Narcissism is Tiring Energy-depleting

Uploaded 9/12/2010, approx. 4 minute read

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

The personality is not a static structure which immutably permeates our being.

Personality is a dynamic, ongoing process. It is a series of cognitive and emotional interactions compounded by extraneous, external input, and endogenous internal feedback.

The personality is ever-evolving, though following our formative years, all subsequent personality changes are subtle and infinitesimal.

This labyrinthine complex of reactions, behavior patterns, beliefs, and defense mechanisms consumes a lot of psychic energy. We invest a lot of energy in maintaining our personality.

And so, the more primitive the personality is, the less organized, the more disordered, the greater the amount of energy required to maintain it in a semblance of balance and function, however precarious.

The predicament of the narcissist is even more multifarious.

People suffering from this all-pervasive and pernicious condition externalize most of the available energy in an effort to secure a narcissistic supply.

These people have a fluctuating, vicissitudinal sense of self-worth. They never know what they are really worth.

In order to regulate this fluctuating sense of self-worth, they consume narcissistic supply from the outside. They seek attention, admiration, adulation, and generally, feedback.

But to secure this narcissistic supply, the provision of this supply requires investing a lot of energy in constructing and then projecting a false self.

So these people have very little energy left for the functioning of their own personality, for the daily ego functions, for the daily routine of maintaining their personality in some kind of balance.

All their energy goes outside to secure a narcissistic supply.

Normally, one's energy, as I said, is expended on the proper functioning of one's personality.

The personality disordered devote any shred of vitality to the projection and maintenance of a false self, whose sole purpose is to elicit attention, admiration, approval, acknowledgment, fear, or adulation from others.

The narcissistic supply, thus obtained, helps these unfortunates to calibrate a wildly fluctuating self-esteem, and thus, as I said, fulfills critical ego functions.

Yet the constant pursuit of this drug, this narcissistic supply, the need to stay permanently attuned to one's human environment and to manipulate it ceaselessly by projecting a false self, all these activities inevitably deplete the narcissist's vigor, his emotional exoskeleton, his emotional outside skeleton, outside scaffold, is derived and Sisyphically constructed from the outside.

This is far more demanding than the normal endoskeletons, inner scaffolding, inner skeletons that healthy people possess.

The personality of healthy people relies on an internal structure that is well balanced and well constructed, agile, flexible, adaptive, and reacts to the environment.

The personality of narcissists relies on an external scaffolding, an external structure whose maintenance requires enormous amounts of energy in securing narcissistic supply.

The narcissist is an artist with himself as his sole creation. His entire energy is committed to the theater production that is his false self.

Hence, the narcissist's constant fatigue and ennui, his short attention span, his tendency to devalue sources of supply, even his transformed aggression.

The narcissist can afford to dedicate resources only to the most promising founts of narcissistic supply. He doesn't have energy to spare. He can't dedicate energy to people who may not be or are not sources of supply.

The path of least investment or the path of least resistance, if you wish, is very tempting because it conserves energy, scares energy, which the narcissist needs to secure supply.

So, narcissist resort to criminal shortcuts, violence, cheating, con artistry, lies, and confabulations.

This is because these shortcuts ostensibly help the narcissist keep a larger share of his energy available to other ends, the ends of securing narcissistic supply.

The narcissist's elan, force of life, life force, is run down, his vitality is drenched, and his verve is exhausted by the unusual need to secure from the outside what most people effortlessly produce internally and take for granted.

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Narcissist: Is He or Isn't He?

Narcissism is a spectrum of behaviors, from healthy to pathological, and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual specifies nine diagnostic criteria for narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). A malignant narcissist is someone who has NPD and wreaks havoc on themselves and their surroundings. They feel grandiose and self-important, exaggerate accomplishments, and demand recognition as superior without commensurate achievements. They require excessive admiration, adulation, attention, and affirmation, and are interpersonally exploitative, devoid of empathy, and constantly envious of others.

Depressive Narcissist

Pathological narcissism is often considered a form of depressive illness, with the life of a typical narcissist punctuated with recurrent bouts of dysphoria, sadness, hopelessness, anhedonia, loss of the ability to feel pleasure, and clinical forms of depression. Narcissists react with depression not only to life crises but to fluctuations in narcissistic supply and to the internal dynamics that these fluctuations generate. There are several types of dysphoria and depression in pathological narcissism, including loss-induced dysphoria, deficiency-induced dysphoria, self-worth dysregulation dysphoria, grandiosity gap dysphoria, and self-punishing dysphoria. Many narcissists end up delusional, schizoid, or paranoid to avoid agonizing and knowing depression.

Raging Narcissist: Merely Pissed-off?

Narcissistic rage is a phenomenon that occurs when a narcissist is frustrated in their pursuit of narcissistic supply, causing narcissistic injury. The narcissist then projects a bad object onto the source of their frustration and rages against a perceived evil entity that has injured and frustrated them. Narcissistic rage is not the same as normal anger and has two forms: explosive and pernicious or passive-aggressive. People with personality disorders are in a constant state of anger, which is effectively suppressed most of the time, and they are afraid to show that they are angry to meaningful others because they are afraid to lose them.

Narcissist Loves his Disorder and Narcissistic Personality

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

Narcissist's Addiction Atypical

There is little empirical research on the correlation between personality traits and addictive behaviors. Narcissism is an addiction to narcissistic supply, which is the narcissist's drug of choice. Narcissists derive pleasure from addictive and reckless behaviors, which sustain and enhance their grandiose fantasies. Narcissism is an adaptive behavior, while addiction is self-destructive and has no adaptive value.

Narcissism Myths: Suicide, Types, Crises

Narcissists come in different types, with cerebral and somatic being the most common. All narcissists share certain traits, such as pathological lying and lack of empathy. Narcissists are not interested in people as such, but they love to have an audience as long as they provide them with narcissistic supply. Narcissists rarely commit suicide, but they react with suicidal ideation and reactive psychosis to severe stress. Narcissists prefer to find alternative sources of supply, and they are creative in doing so.

Your Narcissist: Madman or Genius? (Based on News Intervention Interview)

Narcissists often claim to be geniuses, but Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a serious mental health problem. It is difficult to tell the difference between a genius and a madman, but the scientific method can help by applying a test of falsifiability. Narcissists often make predictions that fail time and again, while geniuses' predictions hold water for long stretches of time. Narcissism is a problem of nurture, a problem of the environment, and abuse and trauma suffered in early childhood.

Why Narcissists Commit Suicide? To Be Great Again!

Narcissistic personality disorder is associated with a high risk of suicide, especially during narcissistic mortification. Suicide in narcissists is not driven by depression, but rather by a desire to restore a sense of grandiosity and control. Suicidal ideation in narcissism is suffused with grandiosity and reflects an underlying cognitive distortion. The characteristics of suicidal behaviors in narcissistic personality disorder include perfectionism, lack of self-disclosure, dissociation, body hatred, and inconsistent self-representation. Suicidal ideation in narcissists is a form of acting out and a way to assert control over themselves and others.

Idealized, Devalued, Dumped

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

Narcissist’s 3 Depressions

Narcissists experience three types of depression: loss-induced dysphoria, deficiency-induced dysphoria, and self-worth dysregulation dysphoria. Loss-induced dysphoria occurs when sources of narcissistic supply gradually fade away, while deficiency-induced dysphoria is an acute response to abrupt loss of supply. Self-worth dysregulation dysphoria is a reaction to a sudden drop in self-esteem and self-worth due to criticism or humiliation. Narcissists are not happy-go-lucky individuals; they are heavily wounded, traumatized, and grieving people who try to compensate for their sadness with a facade of happiness and grandiosity.

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