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Narcissist's Sadistic Inner Judge and Critic

Uploaded 8/16/2010, approx. 4 minute read

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

The narcissist is besieged and tormented by a sadistic superego, which sits in constant judgment of a being.

The superego 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.

These harsh and repeated comments and criticisms reverberate throughout the narcissist's inner landscape, berating him constantly for failing to conform to his own unattainable ideals, fantastic goals and grandiose or impractical plans and schemes.

The narcissist's sense of self-worth is therefore catapulted from one pole to another, from an enflated view of himself, which is incommensurate with real-life accomplishments, to utter despair and self-denigration.

This is why the narcissist needs narcissistic supply. He needs it to regulate this wild pendulum.

People's adulation, admiration, affirmation and attention restore the narcissist's self-esteem and self-confidence time and again.

It is like a drug. The narcissist's sadistic and uncompromising superego, or contrast, affects three facets of his personality.

The narcissist's sense of self-worth and worthiness, the deeply ingrained conviction that one deserves love, compassion, care and empathy, regardless of what one achieves in life, this is affected by the sadistic superego.

The narcissist feels worthless without narcissistic supply.

The second facet or layer that is affected by the internalized inner judge of the narcissist is his self-esteem, his self-knowledge, the deeply ingrained and realistic appraisal of his own capacities, skills, limitations and shortcomings.

The narcissist lacks clear boundaries and therefore is not sure of his abilities and weaknesses, hence his grandiose compensatory fantasies.

Finally, the narcissist's self-confidence is heavily affected and adversely affected by these disparaging inner voices.

The deeply ingrained belief based on lifelong experience that one can set realistic goals and also accomplish them is ruined in the narcissist.

The narcissist knows the disease of faith and of fraud, that his self is false.

He therefore does not trust his own ability to manage his own affairs and to set practical aims and to realize them.

By becoming a success or at least by appearing to have become a success, the narcissist hopes to quell these voices inside him that constantly question his veracity and attitude.

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.

It is this dual and self-contradictory mission to conform to the edicts of his internal enemies and to prove them wrong. It is this constant battle that is at the root of the narcissist unresolved conflicts.

On the one hand, the narcissist accepts the authority of his interjected internalized critics and he disregards the fact that they hate him and they wish him ill or even dead. He sacrifices his life to these inner judges, to these sadistic voices, to these berating figures, to this constant criticism.

He hopes that his successes and accomplishments, whether real or perceived, will ameliorate their rage, silence these voices, restore a modicum of inner peace.

On the other hand, he confronts these very gods, these very divine annihilating entities with proofs of their own fallibility.

His inner dialogue goes something like that.

You claim that I'm worthless and incapable. Well, guess what? You are dead wrong. Look how famous I am. Look how rich I am. Look how powerful, how revered, how accomplished. You must be wrong. You must be wrong. Having accomplished all these things, or at least the perception of these things, I must be doing something right. I must be a worthy person and what you say about me is wrong.

But then much rehearsed self-doubt sets in and the narcissist feels yet again compelled to falsify the claims of his trenchant and indefatigable detractors by conquering another woman, by giving one more interview, by taking over yet another firm, by making an extra million, or by getting reelected one more time.

To no avail, the narcissist is his own worst foe and enemy.

Ironically, it is only when incapacitated that the narcissist gains a modicum of peace of mind. When terminally ill, when incarcerated, when inebriated, the narcissist can shift the blame for his failures and predicaments to outside agents and to objective forces over which he has no control.

His inner dialogue then goes, the failures and defeats that I've endured are not my fault.

He informs his mental tormentors, there was nothing I could do about it. I could do about it.

Now go away and leave me be, leave me alone. I can't help it. I'm a prisoner. I'm terminally ill. I am not in control of the situation.

So how can you expect me to achieve anything and to falsify your claims that I'm worthless?

And then with the narcissist defeated and broken, sometimes these voices do go away and he is free at last.

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