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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.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like the following:

Narcissist's Routines

Narcissists have a series of routines that are developed through rote learning and repetitive patterns of experience. These routines are used to reduce anxiety and transform the world into a manageable and controllable one. The narcissist is a creature of habit and finds change unsettling. The narcissist's routines are often broken down when they are breached or can no longer be defended, leading to a narcissistic injury.


Narcissist: Your Pain is his Healing, Your Crucifixion - His Resurrection

Narcissists need their victims to suffer to regulate their own emotions and feel a sense of control. They keep a mental ledger of positive and negative behaviors, with negative behaviors weighing more heavily. Narcissists need counterfactual statements to maintain their delusion of being special and superior. The grandiosity gap is the major vulnerability of the narcissist, and they are often in denial about their limitations and failures.


Narcissist's Language as Weapon

Narcissists use language as a weapon of self-defense, to obscure, not to communicate, and to obtain narcissistic supply. They talk at others or lecture them, exchange subtexts, and spawn private languages, prejudices, superstitions, conspiracy theories, rumors, phobias, and hysterias. The rules that govern the narcissist universe are loopholeed, incomprehensible, open to interpretation so wide and so self-contradictory that it renders them meaningless. The narcissist, in this respect, is a great social menace, undermining language itself.


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.


Narcissist: Confabulations, Lies

Confabulation is a common human trait, but the distinction between reality and fantasy is never lost. However, the narcissist's very self is a piece of fiction, concocted to fend off hurt and pain and to nurture the narcissist's grandiosity. The narcissist fails in his reality test and is unable to distinguish the actual from the imagined, the real from the fantasized. The narcissist's countenance, no disagreement, no alternative points of view, no criticism. To him, his confabulation is reality.


When the Narcissist's Parents Die

The death of a narcissist's parents can be a complicated experience. The narcissist has a mixed reaction to their passing, feeling both elation and grief. The parents are often the source of the narcissist's trauma and continue to haunt them long after they die. The death of the parents also represents a loss of a reliable source of narcissistic supply, which can lead to severe depression. Additionally, the narcissist's unfinished business with their parents can lead to unresolved conflicts and pressure that deforms their personality.


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.


Negative, Fake, Low-grade Narcissistic Supply

Narcissists crave attention, both positive and negative, and use it to regulate their sense of self-worth. They construct a false self and project it onto others to elicit admiration, adulation, and fear. Negative supply can become narcissistic supply when positive supply is scarce. Narcissists also crave punishment, which confirms their view of themselves as worthless and relieves them of the inner conflict they endure when they are successful.


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 Reacts to Criticism, Disagreement, Disapproval

Narcissists are hypervigilant and perceive every disagreement as criticism and every critical comment as complete and humiliating rejection. They react defensively, becoming indignant, aggressive, and cold. The narcissist minimizes the impact of the disagreement and criticism on himself by holding the critic in contempt, by diminishing the stature of the discordant conversant. When the disagreement or criticism or disapproval or approbation become public, the narcissist tends to regard them as narcissistic supply.

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