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Sadistic Narcissist

Uploaded 9/19/2010, approx. 5 minute read

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

The narcissist would tend to display the sadistic aspect of sadism in his personality in one of two cases.

One that the very acts of sadism generate narcissistic supply. So then such a narcissist can say, I inflict pain, therefore I am superior or omnipotent.

In the other cases when the victims of the narcissist's sadism are still his only or major sources of narcissistic supply, but they are perceived by him to be intentionally frustrating and withholding.

Sadistic acts are the narcissist's way of punishing them for not being docile, obedient, admiring and adoring as he expects them to be in view of his uniqueness, cosmic significance and special entitlement.

Narcissists are not full-fledged sadists in the psychosexual sense of the word. They rarely inflict physical torture or sexual torture on their victims, but in all other respects they are full-fledged sadists.

Because of the narcissist's lack of empathy and rigid personality, he often inflicts great physical or mental pain on meaningful others in his life and he enjoys their writhing and suffering.

The narcissist is as much an artist of pain as any other type of sadist.

The difference between the narcissist and the classical sadist lies in their motivation.

The narcissist tortures and abuses as a means of punishing and reasserting superiority, re-establishing omnipotence and grandiosity. The sadist does the same thing for pure, usually sexually tinged, pleasure.

But both types, the classic sadist and the classic narcissist, are adept at finding the chinks in people's armors, their vulnerabilities, frailties, fears. Both are ruthless, venomous in the pursuit of their prey. Both are unable to empathize with their victims, self-centered and rigidly.

The narcissist abuses his victims verbally, mentally or physically, very often in all three ways. He infiltrates her defenses. The narcissist shatters the victim's self-confidence, confounds her, demeans and debases her. The narcissist invades her territory, abuses her confidence, exhausts her resources, hurts her loved ones, threatens her stability and security and meshes her in his paranoid state of mind, frightens her out of her wits, withholds love and sex from her, prevents satisfaction, causes frustration, humiliates and insults her privately and in public, points out her shortcomings repeatedly, criticizing her profusely and in a scientific and objective manner.

And this is a very partial list of the sadistic tactics of narcissists.

Very often the narcissist's sadistic acts are disguised as an enlightened interest in the welfare of his victim. He plays the psychiatrist to her psychopathology, which is usually totally dreamt up by him. He acts as a guru, the avuncular father figure, the teacher, the only true friend, the old experience.

These roles, this acting is intended to weaken the victim's defenses and to lay siege to her disintegrating nerves.

The narcissistic variant of sadism is so subtle, so poisonous, so pernicious that it might well be regarded as the most dangerous of all variants of sadism.

It's not overt, it's covert.

Luckily for the victim, the narcissist's attention span is short and his resources and energy are limited.

In constant effort consuming and attention diverting pursuit of narcissistic supply, the narcissist lets his victims go. And usually he does it before the victim has suffered irreversible damage.

The victim is then free to rebuild their life from ruins. It's not an easy undertaking this, but it's far better than the total obliteration which awaits the victims of the true classic sadist.

Narcissists are a touch and go.

A sadistic narcissist once wrote, quote, I find it difficult to accept that I am irredeemably evil, that I ecstatically, almost orgiastically enjoy hurting people and that I actively seek to inflict pain on others. It runs so contrary to my long cultivated and tenderly nurtured self-image as a benefactor, sensitive intellectual and harmless hermit.

In truth, my sadism meshes well and synergetically with two other behavior patterns, my relentless pursuit of narcissistic supply and my self-destructive self-defeating and therefore masochistic streak.

The process of torturing, says the narcissist, humiliating and offending people, provides proof of my omnipotence, nourishes my grandiose fantasies and buttresses my false self.

The sadistic narcissist continues to write.

The victims' distress and dismay constitute narcissistic supply of the purest grade. It also alienates them, turns them into hostile witnesses or even enemies and stalkers.

Thus, through the agency of my hapless and helpless victims, I bring upon my head a recurrent torrents of wrath and punishment.

This animosity guarantees my unraveling, my failure, outcomes which I avidly seek in order to placate my inner chastising and castigating voices, what Freud called the sadistic superego.

The narcissist concludes, similarly, I am a fiercely independent person, this is known in psychological jargon as counterdependent, but my independence, my autonomy is a pathological variant.

I want to be free to frustrate myself by inflicting mental havoc on my human environment, including and especially, my nearest and dearest.

This way I secure and incur their inevitable ire.

I am in my comfort zone. Getting attached to or becoming dependent on someone, in any way, emotionally, financially, hierarchically, politically, religiously or intellectually, means surrendering my ability to indulge my all-consuming urges, to ferment, to feel like God, to be ruined by the consequences of my own evil actions.

Concludes the narcissist.

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Narcissist Never Sorry

Narcissists sometimes feel bad and experience depressive episodes and dysphoric moods, but they have a diminished capacity to empathize and rarely feel sorry for what they have done or for their victims. They often project their own emotions and actions onto others and attribute to others what they hate in themselves. When confronted with major crises, the narcissist experiences real excruciating pain, but this is only a fleeting moment, and they recover their former self and embark on a new hunt for narcissistic supply. They are hunters, predators, and their victims are prey.


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.


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.


Narcissist's Victims' Many Faces

Everyone around the narcissist is bound to become a victim, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. There are three categories of victims: those who suffer from the narcissist's instability, those who are misled by the narcissist's deceiving messages, and those who are intentionally targeted by the narcissist. The narcissist is both sadistic and masochistic, and in hurting others, he always seeks to also hurt himself. The narcissist is ruinous and destructive, and no amount of punishment can restore the balance or provide closure and vindication.


Narcissist's Pain: Narcissism, Sadism, and Masochism

Narcissists experience a sense of relief after suffering emotionally, enduring a narcissistic injury, or sustaining a loss. This elation is so addictive that the narcissist often seeks pain, humiliation, punishment, scorn, and contempt. The narcissist is also a sadist, albeit a bit of an unusual sadist. The narcissist pendulum swings between the extremes of torturing others and then empathically soothing the resulting pain.


How Narcissist's Victims Deceive Themselves

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


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

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


Your Empathy as Narcissistic Injury: Narcissist Never Learns, No Insight

Narcissists reject empathy and intimacy because it challenges their grandiosity, and they become paranoid and aggressive when someone tries to be intimate with them. Narcissists lack empathy and access to positive emotions, leading to a truncated version of empathy called "cold empathy." Narcissists are self-aware but lack the incentive to get rid of their narcissism, and therapy is more focused on accommodating the needs of the narcissist's nearest and dearest. Cold Therapy is experimental and limited, as it removes the false self but does not develop empathy or improve the narcissist's interpersonal relationships.


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.


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.

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