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Narcissist Imagines Himself Through YOUR Gaze (Attributional Delusions)

Uploaded 3/10/2024, approx. 8 minute read

I would like to clarify another nuance, another subtlety in the endless hall of mirrors that is narcissism.

Narcissists idealize themselves, they idealize themselves through the gaze of other people.

This is known as narcissistic supply.

They regulate their sense of self-worth through input or feedback from other people.

But something that is less known is that narcissists make assumptions about the gaze of other people.

They observe other people observing them and then they construct a narrative around this gaze of other people.

They say they are watching me and this is what they are thinking as they are watching me.

This is what they believe.

And so narcissists react strongly, not only to the actual content of the gaze of other people, but to assumptions they make about the contents of the gaze of other people.

And actually I can say that narcissists react mostly to their assumptions about what other people think about them.

They say to themselves, they must be admiring me right now.

Or they probably find me irresistible.

Or she definitely finds me attractive.

Or they most assuredly think that I'm a genius.

So they impute to other people, they attribute to other people thoughts, beliefs, kind of attitudes, motivations and so on and so forth.

And then they come to believe their own attribution.

This is very typical of narcissists.

Narcissists inhabit an internal world.

They don't interact with the external world.

They don't perceive other people as external objects.

Narcissists are bad on reality, strong on fantasy.

So they look at other people, they observe the way other people observe them and then they attribute to other people thoughts and beliefs and so on and so forth.

And then they react to the thoughts and beliefs that they have attributed to other people without bothering to check with these other people whether their assumptions and presumptions are correct.

So for example, a cerebral narcissist may say to himself, they find me exceedingly intelligent, amazingly intellectual, a genius.

They love me.

I am lovable because in their eyes, I'm a genius.

And because they find me lovable, I can find me myself lovable.

I can become my own love object.

And so this is the way the narcissist experiences something akin to self-love.

I would call it infatuation by proxy via the good services of other people, via other people's gaze.

So he becomes or she becomes, the narcissist becomes his or her own love object because he assumes that other people find him or her lovable by virtue of being a genius.

That's a cerebral narcissist.

A somatic narcissist would say, "Oh my God, she finds me so irresistible, so attractive.

I am, I don't know, a stud.

I am amazingly irresistible." So he convinces himself or she convinces herself, the narcissist convinces himself that he is attractive, that he is irresistible.

He attributes this mental content to the observer and then it becomes reality because anything that passes through the narcissist's mind must be reality.

The narcissist is never wrong.

He's infallible.

So then the narcissist says, "She thinks I'm irresistible.

She finds me super attractive.

She's very drawn to me.

She wants me.

She desires me.

She's passionate about me." And gradually he begins to perceive himself as a sex object, irresistible, attractive.

He begins to desire himself.

He begins to redirect sexual energy, also known as Eros, a part of libido.

He begins to redirect sexual energy at himself because of the gaze of others.

Because others find him irresistible and attractive in his own mind, at least, he finds himself irresistible and attractive and he becomes his own sexual object, sex object.

He begins to be attracted to himself.

He arouses himself sexually, a process known as auto-erotism.

So idealization is two-faced.

When the narcissist idealizes other people, he idealizes them in order to give them the power to idealize him.

If he associates with high-level people, if he's married to a drop-dead gorgeous woman, if he's considered a genius by his students, their idealization reflects on him and renders him ideal.

So now he can love himself.

He can become his own love object.

He can be sexually attracted to himself.

He can find himself sexually attractive.


Somatic narcissists masturbate with other people's bodies.

They are not attracted to anyone whatsoever.

They're attracted only to their own bodies.

They find themselves the primary sex object.

Other people are there to remind them how attractive and irresistible they are.

Okay, one last thing.

Remember, there's no type constancy.

When the cerebral fails, when there's a state of collapse, when the cerebral fails to obtain narcissistic supply or narcissistic supply is deficient and irregular, the cerebral becomes temporarily somatic.

Similarly, when the somatic fails because he's getting older, because he's not as successful as he used to be with sexual conquests and so on.

So when the somatic collapses, he attempts to become cerebral, which is usually a pitiful and pathetic site.

Okay, but there's no type constancy.

A cerebral can become somatic even for years and a somatic can attempt to become cerebral even for years.

So when they do, the locus of the idealization changes.

The cerebral used to idealize himself as a genius through other people's eyes.

Now having become somatic, he idealizes himself as an irresistible, attractive hunk or stud or whatever, and he finds himself sexually attractive to himself through the attribution of such attractiveness and irresistibility to the gaze of others.

Similarly, the somatic begins to consider himself a philosopher, a genius, an amazing mind, a public intellectual, a somatic.

So remember that what I've just said, narcissists transition between states.

What remains constant is the need, the desperate need for the gaze of other people, for input and feedback from other people.

Even though these other people, they are not perceived as external objects, they are perceived as internal objects, still their input and feedback is regulatory.

It allows the narcissist to regulate his internal environment, especially his sense of self-worth and to cater to his need to love only himself, to become the exclusive love object and to be sexually attracted only to himself, to become his own lover, his own sex object.

Now, of course, when I say love in this video, this is not love as we know it.

It's much closer, I would say, to limerence or infatuation or lust even.

It's not deep, it's not profound.

Narcissists don't love themselves. They actually loathe and hate and reject themselves, which is why they need other people to tell them that they are lovable, they are sexy, they are irresistible, they are amazing.

Okay, that's known as co-idealization, another twist and turn in the endless saga of narcissism.

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

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.


Recluse Narcissist

Narcissists do not have friends in the usual sense of the word, as they are only interested in securing the provision of narcissistic supply from others. They overvalue people when they are judged to be potential sources of supply, but discard them nonchalantly when they are no longer able or willing to supply them. The narcissist's behavior, choices, acts, attitudes, beliefs, interests, and life are curtailed by their sensitivity to outside opinion, and they avoid situations where they are likely to encounter opposition, criticism, or competition. The fear of flying is at the heart of narcissism.


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.


Narcissist's Objects and Possessions

Narcissists have a complex relationship with objects and possessions, with some being accumulators who jealously guard their belongings and others being discarders who give away their possessions to sustain their sense of control. Objects provide emotional decor and elicit narcissistic supply, and the narcissist often compares people to the inanimate. Narcissists collect proofs and trophies of their sexual prowess, dramatic talent, past wealth, or intellectual achievements, and these objects operate through the mechanism of narcissistic branding. The narcissist is a pathogen who transforms his human and non-human environment alike, objectifying people and anthropomorphizing objects to optimize or maximize narcissistic supply.


Narcissists Have Emotions

Narcissists do have emotions, but they tend to repress them so deeply that they play no conscious role in their lives or conduct. The narcissist's positive emotions come bundled with very negative ones, and they become phobic of feeling anything lest it be accompanied by negative emotions. The narcissist is reduced to experiencing down-steerings in their soul that they identify to themselves and to others as emotions. Narcissists are not envious of others for having emotions, they disdain feelings and sentimental people because they find them to be weak and vulnerable.


Narcissist Re-idealizes Discarded Sources of Narcissistic Supply

Narcissists keep discarded sources of supply in reserve and seek them out when they have no other supply source. They frantically try to recycle their old sources and re-idealize them without admitting to having been mistaken in the first place. To preserve their grandiosity, they come up with a narrative that accommodates both the devaluing content and the re-idealized image of the source. If you are an old source of narcissistic supply, simply ignore the narcissist as indifference is what they cannot stand.


Issues in Narcissistic Supply

Narcissists devalue their sources of supply for the very qualities that make them sources of supply in the first place. The narcissist resents his dependency on narcissistic supply and perceives intimacy and sex as a threat to his uniqueness. Narcissistic supply includes all forms of attention, both positive and negative, fame, notoriety, adulation, fear, applause, approval. Narcissists frantically try to recycle their old and wasted sources when they have absolutely no other sources of supply at their disposal.


Can Narcissist Truly Love?

Narcissists are incapable of true love, but they do experience some emotion which they insist is love. Narcissists love their significant others as long as they continue to provide them with attention, or narcissistic supply. There are two types of narcissistic love: one type loves others as one would get attached to objects, while the other type abhors monotony and constancy, seeking instability, chaos, upheaval, drama, and change. In the narcissist's world, mature love is nowhere to be seen, and their so-called love is fear of losing control and hatred of the very people on whom their personality depends.


Narcissist Never Sorry

Narcissists sometimes feel bad and experience depressive episodes and dysphoric moods, but they have a diminished capacity to empathize and rarely feel sorry for what they have done or for their victims. They often project their own emotions and actions onto others and attribute to others what they hate in themselves. When confronted with major crises, the narcissist experiences real excruciating pain, but this is only a fleeting moment, and they recover their former self and embark on a new hunt for narcissistic supply. They are hunters, predators, and their victims are prey.


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.

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