Narcissist’s Manipulative Weapon: Projective Identification

Uploaded 9/5/2023, approx. 4 minute read

Narcissists and psychopaths make use of two techniques of mind control.

The psychopath leverages these techniques knowingly, deliberately, intentionally, he is goal-oriented.

The narcissist uses these techniques unconsciously. That's just the way he is. That's how he operates.

And so these techniques are entraining and projective identification.

I have discussed entraining in many videos on my YouTube channel.

To summarize, entraining is the repetition of musical notes or words in a way that synchronizes the brainwaves of the listener with the brainwaves of the emitter of the signal.

So when the abuser verbally abuses his victim, when he repeats the same refrains, the same phrases, the same words, the same exhortations, the same criticisms, the same threats, this constitutes entraining because it synchronizes the victim's brainwaves with the abuser's brainwaves, rendering them a hive mind, a single mind, the ultimate in mind control.

The second mechanism is a lot more complicated and a lot more nuanced and a lot more difficult to explain. It's known as projective identification.

And the problem in projective identification is the identification part of it.

The victim identifies herself with the narcissist's projected parts.

Now let's first explain projection.

Projection is when you have traits or emotions that you disown, that you reject, that you're not comfortable with, that you're ashamed of.

And then what you do, you take these traits and you take these emotions and you misattribute them to other people.

You say, "I'm not weak, he is weak. I am not abusive, she is being abusive." That is projection.

Now projective identification involves projection.

The narcissist projects the traits and emotions that he rejects in himself or herself and misattributes these traits and emotions to the victim.

Now of course, whenever I say he, it's a she, half of all narcissists are women.

And then the projection having been completed, the victim becomes the parts that the narcissist had rejected.

The narcissist misattributes traits and behaviors to the victim and the victim owns them. He identifies with them. He accepts them as his own.

The victim becomes what the narcissist wants him to become. The victim becomes the part of the narcissist that the narcissist had rejected.

The traits and emotions and cognitions that the narcissist is ashamed of, that the narcissist rejects, that the narcissist renounces these parts are owned by the victim.

The victim is molded by the narcissist's projection.

Hence the word identification.

And then the victim begins to behave accordingly. He begins to conform to the parts of the narcissist that had been projected onto her.

The victim becomes the shadow of the narcissist, the rejected parts of the narcissist.

The traits and behaviors and emotions and cognitions that the narcissist cannot countenance now become the victims.

And so projective identification is a defense mechanism of the narcissist, but it ends up modifying the victim's behavior.

The victim becomes an extension of the part of the narcissist which the narcissist disowns, denies, represses, rejects, hates and is ashamed of.

Consequently, of course, the narcissist rejects, renounces and hates the victim because she now represents the part of him that he wouldn't like to acknowledge.

She's a constant reminder of who the narcissist truly is and her behaviors having been modified by the narcissist validate and conform the narcissist's expectations of the victim, but at the same time constantly trigger the narcissist by reminding him who he really is.

Self-awareness is knowing who you are. It is not the same as authenticity. Authenticity is being who you are, acting who you are.

And yet in conditions of fear and terror and uncertainty, it is very difficult to be authentic. Fear precludes authenticity and so does pervasive uncertainty.

Where in the world where there is a war between the genders, between straight and LGBTQ, between minorities and majorities, between self-proclaimed victims and their putative abusers.

So what to do?

Stay at home, stay celibate, stay single. Do not expose yourself to this crossfire.

The world is not safe right now.

It is time actually to be both self-aware and authentic and self-sufficient. It is time to stand back and review your priorities and your necessities and your needs.

And then to make a decision as to which level of risk you are ready to assume.

Because today to engage with other people is to risk your freedom and very often your very life.

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Narcissist's Reactions to Abandonment, Separation, and Divorce

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Coping Styles: Narcissist Abuses "Loved" Ones Despite Abandonment Anxiety

Narcissists abuse their loved ones to decrease their abandonment anxiety, restore their sense of grandiosity, and test their partner's loyalty. Abuse also serves as a form of behavior modification, as it signals to the partner that they need to modify their behavior to avoid abuse. Coping styles for dealing with abuse include submissiveness, conflicting, mirroring, collusion, and displacement, but some of these styles can be harmful and should be avoided.

Abuser-Victim Bond: Emotional Processing and Object Inconstancy

Victims of narcissistic abuse keep falling for it because they are the spitting image of their abusers in terms of psychodynamic processes. Victims and abusers have unusual ways of processing information, and they share impaired object constancy. Victims and abusers bond via their resonating pathologies, and this bonding is an addiction. Abusers and victims fulfill each other's voids, and traumatic bonding is extremely difficult to break.

Victims Become Narcissists: Contagious Narcissism

Victims of narcissistic abuse can become narcissistic themselves, adopting the role of a professional victim. These individuals become self-centered, abusive, and exploitative, and their existence and identity rest solely on their victimhood. This is known as narcissistic contagion or narcissism by proxy, and it is a danger that should be avoided by every victim and survivor of abuse. Once the victim starts to abuse, they never stop, and their abuse becomes indiscriminate and affects everyone around them.

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.

How Narcissist's Victims Deceive Themselves

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Love Your Narcissist? Make Him Stay, Depend on You (Tips, Resolutions)

In a relationship with a narcissist, it is important to know what not to do and what to do to maintain the relationship. Avoid disagreeing, contradicting, or criticizing the narcissist, and never offer intimacy or challenge their self-image. To make the narcissist dependent on you, listen attentively, agree with everything they say, offer something unique, be patient, and be emotionally and financially independent. It is also crucial to know yourself and set personal boundaries, treating yourself with dignity and demanding respect from others. If the relationship becomes abusive, consider going no-contact and ending the relationship for your own well-being.

Some Abuse Victims Never Learn

The victims of narcissists and psychopaths often engage in magical thinking and malignant optimism, refusing to accept that some problems are unsolvable and some people are irredeemable. They see signs of hope in every fluctuation and believe that love can transform even the most destructive individuals. However, this optimism is a vulnerability that the narcissist and psychopath can exploit. The abused provide the very weapons that will ultimately be used against them. The film "We Need to Talk About Kevin" illustrates this phenomenon, as Kevin's mother, despite enduring his massacre of their family and his schoolmates, still hugs him and believes in him.

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2024, under license to William DeGraaf
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