Narcissist: No Sense of Humor

Uploaded 9/23/2010, approx. 4 minute read

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

The narcissist has a sense of humor, but he rarely engages in self-directed, self-deprecating humor. If he does, he expects to be contradicted, rebuked, and rebuffed by his listeners. He expects to be told, come on, you are actually quite handsome, or brilliant, or perfect. He expects to be commended or admired for his courage, for his wit, and intellectual acerbity.

I envy your ability to laugh at yourself, he expects people to say.

As everything else in the narcissist's life, his sense of humor is deployed in the interminable pursuit of narcissistic supply.

Yet to obtain narcissistic supply, one must be taken seriously, and to be taken seriously, one must be the first one to take oneself seriously.

Hence the gravity with which the narcissist contemplates himself and his life.

This lack of levity and perspective and proportion characterize the narcissist and set him apart. The narcissist firmly believes that he is unique, that he has a mission to fulfill, a destined life.

The narcissist's biography is part of mankind's legacy, spun by a cosmic plot which constantly thickens. Such a life deserves only the most serious consideration. It is not a laughing matter.

Moreover, every particle of the narcissist's existence, every action or inaction, every utterance, creation, composition, indeed every thought, are bathed in this universal significance.

The narcissist treads the ideal paths of glory, achievement, affection and brilliance. It is all part of a design, a pattern, a plot, which inexorably leads the narcissist on to the fulfillment of his task.

The narcissist may subscribe to a religion, to a belief or to an ideology in his effort to understand the source of this ubiquitous conviction of uniqueness. He may attribute his sense of direction to God, to history, to society, to culture, to a calling, to his profession, to a value system, but he always does it with a straight face and with dead earnestness.

And because to the narcissist the part is a reflection of the whole, he tends to generalize, to resort to stereotypes, to induct, to learn about the whole from the detail, to exaggerate, finally, to pathologically lie to himself and to others.

This self-importance, this belief in a grand design, in an all-embracing and all-pervasive pattern in which the narcissist is enmeshed, these make him an easy prey to all manner of logical fallacies and conartistry.

Despite his avowed and proudly expressed rationality, the narcissist is besieged by superstition and prejudice. Above all, he is a captive of the false conviction that his uniqueness destined him to fulfill a mission of cosmic significance.

All these make the narcissist a volatile person, not merely mercurial, but fluctuating, histrionic, unreliable and disproportional.

That which has cosmic implications calls for cosmic reactions. A person with an inflated sense of self-importance reacts with exaggeration to threats, greatly inflated by his imagination and by his personal mythology.

On the narcissist's cosmic scale, the daily vagaries of life, the mundane, the pedestrian, the routine, they are not important, they are even damagingly distracting. This is the source of his feeling of exceptional entitlement.

Surely, engaged as he is in benefiting humanity through the exercise of his unique faculties, he deserves some special treatment, is it not?

This is the source of the narcissist's virulent swings between opposite behavior patterns and between devaluation and idealization of others.

To the narcissist, every minor development is nothing less than a fortuitous omen. Every adversity is a conspiracy to offset his progress. Every setback and apocalyptic calamity, every irritation, the cause for outlandish outbursts of rage.

The narcissist is a man of extremes and only of extremes. He may learn to efficiently suppress or hide his true feelings and reactions, but never for long.

In the most inappropriate and inopportune moments, you can count on the narcissist to explode like a wrongly wound time bomb.

And in between eruptions, the narcissistic volcano, daydreams, indulges in delusions, plans his victories over an increasingly hostile and alienated environment.

Gradually, the narcissist becomes paranoid, aloof, detached, and disociative.

You must admit, in such a state of mind, there is not much room for a sense of humor.

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

Narcissist Hates Happy People and Holidays

Holidays and birthdays are a difficult time for narcissists, as they provoke a stream of pathological envy. The narcissist is jealous of others for having a family, being able to celebrate lavishly, or being in the right mood. They hate humans because they are unable to be one and want to spoil it for those who can enjoy. Holidays remind the narcissist of their childhood, the supportive and loving family they never had, and what could have been.

Narcissist as Eternal Child

Narcissists often refuse to grow up and remain in a state of infantilization, avoiding adult responsibilities and functions. This is because remaining a child caters to their narcissistic needs and defenses. Narcissists are often envious of children and try to emulate them, as children are forgiven for narcissistic traits and behaviors that adults are not. By remaining a child, the narcissist can indulge in these behaviors and not be punished for them.

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.

Narcissists Hate Children and Envy Them

Narcissists hate children because they envy them. Children's feigned innocence, manipulation, and lack of empathy are disarming in their directness. Narcissists see children as both mirrors and competitors, reflecting their constant need for adulation and attention. Children are loved by mothers, which makes narcissists jealous and infuriated by their deprivation. Narcissists hate children for being them.

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 Cycles of Ups and Downs

Narcissists go through cycles of mania and depression, which are caused by external events or circumstances known as triggers. The cycles are different from manic depressive cycles in bipolar disorder, which are endogenous. The narcissist is addicted to narcissistic supply and seeks admiration, adoration, approval, attention, and so on. The narcissist goes through ups and downs, including a depressive phase, a hibernation phase, and a manic phase, which are all part of the process of obtaining and securing narcissistic supply.

Narcissist's Family

Narcissists perceive new family members, including siblings, children, and even pets, as threats to their narcissistic supply. They may belittle, hurt, or humiliate them, or retreat into an imaginary world of omnipotence. Some narcissists seek to manipulate new family members to monopolize attention and vicariously obtain narcissistic supply. As siblings or offspring grow older and become critical, the narcissist devalues and discards them, feeling stifled and trapped. The family disintegrates, and the cycle begins anew with the arrival of new family members.

Narcissist as Adrenaline Junkie

Narcissistic supply is the drug of choice for narcissists, and they become addicted to the gratifying effects of it. When they are unable to secure normal narcissistic supply, they resort to abnormal narcissistic supply, such as behaving recklessly or succumbing to substance abuse. Narcissists faced with a chronic state of deficient narcissistic supply become criminals or race car drivers or gamblers or soldiers or investigative journalists or police officers. The prognosis for this particular behavior in narcissism, reckless behavior, adrenaline seeking, thrill seeking, is pretty good since the brain is plastic, and these processes are reversible.

Narcissistic Supply - How Does It FEEL?

Narcissistic supply is essential for the narcissist's self-regulation and maintaining a sense of grandiosity and perfection. It is a form of external regulation that stabilizes the narcissist's self-worth, moods, and emotions. The narcissist's dependence on narcissistic supply is akin to an addiction, providing a rush and sense of omnipotence. The pursuit of narcissistic supply involves idealizing sources of supply and is a crucial element in the narcissistic pathology.

Narcissistic Entitlement=Learned Helplessness+Grandiosity

Entitlement is a crucial pillar of narcissism, and it is one of the diagnostic criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Narcissists feel entitled to everything, including narcissistic supply, which they believe they are owed by the world. Entitlement is a form of learned helplessness, which is acquired through abusive parenting. Narcissists hate routine and use emotional investment prevention mechanisms to avoid getting emotionally involved and subsequently getting hurt.

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