Narcissists: Their Professions, Jobs, and Vocations

Uploaded 7/27/2010, approx. 4 minute read

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

Narcissists are clustered, concentrated in certain professions. We find them in the teaching professions, among the clergy, in show business, corporate management, in the medical professions, in the military, in law enforcement agencies, in politics, in sports.

In these professions, narcissists are over-represented, way and above the representation of the general population, which is estimated to be around 1%.

But why is that? Why do narcissists gravitate to these things?

The short and the long of it is narcissistic supply. Narcissists are addicted to a drug called narcissistic supply. They seek attention, adulation, affirmation, applause, obedience, or even notoriety, in being feared. They need this input from their human environment, from other people, in order to regulate their sense of self-worth, in order to build their self-confidence, in order to restore a shattered self-esteem.

Narcissists seek to interact with people from a position of superiority, from a position of advantage, from a position of authority. They are not interested in interactions with their equals because they don't believe they have any equals.

The cerebral narcissist is likely to emphasize intellectual prowess and accomplishments, whether real or imaginary. This is in an attempt to solicit supply from all-studded students, devoted parishioners, admiring voters of sequacious subordinates, or dependent patients.

The somatic narcissist derives his sense of self-worth from bodybuilding, athletic achievements, tests of resilience, or endurance, and of course, sexual conquest.

So, for instance, the narcissistic medical doctor or psychiatrist, mental health professional, and his patients, the narcissistic guide, teacher, or mentor, and his students, the narcissistic leader, guru, pundit, or psychic, and his followers, or admirers, and the narcissistic business tycoon, boss, or employer, and his underlings and subordinates, they are all instances of what is called the pathological narcissistic space.

Narcissists gravitate and migrate toward certain professions in order to construct these self-enclosed spaces where they are divine, god-like figures, and they have a coterie of fans, admirers, followers, devotees.

This is a very worrisome state of affairs. Narcissists are liars. They misrepresent their credentials, their knowledge, their talents, their achievements. You can't trust a narcissist. A narcissist medical doctor would rather let patients die than expose his ignorance. A narcissistic therapist often traumatizes his clients with his acting out, with rage, his exploitativeness, and lack of empathy.

Narcissistic businessmen bring ruin on their firms, their employees, and are often engaged in scams.

Moreover, even when all is well, so to speak, the narcissist's relationship with his psychophants is abusive. He perceives others as objects, mere instruments of gratification. He treats them as dispensable and interchangeable implements.

Being an addict, the narcissist tends to pursue an ever larger dose of narcissistic supply. He seeks more adoration, ever bigger fix of attention, while gradually losing what's left of his moral constraints.

Narcissists in these professions are dangerous. When the narcissist's sources become wary, rebellious, tired, bored, disgusted, repelled, or plainly amused by his incessant dependence, his childish cravings for attention, and his antiques, and when they get deterred or frightened by his exaggerated or even paranoid fears and by his obsessive compulsive behaviors, when the narcissist is a drama queen and his followers, his fans, his acolytes leave him, abandon him, the narcissist resorts to emotional extortion, straight blackmail, abuse or misuse of his authority, and criminal antisocial conduct.

If these fail, the narcissist devalues and discards the very people he so idealized and cherished only a short while before.

As opposed to their normal colleagues or peers in the same profession, narcissists in authority lack empathy, they have no ethical standards, thus they are prone to immorally, cynically, callously, and consistently abuse and misuse their position.

Their socialization process, usually the problem of a problematic early relationship with their parents, is often disturbed, perturbed, and this results in social dysfunctioning.

Narcissists don't know how to be social, they know how to control, they know how to manipulate, they know how to exploit, but they don't know how to work together, collaborate, teamwork, and accept their place in a well-structured society or hierarchy.

Nor is the narcissist deterred by possible punishment or regards himself subject to man-made laws. His sense of entitlement coupled with the conviction of his own superiority lead the narcissist to believe that he is invincible, invulnerable, immune, and divine, almost.

The narcissist holds human edicts, rules, and regulations in disdain and human penalties in contempt. He regards human needs and emotions as weaknesses to be predatorily exploited, to place narcissistic predators in these professions, the clergy, medicine, law enforcement, the judiciary is asking for trouble.

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The Signs of the Narcissist

Narcissists are difficult to spot, but there are subtle signs that can be picked up on, such as entitlement markers, idealization and devaluation, and a lack of empathy. Narcissists are often perceived as anti-social and are unable to secure the sympathy of others. They are also prone to projecting a false self and using primitive defense mechanisms such as splitting, projection, projective identification, and intellectualization.

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.

Narcissist Hates Happy People and Holidays

Holidays and birthdays are a difficult time for narcissists, as they provoke a stream of pathological envy. The narcissist is jealous of others for having a family, being able to celebrate lavishly, or being in the right mood. They hate humans because they are unable to be one and want to spoil it for those who can enjoy. Holidays remind the narcissist of their childhood, the supportive and loving family they never had, and what could have been.

Narcissists: Homosexual and Transsexual

Research has found no significant difference between the psychological makeup of a narcissist with homosexual preferences and a heterosexual narcissist. However, the self-definition of homosexuals is often based on their sexual identity, which can lead to somatic narcissism. Homosexual relations are highly narcissistic and autoerotic affairs, with the somatic narcissist directing their libido at their own body. Transsexuals may also exhibit narcissistic tendencies, with some seeking sex reassignment due to an idealized overvaluation of themselves and a sense of entitlement.

Your Empathy as Narcissistic Injury: Narcissist Never Learns, No Insight

Narcissists reject empathy and intimacy because it challenges their grandiosity, and they become paranoid and aggressive when someone tries to be intimate with them. Narcissists lack empathy and access to positive emotions, leading to a truncated version of empathy called "cold empathy." Narcissists are self-aware but lack the incentive to get rid of their narcissism, and therapy is more focused on accommodating the needs of the narcissist's nearest and dearest. Cold Therapy is experimental and limited, as it removes the false self but does not develop empathy or improve the narcissist's interpersonal relationships.

Narcissism Myths: Suicide, Types, Crises

Narcissists come in different types, with cerebral and somatic being the most common. All narcissists share certain traits, such as pathological lying and lack of empathy. Narcissists are not interested in people as such, but they love to have an audience as long as they provide them with narcissistic supply. Narcissists rarely commit suicide, but they react with suicidal ideation and reactive psychosis to severe stress. Narcissists prefer to find alternative sources of supply, and they are creative in doing so.

Narcissist: Loser and Failure

Narcissists have three traits that make them fail and become losers: a sense of entitlement, arrogance, and aversion to routine. Their sense of entitlement makes them lazy and believe that they should be spoon-fed. They are under-qualified and lack skills because they believe they are above mundane chores. Their arrogance and belief that they are superior to others hampers their ability to function in society. They become outcasts and are shunned by colleagues, employers, and family members.

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 Never Sorry

Narcissists sometimes feel bad and experience depressive episodes and dysphoric moods, but they have a diminished capacity to empathize and rarely feel sorry for what they have done or for their victims. They often project their own emotions and actions onto others and attribute to others what they hate in themselves. When confronted with major crises, the narcissist experiences real excruciating pain, but this is only a fleeting moment, and they recover their former self and embark on a new hunt for narcissistic supply. They are hunters, predators, and their victims are prey.

Narcissist's Fantasy Sex Life

Narcissists and psychopaths often have a fantasy-based sex life that reflects their psychodynamic inner landscape, including fear of intimacy, misogyny, control-freak tendencies, auto-eroticism, latent sadism and masochism, problems of gender identity, and various sexual deviances or failures. Their fantasies often involve the aggressive or violent objectification of a faceless, nameless, and sometimes even sexless person, and they are always in unmitigated control of their environment and the people in it. The narcissist's self-exposure to their intimate partner often elicits reactions of horror, repulsion, and estrangement.

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