Narcissist's False Self vs. True Self: Soul-snatching

Uploaded 7/28/2010, approx. 4 minute read

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

The narcissist has no private life, no domain reserved exclusively for his nearest and nearest. The narcissist's life is a spectacle, with free access to all, constantly on display.

To solicit narcissistic supply, attention and admiration from his audience, the narcissist flaunts a false self. He pretends to be all-powerful, omnipotent and all-knowing, omniscient, brilliant, unique and perfect.

Pathological narcissism, as we all know, is a reaction to prolonged abuse and trauma in early childhood or early adolescence of the latest. The source of the abuse of trauma is varied. The perpetrators could be parents, role models, teachers, even peers.

Moreover, pampering, smothering, spoiling the child, or engulfing it, are also forms of abuse.

The narcissist's true self, his inner child, if you wish, is obliterated by this barrage of a variety of forms of mistreatment.

That the narcissist possesses a prominent false self as well as a suppressed and dilapidated true self? We all know. It's common knowledge.

Yet how intertwined and inseparable are these two? Do they interact? How do they influence each other? What behaviors can be attributed squarely to one or the other?

Does the false self assume traits and attributes of the true self in order to deceive the world?

We should not forget that the false self is an adaptive reaction to pathological circumstances, but its dynamics make it predominate.

The false self devours the psyche and preys upon the true self. Thus, it prevents the efficient and flexible functioning of the personality as a whole.

The remnants of the true self are so ossified, so shredded, so repressed, and so cowed into submission that for all practical purposes the true self is dysfunctional and useless and, even to some extent, non-existent.

In a full-fledged narcissist, the false self is the one to imitate the true self, and it does so in two ways.

First one is reinterpretation. The false self causes the narcissist to reinterpret certain negative emotions and reactions in a flattering, socially acceptable light. For instance, if the narcissist is afraid of someone, he is unlikely to admit it. He will reinterpret his discomfort as empathy and compassion.

To be afraid is humiliating and narcissistically injurious. To be compassionate is commendable and earns social approval and respect.

The second mechanism is emulation. The narcissist is possessed of an uncanny ability to psychologically penetrate others, to immediately discern their freaties, their weaknesses, their vulnerabilities.

But he abuses this gift. He puts it as a service of his own control-freakery and even sadism. The narcissist uses this ability to annihilate the natural defenses of his victims by faking empathy, by imitating emotions and their attendant behaviors, their affect.

The narcissist possesses emotional resonance tables. Throughout his life, the narcissist keeps records of every action and reaction that he observes in his human environment, every utterance and his consequence, every datum provided by others regarding their own state of mind and emotional makeup.

From these enormous databases, the narcissist constructs a set of formulas which often result in impeccably accurate renditions of emotional behavior. This can be enormously deceiving.

Once formed and functioning, the false self stifles the growth of the true self, paralyzes it.

Henceforth, the true self is virtually non-existent and plays no role, whether passive or active, in the conscious life of the narcissist.

It is difficult to resuscitate the true self, even in psychotherapy.

Thus, there is no real conflict between the false self and the true self.

First, as I said, the true self is much too weak to do battle with the overbearing false self.

The false self is all pervading. It is adopted. It helps the narcissist to cope with the world. Without the false self, the narcissist would be subjected to so much pain and hurt that he might disintegrate.

This happens to narcissists who go through a life crisis. The false self becomes dysfunctional and inefficient for a while, and the narcissist experiences a harrowing feeling of annulment and disintegration.

The false self has thus many functions, but two of them are critical. It serves as a decoy. It attracts the fire. It is a proxy for the true self. It is tough as nails and can absorb any amount of pain, hurt, and negative emotions.

By inventing it, by inventing conjuring up the false self, the child develops immunity to the indifference, manipulation, sadism, smothering, or exploitation of others. The false self is a cloak, a mantle, a Harry Potter contraption, protecting the narcissist, rendering him invisible and omnipotent at the same time.

Secondly, the false self is misrepresented by the narcissist and presented by him as his true self.

The narcissist says, in effect, I am not who you think I am. I am someone else. I am this false self. Therefore, because I am omnipotent and omniscient, I deserve a better, painless, more considerate treatment.

The false self is, therefore, the foundation of the narcissist's inane and insane sense of accomplishment. It is a contraption intended to alter other people's behavior and attitude towards the narcissist.

These roles are crucial to survival and to the proper psychological functioning of the narcissist.

The false self is far more important to the narcissist than his dilapidated, dysfunctional, shameful true self.

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Narcissist: You All Exist Only in My Mind (Hive or Swarm False Self and Ego Functions)

Narcissists have a dysfunctional true self, which is introverted and comatose. The ego, which performs certain functions in healthy people, is dormant in narcissists. Narcissists need feedback from the outside world to perform basic ego functions, which is what is called narcissistic supply. The false self is a collage of reflections, a patchwork of outsourced information, and is a kind of hive self.

Narcissist's False Self HATES, FEARS Your Intimacy!

The narcissist has a false self that competes with and obviates others. Both narcissists and borderlines have a false self, but the conception of narcissistic personality disorder and borderline personality disorder is changing. The false self compensates for inadequacy and protects the true self, preventing regression into borderline emotional dysregulation. It resists intimacy and healthy alternatives, and fights back against therapy and personal growth. The false self is a solipsistic construct that prevents the narcissist from interacting meaningfully with others and drives the narcissist to the verge of psychosis.

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: Ego Outsourced, Self Faked (ENGLISH responses, with Nárcisz Coach)

The false self in narcissists is the only active element, fulfilling ego functions and interacting with the world. The false self is a defense mechanism created by the child to protect against pain and trauma, leading to grandiosity and a sense of superiority. Ultimately, the narcissist becomes an empty facade, a simulation of a human being, leaving victims with a sense of horror and disorientation. Even after physically removing the narcissist from their lives, victims struggle to rid themselves of the narcissist's presence in their heads, leading to a form of psychological contamination and a sense of psychosis.

How Narcissist Man Child Self Supplies

The narcissist is a ghoulish and sinister hybrid, an adult grafted onto a child. The narcissist is often described as a "man child", but he is actually neither. The narcissist juxtaposes wrongly, becoming an adult where he should have been childlike and vice versa. This misappropriation and misallocation of roles render him monstrous and freakish. The narcissist resorts to self-supply when external sources are depleted, using techniques such as reframing reality, creating an inflated self-perception, and converting negative supply to positive. Self-supply is a crucial maintenance phase in the narcissist's cycle of existence and is a mechanism of self-regulation that appears to be external regulation. It involves elements of hyper-reflexivity and magical thinking, reminiscent of certain dynamics in childhood

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.

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 Pathological Space: His Kingdom

The pathological narcissistic space is a geographical area, group of people, or an abstract field of knowledge in which the narcissistic pathology reaches its full expression and effectiveness. It is a territorially expanded false self that is achieved via sources of narcissistic supply. The existence of the pathological narcissistic space is independent of the existence of sources of narcissistic supply. The pathological narcissistic space constantly consumes and drains narcissistic supply, and it generates negative narcissistic accumulation.

Selves, True and False in Narcissism (ENGLISH responses, with Nárcisz Coach)

The true self of a narcissist is a dead part that no longer contributes or consumes energy, it is ossified and fossilized. The narcissist's insides have been externalized, and they use their false self to regulate and interact with the world. Narcissists need other people to regulate their internal environment and form a coherent identity, and they solicit narcissistic supply to regulate their sense of self-worth, self-confidence, and self-esteem. Without narcissistic supply, the narcissist will disintegrate into molecules, and their very sense of existence depends on input from others.

Narcissist: Life as a Film

The narcissist experiences life as a nightmare due to the divergent functionality of the false self and the true self. The true self is the original personality that was suppressed and supplanted by the false self, which is incapable of feeling or experiencing. The narcissist dissociates and cuts off parts of their life and portions of their experiences, leading to detachment and estrangement from themselves. The narcissist lives vicariously through the good offices of the false self, sacrificing their own life to please and appease their master.

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