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.