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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Narcissist's Routines

Narcissists have a series of routines that are developed through rote learning and repetitive patterns of experience. These routines are used to reduce anxiety and transform the world into a manageable and controllable one. The narcissist is a creature of habit and finds change unsettling. The narcissist's routines are often broken down when they are breached or can no longer be defended, leading to a narcissistic injury.

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's Pathological Space: His Kingdom

The pathological narcissistic space is a geographical area, group of people, or an abstract field of knowledge in which the narcissistic pathology reaches its full expression and effectiveness. It is a territorially expanded false self that is achieved via sources of narcissistic supply. The existence of the pathological narcissistic space is independent of the existence of sources of narcissistic supply. The pathological narcissistic space constantly consumes and drains narcissistic supply, and it generates negative narcissistic accumulation.

Narcissist: Drama Queen in Pathological Narcissistic Space

Narcissists have a deep-seated need for excitement and drama to alleviate their boredom and melancholy. They create an imaginary environment called the pathological narcissistic space, where they seek admiration, adoration, approval, applause, or attention. Narcissistic supply substitutes for having a real vocation or avocation and actual achievements. The narcissist's two mechanisms of establishing a morphological narcissistic space and the urge to move continuously are completely incompatible, leading to the narcissistic condition.

Narcissist's Cycles of Ups and Downs

Narcissists go through cycles of mania and depression, which are caused by external events or circumstances known as triggers. The cycles are different from manic depressive cycles in bipolar disorder, which are endogenous. The narcissist is addicted to narcissistic supply and seeks admiration, adoration, approval, attention, and so on. The narcissist goes through ups and downs, including a depressive phase, a hibernation phase, and a manic phase, which are all part of the process of obtaining and securing narcissistic supply.

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: Your Pain is his Healing, Your Crucifixion - His Resurrection

Narcissists need their victims to suffer to regulate their own emotions and feel a sense of control. They keep a mental ledger of positive and negative behaviors, with negative behaviors weighing more heavily. Narcissists need counterfactual statements to maintain their delusion of being special and superior. The grandiosity gap is the major vulnerability of the narcissist, and they are often in denial about their limitations and failures.

Narcissistic Rage and Narcissistic Injury

Narcissistic injury is any threat to the narcissist's grandiose self-perception, and the narcissist actively solicits narcissistic supply to regulate and sustain their ego. The narcissist is caught between their habit and frustration, leading to disproportionate reactions to perceived insults. Narcissistic rage has two forms: explosive and passive-aggressive. The narcissist's aggression is directed outside and inside themselves, and they often become vindictive and harass those they perceive as sources of their frustration.

When the Narcissist's Parents Die

The death of a narcissist's parents can be a complicated experience. The narcissist has a mixed reaction to their passing, feeling both elation and grief. The parents are often the source of the narcissist's trauma and continue to haunt them long after they die. The death of the parents also represents a loss of a reliable source of narcissistic supply, which can lead to severe depression. Additionally, the narcissist's unfinished business with their parents can lead to unresolved conflicts and pressure that deforms their personality.

Narcissist’s Losses Are His Life

Loss is a crucial aspect of the narcissist's life, serving as an organizing principle and a means of transformation. The narcissist's self-destructive behavior and manipulation of external objects are driven by the need to induce change in their internal environment. Losses are both intentional and evoked by the narcissist, who uses them to engender victimhood and manipulate others. The narcissist's fear of losses leads them to preemptively bring them on, ultimately sacrificing reality for the appearance of life.

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