My name is Sam Vaknin, and I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.
Narcissists cannot delay gratification. They want it all, they want it now. They are creatures of the here and now, because they feel boundlessly entitled.
When forced to specialize or persist, they feel stagnation and death.
It is not a matter of choice, but a structural constraint.
This is the way a narcissist is built. This is his model soporandi, and his vacillating style of life and dizzying array of activities are written into his operations manual and his operating system.
As a direct result, the narcissist cannot form a stable marital relationship or reasonably devote himself to his family or maintain an ongoing business or reside in one place for long or dedicate himself to a single profession or to one career or complete his academic studies or accumulate material wealth.
Notice that I am using or not end. Some narcissists maintain an island of stability in their life, but all the rest is chaotic.
So they may have a stable marriage, but a very chaotic work life, exchanging careers kaleidoscopically. Or they may have a single job throughout their life, but get married five times.
So there is always an island of stability surrounded by an ocean of riding, roaming chaos.
Narcissists are often described as indolent, labile, unstable, unreliable, unable and unwilling to undertake long-term commitments and obligations or to maintain a job or a career path.
The narcissist's life is characterized by jerky, episodic careers, relationships, marriages and domiciles. The narcissist is volatile, erratic, flexible and ephemeral. Either we've touched upon the less malignant dimensions, but there is worse to come.
As always, there is with narcissists. The narcissist is possessed of a low self-esteem.
In public, the narcissist presents himself as the quintessential winner, but deep inside the narcissist judges himself to be a good for nothing, a loser, a bad object, a permanent, irreversible failure. He hates himself for being so, and he constantly envies everyone around him for a variety of reasons, ever-changing reasons.
The narcissist's discontent is often transformed into depression. Unable to love himself, the narcissist is unable to love another. He regards and treats people as though they were objects, he exploits and then discards them.
The narcissist mistreats people around him by asserting his superiority at all times, by being emotionally cold or absent, by constantly bickering, verbally humiliating, incessantly, unjustly criticizing, and by actively rejecting or ignoring people around him, including his nearest and nearest, thus provoking constantly uncertainty and unpredictability.
The narcissist's interpersonal relationships are deformed and sick. The longer the relationship, the more it is tinted by the pathological hue of narcissism.
In his marriage, the narcissist recreates the conflicts with his primary objects, parents or caregivers during his childhood.
The narcissist is immature in every walk of life, sex included. He tends to select the wrong partners or spouse. He does everything to bring about his greatest horror, abandonment.
Even his torturous supporters and lovers ultimately desert him. In the wake of such abandonment, the narcissist experiences, the horrifying and complete breakdown of his defenses.
He feels lonely, but his loneliness is of the existential, almost solipsistic guy. The whole world seems unreal to him, possessed of his nightmarish quality.
He either feels disproportionately guilty and assumes all the burden of blame, allocating none to his partner, or he blames him for everything, denying any personal responsibility, which is the more common response.
These moments may be the only occasions in which the narcissist is in touch with his emotions, an experience he has been trying to avoid all his life and at all costs to his mental health.
Learning the truth about his emotional infernity, the narcissist often entertains suicidal ideation. He cannot tolerate deforming his body, so he is inclined to use sleeping pills if at all.
But soon enough, the narcissist recovers and escapes into a new psychosexual liaison.
Another toy, another object of gratification, enters his world.
His emotional wounds are shallow, and they heal fast.
Only his ego is scarred, and memory repressed successfully by all narcissists, wherever they may be.