On April 12th, the year of our Lord, 2022, I, God willing, am going to be in Budapest, the capital city at this stage of Hungary. And what am I going to do there? Some unspeakable things, but on the 12th of April, I am going to give a six-hour seminar, courtesy Barbara, the narcissist coach. If you want to participate in this seminar, and it's free of charge, you want to participate in this seminar, write to Barbara.
Go down to the description of this video, you will find her email address, write to her and she will book you a place.
What I want to do today, I want to describe more or less the seminar in two, three sentences, and then give you a glimpse or a hint or a foretaste of one of the things, one of hundreds of things I'm going to mention during these six hours.
So the seminar is going to be divided in four parts.
The first one is love bombing, grooming and honeymoon phase, the dual mothering model.
The second one is idealization and interjection, the snapshotting process.
The third module is devaluation, discard and separation individuation.
And the fourth module is replacement, replacing you as an intimate partner with someone else and repetition compulsion.
Each of the modules is divided, obviously, in two parts.
The first one is the clinical setting.
What's going on in the narcissist's mind, what's happening in your mind, in reaction to his mind, and how to cope with it, what to do about it, how to survive it, how to some extent manage the narcissist, not to say manipulate him, and so on and so forth.
So it's going to be a very, very useful seminar, I should hope, with a cutting edge research and knowledge we have about the disorder, things you are not likely to find on YouTube.
And so I said that I'm going to discuss hundreds of aspects, and I'm not exaggerating, I'm going to discuss hundreds of aspects of the relationship with a narcissist, almost every conceivable dimension and interaction.
And one of the things I'm going to discuss is the discrepancy between how the narcissist sees himself and how you perceive him.
I'll just make sure I'm recording, yep.
So the narcissist regards, oh, sorry, before everything, my name is Sam Vaknin, and I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited, and a dwindling professor of psychology.
The narcissist regards himself as a dream come true. He is God's gift to you, to you specifically. He is perfection, reified. He is the ideal intimate partner. No one can be better or more than him when it comes to intimacy and partnership and love and caring. He is there to transform you. He is there to elevate you and make you a better version of yourself.
You just adhere to his beliefs and values, his rules, and everything will be fine. You will find yourself in a much better place now and forever. Amen.
But how can the narcissist be so sure? How can he be sure that he's the ideal intimate partner? Has he gone around? Did he conduct a survey of all 3.5 billion men, in case he's a man or 3.5 billion women, in case she's a woman?
How the narcissist know, male or female, how the narcissist know that he or she is the ideal partner?
Because he first idealizes you. You are the source and the regulator of the narcissist's sense of self-worth. You have enormous power over the narcissist.
The intimate partners of narcissists perceive the relationship as a power asymmetry. They somehow develop learned helplessness.
The victims of narcissists somehow put themselves down. They consider themselves impotent in the face of narcissistic abuse.
Sakhant narcissist has all the power, all the keys to the kingdom and you are a surrogate, a subservient subject, an obedient slave. The narcissist is the dominant master.
But it's exactly the opposite. The only reason the narcissist considers himself ideal and perfect, the only way for the narcissist to buttress his grandiosity, to uphold it in the face of a tsunami and avalanche of countervailing information. The only way for the narcissist to deny reality, so vehemently and so totally, is through you. You make it happen. You are the precondition. You are the be-all and end-all. Without you, the narcissist feels zero, annihilated, dead, gone, vanished, disappeared.
The narcissist idealizes himself by first idealizing you because you see it's very simple. He idealizes you, then you become perfect, hyper intelligent, super beautiful, unprecedented in every sense of the word. You are unique.
And so if you are so ideal, if you are so amazing, if you are so fascinating, if you are so special and you had chosen him, then he, by implication and by reflection, must be ideal too.
This process is called co-idealization. The narcissist idealizes you as his own extension, as his property, as an internal object in his mind.
Then because he renders you perfection, he renders himself perfect too.
Because only the ideal can own the ideal. Only the infinite can encompass the perfect. The narcissist renders himself godlike because he first deifies you.
And in this sense, all narcissism, including overt narcissism, all forms of grandiosity, they are inverted, they are co-dependent.
Yes, that's a secret. The narcissist is co-dependent upon you. Very often you are co-dependent on the narcissist as well.
Narcissistic relationships are relationships of co-dependency to regulate his sense of self-worth, to ignore reality and cling to his inflated, fantastic self-perception.
The narcissist needs you to be bigger than life. He needs you to be blemishless, flawless, infallible. He needs you to be sui genuis, one of your kind, one of any kind. He needs to idealize you so that he can idealize himself by extension, by owning you.
And he does this by creating an internal object, an inner representation of you in a process called introjection. He takes a snapshot of you and he internalizes this snapshot and it becomes an introjected internal object.
And this snapshot represents you in his mind and he continues to interact with this idealized snapshot.
Now, this snapshot is photoshopped. It's FaceTime. It becomes perfect.
He imbues you and attributes to you all the hallmarks of a divinity, of a deity. He idealizes you to the maximum in the love bombing and grooming and honeymoon phases. He idealizes you to the maximum to allow him to idealize himself to the maximum.
And then of course, life happens. Life happens. You make decisions. You disagree. You travel. You develop new friendships. You cheat on him. You criticize him.
Life happens and you gradually begin to diverge and deviate from the snapshot. And then the narcissist has to devalue you.
But one reason he has to devalue you is because you are beginning to show signs of discontent. As the relationship progresses and you are exposed to the narcissist's meanness, infantilism, stupidity, recklessness, as you are exposed to the less savory sides of the narcissist, and that happens pretty quickly, you become discontent. You become unhappy. You are dissatisfied. You are disenchanted. You are disillusioned. You very often betray him in ways big and small by deviating from this natural.
He perceives this as betrayal.
Ultimately, you wish to break up with him.
And if you're really, really, really desperate, in some cases you would cheat on him in order to kind of break the spell and free yourself of him.
So there's a lot going on. You're drawing away from him. You're disengaging. You're detaching because you can't stand it anymore.
Living with the narcissist is an onerous, full-time job. It consumes you. It depletes you. It destroys you. You want away. You just want to no longer be there.
But the narcissist cannot fathom. Why would you want that? Why would you want to be away from him, far from him?
He is the ideal partner after all. So he tries to come up with all kinds of excuses and explanations. Why would you behave in this strange manner? If he is really an ideal partner, why would you want to find someone else? Why would you want to walk away?
So he keeps coming up with all kinds of bizarre, inane explanations. Someone must be having a bad influence of him, your girlfriend, your family. Someone is turning you against him, poisoning your mind. Or you're just plain crazy and stupid. You're probably a narcissist. Projection.
And how come he hadn't noticed it before? The narcissist is infallible. He's all-knowing. He's omnipotent. And he's omniscient. And he's omnipotent. How come he had failed so miserably at mid-selection? How come he had chosen the wrong partner?
Because if you're crazy and stupid, the narcissist had made a mistake. And narcissists never make mistakes. So he convinces himself that either you were camouflaging your craziness and stupidity. You were acting. You were deceiving him. You were deceitful. Or something happened. It became sick suddenly. It's a sudden onset of depression or bipolar or some other craziness. Or maybe you're just stupid. And you've always been stupid. But the narcissist did not perceive it because to discover such a thing takes time.
At any rate, your wish to break up with a narcissist, your wish to drift away, your wish to no longer be there with this dream come true, with this ideal partner, is indicative of some serious problems with you, either external, subject to bad influence, or internally or crazy.
Or maybe you're going through a phase or through a crisis and you will get back to your senses soon enough.
Let's say aromantic defense.
You, on the other hand, you increasingly regard the narcissist as your worst nightmare, bordering on an enemy. You develop an ambivalence where at first you only loved him. Now you love him and hate him in equal measures and often simultaneously. You're very angry at him for having stolen your life away from you, for having absconded with your dreams, for forcing you to relinquish the shared fantasy to which you had subscribed, for depriving you of the self-love, the love of your idealized image through his gaze. You're disenchanted. You are distraught. You're devastated. And you're very, very furious at the narcissist for having brought you to this place.
And you cannot believe that anyone could be so divorced from reality, and yet he is. He totally is. He's not pretending, he's not faking, and he is not gaslighting. He is not a psychopath. He is confabulating.
Very important distinction between these two things. Psychopaths gaslight. Narcissists confabulate. They really believe their own lies, inventions and fantasies. The psychopath knows well that he's lying. The narcissist never does. He truly believes everything he's saying. He's invested, is emotionally invested, confected in the veracity of everything he's saying.
And you also regard yourself as the victim. You're a victim. You are a victim. That's not your imagination. You're a victim in multiple ways.
Abuses, many facets, many forms. It's multifarious, it's shape-shifting. You could be abused subtly and surreptitiously. You could be abused openly and overtly. You could be abused financially and legally and emotionally and sexually and physically and psychologically and verbally. There's no end to the number of ways you could be abused. Even replacing you with an ideal image, with an ideal internal object, that's a form of abuse because it denies your existence. Your existence becomes a threat to the narcissist's snapshot. You need to be eliminated because you keep reminding the narcissist that he's delusional.
And so in numerous ways, you're being victimized on a constant basis.
Narcissist tests you with his abuse. You're going to be a loving, unconditionally loving mother, no matter what I do to you. So you're constantly abused, but he can't see a point of view, first of all, because narcissists never see other people's point of view. They have no empathy.
But he also innocently and sincerely thinks that something is seriously wrong with you. You have a screw loose.
And the reason is that while you perceive yourself as a victim, he considers you to be the winner, the winner of life's own lottery. You warn him, it's the greatest prize. It's a privilege to be with him, to share your life with him is an elevating, almost mystical experience. You should be so grateful.
And yet you consider yourself a victim. You want to throw this away. All this enormous gift that you had received from life, from the universe, from a loving God, you want to throw this away.
And all this is the narcissist. The narcissist reifies your good, good fortune. He's not your nightmare. He's not your abuser. He's your good fortune. He's your future. He is the one who will bring you to a higher level of consciousness. He will unfold and unfurl your accomplishments. He will push you to achieve things and to become a better version of yourself.
And the narcissist resents what he perceives to be your ingratitude, your constant copy. You become a reminder of his own inadequacies and bad judgment. And he hates you for this. He hates you for this because he thinks he's not justified. You have nothing to complain about. You are the luckiest, luckiest person alive to be able to bask in the glory of the narcissist, to kind of immerse yourself in the narcissist brilliance and magnanimity and kindness, generosity. And to not see this means that you're seriously short-sighted.
You, on the other hand, you resent his callousness and his indifference to your suffering as well as in his unwillingness to change. You resent all this because you think to yourself, if only you went through this extra step, if only he did this, if only he agreed to that, life would have been so different and yet he's utterly intransigent. He won't do a single thing for you. And he couldn't care less what's happening to you.
In many cases, he doesn't even care what you're doing with other people, including other intimate partners and other sexual partners. He had given up on you as a real external object. He is utterly involved with your snapshot in his mind. He is cheating on you. He is betraying you with your own representation in his mind. He is attached to that representation, not to you, not to you.
And that's why when you do finally separate, when you do break up and he discards you and devalues you, he's still attached to your snapshot and that's why he tries to over you in the future. And you react to the narcissist's nightmarish aspects while the narcissist fully expects you to react to him as you would have reacted to a dream come true.
And this is a mismatch of perceptions, including and most importantly self perceptions. And there's a mismatch of expectations.
And that is the engine in the core of the process that I labeled in 1995 narcissistic abuse, which is a topic of this first module.