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Narcissistic Abuse: Purposeful, Not Intentional

Uploaded 3/19/2024, approx. 11 minute read

And a propo Freddy Krueger, today we are going to deal with the question, is narcissistic abuse intentional or not?

Is the narcissist a cunning, skimming, premeditated, evil, wicked manipulator, as most self-styled experts would tell you?

Or is he a victim of his own circumstances and victimizes you in return?

This is the topic of today's video.

But taking into account my age, my weight, and circumstances which are none of your business, I will sit down and continue this delectable monologue about narcissistic abuse.


We must make a distinction between intentional acts and purposeful acts.

Intentional acts involve premeditation.

Purposeful acts involve a goal, an accomplishment, an endgame.

One could of course engage in intentional acts which are purposeful.

Actually, the vast majority of intentional acts are purposeful.

But many purposeful acts are not intentional.

And I'll try to help you make this distinction.

Because the narcissist is actually purposeful, but not intentional.

It is the psychopath who is skimming, cunning, Machiavellian, manipulative, goal-oriented.

It is the psychopath who is essentially, in many cases, sadistic and evil and wicked, if only because the psychopath is callous and ruthless and couldn't care less about the impact and consequences of his actions.

The psychopath can tell the difference between right and wrong, between reality and fantasy.

The narcissist in most cases cannot tell the difference between reality and fantasy.

He is delusional.

He believes his own confabulations, his own promises, and the fantasy that he has embedded in and that he is trying to impose on you, the shared fantasy.

This inability to tell apart reality from delusions, reality from fantasy, means that often the narcissist acts in ways which are unintentional, of which he is unconscious and unaware of.

This is not true of the psychopath.

Now back to the original opening question.

Intentional acts involve two elements.

The existence of a self, a self with attitudes and motivations.

Intentional acts are attitudinal and motivational.

They are directional.

Intentional acts, very often, as I said, involve a purpose or a goal or an end result or an accomplishment.

But they always emanate from some kind of core identity.

In psychoanalytic parlance and ego, in other theories in psychology, it's called the self.

The existence of a self is a precondition for the existence of intention.

Similarly, the ability to recognize reality and operate in and on reality in ways which are self efficacious, ways which extract beneficial outcomes from reality, from the environment, from circumstances, from people around you.

If you don't have a self, then you cannot act intentionally.

And if you can't tell apart reality from fantasy, your actions may have a purpose, but they're rarely intentional.

These are two absolute conditions without a self or an ego and without the ability to acknowledge reality, there is no intention.

There can be no intention.

And so the narcissist is lacking in both these senses.

The narcissist self, the narcissist ego, the narcissist core identity are missing.

Pathological narcissism is a disruption in the formation of a constellated integrated self.

It's the inability to coalesce around the central ego.

The narcissist has no ego.

He has no self.

He has no core identity.

The narcissist is absence masquerading as presence, something which applies equally well or equally validly to the borderline.

So narcissist does never self.

And additionally, the narcissist cannot tell apart fantasy from reality, confabulations from facts.

And so the narcissist, for example, doesn't perceive what he says as lies.

He doesn't gaslight.

He truly believes in his nonsense and in his fantasy.

He doesn't future fake.

He is fully committed to the promises that he is making.

However, unrealistic outlandish and inane.

So this kind of person acts unintentionally.

The psychopath acts purposefully and intentionally.

The psychopath actually intends to do what he's doing, actually intends to harm, intends to abuse, intends to hurt on the way to obtaining an ulterior goal such as money or power or access to contacts or what have you.

Now in nature, we have many, many examples of actions which are purposeful.

They fulfill a purpose.

They're goal oriented actions, but there's no intention involved.

Take for example, a virus.

The actions of a virus are very purposeful.

Viruses are highly goal oriented.

And they operate in ways which imply or indicate some kind of innate intelligence.

The same of course applies to artificial intelligence.

Artificial intelligence is goal oriented.

It has a purpose.

It has a direction and it accomplishes things.

But no one would say, no one in his right mind at least would say that at this stage of its development artificial intelligence has intentions.

Intentionality implies a sentient, present, conscious self.

Some core identity which is immutable, which is always there and which designs plans, which rearranges the world so as to extricate or to extract favorable outcomes out of the environment.

The Nazis doesn't do any of these things.

Nazis are on automatic pilot.

Nazis are comparable to viruses or tigers or hurricanes, all of which accomplish things, destructive things usually.

And yet none of them is intentional.

The Nazis is driven by forces far behind his or her comprehension.

The Nazis is unaware of his motivations, psychodynamics, internal processes.

The Nazis is driven.

And that's why many people describe the Nazis as being possessed.

The Nazis is driven.

The Nazis is a passive plaything in the hands of enormous torsion and friction and other forces inside him.

And the Nazis reacts the way biological organisms do.

The Nazis tailors and customises his behaviour in order to secure goals.

The Nazis acts within a fantastic paracosm, an alternative universe, a virtual reality of his own making.

And the Nazis doesn't intend to inflict harm on people.

The fact that Nazis abuse other people, cause them damage, break them apart, these indisputable facts I'm the father of the field of narcissistic abuse.

So definitely I'm not disputing that it exists.

I also gave it its name.

Still I'm saying that narcissistic abuse is a byproduct.

It's a side effect.

It's an unintended consequence.

The Nazis' main orientation, and definitely the Nazis' goal is not to hurt people.

The Nazis' aim and goal and purpose is to regulate his internal environment via feedback and input from other people.

The Nazis' reaction is seeking.

And so it has nothing to do with harming people.

The Nazis is even not interested in the kind of goals that drive the psychopath.

He's not of the money, he's not of the power.

He couldn't care less about any of these things, he's after attention, narcissistic supply.

And if money, having money guarantees narcissistic supply, the Nazis' will pursue money or making money.

If gaining access to power results in enhanced attention in the media, for example, then the Nazis' would go after positions of power.

But these are secondary tools.

These are the means to an end, and the end is narcissistic supply.

The narcissist is 99% unconscious in this sense.

He's aware of his actions.

Narcissists can't tell the difference between right and wrong.

They often know that what they're doing might be considered wrong.

They're aware of their choices and decisions.

And they're even aware of the impact.

These choices, decisions and actions may have on other people, including adverse impacts and outcomes.

Nazis are not stupid.

Many of them are highly intelligent.

That's not the issue here.

The issue is they can't help it.

They can't help it because they have no access to the machinery of motivations and attitudes, as normal and healthy people do, as the psychopath does.

The psychopath does have a self, a constellated, integrated, core identity.

He does.

And the psychopath definitely can tell the difference between fantasy and reality.

Even when he sells you on a fantasy, even when the psychopath is a con artist, he knows what he's doing. He knows it's not real. He knows he's leading you down the garden path.

The narcissist doesn't.

So to summarize, narcissists, the actions of narcissists and narcissistic abuse definitely fulfill a purpose. They're purposeful, but they're not intentional. They're part and parcel of the pathology of the narcissist, including the shared fantasy.

While with the psychopath, the very same actions, the very same decisions and choices reflect premeditation, sometimes evil, reflect an attempt to engineer reality, which the psychopath fully recognizes, represent motivations and attitudes the psychopath is fully aware of and in touch with, not unconscious.

Psychopath knows them well.

Who is, what is after, and the price is willing to pay for obtaining his goals. He also realizes that other people will suffer, but he regards this suffering as an inevitable outcome and a price that other people should pay for his or her own gratification.

The narcissist is focused on narcissistic supply and on trying to resolve early childhood traumas and conflicts and dissonances inside himself is inward looking.

The narcissist is a totally internalized entity while the psychopath is public facing, is outward looking.

The psychopath is in this sense an optimizing machine that acts knowingly and consciously while the narcissist is just driven along, swayed and swept along together with his victims in the inexorable movement towards a desperate attempt to obtain supply and to resolve inner conflicts.

The narcissist is a junkie, but the junkie who is not aware of the nature of his own drug.

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