Narcissistic Abuse Inside Out: Charles Bowes-Taylor Interviews Compilation

Uploaded 12/18/2023, approx. 3 hour 19 minute read

As you heard.

Well, good afternoon, Sam.

And it's a Sunday afternoon, so I really appreciate it.

Thank you for having me.

You know, as I mentioned, I've been working on a book for the last three years.

And there's so much of you in the book.

You're, you know, I've obviously read your books.

Sounds like an obituary.

You're a malignant, self-love narcissist revisited.

She had to smurry you and say the way you say.

But I've also watched, you know, so many of your seminars.

And so you're in my head a lot.

My apologies.

That's okay.

We'll let you off this time.

But the author that I've been working with suggested that I do an interview with you.

And I thought that would really be a really good idea.

And you know what I didn't do in the other ones was ask you about what you've been doing.

I mean, you're a pioneer in this field.

You've been doing it a long time.

You've written books.

You know, you've had a YouTube channel for a long time.

You also, you know, write about the role in cronons in time asymmetry, which of course I helped you with.

So maybe you can tell us about yourself.

Well, I'm a professor of psychology, author of the books.

I don't think we should focus on me.

Let's focus on my work.

It's, I think, hopefully more interesting.

I mean, sort of in terms of all the, you know, for the lot, I think you started doing this in 1994, '95.

So I was the first to own a website on narcissism in 1995.

And I've been alone for nine years.

The second website opened in 2004.

I also ran the first six support groups for victims of narcissistic abuse.

Narcissistic abuse is a phrase that I coined in 1995.

And at that time, I also coined the entire language that is in use today, or 99% of it that is in use today.

So people don't even realize that I coined flying monkeys and this kind of thing.


Cerebral narcissism, traumatic narcissism, narcissistic abuse, et cetera, et cetera.

And then I borrowed terms from the early psychoanalytic schools of thought in psychology.

So, for example, I borrowed the term narcissistic supply and I redefined it in the way that it is used today.

Originally in the 1930s, narcissistic supply had meant the relationship between essentially selfish, unavailable parents and their children.

But I redefined it particularly.

And the way it is used today is any form of external input which a narcissist uses to regulate his internal environment, his cognition, his emotions, his moods, et cetera.

So that's a common.

So I also borrowed many, many terms.

I borrowed, for example, the true self and false self from Donald Winnicott's work.

And again, I redefined them to apply specifically to narcissism.

Because in Winnicott's work, they don't necessarily apply to narcissism.

Actually, they apply to developmental psychology.

I borrowed the cycle of the narcissist.

So that's idealization, evaluation.

And I added to it two phases, discard and replacement, et cetera, et cetera.

So I had to single-handedly come up with the whole discipline because there was nobody there.

And there was no language to communicate these highly idiosyncratic experiences, highly personal.

It's a little like a mystical experience.

How do you communicate a mystical experience?

It's like how do you communicate?

How do you communicate an experience of narcissistic abuse in the absence of a language?

Of a language.

Okay, one second.

Turn on the lights.

So there was simply no language.

And then when I came up with the language, which took about two years, suddenly people had a way of sharing their experiences.

And actually sharing their experiences first and foremost with themselves.

In other words, becoming aware.

And so they became aware and then they formed like-minded groups and they discussed these issues in these groups, et cetera, et cetera.

And for nine years I was doing all this alone.

And then in 2004, people discovered there's money in it and the avalanche started.

As simple as that.

And then YouTube came.

I had the first YouTube channel on narcissism.

I still have.

And many others into the field.

I am not quite sure that it's been a beneficial process because the word narcissism had been debased and bandied around in all the wrong ways.

It became a majority or a curse word.

And many, many people who went into the field are totally unqualified.

They are distributing misinformation and disinformation.

And many of them, even with academic degrees, even with advanced academic degrees, and even with advanced academic degrees in psychology, are not experts in narcissism.

Psychology is a giant field.

And they are not.

They simply are not.

So there's a commercial corruption of the whole thing which had reached monumental proportions.

There are tens of millions of members of support groups for narcissistic abuse.

And what I'm hearing online is blood curdling, absolutely spine chilling.

And I would say that for every one correct bit of information, precisely something that relies on studies and research, for every one, there's about 99 that are wrong.

And some of them are dead wrong.

Some of them are dead wrong.

Like exactly the opposite of what.

But there is demonization of narcissism.

So you need to demonize them.

And you have these stupid lists.

Like 10 things you need to know about this and 10 things you need to know about that.

And you have, of course, all kinds of wild outgrowths and a movement of essentially covert narcissists who call themselves empaths and super empaths.


They are definitely narcissistic people.

They're grandiose.

So like everything else, the internet had not been good, ultimately.

If I have to look back, and I'm the oldest, I'm the oldest guy in the block, I invented the block.

If I look back, no, it's not been beneficial.

It's not.

I think all in all, there was more damage than him, in my view.

The vast majority of people get stuck in the victimhood phase.

They are talked about victimhood as a form of identity.

And they can't progress, they can't break out.



Sam, what is your own fascination with the subject?

Because you obviously find it so fascinating.

It's so interesting to you.

What is your interest?

Well, it started with the fact that I've been diagnosed with narcissistic personalities all the time.

But I've progressed a lot more since then in my perception of narcissism.

I think narcissism is an organizing principle of modern civilization, and also an explanatory hermeneutic principle, a principle that allows us to make sense of life and the environment and so on.

I think narcissism is a form of religion, actually, a missionary religion.

I think narcissists are trying to convert non-narcissists to their religion, and very successfully so.

I think narcissism is embedded now inextricably in social institutions and structures, in careers, in dating, in relationships, intimate relationships.

It had come to be modern civilization.

So it's a much, much wider field.

Much wider field.

So we analyze politicians.

We ask, "Are there narcissists?" When we see all kinds of... I am hard-pressed to come across a movie or a book which doesn't include the word narcissism or narcissists. Hard-pressed. I'm serious. I watch movies. I read books. And there's always at the end or in the middle or the beginning somewhere, there's the word narcissism. And so people make sense of the world through this. There's been a television series called "In Treatment". It's about a therapist. Not a serious... Yes, I know it well. It's a wonderful series. Andseries.

And it's three seasons.

It's three seasons.

Now, it may come as a shock to you, even though you had watched it.

It may come as a shock to you.

In the entire series, there's no mention of depression, no mention of borderline personality disorder, no mention of any clinical label except one narcissistic personality disorder.

And it appears in the series eight times.

NPD is mentioned eight times in treatment to the exclusion of all other labels.

I mean, you witness depression.

You witness patients with borderline personality disorder, but no clinical label is used except NPD.

And that's eight times.

That tells you a lot.

This is a hot-button topic in academia.

It brings me to my next point.

I emailed one of the top universities in South Africa, the head of psychology, and I said, "Who specializes in narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic abuse?" No one.

And, you know, Sam, the person that I was involved with, who was a covert, somatic narcissist, often accused me of being a narcissist.

And in those days, I thought, "Well, okay, maybe she's trying to say I'm a little bit grandiose or self-centered." I didn't know what the word meant.

And I think if we look at, for example, the concept of Alcoholics Anonymous, it's been around since 1935.

Everybody knows if you have a drinking problem, that's the place to go.

But here is a different story.

It's only come to the fore in the last 20, 30 years.

So what this means is, and this is my own experience, and with many people that I've spoken to, is there's nowhere to go.

And that when the victim, and I use the word victim in a virtual commerce, because I know what you're saying about becoming a victim, I get it, is further traumatized by the therapist who often misdiagnoses the narcissist, and the narcissist probably has manipulated the therapist too.

So that was also my experience.

So, you know, when you say, "You feel maybe your work hasn't been beneficial," but to me it has been.

And you are forever in my head.

I can't get you out of my head.

So it's been very beneficial to me.

That's why, as I said, I wanted to do this, because I thought having it straight from you, you've quoted quite a lot of times in the book, but I think that if we go back to the basics and we say, there is a difference between narcissistic traits, narcissistic style, narcissistic personality disorder, the disorder is on a spectrum, most benign form of narcissism, to malignant narcissism, and then to psychopathy.

So maybe you can tell us about the difference between the traits, the style, and the disorder itself.

First of all, we are in a period of transition.

There are powerful voices in academia and outside academia which dispute the very existence of narcissism as a clinical entity or a clinical construct.

Indeed, the book that defines mental health for the rest of the world with the exception of North America, it's known as ICD edition 11, the 11th edition of ICD, which is International Classification of Diseases.

So the ICD, for example, had eliminated this diagnosis.

It actually eliminated all personality disorders and had come instead with a single personality disorder with different emphases, which is what I had been advocating since 1997, absolutely.

I agree. I don't think they should be different.

I think people switch and oscillate between a variety of what today is considered to be separate diagnosis.

And I think narcissists as well gravitate and oscillate and vacillate between being an overt narcissist, and then suddenly they become covert, and then they go back to being overt and they are somatic one day and cerebral the next.

There's no type constancy.

There's no type constancy because narcissists collapse.

They fail.

So if you're cerebral and you fail, for example, you fail to impress people with your intellectual prowess and pyrotechnic intelligence, you fail and you become somatic because you need supply and you don't care where you get it.

So you become somatic and you use sex and whatever is left of your body to try to obtain supply.

It's the same with overt and covert. If you fail as an overt, if no one pays attention to you or they ridicule you when you try to, then you become covert.

You become a seething, passive-aggressive, envious creature.

So we already know that there's no type constancy, and we're beginning to think that we have completely misconstrued the whole field.

We believe, increasingly believe today, that what we used to call overt narcissists, the in-your-face, daring-do Donald Trump type narcissist, is actually a psychopath.

We are beginning to think that it's actually a psychopath.

We definitely are increasingly, increasingly considered borderline personality disorder to be a form of psychopathy.

So it all seems to kind of gravitate towards a mega-concept of psychopathy.

Covert narcissists, on the other hand, are compensatory.

So we begin to think that narcissism is a compensatory style.

At the core of the narcissist, there is insecurity, if a sense of inferiority, a perception of inadequacy, feeling as a bit unworthy object.

And so to cover up for this, to compensate for this, and develop grandiose fantasies, and whether you can accomplish these fantasies or not, is immaterial because you inhabit these fantasies.

You live within the fantasy.

You have renounced reality even when you're overt.

Narcissists renounce reality.

Otto Könberg was the first to suggest in 1975 that narcissism and borderline are actually forms of psychosis.

And so narcissists in many ways are psychotic.


They confuse external reality with internal reality in many ways.

And so they live in fantasy land.

The only problem there is that as opposed to psychotics, they try to bring you into the fantasy.

They are coercive.

Psychotics are not coercive.

Psychotics just confuse internal with external.

But the narcissist insists that you confirm and affirm that his fantasy is not a fantasy, that it's a reality.

If he considers himself to be a genius, he wants you to tell him that he's a genius.

And this is called narcissistic supply.

And when the narcissist is frustrated, he definitely becomes aggressive.

And if he's overt, he switches to psychopathy.

So he becomes antisocial.

And so we're beginning to see a melding of all this.

Now, there are powerful voices such as Judith Herman, endless powerful voices such as Sam Bakni, who suggest that all these disorders are actually post-traumatic conditions.

They are forms of complex post-traumatic stress disorder.

These had been, used to be, mutilated, abused children.

And they adopted a series of strategies to cope with the abuse and the trauma in early childhood.

And one of these strategies is known as narcissism.

So narcissism can be easily reconceived as a stunted, frozen child who is in a post-traumatic state.

And then if this is the case, it's good news because we know how to treat trauma very effectively.

But we don't know how to treat personality disorders at all.

We fail repeatedly and consistently with most of them, if not all of them.

But we do know to treat trauma.

So if we just change the way we look at narcissism, maybe there's hope, maybe there's healing.

My work on cold therapy is a harbinger of this, but I don't believe I'm the last one.

And so it's very difficult when you talk about victims.

First of all, as you know, I make a distinction between having been victimized and being a victim.

Having been victimized is an identity.

Having been victimized is identity politicsidentity.

Having been victimized is a fact.

And so when we talk about victims, it becomes very, very fraught and problematic because if you perceive narcissists as people who are in a post-traumatic condition, then they are victims.

It's just one of them.

Of that abuse.

So it's just one type of victim victimizing another type of victim.

It changes the whole mental picture.

It's like hurt people hurt people.

But Sam, here's the thing.

When I left this person, I didn't know who and what she was.

I had 20 years of psychotherapy behind me, luckily, and I'd studied psychology.

I'm not a professor like you, but I'd studied.

So I watched.

I got all most of the psychodynamics.

I saw the victim mentality.

I saw the COVID aggression, the lack of responsibility.

The thinking that was so odd to me, I thought there was brain damage.

I honestly thought there was some because it didn't make any sense.

So I left the person, and then I figured out then it led me to narcissism.

But what I realized was that, and it made me very uncomfortable in the beginning, I shared so much with her.

I realized we come from the same place which supports what you are saying.

So much of our stuff was the same.

That made me think, am I a narcissist?

Is this possible?

So it's like coming from the same place, flip sides of the same coin.

I went one way, and the other person went in a different trajectory.

And her mother and aunt are narcissists, and her grandmother are narcissists.

So there's the genetic component, and then there's the environment part as well.

So, and I think getting to the victim thing that certainly when I came out of it, I was very broken.

I couldn't remember things.

I couldn't sleep.

You know, all of those, you've heard this a lot, I'm sure.

But then I realized that I was in control of what I was going to do to keep away from the person.

And I can still hear you saying no contact.

If they send you gifts, return them unopened.

If they come to your door, call the police.

I can hear you saying that.

So I really implemented that.

And I shut the person down.

But so I took back control.

And what I often hear from people is, the narcissist hypnotized me, and I was powerless.

And I thought, that's not right.

Because each of us has the power to say no to whatever it is.

And that often, it was kind of almost like that, that there was nothing that the victim could do.

And I found that to be a problem.

Whereas I felt, well, I can take back my power.

And the empath thing that you mentioned, and this I got from you years ago.

But if I demonize narcissists, and I say they're all good, all bad, and I'm all good, then I'm the same.

Sam, was I?

Of course I wasn't.

But I have to take responsibility for.

So that's what I see, is that the power is handed over to the narcissistic abuser, and the person is helpless.

And that is the victim dynamic that you are referring to.

And also the addiction.

The fellowship of, it's called the SLAA, Sex and Labatics Anonymous was formed, I think, in about 40 years ago, since Augustine Fellowship.

And that's when people came to realize that there is something.

Who was made aware of that 20 years ago?

So I knew that it wasn't just the person, the somatic narcissist addicting me.

I also have that addiction.

So it was taking two, again, not just the other person.

I think we can go to the meta level and see the dynamic between the narcissist and his typical victim, because they are atypical victims, but the typical victim.

It's a Faustian deal.

The narcissist offers you a chance to experience maternal, unconditional love, and that is the love bombing and grooming phase.

And so there the narcissist says he idealizes you.

He says you're perfect, you're amazing, you're the most intelligent thing, the best thing that ever happened to me.

I've never come across someone like you. You're changing me, you're changing me, you're omnipotent.

So he talks to you as a mother would, as a mother would to her child.

Mothers idealize their children, otherwise they wouldn't be able to suffer them.

Children are insufferable unless you idealize them.

You know, nature endowed mothers with the ability to overlook, to overlook the nuisance that children are, and to idealize them.

The narcissist does the same to you.

He idealizes you.

By idealizing you, the narcissist idealizes himself.

So it's core idealization.

But you experience it as unconditional maternal love, which that's the elixir of life.

That's the holy grail.

That's what we all seek in all our relationships.

The mother bond with the child.

Sorry, I didn't interrupt.

The mother bond with the child.

It's a second chance.

It's a second chance because the vast majority of us grow up with mothers who are less than perfect, not good enough mothers.

Mothers who are absent, who are selfish, who are tired, who are angry.

We all have this baggage of not good enough mothering.

And here's the narcissist comes and says, "I'm going to give you a childhood back, and this time it's going to work.

This time it's going to be perfect.

And now I'm going to be your mother, and I'm going to love you unconditionally and going to idealize you.

And moreover, I'm going to grant you access to your own idealized image in my eyes through my gaze." So you can see yourself idealized through the narcissist gaze that's extremely addictive, because it's the first time you experience unadulterated self-love.

The narcissist's gift to you is the ability to self-love but an idea of false self.

The narcissist creates for you an impromptu false self, a small false self, and tells you you can't fall in love with this false self of yours.

I'm granting you access to this false self of yours. And you can finally self-love safely in my ambition. In my ambit, because I'm your mother, I love you unconditionally. And then what happens, once he got you addicted, he simply withdraws. He insists then that you do the same for him. He wants you to serve as a mother figure. And by the way, this is regardless of gender. He wants you then to mother him. But then of course, if you mother him and he mothers you, this is a concept which I call dual mothership. And if he gives you access to this hall of mirrors where you see multiple reflections of your idealized selves and you fall in love with these reflections, you get addicted to them, then he has infinite power over you.

He is infinite.

He can withdraw yourself love by denying you access to this hall of mirrors, by blocking this idealizing.

And he can become a bad mother.

He can withdraw his maternal, unconditional love and acceptance, which will be excruciatingly painful.

So he strikes a deal with you.

You're going to suspend yourself.

You're going to kill yourself mentally.

You're going to die.

And on this condition that you agree to die mentally, he will guarantee you access to all these goodies.

And the vast majority of people accept the deal.

They die.

And they become an internal object.

They become what we call in psychology an introject.

The narcissist takes a snapshot of you, photoshops the snapshot, that's the process of idealization, and then proceeds to interact with the snapshot.

Why? Because the snapshot is safe.

The snapshot will never abandon the narcissist, will never challenge, disagree, criticize, whatever.

In other words, the snapshot provides total control.

But you, your part of the deal, is to never deviate from the snapshot.

But how can you never deviate from the snapshot?

If you cease to exist, to never deviate from a static representation of you, you must become static.

You must die in effect.

So when you begin to show signs of independence, autonomy, agency, self-efficacy, when you make decisions, when you have new friends, when you travel, when you study, you are threatening the snapshot and you are breaching the contract with the narcissist because you gradually diverge from the snapshot.

And so the narcissist regards you as a threat to the internal balance in his mind.

You become a threat, you become a secretary object.

In short, you become an enemy.

Hence the devaluation and discard phase.

This is a relationship with the narcissist in a nutshell.

Now one more comment and I will let you go.

I tend to hold the limelight, of course.

It's a little fascinating.

It's not a problem, Sam.

It's fascinating.

One more thing.

You mentioned hypnosis of being hypnotized.

People are reporting this.

Actually, they have a point, ironically.

Or paradoxically, they do have a point.

There have been recent discoveries in neuroscience about a phenomenon called entraining.

This is a phenomenon studied over the last 15 years or 20, but had come to the forefront in the last 10 years.

And we discovered, for example, that using music, we can create in your brain a replica of my brain.

So when two people play the same music, their brains become utterly synchronized.

When I say utterly synchronized, the EEGs are indistinguishable.

You can't tell whose brain is it.

They become one brain.

Now the narcissist is used to this because of narcissistic supply.

What the narcissist does, he takes your input, his input, her input, and he creates his mind.

He recreates his mind on the fly.

He uses this constant input to recreate his mind, and I call it the hive mind, the swarm mind.

It's a kaleidoscope.

It's a collage.

So the narcissist is used to the environment having a determining effect on his mind.

His mind is formed and shaped by the environment on the fly.

So he's used to that.

So what he does, he entrains you.

He actually replicates his mind in yours, literally. Literally, he synchronizes the brainwaves through entrainment. But then the question is, how does he do it? Not all couples play music together. So how does he succeed to do that? Well, there is a form of music that the narcissist uses to accomplish this. It's called verbal abuse. Verbal abuse has all the characteristics of music. It has repetitive refrains. It has cadence. It has cadence. It has tempo. It has rhythm. It has harmony. It has melody. Verbal abuse is music. It's exactly like rap or people. It's music. It's a musical style. I can actually take a verbal abuse session, put it online, and people will think it's music. So he uses verbal abuse to entrain you, to create in your mind, literally and physically, physiologically, a replica of the brainwaves in his mind.

In this sense, it's very close to dissociative, suggestive states, such as hypnosis.

Now, the reason I agree with you that it doesn't justify victim passivity is that entraining takes place only during the abusive session.

Once the session is over, you are de-entrained.

You are no longer entrained.

So then you regain self-control, autonomy, and you can make decisions.

But during these intermittent reinforcement bullying sessions, you are actually passive and without almost any control.

And in this sense, you're hypnosis.

So if we go back to the difference between narcissistic traits, what's currently called the disorder, what would be the difference?

The first to suggest that there's a difference was a guy called Lynn Sperry.

And he suggested that there should be a distinction between people who have narcissistic style, also known as assholes, and people who have narcissistic personality disorder.

Then Theodor Millon came into the scene, adopted Lynn Sperry's work.

He cites Lynn Sperry in his seminal book, Personality Disorders in Modern Life.

And so he adopted his work, and he added another layer, the narcissistic personality.

So now we have three layers.

We have style, personality, and disorder.

And the difference between them is quantitative, literally, but quantity to the point that it becomes quality.

So for example, traits would be exaggerated.

Lack of empathy would be more extreme.

Behaviors would be escalated.

Exploitation would be emphasized.

Envy would be much stronger in the disorder.

Antisocial behaviors are almost exclusive to the disorder, etc.

So it's a matter of quantity.

It's these exaggerated forms of each other.

The disorder, though, when you cross into the disorder, you are beginning to have several psychological and psychodynamic features which are absent from the style and from the personality.

For example, you are no longer able to relate to other people as external.

What you tend to do as a narcissist with a disorder, you tend to internalize other people.

You tend to create internal objects which represent these people.

And then you regard other people as figments of your mind, as extensions, which explains a lot of the abuse and a lot of the abuse.

Because if I abuse you as a narcissist, it's self-inflicted, because you're not there, you're in my mind, you're an internal object.

So I subject you to all the dynamics in my mind because you are a part of my mind.

For example, my mother taught me to not have boundaries.

I abuse means when the parent, parental figures or caregivers breach the child's boundaries, don't allow the child to separate.

So I am used to not having boundaries.

But because you're part of my mind, I have no problem to breach your boundaries.

I do to you that which was done to me, because you are me.

You are me.

That is something victims can contract their heads around.

And that's one example of a psychodynamic feature or psychological feature which clearly distinguishes the disorder from all.

I would say that perhaps the second thing with your permission, perhaps the second thing is where a lack of empathy crosses into sadism, antisocial behaviour, the tendency to abuse in a way which is negating and vitiating of the victim.

And that's why I coined the phrase narcissistic abuse to distinguish it from other types of abuse.

Other types of abuse leverage some dimensions of your existence, financial abuse, legal abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, you name it, all of them leverage some aspect of you.

Sexual abuse leverages usually your genitalia, you know?

So it's a limited type of abuse.

Narcissistic abuse is all pervasive, ubiquitous, and above all, the main goal and the only goal of narcissistic abuse is for you to cease to exist, because your separateness constitutes a threat.

And narcissists are not equipped to deal with separateness, they were never allowed to separate.

So this is where a lack of empathy in the disorder becomes extreme.

I mean, I think that the word narcissist and narcissism, it's used very freely today, and I think I got this from you as well, that adolescence, for example, is a naturally narcissistic phrase where the child is individuating, becomes God and saying to parents, off you go, I'm becoming my own person, it is healthy, without some modicum of narcissism, you're not going to survive.

====modicum of narcissism, you're not going to survive.

Yeah, but I think, I mean, I've always thought of it the way I see it is, it's exactly what you're saying, that really what distinguishes the disorder from traits with style is that lack of emotional empathy, there is cognitive, as you've called it, cold empathy, and interpersonal exploitation.

And if we, you've not, you know, we've spoken about narcissistic abuse, but so we have really four phases which are not linear, so we have idealization, as you said, discard, sorry, devaluation, discard, and then the hoover.

So do you want to take us through those phases, sir?

Seeing as you can say it so much better than I can.

Hoovering is another term that I coined, by the way. People don't realize it, it's another term, of course.

Before I go there, you see the language breaks down, even for someone like you who is well versed in narcissism.

The language breaks down because you use the term exploitation.

Narcissist never exploits. I can't exploit you, you don't exist. You're part of me. Who am I exploiting? I'm taking what's mine. I'm taking what's mine.

Right. So from my perspective, yeah, not from narcissist perspective, I get that. I didn't see that a few years ago, but now I do.

It breaks the mind. I mean, the mind can't function anymore because it's so alien. Narcissists are so alien in the way they perceive others.

Oh, don't perceive others. That's the core problem, by the way. Narcissists have no, what we call, object relations.

The narcissist is stuck in a phase of development called self-relation, but it doesn't progress to object relation.

Object relation simply means relating to others. And as a joke, it's very telling that in psychology, the word objects means people, just for your information.

Right. Object relations means relations with people.

Yes. Yes.

So psychology is a very narcissistic thing because if I regard it as a... It's funny you should say that. I was just thinking about that.

Yeah. Okay. So coming back to your question, which you asked when we were both a lot younger, about idealization and so on and so forth.

As I said, there's no... I've modified the concept of idealization, and now it should be called core idealization because the narcissist, by idealizing you, idealizes himself.

If you are the most intelligent person on earth and I'm with you, it says something about me.

If someone is the most beautiful woman on earth and she chooses me or she is with me, it says something about me.

So there's no separate idealization. It's always core idealization.

And actually, the main reason for idealization is the narcissist part.

The narcissist wants to aggrandize and idealize himself. The only way to do this is to aggrandize and idealize everyone around him.

That's why he does that. That's the first motivation.

Second motivation. When I idealize, it's irresistible to you because as I said, it's a form of maternal and unconditional love and so on.

But also, who doesn't want to be thought of as super intelligent, amazingly beautiful and so on? Of course.

It's irresistible. It's addictive.

So the second main function of core idealization is to get the victim or the prey or the potential intimate partner addicted.

So it creates addiction. Idealization lasts for as long as you don't diverge or deviate from the snapshot, from the introject.

Whereas in the process of idealization, the narcissist creates an image of you, which is photoshopped. That's idealization.

And then as long as you don't deviate or diverge from this image, everything is OK and you will continue to be idealized.

As long as we behave.

As long as you're dead.

Let's call a spade a spade as long as you're dead.

Because if I tell you, let's eat in this restaurant and you say, no, let's eat in that restaurant, you had diverged from the snapshot.

You had disagreed with me.

It also implies some form of criticism. Your choice of restaurant is wrong.

It also implies that you know something. It implies that you know something that I don't know.

So you're challenging my omniscience.

If you tell me, listen, let me help you. I don't interpret it as an indication or expression of love. I interpret it as an attempt to humiliate you, to imply that I'm not omnipotent, that I need you, that you have something I don't have.

So even the most innocuous comments, most loving or will be perceived as challenging or undermining the snapshot, you can't do anything right.

Whatever you do will be perceived as an attempt to unsettle the precarious balance of the narcissist in a universe and therefore will render you a persecatory object, an enemy.

In other words, devaluation is inevitable as long as you show signs of life.

It's inevitable.

Victims should stop asking themselves, what did I do wrong? What could I have done differently? Should I have done this? Should I have done that? Should I not have said this?

You would have been devalued, period.

If you eat and drink and breathe, it's sufficient for the narcissist to switch to the devaluation mode.

The only way for you to have avoided devaluation is to have rendered yourself an ancient Egyptian money, about as lively and as attractive.

Too uncommon.

The narcissist also suffers from extreme separation insecurity, also known colloquially as abandonment excite.

So the moment you show a sign of independence and autonomy, any, the slightest, a new friend going out for coffee, doing something without the narcissist or without his permission, anything, using the smartphone.

I mean, because when you're with your smartphone, you have a private enclave, a private warble. It's very threatening. Anything you do would provoke devaluation.

Now, why did the narcissist need to devalue you? Because you are a source of threat.

And because you approved positive that his judgment had been wrong.

I mean, if he needs to devalue you, then he judged you wrongly, didn't he?

So he needs to eliminate you. And he eliminates you by claiming that you had changed this new information. You had changed somehow. Or he found out new things about you. Or you went crazy. Or you became insufferable. Or something, there's been a transformation in you that does not vitiate, does not negate his initial judgment. You had changed, not the narcissist.

That's the first thing. And the second thing is, now that you have changed, he can create a negative introject of you. He can create the opposite of the snapshot. He can create a snapshot that is ugly, that is stupid, that is, and then this justifies discarding you. And that's the last phase.

He needs to discard you because your very existence is a threat.

And this is what people fail to understand. Narcissistic abuse is not about something you do or something you don't do, or choices or decisions or lifestyle.

Narcissistic abuse is about getting rid of your existence, killing you, in effect.

If possible, physically, but usually mentally, killing you.

Then the discard. For allowing the discard, actually there's another phase, which is replacement.

The narcissist tries to find an alternative to you and go through the whole process again.

The narcissist creates something called shared fantasy.

Shared fantasy was first described by Sanger in 1989, not by Wachner.

And the shared fantasy is a fantastic space where the narcissist can maintain his grandiosity and where he can exert full control over you and negate your agency.

So that's the shared fantasy. Shared fantasy also includes fantastic elements like dreams, aspirations, a brilliant rosy future. It could be children, it could be family, it could be money, it could be whatever.

So that's the shared fantasy.

He drags you into the shared fantasy.

And the replacement is simply finding another partner for the shared fantasy.

If he fails at the replacement phase, then he switches to phase 4b.

And 4b would be hovering.

Hovering is a lost result, actually. People think that narcissists hover habitually. They try to avoid it as much as they can. It's a lost result. It's indicative of the narcissist's failure to find a replacement for you.

But there is one case where the narcissist will never ever hover you.

And that's if you had mortified the narcissist.

In 1957, a group of scholars described a phenomenon in the study of narcissism known as narcissistic mortification.

Now, narcissistic mortification is when someone, an intimate partner, shames you and humiliates you in public in front of people you care for, people whose opinions you value.

So if I were to create a situation where you are, for example, sitting with your colleagues or with your peers, and then I were to shame you and humiliate you horribly in front of all of them, I will have mortified you.

And then narcissists never hover after mortification.

Mortification is a fascinating process because what happens is the false self and all the defenses break down. They're inactivated. And the narcissist is faced with his own internal void known as the empty schizoid core.

The narcissist is faced with a black hole at his own center. And that's, of course, a harrowing traumatizing experience.

So he will never come near you again. You have the capacity to traumatize.

Is that the same as narcissistic decompensation, Sam?

Decompensation is an element in mortification.

Decompensation is an element. Yes. Decompensation is a clinical term for when defense mechanisms, psychological defense mechanisms are disabled.

So they're no longer able to filter and reframe reality in a way which will conform to the narcissist's self image.

So his self image is assaulted and assailed by numerous countervailing data from reality. And he can't stand that.

And his false self is brought apart.

Borderlines, by the way, go through decompensation as well.

The disabling of these defenses creates a very interesting phenomenon.

And that's the crux of my work nowadays.

And it's becoming widely accepted in academia.

I just gave lectures in McGill University about this. And I'm going to give lectures in Cambridge and so on.

I suggested that actually we should consider all personality disorders as an assemblage of self states.

So people with personality disorders don't have a single self. They have multiple self states.

And then what happens is under stress, under duress, under humiliation, rejection, abandonment, et cetera, et cetera.

Or when challenged and undermined, for example, by your independent behavior, people with personality disorders switch between self states.

So, for example, the borderline, if she perceives rejection and abandonment, which is her greatest fear, if she perceives them, then she decompensates, her defense mechanisms switch off.

And she switches from one self state, the borderline self state, to a psychopathic self state.

She becomes psychopaths, more precisely a secondary cycle.


So the self states argument or the self states model is a fascinating model in effect.

Because first of all, it allows us to unify all personality disorders. We just say, OK, there is a limited set of self states and these apply to borderline, these apply to narcissism.

And also it means that when the narcissist switches to another self state, he can easily become covert or borderline. Or he can become a psychopath. A psychopath can become a narcissist or he can become a borderline.

It opens up the field. It allows for all these transitions that had been observed in therapy and in clinical settings that were not accounted for by the DSM and other categorical texts.

So it's much more fluid. You know, getting back to the hubris, the last time I spoke, I'd never received a hoover before.

And I got one, I think a year and a half after I left the relationship.

And it was the most bizarre, disturbing experience.

And I think it's really important for people to hear is that as the person just arrived at my house, I firstly was very nervous and secondly, I felt as if there were walls of steel around me.

And I kept having to remind myself of who and what was in front of me.

And all the charm was switched on, you know, and right at the end, I saw a reptilian intelligence there, a sly intelligence.

And I thought of a black member striking a mouse or a king cobra striking a mouse, which is very primal.

And the snake doesn't do it because there's anything wrong with the snake. That is the design of the snake. There's no empathy for that poor mouse that's going to suffer.

And that's what I felt right at the end.

It was this sly intelligence.

And she knew exactly what she was doing.

That was the other thing that horrified me.

And, you know, when people experience the hoover, it's very hard to resist from my perspective because I love the person and because it looked, it was a fantastic show.

But I hadn't experienced it the last time we spoke.

And now I have.

And all I can say is it was difficult to resist, but I'm very glad that I did.

I did not allow myself to be drawn back in.

And I think that's very important that people can be, you know.

And also, I was thinking that when I left the person, I joined a group for narcissistic abuse survivors.

And the person that I started speaking to, he had to plan his exit over a year.

He planned it because he was married.

They shed money, etc.

I didn't do that.

I could just leave this person.

I just packed up and I left.

I didn't know who she was.

I just left.

But he had to plan it.

And you've said this before many times, Sam.

It's very hard to leave. Yeah, very hard to leave.

Overing involves two mechanisms.

One is triggering.

The very presence of the narcissist triggers you.

You had been traumatized by the narcissist on the one hand, so he triggers the trauma.

But it also triggers the good memories.

It's not only the bad memories.

It's a triggering of the entire monopoly of memories and emotions that were involved in the relationship.

And by the way, that is common for healthy relationships.

I mean, if you were to divorce a perfectly healthy person and she would see her again, you would be triggered.

But in the case of the narcissist, the triggering disables you because it also triggers the trauma.

So you have a post-traumatic response, you know, freeze, fight, fight, flight, form, all these.

It's a monopoly, post-traumatic responses.

This is the triggering.

And the second thing that overing does, it entices you because you see what happens with typical victims of narcissists, what happens is a process called merger infusion.

Merger infusion when you either willingly surrender your boundaries or you never had boundaries to start with, you're codependent, for example. Yeah. And so you merge.

You become one organism with a narcissist.

You become a single unit, a cerebrose with two heads, you know.

And so when the narcissist abandons you, you abandon the narcissist, it's the equivalent of an amputation.

And you have a phantom limb left behind.

I would advocate your leg, but you would still feel your leg.

You'd still feel the narcissist there.

There's a phantom narcissist left behind because you were one.

You were a single entity.

And leaving the narcissist made you half.

And you will always be half without her.

She will always be there as a phantom.

She will be there more clinically as an introject.

She is in your mind.

She talks to you.

Even if you don't realize it, even if you are not aware, she is there.

She had penetrated.

She had mind snatched you and then body snatched you.

And she had merged with you.

It's like the alien movies when the alien enters a body.

And then from the outside, it looks like Saint-Wagner, but actually it's an alien from.

So, so hoovering, hoovering seems to be like this kind of trivial, trivial pursuit, if you wish.

Someone, an ex, tries to pick you up.

No way. It's an exceedingly complex psychodynamic or psychological process.

Exceedingly. It involves multiple disciplines in psychology.

It's one of the most understudied and amazing phenomena in psychology.

You as a codependent or you as someone with four boundaries, or you as a boundary person who has surrendered your boundaries, or you who had struck the follow-steal deal.

Yeah. Give me a second chance.

And in return, I will kill myself for a while or suspend myself for a while.

If you had done any of this and you had, because you had a relationship with another.

If you had done any of this, you would be sorely tempted.

And here's another reason.

It's much easier to be dead than to be alive.

It's anxiety reducing.

We all live in a state of anxiety.

And anxiety is provoked by life.

But when you suspend your existence, when you're no longer alive, there is a sense of calm.

I know it sounds bizarre because victims are always traumatized that they are anxious and they're depressed on the one hand.

But on the other hand, handing control to the narcissist has merits in terms of feeling safe, feeling in a way that you're in good hands.

So this is the dynamic that works with dictators.

Dictators like Adolf Hitler, you know.

His message was, let me manage everything.

Don't worry. You have no responsibility and no accountability.

I become the external locus of control.

And that leads us to the concept of external locus of control.

In a relationship with a narcissist, your life is controlled from the outside.

You have an external locus.

And so you are never to blame.

You're never guilty. You're never responsible. You're never accountable as long as you play the game with the narcissist, as long as you conform.

I remember all those feelings, Sam.

Exactly what you're describing.

There was a great sense of safety and peace in being with the person.

I get you completely, you know.

Maybe another concept to inject here would be the comfort zone.

People who end up with narcissists usually default to a comfort zone.

And this comfort zone reflects something in childhood.

So maybe they were not allowed to separate in childhood and to become individuals.

The parent emotionally blackmailed them, whether it was emotional, ambient, incest, or I don't know what.

And they couldn't separate individually.

So here's an opportunity to again not separate.

So this is a comfort zone.

Maybe they've been abused with children.

And so they gravitate to the narcissist because she is an abuser.

I mean, that's the job qualification. She's an abuser.

And so you need to recreate the comfort zone of having been abused.

Now, what is a comfort zone?

Comfort zone is not positive or negative.

Actually, most comfort zones are negative.

Comfort zone is simply a way of existence where you feel that you know the rules, you know the ropes, everything is predictable, and you can control the process.

That's a comfort zone.

Now, we have studies that show that women who have been abused, battered, beaten up in childhood by, for example, their fathers tend overwhelmingly to select abuses as fathers because they know how to cope with an abuser. They know how to predict his reactions. It's familiar. You know, Sam, in my book, I describe being with somebody who does not exist. All that existed was a mask that danced and beamed with portrayals of authenticity, kindness, and personality. And I got that from you because you said that there is actually nobody there.


And so when I think about her now, I think I shared so many special moments. We travel to a lot of countries and so on. But there was nothing from her side. And I think that's a difficulty for us as I call myself a survivor of narcissistic abuse.

And you actually said this in one of your lectures in London, I think, with Richard. You said the most difficult thing for you to understand is that none of you are special to us. That's what you said. I remember.

Most difficult thing. Yeah. But in her mind, I'm just a different make of toaster or a different make of coir or a different make of cell phone. There's nothing special about me at all to her.

Interchangeable, yes.

Interchangeable units. Those were the terms that you used.

And I think also, Sam, that in the beginning, and we did touch on this a little bit earlier, is that I would say if I was this person, I wouldn't have behaved in that way.

And then I realized that was a fatal error. I had to look at it from the perspective of the narcissist.

And you were talking about the breakdown of language earlier. Adolf Hitler thought that what he was doing was right. So that's his perspective. In my perspective, you shouldn't go and kill people like that. But that's his perspective. I'm just busy reading a book about Jonestan, about Jim Jones and listening to how he killed all those people from his perspective. He was saying, was that okay? Was that okay? He was saying, Sam. Yeah.

So I think if we if we look at it from my perspective, it doesn't make any sense. But if I look at it from the perspective of the narcissist, it makes complete sense.

Who's right and who's wrong? Maybe it isn't the question of that. It's a question of what's okay for me and what's not okay for me as each person.


It is definitely wrong to convert the discourse on narcissism to a morality play. Good versus evil. Yes.

Good versus evil. Right versus wrong. Yes.

It's very wrong and it's it leads leads people astray because they become angels and the narcissist is a devil.

And you know, it becomes highly religious.

Do you think I'm an angel? Yeah. Do you think I'm an angel? Sam, do I look like an angel? Of course you're not an angel. No one is. No one is.

And it's not about being the devil. Remember the simple principle. The narcissist knows no better. He wants to do to you what had been done to him because he considered himself. He wants to elevate you to his level.

I'm doing your favor to be in my company to share my life with me to make love to me. It's enormous privilege because I'm a unique being. I'm a superior. I'm a light being. I'm a superior creature. And I want to do to you what had been done to me because that way you will become me. And by that and I'm elevating you to my level when I'm making you me when I'm making you a clone of me a replica of me and do you a favor and a once in a lifetime favor.

Now, what had been done to me?

First of all, I was not about to separate.

So I will not allow you to separate.

I'm not allowed to make this horrible mistake of becoming an individual.

Second thing, I was hollowed out.

I was hollowed out.

I was rendered into an avoid and emptiness.

It's called the empty schizooid core in clinical terms.

I became an emptiness.

But I don't consider this a disadvantage.

I consider this the next step in the evolutionary ladder.

This is what renders me superior.

And so I want to empty you.

I want to follow you out also because I want to bring you to the truth.

I want to bring you to the tribe.

I want you to share my superiority.

I love you.

This is love, isn't it?

Love is about elevating the partner, allowing the partner to grow and to develop.

So this is self development.

This is self growth.

What I'm doing to you.

So I'm empty.

You should be empty.

I have no boundaries.

You should have no boundaries.

I've been abused.

I will abuse you because abuse had been proven to be a methodology which had led to the problem.

I call it, I will call it probably tough love or something, you know?

So this is what people, the narcissist intentions, and that's the irony.

The narcissist, first of all, is selfless.

He has no self.

Literally has no self.

That's why he needs input from the outside.

He has no functioning self.

That's one thing.

And the second thing is the narcissist is well intentioned, not evil.

That's the psychopath.

The psychopath is evil.

The narcissist is well intentioned.

He believes, he believes that together you can become this amazing single unit that is by definition far more advanced than the rest of humanity.

But unfortunately, you are not at this step of evolution.

He needs to bring you up to him.

That's a good summary of relationships with the narcissist.

They try to educate you, edify you, improve you, change you, transform you, help you.

I mean, they try all the time to make you who you are not, to take away your identity because it sucks your identity.

Better to adopt the narcissist.

You know, it's easy for me to get all of this now, Sam, but not in the beginning of my journey.

So in the beginning, I hated the person and I hated what I'd become a shell of my former self.

And only a long time, many years later, can I discuss it like this with you because there's distance from it now.

But the people, I saw this speaking to so many people about it, some of my clients, I mean, my travel agent, planned her own suicide.

An old friend of mine goes into a clinic for depression once a year because her husband is a narcissist.

So from our side, it's so inconceivable in the beginning.

I think, well, because I have emotional empathy that everyone else is going to have it.

I didn't realize that some people just don't have it.

So it's very difficult for us to understand and achieve distance, to say, I understand how the narcissist works, but it really destroys us.

It's so dangerous for us.

I mean, an ex-girlfriend of mine from 30 years ago was married to a psychopath.

And she said to me recently that she had planned. Oops, you froze Charles. I don't know if you can hear me. Sam, you there? Yes, I can hear you now. You froze. You said a friend of mine had planned and then you punished. Yeah, so she was married to a psychopath for I think maybe about 10 years. And then she was so unhappy that she had asked somebody to kill her, take a hit out on her. Soon her.

So what I mean, you know this better than I do, Sam, the damage that it does.

So there's only reason I can speak about it now with a sense of humor and more distant.

What would you say to people who are in a relationship with a narcissist?

What would your advice be, Sam?

Don't be.

Honestly, all the rest is bullshit.

There's a lot of bullshit on that.

Do this, do that. I invented most of these bullshit, but I came up with mirroring and with the, you name it.

I came up with seven of eight techniques. The only technique I did not come up with is gray rock.

So gray rock is not my invention, but all the rest what you hear about, I invented.

And yet I'm telling you, they're all bullshit. The only viable solution.

Save your life. Get away. No contact.

And no contact means no contact. No texts, no social media stalking, no gifts, no third party introductions, no flying monkey, no contact.

No attempts because the brain plays tricks on you. It would come up with a million reasons why yes, to be in contact only once for a few minutes.

It's just once for a few minutes. And there's excellent reason for it. There's an excellent reason.

And one of the main, of course, alibis is having common children or common property. Or it's my mother. How could I give up on her? Or it's my child. It's my son. How can I give up on him?

You know, these are all excuses. And I don't have money. I don't have money. It's an excuse. You don't have money. It's an excuse. You have common children. It's an excuse. It's your mother. It's an excuse. They're all excuses.

Now, of course, some departures are much more complex than others. But departure is it must be one way or another. You have common children. Let your attorneys communicate. It has to pick them up. Don't be there. Ask your cousin to be there. There is visitation. Make them supervised or ask someone to be there. I mean, find a solution, no contact.

He wants to talk to you. He cannot talk to you. You have a lawyer or you have a neighbor. I don't Or you have a good friend. It's your mother. Walk away. She is your enemy. She threatens your life. Walk away.

Why do people not consider narcissists as life threatening? They are.

It's not that narcissists are life threatening because of their practices. Narcissists are life threatening because of their practices. The narcissist's life is threatened, at least mental life. If he's alive, he needs you to be dead. He will offer you a lot for this. I mean, it's a bargain. It's a bargain, death. He will offer you a lot to stop to exist. But he needs you to stop to exist. It's you or him. The final invoice, and I think I got this from you too, Sam, the final invoice is for our life.

That's you. That's in my book too.

The final invoice from the narcissist is for our life, you know?

I mean, my own no contact has been in place ever since I discovered who and what she was. Completely blocked. Never looked for her on Facebook. I speak to nobody who, you know, just completely no contact.

That's the because, Sam, apart from the risk of getting back together again, I would like to believe I'm strong enough now. It's also like as an alcoholic having one drink, it's not OK. It's the same principle.

And the other thing, Sam, if I talk to my abuser, I'm giving the signal to myself that what the person did is OK. And it's not OK. It's the same as if I come to your house and you open the door, you please just see me and I start punching you.

What are you going to do? Hit me back, close the door. That's what you should do.

So the message is if I talk, if I'm in contact with my abuser, I'm saying to me, it's not OK.

And you know the other thing, Sam, when I left the person, I thought I got the better of her, but I didn't. I got the better of myself. That's what I did. I beat myself because that was the war, which is what you've been speaking about, is that that battle to leave.

You know what I mean? The difficulty in leaving.

So, Sam, is there anything, any other advice?

I mean, just before you answer, you know, again, I'm not saying it probably for the third time, but people that I know, whether they're clients, friends, etc., the majority of them do not leave.

I know I did and I know that this friend of mine, he left the one who planned his exit over a year.

Is that in your experience, too, that most people don't leave? They not only do not leave, but they re-victimize. They keep selecting mates, which are replicas of the narcissists.

So, we have like serial victimhood or serial, my third husband is as narcissistic as my second husband, who was even worse than my first husband.

And why do you keep choosing these people?

But it's conditioning, we know, childhood conditioning and so on.

Yes, there was one more piece of advice.

The narcissist is a wily, wily enemy. He picks up on your body language. He picks up on your facial micro-expressions. He picks up on words you say, but much more importantly, he picks up on words that you do not say.

Anything can and will be used against you in due time. Confidences you shared, emotions witnessed, facial expressions, hunched, a hunched shoulder, a twitching leg, a tick. Anything and everything is catalogued, observed, catalogued for future use and future abuse.

That's the main reason for no contact because every minute you spend with a narcissist is providing, is equivalent to providing the narcissist with ammunition for a future battle.

You are giving ammunition to your enemy and he is going to use it. Don't kid yourself.

It's like the United States equipped the mujahideen at the time. It came back to bite them in the ass at 9/11.

You are giving weapons to your enemy and trust me, I happen to be a narcissist. I decided to victimize you. You have been in my crosshairs.

In this session alone, I have enough ammunition to ruin you for good, for good, and I mean for good, to render you utterly, this corroborating psychotic, in a mental world for the rest of your life.

And that's in 45 minutes.

Now, I happen to be a super intelligent narcissist. This is the most dangerous kind, the most psychopathic narcissist.

But even a run of the mill pedestrian narcissist would do a job 50% as good as money. That's also exceedingly dangerous.

And I'd like to add to that, Sam, that the person that I was with was not bright. But boy, boy, was she good at what she did.

With my background in psychology and being in therapy, I thought I was losing my mind.

Most tigers, I heard that most tigers score very low on IQ tests. I heard so.

But you wouldn't take the risk, would you, with a tiger?

Narcissists are optimized predatory systems. Each word counts here, optimized, predatory systems. They're not a human being. They're a hive mind. They're a collage of hundreds of minds.

It's like a colony. Narcissist is like a colony. It's like a killer bee colony. And you're feeding it with information. Things you say, things you don't say, body language.

This is that you're feeding it with information. And it's coming at you. Make no mistake. It's coming at you. And it's going to devour you and leave nothing behind you. And it has nothing to do with intelligence. It has to do with reflexes and instincts. It's primordial. It's primordial. It's primitive. It's not on the level of Nietzsche and Schopenhauer and Hegel, you know? It's tooth and claw. It's nail. It's nail and claw and tooth. It's red and nail and claw and tooth. It's nature. It's a predator. It's interesting, Sam, because I've watched a lot of documentaries on black mumber snakes. And the black mumber is obviously extremely venomous. But it is also highly unpredictable. It's a very skittish defense of snake.

So when I watch snake handlers swim with King Cobras, which are also very deadly, they're fine. But when you watch a snake handler dealing with a black mumber, they're sweet because they know that this attack can come out of nowhere.

Now, that's not the fault of the black mumber. That is the design. And if we look at Maslow's Hierarchical Theory of Needs, that's right down at the bottom. That black mumber is not self-actualizing. That's what it's designed to do.

And I see that the same way with the narcissists, that it's a primal, it's a very primal level.

And with a black mumber, the only thing to do comes into your no contact is to keep away from them. Keep away from them because they're dangerous.

I'll give you one concluding line. Narcissists are predators who feed on other people's autonomy, other people's separateness.

Hold on for a second. I'm sorry. I need to open the door. My problem.

So narcissists suck other people's autonomy, other people's separateness. I think that's the main feeding mechanism of narcissists. They are kind of supernatural beings, if you wish, animals that go around and when they see that you're autonomous and separate, they suck it out of you.

And narcissists are very good at creating crowds and mobs and masses. Throughout history, the great leaders of mobs and crowds, or cloquacies, rule by mob, were narcissists, of course. Adolf Hitler comes to mind and much less malevolent and pernicious Donald Trump. These are narcissists.

What they do is they suck the autonomy and separateness of people and render them into a mass, indistinguishable mass. That's what the narcissist does to you. It renders you protoplasmic. It takes you back to the beginning of life, in effect. And you're fighting for your life.

That's what it felt like, Sam.

So basically what you're saying is, when I said, what's your advice if you're involved with one?

Get away. No contact.

My only advice. Get away. Don't bother with all these techniques. These techniques are just ways for you to stay. You're trying to convince yourself to stay. They say, well, there's a way to manage it. It's manageable. Don't worry. Oh, great. Yeah, sure. I can manage.

This is nonsense. You can't fight the narcissists.

Narcissists is a superior apex predator. There's no way you can survive this.

He doesn't care about what he or she has to do to win. It doesn't care.

Predators don't care.

Last time I spoke to a COVID-19 virus, he didn't seem to care. He didn't seem to care. He didn't have too much compassion, did it? He didn't have compassion and so on. Also, it was not highly intelligent, as far as I could see.

But it's suffocations. You killed six million people. Like another virus.

Sam, I... Exactly. Exactly.

I really want to thank you again for your time on a Sunday afternoon. Just to acknowledge, I know I've said this in emails, but I'm going to say it again. When the finally out, you will obviously get mailed a copy. And I'm afraid you're going to find yourself all over it. So thank you for all of your contributions. It's a sadistic way to dream. Thank you. Well, precisely. Thank you, Sam. Charles, it's always good to see you.

Yeah, likewise.

Cheers for now, Sam.

Don't be a stranger. Take care. Bye.

All right. Bye.

Hello. Good afternoon, Sam.

Hi. Hi, Charles. How are you?

I'm fine. Thanks. Send yourself.

I'm okay. More or less.

Yeah. These are strange days.

A strange day is busy. More busy than ever, actually.

So I am in the organizing committee of well over 90 international conferences.

We have two of them online.

And editor in 50-something academic magazines. Editor in chief.

Of five academic journals.

And you can imagine the influx.

And everyone wants to write about psychology of coffee.

They are supposed to.

So I'm utterly snowed under.

I go to sleep at four and so on.

And that's why when I coordinate something, I put aside everything.


It's quite a shambles if it doesn't happen.


It has a ripple effect.

And it makes me even more grateful for giving us some of it a little time.

No, don't worry at all. I do indeed want to talk to you.

It's just that it created a chain reaction that's going to cost me a few hours of sleep.

But don't worry about it. We don't know.

Thank you.

Firstly before, and I've written so many questions down as a result of our talk last week.

How we all know. How we record it.

Yes. I'm using an application called CallNote.

And the reason that I do that is because it gives a very nice quality recording.

So I'm looking at now and it's definitely recording.

All right.

But when you send me the file, I can't make sure that it's MP3 and not, for example, M4A.


Because they have all kinds of.

So I can process only MP3 and MP4.

Got it. Yeah. Fantastic.

MP3 is by far the best.

Fantastic. Fantastic.

So Sam, I've got a million questions for you here.

So let's start.

I hope I don't die in the middle. I'm in the bottom of the room.

Absolutely. Absolutely. Sam, OK.

Can we start off by it's a question that I get asked a lot.

The difference between having narcissistic traits and full blown clinical narcissistic personality disorder.

The first to have made such distinctions was one of the granddaddies of the field of personality disorders, Theodore Miller.

And together with another chap called Davis, his student, they had authored a seminal work called Personality Disorders in Daily Life.

It is there that Miller made the distinction between personality disorders, personality style, personality personality.

And he suggested that we are all placed on a spectrum.

Today, his approach is widely accepted in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Edition 5, published in 2013, the latest.

Incorporates his thinking.

It's dimensional.

It describes spectra.

And so we are all on a spectrum.

And what Miller had suggested is that everyone to this or that extent is a narcissist.

Some people are grandiose.

Some people are obnoxious, like me, for example.

Some people are.

But but we all some people like empathy.

Some people are exploitative.

Some people are envious.

Some people have a combination of some of these traits and so on and so forth.

And he suggested that some people have a personality, narcissistic personality.

And that would simply mean that they have the proclivities and predilections and inclinations to react in highly specific ways in certain circumstances.

And they would tend to be a big grandiose.

They would tend to be insensitive to other people's needs, emotions, priorities and wishes.

They would tend to be a bit self-centered and so on.

That's the personality.

And then there's a personality style.

Personality style, narcissistic personality style is simply all this amplified.

So these people would actively actually engage in narcissistic behaviors and actively translate the narcissistic traits into behaviors that are supposed to secure favorable outcomes from the human environment.

And then there's the disorder.

And the disorder is not only quantitatively different to the style.

It's not a style amplified, but it's qualitatively different.

It's a break.

It's charismatic.

It's like it's like a break from the style.

It's because the disorder is actually dysfunctional.

It doesn't guarantee favorable outcomes.

The person with an narcissistic style actually gets his way.

He gets his way.

He leverages institutions.

He collaborates with other people to obtain goals.

He has accomplishments.

He's a pillar of society.

He's the personality style is actually a positive adaptation.

It allows you to function better in society and with other people.

The disorder, as the name implies, is dysfunctional.

It guarantees negative outcomes.

It is self-destructive.

It alienates people.

It repels them.

It makes you a hatetrigger.

So the disorder is all these traits and behaviors taken to such an extreme and to the exclusion of all other traits and behaviors so that the outcomes are actually negative to the narcissist itself.

Now, the element the last point I want to make is this issue of exclusion.

The person with narcissistic personality or the person with narcissistic style, which is one step above personality, these people have elements of narcissism, which are pretty pronounced discernible and, you know, immediately detectable.

But they also have other traits and behaviors which are non-narcissistic.

And they don't exclude these traits and behaviors.

They let them express.

So they are not all the time narcissistic.

They are narcissistic in reaction to something or under certain circumstances or in certain or when they want to achieve something.

But they are not all the time narcissistic.

So, for example, if they are in some situations, dysempathic, they don't show empathy.

In other situations, they would be empathic.

If in some situations they are exploitative, others, they would be actually collaborative.

They would work well in teams.

I think an example of this would be President Trump.

Donald Trump is a grandiose narcissist, but he doesn't have narcissistic personality disorder.

He has a narcissistic style so that other qualities in him, which are non-narcissistic, actually manifest, for example, his ability to work in teams or to leverage social institutions to his benefit or to, in some rare cases, display empathy and so on.

So the narcissist, the person with the disorder cannot do this.

His narcissism takes over.

It's like a malignancy.

That's why I call it malignancy of love.

It colonizes, the narcissism colonizes every dimension of the personality.

And the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual says that the narcissism, in this case, is all pervasive.

It's like a cancerous cell that takes over.

And so nothing is exempt and nothing remains alive under this overgrowth.

It's like the narcissist has been body snapped by his own disorder.


What would you say the most important traits would be?

Would they be a lack of emotional empathy and interpersonal exploitation?

Well, it really depends on the type of narcissist.

We have quite a proliferation of typologies.

And by now, narcissism has been dissected into numerous subtypes.


We come across, usually, one or two varieties of narcissists.

We rarely come across the others.

So we come across, typically, the grandiose narcissist.

And we come across the covert narcissist.

It's rare to come across other types.

And within the covert and the grandiose narcissist, there's another subdivision, which I suggested at the time, and that is between somatic and cerebral.

Now, all these four are united in certain things, but the covert is fundamentally, substantially different to the overt, to the classical.

And if you want, we can dedicate some time to the covert narcissist in a separate question, if you're in the driver's seat.


There was a couple of other things that I wanted to ask you before we get this, Sam.

But I didn't answer your question.

I just delineated the typology.

That's true.

So all of them are, I think, united by a lack of empathy.

I think that's by far the most important feature.

And it's common also to psychopaths, but not to borderlines.

To some extent, histrionics, but not really.

So lack of empathy is characteristic of psychopaths and narcissists.

Exploitedness, not necessary, but I would say grandiosity.

Not even grandiosity, but severe cognitive deficits, impaired reality testing.

Now, the reality testing can be impaired via grandiosity, wrong perception of the self and the limitations of the self or the abilities of the self.

That's one type of cognitive deficit, but narcissists have many other types of cognitive deficits.

So in some narcissists, grandiosity would be emphasized in others, other types of deficits.

But I would say misperception of reality one way or another.

So narcissists in this sense, exactly as Kernberg suggested in 1975, narcissists and borderlines in this sense are on the verge of psychosis.

They are actually almost psychotic in the sense that they lose touch with reality very often, very frequently.

Now, imagine how dangerous it is when a narcissist becomes a leader of a nation or a CEO in a joint company.

And so I would say that actually these two, some narcissists are exploitative, other narcissists are envious, pathologically envious.

Some narcissists, and so maybe a third element that I would add that is common to all narcissists is the need for narcissistic supply.

Narcissistic supply is attention in all its forms, both positive, adulation, admiration and negative, being feared, for example.

Attention in all its kinds is narcissistic.

Now, narcissist needs narcissistic supply to regulate his internal environment.

The narcissistic supply restores a sense of reality because other people tell him what is real and what is not about him.

And also, cater to his grandiosity or other cognitive deficits.

The reason I'm hesitating a bit is that because covert narcissists process narcissistic supply very differently to classical narcissists that it's debatable in which sense are they narcissists at all.

And one of the main differences is in how they relate to grandiosity, how they obtain the supply and what they do with the supply when they get it.

The narcissist uses narcissistic supply to regulate his internal environment.

The covert narcissist uses narcissistic supply to fight off her sense of inferiority.

The narcissist, the classic narcissist feels superior at all times and just uses supply to buttress, to prove his superiority, to substantiate it.

The covert narcissist feels inferior at all times and she uses supply to eliminate temporarily this sense of inferiority.

Sam, when we look at narcissistic abuse, there's always abuse guaranteed when one is involved with a narcissist and specifically intimately.

Why is this so? Why are we guaranteed to get abuse?

I think one of the major problems we have is that we are hell-bent on using human vocabulary to describe people, to describe carbon-based entities, which are arguably not entirely human or only partly human.

You see, abuse, most abusers are not narcissists and they are not psychopaths and don't even have mental health problems, most abusers.

Abuse in these cases has to do with a power play, a power matrix. It's about power.

It's the same like rape. Rape is not about sex, it's about power.

But these are essentially normal, healthy people and they need to assert control over their environment.

And to assert control, they do it through abuse. It's a dysfunctional way of asserting control and establishing certainty among healthy people.

A tiny minority of abusers are actually narcissists and psychopaths.

So let's be clear, all narcissists and psychopaths are abusive, but very few abusers are narcissists and psychopaths.

Now, narcissists and psychopaths abuse not for the same reason that the overwhelming vast majority of abusers abuse.

Narcissists and psychopaths abuse is a form of internal regulation.

What I'm trying to say is that the abuse victim is irrelevant. It's not an interaction, it's an intraaction.

The narcissist especially needs to regulate his internal environment, for example, to support his grandiosity.

And so to accomplish this, he needs to abuse someone because when he abuses someone, for example, he feels superior, he feels omnipotent, he feels omniscient if he abuses her by mocking her knowledge or lack of knowledge, ignorance.

So he feels it restores his grandiosity. In other words, he abuses instrumental in regulating the inner landscape of narcissists.

And the abuse victim is incidental. That is why it's so easy for narcissists to replace, to substitute the abuse victim.

They discard the abuse victim on a, I mean, they pivot on a dime. They discard one abuse victim and half an hour later they're with another.

And the intimate partners of narcissists, they feel interchangeable. They feel commodified. They feel that they could be replaced by anyone.

And they feel not special. The narcissist takes away the partner's feeling of specialness, of being an individual.

Because narcissist uses other people as commodities. He consumes them and they are all the same to him. They are all identical to him because he is actually interacting not with the outside, but with the inside.

Similarly, the psychopath. The psychopath abuses because he's goal oriented. So psychopathic abuse has to do with accomplishing sex, money, power.

But these are internal goals. That the psychopath needs money, power, and sex and so on to regulate his internal habits. It's his form of narcissistic supply, if you wish.

And people just happen to be there. So if you need to steal money from an old lady, you do.

And if you stupid enough to give you the money, that's our fault. It's the other. You said in one of your seminars that actually narcissists take a mental snapshot of their partners or the person they're interacting with and then sort of interjected and deal with that snapshot as opposed to the reality of the person.

Yes, that's very true. Snapshotty.

The thing is that at that moment, there is a divergence of treatment, a divergence of interrelatedness.

When the narcissist meets someone, a person, and he reaches the conclusion that that person could become a source of narcissistic supply.

Even, for example, by way of becoming an intimate partner or by way of becoming a business partner, but can be by way of becoming an adulator, fan, student, whatever.

When the narcissist reaches the conclusion that someone can become a source of supply, he takes a snapshot of the person.

He stores the snapshot in his mind. It's like an avatar. It's an introject. He stores this photo in his mind.

And from that moment, all the positive emotions that the narcissist possesses are invested in the snapshot, not in the real person.

And the reason is very simple. The snapshot will never abandon the narcissist. Snapshot will never hurt the narcissist. The snapshot will never cheat on the narcissist, betray the narcissist. The snapshot will not cause a narcissist pain, challenge the narcissist, undermine the narcissist, etc.

Snapshot is safe. So it is in the snapshot that the narcissist invests his positive emotions.

And what's left? Negative emotions. And he reserves the negative emotions for the real person.

So there is a kind of dichotomy. There's a break. The minute the snapshotting takes place, there are two streams of emotions.

All negative emotions are externalized and in this sense, the narcissist becomes a bit psychopathic.

And all positive emotions are internalized, introjected and directed at the snapshot.

This is why narcissists are always in a state of shock. Because real life people, real people in their lives deviate and diverge from the snapshot.

The snapshot is permanent and stable. Never changes. But real people in real life, they grow, they change, they change their minds. Things happen. And the narcissists cannot countenance the contrast between the static snapshot and the dynamic real life partner, for example.

Thank you. Sam, at what stage does narcissistic personality disorder first show up or become evident in somebody? When can one see it?

We have a serious problem with the diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder because there are at least two phases in life, in early life, where narcissism of the disordered kind, the delusional, fantastic, grandiose narcissism is actually very healthy and a very welcome phenomenon.

That is in the formative years up until the age of four, more or less, even six and during adolescence. Adolescents, for example, are technically narcissists.

And it's a very good thing that they are because their narcissism allows them to objectify the parent, rebel against the parent, defy the parent, psychopathically.

And in this way, separate from the parent, define boundaries and become an individual.

So the adolescence, pathological narcissism, and it is, is actually very instrumental in rendering the adolescent separate individual and therefore is a healthy process.

Exactly the same thing happens with a baby, with a child, with a toddler in the formative years, zero to six. The child needs to become the center of the world. The child needs narcissistic supply. The child lacks empathy. The child is very self centered and so on.

And the reason for this is that the child needs to separate from the mother, needs to begin to put boundaries between itself and the mother usually.

And these boundaries cannot emerge unless the child becomes a narcissist. So this is why we never diagnose narcissistic personality disorder before age 18 or 21, depending on the country.

Yeah. Yeah. So it's kind of teenage and after teenage. Yeah. Not before 18. It's meaningless to diagnose it before 18 because then it is actually healthy. It should be encouraged.

Yes. We touched last week on the aspect of choice of the narcissist and you said to me, narcissists know exactly what they're doing.

So it's quite difficult for me to sort of imagine that where I'm, I'm doing something that's harmful to somebody else and I'm making that choice to do it. And I know I'm doing it. So can you explain that sort of dynamic from the narcissist perspective that they, they're making the choice and they know that it's not a good one, but they continue to do it.

Well, your very brief question contains numerous, very arguable assumptions.

First of all, you are using the word someone else. You know, we're doing, you're doing, he does something bad to someone else.

Right. But this assumes that the narcissist perceives the separate existence of other people and he then perceives them as people.

Now, neither, neither of these two statements is correct. My first mistake.

Yes, I get it. Not a mistake. It's simply that you are, you are human and you would say the language breaks down when we try to cope with narcissism.

It's a couple language itself brings up. And that's the reason I had to invent so many new terms and even, even that language breaks down because how can you talk about someone who has no internal world where there's only a void, which has no empathy, where everything is a reflection.

I mean, it's so alien, such an alien experience. And I've just made two YouTube videos about this, comparing narcissism and psychopaths to aliens, proper alien from other planets. And so narcissists do not recognize the separateness of other people because their own separateness has been sabotaged as children, undermined. They were not able to separate from their parents as children and individually. And therefore they are incapable of noticing or accepting the separateness of other people, even more so because they were not allowed to individually.

They were not allowed to become individuals and develop boundaries. They do not perceive other people as people. They perceive them as functions. They perceive them as extensions. They perceive them as snapshots, but never as people.

So when they do something which is harmful in your terms, they are not doing it to anyone. There's nobody there exactly as there's nobody home inside the narcissist. There's nobody out there as well.

The narcissist's existence is an existence of negation. It's not being. Even the German philosophers like Heidegger didn't go that far. The narcissist is a non-being, not a being, not an entity. He's a non-entity.

There's nothing inside him and nobody outside him. So he cannot harm anyone by definition.

Number two, you're assuming that narcissists divide their actions into harmful ones and potentially beneficial, benefactory ones. That's not true.

So narcissists weigh their options and their actions with a simple criterion. Does it bring, does it engender, enforce the narcissistic supply or not? If it fosters supply, do it. If it doesn't, don't do it.

In this sense, narcissists are binary robots, robots with an extremely simple programming, which essentially recognizes only two outcomes in the world. Yes, supply, no supply.

And that's another.

Now, if this has effect on other people, that's where the psychopathic element of narcissism comes in. If this is an effect on other people, too bad for them. They chose to be where they are. They chose to collaborate. They chose to acquiesce. They chose to accept. They chose to obey. They chose, I mean, but narcissism doesn't feel responsible for other people's choices. It's a little like asking a virus. Aren't you ashamed that you are killing 80 year olds in caring, in care homes?

Yeah, I get it. I get it. That leads me to the next question. Narcissists that I have known when I look back and I look into, look at photographs of the eyes, Sam, the eyes. There is a deadness in the eyes. There is an incongruence between the expression on the face and in the eyes. The eyes are empty.

Does that make sense?

I believe that you believe that. There's no research to support this. My eyes are very lively and people are very often common on our livelihoods. So I don't think one can jump in. I think people want to demonize in their desperate attempt to understand these non-entities, these non-human non-entities.

People are clutching at straws and they try to translate their tropes, their ways of perceiving the world and try to somehow project them on narcissism.

So I don't hold such questions in high regard.

Let's put it gently. Sam, there was something else that you said recently again in one of your seminars about the stupidity of narcissistic behavior.

That it looks like on the outside that it makes no sense what narcissists do.

And you said that narcissists, I think it was one of your seminars with Richard Granner, where you said that narcissists are actually stupid.

Could you maybe elaborate on that or the behavior rather? Not intellectually, but the behavior.

Well, if you're a divorced from reality, you're bound to make stupid choices. Narcissists are not only divorced from reality. They don't understand people. There's nothing in common with people. They don't have empathy, they don't have emotions.

So they are like artists. They are like autistic people. They don't read social cues properly, sexual cues, other cues. They can't manage properly in society. They can't achieve favorable outcomes. They can't motivate other people to.

So there are failures in this sense, functional failures, because they don't have anything in common with the main agents of change and action, which are human beings.

But above all, I think that grandiosity and other cognitive deficits fails. For example, consider grandiosity.

Grandiosity means that you know everything you're only conditioned and that you're capable of everything omnipotent. And so if you are like that, if you're if you're God like, no one, for example, can cheat you. No one can deceive you. No one can take anything that's yours.

And that's, of course, utter nonsense because psychopaths eat narcissists for breakfast. Narcissists, consequently, because of their grandiosity, are very gullible because they assume in advance that they can that no con artists can do a number of them.

They are the easiest prey. And so they are buffoonish very often. They also their pomposity, their, you know, verbosity. Randomism buffoonish. So they are derided. They're mocked because they're obnoxious. They provoke all kinds of retaliatory measures by everyone around them.

So they are they're pitiable, actually, they're pathetic. And yet they believe themselves to be superior. They believe themselves to be, you know, the life of the party, the most amazing phenomenon phenomenon around.

And it is this discrepancy between what they really are and what they really are is the their clowns, their pathetic, pitiable, broken clowns.

And everyone sees through them. They're highly transparent and they're highly manipulable. All you have to do to manipulate the narcissist is flatter them and the more unrealistic the flattery, the further you will get.

Yes. And so they are they're trying to like they're absolutely trying like they're gullible and they're naive and they're stupid and they are everything, you know, and they're so incapable of discerning how vulnerable they are.

Some something else you said that I found really, really interesting and I never thought of before. And that is that identity involves memory.

And what you were saying again in one of your seminars that an us has no emotional connection to their memories and therefore will forget things very quickly, like studying cramming for an exam and forgetting it a couple of weeks later.

I find that very, very interesting.

Sam, could you elaborate on that?

There are problems with memory, the narcissist. First of all, there's no emotional correlate. We know from memory studies that memories are actually Shema's. They are Amalghans of cognitions, thoughts, emotions and circumstances.

So information about the environment where the memory had happened, the context of the memory in the absence of any of these three elements.

If you're missing the thoughts, if you're missing the emotions or if you're missing the actual data where the where the memory happened, not memory falls.

And this is precisely why, for example, when we overdrink and we're in the alcoholic blackout, no memories of home, no memories of home because the alcohol prevents the formation of of contextual memory.

So you don't remember where you are, what you're doing. So emotions are there. Cognitions are there, but not the contents.

And Alzheimer, in Alzheimer, emotions are frequently there. Context is there, but no cognition, no thinking.

So also memories don't fall. Whenever any of the three, in the case of the narcissist, usually all three are missing.

All three. I want you to understand how bad this is.

Wow. Narcissist is totally discontinuous. It's like the narcissist is reinvented every minute of the day, totally out of whole cloth.

And so the narcissist doesn't have cognitions because he is dissociative. Narcissists suffer from dissociation. Memory lapses, memory gaps, lost time. And they don't remember what they have thought. Honestly, they're not lying. They simply don't remember.

So there's a lack of cognition. There's no emotions, no access to emotions, because without saying.

And very often they forget the context because they are so focused on obtaining supply that they don't pay attention to their environment.

Narcissists could go through a whole vacation in the most gorgeous Greek island. And all he would remember is how a beautiful girl smiled at him. But he would not remember the beaches or the sound of them.

So the contextual data is missing. And consequently narcissists are utterly incapable of forming long term memories. Even worse, I would say, than dimension.

And so what narcissists do instead, they confabulate. They speculate as what would I have remembered had I been capable of remembering. What would have made sense? What would have been probable? What would have been plausible?

And so they confabulate. They bridge these gaps. They cover up for the time lapses and they pretend to remember.

And then they get emotionally invested or invested at least in what they're saying. They confabulation and it becomes reality for them.

So they are unable to distinguish their confabulations from reality because anyhow, their reality testing is screwed up.

And so they end up living in a twilight zone, not quite certain what they had invented and what really happened.

And you can't imagine how destabilizing this feeling is.

But Sam, that must be terrifying. I mean, you forget one's entire life. I mean, I've had blackouts and I couldn't remember anything and that scared me.

But I mean, this is it. You forget. Narcissists forget his entire life.

If you had alcoholic blackouts and you know the experience, this is the permanent state of the narcissist.

That's the permanent state of the narcissist.

Now, you know that in an alcoholic blackout, you maintain full executive functions. You can make decisions. You talk, you walk, you drive a car. You I mean, that's why people from the outside can't tell that you're having a blackout.

And it's the same with the narcissist. He walks, he talks, but he's in a state of blackout. But his state is permanent.

Now, what do you do after you wake up from a blackout? You say to yourself, what on earth has happened? What has happened?

The last thing I remember is this.

So probably this is what did happen. You speculate.

Well, you call a friend. Oh, you call a friend. You call others. And this is narcissistic supply.

Now you understand what is narcissistic supply.

Now, this is why it's a desperate attempt to cover for the blackout by asking people, please tell me about myself because I don't remember anything.

Am I really a genius? I think I am. I have this big recollection that I am, but I'm not quite sure. Maybe I invented it a minute ago. I don't know if it's a memory or if it's a piece of fiction that I've just conjured up.

So the confabulation, sorry, Sam, is a panic response. It's a bit of a response.

Yes, I think that narcissism could be conceived as an anxiety disorder or a depressive disorder involving a constant panic attack, like being in a constant state of panic attack.

And of course, narcissists don't experience this. They don't feel it. But they should behave this way.

You should see a narcissist, for example, if he's grandiose, he's challenged. He's not reacting like you have insulted him. He's reacting like he's about to die.

Sam, are there particular qualities or traits that narcissists look for in their intimate partners? Are there definitions or grades of supply?

Yeah, supply like everything else, like drugs, exactly like drugs. There's high quality drugs, diluted drugs, mixed drugs, tainted drugs and so on.

So there's high quality supply, low quality supply, fake supply.

Narcissists sometimes discern when people are faking the supply and so on and so forth.

Low quality supply reflects the high quality of the source. So if someone in the street would tell me I'm a genius, it's not the same. If Chomsky calls me up and tells me I'm a genius. It's the same sentence. You're a genius.

But of course Chomsky has priorities. His supply is high quality. I agree. So internet partner is someone who is idealized. And that's precisely the reason, by the way, that the narcissist idealizes his partner. He idealizes his partner because he needs to convert her into a high quality source.

So the narcissist constructs an ideal image of his partner, which has very little to do with his real life partner, by the way. And this idea, this ideal image is perfect. It's a reflection of the narcissist's own false self. She's perfect. She's brilliant. She's amazing. She's unique. She's special. She's there. She's super sexy.

And then by idealizing her, he had converted her into a high source, high level source, high quality source. And everything that emanates from her, all the supply that comes from her, is a high quality supply.

Now how can the narcissist succeed? How does he succeed to idealize? It's very easy. I gave you the key earlier. The narcissist idealizes the snapshots, not the real person.

All the narcissist's interactions are with the snapshot. He idealizes the snapshot. He interacts with the snapshot. He obtains object constancy by keeping the snapshot constant. He doesn't have abandonment anxiety because snapshots don't tend to abandon their own last time they're treated.

And so snapshotting is a super critical function in narcissism. And this is the mistake of the narcissist in them and partners and why they are heartbroken and devastated.

At some point they discover that it's not been about them at all. They haven't been there. They've been an excuse, a kind of a trigger. It becomes clear to them that the narcissist has been interacting with some idealized image, idealized figure that has nothing or little to do with them.

And then it makes it very easy for him to discard them and replace them with imminence because he has never been interacting with them.

Sam, another question.

Before we get on to the different types of narcissist is the formation or the lack of formation of empathy in the narcissist in the formative years.

Could you explain how that happens or how that doesn't happen? I'm talking about emotional empathy.

Well, I wish I had the answer. We know that there are three types of empathy and they build on each other. They build upon each other.

There's reflexive empathy. That's the kind when baby smiles at mother because my mother smiles at baby. That's reflexive, like a reflection.

And then there is cognitive empathy. Cognitive empathy is I see someone crying as a child. I see someone crying and I note the fact that she's crying. But nothing happens. I just know the fact.

And then there is emotional empathy. Gradually, the child builds a theory of the world and a theory of mind and incorporates himself or herself into this theory, a process called introspection.

In other words, the child constructs a sense by contradiction to the world.

And then there is interaction with the self and the ability to manipulate itself and, for example, to take the self and put it in someone else's shoes.

And these are the foundations of empathy.

Narcissists have reflexive empathy that comes with biology. They develop cognitive empathy.

And so the combination of reflexive and cognitive is what I dubbed called empathy.

is they never graduate to the third phase. They never develop emotional empathy.

The reason I think they don't develop emotional empathy is because the narcissist is terrified of his emotions.

Within the narcissist there is a reservoir of enormous pain and hurt of not being seen. Of being negated, of being manipulated, manipulated, of being abused, of being vicious, of being invaded.

These are huge pains, especially if they're inflicted on the child by a god-like, unconditionally loved figure, like a mother.

And so there's this huge pain inside.

Now, I think we discussed this last time.

I'm not sure, but it's not possible to tap into only one sort of emotion.

You can't tell yourself, I'm going to ignore my negative emotions.

I'm going to tap only into my positive emotions.

If you tap into your emotions, everything comes up.

Everything comes up.

Love is bittersweet.

We all know this.

So if you allow yourself to love, then all the pain and the hurt will surface as well.

And the narcissist will be overwhelmed and dying.

Commits suicide or something.

So narcissists are so terrified of their emotions, they bottle them up.

They relegate them like the Environmental Protection Agency.

They seal them with lead.

And they make sure they never, ever have access to these emotions anymore.

Unfortunately, in this process of sealing off the toxic emotions, they are forced also to seal off all emotions.

It's not that the narcissists don't have emotions.

Narcissists actually are overwhelmed by their emotions.

Their emotions are much stronger than other people's.

It's just they don't have access to their emotions, as opposed to the borderline.

The borderline failed to do this, failed to isolate their emotions.

So they keep overwhelming her.

And the result, 10% of borderlines commit suicide.

So the narcissist succeeds where the borderline failed.

He had isolated and buried his emotions irrevocably.

But consequently, of course, he is unable to develop emotional empathy.

So it comes with the territory.

That's the price of narcissist's pace.

Lack of empathy, lack of love, lack of positive emotions, lack of positivity in life generally.

That's why narcissism can be easily conceived as a depressive state, depressive disorder.

And general feeling of hostility, aggression, defiance, and so on, which pushed the narcissists throughout life to the psychopathic pole.

I think that psychopathic, I mean, many narcissists end up being psychopaths.

I mean, there are psychopaths who are born as psychopaths.

Psychopathy is largely a brain disorder.

And so there are psychopaths who are born as psychopaths.

But I think narcissists expose repeatedly to the slings and arrows of fate to borrow from someone else, ultimately end up being psychopaths, antisocial and so on, because it's simply too much.

And the lack of emotional empathy also helps us the reality test.

So they keep blundering.

They can be so they're like blind people in a dark space with no candle.-

Like a wrecking ball in a way.-

Well, yes, and as conscious, as self-aware as the wrecking ball.-

Sam, another thing that I've wondered about often is the narcissist will often, especially as they get older, they will have a whole trail of wrecked marriages or love affairs and partners, et cetera.

What effect does that have on the narcissist?

The sort of accumulated damage and carnage, if you like, and to this psyche.-

Well, that's what I just said, it becomes a psychopath.

These slings and arrows of fate, the wasteland that is life that becomes, the post-apocalyptic dystopian landscape that is life inevitably becomes.

There's not a single narcissist who doesn't end up this way, even if he's a lot president of the United States.

When he looks around or when he looks inside himself, it's this utterly desert-like wasteland with not a hint of life left.

And because he's incapable of experiencing emotions, or he has no access to his emotions, emotions are the main tools we use to process loss.

That's the main tool.

If you lack emotions or access to emotions, you are unable to process loss.

So the narcissist's life ends up being a huge container of losses, cumulative losses.

The dominant feeling, the dominant emotional you are.

You see, I'm lacking words even.

It's through this, because it's not an emotion, it's a presence.

It's like a demonic presence, if you will.

So at the end of the narcissist's life, there is this presence which is as tangible as anything.

Presence of loss.

It's like everything coalesced and combined into what this giant loss reminds me of a neutron star or a black hole, you know?

Everything imploded and crumbled into this single point of loss.

But it is so potent, so powerful, that it sucks the narcissist and every light, every shred of light, every shred of hope.

It's hopeless in the most profound sense.

Hopeless existence.


Sam, okay, so now if we can have a look at the COVID versus either OVID or what you say, grandiose, the cerebral versus the somatic.

We could look at the characteristics and...

Yeah, well, there's a lot of misinformation about covert narcissists propagated by numerous self-styled experts and so on and so forth.

Clearly, I've never bothered to read the literature.

Covert narcissism was first defined in 1989 by two scholars, Akhtar and Cooper.

And they have created a by now classic table which describes the differences between what they called at the time arrogant or overt narcissist.

Today we call it classic narcissism.

And what they called at the time the shy or covert narcissist.

Another name for this today would be the fragile or vulnerable narcissist.

And so this table is still the authority and the only authority.

And if you want, I can simply read it to you.

It's a bit long, but I think it's worth every minute.

Because that would be the first, that would be among the few YouTube videos to provide accurate information about covert narcissists.


So they distinguish six domains, self-concept, interpersonal relationships, social adaptation, ethics, standards and ideas, love and sexuality and cognitive style.

And what they had done, they in 1989, mind you, they made a list of these six domains in the covert narcissist versus the overt narcissist.

I'm simply gonna read it to you.

Nothing can compete with the accuracy and clarity of this table.

And I'm just repeating again that the vast majority of videos online contradict this table.

And these videos are utterly wrong.

Generally, there's a phenomenon that everyone in this talk becomes an expert after having read three wrong articles.

And it's malignant, what I call malignant egalitarianism.

Everyone is an expert today because everyone has a smartphone and can click the right or the wrong buttons.

Of course, there's a problem of telling a part what is reliable information, quality information from trash.

It's a problem of discoverability.

But I have yet, well, I have come across two videos which describe covert narcissism properly.

All the others, and we're talking about hundreds and thousands are not accurate.

They're wrong, actually.

Disastrously wrong sometimes.

And I have had a personal experience with this.

I, 25 years ago, I created the diagnostic category inverted narcissism.

I invented it.

I came up with it, it's mine.

And I was the first to describe inverted narcissism in a very, very lengthy paper, almost 100 pages long.

And so to this very day, I'm getting numerous messages from people who are telling me that I have no idea what is inverted narcissism, that I'm very wrong about inverted narcissism, that I should see that link or that link to learn about inverted narcissism, not to make such mistakes in future, and so on and so forth.

And I invented the diagnosis.

They are writing to the person who invented the diagnosis to tell him that he has no idea what the diagnosis is.

This situation there is really bad, and I'm warning against it.

There's the ratio of trash, the ratio of noise to signal is 99 to one, and I'm being exceedingly optimistic.

I will read the table, and it's the only authoritative source.

It's not mine, so I'm not touting my own.

It's Akhtar and Cooper, 1989.

Self-concept, the arrogant overt narcissism has grandiosity, preoccupation with fantasies of outstanding success, undue sense of uniqueness, failings of entitlement, seeming self-sufficiency.

In contrast, the covert narcissist has grandiosity, preoccupation with fantasies of outstanding success, undue sense of uniqueness, failings of entitlement, seeming self-sufficiency.

When it comes to interpersonal relationships, the overt narcissist has numerous but shallow relationships, intense need for tribute from others, scorn for others, often masked by pseudo humility, I called it false modesty in my work, lack of empathy, inability to genuinely participate in group activities, valuing of children over spouse in family life.

The covert narcissist has an inability to genuinely depend on others and trust them, chronic envy of others, of other people's talents, possessions and capacity for deep object relations, deep love, and lack of regard for generational boundaries, so that's the kind of person who would insult old people and disrespect them.

Disregard for other people's time, refusal to respond, silent treatment, discommunication.

Social adaptation, the overt narcissist is socially charming, often successful, presents consistent hard work done mainly to seek admiration, pseudo sublimation, intense ambition, preoccupation with appearances.

The covert narcissist has nagging aimlessness, shallow vocational commitment, dilettante attitude, multiple but superficial interests, chronic boredom, aesthetic taste, often ill-informed and imitative.

As far as ethics, standards and ideas, I'm continuing to read from the table.

As far as ethics, standards and ideas, I'm sorry, the overt narcissist has caricatured modesty, pretended contempt for money in real life, easier syncographic and unevenly moral, apparent enthusiasm for social political affairs, that's the classic narcissist.

The covert narcissist has readiness, is ready to shift her values to gain favor.

Pathological line, materialistic lifestyle, delinquent tendencies, inordinate ethnic and moral relativism, irreverence towards authority, and in this sense, the covert narcissist is actually psychopathic, but not the overt narcissist.

It's an example of such a mistake online, because online people say that the classic narcissist is psychopathic, but the covert narcissist is not.

It's the covert narcissist that is psychopathic.

Love and sexuality, I'm continuing to read from the table.

Love and sexuality, the overt narcissist, marital instability, cold and greedy seductiveness, extramarital affairs and promiscuity, uninhibited sexual life, the covert narcissist, inability to remain in love, impaired capacity for viewing the romantic partner as a separate individual with his or her own interests, rights and values, inability to genuinely comprehend the incest taboo, occasional sexual perversions, paraphilias, cognitive style, the classic narcissist, impressively knowledgeable, decisive and opinionated, often strikingly articulate, egocentric perception of reality, love of language, fondness of shortcuts to acquisition of knowledge.

The covert narcissist, knowledge often limited to trivia, headline intelligence, forgetful of details, especially names, impaired in the capacity for learning new skills, tendency to change meanings of reality when faced with a threat to self-esteem, language and speaking used for regulating his or her self-esteem.

This and only this is the authoritative description of overt and covert narcissists.

Wow. Anything that contradicts, anything that stands in contradiction to this is wrong.

End of story, nevermind who says it, including people with PhDs, therapies, psychologists and so on.

Degrees don't guarantee knowledge.

Many degrees come with ignorance, academic degrees.

So be careful, go to the source. It's available online, not such a big deal.

Akhtar and Cooper, 1989 covert narcissist.

Sam, would you, yeah, I mean, that's a sort of a five-hour discussion on its own, all of that.

But the one thing I wanted to ask you, it's very interesting.

Would you say that covert narcissists are more dangerous because they're hidden?

Come on, see it.

Covert narcissists are what are confluence, combination of passive-aggressive and psychopathic.

So yes, I would say that covert narcissists are far more dangerous because you don't see them coming.

And when they do come, they act as psychopathic.

So we today are reconceptualizing borderline personality disorder. We are reconceptualizing it as psychopathy.

Today, the bleeding-edge literature discusses borderline personality disorder as secondary psychopathy in women, women's secondary psychopathy.

Similarly, covert narcissism, I think, can be easily conceptualized or reconceptualized as the confluence of narcissism, frustrated narcissism, collapsed narcissism with psychopathy, secondary psychopathy, not primary, secondary psychopathy, and passive aggressiveness, negativistic personality disorder.

And yes, it's a bad combination, far worse than the overt one. - It doesn't sound good to me. - The overt or classical narcissist is easily detectable.

He cannot hide his grandioseities or posities.

He is ridiculous, he's buffoonish.

You can literally tell.

Look, for example, at Donald Trump. - Yes. - He doesn't take a genius or a diagnostician to realize.

Something's wrong with this guy.

His need for praise, his hypervigilance against insults.

He sees insults everywhere.

Something's wrong with this guy.

Something's wrong with his cognitive processing.

It's so clear.

However, look at Barack Obama.

Barack Obama, who is as narcissistic, if not much more, than Donald Trump.

Stealth under the radar, socially sublimates his narcissism, converts it into socially acceptable modes of behavior, but equally narcissistic, messianic almost.

So luckily, both individuals didn't leverage the narcissism and they took the narcissism and they channeled it in socially acceptable ways via social institutions. But if you have someone like Adolf Hitler, that's not always the case. So covert narcissism is a very, very dangerous thing. Luckily, as opposed to what most online videos say and so on, covert narcissists rarely conspire and manipulate.

I mean, they are rarely busy promoting some agenda.

They are too shy and broken and vulnerable and fragile.

They feel inferior.

They are too perfectionist.

So many, many things are holding them back.

They're in the background.

They're in the background and they rarely act.

However, when they do act, they act as psychopaths do.

They are manipulative, they are impulsive, they are defiant, they are dysempathic and so on.

And they are passive aggressive.

Most of the time, what they do is they undermine you.

They sabotage you, they block you, they obstruct you.

And they constantly feel that they are discriminated against, that they are subject to injustice, that they're being mistreated, that their talents are not recognized.

And so they're constantly too similar and see in resentment and fury and suppress fury and rage.

And I would say that in terms of collectives, we have reached a condition in the world which is similar to the 1930s where the vast majority of collectives in the world, nation states and so on, felt essentially like covert narcissism.

The Germans in the 1930s gave rise to Nazism and Adolf Hitler precisely because they were in a covert Nazi state of mind.

And today, Trumpism or the phenomenon of Trump is founded on the covert narcissism of large swaths of the American population.

These are people who think they deserve better because they're at the short end of the stick.

But if you were to investigate, why do you think you deserve better? What are your merits? What are your talents? What are your skills? What's your education? Why do you think you deserve better?

Well, the fact is they don't deserve better.

So when you divorce from reality, the test is, are you divorced from reality?

If you are really a genius and you're being mistreated or if you are really educated and you don't get a job, that's a justified grievance.

It's a justified grievance.

The grievances embedded in the American constitution are justified.

These were realistic grievances.

But if your grievances are founded on an impaired reality testing, on wrong self perception because you don't perceive reality, you have a cognitive deficit, that's sickness, that's a pathology.

And yes, collectives can be pathologized this way, absolutely.

And then they give rise to inverted narcissism because the relationship between the base of Donald Trump, the vaulters of Donald Trump and Donald Trump is exactly like the relationship between an inverted narcissist and a classic narcissist.

Because what the inverted narcissist does, she uses the glory, she busts in the glory, the reflected glory of her classic narcissist.

These bikers and blue collar workers and uneducated masses and so on, all over the United States, they bask in the glory of Donald Trump.

It's like his life reflects on them.

And I'm not sure if Donald Trump is an example, but you have the same in the Philippines and the same in Brazil and the same in Hungary and the same everywhere.

There's a rise of class, class of overt, overt grandiose narcissist, Erdogan in Turkey, Putin in Russia, Duterte, Bolsonaro, I mean, you name it, Netanyahu.

I mean, you have a class of narcissists and psychopaths who took over the world, literally.


Because the underlying populace is a covert narcissist.

And their only way to obtain narcissistic supply is via the fuel, via the leader.

We have reverted to the fuel, Quincy, all over the world. - That's fascinating.


Sam, would you say that the covert narcissist, that there is a splitting between self-hatred and grandiosity?

Is there sort of a shift between those two all the time and inside? - The covert narcissist has a very negative surface.

That's the difference, that's the main difference between the covert narcissist and the overt narcissist.

The covert narcissist has a very negative self image, a self image that is essentially depressive.

I'm no good, I'm a zero, I'm a failure. I can get nowhere, I can learn nothing. I cannot study, I cannot attain degrees, I cannot find a job, I cannot take a girl, I cannot solve.

In a dialogue, constant in a ticker tape, inside the covert narcissist is I cannot do, I cannot be, I cannot accomplish.

In a dialogue of the overt narcissist is exactly the opposite.

I can do anything I want. I can accomplish anything if I set my mind to it.

Coaches like Tony Robbins and Jordan, and people like Jordan Peterson, they are catering to this internal narcissistic dialogue.

There's a giant inside you, they tell you. You just need to wake it up.

If you just put your mind to it, there's nothing you cannot do, the law of attraction, the secret.

These are all super narcissistic messages.

But they cater only to overt or classic narcissists.

The covert narcissist would reject such messages.

For example, covert narcissist feels very, very ill at ease, very bad when she receives narcissistic supply directly.

If you were to go to a covert narcissist and tell her, you know what, you're extremely talented, she would be very, very disconfident.

She would try to avoid you from that moment on.

But if you go to a classic narcissist and you tell her you're very, very talented, you will become her favorite, her favorite.

You may even end up having a one-night stand.

It's all it takes.

So the differences are critical.

The differences between covert and overt narcissists are so fundamental and foundational and profound that it's debatable whether the word narcissism fits here.

I would use a word that Mille used, which I find much more appropriate.

He called these types compensatory types.

These are types who try to compensate for what Adler called an innate inferiority complex.

And the way they're doing this is by creating grandiose fantasies, which they are trying to realize via third parties.

I mentioned, I think last time we spoke, foul doctor.

In Germany in the 19th century, if you were a woman with zero education, but you were married to a doctor, everyone in the city called you foul doctor.

That's a perfect example of covert or inverted narcissism.

Because by herself, she would have never attempted to become a doctor. She would not have trusted herself to complete a degree and so on.

But by getting married to a real doctor, by reflection, she became a doctor.

And that satisfies her grandiose fantasy.

So the covert narcissist landscape in a landscape is a landscape of doubt, a landscape of shame, a landscape of shyness, a landscape of avoidance.

It's a landscape of regressivity and withdrawal from the world.

While the classic narcissist is impelled, impelled and compelled to approach the world in order to extract from the world by force if necessary.

narcissistic supply.

And Sam the cerebral versus sematic?

When the narcissist tries to obtain supply the first question is of course what are the assets that are at my disposal which I can leverage to obtain supply.

So if you're an idiot with muscles you will use your muscles. If you are intellectually endowed then you would use your intellect.

And so there are two types of narcissists, the brawn and the brain.

There are those narcissists who use sex, bodybuilding, appearance, looks, attire, they cultivate, they nurture their external appearance and they use it to obtain supply.

And because the only thing you can obtain with external appearance is sex. There's no other thing you can really obtain with it in today's environment at least.

That's their supply, sex.

So they use their external appearance to obtain casual sex partners, the more the better.

Then this is their supply.

And they are the somatic narcissists.

Soma in Greek, ancient Greek means bodybuilding.

The cerebral narcissists are narcissists who are intellectually endowed to some extent of a very large extent. And they use their intellect for precisely the same reason. They are intellectually pyrotechnic, fireworks, intellectual fireworks. And that gets them supply.

For example, I'm giving you an interview, that's supply.

So their intellect, they display their intellect, their exhibitionistic. Both types are exhibitionistic. They display their intellect, they bring into the table their brain, their mind, amazing mind, kaleidoscopic, colorful, stunning, synoptic mind. And this gets them supply.

Now one thing that people I think are very confused about, there is no type of constancy. Cerebral can become somatic and does become somatic. Whenever the cerebral loses a source of supply or when the cerebral is faced or confronts a willing partner, he becomes somatic.

Wanna die? No problem with the cerebral.

So if a guru or a top level intellectual were to meet a very, very beautiful student who would offer him sex, trust me, he would become somatic. That's very same.

Somatic and cerebral are modes of obtaining supply and narcissists are not picky, not choosing, whatever works.

But for the intellectual narcissist, for the intelligent narcissist, what works is usually the intellect.

So while there's no type constancy, there's type dominance, recessive and dominant.

So the intellectual, the cerebral narcissist would emphasize this.

Now, usually cerebral narcissist don't look so good. I mean, they're not, you know, so it's difficult for them to obtain willing partners, willing sexual partners and so on.

So they end up in most cases being celibate and they focus on their intellect because their intellect guarantees a stream of narcissistic supply and the interrupted stream.

So why waste the time on, on try to obtain sex when failure is almost guaranteed?

Similarly, the somatic narcissist doesn't bother to develop his intellectual faculties if he has any, because his muscles do the job pretty well. It's a default state.

We all tend to gravitate towards what we do best.

And what the intellectual does best is to talk, what this rebel does, what the somatic does best is to display his body and then use it in sex.

So they both end up doing almost exclusively this, but there is that fluidity.

Narcissists, all narcissists are both, if they can manage it.

Would the cerebral B list view the body as an irritation because it's the brain that is focused on that it's, it's, it's, it's an irritation.

Yeah, not only irritation, but the source of negative narcissistic supply.

I mean, it's not pleasant to be rejected by women all the time. You're, you're a genius in order to unique in order to this, but while a woman takes one look at you and goes the other way and she usually goes the other way with the somatic losses with not 5% you're intellect.

And so the body, body becomes a source of frustration.

Yeah. And we have a hypothesis by Dolan in 1939, Dolan discovered that frustration is invariably converted to aggression.

So narcissists, cerebral narcissists are very aggressive towards the bodies because the bodies are sources of frustration. They neglect their bodies. They took, they punish their bodies. They tend to ignore their bodies. They're very neglected. Their health is failing and so on. And they don't exercise. They overeat because their bodies constantly frustrated.

Now with the somatic, Sam, if there is a lot less intelligence there, then that somatic narcissist can't be cerebral because there isn't the intelligence they've supported.

So that would be a sort of difficult to do that. Whereas the cerebral can be.

How lucky we are that we have 8 billion people because even the somatic can find women who are much more stupid than he is and can be impressed by his infinite intelligence.

Right. And Sam, the COVID female somatic narcissist, can you give us the characteristics of them and how they, how they see their partners, how they work with their intimate partners?

The vast majority of covert narcissists are women. So it's a bit redundant to ask about covert female. Most, most covert narcissists are women and most borderlines are women.

The male covert narcissist is extremely rare because male are testosterone laden and they are usually extroverted, extroverted. They go out there and they get things done and they're hunters, you know?

So vast majority of classic narcissists are male, about 75% we think are male and vast majority of covert narcissists probably also 75%.

No one made a study, but probably a female.

And so the question is redundant. I mean, there's nothing to it because what I just described regarding covert narcissists is about female narcissists.

And in terms of the, you said in another seminar that the, the, the covert somatic narcissist in intercourse views the partner as almost a dead object. I think you said something like that.

The narcissist, not the covert narcissist. The covert narcissist would, would tend to be, would tend to be largely asexual actually because the covert narcissist has a deep set inferiority complex. She also usually has body dysmorphic disorders. She, she misperceives her body as too fat, too ugly, too old, too something.

So she would generally avoid sex. She would be what used to be called free. She would engage in sex only when she's disinhibited.

So many of these women would drink on purpose in order to engage in sex. They would abuse substances. They would drink alcohol or smoke weed or something in order to engage in sex because otherwise they can't give them the freedom. They need to give them disinhibited.

Partof their inhibitions, part of the reason they don't have sex in a normal state is that their covert narcissism inhibits them. The feeling that they are imperfect, that they're inadequate, that they're repulsive, that they are inhibiting them of course.

And so they, to overcome this, they drink and so on and then they are disinhibited. They have a grandiose view of themselves. There's something called alcohol myopia. It's when you drink, you become grandiose and you think you can do anything. You perceive your own attractiveness and the attractiveness of people around you very wrongly.

It's known as beer, beer goblets. And so it changes things and allows the covert narcissist to have sex.

But normally she would be sexless or asexual. It is the narcissist who regards sex as a form of competition. So it's the narcissist for example who would monitor how many times his partner climax orgasm and would monitor other performance parameters or even inquire openly. Was I good? Was I good? Was I as good as last time? Was I as good as your last boyfriend? It's a scorecard. He keeps a scorecard. It's one big quiz show or something.

So narcissists are competitive and ambitious and grandiose in sex as well. And they use the partner's body to masturbate with on and in.

There's no real interrelatedness or intercollectedness. But the partner is perceived as an animated dildo if it's a woman or animated sex duo with taste and smells on the periphery.

And so they must debate with the partner's body. It's very autoerotic. In other words, eroticism, and this was observed, first observed by Freud, the eroticism of the narcissist, the limiter, the sex drive is directed at the self, not at others because object relations, the ability to perceive others is interrupted in early childhood. The narcissist sex drive never is never externalized. It's internalized.

And so the narcissist needs the regards himself as the erotic object. It's very common for narcissists in during the sexual act to actually look at themselves in the mirror or stop in the middle of the sex lab, stop and have a look at their own bodies.

Yes. Good afternoon.

Thank you for calling and thank you for your time on this interview, Sam. I really appreciate it. My pleasure. Shall we not talk about coronavirus, Sam? It's entirely up to you.

Sam, you're a real pioneer in this field. You've been involved in it in the last 25 years, I think, and you've coined a lot of the terms that we all use today, narcissistic supply, different types of narcissists, et cetera. That's quite accurate. Although narcissist supply was not coined by me. It's a coinage from 1938.

What I did is I took quite a few terms and phrases used in other branches of psychology and I've adopted them to describe narcissism and narcissistic abuse.

But you're right that I've coined the overwhelming vast majority of the rest of the language, including narcissistic abuse, ghosting, hovering, I mean, trying monkeys, narcissistic fleas also. Yeah.

So Sam, I mean, I'm familiar with your material. I've watched your seminars and your broadcasts over and over, and I think your insight is remarkable. So I just want to say that Sam, in some of your recent seminars, you highlight the fact that when you were dealing with a narcissist, that there's nobody there. You keep saying that it's an illusion.

Could you elaborate on that?

Yes, I could shockingly. Do tell me though, are we being recorded? Are you sure of that?

Yes, we are. Yes. Great. Okay. Well, the narcissist is a product of childhood trauma and abuse. Of course, there are two developmental pathways to narcissism. One is when the child is elevated, put on a pedestrian or conflated with a pedestrian and is pampered and spoiled and isolated from the environment and so on and so forth.

And therefore the parent assumes the role of a boundary. It is the parent that isolates the child from reality, which is a very good definition of a boundary.

And so because the parent assumes the role of a boundary, the child is not allowed or cannot technically separate from the parent and individually cannot become an individual.

And so when the child cannot become an individual, he or she most often he doesn't simply, he does not become an individual. He does not become, does not becoming in this developmental pathway.

The other developmental pathway to narcissism, both of them lead to narcissism.

The other developmental pathway is via classical forms of abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, psychological and verbal abuse and so on and so forth. And these also constitute, of course, a bridging of boundaries, bridging of emergent boundaries.

The child in both cases is unable to form an individual, separate an entity, separate from the rest of the world.

Now, in this sense and only in this highly restricted sense, narcissists are actually codependents because it's the same dynamic with a codependent.

The codependent seeks to merge or fuse with a significant other. The narcissist similarly has no existence in the absence of merging and fusing with outside voices.

The narcissist has no self, actually has no self and no ego. That's the irony.

Narcissists are often called or confuted with egotists. They don't have an ego. That's precisely the problem.

And because they don't have an ego, in other words, they don't have the regulatory agency that instructs a human being as to what is acceptable and not acceptable and what are the consequences of his actions in the world.

Narcissists don't have this.

So what they have to do, they have to outsource these functions. They apply, they supplicate, they bank, they coerce, they cajole others to give them the kind of input and feedback which will allow them to form an opinion of themselves and of the world around them.

And in this sense, the narcissist mind is a hive mind. It's a collage. It's a kaleidoscope. It's a malignamation of thousands of inputs and feedbacks on a minute, second by second basis.

And then there is no integration of these voices. It's another problem because there is no controlling self. There's no controlling executive as we call it in psychology. There's no integration of these voices.

So they compete within the narcissist. There's a constant state of dissonance, which explains why the narcissist is so compulsive and so obsessive and so demanding and so unaware of other people's existence as three-dimensional beings.

He is so preoccupied in trying to create, to generate an identity core by kind of reconciling all these voices that he has no time for empathy or for any other outward or object related functions.

This is very similar to the situation in borderline personality.

So borderline personality disorder, we have something called identity diffusion. It's when the borderline person with borderline does not have an identity core. She shifts. I'm saying she because most border lines are women. She shifts and changes everything, values, opinions, preferences, wishes, needs, loved ones, hated ones, mechanisms such as splitting render some people idealized in the next day or the next minute devalue.

So there's no stability, no continuity, no constancy, both in the inner landscape of the narcissist and in the inner landscape of borderline.

Of course, no wonder that many border lines are grandiose because, and with this I will finish this extremely long answer, because grandiosity is a way, it's a narrative, it's a coalescing narrative. It's a narrative that allows the narcissist and the borderline to interpret the world, to organize the world.

So it's an organizing principle.

In this sense, grandiosity is a cognitive deficit. It impacts the narcissist's ability and the borderline's ability to perceive reality properly. It's a fitter kind of, and it's a model of the world. It's what we call a theory of mind or a theory of the world. It's a model of the world, which is highly unrealistic. It creates an impaired reality testing, but the narcissist needs this narrative. He needs this script, this unifying script, because otherwise it would be a whole body. Otherwise it's terrorizing, because if you don't have this unifying principle, if you don't have this narrative strand, the world does not make sense. It's meaningless. It's confusing when you look at a narcissist and they seem to be a person.

There seems to be something there. That's if you know what I'm saying.

But what you're saying is that there isn't a real, there is no sense of identity that is changing all the time. I think that's what you're saying.

Yes, I'm saying that the narcissist is a classic shape shifter. And one of the reasons narcissists believe themselves to be the next step in the evolutionary ladder is because truly, truly they are easily comparable to artificial intelligence, to extraterrestrials, to shape shifters, and so on.

The narcissist puts on a great simulation of a human being. In 1970, there was a roboticist, Japanese roboticist, of course, Masahiro Mori. And Mori coined the phrase uncanny valley. He suggested that as robots become more and more human-like, as they become more and more humanoid, people will feel less and less comfortable with them, will feel more discomfort when confronted with them.

The narcissist is exactly this. It's a humanoid robot. It's a simulation. It's a computer simulation externalized or projected or holographed over there. And it's done to perfection, almost to perfection. There's something missing. There's a kind of off key note somewhere in the background. And people feel that and they feel very uncomfortable when they're in the presence of narcissists, but they cannot say why.

And the reason is that as Kernberg noted in 1975, he preceded me by some years, Kernberg suggested that at the core of narcissist and borderline alliance, there's an emptiness, a void, deep space.

I evolved this concept a bit and I'm suggesting the concept of a hall of mirrors. I think the narcissist is a kind of hall of mirrors, which would explain the narcissist's ability to get intimate partners addicted to him.

The narcissist inexorable and amazingly potent, amazingly powerful, hold over intimate partners.

In other words, it's a good explanation for the reasons for trauma building with the narcissist.

And the hall of mirrors simply states that when you're trying to interact with the narcissist, the narcissist puts up a carnival sort of hall of mirrors. And then what you are interacting with actually is an idealized image of yourself.

So the narcissist idealizes you and then invites you inside, invites you into his hall of mirrors. And the narcissist extends this invitation by exposing for a minute his true self, the wounded child inside.

No woman can resist this. No man too. And many men, yes, if they're nothing.

So it's a primordial call. All of us, men and women, you know, we tend to be very protective of children, especially wounded, tortured and traumatized. We tend to, you know, afford to afford support. We tend to love them. We tend to shield them.

So this is precisely the sequence.

The narcissist exposes his inner tormented, tortured, traumatized, crying child. The intimate partner gets hooked. And then the narcissist withdraws this child and instead presents, puts forward a hall of mirrors.

At that stage, the intimate partner falls in love with her reflection, but not with her true reflection, obviously with her idealized reflection.

And for many of the intimate partners of narcissists, this is the first time in their lives that they experience self-love. Many, many of these intimate partners are actually traumatized co-dependence or borderline women, or otherwise damaged, broken and wounded people.

And so for the majority of the lives of these potential intimate partners, they didn't have a chance to experience self-love. Actually, many of them are self-loathing, self-destructive.

And so the narcissist for the first time allows them to fall in love with their own reflection. In other words, with themselves.

Now look at the irony. What the narcissist does to his intimate partners is actually to convert them into narcissists because they fall in love with their own idealized reflection, which is precisely, which is a very good definition of the narcissistic psychodynamic.

The narcissist falls in love with his own idealized grandiose reflection. And he does this to his intimate partners. He idealizes them. And then he lets them fall in love with their idealized image. He infects, he's contagious.

Nasticism is a pandemic. And the virus is the narcissist in this sense. And he's contagious. And he exactly like the virus.

Viruses use the cellular mechanisms to replicate. And narcissists are doing the same. They invade your mind and they use it to replicate.

They replicate by converting you into a narcissist. And it's a small wonder that there are so many comparisons online between narcissists and vampires.

Vampires do the same exactly. They infect you by biting your neck.

So you see, that's the reason for the fascination with narcissism, because it taps into so many archetypes in both ancient archetypes and future futuristic archetypes, science fiction archetypes. And it combines, it's a bridge between past and future.

Nasticism is a hell of a lot more than a mental health disorder. It's a metaphor for our times. It captures perfectly our civilization.

Sam, have you seen an exception where a narcissistic personality disorder is formed or there's with psychopathy, where there has not been abuse in childhood in whatever form?

Have you ever seen an exception to that?

No, just to clarify, most people make the mistake of believing that my work is autobiographical, that I'm describing myself. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I'm the father of the three. I was the first to discuss narcissism online in 1995. And for well over 10 years, I've been the only one. My website has been the only website and my support groups for victims of narcissistic abuse have been the only support groups.

So during this period and much into this very day, I have amassed a database of 1,736, as of yesterday, people diagnosed officially with narcissistic personality disorder.

I then and they volunteered, of course, yes. So I then administered to them a test of 687 questions known as the MMPI-2. It's a personality test that cannot be faked because it has protections in big protections, fake wrong questions, misleading questions, all kinds of things like that. So you can easily find out when the person is lying.

And so I've administered to all of them this test. And I have a database, which is by far the largest in the world. For you to understand the biggest, the biggest studies ever conducted on narcissism by Twenge and Campbell. These studies included 30 people, three zero.

My database has 1,700 people. So my work is based on that. And therefore, therefore, I can provide authoritative answers about literally any dimension of narcissism.

And my answers are much more authoritative than anyone else's. And so I can tell you with authority, there is not a single case that I've come across of a narcissist.

Don't confuse this with a psychopath of a narcissist that is not the out the said outcome of childhood abuse. It's different for psychopaths.

Psychopathy in all likelihood is actually a brain disorder. Wethat the physiology and the neuroscience of psychopaths is I'm saying we because I teach neuroscience and psychiatry. I'm a professor of neuroscience and psychiatry. So I allow myself to use we. So we have we have overwhelming evidence that the physiology and neuroscience of psychopaths is substantially different to that of normal people. So substantially different that you know, you might as well say they're different species. For example, they don't sweat when they are when they are exposed to certain stimuli. Their skin conductance, electrical charge in the skin remains absolutely the same regardless of circumstances. They do not have a fear reaction. They are fearless. Not because they are courageous. They simply don't have a fear reaction.

Yeah, the activity in their amygdala, the part of the brain that regulates emotions and so on is so massively different that you might as well as I said, be looking at another species. So it does seem that psychopathy true psychopathy, by the way, because we need to differentiate true psychopathy from antisocial personalities. Right.

But it seems that a true psychopath is simply an accident of nature, which is exactly what the father of the field of psychopathy, Cliccly. Cliccly and and and Cartman suggested in the 1940s, Cliccly in his famous masterpiece, The Mask of sanity, which by the way, which by the way, is available for download freely online. So in the mask of sanity, Cliccly was the first to suggest that psychopathy is so alien that it must be a brain disorder. And he was right. He didn't say it's a brain disorder. He said it's a biological, biological problem. And he was right.

Sandy, the other thing I wanted to and you've mentioned this in some of your recent seminars, is the aspect of addiction with co-dependence and with narcissists. I think and I'll be interested in what you have to say that co-dependence and narcissists are cut from the same cloth. We just take different trajectories. But what's interesting to me is that a lot of narcissists have addictions that proves that narcissists have feelings because addiction is all about changing how we feel about ourselves. And the co-dependence have addictions too. And what I think is is really not I mean, for example, the condition of love addiction, which only came to the fore, I think about 40 years ago, the first 12 step group was formed for love addiction. I think a lot of co-dependence don't understand the addictive dynamic between the co-dependent and the narcissist. So I'd be interested to hear what you think.

Well, first of all, one of the functions of addiction is mood regulation. That's true. And no one is ever claimed to the best of no one seems is ever claimed to the best of my knowledge that narcissists don't have moods. They're actually very moody. And in the diagnostic and statistical manual, edition five, the latest edition published in 2013. Narcissism now officially includes a mood damage. So they they describe dysphoria, depression as an integral part of that.

So which I've been suggesting for well over 30 years, I 25 years, I absolutely think that narcissism could be amply described as a depressive disorder, if you wish to do so. So there is a mood, an issue of mood dysregulation, which is of course, very common in mood, ability is very common, for example, in border lines. And so that's one thing.

Second thing, it's not true that narcissists don't have emotions. There's no such thing as human being without emotions, even psychopathic emotions.

The thing is that narcissists repress their emotions, they have no access to their emotions.

And the reason is very simple. There's a lot of pain there. There's a lot of hurt. And they are afraid that if they touch upon their emotions, they will disintegrate and become suicidal, which most of them do, for example, in certain settings in therapy.

So borderlines don't have this defense mechanism. There was a guy, one of the researchers of borderlines, suggested that borderline personality disorder is a failed attempt at narcissism.

And this is the source of the phrase failed narcissism. People confuse failed narcissist and collapsed narcissism.

A failed narcissism is a phase in the development of borderline personality disorder. A collapsed narcissist is a narcissist who failed at obtaining narcissistic supply.

So there's a big difference between the two.

At any rate, the narcissist succeeds with the borderline, with borderline fates. The narcissist succeeds to firewall his emotions. He succeeds to isolate his emotions so that he has no further access to them.

And the borderline fails in doing this. And because the borderline fails in doing this, the borderline experiences raw, powerful, overwhelming emotions all the time.

And that's why 10% of borderlines could be suicide successfully. I mean, the emotions in a borderline like permanent tsunami, they are constantly drowning in their emotions.

And this is precisely what the narcissist is terrified.

That's why the narcissist waltz off his emotions. But even though the narcissist keeps his emotions at bay, the negative emotions are allowed to surface because they have a survival value.

So narcissist, for example, can and do get very angry. That's narcissistic rage. Narcissists are envious. And so on. These are emotions, obviously.

And to regulate these emotions as well as the mood, narcissists have a dual diagnosis. In other words, narcissists very often abuse substances, for example, reckless driving, pathological gambling, shopaholism, and of course, walkaholism.

Walkaholism is very prevalent among narcissists. Narcissism is an addiction by definition. It's an addiction to narcissistic supply. And therefore, the very question of whether narcissists have addictions is wrongly phrased.

Narcissists are addicts. Their narcissism is their addiction. It's an addictive personality disorder. It's the ultimate addiction. Yes, it's the ultimate addiction because their addiction regulates their being, their existence, regulates their identity, regulates who they are, not only what they feel, which is the normal addict, the normal addict, the alcoholic, the drug abuser, they regulate how they feel.

The narcissist uses his addictions, including substance abuse and so on, to regulate who he is, not how he feels, but who he is, his identity.

The same goes for the codependent. The codependent is an addict, of course. He is addicted to a significant other. The codependent is a private case of a narcissist in this sense.

The narcissist is dependent on hundreds of others, on thousands of others, on millions of others, if he's a politician. The codependent is addicted to one person, but it's only a matter of degree and quantity. Qualitatively, these are both addictions that regulate the internal dynamics and the inner landscape of the person.

Now, the emphasis is different. The narcissist's emphasis is cognitive. Narcissistic supply is a cognitive supply. The narcissist uses a form of empathy, which I dubbed "called empathy", which is essentially cognitive empathy.

As opposed to emotional empathy?

As opposed to full-fledged empathy, which is reflexive, cognitive and emotional.

Narcissist uses cold empathy to scan people around him, to isolate, to find, to ascertain who could be a source of supply, and then to extract supply.

So supply in this case is totally cognitive. The codependent supply is emotional, not cognitive.

And it is true that codependents and narcissists have identical developmental trajectories. They are exposed to the same triggers and stimuli in childhood. They're exposed to abuse in both developmental pathways that Afo mentioned.

And they make different choices.

The narcissist chooses to emulate, to become his abuser. And the codependent chooses to merge with the abuser, because the codependent believes, unconsciously, that merging and fusing with the abuser would allow her to control the abuse.

Obviously, if you are one with the abuser, whatever is happening to you is under your control, because you are the one abusing yourself from that point on. And the narcissist becomes an abuser, counterabuses.

And in this sense, narcissists are what we call counterdependence. So actually, we have two forces at play, codependence and counterdependence. One of the manifestations of which is narcissism, and another manifestation is psychopathy.

So whether you become the end abuser, or whether you become the abuser, these are the two choices you face as a child.

Now, luckily, the vast majority of children, the overwhelming vast majority, just to be clear, survive abuse.

And throughout their lives, they're totally normal and healthy.

It's a tiny minority, a very tiny minority, who adopt unconsciously, who adopts the less healthy trajectories of narcissism and codependence.

Sam, are you saying that narcissism is a choice?

Well, to some extent, it is.

Obviously, when you're a child, typically, narcissism evolves between the ages of four and nine.

Obviously, at this age, you're not autonomous enough, even objectively, you're not autonomous enough to make choices of any kind.

But there is one realm in which you are king, even though you are four year old, even though there's a four year old, there's one realm which is totally under your control.

And that is your internal mind.

No one can touch your mind.

When you talk to torture victims, victims who've been tortured in various dictatorial and authoritarian regimes, they keep telling you they touched my body, they destroyed my body, but they couldn't touch my free thinking, my mind.

And there's a thing with a narcissist. As a child, the narcissist's body is tortured.

There are attempts to invade his mind via psychological abuse and verbal abuse.

But the child's refuge, sanctuary city, only refuge, and only shelter is within himself.

So the child withdraws in, inwards, and establishes a citadel, a fortress, impregnable and impermeable to the outside.

And in order to cope with the demands of reality, and in order to interact with other people, his abuses included, he creates an imaginary friend.

And that imaginary friend is everything the child is not.

The child is helpless.

This imaginary friend is omnipotent.

The child cannot predict the future because adults around him are narcissistic or unpredictable or crazy making.

So the imaginary friend is omniscient, knows everything.

The child is told consistently that he is a bed unworthy object or that he is deserving of love only conditionally.

The imaginary friend is perfection, is a perfect being.

And of course, immediately springs to mind that the imaginary friend is God.

It's omnipotent, omniscient, perfect, that's God.

It's a good description of God.

Spinoza would have agreed.

So it's a good description of God.

And in this sense, what the child creates at age four is a religion.

The child comes up with a private religion where there isn't a God, a God like figure, a divinity.

And the child worships this divinity. He allows this divinity to intercede on his behalf with the outside world and with his abusers.

And it's a decoy.

All the pain, all the hurt, the false self, the name of this imaginary friend is a false self.

All the pain and the hurt reside with the false self.

The false self firewalls the child.

The child is one step removed from all the vagaries of life, from all the torture that is in torment that is inflicted upon.

And so it has a decoy function.

But this is actually also the function, for example, of the church. It's an intermediary between us and God.

So it's a private religion.

And there's one worshipper that's a child. There's one divinity that's the false self, this imaginary friend.

And of course, like in every religion, there's also human sacrifice.

And the human sacrifice here is the true self. The child strikes a phaustian deal with a false self. The false self is very demonic, is very devil-like, satanic in a way.

So the child strikes a phaustian deal with this entity, with this divine entity. The child says, "Listen, I will sacrifice myself to you, but you protect me. You not only protect me, you make me great. You make me overwhelmingly great. You make me infinitely great. And these are the root causes of grandiosity." So this is the deal, this is the phaustian deal that the narcissist has to live with for the rest of his life. Because he strikes this deal with his form, but it's still absolutely valid when he's faulty.

A deal with the devil?

Sam, you said it's almost demonic?

Well, the false self is a kind of, I said it's a phaustian deal. You can't strike a phaustian deal with God.

So it's a phaustian deal.

The child sacrifices his true self.

In other words, the child sacrifices himself, he sacrifices his soul to this false self, this divine entity.

And that would mean that this divine entity is devilish. It's like the devil in the middle ages or in Gethse's work.

Yeah. And Sam, I know you're doing work with cold therapy, I think, where you're treating people as narcissists, as children, not as adults. You said that's one of the problems with traditional therapy with narcissists, which makes a lot of sense. But how come before your work, there has not been a cure for narcissism per se?

I have no idea, honestly. Seriously. I mean, I am shocked that no one had realized that narcissists are actually children. Everyone admits throughout the literature that narcissism is a case of arrested development.

Everyone says long before me that narcissism is a dysfunctional form of attachment, which is attachment is for the child, not later.

So everyone admits from the earliest thinking about narcissism, starting with Freud in 1914-15, the earliest thinking of Nazpone, I mean, everyone says that narcissism is a childhood affliction.

And yet no one, not a single theorist, theoretician, not a single therapist or practitioner ever, thought about the simple idea that if narcissism is a case of arrested development and there is a trapped child inside, we need to use child psychology.

Yeah. And I'm pretty shocked by this by this omission.

And I think it's telling, I think it's telling because for a very, very long time, child abuse was a taboo topic. Like you couldn't really talk about sexual abuse, child abuse.

Freud was castigated and penalized in effect for daring to talk about the role of children and child abuse in the family, in the middle class family.

And well until the seventies, the topic of child abuse was taboo. And then when we did finally, grudgingly started to tackle the topic of child abuse within a men's castle, within the home unit, the household unit, we did it in a very hazard and circumspect manner. We didn't really attack the problem head on.

And to this very day, so I think that's the first reason.

The second reason, I think we are terrified to admit that appearances are not substance. Our entire society is based on signaling, on signals.

When we see an adult, we would feel very unsafe. I mean, if I were to tell you that some adults are not adults, you would feel very unsafe because you wouldn't know how to trust people, who you can trust and with what.

We are utterly based on signaling. There is a fallacy, there is a cognitive deficit, cognitive bias called Bayes Rate Deficit or Bayes Rate Bias.

We discovered in studies, including very recent studies by Dana Realy and others, we discovered that people believe in face value, 95% of all statements, immediately, uncritically, without checking anything, without talking to anyone, immediately accept 95% of everything they're taught, however outlandish. And this is well documented. It's called the Bayes Rate, you can look it up.

And so people need to trust them to believe. If we undermine the foundation of trust, if we undermine the value of signaling, we are undermining actually our social contract and our ability to operate in teams and cooperatives. We undermine the foundations of the success of our species.

So I'm actually doing exactly this by claiming that some adults are not what they see. I'm actually saying signaling sucks. You cannot trust people. It's deceptive. It's subversive. It's a subversive message, because it says you can't trust what you see. You are seeing another, but it's not another. It's the same like saying, listen, some people are inherently evil and malicious, but you can't identify them. I'm not giving you any tool to discern who is evil and malicious. I'm just telling you, some people are evil and malicious.

Imagine the impact is going to heavily. And we are facing this with a pandemic, with COVID-19, because we are being told there's something in the air that's going to kill you. But we are not given tools to identify this something.

Look at the impact this did, this had. Look, it destroyed our civilization literally.

So saying some people are malicious and evil, some people are children, but there is no way to tell who these people are is exactly like saying there's a virus in the air, it's going to kill you, but there's no way to tell where it is. You know, personally, I didn't know the person I was with was a female COVID somatic narcissist, but my instinct told me to get away. And that's what I did. But what I you talk about this a lot in your seminars as well. The people that I in my experience, I see so few people co-dependence leaving narcissists and so few. And you've said yourself, I'm going to quote you, it's a big, big problem.

What are your thoughts on that, Sam?

Well, everything is a choice. And choices reflect needs. And the codependent remains with the narcissist, she remains because the narcissist came to us to very profound needs that she has. And because no one else can do it better. He's the best provider, is a best practice provider. And she realizes this, she had tried so-called normals or neurotypical people before she tried psychopaths teacher, and she settles on the narcissist because he does the work best.

The problem is that her needs are pathologized. So it is wrong to focus on separating the codependent from the narcissist. It's much better, much more profitable, much more appropriate to tackle the pathology, the fact that her needs are pathological.

And to try to somehow tackle these needs. By the way, this is something we do very successfully. For example, borderline personality disorder, which is a form of codependency in a way. Borderline personality disorder, we have an exceedingly successful therapy, possibly the second most successful after CBT. And that's dialectical behavior therapy. DPT. DPT is very successful with borderlines.

Within one year, 50% of borderlines lose their disorder. So what is more profitable? To try to separate the borderline from her much needed narcissist, or to try to get rid of her borderline personality disorders so that she no longer needs him. I think the emphasis is wrong because today we are focusing on teaching internet partners of narcissists either how to cope with them one way or another, survival strategies, manipulative strategies, and so on, or to go no contact.

In other words, how to separate from them.

I invented all these strategies by one. The only one I did not invent was Gray Rock, which is a wonderful strategy by the way.

And my only regret, I should have come up with it. But I did. But I invented all the rest. I invented mirroring, I invented no contact. I invented all these techniques. And yet I'm saying that this is the wrong focus. The focus should not be on the narcissist. The narcissist is a symptom akin to fever, akin to temperature. It's a fever.

The fact that you have a narcissist in your life says that something is wrong with you, not as a value judgment, not that something is wrong with you morally. But it means there's some dynamics in you, some psychological dynamics in you, a problem. And you need a problematic person to cater to them.

It's almost like the focus that I see with people who are still in narcissistic relationships, the focus is all on the narcissist. And I admit the same thing happened to me. But now what I do is I focus on the work that I need to do on myself. And I own that. I think that's very, very important because you've also said numerous times, stop demonizing the narcissist. You've said that on a number of occasions.

Yes, because people are converting this into a morality play, you know, good versus evil, the devil versus God. I don't know why it's totally out of control. It's a defective problematic human being that you're living with. And you need to work on yourself so that you don't need this person anymore in your life.

It's kind of like alcoholism, Sam, that alcoholism is the tip of the iceberg. What lies beneath that alcohol isn't really the problem. It's the same sort of thing.

Yes, exactly. And I actually suggest in the new work that I'm doing, I branched out, I'm not dealing with other personality disorders with addiction. So I came up with a new theory of addiction, which is making the rounds right.

And in my new theory of addiction, addiction is actually the natural state. It's actually a healthy natural state. It's just when addiction combines with mental health disorders, that it gets out of control and help us functioning and habits.

But I asked the very, the very simple question, which again, to my aftershock, no one is ever asked. If addiction is an abnormal state, if it's a pathological state, why 42% of our brain are then is dedicated to addiction. 42% of all the structures and surfaces of our brain are dedicated to fostering, to creating addiction, and then to processing the outcomes of addiction.

Why would our brain be built this way if addiction was the wrong thing for us?

It's the same like saying 10% of our brain is dedicated to thinking, but thinking is pathological.

Nature, nature never, nature is parsimonious, never invents structures that are not necessary.

Addiction has, has multiple very crucial and very beneficial functions, function, functions and, but when it combines with mental health disorders, it becomes alcoholism, or substance abuse, or blood addiction, or sex addiction, or internet addiction, we get addicted to the most unbelievable things.

Addiction is a mode of relating, relating to the world. Yeah.

To anything in the world. It's not true that there is something inherent in alcohol that makes you addicted. This whole theory that alcohol is a brain disorder is here unmitigated nonsense.

Alcohol has obviously effects on the brain, but it also has an effect, effects on the liver.

Would you say it's a liver disorder? Of course not.

It's alcoholism, the use of alcohol for addiction is simply an environmental choice.

By the way, when we cure the alcoholism, the person gets addicted to sex. When you cure the sex addiction, the same person gets addicted to pornography. It's cross addiction.

Absolutely. Yes. It's addiction is a state of being, not a particular choice of the addictive substance, or circumstance, or people over it.

What do you say, Sam, to, I mean, you came up with a no contact.

I personally did that, and it was quite difficult because I think if a person doesn't understand hoovering, for example, that you think that the narcissist is coming back because he or she loves you, and of course that's not the case.

So my choice was at the time to say absolutely no contact.

What are your thoughts there, Sam, in terms of breaking off or getting free from the narcissistic relationship?

All the other strategies, the seven I invented, the one I hadn't invented, all of them are far inferior and honestly counterproductive, far inferior to no contact.

No contact is the only viable, healthy strategy.

Here's how to convince yourself to go no contact.

If you understand and realize that the narcissist is not a malevolent vicious entity, not a demon, but a child, simply a child, it will be far easier for you to go no contact.

Because your expectations of a relationship are adult expectations, even as a codependent, but your expectations are adult expectations, even the codependent, for example, expects empathy and compassion, affection, comfort.

So you have adult expectations, but if you realize that the target of your expectations is a child, you would let go. You would let go.

Now some people say, when I propose this way of thinking, some people say it's even more difficult to let go of a child than to let go of another.

Well, that depends. If your state of mind is such that your maternal instincts are misdirected to that extent, you have to work on it. That something is missing in your life. For example, real children, maybe.

If you have such a need to parent, it's either because you were forced to parent as a child, you were parentified, or because you want to parent right now as an adult and you didn't come around with it.

Don't marry a child, make one. It's interesting, Sam, because I had that experience with the narcissist. I saw a child there. I did not see an adult.

Sam, there was something else that you said as well in one of your recent interviews where you were describing narcissistic decompensation as being absolutely terrifying for the narcissist. I think you even made a reference to one of Salvador Dali's paintings. Could you sort of, because in other words, it's difficult for codependents to understand, but the whole principle of that the narcissist is only interested in narcissistic supply. The narcissist doesn't see us as people. They have batteries to be thrown away or toasters or computers. It's only for narcissistic supply.

Then when they do not have that supply, that decompensation, maybe you could elaborate there.

Yeah, sure. It's not necessarily that the narcissist doesn't see other people as people. He sees them as service providers, as you would see, for example, in electrician. He sees them as service providers. They are supposed to provide narcissistic supply. The narcissist's supply is needed for the simple fact that in the absence of narcissistic supply, the narcissist is blind, deaf, and dumb.

Narcissist has no reality testing. He has no access to reality, and he has no ability to self-assess, to evaluate himself. He needs people to tell him constantly, "This is who you are. This is how you are. These are your boundaries. This is what you're good at," and so on and so forth. This is reality, and you should not do this or you should do this. He needs this constant input. This kind of inputs are generated from the inside in healthy people by what Freud called the ego. The narcissist doesn't have this, so he needs this constant input from the outside, not only to buttress his inflated fantastic grandiosity, but simply to survive, to realize what is what, who is who, what can and cannot be done, and what would be the consequences, harmful or other, of his actions. He needs people because he's blind. He needs a guiding, a guide dog, if you wish, and people are his guide dog.

Now, in the absence of narcissistic supply, the narcissist is groping in the dark in a room full of razor blades. So, it's full with knives and razor blades, and he is groping in absolute pitch darkness in this room.

Can you imagine how terrifying this is? Gradually, all these defense mechanisms shut down. They shut down because defense mechanisms rely crucially on inputs from the environment.

What defense mechanisms do, they process input from the environment, they reframe it so that it's not ecosystemic. In other words, they take input from the environment, they change it a bit so that you feel comfortable with it.

And this is what the main role of defense mechanisms, all of them by the way.

But when the narcissist, because the narcissist has no access to information from the environment, all these defense mechanism shut down, stop working.

At that point, he is in direct contact with the razor blades in the knife, and he is constantly cut. Cut, again and again, some of these are paper cuts, some of them are very deep, life-threatening cuts.

And this is the process of the compensation. And so, at some point, the narcissist bolts out of this metaphorical room, and that's what we call acting out.

The narcissist bolts out of the room by either resorting to reckless self-endangering, self-destructive acts. It's kind of, if I annihilate myself, I will not be cut anymore.

Or by destroying the room, which is much more frequently what the narcissist do.

So they destroy their marriages, their businesses, their nations, if they are politicians, Adolf Hitler. I mean, so either of these two, because if you take someone like Adolf Hitler, his main problem in the last two years of his life was not his supply. He was not as revered and as admired as before. He was beginning to fail. And so ultimately he gave direct instructions to his minister of industry, Albert Speer, to destroy German, to simply to destroy all railways, all hospitals, all cities in Germany, to destroy this room, to destroy this metaphorical room, which keeps hurting him and so on.

So this is the process.

The process is unimaginable to someone who is not a narcissist. It feels a lot like, let's say, amputation by millimeter. Like you are being amputated millimeter by millimeter, sliced like salami, millimeter by millimeter, and having to watch this happen.

And none of this can be put back together. There's a feeling, a feeling of doom, because the narcissist is convinced when this is happening that the process is irreversible, which is true. Wrong, by the way. The minute he gets supply, everything is put back together.

This is the glue. Supply is the glue that holds everything together.

But when it is happening, it's harrowing and absolutely terrifying. I mean, it's a horror movie. It's a nightmare that you cannot wake up from.

The same process happens with borderline personality disorder when they are rejected or abandoned.

When people with borderline personality disorder are actually rejected or abandoned, or they anticipate rejection and abandon, they go through an identical process.

The process is so identical that I think abandonment and rejection is the equivalent of deficient narcissistic supply. So I think actually in the borderline psychodynamic landscape, relationships with other people, with their so-called significant other, is narcissistic supply.

I think that's why borderlines keep failing in their relationships, because it's not a real relationship. It's a narcissistic supply in the form of a human being.

And in this sense, of course, borderline psychopaths are co-dependence.

Sam, if we use the the somatic narcissist as an example, if one looked at it from the outside, we would say, for example, he or she is promiscuous, but it's not about the sex, is it? It's about narcissistic supply.

Yes, sex is a mode of communication. You can use sex to communicate a power matrix or power ratios.

So many people use sex to overpower other people and to establish a hierarchy. For example, in prison, sex is used among men to establish a hierarchy, even if these men are utterly heterosexual. Rape is not about sex. There's not a single sexual element in rape. It's all about power. Sexual assault is a combination of power and liberty, freedom, unbridled freedom.

So sex is simply a language. It's a language.

And that's why we are perfectly capable of having sex with emotions, sex without emotions, and sometimes switch between the two on the same day.

So if sex is a language, we need to ask ourselves, what is the somatic narcissist trying to say with sex?

Well, to him, sex, not the sex itself, but two elements in the sex, constitute narcissistic supply.

First of all, the chase and the conquest. And the second thing is the performance.

So somatic narcissists, ironically, would be very concerned with how much pleasure they are giving their power. So they would, for example, ask the partner how many orgasms she has had, how many times she has orgasm, and they keep like a ledger, you know?

And they would, so they are, it's very ironic, by the way. Somatic narcissists are focused on pyrotechnics, the pyrotechnics of sex. And in many ways, sex with them is highly mechanical.

But they are concerned with the effects the sex has on their partners, because this is the only objective measure of success.

So the somatic narcissist sex is about performance and success in both in both fields, conquest and actual intercourse.

Do they somatic narcissists enjoy sex?

No, exactly like histrionic women. We have numerous studies that show that histrionic women, histrionic women are the women who are overly seductive, overly flirtatious, hypersexed in some cases, not in all cases, but hypersexed in some cases. They are the kind of women who steal other women's husbands, you know, this kind of thing.

So we have numerous studies that show that histrionic women are actually what used to be called frigid women. They are women who absolutely abhorrent domestic. They are not interested in sex at all. And yet they dedicate an inordinate amount of time to their appearance, to seduction, to flirtation, to teasing, and to ultimate intercourse.

And so both the somatic narcissist and the histrionic woman, women, they're both not interested in sex. It has not to do with sex, nor do they enjoy sex at all.

For example, a somatic narcissist would never enjoy sex in an intimate relationship. And a somatic narcissist would have erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation with a woman who would show interest in him. A woman who would initiate the sex because he needs to conquer it. It's a power element. He needs a success in the performance and the power.

So if a woman were to come to somatic narcissist and pick him up, initiate, come on to him. He's very likely to perform very poorly, if at all.

Sam, do narcissists know what they're doing?

And in other words, before you answer, you said something again recently that really interested me. You spoke about the difference between awareness and insight.

So an awareness for me can be, I know that I'm doing something, but the insight means I'm able to travel inside and say, what is this thing in me?

So that was an interesting point that you made. So do they know when they're doing these things, whether they're cerebral or somatic, do they know what they're doing?

Of course they know what they're doing. Very few of them are retards. They know what they're doing, of course. The distinction between awareness of several more precisely and an insight is not mine. It's Freud's.

Freud said that it's not enough to know what you're doing. If you want to affect change, you need an emotional reaction to what you're doing.

For example, if you're doing something and then you feel that it's wrong, your conscience is super-ego in Freud's terms. You know it's wrong, then you're not likely to do it again. So it affects the change. The emotion attached to your action affects the change.

And that's the insight. Insight also has to do with understanding yourself, who you are, your identity, your inner processes and so on.

Now narcissists are fully aware of what they're doing. They are fully aware of the distinction between right and wrong. That's the reason narcissism is not accepted with the exception of one case. Nastism has never been accepted as a mitigating defense in case of crimes. So it's not a guilty by reason of insanity defense.

Because narcissists know full well what's the difference between right and wrong. They know that what they're doing is wrong. They just don't care. They're not empathic. So they don't grasp intuitively or otherwise, not even cognitively, the effect that their actions have on others.

And they're proud. They're proud of their disorder. They consider the disorder. They think that disorder makes them unique. They think that the narcissism is the next step in the evolutionary ladder. And so they are the superior ratings. They are, you know, all others are like, it's like they are the chroma nions and all other people on the ambeciles.

So they're very proud of it.

Now I can prove to you that narcissism is a choice or more precisely, narcissistic traits and behaviors are actually choices, cognitive choices. I can prove it easily. If you go to jail and your narcissist, your behavior will change dramatically. For example, no narcissist in his right mind would be grandiose in jail. Because he won't survive for long. So when you see when you see narcissist in prison, their behavior is conformist, socially acceptable, empathic, compassionate, understanding, etc, etc, they need to coexist and survive with very, very dangerous people. So suddenly, they're not narcissists anymore.

The fear instilled by prison, renders narcissist suddenly totally normal. How come? If there is a constitutional problem, for instance, if you have to be a colossus, you're unlikely to lose it if you travel to another country. If you have to be a colossus, you have to be a colossus and a story. If it's a clinical entity, in other words, if it's a disease, you're not likely to lose it in prison or in the army or in the hospital and so on.

But it's a fact that when narcissists change environment, for example, they're in the army, or they're in prison, they especially in prison, because the army is a more regulated kind of thing. But in prison, definitely, narcissists lose their narcissism, locks, token, barrel, no trace of it is left.

Because of the external threat, it shows me it's a learned, acquired behavior that is totally under the control and choice of the narcissist. Let's use the example of alcoholism where alcoholics get sober, they stay sober for a long time. And they do that solely because they don't want to feel the way they did when they were drinking. It's a horrible life. So they made the choice to get sober.

So surely the life, the inner landscape, the life of the narcissist must be full of terror and shame. And so my question is, why would at least one of them or two of them say, I don't want to be like this anymore. I want to change. Well, I'm not sure where you get your statistics from. Narcissism is a positive adaptation.

In other words, it helps the narcissist to obtain favorable outcomes in the world. We live in a narcissistic civilization. It takes to be a narcissist.

Actually, new scientists, which is a very respected academic magazine of science, had a cover story in July 2016. Parents teach your children to be narcissists. So narcissism is becoming the bottom. Narcissist is in the White House. Undoubtedly, many narcissists are political leaders in many countries. Narcissists are in show business, in law enforcement, in media, I mean, you name it. Narcissism is a positive adaptation.

Very few narcissists are good at stalling. So very few of them feel shame, as you have said. And if they do feel shame, likely they're not narcissists, but borderline.

So very few narcissists have an incentive to change. For example, imagine that by some quirk of fate, I was invited to be the psychotherapist of Donald Trump. What on earth could I say to Donald Trump? Don't be a narcissist.

Why? He's president of the United States. He's a multi-billionaire. He's a reality TV star. Why not to be a narcissist? It's a strategy that works for him. He has no incentive to not be a narcissist. And the more we, I mean, our current civilization with this social media, with its incentive structure, with its exposure, with, I mean, it, narcissism is built into our technology, our very technologies.

Narcissists are beginning to infiltrate our language. Narcissists is everywhere. Narcissists is an organizing principle of modern spectacle civilization.

In 1968, there was a guy called Guidebouw. Guidebouw wrote a book, a stunning, fascinating, but very difficult to read book, Society of the Spectacle. And he said that emphasis will be put on spectacles, on appearances, on games, you know, famous for being famous. And it's a prescient prediction.

Another famous book in 1974, Christopher Lattuca, was the book, The Culture of Narcissism. I mean, people saw it coming even much, much before that, a hundred years ago, there was a guy called Emil Ducal in Vienna, a sociologist. And he wrote a book about suicide and another book about what he called Aulian.

And he predicted the rise of narcissism. And of course, Sigmund Freud himself wrote an essay in 1914-15 linking narcissism to some societal phenomena. It's, we all saw it coming.

Today, we would be doing young people a disservice if we disabled the narcissism.

But then, Sam, it begs the question, the inner landscape, I mean, are narcissists happy? Are they content? Are they? Of course, no. The vast majority of them are very happy.

What do you mean?

Give me one reason why not.

Well, when they don't have narcissistic supply.

When they don't have narcissistic supply, when they heat drop bottom, they come to me for cold therapy, of course. But this isn't a tiny, negligible, invisible minority. The overwhelming majority are very adept at manipulating and leveraging and using other people, institutions, subverting protocols and rules and laws, especially the ones who are crossovers from narcissism to psychopathic narcissism, or what Könberg used to call malignant narcissism.

And so, narcissism has very little incentive or reason to feel bad, ashamed, deprived.

And so, this subgroup of narcissists, passive aggressive narcissists, they feel, you know, there is another group called covert narcissists and covert narcissists are simply, in effect, collapse narcissists. These are narcissists who cannot obtain supply because their personality structure is such they're shy, vulnerable, fragile, I don't know, avoidant in a way.

So, these subgroups, which are very small subgroups, they, but they're not, but you know what, they're notreally narcissists.

The covert narcissist is a kind of a cross between passive aggressive and narcissists, inverted narcissist, which is clinical diagnosis, are inverted.

Inverted narcissist is a cross between codependent and narcissist. These are the hybrids and they are very tiny minority.

The overwhelming vast majority of overt narcissists, classical narcissists, are utterly happy with their lives. And the more time passes and the more our civilization changes, the more happy they are, because they are truly far better adapted to the world of Instagram and the world of Donald Trump.

And you know what, even to the world of COVID-19, then all the rest of the healthy, so-called healthy normal population is.

And the covert narcissist, you say, they are not real or complete narcissist. I didn't quite understand that.

The covert narcissist is a cross between passive aggressive, personality disorder, negativistic, negativistic personality disorder, and a narcissist.

Yes, it's a social edge narcissist, but because it's a collapsed narcissist, a narcissist who cannot obtain supply owing to his personality structure, then he resorts to passive aggressive measures of obtaining supply via third parties or by sabotaging and undermining people.

And so we have, for example, on a societal level, we have a whole community of such people. They're called "incents", involuntary settlements. These are men who fail to obtain dates and obviously fail to have sex.

And so they blame this on themselves. They are passive aggressive, but they blame themselves. They say that they are ugly, they are misfits and so on, but they are also furious at women for not giving them sex.

So there you have a kind of a petri dish of covert narcissists, narcissists who fail in obtaining supply. They are somatic narcissists. They fail in obtaining supply. And so they exercise passive aggression to cope with this.

Why are covert narcissist thematics, right? No, these are somatic covert narcissists.

Oh, I see. Yes, I understand. They're not, you can be somatic covert narcissists, rebel covert narcissists.

Yeah. And then just a last question, because I see we're over an hour, but you've mentioned about reclassifying narcissism as a dissociative disorder rather than a personality disorder.

So could you elaborate on that?

Actually, that's half the equation. I suggest that narcissism is actually not a personality disorder as well, but a post traumatic condition.

Obviously, when we have a trauma and there are changes in personality, we immediately classify them as post traumatic changes.

So these would be post traumatic conditions, but the post trauma in this case yielded extreme dissociation.

And we have a precedent for that. In the sixties, we had something called multiple personality disorder, the diagnosis of multiple personality disorder, which today is called dissociative identity disorder. It's when a person is exposed to extreme, usually sexual abuse. That person fractures and generates a whole group of personalities. And these are called alters, alternative personalities. And they congregate around the central personality called the host.

And I'm suggesting that narcissism is exactly a private case of multiple personality.

I think what happened to narcissist as a child had been exposed to so much trauma and abuse that he couldn't take it anymore. So what happened is personality as a child broke in half. There were two halves. One half, one half was projected outside and that's the false self. And one half remained inside and that is true self.

So every narcissist by definition has two personalities. Everyone agrees with that. It's not me. Everyone is saying this, but what I don't understand, if everyone is saying this, why not say that narcissism is a case of multiple personality?

I mean, by definition, it has two personalities, not one.

So I think if we begin to look at narcissism from three angles, one, it's a childhood psychology problem. Two, it's a post-traumatic disorder. Three, it's a case of multiple personality.

This is a very hopeful message.


We don't know how to treat narcissistic personality disorder, but we have perfect tools with a huge success rate in dealing with childhood disorders, trauma related disorders and multiple personality disorders. We have tools to cope with this. We know how to treat these disorders.

So if we just shift the way we look at narcissism, if we put all these tools together, we get cold therapy, which is exactly what I did.

Gosh, Sam, well, this has really been absolutely fascinating and informative.

Really, really thank you for your time, Sam.

Thank you.

And I hope you have a good afternoon further.

You too.

Thank you, Sam.

Thank you.


All right.


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