Narcissists Hate Therapists

Uploaded 1/17/2014, approx. 6 minute read

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

The narcissist regards therapy as some kind of competitive sport.

In therapy, the narcissist usually immediately insists that he or she is equal to the psychotherapist in knowledge, in experience, or in social status.

To substantiate this claim and level the playing field, the narcissist, in the therapeutic session, spices his speech with professional psychological lingo and terms.

Lingo makes appearance, appearance makes substance. This is the narcissist's motto.

The narcissist is actually sending a message to his psychotherapist.

The narcissist says, there is nothing you, the psychotherapist, can teach me. I am as intelligent as you are. You are not superior to me. Actually, we should be collaborating as equals in this unfortunate state of things in which we inadvertently find ourselves involved.

At first, the narcissist idealizes, but then he devalues the therapist.

The internal dialogue of the narcissist goes something like this.

I know best. I know everything. The therapist is less intelligent than I. I can't afford the top level therapist who are the only ones qualified to treat me as my equals, needless to say. I'm actually as good a therapist as my therapist. I'm as good as a therapist.

Another thread of internal dialogue, he, my therapist, should be my colleague. In certain respect, it is he who should accept my professional authority. He should learn from me. Why would he be my friend? After all, I can use the lingo, the psychobabble, as even better than he does. It's us, him and me, against a hostile and ignorant world.

This way, the narcissist creates a shared psychosis between him and the psychotherapist, as though they are both in one boat fighting the whole world.

The inner dialogue continues.

Narcissist says to himself, just who does he think he is asking me all these questions? What are his professional credentials to start with? I'm a success. And he is a nobody therapist in a dingy office. He is trying to negate my uniqueness. He is trying to reduce me to his level. He is an authority figure. I hate him and I will show him. I will humiliate him. I will prove him ignorant. I will have his license revoked.

Freud called this transference.

Actually, the narcissist says to himself, my therapist is pitiable, a zero, a failure, otherwise he wouldn't be doing what he is doing.

And these self-delusions and fantastic grandiosity are really the narcissist's defenses and resistance to treatment.

This abusive internal exchange becomes more of a vituperative and pejorative as therapy progresses.

The narcissist distances himself from these painful emotions by generalizing and analyzing them, by slicing his life and hurt into neat packages of what he thinks are professional insights, which he condescendingly, patronizingly and kindly provides his therapist with.

The narcissist has a dilapidated and dysfunctional true self overtaken and suppressed by a false self.

In therapy, the general idea is to create the conditions for the true self to resume its growth, safety, predictability, justice, love, and acceptance, what we call a holding environment.

But to achieve this ambience, the therapist tries to establish a mirroring, a re-parenting environment.

Therapy is supposed to provide these conditions of nurturance and guidance through transference, cognitive relabeling, or other methods.

The narcissist must learn that his past experiences are not laws of nature, that not all adults are abusive, that relationships can be nurturing and supportive.

Most therapists try to co-opt the narcissist's inflated ego, his false self, and his defenses. They complement the narcissist, challenging him to prove his omnipotence by overcoming his own disorder. They appeal to his quest for perfection, brilliance and eternal love and to his paranoid tendencies in an attempt to get rid of counterproductive, self-defeating and dysfunctional behavior patterns. Some therapists try to stroke the narcissist's grandiosity and ego.

By doing so, they hope to modify or counter cognitive deficits, thinking errors, and the narcissist's victim stance martyrdom. They contract with the narcissist to alter his conduct.

Psychiatrists tend to medicalize the disorder by attributing it to genetic or biochemical causes.

Narcissists like this approach, as it absolves them from responsibility for their actions. Not my fault, it's my genes, it's not my fault, it's the biochemistry of my brain, says the narcissist.

Therapists with unresolved issues and narcissistic defenses of their own sometimes feel compelled to confront the narcissist head-on and to engage in power plays and power politics. For instance, by instituting disciplinary measures, they compete with the narcissist, these narcissistic therapists. So they compete with their patients and they try to establish their superiority.

They say, I am clever than you are, I have more knowledge, my will should prevail, and so on.

This form of immaturity is decidedly unhelpful and could lead to rage attacks and a deepening of the narcissist's persecutory delusions.

These delusions are bred, to start with, by his humiliation. And if this humiliation in early childhood is reenacted in the therapeutic settings, all narcissistic defenses erupt.

Narcissists generally are averse to being medicated, as this amounts to an admission that something has been wrong and needs fixing.

They also hate to lose control. They are control freaks and they hate to be under the influence of mind-altering drugs prescribed to them by others.

Many narcissists believe that medication is the great equalizer. It will make them lose their uniqueness, superiority, and astounding mind. That is unless they can convincingly present the act of taking their medicine as heroism, a daring enterprise of self-exploration, part of a breakthrough clinical trial, and so on and so forth.

Narcissists often claim that the medicine affects them differently than it does other people, or that they have discovered a new exciting way of using the medicine, or that they are part of someone's, usually themselves, learning curve, part of a new approach to dosage, part of a new cocktail which holds great promise, etc.

Narcissists must dramatize their lives, they are drama queens, to feel worthy and special, out-neal, out-unique. Either be special or don't be at all. Narcissists are drama queens and their life is one big theater show.

Very much like in the physical world, change is brought about only through incredible powers of torsion and wreckage. Only when the narcissist's elasticity gives way, only when he is wounded by his own intransigence, only then is their only hope.

It takes nothing less than a real crisis.

And we at Bordeaux are not enough.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like the following:

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

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

Expose Narcissist’s Secret Speech

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses how narcissists use code and a cipher to manipulate others, including various techniques such as counterfactuality, victim language, projection, gaslighting, and passive aggression. He advises ignoring the hidden message and not responding to the occult message when communicating with a narcissist. He also discusses the evasiveness of narcissists and psychopaths, their competitive nature, and their use of alloplastic defenses to shift blame and deny responsibility for their actions. Finally, he explains that mentally ill people cannot be reasoned with, and their speech acts and decisions need to be deconstructed.

Destroy the Narcissist in Court: Divorce, Custody, and Aftermath

In summary, to effectively handle a narcissist in court during divorce and custody proceedings, it is crucial to remain calm, composed, and fact-based. Focus on exposing the narcissist's grandiosity and vulnerabilities by challenging their self-perception and accomplishments, while avoiding appearing vengeful or malicious. Provoke the narcissist indirectly by hinting at their shortcomings and mediocrity, ultimately leading them to lose control and expose their true nature. Maintain a holistic strategy that takes into account both the legal aspects and the narcissist's off-court life.

Giving Narcissist Second Chance

Narcissists do not provide closure in relationships and will stalk, cajole, beg, promise, persuade, and ultimately succeed in doing the impossible to get you back. The narcissist will cast all interactions with you in terms of conflicts or competitions to be won. If you have resumed contact because you are manifestly dependent on the narcissist financially or emotionally, the narcissist will pounce on your frailty and exploit your fragility to the maximum. Ultimately, the narcissist will write the inevitable cycle of idealization and devaluation.

Cope with Narcissists: Abandon or Mirror

The best way to cope with a narcissist is to abandon them or threaten to abandon them. The narcissist is a binary person, and the carrot is also the stick in their case. If they get too close to someone emotionally, they fear abandonment and immediately distance themselves, acting cruelly and bringing about the very abandonment they feared. If one chooses to accept the narcissist, to live with them, to remain in an intimate relationship with them, it is a package deal. All their needs, demands, and requirements are included.

Can You Love the Narcissist and Rescue Him?

Victims of narcissists often resort to fantasies and self-delusions to cope with their pain, believing that they can rescue the narcissist from their misery and misfortune. However, loving a narcissist is difficult, and any attempt to relate to them emotionally is doomed to failure. Narcissists are addicts in pursuit of gratification through the drug known as narcissistic supply, and they hone in on potential suppliers like cruise missiles. Victims of narcissists can become bitter and self-centered, lacking in empathy, and become more like the narcissist over time.

How Narcissist's Victims Deceive Themselves

Narcissists cannot be cured and are a threat to those around them. Victims of narcissists often confuse shame with guilt and attribute remorsefulness to the narcissist when they are actually feeling shame for failing. Narcissists are attracted to vulnerable people who offer them a secure source of narcissistic supply. Healing is dependent on a sense of security in a relationship, but the narcissist is not interested in healing and would rather invest their energy in obtaining narcissistic supply. Narcissists lack empathy and cannot understand others, making them a danger to those around them.

N-Magnet: Narcissist's Ideal Victim?

Narcissists are not drawn to empathic, sensitive people, but rather repelled by them. Victims of narcissistic abuse come in all shapes, sizes, professions, genders, and ages, and there is no specific profile. People should not think of themselves as a "narcissist magnet" and instead review their life in detail to see that they have control over their destiny and can learn from their experiences. Bed relationships, no matter how harrowing, are opportunities to learn lessons.

DO THIS When Narcissist Talks to You!

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the importance of focusing on the motivation behind a person's communication rather than the explicit content. He emphasizes the hidden text method and explains that narcissists communicate with specific goals in mind, such as impressing, confabulating, supporting grandiosity, and manipulating others. He highlights that the actual words spoken by narcissists are less important than understanding why they are communicating in a particular way. Additionally, he touches on the use of language to manipulate and brainwash others, particularly in the case of narcissists and psychopaths.

Narcissist in Court and Litigation

Narcissists are skilled at distorting reality and presenting plausible alternative scenarios, making it difficult to expose their lies in court. However, it is possible to break a narcissist by finding their weak spots and using them to inflict pain. The narcissist is likely to react with rage to any statement that contradicts their inflated perception of themselves or suggests they are not special. They feel entitled to be treated differently from others and cannot tolerate criticism or being told they are not as intelligent or successful as they think they are.

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2024, under license to William DeGraaf
Website Copyright © William DeGraaf 2022-2024
Get it on Google Play
Privacy policy