Narcissist: Masochism, Self-destruction, Self-defeat

Uploaded 11/29/2010, approx. 5 minute read

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

We are all acquainted with a narcissist's reckless, impulsive and intermittent explosive or rage-related behaviors.

Narcissists abuse drugs and substances. They shop compulsively. They drive recklessly.

These are the well-known behaviors, but there is a group of behaviors which are equally self-defeating and self-destructive, but very pernicious and subtle.

The first subgroup is what I call self-punishing, guilt-purging behaviors. These are intended to inflict punishment on the narcissist and to instantly relieve him of his overwhelming anxiety.

Self-punishing, self-purging behaviors are very reminiscent of compulsive rituals.

The narcissist feels guilty. It could be an ancient, early childhood guilt, a sexual guilt, a social guilt.

In his infancy, the narcissist internalized and introjected the voices of meaningful and authoritative others such as parents, role models and peers. These voices told him, consistently and convincingly, that he is not good, that he is blameworthy, deserving of punishment or retaliation or corrupt. The voices constantly judged him.

The narcissist's life is thus transformed into an ongoing trial. The constant constancy of this trial, the never-adjourning tribunal, that is the punishment.

It is a Kafkaesque process, meaningless, undecipherable and never-ending.

It leads to no verdict. He is subject to mysterious and fluid laws and regulations and he is presided over by capricious judges and their aforementioned voices.

Thus, the narcissist masochistically frustrates his deepest desires and drives, obstructs his own efforts, alienates his friends and spouses, provokes figures of authority to punish, demote or ignore him, actively seeks and solicits disappointment, failure or mistreatment and relishes them.

The narcissist, incites anger or rejection, bypasses or rejects opportunities or engages in excessive self-sacrifice.

In their book, Personality Disorders in Modern Life, Theodore Millon and Roger Davis describe the diagnosis of masochistic or self-defeating personality disorder. It is found in the appendix of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 3 revision but is excluded from the next edition, DSM-IV.

While the narcissist is rarely a full-fledged masochist, many narcissists exhibit some of the traits of this proposed personality disorder.

Another subgroup of disorders is what I call the extracting behaviors.

People with personality disorders are very afraid of real, mature intimacy.

Intimacy is formed not only within a couple but also in a workplace, in a neighborhood with friends while collaborating on a project.

Intimacy is just another word for emotional involvement which is the result of interactions with others in constant, unpredictable or safe propinquity.

Patients with personality disorders, especially narcissists, interpret intimacy as co-dependence, as emotional strangulation, as imprisonment, as nothing of freedom, a kind of death in installments.

Narcissists are terrorized by intimacy. To avoid it, the self-destructive and self-defeating acts are intent to dismantle the very foundation of a successful relationship, their career, a project or a friendship.

Narcissists actually feel elated and relieved after they unshackle these chains. They feel that have broken through a siege, that they are liberated, free at last.

Then there are the default behaviors.

All of us, to some degree, are inertial. We are afraid of new situations, new opportunities, new challenges, new circumstances and new demands.

Being healthy, being successful, being married, becoming a mother or someone's boss, these often entail abrupt breaks with the past.

And some self-defeating behaviors are intended to preserve the past, to restore it, to protect it from the winds of change, to self-deceptively skirt promising opportunities while seeming to embrace them.

Narcissists do this a lot.

Finally, there are the frustrating, negativistic and passive-aggressive behaviors which I've discussed in another video. I recommend that you watch it.

I've received a letter from a narcissist a few years ago. This letter encapsulates, summarizes wonderfully, the state of sabotaging oneself constantly, the state of being your worst enemy. I've seen the enemy and it is I.

The letter says, I find it difficult to accept that I am irredeemably evil, that I ecstatically, almost orgasmically, enjoy hurting people and that I actively seek to inflict pain on others.

It runs so contrary to my long-cultivated, internally nurtured self-image as a benefactor, a sensitive intellectual and harmless hermit.

In truth, my sadism meshes well and synergetically with two other behavior patterns, my relentless pursuit of narcissistic supply and my self-destructive, self-defeating and therefore masochistic streak.

The process of torturing, humiliating and offending people provides proof of my omnipotence, nourishes my grandiose fantasies and buttresses my false self.

The victims' distress and dismay constitute narcissistic supply of the purest grade.

It also alienates them, turns them into hostile witnesses, or even enemies and stalkers.

Thus, through the agency of my hapless and helpless victims, I bring upon my head recurrent torrents of wrath and banishment.

This animosity guarantees my unraveling and my failure, outcomes which I avidly seek in order to placate my inner chastising and castigating voices, what Freud called the sadistic superego.

Similarly, I am a fiercely independent person. This is known in psychological jargon as counterdependent.

But my independence is a pathological variant of personal autonomy.

I want to be free to frustrate myself by inflicting mental havoc on my human environment, including and especially, my nearest and dearest.

I want in this way to secure and incur their inevitable ire.

Getting attached to or becoming dependent on someone, in any way, emotionally, financially, hierarchically, politically, religiously, legally or intellectually, means surrendering my ability to indulge my all-consuming urges, to torment, to feel like God and to be ruined by the consequences of my own evil actions.

Enough said.

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

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.

Do Narcissists Truly Hate?

Narcissists are often adult versions of abused children who fear intimacy and seek to provoke hatred in parents, caregivers, and authority figures. They act out antisocially and seek to destroy the source of frustration. The narcissist's hatred is not a stable experiential state, but rather a transformation of resentment and an aggressive reaction to frustration. The narcissist is heavily dependent on other people for the regulation of their sense of self-worth, and they resent this dependence.

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.

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.

Zombie Narcissist: Deficient Narcissistic Supply

Narcissists are constantly seeking praise, adoration, admiration, approval, applause, attention, and other forms of narcissistic supply. When they fail to obtain sufficient supply, they react much like a drug addict would. They become dysphoric, depressed, and may resort to alternative addictions. In extreme cases of deprivation, they may even entertain suicidal thoughts. Narcissists also have a sense of magical thinking, believing that they will always prevail and that good things will always happen to them, rendering them fearless and cloaked in divine and cosmic immunity.

How Narcissist Experiences/Reacts to No Contact, Grey Rock, Mirroring, Coping, Survival Techniques

Narcissists are victims of post-traumatic conditions caused by their parents, leading to ontological insecurity, dissociation, and confabulation. They have no core identity and construct their sense of self by reflecting themselves from other people. Narcissists have empathy, but it is cold empathy, which is goal-oriented and used to find vulnerabilities to obtain goals. Narcissism becomes a religion when a child is abused by their parents, particularly their mother, and not allowed to develop their own boundaries. The false self demands human sacrifice, and the narcissist must sacrifice others to the false self to gratify and satisfy it.

Predator Narcissist: YOU are the Prey!

Narcissists have the ability to see through other people's emotional shields and know when they are deviating from the truth. They can intuitively grasp other people's self-interested goals and accurately predict their strategies and tactics. Narcissists can't stand self-important, self-inflated, pompous, vigorous, self-righteous, sanctimonious, and hypocritical people because they recognize themselves in them. They expose people's vulnerabilities and force them to confront their true selves, their dead-end careers, their mundane lives, the death of their hopes and dreams and wishes, their shattered illusions.

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's Impossible Jigsaw Puzzle

Narcissists are fascinating due to their contradictory traits and behaviors. They can be highly intelligent and creative, yet emotionally immature and self-destructive. They can appear self-sufficient but are extremely dependent on others for validation. These disconnects challenge our understanding of psychology, as narcissists seem to defy the typical integration of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral aspects of a person. Narcissism remains a perplexing and unchanging phenomenon, providing valuable insights into the human mind.

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.

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