Q&A Fantasy of Gifted Narcissist plus Why We Love, Hate, and Envy Celebrities, Prodigies and Gurus

Uploaded 5/18/2020, approx. 47 minute read

I am sitting on mini with a mug, only to be expected, I am sure most of you see.

This is the first of a series of two videos. In this video, I will respond to many of your questions about Mutation, the shared fantasy, the relationships between narcissists and borderlines, and also I will discuss celebrities. Celebrities, geniuses, frauds and so on and so forth. It's kind of a riff on yesterday's ill-received video.

And then the next video will deal with the inner world of the artist. What does it mean to be an artist? What is the experience, inner experience of being an artist? Is it related somehow inevitably to narcissism or it can be divorced from narcissism?

So here it goes.

This is the agenda for today. I also encourage you to watch the webinar that I have uploaded. It was organized by the talks.

And there are some amazing things there, some amazing speakers. Not me, or shall I say not only me, but really some very interesting stuff, techniques, how to cope, how to survive, how to reacquire meaning and purpose in life, resilience, happiness in times of pandemic by people who have been there. Not only therapists and scholars, which abound in the webinar, but also people who have come through chronic illness, severe, life-threatening, chronic illness, and thereby had the experience of social distancing and isolation long before the pandemic. I really, really encourage you to watch the webinar. You will benefit greatly from it.

So I'll start by responding to your questions.

The first question was, is fantasy an aberration? Is it like an exception with the narcissist or is it a permanent state of mind?

That's an easy one and a short one. Fantasy is a permanent state of mind of the narcissist.

That's why we say that the narcissist has fantastic grandiosity. The narcissist lives, inhabits his fantasy land. He is divorced from reality and he has very poor reality testing.

What the narcissist tries to do, he tries to recreate his childhood grandiose fantastic inflationary unrealistic self, the self that had not been subjected to reality testing. And it had not been subjected to reality testing because in many narcissists, this grandiose self was supported by parents, there.

The parents of the narcissist put him on a pedestal, isolated him from reality, shielded him from frustration, and didn't allow his self to evolve organically into a fully functioning entity.

Alternatively, whenever he did succeed to integrate his self, or as the Jungians call it, to constellate the self, whenever he did succeed to put himself together, abusive parents, classically abusive parents, disrupted this experience. They challenged the child's nascent grandiosity.

The question is, why do children need grandiosity to develop the self? Because reality is bruising, reality is painful, reality is hurtful.

Only if you are grandiose, you're willing as a child to assume the risk of interacting and interfacing with reality. You need grandiosity as a protection.

And that's why when children get stuck at this stage, they have grandiosity for life. They become narcissists. They have a false self.

And the main role of a false self is to protect them.

Now, the parents who put the child on a pedestal doesn't allow his self to be in touch with reality. So his self is dilapidated, atrophied, untested.

And the parents who abuse the child constantly doesn't allow the child to have grandiosity. They mock the child, humiliate the child, invade the child boundaries, do not allow the child to separate.

So in both cases, the reaction could be narcissism.

And so the adult narcissist tries to recreate this grandiose inflationary childhood self.

But then the voices inside his head, the introjects, counter this grandiose self. He experiences equally fantastic, equally unrealistic deflationary injuries and mortifications.

You remember, mortification? And these deflationary voicesthese voices that tell him you're bad, you're worthless, you're a failure, you're nobody, you're nothing, you're a loser. You will never make it. It's all in your head. You're insane.

All these voices, they are the introjects. They are the internalized voices of mother, for example, other parental caregivers, parent-like caregivers, teachers, and even peers if the exposure is sufficiently low.

So there's deflation in any case. Either the deflation is because the narcissist is ill-equipped to deal with reality, having been idolized as a child, or the deflation is because he has an inner voice or voices that deflate him.

The problem starts when the narcissist is really gifted. The giftedness of the narcissist keeps this vicious cycle going because it enables the narcissist to justify his grandiosity time and again.

His giftedness, his talents, his precocity protect him from frustration. They allow him to recreate the grandiose self.

So ironically, the gifted narcissist is pretty hopeless because he's deflated, then he does something really amazing, he's very creative, and he's back to square one. He's grandiose again.

And so gifted narcissists are very self-hating. They're very self-destructive because they hate their gift. The gift is the curse.

Had gifted narcissists been less gifted, the cycle may have ended long ago. They may have learned to sort of regulate or moderate the ups and downs of inflation and deflation. The fantasy may have been kind of worn out or amortized by reality, but the gift, the talent, the genius protects the narcissist from this kind of exposure.

So this kind of narcissist escalates his attempts to negate his gift with incontrovertible proof of his inferiority and with self-defeating self-destructive acts.

In other words, this kind of narcissist tries to mortify himself into reality.

Do you remember what we said in the previous videos?

Mortification is about coming back to reality, coming back to earth, kind of discarding the false self, even for a minute, and facing yourself and your environment in real terms.

And so we will discuss prodigies and geniuses and celebrities and so on in this video, and we will also discuss impostors, and we will discuss the artist, the really creative person, in the next video.

Another question was about the shared fantasy. I was asked if idealization is an integral part of the shared fantasy, and the answer is yes, of course.

The narcissist idealizes the partner in order to allow her to perform her roles within the shared fantasy, and her role within the shared fantasy is of course to provide the three S's, sex, supply and services, especially supply.

The first role is an admirer, a fan, an acolyte, a disciple, a follower. So to do this, the narcissist needs to idealize her because what good is it to receive narcissistic supply from an idiot, or from an ugly woman, or from a stupid woman, or from the narcissist needs to not see his partner in real terms, black and white combined shades of gray.

So the narcissist splits her.

Idealization and later devaluation are splitting reactions. They are manifestations of the primitive defense mechanism, the infantile defense mechanism of splitting. So he splits her, he idealizes him, makes her all good, all perfect, all brilliant, all amazing, all drop-dead gorgeous, all irresistible, and this allows her to perform her role.

If this kind of woman is mine, it says something about me.

And so he uses splitting, denial, confirmation bias, he enters the role of rescuer, wizard, he wears the wunderkind mask as a genius, grandiosity, we discuss all this.

And so another question I was asked is, how does the narcissist experience the shared fantasy?

He experiences it like role-playing, role-playing game. A movie he's an actor following an unpredictable, thrilling, unfolding script. He seeks novelty, he seeks risk, he's reckless, he's a child in a sandbox, and this is why the shared fantasy is usually confined to trips, vacations. Daily life can never amount to a shared fantasy because it is demanding and inexorably leads to the interstitial phase and the antiphones.

In daily life, there are always demands, always expectations, and these demands and expectations drag the narcissist down by elevating him into another. In daily life, the narcissist is expected to be an adult, and so the shared fantasy collapses. It is exactly the reason, for example, why most narcissists are not willing to court women, to invest in women, to spend time with them, to listen to their stories, to display empathy, even to fake it. Most narcissists are not willing even to fake coaching, even to fake wooing the woman, even to spend some time with her.


Because this is adult behavior. It undermines the shared fantasy in which the narcissist is a grandiose-inflated child self.

Courting also negates the grandiose entitlement because the narcissist believes himself so irresistibly unique that women should fall at his feet unbidden. He should not have to work for what is his by right. He's entitled.

And so women who expect this courtship or anything else from the narcissist, let alone women who make their expectations a condition for their availability, these kind of women infuriate the narcissist. They threaten the cohesiveness of his false self, which is essentially a childlike grandiose self deified.

And so the narcissist reacts with aggression and abuse.

The sad irony is that most of the narcissist's abusive conduct is reactive, but it's not a reaction necessarily to the other party's abuse. It's a reaction to the other party's totally justified and realistic expectations and demands in a relationship.

And so expectations and demands lead inexorably and directly to anti fantasy.

I'll ask if the narcissist cannot return to the woman who had betrayed the shared fantasy, the woman who had exited the shared fantasy, the woman who had co-authored the shared fantasy with the narcissist.

Then why does he Hoover?

Well, I was a bit imprecise in what I said. The narcissist cannot Hoover, cannot return to a woman who had betrayed the shared fantasy and exited the shared fantasy without his prompting of a woman who exists, exits the shared fantasy, who doubts the narcissist, who cheats on the narcissist, ostentatiously, egregiously, who somehow upsends herself emotionally or physically without the narcissist's approval, prompting permission of a woman who does this on her own initiative as a display of personal autonomy and independence.

This kind of woman is done and done. She's deleted. She's in the narcissist's black book, black list.

So the way the woman exists, the shared fantasy determines whether she's hovered in the future or not. As long as there's any shred, shred of possibility of reviving the shared fantasy, the narcissist will Hoover.

Narcissist is not attached to the shared fantasy itself. Narcissist is not attached to any of its details. And of course, the narcissist is not attached to the woman in the shared fantasy, to his intimate partner because she doesn't exist. Narcissists are incapable of perceiving other people as full fledged entities or human beings with their own separate separateness and autonomy, personal autonomy.

So there's no attachment to any of this, not to the fantasy, not to the woman, not a relationship. Narcissist is attached only to one thing within the shared fantasy. He's attached to the way the shared fantasy made him feel. He grieves the passing of the self-fantasy, self-referentially, autoerotically.

When in the throes of the shared fantasy, when he's inside the shared fantasy, the narcissist is a lie. It's an addiction. It's a drug. He's like, you know, LSD loosing in the sky with diamonds. He's floating. He's above earth. He's a helium filled, full of himself, full, scrumptious, inflated. He's divorced from reality, which he hates vehemently.

The woman's indispensable role in the fantasy solely as a mere theater prop or in biological terms, biochemical terms, catalysts. Her presence is required, but she should remain mute. Exactly like a catalyst, catalyst is a molecule that facilitates and hastens and accelerates biochemical processes without participating in them.

The woman's function is only to counterfactually, against the facts, buttress all the elements of the narcissist's grandiosity, affirm to the narcissist that his fantasy, his grandiose fantasy is not a fantasy. It's actually reality because there's a witness, an external objective witness, the narcissist's intimate partner. And she says the fantasy is reality and this makes him feel elated, high, happy.

So the narcissist idealizes the woman in order to facilitate the shared fantasy or to resolve mortification.

Once, remember when the narcissist is externally mortified, sometimes he idealizes the person who had mortified him. So he idealizes, for example, an intimate partner who had cheated on him and mortified him. So that's one thing.

And he takes effects. He disinvest emotionally. He vanishes emotionally in order to switch off the shared fantasy and move on to the next one.

So the idealization evaluation cycle is closely connected to the various phases of fantasy. And it is also brought on by them.

Some people are addicted to love. Some people are addicted to risk. Some people are addicted to making money or to thrills.

The narcissist is addicted to fantasize and not only in interpersonal relationships, he's addicted to fantasizing in business, for example.

So we all know the kind of narcissist who keeps coming up with get rich quick schemes, which never work. He prefers to live. He prefers to imagine and to plan and to daydream than to actually act and do. It's a part of perfectionism. Procrastination is a part of perfectionism.

And so the narcissist would have liked to live all his life in fantasy, if it were possible. Fortunately, it's not.

And similarly, this affects the narcissist's sexuality or at least sexual practices with women. The sex with a woman is similarly at the service of securing the stability of the shared fantasy and humiliating and degrading the woman so as to prove to himself that he is irresistible.

And the narcissist also wants to prove that there is an addictive quality to his presence because here is humiliating, debasing, degrading, denigrating, disgusting her and everything. And she keeps coming for more.

So she must be addicted to him.

So the cathexis, the emotional investment is in the shared fantasy, not in the woman, not in the relationship.

I saw that this confusion happened a lot in your questions. And this is why, when the narcissist accepts the fantasy's demise, he decafects overnight. He disappears overnight, literally sometimes.

In the next day, next morning, he's with another person. He transitions with alacrity to the next shared fantasy because they're all interchangeable. As long as the fantasy has any life or hope left in it, the narcissist mourns its imminent passing. He tries to reverse it. He is mortified by his expiry or he hovers.

But he never grieves over any aspect of his intimate partner. I miss her because. There's no I miss her because. He doesn't grieve even the relationship itself. What he grieves is the shared fantasy in which he had been exclusively invested. He grieves his state of mind during the shared fantasy, not the reality of the shared fantasy.

He doesn't miss or dwell on sex, on common activities, on memories, on plans. They're all interchangeable, commodified components of the shared fantasy. He can have them with any woman and he does.

What he does grieve are the outcomes of mortification, the renewed loss of innocence and being forced to revert to reality and to confront himself in an unforgiving, unflinching, cruel and unflattering mirror.

So the minute the partner tries to transition from simulation to reality, the miniature refuses to participate in the shared fantasy or tries to convert it to reality. I don't know. She attempts to extract unilateral benefits, material or otherwise. She demands sex, time, attention, sharing, boring, or obstructs his work.

The minute the woman makes any demands or ultimatance, expresses expectations, verbally abuses him, narcissistically injures him. The minute she of course she cheats on him or betrays him in any way, the minute she asks questions, she disagrees, she criticizes, she mocks, she shows disappointment, she withholds any of the three S's, sex, supply, services. I mean, the minute any of these happen or any combination of the above, this is perceived as criticism and devaluation, as a challenge to the narcissist's grandiosity and it kills the shared fantasy dead in its tracks.

The shared fantasy dissipates and suddenly the narcissist is this cool, unflinching, cold, freezing, robot-like person.


Because he is disenchanted. The enchantment, vanish. Instantly and totally gives up on his partner. Emotionally, he decafates. He discards the fantasy, the roleplay of the game.

Another phase which I didn't dwell upon in previous videos is what I call latency. It's the second interstitial phase.

So there's shared fantasy, interstitial phase one, anti-fantasy, mortification, and interstitial phase two, latency. It is a switch from external mortification to auto-plastic internal mortification or vice versa, which I elaborated on in previous videos, from internal mortification to auto-plastic external mortification or vice versa. It's cycling between two mortifications.

The narcissist tries in this latency phase to reconstruct the false self with doses of grandiosity, to assume responsibility and implied control or to cast everyone involved as evil and seek to punish them.

Once his grandiosity is restored, he moves on to the next fantasy.

Remember how we started this video long ago when we were much younger? We started it by describing the gifted narcissist.

And there's a problem here. The narcissist, no matter how gifted, always has this imposter syndrome. He always feels that he's a fraud.

Simultaneously, he feels that he's a genius and a fraud. It's a kind of cognitive ambivalence, if you wish.

A new term. He harbors both cognitions simultaneously.

In reality, the narcissist is prone to shortcuts and shallowness. The narcissist always feels like a fraud, even when his accomplishments are commendable with his grandiose fantasies.

But this all pervasive conviction serves several paradoxical psychological functions.

First of all, it supports the narcissist's sense of omnipotent superiority. I'm able to deceive everyone into believing my tall tales. I must be a genius.

The feeling that he's a fraud justifies the narcissist's profound belief that everyone like him is just pretending to know things, pretending to have skills that they do not possess. In other words, everyone is a fraud. Had everyone not been a fraud, they would have spotted him as a fraud. And the fact that they did not spot him and did not expose him long ago shows that they are frauds as well.

And finally, feeling a fraud gives him a license to indulge his intellectual laziness and his emotional absence. He gets by without investing too much, so I bother.

Feeling a fraud also constantly generates the adrenaline rush. That's the antisocial psychopathic element in extreme narcissists, malignant narcissists.

Defrauding people, pulling the wool over their eyes, it's exciting. It gives you an adrenaline rush that narcissists are addicted to. It's also the tantalizing fear of being outed as the con artist that he truly is sometimes. Fake it till you make it.

And this brings me to gurus, mystics and life coaches or coaches, actually.

Yesterday, I watched a cliche spewing self-styled mystic yogi guru, grandiose, half educated, naturally. And this guy sat on stage and informed a professor of medicine in one of the Ivy League universities that the West knows nothing about the human body. That's this Indian mystic, self-styled Indian mystic, self-imputed guru. Does he have any education in medicine? Western or Eastern? No. None. Does he have any education? Yes. Utterly irrelevant to the claims that he's making in literally every field.

And to say that the West knows nothing about the human body, does he know what the West knows? Did he graduate a medical school in the West to realize what the West knows and doesn't know? Of course not. Baseless claims. What did the sage professor on stage do when he heard this unmitigated nonsense? He nodded his enthusiastic assent as he nearly kissed the hand of this derisible fake.

And unfortunately, it's a common sight, and narcissists capitalize on this.

People in the West seek wisdom and enlightenment in the East, from men, never women, by the way. Many of them are cunning, self-enriching, common artists.

Regrettably, this phenomenon has spread to the East as well.

It is very, very common in India now, for example. One example. Millions of people are into it. Israel.

The mindless obsequiousness to such people, all of them rank narcissists, malignant, psychopathic narcissists.

This regards the fact that Eastern philosophies, so-called, are largely a hodgepodge of incomprehensible, rank nonsense, and that the only visible outcomes of the alleged perspicacity and sagacity and wisdom of these Indian mystic yogis, the only results of their millennia of intellectual trash, is the dirt-poor, disease-infested, garbage-heaps that they call cities and homes.

Mind you, these yogi mystics don't live in these trash-heaps. They live in palaces. They live in palaces financed by the brain-dead, by their brain-dead followers. They live in gated communities.

I'm not depressed. Asians are absolutely right to have chosen Western values and knowledge over anything their home-grown so-called spiritual scammers have to offer. Asians chose correctly.

The West, unfortunately, now sports its own crop of psychopathic narcissists who purvey inane messages to the desperate, ignorant, gullible, paranoid. Not nice to say moronic and utterly disoriented muscles.

Apparently, there is a giant lurking waiting to be awakened in every one of us. Delusional grandiosity. Apparently, we can accomplish anything we put our mind to, and we can attract good fortune just by thinking very hard about it.

What is good fortune? Money. What do you do with money? You get beautiful girls. If we only want these things real bad, long enough, we're going to get them.

And this is known, of course, as a pathology, infantile magical thinking. There is the obverse, there is the converse view that the world is hostile, a jungle, much more sinister than it seems. And this is known as persecutory ideation.

And this kind of creed is propagated by conspiracy theories, the inanity and insanity of which defies logic, starting with alien reptilians who took over all leadership positions in the West and ending with the Illuminati. No one knows who they are and what they are.

In the meantime, the callous fraudsters who brainwash millions of idiots and tens of millions of wannabes with promises of instant success, instant riches or occult information, they are laughing all the way to the bank and usually to multiple banks. Their message is simple. If I narcissist, psychopath, fraud, con artist, uneducated, ignorant, hunk, if I made it, so can you. You know what? I'll tell you the secret how I made it. I'll tell you everything you need to know. Of course, you have to pay me $50,000 in stages, but I'm going to share this with you. Increasingly more grandiose, people are injured and humiliated by and shunned the truly intelligent, the experts, the knowledgeable and the insightful.

This has been very evident in this pandemic. People opt for a thus fake gold. People become irrational. They believe in occult and the occult in all kinds of bizarre religions.

It is not surprising that the Western trickster, the so-called coaches, philosophers, public intellectuals, conspiracy theorists, these Western tricksters often quote their colleagues in the East, the Indian phonies, and they are all specimen of the same family of lethal intellectual viruses in human form.

That is not to say that there are no real geniuses, real prodigies, real precautious gifted children who later become, some of them, a minority actually, gifted adults.

The prodigy, the precautious genius, feels entitled to special treatment, yet he rarely gets it and this frustrates him and renders him even more aggressive, more driven, and more overachieving than he is by nature.

As one of my favorite authors points out, Karen Horney, the child prodigy is dehumanized. He is instrumentalized. His parents love him, not for what he really is, but for what they wish and imagine him to be.

He is the fulfillment of their dreams and frustrated wishes, whether he wants or not. The child becomes the vessel of his parents' discontented lives, a tool, an instrument, the magic brush with which they can transform their failures into successes, their humiliation into victory, their frustrations into happiness.

I keep saying that some parents put the child on the pedestal and some parents put the pedestal on the child.

The child is taught to ignore reality and to occupy the parental fantastic space.

Such an unfortunate child feels omnipotent and in charge, perfect and brilliant, worthy of adoration and entitled to special treatment.

The faculties at home are constantly brushing against bruising reality, empathy, compassion, a realistic assessment of one's abilities and limitations, realistic expectations of oneself and others, personal boundaries, teamwork, social skills, perseverance, goal orientation, not to mention the ability to postpone gratification and work hard to achieve it.

All these are lacking or missing altogether because the child prodigy is never in touch with reality. He is forced to become a narcissist. He is forced to live in fantasy.

Narcissism is a form, the ultimate form of fantasy. It's a fantasy roleplay and this child, when he turns adult, he sees no reason to invest in his skills and education.

He's convinced that his inherent genius should suffice if he's entitled for merely being rather than for actually doing.

It reminds me of the of the nobility or aristocracy in days gone by. These people felt entitled not because they had some merit or skills or acquired some education. They felt entitled because it was the inevitable foreordained outcome, a birthright, just because they were born.

In other words, the child prodigy tells narcissist is not meritocratic but aristocratic.

Narcissist is born. Not all precocious prodigies end up under-accomplished and petulant. Many of them go on to attain great stature in their communities, great standing in their professions.

But even then, the gap between the kind of treatment they believe that they deserve and the kind of treatment they're getting is never bridgeable.

They never feel that they are a success because if your goal is to be infinitely perfect and brilliant, you can never be successful.

By definition, you're setting yourself up for permanent, constant and consistent failure.

This is because narcissistic prodigies often misjudge the extent and importance of their accomplishments on the one hand. And as a result, erroneously consider themselves to be indispensable and worthy of special rights, perks and privileges.

When they find out otherwise, they're devastated and furious.

And on the other hand, their own standards are so impossibly, statistically high, that they can never satisfy or gratify their lust for success.

And of course, the environment is not helpful. People are envious of the prodigy.

The genius of the prodigy serves as a constant reminder to others of their own mediocrity, lack of creativity, mundane existence.

The prodigy or the narcissist, gifted narcissist, is like, you know, a reprimand.

Naturally, people try to bring the narcissist, the gifted narcissist down to their level, to cut him down to size.

And the gifted person's haughtiness, arrogance, high handedness, contempt, only exacerbate this strained relationship.

In a way merely by existing, the prodigy inflicts constant repeated narcissistic injuries on the less endowed in the pedestrian.

This creates a vicious cycle.

People try to hurt and harm the over-winning and arrogant genius and he becomes defensive, aggressive, aloof, or eccentric. This renders him even more obnoxious than before and others resent him more deeply and more thoroughly and so on and so forth. Hurt and wounded, some of them retreat into fantasies of grandeur and revenge and the cycle recommences.

Harvey Blackley, who has written by far the best book ever on psychopathy, The Mask of Sanity, has a chapter about psychopathic or narcissistic geniuses and it's titled The Eratic Man of Genius. By the way, this is the book. It's available online, free of charge.

The Mask of Sanity, Harvey Blackley. This is the fifth edition. I'm not sure whether it's available online, but the first and second editions are.

So he says in The Eratic Man of Genius, Harvey Blackley, he says, the concept of genius as a type of madness is particularly associated with Lombroso, Cesare Lombroso, who in 1888 with his book, The Man of Genius, advanced his familiar hypothesis that genius is a degenerative psychosis, you should have asked me, a sort of moral insanity.

By the way, the same term used for psychopathy, moral insanity. A sort of moral insanity, which may at times take the form of other mental disorders, but which preserve certain distinguishing characteristics.

Another author, Gresset, following a similar line of thought, gives some striking examples.

Todd's story of woe and peace fame is said to have latched himself with robes and to have fallen a considerable distance while attempting to fly before he became preoccupied with wandering seriously whether to abandon civilization for a primitive life in the desert.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau's many false starts as medical student, clockmaker, theologian, painter, servant, musician and botanist are noted, as well as Rousseau's curious letter addressed to God Almighty, which he placed under the altar of Notre Dame, probably trying to avoid the postage.

Rousseau's expressed repugnance toward the normal sex act is also noted.

Take Schopenhauer. Schopenhauer's peculiarities, long famous, are reviewed by Gresset. His abnormal attitude of aesthetic distaste towards women, his morbid suspiciousness, which led him to write even trivial notes in dead languagesand his occasional assaults on unsuspecting bystanders, who Schopenhauer fancied were talking about him, all these suggest a deep set while adjustment.

Unusual and apparently irrational behavior, says Cleckley, has indeed been so commonly reported in the lives of those acclaimed as great artists and thinkers, that there is a popular tendency to regard it as the rule rather than the exception.

Vincent van Gogh's career is a familiar example. He is justly celebrated, exploited, in cutting off his own ear and sending it to a prostitute, in harm, is one of many.

Richard Wagner, according to some of his biographers, manifested an utter disregard for the feelings and the rights of others, petty vanityand sometimes a callousness almost worthy of the psychopath.

Nordau has indeed said that Wagner is accused of having a greater degree of degeneracy than all the other degenerates heretofore seen put together. Nordau has never met me, obviously.

Jonathan Swift, in his poem The Lady's Dressing Room, by the way, I read this poem, the most appalling, disgusting, really sick creation. It's available online.

Jonathan Swift, in his poem The Lady's Dressing Room and in other writings, manifests an attitude so basically distorted that it is difficult not to believe that he was a very ill man, psychiatrically.

In an interesting discussion of life-rejecting attitude and their relation to obsessive disorder, Strauss makes clear something that is probably not only pertinent to that syndrome but also to other psychiatric conditions.

The basic emotional judgment expressed by Swift might, if it were an unconscious stratum in the psychopath, play an important part in his clinical manifestations.

He, collectively, admits that Swift is not a classic psychopath, to use an understatement.

The life of these learned, conscientious, and brilliant men, I would add charitable and altruistic, does not, however, show behavioral features that would in any way suggest is being classed in our group of psychopaths, nor do the other celebrated figures mentioned above, despite these reports of eccentricity and or various psychiatric manifestations.

I granted an interview to Forbes magazine three years ago and they asked me, how do you define prodigy? And I said a prodigy or a wunderkind in German is a young, precautious person whose achievements far exceed the accomplishments typical of his peers and age group.

And then I was asked, there seems to be a lot of attention paid to child prodigies, but what happens when these folks mature? Do many mature into adult leaders in their fields? What are the biggest challenges facing child prodigies as they age?

And I answered briefly, briefly, can you imagine?

Recent studies seem to indicate that prodigies grow up to become narcissistic underachievers.

And so they asked, why is it that most child prodigies fall into fields like math, chess, or music, rather than a field like literature?

Well, I answered fields like literature require maturity and life experience.

Prodigies, no matter how gifted, rarely possess the requisite emotional spectrum and acquaintance with the nuances and subtleties of human relationships or the accumulated knowledge that comes from firsthand exposure to the ups and downs of reality.

Time to cheat on mini second time. Poor mini.

In contrast, the manipulation of symbols in mathematics, music or chess does not require anything except the proper neurological hardware and software and access to widely available objective knowledge.

In a way, prodigies can be compared to computers, both excel in simple manipulation, but they fail to impress in other more fuzzy undertakings.

In another interview, I dwelt at length, as usual for me, on prodigy psychology.

Question. It seems that parents, private tutors, and even the geographic location, metropolitan area, upper middle class, access to museums, libraries, universities, all these parameters of the prodigy play an important role in their development, especially initially.

Are there any solid examples of prodigies that came from destitute learning environments, such as uninterested parents, lack of tutors for financial reasons, or from rural or impoverished cities? If so, what can you attribute to their success?

By the way, a perfect description of my childhood. I answer, precautious prodigies seem to be a culture-bound phenomenon.

There are far fewer gifted children in the collectivist societies of Asia and Africa, for instance.

Based as they are on statistical comparisons and ranking, Western IQ tests reflect the values of competition and individualism.

Epsofacto, prodigies proliferate in rich, white, narcissistic, developed civilizations, and not in the poorer ambiences of the third world, the inner cities, and minority communities.

Still, if you study the biographies of hundreds of men and far fewer women who started life as wunderkinde, you will find that many of them actually hailed from underprivileged backgrounds, replete with indigence, familial dysfunction, racial or other discrimination, and other forms of deprivation.

Thus, one would do well to distinguish between two types of prodigies, the pampered, corseted, tutored, often narcissistic type, versus the prodigy child, the precautious child, whose excellence is the only way of fleeing the miserableness of his or her circumstances.

The second type of gifted youngster leverages what endowments he possesses to extricate himself from his destitute surroundings and to restore hope to an otherwise bleak existence.

Do you think that the current primary public school system in the United States, with some of its shortcomings, such as lack of funding and inflexibility and accommodating the special needs of children, do you think this system is a suitable environment for prodigy conducive to their development?

If the parents of a prodigious child cannot afford private schooling or tutor, are public universities, the only place they can turn to develop the needs of their child, are there any other alternatives, since a young prodigy may not be socially or emotionally capable of handling the university experience?

When I was nine years old, my IQ at the time measured 180, went up mysteriously late, and I was sent to study in the Technion, the Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel. I can tell you from first-hand experience that child prodigies are indeed ill-equipped to cope with such teleportation.

As the Europeans of the previous centuries realized, the optimal solution comprises a stimulating, catalyzing household coupled with a personal, hands-on, intellectually endowed, curious and empathic tutor.

By far, the more important factor is the former.

Thanks to modern technology, tutors are dispensable, the internet and television provide a far greater array of options than any pedagogue can.

As agents of socialization, as mentors, parents still matter though. It is from them that the gifted child should learn social and moral values, how to transform an ocean of oft-adulterated information into the pure crystal of structured knowledge, and how structured contextual knowledge, and how to rejoice in his or her own impulse to learn, to question, to create.

The solution, therefore, is not institutional. More classrooms, better facilities and accessories, highly qualified teachers, that's all nice. But it's not a solution. It is a family that should be strengthened, over-old, improved.

This institution is done. The role of the state is to provide caregivers with incentives and tools, including financial rewards, free supplementary education, to better nurture their gifted charges and progeny.

The child prodigy compensates with grandiose, fantastic and inflated self-efficacy. This kind of child says to himself, I can do anything if I just apply myself to it.

And this is because he has a deficient sense of agency.

The life I'm living is not mine.

So the child prodigy suppresses his true self because his parents' love is conditioned on the performance of a false self. You perform, we love you.

Consequently, the child feels that her life has been hijacked. She may suffer it by excelling and becoming proficient at what she does.

This way, she regains a modicum of mastery and control, however illusory.

Such attempts to carve out a parent-free enclave on each, often lead to pathologies such as eating disorders or substance abuse.

As an adult, the child prodigy becomes narcissistic, defiant, self-destructive, manipulative. She adopts one of several narratives. She can say, I'm the sleeping beauty princess in need of saving from my monstrous tormentors. Then she's a codependent. Or she can say, I'm the law and no one will tell me what to do and how to do it. I know best and one day I will shine again.

That's the antisocial or malignant narcissist. Or she can say, the world doesn't deserve me. It is too hostile. So I'm withdrawing from it. That's a paranoid, schizoid posture. Or she can say, I'm broken, unfixable and so free to act in any which way. And that's the entitled or borderline solution, which leads me of course to celebrities. I'm granted an interview to Superintervisante magazine in Brazil about celebrities. And they ask some very interesting questions, not necessarily about celebrities, but how we react to celebrities.

Because our reaction teaches a lot about our own narcissism.

So the first question was, fame and TV shows about celebrities usually have a huge audience. This is understandable. People like to see other successful people.

But why people like to see celebrities being humiliated? And I answered, as far as their followers and fans are concerned, celebrities fulfill two emotional functions.

Celebrities provide a mythical narrative, a morality play, a story that the fan can follow and identify with. And celebrities function as blank screens onto which the fans project their dreams, hopes, wishes, fears, plans, values, and desires.

It's a wish fulfillment canvas.

The slightest deviation from these prescribed roles by the celebrity provokes enormous rage, makes us want to punish, humiliate, annihilate, annihilate the deviant celebrities.

Ask John Lennon.

But why?

The magazine asks probably the shortest question in the history of magazine interviews. But why?

I'm trying to explain again.

When the human foibles of vulnerabilities and frailties of a celebrity are revealed, the fan feels humiliated. When the celebrity is revealed, exposed as having feet of clay, as being just an average job like anyone else, the fan feels cheated, hopeless, empty.

To reassert his self worth, the fan and follower of the celebrity must establish his or her moral superiority over the erring and sinful celebrity. The fan must teach the celebrity a lesson, show the celebrity who is boss.

It's a primitive defense mechanism, narcissistic grandiosity. It puts the fan on equal footing with the exposed and naked celebrity.

A bit of a longer question.

This taste for watching a person being humiliated has something to do with the attraction to catastrophe and tragedy.


There is always a sadistic pleasure and a morbid fascination in vicarious suffer.

Being spared the pains and tribulations others go through makes the observer feel chosen, secure, virtuous, privileged. The higher the celebrity rises, the harder the celebrity falls.

There is something gratified in Hubris deified and Hubris defied and punished.

A morality play, as I said.

Question. Do you believe the audience put themselves in the place of the reporter when he asks something embarrassing of a celebrity? Do they in some way take revenge from the reporter?

Answer. The reporter represents the bloodthirsty public, like in the Colosseum in Rome, during the Roman Empire, gladiators, bears, tigers.

Belittling celebrities are watching their comeuppance is the modern equivalent of the gladiator rink. Gossip used to fulfill the same function.

Now there must be media, social media, broadcast line, the slaughtering of fallen celebrities and gods. There is no question of revenge here, just schadenfreude, the guilty joy of witnessing your superiors penalized and cut down to sides.

In your country, the reporter asks, who are the celebrities people love to hate?

My answer? Israelis like to watch politicians and wealthy businessmen reduced, demeaned and slighted. Macedonia, where I'm living right now, all famous people, regardless of their vocation, are subject to intense proactive and destructive envy.

This love-hate relationship with their idols, this ambivalence, is attributed by psychodynamic theories of personal development to the child's emotions towards his parents.

Indeed, we transfer and we displace many negative emotions we harbor onto celebrities.

The reporter says, I would never dare ask some questions that reporters from some other program, Panico, ask the celebrities. What are the characteristics of people like these reporters?

Well, my answer is, these reporters are sadistic, ambitious, narcissistic, they lack empathy, self-righteous, pathologically and destructively envious with a fluctuating sense of self-worth, most probably in inferiority copies.

Question. Do you believe that actors and reporters want themselves to be as famous as the celebrities they tease? I think this is almost happening.

My answer is, the line is very thin. Newsmakers and newsmen and women are celebrities. They are celebrities, merely because they are public figures, merely because they are visible on the screen. And regardless of their true accomplishments, as we say, they are famous for being famous. Celebrities are famous for being famous. So, of course, such journalists were likely to fall prey to up-and-coming colleagues in an endless sort of perpetuating food chain. Question. I think that the fan-celebrity relationship gratifies both sides.

What are the advantages the fans get? What are the advantages the celebrities get?

My answer, there is an implicit contract between a celebrity and his fans. The celebrity is obliged to act the part, to fulfill the expectations of his admirers, not to deviate from the roles that his adulators impose, and he or she had accepted. In return, the fans shower the celebrity with admiration, adulation, affirmation, applause, they idolize him or her, and they make him or her feel omnipotent, immortal, larger than life, omniscient, superior, and sui genuis, unique.

What are the fans getting for their trouble? Asks the insistent report.

My answer. Above all, the ability to vicariously share the celebrity's fabulous and usually partly confabulated existence. The celebrity becomes their representative in fantasy-led, their extension, their proxy, the reification and embodiment of their deepest desires and most secret and guilty dreams.

Many celebrities are also world models, or father-mother figures. Celebrities are proof that there is more to life than drab and routine. Celebrities prove that beautiful, or shall we say perfect, people do exist, and that they do lead charmed lives. There is hope yet.

This is the celebrity's message to his fans. The celebrity is inevitable downfall that corruption is the modern day equivalent of the medieval morality play.

This trajectory, from rags to riches and fame and backs to rags or worse, this trajectory proves that order and justice do prevail in the universe, that hubris invariably gets punished, and that the celebrity is no better, neither is he superior to his fans.

The reporter insists, why are celebrities narcissists? How is this disorder born?

My answer. No one knows if pathological narcissism is the outcome of inherited traits, inherited proclivities, the sad result of abusive and traumatizing upbringing, or the confluence of both, which is probably the answer. Often in the same family, with the same set of parents, an identical emotional environment, even identical twins, some siblings grow to be malignant narcissists, while others are perfectly normal and yet others become co-dependent.

Surely this indicates a genetic predisposition of some people to develop narcissism. It would seem reasonable to assume, though at this stage there is not a shred of proof, that the narcissist is born with a propensity to develop narcissistic defenses. These are triggered by abuse or trauma during the formative years in infancy or during early adolescence. When I say abuse, I am referring to a spectrum of behaviors which objectify the child, treat the child as an extension of the caregiver, the parent, or as a mere instrument of gratification.

So, daunting on the child, smothering, spoiling, pampering, or as abusive, as beating the child, or starving the child. Abuse can be dished out by peers as well as by parents. It can be perpetrated by other trauma rules, like teachers.

And yet I have to correct your question, your premise, not on celebrities and narcissists. Some of them surely are, but not all. We all search for positive cues from people around us. These cues reinforce in us certain behavior patterns.

There is nothing special in the fact that the narcissist's celebrity does the same.

However, there are two major differences between the narcissistic and the normal personality.

The first is quantitative. The normal person is likely to welcome a moderate amount of attention, verbal and nonverbal, in the form of affirmation, approval, or admiration. Too much attention, though, is perceived as onerous and is avoided. Creepy, destructive and negative criticism is avoided altogether.

The narcissist in contract is the mental equivalent of an alcoholic. He is in such insatiable. He directs his whole behavior, in fact his life, to obtain these pleasurable tidbits of attention. He impends them in a coherent, completely biased picture of himself. He uses them to regulate his labile, fluctuating sense of self-worth and self-esteem.

To elicit constant interest, the narcissist projects onto others a confabulated, fictitious version of himself known as the false self. The false self is everything. The narcissist is not. It is omniscient, omnipotent, charming, intelligent, rich, perfect, brilliant, well connected.

And the narcissist then proceeds to harvest reactions to these projected fictitious, prevarication, image, script, narrative. He goes to family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, business partners, colleagues and he coerces them to react.

If these, the adulation, admiration, attention, fear, respect, applause, affirmation, if these are not forthcoming, the narcissist demands them, extorts them, money, compliments, a favorable critique, an appearance in the media, sexual conquest, all converted into the same currency in the narcissist mind, the coinage of narcissistic supply.

So the narcissist is not really interested in publicity per se or in being famous. Truly, his concerned with the reactions to his fame, how people watch him, notice him, talk about him, debate his actions.

It proves to him that he exists. The narcissist goes around hunting and collecting the way the expressions of people's faces change when they notice him. He places himself at the center of attention or even as a figure of controversy. He constantly and recurrently pesters those nearest and dearest to him in a bid to reassure himself that he is not losing his fame, his magic touch, the attention of his social milieu.

I would like to discuss one more thing, but it just occurred to me. So I am not that prepared.

It will take a minute during which I will again cheat on Mimi the third time in one hour, mind you.

You can imagine my sexual prowess.

One last thing I want to mention is acquired situational narcissism. In many cases, in celebrities, narcissistic personality disorder is a systemic or pervasive condition. It's very much like pregnancy. Either you have it or you don't have it. Once you have it, you have it day and night. It's an inseparable part of the personality, a recurrent set of behavior patterns.

Research by Ronin Stamm and others, however, showed that there is a condition which might be called transient or temporary or short-term narcissism as opposed to the full-fledged version.

Even prior to the discovery, reactive narcissistic regression was well known. People regress to a transient narcissistic phase in response to a major life crisis, which threatens the mental composure in reaction to, for example, mortification.

Transient narcissism, temporary narcissism, as it was called, is also a part of the development of other mental health disorders, for example, borderline, where there's this phase called failed narcissism.

Reactive or transient narcissism also may be triggered by medical or organic conditions. Brain injuries, for instance, have been known to induce narcissistic and antisocial traits and behaviors.

But can narcissism be acquired? Can it be learned? Can it be provoked by certain well-defined situations?

Robert B. Millman, professor of psychiatry at New York Hospital, Cornell Medical School, thinks that it can. He proposes to reverse the accepted chronology.

According to Millman, pathological narcissism can be induced in adulthood by celebrity, wealth and fame. Lydia Agulovska suggested that it can only form an integral part of CPTSD in victims of traumatic narcissistic abuse.

The victims, billionaire tycoons, movie stars, renowned authors, politicians, other authority figures. These people develop grandiose fantasies. They lose their erstwhile ability to empathize, their touch with reality. They react with rage to slights, both real and imagined. They become hypervigilant. In general, they act like textbook narcissists. It's a form of late onset or adult secondary narcissists.

And as I mentioned with Jurgen Gelowska's comment, it's very common in victims of complex post-traumatic stress disorder.

They are indistinguishable from borderlines and they become very grandiose.

But is the occurrence of acquired situational narcissism inevitable and universal or are only certain people prone to it?

It is likely that ASN, acquired situational narcissism, is merely an amplification of earlier narcissistic conduct, traits, style and tendencies.

Celebrities who develop late onset narcissism already had a narcissistic style or narcissistic personality, as Millon calls it. And they've acquired it long before it had erupted.

Being famous, powerful or rich, only exacerbated, legitimized, conferred immunity from social sanction on the unbridled manifestation of a pre-existing condition, indeed, or disorder.

Indeed, narcissists tend to gravitate to professions and settings which guarantee them fame, celebrity, power and wealth, probably because they want to legitimize this part of their personality.

As Millon correctly notes, the celebrity life is abnormal. Abnormal, the adulation is often justified and plentiful, the feedback biased and filtered, the criticism muted and belated, social control either lacking or excessive and vitriolic.

And such vicissitudinal existence, up and down, bipolar existence is not conducive to mental health, even in the most balanced person.

The confidence of a person's narcissistic predisposition and his pathological life circumstances, this gives rise to acquired situational narcissism, which borrows elements from both classic narcissistic personality disorder and from transient or reactive losses. It's ingrained and all pervasive, but it passes.

Celebrities are therefore unlikely to heal once their fame or wealth or might are gone.

Instead, what happens, their basic narcissism changes form. It continues unabated, as insidious as ever, but modified by life's cycle, rollercoaster.

In a way, all narcissistic disturbances are required. Patients acquire their pathological narcissism from abusive or overbearing parents, from peers, from role models. Narcissism is a defense mechanism designed to fend off hurt and danger brought on by circumstances, such as celebrity, which is beyond the person's control.

Social expectations play a role as well. Celebrities try to conform to the stereotype, romantic stereotype, of a creative but spoiled, self-centered, monomaniacal, and emotive individual. It's the 19th century or even late 18th century, kind of how a celebrity or an artist should act.

And my next video is dedicated to this, the artist.

And so society is essentially sending these signals, as a tacit trade takes place. We offer the famous and the powerful, all the narcissistic supply they crave, and they in turn, act the consummate, fascinating, albeit repulsive, narcissist.

But ASN may occur in a variety of other situations, co-dependence aiming to fend off knowing abandonment, anxiety. Such co-dependence can resort to and evolve narcissistic and even psychopathic behaviors and traits in order to cater to the whims of their loved ones.

In anomic societies in depraved culture or religious settings, in cults, for example, people with a conformist bent tend to adopt antisocial models of conduct and personal style so as to fit in to belong.

How can we tell whether one's narcissism is of the ephemeral derivative variety or an integral, immutable and inalienable feature of his or her personality?

Well, we can apply the test of three hours, remorse, remediation and restoration.

Revenge rarely provides closure. The trauma remains unsolved, let alone healed, even as the culprit gets punished.

Similarly, restitution, while it ameliorates and mitigates emotions such as helplessness and rage, is no substitute to closure. Closure requires the active and voluntary collaboration of the perpetrator and applying the three hours, remorse, remediation, restoration.

And to qualify, the remorse has to be expressed repeatedly and must be heartfelt. It should entail a modicum of sacrifice, embarrassment, inconvenience.

Regretting one's misdeeds in public is more convincing than sending a private missive or whispering, sorry, requires making amends and offering reparations, which are commensurate with the offending acts and bear some symbolic relation to these acts.

And thus, financial abuse can be absorbed only with the aid of a monetary, pecuniary compensation that corresponds to the damage done and suffered.

And finally, restoration involves affording one's victims the opportunity for closure, if not forgiveness, so that they can move on with their lives.

These are the tests.

If someone provides you with remorse, remediation, restoration, they are not psychopaths or narcissists.

True narcissists and psychopaths fail the three hours test at every turn. Their remorse is faint and ostentatious. They provide little or no recompense, and they never put themselves at the victim's disposal to allow her to achieve what she needs most, closure.

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