Okay, my last day here and I mean this month and a long night ahead.
So I'm going to give you a parting gift. I'm going to tell you how the narcissist eyes, how his gaze turns you into stone from under his narcissistic eyebrows.
No, don't worry. I'm just kidding. I haven't degenerated that far.
Yes, I know that there are videos online about the narcissist demonic eyebrows and other typical, I must say, unfortunately, nonsense.
Today though, we are going to discuss tangential issue, something that includes eyebrows among other parts of one's anatomy.
Today we're going to discuss the conflicted relationship between the narcissist and the psychopath and their bodies and how this manifest and expresses itself through their body language.
And I want to start what else, when we discuss psychopaths.
I want to start with the FBI, the Federal Bureau of Investigations in the United States of America. In 2012, the FBI published enforcement bulletin number 28 and it included the intriguingly titled entry, the language of psychopaths, new findings and implications for law enforcement.
Those of you who can lay your hands on it, it's a recommended reading. It's in the description.
One sentence caught my narcissistic eyebrow eye.
Psychopaths say the FBI psychopaths, highly persuasive, nonverbal behavior often distracts the listener from identifying their psychopathic nature and their spoken lies.
And here's the thing, the psychopaths body language is geared at concealment, it disguise, at misleading people, at distracting them with an A, it redirecting their attention.
This is what psychopaths do.
So psychopaths either appear to be lying all the time, even when they're telling the truth, or they appear to be telling the truth even when they're lying.
In other words, everything you think you know about how to spot liars and the various tells, T-E-L-Ls and the various signs of lying and that you are skilled and so on, so forget all this.
When it comes to psychopaths, none of this works. The physiology of psychopaths is also atypical, not normal, skin conductance, heart rate, amygdala responses, everything is totally inhuman in a way in psychopaths.
So psychopaths easily defeat lie detectors and polygraphs where normal people would find it very difficult.
So if you come across a psychopath and you tell yourself, "Don't worry, I'm going to know when he's lying." Forget it, you're not going to know when he's lying. And you may make the mistake of misjudging what he says to be a lie when it's actually the truth, or misjudging it to be the truth when it's actually a lie.
The psychopath's body language is determined by the environment. The psychopath is goal-oriented.
So he reshapes his body, he shapeshifts, he molds his body, like you know this molten metal in the Terminator franchise? So he molds and shapes his body to convey messages. He uses his body for overt signaling.
Actually what the FBI said fully concur, the psychopath communicates mostly through his body, through his body language, so that you don't pay attention to what he's saying.
Psychopaths body and body language are environmentally determined and this applies to the narcissist as well.
When the narcissist for example finds himself in a threatening environment, coercive environment, frightening environment, everything changes. He loses, the narcissist loses his narcissism. Suddenly he is not abrasive, he is not antisocial, he is nice, he is kind, he is attentive, he is compassionate.
When the narcissist for example finds himself in prison, there's no way you could tell that he is a narcissist. He's a totally transformed person, same in the military, same in a hospital, same in a life-threatening situation, same in the throes of a life crisis.
So the narcissist's body language and the narcissist's narcissistic style are the behaviors that comprise narcissism. These are queued, they are reactive to environmental cues.
Now this raises fascinating questions.
For example, if a narcissist ceases to be a narcissist in prison, why would we consider him a narcissist outside prison?
And if a psychopath fully controls his impulses in a variety of environments and situations, why would we say that he is defiant?
In short, narcissism and psychopathy appear to be more role play, kind of role play or a choice rather than a personality disorder.
And this is an issue which puts in doubt, casts in doubt the whole post-traumatic scenario because people in the throes of trauma, people in the aftermath of trauma, complex trauma, or a one-time event which induces post-traumatic stress disorder, they can't control their behaviors. The behaviors are not modifiable. There's no willpower involved there.
And yet the narcissist and psychopaths can.
So you see, body language in this case is a philosophical issue. It raises important queries and important questions regarding the very fundamentals of these two disorders.
If these are role play disorders, if these are simply dysfunctional, antisocial roles, if this is play acting, if this is the derivative of thespian skills on a theater stage, then maybe we should approach narcissists and psychopaths differently.
Both narcissists and psychopaths invade your personal space and they do it for two reasons. Invading your space, your territory, in your face, you're not the expression, in your face, literally, signals a power matrix hierarchy.
Like, I'm more powerful than you. I'm omnipotent you're not. I own your space.
So there's a power hierarchy signal involved in invading your territory and it's a form of ritualized pain. Invading your territory causes extreme discomfort and this discomfort can escalate and become intolerable. It is a form of inflicting pain. It is sadistic. Invading one's territory, deliberately ignoring one's discomfort and requests, causing distress intentionally. That is, of course, sadistic.
But narcissists and psychopaths associate this sadistic strain of their behavior with extreme intimacy. After all, invading one's space could lead to physical contact, including sex. So it's associated in the narcissist's mind and the psychopath's mind with intimacy, the most extreme form of intimacy.
Actually, serial killers have described the act of killing as the ultimate in intimacy. When two bodies merge in effect, a sexual act, that's why we consider most serial killers to be sexual sadists. They conflate intimacy with pain and with the invasion of someone else's personal space to the maximum.
Now, before I proceed, I owe you that. I mean, I'm sadistic, but there's a limit. I owe you a comment on the narcissist's eyes and how the narcissist's eyes allegedly go blank on you or go blank on you, depending on the victim. So there are many reports about the change in the narcissist's eyes or the narcissist's gaze. And they are not entirely, they cannot be entirely debunked because the narcissist's eyes do change. They do go blank in a way, owing to changes in the size of pupils, dilation and so on and so forth. And in the ratio between pupil and cornea and so on. So the whole eye, the eye of the narcissist changes its dimensions.
But this happens only when the narcissist dissociates or when his aggression is provoked, when he feels contempt, disdain, impatience and the wish to inflict punishment, to be punitive or to inflict pain.
The narcissist then withdraws inwards and everything I say applies to psychopaths. The narcissist withdraws inwards and decompensates. Both his false and his true selves are temporarily deactivated.
And what you see in the narcissist's eyes at that moment in time when he maximally dissociates or becomes maximally aggressive, what you see is his famous empty schizooid core. You see into his non-existent soul if you wish to use a metaphor. You see, you come face to face with his absence.
Okay? I owed you this clarification.
Now let's get serious.
Now this was serious what I just said, but let's get more serious.
One way to tell if someone is a narcissist is to observe their body language.
The narcissist adopts a physical posture which implies and exudes an air of superiority, seniority, hidden powers, mysteriousness, amused indifference, etc. He is above the fray. He is far from the maddening crowd. He is sui generis. He is unique. He is so special, etc.
Though the narcissist usually maintains sustained and piercing eye contact with potential sources of narcissistic supply. He often refrains from physical proximity even with these kind of people. So the narcissist is highly territorial. The only time he invades your territory is when he wants to coerce you, to convert you, or to punish you.
He never allows you to invade his territory. He always invades your territory.
Now many of you would confirm that when you try to touch the narcissist or to kiss the narcissist or to hug the narcissist or to show any physical compassion, the narcissist recoils. He goes back.
There's a look of disgust and disdain that passes like so much storm clouds, so many storm clouds on his face.
He doesn't like to be touched. He doesn't like to be touched in any way, shape or form. He doesn't like imposed intimacy. He's very territorial.
However, he does not hesitate to invade your personal territory, your personal space.
Now I've identified in my early work in the 1990s, I've identified about 10 postures of the narcissist.
Posture number one, hypervigilant paranoid. It's when the narcissist stands aside, scans the room or the environment trying to spot threats, slides, insults, references to himself, referential ideation and so on and so forth. So he's hypervigilant. He's a big paranoid.
The posture number one.
Next posture, pleading expectant. It's when the narcissist solicits narcissistic supply from you, tries to please you or to captivate you or to charm you or to enchant you into giving him narcissistic supply.
Next, dismissive contemptuous posture. It's when the narcissist regard you as less than human, unworthy of his resources and attention. Someone who has wasted his time or presumed to be his equal or even his superior in some way. And he holds everyone in contempt and disdain and he's dismissive. That's another posture.
Next posture is superior boastful. It's when it's the narcissist's sales pitch. It's when the narcissist tries to sell himself to you, to demonstrate to you how amazing he is, how unique, how special, how unprecedented. And while doing this, the narcissist is likely to lie about himself. He's not lying. He's actually confabulating.
But as far as you're concerned, these are lies. The narcissist believes in his own lies.
Narcissism is a fantasy defense. Remember that.
The narcissist cannot tell the difference between reality and fantasy. That's the problem. And that's not Vaknin. That is Kannberg and many others.
Seinfeld, many others.
So the narcissist, when he's boastful, is likely to slip into extreme and massive confabulations, all pervasive confabulations, just to try to convince you that he's godlike and worthy of your admiration, adulation, attention, and even fear.
Next posture, impatient, scornful. It's when the narcissist deems you to be moronic, stupid, inadequate in the intellectual department, missing a few nuts and bolts here and there, or too basic to grasp the narcissist's magnificent range of intellectual accomplishments and penetration.
So then he becomes impatient with you and he's scornful. He puts you down, humiliates you. He punishes you. It's punitive. It's a punitive posture.
The next posture is impatient and entitled. It's when the narcissist feels that he's entitled to special treatment by top level, top echelon people and is not getting what he expects.
Now his expectations are incommensurate is and with his accomplishments, but still he feels entitled and he becomes impatient.
Everything I'm describing are forms of body language. Anyone who has been with a narcissist for longer than a few hours will recognize instantly all the postures that I'm describing.
The body, the narcissist's body changes to reflect these postures. He slouches, he stands erect, he smiles, he smirks. His whole body is at the service of reshaping itself to reflect and signal the posture in an unequivocal way.
The next posture is membership gravitas. It's I belong here. I'm a serious person. I'm respectable. I'm venerable. You should accept me as a member of whatever it is. So it's a membership gravitas.
And then there is this pretension. I'm already a part of you. I'm one of you. I know your arcane lingo. I know your secrets and I'm privy to all the mysterious, all the mysteries, all the ceremonies and rituals and so on and so on. Great for Freemasons.
Next, converting empathic posture. It's when the narcissist pretends to be a savior, a rescuer, a healer, compassionate, empathic, kind and nice. This is usually typical of covert narcissists. And you have many of them online as coaches and experts and so on and so forth, pretending to be this when actually they're nothing but virulent covert narcissists. So converting and part, why converting?
Because the empathy and the kindness and so on convert the target, convert the victim, the prey into having sex with the narcissist, into admiring the narcissist, into spending time with the narcissist and into, of course, giving narcissistic supply to the narcissist.
And the final posture is observer detached. It's when the narcissist pretends to be a disinterested scientist. He's just observing. It's none of his business. He is not affected by his untouchable. He's immune, even to the consequences of his actions. He's invulnerable. He's superior in distance that he's above it all.
And so this allows him to observe, to catalog, to classify taxonomy. He deals with taxonomy. People around him are like insects and he is the chief entomologist.
These are the postures of the narcissist.
Narcissists, I said, and psychopaths, have very complex relationships with their bodies. The psychopath uses his body and the psychopath and the somatic narcissist use their bodies the way an artist uses a canvas, the way a sculptor uses clay or marble.
So they treat their bodies, the somatic narcissist, and the psychopath treat their bodies as raw material. They work on it and in it, they shape it and mold it to yield outcomes.
In the case of the somatic narcissist, to yield narcissistic supply, usually via sexual conquest. And in the case of the psychopath, any outcome.
So of course, this kind of conflicted relationship or complex, dissonant, complex relationship with your body means that your body gradually becomes a source of frustration. The body has a mind of its own. We now know we treat trauma via the body. The body has its own brain, so to speak, its own will.
And so when you try to impose yourself on the body, to use the body as so much raw material, when you mistreat your body in this way, the body rebels. The body becomes mutinous and there's bad blood between you and your body. You push it to the limits and then it pushes you back, pushes back.
And this leads to somatoform disorders. Somatoform disorders include somatization, the expression of psychological problems via physical symptoms. Somatoform disorders include conversion disorders, which are basically the same.
Illness anxiety disorder, which used to be known as hypochondria or hypochondriasis. It's a belief that you are sick when you're actually not sick. A belief that you're physically ill when you're not physically.
So all these are much more common among narcissists and psychopaths than in the general population.
Because of this arms length relationship, outsourcing the narcissist and psychopaths needs to the body as if the body were an employee or a subcontractor and then getting angry at the body for not delivering or late delivery for whatever.
They treat the psychopaths and narcissists treat their body as if it were Amazon. Amazon, you know, it needs to come with a drone and deliver the results and the consequences.
Possessing a distorted physical self image is called body dysmorphic disorder or body dysmorphia. All narcissists have it to some degree.
Somatic narcissists are especially prone to misjudge their bodies either positively or negatively.
Somatic narcissists and psychopaths believe themselves to be physically irresistible, exuding sex and energy, statuistically shaped. This is counterfactual of course, it's all in their minds.
In what they do, somatic narcissists and psychopaths, they create an internal object, they snapshot their own body, they internalize and interject their own body, then they continue to have a relationship with this internal object rather than with their physical body with its limitations and problems and disorders and so on and diseases.
So they believe themselves because they are, because the internal object representing the body, proprioceptive object is the clinical term, because the internal object representing the body is idealized of course, snapshot is photoshopped.
They have a relationship with their body the same way they have a relationship with a potential intimate partner. So because it's idealized, the narcissists and psychopaths, somatic narcissists and psychopaths lie to themselves and say that their body is perfect, stunning, that they're hunks and hunks or whatever you call them.
And this grandiose self-imagery rarely corresponds with reality, it's counterfactual as I said.
Aware of this somewhere in the recesses of his mind, the somatic narcissist dedicates inordinate amounts of time and effort to bodybuilding, martial arts, exercising, mastering sexual advances and foreplay, the intricacies of sex, they spend hours at the gym and then post on Instagram showing themselves, demonstrating how hard they were. They sculpt their body, they shape it, then they wear clothes that emphasize their musculature and they do it publicly even in an inappropriate settings.
So clinically this is inappropriate effect.
To enhance this belief system, the somatic narcissist, especially the covert somatic narcissism, co-ops other people by coercing them or forcing them to complement his build, his body, his shape, his constitution, his muscles, his health, his sexual prowess, his physical regime, his attractiveness, his skill at martial arts or whatever, or bodybuilding or wrestling.
The somatic narcissist is a compulsive consumer of body complements and extensions, objects, medications, supplements, surgeries that he thinks would increase his attractiveness, irresistibility, appeal and the value of his propositions.
And that includes physical objects, fancy cars, flashy clothing, sumptuous residences, first-class flights, luxury hotels, platinum credit cards, lavish parties, name dropping, celebrity friends, high-tech gadgetry. All these serve to enhance the narcissist's self-image and to bolster his grandiose fantasies.
So this positive dysmorphic disorder, it's a positive disorder, you overvalue the shape and the functioning of your body and its attractiveness.
So this positive dysmorphic disorder serves to elicit narcissistic supply and to buttress the distorted unreal self-image.
But it is also a control mechanism. It allows the narcissist's false self to manipulate both the narcissist, his human environment and his targets or victims.
It is as if it is as though by morphing his body, by shaping it somehow, the narcissist molds and designs his world, his nearest and dearest, his self in flux, his projected image and the reactions to his image.
By misrepresenting his body in a variety of ways, by relying about his health, his sex appeal, his longevity, his sexual conquest, his possessions, his bodily extensions, his sexual prowess, his attractiveness, his irresistibility, his friends and lovers, adventures, affairs.
By confabulating about all this, the narcissist transforms the real world into his fantasy.
As far as the narcissist is concerned, the real world is how people perceive him to be.
By changing people's perceptions, by indoctrinating and entraining them and brainwashing them, the narcissist secures what I call pathological narcissistic space in which his false self can thrive fully nourished with narcissistic supply.
Now admittedly, this phenomenon is not limited to somatic narcissists and psychopaths.
The cerebral narcissist also distorts and deforms the true image of his body in his mind.
The cerebral narcissist may exaggerate the dimensions of his head, the height of his forehead or the length of his sensitive fingers.
The cerebral narcissist may attribute to himself ailments and syndromes and diseases typical of high-powered intellectuals. For example, consumption to tuberculosis, tendinitis, headaches.
The cerebral narcissist almost always exaggerates everything about his mental capacities, his intellectual accomplishments, his skills and so on and so forth.
But this is closely aligned and attached to a negative body image, negative dysmorphia.
The cerebral narcissist tends to completely ignore and belittle and neglect the rest of his body except his brain.
He cultivates his brain, he nourishes his brain, he nurtures his brain. It's the only organ in his body that he takes real good care of.
The rest is neglected.
As far as the cerebral narcissist is concerned, the body is a burdensome and unnecessary appendage.
The cerebral may complain of the need to maintain the flesh and of the decried dependence of his magnificent brain on his ugly and decaying body.
A cerebral narcissist might say, "I would have willingly placed my brain in a laboratory jar to be artificially nourished there via tubes. I would have willingly given up my body."
They may say, I know I have said it quite a few times.
Cerebral narcissists rarely exercise. They loathe exercising and physical activity. They disdain all these proclivities and predilections of the somatic narcissist. They regard somatic narcissists as grotesque, as the epitome of ugliness and lack of good taste and aesthetics.
Physical pursuits, sex included, are perceived by cerebral narcissist to be bestial, demeaning, common, degrading, defiling, wasteful, meaningless.
And this, of course, is also a result, the outcome, of body dysmorphic disorder.
The cerebral narcissist underestimates the needs of his own body, misreads his body's signals, and ignores its physiological processes.
The body to the cerebral narcissist becomes an abstract, a concept, background noise, and constant annoyance and nuisance.
Cerebral narcissists sometimes go through somatic phases. And somatic narcissists, if they're capable of it, adopt cerebral behavioral patterns.
Their attitudes change accordingly. There's no type consistency.
When the somatic becomes cerebral, he begins to resent and reject his body, even punish his body in many ways.
He may develop, for example, an addiction, or he may self-mutilate.
When the cerebral becomes somatic, he begins to regard his body as a source of pleasure and as a very attractive, irresistible proposition.
He totally misjudges his flabby, neglected, seriously disgusting body. He convinces himself that he is irresistible, for example, to women, if he's a man, heterosexual man.
And of course, this is all counterfactual.
The cerebral narcissist in years and decades of extreme maltreatment and neglect has rendered his body an abomination, an aesthetic abomination.
I have no other words to describe.
And yet, when he transitions to somatic, transitions to somatic phase, the cerebral narcissist loses instantly his negative body dysmorphia and develops equally instantly a positive body dysmorphia.
It's another example of the narcissist's total detachment from reality, impaired reality to extremely, extremely impaired reality testing, bordering on the psychotic.
The temporarily somatic narcissist suddenly begins to exercise, to groom himself, undergoes cosmetic surgeries. He becomes seductive, and he engages in creative and imaginative, possibly kinky sex.
The somatic narcissist made cerebral, tries to read more, becomes contemplative and asocialconsumes culture and art to the best of his very limited ability, usually.
But these are passing phases. And the narcissist always refers to his true, or should I say false, form.
I want to make one comment which doesn't have direct bearing on narcissism and/or psychopathy, but is, I think, could be of interest.
I suggested, I described the condition that I call labile body dysmorphia, or labile body dysmorphic disorder.
Women, and to some extent men, misjudge the shape of their bodies or parts of their anatomy, and they see them sometimes as flawed or defective, and at other times as irresistibly perfect, as I described above.
A client with labile body dysmorphia will point to herself and say, "I could get any man I want." And then minutes later, she would complain bitterly about how fat and repulsive and deformed her body is or had become.
So these ups and downs of body self-image and attitude towards one body is what I call labile body dysmorphia.
This fluctuation between egodystonic self-loathing and egosyntonic histrionic grandiosity, this fluctuation, these are both facets of a severely impaired reality testing.
The problem is that such delusionality, such delusional disorder yields reckless and self-destructive behavior, disinhibition, grandiosity, substance abuse, eating disorders, and severe impairment of impulse control.
The person afflicted with labile body dysmorphic disorder seeks to reaffirm her fantastically grandiose view of her body via unbridled promiscuity. These risky choices, reckless choices, often lend such a person in hot water and endanger her or him, and profoundly affect their relationships with nearest, dearest, and loved ones.
Now luckily, body dysmorphic disorder and somatoform disorders in general are treatable with mind-body somatic therapies and CBT.
So if you identify yourself in anything I've just described in this video, rush to the entrance and seek a therapist.
The prognosis here is excellent. These are treatable conditions, even eating disorders, which is the most extreme end of the spectrum of dissonant body disorder, if you wish.
Bad relationships with your body, even eating disorders are treatable. All these disorders involve control issues, narcissism, in the sense of grandiosity, disrupted object relations, and so on and so forth, and of course impaired reality testing and fantasy defenses.
Some of these things are easily treatable, some are not, but they are all, they can all be tackled in therapy, and I encourage you to seek a licensed therapist and to get help.