Narcissist Reacts to Criticism, Disagreement, Disapproval

Uploaded 1/4/2011, approx. 4 minute read

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

The narcissist is constantly on the lookout for slights and insults. He is hypervigilant. He perceives every disagreement as criticismand every critical comment as complete and humiliating rejection.

The narcissist perceives every disagreement, let alone criticism, as nothing short of a threat. He therefore reacts defensively. He becomes indignant, aggressive and cold. He detaches emotionally for fear of yet another narcissistic injury. He devalues the person who had made the disparaging remark, the critical comment, the unflattering observation, the innocuous joke at the narcissist expense.

By holding the critic in contempt, by diminishing the stature of the discordant conversant, the narcissist minimizes the impact of the disagreement and criticism on himself. This is a defense mechanism known as cognitive dissonance.

Like a trapped animal, the narcissist is forever on the lookout. In his mind, there is this dialogue or monologue, rather. Was this comment meant to demean me? Was this utterance a deliberate attack on me?

And gradually, the narcissist's mind turns into a chaotic battlefield of paranoia and ideas of reference until he loses touch with reality and retreats to his own world of fantasies and unchallenged grandiosity.

But here's the rub and the twist.

When the disagreement or criticism or disapproval or approbation become public, the narcissist tends to regard them as narcissistic supply.

Only when they are expressed in private does the narcissist rage against them. Public commentary, even unfavorable, even if negative, is narcissistic supply.

The cerebral narcissist is as competitive and intolerant of criticism and disagreement as is his somatic counterpart. The subjugation, subordination of others, demands the establishment of the narcissist's undisputed intellectual superiority or professional authority.

Alexander Lohan wrote an excellent exposition of this hidden or tacit competition. The cerebral narcissist aspires to perfection.

Thus, even the slightest and most inconsequential challenge to his authority is inflated by him, hence the disproportionality of his reactions.

When confronting adversity fails, some narcissists resort to denial, which they apply to their extensions, family, business, workplace, colleagues, friends.

Take, for example, the narcissistic or the narcissist's family. Narcissists often instruct, order, or threaten their children into hiding the truth of abuse, malfunction, maladaptation, dysfunction, fear, pervasive sadness, violence, mutual hatred, and mutual repulsion, which are the hallmarks of the narcissistic family.

Other sayings like not to wash the family's dirty linen in public, that's a common exhortation. Whole family conforms to the fantastic grandiose and perfect and superior narrative invented by the narcissist.

To the narcissistic confabulation, the family becomes an extension of the false self.

This is an important function of these sources of secondary narcissistic supply.

To comply, to affirm, to uphold, and to buttress the false self, if necessary, by denying reality and by pathologically and recurrently lying about it.

Criticizing, disagreeing, or exposing these fictions and lies, penetrating the family's facade, they are all considered to be mortal sins by the narcissist.

The sinner is immediately subjected to severe and constant emotional harassment, guilt and blame trips, and to abuse including physical abuse. This state of things is especially difficult for families where sexual abuse is prevalent.

Behavior modification techniques are liberally used by the narcissist to ensure that the skeletons do stay in the family cabinets.

An unexpected by-product of this atmosphere of concealment and falsity is mutiny, rebelliousness. The narcissist's spouse or his adolescent children are likely to expose the narcissist's vulnerabilities.

He is proneness to secrecy. His self-delusion is aversion to the truth, and they are likely to rebel against him sooner or later.

The first thing to crumble in the narcissist's family is this shared psychosis, the mass denial and the secretiveness so diligently cultivated by him.

The criticism and disagreement that he so avoids are bound to haunt him and catch up with him sooner or later.

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

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.

Do Narcissists Truly Hate?

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

Narcissistic Humiliation and Injury

Narcissists react to humiliation in the same way as normal people, only more so. They are regularly and strongly humiliated by things that normally do not constitute a humiliation. The emotional life of the narcissist is tinted by ubiquitous and recurrent insults, humiliations, and slights. The narcissist is constantly on the defensive, constantly being targeted, and is a kind of paranoid.

Self-destruction as Narcissistic Supply: Narcissist's Self-denial and Self-defeat

Narcissists frustrate others to satisfy their masochistic tendencies and sadistic urges. By withholding love, sex, and intimacy, they torment those around them while obstructing their own gratification. Self-denial, self-destruction, and self-defeat buttress the narcissist's sense of superiority and uniqueness, as they prove to themselves that they are the strongest and can overcome powerful desires and emotions. These behaviors and choices engender narcissistic supply, as they demonstrate the narcissist's independence from society, nature, and even themselves.

When Narcissist Runs Out of Supply (Self-supply Compilation)

Narcissists exhibit a sense of sacrificial entitlement, believing that their presence in someone's life is a privilege and a sacrifice on their part. This self-perception combines grandiosity with victimhood, as they see themselves as superior beings who are condescending to interact with others. This form of entitlement is a method of self-supply, reinforcing their grandiose self-image while also framing themselves as victims who are giving up their potential for the sake of others. Narcissists may use this mindset to justify expecting gratitude, obedience, and submission from those around them.

Recluse Narcissist

Narcissists do not have friends in the usual sense of the word, as they are only interested in securing the provision of narcissistic supply from others. They overvalue people when they are judged to be potential sources of supply, but discard them nonchalantly when they are no longer able or willing to supply them. The narcissist's behavior, choices, acts, attitudes, beliefs, interests, and life are curtailed by their sensitivity to outside opinion, and they avoid situations where they are likely to encounter opposition, criticism, or competition. The fear of flying is at the heart of narcissism.

Narcissist Has No Friends

Narcissists treat their friends like Watson and Hastings, who are obsequious and unthreatening, and provide them with an adulating gallery. Narcissists cannot empathize or love, and therefore have no real friends. They are interested in securing narcissistic supply from narcissistic supply sources. The narcissist overvalues people when they are judged to be potential sources of supply, and devalues them when no longer able to supply him, ultimately leading to the alienation and distancing of people.

Narcissist's Addiction to Fame and Celebrity

Narcissists are addicted to being famous as it provides them with power, constant narcissistic supply, and fulfills important ego functions. The narcissist's only bad emotional stretches are during periods of lack of attention, publicity, or exposure. The more the narcissist fails to secure the attention of the target group, the more daring, eccentric, and outlandish the narcissist becomes. The narcissist is not really interested in publicity per se, but with the reactions to his fame and celebrity.

Narcissist: Masochism, Self-destruction, Self-defeat

Narcissists exhibit self-defeating and self-destructive behaviors that are pernicious and subtle. These behaviors include self-punishing, guilt-purging behaviors, extracting behaviors, default behaviors, and frustrating, negativistic, and passive-aggressive behaviors. Narcissists are terrorized by intimacy and interpret it as co-dependence, emotional strangulation, and imprisonment. They are also fiercely independent and want to be free to frustrate themselves by inflicting mental havoc on their human environment.

Zombie Narcissist: Deficient Narcissistic Supply

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

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2024, under license to William DeGraaf
Website Copyright © William DeGraaf 2022-2024
Get it on Google Play
Privacy policy