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Narcissist, Psychopath, Misogynist, Racist? Josh Neal Talk to Sam Vaknin

Uploaded 2/7/2019, approx. 1 hour 3 minute read

Okay. One moment.

All right. So yes, I am here with Dr. Sam Vaknin, who is the author of Malignant Self-Love.

How are you doing today?

Thank you. Thank you for having me.

It's an absolute pleasure.

I first came to know you probably maybe through Richard Grannon. He did a series of interviews with you, I think, if we get his name right. And you had some very interesting things to say about your theories about narcissism and even more broadly, just kind of like social commentary.

For the people in my audience who maybe don't know you, although you were specially requested, so some people do know you. For the people who do not know you, to whatever degree you're willing to share, just tell us a little bit about yourself, your work.

And as we said before we went live, maybe even a little bit about this new therapy you've been devising.

Well, I spent the last 20 odd years of my life studying narcissistic personality disorder and then more broadly, pathological narcissism, and then even more broadly, collective narcissism and societal narcissism. I've done this by interviewing people diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder in clinical settings, in therapy and so on, by running support groups for victims of narcissistic abuse, which is a phrase that I coined in 1995. When I started my work in 95, no one has heard of narcissism. I had, for a period of nine years, I ran the only website on narcissism and the only support group for victims of narcissistic abuse. And so I've had time to study the disorder in depth and I came up with a series of insights which later became mainstream.

I also came up with the language that is used today to describe narcissism, literally, well, almost everything. I mean, narcissistic abuse, somatic narcissist, cerebral narcissist, I adopted phrases for self and narcissistic supply, cold empathy, cold therapy, I mean, all these things throughout the years.

And I spent the last six years trying to devise a new treatment modality. Treatment modality is fancy words for therapy, psychotherapy, a new treatment modality for narcissists.

The thing is that pathological narcissism and especially its most extreme forms, malignant or psychopathic narcissism, are utterly untreatable.

Some behaviors, abrasive, antisocial, counterproductive and inefficient behaviors can be modified, but that's more or less it. There's no touching the core of these people mainly because they don't have a core.

So I've devised a new treatment modality. I dubbed it cold therapy, of course.

And it's based on a foundational shift in the perception of pathological narcissism.

At first, when Freud first suggested, proposed that the term pathological narcissism in 1915, he regarded it as a regression to an infantile phase. He said that narcissists actually regress when they are adults. They regress to a much earlier phase in life when they were infants.

And as infants, they believe themselves to be omnipotent, all-powerful, omniscient, all-knowing, perfect and brilliant, and so on and so forth. And so he regarded narcissism as a form of regression. By implication, it was a temporary phase.

And then later on, mainly in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, there were new schools of thought, like object relations, self-psychology and so on and so forth. And they cast narcissism as a disorder of the self. Something's wrong with the narcissist's self, later to be replaced with the word personality.

And that's how we came up with narcissistic personality disorder.

What I've been trying to do in the past decade is to recast narcissism, not as a personality disorder, but as a post-traumatic condition.

I postulated the vast majority of narcissists have been abused as children. There are many ways to abuse. Any breach of the child's emerging nascent boundaries as a separate individual is a form of abuse.

So if you pamper a child, if you spoil a child, if you tell the child that he's entitled regardless of accomplishments and effort, if you use the child as a tool or an instrument to realize your own frustrated wishes and fantasies as a parent, and if you're unable to let the child go, because you yourself are narcissistic, and you don't allow the child to separate from you to individually, to become an individual, all these are also forms of abuse.

Not only sexual abuse, not only physical abuse, not only psychological abuse, but not allowing the child to become his or her own or her own person. That's also a form of abuse.

So narcissists have been subjected to abuse. Abuse at this early stage between the ages of zero and six, these are called deformative years. Abuse at this stage is very traumatic because the parent is infallible. The parent is greater than life. The parent is perfect and so on. So this perfect being is abusing you. That's traumatic.

So I consider narcissism to be a post-traumatic condition. And I also consider the narcissist to be a child, not an adult who regresses to childhood, but a child.

And I think one of the greatest errors or mistakes of existing treatment modalities is that when the narcissist comes to the therapist's office or clinic, he is treated as an adult. The therapist tries to strike a bargain with the narcissist, a therapeutic alliance. The therapist tries to reason with a narcissist and analyze and talk and convince them everything you do with an adult.

But the narcissist is not an adult. The narcissist is fixated at a very early age, six, seven, eight, nine maximum. And it's there that there is a traumatized child. And this child has been replaced by a piece of fiction called the false self, which the child conjures up in order to deflect the pain and the abuse.

It's a very complex condition, but it mostly involves trauma, addiction, addiction to narcissistic supply, to attention, some kind of attachment disorder and arrested development.

Why is that so important? Why this nitpicking is so important? It's important because we do not know how to treat cluster B personality disorders with the exception of borderline. We don't know.

But we do know how to treat post-traumatic conditions. We are very successful at treating trauma. We are very successful at treating children. We have a bargaining field called child psychology. We know how to treat traumatized children extremely successfully.

So if we begin to think, consider the narcissist or reconceive of the narcissist as a traumatized child, suddenly we have a plethora, a panoply of tools, all of them highly efficacious to affect effective long lasting treatment. And this is called therapy.

Very interesting.

I would like to put this particular topic down for just a moment.

I've read that you wrote your thesis on a theory of time. Is that correct?

One of my one of my doctorates is in physics. And yes, it's a new theory, a new kind of theory of everything, which I was my doctor of dissertation in 1982 and three and was forgotten, had been forgotten for well over three decades until an Israeli math genius, math and computer genius picked it up by total accident. He went to the library of Congress and found a copy and fell in love with the theory and its aesthetics and symmetry and ostensible beauty. I mean, I'm a testing, so I'm all in. And he fell in love with it. And he organized, he organized a group of about 40 scientists and all over the world. And they are now taking it further, much further, actually, his work is much more advanced than mine, in some parts unrecognizable.

But the foundation is the same. The philosophical foundation is the same. The philosophical foundation is the same. And the philosophical foundation is that if we want to understand the universe or reality well, we need to dispense with language. It's a very Zen Buddhist thing.

And when you talk about Einstein, for example, people say that Einstein was a genius and that his work is genius. And I'm the last one to dispute this, as a physicist, and I can appreciate the amazing leap of imagination and creativity and thought that was involved in his work.

But Einstein used the language of Newton and Newton used the language of Aristotle. All these geniuses were standing on each other's shoulders in the sense that they were bound to linguistic conventions. They used words like space. They used words like time. They spoke about motion. It's all thatthey did is what Einstein did, for example, people were looking at a certain issue from the left side. And then he told them, listen, guys, you can look at it from the right side.

And they say, wow, what a genius. We never thought of this, you know?

But actually, he was using the same language. He never exited the language. He never really liberated physics. He just recast it. He had a fresh look at very old things, but these were the same old things.

What I tried to do in the 1980s, being the grandiose person that I am, I tried to write all of physics, but without language. For example, I decided in advance not to use conventions such as motion or time or bodies or space or relative space or nothing. I decided to write a whole physics from A to Z, by the way, including relativity theory, quantum mechanics, you name it, particle theory, everything. To derive all of no known physics from a set of theorems which will involve no use of language or at least no use of linguistic conventions.

Now, that was herculean undertaking in the sense that you bounce against the walls of language when you try to do this. Language firewalls us and distorts reality. It is a barrier. It is a filter. And it affects our cognitions so dramatically that actually it forms them, it shapes them.

And so when you try to work without language, it is so amorphous and so untenable in effect that, so it was, it was really one of the hardest tasks I ever undertook, I've ever undertaken. But finally I succeeded, but if, I was forced to use one word which was time. It's not time in the sense that we know it. It's not time as measurable by, and so for example, Einstein's time, which is measured by clocks and so on. It's not Newton's time, of course, which was a river which flowed regularly and so on. It's none of this. It's time in the sense of potentialities. It's much closer to quantum mechanics.

And to summarize this section, what I said was in my doctoral dissertation is that there is nothing but potentialities. There is nothing but the possibility to exist.

And as time passes for want of a better metaphor, as time passes, these potentialities come into being and out of being.

And so if we describe a field of potentialities that does not involve any of the linguistic conventions, as I mentioned, space, motion, etc., that is sufficient from this assumption, single assumption, we can derive all of modern physics without exception.

Now why is this interesting and why is it important, except as a grandiose project?

It's interesting and important because we have a rule in science. We have a guideline. It's called parsimony. And it says the following. If you can obtain the same results with a fewer number of assumptions, with fewer assumptions, then you are likely right.

So for example, if you want to derive some result in physics and you make three assumptions, and I derive the same results using one assumption, it's much more likely that my theory is the right one and not yours, because you make more assumptions.

The fewer assumptions, the better the theory, and the closer it is to what we believe to be reality.

We call this asymptotic reality.

So my theory requires a single assumption compared, for example, to Albert Einstein theory, which requires, in the best case, seven or eight assumptions.

I, with a single assumption, literally single assumption, derive all known physics without a single exception. All the equations you know or you don't know. Everything that's been taught in universities, absolutely everything.

And that single assumption is nothing really exists as we know it. Nothing, it's all language.

What the only thing that exists is the potential to exist.

Now, of course, I'm simplifying. And of course, I'm being metaphysical. There's no way for me to convey the equations and everything in a short interview.

But you asked me what it is that I've done in physics. And now it's being mainstreamed and scientists all over the world are working on it.

But of course, it's a process that will take decades, if anything. Every single year, there are new theories popping up and many of them die and don't leave a single trace behind.

But what has already been established beyond doubt is that it is sufficient to make this single assumption.

Now, this field of potentialities, the closest it comes, the closest in human experience that comes to it, the closest, I mean, the thing that most reminds us of this field of potentialities is as human beings with a mundane pedestrian existence would be time.

So I chose the word time, but it's not time as we know it.

So if I'm trying to explain to a layman what my theory is all about, I can say field of potentialities, but they will be incomprehensible in most cases.

So instead, what I say is time.

The only thing that exists is time. And as time passes, the space comes into being. Motion comes into being.

If I look at time this way, I get motion. If I look at time some other way, I get space. If I look at time yet a third way, I get conventional time, Einsteinian time, etc. If I look on a fourth way, I get elementary particles.

This field of potentialities is actually an infinite set, infinite set of mathematical options. If you look at it in some way, you get one thing. And if you look at it at another, you get another. And if you look at it in dozens or hundreds or thousands of ways, you get all of known physics.

Very, very fascinating.

I guess before we return to the main topic of this conversation, I guess I just have two questions.

How did you come to this realization that language was such an obstruction to a understanding of the physical nature of reality and to pivot back to the main conversation? Why did you ultimately decide to pursue narcissism as an intellectual pursuit?

Some bizarre way the two questions are related, although I'm sure it didn't mean it.

So let's start with the first one.


The first one is, well, technically I read the Goedel Escherbach, which is a brilliant piece of work by Hofstadter.

Goedel Escherbach is a book published, I think, in 1979 by Basic Books. And it deals with the questions of, among other things, language.

The thing is this. We have two possibilities to relate to the world, directly and indirectly. And yet both possibilities are mediated via our consciousness, inevitably. We have an instrument, a tool, through which we interact with the world. Everything is mediated through this tool. If we touch a glass or break it, as in Zen Haiku's, that's a more direct way of interacting with the glass. But still it's mediated via the senses, which are mediated by our consciousness, etc.

There's always veils, always filters. Some things I cannot help and you cannot help and no human being can help because of the way we were designed, if we were designed.

For example, there's no way for us to discuss anything or to relate to anything or to read or not without the mediation, intervention, interference and obstruction of our consciousness. Simply no way. I cannot conceive of any such way.

Even if we were to construct artificial intelligence agents who would do this for us, they would still represent the design principles which have emanated from our consciousness. So that's a given period. That's a design, I wouldn't say design flow, but a design characteristic.

What is not given and what we can get rid of are additional filters, barriers, buffers and firewalls, which we have introduced over the millions of years. And one of the most prominent of which is language.

While we cannot get rid of consciousness, we can definitely choose whether to use language or to not use language. And so if we choose to use language, we simply add another barrier.

It reminds me, for example, that telescopes on Earth have to pierce the atmosphere. So that's why we have Hubble. Hubble is above the atmosphere. It has one layer to penetrate.

It's the same with language. Language is a layer. It's like an atmosphere. It obscures the skies.

We need to transcend language to see more clearly. We need a Hubble.

And my dissertation, doctoral dissertation, was an attempt to construct a Hubble.

Now why do that?

Because language, unfortunately, is not neutral or objective. It shapes, it's value laden, it's culture bound. It reflects prejudices and dogmas. It has multiple archeological layers, etymological layers. It resonates. It creates associations, as Sigmund Freud and even more importantly Jung have conclusively proven.

You can't use language non-reflectively. You can't use language objectively. That's nonsense.

So whenever we use language, we disrupt the process, what Kant called the process of pure critique or pure reason. We disrupt it. It's a disruptive.

And the Zen Buddhists understood this. That's why they were adamantly opposed to the use of language.

Because language hinders, does not help. Even when we design languages that are essentially value free and culture invariant or culture independent, such as mathematics or formal logics, even they include some prejudices.

For example, there was Aristotelian logic, which was constructed on a series of assumptions. And yet all these assumptions have been disproven in the 19th and 20th century. And today we have alternative logics, which are totally non-Aristotelian.

There is also the question of potential worlds. If we can conceive of a world or think of it, does it automatically, does it mean that it automatically exists? Which is a way of asking is the universe infinite? If the universe is infinite, then language is a serious problem because language introduces finity, introduces finiteness, introduces limitations into our discourse, into our interactive discourse with reality.

So that's why I wanted to get rid of language. It's not helpful.

We think it is. It's not. Even mathematics is not helpful. Even mathematics is a problem, a serious problem.

Unfortunately, I mean, there's a limit to how much language you can get rid of. But as much as you can, you should.


And one of the main things you should do when you construct a scientific theory, you should get rid of as many linguistic artifacts as you can. And one of the main linguistic artifacts is called assumptions, starting conditions, assumptions, and so on.

And so good theories are constructed on minimal assumptions, minimal number of assumptions, and basically no starting conditions.

So this is the answer.

Connected somehow to your second question, in which way?

Narcissism is a language. It's a form of reframing reality. It's a form of observing reality and constructing theories, theories of mind, theories of the world, which conform to a language.

And what is the language? The language of grandiosity.

So the narcissist actually lives inside his mind, where there is a series of essentially linguistic filters that distort reality, impair the reality test in a way that buttresses, enhances, and corresponds with his grandiosity.

This is why we have the phenomenon of hypervigilance. Hypervigilance simply means that the narcissist sees insults and slights in every utterance and every expression and every sentence. It's because narcissists are ultra sensitive to language. They are sensitized to language because their disorder is in some way a communication disorder, a linguistic disorder, which is why there is a very big common denominator between pathological narcissism and autism spectrum disorders.

Both are concerned with communication, in effect, and the failure of communication, failure to interpret social cues, failure to interpret reality properly or even observe it properly, failure to observe oneself properly. I mean, these are all communication failures.

And so narcissists go around and whatever you say to them, they perceive it as an insult or a slight or an attack or whatever, because they are sensitized to language.

You know, there's a concept of highly sensitive people, HSPs, erroneously called empaths by self-imputed experts online. Highly sensitive people are sensitive to other people's emanations, other people's pains and verbal expressions and body language cues and so on.

I think narcissists are highly sensitive people as far as language. They overreact to language and its manifestations, sentences and so on.

And so you can have someone like Donald Trump who gets insulted literally by everything. I mean, whatever you say, right, wrong, I mean, he constantly is on the defensive against imaginary and real attacks because he's sensitized to language, everything he perceives to be an attack on his grandiose inflated self-image.

So here's the connection, my obsession with language.

Yeah.

Well, that's very fascinating. I would like to return to the Donald Trump question because it seems like for a lot of people, you can't discuss narcissism without discussing Donald Trump. Maybe the two are synonymous.

Step us through this therapeutic modality that you've discussed, the thing that you've innovated.

Imagine that I'm a pathological narcissist, a malignant narcissist. I mean, you're speaking to the arrested development that state that I am in.

What is that process like?

Well, before we go there, I gave an interview to American Thinker, which is a conservative website in March 2016, long before Donald Trump actually decided to become a candidate. And I had warned there that Donald Trump is a malignant narcissist. And if he's given a goal at the presidency, he will make it. He will become president, which was a pretty audacious prediction.

Congratulations on that one. Not many people. You're in the minority that got that right.

I was alone. I mean, that was March 2016. I'm not talking, you know, 2017 or 18. It was March 2016. I was a lonely voice saying that Donald Trump not only is a narcissist, but will become the next president of the United States.

Actually, I went on a limb and I wrote, immediately following the interview, I wrote an article saying your next president is Donald Trump.

Um, and that was a bit before or long time before he even decided to join as a candidate.

So he himself, I don't think was resolved to become a presidential candidate.

And at the very beginninghe regarded himself as a, he regarded the presidential candidacy as a kind of a self-promotional tour. I don't think he really believed that he will become president. So I believed in Donald Trump long before Donald Trump believes in Donald Trump.

Can you imagine this?

So that's true. That is to set the record straight.

The thing is that people like Donald Trump will never attend therapy.

You asked me if I'm a narcissist and I come to you for therapy.

Narcissists will not come to me for therapy.

The narcissist has to hit rock bottom, lose everything completely, survey his life and realize what a wasteland it had become.

No family, no money, no freedom maybe. No, I mean, you have to be Bernie Madoff to attend therapy and nothing short of Bernie MadoffI mean, you have to really fall big, big time.

Why would Donald Trump attend therapy?

I mean, the guy has the private jet. He has the beautiful girls. He is the president of the United States. He was a reality TV star. He's rich and he has orange hair hair.

I mean, why would they attend therapy?

He has all the accomplishments and narcissists can wish for.

His life upholds his grandiosity. His life is a success, which presents the therapeutic community of therapists with a major problem in today's narcissistic civilization.

Narcissism is a positive adaptation. Narcissists succeed. They rise to the top. They become the pillars of the community. 3.5% of chief executive officers of Fortune 500 have been officially diagnosed as psychopaths by Robert Hare and Babiak. That's 3.5%.

According to the studies of Twenge and Campbell, the number of narcissists among successful college freshmen and seniors has quintupled.

Narcissists people diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder are anywhere between five times and 10 times more likely than normal, healthy people to succeed in a variety of professions to which they gravitate.

And that includes the judiciary, media, show business, politics, and management. These are the highest paying jobs.

Why would a narcissist attend therapy to get rid of the evolutionary advantages that narcissism bestows upon him?

There's no reason to.

In this civilization, which is anomic and sick.

So civilization itself has to be pathologized before narcissism becomes an adaptation.

Indeed, in July 2016, the prestigious science magazine, New Scientist, had a cover story. And the cover story read, parents, teach your children to be narcissists.

I'm kidding you're not. July 2016, go and check. Shocking.

And we have academics such as Kevin Dutton, McCubie, and many others who begin to talk, who are talking, who come up with phrases such as productive narcissists, high functioning narcissists.

Kevin Dutton is completely open. He says that society should put in charge psychopaths because they are much better adapted to decision making in difficult circumstances, as the world is today.

So academe is granting its seal of approval to narcissism and psychopathy. It's a changed world. It's a very sick environment. And in a sick environment, sick people not only rise to the top, but they are better adapted.

Consider, for example, Nazi Germany. If you took pity on the Jews, if you helped hide the Jewish family in your home, that would have amounted to suicide. You should have been committed to mental asylum.

In Nazi Germany, the right thing to have been was a psychopath, because psychopaths made it to the top.

So it's not a question of adaptation.

Today, in modern psychology, we don't ask the question, are you normal? We got rid of these pretty inane, I would say, idiotic concepts of normal, healthy, average. I mean, these are utterly useless, insane, and idealized concepts. I'm totally stupid. We don't do this anymore. We ask only two questions in psychology.

And this is what I teach my classes in various universities. We ask only two questions.

One, is the person egosyntonic? In other words, does the person feel good with himself? Does he feel comfortable in his own skin? Can he look himself in the mirror in the morning, and is he happy to see himself? That's called egosyntony.

And the second question is, is he functional in a variety of settings? Does he function well within his family? The workplace community, friends in church?

So if the answer to these two questions is yes, yes, he's happy.

And yes, he's functional.

We don't ask any further questions.

If there is a narcissist like Donald Trump, who is happy and functional, evidently, he does not need therapy.

So only collapsed narcissists will attend therapy.

Narcissists who failed at generating enough narcissistic supply, attention, adulation, admiration, to sustain their grandiose-inflated self-image. Only this kind of narcissist will attend therapy.

And many of them will attend therapy in order to restore their skills as narcissists, kind of overall.

And that's when the narcissists come to me, have to go through a process which involves retraumatization.

So what I do, I take the narcissist through the initial trauma that had created his narcissism, but this time he experiences the trauma as an adult.

First time he experienced the trauma, he was a child. And as a child, he was terrified because if your parents abuse you and traumatize you and don't see you, don't allow you to become an individual as a child, your very existence is threatened. This is seriously life threatening, not as an exaggeration. I mean, if you're neglected by your parents, you may die when you are two years old or one year old. So it's life threatening.

This time I'm traumatizing the patient in a hostile environment. I'm really traumatizing, not pretending to traumatize. I traumatize. I act as a surrogate for the abusive parent or caregiver or whatever. So I become abusive myself. And so I traumatize the patient.

But the patient emerges from the trauma unscathed, totally functional, without any problem, because he's an adult now. It's no longer a life threatening situation.

At that very second of emerging from the re-traumatization phase, the narcissist realizes, so to speak, unconsciously, that his narcissism is no longer needed, that it's superfluous, that it consumes resources, scarce resources, mental resources, that are better deployed elsewhere, more efficiently deployed elsewhere.

So we have a principle in this technology called mental economy. It says that if something is not needed within one's inner landscape, that something dies.

So if you have a behavior or if you have a trait or if you have a habit that you've picked up or whatever, and it no longer serves you, no longer serves your needs, your wishes, priorities, etc., usually it will disappear. It will die of its own accord.

So if I teach a narcissist that he does not need to be a narcissist, his narcissism will disappear. It will disappear because narcissism consumes the overwhelming majority, bulk, of the narcissist's mental energy.

To maintain one's narcissism, one needs to do nothing else but to maintain one's narcissism. It's a full-time job. It requires hypervigilance. It requires constant solicitation of narcissistic supply. It requires grandiose acts. It requires fantasizing. It requires planning. I mean, it's an overtime job. I mean, it's like 80 hours a week at least, if not 100.

So if you don't need to do this, your psyche, your mental economy principle will render it obsolete and kill it and your narcissism will disappear.

This is not speculation. I'm treating now patients number 44 and 45.

So I've had experience with 43 previous patients. I've followed up on them the past five years. None of them is showing any sign of narcissism or resurgence of narcissism.

And by the way, they also lost their depression. Many of them had mood disorders, attendant mood disorders, reactive mood disorders, and so on. And these disappeared as well.

So 43 is a tiny sample, nonrepresentative, and clinically insignificant. But anecdotally it's very telling because the record is 43 to zero. I don't know a single narcissist who has been treated successfully with any other treatment modality anywhere in the world, and I have by far the largest database of narcissists in the world.

So 43 to zero.

Anecdotally, it's impressive.

Yeah, that practically makes, I don't know if you're going to get this reference, but that practically makes you the Floyd Mayweather or the Rocky Marciano of treating narcissists.

That's very impressive.

If I can ask, and I don't know if you can answer this, what demographic or population generally are we talking about?

Well, I choose my patients. On a typical day I get 5 to 10 applications, on a typical day. And I reject on a typical day 100% of them. I choose one, no, I used to choose about 10 patients a year. And now I'm down to one or two patients a year because I have to do a lot of follow-up on the previous patients and because I'm beginning to certify therapists all over the world. Just came back from Brazil, before that in Vienna, next year in Prague, this year in Prague. So I'm certifying therapists and so on. So my time is differently allocated.

So now I'm dealing with one or two patients a year out of a typical application load of about 2,000.

I'm telling you this to tell you that this is not a random sample of population, but it's a chosen sample.

Because of that, it's probably also nonrepresentative.

Half women, half men, all age groups, except from 18 and above, 23 was the youngest. So all age groups and half men, half women and several types of cultures.

So I had Egyptians, Russians, Israelis, people from the Balkans, Africa, and of course the United States and Canada and so on. So a balance of cultures and societies because we need to eliminate the effects of culture and society on people.

The only thing common to all of them, which might be a theoretical hindrance, is that all of them are rich because the treatment is extremely expensive. So all of them are very well-off.

That may present an obstacle in trying to generalize the outcomes of the therapy because maybe, we don't know, maybe rich people share a common psychological profile. Or maybe narcissists are successful simply and they make money. I don't know.

Of course, this is not, as I keep saying and I keep warning, this is not a rigorously conducted clinical trial. These are a positively arranged individual therapies.

The thing is that no one has ever succeeded to cure narcissistic personality disorder, ever, period. No treatment modality, no decade, no country, no nothing.

And even 43 badly selected non-representative sample members represent anecdotally some startling, it's a startling outcome, even anecdotally.

So it seems that cold therapy should work in much bigger things under rigorous clinical conditions. It seems, remains to be seen.

It is working with carefully selected individuals. That's all I can say at this stage.

Very interesting. How long has the course of therapy been on average for some of these individuals?

About six months, about six months. The average is six, the shortest was three months, the longest was a year, a bit less than a year.

And well, that's again, this is all very promising because a typical course of psychotherapy can last much longer than a few months. And oftentimes, no, it depends.

I wouldn't generalize, it depends.

For example, CBT is equally short. There's brief therapy, some brief therapies, two, three meetings. And there's of course psychoanalysis, which could last a lifetime.

Right.

Yeah, that was more of what I was thinking. I'm curious, did you happen to watch Donald Trump's State of the Union address?

No, I didn't have a chance. I've been busy yesterday and today.

Do you see any change in him psychologically? I noticed that you run a page, Donald Trump, malignant narcissist. I wonder if you could tease that out. What would indicate malignant narcissism?

It doesn't seem, I think, as you said, he's adapted and he's been a television star and real estate president. And generally speaking, I mean, as opposed to someone who's engaging in obviously antisocial behavior, how does that, the concept of malignancy factor into this?

Malignancy has nothing to do with outcomes, of course. Consider Adolf Hitler. He was definitely malignant. Few would argue with him. He was first remotely diagnosed by Eric From, which was one of the five most important psychologists of his time. So no one would argue with the fact that he was a psychopathic narcissist.

And his outcomes were outstanding, weren't they? He became counselor of Germany, Fuhrer, this, that, conquered half the known world. I mean, he can't argue with that. Can't argue with success.

Malignancy has nothing to do with outcomes. And the fact that Donald Trump is successful at a variety of careers represents, probably has to do with his versatile form of raw intelligence, more than with his narcissism.

Malignant narcissism has two crucial aspects, which differentiates it, separate it from classic overt narcissism, from covert narcissism, and from other forms of narcissism.

The malignant narcissist is psychopathic, so he would tend to cut corners, ignore rules, impose his will ruthlessly, recklessly, and relentlessly. And generally it would be antisocial.

But what Donald Trump has done, he has elevated antisocial behavior to an ideology. And then he leveraged, he rode the wave of this ideology all the way to the White House.

Now we have an antisocial establishment, so to speak. We, antisocial mores, antisocial behaviors, antisocial conduct, antisocial everything, has become embedded in the fabric of the administration and in decision making processes. And people around him represent an escalation in antisocial features.

So if to start with you had a certain type of chief of staff, then now you have another chief of staff who is a bit more open to antisocial conduct. Before that you had someone else, now you have Bolton. Bolton is definitely aggressive, violent, antisocial, and so on.

So simply it's exactly like, for example, if we take people like Duterte or like Erdogan or like Bolsonaro in Brazil, or much earlier in history like Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and so on, these people elevated the rebellion against the establishment, the rebellion against society and its elites into an organizing principle, an ideology, and a guiding beacon, a guideline.

So that's what Donald Trump has done.


And so this is the first distinguishing feature.

The second distinguishing feature is that malignant narcissists tend to end up in total devastation and destruction. The devastation and destruction could be invisible. For example, they can inflict lasting damage on institutions and precedents. Or it could be visible. For instance, they can destroy the entire continent of Europe, like Adolf Hitler. But at any rate, they leave behind a legacy of ruination, disintegration, dysfunction, and decomposition. And very often they are also self-destructive.

Although in the case of Donald Trump, I think his sense of self-preservation and survival will prevent him from that. But they also leave behind, many of them end up with self-destruction. So Benito Mussolini ended up being hung, and Hitler ended up committing suicide. And Donald Trump may end up in prison. I mean, we don't know. But it's common to have this combination of self-destruction and other destruction.

Even if self-destruction is absent, the legacy of the malignant narcissist is always deleterious and long-lasting. The effects are long-lasting, and they lead to decay, decay and later severe dysfunction.

These are, I think, the two distinguishing hallmarks.

Malignant narcissists also are very goal-oriented and purpose-oriented and capable of organizing teams in a cult-like setting to further their overt narcissist, because of their grandiosity, are very bad team players.

Overt narcissists are very bad team players.

The psychopathic narcissist, the psychopathic element in his narcissism allows him to organize people, leverage networks to further his own self-interest. That's because psychopaths do that well, actually.

Psychopaths are good managers and good leaders. So it's the worst of both worlds. It's the capacity to use society against itself, elevate antisocial values, mores and behavior patterns, and enshrine them in an ideology or in a set of institutions, and then lead to a wasteland, a devastation, which is very long-lasting.

In the case of Donald Trump, more specifically, I'm not of the camp that compares him to Adolf Hitler. He's no Adolf Hitler. And the United States is not the Weimar Republic. It has checks, balances, and very robust institutions.

So I doubt very much whether we will have Adolf Hitler redux or Adolf Hitler replayed, revisited.

I think these exaggerations are way over the top.

But what I think Donald Trump will do or will have done is to inflict irreparable damage on American institutions, foremost of which is the compact of trust between citizen and state, citizen and the elites, citizen and institutions, citizen and transmission mechanisms, citizens, citizens and everything. He will reduce the United States. He will atomize the United States. He will reduce the United States into a set of competing interest groups, into bubbles with confirmation bias, into silos of like-minded people.

So this is what you call partisanship. It's not partisanship only. It's a question only of Republicans against Democrats. Everyone is against everyone. That is the modus operandi of Donald Trump. He sets people against each other, divide and rule. It's Roman. It's not Trump. It's a very old principle, works well. He divides and rules.

But because he's president, this division is amplified and penetrates every, is ubiquitous, penetrates every corner of society. Every possible division erupts.

So you have blacks against whites, Republicans, I mean, reds against blues, women against men, conservatives against so-called liberals or progressives. I mean, everyone against everyone. It's an all-out long, slow-motion, simmering civil war.

This civil war is not violent because you have a tradition of channeling dissent and discontent. But you can't rule out the possibility of violence because you did have a precedent in your history of a violent civil war, a proper war.

So I don't know. I just don't know.

But it doesn't look good.


Well, so one of the themes, it seems, in this conversation has been reducing assumptions, addressing assumptions. And there are some assumptions here, I think, that are worth addressing.

But before we do that, if you wouldn't mind taking a few questions from the audience?

No, I wouldn't.

So are there masculine and feminine differences in the expressions of these narcissistic traits to male and female individuals expressed these dynamics you're discussing differently?

Well, obviously, men and women are still different. Not as much as they used to be, but they're still different. One should, of course, make a distinction between sex and gender. Sex is biological. Gender is social, socially imposed, socially inculcated. It's part of the socialization and acculturation process.

There are societies, for example, northern Albania, where women function totally as men, dress as men, function as men, and have all the rights of men. So men and women, in the gender sense, are social conventions. As social conventions erode and gender roles become more and more fuzzy, the ways narcissism is expressed become more and more uniform.

So while 20 years ago, I would have told you, yes, women express narcissism differently. They emphasize their appearance, or they would play out the narcissism via the home and the children and so on.

Today, I think the distinction is fast eroding, and women become men-like in expressing their narcissism.

So for example, if you take a parameter like adultery or cheating, it's now equal among men and women. If you take power trips or power plays, women and men are exactly the same in C-suites. So I think women are becoming more and more like men, even in the expression of their narcissism.

Still, there are some differences. Of course, women would tend to emphasize the somatic side. So women are more histrionic, shall we say. Men are more into materialistic goods, and so they would use objects much more than women. Women would use children to enhance their grandiosity, their children. They would use their homes. They would use power more surreptitiously and subterraneanly. They've been weak for 10,000 years, so they have the weapons of the weak. They're more passive-aggressive, and so on.

But I think this is fast eroding.

I think in 20 years' time, the question will be meaningless because the distinction between men and women will have disappeared completely.

Well, I certainly hope not.


Here's another question that was asked. Is there a genetic component to narcissism? Hypothetically, could a narcissism gene be passed down intergenerationally?

Absolutely not. A complex of genes, maybe.

Narcissism is a very complex, complex or pervasive set of traits, character traits and behaviors and so on. So we can't be talking about a single gene. It's not being left-handed or having black hair. It's a bit more complex than that.

So if at all complex of genes. I am extremely skeptical about the medicalization of psychology.

I think what happens is psychologists feel very inferior because they are not treated as medical doctors, or as physicists. So they try to be scientists to the best of their ability. They try to ground their discipline in physical facts, like genes, or like brain activity, or patterns of brain activity.

But it's to a very large extent nonsensical. So nonsensical, first of all, because of our state of knowledge, we know extremely close to nothing about the brain and about genetics. We are just at the very beginning of these two disciplines.

In 400 years, ask me the question again. That's one thing.

And second thing is, I very much doubt whether one could reduce behaviors and so on and traits to a single factor.

I think it tends to reason that if there is an underlying foundation or predisposition, genetically or otherwise, it would express itself via an interaction with the environment.

So it can't be only nature. Maybe it's not only nurture. Maybe it's the interplay.

But to reduce it only to a gene or a complex of genes would be foolhardy, even 400 years from now.

Because we are machines, devices, or animals who are constantly influenced by input from the outside.

Very well said.


Another question that was sent in. Do you have any thoughts on the work of Oswald Spengler and declineism more broadly?

I suspect that you are aware that this work is well over 100 years old.

Yes.

And that all the, well, majority of the predictions and this prognosis and this work have been hitherto, at least, refuted.

I don't think, I think the construct of the West is a relatively new construct. And it emerged more or less after the Second World War with people like Willie Brown and so on who tried to make a distinction between East and West.

So it's a new, relatively new concept.

Spengler was a pioneer, but he remained a pioneer. There was no continuation to his work, actually, after his death and so on. And it was revived in the 1950s and 60s.

There was a distinction between South and West, South and the North and East and West. And so they invented the construct of the West.

Well into the end of the 19th century, and in Spengler's time, the distinction was not between Westernists. The distinction was between white men and non-white men.

And there was, in the words of Rudyard Kipling, there was the white man's burden. It was the white man's missionary obligation to educate, enlighten and elevate the natives all over the world.

So it was skin color, actually.

Now it's politically incorrect to talk about skin color. So we talk about culture and society. And I don't know what else.

I have worked in well over 50 countries. I have lived in Africa. I was born in the Middle East. I spent two decades in the Balkans and Russia. I lived in most of the countries of Western Europe, in North America, United States, New York. So I am in a privileged position to compare cultures and societies. And I can tell you, in today's world, everything is utterly homogenized.

The distinction between West and East is anachronistic, antiquated, and largely irrelevant.


So, well, I'm sorry, go ahead. If you are talking about power structures that characterize North America and Europe, inevitably they are on the decline because this is a historical aberration.

For the vast majority of human history, the power resided in the East. It resided in China. It resided in the Middle East, Babylon, and so forth, and so on. The rise of Europe and North America to the pinnacle of global power is an absolute accident and an aberration.

And we are back, we are going to revert to the default state. The default state is the East is ascendant and predominant. And the West is actually a source of labor and raw materials.

Colonialism has been an inversion of a longstanding historical pattern where the West kind of usurped the traditional role of the East.

But that's finished. The East is rising again, I don't need to tell you.

So I think, I can probably suspect what your response to this next question might be.

Thoughts on questions of what is colloquially sometimes described as race realism, but I mean more academically would probably be described as human biodiversity.

Do you think there's legitimacy to discussing the psychological, behavioral, as well as physiological differences between the different racial groups? Is there any scientific basis to this? Is this, as some people might say, just pure prejudice and bigotry? What would your thoughts on that be?

We as scientists, we have difficulty to deal with ill-defined concepts. So for example, if you ask me about spirituality, I would mock you because I don't know what is spirituality and frankly, no, do you? Or anyone else for that matter. We have a tendency over the last 100 or 150 years, which did not exist before, by the way, to use extremely ill-defined terms.

This had to do with rising political correctness and rising sensitivity to inter-ideological internists in wars and so on. So never mind, not the reasons, but we're using less and less well-defined terms, by the way, not only in fields like sociology or anthropology, but also in physics.

So race is one of these terms. I have no idea what race is because it's politically incorrect to discuss race in biological terms, so no one does. It's ungainly to deal with race in cultural and societal terms because there are too many fuzzy areas, too many borderlands, too many overlaps, so it becomes totally meaningless.

So nothing is left except this. If you refuse to deal with issues of race on a biological basis, analyze brains, test all kinds of physiological measures, conduct blood tests, I don't know what, if you refuse to do this because it's too reminiscent of Nazi Germany, then of course, a whole field of study and learning is barred and excommunicated and ostracized.

But then what's left is fuzziness because then race is defined in terms of culture and society.

What? In which period of history? In which, I mean, whites have conquered Africa, which was predominantly black. Not fully, by the way, but predominantly black. And then they intermixed.

And so now what? What happens?

I mean, many slaves had sexual intercourse with their masters and there was miscegenation. I mean, this is fuzzy. You can't deal with race except on a biological level. That would be the only meaningful answer.

And we don't have enough studies or sufficient information, almost nothing.

So to start with, the question is incomprehensible to me because I don't know what is race.

There are some tangential fringe studies conducted by people who were immediately penalized severely for their politically incorrect daring that indicate that groups of people who shared the same living space, same geography and same history and cultures and so on, and same physiological features differ in some respects.

But these studies have been mostly limited, for example, to the ability to process sunlight, UV, ultraviolet light via the skin.

Or, I mean, we have a dearth or almost no studies about intelligence, about various processes, various processes of how do we deal with energy in the body, metabolism of energy, about pregnancy and lactation, about all these topics are taboo. Even if you want to measure skulls, it's taboo because the Nazis did it. The Nazis contaminated with their extreme eugenic program and with their true inane or insane racism and with the Holocaust. They contaminated the field and so it's dead, dead in the water.

I cannot give you a recent answer because there's no data and I never give answers out of the top of my head if I don't have data.

Fair enough. Are you familiar with the work of J. Philippe Roosten, Arthur Jensen or more recently Charles Murray? Would this illuminate any of the conversation for you or is this also discredited or irrelevant?

I wouldn't. I still judge that we don't have a body of evidence that is both rigorous and biased and subject to the full scientific method. Such a body of evidence would be impossible today and maybe impossible in the next hundred years.

Owing to the influence of recent events in terms of human history, 1941 is recent events. So I think the answers to these questions are better deferred.

I can say only that culturally and socially the concept of race is utterly flawed and utterly meaningless because it's fuzziness and arbitrariness as such that it is rendered unusable.

So culturally and socially there's not such thing as race. Biologically there may well be, but you know what? We are even forbidden to ask the question what are the biological, the true biological differences between men and women, let alone whites and blacks.

Biology has been ostracized. Human differences have been ostracized and so now we are in a society that homogenizes everything, men and women, blacks and whites, to the detriment of everyone involved, the way.

Because why assume that the blacks are inferior? Maybe they're superior. We don't know simply. We simply don't know.

Doesn't the historical fact that when the Europeans came to Africa they had virtually no infrastructure to speak of indicate, and again I'm not making a racial supremacist argument. I don't believe in that.

But doesn't it seem to indicate that certain cultures or gene groups were capable of achieving some things while others were not? I mean the Europeans came on ships.

Well, it depends on how you measure progress, achievement, and so on. I mean if you use infrastructure as a yardstick, then by definition, yes. If you use for example processes of adjudication, then actually black Africa has been decades if not centuries ahead of Europe. Europe has been backwater.

I mean if you compare for example China to Europe, I mean Europe has been a swamp, a place for retards, a retard asylum compared to China, well into the 16th century. China was far superior to Europe.

Even most of the cultures of the Middle East have been far superior to Europe. Europe has been by far the most backward part of the world until the Spanish found gold. That changed the equation. Spices and gold changed the equation.

But if you use technology, infrastructure included, hello? I'm here.

I'm still here. I'm still here.

Right.

If you use technology as the yardstick and the benchmark, then by the 18th and 19th century, by the way, not before, by the 18th and 19th century, the Europeans in some areas, not in all, have progressed beyond other groups of people, including white people in other places.

So it's a question of skin or race. It's a question of geographical and cultural and societal and historical pressures, trends, serendipities, like discovering gold in Latin America, and so on and so forth.

As I say in some respects, and to know this, you need to have lived in Africa, because history books and everything is censored. Everything has been tilted in favor of a Eurocentric, white-centric for a very long time, until recently.

And so if you had lived in Africa, you would have known that, for example, as I said, their judiciary mechanisms were far advanced. For example, they had mediation, consensus building, and very advanced techniques which have been introduced to Europe only in the late 1970s.

Every village in Africa had this for hundreds of years. There were empires which easily competed with European empires of the same period. Trade, for example, was much more developed in Africa than in Europe by far, I mean like light years ahead, and so on and so forth.

True that when it comes to material goods and organization of large workforces, for some period of time, 19th century I would say, Europe took the lead.

But hey, the Egyptians built the pyramids. That was one hell of a teamwork.

Without a question, yeah.

So it depends on the period, depends on the circumstances, depends on the serendipity, depends on events. It's not to do with the skin color or whatever.

I tell you that at the same time that whites were superior in Europe and colonized the rest of the planet, there were other groups of whites who were cavemen. I mean, that's where race fails when we try to construct race.

For me, the construct of race would be substantiated only on biological, physiological, biochemical markers.

If you can show me that blacks have a different neurochemistry, different neurotransmitters, different levels of neurotransmitters than whites, of course large enough populations and so on, that's interesting.

If you show an accumulation of such differences, that's a race.

Then I would agree that there is a race.

And then we can study other correlations, IQ, other issues.

But first you have to establish the existence of race and this is not possible in today's environment. There's too much self-censorship, academic self-censorship. I'm telling you that if you try to conduct a study of men and women, forget blacks and whites, which is a controversial area, men and women, many, many issues, many topics are taboo. You simply can't ask the question.

For example, I cannot present a research proposal. How does the size of the brain affect certain types of intelligencehave much smaller brain than men, 110 cc less. So I want to know does this have an effect on special types of intelligence because Gardner identified eight types of intelligence.

I want to know analytical intelligence, for instance. I want to know, I can give you right now 10 research proposals which are utterly, utterly scientific. None of them implies any misogynistic prejudice and yet not one of the 10 would be accepted.

And I probably lose my job. How unfortunate.


My gosh, yeah.

The question of academic censorship continues to be a problem. This is something that I suspect you would know much more about than I would.

I believe recently Israel declared themselves an ethnostate and have begun using genetic testing as a means for citizenship.

Does this, for one thing, how true is this, for another thing, what does that say to the conversation that we're having broadly about racial differences, discrete racial groups, biological differences, things of this matter?

Well, Israel has always been an ethnic state. The Declaration of Independence said that Israel is a state of the Jewish people. And the Jewish people is a genetic group.

Jew is anyone whose mother or grandmother was a Jew, mother and grandmother, matrilineal. To prevent any genetic contamination because fathers are uncertain, mothers are certain.

So it's always been a genetic state. There's been a famous book by George Steiner, The Transportation to San Cristobal of A.H. A.H., of course, is Adolf Hitler. It's a story, of course, piece of fiction about a group of Mossad agents who captured Adolf Hitler. He's 90 years old. They're transporting him to Israel. And on the way, they talk to him.

I mean, they have this kind of, why did you do this to us? And, you know, closure. They're trying to obtain closure from Adolf Hitler. Can you imagine this? And Adolf Hitler tells them in one part of the book, he tells them, listen, everything I've learned, I've learned from you, you were the ones who declared yourself chosen people. You were the ones who rendered yourself a closed genetic group. I learned all this from you.

Racism comes from you. And so, well, it's a bit debatable because he was influenced by other scholars like Neville Chamberlain and so on, by other thinkers. So Chamberlain, even Rosenberg. But forget that for a minute.

It's true. The Jews are a genetically pure, genetically pure group of people. And they have established a state for themselves exclusively. There's no int or mention of Arabs or any other group in the Declaration of Independencewhich is the equivalent of Israel's constitution because Israel doesn't have a constitution.

So to start with, it was a genetic ethno state.

This has been simply codified lately by the Knesset, which is the parliament. That's all.

I mean, no, there hasn't been any major change in genetic tests have been introduced as a way to substantiate the maternal line, not to substantiate that you're a Jew, because there's no constellation of genes which proves that you're Jewish.

There is even a debate whether there is such a thing as a Jew. There's a series of brilliant books by Shlomo Sands about this.

So a Jew may be just a piece of fiction. I mean, Jew, to be a Jew, it's a kind of fiction because we, you know, long story.

So no group of genes can determine whether you're a Jew or not, but your genes can determine whether you were born to a mother who was a Jew.

So to establish a matrilineal line, genetic tests are allowed now. But for that purpose only, if you say this is my mother, to prove it, you can. It's optional. You can use genetics, a DNA test.

But there has been no substantial change in the character, nature, propensity, and raison d'etre, reason to exist of Israel, which has been declared from the very first instance as a Jewish state.

Zionism was started by German Jews, Austrian Jews, Theodor Herzl and others. And Zionism at the beginning did not consider Palestine as the destination. They were considering all kinds of territories, Argentina, I mean, you name it.

And then the Russian Jews took over the movement. And the Russian Jews made it a national movement, 19th century style national movement akin to the Italian movement, the German movement, the Greek movement. So they made it a national movement. And then it became nationalistic in the sense that Zionism has always been about the Jews having a state of their own.

And all others are tolerated minorities. This is very similar to Islam, where Muslims belong to a nation, a worldwide nation called Ummah. And all non-Muslims are known as Al-Al-Dima. That means second class citizens who pay tax. Tolerated, protected, protected, but pay tax as second class citizens.

This has been the case in the Ottoman Empire and is technically the case in every Sharia-oriented country in the world. So these are ancient religions. I mean, sorry, Judaism is an ancient religion. Islam copied Judaism, to a very large extent, by the way.

And so this ethno-state thing is embedded in the fabric of the state of Israel.

Okay.

Well, that's a fair answer, and I do appreciate that. Very thorough.


So to close this down, I do want to return back to the question of assumptions, a priori, things of that nature, as it relates to the Donald Trump question.

I'll approach this somewhat obliquely. What would you say, what would be your diagnosis or your psychological profile of Barack Obama, and what effect do you think he had in terms of the power structure?

Because, as you said before, Donald Trump, it's kind of he's established this war of all against all, eroding trust in institutions, using people in this malignant narcissistic strategy to further his own agenda.

Could we cast this profile on all of the recent American presidents, Barack Obama? I mean, is this exclusive to Donald Trump?

There's a question here, hopefully that you're able to extract it.

What do you think to this?

Well, I think if you went online, you would have discovered that in 2008, long before Barack Obama dreamt of being Barack Obama, I wrote a profile of him because I read his book, or one of his books, and I was so struck by his narcissism that in 2008, long before he became a candidate, and long before he thought of becoming a candidate, again, same case like Donald Trump, I published an article called Barack Obama Narcissist or Merely Narcissistic.

It was copied on well over one million websites. I was interviewed by all the major conservative talk show, I mean radio talk shows and so on. And so I am the one who first suggested that Barack Obama was a narcissist. So I'm an equal opportunity, equal opportunity diagnoser.

You can't blame me for being pro-liberal or pro-progressive or anti-conservative or anti-this or right or left. I don't have this. I don't care. I'm not American to start with.

So yes, I think your presidency has been captured successively by increasingly more narcissistic presidents.

Bill Clinton, of course, comes to mind. Hillary Clinton, should she had become president, would have been a case of psychopathic narcissists, very akin to Trump, only much more subtle, much more pernicious, possibly much more dangerous than Donald Trump.

So your whole political establishment has been hijacked and he's held hostage on both sides of the aisle. No question.

No question, absolutely.

By narcissists, yes.

So my credentials are as pure ashave diagnosed, suggested the diagnosis of narcissism for Barack Obama, 2008, you can check it online, July 2008. And I proposed the same diagnosis for Donald Trump in March.

Now Barack Obama, actually Barack Obama is more akin to Hillary Clinton. He is a stealth narcissist. He's a kind of under the radar. He works subtly underground, not because it's not out of malicious intent. That's the way he is. So he was able to compromise institutions and so on to an extent that even Donald Trump would find difficult to do.

But he did it in a way that looked as though he were strengthening them. He was able to divide and rule, but looked as though he was actually trying to unite the nation. That means he put on a good show.

But the reality was no different to Donald Trump.

Only I think Barack Obama is infinitely more intelligent than Donald Trump and has a lot more impulse control.

Donald Trump is much more aggressive, much more childish, infantile, much less intelligent. And so he chose. He can't hide his narcissism effectively.

Barack Obama was as narcissistic as Donald Trump in my view. Maybe not psychopathic, but narcissistic definitely.

But he was adept at hiding it. Maybe because of his skin color. As a black man, he would have had to act surreptitiously.

So maybe that taught him these skills. Maybe his exposure to left-wing ideologies and ideologies. I don't know exactly what in his, you know, but he was much more adept at using the levers of power, narcissistically, to further his ends and so on.

And at the same time, looking as this appearing to be this benevolent, you know, unifying or trying to unify the nation, good guy.

But Donald Trump doesn't make, doesn't means words and he's the bad guy. It's clear. I mean, once you see him, he's a bad guy. He never smiles. He scolds all the time. He grimaces. I mean, you can see the guy is angry.

Barack Obama did it with a smile. Same with the smile.

So I guess the follow-up question to that would be, and I won't take up too much more of your time.

I really do appreciate you joining me today.


What, in your estimation, what would account for the greater hostility or the outpouring of disgust and revulsion towards Donald Trump than Obama, if essentially they're fairly comparable or Hillary Clinton, for example, maybe let's do Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

If Hillary Clinton, in your estimation, let's just say that your diagnosis is totally accurate. If she could have been more pernicious, if she could have been a psychopathic narcissist, what would account for the kind of social or cultural difference in perception?

Because at least as from the perspective of an American, you turn on the news, you read the magazines, you listen, you watch Saturday Night Live, or you listen to your favorite actor or musician or what have you, even academics.

There seemed to be a very clear sense that Donald Trump is much worse. If anything, Hillary Clinton is benevolent.

What would you say accounts for the different cultural perception in their narcissism and their malevolence?

Well, Donald Trump is taught to represent, he doesn't, but he's taught to represent, the masses, the multitudes, the great unwashed, the barbarians of the gates. Hillary Clinton is taught to represent, or equally erroneously, by the way, the elites. I'm saying equally erroneously because Hillary Clinton represents only Hillary Clinton, no one else.

So Donald Trump is identified with that beast that has always terrorized the elites and constituted the nightmares, the people. And the elites know that they have betrayed the people on multiple levels, avaricious, rapacious, self-interest, the growing income inequality, and so on and so forth. And so the elites know that they've betrayed their gatekeeping function, they've betrayed their leadership function, they've betrayed principles such as equality, not egalitarianism, but equality, equal opportunities.

Social mobility in the United States is the lowest, the lowest among all major industrial countries in the world.

You believe this. It's much easier to make progress, personal, individual progress in China than it is in the United States.

So the elites have betrayed the masses on multiple levels.

For example, I think the elites have betrayed the masses as gatekeepers. I'm not a populist. I don't think the masses should be given a blank check.

On the contrary, I think they should be restrained. And I think one of the functions that the elites have is to gatekeep, to prevent access, to deny access to the masses, to certain tools and instruments.

So I'm not an elitist, actually. I'm not a populist. I'm exactly opposite.

But I agree with the masses that the elites, financial, intellectual, political, you name it, betrayed them, knife in the back, absolute schism.

And so the elites know that the day of reckoning is coming. And the face of this day of reckoning is Donald Trump. He is not intelligent. He has no impulse control. He is shallow. He is everything the elites detest.

But they detest him mostly, not for his personal qualities. And he is one of the most repulsive people I ever came across. But that's on a personal level. They detest him because he represents the rising wave of the masses.

Jose Ortega Yglesias wrote a book in the 1930s, a very deficient, blood-curdling, spine-chilling book called The Revolt of the Masses, where he predicted Adolf Hitler and so on. And he said that whenever the elites betray the masses, the masses rise and eradicate the elites.

The elites are living on borrowed time everywhere in the world. The yellow vests in France, Philippines, Brazil, United States, Venezuela, you name it. They are living on borrowed time. They are in their gated communities, trembling and shaking in their boots, because the Donald Trumps are coming.

Now, Donald Trump, of course, has throughout his life been a member of the elite. But he defected. He simply defected. Because he, you know, where his bread is buttered. And his bread is buttered on the populist side. So he became one of the guys. And that makes him even more dangerous, because he knows all the inside tracks and tricks of the elites.

So he's a traitor. They regard him as a traitor. There is a war going on. There has been a war going on between the elites and the masses, the elites and the multitudes, the elites and the great unwashed, since the end of the 18th century with the French, or American and French revolutions. Since then, and until this very day, there is a clash between the elites and the masses. The masses now are much more empowered than ever before via technology, mainly.

Today, in your smartphone, you have more computing power than NASA when they send them into the moon.

I'm sorry to interrupt you. You said the masses are more empowered now than ever?

Masses are more empowered by technology, of course, yes. Because today you have more computing power than NASA had when they send them into the moon. In your smartphone, you can publish books. You have your own radio show. You have a YouTube channel. I mean, you're very empowered.

You are like NBC was in 1960, a one-man NBC, one-man network channel, network. So the masses have been empowered with technology, and the elites see it coming, and it is the face of Donald Trump.

This is the elites' reaction to Donald Trump. This is why I think he's so heated. It's not hate. It's fear. They are afraid of him. They don't necessarily hate him because before they didn't hate him. They gave him contracts. They made him one of their own, to some extent.

But now they fear him. And you know what? They are right to fear him.

Very astute.


Last question for you, and then I'll ask that you just let the audience know where they can find your work, upcoming projects, things like that.

So we've been talking about diagnosing, you know, psychological profiles of American leaders.

I'm curious, because I did mention Israel before, what would be your evaluation of Netanyahu? Is he also a psychopathic narcissist? Is he a malignant narcissist? How would you describe him psychologically?

He's a narcissist. He belongs to this new class of leaders, as I said, Duterte, El Dugan, Bolsonaro, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump. There's Oban, Viktor Oban in Hungary. There's a whole class of leaders who are narcissistic in the extreme, grandiose, vain, hypervigilant, and so on. And some of them, not all of them, are psychopathic, like Putin, El Dugan, to some extent, Donald Trump.

So Netanyahu is, I think, more narcissistic than psychopathic, but like every narcissist, he has antisocial traits. So he wouldn't hesitate to break laws and so on to further his own interests. But he is much more narcissistic than psychopathic.

Any psychopathic behaviors that he displays, and he does, have to do more with the cultural and social moreies of Israel. Israel is a militarized country, which is utterly psychopathic in this sense. And killing people repeatedly over decades does something to you.

Ask any Marine. So I think he borrows his psychopathic traits from the prevailing culture and society in which he is operating.

But personally, I think he's mostly narcissistic.

Okay, well, I you know, this has been a very frank and forthright interview. And frankly, that's what I enjoyed about other interviews I've seen you give, it's you speak with a candor that is very much appreciated. It's hard to get, I think, academic types, intellectual types to say willingly that there's academic self censorship, and maybe just more broadly censorship and that is wrong.

So I do appreciate that. And I know my audience appreciates that.

Why don't you let them know where they can find you?

If maybe that's easy.

That's the easy part. Just type my name, Sam Vaknin, Sam Vaknin. Google, there's Wikipedia entry links. There's you'll be flooded.

My apologies in advance.

Okay, well, that will do it for today. Thank you so much for joining the program and to the audience.

Take care.

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