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Narcissist: Your Pain is his Healing, Your Crucifixion - His Resurrection

Uploaded 8/27/2020, approx. 41 minute read

Your trauma, your pain, your excruciating agony, the narcissist needs them. He wants them. This is exactly the medicine, the cure, the path to healing.

He uses your negative emotional energy to regulate his emotions, which are dysregulated, like in borderline, to stabilize his moods, which are labile, to curb and control his impulses.

Your pain, your trauma, make him feel secure and safe and calm and accepted and held in a world which otherwise is unpredictable and dangerous and hostile.

This is an insight that you must understand and accept. The narcissist needs you to suffer. He consumes your suffering. It is the raw material upon which he constructs his inner peace.

The narcissist is not evil. He is not a sadist in the sense that he doesn't derive pleasure from inflicting pain on you, but he needs your pain.

He elicits, he provokes it, he makes sure it happens because it's at the bone. It's the medicine. It's the only medicine and it's the only way he knows how to relate to others via suffering, via pain.

And this is the topic of today's video.

My name is Sam Vaknin. I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited, and other books, e-books, and video lectures on narcissism and personality disorders. I'm also a professor of psychology in several universities, and this leads me to a few administrative issues before we get to the main topic of the video.

As usual in my videos, let's clear a few outstanding issues. Let's start with the issue of credentials.

People have been writing to me, why do you reel off your credentials? Why do you bother? Why do you answer these clowns? You should ignore.

I disagree. I think people have the full right to ask me, who am I professionally? What are my credentials? What's my track record? On what do I base my claims? What is the foundation of my erudition and learning?

I think these are absolutely pertinent questions, not impertinent questions. And I have an obligation, a commensurate obligation to respond to these questions and gratify the need to know.

Moreover, I encourage all of you to direct the very same questions to anyone online who claims to be a doctor, or who claims to have an academic degree of any kind, or who claims to be a psychologist.

Ask them, where did you get your degree? When did you get your degree? Are you teaching somewhere? What academic papers have you published about the topics that you claim to be an expert on in peer-reviewed journals?

In the last year and a half, I published 12 papers in peer-reviewed academic journals, and all of them deal with narcissism. And I teach personality disorders in several universities, etc., and it's all public record. I'm very transparent about it. The information is widely available on my CV, Curriculum Vita, Resume, on my website, my media kit on my website, etc. I made available an image of my PhD diploma. My PhD dissertation and thesis is available for download from the Library of Congress. There's a link which can lead you there on my CV and on the description of the previous video that I made, etc.

I owe it to you. I owe it to you to tell you who I am academically, professionally as an expert in psychology.

And I think everyone online has the same obligation.

I went to a few websites and I couldn't find these people who claim to hold advanced academic degrees. I couldn't find where they got these degrees, when they got these degrees, with which university or academic institution are they affiliated. I couldn't find a single paper they had published. Nothing. There's no trace. They're ghosts. Anyone can come online and claim I'm a doctor.

I mean, guys, caveat emptor, be careful. Check your sources, insist on answers as you are doing with me and you are right to do it with me. And I'm forthcoming and I'm 100% transparent.

Second issue, I've received many, many comments and emails and so on. You're a liar. You did not invent no contact. My great grandmother had abandoned my great grandfather. So she invented no contact.

Closing the door behind you and not looking back is not no contact. No contact is a strategy I had developed in 1995. It includes well over 100 steps, behavioral prescriptions, what to do and what not to do in each and every conceivable situation with children, without children.

You're getting gifts. He calls you on the phone. He texts you.

I mean, everything is covered in the no contact strategy that I had developed. If you live in the same city, if you move to live in another city, if he stalks you, if he doesn't stalk you, if he vanishes, if his family makes contact, flying monkeys, which is, by the way, a phrase I've coined, and so on and so forth. I mean, no contact.

There are books about no contact. No contact is not just slamming the door and telling the MF that you will never see him again. That's not no contact. And it usually doesn't last. Such impulsive acts are easily reversible. That's where hoovering comes in when the narcissist sucks you back into his lala land, into his shared fantasy.

So no contact is a much more profound, much deeper, much more detailed set of behavioral prescriptions, of rules of conduct and rules of thumb.

No contact involves other people around you, your family, your best friends, your colleagues at work, domestic violence shelters, etc.

I encourage you not to be glib and flippant about it and say that your grandmother or great grandmother had invented no contact, but to go online, read my material, because I invented no contact, and read other people's work on no contact.

The next and last administrative issue before we come to the topic of the video, women.

The future belongs to women. The future belongs to women because muscle power is obsolete, because networking is the name of the game, and women are much better at networking, much better at empathy, much better at all the skill sets and the talents and the proclivities and the inclinations, which correspond well with the future.

The description of the future person, future mankind, is feminine. Masculinity is out. It's a fact. For 10,000 years, we men ruled over women. Now women are going to rule over us.

Some say this used to be the case before the agricultural revolution. I'm not so sure. It's also irrelevant.

The future belongs to women.

Now many men rebel against this.

It's like white power in the United States. They don't like colored people. White people in the United States don't like the fact that the United States is becoming a non-white country. Whites are obsolete. White-ness is dead or dying. In 100 years, the United States will be mostly black and brown.

It's a fact. Get over it.

In 10 years, the world will be ruled by women. It's already a fact. It's already a fact if you look at the statistics. Number of college graduates, number of women in various professions, which are very critical professions like teaching and judiciary. It's a fact. Women are taking over.

Some men can't stand the idea, the thought, of losing power. So they rebel or they disengage, petulantly, immaturely, like intellectually challenged children.

They write all kinds of books and they rationalize and they analyze and they misinterpret, of course, because they're not on that level intellectually. They misinterpret evolutionary psychology, general psychology, and they talk heaps and rims of nonsense. I mean, it's an abomination.

And of course, they are misogynistic. They're full of hatred. It's a hate speech movement. It's sexism disguised.

This is the men's side. The women are not much better. Women rebel. Women celebrate their newfound power. Women radicalize the ideology and intellectual underpinnings of their emancipation.

And we have radical feminism. They are rewriting history. They're imposing political correctness on speech acts, their censoring speech. Women have become very narcissistic and many of them are emulating psychopathic behaviors of men.

As role models, women didn't choose the men of the past who were, you know, mentally healthy and productive and constructive. Women seem to have chosen the psychopathic men, the power-hungry, impulse-driven, defiant, contumacious, hateful men. And they try to emulate and imitate these men as role models.

So they exploit and abuse men. Women today exploit and abuse men. Women misbehave, not in the sense that they are promiscuous. That's their problem. Women misbehave in the sense that they use men, objectify men, dehumanize men the way men did to women for millennia.

That's not the way to go. It leads nowhere fast. The genders are at war. There's a conflict here and each side is going to use and leverage their assets. Men are going to use and leverage their muscle power, their revolvers and guns, spew hatred. Women are going to use children and legislation that is still antiquated, 19th century legislation, at least mentally and philosophically.

There's going to be a war and no one is going to win. The big loser will be humanity. We need to step back.

Okay, apropos men and women and what they do to each other.

Today, as I said, we're going to discuss how your trauma and how your pain and how your agony feed into the narcissist's deepest needs to regulate his moods, his emotions and to feel good to restore homeostasis, equilibrium and inner peace.

We start with Bessel van der Kolk and his masterpiece, The Body Keeps the Score.

Bessel van der Kolk is arguably the number one trauma expert in the world today.

In this excellent introduction to trauma, he dwells upon a concept called the inescapable shock. The inescapable shock is a physical condition in which the organism cannot do anything to affect the inevitable hurt or pain.

So there you are and you see it coming and you know you're going to be writhing in pain. You know you're going to be in agony. You know you're going to be traumatized. Bad things are going to happen to you. There's nothing you can do about it.

Van der Kolk writes, confrontation with the reality that there is nothing one can do to stave off the inevitable leads to learned helplessness, a phenomenon that is critical for understanding and treating traumatized and humiliated human beings.

After all, says Van der Kolk, the agony of the of the dogs in their cages, I will explain a bit later, may not have been so different from children who are put down by their parents or teachers and have nowhere to go, or women who are trapped in violent intimate relationships struggling with two opposing impulses. One to maintain a loving relationship, the other to escape their pain, hurt and betrayal.

Now the dogs that Van der Kolk mentions in this passage were dogs owned by Pavlov. Pavlov was a Russian neurologist and proto-psychologist and he experimented on dogs and experiments which today would be frowned upon, trust me, experimented on dogs and one day he went home and the river never overflowed and flooded the basements where the dogs were and they were almost frozen to death and they were almost drowned and so they were traumatized. Van der Kolk refers to these dogs and he says they are not different to children who are traumatized or to women who are traumatized in intimate relationships.

Van der Kolk continues, Pavlov described one other reaction which he called the ultra paradoxical stage in which animals showed positive responses to negative stimuli like loud songs or starvation and Van der Kolk says it reminds me of war correspondence who suffer from having witnessed friends deaths but who cannot wait to go back to a combat zone because it's the only thing that makes them feel alive.

The observations about his dog's reactions to the flow led Pavlov to the last major study of his life on the reflex of purpose which he called the most important factor of life.

All creatures, said Pavlov, need a purpose, they need to organize themselves to make their way in the world, like preparing a shelter for the coming winter, arranging for a mate, building a nest or home and learning skills to make a living. One of the most devastating effects of trauma is that it often damages the reflex of purpose.

Now remember all these things because narcissism is a post-traumatic condition. The narcissist had been traumatized as a child, I dwelt upon it in numerous previous videos, please go and watch them, there are many forms of abuse, pampering and spoiling and idolizing the child is abuse.

So, children are abused all the time, some children, probably with a genetic predisposition, become narcissists. So narcissists by definition are abused, post traumatized children. They freeze, they have arrested development, they remain children for the rest of their lives and they are traumatized children.

Now, the only way that the narcissist can alleviate and ameliorate his trauma is by traumatizing you.

The narcissist develops a dysfunctional way of coping with his inner pain.

He uses your shock. He creates an inescapable shock for you. He uses your inescapable shock as his healing. When he puts you in an inescapable shock, he is in control of course, he assumes the position of the abuser, he identifies the abuser, in a way he becomes the abuser.

At that moment, he had lost his learned helplessness. He is no longer helpless. If you are in control of someone, you're no longer helpless, even if it's one person.

And so, by causing you pain, by agonizing and torturing you, the narcissist reasserts control, regains a sense of mastery over his life, in a way, transitions from an external locus of control to an internal locus of control.

And it's healing. It's a feeling of becoming whole.

Suddenly, the world makes sense. Suddenly, you can navigate. Suddenly, you can make decisions which have outcomes in the real world.

And so, your inescapable shock, your trauma, prove to the narcissist that he is out of his own trauma. In a way, the narcissist shifts his trauma to you, hands you his trauma.

He wants you to own his trauma. He wants you to become the agent of his trauma.

By giving you his trauma, he gets rid of it, of course. And the minute he gets rid of it, he is whole, he's complete, he's cured, he is healed. And he regains a sense of purpose.

And this is why, very often, you can see narcissists elated, happy, manic even, in the wake of a fight, or conflict, or a breakup, in a relationship.

You would expect them to be heartbroken. You would expect them to be devastated. You would expect them to cry and to moan, no no way! They just lost the love of their life and they are the happiest people on earth, and they're the happiest people on earth because this very trauma, the mortification, allows them to get in touch with themselves and not to be afraid of it.

The mortification, the narcissistic injury, the extreme injury, allows them to experience emotions and moods and not be afraid of this experience, but because it is not going to get out of hand. They are not going to lose control.

And why they're not going to lose control?

Because they control you. It's controlled by proxy. They render you, they make you into an emblem, into a symbol of the restoration of their internal control.

Because, you remember the narcissist doesn't have anything inside, there's no ego, there's no self, constellated self, there's nothing there. It's a vast emptiness.

Everything that happens to the narcissist happens from the outside. When the narcissist wants feedback to regulate his sense of self-worth, he goes outside, not inside. He asks people to give him narcissistic supply.

Similarly, when the narcissist wants to regulate his sense of self-control, when he wants to feel safe, secure, accepted, loved, not traumatized, when he wants to render the world predictable, controllable, friendly, not hostile, he needs you to give him this gift.

And the only way you can give him these gifts, the only way you can calm him down, the only way you can restore him is by destroying yourself.

Your devastation, your ruination, your annihilation is his restoration, his flourishing, his elation, his egosyntony.

This is at the core of nihilism. Nihilism is deriving positive emotionality from negative shocks, external shocks.

And so, someone made a comment that many narcissists seem actually to flourish and be happy during this pandemic.

Very true, the pandemic is a form of external shock, and this external shock renders numerous people miserable. Somehow the narcissist appropriates this shock and the misery feeds him.

Again, it's less like a sadist, and more like a vampire. The narcissist is not a sadist in the sense that if he cuts you open he's gonna be aroused sexually. That's sadism. Or if he's really really evil, that's gonna gratify him. Most narcissists, the vast majority of narcissists, don't derive pleasure from inflicting pain, which is the primary condition for diagnosing sadism.

I'll quote from another book Awkward by Ty Tashiro.

There was a guy called John Gottman. He and his colleagues made seminal studies in the University of Washington, and they discovered that people keep a mental ledger, a mental accounting book, with positive and negative behaviors, like you would remember all the positive things I did to you, and remember all the negative things I did to you. And you will keep them in a ledger, you try to balance them by the end of the day.

So, the ledger is more detailed the more intimate you are, so the most intimate ledgers are with your parents or with your spouse or with your girlfriend.

That these would be the most intimate ledgers, the most detailed. Every single tiny negative behavior, every tick, every twitch, every hint, every utterance, every word, every phrase, every behavior, every look, every flirt, everything will be listed. Listed on the negative column or the positive column, it's double accounting. At the end of the day there will be a bottom line or a balance sheet, and we tend to do this for decades.

And Gottman and his colleagues discovered that behavior, interpersonal behavior is utterly dictated by the ratio of negative to positive behaviors. So this informal ledger, account of behaviors, there's also another number and it's the ratio. Ratio of negative to positive, and ratio of positive to negative.

It so much resembles accounting that Gottman called it the emotional bank account.

And I'm quoting from the book, to stay in good standing with other people, people need to keep a balance of about four to five positive behaviors to every one negative behavior. Gottman finds that negative balances are not wiped from other people's minds at the end of the day, but instead carry over to your next interaction.

This is bad news if you end the day in the red with someone, but it's good news if you end the day with money in the bank.

When people leave interactions with a negative balance it has a way of building corrosive resentment in others, which essentially adds interest to their emotional debt.

The good news is, that leaving interactions with the positive balance tends to build trust, which is like gaining interest on your deposit.

And again we're coming to the narcissist.

The problem with the narcissist is that as opposed to other people, healthy people, the narcissist gives much greater weight to negative behaviors than to positive ones.

The narcissist is hypervigilant, so anything you do that he considers negative, he will weigh it, it will be very heavy, it will weigh on his mind. It will be there forever. The narcissist ruminates, the narcissist never forgets, he holds grudges, if you're his enemy you're his enemy forever. Negative behavior in the narcissist mind is much heavier, has much more weight than positive behavior.

So, while with normal people you would need a ratio of four to one with a narcissist you would need a ratio of 400 to one. And even that would not work.

So it is this misalignment in waiting, it is this defunct, dysfunctional waiting system that renders the narcissist vengeful, defiant, hateful, holding grudges and so on.

So the narcissist, as opposed to a healthy person, has a bank account and a ledger which lists almost exclusively the negative things you do to him, and the negative things he does to you.

Of course a narcissist would try to balance the ledger, but if the ledger is comprised only of negativity or mostly of negativity then his side would be also negative.

If the narcissist perceives you to be a negative person, he thinks everything you do to him is negative, he thinks you are out to get him, he's paranoid in a way, he thinks you're envious of him, he thinks you're undermining, he thinks you're being passive aggressive, every look you give, every word you say he misconstrues as negative or insulting or humiliating or a slight

If he is hypervigilant, if everything is negative, negative, negative, of course the narcissist's reaction, trying to balance the mental ledger, would also be negative.

And this, of course, this is delusional. To judge the world through a filter, any filter, the filter of negativity, for example, that's a delusional disorder.

Delusional disorder means that we have an impaired reality testing. We don't see what's really happening, but we take in the information and then we filter it.

Some of it we eliminate and this is called confirmation bias. So some of it we eliminate and some of it we reinterpret, this is called reframing. And most of it we just arbitrarily assign to one column of the ledger.

So I gave an extreme example in the video about empathy, where you tell the narcissist do you need help. You tell the narcissist do you need help, the narcissist would regard this as a negative comment. Because what do you mean do you need help?

If you say to the narcissist do you need help it means that he is helpless. It means that he's inferior. It means that he's deficient and weak and doesn't know what to do. It means that he needs you. It means that you're superior to him.

It's all negative.

So the narcissist tends to imbue everything, to paint everything with a negative brush. And that creates a delusional disorder.

But the narcissist has two peculiarities.

All his delusions are self-centered.

Even when he interacts with you interpersonally, he is not interacting with you. He's interacting with your representation. You remember the snapshotting process? He's interacting with your representation.

Even when he idealizes you, he idealizes you so that he can idealize himself. There's no idealization in narcissism, there is only co-idealization.

If the narcissist idealizes you and considers you to be the most beautiful drop-dead gorgeous brilliant woman on earth, that makes him irresistible. It makes him a genius. Because a woman like that would only be with an irresistible genius.

So even when the narcissist idealizes you, he co-idealizes. It's about him, has to do with him. It's not about you, you're nothing. You're a peg. You're an excuse. You're a trigger. You are an abstract. You're a symbol. You're an emblem. You're a representation. You're an avatar. Enough, you're nobody. That's why you're so easily interchangeable.

And so the narcissist's delusional disorder is exclusively self-centered, while most delusional disorders are not.

And the second thing is the narcissist is self-aware.

Get rid of the nonsense, the online propagated nonsense, that narcissists are not self-aware. They're fully self-aware.

But they attribute the discrepancies that inevitably and invariably arise, not to an impaired reality testing, but to the inferiority, malice, envy of other people.

So the narcissist would notice, for example, that women constantly break up with him, women constantly cheat on him, women constantly betray him.

So he has two options and can say that something is wrong with me. And he says it actually. He says I'm different.

He's not saying something is wrong. Wrong or right, these are value judgments. Some people agree that it's wrong, some people say it's right.

So wrong and right are not clinical psychological terms, but different is, and the narcissist says I'm different. I am not norma,l thank god. I'm not common. I'm not average. I'm not typical. I'm unique. I'm idiosyncratic. I'm unprecedented. I'm unparalleled.

He knows he's different, and he realizes that his differentness, he realizes that his freakishness, in a way, generates in other people behaviors that are atypical. People don't behave this way except with him.

And so he has to explain this, to himself above all, and he says, well, people do this to me because they are malicious. They're dumb They're envious, and so on.

So that he externalizes, he has alloplastic defenses, he externalizes the locus of control, he says it's their fault. I am different, but their reactions to my differentness, their reactions are dysfunctional. Their reactions are sick and envious and malicious. They're the psychopaths They're the narcissists.

The narcissist uses devaluation, therefore, to bridge the gap between perception and reality.

Which leads us to the critical, central concept of this video which is the grandiosity gap.

Anytime there's a gap between self-perception, self-image, self-appraisal, self-evaluation, and reality, drab, shabby, routine reality, anytime there's an abyss, cosm, opening between these two, the narcissist experiences something called the grandiosity gap. It's like a gap, exactly, it's like it would be staring down into the abyss and very often the abyss staring back at you.

The narcissist is emotionless, not in the sense that he doesn't have emotions, but in the sense that he has access only to his negative emotions. So he has no access to emotional positivity, he doesn't do well with positive emotions. He fakes positive emotions or he gets it wrong. It's creepy, it's off key, it's awkward.

So the narcissist is emotionless, and he's also not interested in people because he considered himself the next step in evolution. He considered himself so vastly superior to people. I mean narcissists can say the difference between me and an average person is bigger than the difference between an average person and a chimpanzee in IQ terms. That's a typical narcissistic sentence. So why would you be interested in a chimpanzee?

Narcissists are not interested in people, they find them boring, dull, repetitive, stupid etc. And also narcissists don't have positive emotions.

And so narcissists are dull and excruciatingly boring because they are focused on themselves and on their interminable monologues. They may be entertaining for an hour or two, but narcissists are one trick ponies. After a while they become old.

Narcissists are internally dead. The clinical term in psychoanalysis is destrudo. There's libido, which comes from eros, which is the power of life. And libido includes the sexual component of course, sex is a manifestation of life and leads to life, new life. So libido and the opposite of libido is the destrudo. Destrudo comes from thanatos which is the force of death. Force of life, eros. Force of death, thanatos. Libido and destrudo.

The narcissist is internally dead, he's the walking dead. And yet he's convinced that he is awe inspiring and that he's fascinating and so on. That's another form of self-centered delusion.

So to summarize, the narcissist has a delusional disorder, and he has a delusional disorder that is unique, really unique, in the sense that it's very self-centered. And his self-awareness doesn't lead to insight, it leads to reframing the environment, reframing the narrative, so that he is never guilty. He is never to blame. He's never responsible.

And then he puts it on you. He puts it on you by doing two things.

He monitors, closely, everything you do and everything you say, and he misinterprets most of it as negative. He holds it against you, in a way. He has a ledger, that is, against you ledger. And he balances this by behaving negatively with you.

And why does he need to do that? Shy does he need to misinterpret and reframe everything you do and everything you say in negative terms?

Because he needs to torture you. He needs to hurt you. He needs to cause you pain. He needs to destroy you. He needs to devastate you. He needs to disappoint you.

Why does he need to do that?

Because he needs to externalize his trauma. He needs you to take his trauma away from him. He needs you to own his trauma. He needs to move the locus of his trauma from his empty self to you.

And when he does this he feels whole. He feels in control. He feels in touch with himself. He may even feel positive emotionality like joy or happiness.

And so this is the sequence.

He needs his delusions to consider you as a negative entity. He needs to consider you as a negative entity to justify his torture and abuse of you.

And he needs to torture and abuse you so that you can experience his trauma, so that you can take his trauma away from him, and so that he can control you. So that he feels that he is, again, in control.

By becoming the abuser, the narcissist is rewriting history, rewriting the early conflict, the early childhood conflict.

And this time he comes on top.

With his dead mother, he was a plaything, he was a nothing, he was an object. With his dead mother, he was hurt, he was traumatized, he was ruined, he was destroyed. He was the victim with his dead mother.

He needs to victimize you in order to become his dead mother, because his dead mother had the upper hand. And he needs to have the upper hand in order to heal.

So this is at the core of cold therapy, by the way.

We re-traumatize the narcissist so that he can experience the trauma again, and this time emerge on top. Emerge on top without resorting to conveying the trauma, without resorting to traumatizing someone else.

Narcissist's traumatic experience is contagious. He's infectious. He infects you like a virus.

So we need to isolate him. We need to isolate him so that he can spew out the viruses and they will infect no one. But then he will see that nothing happens, he survives, he's alive.

As things stand, if there's only you and him, the narcissist will infect you with his trauma. And he needs to infect you with his trauma, as this way he had externalized his viruses. He had given you his viruses and his body, his mind, they're clean and clear.

And so all this has to do with what I mentioned, the grandiosity gap.

Now narcissists, consequently, as a result of all this, narcissists are hateful, they're aggressive, they're destructive, they're hurtful to both self and to others. Even to significant others, I usually call them insignificant others.

But the narcissist cannot admit it. They're not going to say, you know what let me think about it, yeah I'm really, bloody hell, I'm a horrible person. I'm hateful. I'm aggressive.

Realizing these things, realizing these behaviors, these qualities in him they would lead to severe egodystony. Severe discombobulation. Severe inner conflict and inner dissonance. No one can survive this, not even the narcissist.

So what the narcissist does, he projects these qualities, he projects them onto other people. He projects his hate, he projects his aggression, obnoxiousness, vileness, destructiveness. He projects them onto you.

But projecting these qualities onto you is not so easy, because, you know what, you're a nice person. You're empathic, you're loving, you're caring. Every time you love the narcissist, every time you care for the narcissist, you're undermining his ability to project onto you.

Your love, your acceptance, your empathy are perceived as sabotage, obstruction.

The narcissist needs to project the negative part in him onto you. He needs to believe that you are the hateful one, the deceitful one, the destructive one. You are the monster. You are the monster. You're the enemy. You're the dragon.

He needs to believe that honestly, sincerely, because he can't live. He can't survive with the realization that the monster is him, that he is the frankenstein, that he is the zombie. He can't digest it, he can't accept it.

He needs to move this realization onto you. He needs to see you this way, but you're not letting him.

You're undermining, you're sabotaging, you're preventing him from doing this by being nice, by being kind, by being helpful, by being empathic, by giving him advice. He hates your guts for this.

You don't let him do his thing. You don't let him project onto you. You refuse to behave like the monster that you should be.

He is dimly aware of his projection because you make it very difficult for him to really see you as an evil person.

So then he does something, he uses a defense mechanism called projective identification.

Projective identification is when he forces you, absolutely forces you to behave like a monster. He tortures you. He provokes you. He evokes in you trauma. He undermines you. He constricts you. He limits you. He fights with you. He does everything in his power to convert you from an empathic loving person into a vile, evil, super aggressive, defiant, psychopathic, hateful abuser.

And the projective identification, if it's successful, makes you this way. You develop a narcissistic and psychopathic overlay, to become a narcissist or a psychopath for a while.

And this makes the narcissist happy.

You see, he says I told you so. Didn't I tell you she was a psychopath? Didn't I tell you she was a narcissist? Was that not expected? Didn't I predict this? It's not my fault.

They say, I'm okay, she's the one. She's the one and she pulled the wool over your eyes. She deceived all of you. All of you fell in her trap, in her narrative.

I'm the victim. I am the victim, says the narcissist. She is the victimizer, I'm the abused. She's the abuser.

And so he forces you to be an abusive monster because then he can ignore the fact that he is hateful, aggressive, and destructive.

And it also allows him to continue to maintain the fiction that he's special.

Remember that all this has to do with the narcissist's delusionality. And so one of the core elements of his delusionality is that he is special.

But of course narcissists are anything but special. You've seen one narcissist, you've seen them all. You've got to know one narcissist, you know all of them. They're cast in a mold. They're cloned. They're not human beings, they're stereotypes. They're archetypes. Jung's divine child.

So the narcissist needs narcissistic supply, counterfactual, not factual statements to buttress his sense of uniqueness.

Healthy people have a sense of self-worth. And part of the sense of self-worth of healthy people is that, yes, I'm special, no one is like me. It's called idiosyncrasy. But not special in the sense that I'm superior, it's simply there's no other me. There's no doppelganger. There's no other person like me.

But the narcissist has a sense that he's superior. His specialness, his uniqueness, his separateness, his differentness is also superior.

And this is where narcissists differ from healthy people.

So, this again leads to the need to traumatize you, because only a superior person can traumatize an inferior person. Two inferior people cannot traumatize each other, but a superior one can traumatize an inferior one.

It's the ancient power play. It's the ancient power matrix between the narcissist and his primary object, usually the mother, but could be the father.

So ,you see the circles, within the circles, within the circles, within the circles which all lead to the epicenter. And the epicenter is that the narcissist absolutely cannot do or survive without traumatizing.

He is not traumatizing you in order to cause trauma bonding, that's another myth. Trauma bonding is the inevitable byproduct, side effect, and outcome of the narcissist behavior. But it's not a goal. Most narcissists don't even know what is trauma bonding.

The goals are the ones I've mentioned, to feel whole, to feel superior, to feel that you are the bad, that all the bad resides with you, all the evil is yours, all the trauma is yours.

The narcissist is cleansed. It's a process of almost religious cleansing, catharsis. Going to the mikveh in Judaism. It's like the narcissist immerses himself in the bath of your pain, your pain is like cleansing water, the Ganges River.

And very often narcissists will use metaphors of immersion, and cleansing, and water when they talk to you, and when they describe you, when they talk about you.

And some people say, okay, if the narcissist feels he's so special why are so many narcissists I know not ambitious, they're slackers, or satisficers to use the phrase from the previous video?

Narcissists often strike people as laid-back, or less charitably as lazy, indolent, parasitic, spoiled, self-indulgence. Many narcissists are.

But as usual with narcissists, appearances deceive. Narcissists are either compulsively driven over-achievers, or chronic underachieving wastrels, satisficers. Most narcissists fail to make full and productive use of their potential and capacities.

Many narcissists avoid even the now standard path of an academic degree, having a career, or family life, and that's because they are afraid of pain, afraid of failure. They are suffering-averse.

To use Jordan Peterson's insight in his book 12 Rules, suffering is an integral part of life. And many psychoanalysts long before Peterson suggested that suffering is the only path for growth. There was actually in the 70s also even the belief that puer aeternus, eternal adolescence, which was another name for narcissists, the only way to get them to become human and to heal is to subject them to a lot of pain.

And so it was a precursor of Cold Therapy. Cold Therapy is the same philosophy.

The narcissist needs to suffer egregiously. He needs to decompose in suffering in order to be reconstructed and reconstituted as a full-fledged functional human being.

But narcissists are averse, pain averse, failure averse, hurt averse, and suffering-averse. They want you to experience all this, they want you to go.

It's like a good mother, you know, a good mother would take a bullet for her child. A good mother would suffer illness, would die for the child.

They want you to do this. They want you to be the good mother. They want you to suffer for them like Jesus. Jesus is an androgynous, father, mother figure. He is godlike. So Jesus suffered for our sins. It's a religious thing, the narcissist wants you to be Jesus. He wants to crucify you so that you can take on his sins, expunge his soul, cathartically cleanse him.

And so this is a main reason why narcissists reject life, as Cleckley noted about psychopaths. They reject life, they avoid life, they avoid life, they can live only through you.

You become the conduit, the conveyor belt, the access point, the portal to existence. The narcissist's world narrows like a laser beam and becomes you.

And this is very intoxicating for you, as you feel that you are maximally needed, that no one ever paid such attention to you, that you've never been the focus, so determined focus of another person's being, that you are his being.

Many women find this irresistibly addictive. They crave this feeling again and again.

And the disparity between the often meager accomplishments of the narcissist and his grandiose fantasies and inflated self-image, that's the grandiosity gap.

It's staggering in the long run, it's, of course, unsupportable. It imposes onerous exigencies on the narcissist grasp of reality, his social skills.

You can't maintain this fiction and facade for long. It pushes the narcissist to seclusion, or to a frenzy of acquisitions, cars, women, wealth, friends, power.

No matter how successful the narcissist is, and many of them end up as pillars of the community, many of them end up in positions of power and authority, and others are abject failures. But no matter how successful the narcissist is, the grandiosity gap can never be bridged.

The narcissist's fantastic false self is so demanding, so unrealistic, his super ego, his inner critic, is so sadistic, that there is nothing the narcissist can do to extricate himself from a kafka-esque trial that is his life.

The narcissist is constantly in front of a tribunal, a tribunal that says you're not good enough, you're a failure, you could have done more, look at yourself.

The narcissist explains away the yawning abyss between his omnipotent and omniscient self-image and his drab pedestrian life by attributing it to outside forces.

So he becomes a conspiracy theorist. He says that people, some forces, some people some institutions, they're conspiring to keep him down. He says that whatever happens to him is an ineluctable phase, unwelcome but inevitable phase, where he's opposed and he's resisted.

But he's going to ascend. He's going to self-actualize. He's going to succeed. He's going to make it.

You see, narcissists spend most of their lives in fantasy, in storytelling, in narrative construction, in the movie, the endless movie. And you are an actress and your role is to suffer.

Your role is to embody all these impersonal forces, unnamed, anonymous, faceless people who are out to get the narcissist, to obstruct him, to put him down, to reduce him to size, to f up his life.

You are the stand-in, you are the placeholder, stellvertreter in german. You the one who stands in for all the others.

So he's punishing you because he's punishing humanity. He's torturing you because you're human. The very fact that you're human, and the more human you are, aggravates him, provokes him into feats of rage, uncontrollable rage, because he hates humanity. He hates humanity, and you're a human.

It's the same way you hate narcissists and you take it out on me. I didn't do anything to you, I don't know even who you are. But here you are sending me comments and emails wishing me dead in the pandemic just because I'm a narcissist. So I represent all narcissists to you, so you hate me. And you represent all humanity to me, so I hate you.

The narcissist is a slave to his own inertia. Some narcissists are forever accelerating on the way to ever higher peaks, ever greener pastures, and other narcissists succumb to numbing routines, expenditure of minimal energy, and to preying on the vulnerable. I discussed this in the previous video about satisficing.

But either way the narcissist's life is out of control, at the mercy of merciless inner voices, internal forces, as well as external ones. Narcissists are one state machines programmed to extract narcissistic supply from other people, end of story.

And to do so, they develop, early on, a set of routines. And most of these routines are set in stone, immutable.

And this propensity for repetition, this inability to change, this rigidity, they confine the narcissist, they stunt his development, they limit his horizons. Add to this his overpowering sense of entitlement, his visceral fear of failure, his invariable need to both feel unique and to be perceived as such.

And you end up with a recipe for inaction or for hurtful, even sadistic action. But sadistic not in the classical sense, action that is perceived as sadistic, hurtful, pain-causing.

What does the narcissist have left? What does he have?

He has nothing left but to torture you.

He's a constant failure in his own eyes. Even if he is the President of the United States, he's a failure. He's a constant failure in his own eyes.

His only success is at failing, his only success is you, because he owns you, he controls you, he causes you pain, he brainwashes you, he makes you do what he wants. You are living proof of his abilities and capacities, however violent, evil they may be.

Your pain and agony are his accomplishments.

The underachieving narcissist dodges challenges, he loses tests, shirks competition, sidesteps expectations, ducks responsibilities, evades authority because he's afraid to fail. Because doing something everyone else is doing endangers, undermines his sense of uniqueness.

And so this is why people say narcissists are lazy and parasites. His sense of entitlement with no commensurate accomplishments, no investment aggravates people, aggravates his milieu. People tend to regard such narcissists as spoiled rats.

And the overachieving narcissist he seeks challenges, he seeks risks, he provokes competition, embellishes expectations and raises them, aggressively bleats for responsibilities and authority, and seems to be possessed with an eerie self-confidence. And people tend to regard such specimen of narcissists as entrepreneurial, charismatic, daring, visionary, or in extreme cases, tyrannical.

Yet these narcissists too are mortified by potential failure. They're driven by a strong conviction of entitlement, they strive to be unique and to be perceived as such, but they anticipate the worst.

All narcissists catastrophize. All of them expect the worst. All of them are tense, muscularly tense, anticipating the other shoe to drop, the trauma to hit, the mortification. they all are awaiting the moment.

And their only way out of this anxiety, the only anxiety reducing mechanism, their only anxiolytic is you, because they bring on the trauma that they're expecting.

If they expect a breakup with you they will make the breakup happen, preemptively abandon, or mistreat you.

So you are the instrument that allows them to fast forward, to get it over with, to let the other shoe drop. And you are also the repository of their trauma their pain as I mentioned before. You're a perfect solution.

This is why narcissists keep looking for intimate partners.

People ask me, why do narcissists get married, why do they need intimate partners if they have no emotions? For this: to channel their inner monster, to experience the pain and the trauma vicariously, to let someone else suffer and to feel unique in the process and in control.

The hyperactivity of narcissism is merely the flip side of the underachiever's inactivity. It is fallacious, it's empty, it's doomed to miscarriage and disgrace, it is often sterile, illusory smoke and mirrors rather than substance.

The precarious accomplishments of such narcissists invariably unravel. They often act outside the law, outside social norms, outside science. Their industriousness, workaholism, ambition, and commitment are intended to disguise the essential inability to produce and to build anything long lasting. Theirs is the whistle in the dark, a pretension, potemkin life. It's all make believe. It's all thunder and bluster.

The grandiose fantasies of the narcissists inevitably and invariably clash with his drab, routine, mundane reality. We call this constant dissonance the grandiose gap.

Sometimes the gap is so yawning that even the narcissist, however dimly, recognizes its existence. And still, this insight into his real situation fails to alter his behavior. The narcissist never learns, never changes.

He knows that his grandiose fantasies are incommensurate with his accomplishments, with his knowledge, with his status, with his actual wealth, or lack thereof, with his physical constitution, sex appeal, you name it.

And yet he keeps behaving. He keeps behaving as though these grandiose fantasies were reality, were true.

And the situation is further exacerbated by periods of relative success in the narcissist's past.

Nothing worse can happen to the narcissist than to succeed, than success. Has-been and also-ran narcissists suffer from a grandiosity hangover.

They may have been once rich, famous, powerful, celebrities, brilliant, sexually irresistible. That's history. That's ancient history. But they no longer are any of these things.

They are old. They're poor. They are not famous. No one heard of them. They're has-beens.

But still they continue to behave as though little has changed. No change, no learning.

The balding, potbellied narcissist still courts women aggressively. The impoverished tycoon sinks deeper into debts trying to maintain an unsustainable and lavish lifestyle. The one novel author, one miracle, one discovery scholar still demands professional deference and expects attention by media and superiors. And the once potent politician maintains regal heirs, holds court in great pomp and circumstance. The wisened actress demands special treatment and throws temper tantrums when she rebuffed. The aging beauty wears her daughter's clothes and regresses emotionally as she progresses chronologically.

They're all in denial and this is not limited to individuals. Human collectives, firms, churches, religions, nations, clubs, you name it, develop grandiosity hangovers as easily and as frequently as do individuals. It is not uncommon to come across a group of people who still live in a bygone, glorious past.

This mass pathology is self-reinforcing. Members feed on each other's delusions, pretensions, and lies. Ostrich-like they bury their collective head in the sand of time, harking back to happier moments of omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence.

The grandiosity hangover, the grandiosity gap, are the two major vulnerabilities of the narcissist. By exploiting them the narcissist can be effortlessly manipulated.

This is especially true when the narcissist is confronted with authority, finds himself in an inferior position, he's manipulated by a psychopath, or when his narcissistic supply is deficient or uncertain.

And one becomes aware of one's place in various hierarchies, some implicit, some explicit, dominance hierarchy. We interact socially to establish these hierarchies, of course.

One learns that one is not alone in this world. One gets rid of solipsistic and infantile I'm the center of the world point of view.

The more one meets people, and the more people one meets, the more one becomes aware of one's relative skills and accomplishments and limitations.

In other words, one develops empathy.

But the narcissist's social range and repertoire are often limited. The narcissist alienates people, no one wants to spend time with him, to be in his company.

Many narcissists are schizoids as a result. They're hermits, they never go out, they never meet anyone.

Their interactions with others are stunted, partial, distorted, and misleading. They learn the wrong lessons from the dearth of their social encounters. They are unable to realistically evaluate themselves, their skills, their achievements, their rights, privileges, expectations where they have gone wrong, what they're doing wrong.

And they retreat to fantasy, to denial, to self delusion. They become rigid, the personality becomes disordered.

And you, you become the external memory, the external hard disk of their glorious moments and of their pain and trauma. And it is precisely this dichotomy.

Precisely the fact that you embody both the best moments of the narcissist and the worst moments of his life, his most positive emotions and his most negative ones, his elation and his pain, his success and his failure. You are there you are a witness. You are a witness.

And in the regime that the narcissist establishes, witnesses, dissidents, and opposition figures, are often invited to tea and silenced.

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

Narcissist's Routines

Narcissists have a series of routines that are developed through rote learning and repetitive patterns of experience. These routines are used to reduce anxiety and transform the world into a manageable and controllable one. The narcissist is a creature of habit and finds change unsettling. The narcissist's routines are often broken down when they are breached or can no longer be defended, leading to a narcissistic injury.


Narcissist: Drama Queen in Pathological Narcissistic Space

Narcissists have a deep-seated need for excitement and drama to alleviate their boredom and melancholy. They create an imaginary environment called the pathological narcissistic space, where they seek admiration, adoration, approval, applause, or attention. Narcissistic supply substitutes for having a real vocation or avocation and actual achievements. The narcissist's two mechanisms of establishing a morphological narcissistic space and the urge to move continuously are completely incompatible, leading to the narcissistic condition.


Narcissist Reacts to Criticism, Disagreement, Disapproval

Narcissists are hypervigilant and perceive every disagreement as criticism and every critical comment as complete and humiliating rejection. They react defensively, becoming indignant, aggressive, and cold. The narcissist minimizes the impact of the disagreement and criticism on himself by holding the critic in contempt, by diminishing the stature of the discordant conversant. When the disagreement or criticism or disapproval or approbation become public, the narcissist tends to regard them as narcissistic supply.


Narcissist's Immunity

Narcissists possess magical thinking and narcissistic immunity, which is the erroneous feeling that they are immune to the consequences of their actions. The sources of this fantastic misappraisal of situations and chains of events are the false self, a sense of entitlement, the narcissist's ability to manipulate their human environment, and the narcissist's inability to empathize. Narcissists are convinced of a great, inevitable personal destiny and are pathologically envious of people, projecting their aggression onto them. When required to account for their misdeeds, the narcissist is always distainful, bitter, and resentful.


Narcissist's Sadistic Inner Judge and Critic

The narcissist is tormented by a sadistic superego, which is an amalgamation of negative evaluations, criticisms, angry or disappointed voices and disparagement meted out in the narcissist's formative years and adolescence by parents, peers, role models and authority figures. The narcissist's sense of self-worth is catapulted from one pole to another, from an inflated view of himself to utter despair and self-denigration. The narcissist needs narcissistic supply to regulate this wild pendulum. The narcissist's whole life is a two-fold attempt to both satisfy the inexorable demands of his inner tribunal and to prove wrong its harsh and merciless criticism.


Narcissist's False Narrative and False Self

The narcissist constructs a false self that is godlike and seeks admiration, adulation, and attention from others. They create a narrative of their life that is partly confabulated to prove the veracity of their grandiose claims. However, reality intrudes, and a gap opens between their self-perception and their pedestrian existence. The narcissist copes with this by denying reality and inventing a new narrative that accommodates the intrusive data.


Narcissist: Loser and Failure

Narcissists have three traits that make them fail and become losers: a sense of entitlement, arrogance, and aversion to routine. Their sense of entitlement makes them lazy and believe that they should be spoon-fed. They are under-qualified and lack skills because they believe they are above mundane chores. Their arrogance and belief that they are superior to others hampers their ability to function in society. They become outcasts and are shunned by colleagues, employers, and family members.


Narcissist: Bumbling Fool, Incapable of Learning?

Narcissists can appear to be stupid for several reasons. They have no impulse control, act out, and engage in self-defeating actions. They also use pseudo-stupidity to avoid the consequences of their misdeeds. Narcissists are gullible, have an impaired reality test, and cannot read social cues or the intentions of others. They also use false modesty to fish for compliments, but their attempts are so transparent that people react with repulsion. Finally, the narcissist regards learning something new or getting advice as narcissistic injuries, which renders them appear profoundly stupid.


Why Narcissists Laugh in Funerals?

Narcissists fake emotions to manipulate their environment and lack true feelings. They have emotional resonance tables but no real emotions, and they defensively distort facts and circumstances to preserve their delusions of grandeur. Narcissists use emotional delegation to defend themselves against past hurts, delegating their emotions to a fictitious self, the false self. This duality is fundamental to the narcissistic personality and is evident in every interaction with them.


Narcissists: Achievers and Failures

Narcissists are either compulsively driven overachievers or chronic underachieving wastrels. The disparity between the accomplishments of the narcissist and his grandiose fantasies and inflated self-image is what is called the grandiosity gap. It is a staggering abyss and in the long run, it is insupportable and unsustainable. The narcissist's false self is so unrealistic and his expectations of himself are so way out there, his superego is so sadistic, these inner voices that criticize him, that there is nothing the narcissist can do to extricate himself from the Kafkaesque trial that is his life.

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