My name is Sam Vaknin. I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.
Last time, we discussed the narcissist's bizarre attachment to money. Money confers on a narcissist not only power or status. Money allows the narcissist to be himself, unreservedly and without repercussions. Money lets the narcissist, gives him hermit and license to be manipulative, sadistic.
The narcissist, with the aid of money, can finally be a narcissist.
But what about the recipients of the narcissist's tainted and unconditional largess? How do they perceive the narcissist, his money, and the fact that they are dependent on his handouts?
Well, victims of narcissistic abuse similarly equate money with love. Craving the latter, they very often settle for the former.
With so many strings attached to the narcissist's gifts, these people, his victims, his beneficiaries, end up entangled and dangling like dysfunctional marionettes, like puppets in the narcissist's theatre of the absurd.
The psychodynamic dimensions of money and giving are myriad, and they are crucial to maintaining the victim's precarious inner balance.
People embark on great feats of self-deception and cognitive dissonance in order to justify the sacrifices that they make in self-respect, in dignity and in the perception of reality. They have to make these sacrifices in order to remain on the narcissist's good books.
But self-awareness is never far under the surface.
Gradually, these human props in the narcissist's staged plays rebel, either outwardly or inwardly. Some of them become passive-aggressive, bitter, depressed and paranoid. They feel alienated, dehumanized, objectified, misunderstood and abused.
These victims seek to free themselves by becoming contumacious and unruly, counter-dependent, or by clinging to the narcissist and emotionally extorting all others as flaming codependents.
These reactive behavior patterns are ingrained. They are hard to break. They ossify into the malls in which the narcissist's victims fester and putrefy, writhing in agony and crumbling whenever the narcissist inflicts on them abuse in its many forms.
If these victims do not extricate themselves in time, they gradually acquire many of the traits and behavior patterns of their narcissistic tormentors and form with them a shared psychosis, a mini-cult of domination and subjugation that is mediated via the ubiquitous dollar sign.