Okay, bon bonim and bon bonot. I hope you are all having a sunny weekend.
The narcissist has a false self. If you are the narcissist, therapist, friend, intimate partner, child, then you are the enemy of the false self. You are the competitor of the false self and the false self will stop at nothing until it obviates you, negates you, pushes you away, tarnishes you and otherwise penalizes you.
To understand the occult, occult psychological mechanism behind this, look no further. Watch this video by Moi Semvaknin, author of Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited in Other Books, a former visiting professor of psychology and a current member of the faculty of CIAPS-CIAPS International Advanced Professional Studies.
Now, let's delve right in.
Both narcissists and borderlines have a false self, but our conception of narcissistic personality disorder and borderline personality disorder is undergoing a sea change.
I was reminded of that yesterday when I started to watch a television series titled "Crowded Room". It's an amazing series and I will not spoil it for you by telling you what it's about.
But once you have listened to this video or watched it and then watched the television series, you will immediately see the connection.
Narcissistic personality disorder is much like the old conception of multiple personality disorder. It's an unintegrated, non-constellated system of self-elements, self-states, ego elements. It's as if someone blew up a grenade in the middle of an otherwise, what should have been a unitary self and then we have all these fragments and shrapnel all over the place.
That is the internal landscape of the narcissist and it is very reminiscent of the old way we used to conceptualize multiple personality disorder.
We no longer use the phrase or the term multiple personality disorder, but it still is a very good visualization or depiction of the narcissist's state of mind or internal state.
Borderline personality disorder nowadays is more like dissociative identity disorder or to be more precise OSDD. OSDD is a form, a variant of dissociative identity disorder.
Dissociative identity disorder is the modern successor of multiple personality disorder.
So in both cases, narcissistic personality disorder and borderline personality disorder, in both cases, we are dealing with dissociative post-traumatic conditions with an external regulation of ego functions, effects, moods and even cognitions.
Narcissist and the borderline hand over internal functions that should have been internally carried out. They outsource these functions, they hand them over to someone else, the intimate partner in the case of the borderline and almost everyone else in the case of the narcissist.
And this is known as external regulation.
Before I proceed, I recommend that you watch the following two videos. It is borderline multiple personality, BPD and OSDD and narcissism, multiple personality disorder, dissociative identity disorder, question mark. Now the links are in the description. In the description is under the video.
Let us revert to basics.
What is the main role of the false self? Why does the traumatized and abused child create the false self in the first place?
The false self is compensatory. It compensates for some inadequacy, some lack, some deficiency. It protects the child's true self, which is hurting, crying, shy, fragile, vulnerable, cowering in the corner, trying to avoid the blows of fate, the abuse and the trauma.
Gradually the child divorces his own body, derealizes and depersonalizes in effect. Then he begins to delete hurtful and painful memories.
The child becomes dissociative. The false self is an extreme form of dissociation. It is an imaginary friend who had, which had been transformed gradually into a divinity, a godlike entity whose main role is to isolate the child, to corset the child, to protect the child from the vagaries, exigencies, dangers and risks of the outside world, as reified in the child's parents or caregivers.
Protection, a protective shell, that's one function of the false self.
And in order to carry out this crucial function of protecting the true self, what's left of it, the child, the false self has to pretend to be all-powerful, all-knowing, perfect, brilliant, able to foresee and foretell and predict the arbitrary, terrifying and capricious behaviors of the adults surrounding the child.
So this is the false self and today I'm going to emphasize the false self's protective function.
Now let it be clear, the child's true self is sacrificed in this process, in the process of creating a paracosm, a virtual reality, artificial environment with a godhead figure, which is the false self.
The true self atrophies and then dies. It is no longer psychodynamically active. The true self cannot be revived in therapy because there is nothing there. It disappears and leaves behind a hole in the shape of the true self. A void or a persona, a person should have been.
There is a vacuum, an emptiness, but the false self is ill-informed. The false self wrongly thinks that the true self is still alive and well and in need of protection. The false self is inertial. It acts as if the true self is still its charge, its prodigy, its subordinate, its child if you wish.
So the false self assumes parental functions over a child who has long been dead.
You know these heart-wrenching, heartbreaking scenes where a mother still carries the corpse of her dead child, refuses to let go, pretends that it's still alive.
That's the false self.
The false self carries in its arms the dead body, the corpse of the true self insisting that it's still alive.
There is an inversion here. The false self says if I let go, if I abrogate my protective function, if I no longer do my job, the narcissist will die without me. He will die without my functionality.
The false self convinces itself that it is crucial for the narcissist's survival. The true self says if I were to be eliminated, if I were to be modified, if I were to be strong-armed, taken over, the narcissist, the true self, this child that had been entrusted to me, this child will die.
I must therefore be strong, non-compromising, resilient, intransigent and empowered.
The false self derives power from the equally false belief that it is somehow maintaining a spark, a shred of life in the dead body of the child, the true self.
The false self therefore is anxiolytic. It reduces anxiety.
Perhaps the main function of the false self is to prevent regression into borderline emotional dysregulation.
When the false self is disabled or deactivated, for example during narcissistic mortification, the narcissist begins to resemble someone with borderline personality disorder. For example, the narcissist becomes heavily emotionally dysregulated. The narcissist begins to develop suicidal ideation. He begins to resemble a borderline.
The false self aims to prevent this. It protects the narcissist. It doesn't allow the narcissist to devolve into a borderline state. It stabilizes the narcissist's sense of self-worth.
Using narcissistic supply as a kind of drug, it regulates the narcissist's emotions and moods. It controls the narcissist's cognitions via the distortion known as grandiosity.
All this is intended to keep the narcissist alive in a homeostatic equilibrium so that the narcissist doesn't deviate too much from some kind of mental center of gravity.
In a way, the false self magnifies the narcissist, kills him, kills the narcissist, or at least takes away the narcissist's life force, prevents change and transformation and learning because the false self is terrified of the possible outcomes.
The narcissist does the same to his victims.
Everything that's happened to the narcissist as a child and everything that's happening to the narcissist in adulthood induced by the false self, all this the narcissist does to his victims.
It doesn't allow the victim to separate. He doesn't regard the victim as a separate entity exactly as the narcissist's real mother, biological mother did not allow him to separate.
And he mummifies, he drains the life force out of his victims in order to stabilize them around an idealized image. He coerces them into conforming to an idealized snapshot of themselves in his mind, internalizes them exactly the way a spider kind of weaves his web around an errant fly.
So this is one of the roles of the false self.
And like all mental constructs, the false self is self preserving. The false self doesn't want to die. He doesn't want to be disabled. He doesn't want to be deactivated. He wants to live. It wants to thrive. He wants to be empowered. He wants to be strong. He wants to take over. He wants control.
The false self is an entity. That's why perhaps people compare narcissism to demon possession. It is an entity distinct from the true self. And this entity wants to live. It has a wish to live. It fights back anyone who threatens its existence.
And this is known in therapy as resistance. Resistance is refusal to admit to treatment, to accept insight, and to transform oneself because pathological structures within the mind are fighting back, resisting, refusing to change or to be reframed or to be reconceptualized.
The false self regards intimacy in all its forms, for example in therapy, not only in a romantic relationship. The false self regards intimacy, and of course therapy, which is a form of intimacy, is not only threats, but also as competition.
Intimacy and therapy threaten the narcissists because they bring about hurt. They're hurtful, they're painful. They result in potential heartbreak or a hostile takeover, merger, infusion. They're not good.
The narcissist as a child has learned to associate intimacy and positive emotions with negative outcomes.
The false self is there to prevent a recurrence of these negative outcomes. The false self is there to protect the narcissist from heartbreak, from pain, from hurt, from being taken over, from dependency.
So it regards therapy and intimacy as threats, but it also regards them as competition because therapy and intimacy offer the narcissist a chance at emotional self-regulation, a coherent sense of self-worth.
And then if the narcissist were to internally self-regulate, and if the narcissist were to develop a stable sense of self-worth, there would be no need for the false self anymore. It would operate the needs for narcissistic supply and grandiosity.
When you are mentally stable, when you self-regulate, when you are self-aware and self-accepting and self-loving, you don't need grandiosity. You don't need to regulate from the outside via narcissistic supply, so you don't need the false self.
This is exactly what cold therapy does, the treatment modality that have developed cold therapy, which should be administered only by licensed practitioners, mind you. Not even I can administer cold therapy.
So this is the thing. The false self competes with alternatives to the false self, more benign, more healthy alternatives.
It doesn't allow the narcissist to heal, to learn, to transform, to progress, to grow, to develop. All these things threaten the very existence, continued existence of the false self, and it doesn't let the narcissist go embark on this path, on this journey of self-discovery and then self-remediation.
No way. The false self wants the narcissist to be essentially sick, needy. The false self wants to control the narcissist's perceptions, sensory inputs, cognitions, emotions. It's like tentacles, like this alien that snatches the narcissist, and its tentacles reach into every nook and cranny of the narcissist's mind. It wouldn't let go. And it fights back ferociously.
Whenever there's any attempted intervention, whenever the narcissist is loved by an intimate partner, whenever a therapist tries to help the narcissist, whenever the narcissist attempts to develop discipline and self-regulation, whenever the narcissist finds a good friend to confide in, the false self steps in and destroys the whole thing, ruins it, pushes the alternative sources of regulation away. It doesn't allow the narcissist any solace, any succor, except those provided by the false self.
The false self is monopolistic.
When the narcissist has a friend or intimate partner or even a therapist, the narcissist emotionally invests in them.
Catharsis, in a normal state, I mean normal, a typical pathological narcissist, cathe only the false self. He emotionally invests only in the false self. He's in love with the false self. He promotes the false self. He believes the false self. He trusts the false self. He relies on the false self.
It's all the false self to the point that the narcissist identifies with the false self, introjects the false self, incorporates the false self and becomes the internalized false self.
Narcissist disappears into the false self. That's an act of extreme merger and fusion, codependent art.
The false self wants the narcissist to be codependent upon it. He doesn't want the narcissist to have autonomy or agency or independence of mind or critical things. He doesn't want any of this. He doesn't want the narcissist to develop continuous, contiguous memory. He doesn't want the narcissist to have an identity. He wants to own the narcissist and to make sure that the narcissist is so paralyzed, so enfeebled, so crippled, that the narcissist only recalls and only hopes would be the false self.
It's like these insects that inject the prey with poison and then the prey is paralyzed and the insect comes much later and eats the prey.
So this is the false self.
When there is a diversion of cathexes, when the narcissist begins to emotionally notice or invest in others, the false self gets very agitated, alarmed, irritated and aggressive.
This diversion to the therapist, to an intimate partner, to a newborn child, to a parent, to a good friend, generates a lot of envy in the false self.
This is a peculiar kind of envy. It's a strange kind of envy because the false self envies not only the therapist or the intimate partner or the child or the friend.
The false self doesn't only envy outsiders. The false self envies the good object inside the narcissist.
When the narcissist finds an intimate partner, when the narcissist is loved and cared for and listened to and embraced, when the narcissist has a friend, a child to love, a parent who loves him, the narcissist begins to develop a good object.
Inside the narcissist there is a perpetual permanent bad object. You're unworthy, you're ugly, you're stupid, you're inferior.
Narcissism and the false self compensate for this bad object. Had the false self not existed, the narcissist would have gotten in touch directly with the bad object and would have committed suicide.
The false self is the only thing that stands between the narcissist and borderline suicidal ideation.
But other people, a good therapist, a loving intimate partner, a compassionate friend, they can create inside the narcissist gradually a good object telling the narcissist you are lovable, you are worthy and this good object replaces the bad object, modifies the bad object or fights the bad object or somehow limits the bad object.
And the false self feels very threatened because should the narcissist develop a fully functional good object there would be no need for the false self and the false self would atrophy and die, exactly the same process that has happened to the true self.
So the false self does not allow the narcissist to develop a good object. He envies the good object, he feels threatened by the good object and he destroys the good object. This is the narcissist's self defeat and self destruction.
Therapy and healthy intimacy, non-dependent intimacy.
A friend, a lover, a child, parents, even mentors. These kind of relationships which involve good intimacy, the kind of intimacy that induces personal growth and development.
Therapy is one example of such intimacy. These kind of intimacies also push towards the emergence of a core identity.
When you're exposed to intimacy you develop boundaries and you begin to see yourself through other people's eyes in a healthy way. There's a good object developing, a good object develops, a core identity is formed, you don't need to forget so many things, your memory improves.
This is very terrifying as far as the false self is concerned because this core identity utterly substitutes for the false self, replaces the false self. This newly emergent identity feels like a threat and this threat is coming from the outside. It's external, it's imposed in a way and so the narcissist learns to identify external objects.
One of the main dynamics and functions of the false self is the conversion of external objects into internal objects.
Snapshotting is a function of the false self but intimacy, love, caring, compassion, guided growth and development in therapy or otherwise, they create a healthy core.
False self is no longer needed and the narcissist potentially would be able to discern the separateness and the existence of external objects. The false self cannot allow this.
Intimacy, healthy intimacy, constitutes a repeated narcissistic injury because it threatens the false self, deceit of grandiosity and because intimacy involves vulnerability rather than omnipotence.
When you are intimate with someone you're naked, physically sometimes, mentally and psychologically all the time. You're emotionally naked all the time or there's no intimacy.
Words, shortcomings, failings and limitations are the foundations of true intimacy.
So this is a negation of grandiosity, it's the opposite of grandiosity. It's touching the core of shame, vulnerability, fragility and inferiority at the heart of narcissism and the false self is dumbfounded and horrified by this possibility.
So the false self doesn't allow the narcissist to become truly vulnerable.
For example, it forces the narcissist to confabulate. Confabulation retards intimacy, destroys it.
The false self fights back vehemently by inducing twin anxieties, the famous twin anxieties which are common in borderline personality disorder, abandonment anxiety, separation insecurity and engulfment anxiety also known as enmeshment anxiety. These are the twin anxieties.
When push comes to shove, when the threat of intimacy becomes very real, for example, in therapy, the false self can't take any chances. It regresses the narcissist to a borderline state, renders the narcissist way more dependent on grandiosity and other protective mechanisms, threatens the narcissist with emotional dysregulation and provokes in the narcissist twin anxieties of being abandoned by the false self or being engulfed by the false self.
It's as if the narcissist, the false self, reminds the narcissist, this is how you're going to feel in my absence. This would be your experience if I'm gone, if I'm dismantled, if I'm destroyed by intimacy and by therapy. This is going to be your daily existence, your pedestrian experience, your cotyterne experience.
So don't, don't even go there. And the false self amplifies aggression and grandiosity to remind the narcissist of the alternative.
So the false self creates two scenarios and exposes the narcissist to both.
When the narcissist comes across potentially real and healthy intimacy, whether in therapy or in a romantic relationship, or because he has a newborn child or he reconciled with his parents or whatever the case may be, and the narcissist is exposed to this potential.
The false self immediately stages and produces two movies, two theater plays.
The narcissist experience without the false self and the narcissist experience with the false self.
The false self generates a scenario where it is disabled and deactivated and reminds the narcissist, if I'm gone, if you let them deactivate me, if I end up being disabled, you're going to be anxious. You're going to be emotionally dysregulated. You're going to be dysfunctional.
But if you resist intimacy, if you push back against therapy, if you negate love, if you behave in ways that destroy relationships, interpersonal relationships, then I have on offer, says the false self, two solutions for you, aggression and grandiosity.
The false self impairs reality testing via the fantasy defense, via the shared fantasy.
So he tells the narcissist, you don't have to do real intimacy. You don't have to be vulnerable. You don't have to take these risks. You don't have to do any of these things. You can be aggressive. You can be grandiose. You can impose a shared fantasy on your targets. You can entrain them, brainwash them in effect. You can coerce them. There's no need to collude with them, collaborate with them in your own destruction. You can remain godlike and still have these people in your life.
So why not?
I, the false self, has the solution for you.
The false self fights these new processes by tempting or seducing the narcissist to default back to familiar patterns of coping and strategies of survival, aggression, grandiosity, divorce from reality, impaired reality testing, the shared fantasy, outsourcing ego functions, paranoid ideation, psychotic ideation, all these undermining, destroy challenge, make impossible interpersonal relationships with relatively healthy or more healthy people.
Don't forget another thing.
Many of these solutions are forms of self supply.
The false self reminds the narcissist, you're self-sufficient, you're godlike, you're self-contained, you don't need anyone, you don't need to change, you need to transform, you're perfect.
Paranoia, for example, is a form of self-supply. The paranoid tells himself that he is at the center of some malign conspiracy, that he is the focus of attention, that the world revolves around it, that he is sufficiently important to be noticed and then to be conspired against. This is all self-supply. It's one of the main tools, paranoid ideation, it's one of the main tools of the false self, one confronted with the existential threat of togetherness, nearness, proximity, connection, love.
The false self doesn't allow the narcissist to experience any of these things.
And now I would advise you to watch three videos on this channel.
Narcissism is theater, more on the false self.
Narcissist false narrative and false self and loving gaze, adulating gaze, false versus true self.
What about the borderline?
I started by saying the borderline is a false self as well.
Yes, but it's different to the narcissist.
It is equally grandiose. It falsifies, it refrains and falsifies cognition, distorts cognition.
The borderline's false self is also reliant on others, especially intimate partners, for external regulation, but it's not the same as the narcissist's.
Ironically, the borderline's false self is much less disruptive, much less obstructive, much less controlling, much less pernicious, much healthier than the narcissist.
And that's why I think that narcissistic personality disorder is a much worse mental condition than borderline.
No wonder borderline resolves spontaneously in the majority of cases, in one's forties.
And I recommend that you watch the following videos.
Trapped in fantasy worlds of narcissist borderline, loving the borderline in her fantasy, borderline six fantasy, but fleece to reality, borderline versus narcissist, idealization fantasies. All the links are in the description.
The false self masquerades as a protector of the narcissist. The only thing that stands between the narcissist and ultimate psychotic disintegration, emotional dysregulation and possibly suicide.
The false self is the father figure, the mother figure, the mentor. The false self is the source of all knowledge, of all power.
The false self bridges memory gaps. The false self is there when the narcissist is helpless as a child. The false self is godlike.
The false self keeps broadcasting to the narcissist.
You don't need anyone else. I render you self-contained and self-sufficient.
It's a solipsistic construct. It is the false self that prevents the narcissist from interacting meaningfully with other people or even perceiving other people as other, not as internal objects.
It is the false self that drives the narcissist to the verge of psychosis and beyond.
The seat of hyper-reflexivity is in the false self.
The false self is the most pathological mental structure that I'm aware of, including schizophrenia. It is, in my view, more extreme than schizophrenia.
That's why I keep saying a narcissistic personality disorder is a dissociative post-traumatic condition that involves psychotic elements and literally a smattering, a sample of every other mental health disorder I'm aware of.
The narcissist is a walking, talking, reification of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual and the international classification of diseases combined.