Narcissist's Language as Weapon

Uploaded 5/11/2011, approx. 6 minute read

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

In the narcissist's surrealistic world, even language is pathologized. It mutates into a weapon of self-defense, a verbal fortification, a medium without a message, replacing words with duplicitous and ambiguous vocables.

The narcissist, and often by contagion, is unfortunate victims. He doesn't talk. He does not communicate. He fends off. He hides and evades and avoids and disguises.

In the planet of capricious and arbitrary unpredictability that the narcissist inhabits, there are only shifting semantic and semiotic dunes.

The narcissist perfects the ability to say nothing in lengthy, Fidel Castro-like speeches. The narcissist's speech is impregnated and dense with first-person pronouns. I call it pronoun density.

The ensuing convoluted sentences are arabesques or meaninglessness, acrobatics of evasion, lack of commitment, elevated to an ideology.

The narcissist prefers to wait and see what waiting brings. It is the postponement of the inevitable that leads to the inevitability of postponement as a strategy of survival.

It is often impossible to really understand the narcissist. The evasive syntax fast deteriorates into ever more labyrinthine structures.

The grammar is tortured to produce the verbal doppler shifts essential to disguise the source of the information, its distance from reality, the speed of its degeneration into rigid official versions.

The narcissist is completely incomprehensible most of the time. Buried under the lush flora and fauna of idioms without an end, the language erupts like some exotic skin rash, an autoimmune reaction to its infection and contamination by the narcissist.

Like vile weeds, the narcissist's language sprints throughout, strangling with absent-minded persistence the ability to understand, to feel, to agree, to emote, to disagree, to debate, to present arguments, to compare notes, to learn, to teach.

The narcissist makes all these completely impossible because of his abuse of language.

Narcissists therefore never talk to others, rather they talk at others or they lecture them.

They exchange subtexts, camouflage-wrapped by elaborate, florid texts. They read between the lines, spawning a multitude of private languages, prejudices, superstitions, conspiracy theories, rumors, phobias, and hysterias.

This is the world of the narcissist, paranoid, solipsistic, where communication is permitted only with oneself and the aim of language is to throw others off the scent or to obtain narcissistic supply, of course.

This maltreatment of language has profound implications.

Communication through unequivocal, unambiguous, information-rich, simple systems is such an integral and crucial part of our world that its absence is not postulated even in the remotest galaxies which grace the skies of science fiction.

In this sense, narcissists are nothing short of aliens, extraterrestrials.

It is not that they employ a different language, a code to be deciphered by a new Freud or a supercomputer. It is also not the outcome of upbringing or social-cultural background.

It is the fact that language is put by narcissists to a different use, not to communicate, but to obscure, not to share, but to abstain, not to learn, but to defend and resist, not to reach out, but to persevere over less thanable monopolies, to disagree without incurring wrath, to criticize without commitment, to agree without appearing to do so.

Thus, an agreement with a narcissist is a vague expression of intent at a given moment, rather than a clear listing of long-term, iron-caste, iron-caste, iron-caste, and mutual commitments.

The rules that govern the narcissist universe are loopholeed, incomprehensible, open to interpretation so wide and so self-contradictory that it renders them meaningless.

The narcissist often hangs himself by his own verbose, Gordic knots, having stumbled through a minefield of logical fallacies and having endured self-inflicted inconsistencies.

Unfinished sentences hover in the air like vapor above a semantic swamp.

In the case of the inverted narcissist, who was suppressed and abused by overbearing caregivers, there is the strong urge not to offend.

Intimacy and interdependence are great, parental or peer pressure are irresistible and result in conformity and self-deprecation. Aggressive tendencies, strongly repressed in the social pressure cooker, teem under the veneer of forced civility and violent politeness.

Constructive ambiguity and non-committal, everyone is good and right.

An atavistic variant of moral relativism and tolerance bred of fear and contempt. They are all at the service of this eternal vigilance against aggressive drives at the disposal of a never-ending, in inner peacekeeping mission.

This is the inverted narcissist, a suppressed narcissist.

But with a classic narcissist, language is used cruelly and ruthlessly to ensnare one's enemies, to soar confusion and panic, to move others to emulate the narcissist.

This is called projective identification.

To leave the listeners in doubt, in hesitation, in paralysis, to gain control, to punish, these are the uses of the language.

Language is enslaved and forced to lie. The language is appropriate and expropriate.

It is considered to be a weapon, an asset, a piece of lethal property, a traitorous mistress, to be gangraped into submission.

With cerebral narcissist, language is a lover. The infatuation with its very sound leads to a pyrotechnic type of speech, sacrifices its meaning to its music.

Its speakers pay more attention to the composition than to the content. They are swept by the language, intoxicated by its perfection, inebriated by the spiraling complexity of its forms.

Here, language is an inflammatory process. It attacks the very tissues of the narcissist's relationships with artistic fierceness. It invades the healthy cells of rhythm and logic and communication of cool-headed argumentation and level-headed debate.

Language is a leading indicator of the psychological and institutional health of social units, such as the family or the workplace.

Social capital can often be measured in cognitive and, hence, verbal-lingual terms.

To monitor the level of comprehensibility and lucidity of texts is to study the degree of sanity of family members, co-workers, friends, spouses, mates, and colleagues.

There can exist no hail society without unambiguous speech, without clear communications, without the traffic of idioms and content that is an inseparable part of every social contract.

Our language determines how we perceive our world. It is our mind and our consciousness.

The narcissist, in this respect, is a great social menace, undermining language itself.

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

Giving Narcissist Second Chance

Narcissists do not provide closure in relationships and will stalk, cajole, beg, promise, persuade, and ultimately succeed in doing the impossible to get you back. The narcissist will cast all interactions with you in terms of conflicts or competitions to be won. If you have resumed contact because you are manifestly dependent on the narcissist financially or emotionally, the narcissist will pounce on your frailty and exploit your fragility to the maximum. Ultimately, the narcissist will write the inevitable cycle of idealization and devaluation.

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.

N-Magnet: Narcissist's Ideal Victim?

Narcissists are not drawn to empathic, sensitive people, but rather repelled by them. Victims of narcissistic abuse come in all shapes, sizes, professions, genders, and ages, and there is no specific profile. People should not think of themselves as a "narcissist magnet" and instead review their life in detail to see that they have control over their destiny and can learn from their experiences. Bed relationships, no matter how harrowing, are opportunities to learn lessons.

Can You Love the Narcissist and Rescue Him?

Victims of narcissists often resort to fantasies and self-delusions to cope with their pain, believing that they can rescue the narcissist from their misery and misfortune. However, loving a narcissist is difficult, and any attempt to relate to them emotionally is doomed to failure. Narcissists are addicts in pursuit of gratification through the drug known as narcissistic supply, and they hone in on potential suppliers like cruise missiles. Victims of narcissists can become bitter and self-centered, lacking in empathy, and become more like the narcissist over time.

Remain Friends with the Narcissist?

Narcissists are only friendly when they need something from you, such as narcissistic supply, help, support, votes, money, or sex. They also become friendly when they feel threatened and want to smother the threat with pleasantries. Narcissists are also over-friendly when they have just been infused with an overdose of narcissistic supply. Some people prefer to live with narcissists because they have been conditioned to treat narcissistic abuse as background noise and are compensated for the abuse by the thrills provided by living with a narcissist. However, inverted narcissists are typically unhappy and in need of help, which suggests that they are victims who experience the Stockholm Syndrome.

Narcissist Uses Money to Enslave, Bribe Victim

Narcissists use money to manipulate and control their victims, who often equate money with love and become entangled in the narcissist's web. Victims may engage in self-deception and cognitive dissonance to justify their sacrifices and remain on the narcissist's good side. However, they may eventually rebel and become passive-aggressive, bitter, depressed, and paranoid. If they do not extricate themselves in time, they may acquire the traits and behavior patterns of their narcissistic abusers and form a shared psychosis mediated by money.

Cope with Narcissists: Abandon or Mirror

The best way to cope with a narcissist is to abandon them or threaten to abandon them. The narcissist is a binary person, and the carrot is also the stick in their case. If they get too close to someone emotionally, they fear abandonment and immediately distance themselves, acting cruelly and bringing about the very abandonment they feared. If one chooses to accept the narcissist, to live with them, to remain in an intimate relationship with them, it is a package deal. All their needs, demands, and requirements are included.

Cope with Vindictive Narcissists

Narcissists are often vindictive and can be dealt with by either frightening them or luring them. Frightening the narcissist is a powerful behavior modification tool, and one can identify the vulnerabilities and susceptibilities of the narcissist and strike repeated escalating blows at them. The alternative is to lure the vindictive narcissist by offering continued narcissistic supply until the war is over and won. Adulation, admiration, attention, sex, or subservience are the tools in coping with vindictive, dangerous stalkers and paranoia.

Money: Narcissist's License to Abuse

Money is a love substitute for the narcissist, allowing them to be their corrupt selves and buy absolution, forgiveness, and acceptance. It is a license to sin and a permit to be unmitigated self. Money liberates the mind of the narcissist, allowing them to concentrate on attaining the desired position on top. The narcissist is addicted to money because it is the freedom not to behave in a way that is unbearable to them in the long run.

Safe Surfing: Narcissist Invades Your Computer

Narcissists may use malware to log everything you type, discover your passwords, and break into your email and bank accounts. To protect yourself, never click on links or open attachments from unknown sources, and never enter personal details on unknown sites. Always check the lock icon and HTTPS address before entering personal information, and read emails in text format rather than HTML. Change your passwords frequently, update your operating system and antivirus software, and scan your computer for malware regularly. If you notice suspicious behavior, disconnect from the internet and scan your computer for malware.

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