Narcissist: Why Self-help?

Uploaded 11/13/2010, approx. 4 minute read

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.

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

Love Your Narcissist? Make Him Stay, Depend on You (Tips, Resolutions)

In a relationship with a narcissist, it is important to know what not to do and what to do to maintain the relationship. Avoid disagreeing, contradicting, or criticizing the narcissist, and never offer intimacy or challenge their self-image. To make the narcissist dependent on you, listen attentively, agree with everything they say, offer something unique, be patient, and be emotionally and financially independent. It is also crucial to know yourself and set personal boundaries, treating yourself with dignity and demanding respect from others. If the relationship becomes abusive, consider going no-contact and ending the relationship for your own well-being.

Destroy the Narcissist in Court: Divorce, Custody, and Aftermath

In summary, to effectively handle a narcissist in court during divorce and custody proceedings, it is crucial to remain calm, composed, and fact-based. Focus on exposing the narcissist's grandiosity and vulnerabilities by challenging their self-perception and accomplishments, while avoiding appearing vengeful or malicious. Provoke the narcissist indirectly by hinting at their shortcomings and mediocrity, ultimately leading them to lose control and expose their true nature. Maintain a holistic strategy that takes into account both the legal aspects and the narcissist's off-court life.

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.

Cope with Narcissists: Abandon or Mirror

The best way to cope with a narcissist is to abandon them or threaten to abandon them. The narcissist is a binary person, and the carrot is also the stick in their case. If they get too close to someone emotionally, they fear abandonment and immediately distance themselves, acting cruelly and bringing about the very abandonment they feared. If one chooses to accept the narcissist, to live with them, to remain in an intimate relationship with them, it is a package deal. All their needs, demands, and requirements are included.

Repentant Narcissist, Therapist Must Accept Diagnosis ( 12 Steps Of Narcissists Anonymous)

Therapists are hesitant to label and stigmatize their patients, but the narcissist must accept their diagnosis for any chance of growth and healing. The 12 steps of Narcissist Anonymous are outlined as a way for narcissists to come to terms with their condition and limit the damage they cause to themselves and others. The steps involve admitting powerlessness over narcissism, making amends, and seeking to improve conscious contact with the false self. While narcissism cannot be cured, these steps offer a way to contain its effects.

Narcissist's Language as Weapon

Narcissists use language as a weapon of self-defense, to obscure, not to communicate, and to obtain narcissistic supply. They talk at others or lecture them, exchange subtexts, and spawn private languages, prejudices, superstitions, conspiracy theories, rumors, phobias, and hysterias. The rules that govern the narcissist universe are loopholeed, incomprehensible, open to interpretation so wide and so self-contradictory that it renders them meaningless. The narcissist, in this respect, is a great social menace, undermining language itself.

N-Magnet: Narcissist's Ideal Victim?

Narcissists are not drawn to empathic, sensitive people, but rather repelled by them. Victims of narcissistic abuse come in all shapes, sizes, professions, genders, and ages, and there is no specific profile. People should not think of themselves as a "narcissist magnet" and instead review their life in detail to see that they have control over their destiny and can learn from their experiences. Bed relationships, no matter how harrowing, are opportunities to learn lessons.

Narcissists Fear Therapy

Narcissists cannot cure themselves, and gaining insight into the disorder is not the same as healing. The best way for a narcissist to help themselves is by resorting to a mental health professional, but even then, the prognosis is dim. The therapeutic situation implies a superior/inferior relationship, which is difficult for the narcissist to accept. The narcissist must shed his false self and face the world naked, defenseless, and to his mind pitiful.

How To Get Your Narcissist to Therapy ("Granny Fanny Cris" Method)

The text discusses how to get a narcissist to attend therapy, emphasizing the importance of not directly confronting the narcissist's grandiosity and instead using strategies such as co-opting their grandiosity, appealing to their self-conception, and leveraging crises to motivate them to seek therapy. It also highlights the challenges of therapy with narcissists, including their resistance and the need for therapists to collaborate with their grandiosity and fantasy defenses. The text also addresses the different types of crises that may drive a narcissist to therapy, such as ultimatums, mental disorders, and suicidality.

How Narcissist's Victims Deceive Themselves

Narcissists cannot be cured and are a threat to those around them. Victims of narcissists often confuse shame with guilt and attribute remorsefulness to the narcissist when they are actually feeling shame for failing. Narcissists are attracted to vulnerable people who offer them a secure source of narcissistic supply. Healing is dependent on a sense of security in a relationship, but the narcissist is not interested in healing and would rather invest their energy in obtaining narcissistic supply. Narcissists lack empathy and cannot understand others, making them a danger to those around them.

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