People-pleasers and Pathological Charmers

Uploaded 2/3/2013, approx. 5 minute read

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

Vague, hard to pin down, sometimes of secrets, and generally a spineless non-entity. But here's the irony, these very qualities of self-defeating, as they tend to antagonize people rather than please them, at least in the long-term.

But conflict aversion is only one of several psychodynamic backgrounds for the behavior known as people pleasing.

Some people pleasers, for instance, cater to the needs and demands of others as a form of penance, self-sacrifice, redemption.

Many people pleasers are co-dependents. They strive to gratify their nearest and dearest in order to allay their own abandonment anxiety, and they ensuing intense and at times life-threatening dysphoria.

Co-dependent people pleasers say, if I'm nice to him, he won't break up with me, or if I cater to her needs, she won't leave me or won't cheat on me.

A few people pleasers are even narcissistic. Pleasing people enhances their sense of omnipotence, grandiosity. They seek to control and disempower their charges, their beneficiaries. They say, she is so dependent on me, and she so looks up to me, that I can't avoid pleasing her or helping her.

Even the pity of narcissistic people pleasers is a form of self-aggrandizement.

Narcissistic people pleasers are likely to say, only I can make her life so much better. She needs me. Without me, her life would be hell.

Narcissistic people pleasers are actually misanthropic altruists and compulsive givers.

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All people pleasers use a few common coping strategies.

They are all dishonest. Dishonesty lies, white lies, and not-so-white lies, are intended to avoid conflicts and unpleasant situations.

Manipulation people pleasers are manipulative, that is meant to ensure desired outcomes such as an intimate partner's continued presence.

People pleasers seek to foster dependence in their beneficiaries, in their charges, in the recipients of their magistrates or their hell.

Codependent people pleasers leverage their ostentatious helplessness and manifest weaknesses to elicit the kind of behaviors and solicit the benefits that they end up for, while narcissistic people pleasers aim to habituate their targets by bribing people with gifts, monopolizing their time and isolating them socially.

Then there is infantilization, displaying childish behaviors in order to gratify the emotional needs of overprotective, possessive, paranoid, narcissistic and codependent individuals in the people pleasers' milieu.

Finally, there is self-punishment, self-defeat and self-sacrifice. All these signal self-annulment in the pursuit of people pleasing.

I am not here, only my services are here.

People pleasers are a subset of a larger phenomenon, which I call pathological charming.

Pathological charmers are mostly narcissists. The narcissist is confident that people find him irresistible. His unfailing charm is part of his self-imputed omnipotence.

This in any conviction is what makes the narcissist a pathological charmer.

The somatic narcissist and the histrionic, flown to their sex appeal, virility or femininity, sexual prowess, musculature, physique, training or athletic achievements. The cerebral narcissist seeks to enchant intellectual pyrotechnics.

Many narcissists brag about their wealth, health, possessions, collections, spouses, children, personal history, family tree, assets, in short, anything that garners an attention and renders both types of narcissists firmly believe that being unique, they are entitled to special treatment by others.

They deploy their charm offenses in order to manipulate their nearest and dearest or even complete strangers and use them as instruments of gratification.

Exerting personal magnetism and charisma become ways of asserting control and overriding other people's personal boundaries.

The pathological charmer feels superior to the person he is captivating and frustrating. As far as he is concerned, charming someone means having power over her, controlling her or even subjugating her.

It is all a mind game and possibly a power play. The person to be enthralled, to be captivated, is an object, a mere prop and of dehumanized utility.

In some cases, pathological charmers involve more than a grain of Satan.

It provokes in the narcissist a sexual arousal by inflicting the pain of subjugation of the beguile who cannot help but be enchanted.

Counterproductively, the pathological charmer engages in infantile and magical thinking.

He uses charm to help maintain object constancy and fend off abandonment in other words to ensure that the person he bewitched won't disappear on you suddenly.

Some narcissists like to surprise people. They drop in and announce they organize events or parties unbidden.

They make decisions on behalf of unsuspecting parties. They help compulsively and forcefully.

This variety of pathological charmers believe that their mere presence guarantees the gratitude and delight of the intended targets of their generous and spontaneous campaigns.

Pathological charmers react with rage and aggression when their intended targets prove to be impervious and resistant to their lure.

This kind of narcissistic injury, being spurned, being rebuffed, makes narcissists feel threatened, rejected and denuded.

Being ignored amounts to a challenge to the narcissist's uniqueness, entitlement, control and superiority.

Narcissists wither without constant narcissistic supply. They shrivel like a flower without water and sunshine.

When their charm fails to elicit narcissistic supply, they feel unarmed, non-existent, disintegrating and even dead.

Expectably, they go to great lengths to secure a narcissistic supply.

It is only when their efforts are frustrated that the mask of civility and congeniality drops and reveals the true face of the narcissist, a predator on the prowl.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like the following:

Why Narcissist Devalues YOU (Hint: Wants YOU "Dead")

Narcissists devalue their partners as a form of self-defense and control. There are two types of devaluation: preemptive and reactive. Preemptive devaluation occurs when a narcissist is in a transitional state between overt and covert narcissism, and they devalue potential sources of supply to prevent the overt side from using them against the covert side. Reactive devaluation is a response to a perceived threat to the narcissist's grandiosity or control. Both types of devaluation are harmful to the victim and serve to maintain the narcissist's sense of power and control.

Narcissist Re-idealizes Discarded Sources of Narcissistic Supply

Narcissists keep discarded sources of supply in reserve and seek them out when they have no other supply source. They frantically try to recycle their old sources and re-idealize them without admitting to having been mistaken in the first place. To preserve their grandiosity, they come up with a narrative that accommodates both the devaluing content and the re-idealized image of the source. If you are an old source of narcissistic supply, simply ignore the narcissist as indifference is what they cannot stand.

Narcissist Has No Friends

Narcissists treat their friends like Watson and Hastings, who are obsequious and unthreatening, and provide them with an adulating gallery. Narcissists cannot empathize or love, and therefore have no real friends. They are interested in securing narcissistic supply from narcissistic supply sources. The narcissist overvalues people when they are judged to be potential sources of supply, and devalues them when no longer able to supply him, ultimately leading to the alienation and distancing of people.

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: Irresistible Charmer

Narcissists use charm to manipulate and control others, seeking attention and admiration. They use their charisma to exert power over people and view those they charm as objects for their gratification. Pathological charm can involve sadism and is used to maintain object constancy and fend off abandonment. Narcissists react with rage and aggression when their charm fails to elicit narcissistic supply, revealing their true predatory nature.

Remain Friends with the Narcissist?

Narcissists are only friendly when they need something from you, such as narcissistic supply, help, support, votes, money, or sex. They also become friendly when they feel threatened and want to smother the threat with pleasantries. Narcissists are also over-friendly when they have just been infused with an overdose of narcissistic supply. Some people prefer to live with narcissists because they have been conditioned to treat narcissistic abuse as background noise and are compensated for the abuse by the thrills provided by living with a narcissist. However, inverted narcissists are typically unhappy and in need of help, which suggests that they are victims who experience the Stockholm Syndrome.

Narcissist's Objects and Possessions

Narcissists have a complex relationship with objects and possessions, with some being accumulators who jealously guard their belongings and others being discarders who give away their possessions to sustain their sense of control. Objects provide emotional decor and elicit narcissistic supply, and the narcissist often compares people to the inanimate. Narcissists collect proofs and trophies of their sexual prowess, dramatic talent, past wealth, or intellectual achievements, and these objects operate through the mechanism of narcissistic branding. The narcissist is a pathogen who transforms his human and non-human environment alike, objectifying people and anthropomorphizing objects to optimize or maximize narcissistic supply.

How Narcissist's Victims Deceive Themselves

Narcissists cannot be cured and are a threat to those around them. Victims of narcissists often confuse shame with guilt and attribute remorsefulness to the narcissist when they are actually feeling shame for failing. Narcissists are attracted to vulnerable people who offer them a secure source of narcissistic supply. Healing is dependent on a sense of security in a relationship, but the narcissist is not interested in healing and would rather invest their energy in obtaining narcissistic supply. Narcissists lack empathy and cannot understand others, making them a danger to those around them.

Issues in Narcissistic Supply

Narcissists devalue their sources of supply for the very qualities that make them sources of supply in the first place. The narcissist resents his dependency on narcissistic supply and perceives intimacy and sex as a threat to his uniqueness. Narcissistic supply includes all forms of attention, both positive and negative, fame, notoriety, adulation, fear, applause, approval. Narcissists frantically try to recycle their old and wasted sources when they have absolutely no other sources of supply at their disposal.

Best New Year Resolution: Fake Friend Out!

Fake friends are not your friends, they are your enemies. They enable your dark side, your self-destructiveness, your self-harm. They are envious of you and are always parasitic. Fake friends are covert, have no moral compass, and are feral, savage, antisocial, psychopathic, and narcissistic. The best thing you can do for yourself this coming New Year is to rid yourself of their presence.

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