Hi, everybody. We are today again with Dr. Sam Vaknin, and he's going to talk to us today about how to educate people for us to avoid to be victims of narcissistic people, especially in the workplace.
Because as we said in the previous episodes, the fact that we keep on electing narcissistic leaders is actually affecting our future, but most of us only focus on the short term.
However, this actually goes against everything that we believe in and the work in general as a whole.
So how can we make sure not to be victims of narcissists from the workplace to relationships, but especially in the workplace?
Well, victims are created victims. They are, for example, people with unclear boundaries or missing boundaries, personal boundaries, that we usually raised up this way. The parents refuse to allow them to separate, to become individuals, to individuate.
So people without boundaries are wide open. It's like a city in front of invading army. They're wide open.
Victims are people pleasers, most of them. They would sacrifice their own self-interest in order to see a smile on someone's face or to be liked, liked, accepted, to be long.
This is not victim blaming. This is just to explain that education can only go that far.
I can educate a victim, a potential victim. I can educate her from here till doomsday and she will leave the room and she will immediately become a victim.
Education is only part of the equation and a small part of the equation. It would take a day to educate someone to recognize the warning signs and the red flags of a narcissist or a psychopath.
If he doesn't respect your wishes and boundaries, not good. If he tries to force on you anything, not good. If he makes decisions and choices instead of you, not good. If he disrespects your opinions and disrespects you, not good, etc.
We can combine such a list. We can comprise such a list and within a day, a single day, we can impart 100% useful and relevant education to every potential victim.
But then majority of them, highly and fully educated, would still become victims.
Education is not guaranteed.
We know, for example, that most victims re-victimize.
In other words, most victims go through an experience with a narcissist or a psychopath and then they go through it again and again and again.
So, I think that happens. I can tell my personal experience too and I can tell later my own remedies to it.
But what do you think that happens? That people, despite being educated, they keep doing that.
Because it fulfills deep psychological needs and caters to deep psychological needs.
Victimhood is a state of mind and a state of being that is actually adaptive.
That's the problem. When you learn to become a victim, because it's a profession, when you learn to become a victim as a child, usually, but not necessarily, but usually as a child, you had become a victim because it worked well for you. It helps you to survive. It gave you some competitive and evolutionary or otherwise adaptive value.
In other words, it was good for you to become a victim. It was the right choice to become a victim.
For example, if you're a child and there are two extremely abusive and dangerously abusive parents, you better become a victim because if you're not a victim, you will die as a child.
So, victimhood then is adaptive.
The problem, of course, is we don't get rid of this mindset when we are adults and it's no longer needed and it's embedded.
Far more important than education, which is, of course, important, but far more important than education is coping with these personal deficits, cognitive deficits, lack of boundaries, people-pleasing. It's far more important to deal with this regulation of emotions, mood lability, impulsiveness, recklessness, acting out, the compensation.
In other words, it's far more important to deal with the psychology of the victim than with her cognitive capacity to recognize abuse.
We know, for example, that victims of sexual assault are not like narcissistic abuse. Narcissistic abuse uses gaslighting and so it's sometimes very difficult to tell that you are being abused. But if you're raped, that's pretty clear, yes? There's no argument here. You're raped.
And yet, the statistics are that victims of sexual assault experience on average four sexual assaults. In other words, they repeat the experience. Why?
They know everything there is to know after sexual assault after the first time. After the first time, as a woman, you know everything there is to know about rape. Why do you do it another three times?
Because you're a victim. You're preconditioned.
Don't you think that the reason why people do these kind of things is because they don't know any better in some sort of sense? Like, for example, being a victim of rape or being a victim of narcissistic abuse and do it again. Don't you think it's because they feel like they have no other choice? They've been doing it for so long that then it's just like their surroundings are rapists. Their surroundings are narcissistic abusers.
So in the end, these people don't know any better. They live in a cave where they are surrounded by people that make their being a victim an adaptive behavior that is actually successful.
So the only way to maybe change and make sure that people don't do these things again is by somewhat changing their perception, like to change what they think is actually good for them, like adaptive behaviors, being a victim, to make them understand that those things are not good for them by changing their surroundings or their perception in other ways.
That's precisely the problem.
First of all, they're not surrounded. They choose and they attract and they go. For example, if you to become a victim of sexual assault, you need to actively go to a bar or to a club and pick up a stranger and go with him to a hotel room or to his apartment.
These are multiple steps of choice. It's not that she's surrounded by any by numerous rapists. It's that she goes where the rapists are, where the predators are. So it's a choice, not a happenstance or circumstance.
That's the first thing.
The second thing is that it's not only that she doesn't have a choice or doesn't know any better. I'm saying she, because most victims are women, but it's her comfort zone. What she does best is to be a victim.
Now we all love to do what we do best. I do best writing articles. So I write articles all the time because that's what I do best. A victim does best being a victim. So that's what she does all the time. It's a comfort zone. She feels good when she's a victim. She knows the ropes. She knows the rules. She knows what to expect. When it does happen, it's predictable, no big deal.
And gradually there is emotional numbing. And when you talk to victims who have been victimized multiple times, they minimize the abuse. They minimize the victimhood. They say, come on, it's not a big deal. You know, happened to me before and so on.
This comfort zone issue is a huge problem, a huge obstacle to learning and to change because change is more frightening than abuse. That's something we don't realize. It is true. Change is more frightening than abuse.
So and the unknown is always more terrifying than the known. Whatever the known is, even if the known is abuse and torture, it's muchthe unknown.
So we go back to we go back to my idea, though, that maybe the only way to change the victims is to show them that not being a victim is possible and is actually more advantageous, like maybe having support groups because that's the point.
It was also once you, for example, you are a victim of narcissistic abuse, you tend to be surrounded by victims, even if you want to recover by other victims of narcissistic abuse.
Still, those people have their boundaries, their thresholds of what abuse, what a healthy relationship is. They have it on the unhealthy zone, right?
So their comfort zone is actually a zone of abuse.
So what if instead we have like we should use maybe psychologists or I don't know what other like healthy people as examples of what they should actually perceive as normal and not and show them how those people are very happy instead?
And you can learn from that. I don't know, like I'm just guessing here because I really want to find ways for people to abandon these adaptive behaviors and get out of this comfort zone, which is not comfortable at all.
But to do that, they have to know that another reality is possible, that people are can be different than that and are much happier and much more successful than that.
So do you think there is a way to do that?
We need to overcome three obstacles before we attempt anything whatsoever.
The first obstacle is an external locus of control.
The victim believes that her life is determined by others from the outside. She believes she has no power over the life. She has learned helplessness. She's disempowered by her own end. She disempowers herself.
There's an inner negative automatic thought. I'm helpless. I can't help it. There's nothing I can do about it. That's the way it is. That's the way the world is. That's the way I am. I'm defective and whatever.
So that's the first thing. This can be done with CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy.
The second thing we need to overcome is the emotional investment in victimhood.
Victimhood is very gratifying because you are not responsible for what's happening to you. And therefore you are not accountable for what's happening to you. You're just a victim.
There is this whole movement online, narcissist magnet. I'm a magnet. What is a magnet? A magnet is a passive, totally passive thing. And so a magnet can never be held accountable or responsible or can never be thrown in prison. A magnet is just a magnet.
So it's very emotionally gratifying and that's how dictatorships start. That's how Nazi Germany started. The whole German nation gave responsibility and accountability to Adolf Hitler. And from that moment they were relieved.
Sartre said that existence is a burden because you have to make choices. As a victim, you are released and relieved from the need to make choices. Victims don't make choices. And so they have no angst. They have no anxiety because someone else is making the choices for them like Hitler in Nazi Germany. Your abuser is your Hitler. He's making the choices for you.
So it's very gratifying. It's difficult to overcome this. Extremely difficult to tell someone you must own your life. From now on, you make the choices. And if you f up, you pay the price. You will be held accountable and responsible.
They don't want that. They are in other words in an infantilized state. They're infantile. They're children.
Victims are children. Eternal children. Exactly like narcissists.
That's the irony. Narcissistic abuse is about one type of child abusing another type of child. It's a child infantile dynamic, right?
And the third obstacle we have to overcome is alloplastic defenses. Alloplastic defenses mean that you blame others, the world, the universe, your boss, your boss, your spouse, for everything that's happening to you.
There is a lot of alloplastic defenses in victims. They tend to abrogate ownership of their life. So it's linked to external locus of control. So they never feel guilty or ashamed. On the contrary, they're kind of proud. They are morally superior. There's moral superiority in being victim.
Some ethnicities and some minorities made a fortune, literal fortune, money from being victims. Victimhood pays like crime. Crime pays. Victimhood pays.
How do you fight this proposition? You're not responsible for anything. You have gratifications and rewards. You're morally superior. You're in your comfort zone. I mean, how do you fight all this? It's a complex. It's not easy.
In other words, Yes.
And that's why we have also been spread of narcissistic abuse because there are a lot of victims because if there were no victims, there were no users. So that's why I'm trying to focus on the victims and trying to build awareness so that they at least know and they don't allow, because not all narcissists are the same. A lot are not that skilled.
So if you at least give some awareness to the victims, at least you kind of like, you know, this incentive, at least a part of the least complex artistic people and that it's already something because then you can build and build, you know, so maybe the next generations to come, it will take generations to make these changes. It's not something that is going to happen with person to person, you know, but like you can, we should probably start from a children to educate children to the network.
We were talking about the previous episode to having a network of kind of workplace and community instead of having a hierarchy and to wanting the best for each other and to wanting, you know, the best for their own future for them to believe in the future.
But this could be only from the bottom. It must be grassroots because the elite and the power structures and the institutions and technology, they are encouraging narcissism. They will never fight narcissism. On the contrary, they will teach narcissism skills.
Today you look at people under the age of 25. They have zero intimacy skills. Zero intimacy skills. All people under age 25 have had sex only outside intimate relationships. It's a fact.
Twenge, Jean Twenge, you can read her, Lisa Wade to quote a few scholars. Literally all people under age 25 never had intimacy with another person and had sex only outside intimacy.
In other words, hookups, one night stands.
So they are objectifying each other. The young are objectifying each other. They're treating each other already as objects.
Majority of them are also addicted to substances and so on. It's not a good ground, not a fertile ground. It's a problem that we are facing serious problems, even in, especially in the young generations.
So I don't know, I don't know exactly how, because if you go to a young, let's, let's assume I'm talking to a young kid right now, 20 years old.
Not about 25 years old. I'm talking about young kids, like from two years old, because I see that even very, very young.
Why, why would I, for example, imagine I go to another two year old, but I go to 40 year old and I said, listen, this, that narcissism, this, that he says, Mr. Vaknin, is Donald Trump a narcissist and say, yes, yes. He's a bad narcissist. He's a malignant narcissist.
The kid says, well, I want to be like him. Your message is idiotic. I want to be like him.
But here's the thing though. This is my, um, this is what I think will instead benefit this kind of view because Trump is a narcissist, but I don't think he's a top narcissist. He's not a top predator because he's too overt to actually be in control. And he's an actual example of what happens to narcissists. They don't know how to manage, you know, themselves and they don't know how to actually do good for everybody. He will be taken down as, he's always has been impeached.
So we're talking about the president of the United States. They reached the peak and then he's been taken down by everybody piece by piece is being taken apart. This is not what anyone wants.
Maybe you become the president of the United States, but not in a good way.
And then afterwards you have the backlash of that.
So who wants that? Maybe you wanted that once he was in power, but now it's not a good example anymore.
And so what I would like to offer to people, because as you're saying, this is for everybody, both for narcissistic and for victim, you have to give people a better option for them to want to change, to exchange, to trade their life for something else.
So I would like to help people to explain to people how much more control over your life, over your career, over the world, over your health, over everything in the world, how much more control it gives you to be aware of all these things and to not be just a victim that is just trained because what narcissistic people do with their brainwashing is to put themselves in your, you know, cabin, like where you are and in your brain and start, you know, moving the wires and doing whatever instead of you.
So they're basically using you as a shell that is just empty. They're just using you as a mean for their own purposes.
I don't think people actually, I don't think anybody wants it because in the end, the reason why people are, keep being victims is because they have an ego and they allow themselves and their ego to be fed.
So if you make people understand that still maybe leveraging on their ego initially, if you make them understand that having more awareness gives you a better position as compared to others, maybe initially you will transform them in some sort of narcissistic people as well.
But with time, I feel like that can nurture, morepeople that want the best for everybody because they will understand their ego will be fed not through being, I'm the best, but through understanding that either you do the best for everybody or you will be taken down after a while.
Everybody goes through the same, uh, sort of abuse from the system unless you change the system.
Look, everybody is fed and it's trained and then it's devalued and then it's rejected. And then you are 50 or 60 and then it's difficult to find a job.
So it's better to like invest in a better world now for you, not for me, not for anybody else for you.
So I don't know.
We need to restore.
What you're saying is we need to restore faith in the future in F a future, not the future, but a future young people don't believe in the future because there is climate change and COVID and we need to restore faith in the future. And we need to restore faith in the future also for 50 years old than 60 years. I'm 60 years old.
I lost faith in the future. I lost faith in anything.
I live in a permanent presence and I see myself as I live in a permanent present becoming less and less moral, less and less regulated, less and less inhibited.
I see my own moral corruption and degeneration setting in as my time horizon narrows and becomes from a spectrum to a point.
Because consequences are in the future, right? So if you live in the present, there are no consequences. The consequences are after, you know, so you don't have to restore faith in the future.
Victims will understand that the victim would have consequences. Even narcissists would understand that the narcissism has consequences.
This is a very self-interested.
They may say, you know what, maybe I should modify my narcissism a bit to secure, you know, longevity or so.
The problem in modern civilization, especially now with COVID and all this climate change, we lost faith in the future completely. This needs to be restored on the individual level and collectively. This would be my focus.
Not, not educating about abuse, not, you know, all this can come later. Educate people that there is a reason to live, a reason to stop being a victim, a reason to stop abusing, a reason to stop all this.
But right now, no one has any incentive to do anything but copy the maximum outcomes right now.
Nevermind the cost to me and to others. That's just a manipulation because future exists.
That's the problem that people don't understand that they've been fed with the idea that you live here now because they are just consumers in the end. And so they can spend their money and they don't have to think to save for the future also, right? So most probably that's also the reason why people start living in the present only instead of thinking about the future.
I don't see the elites are different. The elites are also living in the present.
I think everyone gave up on the future elites as well. And that's why the elites don't mind at all income inequality and so on because elite, the elites are self-perpetuating. They're very careful. They don't want revolution. They don't revolution, but the elites of today, it looks like they don't care if there is revolution. They don't care anymore. They just want more and more and more.
Bezos made $50 billion in the year of the pandemic. $50 billion. He's flying his brother and himself to space for a few minutes, 15 minutes. He's going to cost $10 million. Couldn't he have taken this $10 million and do something good with them? But he doesn't care anymore. He doesn't care.
The elites don't care anymore because they also live in the present. We have lost the perspective of the future even on the elite level, which is seriously bad news because the elite was the regulator of resources and the regulator of time. Whatever you say about the elites, they were horrible. They were and are horrible people, but at least they regulated civilization somehow. They took care of institutions. They took care of time management. They took care of having some horizon so that the people don't revolutionize, don't create revolutions. They wanted the status quo. They wanted to preserve, but today they don't care. They don't care.
The 10,000 richest people on earth, 10,000, just 10,000, they control half the world's property and income and they don't care. They accumulate so much money. They don't give back any of it with one or two exceptions. They just don't care anymore. This is a horrible thing.
Of course, if you don't have a future, you're a perpetual victim. We're all victims.
Even narcissists, they're victims.
Look how Donald Trump ended.
We're all victims.
Well, thank you for this amazing chat today. I would love to continue having chats about this, especially because unfortunately, it is true that it's very challenging. We're talking about a topic that is not just us talking about it. Very high experts in the world, including you, are trying to figure out how to fix it probably, or maybe they're starting to become less and less willing to do it or just they're starting not to care about the future as well.
So I hope I'll have you in the next episode. I wish I could, they hope you had fun releasing through here.
Take care. Thank you. Thank you so much.