A woman wrote to me, it can't be that simple. I'm so disappointed. I expected so much more.
And no, she wasn't talking about losing her virginity to me. She was talking about my dialogue with the inimitable Richard Grannon, where I discussed my concept of separation and individuation as a precondition for healing.
In that dialogue, to remind you, I described a technique, a technique of identifying the narcissist's voice inside you, the voice that had overtaken your inner critic, that had become your sadistic super ego, the voice that harshly criticizes you, puts you down, and then replacing this voice with your own authentic voice.
I went into some detail in that dialogue, but apparently not enough.
So not wishing to be subjected to yet yet another demeaning comment by an unsatisfied female customer, I am going to expand upon this technique and this concept of replacing the narcissist inner voice with your own authentic voice.
Just to remind all of you, my name is Sam Vaknin. I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited. I'm also a professor of psychology.
So it's a bit of a complex issue, like everything to do with narcissism, but I will do my best.
The narcissist has three types of voices. They correspond very roughly to some of Jung's archetypes. And amazingly, they can be easily identified in tarot cards. Some of the tarot figures correspond to these voices.
Okay, self-metaphysics and occult nonsense, Vaknin, get back to your scientific stance.
There are three voices. One is the voice of death, the death voice, the thanatic voice, also known as destrudo.
The other is the voice of God, grandiose, omnipotent, omniscient, perfect.
And the third voice in the narcissist is the voice of life, libido, including its component, Eros, the voice of sex.
So the narcissist has three voices, the death voice, the God voice, the life voice. These are his voices.
These are not authentic voices. They don't represent who the narcissist really is, because there's nobody there. There's nothing there. The narcissist is a void. He's a black hole. He is, in Kernberg's word, an emptiness.
So these voices also don't belong to the narcissist. They resonate within the narcissist's internal space. They're like an echo chamber, but they're actually transmogrifications of introjects.
These voices had originated with his parental figures, role models, caregivers, and even peers.
But still, the narcissist misidentifies these voices as his own. We all do, by the way. We all take ownership of our introjects, and then we think these introjects are our voices, but they're not. These introjects are mommy's voice, daddy's voice, a favorite teacher's voice, or some bullying peer's voice. We all have these voices inside us.
But the narcissist has only these voices, while healthy, normal people have a panoply of such voices inside them, inauthentic, imported voices, which do not belong to the healthy person.
Still, the healthy person has another voice, the authentic voice, the real voice, the voice that represents the healthy person. The narcissist has only fake, ersatz, faux voices.
The narcissist, in other words, has only introjects. He does not have a voice which is his own. He does not have a voice that represents him and only him.
Now, what I'm going to do, I'm going to describe each one of these voices, and I'm going to show you what these voices resonate inside you, how you should identify them, how you should eradicate and extirpate them.
I love ten dollar words. I just love them. I can't help it.
Okay, how to destroy these voices and how to replace them with your own single authentic voice.
But before we go there, it's important to understand the way your internal environment reacts to the narcissist's voices.
When the narcissist uses the death voice with you, you react with a life voice, your own life voice.
When the narcissist uses the God voice with you, you react with your own God voice.
And when the narcissist uses the life voice with you, you react with your own death voice.
This is very critical. This map of interactions is extremely critical for understanding what's going on between you and the narcissist.
The minute the narcissist teams up with you, the minute you agree to enter his shared fantasy, the minute you become an artifact and a figment of his shared fantasy, that minute, the narcissist implants in you, in a process known as entraining, the narcissist implants in your mind three voices, death voice, God voice and life voice. These three voices are his introjects.
He kind of exports his introjects. He embeds them in you. He implants them in you.
And from that moment, you have the narcissist within your mind using one of these three voices.
Now, these three voices are alien to you. They're not you. They don't represent you. They have actually nothing to do with you, but they trigger in you corresponding introjects.
In other words, the narcissist has the capacity, the sometimes unwitting capacity, but always the uncanny capacity to provoke in you dormant introjects.
It's that you did not even know he exists within you. And what he does is he triggers these introjects.
No wonder that when you're in the presence of the narcissist, you feel constantly triggered. The narcissist reaches out into your mind.
Look at this. It's like a poster for Dracula.
The narcissist reaches into your mind, struggles it a bit, and then suddenly, long dormant, long hibernating voices come to life.
I repeat the map and then we proceed.
When the narcissist uses his death introject, his death voice, he triggers in you the life introject, the life inner voice, inner object.
When the narcissist uses his God voice, you react with your God voice.
And when the narcissist uses his life voice, you react with your death voice.
And I will explain in a minute how this whole thing works.
But before we go there, we need to understand what are these voices? What is the content of these voices? What do they say? And why do they say whatever it is that they are saying?
How do you react? And how does the narcissist react to these voices?
It's an intricate cosmos. It's a whole universe.
And there have been many scholars like Guntrip and Fairburn and Winnicott and Melanie Klein and many others who have dedicated their entire careers, decades, to understanding and deciphering these voices and mapping them and putting them in conjunction and studying the interactions of these voices.
And indeed, internal objects and external objects, that's a major feature of object relations schools, schools that were pretty dominant in the 1950s and 1960s and had fallen out of favor since.
Although the very concepts of internal objects and interactions between internal objects had gravitated on into much more modern schools of psychologysuch as the internal family system.
But I will not go into it right now, although I'm extremely tempted to show you how erudite, knowledgeable and amazing genius I am.
Okay, Shoshanim, you miss me, I know, the dead voice.
The dead voice is a voice within the narcissist that keeps telling him, you're not lovable. No one can ever love you. You're not worthy. You're a zero, you're a loser. You're inadequate, you're failure. You're better off dead. The world is better off if you were dead. The world would be better off if you were dead.
And so gradually the narcissist develops a feeling because he is exposed to this voice since early childhood. This is usually the voice of the mother later on coupled with the voice of the father and possibly other role models, caregivers and important figures in his life.
This constant messaging, you're not lovable, you're better off dead. The world would be better off without you, a better place without you. You're unworthy, you're inadequate. These constant voices, they create in the narcissist, and by the way, in the borderline as well, a pervasive feeling that he is already dead. The narcissist feels dead. He feels dead inside and he feels dead outside.
So the borderline reacts to this all permeating, all pervading sense of death by, for example, self mutilating, self harming. That's her way of coming alive and suppressing the knowing feeling of death inside.
The narcissist reacts differently. He accepts his death and he creates another version of himself, a godlike version, and endows that fictitious imaginary friend with a life that had been denied to him as a child.
But in all these cases, people with Cluster B personality disorders, they feel dead inside because they had been told consistently that they're actually dead.
If you cannot be loved, it's because you don't exist. Anyone who is alive can be loved by someone, somewhere, at some time.
So if you're unlovable, it means you're dead. If you're unworthy, if you're inadequate, if you're a failure, a loser, a zero etc., you're better off dead. You're already dead. You're inefficacious. You don't have self-efficacy. You don't have autonomy. You're not independent.
So this is the voice of death. This is a thanatic voice, also known as destrudo.
And the compliment of these messages, you can change your base.
You can become lovable. You can be rendered worthy and adequate. You can be a winner and a success. You can make something of your life by being perfect. You can be loved and you're deserving of life only if you were to become perfect.
But of course, that's mission impossible. No one can be perfect.
So it's an unattainable, ever receding goal. It's a well without a bottom. It's a basket without a bottom. You can never fill it with water. Nevermind how many accomplishments you accrue in a lifetime. You still feel unworthy and inadequate and dead and unlovable because it's always one step further. It's always one more thing to perfection.
This is the pernicious message because you feel, as a narcissist, that you're guilty, that there is something you can do about it, but you are not doing it. All you have to do is to become perfect and yet you're not doing it.
Terrified of failure, the narcissist has performance anxiety. He's terrified of life because life challenges his perception of perfection. Life renders him or her, of course, unlovable, unworthy, better off dead, because he cannot or she cannot attain perfection. And so it's better to avoid life.
Cleckley called it, and also Jeffrey Seinfeld, the famous psychoanalyst, they called it a rejection of life. The narcissist rejects, disowns, sabotages, undermines, and avoids all aspects of life.
He shuns life. He renders himself invulnerable by being dead within and without as a form of rigid, proud, defiant, sadistically self-punitive and self-denying ideology.
The narcissist acts entitled and contemptuous of other people.
He actually denies himself life, but this creates a cognitive dissonance. The narcissist is not alive. He's a loser in many respects. He cannot admit it.
So he says, it's my choice. It's not that I'm rejecting life because there's nothing I can do about it. It's not that I'm rejecting life because I'm inadequate. I'm not rejecting life because I'm a loser. I'm rejecting life because I'm superior to life, because I don't need life, because I'm above life, because I'm a rule unto my own, because I'm my own source of reference and authority. I don't need anyone.
So many narcissists are celibate. They avoid sex. They avoid life in all its manifestations. They give up and deny on their bodies, for example, if they are cerebral. They give up on their health. They give up on sex if they're cerebral. They give up on romance and intimacy if they're somatic. They give up on all positive emotions, on relationships, on having a family, on attaining academic stature and degrees, on having a career, on staying in one place in a single country or a city, in adopting a language, in succeeding.
They deny all this. They reject all this. Whatever life offers to the narcissist, even if life offers success, the narcissist will destroy it and undermine it, will act self-defeatingly and self-destructively.
He will contemptuously reject other people and what they can do for him. He will abrogate and annihilate any collaboration and cooperation. He will destroy his reputation, his business. He will have no social life. He will contemptuously berate, demean and degrade his fans, his friends, his intimate partners or his sex partners.
A narcissist hates life with a vengeance. He hates life with a vengeance because life keeps reminding him that he will never, ever be perfect, no matter how hard he tries. And this only sustains, just sustains and proves and confirms and validates his feeling that he is inadequate, a loser, better off dead.
The voices, the introjects in his head. Life colludes with his, with the voice of death in the narcissist's head. Life tells the narcissist, life shows the narcissist, his own paramount failure. Life's message to the narcissist is, you know what? You are really, really better off dead.
So life is a constant trigger, constant reminder.
And again, all manifestations of life, not only a single aspect, narcissists again deny their bodies, their health, sex, romance, intimacy, positive emotions, relationships, family, academic degrees, career, country, language, success, reputation, business, social life, friends, friends, partners, everything, everything, everything.
By constricting his life or her life, the narcissist actually precipitates his or her own death. It's a way of dying.
When you exclude everything, what's left but the total void and howling emptiness that you are in essence.
And this is the voice of death.
And then when nothing is left to take, when the narcissist ages, becomes very old or when the narcissist had lost everything and had hit rock bottom, when there's nothing left to take from him, the voice of death in him is appeased and ameliorated.
The narcissist's proximity to actual death chronologically when he's old, or the narcissist's proximity to total oblivion and devastation, only this silences the voice of death in the narcissist. It's mission accomplished.
And this voice is placated, content to let the narcissist decay and decompose inertly in a life that had constricted to nothingness in the bad sense.
So this is the voice of death.
When you become the narcissist's intimate partner, the narcissist installs in your mind, it's like installing an app, the narcissist installs in your mind three voices.
One of them is his voice of death. These three voices that he installs in you, these are his voices. These are his interjects. He creates replicas of his introjects in your mind via the process of entraining.
And so there's a replica of his death voice. And he's trying to tell you this important death voice, the death voice of the narcissist inside your mind, the newly installed death voice that the narcissist had placed and implanted expertly in your mind, leveraging all your vulnerabilities, access points and chinks in your armor.
It's an intrusion into your mind. The narcissist puts there his own death voice. This death voice starts to say you're unlovable, you're unworthy, you're inadequate, you're a failure, you're better off dead.
The very same message, the narcissist's voice of death, which is now replicated in your mind, is giving you the same message that it had been giving the narcissist since early childhood. You're better off dead.
It wants you dead, for reasons that I described in my dialogues with Richard, wants you dead because the narcissist wants to reenact early conflicts, early childhood conflicts and separate individually from his mother.
But that's besides the point right now.
The thing is, you suddenly have an enemy inside your mind, a Trojan horse, a fifth column, a voice that keeps telling you, you should be dead. You're so useless and worthless and unlovable and horrible and defective and deformed and stupid that you should be dead. You're better off dead.
The world is a better place without you.
Just do it.
It's an impulse for suicidal ideation or for depression.
The aggression embedded in the voice of death that is now inside your head is an alien implant.
This aggression is self-directed.
You can't direct it to the narcissist. You're afraid to lose him. You're afraid to antagonize him. You're afraid of his reaction.
So you internalize this aggression and it becomes depression.
No wonder you develop depression when you're with the narcissist.
But you have a voice of life, your own voice, your authentic voice, and it fights back.
It fights the voice of death. The voice of death is the narcissist's voice.
And so you have an immunological reaction. It's like a foreign body.
Your entire survival instinct, repertory of survival instincts comes alive.
You fight the voice of death back because you want to survive. You want to go on living. You don't want to die. You want to feel lovable again. You want to experience a sense of self-worth that is stable. You want to regulate your emotions when I get rid of your depression, newly induced depression and anxiety.
And so you fight back.
And this is what I mean when I say that the narcissist's voice of death provokes in you, your voice of life.
The narcissist's voice of death takes over your inner critic and your super ego.
It replaces them with the narcissist's version of inner critic and super ego, which is sadistic and harsh and unforgiving and virulent and pernicious and nefarious and malevolent.
And it is your enemy. The narcissist becomes your outsourced external inner critic.
It's as though you had lost part of your ego. Some of your ego functions, super ego is part of the ego. Some of your ego functions had been handed over to the narcissist.
The narcissist now is in your mind and he keeps telling you you're better off dead and you're fighting back, fighting back with your voice of life.
So narcissist's voice of death supplants, replaces your inner critic and your super ego begins to criticize you harshly from the inside, destabilize you, undo you, undermine you, disintegrate you and you need to fight back. You need to identify this small flickering voice of life and you need to enhance it, give it power over the voice of death in you.
You simply need to say no, you're unlovable. No, I am lovable. This is called affirmations. Affirmations are a potent way of fighting off the narcissist's voice of death.
Use your voice of life, leverage it, feed it, enhance it, to mitigate, ameliorate and finally eradicate the narcissist's voice of death inside you.
The second voice of the narcissist is the God voice.
The God voice is grandiose. It includes elements of magical thinking.
The narcissist believes that if he puts his mind to it, if he wishes something very strongly, it will transpire. The universe is at his beck and call.
Regrettably, this had become a global ideology, perpetuated and propagated and promulgated by all kinds of con artists.
But as originally, this used to be a pathology, narcissistic pathology, magical thinking. If it survives beyond the age of three, you're in trouble.
And so the narcissist's God voice is grandiose and it includes magical thinking in the sense that the narcissist confuses external reality with internal reality. He thinks that processes that happen in his mind have an effect on the world, on the universe. Now it's a thin hair away from psychosis.
The psychotic person has the same confusion. He thinks that things and voices in his mind are actually out there. The narcissist thinks exactly the opposite. He believes that things that are out there are actually in his mind. So it's kind of mirror psychosis or reverse psychosis, but it's as problematic, it's as pervasive, as strong. It is psychotic disorder in effect.
So the God voice is psychotic. It's grandiose. It is magical thinking. It is the narcissist's mental illness. It is the cruel false self masquerading as a divinity, as a monarch demanding human sacrifice, demanding that the narcissist sacrifices himself.
So the narcissist keeps sacrificing his true self to the false self in the belief that ultimately by doing so, he will merge and fuse with the false self and become one with it.
The false self is God. It's God-like. It's a deity.
So all these processes, they conflict with reality.
Of course, reality provides the narcissist with an endless stream of countervailing information.
Reality intrudes. Reality conflicts with the narcissist's grandiosity, for example, magical thinking, the false self. And so reality inflicts on the narcissist an endless stream of injuries and mortifications.
Now the narcissist installs and implants in your mind, his God voice, because he needs you to collude with him in the shared fantasy. The narcissist needs you to tell him that he's truly a genius, amazingly handsome, irresistibly charming, etc.
He needs you to become a source of narcissistic supply, secondary, but still a source of supply.
So he needs you to adopt his God voice, identify with it, and then amplify it, amplify it and project it back at him. So he needs you to become an extension of his God voice.
He implants the God voice up, he installs it in your mind, and now you have his God voice in your mind, telling you all the time, wow, he's amazing, he's superior, he's charming, he's brilliant, he's perfect, he's God-like, he knows everything, he's all-powerful, etc.
This voice keeps running in your mind and so on. But when we are exposed, even healthy people, when they're exposed, when people are exposed to the God voice, they react with their own God voice.
Now, clinically, this is known as narcissistic defenses. When we are challenged to believe that we are, and we challenge, we are told that we are inferior in some way, we usually react by feigning superiority. We react in a compensatory way. We compensate for this message.
Narcissist message is, I'm above you, I'm superior, I'm God-like, you're not, I'm omniscient, you know nothing, I'm all-powerful, you're helpless, I'm omnipotent, you're impotent.
That's a narcissist message and no one, not even healthy people, can tolerate such a message.
So they become narcissistic. The narcissist God voice triggers in you your own God voice.
His narcissism triggers in you your narcissism. His grandiosity triggers in you your grandiosity.
You need to identify the narcissist's God voice and then you need to identify your own God voice and you need to put down your God voice because it's taking you to bad places.
This is the narcissistic contagion. You're becoming a narcissist. He's infected you.
Narcissism is like a virus. He's inside your cells and he is using your cells as a factory to reproduce himself within you. He's mind-snatching you.
You need to put a stop to this. You need to identify your own grandiosity, your own narcissism, your own diminishing empathy and you need to reverse these processes willingly and forcefully.
Whenever you're tempted to react in a way which is grandiose and dysempathic, whenever you are tempted to counter back, to lash out, to act out, you need to put a stop to it because it's precisely what the narcissist wants you to do.
He wants you to become a version of himself, a clone. He's cloning you.
These are eerie metaphors. They're borrowed from horror movies and bad science fiction, 1950s science fiction, but they're all true. They're all absolutely true.
Entraining is a process that's been studied in laboratories all over the world. It's all true. It's all part of neuroscience, not only psychology.
This is what the narcissist is doing to you. He hijacks your mind and then he molds it, he replicates it, he clones it so that it resembles his almost 100%.
His voices are embedded and implanted in your mind and you need to get rid not only of his voices but of your reactions to his voices.
In the case of the God voice, you need to get rid of your own God voice.
Finally, there is a life voice, libido. Even narcissists have libido.
And the life voice of the narcissist is what Eysenck called psychoticism.
The life voice of the narcissist drives him to be creative and to intermittently, however inefficaciously, cooperate with other people.
So we know that many narcissists are creative. We know that many narcissists do work in teams effectively. We have narcissistic politicians, narcissistic professors, narcissists everywhere, in narcissistic chief executive officers. These are people who work with other people, collaborate and motivate teams to produce. These are people who are creative. Many of the greatest inventions and theories of mankind were brought forth by narcissists.
Narcissists have a very strong life voice but it's mutated and sublimated by their own narcissism.
It's like light going through a prism. So the prism breaks the light apart to its constituents.
It's the same with the narcissist. The narcissist's life voice or life force is filtered through his grandiosity, through his defenses, through his lack of empathy.
And so consequently it is corroded gradually, corroded by aging and cognitive decline. The narcissist's life voice ironically triggers in you your own death voice.
And I will try to explain this very very peculiar danse macabre, this very very peculiar turn of events.
For the narcissist to feel alive, for the narcissist's life voice to be active and even to prevail, you remember that the narcissist has to offer human sacrifice.
The narcissist is governed, is ruled by an unforgiving divinity or deity, a god, the false self. This false self demands human sacrifice.
The narcissist at first sacrifices himself, his true self as a child. Later on when he's in the position to do so, he sacrifices his intimate partners or people around him.
For the narcissist to feel alive and to function and to create, he needs to sacrifice you.
Narcissistic abuse is the narcissist's way of separating from you and individuating, becoming an individual.
In the narcissist's eyes, you're his mother reincarnate. You're a second version of his mother. You're a surrogate mother. You're a maternal figure.
He needs to abuse you. He needs to aggressively push you away. He needs to objectify you so that he can separate from you and feel that he had become an individual.
Only then can he create, only then can he work with other people, collaborate with them. Only then can he feel alive. Only then his life voice has a chance.
His life voice comes at your expense. You are the fuel needed to sustain this life voice. You are to be burned at his stake. You are to be burned at the stake in order for him to feel warm and fuzzy and alive.
Narcissistic abuse is intended to accomplish separation and individuation by essentially destroying you. That's the truth. The narcissist's life voice comes at the expense of your death. It requires a sacrifice on your part.
So, the narcissist's life voice triggers in you your own death voice. You become self-sacrificial. You become depressed. You become suicidal. You become dead inside. You feel unworthy, inferior, inadequate. You feel guilty. You feel ashamed. You feel that you always had done something wrong. That it's your fault somehow.
The narcissist triggers in you your own death voice when he's trying to become alive and to correspond with his own life voice to somehow be informed by his life voice. You are the price he pays.
And so, what you need to do when you see the narcissist alive and well, flourishing, thriving, creative, be aware. It's going to come. It's going to be at your expense. You're going to pay a huge price for this.
You need to immediately start to identify the voice in your head, which is your death voice. The voice that tells you that you should sacrifice yourself, that you're doing something wrong, that you're guilty, you should be ashamed. You should compensate him somehow. You should suffer.
You need to identify this voice because it's triggered by the narcissist's life voice and you need to fight it back really, really badly because if you don't, your own death voice will collaborate with his implanted death voice, with his death introject in your mind. And these two voices will overwhelm you and destroy you, mentally, sometimes physically.
So, anyhow, in any case, the narcissist had implanted in your mind a death introject. The cold hand of death is already inside your mind, groping, looking for vulnerabilities, exit points, and entry points.
So, anyhow, you're threatened. If you allow your own voice of death to collude with the narcissist's death introject in your mind, you're doomed.
Pay attention to these voices in your mind that are reactive to the narcissist's entrained implants.
I'm going to summarize it for you, summarize the map for you.
The narcissist had implanted in your mind an introject of death that provokes in you your voice of life. You're fighting back in order to survive. That's a voice you need to enhance. It's a voice you need to work with. It's a voice that loves you. It's self-love in effect. It's a voice that wants you alive and flourishing and thriving.
You need to work with this voice.
When the narcissist had placed in your mind a God introject, a God voice. When the narcissist uses his God voice, his grandiose, his superior, he engages in magical thinking, you react with your own God voice.
Narcissistic defenses, you become more and more like the narcissist. You become a replica or a clone of the narcissist.
You need to avoid that. It's dangerous. You're getting infected.
And finally, when the narcissist conspires with his life voice, when he becomes alive and creative and well, it comes at your expense. Your death voice is activated and your own death voice colludes with the narcissist's death introject in your mind to doom you, to kill you if possible, physically also.
Narcissist drives you to die because this is the only form of human sacrifice that can make him come alive. He devours you. He devours you in order to survive. It's cannibalism. It's psychological cannibalism.
Okay. You can't say this had not been cheerful.
And as Europe is convulsing in yet another European war, there's been, I don't know how many last 2000 years, I wish you all the women smiling women's day, 8th of March.
Be well, love yourselves, identify these voices because these voices come not only from individual narcissists. These voices are implanted in you by narcissistic societies and civilizations and cultures. Through the process of socialization, you absorb these voices from society and they trigger in you exactly the interactions that I just described. Two of these interactions are dangerous for your health.
Fight back, but not in the ways prescribed by narcissists or by society. These ways are bad for you. Fight back by identifying your authenticity, sticking to the inner voice that is you and abrogating and obligating and avoiding and shunning all else.
There are many videos I've made about identifying your internal voice, identifying your own voice. There's a whole lecture I gave about two months ago. Everything is available on my YouTube channel, free of charge, free of advertising.
Go and edify yourself. Happy 8th of March.