?

The emergent quality of set of qualities, is it dependent on complexity or is it something totally separate?

And what about the mind and the brain?

Is the mind a byproduct of the complexity of the brain?

We will not know until actually we have reached this stage in computing.

Once we do, we will be faced either with totally thinking machines with personalities or the metaphor "brain is computer, computer is brain" will break down.

And finally, the sixth requirement is that the brain must be a learning, self-organizing entity.

The brain's very hardware must disassemble, reassemble, reorganized, re-structure, reroute, reconnect, disconnect and in general alter itself in response to data.

I have actually written this sentence several years before neuroplasticity was discovered.

Today we know that neuroplasticity is an external phenomenon in the brain and does exactly what I have described several years before.

In most man-made machines, the data is external to the processing unit.

It enters and exits a machine through designated interfaces but does not affect the machine structure or functioning.

That's not the case in the brain.

The brain reconfigures itself with every bit of external data.

One can say that a new brain is created every time there's new information and it is processed.

So these are the six requirements and only if all six of them are met can we say that the software metaphor is useful to understanding the brain.

Then we can also understand the mind and we can begin to have the most initial glimpse of what is the personality.

We are a very, very long way off and any claim to the contrary is hubris, vanity and indeed narcissistic megalomania and narcissism.

Thank you for listening.


Today we are going to discuss the multifarious ways the narcissist uses to deceive you, mislead you into believing that he or she is not a narcissist.

This is known in biology and zoology as mimicry and the topic of today's video is the narcissist aggressive mimicry.

Wait a minute. All of you howl in unison.

Mimicry occurs between two species, usually a predator and a prey.

Well, I regard the narcissist as a member of another species.

The narcissist in the most profound sense is asexual, is amoral and is above all inhuman.

In many ways, the narcissist belongs to another species, an alien species, the predator species, which preys upon you.

So welcome to the Twilight Zone.

My name is Salvatny and I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.

And I'm a former visiting professor of psychology.

We are all animals. Ultimately, we are all animals.

Human beings are an evolved complex form of animal.

No one knew this better than the ancient sages.

One of the most common and simple forms of mimicry is known as wolf in sheep's clothing.

Zoologists use this phrase to describe aggressive mimicry.

We will come to it a bit later.

Animals have evolved to deceive their prey by appearing either as other prey or as something completely unrelated, a prey spray or something like that.

The phrase "wolf in sheep's clothing" originated in the Sermon on the Mount when Jesus said, "Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheep's clothing." But inwardly, they are ravening wolves.

The Gospel of Matthew 7, 15.

And then he continued to say, "By their fruits, shall ye know them." That's excellent advice. Jesus would have made a great YouTuber, a life coach, probably.

So let's delve right in.

I want to start with something known as bipolar mimicry system.

I will describe it and then I will explain to you what is mimicry and where does it fit in with other deceptive strategies in the animal kingdom, such as camouflage.

The narcissist uses all of them.

You would be well advised to think of the narcissist, to conceive of the narcissist as an alien predator species roaming amongst you, hunting for prey, using everything at its disposal, deception first and foremost.

Bipolar mimicry system.

Some psychopathic narcissists imitate a sensitive, much wronged victim of narcissistic abuse or an empathic saviour rescuer.

That's a perfect example of a bipolar mimicry system.

Bipolar mimicry systems involve two species and they are a very unique form of mimicry because the dupe is the model.

In other words, the predator imitates, emulates, copies the prey.

We have two variants of bipolar mimicry system where the target is imitated.

In the first case, this is known as Bayesian-Walasian mimicry.

And that's when the predator simply copies the prey to the point that it becomes indistinguishable from the prey.

Like the aforementioned psychopathic narcissist pretends to be very convincingly a victim of narcissistic abuse.

In the second case, the model is a host of a brute parasite.

I'll come to it a bit later.

I'm going to explore all the forms of mimicry used or deployed by narcissists.

Now, what is mimicry? What am I talking about?

Mimicry is a concept in evolutionary biology.

It means an evolved resemblance between an organism and another organism or between an organism and an object.

Usually the two organisms, the dupe and the model, the two of them belong to different species.

The dupe is usually the predator. It dupes the prey.

The model is usually some other species.

So the predator pretends to be another species which is not a predator.

For example, narcissist would pretend to be a nice guy, an average Joe, or just a talented person who is a nerd.

Narcissists would pretend to not be a narcissist.


When a narcissist pretends to be a victim of abuse, when a narcissist pretends to be a borderline, when a narcissist pretends to be codependent, then we have a case of bipolar mimicry.

When a narcissist pretends to be just a normal guy or a normal girl, then we have classic defensive or aggressive mimicry, which we will distinguish in a minute.

So mimicry is pretending to be someone else, someone else that belongs to another type, another kind, another variety, another species.

And sometimes in the animal kingdom, the mimicry involves an object.

So an insect would pretend to be a leaf and so on.

Mimicry may evolve between different species, but it also occurs between individuals of the same species.

And this is where the narcissist comes in.

Mimicry evolves when a receiver, for example, a predator, perceives the similarity between a mimic, an organism that has a resemblance, and a model, the organism that is resembles.

And as a result, it changes its behavior in a way that provides selective advantage.

So there are several components, several elements in mimicry.

Number one, deception, misperception.

When a predator perceives an organism as another organism, when a predator perceives the dupe as a model, one organism is another, or when a prey perceives a predator as a non-threatening organism, because the predator pretends to be a member of that non-threatening organism.

So this is element number one, deception, being misled, pretending to be someone else convincingly.


Number two, a change in behavior.

When the deception works, it induces a change in the prey's behavior, in the victim's behavior, in the target's choices and decisions.

Effective mimicry is behavior modification. It's a form of behavior modulation.

In the third element, the mimicry provides a selective advantage to the mimic.

So if a predator pretends to be a non-predator, if a predator pretends to belong to another species, which is not a predator, it gives the predator an advantage because it can safely approach the prey and pounce on it.

These are the three elements, remember.

And now you can easily apply the three elements of these three components of mimicry to the narcissist.

Number one, he pretends to be a non-narcissist. He pretends to be a victim. He pretends to be a compassionate empathic person. He pretends to be a savior or a rescuer. He pretends to be an average guy, non-threatening, etc.

There's pretension, there's deception.

Element one. Element two.

Because you believe these erroneous signals, because you're misled and you're deceived, your behavior changes. The choices you make and the decisions you adopt are radically transformed.

Element two. And element three, this grants the narcissist access to you, the ability to manipulate you, to entrain you, to recruit you to a shared fantasy in order later to devalue you and discard you.

All three elements of mimicry absolutely exist in every single interaction with a narcissist.

And in this sense, what's happening between you and the narcissist is not 100% psychological.

It is at least 50% biological.

It's a war between species, its survival of the fittest, its Darwinian selection.

As simple as that.

Now, mimicry can sometimes accrue to the advantage of both organisms.

Both organisms somehow transform themselves, their resemblance changes, the signals they emit are modified, and consequently, both of them benefit.

This is highly specific type of mimicry.

It's called mutualism.

But mutualism is very rare.

An example of mutualism is when a narcissist teams up with a borderline.

The narcissist provides a borderline with external regulation, pretending to be a nice guy, a supportive, loving, attentive, compassionate, affectionate, containing, holding, understanding and accepting guy.

A best friend or special friend.

This is the narcissist mimicry and the borderline benefits from it.

Also by pretending to be a golden hearted, loving, caring, holding, compassionate, accepting maternal subject, maternal person.

Both of them, the narcissist and the borderline engage in mimicry and they benefit each other.

The borderline allows the narcissist to separate and individuate and also buttresses the narcissist's grandiosity, renders the narcissist the most important person in her life.

He becomes her world, her universe.

The narcissist, on the other hand, externally regulates the borderline.

They both benefit.

So in the case of borderlines and narcissist, there is mutualism, a form of mimicry that benefits both sides.

But in the vast majority of cases, when the narcissist is involved, there is no mutualism.

The mimicry is to the detriment of the narcissist's intimate partner.

The narcissist is parasitic and in some cases competitive and always deleterious, destructive, damaging, breaking, harrowing, hurtful.

So the narcissist's mimicry is a savage, savage mechanism used to lure the prey and then do with it as the narcissist pleases or needs to do, is compelled to do.

And that is at the total cost of the prey's well-being, mental functioning and finally physical health.

In the case of mutualism, the two parties are considered co-mimics.

But as I said, this is very rare.

Actually what happens is, as we become more and more aware of narcissists and narcissism, I give myself some credit in raising awareness starting in the 1990s.

As we become more aware, narcissists need to develop novel, more advanced mimicry techniques.

They need to act more.

They need to evolve into thespian, thespian beings.

They need to stage more elaborate productions.

The shared fantasy needs to become so convoluted, so misleading, so comprehensive that it easily supplants reality.

This is known as evolutionary arms race.


When mimicry negatively affects the model and the model evolves a certain different appearance from the mimic.

So here we are where victims, targets, potential intimate partners, mates, identify the narcissist much earlier than before, owing to growing awareness.

The narcissist needs to be a hell of a lot better in deceiving, misleading, camouflaging, pretending and faking.

Evolutionary arms race.

So let's get now to the narcissist's main strategy in terms of mimicry.

It's known as aggressive mimicry.

Aggressive mimicry is a form of mimicry in which predators, parasites, share similar signals using a harmless model.

And this allows them to avoid being correctly identified by the prey or the host.

So aggressive mimicry is when the predator imitates, emulates, copies, replicates another species or another type of individual in order to deceive the prey into believing that he is harmless.

The predator renders himself harmless by copying or replicating a harmless model.

And this is known as aggressive mimicry because it involves aggressive intent.

The idea is, of course, to consume the prey one way or another, psychologically or physically.

And so the predator looks around and says, "Who am I going to imitate? What kind of model can I imitate, which will allow me to get closer to the prey, to penetrate her defenses, to disable her firewalls, to reduce her awareness, to involve her in fantasy, and then to digest her, subsume her, consume her, and get rid of her.

This is the aggression in this form of mimicry.

And this is what is known as wolf in sheep's clothing.

In the broadest sense, aggressive mimicry includes various types of exploitation.

And so aggressive mimicry can be focused on obtaining sex and reproductive access.

It can be focused on feeding food or, in the case of human beings, money, wealth and resources.

And it can, but it always involves deception.

It always involves sending the signal, "I am harmless. I am benevolent. I am helpful. I myself am a victim. I will love you," etc. etc.

All these messages involve self-camouflage.

Now, aggressive mimicry is not the same as defensive mimicry.


==== Defensive mimicry, exactly the opposite, is done.

The defensive mimic pretends to be dangerous, harmful.

The defensive mimic is actually harmless, but in order to deter the predator, in order to frighten, terrify, scare, terrorize the predator, the harmless prey pretends to be a predator itself.

Now, this happens a lot among, for example, borderlines and codependents.

They would pretend to be psychopaths and narcissists.

This is a form of defensive mimicry.

When codependents and borderlines find themselves in the presence of narcissistic and psychopathic predators, they often pretend to be narcissists and psychopaths, and they even adopt narcissistic and psychopathic behaviors.

The aim is to broadcast the message, "Stay away. Be careful. I'm warning you. I'm dangerous. I will destroy you. I'm a narcissist. I'm a psychopath," etc. etc.

So this is defensive mimicry.

The mimic may resemble an organism that is harmful to the predator, in defensive mimicry, or harmless to the prey, in aggressive mimicry.

The model, the organism being imitated, what happens to it?

If more and more narcissists, an increasing number of psychopaths, pretend to be normal, healthy, average blokes or chicks, what happens to the truly normal, healthy, nice, kind blokes and chicks?

What happens to them? They're in trouble.

Because the narcissist's prey, or the psychopath's prey, begins to be hyper-vigilant. She begins to be afraid even of the genuine model.

So if you've had a bad experience with a narcissist or a psychopath, and this narcissist or psychopath mimicked, pretended to be a nice guy, next time you meet a really nice guy, you would be afraid. You would be suspicious. You would push him away. You'd be hyper-vigilant.

And consequently, the opportunities of the model are affected by the mimic.

In short, the opportunities of the nice guy to have sex with you, to have a relationship with you, to have children with you, make a family with you, do business with you. The opportunities of the nice, kind, supportive, loving, caring and pathetic guy are much reduced by the fact that narcissists use this kind of guy as a model, imitate this kind of guy, mimic this kind of guy, thereby reducing this kind of guy's opportunities with you.

So the mimic always benefits the model, sometimes suffers, consequently, from a general deterioration in trust in the environment.

So we say in biological terms that the model suffers the organism or the species or the individuals being imitated.

The models suffer reduced fitness.

Their ability to compete, survival of the fittest, their ability to be selected in, for example, made selection process.

This ability is much reduced because there are many fakes around that look and behave very much like them, narcissists and psychopaths.

The signal and receiver, the prey always suffers because she's tricked.

In most mimicry behaviors and mimicry complexes, the prey, the victim, the target always pays a heavy cost.


First and foremost, because she bases her behaviors, her decisions, her choices on the wrong information, on the information emitted by the predator who pretends to be non-predator, by the predator who pretends to be prey, a victim, poor codependent, by the predator who pretends to be another species which is harmless.

Being misguided this way can lead and thus lead to catastrophic consequences.

Aggressive mimicry often involves the predator employing signals that attract the prey.

So we're not only talking about what happens after an initial contact has been made, the contact is initiated. The predator magnetically, electrically if you wish, hypnotically attracts the prey.

Part of the mimicry mechanism or the mimicry complex are signals that generate attraction, attractability, like the equivalent of pheromones in the animal kingdom.

So the narcissist or the psychopath pretending to be a victim of abuse or a rescuer and a savior or just a normal average guy, this narcissist or psychopath, they're not only going to passively wait and pretend and fake, they're going to actively attract you. They're going to emit signals saying, for example, "I need love, only you can cure me, I've been waiting for you all my life." And this is precisely what we call love bombing or grooming.

It is an integral part of mimicry in the animal kingdom, not only among animals, by the way, plants, other kinds, like insects, everyone engages in mimicry.

Absolutely everyone engages in mimicry.

And always part of the mimicry is the element of attraction.

Narcissists and psychopaths mimicry involves love bombing.

What is love bombing?

Love bombing is the ability to experience emotions and express them to have effect.

We know that narcissists don't have access to any positive emotions, and we know that psychopaths don't have positive emotions, period.

And yet they imitate well positive emotions.

And they broadcast to you the alleged existence of these emotions, and you are attracted inexorably to this overwhelming sensation of intensity and warmth and passion and desire and acceptance and ability.

You're being idealized, you fall in love with your idealized image. It's all part of the mimicry.

It's a strategy that allows predators to simply sit there and wait for the prey to come to them.

The promise of love, the promise of sex, the promise of money, the promise of togetherness and intimacy, the promise of whatever, intellectual stimulation.

These are the lures. The predator puts out the bait, and the bait involves mimicry.

"Don't worry, I am not a narcissist. I am not a psychopath," says the narcissist or say the narcissist and the psychopath.

"We are not who you think we are. We are another species, very nice species, cutie pie species, loving species. Come to us. Come to us."

As long as the predator's true identity is concealed, it may be able to approach prey more easily than would otherwise be the case, clearly.

And the signals, exactly like in the animal kingdom, the signals are compounded. They're visual.

How you dress, how are your feet or not, do you take care of yourself?

They're intellectual. Are you intelligent? Are you beyond intelligent, maybe?

They are verbal, smooth talking, sweet talking, small talk, light, pleasant, fun, jokes, sense of humor.

These are all the dimensions of aggressive mimicry, and they involve camouflage.

There is an active effort to hide certain angles, aspects and dimensions.

There are scholars such as Wickler, and Wickler said that the signal is the most significant thing. The signal is the thing that activates the receiver.

And it is the signal, the content of the signal, the intensity of the signal, the outcomes of the signal. This is what differentiates camouflage from aggressive mimicry.

Camouflage is more passive.

Aggressive mimicry intends to attract.

But still, it's not very easy to tell how significant the signal is for the dupe.

And the distinction is very fuzzy. I myself think there is no aggressive mimicry without camouflage.

In other words, with the narcissist and the psychopath, what you see is not what you get. Never, ever what you get.

Aggressive mimics involve always mixed signals, deceptive signals, and parts that are hidden or transformed via disguise and camouflage into other parts.

I said that aggressive mimicry is not the same as defensive mimicry. I'll remind you again. Aggressive mimicry is when a predator pretends to be harmless.

Defensive mimicry is when the prey pretends to be harmful. Defensive mimicry has various forms, at least three, that we know of.

And all these forms are the antithesis, the exact opposite of aggressive mimicry.

Also, the targets are different. In defensive mimicry, the predator is the target. In aggressive mimicry, the prey is the target.

Defensive or protective mimicry takes place when organisms are able to avoid harmful encounters by deceiving enemies into treating them as something else.

So this also happens in a shared fantasy or in a so-called intimate relationship with the narcissist or the psychopath, where the partner, the intimate partner, would pretend to be someone else.

As I said, she would say, "I'm a narcissist, I'm a psychopath. Don't f with me." This is a form of aggressive defensive mimicry.

There's the opposite by all. There is when the victim pretends to be meaningless, insignificant, boring, the gray rock technique, unworthy of the predator's attention.

In other words, not tasty. When the victim renders herself non-delicious, not palatable, that drives the predator away, and it's also a form of mimicry.

So there's Bayesian mimicry, where a harmless mimic poses as harmful. There is Malarian mimicry, where two or more harmful species mutually advertise themselves as harmful, narcissist and a psychopath.

There is Mertanesian mimicry, where a deadly mimic resembles a less harmful but less un-teaching model.

We're not going to all this. There's even a fourth type, it's known as Vavilovian mimicry, where the bad sorts resemble good, the good sorts, like weeds resemble crops, and so on and so forth.

We're not going to all this because narcissists and psychopaths extremely rarely engage in defensive mimicry.

Their victims, their targets, their intimate partners, their children, their harried and bullied co-workers, they are the ones who engage in defensive mimicry.

And again, generally speaking, of two sorts. I am dangerous, stay away from me. This is one type of mimicry, prey, that a prey engages in.

And the other type is, I'm not interesting. I'm not interesting for you. Move on. Find another prey. Find a prey that would gratify and satisfy your needs.

In defensive mimicry, the mimic benefits by avoiding a harmful interaction with the predator. Had the prey not engaged in defensive mimicry, such an encounter would have been much more likely.

The deception helps the prey to survive. And this is partly known as reactive abuse. And that's why I keep saying that narcissism is contagious.

The narcissist forces his intimate partner to become deceptive. He forces the intimate partner to lie, to pretend, to fake, to deceive, to abuse, in short, to become a narcissist or a psychopath.

So the aggressive mimic benefits from an interaction that would be less likely to occur without the deception, at the expense of the target, of course.

And the defensive mimic benefits from a lack of interaction or the avoidance of an interaction that would have happened had there not been deception.

That's a very strong incentive to be deceptive. And gradually, gradually, victims who have been exposed for a very long time to a predatory person, such as a narcissist or a psychopath, find themselves alienated and estranged from themselves. They don't know or recognize themselves anymore. They have become narcissists and psychopaths, a little like in a zombie movie, when the zombie bites you.

I said before that aggressive mimicry has a component of attracting the prey, luring the prey, capturing the prey, captivating it.

The signal receiver is lured toward the mimic.

The mimic is the predator pretending to not be a predator.

So the signal receiver, the prey, the victim, the target is lured.

And this raises the question, what does the predator use to lure the victim, to lure the prey?

Yes, the predator is deceptive. The predator pretends to be to not be a predator.

The predator pretends to be someone else or some other type or some other kind or some other species.

Yeah, we get all this. But what in it, what in this kind of behavior attracts the prey?

Why would the prey move towards the predator inexorably, unable to stop herself, unable to contain himself?

Why this magnetic hypnotic attraction exerted by the deceiving, mimicking predator?

It's because the predator is sending a message. I have what you need. What is it that you need? Do you need love? I have it.

Are you lonely? Do you need togetherness? I can give you that. Do you crave intimacy? I will provide you with it.

Do you want to be listened to? Do you want to be attended to? Do you want to be I will be here and listen to you indefinitely?

Do you want to be saved or rescued? I'm your man. I'm a rescuer, a savior, a healer and a fixer.

Are you a victim? Do you want to commiserate? I'm a victim too. I've been a victim of narcissistic abuse all my life. I've never done anything wrong. Everyone did wrong to me.

I'm like you, idealizing the victim, rendering the victim an angel, creating a morality play where the victim is all good and the abuser is all bad, engaging the victim's splitting defense, primitive infantile defense, regressing the victim to her early childhood.

All these allures, all these abates and they are irresistible. They're irresistible because the prey finds these things crucial. The prey believes that these are things which are vital to survival, even sometimes sex.

All these things love intimacy, sex, being understood, being accepted, being listened to, being seen, being attended to, being taken care of, being held, being contained, being healed, being rescued, being saved.

All these are perceived by the victim to be vital, critical. There is an element of catastrophizing.

If I don't have these things, I will die. This is the baby's natural reaction. If mommy doesn't pay attention to me, I will die.

And this is exactly the principle of dual mothership. This is dual mothership. That's the core. It's a mimicry complex.

The narcissist mimics a mother and then he reduces his intimate partner into a baby. By becoming a mother, the narcissist's intimate partner becomes a baby.

And then she is afraid, she becomes afraid, terrified to lose the narcissist because if a baby were to lose his mother, the baby would die.

The narcissist reduces his intimate partner to such a primitive level of organization, such an early stage of life that she becomes utterly dependent on him for her own survival and existence of life itself.

That at least is what she comes to believe. He becomes her nutrition.

And the narcissist knows exactly what it is that you're missing. He has called empathy. He scans you. He spots your vulnerabilities, the chinks in your armor, your unmet needs, and he provides them.

Everything he offers is of great value. Everything he offers is of great value.

Now, of course, we engage in mimicry. We as human beings, not narcissists and psychopaths. Simply, you know, healthy, normal human beings.

We engage in mimicry. Makeup is a form of mimicry. When women put makeup, they're sending a deceptive signal to the male sex.

It's a strategy to guarantee appropriate male selection and to ward off, to avoid unwanted making.

So this is a form of mimicry. But makeup is deceptive in a very limited sense. It's like saying, this is my potential.

While the narcissist and psychopaths mimicry is not about exaggerating their potential, their underlying assets. It's about pretending to be someone else.

The predator, in the case of the narcissist and psychopath, psychopath pretends to be a prey, pretends to be a victim or pretends to be someone else, a harmless, harmless, nice, kind person.

The promise of psychological nourishment is a way to attract the prey into a relationship with the wrong kind of person.

So the prey, the victim, the target bonds with the narcissist, attaches to the psychopath, fully believing that they're not.

And this is why narcissistic and psychopathic mimicry, love bombing, grooming, may definitely be criminal. They involve fraud.

Now, there is something called curbium or blood parasite mimicry. Post-parasite mimicry is a situation where a parasite mimics its own host.

And again, we see this among narcissists and psychopaths. They pretend to be victims of narcissistic abuse. They pretend to be codependents. They even pretend to be borderlines. They pretend to be much wounded, much wounded targets of narcissists and psychopaths when actually they are the narcissists and psychopaths.

And the mimicry is so effective that people tend to overlook and ignore even visible signs of extreme narcissism.

So when the narcissist comes on a meeting, on the screen, on a date, usually there are many, many warning signs, many physical signs, bodily signs, behavioral signs, postural signs, body language signs, verbal signs.

I mean, you name it, there are many signs. But the mimicry is so effective because there is something called base rate fallacy.

We tend to believe most of what we are told. We are gullible. So a prime narcissist, someone who is clearly beyond any doubt extremely narcissistic, would look you in the face and say, I'm a poor victim of narcissistic abuse. I'm a codependent woo unto me. I'm a people pleaser. And you would bite. You would believe it because he said it for no other reason.

And the human among humans mimicry is mostly verbal and it is mostly believed.

So very often, narcissists who are essentially parasites, they entrain your mind, they penetrate it and they install in your mind apps, interjects.

This is a highly parasitic activity, but they imitate prey, they imitate victims, they imitate targets. And this is definitely an example of brute parasitism or brute parasitism mimicry or kirbyon mimicry.

Another type of mimicry is known as wicklarian, icenarian mimicry of harmless species. The prey doesn't have to be attracted towards the predator for the predator to benefit. It is efficient for the predator simply to not be identified as a threat. The minute you are not identified as a threat, even if you don't attract the prey actively, then numerous other societal benefits.

Wicklarian, icenarian mimics resemble to some extent a mutualistic ally or a species of little significance to the prey, such as a commensural symbiotic species.

So it doesn't have to be, the narcissists and psychopaths don't have to attract you all the time to ensnare you, to trap you and then to suck the life out of you. They don't have to do this. It's enough, for example, that they are seen with you, associate with you, communicate with you and the signal sent to the environment is they're harmless, they're safe.

So this is a kind of mimicry where they are by-benefits, by-products, side effects, positive side effects, or being wrongly considered harmless.

Now mimicry is, involves also behavior. So for example, there's something called mimesis.

Mimesis, in Latin, at least, mimesis is a kind of aggressive mimicry, cryptic, aggressive mimicry. It's where the predator mimics an organism that its prey is indifferent to.

So the predator mimics an organism that the prey is not worried about, is not afraid of.

And it's the same with narcissists and psychopaths. They could imitate harmless people, irrelevant people, people which create indifference in the victim.

So I don't know, a doorman, a service provider, an electrician, a plumber, a teacher. So they're like, they're not perceived as threats, but they're also not relevant to the life of the victim or the target.

And this way they create a back door, a back door into the victim or target's life. And it is through this back door that they penetrate and inflict the damage.

By imitating another type of person to whom the victim is indifferent and of whom she is not afraid, she doesn't feel that other type of person is a threat.

It allows the narcissists and psychopaths to invade her home, her space, and to colonize her in effect.

The predator is ignored by the prey, allowing the predator to avoid detection until the prey is close enough for the predator to strike.

Again, it's a kind of camouflage. Parasites, for example, often imitate the host. And we have situations where parasites mimic either the host or the host's natural prey.

But with the roars reversed, they want the host to eat them. In order to penetrate the host, to enter the host body, these parasites pretend to be another species, which is the host food, the host's normal diet or nutrition.

And then the host pulses on them, consumes them, and they're inside the host body.

Nastasis do this as well. It's known as a form of parasites mimicking prey. Nastasis do this as well. If they know, for example, that you are highly attracted to a specific type of guy, they would imitate this specific type of guy.

So that you consume them, grant them access, and then they're inside, and it's too late. They've penetrated your fortress, your firewall.

So, Nastasis and psychopaths often imitate tasty morsels, appealing characters, people you want to associate with or make love to or be intimate partners with.

And then you take the bait, you kind of bounce on them, and they're in.

And this deception provides a parasite with easy entry into the host. Once inside the host, they feed upon the host, and they continue the life cycle.

So, as you've seen, Nastasis and psychopaths use the entire arsenal of mimicry, camouflage, deception, available to animals in the animal kingdom.

It's predator and prey. It's an ancient dance macabre. It is proof positive that regardless of the veneer of civilization and all deceptions and pretensions, we are still at heart.

Animals, and some of us, are very good at pretending that we are animals of the wrong kind.


Okay, that's my last video before my forthcoming trip to Bucharest, Romania. Tell me that you'll miss me. Soshenim.


Today we are going to discuss the brain, more precisely, neuroplasticity. And what does it tell us about the antiquated concept of a unitary self?

We're going to discuss fascinating things such as ambivalence, cognitive dissonance, compartmentalization.

It's not the longest word I know, but it sure competes with the longest word I know.

And we're going to start with London cabby drivers.

But before we go to London and to its infamous famous cabs, a few service announcements.

Number one, I'm going to be in Romania, July 1st to July 11th. I would be seeing paying customers.

I still have a few slots, time slots available. If you're interested, make contact with me. My email is samvacnin@gmail.com. Write to me and I'll see if I can fit you in face to face one on one counseling with me, me in Bucharest, Romania.

That's one thing.

Second thing. Don't forget there's a seven days, seven days, not five days, but seven days free. Free means no cost, no pay, nada, no money. Free.


Call therapy seminar in another city in Romania, the fairy tale, Turnu Sevevin.

There's another video that I've made a few days ago. Go to that video, watch everything, write to me and I'll reserve a seat for you.

We have well over 200 participants by now. So hurry up. We, the city of Turnu Sevevin, had given us a cultural palace, a veritable palace, a beautiful building.

And the seminar is going to take place in that palace. But even there, the number of seats is limited and you want to hurry up.

The early bird catches the vulture.

Okei schorshanim. My name, as you have just surmised, is Samvaknin. I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.

And I'm also a professor of psychology to all my unfortunate students around this shrinking polluted plume.

Before I proceed into the main topic, I want to tell you about a modification I've made in some of my thinking.

Hereto, I've told you that the narcissist needs only three things. I call them the three S's.

Sex, supply, the supply could be narcissistic or sadistic, and services.

And I told you repeatedly that two out of three is enough. If you provide the narcissist with two out of these three, one of which must be supplying, then you can, you qualify as a narcissist's intimate partner.

So there's sex, services and supply. If you provide the narcissist with supply and sex, you're in.

If you provide the narcissist with supply and services, you're in.

Supply is a pillar without which, precondition, without which a narcissist will never be your intimate partner, but you can tack onto it.

You can add onto it either sex or services as the spirit dawns upon you.

I want to modify this picture. I think it's actually the four S's. Sex, supply, services and safety.

Safety means a narcissist can trust you. You never lie to the narcissist. You incite the shared fantasy. You come to be seen by the narcissist as a mother who would never deceive him and never lead him astray.

That doesn't mean that you cannot reach an accommodation with the narcissist, for example, to have other men. But this accommodation must be explicit and honest. The communication must be sincere. Deception renders the narcissist, renders anyone actually feel unsafe.

Narcissist has abandonment anxiety and needs to feel safe.

So the four S's, supply must be one added to this sex, services and safety.

These are the four S's and if you have three of these four, you qualify to be the narcissist's intimate partner.

Sex is not a prerequisite. It's not a sin equa non. It's not a condition. You could have a sexless relationship with the narcissist as long as you give him the other three.

And as long as one of these three is supply.

Okay, I'll discuss it in my next video, next recording when I discuss how the narcissist experiences the shared fantasy.

Because hitherto I've discussed your experience of the shared fantasy.

And I want to give you the narcissist's point of view, insider point of view, or how does he feel when he is in the throes of a shared fantasy.


Let's go to today's topic, which as I said, is neuroplasticity. The amazing ability of the brain to rewire itself, to rebrand itself, so to speak, and to render you a new person.

Now, immediately, those of you who are discernible enough, those of you who are discerning enough, I'm sorry, will come to the fore and say, Vaklin, again, you're contradicting yourself. You said people can't change. Well, certain things cannot change indeed. They cannot change because they occupy too many areas of the brain. The brain as a whole cannot change. Areas of the brain can change and usually that's limited to one or two areas.

But there are phenomena, there are issues, for example, your personality, which encompass the bulk of the brain, the majority of the brain.

And these things are immutable, cannot change their lifelong, but they are not the same as having a self.

We're going to review phenomena such as ambivalence, emotional ambivalence, cognitive dissonance and compartmentalization.

And these well-observed, well-documented psychological phenomena support my view that the best way to go forward in psychology is to adopt a model of self-states, an assemblage of self-like apparitions, if you wish, self-like constructs, which are provoked and triggered by environmental external cues and then take over for a while until they're no longer needed.

It's like a theater troupe or a theater group.

And so each one has his role or her role in the script.

The self-state model, in my view, is much superior to the unitary self or to the core identity models.

And when we look at these phenomena, ambivalence, cognitive dissonance, compartmentalization, they militate against any model involving a unitary self or a core identity.


But I want to start, of course, with London cab drivers. Studies about 10 years ago, so 11 years ago, studies have shown that the brains of London cab drivers are not the same as the brain of normal people.

Anyone who has used a cab in London could have told you that without any investment in fancy equipment and researchers.

But what the study had discovered is that some areas, atrophied actually, while others, the hippocampus, had grown almost malignantly.

And so this was one of the most conclusive proofs of what came to be known as neuroplasticity.

Now, neuroplasticity had been described 230 or 40 years ago. It's nothing really, really new.

I'm going to read to you the definition in the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Neuroplasticity is the capacity of neurons and neural networks in the brain to change their connections and behavior in response to new information, sensory stimulation, development, damage or dysfunction.

Although, says the Britannica, although some neural functions appear to be hardwired in specific localized regions of the brain, certain neural networks exhibit modularity and carry out specific functions while also retaining the capacity to deviate from their usual functions and to reorganize themselves.

Hence, neuroplasticity is considered generally to be a complex, multifaceted, fundamental property of the brain.

And so this is the latest edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Before I go into what we know today about neuroplasticity, and of course there's a lot of hype, a lot of media hype, and I blame neuroscientists for this hype, for a change.

I don't blame self-styled YouTubers because they just picked up on the lead of unscrupulous neuroscientists who were after funding.

And so they exaggerated numerous claims and hyped the whole concept of neuroplasticity.

I'm going to bring all of you and myself a bit down to earth later.

The aim of this whole exercise is to demonstrate that if neuroplasticity does exist, then we cannot have a unitary self.

There's no such thing as a core identity which is unchangeable, immutable throughout the lifespan.

These two concepts are mutually exclusive.

But again, let's start with observable psychological phenomena.

Ambivalence, emotional ambivalence, first described well over 100 years ago.

Take for example, hate and love.

Ambivalence is when you have two conflicting emotions simultaneously, when you hold them simultaneously.

So you love someone and you hate them. Think about your mother.

So hate is often confused with love because it produces the same bonding and attachment to each subject.

The transition from love to hatred is seamless and imperceptible.

The two emotions often cohabit. Ambivalence is a form of dissonance.

Such conflation between love and hate is especially pronounced in mental health disorders that involve objecting constancy, per-secretary objects, dysregulation and abandonment anxiety.

In these disorders, the wish to subsume the intimate partner, to merge or to fuse with the intimate partner, is felt as a wish to destroy an object that is at times frustrating.

The idea of merging with the partner is about controlling the partner. And you need to control the partner because he frustrates you.

Consequently, hate is sometimes mistaken for love and vice versa.

And this is especially true when certain defense mechanisms such as projection, reaction formation, splitting, projective identification, when these defense mechanisms are at work, they reframe reality.

And it's easy to deceive yourself that you love someone when actually you're terrified of them or you want to control them or they frustrate you and make you angry all the time.

And so you want to merge and fuse with them. And so you feel that you love them.

Ambivalence is not strictly exactly like cognitive dissonance, is not strictly a defense mechanism, but it exhibits many of the hallmarks of a defense mechanism.

I mentioned cognitive dissonance.

By the way, there's a whole video, the whole video I've made on my channel dedicated to ambivalence, love and hate.


Let's proceed to cognitive dissonance.

Cognitive dissonance is when you somewhat simultaneously at the same time, you harbor or you have two or more conflicting pieces of information, contradictory thoughts, beliefs, values and so on.

So you could say that ambivalence is a subspecies of cognitive dissonance because today we consider emotions to be a form of cognition.

Anyhow, when you have two thoughts or beliefs or values or pieces of information that are mutually exclusive contradicting conflict with each other, you have a cognitive dissonance.

When you hold simultaneously two bits of data which call for diametrically opposed decisions or actions, you are in the throes of a cognitive dissonance.

And this state of things is uneasy, it's uncomfortable. It generates an inner conflict. It triggers several primitive infantile defense mechanisms such as denial or splitting or projection or reaction formation.

One way to cope with this predicament of the cognitive dissonance is to transition from dissonance to consummance.

And how do you do that? You come up with a reconciling narrative, a theory which seamlessly accommodates both conflicting points of view or data.

But when you do this habitually, when you consistently adhere, obey, trust in and follow such reconciliation narratives, you will start your reality.

Because in reality, a bit of information is either true or false. And not two conflicting bits of information can be true at the same time. Not two contradictory bits of data can be true at the same time.

So this is unreal. If you create a narrative where your inner conflict, the mutually exclusive pieces of evidence are somehow accommodated, that narrative is counterfactual, defies the facts, is unreal.

And if all your life is constructed around such narratives, you become mentally ill.

Indeed, personality disorders can be reduced, can be easily described as a search of narratives intended to somehow accommodate, ameliorate and mitigate dissonances.

People with personality disorders who are high functioning are very disconcerting because they compartmentalize their promiscuous, antisocial, addictive, sadistic and defined behaviors.

During the day, these people are competent professionals, diligent students, pillars of the community, responsible citizens, fathers and mothers, public intellectuals, loving husbands and wives, thriving entrepreneurs.

That's during the day. But come evening and night, the mask drops. They suddenly drink. They do drugs. Their behavior is replete with disrhythmia, reckless, self-trashing sex with virtual strangers, gambling, any number of addictive and dysfunctional, even self-destructive behaviors.

It's as though they have two personalities. Indeed, two self-states, cognitive dissonance and the mental illness that comes out of cognitive dissonance, are proof positive that we have self-states, not a unitary cell.

Anyone who had witnessed a psychopath or a borderline in action would confirm to you that there are several pseudo personalities there, several pseudo identities competing for the same body.

What Baffler's scholars is that all these self-states are a part of the personality. There is no faking involved. The switching is abrupt, but it is also seamless. Dissociation is frequently involved, but never to the point of rupturing continuous autobiographical memory and core identity.

Core identity in the sense that there is an organizing mechanism, an algorithm, which decides which self-state will out. So I replace the concept of self and the concept of core identity with an algorithmic operating system, which essentially is a form of artificial intelligence.

Cletley called it in the 1940s the "mask of sanity". It challenges everything we thought we knew about psychology because we have organized modern psychology around counterfactual concepts and narratives, wrong concepts and narratives, such as self-individual, identity, personality.

These things don't exist. It's nonsense. It's not even helpful.

Not even helpful as an idealized hypothesis.

And you see this a lot in people with mental disorders, but also in people who have been victimized by abusers who are mentally ill.

So victims of narcissistic abuse had been victimized by narcissists, victims of psychopathic abuse, victims of borderline abuse.

These victims also kind of fragment and split into their constituent self-states. They develop extremely strong cognitive dissonances, ambivalences and compartmentalization.

They begin to mirror their abusers through the process of entraining. I urge you to watch my videos with Richard Brennan on this topic.

Some people adopt the role of a professional victim and in doing so, they become actually their abusers. They become self-centered, devoid of empathy, abusive and exploitative.

In other words, they become narcissists or psychopaths. So the role of a professional victim is the role of someone whose existence and very identity rests solely and entirely on his victim or her victim.

It's well researched in victimology and it doesn't make for a nice reading. But what I'm driving at is that these victims entertain the false notion that they can compartmentalize their narcissistic behaviors. They think they can be abusive only with a narcissist. They can abuse only the narcissist.

In other words, such a victim trusts her ability to segregate her conduct and to be verbally abusive towards the narcissist while at the same time she is civil, affectionate, compassionate and empathic with other people. With a narcissist, she acts with malice. With a narcissist is concerned, she is skimming and malevolent and cunning and so on because she has to survive. It's a survival strategy.

But at the same time, she displays Christian charity and altruism towards all everyone else. This belief, I call it the faucet of a tap theory. This kind of victim believes that she can turn on and off her negative feelings, her abusive outbursts, her vindictiveness and vengefulness, her blind rage and her non-discriminating judgment.

This is, of course, untrue. These behaviors spill over into interactions with innocent non-narcissists.

So as you see, there's a limit. There's a limit to how much you can change. There's a limit to how differentiated the self-states are.

The self-states are not mutually exclusive. They share a lot in common. They have access to databases, for example, your memories.

And they share these databases to a large extent. They have what we call partial dissociative partitions. So there is, in some parts of your brain and some parts of who you are, are immutable. They are not changeable. But they don't amount. They don't amount to what we call the self.

These parts, which can never change and which are with you to the day you die, these parts are not what is normally called the core identity.

Because they are disparate, because they are not enough, like they are, I don't know, maybe 60% of you or 40% of you, no one is measured. And there's a lot of you, at least half of you maybe, that is changeable, permutable and mutable.

So the self-state model doesn't imply that you are never you. That every minute or every day or every second or every year you become someone else.

That's not what the self-state model says. It says that within certain confines and boundaries which determine your immutability, determine your inability to change within these boundaries, you're Think of a river. A river has river beds and river banks. These rarely change. They take eons, millennia to change.

But the river itself flows constantly. You can never enter the same river twice. Pantave, this is the self-state model.

Now it's of course everything, so we believe at least, everything happens in the brain. So any changes, any outing of a self-state, any alteration in your pattern of cognitions, motions and behaviours must be somehow reflected in the brain.

And if these patterns become ingrained in long term, there must be a corresponding change in the brain, which is also ingrained in long term.

In other words, there must be new neural pathways. The brain must somehow rewire itself. The dopamine pathway, for example, is fixed. The structures of the brain, the hippocampus, the cerebro... they're all fixed. No one is implying that the brain shape shifts physically or physiologically.

But what happens in the brain where electrochemical signals move and transition from and to these pathways, these highways of the brain, they keep changing, they keep rewiring themselves.

And this is often known as neuroplasticity. It happens, it's a myth, it's wrong to say that it happens only in humans. It happens in all life forms with the brain.

And so in animals, individuals, in animal species, their brain morphology even changes. Actually, you could easily make a claim that animal neuroplasticity is much more prevalent and dominant and discernible than human neuroplasticity.

Because our brains are so complex, anything that happens in our brains is mere tinkering.

While animal brains are much more primitive and much more amenable to massive changes.

So in animals, even the morphology, the shape changes. A release of hormones, evolutionary factors, developmental stages, even seasons affect the brains of many species and enhance or even generate responsive behaviors which are sometimes utterly new.

And we see animals change their behaviors in ways which are interpreted as learning, but maybe only the outcome of an unchanging transforming brain.

Children have undeveloped brains. When they're born, their brain is only about half developed. Many areas of the brain, in a newborn, are utterly undeveloped.

So children are easily comparable to animals in this sense. They have primitive brains.

And indeed, neuroplasticity is most active in childhood. It's a part, it's a normal part of human development.

It's a mechanism, it's a mechanism which allows the child to avoid risk and to develop resilience in the face of the exigencies and dangers of life taking on the world.

It's very traumatic, very terrifying.

And what happens is, when this process of neuroplasticity is disrupted, when this process of evolving, changing, unfurling brain, which takes well over 25 years, when it is disrupted, this is what we call trauma.

Trauma negatively affects the brain, puts a strain on sympathetic nervous system, and it either prevents constant activation or triggers constant activation.

It alters the brain's connections. Trauma creates severe problems in childhood because it causes the child to become hypervigilant or hyperaroused, overly aroused.

The excitation state becomes permanent. Neuroplasticity, whenever the child is traumatized and abused and there are many forms of abuse, as I mentioned, spoiling and pampering and pedestaling and parentifying and instrumentalizing the child, are as bad as sexual abuse or verbal abuse. So there are many forms of abuse. When the child is not allowed to separate from the parent and become an individual, that's abuse. Theabuse.

The child is treated as an extension of the parent. That's abuse.

So this kind of abuse is traumatizing.

When the child is helpless, small and terrified and not grandiose enough to take on the world, the child is traumatized even by the slightest things, even by frustration.

And had it not been for neuroplasticity, all of us would have ended up a stead-bunding or even worse, a samvadin.

Neuroplasticity saves the day.

It allows the brain to rewire on the fly in the face of adverse childhood experiences, ACE, ACE.

Neuroplasticity has several categories and several types of neuroplasticity.

And almost every imaginable area of the brain and almost every imaginable neuronal functioning is neuroplastic.

So neuroplasticity, and I will come in a minute to the various types of neuroplasticity and so on and so forth.

Neuroplasticity is the mechanism of the brain, the process in the brain that competes with adverse processes such as impairment or access or trauma or even negative adaptation, maladaptation.

There have been many, many studies.

Everything affects the brain. Everything changes and multi-brain is very malleable, indeed very, very plastic.

Musical training actually is one of the most powerful influences on the brain, which led me to suggest that in training via abusive verbiage and training via abusive words is the equivalent of music or musical training.

And therefore, leverages the brain's neuroplasticity in a bad way, maliciously or malevolent.

When these changes in the brain occur, they are unique to the individual.

So no brain is not two brains are alike. It's a myth.

If you play sports, if you learn multiple languages, if you do theater, if you listen to music, depends which type of music.

If you do the knowledge and you become a cab driver in London, your brain is not the same as anyone else's. Our brains are highly unique.

Yes, you can identify the structures, but they will be of different size. They would be wired differently. They will interact differently with other structures of the brain, etc, etc.

Changes in the brain start very early.

There are studies that have demonstrated conclusively that brains begin to deviate from each other. Brains begin to be idiosyncratic. They begin to be unique to the individual.

As early as 15 months, the degree of plasticity in the brain, as care in Nelson had written, helps provide a form of intervention for children with developmental disorders and neurological diseases.

Another type of neuroplasticity, which is not structural, again, while we come to all the other types, but another family of neuroplastic processes, is what is known as activity-dependent neuroplasticity.

It's the only type of neuroplasticity that is both functional and structural. And it arises from the repeated use of cognitive functions and is very responsive to personal experiences.

Actually, when sub-styled experts on YouTube use the term "neuroplasticity", they mean this sub-subtype activity-dependent neuroplasticity.

When your cognitions are of a specific type, especially when they are reactive to specific experiences, for example, abuse, or on the very contrary, compassion and love, these reshape the brain.

There's a biological basis for learning and the formation of new memories. There are new pathways created all the time.

Activity-dependent neuroplasticity arises from intrinsic endogenous activity, from the inside.

All other forms of neuroplasticity are reactive. They arise from exogenous, extrinsic factors, from the environment.

So when we stimulate the brain electrically, or we give ECT in inpatient settings, when we administer drugs, these treatment modalities also have an effect on neuroplasticity.

I've been claiming for decades that talk therapy is a form of neuroplastic engineering.

We are using structured sentences and words within well-defined algorithms in order to induce a rewiring of the brain and the mind.

And of course, psychopaths and narcissists, they have this cold empathy.

So they intuitively know how to rewire your brain with words and actions.

The brain's ability to remodel itself is an asset, but it's also a liability because other people can abuse it, can use it against you.

The brain's capacity to retain memories, improve motor functioning, enhance comprehension and speech, all these rely on neuroplasticity.

We wouldn't have been human without neuroplasticity.

The very ability to retain memories, even to form memories, what is to form a memory is to reconnect neurons, which is the foundational mechanism of neuroplasticity.

And we do it on a daily basis, when neuroplastic on a daily basis.

And so, but abusers know this and they use it against us.

They know they can reach into our minds, into our brains, reshape them, rearrange the furniture and come up with a totally new thing.

And that totally new thing is a zombie. It's a slave. It's an extension. You.

Another type of neuroplasticity is intimately connected to gene expression.

Gene expression genes can be triggered by what we call signaling cascades.

Signaling cascades cause the release of signaling molecules, even simple substances such as calcium, glutamate, dopamine.

They are other neurotransmitters. They are actually signaling molecules.

So these molecules trigger certain genes and this enhances neural or neuronal activity.

And so neuroplasticity is also reactive to the genetic template.

And it's also an integral part of epigenetics.

But this topic for another fascinating lecture, because we can actually transmit neuroplasticity intergenerationally via expressed and triggered genetic material.

These are recent discoveries in the past 10 years.

They are revolutionizing the way we see evolution, introducing Lamarckian elements into it.

So consider, for example, a right handed person.

Right handed person can practice his left hand and become ambidextrous.

And then his brain changes.

Someone with autism, someone with a stroke can rewire his brain to mitigate these kinds of dysfunctions.

OK, I promise to give you a breakdown of the various types of neuroplasticity.

And as you notice, neuroplasticity is good when you have a physiological problem, a medical problem, a biological problem or even a genetic problem.

It's good because it allows you to circumvent the problem, to create a shortcut or bypass of the problem.

But neuroplasticity also allows you to to fall memories, to cope with emotions, to counter and fight back when you're traumatized and abused.

So neuroplasticity is just a general term, I think, for adaptation.

It's the biological template of adaptation.

It's simply the physiological, electrochemical, neuronal, biological machinery that underlies what we call adaptation, which is a second order phenomenon, an epiphenomenon, an emergent phenomenon.

Adaptation emerges from the ability of this machinery to self-assemble in reaction to environmental cues.

Does it strike a chord? Does it remind you of something? Yes, self-states.

I think neuroplasticity, again, the capacity of our mental machinery to self-assemble in ad hoc networks, I think neuroplasticity, as defined this way, is the biological foundation for self-states.

There are various types of neuroplasticity.


First, there's homologous area adaptation.

This occurs during early childhood, in a critical period of development.

If a particular brain module becomes damaged in early life, the normal operations of this module shift to other areas in the brain that do not include the affected module.

The function is often shifted to a module in a matching or homologous area of the opposite brain hemisphere.

So it shifts from left to right and from right to left.

I'm pointing here because I think I have a brain, although this is still hotly disputed online.

The downside of this form of neuroplasticity is that it comes to costs, to functions that are normally stored in the module that is now used.

But this module has to make room for new functions and this decreases other functions.

Similar with London cabbies, by the way, the frontal area of the hippocampus grows dramatically in London cabbies, but the back area, the anterior area, becomes depleted and atrophied.

There's always a compensatory mechanism at work. You do something well, you do something else less well. You use some structure, it can't be used for other things.

There's no parallel processing and there's no multitasking in any given square inch of the brain.

Everything is dedicated.

So redundancy is in terms of structures. Everything is a double, but not in terms of function.

When the right parietal lobe, for example, the middle region of the cerebral hemispheres, when the parietal lobe, the right one, becomes damaged early in life, the left parietal lobe takes over visual and spatial functions.

But this impairs arithmetical functions, which the left parietal lobe usually carries out exclusively.

It's an example. Timing is also very crucial because a child learns how to navigate, for example, physical space before the child learns arithmetics.

So if the left parietal lobe is compensating for a damaged right parietal lobe, this child will never learn how to calculate.

It will have serious troubles with mathematics.


Another type of neuroplasticity is known as compensatory masquerade.

They have names. Oh, I love it.

Very literary.

Compensatory masquerade is when the brain figures out an alternative strategy for carrying out a task when the initial strategy cannot be followed because of some structural impairment or some other problem.

Because every task has a strategy, this kind of algorithm that tells the brain how to act in order to accomplish the task.

For example, drinking coffee from Minnie's lips.

We should try it.

And so, example, you try to navigate from one place to another.

Most people have an intuitive sense of direction and distance, and they employ it for navigation.

But we all know people who are totally disoriented.

If someone has some kind of brain trauma or an impaired spatial sense, they need to develop another strategy just in order to find the way back home or in a foreign city.

They need another strategy for spatial navigation.

So, for example, some memory areas in the brain, short-term memory areas, will spring to life and they will try to compensate by memorizing landmarks.

So, what the masquerade here is that it's a reorganization of pre-existing neural networks. It's like the brain says, "I can't find my way home relying on my sense of direction and navigation and spatial recognition.

So, I'll find my way home using memory. I'll memorize landmarks. This way, I'll find my way home." And that's the masquerade.

Another form of neuroplasticity is known as cross-modelreassignment.

It entails an introduction of new inputs into a brain area deprived of its main inputs.

So, for example, imagine that you're blind.

Okay, don't imagine. Imagine that you're blind and you're blind since birth.

And so, you see the world by touching it. You visualize by touching. It's a somatosensory input. It's redirected.

I don't know if you know, but when a blind person touches your face, the input is not tactile. It's not the touch.

What happens is he touches your face. This creates electrochemical signals, and they are transferred to the visual cortex in the occipital lobe.

The blind person literally sees your face with his fingertips. The visual cortex of the blind person in his brain reacts to touch.

This area is known as V1, the neuroscience buffs among you.

But people who have normal eyesight, they're not blind, they don't display any activity in the V1 area. They don't display any compensatory activity.

When they touch faces, the signal goes to the right place. Neurons communicate with each other in the same abstract language of electrochemical impulses, regardless of sensory modality.

This is something which is lost on many people. The languages is the same. It's identical. It's the routing that matters. Wherematters.

Where the language elements go, where the input, the bytes and bits, the data, where it's redirected.

In a blind person, the same data will be redirected to the visual cortex, while in a sighted person who sees, it will be redirected elsewhere.

All the sensory cortices will bring the visual, the auditory, olfactory, smell, gustatory, taste, somatosensory. All of them have a similar six-layer processing structure.

So the visual cortices of blind people can still carry out the cognitive functions of creating representations of the physical world, but base these representations on input from another sense, namely touch, not sight.

So it's one area of the brain compensating for a lack of vision.

But it's not only that. It's a change in the actual functional assignment of a local brain region.

You see how amazingly flexible the brain is, how neuroplastic.

The last form of neuroplasticity is known as map expansion. It entails the flexibility of local brain regions that are dedicated to performing one type of function or storing a particular form of information.

The arrangement of these local regions in the cerebral cortex is what we call the map.

When one function is carried out frequently through repeated behavior or repeated stimulus, by the way, conditioning, addiction, repetition, they rewire the brain. They create neuronal pathways.

So when one function is repeated sufficiently, the region of the cortical map dedicated to this function grows and shrinks.

If you don't repeat it often, it shrinks. The region often, it grows. It's responsive to exercise. It's a kind of use it or lose it.

And this phenomenon takes place during the learning or practicing of a skill, such as playing a musical instrument, but can easily respond, for example, to learning how to cope with suicidal ideation.

It is responsive to learning how to reframe trauma. The region grows as the individual gains implicit familiarity with the new skill, and the new skill can be anything.

And it shrinks to baseline once the learning becomes explicit.

Now, explicit and implicit learning are very important concepts. Implicit learning is the passive acquisition of knowledge through exposure to information. Explicit learning is the active acquisition of knowledge gained by consciously seeking out the information.

So it's not the same when you search for something on Wikipedia and you then read the article. These are two types of learning, actually.

As you continue to develop a skill over repeated practice, the region retains the initial enlargement, as cab drivers in London can tell you. Those of them were neuroscientists.

This type of neuroplasticity, map expansion neuroplasticity, has been observed in association with pain in a phenomenon of, for example, phantom limb syndrome.

After amputation, you can still feel your limb, the amputated leg or amputated arm. And this is because of this map expansion neuroplasticity.

You have a map of your organ, of the mystic organ in the brain. The brain still reacts to it as if it were there.

The relationship between cortical reorganization and phantom limb pain led us to understand many, many things.

It seems that the brain map shifts to take over the adjacent area of the missing organ. And the cortical changes could be reversed, for example, by peripheral anesthesia.

So there's a lot still we don't know.

But we know that we have a representation of ourselves.

This is the map in the cortices, the cortical areas, the representation of ourselves.

And we can modify some parts of this representation, but not all.

Again, we come back to the same model of self states.

There is a part that is kind of boundary. There is a part that is unchanging, but it's not the self. It's not a core identity. It's like conditions, boundaries, limits, language, terms of use within which changes can take place, within which you as an individual, a word I dispute, you as a person can flow and transform and use various self states in response to the environment.

It's a much more factual model.

It's much more evidence based and fact based.

And it's much more powerful.

It's a model that is much more powerful.

It's a normal explanatory power, much, much better than any model of unitary cell or model of core identity.

Consider, for example, stress.

Stress or continuous stress affects the brain very bad.

The many areas of the brain that are sensitive to stress can be damaged by extended exposure to constant triggering, neuronal activation, multi-unit activities and so on.

So many areas of the brain actually get worn out, exhausted, eroded, corroded by stress.

Hormones also have some impact on the brain, however, indirectly.

Most of the mechanisms involved in increased memory retention, comprehension, adaptation, they somehow involve activity dependent plasticity mechanisms and stress suppresses these mechanisms.

I want you to understand stress destroys your ability to retain memories and form new memories, to comprehend what you're being told and to adapt to an ever changing environment.

So we don't quite know how stress accomplishes this suppression.

Had we known, we would have known how to intervene.

And we still don't know how to intervene.

There are studies by Dr. Lee and others, but we still don't know much.

We just know that there is an ability of neural networks in the brain to change through growth and reorganization.

And trauma and stress suppress many of these mechanisms.

Neuroplasticity is the brain's attempt to cope with a changing environment that is potentially frustrating, traumatic or stressful.

And it does this by creating new neural pathways, connections, systemic adjustments like cortical remapping and circuit and network changes, which are the outcome of learning and so on and so forth.

Everything affects the brain. Everything induces neuroplastic responses.

That is especially true in childhood, as I told you.


Okay, so we distinguish between two broad categories of neuroplasticity, structural neuroplasticity.

It's the brain's ability to change its neuronal connections, as I've repeatedly mentioned.

New neurons are constantly produced in some areas of the central nervous system, although not in some areas of the brain, but in other areas.

And so they're integrated throughout the lifespan.

It's also a form of neuroplasticity.

And all kinds of imaging studies have demonstrated this restructuring, this constant restructuring in action, the effects of internal and external stimuli in the brain, on the anatomical reorganization of the brain.

They're stunning. These are beautiful things to behold.

Even things like grey matter and white matter, synaptic strength, all these change, fluctuate all the time.

Now, this raises issues with the brains of psychopaths, brains of borderlines.

We know that these brains have abnormalities in terms, for example, of white matter.

Does this limit their ability to be neuroplastic?

Does it limit the capacity of neuroplasticity to operate in these diseased brains?

We don't know yet, but it's a fair assumption.

I would imagine that in borderline brains, and definitely in psychopathic brains, neuroplasticity, especially of the structural kind, is very limited because of the abnormalities, structural abnormalities.

Functional neuroplasticity, however, is more open to question.

Functional neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to alter and adapt functional properties of neurons.

It's a response to previous activity, as I mentioned, activity dependent, memory acquisition, it's damage or malfunction of neurons.

This is called reactive plasticity.

A sympathological event, brain injury and trauma, which is a physical event, prolonged, complex trauma, complex post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, all these traumatic events, and there is reactive plasticity.

The functions from one part of the brain transfer to another part of the brain are based on the demand to produce recovery of behavioral or physiological processes.

What about the physiological forms?

There is something called synaptic plasticity.

The strengthening or weakening of synapses results in increase or decrease of the firing rate of neurons.

And this is called long-term potentiation and long-term depression, LTP and LTD.

These are also examples of synoptic plasticity associated with memory, and it's a form of neuroplasticity.

The cerebellum is a typical structure, and there you have combinations of LTP and LTD, long-term potentiation, long-term depression, and there's a lot of redundancy within the circuitry, and consequently, it's a very plastic structure of the brain.

It has multiple sides of plasticity.

Synoptic plasticity is complemented by another form of activity-dependent plasticity, and it involves the intrinsic excitability of neurons, and this is known as intrinsic plasticity.

So you see, there are multiple mechanisms.

The brain can change and does change in every possible way.

Synoptic strength, the rate neurons fire, intrinsic excitation, how they connect and reconnect, you know, memories, everything affects the brain, and it's constantly shape shifts, at least functionally, and even structurally, as some parts become bigger, owing to exposure to stimuli in learning, and others shrink.

As opposed to homeostatic plasticity, intrinsic plasticity of neurons does not necessarily maintain the overall activity of a neuron within a network, but contributes to encoding memories.

So it seems that memories are somehow connected to the level of excitability of neurons.

We don't know exactly how.

It's a very modern treatment, a neuroscientific treatment of neuroplasticity, is very modern.

We know that there is functional neuroplasticity on the level of brain networks.

We know that training alters the strength of functional connections in the brain, and, but we don't quite know yet how.

We don't know, for example, if there is a systematic requirement of the brain network for reorganization.

We don't know if this reorganization is not like spring cleaning, so to speak.

We also don't know how neuroplasticity and the constant shifting and, you know, to and fro in the brain, how they're connected to phenomena such as dreaming and sleep.

There's a lot, it's a fascinating area in neuroscience, but it intimately ties in with a model in psychology which is flexible, open, involves multiple entities, redundancy, algorithmic approach, plasticity, and the only kind of model that fits all these demands is a self-states model.

Not necessarily mine, could be Bromberg's or others, but a self-state model.

The self-model, the model of a unitarism, the model of cognitive congruence and stability, the model of core identity, these were invented 120 years ago or 100 years ago.

We knew far less about the brain than we do today.

And the people who had come up with these concepts were Germans and Austrians embedded in empires, where rigidity and hierarchy and unitary control were critical.

Their culture and societal mores are reflected in these theories, as Feiraband and others, Thomas Kuhn and others, have made clear, science is not divorced from social influences and cultural influences, it's culture-bound.

So today we are much more open, we are much more transigent, and we need to adopt new models, new models in psychology which correspond far better to current knowledge and current findings in neuroscience and to an open, tolerant, networked society with crumbling hierarchies and institutions.

And this is a self-state model.

Thank you for suffering throughout all this.

I hope I haven't transformed your normal, healthy brains into the brains of cab drivers in London, God forbid.

Okay, neshamot and neshamim.

Look it up.


Today we are going to discuss a new approach to how narcissism is formed and why narcissists are the way they are.

Infuriating!

My name is Sam Vaknin, I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love and Narcissism Revisited, a former visiting professor of psychology and currently on the faculty of CEOPS.

And we'll start with your favorite part, which is the bullet points summary.

And then feel free to break my heart and sign off and leave me all alone with the camera.

Otherwise, those of you who choose to stay to the very end, bitter end, shall I say, are going to be exposed to Freud's thinking, language theories, neuroscientists, and a host of other titillating, exciting, amazing people.

Let's start, as promised, with the bullet points.

I suggest in this video that the flaw in spatial processing, the ability to process space, and language processing, the ability to process language, are responsible for the emergence of narcissistic defenses, including the false self and ultimately narcissistic personality disorder or pathological narcissism, including narcissistic style.

Now, why would a baby, an infant, experience these dual flaws, the flaw in processing space, the flaw in processing language, because of trauma and abuse?

The trauma and abuse force the child to hide, to minimize itself, in short, to withdraw from the world, from reality, thereby ignoring or denying or repressing the dimensions of reality, the most evident of which, the most ubiquitous of which is space.

Similarly, entraining by abusive parents, brainwashing, shall we say, being entrained causes the child to misidentify language with negative affectivity and also to be inhibited in processing language.

I can put it otherwise.

The abusive parent's language takes over and does not allow the child to develop his or her on linguistic capabilities, language comprehension, and ultimately language usage.

So the abused and traumatized child withdraws from the world and loses access to space and spatial processing and is exposed to the misuse of language, the egregious misuse of language in order to induce in the child fear, trauma, negative effects, negative emotions, such as anger, and so on and so forth.

So the child kind of renounces language and takes on the parent's language, a process known as identification, interjection, incorporation.

Now, these two flaws which are induced in the child by the dead mother or the dead parent, if you the dead mother, the parent, parental figure, who is the primary caregiver, but is absent, depressive, hateful, selfish, instrumentalizing, parentifying, pedestalizing, idolizing, pampering, smothering, etc. All these are forms of abuse.

This kind of parent induces the dual flaws, the twin flaws that are described.

Now, when you're not integrated with reality, when you have no conception of space, you cannot tell the external from the internal.

Space is about the external.

Obviously, you are embedded in space.

So space is not you.

Space is outside to you. It's an outside phenomenon.

So these children whose spatial processing capacity has been hampered or obstructed, these children are unable to tell external from internal.

And this is a great definition of psychosis and of narcissism.

The psychotic confuses his internal world with the external.

He believes that his internal world is external.

The narcissist confuses the external world with the internal.

He believes erroneously that the external world is actually happening inside his mind, inside his head.

He internalizes external objects and continues to interact with the interjected representations of these external objects.

Hyper-reflexivity both ways.

So this is the first consequence of inability to process space.

Second consequence, impaired ability to form memories in the absence of space or the capacity to somehow relate to space and in the absence of language or functioning language.

Of course, we cannot form memories.

This is grounded in neuroscience.

The part of the brain that processes memories, the hippocampus, is also responsible for spatial orientation, spatial perception and functioning in space.

So this is amazing. Memory and space in the human brain are one and the same.

So this kind of child is unable to form memories.

He has an impaired ability to form memories.

In short, he dissociates the main relational mode, the main way the child interacts with his own life, his own autobiography.

He dissociates.

He cuts them off.

He represses them.

He denies them.

He buries them.

And he has no access to these memories, which forces him later on in life to confabulate.

The child attempts to hide the memory gaps, the lost time.

The child does this by confabulation, inventing narratives, inventing, coming up, conjuring stories that are plausible, probable, likely, and then affording these stories and narratives with truth value, insisting that the confabulation is true.

Although technically, of course, it's a lie.

The third impact, the third outcome of abusive, traumatic childhoods is impaired reality testing.

If you are not able to process space, if you are not able to use language properly, if language is associated with negative emotions, if space is associated with fear and the need to hide, and therefore the need to renounce reality, if you have impaired reality testing, if you can't form memories, and so on and so forth, if you leave a lie, you have a forced self, you confabulate, then of course you can't have a grasp on reality.

You have impaired reality testing.

And then, depending on the path of etiology, depending on the path that you take as a child, you begin to use other people for reality testing and the processing of reality.

Other people become the gauges of reality, and this is known as external, this part of external regulation.

Next, another outcome of the devastation wrought on the child by abuse and trauma is grandiose magical thinking.

The child develops magical defenses against an environment which is perceived as arbitrary, cruel, capricious, threatening, terrifying, and so on and so forth.

Magic and primitive religions were the reactions of humanity to similar environments when we didn't have science.

So the child becomes a magician.

He adopts magic as a defense, magical thinking, and magical thinking survives into adulthood, referential ideation, the belief that everyone is talking about you, everyone is mocking you.

That's magical thinking.

Paranoia is magical thinking.

You are at the center of malign, malicious, malevolent conspiracies against you.

So you're important, you are grandiose, but at the same time, this is magical thinking.

Megalomania, the belief that everything that's happening is happening because of you, and that you have the capacity to induce change in the external environment just by thinking about something, just by imagining something, and of course just by wishing something very hard.

Now, megalomania, megalomeniacal magical thinking is at the heart of many of the modern day phenomena of business coaching, dating coaching, and so on and so forth.

These coaches tell you all you have to do is really wish, all you have to do is really think about it, and you will attract to you the universe.

The universe will adopt itself to you, and you will manifest your wishes and expectations and dreams and hopes out there.

Things are going to happen.

People are going to be attracted to you, and everything will rearrange itself to suit your needs, to cater to them.

This is, of course, magical thinking.

And finally, there's erotomanic delusions.

Erotomanic delusions is to believe that other people are in love with you, attracted to you.

Even if they are not aware of this, they are in love with you.

They are attracted to you.

And so the magical thinking in this case is that everything the other person does is a form of signaling, and that actually the other person unconsciously sometimes is just attempting to be close to you because you are the center of love, you are eros, reified.

So this is grandiose magical thinking, another outcome.

The next outcome is identity diffusion and disturbance.

Of course, abuse and trauma induce an inability to process space, inability to process language, inability to form memories, inability to gauge reality, grandiose magical thinking, and without memories and without emotions attendant on memories, there's no identity.

There's no core identity, and we have something that Ericsson called identity diffusion, and today we call identity disturbance.

It fits well with my theory of self-states founded on Philip Romberg's work, where actually in the case of borderline and narcissism, the mechanism for alternating between self-states is broken, and the self-states alternate autonomously, triggered by cues from the environment, like a kaleidoscope gun or eye, or kaleidoscope gun bed.

So this is identity diffusion and disturbance.

And finally, arrested development, infantilism, the inability to become an adult.

Of course, there's no separation in individuation from an abusive parent, a dead mother.

There's no separation in individuation.

Therefore, there's no individual.

And there is an inability to perceive the separateness of other people, boundaries, for example.

There's no experience of separateness.

That's why narcissists, borderline psychotics, are annoyed to a logic.

That's why they can't tell the difference between themselves and the world.

There's no out there and in here.

There's no external and internal, as I said before.

So this kind of person remains emotionally stuck in very early childhood.

When I say very early, I mean very early, like two years old, three years old, something like that.

So we have infantilism.

Now, these were the bullet points.

You're free to go, dismissed, report to duty tomorrow.

And those of you who are of masochistic bend or have nothing better to do on a Wednesday morning, here I am with filling in some of the details of what I just said.

Let's start with a with Zygmon Freud.

Zygmon Freud coined the term, who else?

I mean, there's nothing in the human mind or human psychology that Zygmon Freud didn't have something to say or was not somehow involved in.

Amazing genius, amazing genius, discarded idiotically by the new establishment in academic psychology.

Which plays an establishment, which places emphasis on statistics because they are grandiose and they want to appear to be scientists.

I can't tell you how stupid this is.

Can begin to tell you.

Anyway, coming back to Zygmon Freud.

Forget my rant.

Zygmon Freud was the one who coined the term infant amnesia.

At the time, he explained it as a form of repression.

The brain, said Zygmon Freud, was hiding the desires and emotions of infancy from the adult psyche.

And only psychotherapy would allow access to these repressed memories and emotions and desires and urges and drives and so on and so forth.

So this was infant amnesia.

And I'm quoting, allow me to quote Freud.

"Hidetow it has not occurred to us to feel any astonishment at the fact of dysonnesia, though we might have had good grounds for doing so." He wrote it in 1910.

"For we learn from other people that during these years, of which at a later date we retain nothing but a few unintelligible and fragmentary recollections, during this period we reacted as children in a lively manner to impressions.

We were capable of expressing pain and joy in human fashion.

We gave evidence of love, jealousy and other passionate feelings by which we were strongly moved at the time.

And even we gave utterance to remarks which were regarded by adults as good evidence of our possessing insight in the beginnings of a capacity for judgment.

And yet we remembered none of this.

And of all this, we, when we are grown up, have no knowledge on our own.

We forget all of this. We delete it. It raised all of this.

First few years of life, three, four.

"Why should our memory," asks Freud, "why should our memory lag so far behind the other activities of our minds?" Freud conceived of memory as a permanent storage system that acts a lasting influence over behavior in adulthood.

And he said it doesn't matter if the memory is conscious or unconscious, it's there, it has an energy of its own, and it uses this energy to influence behavioral choices and other things, like emotions and so on and so forth, in adulthood.

But Freud, of course, was writing in 1910.

There has been some progress since then in our understanding of both the brain, neuroscience and psychology.

And what Freud didn't know is that this period of infant amnesia, usually until age two, but it could go up to age three, this period of infant amnesia and then childhood amnesia, but there's something called childhood amnesia, which lasts until age six, where we have only filtered memories, extremely specific and extremely few memories.

Until age two, we have no memory. No one remembers anything that happened before age two.

And if they claim to remember something that happened before age two years, they were probably told about it and forgot that they were told about it. So this infant amnesia followed by childhood amnesia until age six.

So Freud didn't know that this is common not only among humans, but among all mammals.

Now, that's interesting because we tend to connect memory, identity and so on and so forth to upbringing, to the environment, to parental figures, to abuse, to trauma, to good parenting, good enough mother and so on and so forth.

But it seems that amnesia, to some extent, is biological. There is some biological reason for it.

Perhaps brain structures are not sufficiently evolved, but it's a fact that even mammals have infant and childhood amnesia.

All artificial species, these are species who raise their young, including rats, including monkeys, experience a period of amnesia.

And it seems that there is some kind of evolutionary necessity for this amnesiac dissociative developmental period.

I am not disputing this. I am not saying that abusive, traumatizing, dead parents induce infant amnesia. That's not what I'm saying.

Infant amnesia is independent. Even if you have the best parents in the world, you would still not remember anything prior to age two and very little prior to age six.

But what I am saying is that traumatizing abusive parents fixate infant amnesia, make it impossible for the child to exit the period of infant amnesia and to begin to develop memories and identity founded on memories.

Now, this corresponds perfectly with separation individuation. Separation individuation takes place between 18 months and 36 months of life.

It seems that abusive, traumatizing, instrumentalizing, parentifying parents do not allow the child to separate, and therefore the child cannot become an individual and cannot transition from infant amnesia to childhood amnesia and then to memory.

This kind of parenting somehow damages the circuitry, the ability to develop memories and to recall them, the recall ability.

And we are finding out that this is done, this is mediated, this damage is mediated via some kind of obstruction to spatial processing capacities, the ability to process space and language processing capacities.

And all these are linked to later life effects in adolescence and adulthood, which I mentioned in the bullet points.

Okay, time has passed, Freud has died like the best of us, and between the 1970s and the late 1990s there was another school, and they suggested that infant amnesia was owing to a child's lack of language.

They said that early memories become inaccessible because babies transition from nonverbal to verbal communication.

So early memories are nonverbal. When language becomes the main mediator between the child and the environment, the world, and the child and itself, the emerging self, the constellated, integrated self.

So language is a bridge, it's a bridge between the child and his newly emerging nascent self, and it's a bridge between the child and the universe and reality.

And this new bridge, or if you wish, the glue that holds everything together, if this new bridge, when this new bridge emerges, it eradicates, it buries, represses, destroys, whatever you wish to call it, nonverbal, nonverbal memories, because there's no way to access them. Language monopolizes access. The only way to access our memories, our identity, our emotions, our cognitions, the environment, reality, other people, object relations, the only way is language. So if your memories at age one are nonverbal, they're dead, they're gone, because language is a monopoly. It doesn't allow any other forms of communication. Now, of course, people who have mystical experiences, religious experiences, they claim to have gained access to various aspects of reality and of themselves via nonlanguage means. That is wrong, and we'll deal with it perhaps in another video. That is absolutely wrong. There is no other way except language. And anything that preceded language is dead and gone. That's a theory. Okay, so around the age of 18 months, there is an explosion of language in infants, which is a precondition for separating from mummy separation and then becoming an individual.

And shortly thereafter, infant amnesia dissipates and disappears.

Nora Nukon, the founder of the Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center at Temple University, said the following.

They believed that the advent of memories has to do with both language acquisition and is then tied up with cultural norms about the importance of remembering unique events.

These are obviously not unimportant.

We speak, we live in social groups.

But that idea wasn't going to be enough. It wasn't going to be the only explanation.

Language was needed.

But how to explain animal species that never develop language and do seem to remember events in their lives?

Here, neuroscience has a contribution.

It's a concept of space.

It seems that all of us, even the most lowly forms of life, we have a conception of space.

We somehow relate to space.

And space is a language.

Any physicist would tell you.

I'm a physicist. Any physicist would tell you.

Space and time are language elements.

So even mammals who don't use English or Arabic or Hebrew... What did I just say?

Even mammals who don't use language, they use language.

It's a very primitive language, rudimentary language.

It's a language of space.

And so the human brain uses the same neural circuits for navigating space and episodic memory.

That's a fact.

So Kate Jeffery is a neuroscientist.

She works in University College in London.

And she published an intriguing article in Current Biology.

It's an academic job.

And she wrote, "Why would nature have used the same structure for both space and memory, which seems so different?

An intriguing possibility is that the cognitive map provides, in a manner of speaking, the stage upon which the drama of recollected life events is played out.

By this account it serves as the mind's eye, not only for remembering spaces, but also the events that happened there in that space, and even according to recent human neuroimaging evidence, imagination itself." Now I recommend that you read the book. There's a book called "The Science and Mystery of How Humans Navigate the World." It was written by M.R. O'Connor. Don't ask me what is M.R. published by St. Martin's Press in 2019.

And it deals with many of these issues at length if you want to go deeper.

Suffice it to say that the abused and traumatized child suffers multiple blows.

It's not a double whammy. It's like a quintopoly whammy. The child feels the need to hide and to conceal itself, to minimize itself, to disappear in order to not be traumatized.

So the child rejects space.

Space is where bad things happen. Space is where abuse happens. Space is where trauma happens. So no space for me. Thank you.

The child rejects space.

The parent's language is so dominant and so terrifying and so inducive of negative emotions that the child also rejects language itself and adopts the parent's language, and projects it, and this remains with the child for life.

And so in the absence of language and in the absence of space as a language, there's no ability to develop reality testing and everything I've mentioned in the Buddha points.

Okay.

What about animals? What can we learn from animals?

I mean, we can't experiment on human babies, unfortunately.

So what about animals?

Well, there are studies that have shown that when animals are raised in a space which is without features, featureless space, or in confinement, in a box, they are unable to engage in, successfully engage, in spatial tasks.

If they are blindfolded, they don't see sharp angles and so on and so forth.

So the exposure to space, big space, varied space, space with features, is very important.

And if you as a child minimize yourself, put yourself in a corner, literally put yourself in a corner and refuse to venture out because you're afraid of being beaten or being expropriated or being exposed to breach of boundaries.

And I repeat again, smothering, pampering, idolizing, pedestalizing, these are breaches of boundaries.

They don't allow the child to separate an individual. They are abusing.

Children are terrified of these as much as they are terrified of physical abuse or sexual abuse or whatever.

So if you are a child and you know that's what's waiting, that is what awaits you.

If you were to kind of expose yourself and become visible, you try to become invisible.

You know the famous stories about invisibility cloaks and so on.

These are childhood imaginations. This is an escape route.

And so you don't explore space as you should.

And that has disastrous consequences, the ability to form memories because it's the same circuitry.

Use it or lose it.

There is a phenomenon in infancy and beyond.

And Kate Jeffery says when she talks about studies in animals, experiments with animals and so on and so forth, there is a phenomenon, this period of time in infancy and beyond, during which we don't have lasting episodic memories.

We don't seem to be laying down these memories.

Young infants don't form cognitive maps in the way adults do.

Their spatial organization of information is a lot less rich.

It's possible that memories you form as an infant because the hippocampus is still developing, may get overwritten or disturbed by the new circuitry that is still developing.

And as an adult, you cannot retrieve those early life memories the way you can later once.

And so no one knows what is the exact process by which the hippocampus perceives and creates representations of space and stores long term memories and whether one is the condition to the other.

Although it would seem based on design principles that if the same circuitry is used for spatial processing and memory formation, then these two have something to do with each other.

So we're just speculating at this stage, but it seems that this is what's happening.

The entorhinal cortex is split into five layers and they represent different cell types.

The entorhinal cortex is the interface between the neocortex, the part where intelligence resides.

Most people have neocortex with the exception of YouTube viewers.

So neocortex is the seat of intelligence and there's the hippocampus.

And the mediator, the facilitator, the interface, whatever you wish to call it, is the entorhinal, or interrenal, depending on the professor, entorhinal cortex.

This kind, this interface, this bridge, the interrenal cortex is divided to five, as I said, vision, primary sensory areas, vision or function or vision, touch.

A little bit of this, a little bit of that, as Jeffries puts it.

And all these feed into the interrenal cortex.

And from the interrenal cortex, the arrows, there's kind of shadows, shadows of communication into the hippocampus.

Hippocampus is divided, there are many circuits in theof shadows, shadows of communication into the hippocampus.

Hippocampus is divided, there are many circuits in the hippocampus, each one is fed by various layers of the interrenal cortex, but the connection is clear.

Jeffries says, by the time you get to the hippocampus, quite a lot of stuff has happened.

These senses are very highly processed.

But it turns out that layer two goes here, layer three goes there, and so on and so forth.

And so it's all highly specialized.

The channels of communication are not diffuse.

Are not diffuse.

There's a lot of backward and forward flow of information, but along dedicated channels.

And she says, in recent years, some of the most stunning images of the hippocampus have emerged from Harvard University Center of Brain Science.

There's a neuroscientist there, his name is Jeff Leichman.

He uses microscopes to map neural connections in the brains of mice.

And he plays with genes, and he causes mice to express different fluorescent proteins in individual neurons.

It's a stunning light show.

And there are these beautiful bursts of pink and blue and green.

These are known as brain bow, brain bow photographs.

And it shows how the cells in the hippocampus are condensed into single orderly layers.

If you go to the cortex, the neurons look like a galaxy who has exploded, a kind of supernova, like a galaxy which has exploded, a galaxy which came across an improvised explosive device.

And all the neurons are strewn totally randomly.

It's like a big mess, but someone spilled neurons, and you can't make head or tails.

There's no sense in any of this.

Nothing is organized.

But the hippocampus is elegant.

Everything is aligned in curving arcs.

It is structured.

Hippocampus is the seat of order and structure.

While the cortex thrives on randomness, it seems that randomness gives rise, among other things, to intelligence, the ability to synoptically connect things because they are adjacent by mistake.

So the cortex is randomized, and it's built on coincidences, but not so the hippocampus.

Hippocampus resembles a library.

The cortex resembles a carnival or a rave, and the hippocampus resembles a library.

There are cells.

They're called pyramidal neurons, pyramidal pyramids.

Many neuroscientists are very fascinated by these cells, and it seems that all is converging there that these cells are the key to infant amnesia.

But I won't go in any further.

I'm not a neuroscientist.

My area, my field, is the meta-phenomena, the phenomena that emerge from neuroscience, also known as mind.

And the connections are unequivocal.

Early childhood abuse and trauma prevent the child from developing an ability to process space, prevent the child from processing language appropriately because his language is hijacked by the parental edicts, the entraining parental voice, trauma and abuse.

Because they hamper the ability to process space and they hamper the ability to relate to the world by a language, they make it impossible for the child and later on the adult to tell the difference between external and internal hyperreflexivity, psychosycholism, narcissism, make it impossible to form memories, to test for reality.

And the child compensates with grandiose magical thinking.

Identity diffusion, because there's no memories.

Memories are the glue that all the identities make up identity.

Identity is just another name for the library of memories.

So there's no identity, there's identity diffusion and disturbance.

And finally, there's no separation, no individuation.

And the person remains stuck at around age two.

And these are known as narcissists.

Both the narcissist and the psychopath offer you a fantasy.

The narcissist fantasy consists of we are going to be each other's mother and we are also going to be each other's child.

The psychopath's fantasy is, I'm going to make all your dreams come true.

But both types of fantasies are predatory and you are the prey.

The fantasies are goal oriented and selffrom a variety of disciplines, mathematics, biology, psychology, etc.

Displaying my amazing erudition in unparalleled vocabulary.

Why? Because babies in bebeits.

I am Sam Vaknin, the author of Malignant Self Love: Narcissism Revisited, a former visiting professor of psychology and currently on the illustrious faculty of CEAPs, Commonwealth Institute for Advanced Professional Studies, Cambridge, United Kingdom, Toronto, Canada, and the inevitable outreach campus in Lagos, Nigeria, which is in Africa, in apropos Africa.

Let's talk about predators and prey.

What happens when the predator fails to find prey?

Increasingly narcissists and psychopaths find it more and more difficult to find victims, to locate targets, to hone in on the gullible and the vulnerable.

Why is that?

Number one, victim awareness.

I started my work in the late 1980s and early 1990s when no one has heard of narcissists.

And so I contributed by coming up with the idea of narcissistic abuse, describing it for the first time and so on and so forth.

I launched a essentially global movement of victim awareness.

Today, everyone, his dog and his mother-in-law, is either a victim of narcissistic abuse or an expert on narcissistic abuse.

So there's no space left for narcissists and psychopaths.

I'm kidding you're not.

They find it increasingly more and more difficult to deceive people, to pull the wool over people's eyes, to drag them, to groom them, and to lock bomb them into the shared fantasy.

The more victims are aware of the attributes, the behaviors, the traits, the warning signs, the red alerts, which have to do with narcissists and psychopaths, the more difficult narcissists and psychopaths find it to corral, cajole, or convince someone, persuade someone to join them in the shared fantasy.

This is issue number one.


Number two, narcissistic abuse, again, first described by me in the 1990s, narcissistic abuse is now stigmatized.

Elements within the constellation of behaviors that constitute narcissistic abuse, some elements have been actually criminalized in some countries.

So for example, coercive control is now criminal in the United Kingdom and in other countries.

So narcissistic abuse is not only frowned upon, considered socially unacceptable, beyond the pale, something to be stigmatized and shunned, but it's also being criminalized.

Now this, put this together, reluctant, totally aware victims who are on the alert, who fend off attempts by narcissists and psychopaths because they identify them, they recognize them, on the one hand, and an increasing willingness to criminalize and stigmatize such behaviors and to punish the perpetrators.

Put these two together and you have a field day for victims and a serious emerging problem for predators.

What happens to a predator when the number of prey declines?

What happens to predators when they can no longer find prey?

This is a topic, the delectable topic of today's video.

We start, of course, with game theory.

Game theory is a branch of mathematics and game theory says that when everyone becomes a predator, there's no prey.

An increase in the number of predators reduces the availability of prey proportionally and in due time, absolutely, and then everyone dies out.

Each member of the predator class just dies out.

The historical origin of the predator-prey issue in game theory can be traced back to Benda, B-E-N-D-A, in 1985.

Benda, together with some other scholars, adopted the predator-prey ecology problem into a pursuit environment which focuses on the dynamics of cooperative behavior between predator agents.

That is very interesting because what Benda has discovered is that as the number of prey declines because the prey is more alert, the prey is faster, the prey is for whatever reason, or the prey has died out for some reason, or the prey moved on to another niche in the ecosystem, whatever the case may be.

What Benda has discovered is that predators tend to team up, they tend to cooperate and collaborate in the pursuit and hunting of prey.

That's a point to remember because we are beginning to see coalitions of narcissists, groups of psychopaths hunting together.

It's like herds or tribes or hunting expeditions or posse's.

So we have, it's no longer an individual thing, but the hunting is done in collectives.

Benda has predicted this outcome.

We see this in politics, we see this in show business, we see this in other arenas of life, increasingly more so.

Another model is the Hawk- Dove model, Hawk like bird, Dove like bird model.

It illustrates an evolutionary dilemma.

In the Hawk- Dove model, we pit prosocial and selfish behavior in direct competition over a shareable resource, resource, you.

So narcissists and psychopaths adopt a variety of strategies to captivate you, to introduce you into the shared fantasy.

Some of these strategies are actually prosocial, communal, moral.

Narcissists and psychopaths pretend to be sheep rather than wolves.

They pretend to be co-dependent.

They pretend to be victims of narcissistic abuse.

They go online and they convince you that they have been harmed and hurt repeatedly by narcissists.

They're helpless.

They're childlike.

They're in need of your love and protection.

They keep whining about having been abused, having been maltreated, having been mistreated, and so on and so forth.

They cry on camera and beg for your understanding and love and collaboration.

This is a strategy, a dangerous strategy, very typical of covert narcissists.

Dove's pigeons have a proclivity to share resources.

And in this sense, covert narcissists are the doves in the Dove-Hawk model.

Hawks rather fight and suffer the cause in effort to acquire the resources in its entirety.

They refuse to share.

But both doves and hawks are predators.

It's very important to understand this, and I encourage you to watch my video on mimicry.

Covert narcissists and many psychopaths imitate victims in order to victimize you.

It's a very dangerous environment, especially online.


Now, there's a set of equations, mathematical equations, bearish the thought.

And they're known as Lotka-Volterra equations.

They're also known as Lotka-Volterra predator-prey model.

It's a pair of first order nonlinear differential equations.

They are used to describe the dynamics of biological systems in which two species interact.

One species is a predator.

The other species is prey.

Lotka-Volterra model.

In the model, predators thrive when prey is plentiful.

But ultimately, the predator depletes, outstrips the food supply.

And it is the predator which ends up declining.

I think this is exactly what's happening with narcissists and psychopaths.

They have overplayed their hand.

They were overconfident.

And consequently, the number of prey, the number of targets and victims available, is decreasing, is shrinking, because people have become aware, behaviors have been stigmatized or even criminalized, and not so many specimen of prey are available to narcissists and psychopaths.

That's why they form collectives in order to hunt together, increasing the chances of a successful hunt.

As the predator population is low, the prey population increases again, and the cycle recommences.

These dynamics continue in a population cycle of growth and decline.

Two other scholars, Leslie and Gower, created a model which is characterized by a logistic type, predator growth equation.

The environmental carrying capacity of predators is a function of the available prey quantity.

So this is the Leslie-Gower model.

It seems that everybody is in agreement that the longevity, the success, the reproducibility in terms of procreation in biology, in terms of mental contagion or psychological contagion in society, all these depend crucially on the number of suckers, on the number of gullible people out there, on the number of potential victims, targets, marks.

So the less aware a population is, the more naive.

This is called naive population. Exactly like a virus, the less immune the population is to the charms of the narcissist and the manipulations, Machiavellian manipulation of the psychopath, the more successful the narcissist or the psychopath would be in their quest to secure the prey for a variety of reasons.

Shared fantasy in the case of a narcissist, some goal orientation in the case of the psychopath, narcissistic supply in the case of the narcissist, sex, power and money in the case of the psychopath.

They all require raw material. The raw material is you. The finished product is the goal in the case of the psychopath and narcissistic supply in the case of a narcissist.

But the raw material that goes into the manufacturing process is absolutely limited to you. You are the one.

If you were to deny yourself, if you were to prevent access, render yourself inaccessible to the narcissist and psychopath, the incidence and prevalence of narcissism and psychopathy as adaptive strategies, according to these models, would decline.

And this is known as a cascade. We are going to discuss it a bit later.


Now, there is an open question here. Is the virus of narcissism self-limiting or not? Is it a self-limiting organism?

And I encourage you to watch the video I've made comparing narcissism to a virus using epidemiological models.

The links to all these videos are in the description. So a self-limiting organism or colony of organisms limits its own growth by its actions. It's a very important thing.

The limitation in growth is a direct outcome of overdoing it. Overdoing it.

Actions which are exaggerated, which are inconsiderate, which are unwise, lead to self-limitation.

For example, a virus who would kill all the hosts, a virus who would kill everyone, would cease to survive because this kind of virus will run out of hosts.

So by killing the host, the virus would be self-limiting.

Narcissists are like this kind of dumb, stupid virus. They kill all the hosts. And sooner or later in old age, they run out of hosts and they remain lonely, pathetic figures.

A single organism may have a maximum size determined by genetics. A colony of organisms may release waste, which is ultimately toxic to the colony once it exceeds a certain level amount of population.

In some cases, a self-limiting nature of a colony may be advantageous to the continued survival of the colony. And that is a case of parasites, for example.

So the number of members of a colony, if it becomes too high, it kills the host and the colony dies out.

Same thing is happening with narcissism. As narcissism, pathological narcissism, becomes a positive adaptation in our postmodern civilization.

As more and more people become narcissists, because narcissism pays and narcissism works, it is a very number of narcissists. It is this increase, this exponential eruption of narcissism that will limit narcissism.

Narcissism is self-limiting by virtue of the fact that more and more people becoming narcissists and fewer and fewer people remain as prey.

It is a very simple, common-sensical thing. You don't need to be a scientist for this.

As numbers become high, the host or the victims or the prey die out or disappear.

And this self-limitation restricts the viability of predators and it ensures the long-term survival of other species or essentially prey.

We have this in medical conditions. It's a condition that runs its course, is self-limiting without the need of any external influence or medical treatment.

We have many such things. The common cold, for example, or some varieties of the flu.

The fact that a condition is self-limiting doesn't mean that medical treatment wouldn't bring this condition or its symptoms to an end more quickly or that medical attention is not necessary, not needed.

That's not what I'm saying. But in the vast majority of cases, even when left to its own devices, the condition is self-limiting because predatory organisms have built in mechanisms of equilibrium.

They know when to stop. They know when not to not kill all the prey, to not destroy all the hosts, to not ruin their environment.

There's only one exception. Human beings. Human beings ruin their environment.

And within human beings, narcissists never know when to stop. They simply don't know when to stop.

And so they run out of victims or prey.

This is reminiscent of something called "trophic cascades". Narcissists are often compared to vampires, aliens or robots and so on and so forth.

One of the most frequent comparisons, at least in my experience, is between narcissists and sharks.

They smell blood in the water. They use cold empathy to discern your vulnerabilities, your chinks in the armour, your soft spots, your shortcomings and furies, the buttons to push.

And in this sense, they're little like sharks. I want to read to you an extended excerpt from a book about sharks.

The book is titled "Why Sharks Matter" by David Shiffman. It's an amazing book, by the way, even if you're not interested in sharks.

And I'm not, but it's an amazing book about the "Dansmakabra", the tango between predator and prey and the ripple effects that come from the removal or diminish size of a predator's population.

So I'm leading here to something very interesting. The decline in the population of prey and the decline in the potential number of victims and targets, because they become more self-aware or because the activity of targeting them and victimising them is stigmatised or criminalised or whatever.

The decline in the population of prey leads to a decline in the population of the predator.

But what we have observed in sharks raises a fascinating question.

Why are there narcissists? What did the evolution want to accomplish by creating narcissists and psychopaths?

Maybe these predatory creatures are needed somehow. Maybe they have a function to drive us forward somehow.

I am not a proponent of this view, which is promoted by the likes of Dutton and Maccoby and others, other scholars.

I don't hold this view. But I must admit that if we were to compare narcissists to sharks, this raises some very interesting question about the indispensability of predators.

We need predators, actually. Otherwise, the whole chain of being goes out of whack, falls apart and everything is destabilised massively.

This is what I'm about to read to you. I'm going to read an excerpt from the book Why Sharks Matter by David Shiffman.

Listen to what happens when the shark population is over-culled, reduced too dramatically.

And throughout my reading, ask yourself, replace the word shark with narcissists. Ask yourself, what would happen if all narcissists were to vanish tomorrow, if all psychopaths were to die?

Would that not somehow endanger our own existence, imperil the delicate equilibrium balance that is the chain of being?

David Shiffman, sometimes the ecological effects resulting from changes in predator populations ripple through the food chain.

This ripple effect is called a trophic cascade. The classic example of a trophic cascade comes from the Pacific Northwest.

When orca whales began to consume more and more sea otters in the kelp forests of the North Pacific, it wasn't surprising that sea otter populations declined.

But the plot thickened. One of sea otters' favourite foods is the sea urchin, which they consume by adorably crushing them with rocks on their bellies.

The population declines of sea otters then resulted in sea urchin predation release. The increasing sea urchin population ate more and more of their preferred food, seaweeds called kelp, resulting in kelp declines.

All of this was caused by a change at the top of the food web.

Even though area whales and otters didn't eat kelp, changes in how orca whales interact with otters significantly affect or affected kelp.

And that was bad for everything that lived in the kelp forests.

The most famous example of a trophic cascade in a terrestrial ecosystem occurred in Yellowstone National Park as a result of wolf declines.

Few wolves meant an increase in the wolf prey population, including giant herbivores like elk.

More elk meant more grazing, and perhaps most impactfully grazing in areas where elk were previously afraid to graze, such as riverbanks, that restricted their ability to run away from a predator.

This led to major disruptions in a unique Yellowstone ecosystem called an aspen forest.

The Yellowstone case study also remains one of the best examples of predator restoration.

When wolves were eventually restored, they ate more elk, bringing the population back under control and pushing elk back to their normal feeding grounds.

As a result, the aspen forest is growing back.

So what about sharks, which are sometimes called the wolves of the sea?

There are two commonly cited examples of shark-driven, trophic cascades.

Both are considered fairly controversial in the marine biology world, but I'll explain them here because you are likely to come across them in the conservation discourse.

The first was documented in a 2007 paper led by Ram Myers.

It took place near North Carolina's outer banks, where seven species of apex predatory sharks have declined significantly since the 1970s.

Sandbar sharks experienced the least decline, 87%, 87% since 1972.

Declines exceeding 99% since 1972 have been documented among several other species of sharks.

These declines were believed to result in predation release of small sharks and rays, including the cow-nose ray.

The authors claimed that this increase in cow-nose rays used to be the prey of sharks.

When the sharks' decline almost disappeared, cow-nose ray populations exploded.

This is called predation release.

So the authors claimed that this increase in cow-nose rays was partially responsible for a collapsing population of base scallops, once a commercially important fish in the region, resulting in a shark, cow-nose ray, scallop, trophic cascade.

To me, Seth Shiffman, the key message of this study was sharks are important, and bad things can happen when we overfish sharks.

So let's not do that.

Others got a different and unfortunate message from this study.

Oh my God, cow-nose ray populations are exploding.

We need to kill cow-nose rays in order to save our scallop fishery.

This led to the birth of the Save the Bay, Eat a Ray movement.

There were even fishing tournaments for cow-nose rays where anglers used explosive tipped arrows to shoot at the surface-swimming rays, which is hardly sporting, in my opinion.

It is unlikely that ray populations could survive this kind of pressure for any extended time, given their very low reproductive rates.

I'd argue that trying to solve a conservation crisis by causing another conservation crisis is perhaps not ideal.

Remember throughout this text, replace the names of the animals with narcissist and victim.

It turns out that the data I'm continuing to read from Shiffman's book, it turns out that the data showing this trophic cascade has major flaws in its underlying assumptions, and has been thoroughly rebutted.

If you look closely at the data, it would suggest that cow-nose ray populations supposedly started to increase well after scallop populations began to collapse, almost as if something else caused the scallop populations to decline.

Dean Grubbs, who led the rebuttal, pointed out that this explanation only makes sense if you think that cow-nose rays can go back in time, like the Terminator.

Also, cow-nose ray populations aren't increasing as much as these data seem to show.

What's instead happened is that existing cow-nose rays are migrating into new waters.

Furthermore, sharp populations haven't declined as much as these data seem to show.

Grubbs' rebuttal also notes that including more datasets complicates the supposedly clear pattern shown by the Meyers paper.

Finally, cow-nose rays don't really eat very many scallops.

So, although this is a well-known example of a trophic cascade that is often cited by environmentalists as a reason to protect sharks, it's a fundamentally flawed one.

Another possible sharp-driven trophic cascade might operate on the coral reefs.

Coral animals have a symbiotic relationship with tiny photosynthetic organisms called zooxanthellae. They live inside the corals, the zooxanthellae, and secrete sugars, which the corals eat. Presumably, they are not diabetic.

Without exposure to light, zooxanthellae cannot photosynthesize, and the corals will starve their venous sugar.

Happily, herbivorous fish like parrotfish help to graze fast-growing algae off of the corals, ensuring that sunlight can reach the zooxanthellae.

Parrotfish are eaten by larger fish like grouper, which are eaten by, you guessed it, sharks.

The decline of shark populations may cause predation release in grouper, an increase in grouper populations, which then eat more and more parrotfish.

Fewer parrotfish means more algae growing on coral reefs, which means dying corals.

This model seems to be essentially correct, but it's more complicated than that.

It turns out that humans aren't just overfishing the sharks, but also overfishing the grouper, and in some cases even the parrotfish.

Algae also grows on the coral because of warmer waters or nutrient blooms, not simply because parrotfish populations are declining.

Additionally, corals face other threats besides algae overgrowth.

And while it's true that reef sharks often occupy a pretty similar seep on the food chain as groupers, some larger sharks eat small and medium-sized groupers.

So do sharks keep coral reefs healthy? They certainly play important roles in maintaining coral reef health under many circumstances, but as you can see there are many variables to consider.

A 2013 paper claimed to find true evidence of a trophy cascade on coral reefs. Specifically, the authors argued that Pacific coral reefs, reefs that have been heavily fished, were home to fewer sharks and more medium-sized predators called mesopredators.

And this created a situation in unprotected reefs that differed from a situation in protected reefs which had more sharks and fewer mesopredators like groupers.

On fished reefs with more mesopredators, the authors find fewer herbivorous fishes.

In this case of a trophy cascade with declines in sharks indirectly leading to declines in herbivores.

Is this true? Not so fast.

A 2016 paper claims that the pattern isn't quite so clear.

The rebuttal argues that the difference in shark populations between fished and protected reefs isn't as significant as claimed in the 2013 paper.

Furthermore, the 2016 paper argues that some of the fish species in the 2013 paper authors that they counted as mesopredators should not have been created as such because sharks don't eat these fishes.

That rebuttal got a rebuttal which got another rebuttal. That's a way of science.

As of this writing, there hasn't been any conclusive evidence of trophy cascades driven by the loss of sharks on coral reefs.

In fact, an early 2021 paper found pretty strong evidence of the lack of trophy cascades on the Great Barrier Reef.

But the search is ongoing.

Other possible shark trophy cascades include a reef shark, octopus, rock lobster food chain.

Overfishing reef sharks in Australia seems to have led to an explosion in numbers of their octopus prey, which aces all the rock lobsters and damaged one fishery.

Yet another possibility, yet another possibly shark driven trophy cascade, involves seals.

Fewer sharks means more seals, which eat a lot more fish.

Trophy cascades are powerful forces in nature, but they're also really hard to detect because food webs are so large and complicated.

I'd guess that even though some of the most popular examples of shark driven trophy cascades may be flawed, it is very likely that some real cascades caused by sharks are out there.

Some conservation activists have taken things too far, incorrectly asserting that because of trophy cascades, the crash of shark populations could be directly responsible for the extinction of all life on Earth.

According to this argument, which got its highest profile mention in the documentary Shark Water, Phytoplankton, the base of the ocean food web, produce about half of all oxygen on Earth.

If we lose sharks, the reasoning goes, this will destabilize the whole ocean, kill all the phytoplankton, and result in the loss of half of all oxygen on the planet, killing everything, ourselves included.

Let me note again here that this is not correct, but it's an example of using trophy cascade theory for conservation advocacy.

Trophy cascades are generally speaking more likely to occur in simpler ecosystems with more straightforward food chains.

If you have five species that serve similar ecological roles as top predators, losing one species probably won't disrupt the whole system because the other four species can still keep mid-level predator populations in check.

If you have only one top predator, losing its ecological role is more likely to disrupt the whole system.

The examples described above range from hotly debated to thoroughly debunked, and I share them just to illustrate the general principle, despite their particular imperfections.

Despite their flaws, these high-profile examples are still useful to think about, if only because something like this is probably happening somewhere.

What I'm trying to illustrate with this very extended excerpt is that we don't know enough about the predator-prey relationships between narcissists and psychopaths and their victims within the ecosystem known as civilization or modern or postmodern society.

We definitely don't know enough about narcissism and psychopaths' interactions with targets or victims in more traditionalist, conservative, under-documented and understudied societies and cultures all over the world, which they constitute the majority of humanity by the way.

So back off a bit. Don't make exaggerated claims.

I'm the one who coined the phrase "narcissism pandemic and narcissism epidemic." I coined these phrases at the end of the 1980s, and they were later adopted and recirculated, recycled by scholars and self-styled experts throughout the decades.

But one shouldn't go too far, one shouldn't run too far with this metaphor.

We really don't have enough information. We also are not quite sure which type of cascade may occur should narcissism and psychopathy become self-limiting.

Imagine tomorrow the overwhelming vast majority of potential victims, potential targets, are well-informed, well-educated, and well-equipped to fend off the advances of narcissists and psychopaths. The population of narcissists and psychopaths should decline from an evolutionary point of view and gradually, of course, incrementally, but it should decline.

What would happen then? Is this a trophy cascade? Would the population of victims and targets explode? Would this destabilize human society somehow?

Do narcissists and psychopaths fulfill some role of control over population control, some regulatory evolutionary mechanism?

Trophy cascades are powerful indirect interactions that can control entire ecosystems, and they occur when the traffic level in a food web is suppressed.

So it's an ecological concept, and it can be applied theoretically to populations such as narcissists and psychopaths and their victims.

Definitely we use these populations as cohorts in studies in psychology.

Narcissists and psychopaths are apex predators. They are top predators. They prey upon others. They prey upon people with narcissistic style as well.

So this would create some destabilizing effect. But is it going to be a top-down cascade?

That's a trophy cascade where the top predator controls the primary prey population. Is this going to be this kind of thing?

It's an open question.

The removal of the top predator in the top-down cascade alters the dynamics. The primary kind of targets and so on overpopulate. And then they in their turn become predators actually.

So we have this possibility. This happens with invasive species, for example. We have this possibility.

Another possibility is a bottom up cascade. The population of victims somehow controls the increase or decrease in the energy of the higher traffic levels, the predators.

I mentioned stigmatization, criminalization, more awareness. And so these are controlled. These are regulatory mechanisms that somehow inhibit populations of narcissists and psychopaths and definitely inhibit their behaviors.

Or maybe we will come through a phase of sub-sidic escape where species populations at one traffic level can be supplemented by some kind of external input or external food, external prey.

So we could see narcissists and psychopaths branching out, migrating, exporting their exploitation to naive populations, the same way a virus does.

We don't know what's going to happen. But I think it's high time to begin to discuss the impact that increasing awareness, stigmatization and criminalization, the impacts that these trends, which are powerful in exorbitation, becoming stronger by the day, the impacts these trends are having on narcissists, psychopaths, their strategies, choices, decisions and ultimate survival.

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