Narcissist Loves his Disorder and Narcissistic Personality

Uploaded 9/30/2010, approx. 3 minute read

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

Some narcissists get better, they modify their behavior, they become more socially acceptable and less abrasive.

But no narcissist heals, no narcissist gets well.

The reason is the narcissist's enormous, lifelong, irreplaceable and indispensable emotional investment in his own disorder.

Narcissistic personality disorder serves two critical functions, which together maintain the precariously balanced house of cards that we call the narcissist's personality.

The narcissist's disorder endows him with a sense of uniqueness, of being special, and it provides him with a rational explanation for his misconduct, with an alibi.

Most narcissists reject the notion or the diagnosis that they are mentally ill or disturbed.

Absent powers of introspection, the total lack of self-awareness are part and parcel of narcissistic personality disorder.

Pathological narcissism is founded upon alloplastic defenses, the firm conviction that the world or others are to blame for one's behavior, defeats, failures and frailties.

The narcissist firmly believes that people around him should be held responsible and accountable for his reactions for having triggered them.

With such a state of mind so firmly entrenched, the narcissist is incapable of transformation or even of admitting that something is wrong with him.

But that is not to say that the narcissist does not experience his disorder.

He does.

But he reinterprets this experience. He regards his dysfunctional behaviors socially, emotionally and mentally as conclusive and irrefutable proof of his superiority, brilliance, distinction, prowess, mind, or success.

Rudeness to others, for instance, is reinterpreted as decisiveness and efficiency, or even brutal honesty.

Abusive behaviors are cast as educational, tough love, sexual absence as proof of preoccupation with higher functions.

The narcissist's rage is always just and it's always a reaction to injustice or to being misunderstood by intellectual widgets.

Thus, paradoxically, the disorder becomes an integral and inseparable part of the narcissist's inflated self-esteem and vacuous grandiose fantasies.

Narcissist's false self, the pivot of his pathological narcissism, is a self-reinforcing mechanism.

The narcissist thinks that he is unique because he has a false self.

His false self is the center of his specialness.

Any therapeutic attack on the integrity and functioning of the false self constitutes a threat to the narcissist's ability to regulate his wildly fluctuating sense of self-worth in an effort to reduce him to other people's mundane, pedestrian, and mediocre existence.

The few narcissists that are willing to admit that something is terribly wrong with them displace their other plastic defenses. Instead of blaming the world, blaming other people or circumstances beyond their control, they now blame their disease.

Their disorder becomes a catch-all, universal explanation for everything that is wrong in their lives and for every derided, indefensible and inexcusable behavior.

Their narcissism becomes a license to kill, a liberating force which sets them outside human rules and codes of conduct.

Such freedom is so intoxicating and so empowering that it is difficult to give up.

The narcissist is emotionally attached to only one thing, his narcissistic personality disorder.

The narcissist loves his disorder, desires his disease passionately, cultivates his illness tenderly, is proud of his achievements, his emotions are misdirected.

When normal people love others and empathize with them, the narcissist loves his false self and identifies with it to the exclusion of all else and all others, including his true self.

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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.

Collapsed Narcissist, Collapsed Histrionic

Pathological narcissism is a post-traumatic condition that is a result of severe abuse by primary caregivers, peers, or authority figures. Narcissists require a form of narcissistic supply, and when the supply is deficient, they resort to several adaptive solutions. These solutions include the delusional narrative solution, the antisocial solution, the paranoid schizoid solution, the paranoid, aggressive or explosive solution, and the masochistic avoidance solution. In extreme cases, the collapsed narcissist or collapsed histrionic falls apart in a process of disintegration known as decompensation, which is accompanied by acting out.

Narcissist as Spoiled Brat

Narcissists require attention and narcissistic supply, and when they cannot obtain it, they may experience decompensation, which can lead to acting out in various ways. Narcissists may resort to several adaptive solutions, including delusional narratives, antisocial behavior, passive-aggressive behavior, paranoid narratives, and masochistic avoidance. These behaviors are all self-generated sources of narcissistic supply. Masochistic narcissists may direct their fury inwards, punishing themselves for their failure to elicit supply, and this behavior has the added benefit of forcing those closest to them to pay attention to them.

Narcissism is Tiring Energy-depleting

Personality is a dynamic, ongoing process that is ever-evolving. The more primitive the personality, the less organized, the more disordered, the greater the amount of energy required to maintain it in a semblance of balance and function. Narcissists externalize most of the available energy in an effort to secure a narcissistic supply. The narcissist's constant fatigue and ennui, his short attention span, his tendency to devalue sources of supply, even his transformed aggression.

Anxiety, Pain, Suicide in Thanatic Societies (ENGLISH responses, with Nárcisz Coach)

In a pain-and-death-oriented society, anxiety is the ruling emotion. Our economies are constructed around growth, and our relationships are dysfunctional. The only efficient coping strategy in such a world is narcissism, which is on the rise, especially among the young. Narcissism seems to be a positive adaptation, and some people use it to get to the White House. Victims of narcissistic abuse adopt psychopathic and narcissistic behaviors and traits as a defense, and we are moving into a psychopathic world. We have lost our dreams and don't have any believable stories left, leaving us as dead flesh.

Narcissism 101 and Narcissistic Abuse 101 with Robert Stark

Narcissism is on the rise due to societal changes that encourage self-promotion and attention-seeking behavior. Narcissists are pro-social and dependent on others for validation, while psychopaths are anti-social and do not depend on others. Narcissism is considered an environmental condition, reacting to trauma and adapting for survival. Therapy for narcissism has limited long-term effects on the core of the disorder, but can modify behaviors and communication patterns.

Narcissism? Not What You Think! (An El-Nadi-Vaknin Convo)

Narcissism is not a mental illness but a personality style, and narcissists can be self-aware and proud of their disorder. They can be manipulated if they are convinced that certain behaviors are counterproductive and harmful to themselves. Women who fall for narcissists often do so because of their own psychological reasons, and unless they address these issues, they are likely to fall into the same trap repeatedly.

Schizoid and Paranoid Narcissist

Narcissistic personality disorder is often diagnosed with other mental health disorders, other personality disorders such as borderline, histrionic or antisocial. This phenomenon of multiple diagnosis in the same patient is called co-morbidity. Narcissists are often paranoid and some of them are schizoid. The narcissist depends on people, but hates them and despises them. A minority of narcissists choose the schizoid solution.

Narcissists Hard to Spot

Narcissistic personality disorder is difficult to isolate with certainty, and it is important to distinguish between inherent traits and reactive patterns. Narcissism is considered pathological only when it becomes a rigid personality structure with primitive defense mechanisms and leads to dysfunctions in one or more areas of life. Pathological narcissism is the art of deception, and the narcissist projects a false self to manage social interactions. Victims of narcissists often find themselves involved before discovering the narcissist's true nature, and the narcissist emits subtle signals even on a first or casual encounter.

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.

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