My name is Sam Vaknin, and I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.
In my previous video, titled Narcissist Fear Therapy, I described why the narcissist requires and avoids and evades the possibility of getting professional attention, professional help.
But is there anything the narcissist can do by himself in the meantime until he reaches a final decision whether to attend therapy or not?
The first step involves self-awareness.
The narcissist often notices that something is wrong with the circumstances of his life. Something is wrong with how people react to him. People around him are unhappy, depressed.
But he never owns up to his role and responsibility in his misfortune and discomfort. He projects his weaknesses, his shortcomings onto others. He prefers to come up with elaborate rationalizations as to why that which is wrong with him is really quite okay.
Cognitive dissonance, rationalization or intellectualization are the narcissist's allies in insulating him apart from reality. These are very powerful defense mechanisms which revolve around denying that something is wrong.
The narcissist consistently convinces himself that everyone else is to blame. Everyone else is wrong, deficient, lacking and incapable. These we call alloplastic defenses and outside loci of control.
The narcissist tells himself that he is exceptional and that he is made to suffer for it. He does not accept and does not admit that he is in the wrong. On the contrary, history will surely prove him right as he had done so many other towering figures.
And this is the first and by far most critical step on the way to coping with the disorder.
Will the narcissist admit, be forced or convinced to concede that he is absolutely and unconditionally wrong, that something is very amiss in his life, that he is in need of urgent professional help and that in the absence of such help things will only get worse.
Having crossed this rubicon, the narcissist is more open and amenable to constructive suggestions and assistance.
And here comes the second important leap forward.
This is when the narcissist begins to confront a more realistic view of himself.
Good friend, spouse, therapist, parent or a combination of these people can decide not to collaborate with the narcissist's confabulations anymore, to stop fearing the narcissist and not to acquiesce in his folly any longer.
When they confront the narcissist with the truth about himself and his life, they help demolish the grandiose phantom that runs the narcissist, the false self.
They no longer succumb to the narcissist's whims or accord him special treatment. They deny his sense of entitlement. They reprimand him when needed. They try to disagree with him and show him why and where he is mistaken.
In short, people who care about the narcissist deprive him of many of his sources of narcissistic supply. They refuse to take part in the elaborate game that is the narcissist. They rebel.
Then comes the third phase.
The third phase is a do-it-yourself element.
It involves the decision to commit to a regime of therapy.
This is a tough phase. The narcissist must not decide to embark on therapy only because he is currently feeling bad mostly due to a life crisis or because he is subjected to pressure by family or peers or because he wants to get rid of a few disturbing issues while preserving the awesome totality.
These are all wrong motivations for going to therapy.
The narcissist's attitude towards the therapist must not be judgmental, cynical, critical, disparaging, competitive or superior. The narcissist must not view the therapy as a contest, a tournament, a mind game or a power play.
There are many winners in therapy, but only one loser if it fails, the narcissist.
The narcissist must decide not to try to co-opt the therapist, threaten him, intimidate him or humiliate him. In short, the narcissist must adopt a humble frame of mind.
He must be open to new experiences of encountering oneself.
Finally, the narcissist must resolve to be constructively and productively active in his own therapy, to assist the therapist without condescending, to provide information without distorting, to try to change without consciously resisting.
Endotherapy is really only the beginning of a new, more vulnerable life.
And this terrifies the narcissist. He knows that maybe he can get better, but he can rarely get well. He can never heal.
The reason is the narcissist's enormous, lifelong, irreparable and indispensable and irreplaceable emotional investment in his disorder.
The narcissist's disorder serves many critical functions, which together maintain the precariously balanced house of cards that is the narcissist's personality.
The narcissist's disorder endows the narcissist with a sense of uniqueness, of being special, and it provides him with a rational explanation of his behavior.
Most narcissists reject the notion of diagnosis that they are mentally disturbed.
Absent powers of introspection and a total lack of self-awareness are part and parcel of the disorder.
A philological narcissist is founded on alloplastic defenses, a firm conviction that the world or others are to blame for one's behavior.
Overcoming all this is a massive odyssey, a massive quest, and few narcissists see why they should embark on it.