Narcissist's Accomplices

Uploaded 9/23/2010, approx. 4 minute read

I am Sam Vaknin, and I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.

We are surrounded with malignant narcissists.

So how come this disorder has hitherto been largely ignored? How come there is such a death of research and literature regarding this crucial family of mental health pathologies? Even mental health practitioners are woefully unaware of pathological narcissism and unprepared, not ready, to assist its victims.

Well, the said answer is that narcissism meshes well with our culture. Our civilization itself is narcissistic. There is a kind of narcissistic background radiation which permeates every social and cultural interaction. It is hard to distinguish the pathological narcissist from the merely self-assertive, self-confident, self-promoting, eccentric, ambitious or highly individualistic person which are so common in our society.

Hard sell, greed, envy, self-centeredness, exploitativeness, diminished empathy. They are all socially condoned features of Western civilization. Our society is atomized.

The outcome of individualism gone awry. Our society encourages narcissistic leadership and role models. The substructures of our culture, institutionalized religion, political parties, civic organizations, the media, corporations, and they are also fused with narcissism and pervaded by its pernicious outcomes.

The very efforts of materialism and capitalism upholds certain narcissistic traits such as reduced empathy, ambitiousness, exploitation, a sense of entitlement, and grandiose fantasies which are euphemistically called vision.

Narcissists are aided, abetted and facilitated by four types of people and institutions.

The adulators, the blissfully ignorant, the self-deceiving and those deceived by the narcissist. The adulators are fully aware of the nefarious and damaging aspects of the narcissist's behavior, but they believe that they are more than balanced by benefits. Benefits to themselves, benefits to the collective or to society at large.

The adulators engage in an explicit trade-off between some of their principles and values and their personal profit or the greater good. They believe that narcissists can and do contribute to society. They seek to help the narcissist, promote his agenda, shield him from harm, connect him with like-minded people, do his chores for him, and in general create the conditions and the environment for the narcissist's success.

This kind of alliance is especially prevalent in political parties, the government, multinationals, religious organizations and other hierarchical collectives.

Then there are the blissfully ignorant. These are simply unaware of the bad sides of the narcissist and make sure that they remain unaware. They look the other way. They pretend that the narcissist's behavior is normative or they turn a blind eye to his egregious misbehavior.

They are classic deniers of reality.

Some of these blissfully ignorant maintain a generally rosy outlook premised on the inbred benevolence of mankind. Others simply cannot tolerate dissonance, conflict and discord. They prefer to live in a fantastic world where everything is harmonious and smooth and evil is banished.

They react with rage to any information to the contrary and block it out instantly.

This type of denial is well evidenced in dysfunctional families, for instance, where the mother would cover up for the father and deny any wrongdoing on his part.

Then there are the self-disievers. These people are fully aware of the narcissist's transgressions and malice, his indifference, exploitativeness, lack of empathy and rampant grandiosity, but they prefer to displace the causes or the effects of such misconduct on his part. They attribute his pathology to externalities, he's going through a rough patch or they judge it to be temporary. They even go as far as accusing the victim for the narcissist's lapses or for defending themselves. They say she provoked him into abusing her.

In a feat of cognitive dissonance, these people, the self-disievers, deny any connection between the acts of the narcissist and their consequences. They say his wife abandoned him because she was promiscuous, not because of anything he did to her.

They are swayed by the narcissist's undeniable charm, intelligence and attractiveness, but the narcissist needs not invest resources in converting them to his cause. He does not deceive them. They are self-propelled into the abyss that is narcissism.

The inverted narcissist and co-dependence are self-disievers. Typically they are the deceived.

These are people or institutions or collectives deliberately taken for a premeditated right by the narcissist. He feeds them false information, manipulates a judgment, prefers plausible scenarios to account for his indiscretions, soils the opposition, charms them, appeals to their reason or to their emotions and promises the moon.

Again, the narcissist's incontrovertible powers of persuasion and his impressive personality play a role in this predatory ritual.

The deceived are especially hard to deprogram. They are often themselves encumbered with narcissistic traits and find it impossible to admit a mistake to mistake or to atone. They are likely to stay on with the narcissist to his end their bitter end.

Regrettably, the narcissist rarely pays the price for his offenses. His victims pick up the tab.

But even here, the malignant optimism of the abused never ceases to amaze. They still claim and believe that they can rescue the narcissist, heal the narcissist, cure the narcissist, change the narcissist with their love, their empathy.

But this is Lalalint. It's a kind of grandiose fantasy in the mirror, in reverse.

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 in Court and Litigation

Narcissists are skilled at distorting reality and presenting plausible alternative scenarios, making it difficult to expose their lies in court. However, it is possible to break a narcissist by finding their weak spots and using them to inflict pain. The narcissist is likely to react with rage to any statement that contradicts their inflated perception of themselves or suggests they are not special. They feel entitled to be treated differently from others and cannot tolerate criticism or being told they are not as intelligent or successful as they think they are.

Narcissist Never Sorry

Narcissists sometimes feel bad and experience depressive episodes and dysphoric moods, but they have a diminished capacity to empathize and rarely feel sorry for what they have done or for their victims. They often project their own emotions and actions onto others and attribute to others what they hate in themselves. When confronted with major crises, the narcissist experiences real excruciating pain, but this is only a fleeting moment, and they recover their former self and embark on a new hunt for narcissistic supply. They are hunters, predators, and their victims are prey.

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

Narcissists need their victims to suffer to regulate their own emotions and feel a sense of control. They keep a mental ledger of positive and negative behaviors, with negative behaviors weighing more heavily. Narcissists need counterfactual statements to maintain their delusion of being special and superior. The grandiosity gap is the major vulnerability of the narcissist, and they are often in denial about their limitations and failures.

How Narcissist's Victims Deceive Themselves

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

Discontinuous Narcissist's Multiple Personas

Narcissists do not have criminal intent, but they do victimize, plunder, terrorize, and abuse others as a manifestation of their genuine character. The narcissist is a walking compilation of personalities, and each of these personalities has its personal history. The narcissist is unable to link his past acts or inaction with their outcomes in the present. The slicing of the narcissist's life is what stands behind the narcissist's apparent inability to predict the inevitable outcomes of his actions.

How Narcissist Experiences/Reacts to No Contact, Grey Rock, Mirroring, Coping, Survival Techniques

Narcissists are victims of post-traumatic conditions caused by their parents, leading to ontological insecurity, dissociation, and confabulation. They have no core identity and construct their sense of self by reflecting themselves from other people. Narcissists have empathy, but it is cold empathy, which is goal-oriented and used to find vulnerabilities to obtain goals. Narcissism becomes a religion when a child is abused by their parents, particularly their mother, and not allowed to develop their own boundaries. The false self demands human sacrifice, and the narcissist must sacrifice others to the false self to gratify and satisfy it.

Narcissist's Victims' Many Faces

Everyone around the narcissist is bound to become a victim, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. There are three categories of victims: those who suffer from the narcissist's instability, those who are misled by the narcissist's deceiving messages, and those who are intentionally targeted by the narcissist. The narcissist is both sadistic and masochistic, and in hurting others, he always seeks to also hurt himself. The narcissist is ruinous and destructive, and no amount of punishment can restore the balance or provide closure and vindication.

Narcissists: Evil?

The concept of evil is ambiguous and slippery, and the definition of evil is suffering that results from morally wrong human choices. Evil must be premeditated, and the evil person can and does consciously choose the morally wrong over the morally right. Narcissists satisfy the two conditions for evilness only partly, and their evil conduct is utilitarian. Narcissists act maliciously only because it is expedient to do so, not because it is in their nature. In the pursuit of the study of narcissism, we need to invent a new language to capture this phenomenon and what it does to people.

Sadistic Narcissist

Narcissists are sadistic in their pursuit of narcissistic supply, and they enjoy inflicting pain on others who they perceive as intentionally frustrating and withholding. They are not full-fledged sadists in the psychosexual sense, but they are adept at finding the vulnerabilities and frailties of their victims. The narcissist's sadistic acts are often disguised as an enlightened interest in the welfare of their victim, and they are so subtle and poisonous that they might be regarded as the most dangerous of all variants of sadism. However, the narcissist's attention span is short, and they usually let their victims go before they suffer irreversible damage.

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