Narcissist's Cognitive Deficits

Uploaded 11/10/2010, approx. 3 minute read

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

As we all know, the narcissist lacks sympathy, is therefore unable to meaningfully relate to other people and to truly appreciate what it is to be human.

Instead, the narcissist withdraws inside into a universe populated by avatars, simple or complex representations of parents, peers, role models, authoritative figures, and other members of his social milieu.

There, inside, in his inner landscape, in this twilight zone of simulacra, he develops relationships and maintains an ongoing internal dialogue with his introgectors, with his internal representations.

All of us generate such representations of meaningful others and internalize these objects that we have invented. This is a process called introjection.

We adopt and assimilate, and later we manifest their traits and their attitudes. This is completely normal. It is part of personal development and growth, especially in early childhood and up to early adolescence.

But the narcissist is different. He is incapable of holding an external dialogue. All his dialogues are completely internal.

Even when he seems to be interacting with someone else, the narcissist is actually engaged in a self-referential discourse.

To the narcissist, all other people are cardboard cuddles. They are merely two-dimensional animated cartoon characters.

It does not perceive other people, because of his lack of empathy, as three-dimensional entities with their own needs, preferences, wishes, priorities, hopes.

To him, everyone is a mere symbol. People exist only in his mind.

He is startled when people deviate from the script and prove to be complex and autonomous.

But this is not the narcissist's only or sole cognitive deficit.

The narcissist attributes his failures and mistakes to circumstances and external causes.

This propensity to blame the world for one's mishaps and misfortunes is called alloplastic defense.

At the same time, the narcissist regards his successes and his achievements, some of which of course are completely imaginary, as proofs of his own omnipotence and omniscience.

So if he fails, it's someone else's fault. If he succeeds, it's his own doing.

This is known in attribution theory as defensive attribution.

Cversely, the narcissist traces other people's errors and defeats to their inherent inferiority, stupidity and weakness.

Their successes, he dismisses as being in the right place at the right time, the outcome of life, luck and circumstance.

So if they succeed, it's an accident of fate. If they fail, it's their own fault, exactly the opposite of what the narcissist attributes to himself.

The narcissist does false prey to an exaggerated form of what is known in attribution theory as fundamental attribution error.

These policies and the narcissist's magical thinking are not dependent on objective data, on tests of distinctiveness and consistency and consensus.

He is not rational, it's an irrational thing, raging inside him. The narcissist never questions his reflexive judgments. He never stops to ask himself, are these events distinct? Are they typical? Do they repeat themselves consistently? Are they unprecedented? What do others have to say about all this?

The narcissist learns nothing because he regards himself as born and being perfect.

Even when he fails a thousand times, the narcissist still feels the victim of happenstance. Someone else has repeated outstanding accomplishments are never proof of mettle or merit.

People who disagree with the narcissist and try to teach him differently, to improve him, to help him, are to his mind biased or morons or both or people with evil intentions because the narcissist is also paranoid and enmeshed and immersed in the miniscule delusions.

But the narcissist pays a dear price for these distortions of perception.

Unable to gorge his environment with accuracy, he develops paranoid ideation and he fades the reality test.

Finally, the narcissist lifts the draw bridges, vanishes into a state of mind that can best be described as borderline psychosis.

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

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 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: 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.

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 as Spoiled Brat

Narcissists require attention and narcissistic supply, and when they cannot obtain it, they may experience decompensation, which can lead to acting out in various ways. Narcissists may resort to several adaptive solutions, including delusional narratives, antisocial behavior, passive-aggressive behavior, paranoid narratives, and masochistic avoidance. These behaviors are all self-generated sources of narcissistic supply. Masochistic narcissists may direct their fury inwards, punishing themselves for their failure to elicit supply, and this behavior has the added benefit of forcing those closest to them to pay attention to them.

Embarrassing Narcissist

Narcissists lack self-awareness and are only intimate with their false self, which is constructed from years of lying and deceit. Their overpowering sense of entitlement is rarely commensurate with their accomplishments in real life or with their traits. They often make inflated and inane claims about their sexual prowess, wealth, connections, history, or achievements. This failure of the reality test can have serious and irreversible consequences, as narcissists may make life and death decisions in fields they are academically unqualified for.

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.

Fake Doormat Narcissist Self-implodes

Narcissists often refuse to commit, invest, or compromise in various aspects of their lives, leading to negative outcomes and losses. This behavior is driven by six psychological reasons: entitlement, magical thinking, schizoid tendencies, grandiosity, imposter syndrome, and self-destructive behaviors. These factors lead to a rejection of life and its offerings, causing the narcissist to become a victim of abuse and mistreatment. The narcissist's negative behaviors and self-destruction are desperate attempts to connect with the world, as they are unable to form positive, functional relationships.

Do Narcissists Truly Hate?

Narcissists are often adult versions of abused children who fear intimacy and seek to provoke hatred in parents, caregivers, and authority figures. They act out antisocially and seek to destroy the source of frustration. The narcissist's hatred is not a stable experiential state, but rather a transformation of resentment and an aggressive reaction to frustration. The narcissist is heavily dependent on other people for the regulation of their sense of self-worth, and they resent this dependence.

Narcissist's Wonderboy Mask

Narcissists have a conflicted relationship with their emotions, investing in things they feel they have full control over, such as themselves. To protect themselves from emotional contamination, they construct a false self, which insulates them from the risks of intimacy. The narcissist also creates a second mask, the wunderkind mask, which broadcasts to the world that they are both a child and a genius, making them less emotionally vulnerable. However, the indiscriminate use of these two masks can be detrimental to the narcissist's well-being, leading to emotional devastation and abandonment.

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2024, under license to William DeGraaf
Website Copyright © William DeGraaf 2022-2024
Get it on Google Play
Privacy policy