Recluse Narcissist

Uploaded 10/8/2011, approx. 3 minute read

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

Do narcissists have friends?

Well, not in the usual sense of the word, and not that they know of.

The narcissist is one-track-minded. He is interested in securing the provision of narcissistic supply, emanating from narcissistic supply sources.

He says that his world is as narrow as an ant's, to borrow a poetic term or phrase from the Hebrew lyrical poetess Rachele.

This sensuality also characterizes the narcissist's human and interpersonal relationships.

The narcissist is not interested in people as such.

Uncapable of empathizing, he is a solipsist, recognizing only himself as human. All others are to the narcissist's three-dimensional cartoons, tools and instruments in the tedious and sisyphean task of generating and consuming narcissistic supply.

In this sense, the narcissist is a predator.

The narcissist overvalues people when they are judged to be potential sources of supply. He then uses them and devalues them when they are no longer able or willing to supply him.

The narcissist discards people nonchalantly and offhandedly and abruptly.

This behavior pattern tends to alienate and to distance people from him.

Gradually, the social circle of the narcissist dwindles and ultimately vanishes. People around the narcissist, who are not alienated by the ugly succession of his acts and attitudes, are rendered desperate and fatigued by the turbulent nature of the narcissist's life.

The people still loyal to the narcissist gradually abandon him because they can no longer withstand and tolerate the ups and downs of his career, his moods, his confrontations and conflicts with authority, his chaotic financial state and the dissolution of his emotional affairs.

The narcissist is a kind of a human rollercoaster, fun for a limited time, nauseating in the long run.

This is one aspect of the process of narcissistic confinement.

Another example or another dimension.

Ever sensitive to outside opinion, the narcissist's behavior, choices, acts, attitudes, beliefs, interests, in short the narcissist's very life, is curtailed by this sensitivity.

The narcissist derives his ego functions from observing his reflection in other people's eyes.

Gradually he hones in on the right mixture of texts and actions which elicit narcissistic supply from his environment. Anything, and I mean anything, which might, however remotely, jeopardize and danger the availability or the quantity of narcissistic supply is censored by the narcissist.

The narcissist avoids certain situations, for instance, where he is likely to encounter opposition, to be tested, to undergo criticism or to be in a state of competition.

The narcissist refrains from certain activities and actions which are incompatible with his projected false self, which are incompatible with his omnipotence, omniscience, divine-like nature.

The narcissist employs a host of what I call emotional involvement prevention measures.

He becomes rigid, repetitive, predictable, boring, limits himself to safe subjects, such as endlessly himself, and to safe conduct, hysterical and raging when confronted with unexpected situations or with the slightest objection to his preconceived course of action.

The narcissist's rage is not so much a reaction to offended grandiosity as it is the outcome of panic.

The narcissist maintains a precarious balance, a mental house of cards, poised on the verge of a precipice.

His equilibrium is so delicate that anything can upset him.

A casual remark, a disagreement, a slight criticism, a hint, a fear or even his own imagination.

The narcissist magnifies all these into monstrous, ominous proportions.

To avoid these not so imagined threats to his precarious balance, the narcissist prefers to stay at home.

He limits his social intercourse. He abstains from daring, trying or venturing out. He is crippled.

And this indeed is the very essence of the malignancy that is at the heart of narcissism, the fear of flying.

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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.

Negative, Fake, Low-grade Narcissistic Supply

Narcissists crave attention, both positive and negative, and use it to regulate their sense of self-worth. They construct a false self and project it onto others to elicit admiration, adulation, and fear. Negative supply can become narcissistic supply when positive supply is scarce. Narcissists also crave punishment, which confirms their view of themselves as worthless and relieves them of the inner conflict they endure when they are successful.

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 Grooms Sources of Narcissistic Supply: Exploits Tragedy, Crisis, and Misfortune

Narcissists are callous and ruthless enough to exploit the tragedy of others. They are obsessed with the maintenance of their delicate inner balance through the ever-increasing consumption of narcissistic supply. The narcissist regards and treats his sources of narcissistic supply as full-fledged human beings, but only as long as they can provide him with what he needs. The narcissist always evaluates the victims of tragedies to see if they can become sources of supply or can be used as props in the theater of his life.

Narcissistic Boss or Employer: Coping and Survival Tactics

Narcissistic bosses or employers view their staff as sources of narcissistic supply and nothing else. They expect their employees to serve as an audience, adulate, and affirm their grandiose self-image. Any hint of equality, disagreement, or criticism threatens the narcissist profoundly. Narcissists feel suffocated by intimacy or routine and forever shift the blame, pass the buck, and engage in cognitive dissonance. Manipulating the narcissist is the only way an employee can survive in such a workplace.

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.

Self-destruction as Narcissistic Supply: Narcissist's Self-denial and Self-defeat

Narcissists frustrate others to satisfy their masochistic tendencies and sadistic urges. By withholding love, sex, and intimacy, they torment those around them while obstructing their own gratification. Self-denial, self-destruction, and self-defeat buttress the narcissist's sense of superiority and uniqueness, as they prove to themselves that they are the strongest and can overcome powerful desires and emotions. These behaviors and choices engender narcissistic supply, as they demonstrate the narcissist's independence from society, nature, and even themselves.

When Narcissist Runs Out of Supply (Self-supply Compilation)

Narcissists exhibit a sense of sacrificial entitlement, believing that their presence in someone's life is a privilege and a sacrifice on their part. This self-perception combines grandiosity with victimhood, as they see themselves as superior beings who are condescending to interact with others. This form of entitlement is a method of self-supply, reinforcing their grandiose self-image while also framing themselves as victims who are giving up their potential for the sake of others. Narcissists may use this mindset to justify expecting gratitude, obedience, and submission from those around them.

Narcissist Reacts to Criticism, Disagreement, Disapproval

Narcissists are hypervigilant and perceive every disagreement as criticism and every critical comment as complete and humiliating rejection. They react defensively, becoming indignant, aggressive, and cold. The narcissist minimizes the impact of the disagreement and criticism on himself by holding the critic in contempt, by diminishing the stature of the discordant conversant. When the disagreement or criticism or disapproval or approbation become public, the narcissist tends to regard them as narcissistic supply.

Narcissist's Certain Losses

Narcissists are obsessed with securing sources of supply, but once they have them, they lose interest and take them for granted. Many sources of supply eventually break free from the narcissist's grip, causing the narcissist to feel abandoned and lose control. However, when the loss is tangible, the narcissist regains his former zeal and embarks on a charm offensive to reacquire what was lost. Once the targets are reacquired, the narcissist reverts to his abusive and indifferent behavior until another round of losses and reanimation.

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2024, under license to William DeGraaf
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