Narcissist: Bumbling Fool, Incapable of Learning?

Uploaded 10/27/2018, approx. 5 minute read

Now, know that my name is Sam Vaknin, and I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.

Those of you who are seeing me for the first time, my name is Sam Vaknin, and I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.

Okay, okay, so I'm not as funny as Richard Grannon, but I'm much better looking, you must admit. Don't answer that.

Today we're going to discuss the narcissist as a bumbling fool.

I just gave a demonstration. Is a narcissist incapable of learning?

Why do some narcissists appear to be idiots, morons?

Never mind how intelligent they are, never mind how erudite, how knowledgeable, they still appear to be stupid.

Well, there are eight reasons for that.

First of all, narcissists have no impulse control, no forefold, no foresight. They engage in counterproductive, self-defeating and self-destructive decisions and actions.

And we usually tend to attribute self-defeat and self-destruction to stupid people.

So we say, well, if he's self-defeating, if he's acting against his own interests, he must be stupid.

And the second thing is that narcissists act out.

When narcissistic supply is deficient or low, narcissists compensate, which is a very nice word for disintegrate. And they go haywire. We call this collapsed narcissist.

Not flamed narcissist, flamed narcissist is a borderline, but a collapsed narcissist.

And they also appear to be stupid because they're falling apart. And that's the issue of pseudo-stupidity.

Pseudo-stupidity is to avoid the consequences of their misdeeds.

Narcissists pretend that they have misunderstood something you have said or something you have done. And that you are the one who took advantage of their good nature and of their incomprehension.

So they pretend to be stupid. And this is called pseudo-stupidity.

Narcissists, as I said many years ago and in several videos, narcissists are gullible. Narcissists are grandiose that they are phantasts. So they misjudge reality. They have an impaired reality test.

Add to that their inability to read people because they have no empathy.

And you see that they don't realize their own limitations. They don't realize what they're good at and what they're bad at, what they should pursue and what they should avoid.

And they cannot read social cues and the intentions of others.

And in this sense, narcissists are a bit autistic or a lot autistic actually. That's why narcissism and autism are very frequently confused and misdiagnosed.

No empathy means that the narcissist disastrously misreads others and behaves in socially unacceptable and sometimes clownish ways.

The narcissist's sense of appointment renders the narcissist an over-winning buffoon, the butt of mockery and derision, rather than the awe that he believes that he inspires and the respect that he thinks that he deserves.

And then there's hyper-vigilance.

Hyper-vigilance is when the narcissist scans for insults and slides and it is not being treated fairly or justly, is not being respected and so on and so forth.

Hyper-vigilance leads to disproportionate aggression, directed at imaginary slides and insults. And it also leads to persecutory delusions, a kind of mild paranoia, paranoid ideation. And it's directed usually at totally innocent targets.

So the narcissist appears to be a bit insane sometimes, but insane in a stupid way.

Finally, the narcissist uses false modesty to fish for compliments. He would say, well, you know, I'm not that intelligent. And he would expect you to say, of course you're intelligent, you're a genius. Or he would say, I don't look good, I'm ugly. And you would say, you're not ugly, you're actually very handsome.

But his attempts, fishing for compliments, these attempts are so transparent, so inarticulate, so fake, so manipulative, that people react with repulsion and they actually hit the backfires and they seek to humiliate the narcissist.

The narcissist regards learning something new or getting advice as narcissistic injuries, because in both situations, when he learns something or when he needs advice, this implies that he is not perfect, not omniscient, not all-knowing.

To defend against this challenge to his grandiosity, the narcissist distorts reality. He uses reframing cognitive biases and emotional regulation.

Narcissist would react to new learning or to a piece of advice in various ways. He would say, for example, I knew that already, there's nothing new here, I knew it long time ago. Or he would say, you know what, this actually was my idea, you stole it from me, it's not yours. Or he would say, you're wrong, truth is relative, this is just your opinion, I have another opinion, and my opinion is preferable, because it's based on deep research and facts and so on. Or he would say, I'm far more qualified to make this call or to state this fact, because of my background, my education, my life experience. Or he would say, you're saying this because something is wrong with you, or because your research is sloppy, or because you are ignorant, devaluing, and this way the narcissist would devalue the source of the advice or the new information.

And, of course, if the narcissist is paranoid, he would assume that the learning of the advice are somehow manipulative, that there's a sort of a hidden agenda. A narcissist would say, I prefer to not hear from you again, I'm busy, please don't bother me, go away, fuck off aggression, or I listen to you carefully, and I will consider your views in due time. Of course, not.

Passive aggression.

So everything is in the mix. Paranoia, aggression, passive aggression, defenses, and so on and so forth.

But this constant fending off of new knowledge, this constant aggressive reaction to well-meaning advice renders the narcissist's credence, makes him appear really, really profoundly stupid.

And you know what? Coming to think of it, what's the difference between being really stupid and behaving constantly, 100% of the time, as a stupid person? Maybe there is none.

Maybe the narcissist is stupid. Maybe the narcissist is actually stupid.

Now there's a thought for you.

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Old-age Narcissist

Narcissists age without grace, unable to accept their fallibility and mortality. They suffer from mental progeria, aging prematurely and finding themselves in a time warp. The longer they live, the more average they become, and the wider the gulf between their pretensions and accomplishments. Few narcissists save for rainy days, and those who succeed in their vocation end up bitterly alone, having squandered the love of family, offspring, and mates.

Narcissist Hates Happy People and Holidays

Holidays and birthdays are a difficult time for narcissists, as they provoke a stream of pathological envy. The narcissist is jealous of others for having a family, being able to celebrate lavishly, or being in the right mood. They hate humans because they are unable to be one and want to spoil it for those who can enjoy. Holidays remind the narcissist of their childhood, the supportive and loving family they never had, and what could have been.

The Signs of the Narcissist

Narcissists are difficult to spot, but there are subtle signs that can be picked up on, such as entitlement markers, idealization and devaluation, and a lack of empathy. Narcissists are often perceived as anti-social and are unable to secure the sympathy of others. They are also prone to projecting a false self and using primitive defense mechanisms such as splitting, projection, projective identification, and intellectualization.

Narcissist: Irresistible Charmer

Narcissists use charm to manipulate and control others, seeking attention and admiration. They use their charisma to exert power over people and view those they charm as objects for their gratification. Pathological charm can involve sadism and is used to maintain object constancy and fend off abandonment. Narcissists react with rage and aggression when their charm fails to elicit narcissistic supply, revealing their true predatory nature.

Narcissist: Loser and Failure

Narcissists have three traits that make them fail and become losers: a sense of entitlement, arrogance, and aversion to routine. Their sense of entitlement makes them lazy and believe that they should be spoon-fed. They are under-qualified and lack skills because they believe they are above mundane chores. Their arrogance and belief that they are superior to others hampers their ability to function in society. They become outcasts and are shunned by colleagues, employers, and family members.

Narcissistic Humiliation and Injury

Narcissists react to humiliation in the same way as normal people, only more so. They are regularly and strongly humiliated by things that normally do not constitute a humiliation. The emotional life of the narcissist is tinted by ubiquitous and recurrent insults, humiliations, and slights. The narcissist is constantly on the defensive, constantly being targeted, and is a kind of paranoid.

Narcissist Has No Friends

Narcissists treat their friends like Watson and Hastings, who are obsequious and unthreatening, and provide them with an adulating gallery. Narcissists cannot empathize or love, and therefore have no real friends. They are interested in securing narcissistic supply from narcissistic supply sources. The narcissist overvalues people when they are judged to be potential sources of supply, and devalues them when no longer able to supply him, ultimately leading to the alienation and distancing of people.

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

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

Communal, Prosocial Narcissist as Compulsive Giver

Compulsive givers are a type of narcissist who feel superior to those they give to, and feel exploited when they have to pay for the needs of others. They are people pleasers and co-dependents who force themselves on others and have unrealistic expectations of gratitude. They have alloplastic defenses with an external locus of control, meaning they rely on others to regulate their self-worth and blame the world for their failures. They keep a mental ledger of what they give and receive and use false asceticism and fake modesty to prove their nearest and dearest are ingrates.

People-pleasers and Pathological Charmers

People pleasers are often dishonest and manipulative, seeking to foster dependence in their beneficiaries. They use a range of coping strategies, including infantilization and self-sacrifice. People pleasers are a subset of pathological charmers, who are mostly narcissists. Pathological charmers use their charm to manipulate others and exert control, and feel threatened when their charm fails to elicit narcissistic supply.

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