New Light on Victims of Narcissistic Abuse (With Macy Nelson)

Uploaded 7/26/2023, approx. 40 minute read

If you'd like, I can make you the host, since you know how to roll a program to do it better.

I think actually I'm recording now.

Okay. Let me see. I believe I'm recording. I hope I'm recording. Hope springs the tunnel.

Yeah, if not, I'm happy to send a mind.

Sure, absolutely. Let me just record at least the sound on my iPhone. That's great.

We now have multiple backups of this historic session.

So Sam, I'm all yours.

Thank you so much for joining us. I can't thank you enough. It's a pleasure to have you on the show. We're privileged.

Thank you for having me.

So this may be a little bit less conventional of the type of interview that you're used to.

I've read your book. It's phenomenal.

Thank you. Your life is very interesting. The way that you've grown up is very interesting. You've been through quite a lot in your life.

The podcast that we're launching, the approach is actually less oriented on the pathology of narcissism and cluster B personality and more oriented on self-accountability of the victim.

Our approach is that we would love to teach people as it unfolds about cluster B personality and then how to recognize the aspects of cluster B in order for them to recognize their own attachment styles and other things that would affect their choice in those that they surround themselves with.

That's quite a ton order.

Yeah. And having you, you're actually our debut episode and we're so honored to have you because you actually coined the term narcissistic abuse as well as basically the original language of narcissism itself.

Yeah. And that's all true.

Yeah. And that's amazing. I have so many questions for you on that.

And I wanted to start by just kind of jumping in with a thought that I'm curious what your thoughts on the fact that the term narcissism or the diagnosis of the public of narcissism is so overused.

I feel like we've noticed a lot in our interviews that if there's any sort of fighting in a relationship, people tend to blame the other person as being a narcissist. And I feel like a good approach would be to ask you how to recognize the early signs of cluster B personality when becoming involved with someone, whether it be professional, romantic or otherwise, and also how would someone disassociate themselves with that relationship? Or is it a good idea to disassociate yourself?

It's a good idea not to have a relationship to start with.

But first of all, a bit of a historical context.

The sociologist Campbell said that we have transitioned from the age of dignity and reputation to the age of victimhood.

We tend to self-define via various dimensions of victimhood. Victimhood became a proxy for identity politics.

So today when you try to make sense of your life, when you try to make sense of your society, environment, historical processes, when you try to predict the future, when you try to gain a modicum of certainty and determinacy and stability and sense of safety, the most handy metaphor is victimhood.

So you would ask yourself who has been victimizing?

Surely everything bad that's happening in my life is not my fault. It must be someone else's fault.

So in this sense, victimhood is actually an extension of narcissism. It's an alloplastic defense.

Now alloplastic, we distinguish between two types of defenses. A defense is a way to falsify reality so that you can render it more palatable, more acceptable, so that you can survive in reality by falsifying it, by lying to yourself, by self deceiving.

So this is a good definition of defense.

And we have two types of defense. We have auto-plastic defenses and alloplastic defenses.

Auto-plastic defenses is tending to blame ourselves for everything that's gone or right or wrong. You know, it's my fault. I should have behaved differently. I should have done things differently.

And alloplastic defense is a tendency to blame others for every mishap, every misfortune, every defeat and every failure. It's never your fault. You're never guilty. You're never to blame. You have had no contribution to the situation, to the adverse circumstances in which you find yourself. It's all 110% other people's fault.

And this is a good description of victimhood.

Now the cluster B victimhood movement is no exception.

People define themselves as victims of cluster B personalities, dark personalities.

And so it's a handy metaphor. And it's what we call hermeneutic device. In other words, the kind of thing that helps you make sense of reality and imbue it with meaning. In this sense, it's a religion, because that's exactly what religion does. Religion is a morality play between good and evil. And religion also helps you to make sense of the world and to feel that you are meaningful, not meaningless, but meaningful.

And so there's this new religion of I'm a victim of a narcissist. I'm a victim of a psychopath. I'm a big, big, I'm bigger victim than you are. No, I'm a bigger victim than you are. My abuser has been the worst. I don't know what you're talking about. My abuser has been the worst.

And there's this ridiculous, then glorious competition of who's been more victimized and whose abuser has been more menaced and monstrous and so on and so forth. And there are even idiotic terms like empaths and super empaths and super galactic empaths. I'm kidding you're not. And supernova empaths and so on and so forth.

And it's really bad out there. It's bad out there because this is a debasement of the coinage of language. It's a corruption of language. When we corrupt language, we corrupt our ability to act in the environment and on the environment efficiently. Language and self-efficacy are interlinked. If your language does not reflect reality properly, if it falsifies the information about your environment, then you're likely to make bad decisions, wrong choices, and pay a very heavy price.

So we are corrupting language. We're labeling, we are slapping the label of the nasty system everyone would disagree with or don't like. And we are casting ourselves as victims when actually what has happened is that we have been victimized.

Now imagine that you have been mugged. You're on a foreign trip and you've been mugged in a dark alley. I don't know what you might be doing in a dark alley, but okay you were there and you have been mugged.

Now you're not going to define the rest of your life as the victim of a mug over a mug. You're not going to say it. People ask you who are you. You're not going to say I'm the victim of a mugging.

But when you are victimized by a narcissist, you are going to say I'm the victim of a narcissist. It became an identity. No one is the victim of a narcissist. There's no such thing.

There are however people who have been victimized by narcissists. Many people have been victimized by narcissists.

So this is the first thing to disentangle an event or a series of events or a period in your life from who you are. That's not who you are. That's not your identity.

Number two, it takes two to tango and in Argentina even more than two. So it's never 100% someone else's fault and zero percent your contribution.

That is not true.

This division into angels and demons, all good and all bad. This has a name in clinical psychology. It's called splitting. It's an infantile defense mechanism which is very typical of narcissists and borderlines by the way.

So victims have adopted this narcissistic defense mechanism and now victims are splitting narcissists. They're saying the narcissist is all bad and by contrast I must be all good. All 100% not 99, 100. I have done nothing to deserve this. I have contributed nothing to my predicament. It is a force of nature that befell upon me. I have been the victim of a natural disaster. I'm a magnet. What can a magnet do? A magnet is a magnet. I'm a magnet. I attract this kind of people. I am empathic and compassionate and more generally amazing.

And that's why I keep attracting such people to me. It's a form of self-aggrandizement and a falsification of what had really happened. And what had really happened is your mate selection sucks. You don't know how to select mates. You have childhood wounds that resonated with your abuser and allowed your abuser an axis of entry into your life and mind and soul. So you're vulnerable. You're broken. You're damaged. You need to fix yourself. You need to heal yourself.

Thereafter you made a series of conscious premeditated decisions to remain inside an abusive relationship even though you had already become aware that you are being abused, etc. You are responsible. You should be held accountable for what had happened exactly like the abuser. You had contributed to it. You had made it happen.

Now, that is not victim blaming or blame shifting or whatever you want to call it. A victim is a victim and an abuser is an abuser. And there is no moral middle ground. There's no gray area. No, an abuser is irredeemable, unacceptable, unjustifiable, behavior period, misbelieving, misconduct.

And a victim is a victim.

But the circumstances, the synergy between abuser and victim, that is a common enterprise. It's a joint venture. It's an undertaking by two.

In narcissism, this is known as the shared fantasy. It's known as a shared fantasy because it is shared. That's why it's known as shared fantasy and not as the narcissist fantasy. It's shared.

So this is the first step to healing. Self acceptance is actually because when the victim says I have nothing to do with it, it's not my fault. What she's actually saying is I am not accepting myself as I am. This is self rejection. This is a diminishment of self-awareness. This is self deception.

In short, that's an abusive thing to do. The victim abuses herself. By denying her involvement, her agency, the power she has had throughout the process, and never used. By doing all this, she's perpetrating abuse and perpetuating the abuse.

And so these are the first steps.

And then there are a series of other steps in the healing process. If you want, we can discuss a bit later.

This is so insightful. I so appreciate you delving into a slightly esoteric viewpoint because I feel like a lot of platforms out there dehumanize the cluster B personality. And I agree that self accountability is where true power lies.

And I'm curious about, I would actually love for you to delve into that. And I have a question for you about that because in your case, you are an anomaly to me because narcissism...

I think we have agreed to not discuss my private life.

Okay, that is fair enough. I just wanted to mention cognitive behavioral therapies.

So self recognition in cognitive behavioral therapy when it comes to both the victim and the narcissist is to me very self accountable. And it's admirable, but it's also hard to recognize your own actions in order to press down that path. And I'm wondering how one would go about other than what you had just mentioned, as far as the victim or as far as as far as taking that approach, how would one go about their own accountability factors early on in the relationship?

Because I feel like trauma bonding or I feel like the charming aspect early on in the cluster B personality relationship is intoxicating. And it's very easy to go down that rabbit hole in a want of love, in a want of a relationship.

And it ties into codependency.

But I think that it's hard to step outside of oneself in order to recognize that there's a problem lies within. And I'm wondering what your personal recommendation on an approach for that would be.

How does someone "wake up" to the fact that they are accountable or that their power lies from within? When bad things happen, you're involved, you have contributed. There's no exception to this rule. When bad things happen to you, you somehow had contributed to your downfall.

So this is the warning sign that things keep happening to you, especially if they are similar in nature. This is known as repetition compulsion in psychology. If they're similar in nature, you are either doing something wrong or something is wrong with you.

In both cases, you're right. I think this cannot be done independently, autonomously alone. You would need help and you would need professional help to do this.

We all are constitutionally unable to see ourselves as we are. This is the meaning of defense mechanisms. We all have psychological defense mechanisms whose role is to prevent us from coming face to face with ourselves.

Because the truth of ourselves is, in the vast majority of cases, intolerable and unbearable. So all of us falsify or reframe reality all the time. And this is a pretty benign process. It becomes a problem when we lose touch with reality, when the extent of the defenses is such that we bid farewell to reality and we enter the realm of fantasy. Fantasy itself, by the way, is clinically a defense mechanism.

And then what happens is, because we are no longer in touch with reality, again, the clinical term is impaired reality testing. When we are no longer in touch with reality, then we make decisions which are counterproductive, self-defeating, self-handicapping, and even self-trashing or self-destructive.

Why does this happen? Why do we devolve into self-destructiveness and self-defeat the minute we lose touch with reality?

Possibly because that's the only way to wake up. I think it's very frightening to lose reality.

And so we need to wake up.

It's like pinching yourself while you're having a nightmare. You know, hurting yourself while you're having a nightmare so that you're capable of waking up from the nightmare.

And so you need help to see yourself as you are and then to do something about it.

Because we are built as human beings, even healthy human beings, we are built to be detached from reality to some extent.

And in the case of victims of cluster B personality disorders, these are usually people who are delighted to give up on reality. Reality to them is unbearable. They're lonely, they're bored, they're anxious, they're depressed, they're abused substances, they're hopeless, they're sad, something is wrong which renders reality so unacceptable and so burdensome, so unbearable that any substitute to reality is considered better.

So here comes the dark personality or cluster B personality and says, I have a full-fledged alternative to reality. It's a virtual reality. It's my reality. It's fantasy. It's Disneyland. And all you have to do is play by my rules, assume a role that I will assign to you and then do your thing, fulfill your function.

And then in return, I'm going to provide you with a dual fantasy. One, I'm going to act as your mother. I'm going to love you unconditionally. I'm going to idealize you and I'm going to allow you to see yourself in the idealized version and therefore to fall in love with yourself. I'm going to allow you for the first time in your life to actually love yourself because you will see yourself or you will have seen yourself through my gaze. And in my gaze, you're going to be ideal. You're going to be perfect. You're going to be drop dead gorgeous. You're going to be super intelligent. You're going to be the most amazing woman that has ever lived, through my gaze and only through my gaze.

I have a monopoly of this. You want to feel that way? You want to feel that there's never been a woman like you before?

You need to do this through my gaze and so it's a monopoly.

And this, the whole thing is the shared fantasy. You become the narcissist of the mother and the narcissist becomes your mother and you love each other unconditionally.

Love, it's not love, but it's a simulation of love unconditionally.

And then you're in the womb. You're back in the womb. You're back in your early childhood.

It's a second chance at an early childhood.

In the vast majority of cases of partners, of cluster B personality disorders, their childhood has gone awry. It was not a good child. It was an unhappy childhood. The mother probably was what is called in psychoanalytic literature, a dead mother in the sense that she was emotionally absent, depressed, selfish, instrumentalizing, parentifying, wrong mother, but not good enough mother.

So here comes a narcissist and he tells you, listen, I'm going to give you a second childhood. And in order for you to experience this childhood, you need to infantilize yourself because how can you be a child again? If you're an adult, you need to be an adult, you need to be a child.

So you need to shed your, all your adulthood devices and costumes, and you need to become a child again. You need to infantilize.

And then I will be your mother and you will have a second childhood. This time, a perfect child, simply a perfect childhood. And you will see yourself through my eyes and it will be the most amazing sight to behold. And you will fall in love with yourself and everything will be great. And you will not, you're not going to be in touch with reality anymore. I will take care of reality for you. I will be a reality testing. I'll protect you. I will shield you. I will provide for you.

It doesn't, when I say women, it can be a man, of course. The genders are interchangeable. About half of all narcissists are women and about one quarter of psychopaths are women. The numbers are growing and women will probably overtake men in this, in cluster B personality disorders by the end of this decade.

It's becoming, because women are more and more masculinized. So this used to be masculine disorders. And so this is the cathexis deal.

All you have to do is give up on your adulthood, on your autonomy, on your agency, on your contact with reality. You have to agree to the mediation and interface of the narcissist. You agree to reside in his fantasy and never to exit. And you agree to play a role. It's a role play. It's, and that's the deal. It sounds horrible. It sounds a little like prison, but it doesn't feel like prison. It feels like childhood. That's what it feels like.

From the cluster B personality perspective or from both?

Because I do see your point that it is consensually agreed upon contract to join the shared fantasy. I've been in that position and I understand that. And it's actually enjoyable during that phase of the narcissistic cycle.

And that leads me into another question. And thank you for that incredible insight, by the way. That is very new to me and so insightful.

You had brought up the idealization of cluster B. And as far as psychology research defines the cycle, it only contains three aspects, which I find interesting. It's idealization and devaluation and discard.

But there are aspects of the situation. I'm not sure what other terms to use for it.

Like gaslighting that, at least in my case, didn't occur during idealization and also did not occur during devaluation. It was sort of like an in-between category, not necessarily a subcategory.

I wonder if you feel like psychology has not fully defined the cluster B.

No, not psychology. There's a huge mix up, a huge mess owing to self-styled experts online.

Even people with PhDs in psychology, they are not experts in personality disorders, cluster B personality disorders. And they've never published anything for cluster B personality disorders.

So the overwhelming vast majority of so-called experts online spew nonsense all the time. That's a very sad state of affairs. I would say that well over 95% of all the so-called information online is misinformation.

Now, originally in clinical literature, only idealization and devaluation were described. I'm the one who added the discard phase.

So then it became a trilateral situation, idealization, devaluation, discard. And then I added a fourth phase, which is replacement or overing.

The idealization phase is part of a lock bombing strategy. It is intended to capture you and captivate you. It's intended to give you everything I've just described, the feeling that you're a child again, that you have a new mother, that you're accepted unconditionally and loved unconditionally, that you are perfect, almost godlike, and so on and so forth.

And so this is captivating. It's intoxicating. In short, it's addictive and you become addicted.

And this is the idealization phase.

In the idealization phase, the narcissist creates a snapshot of you and internalizes it. He takes a photograph of you, mental photograph, and then internalizes this photograph, a process known as introjection, identification and rejection.

And so then he has this photograph of you in his mind and he photoshops it. The photoshopping is the idealization.

From that moment on, the narcissist continues to interact with a snapshot, not with you, never with you.

Narcissists are incapable of interacting with external objects. They convert external objects into internal objects and then they continue the interaction with the internal object only, exclusively, never with you.

Now, this creates a problem. The internal object is usually, not always, but usually static and idealized. And human beings are neither. They're not static, they're dynamic. And they're not ideal, they're very far from ideal.

And this creates severe discrepancies between the idealized snapshots in the narcissist's mind, the introject, the internal object, and you as his intimate partner. There is a divergence, there's contradiction. Sometimes you're independent, autonomous, agentic, make your own decisions, have your own friends, go on trips, disobey the narcissist, criticize him, disagree with him.

All this challenges the internal object.

And so this creates a lot of frustration and fear in the narcissist, which is threatening the stability of his internal world. The narcissist is trapped inside his mind.

And in this landscape, there are hundreds of internal objects, all of them idealize, all of them static. And the narcissist interacts with these objects.

If you were to challenge one of these objects, it's like a house of cards, the whole thing will fall apart. Everything I'm describing is more or less, more or less applies to the borderline, not fully, does not apply to the psychopath, which is one of the reasons I think that co-pathy is actually not a mental illness at all.

So then the narcissist begins to regard you as a threat. The more you deviate from the internal object, the more you undermine the internal object, the more you challenge the introject, the less idealized you are in reality, the more threatening you are, the more menacious you are to the narcissist. So you're becoming the enemy. You're an enemy.

And this is called persecutory object. You're becoming a persecutory object, you're persecuting, you're challenging one another. So gradually he begins to hate your guts. And you are never capable to fully conform to the internal object. It's impossible.

So it's inevitable. Evaluation is inevitable.

The narcissist...

Okay. I was just going to say for everyone that they're involved in.

Yeah, no exception, because there's always an idealized snapshot, idealized photograph of you, and you can never measure up to it. You can never conform to it. Because you're alive. You're alive. You're changing, making decisions. So you can never conform to it.

And so there's always this clash. You begin to represent eternal conflict. Dissonance. Clinical term is dissonance. You create dissonance.

So narcissist begins to hate you.

The narcissist has a second reason, second very powerful reason to devalue you. The narcissist converts you into a maternal figure. You become his mother.

The same way he becomes your mother, you become his mother. And this is the dual mothership principle. So you become his mother.

From now on, you're his mother.

The narcissist wants to separate from you and individuate. Children between the ages of 18 months and 36 months separate from mommy. They say goodbye to mother and they explore the world.

This process is known as separation, individuation, becoming an individual.

The borderline and so on, they never succeeded to separate from mommy because the mother did not allow them to separate for a variety of reasons. She was a dead mother, a dead mother. She didn't allow them to separate.

So the narcissist reenacts this incomplete separation. He says, oh, I found a new mommy. Maybe now I can separate finally. Maybe now I'm going to get it right. I failed with my original mother, failed to separate from her. Maybe now I'll succeed to separate from her. So he needs to devalue you also for this reason.

The narcissist has two powerful motivations to devalue you.

First of all, you keep frustrating him by deviating from the idealized snapshots, internal logic.

And second reason, you're his mother and he needs to say goodbye to you in order to take on the world and become an individual.

So devaluation is inevitable. There's nothing you could do about it and there's nothing you have done to make it happen. It's nothing to do with you.

And this is great, great solace, I think for victims.

Yeah, that does clarify a lot. And to expand on a certain aspect of that, I'm curious as to what your thoughts are as to why that disattachment to the maternal figure is more important emotionally, psychologically, or otherwise than the continuation of the loving feeling or being in a relationship where they feel.

Because I've seen that a lot, I think a lot of victim anger stems from the victim wants desperately to give love. And they desperately want to be loved. And you already explained portion one that they won't truly be loved authentically because it is a snapshot image.

But as far as longevity and commitment, I think a lot of victims, they try harder, they try harder and harder to please them so that they'll stay not understanding why that cycle of separation is more important than the commitment than the want to be loved. There's a lot of brandiosity in the victim's attitude and behavior.

First of all, the victim believes that she has power over the situation. It's like, it's up to me. It's up to me, I'm in control. If I put additional effort into it, it's going to change the whole situation. That is of course a grandiose substitution. It's a bit like I'm God like, I can change these dynamics and make them different and so on.

Second thing, victims want to feel special. They want to feel that they have been chosen by the narcissist or the borderline. They want to feel that they're unique.

And the truth is, at least as far as the narcissist is concerned, because the narcissist interacts only with internal objects, who you are is utterly besides the point. You are replaceable, interchangeable, you're an excuse, you're a trigger, you're a nobody, you're nothing, you're fungible. This is something victims cannot countenance. They cannot accept this. It demolishes them.

I think this is the worst aspect of being the victim of a narcissist. Having realized how insignificant you were, you were the narcissist, insignificant other, not significant other.

And this insignificance challenges the victim into a narcissistic defense, a grandiose defense.

So the narcissist says, it's not true that I was not special to him. I'm a very special person. I have enormous empathy and compassion and amazing and beautiful. These are grandiose narcissistic defenses. This is the vector of contagion of narcissism.

Narcissism is infectious. You spend enough time with a narcissist, you do become narcissistic.

Defensively, this is reactive narcissism. You have to defend yourself from further pain and further hurt and further humiliation and so on. You then have to deceive yourself into believing that you are, for example, invulnerable, that you maybe are omnipotent, you don't care, or maybe you're super special or super galactic empath, and so on and so forth.

And some victims remain stuck. They develop narcissistic and even psychopathic behaviors and traits. They develop borderline life, emotional dysregulation.

And that's why borderline personality disorder is indistinguishable from complex trauma, CPTSD.

So most victims suffer CPTSD, suffer from complex post-traumatic stress disorder. But CPTSD in clinical setting is almost indistinguishable from borderline personality disorder.

So victims become narcissists and psychopaths and borderline just by being exposed to narcissist, borderline and psychopaths.

It's defensive, it's reactive, but it could be a long-term thing, long-term issue.

For example, most victims have severely diminished capacity for empathy, inability to trust other people, so they become paranoid.

Emotional dysregulation, I mentioned, they're overwhelmed by emotions. Mood lability, ups and downs in terms of mood. These are all features of cluster B, and yet we find them among victims, among all victims actually.

So let's see. Yeah, I can record now. Okay, great. Great, thank you.

So what would be your next question?

So I wanted to ask you, so another issue that I find to be prevalent among those trying to recover after the discard phase in the relationship cycle is that they want, I think they want to forgive the cluster B and they also want to forgive themselves because there is a self-guilt dynamic as far as wondering why they didn't leave, why they were so bonded, which I think that you clarified greatly on that.

I wonder what your personal take is on the approach of forgiveness.

Also, if it's possible to forgive without an apology, also why cluster Bs have a hard time with self-reflection to apologize?

No, cluster B personalities by definition are divorced from who they are, and they're divorced from reality.

In the case of narcissists, they have a grandiose inflated fantastic self-image which they need to protect against all countervailing information. Apologizing is admitting to an error, to mistake. Apologizing is admitting to having done wrong. Apologizing is admitting to having been imperfect. So that undermines the narcissist's grandiose.

So perception is very unlikely.

In the case of a psychopath, the psychopath has no morality and no conscience and no empathy and so on, and he sees no reason to apologize if you were victimized by him. If he victimized you, it's your fault. You should have been more careful. You're stupid and you deserve everything that you had it coming. You deserve everything that he has done to you.

As concerning the borderline, the borderline wants an intimate partner, or he's intimate partner, to regulate her emotions and her moods, to stabilize her, to act as a safe or secure base. So she wants her intimate partner to externally regulate her.

And when the intimate partner inevitably fails, because this is a full-time job, the intimate partner cannot have a life of his own, he is dedicated to the service of the borderline, day and night and in between. And since this is impossible and it sets up the partner for failure, whenever inevitable failure occurs, the borderline would blame the partner, not herself.

And this is what many victims do. And that's another example of contagion, another example of how narcissism spreads.

Victims adopt the same position. It's not my fault. I had nothing to do with it. I was an angelic victim. I'm perfect. I'm immaculate and so on and so forth. That's a narcissistic position.

And so there's no place for apology. Forgiveness has two components. One component is self-directed and the other component is other-directed.

To forgive others is much easier than to forgive oneself and often accomplished.

We move on. The vast majority of us move on and we learn to forgive, not in the active sense like, "I understand you. My heart goes out to you. I pity you. I have mercy on you and so I forgive you."

No, that's not typical forgiveness. Typical forgiveness is to say, "I've moved on and you're no longer important in my life. You're no longer meaningful. You are not a carrier of meaning. You're insignificant.

So this is other forgiveness.

And because you're insignificant, I don't want revenge. I don't want justice restored. I don't want anything further to do with you. Period. You're insignificant.

So that is what we mean when we say forgiving others effectively.

It is almost impossible to forgive oneself if one has elevated grandiose narcissistic defenses.

For example, if you consider yourself inordinately smart or intelligent, it would be very difficult for you to admit that you have acted stupidly. If you consider yourself irresistibly attractive, it would be impossible for you to admit that your charm did not extend to a particular individual.

So when we can't forgive ourselves is because we impose impossible unrealistic demands and expectations on ourselves.

We are actually narcissistic. We are saying we are special. We are unique. We are super handsome. We are amazingly intelligent.

So how come did this happen? How did I allow this to happen?

It's a challenge to this self-image of fantastic perfection. That's why self-forgiveness is very difficult because to forgive yourself, you need to admit your flaws, your shortcomings, your disabilities, your brokenness, your vulnerabilities. You need to admit to all these things. You need to admit that you're less than perfect. And those who are capable of doing it, healing is this dual forgiveness, rendering your abuser insignificant and rendering yourself less than perfect.

If you're capable of these two feats of these two accomplishments, then you are capable of healing.

Regrettably, the vast majority of people are not capable of healing because they're not capable of either.

They go on a vengeance spree. They become vengeful. They seek to restore justice as if they were in charge of cosmic justice.

So they remain attached to the abuser, at least emotionally, they remain attached to the abuser via this lack of forgiveness. And they can't forgive themselves because that would mean that they're less than perfect and they have an image of perfection of themselves.

So these are sick dynamics, they're unhealthy dynamics.

In addition to all this, cluster B abusers install in your mind a voice. They implant in your mind an app, like an app on a smartphone. In other words, they force you to create an introject. They force you to create an internal object in your mind that represents them.

So you have an internal object of your narcissistic abuser, you have an internal object of your borderline partner. And this internal object remains with you long after the physical separation from your partner. And this introject inside your mind is active, it speaks to you, it criticizes you, it puts you down. It's your enemy, it's an enemy. It's a harsh inner critic and it's with you.

The narcissist long having exited your life is still inside your mind, still inhabits your mind. It's a parasitic infection.

And you need to deprogram yourself, exactly like after a cult, cult members are deprogrammed. You need to deprogram yourself because being with a narcissist or a borderline is being a member of a cult.

So you need to deprogram yourself and then you need to separate from the narcissist or the borderline.

Because when you're with a narcissist on the borderline, you are inside a shared fantasy. And inside this shared fantasy, you merge with a narcissist, you fuse, you become one. This is a process called enmeshment and engaugment. You become enmeshed with a narcissist.

So when a narcissist is gone physically, you're still enmeshed with him emotionally. You need to separate from the narcissist.

First thing is to silence the inner voice that represents a narcissist in your mind or the psychopath or the borderline.

Second thing, you need to separate from the narcissist. You need to do exactly what a child does at age 18 months. You need to separate from mommy. You remember the narcissist becomes your mother. You need to separate from your mother and again to become an individual, to rediscover yourself, your authentic self, because your self is contaminated now. The narcissist has contaminated yourself by isolating you from reality and from social support networks, from your family, from your friends, from your job.

By doing this, the narcissist has taken over your identity, your core identity, your feeling of who you are and has redefined it in his own image. And you need to recapture your authentic self prior to the narcissist.

Now, all these tasks cannot be done alone. You can't accomplish them on your own. You need help with these things.

So professional. Okay. And therapy is what's like therapy would be a good point in your perspective. Like that would be a good start.

Coaching in some cases, sometimes just a good friend or a very wise or very wise granny, you know, but you need external help. This cannot be done from the inside.

If you convince yourself, if you want to convince yourself that you're capable of doing this on your own, this is proof that you are contaminated.

Okay. This is a narcissistic grandeur statement to say, I don't need anyone. I can do this on my own.

That's the narcissist speaking. Not you.

Okay. This is so interchangeably ironic that a victim of cluster B and cluster B themselves have similarities in their behavior pattern.

I think people tend to forget that cluster B personality disorders are the outcomes of abuse.

Oh my goodness.



These people are victims of abuse.

Okay. They have chosen solutions which are antisocial, dysfunctional, evil, but they are victims of abuse.

When a cluster B person, when a narcissist abuses his intimate partner, it's one victim of abuse, abusing another victim of abuse. That's why they resonate. That's why they bond. That's why there is trauma bonding.

The narcissist trauma bonds with the victim's trauma. It's the bonding of the traumas.

They recognize each other. They select a secret handshake. They come from the same, from identical environments.

Only they chose different solutions. Some of them chose as children to become submissive. And so they become codependent or people pleasers. Some of them chose to emulate the abuser. They said, I'm going to be the abuser. I'm never going to be the victim again. From now on, I'm going to be the abuser. That's the narcissist and the psychopath.

Some of them are unable to regulate their reactions to the abuse. Their emotions took over, drowned them, overwhelmed them, and so on and so forth. And these people became the border lines.

But what's common to all cluster B personality disorders and all victims of cluster B personality disorders is that they're all, without a single exception, victims of abuse.

Oh, okay. Wow. That is, wow. I have never ever heard it tied in that way. And that is new information. And it gives insight, I think, into the idea that I think a lot of cluster B behaviors are not necessarily diabolical. As you're saying, they are defensive. And that allows for a little bit more forgiveness.

I think there is a little bit of caution tape placed over that though, in being careful as to placing forgiveness in understanding and recognizing and realizing that you cannot change someone else. You cannot love someone. We can pity captive animals in the zoo, the tigers in the zoo. We can pity them, these tigers. But we would never enter the enclosure. Never mind how much we pity them and how much we understand them and how much we sympathize and empathize with the tiger, with a poor tiger who has been taken away from Africa, from his freedom is limited, his pacing, his pacing, his cage, his fear, his fear is falling apart. I mean, it's horrible to behold. And how our hearts, our hearts are, you know, go out. And we feel such compassion for the tiger. But we would be seriously foolish to enter the enclosure and pet the tiger.

So we can objectively look at the narcissists and the borderline and say these are unfortunes. These are people who have been abused as children. These are people whose genetics predispose them to be mentally ill, like borderline and psychopaths. These are people whose brains operate differently, like borderlines and psychopaths. These are people who regulate themselves from the outside.

Narcissists require narcissistic supply to survive, to regulate a sense of self-worth, to feel alive. The histrionic needs attention. The borderline needs control or safety from the outside. I mean, they don't exist inside.

Narcissism, cluster B, is not about presence. It's about absence. There's nobody there. These are voids. These are black holes.

And so we can observe them and we can feel great pity and heartbreak at who they might have been and would never be.

At the potential, the wasted potential, the tortured children who had become this.

And yet we would be extremely unwise to get any nearer and to try to establish a bridge or a bond or an attachment or a connection or a relationship with these people.

Regrettable as it may be, these people should be isolated. Not actively, not in prison, but isolated socially. They are not good people, but not because they choose to be bad people.

Psychopaths do sometimes, but narcissists don't, borderlines them. They're not good people because this is who they are constitutionally. The same way a virus is not a good entity, not a good creature. You can say, yeah, but a virus doesn't have decision-making powers. A virus doesn't know the difference between right and wrong.

Well, a narcissist, the ability to make independent decisions to control his impulses and borderline the same control impulses and so on. It's severely limited and his ability to tell reality from fantasy is non-existent.

So it's very much like a virus. He's on automatic pilot.

Actually, if you talk to borderline patients, many of them will tell you repeatedly, I feel like I'm an automatic pilot. An autopilot. These are semi-conscious entities comprised mostly of absence in search of someone to suck into the maelstrom and the black hole, which is essentially insatiable.

Okay. Stay away. So statistically, they are who they are. They're not going to necessarily recognize that a change needs to be had. Or even if they did recognize that, there is no motivating factor to change.

Is that correct? Sometimes they're very motivated to change, but they're in capable of change.

Except borderline. Except borderline personality.

In borderline personality, first of all, we have an effective therapy, which is not the case with any other personality disorder.

So we have dialectical behavior therapy, which was developed by a borderline. And so we have DBT. That's very effective.

And borderline ameliorates with age. So that after age 45, the majority of borderline lose the diagnosis and can no longer be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.

So the prognosis for borderline is very good, actually.

But you have to be patient. You have to wait a long time.

Okay. Wow. That's insightful. Okay.

Okay. I wanted to end on a quote from your book and just ask you to clarify the ending of this.

So you said, "In the narcissist world, being accepted or cared for, not to mention loved, is a foreign language. One might recite the most delicate haiku in Japanese, and it would still remain utterly meaningless to a non-speaker of Japanese."

Wow. "This does not diminish the value of the haiku or of the Japanese language, needless to say, but it means nothing to the non-speaker.

Narcissists damage and hurt, but they do so off-handedly and naturally as an afterthought. They're aware of what they are doing to others, which I was curious about, but they do not care. And they truly do not care. They truly do not care.

Caring requires empathy, requires the ability to put yourself in someone else's shoes and presume how that person might be feeling.

Mind you, none of us has access to another person's mind. If you cry and I cry, I would have to rely on your self-reporting as to why you're crying. And then I would have to assume that you're not a liar. I don't have access to your mind.

It's all a facade, even among healthy people. It's all a facade with an extreme reliance on self-reporting.

With a narcissist, there's nothing behind the facade and very often there's no facade. There's nothing behind the facade and definitely there's no ability to experience deductions.

So for example, the narcissist can see you crying and then the narcissist will say, "In 6143 previous cases when I saw people crying, they self-reported as sad. So if she is crying, there is a 99.9996% probability that she's sad.

Okay, now I know that she's crying and she's sad. That's where it ends.

The narcissist cannot elicit, cannot provoke in himself an emotion that is supposedly the equivalent of your emotion.

In short, the narcissist has cognitive empathy, reflexive empathy, collectively known as cold empathy, but he has no emotional component. He cannot resonate with you. He can make deductions the same way an artificial intelligence robot might do in the near future. He can look at you, he can analyze your behaviors, compare them to other people's behaviors, then go through the self-recording of those other people and say, "Well, that must be her internal state."

But he doesn't have a corresponding internal state in himself because he has no internal. He has no interiority. He has no internal anything. There's nothing there. I don't know how often I have to repeat this because it defines language. There is nothing and nobody there. It's a shell and there is nobody and nothing there. Nobody to react to you, nobody to understand you, nobody to empathize with you, nobody to emulate your moods or your emotions, nobody to hold your hand, nobody to provide support, nobody to... there's nobody there. It's a machine very, very, very similar to artificial intelligence. It simulates human behavior and human speech, not perfectly.

And that's why people feel ill at ease with the narcissist. They feel uncomfortable with the narcissist because his simulation is not 100% accurate. It's like there's glitches, glitches and bugs. Something is off. So it's a programmable artificial intelligence robot who simulates human beings with varying degrees of success and that's where it ends. That's all.

So it's statistical and mathematical. It's strategical instead of diabolical. It's mechanical.

By the way, many healthy people, they have sex the same way. In sex, this is common. In sexual performance, this is common. People simulate sex. They saw it in pornography, they read about it and they simulate it. They go through the motions, you know, but actually there's nothing there. There's nothing behind the sex.

So with the narcissist, it's not only sex but everything. Everything is assimilated.

Oh, Sam, you are wonderful and you are so knowledgeable and you are...

I fully agree. I'm beyond grateful for this. I'm so grateful for the time. I'm so grateful for the insight and thank you for having me. I'm so excited to have you for our lunch episode. So thank you so much again.

Thank you. And I wish you great success with everything you're doing.

Thank you and same to you.

Take care.

It was nice talking to you. It was nice having you.

Don't give me your permission to upload it to my channel. Please do. And I apologize for the additional editing. I'm so sorry.

All right. Don't worry about it. Take care. Bye-bye.


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