Narcissists Fear Therapy

Uploaded 11/15/2010, approx. 4 minute read

I am Sam Vaknin and I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.

In the book describing the fabulous tales of Baron Munchausen, there is a story about how the legendary nobleman succeeded to pull himself out of the quicksand marsh by his own hair.

Well, such miracles are unlikely to recur.

Narcissists cannot cure themselves any more than Baron Munchausen pulled himself out of a swamp by his own hair.

Pathological narcissism - narcissistic personality disorder - is not merely an apparent thought process which can be controlled cognitively.

It is an all-pervasive, emotional, cognitive and behavioral impairment of the entire personality, every corner of it.

Thus, gaining insight into the disorder is not the same as healing.

It is not a question of determination or resilience, it is not a function of the time invested by the narcissist, the effort expended by him, the lengths to which he is willing to go, the depths of his commitment and his professional knowledge.

All these are very important precursors and they are good predictors of the success of an eventual therapy, however, they are not a substitute for one.

The best, really the only way, the narcissist can help himself to some extent is by resorting to a mental health professional.

Even then, sadly, the prognosis, the healing prospects, are dim.

It seems that only time can bring in a limited remission or at times an aggravation of the condition.

One way can tackle the more pernicious aspects of this disorder, it can help the patient adapt to this condition, accept it and learn to conduct a more functional and socially acceptable life.

Learning to live with one's disorder is a great achievement and the narcissist should be happy that even this modicum of success is in principle possible.

But just to get the narcissist to see a therapist is very difficult.

The therapeutic situation implies a superior/inferior relationship.

The therapist is supposed to help the narcissist and so to the narcissist, this means that he himself is not as omnipotent as he imagines himself to be.

The therapist is supposed to know more in his field than the narcissist and this presumption seems to undermine the second pillar of narcissism, omniscience, the belief that the narcissist knows all. Going to a therapy of whatever nature implies both imperfection, something is wrong and a need and narcissist regard needs as weaknesses, signs of inferiority.

The therapeutic setting where the client visits the therapist has to be punctual, has to pay for the service, implies subservience.

The process itself is also threatening.

It involves transformation, losing one's identity, in other words, one's uniqueness, one's long-cultivated defenses.

The narcissist must shed his false self and face the world naked, defenseless and to his mind pitiful.

The narcissist is inadequately equipped to deal with his old hurts, traumas and unresolved conflicts.

His true self is infantile, mentally immature, ossified, frozen, incapable of confronting the almighty superego, the narcissist's inner chastising voices.

The narcissist knows all this and he recoils. Therapy demands of him to finally place full unmitigated trust in another human being, something he has never done since the last time he had been disappointed by his parents.

Moreover, the transaction of therapy, the therapeutic alliance implicitly offered to the narcissist is the most unappealing imaginable.

He, the narcissist, is to give up decades of emotional investment in an elaborate, adaptive, and mostly functioning mental hyperstructure: the false self.

In return, the narcissist tends to become normal.

And this is another matter to the narcissist.

The narcissist does not want to be normal or average or pedestrian. He wants to be unique, special, outstanding.

Being normal to the narcissist means being average, not unique, non-existent.

Why should the narcissist commit himself to such a move when it doesn't even guarantee him happiness?

But there is a lot the narcissist can do by himself until he reaches a final decision whether to attend therapy or not, about this in our next video.

Be sure to watc

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Narcissist: Why Self-help?

Narcissists can take steps to cope with their disorder before deciding whether to attend therapy. The first step is self-awareness, which involves admitting that something is wrong and accepting responsibility for their role in their misfortune. The second step is confronting a more realistic view of themselves, which can be achieved by people who care about the narcissist confronting them with the truth about themselves and their life. The third step is committing to a regime of therapy, which involves adopting a humble frame of mind and being constructively and productively active in their own therapy. However, few narcissists see why they should embark on this massive quest.

Narcissists Hate Therapists

Narcissists regard therapy as a competitive sport and often try to prove themselves equal to the psychotherapist in knowledge, experience, or social status. They use professional psychological lingo and terms to level the playing field and create a shared psychosis between themselves and the therapist. Narcissists have a dilapidated and dysfunctional true self overtaken and suppressed by a false self, and therapy aims to create the conditions for the true self to resume its growth. Change is brought about only through incredible powers of torsion and wreckage, and it takes nothing less than a real crisis.

Self-Aware Narcissist: Still a Narcissist

Narcissism is pervasive and defines the narcissist's waking moments, infiltrating and permeating their dreams. Narcissists only admit to a problem when they are abandoned, destitute, and devastated. Narcissistic behaviors can be modified using talk therapy and pinpointed medication conditioning, but there is a huge difference between behavior modification and a permanent alteration of a psychodynamic landscape. Narcissism may improve with age, but it is rare.

Old-age Narcissist

Narcissists age without grace, unable to accept their fallibility and mortality. They suffer from mental progeria, aging prematurely and finding themselves in a time warp. The longer they live, the more average they become, and the wider the gulf between their pretensions and accomplishments. Few narcissists save for rainy days, and those who succeed in their vocation end up bitterly alone, having squandered the love of family, offspring, and mates.

Raging Narcissist: Merely Pissed-off?

Narcissistic rage is a phenomenon that occurs when a narcissist is frustrated in their pursuit of narcissistic supply, causing narcissistic injury. The narcissist then projects a bad object onto the source of their frustration and rages against a perceived evil entity that has injured and frustrated them. Narcissistic rage is not the same as normal anger and has two forms: explosive and pernicious or passive-aggressive. People with personality disorders are in a constant state of anger, which is effectively suppressed most of the time, and they are afraid to show that they are angry to meaningful others because they are afraid to lose them.

Narcissist's Constant Midlife Crisis

The midlife crisis is a much-discussed but little understood phenomenon. There is no link between physiological and hormonal developments and the mythical midlife crisis. The narcissist is best equipped to tackle this problem as they suffer from mental progeria and are in a constant mid-life crisis. The narcissist's personality is rigid, but their life is not. It is changeable, mutable, and tumultuous. The narcissist does not go through a midlife crisis because they are forever the child, forever dreaming and fantasizing, forever enamored with themselves.

How Narcissist Is Mortified

Narcissistic behavior can be modified through treatment, but pathological narcissism is unchangeable. Narcissists have empathic aphantasia, meaning they cannot visualize other people in an empathic way. The misinformation effect is a bigger problem for narcissists than for normal people because they have severe problems with their memory and are dissociative. The longer the delay between the presentation of the original event and the post-event information, the more likely it is that individuals will incorporate the misinformation into the new memory.

Repentant Narcissist, Therapist Must Accept Diagnosis ( 12 Steps Of Narcissists Anonymous)

Therapists are hesitant to label and stigmatize their patients, but the narcissist must accept their diagnosis for any chance of growth and healing. The 12 steps of Narcissist Anonymous are outlined as a way for narcissists to come to terms with their condition and limit the damage they cause to themselves and others. The steps involve admitting powerlessness over narcissism, making amends, and seeking to improve conscious contact with the false self. While narcissism cannot be cured, these steps offer a way to contain its effects.

So, Is My Narcissist a Covert Narcissist? Nonsense vs. Scholarship

Covert narcissists are individuals who suffer from an in-depth sense of inferiority, have a marked propensity towards feeling ashamed, and are shy and fragile. They are unable to genuinely depend on others or trust them, suffer from chronic envy of others, and have a lack of regard for generational boundaries. Covert narcissists are not goal-orientated, have shallow vocational commitment, and are forgetful of details, especially names. Inverted narcissists are a subspecies of covert narcissism and are self-centered, sensitive, vulnerable, and defensive, sometimes hostile and paranoid.

Alzheimer's Narcissist Dementias Of Absence

Dementia is a neurodegenerative disorder that leads to cognitive decline and memory loss. The impact of dementia on narcissistic individuals is particularly devastating, as it challenges their sense of self and exposes their vulnerabilities. The decline in cognitive function and the loss of narcissistic supply lead to withdrawal, depression, and aggressive behavior. Research suggests a link between narcissistic traits and an increased risk of developing dementia. Ultimately, dementia becomes a formidable adversary for the narcissist, leading to a profound sense of loss and despair.

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