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Narcissist: Re-Parent Yourself!

Uploaded 11/15/2010, approx. 4 minute read

My name is Sam Vaknin. I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.

No one knows whether therapy works in the long-term when narcissists are concerned.

What is known is that therapists find narcissists repulsive, overbearing and unnerving. It is also known that narcissists try to co-opt, idolize, intimidate or humiliate their therapists.

They regard therapeutic session as a competition, mind game, or a power play.

But what if a narcissist really wants to improve? Even if complete healing is out of the question, behavior modification is a distinct possibility.

To a narcissist, I would recommend a functional approach with the following stages.

First of all, know and accept yourself. This is who you are. You have good traits and bad traits, and you are a narcissist.

These are the facts.

Narcissism is an adaptive mechanism. It is dysfunctional now, but once, when you were a child, it saved you from a lot more dysfunction or even non-functionality.

Make a list. What does it mean to be a narcissist in your specific case? What are your typical behavior patterns? Which types of conduct do you find to be counterproductive, irritating, self-defeating, or self-destructive? And which types of behavior are actually productive, constructive, and should be enhanced and encouraged despite their pathological origin?

And so once you've constructed these lists, decide to suppress the first type of behaviors and to promote the second type, the constructive ones.

So build a list, compile a list of self-punishments, negative feedback, and negative reinforcements. Use these upon yourself when you have behaved badly.

Make a list of prizes, little indulgences, positive feedbacks, and positive reinforcements, and use these to reward yourself when you have adopted a behavior of the second kind, a constructive attitude, a behavior that promoted your interests.

Keep doing this with the express intent of conditioning yourself. In other words, keep rewarding yourself for constructive, positive, self-promoting behavior. Keep punishing yourself for negative, socially unacceptable, irritating behaviors. Keep these reinforcements coming negative and positive with the express intent of conditioning yourself.

Try to be objective, predictable, and just in the administration of both punishments and rewards, positive and negative reinforcements and feedback.

Learn to trust your inner court, your instincts.

Constrain the sadistic, immature, and ideal parts of your personality by applying a uniform cortex, a set of immutable and invariably applicable rules.

Once you feel sufficiently conditioned, monitor yourself incessantly.

Narcissism is sneaky and it possesses all of your resources because narcissism is you. Your disorder is intelligent because you are intelligent.

Beware and never lose control. With time, this onerous regime will become a second habit and supplant the narcissistic, pathological superstructures.

You might have noticed that all the above can be amply summed up by suggesting to you to become your own parent, to re-parent yourself.

This is what parents do and the process is called education or socialization.

Re-parent yourself. Be your own parent.

If therapy is helpful or needed, go ahead.

The heart of the beast is the inability of the narcissist to distinguish truth or false, appearance from reality, posing from being, narcissistic supply from genuine relationships, and compulsive drives from true interests and avocations.

Narcissism is about deceit. It blurs the distinction between authentic actions, true motives, real desires, original emotions, and the malignant forms.

Narcissists are no longer capable of knowing themselves. They are terrified by their internal operations, paralyzed by their lack of authenticity, suppressed by the weight of their repressed emotions. They occupy a whole of mirrors.

At what moonlight their alligator figures stare at them on the verge of a scream, it's somehow soundless.

Help yourself. Grab yourself out of the abyss. Make yourself a better, more functional person by getting rid of some of this baggage.

Not all of it, because some of it is still adaptive, but the rest of it is holding you back. Have your best interests in mind.

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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.


When Hoovering Fails, Narcissist Fakes

The text discusses the narcissist's reaction when someone refuses to conform to their idealized image. When rejected, the narcissist experiences cognitive dissonance and resolves it by rewriting history and reality. They re-idealize the rejected person and then devalue them if they persist in rejecting the narcissist. The narcissist's internal representation of the rejected person persists in their mind, and they dedicate their life to forcing others to conform to this idealized image.


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 Between Shared Fantasy and Pathological Narcissistic Space

Narcissists appear unpredictable and complex, but they are actually simple, with the emotional age of a two-year-old. They are trapped between their need for a maternal figure in a shared fantasy and their desire to explore the world through a pathological narcissistic space. When they become disillusioned with either space, they transition between them using four strategies: termination, deception, undermining intimacy, and persecretory object fantasies. This constant movement between the two spaces creates the impression of unpredictability and capriciousness in the narcissist's behavior.


Deprogram the Narcissist in Your Mind

Narcissists play the role of a good enough mother, adopting a maternal role and idealizing their victims. They regress their victims to infancy, merging and fusing with them, eliminating their individuality and appropriating their individuality. The narcissist creates an introject, an internal representation of the victim, which is muted and spews out words attributed to the introject by the narcissist. The victim has an introject of the narcissist in their head, which is fully active and talks a lot, becoming a second, harsh, sadistic inner critic. The current advice to recognize and embrace victimhood is counterproductive, as it freezes the emergent roles allocated by the narcissist, and the locus of control remains in the narcissist's hands. Victims need to extricate


When YOU Discard the Narcissist FIRST

The text discusses the consequences of discarding a narcissist before they have a chance to devalue and discard you. It explains the potential outcomes of this action, such as narcissistic injury or mortification, and the subsequent behaviors of the narcissist, including seeking revenge or finding a replacement. The text also delves into the narcissist's internal processes and their need to complete the stages of grief and mourning for the disrupted shared fantasy.


Giving Narcissist Second Chance

Narcissists do not provide closure in relationships and will stalk, cajole, beg, promise, persuade, and ultimately succeed in doing the impossible to get you back. The narcissist will cast all interactions with you in terms of conflicts or competitions to be won. If you have resumed contact because you are manifestly dependent on the narcissist financially or emotionally, the narcissist will pounce on your frailty and exploit your fragility to the maximum. Ultimately, the narcissist will write the inevitable cycle of idealization and devaluation.


Narcissist Father: Save Your Child

Parents who are worried about their children becoming narcissists under the influence of a narcissistic parent should stop trying to insulate their children from the other parent's influence. Instead, they should make themselves available to their children and present themselves as a non-narcissistic role model. Narcissistic parents regard their children as a source of narcissistic supply and try to control their lives through guilt-driven, dependence-driven, goal-driven, and explicit mechanisms. The child is the ultimate secondary source of narcissistic supply, and the narcissistic parent tries to perpetuate the child's dependence using control mechanisms. The narcissistic parent tends to produce another narcissist in some of their children, but this outcome can be effectively countered by loving, empathic, predictable, just, and positive upbringing, which encourages a


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.


Golden Child and Scapegoat Black Sheep: Narcissistic Parent's Projected Splitting

Narcissistic parents often cultivate their children as sources of narcissistic supply, with the golden child being idolized and the scapegoat child being neglected and even abused. This discriminatory behavior is due to the narcissistic parent's projected splitting, which involves the inability to integrate contradictory qualities of the same object into a coherent picture. The narcissistic parent splits their personality into good and bad traits and projects the good aspects onto the golden child while projecting the bad aspects onto the scapegoat child. This pattern of behavior becomes lifelong and can lead to emotional incest and even outright incest.

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