Narcissists, Psychosis, Eternal Victims: Splitting the Inner Dialog

Uploaded 1/2/2021, approx. 47 minute read

Why do narcissists feel that they are victims, all the time victimized by everyone, in every possible circumstance, in every setting, the family, workplace, church, neighborhood pub, a club, you name it? Why this constant, all-permeating, ubiquitous feeling of being disrespected, being slighted, ignored, discriminated against, treated unjustly, abused?

Well, today I am going to give you an innovative or novel answer. I am going to ground the narcissist's sense of victimhood in his own inner turmoil.

It is a disruption in his inner dialogue, a confusion between internal objects and external objects, you, and the desperate attempt that he makes to avoid total meltdown, psychosis by deploying an infantile primitive defense mechanism called splitting.

The narcissist uses splitting in a very, very special way, which has not been described in the literature very well or at all.

There has been a lot of attention given to splitting in borderline personality disorder, but scant attention and almost no studies with regards to narcissistic splitting.

This is the topic of today's video. You are going to discover amazing things about the narcissist's internal world and how he sees you.

But before we go there, I would like to draw your attention to a new study published actually a few weeks ago, less than two or three weeks ago. The study is titled The Tendency for Interpersonal Victimhood, the Personality Construct and its Consequences. It was co-authored by a group of Israelis, Rafab, Gabbai, Boaz, Hammedi, Tami, Ruben, Lipshitz and Alizadali.

What they say is that there is a personality construct. Now for you to understand what is a personality construct. A personality construct is a set of traits and behaviors that are correlated. They go together and they appear in a variety of settings, in the family setting, in the workplace, outside the workplace, etc.

So you have the same traits and behaviors manifesting, expressed in a variety of unrelated settings and across the lifespan. So it's not unique to a specific period in one's life. It's not reactive. It's not a reaction to something bad that had happened or to a real state of victimhood. It seems to be detached from reality.

There's poor or impaired reality testing, etc.

So these guys, they propose, and girls, they propose a new personality construct. They describe people who persistently see themselves as victim within interpersonal conflicts.

Well, you see, narcissists, for example, they're hypervigilant. They go around, they scan the environment all the time. Is someone disrespecting me? Is someone talking about me, gossiping about me behind my back? This is known as referential ideation or ideas of reference. Are people skimming and conspiring and colluding to deprive me of what's mine, to undermine me, to sabotage my work, to keep me from getting promoted, to treat me unjustly, etc.

And this whole attitude to life and to other people is known as hypervigilance.

We all are subjected to disrespect, to insults, to mistreatment, to abuse, and to injustice. This is an integral part of life as people experience friction with each other.

You know, we move in the same spaces and there are many of us, billions of us. It's inevitable that we are going to clash like so many billiard balls, you know, but most people shrug it off. Yeah, it's been unpleasant, even unwarranted. I shouldn't have been treated this way, but you know, I'll let it go.

So some people shrug it off, moments of hurt and whatever, but other people get stuck. They get stuck, they keep rehashing the incidents, they hold grudges, they ruminate and they persistently paint themselves as victim.

The authors say that this persistent sentiment, this persistent conviction that one is a victim is not just yet another thing, another eccentricity, if you wish, but it's a personality construct. It influences how these people make sense of the world around them.

In other words, it imbues their life with meaning.

I've been saying the same thing since 1995, when I wrote the article, When Victims Become Narcissists.

The researchers coined a new phrase, a new word, and they call it Tendency for Interpersonal Victimhood, T-I-V, and they define it as an ongoing feeling that the self is a victim, which is generalized across many kinds of relationships.

So there's an ongoing feeling, it's all the time, you feel as a victim, and you generalize with this feeling across many types of relationships.

In all relationships, you tend to find yourself victimized, or also you believe. You seem to attract abusers, you remember, and magnet, empaths and all this other nonsense. This is actually eternal victim stance. This is what these authors call Tendency for Interpersonal Victimhood.

The authors have conducted three studies and all three studies have shown that Tendency for Interpersonal Victimhood, T-I-V, is consistent. It's stable, it's a trait that involves four dimensions.

One, moral superiority or moral elitism. These perpetual professional victims, they believe that they are morally superior, not only to their abusers, but to everyone.

Number two, a lack of empathy. Yes, you heard me correctly. These perpetual eternal victims, the empaths and so on, they lack empathy, exactly like narcissists, which leads me or led me long ago to believe that self-styled victims are actually covert narcissists.

Number three, the authors say number three is the need for recognition. Narcissistic supply.

Number four, rumination. They describe an obsessive compulsive narcissist without calling it by name because it's politically incorrect to say that victims are narcissists.

I refer you to yet another study published almost a year ago in British Columbia, which had demonstrated conclusively that many social justice activists, you know, Black Lives Matter, Greta and the ecological movement, all these saints or self-styled saints, social justice activists, this study had discovered actually have pronounced psychopathic traits, including defiance and grandiosity.

Psychopaths seem to drive me to Black Lives Matter and so on. They seem to be the driving force in social justice movements.

Similarly, victims, not all, not all, but victims who make victimhood their identity, they're actually narcissists.

And there was a follow-up study to this Israeli study and it found that the tendency for victimhood is linked to anxious attachment.

To remind you, I refer you to my video on attachment styles.

Anxious attachment is an attachment style characterized by feeling insecure in one's relationship, suggesting that the personality trait of victimhood is rooted in early relationships with caregivers.

Sounds very much, again, like cluster B.

The two studies, the two of the three studies, they discovered the people who scored higher on interpersonal victimhood, people who were victims by definition and as an identity, they were more likely to desire revenge against the person who wronged them.

You don't have to trust these studies, just go to any forum of self-styled empaths. These are cesspools and cesspies of viciousness and malice and aggression, the likes of which I have never caught in 26 years of studying the field.

This desire for revenge translates into behavior according to these studies. People high in TIV, in interpersonal victimhood, they are more likely to, for example, remove money from an op-op, steal, to cut a long story short, they're more likely to steal when given the chance.

Despite being told that stealing will not increase their own welfare, so that they're still to hurt the other person, to spite their spiteful.

Participants who are very high on the victimhood trait, they reported experiencing more intense negative emotions and a higher entitlement to immoral behavior.

They conducted something called mediation analysis and it offered insight how the revenge process unfolds and quoting from the study, the higher participants, TIV, victimhood trait, the more they experienced negative emotions and felt entitled to behave immorally.

However, only the experience of negative emotions predicted behavioral revenge.

Gabbai and her colleagues, they express the belief that their studies indicate the tendency for interpersonal victimhood is a stable personality trait that is linked to particular behavioral, cognitive and emotional characteristics.

They say in the study, deeply rooted in the relations with primary caregivers.

This tendency affects how individuals feel, think and behave in what they perceive as hurtful situations throughout their lives.

The authors of the study suggest that TIV, this tendency to feel like a victim, the construct offers a framework for understanding how a person's interpretation of social transgressions, real or imagined, can inform feelings of victimhood and lead to revenge behaviors.

And these insights probably can underlie a therapeutic approach, etc.

The authors conclude by suggesting that it would be particularly interesting to study in the future what happens when people high in victimhood trait are in positions of power.

They wonder whether leaders like Donald Trump, with this persistent tendency to see themselves as victim, these leaders might feel more inclined to behave in a vindictive way.

Brilliant. Just confirms what many of us have been saying for a while and what I have been saying for well over two and a half decades.

Many, many victims are actually narcissists and psychopaths. Many victims adopt victimhood as their engine of grandiose narcissistic supply. It's a power play, revenge, vindictiveness.

These are not saints and the motives are not only.

Be very careful who you associate with online and avoid these toxic movements of self-style empaths and so on and so forth. These are very sick people, very sick people.

Okay. I said in one of my previous videos that narcissists constantly feel that they are victims, they are eternal victims.

They actually have TIV. They have this victimhood trait, this victimhood kind of tendency for interpersonal victimhood.

They would score very high on these tests.

Why is that?

It's because all narcissists are actually collapsed. All narcissists, you heard me well, even high functioning narcissists, even productive narcissists, even successful narcissists, even accomplished narcissists, pillars of the community, celebrities, presidents of countries, they all collapse narcissists in their own minds and they are collapsed because they are faced with unattainable unrealistic goals.

They have an inner voice, which is perfectionist. We will come to it a bit later, but suffice it to say at this stage that when you have a constantly receding target, when your aim is perfection and nothing less, when you strive and aspire to be god-like in the fullest sense of the word with all of God's attributes, you're bound to fail. You're setting yourself up for failure. Never mind how much you accomplish. Never mind how much you possess. Never mind who you possess. You would still feel that you fell short of your goals and aims and purpose in life. You would still feel, in other words, like a failure.

And this leads us to the imposter syndrome.

The imposter syndrome was first described in relation to women in position of power. Women felt that they were faking it, that they were imitating men in the 1970s when they started to attain a higher representation in the workforce and accumulate more societal and political power.

Many women describe the sensation that they're faking it, that they're fake, that they're frauds, and that men around them might expose them.

So this is called the imposter syndrome.

The narcissist has the imposter syndrome.

Narcissists avoid intimacy, push you away, destroy relationships, don't let you get too close because they are afraid that you will see them for who they are.

The narcissist knows that he is an emptiness, nothing but avoid howling deep space. The narcissist knows that at the core of himself there is no self, there is nothing there. The narcissist is terrified to let you come too close, to let you observe him in a variety of ways because he is afraid that you will discover who he truly is or more precisely who he truly is not. He is afraid that you will discover his absence and then you will dump him.

Once he is exposed as a fraudster, the narcissist anticipates inevitable punishment.

So the narcissist keeps you at arm's length, approach avoidance, intermittent reinforcement. It's a tool of control of course.

There are other reasons to behave in these ways which I've described in other videos but one of the crucial critical reasons is that the narcissist really really believes that he is faking it and not making it and he doesn't want you to realize that he is fake, that he is a concoction, that he is a piece of fiction, that his self is false, that his grandiosity is founded on policies and confabulations. He doesn't want you to find out the con. He's a con artist, he's a scammer and he doesn't want you to expose the plot too early or to his detriment.

So there's an imposter syndrome.

But there is a much deeper layer, there is a much deeper more profound explanation as to why the narcissist feels constantly like a victim.

Now you're in for a bumpy ride, focus, stay with me, rewind, re-listen, rewind, re-listen. It's not going to be easy but it's going to be very rewarding if you invest the effort.

Understanding the narcissist will lead you to understand yourself. In many ways you were attracted to the narcissist because your shadows resonated.

There's something in you that complements the narcissist. If you listen carefully to my description of the narcissist in a world, to the mechanisms that he uses to try to reconcile his internal irreconcilable differences, you might yourself embark on a path to healing and you may avoid similar bad choices.

The wrong made selection in the future. So let's dive right in.

The narcissist has a problem of attribution.

Remember my previous video about the inner dialogue? Your mind is populated by objects.

Many of these objects, internal objects, they represent other people. They represent the voices of your parents, teachers, role models and influential peers. These are known as introgets. They represent constructs, ways, interpretative frameworks and organizing principles, how you make sense of the world, what is called the internal working model.

The internal working model includes a theory of mind, what it means to be human and how other people teach, how they function.

Empathy is part of this and includes the theory of the world, how the world functions, how you should function within the world. Self efficaciously as an agent in order to secure favorable outcomes and all these gigantic egosphere, like ecosphere but egosphere, all these gigantic egosphere inside it, there's a lot of tension, numerous debates and arguments, disagreements, conflicts and dissonances. Voices clash, voices fight, voices disagree, voices argue and many times these are unsettled arguments. No party wins. There's a stalemate.

Actually the state of stalemate is homeostatic. There's equilibrium. It's a good state in effect but the tension, the dissonance, the conflict is fake. You feel it. It's a problem of attribution.

Is the fact that many internal objects used to be external. Your mother's voice used to belong to your mother and your mother was an external object. Yet now her voice is inside you. She is inside you. There's an avatar, a representation of your mother in your mind. So now she's an internal object but wait a minute. She's also an external object. Here's an external object who is also an internal object.


That's very confusing. When you hear mother's voice in your mind, are you listening to the external object or are you listening to the internal object?

And what is the difference between the external and the internal object in this case?

How faithfully does the internal object interject the voice of your mother? How faithfully does it represent your actual mother who is an external object assuming she is alive?

So many internal objects used to be started off as external objects and this creates enormous confusion.

Now, this confusion between internal objects and external objects, if it is taken too far, if it is not reconciled and mediated, if it is not resolved psychodynamically, it leads to two very, very, very bad and self-destructive outcomes.

If you confuse external objects, if you think, if you confuse, you're confused, you're bewildered, you're befuddled and you consider external objects, internal objects, to be external. You are psychotic. That's one solution.

Psychosis. It's when you say, okay, I can't tell the difference between external and internal anymore. This work is too onerous. I can't do it. So I'm going to assume that everything is external, that even the objects that I think maybe are inside my head are actually not inside my head. They are out there. I can see them. I can hear them. These are called audio and visual hallucinations.

So the psychotic gives up, raises his hands and says, I surrender. I've been trying for years to tell the difference between external objects and internal objects, I give up.

From now on, everything is external. The voices that used to be inside my head are now external. And this is called hyper reflection.

Hyper reflection is actually an narcissistic defense. The psychotic person inflates, like in the big bad bank, those of you who know astrophysics, there's an inflationary theory in the big bad bank. So then the psychotic inflates, there's a big bad bank, psychotic big bad bank, and the psychotic person becomes the universe. From that moment, he has no boundaries in any sense of the word. He is the world.

Like the famous song, we are the world. That's a psychotic song.

Okay. The second solution, if you can't tell the difference between internal and external object you're about to give up, the second solution is exactly the opposite, is to say that everything is internal.

You remember the psychotic says all objects are external. The narcissist says all objects are internal. There are no external objects. I am god-like. The universe is within me. I include everything. I am everywhere, only present. I am the world, but in a different sense. The world is me. It's like Louis XIV in France, the king, the emperor, who used to say, the state is me. Or like Nixon and Donald Trump, who said that, you know, the United States is the president.

So the narcissist says that there are no external objects. What looks, what seems to be external, like you, his spouse, his intimate partner, his children, his coworkers, they are not external. They are actually internal. What he does, the narcissist, he takes a snapshot of you. He internalizes this. He converts you into an internal object via the snapshotting process. And then he continues to interact only exclusively with the internal object.

Okay. These are two dysfunctional solutions to the attribution problem.

When we can't tell the difference between internal and external objects, when we fail, when we are very, very uncertain, insecure, which of the voices, which of the entities, which of the elements is inside our mind and which are outside, at that point, we choose either narcissism or psychosis.

Psychosis, they are only external objects. Narcissism, they are only internal objects.

Now, most mental health conditions belong to the psychotic group or the narcissistic group. So for example, borderline and psychopathy, they belong to the narcissistic group.

And in the borderline, sorry, borderline belongs to the psychotic group, my apologies. Borderline belongs to the psychotic group. Psychopathy belongs to the narcissistic group.

So you can take all mental health disorders and divide them into these two solutions.

Okay. Didactic break before we proceed.

What are these introductions?

I keep talking about internal objects.

Okay. Some of them are easy to understand. Your mother's voice, your teacher's voice, someone who is very influential in your life, your own personality, elements of your own personality, constructs ofthe way you perceive other people, not the way you perceive what it is to be human and how other people's minds work, theory of mind, the way you perceive the world and how you should operate in the world. That's the theory of the world.

And together, the internal working model, attachment has its own internal set of internal objects.

You actually get attached to internal objects. Attachment by definition is narcissistic. There's no narcissistic attachment, but we'll leave it to another video.

So all these objects, but what are these objects?

Can we categorize them? Can we classify them? Can we make a cast like in a film, like in a movie? Can we make a list of characters in the cast? Who plays what?

Well, here we get a lot of help from Carl Jung.

Now I am not a proponent or an admirer of the late Jung. I think he went off the rails.

Technically, diagnostically, clinically, the man was psychotic. He had, for five years, he had suffered from psychotic disorder. And you can see it very clearly in his late work. His late work is utterly insane and nonsensical in the extreme, but his early work is amazing.

And the bridge between his early work and his late work are the archetypes.

Jung suggested that there are all inner objects.

First of all, he suggested that we are born with a set of inner objects and that these inner objects dictate to us how we acquire language and how we use language to form consciousness. In other words, how we interact with the world.

So Jung's internal objects are what he called the archetypes.

Of course, the archetypes are the inner objects, according to Jung, that we are born with.

Later on, we acquire many other inner objects, the most famous of which is the self or what Freud called the ego. So we'll come to it in a minute.

Okay, so Jung gives us a list of archetypes. These are inner objects.

And this list is very helpful because Jungian archetypes help us crucially to distinguish between external objects and internal objects.

So there is the self. The problem of attribution in the inner dialogue is that there's a constant inner dialogue in your mind, but you don't know, you can't tell which of these voices is actually you. Which of these voices is authentic? Genuine? Echt in German. Which of these voices is you? And which of these voices is not you?

Is a snapshot? Is an introject? Is a construct? Is the outcome of empathic resonance? I mean, which of these voices is not you?

This is the problem of attribution in a nutshell.

And Jung says there's only one voice that is the authentic voice, that is you. And he calls it the constellated self.

Now, ironically, in Jungian theory, self-constellates via processes of introversion and narcissistic introversion.

I have two videos dedicated to this and I advise you, I recommend to you to watch them. They're fascinating. Jung's thinking is fascinating.

But coming back to our core issue, Jung says, yes, there's a whole family of archetypes, which I call inner objects. There's a whole family of archetypes, but only the self is you, the constellated self.

All the others, they were given to you when you were born, which is where I disagree with you.

But that's besides the point. He makes this distinction between voices that are you, the only voice that is you, the self, and all the other voices which were given to you.

Much later in his work, he said that these other voices, which he calls the archetype, these other internal objects, which he calls the archetypes, they actually represent collective conscious, the collective consciousness.

So the collective unconscious is like the legacy of the entire history of mankind, compressed and represented symbolically, like in dreams, via the archetypes.

So Jung's approach is, yes, in our mind, there are many, many internal objects. One of them is you, that's the self. That's the authentic, genuine voice that is you, and only this voice is you. The others are given to you, and they are given to you by the collective history of mankind. They form the collective unconscious. They are part of the collective unconscious. And as part of the collective unconscious, they dictate to you how to comprehend reality, how to make sense of reality, how to meaningfully decipher reality by dividing it, classifying it, categorizing it into highly specific forms of principles of operation.

Okay, so Jung once was asked, what are the important, because there are like 360 archetypes, and Jung was asked, which of the archetypes are the real ones? Which are the original ones? Which archetypes do you stand by?

And he answered, I'm quoting him, the shadow, the wise old man, the child, the mother, and her counterpart, the maiden. And lastly, the animus and the anima in woman. These are the Jungian archetypes.

He did not accept other archetypes proposed by other post Jungians, followers, fans, and so on.

Okay, so this is the Jungian ecosystem, or ego system. That's the habitat. Jung didn't call it internal objects, he called them archetypes.

And he too made the distinction between one privileged observer, to borrow from physics, and that is Jung, which is the constellated self, and all the others, which represent, according to him, the collective unconscious.

So I suggest that all the internal objects are divided to six types.

The secondary object, that's the object that abuses you, victimizes you, punishes you, trashes you, destroys you, hates you, criticizes you, etc. That's the persecutory object.

The sage, the sage is an inner guru. This is the repository of life, experience, and wisdom, yours and others. So it's a kind of a hive mind. It's a composite. It's a kaleidoscope of everything you've ever heard, and which resonated with you as a pearl of wisdom. That's the sage.

When you're in trouble, when you're in crisis, you consult the sage. That's the infant, especially with narcissists. The infant is the immature parts of you.

You see, when you grow up, when you mature, when you become an adult, the infantile parts of you, they don't die, they don't disappear, and they are not replaced. They are sliced off. They are firewalled. They're isolated. They're in an enclave, in an island like Lord of the Flies, you know.

There's this group of kiddos and children interacting in this totally isolated island as outcasts, and they have no effect on the rest of your psychology, on the rest of your mind, but the infant part of you exists.

And when all other voices are silenced, when you crumble, for example, in the case of narcissistic modification, there is regression to the infantile, to the infant inside you. There is a regressive phase where you become childlike. You have infantile defences, infantile behaviours, and infantile traits come out. Lack of impulse control, for example, immaturity.

So, there's the infant.

Three voices until now. The persecutor, the sage, the infant.

The next voice is the mother.

We all have a mother voice, mother in a voice. Now, it doesn't have to be your real mother. It's a mother, the mothering, the maternal voice. It's a voice that parents you and reparents you. It's the voice that allows you to explore the world from a safe base, or is a bad and dead mother.

To borrow from Andre Green, is a bad and dead mother, and creates a new insecure, avoidant attachment style.

So, the mother voice inside you can be either a good enough mother, Winnicottian mother, or Andre Green mother, dead mother, but you always have a mother.

If your mother voice is dead, dysfunctional, absent, cold, detached, rejecting, you will never be able to reparent yourself.

And when you do try to reparent yourself, for example, you're exposed to a crisis, you're mortified, you are destroyed, you went through divorce, or bankruptcy, or illness, or whatever, you regress to the infantile phase, and you call the mother introject, or the mother voice, or the mother internal object.

As a child, when you regress, when you become childlike, you ask the mother inside you to come and raise the child, reparent the child, so that the child can emerge from a safe base and become again an adult.

But if the internal mother is bad and dead, she will not provide a safe base. On the contrary, she will increase the anxiety. She will, in other words, generate internal modification, in addition to the external modification. She will enhance and amplify the life crisis. She will make it much worse, which explains many dynamics in narcissism and in borderline.

The next voice is the gender voice, what Freud called, what Jung called the anima and the animus.

The gender voice has two parts.

There is the dominant gender voice, so if you're a man, it's a man. If you're a woman, it's a woman.

And there is the recessive gender voice, dominant and recessive. Some would say dominant and submissive, because studies in psychosexuality have shown conclusively that in all of us, especially in women, there's a submissive part.

So the gender submissive part, I mean psychosexually. So the gender voice has a dominant, recessive or submissive part.

Dominant side corresponds with your gender identity, which doesn't have to be same as your sex identity. You could be a man and feel like a woman. So your dominant gender side would be a woman. You would be transgender.

Anyhow, you have a dominant gender.

So the gender voice is critical.

People who failed to differentiate as far as gender, they have severe difficulties in functioning according to their assigned gender, self-imputed gender, adopted gender.

Whichever way they try to act gender-wise, they fail.

And we feel something awry, something wrong in the gender functioning.

And finally, the other, the last voice is sex.

But when I say sex, I don't just mean the act of copulation. I mean denuding yourself, being naked, being vulnerable, being susceptible, being open to the world, not only to other people. Sex, exactly as Freud said, is the limiter. It's eros. It's the life force.

So I would say that the last voice is not sex necessarily. It's more what Bergson called elam vitan, the force of life, libido.

Now, where is death? Where is Thanatos? Thanatos can be in any of these. Thanatos, while the force of life is usually confined to a specific interjector, internal object, the force of death is diffuse. The persecutory object, for example, the secretary internal object, can push you to commit suicide. I'll talk about it in a minute.

The mother could be a dead mother. And because she cannot rip her end, she can push you into infancy so much that she actually pushes you back to the womb, pushes you to unlive your life, to not live anymore.

So the dead mother can push you to become a dead baby in her womb because she does not allow you to reparent yourself and experience regrowth, experience becoming again an adult.

So you can see the death is everywhere. The fanatic, the stradizio, mortido, as it was called. The opposite of libido is destudo or mortido. So these powers are diffuse.

We are actually, if I had to describe it, describing, we are driven not by the force of life, as Freud said, we are driven by the force of death.

It also makes sense. We are dying all the time. We are born.

And from the first second that we are born, we are on the way to dying. Death is the vector of our existence. It's the aim of our being. It's the end all and beyond. Death defines us. Of course, we deny it. We ignore it. We pretend there's no death. We act as though we were immortal.

These are classic defense mechanisms against the truth, against reality, against fact, in this sense at least.

We are all, when we are confronted with death, we are all to a very large extent psychotic, see the reactions to the pandemic, for example.

So these are the voices.

Back to the narcissist.

The narcissist's collapse state, constant collapse state, is the outcome of a disruption in the inner dialogue between his internal objects and the resulting confusion between internal and external objects.

Because his inner dialogue is disruptive and disrupted, because it leads lower except to inner turmoil, chaos, mayhem, dissonance, anxiety.

The inner dialogue in the narcissist is an engine of anxiety and depression and emotional negativity. It's a horrible state to be in. It's like having an internal insurgency, a civil war, a constant civil war.

So the narcissist has a problem with his inner dialogue and when he tries to somehow solve this, he confuses external objects with internal objects.

His collapse state is the outcome of these dysfunctional strategies, as we are going to show in a little while.

It's important to understand that within the narcissist there's a sadistic, perfectionist, inner critic, erstwhile called super ego. This sadistic perfectionist, judge, there's a constant trial like in Kafka's Deportes, the trial. There's a constant trial but the narcissist doesn't know what are the charges against him. The tribunal sits in sessions after sessions after sessions after sessions and never informs the narcissist.

What is the rap? What's the charge? What are the charges against him? What's the evidence for the charges?

The narcissist keeps attending this court, this sadistic court and never ever with no prospects of absolution and redemption.

So there's this perfectionist, vile, harsh, abrasive, brutal, hateful perfectionist, super ego, inner critic and it sets him up for failure of course.

Why? Because it keeps posing unattainable and unrealistic goals, because it keeps chastising and criticizing and mocking and deriding and decrying the narcissist without telling him why. It's energy depleting at the extreme and the narcissist does his best to avoid this group of introject or internal object.

He tries to avoid the persecutor, the persecutory object.

And so when the narcissist is pushed in adversity, in times of adversity, in times of extreme deep life crisis, narcissistic mortification, he becomes psychotic. That's not Sam Vaknin, that's Otto Köllenberg.

Narcissists and borderlines. Narcissists become psychotic when the inner critic or the sadistic super ego becomes overwhelming, becomes life threatening. The narcissist becomes psychotic. He misperceives this persecutory object. He misperceives this judge as external. He projects this judge.

There is a voice in him and the voice tells him you're bad, you're unworthy, you're a failure, you're a defeat, you're weak, you deserve to die, you should die. Narcissists can't stand it anymore. It overwhelms him and he feels very threatened because he realizes should this continue? He will end up committing suicide.

So what he does? He takes this persecutory object inside himself. He takes this tribunal. He takes this prosecutor. He takes this voice of voices which hate him, which drive him to self annihilation, which amplify his innate emptiness. He takes these voices and he projects them. He throws them out onto other people.

These voices continue to victimize and criticize and attack and deride and decry and humiliate. They continue to do their thing, but now they don't belong to him. They belong to other people.

So he feels victimized. Ironically, the narcissist is victimized by his own internal objects, which he mistakenly attributes to other people via the process of projection.

Now, we all project this in inner dialogue even in healthy people becomes overwhelming and sometimes life-threatening in everyone.

Healthy, narcissist, neurotypical, you name it. High empathy, low empathy, no empathy, irrelevant.

The inner dialogue is not optimized, is suboptimal and leads to suboptimal results.

And the reason it is suboptimal and not optimized is because voices keep being introduced into the inner dialogue.

So the inner dialogue is open. The environment keeps affecting the inner dialogue.

So we can't really close it off in an enclosure and say, okay, now we isolate the inner dialogue and we can optimize it. We can't do this because it's open to the world.

So it always leads to dissonance, always increases anxiety. There's always a feeling of something's wrong. There's always a feeling of inner conflict and disagreement and so on.

And everyone, healthy or not, uses projection to resolve the inner dialogue or voices within this dialogue that are so uncomfortable, ego-destonic, so uncomfortable that they cannot no longer be countenanced.

So we project the inner dialogue whenever we are overwhelmed.

In the case of borderline, this happens every two minutes. In the case of the narcissist during mortification or extreme narcissistic injury. In the case of the psychopath, when there's a goal, goal orientation in the psychopath tends to provoke this projection of the inner dialogue. We'll discuss it some other time.

But we project the inner dialogue.

Now we project the inner dialogue when we are triggered to a condition called revividness. Revividness is the clinical term for flashbacks. Flashback, to remind you, is reliving an experience in its totality, including smells and tastes, mistaking the relieved experience for reality, disconnecting from reality and believing yourself to be back in the forest of Vietnam or being life threatened by your mother. So flashbacks are dissociative islands in the river of life where for a minute or for 10 minutes or sometimes for days, that's called a fugue, you disconnect from reality. You have no access to reality, zero access to reality, and you are in another reality, which is inside your mind. So and this is called revividness. We project the inner dialogue when we are triggered to revividness. In other words, post-traumatic stress disorder is a form of psychosis.

Now, follow me. It's a bit of a complex argument.

What happens when we project the inner dialogue?

When we project the inner dialogue, we mistake internal objects as external objects.

If I'm a narcissist and there's a voice inside me that keeps criticizing me, disparaging me, mocking me, calling me a failure and a defeat and a weakling, I can't stand it anymore. So I take this voice, I project it onto my wife. From that moment, it's my wife's voice, not mine, and I feel that I'm being victimized by my wife.

So on that occasion, I'm acting as a psychotic person would. It's a psychotic reaction because I mistake my internal object, which is the internal voice, for an external object, which is my wife.

So when we are triggered, when we experience flashback, what we do, we take an internal object and we experience it as real, as external.

Flashbacks are therefore psychotic. They're forms of psychosis.

And people who've been traumatized went through traumas and then developed PTSD or other post-traumatic conditions, they were actually driven to adopt psychotic solutions through the overwhelming inner dialogue.

Okay, so this is one form of projection. We're overwhelmed, we're projecting internal objects onto an external reality via flashbacks or via classical projection.

And so we become psychotic.

The other process is when we introject in inner dialogue. When we are traumatized, we tend to introject the inner dialogue.

Now, in the first case, when we are triggered, an external object, because we are triggered from the outside, something or someone triggers us in the first case, yes, in previous case, something or someone triggers our trauma that creates PTSD. PTSD is founded on triggering in flashbacks.

So something triggers us, someone triggers us, it's external, comes from the outside. So an external object initiates direct communication with an internal object in PTSD.

So PTSD is the following. An external object communicates with an internal object inside us, triggers us. The triggering is overwhelming. We take the internal object that is communicating with the external object, and we attribute it to the external object. We say it's not on my voice. It's really out there. It's really there. It's a flashback.

So we react psychotically. We no longer can tolerate our internal object. So we pretend that it is external, or we attribute it to an external object.

And this creates, of course, confusion about reality. And this confusion is known as flashbacks.

Okay, in the second case, an internal object.

So in the first case, external object initiated communication with internal object. In the second case, an internal object initiates communication with an external object.

And this is the process of trauma.

When we are traumatized, trauma is not an objective external event. You can take 10 people, expose them to the same natural disaster or car accident or war or domestic violence. Seven of them would not be traumatized in the least. Three of them would be traumatized. One of them would be seriously traumatized.


If trauma is an objective external reality, all 10 should have been traumatized because trauma is not.

Trauma is an internal reaction. Trauma is the reaction to circumstances, the reaction to an event. In other words, trauma is 100% an inner dialogue.

So when we are traumatized, an internal object or group of internal objects initiate communication with reality, initiate communication with the external traumatizing object. The external object just does what it does. The external object acts.

How we react to the external object is the trauma.

When we allow internal objects inside us to interact with the external object, to react to the external object, to be in cahoots with the external object, to be influenced by the external object, it is then that trauma is generated. And that's why trauma, all trauma, is a narcissistic reaction.

Again, what is narcissism? The narcissist considers external object as internal.

Same happens in trauma. In trauma, the trauma is an internal experience, 100% internal and contained. It has no external element, none.

And yet we experience it as external. We confuse internal and external, external, internal. Our reaction is narcissistic.

We take an external event, external event. Our internal objects communicate with this event and appropriate it. We kind of digest the event, merge with the event, fuse with the event, which explains why codependents are very often traumatized. They are much more prone to being traumatized because they tend to fuse and to merge.

So when we are faced with a situation, any situation, we can take it, internalize it, and then continue to interact with the internal object, which creates the trauma.

That's narcissism. That's the reason why it's very difficult to tell apart borderline personality disorder and complex post-traumatic stress disorder. CPT-SD and BPD are indistinguishable. Traumatized people tend to become more narcissistic.

For example, we have numerous studies that show that traumatized people lose empathy. They become disempathic. They lose their empathy, which is a narcissistic trait, psychopathic trait also.

So let's summarize this very difficult section.

There's an inner dialogue. Sometimes an external object, someone, some thing, some place, some circumstance, some event, an external object initiates direct communication with an object inside us, with an internal object, and this triggers us.

As we are triggered, we relive, we re-experience a traumatic event from the past. This is called revividness or in colloquial term, flashback.

So when an external object initiates communication with an internal object, it may create PTSD, flashback, revividness.

But this is a psychotic reaction because we experience the inner object as an external thing. We lose touch with reality. We are really inside the flashback. We hallucinate. We think the flashback is real. That's why it's called flashback.

You're there again. So it's a psychotic reaction and PTSD in this sense is a form of psychosis. We project our inner dialogue.

There's an external object communicating with an internal object. This creates an inner dialogue and we take this inner dialogue and we throw it out and we experience it as though it's happening outside in the form of flashback.

So PTSD is psychosis because this is what psychotics do. They take internal objects and they throw them out. They project them and then they experience these objects that they had projected as real in the form of hallucinations.

So in psychosis, it's hallucinations. In PTSD, it's flashbacks, which are, according to many scholars, a form of hallucination. And so PTSD equals psychosis. It's a psychotic reaction.

Remember there are two reactions to disruptions in inner dialogue, psychotic and narcissistic.

Now we come to the narcissistic.

The opposite. An internal object inside us initiates communication with an external object.

You remember in the previous case, external communicated with internal. In this case, internal communicates with external. As we communicate with the external object via the internal object, we get traumatized.

Trauma is an internal experience, 100,000 million percent internal experience.

So when our internal objects communicate with an external object, it can create trauma. Trauma is one voice of our internal objects. It's a way of relating to the world. It's an organizing principle. It imbues everything with meaning, direction, purpose. Trauma is an organizing scheme. It's a framework.

So when internal objects communicate with an external object, they can react with trauma. And when they react with trauma, this leads to narcissism because at that point, they merge with the external object. They fuse with it. They internalize it. And they continue to interact with the external object inside themselves, which is a great definition of narcissism.

So what they do is introject the dialogue.

In the first case, they project the dialogue. In the second case, they introject the dialogue.

How do people, narcissists, psychotics, traumatized people, victims, cluster B, borderline, I mean, all these people, all these people that I just mentioned, they have problems with regulation of internal dialogue, which leads us to understand that the inner landscape, the inner ego sphere includes, for example, emotions. And that's why borderlines cannot regulate emotions. They have dysregulated emotions. The emotions are inner voices. They are their inner objects. Cognitions are inner objects as well.

Okay. So how do these kind of people, where people with disrupted inner dialogue, people who are internal and external are confused. People where the internal objects are in conflict and dissonance. People where resolution and solve this situation by becoming psychotic, by believing that the internal is external, or by becoming narcissistic, by believing that the external is internal.

How do they try to solve it?

They try to solve it via a very primitive, perhaps the first defense mechanism known as splitting.

But to remind you what is splitting, and I advise you to read the work by Melanie Klein and others.

Melanie Klein, we record Vermal object relations in general. I mean, all great names of object relations theory have dealt with splitting.

Splitting is simply when information, so splitting is a very infantile defense mechanism. It happens in the first few months of life. It's when there is contradictory information that is hard to reconcile, hard to put together, hard to attribute the two types of information to the same object.

So for example, mother. Mother could be good and loving and caring and compassionate and warm and accepting, but she can also be withholding and absent and angry.

So here are two streams of information.

Information about the good mother, or what Melanie Klein called pornographically the good breast, and information about the bad mother.

So we have good information about mother and bad information about mother.

Consequently, we have a good mother and a bad mother, how to put them together.

The baby is not capable of integration. He cannot, is not sufficiently developed cognitively to integrate these conflicting streams of data. Mother can be nice and then she can leave the room. That's not nice. That's frustrating.

So how to put the two together?

He doesn't. He doesn't put the two together. He creates two objects. One object is all bad. One object is all good.

Problem solved.

Now, all the information that is good, loving, caring, compassionate, safe base, accepting, all the information that is good, goes to the good object. And all the information that is bad, withholding, absent, cold, narcissistic, all this information goes to the bad object.

But because mother can never be bad, it's life threatening to think that mother is a bad object. Because if she's a bad object, she may not give me food as a baby and I will die. So I can't think about this. There's no way, no way I can think of mother as bad.

Instead, I think of myself as bad.

So we have in splitting, in classical infancy, splitting, the baby becomes the bad object and mother becomes the good object and mother is 100% good and the baby is 100% bad.

Of course, splitting is black and white thinking, what we call dichotomous thinking. All bad, all good, all white or black, enemy or friend, you know, idealization, devaluation is a process of splitting, prolonged and mature and adult process of splitting, but it's still splitting.

Now, to resolve the disruptions and the contradictions in the inner dialogue, the narcissist, I mean people and the narcissist use splitting because splitting leads to dissociation.

And when you have a civil war inside you, the first thing you want to do is disengage the forces, remove them apart. When you remove them apart, they can't fight.

But how to remove them apart?

You need to dissociate. You need to forget certain things. You need to not have access to certain things.

Now, splitting is, as I said, a primitive defense mechanism. And it operates in two ways.

You remember that the baby divides, the baby's world includes only the baby and mother. And by the way, until age six months, more or less, the baby doesn't make distinction between himself and mother. It's me, mother, my mother, mother me. I mean, it's one entity.


So the splitting defense mechanism operates to heal, to heal, to resolve the conflicts in the inner dialogue in one of two ways.

Way number one, method number one, we are all bad. We are all bad. The environment is okay. External objects are okay. We and our internal objects are at fault. We are guilty. We are to blame. We are responsible.

The corruption, the decadence, the fighting, the dissonance, the anxiety, the depression, the emotional negativity. All this resides here and only here. We are the bad object. Mother and the world are the good objects. External good, internal bad.

That's one solution. We are all bad, external all good. We call this internal modification.

So splitting leads to internal modification. We are all bad. Mother and the world are all good.

And then we need to remove ourselves to kill, literally to commit mental suicide because we are the source of everything that's evil and violent, wicked and bad. So we need to put a stop to it by eliminating ourselves.

And how do we eliminate ourselves?

Depersonalization. We remove ourselves from reality, psychosis. We remove ourselves from reality.

All the solutions that remove you from reality are solutions where the inner objects are all bad and the external objects are all good. It's a splitting solution.

Now, depersonalization is when you feel that you don't exist. Depersonalization is when you feel that you exist, but not in reality. So you're a devotional reality. You're not affecting reality. You're not contaminating reality. You're not contagious. You're like a virus, you know?

So all these solutions, the psychotic solutions, are splitting solutions that render the subject all bad and the mother world all good.

The other solution is amnesia. In this solution, the subject is all good. We are all good. Our inner voices are all good. The environment is all bad. The environment seeks to destroy us, hates us. The environment is sick and decadent and violent, corrupt and wicked and spiteful. Environment is all bad. Mother world is all bad. I am all good. Subject all good.

That's the opposite splitting solution.

So the first splitting solution, I'm all bad. The world is all good.

The second splitting solution, I'm all good. The world is all bad.

And in this solution, we need to kill, we need to eliminate, we need to destroy the all bad environment, the all bad mother world. We are good. There's no problem with us. There's nothing we can do, nothing we should do with us. We need to drive away, eliminate, disengage, firewall, destroy the environment.

How? By forgetting. Forgetting is when we remove ourselves, all good subjects that we are from the environment. Amnesia, now depersonalization, derealization, amnesia. These are known as dissociative phenomena. They are forms of dissociation.

The ultimate solution to an inner dialogue that is disrupted to the point that it becomes overwhelming and creates disregulation is actually splitting. And splitting leads to dissociation, an internal modification in the first case. I'm all bad. The world is all good.

An external modification in the second case. I'm all good. The world is all bad.

Now, of course, cluster B personality disorders all use this on a pretty regular basis. But even people without Cluster B use this, for example, alcoholics, drug addicts.

Why do people use substances, abuse substances? Why do they drink? Why do they do drugs? Why do they develop other addictions, like sex addiction, shock abolition, work abolition, to forget?

Addiction's main role is to allow dissociative processes to operate. It fosters amnesia. It fosters depersonalization and derealization. Anyone who ever got drunk knows what I'm talking about.

So addiction is the splitting solution of people who are not psychotic or narcissistic or borderline or psychopaths or people who are not mentally, people who are essentially neurotypical.

They use addictions to induce the very same state. And that's why I consider depression, anxiety, disruption in inner dialogue. Depression and anxiety signals symptoms of disrupted inner dialogue.

Addiction and dissociation, narcissism, psychosis.

Other Cluster Bs, especially borderline, I consider all these manifestations, different facets of the same hypercube. It's the same thing. Absolutely the same thing. The inner dialogue is disrupted. We choose psychotic solution, narcissistic solution.

We need to split. We split with dissociates. Dissociate this way. We dissociate that way.

And we use substances to dissociate. And all this to reduce depression, anxiety, dysregulation, which are simply the way we experience disrupted inner dialogue.

All chickens come home to roost. Yes sirree.

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