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Sam Vaknin’s Party Boat of Harsh Truths Facebook Group Q&A (with Sherri McKeon)

Uploaded 1/3/2021, approx. 1 hour 55 minute read

Here we go. I'm on Zoom. And we are waiting for Sherry McKeown. I hope I'm pronouncing her name correctly. She is the administrator of the illustrious Facebook group, Sam Vaknin's Party Boat of Harsh Truths. I hope I got this one right. At any rate, I'm going to post a link to the Facebook group in the description of the resulting video. So here's Sherry coming on board. Coming on board, here she is. Next to the library. Sherry, you may wish to start recording and we can get...

Good morning. All right.

We're both recording just in case Sherry is next to a library. So it's a good place to be.

Good internet here. It's snowing, so I wanted to make sure I had a good internet connection.

Good internet helps with Zoom.

Yes, it did.

So the whole point of this meeting is to answer questions from our Facebook group. So I'd like to do a few formalities and introduce you and introduce myself. I am one of the group administrators for the Facebook groups called Sam Vaknin's Party Boat of Harsh Truths, which was founded by Haley Martin.

And you, of course, are Sam Vaknin, author of Malignant Self-Love. I got my copy right here.

Narcissism Revisited, and you have many other honors of being a member of the editorial board of Psychiatry Journal, visiting professor of psychology of Southern Federal University, Rostov on Don, Russia, professor of psychology at SIAS-CIAPS, Center for International Advanced Professional Studies, and you have a website that is very, very interesting, samvak.tripod.com. Among many, many other things.

So our group has posted many, many questions for you on the topics that you're an expert at. And I would like to pose them to you if you are ready.

Yeah, I'm ready. Thank you for having me.

And thank you for the plug for the book. I have written it, but I have yet to read it. It's too long.

720 pages.

We are slowly working our way through it in our book review, in our group. We go through a few pages at a time every week. And we're trying to examine every little detail of that book.

It's very, very good. I appreciate your interest. Thank you for having me.

And how about your disposal?

Well, I'd like to start with a few questions that I basically copied and pasted straight from the page.

One is from Cheryl Wright. She asks, why would a narcissist look at themselves in the mirror while they're ranting on the phone or in the middle of an argument?

Well, it sounds like a simplistic question, but it is not because the answer comprises the two strands that put together form the core pathology of narcissism.

And the first strand is, of course, that the narcissist has no self, does not exist. The narcissist is an absence, not a presence. At the narcissist's core, there's a void, there's an emptiness, howling deep space. That's not Sam Vaknin, by the way. That's Otto Kernberg. Otto Kernberg is the father of the field of personality disorders.

So the narcissist needs to remind himself all the time that he exists, which you and healthy people don't have to. Neurotypicals don't have to remind themselves that they exist. The narcissist does. Narcissist is a constant streak of self-doubt. Do I exist, really?

So this is the source of the compulsion to obtain narcissistic supply. The crucial aspect of narcissistic supply is the affirmation by the sources of supply. Yes, you do exist. You're there. There's somebody there.

So looking at the mirror has this function.

Second reason to look at the mirror is grandiosity, of course. The narcissist is an actor. When he looks at the mirror, while he's ranting, for example, he admires his defiance, his aggression. The fact that he is about to prevail and conquer and triumph. The sadistic aggression that he inflicts on his interlocutor, he admires all this. He admires himself.

So looking at the mirror has two functions, affirmation of existence, substantiating one's existence and substantiating in a way that buttresses and enhances the underlying grandiosity.

That is very interesting.

I have another question from Lady A. Would you consider doing an in-depth series on covert narcissism, the behaviors, manifestations, outcomes, as the pandemic of narcissism rages on, fueled by social media and gaming?

It's possible that covert narcissists will be center stage for this stretch of the plague.

Thank you for considering my request. And I would like to add that you have extensive videos already on this topic.

But there's a twist of the pandemic here. So we still countenance the question.

Yeah, there's well over six hours on my YouTube channel, six hours dedicated to covert narcissism, which I think is more than sufficient.

There is an analysis of the initial construct.

The first time that covert narcissism was proposed as a diagnosis by Akhtar and Cooper. Cooper just died, died a few months ago. So these were giants of the study of narcissism and they came up with the idea of covert narcissism.

Now, during the pandemic, it is very difficult to obtain explicit narcissistic supply, overt narcissistic supply. Narcissistic supply does require face-to-face interaction, some forms of intimacy, for example, in somatic narcissism, etc.

So the pandemic is hard on overt classic narcissists, but it is equally hard on covert narcissists because covert narcissists obtain their supply, their narcissistic and sadistic supply, usually via other narcissists, teaming up with a powerful figure by becoming a fan or an acolyte of the guru by joining a church and then becoming a pillar of the community, etc.

So they also need access to unwitting victims, shall we say. And they leverage other people's activities to obtain narcissistic supply because the main feature of a covert narcissist is the vulnerability, the fragility, the shyness.

The covert narcissist is too timid to just openly go ahead and solicit supply, or if he cannot solicit supply, coerce other people to provide him with supply. He's simply too timid. He has social anxiety. He's shy. So he has to do it vicariously, surreptitiously, underground. He's very subtle in the bad sense of the word. He's Machiavellian. That's why we have the dark tetrad, not the dark triad, which is obsolete. Today we have the dark tetrad where the fourth leg is actually covert narcissists and borderlines.

So covert narcissist uses Machiavellianism to obtain narcissism and to obtain psychopathic outcomes.

And you can't do this really via Zoom.

And I would say that it's easier for an overt narcissist to obtain supply via Zoom than for a covert narcissist, because covert narcissists work behind the scenes. They are manipulative. They, I mean, they need a lot of time. They invest a lot of time and effort in engineering situations.

Reminds me of a lot of people that sit outside of stores handing out masks to people who need masks, entering the stores out of the kindness of their heart.

I often wonder, you know, that's an awful lot of generosity and time and investment to give to people on a certain very particular issue that they know they can get a lot of attention through that.

And that's often made me wonder, you know, why would people spend their day outside of a store handing out masks?

I just released a video a few minutes ago on victimhood movements.

The key feature, the thing that distinguishes, the issue that distinguishes proper generosity, charitableness, kindness, attentiveness from the pathological kinds, the malignant kinds, is the ostentation. If these acts are carried out ostentatiously, not necessarily publicly, you can act in public and not be ostentatious.

But if you do it so that you're noticed and if the emphasis is on being noticed and when you're not noticed, you stop doing it or you begin to undermine, to sabotage the effort, then you're acting out of narcissistic narcissistic reasons or motivations.

And so there's a lot of this in victimhood movements, social justice movements on the right and on the left.


Don't misunderstand, I'm not, you know, there's a lot of this going on on the ostentation.

Is there an effective way to put guardrails on your movement or to, you know, safeguard against being strong armed by this kind of like cluster B leadership taking over? Is there?

Well, if they gained access to the levers of power, you're screwed.

Yeah. They're going to hang on.

Yeah.

I mean, social institutions, starting with the nation state and ending with your boss, social institutions, monopolize violence. Our entire society, that's not Sam Vaknin, that's Adam Smith. Our entire society is founded on the monopoly of violence.

Only the state can kill you with impunity or send you to kill with impunity. Only your boss can harangue you or abuse you. You can't do that because he has the power to fire you.

This asymmetry of power, asymmetry of violence, asymmetry of aggression is the main instrument of narcissists, covert narcissists, psychopaths, and borderlines in certain circumstances when borderlines shift and become secondary psychopaths.

So that reminds me of a saying like somebody is the face of a movement, you know, a certain person is associated with a certain movement, possibly by allowing multiple people to be the face of a movement that would spread out the control of the movement. And maybe that would be an indicator of allowing more people to have an equal say in a movement.

Well, there are two problems with it.

Narcissists and psychopaths are far better at being the face of anything. Charmers, they are outgoing. They are very good. They have good verbal skills. They are showmen, so showmanship. And they cater to the media's need to monetize eyeballs. They increase advertising revenues when they appear on Facebook. They, I mean, and YouTube.

So narcissists and psychopaths have an inbuilt, hardwired, relative advantage, competitive edge in today's environment and society.

We have constructed an ambience, a civilization that caters to the needs of psychopaths and narcissists because they produce something which can be easily converted into money and power. And that's something is attention. They are masters of attention.

What is narcissism? Narcissism is high level expertise at acquiring attention, storing it, manipulating it. Same with psychopaths. They are goal-oriented. They want to say it.

The showmen, yes. The showmen of the circus.

So you can't have many faces because narcissists and psychopaths do it much better. Trump was a media darling long before he became president of the United States.

Yeah.

So they do it better.

It was like a pipeline.

Yeah.

And you have, I said all on Trump. Don't misunderstand. Martin Luther King. Same. I mean, a media showman, actor psychopath, by the way, if you will listen to the FBI recordings, the secret recordings of Martin Luther King in his hotel rooms, grandiose narcissistic psychopath, but a great showman.

And so I'm not like, I'm not like left leaning or right leaning. I have written an article about Barack Obama when he was a senator. Saying that he's a narcissist. And I've written an article. I've granted an interview to American thinker about Donald Trump when he himself did not even imagine that it would be president. He didn't even run for office. I mean, didn't even join the party.

Yeah. So I'm like equal opportunity abuser, equal opportunity diagnostician.

Wow. That is amazing. All these people that come to the limelight are suspect. They are suspect by definition, ipso facto, the very fact that they end up in the limelight.

And this includes people, gurus like Jordan Peterson and said, oh, they're all suspect because ostentation, conspicuousness, being noticed as a main feature of activity. This is suspect and more than suspect.


Yeah.

So about your treatment, I have a good question here about your cold therapy treatment by Emily Smith. She asks if cold therapy is an effective treatment for MPD, what would be an effective treatment for BPD borderline personality disorder? Is there one?

Have you invented one? If not, would you recommend one? And as a follow-up, she asks, would you suggest narcissists pair with borderline since they're naturally attracted to each other?

And she says in recovery, I think she's referring to like in 12-step recovery programs, but often, like they say in those programs, don't date in the first year of your recovery.

In all rehab, not only in 12 steps. In all rehab. I used to be a consultant to one of the major rehab centers in the United States for 10 years. I know the field very well. So I can answer questions about addictions and so on if you have any there.

But as to this question, there are two major differences between borderline and narcissism and one commonality. The commonality is grandiosity. Both borderline and narcissists are grandiose, but people with borderline, people, men and women with borderline have access to empathy and have access to emotions.

The problem actually that they have too many emotions and too much of their emotion. They can't regulate their emotions. They have emotional dysregulation and they are empathic.

That's not a pretense. Like in the case of the narcissist, narcissists can imitate and emulate empathy, but they're not empathic. There's no inner resonance. There's nothing there. It's an act.

Not so with the borderline. The borderline is really empathic. Her empathy actually drives the borderline to dread abandonment. She is abandonment anxiety driven.

So no treatment would be equally applicable to narcissists and borderline. They have too much separating them.

So borderline is very, very effectively treated with dialectical behavioral therapy, DBT, very effectively.

The excellent news is that if you just wait until you're 45, in 50% of the cases, the borderline spontaneously disappears. 50% of all people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder heal spontaneously after age 45. Another 50% can be treated perfectly with DBT, put together. It is possible to eradicate borderline as we did with measles.

That's not the case with narcissism.

Now, cold therapy, just to make clear, because I don't want to create any type of hype and I already see hype here and there.

Cold therapy eliminates the false self. That's the only thing it does. It does not restore empathy or teach empathy, which is an important issue.

It helps with grandiosity. Does that help with grandiosity?

Yes. The false self is the repository of grandiosity. So it removes the false self.

Therefore, from that moment on, the narcissist doesn't need narcissistic supply anymore at all.

But everything else remains. The lack of empathy, the exploitativeness, the lack of positive emotionality, for example, inability to love, etc. All this remains.

The only thing is he doesn't need other people to tell him how great he is and what a genius is. That's all.

And his false self. So he has no firewall. He has no protection.

And in this restricted sense, he becomes for a while borderline.

Once I remove the false self, it's a very brief period, usually a week or two, where he technically becomes extremely dysregulated borderline.

Now, 11% of people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder commit suicide, owing to emotional dysregulation. And that's a major risk in cold therapy, suicide risk. Suicidal ideation is very, not very common, universal in cold therapy.

So the first phase is very dangerous. Has to be one on one, etc.


Last part of this compounded question, do I recommend narcissists and borderlines to be together?

Well, they are attracted to each other for all the wrong reasons. They're attracted to each other because their pathologies resonate. Not only that, but their pathologies enhance each other, amplify each other. They become more sick inside their relationship.

That's again, not Sam Vaknin. That is Joanne Lacharme.

Joanne Lacharme, a good personal friend who had written the first book ever on borderline narcissistic couples in 1983.

I noticed that often narcissists and psychopaths pair up also. Whereas the psychopath tends to victimize the narcissist actually, because they can maneuver a little bit better emotionally around the narcissist.

But I don't know if that would be ideal. I mean, essentially, most narcissists I've seen end up alone in their golden years, you might say, because they pushed everybody away or whatever, and they seem relatively happy on their own.

I don't know about the case with the borderlines. If they've recovered, maybe it would be different, but that's interesting.

Well, I have another one from Anne Marie Gover.

Given your observation that psychopathy and narcissism tends to emerge in critical mass with the expansion of Western civilization, how is it looking these days?

This is another COVID question. With the complicating factors of COVID, are we getting better at moderating the self in society or worse?

Well, that's an easy one.

The recent statistics, published by the National Institutes of Mental Health in the United States, for example, in the United Kingdom, in Israel, in many places. Well over 50 countries have published mental health statistics. The picture is unequivocal.

Mental health has undergone a veritable supernova. Mental health illness has undergone a veritable supernova.

Well over 34% of American adults are now clinically diagnosed with major depression and anxiety disorders. 20% are at risk, suicidal risk, suicide risk. Suicides have skyrocketed. Substance abuse has skyrocketed. Murder rates have doubled or tripled depending on the city, etc.

Picture is utterly unequivocal.

Here in the Midwest, the opioid epidemic is even worse.

Yeah. I've seen that in my own community. It's just getting worse and worse. It's definitely not getting any better in that regard.

Yeah, these are the statistics. It's not a matter of speculation.

The question is what will happen after the pandemic is over?

We have a precedent in 1920 when the Spanish flu was over, and we have another precedent in the 14th century, in 1349, when the Black Death was over in continental Europe.

And we saw what happened then.

And what happens then, there's a period of exuberance of letting go of casual sex, of flippancy, of levity, of non-commitment, non-investment, of a period of regression to infancy, in effect, a period of renouncing all chores, roles, and responsibilities as an adult.

And then this period ends usually extremely badly, extremely badly. In Europe, it ended with a series of wars and plagues which have lasted well over 300 years. In the United States, of course, it ended with a Great Depression, which was the direct result of this behavior, the direct result of this kind of behavior.

After this pandemic, we may experience a similar thing, an economic bubble coupled with total disintegration of social institutions, such as the family, or social sexual exclusivity.

And I am not an optimist. I'm not an optimist in this case, because where it all leads is to narcissism as the solution.

Psychopathy is the solution.

Already you see academics saying, well, narcissism and psychopathy are not so bad. We need narcissistic politicians. We need psychopathic chief executive officers. They have new names, high functioning narcissists, productive narcissists. They're glorifying narcissism.

In July 2016, there was a cover story in New Scientist cover story.

Parents, teach your children to be narcissists, because that's the new adaptation.

And I'm very happy that the pandemic will make this much, much worse, because the pandemic, as opposed to the spending, as distinct from the Spanish flu, the pandemic has not been our finest hour. It did not bring us together. It split us even further.

Well, that's interesting about transitioning between the pandemic to the non-pandemic aftermath.


The next question is about narcissism transitioning by RAVEN POE.

Dear SAPS. Yeah, her question is, among the many things that continue to astound me about my formerly diagnosed narcissistic husband, is making a scene, leaving the house every time.

What is it with narcissists and not being able to just collect themselves and the items they need and say goodbye? And I'm not going to say items they need and say goodbye.

And I would say that I've noticed that too, that there seems to be a transition period problem where going from one situation to another seems to be kind of sticky. Like it's hard for them to move on and change their mindset and move into a new mindset.

And I was thinking that her comment there about her husband seems to remind me of this COVID situation where the narcissists have their grip on their conspiracy theory or whatever, their movement, their joining or whatever.

And then aftermath of a COVID, where are they going to go? How are they going to, they're not going to be able to transition probably similar to the comment she's making about her husband.

Well, the role of drama in borderline and in narcissism, there's a different role. In borderline, drama is control technique. It's a control strategy.

The borderline generates drama, creates drama, where there's none, introduces drama into totally tranquil and well-functioning situations.

And she uses drama to create uncertainty because within uncertainty she tries and flourishes, she's in possession of the full information so she can manipulate people around her.

The borderline and the histrionic by the way, they use drama as a control strategy or tactic.

The narcissist creates drama for entirely different reasons. Drama provides you with closure.

Narcissist transition between pathological narcissistic spaces.

When the shared fantasy is over in a romantic relationship, when you are fired in a workplace, when you have lost your company to bankruptcy proceedings or liquidation, in short, when your pathological narcissistic space is gone, you need to move on and create a new pathological narcissistic space.

Pathological narcissistic space is usually a physical space or at most a digital space like Sabia's space. And within this space, all the fans and psychophants and acolytes and admirers and followers of the narcissist congregate to offer him narcissistic supply.

So it could be the neighborhood pub, could be the neighborhood pub, could be church, could be a club, could be a workplace, could be a family. So that's the space.

But when you have to abandon the space, because it's gone defunct, because people see through you, wizened up to your strategists, won't give you supply anymore. You must move on because supply is critical.

So you need to close the gate. You need closure. You need to cut it off surgically.

That's the first purpose of the drama.

And the second purpose of the drama is grandiosity, self-aggrandizement.

Is whatever the narcissist does is of cosmic significance, is unprecedented, is amazing, is unique. He can't just pick his things and go because a million other Joes are doing this.

He has to do it in a way that will be memorable.

Oh, that's so true.

He lives for posterity. I mean, his abandonment will be remembered for generations to come and memorized in sagas and HBO series, Game of Thrones, season 19 or something.

So the drama is part of grandiosity and closure to make a clean cut so that he can dedicate all his energies.

He knows he has nowhere to go back to.

Part of the drama, one of the main reasons for the drama is to burn the bridges, so that he knows he cannot go back and he just must move forward.

We must distinguish burning the bridges from hoovering. There's two separate things.

Burning the bridges has to do with the pathological narcissistic space, but you can still hoover a specific individual that used to belong to the space.

So you can transition an individual from a previous space to your current space via hoovering.

That's interesting.

I have another question here. It's anonymous.

Dr. Vaknin, what are your thoughts on anti-natalist philosophical worldviews?

And I got to admit, I did not Google anti-natalist. I'm not familiar with that term.

No problem.

Antinatalism is composed of two mutually exclusive philosophies.

The first philosophy is pragmatic in the philosophical tradition of the United States, so pragmatic. We shouldn't have children because resources are limited, we are polluting the planet, there's a lot of crime, drugs, institutions are disintegrating, there's a pandemic, so there are many practical reasons to not have children.

So this is the pragmatic, in the philosophical sense, pragmatic school.

And there's a moral school. And the moral school in anti-natalism says you should not have children because it's immoral to have children.

If you bring more children to the world, first of all, you impact their future. You're bringing children into a nightmare. You're bringing children into the swamp to use the big thinker Trump. You're bringing children into inevitable calamity, apocalypse.

It's not fair to the children. It's not moral to do this.

This has to do with your own gratification, narcissistic, perhaps. And also it's not moral towards other already existing human beings.

Because if you bring children to the world, you're polluting the planet, you're depleting resources, you're creating hunger, etc.

Famine.

So there's a moral school and a pragmatic school.

I happen to support both. I think bringing children to the world at this particular moment in history is a seriously bad idea, and arguably immoral.

Yeah.

Oh, wow. Well, I have another question from Ginger Coy. I've had many interesting conversations with her.

She says, Professor Vaknin, I'm intrigued about your thoughts that we know nothing about the brain and that correlating the amygdala to the fear center of the brain, for instance, is reductive.

And you wrote in an Instagram that if you have any theories of psychology or supported by modern day brain research, can you say more on the state of neuroscience, psychology, and psychoanalysts analysis as opposed to psychotherapy?

So I know this is one of your favorite topics about how little we know about the brain. I've heard your many videos on this topic.

I think it's very grandiose to claim such knowledge of the brain that allows us to hypothesize, let alone give medication to people.

And they found so much with the intestines producing hormones and so many other parts of the body.

There are many. They've just discovered the biggest structure in the brain 10 years ago. The biggest structure in the brain was unknown until 10 years ago. We just discovered that the bulk of biochemicals, which regulate moods and so on and so forth, are produced actually in the intestines. And the intestines have technically something which would qualify as a second brain, etc.

It's good. Of course, it's laudable to study the brain to do it, but humility, a little humility. There's no humility in the sciences.

That's why people reject expertise. That's why they reject authority. That's why they revert to the occult.

And I don't know, because science has failed them, has betrayed them in its outcomes like the nuclear bomb or lytomide or whatever. So has failed them, even as it claimed to be infallible. So science had become a religion, a religion.

And people say, well, I prefer the original. I prefer Jesus Christ. I don't want faeci. I want Jesus Christ.

In some of the most basic systems like in plants, the leaves are like the lungs and the roots are like the intestines. And in plants, often the roots do produce most of the hormones that control and regulate the plant.

So even in the most basic biological systems, it's more or less the intestines type structures that regulate the whole production of everything.

I'm not saying that I know. I'm saying we don't know. And owing to our hubris, to our grandiosity, we, for instance, give people medications for 50 years and antidepressants. That's a crime, simply a crime, because we don't have the slightest idea, the slightest.


There's a second problem. And that is a problem of what comes before what.

For example, it is true that when you are afraid, the amygdala is hyperactive. We have functional magnetic resonance imaging and we see the blood flows. Well, I say we because I teach neuroscience and I have a medical degree. So we see the blood flow in the amygdala and we know it's hyperactivated.

When you store long term memories, that's the hippocampus. We see the hippocampus. So we know these things, but hey, what created what? Did your fear create the activity in the amygdala? Or did the activity in the amygdala create your fear? Or is it the third thing, third unrelated thing?

For example, your gut bacteria, which had created the fear and the activity in the amygdala. I'm just, you know, giving crazy examples. We don't know. I'm not saying that I know. I'm saying we don't know.


And to so seriously sit on television and say, yes, of course, the amygdala creates the fear is to be philosophically ignorant, not to say that not very wise.

Another interesting question. So one more comment with your permission, one more comment to the previous question.

People make this distinction between psychotherapy and medication. They say depression, give medication, schizophrenia, give medication, psychotic disorder, and I don't know, borderline personality disorder go to therapy. Talk therapy is the exact equivalent of medication. When I talk to you, when I talk to you, I'm reaching inside your brain and I'm changing it and absolutely rewiring it. I'm creating new paths. I'm triggering a new cascade of biochemicals.

There's no difference between taking an anti-depressants and talking to somebody or to a therapist or to a therapist. Talk therapy is an intervention. Medication is an intervention, and both of them have sometimes identical results, as has been proven in many studies.

That sounds like a great place to invest in, make an investment in society that we've lacked an investment previously, especially like with children, helping children with trauma and things along those lines.

People often say, well, they'll grow out of it, but really, if you can catch it early, especially with substance abuse, that can greatly benefit the life from there on out for the rest of the person's life.

So here's another question for you. Nick Davis asks, do you think it's possible that substance use disorders have been classified incorrectly and may be a type of personality disorder, at least in some cases?

No. Substance use disorder involves substance abuse, involves external objects that are consumed, and again, we are making these unhelpful distinctions because you can abuse substances which are not on the list. They don't have to be harrowing. You can abuse chocolate. Food is a substance. Where I would take it from there is, for example, I would unify substance abuse disorders and eating disorders. In my view, they all are substance abuse disorders. So again, we make these artificial distinctions.

You can drink alcohol, that's okay, but you cannot smoke pot or marijuana or cannabis. That's not okay. You go to jail. There are 600,000 people in jail in the United States alone for consuming cannabis, while alcohol, by any measure, is much more potent than any marijuana thrown anywhere in the universe, including Afghanistan and Turkey. So we have these crazy things, these double standards, these uncertainties, which are inexplicable, and the same you see in the DSM.

All personality disorders, well, not all, most, well, definitely all cluster B disordersare outcomes of trauma. End of story. If I have to distill one year of university teaching, narcissism is outcome of trauma, borderline is outcome of trauma, and today we begin to understand that psychopathy is interaction between genetic and brain abnormalities with trauma, has to be trauma.

Why not unify them with, why not call them post-traumatic conditions? Why do we separate them and call them personality? What the heck is personality?

To this very day, I have no idea what is personality. I'm teaching personality in several universities, not only in Russia, but I have no idea what it is. What is it?

So what is this thing? You don't know what is personality and what is personality disorder, but everyone knows what is trauma. Why not call me?

And then we discover that victims of trauma actually become borderlines. We discover that victims with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, complex trauma, determine, not be beat walkers, do determine, there's a difference.

So victims of CPTSD are indistinguishable from borderline personality disorder. Suddenly we discover, and we are shocked, amazing, why is it amazing? Borderline is also post-traumatic condition.

Narcissism is post-traumatic condition. We say, wow, victims of trauma become grandiose and disempathic. It's shocking. Why is it shocking? They react as narcissists do because they have narcissist defenses. Everyone exposed to trauma becomes a mini-narcissist or a mega-narcissist, depending on the trauma. Narcissism is reaction to trauma.

That's all. If the trauma is sufficiently horrible and severe, for example, if the child is not allowed to develop boundaries and therefore never becomes an individual, which is the most severe possible form of trauma, then of course the narcissism is lifelong.

But if the trauma is brief or short or doesn't attack the identity, then the narcissism will be limited to one year or two years or five years, but there will be narcissism.

Most victims of abuse and narcissistic abuse become narcissists and psychopaths, is not pleasant to say, but it's a fact. Luckily they transition out of it. It's temperate. It's what we call acquired situation of narcissism. It's temporary, luckily for all of us, but why not put everything together? It's the same thing. It's the same with eating disorders and substance abuse.

Food is substance.

In relation to the, like you said, talking to someone, you're reaching into them, he asked, Professor Bakken, can you discuss the importance of narrative and its relations with meaning? And I know this is quite important in people that are recovering and post trauma to have their narrative formulated of what's going to happen after that.

What do you think on that subject?

Well, because our time is limited, even if we do three hours, which I'm open to, still our time is limited. I would refer the person who asked this question, I would refer him to the last seven videos of me on narrative, meaning in a dialogue, shadow work, etc.

Do you have a playlist on that? Is that in a playlist?

No, it's just the last few videos.

On your channel.

The last few ones deal exactly with this narrative, meaning what is the shadow?

Shadow is a narrative and deriving meaning as a healing technique.

There's a whole video about healing, healing psychotherapies, like logotherapy and threat, threat power therapy, a framework, it's called threat power framework, meaning threat power framework. It's a very new approach to psychology, psychotherapy.

So there's a video on this, MTPF. So there's a video on this. I couldn't find any other video online on this. So probably it's the first video ever made on this framework.

Again, you're a trailblazer.

I try to find what's missing because, you know, this is 2.3 million videos about narcissistic supply.

Yeah.

So I have an interesting question.

This is a lady relating to her own personal experience. Paula Joanne Albers.

Hello, Dr. Vacken. I was in a relationship for 20 years with a man who has most of the criteria of vulnerable narcissist. Various things happened throughout the years and before I moved out and within a space of a week, three dangerous things happened to me, my car and my dog.

My question is this, can a vulnerable, vulnerable narcissist be so unsettled that he or she can commit homicide?

So that seems like a very personal question that she's curious about. I would think that, you know, there's a spectrum of possibilities that can, depending on how provoked someone is, but I would, wouldn't think there would be a difference between vulnerable narcissist and overt narcissist.


Let's start with the fact that when we talk about homicide and let's call it extreme acts, like extreme weather, we talk about homicide, infanticide, incest, and we talk about these things.

Our consciousness, our language, our narrative, they are dictated by the mass media, by Hollywood, by talk shows and so on. It's a fact that anyone can commit homicide.

There is no profile, psychological profile of a typical killer. There's no such thing.

Given the right circumstances and confluence of stressors, stressful events, triggers, and so on, literally anyone actually, and everyone, including the person who asked the question, can kill someone.

This is number one. Number two, if anything, narcissists are less likely to kill anyone because narcissists are pro-social. They're pro-social in the sense that they need other people to regulate their internal environment. They need narcissistic supply, so they alienate their sources of supply, but it takes them decades.

I think there's a confusion here between narcissists and psychopaths. Psychopaths are more likely because they are defined, they have no impulse control, they have very high levels of aggression, they are more likely to inflict injury or kill.

But interestingly, there is something in this question.

Why?

Because today we are reconceiving the way we look at borderline personality disorder and covert narcissism.

I told you and the viewers that we have transitioned from dark triad to dark tetrad. We've added borderline and so on.

Why?

Because we today believe that borderline personality disorder is a form of secondary psychopathy in women. It's actually psychopathy.

We also believe that covert narcissists can, under certain circumstances, mutate into primary psychopaths, for example, after they drink under the influence of alcohol.

Interestingly, this question is pertinent because covert narcissists, given highly specific circumstances, become a psychopath. Then the answer is yes, it is more likely to commit homicide.

Oh, that's fascinating.

Then an overt narcissist who never becomes a psychopath. Invert narcissists never ever becomes a psychopath.

It has a lot to do with it.

I also have a question here from Maria Adria. I would like to listen again to a YouTube video called How Narcissists Defeminize You, answering your questions. It's not visible anymore. Is that maybe on a playlist?

Yeah. All the videos that suddenly vanished, with the exception of a few which YouTube took care to delete, all the videos that suddenly had vanished, they were moved to the playlist.

Okay. YouTube is making sure that my videos are not widely watched. I don't want to use the word shadow banned because there's shadow banning, ghost banning. I don't believe in them. I don't believe there's a committee which decides, and I don't believe in my importance is such that I would require shadow banning.

A lot of people think that at YouTube there's really nobody home at YouTube because they complain to YouTube.

Well, no, there are.

Well, the complaints, of course, are ignored, but there are people making decisions.

But the algorithm is constructed to demote automatically, to demote controversial material, material that is perceived as bullying, not conducive to the forming of communities and societies, material that doesn't encourage a lot of commenting, etc.

So groups, types of material are demoted and my materials are explosive. And so on YouTube, YouTube, for example, this morning, I searched for Sam Vaknin, just the word, just the name, Sam Vaknin. And in the first 500 results, I couldn't find my channel.

So they have removed me from search results from, and so I understand the question. That's why I keep many videos of the main channel and in playlists.

Go to my page, click on playlists, you'll find many of the missing videos.

Well, that's good to know.

Carlito ML says MDD, which I think is major depressive disorder, MDD here relating the video healing through meaning, Sam remarks, depressive narratives contain grandiosity.

How is a depressive a grandiose?

Because that's an interesting connection you've made.

Yeah.

Depressive, most depressive disorder, first of all, depression is a family of disorders, of course. There is background depression like dysthymia, cyclothymia. There are major eruptions, volcanic depressions, which are major depressive episodes and so on, but focusing on major depression.

Major depression contains elements which are easily identifiable as a cognitive deficit, which amounts together to grandiosity.

For example, in major depression, there is a pronounced paranoid streak. There is the feeling that the universe had conspired against you, or your nearest and dearest don't care about you, or there are these, what we call in cognitive behavioral therapy, there are these negative automatic thoughts that are essentially paranoid thoughts.

And we are reconsidering of paranoia, I started it, I take credit, we are reconsidering of paranoia now as a form of narcissism.

The paranoid somehow, however indirectly, considers himself the center of attention, malevolent attention, malicious attention, malign attention, but still attention. The CIA is after him, so it means he's important.

So paranoia is a form of grandiosity and most major depressive, majorly depressed people are somehow paranoid.

And second thing is catastrophizing. Depression is constructed on catastrophizing. It's the hopelessness of the underlying belief that nothing will ever get better. There's nothing you can do about it, it's learned helplessness, nothing you can do about it.

So you can do nothing and it's hopeless.

But if you look at catastrophizing closely, microscopically, it's an assumption that you are, that's what's happening to you, is unprecedented. That the whole course of history in a way is changed somehow. That what with other people will yield the result too, with you will yield 10. You're special.

So a non-depressed person would fail an exam, okay? And the non-depressed person will say, okay, well, try again. I'll go for a second term. A depressed person will fail an exam and would say, oh, it's the end of my career. I will never make a living. So I will not be able to get married. I will not have children. And then I will die in poverty all alone, etc.

So with the normal healthy person, it's two. With the depressive person, it's 10. Drama, drama.

That reminds me of, I'm from Florida and we would get hurricanes every year. And some people would react to the hurricane like, well, there's nothing we can do. And they would just like, just sit there in a chair and have pop open a beer or something. And other people would put sandbags and board up their house. And, you know, they would make little preventative measures of whatever little thing they could afford to do at the time, maybe get a generator.

But there was a lot of people that would just be like, oh, there's nothing we could do. And they would just, you know, basically sit out in their yard until the wind would blow their chair away.

And it's very interesting how it's very different reactions.

When you say the, it's like saying, give me your worst. You know, when the depressive says the worst is going to happen to me, to me, there's something in me. I'm like an end magnet. And this is why I'm dead set against end magnets and all this nonsense.

Because this is empaths. This is aggrandizing yourself. It's like making yourself special somehow, even if it's special in a negative way.

Narcissists like negative supply. If they don't have supply, negative supply is okay. If you can't love me, hate me. It's okay. You can't hate me. Be afraid of me. It's also okay. Just pay attention to me.

I have a question here.

Felicia Saunders asks, how do you heal past trauma if you cannot remember what happened?

I find this for myself in dissociative states, but live with some horrible effects of what has happened from the past.

And I noticed that I react in a post-traumatic way, the way, you know, and also like soldiers coming back to hear a backfire of a car and they duck like as if it's gunfire. If they don't actually remember the event, especially in childhood, how do you heal from that?

First of all, we learn about the existence of past trauma from its manifestations and symptoms and presenting signs in the present.

And that's how we know it's happened at all.

That's how we assume. It's one possible explanation, mind you.

There are many others. One possible explanation that there's been a trauma that's been repressed or denied or sliced off, dissociated. And the energy of this trauma is still working in the unconscious.

Freud released this energy. This is called in psychoanalysis, abreaction.

He said, the trauma is there. It's working. It's bad. I'm going to bring the trauma to the consciousness. I'm going to make it conscious. I'm going to bring it to the surface so that all the energy, explosive energy in the trauma will erupt. And this is what we call abreaction.

So this is a very old notion, very old concept.

The traumas cannot be remembered, and you have to remember them for your healing to start.

But here's the problem. The problem is the problem of false memories.

We don't have any tool to tell if memories that surface are real, if they're false, if they're mixture, composites, if they are narratives, parts of some plot or story.

If there are the outcomes of the influence of peers in the environment, this happens in jury, in, you know, in juries. That's why juries are sequestered. Because human memory is the most unreliable thing after the federal government.

We first of all forget half of everything within a day. Then we forget 90% of everything within a year.

Not only do we forget, which is okay, but we refuse to admit that we forget.

So we invent. We confabulate. We bridge the gaps with all kinds of nonsense. And then we are emotionally invested in this nonsense, in these lies and confabulations.

And so we begin to believe it ourselves. We become very aggressive if we are challenged.

And so it's a very murky area.

There was a woman called Loftus, a scholar called Loftus, Elizabeth Loftus, and she had demonstrated chillingly, chillingly, that you can convince anyone to remember anything, including very traumatic, unbelievable events. 90% of people who had witnessed firsthand 9-11, after one year were interviewed, they got wrong. They got wrong. Almost everything, where they were, what they did, what they were wearing, everything.

This is like, you know, assassination of JFK, you're supposed to not forget.

So it's a huge problem. Memory recall, memory jogging, memory, you know, in trauma treatment is very controversial because we don't have a way to tell.

Well, in relating to the healing process, Barbara Bridges asked, what do you think about the role of forgiveness in the healing process? And she specifically says for narcissistic abuse victims. And what is that forgiveness in relation to healthy boundaries?

Well, first of all, don't confuse forgiving with forgetting.

Right. Okay.

You can forgive and never forget.


The second thing, honestly, I think it's much more important to forgive oneself than the perpetrator.

Because I don't subscribe to the school. I didn't know what was happening to me. There were no red flags, no warning signs. I just fell for it. He called me. He deceived me. I don't buy any of this. These were choices.

And the victim is very, very angry at herself for having made these choices. So she denies them, of course.

And the personal responsibility is, is a bitter, bitter problem.

So who else then? She denies it.

Yeah.

And she's very, the rage is self-directed much more than perpetrator direct.

You could consider the narcissist force of nature, a natural disaster, a catastrophe, a tsunami, a virus, you know?

So it's easy to forgive the narcissist because listen, what is the narcissist? It's a pathetic wreck of a human, a non-human. It's the outcome of extreme abuse and trauma. He's a victim of abuse and trauma himself, you know? And he's pathetic. It's a clown. The narcissist is a buffoon, but it's very difficult to forgive yourself.

So Siobhan Diamond asks, is a self-aware narcissist that generally wants to change capable of doing so? And I don't know of too many self-aware narcissists, but are they capable of changing?

Actually, most narcissists are self-aware, but they don't regard their narcissism as a problem. They regard it as an advantage. They are proud of their narcissism. Makes them superhuman and supermen.

So while they're fully aware, they don't cast it. They don't regard it. They don't consider it the same way you do.

So there's a disagreement, not on the facts, but on the interpretation of the facts, where you would say- So you just answered my next question by Kara Hemphrey-Stam.

She says, do most narcissists know they're an a-hole and are proud of it?

Yes, but they don't consider themselves a-holes. That's precisely the thing. So where you would say you're obnoxious, I would say I'm truthful. Where you would say you are sadistic, I would say I have a great sense of humor. Where you would say you are abusive, I would say it's for your own good. It's tough love.

I would reframe and recast and rewrite, but we would both agree on the behaviors and the facts.

There's no dispute on the facts. There's dispute on interpretation because the narcissist is emotionally invested in his disorder. It was what made him special and superior.

So Paul Henry asked how many narcissists have been cured in so far as permanently evicted the false self in their NPD? So is that the cold therapy end result is evicting the false self?

Yeah, cold therapy was administered. How many people have been treated? So I administered cold therapy to 53 individuals. We were in the throes of certifying therapists. We had dozens of therapists ready to be certified. We had seminars in Vienna, in Brazil, in Hungary, and then the pandemic broke up.

And so now there's very few cold therapists. And I don't know how many they had treated. I had treated 53. And of this 53, I would say that 47 had lost the false self and grandiosity.

Wow, that is really impressive.

It's a high ratio of success, yes.

If you define success as losing your false self and grandiosity, many family members are very disappointed. They had expected empathy and love and fireworks.

And suddenly the only thing is the narcissist is less compulsive in seeking supply or not compulsive or not interested in supply. And that's nice. It's great, but that's not the main issue in daily life.

So the nearest and dearest, they're very disappointed. Like that's all. I mean, that's it? Yeah, that's it. No false self.

But mind you, if I remove the false self, I give the true self a chance. And if the narcissist then proceeds with regular therapies, CBT, psychodynamic therapies and so on, he can theoretically evolve into a semi-adult, never into a full adult, but a semi-adult.

It makes up progress.

He has a chance. I give him a chance to or her.

So Susie Lyon asks, is there info on cold therapy literature video you can recommend for someone who you might suspect to have NPD? Is there specific videos on that on your channel?

I have videos on my YouTube channel.

So they would just look them up on there.

Okay, that's good to know.

Lily Rodriguez, she said, she asked if you can please provide us with a list of movies. You've mentioned some in your videos for us referencing narcissism.

The reason why I've watched is the nest. The nest.

The nest.

It's a great depiction of a narcissist.

Then there is the song of names. Okay. These are two recent ones.

There's, of course, a Truman show. There is, so I would recommend that you go to my website and there is a portion of the website dedicated to film reviews, review the films. So if you go to my website, sandbag.tripod.com and find out the scroll up, scroll down. There's a link to film reviews and they're aggregated.

Okay, that's good to know. I did not even know. I did not see that on your website when I was just on it.


Alice Walsh, she asked, what is your number one survival tip for those who have decided to stay married in a long-term or in a long-term relationship with a covert narcissist?

Become background noise. Do not initiate anything. Do not offer help. Do not give empathy. Only respond. And when you do respond, be minimal in your response.

Do not pretend to have a separate existence. Do not pretend to know anything. Do not dispute, disagree, or criticize. Do not be.

That's my advice. And that is why, in all honesty, I devised the no contact strategy in 1995 and that's the only advice I ever give to victims.

Go away, detach, disconnect, break up, abandon ship. No contact.

People say, you didn't invent no contact. My grandmother went no contact with my grandfather. No contact is not just cutting off the cord and walking away.

The no contact strategy comprises well over 28 strategies.

And if you go to my website again, to the abuse section, you will see a very, very, very long essay on what it means to implement no contact, one of the main problems with people, victims, is that they think no contact is just cutting off.

But that's not true. So they end up making many mistakes within the no contact.

And these mistakes cost them and lead to hoovering.

So I have a question from somebody who is in trying to heal. Her name is Valerie Vinger.

How do I heal as codependent while also displaying narcissistic behaviors as I feel invisible when I empathize and narcissistic when I share?

So she, Lydia had suggested a healing type retreat for those type codependents. Is there any information on a retreat like that?

Not to the best of my knowledge, but what do I know? She's only my wife.

Samantha Harrington says, wait a minute, she deserves a bit of a longer answer.

So or codependency is shares the shadow part with analysis. This is the bridge. This is the connection. So I would advise you to do shadow work.

First of all, I would advise you to watch my videos on the shadow part, including the shadow part in codependence and so on, and then seek out other channels because I don't provide this, seek out other channels and focus on your shadow part.

Codependence, codependency is a post-traumatic solution, exactly like narcissism. And it is people pleasing in the sense that it aims to gratify a potential or actual abuser.

But at the same time, it involves extortion techniques because the codependent uses clinging neediness, learned helplessness to blackmail her intimate partner because she needs the intimate partner to provide a safe base and a safe environment and to regulate internal psychological needs.

So in this sense, she also needs supply.

Both the narcissist and the codependent are dependent on other people for the regulation of their internal world.

And the other persons made that investment, they want to keep investing.

Yeah, this is a very seeking and largely narcissistic dynamic because the codependent, for example, wouldn't let go. Even if her intimate partner wants to just break up and she wouldn't let go, that's very selfish. There's a lot of selfishness in codependence.

All this comes from the shadow part. So the repressed part, the part of the codependent will not admit to. She has a narrative that in its extreme with the empaths and all these people, narrative that says, I'm an angel. I'm blameless. And I did not contribute anything to my abuse. I'm not responsible. I am perfect. I'm perfect as a narcissistic statement. Nevermind if I'm perfect as a victim. Perfect as a victim. Okay. Makes you a narcissist.

That's interesting.

Samantha Harrington asks, can someone that was raised in a seriously abusive and narcissistic environment have the ability to not become narcissistic, their self?

Well, majority of people don't. Only a small minority become narcissists, borderlines, and codependents.

I think it's like 1% is narcissist, 1%?

Well, officially, officially it's 1% of the general population, but we begin to accept that narcissism and borderline and psychopathy combined probably around 5% of population and that generally personality disorders, something like 15% of population.

Okay.

So that is a pretty good chunk of the population.

Yeah.

Every seventh person you come across is likely to have a seriously disordered personality. Doesn't have to be cluster B, could be cluster A, cluster C.

Okay.

Cat Roberts, she has a comment. Do you, or a question, do you think narcissists tend to want to upset everyone at Christmas?

Well, narcissists hate holidays and birthdays because it's not about them. Okay. They're not the center of attention and they're not the prime movers and shakers. People are happy. Not because the narcissists made them happy.

It's a myth that narcissists don't want people to be happy.

Narcissists want people to be happy because of them. Okay. As long as they are the cause of the happiness, it's okay.

But if the happiness emanates from another source, the narcissist will try to spoil it, will try to destroy the good mood, the cheer, undermine the togetherness and the community in the communal field.

Narcissists are averse to anything they don't control and anything that cannot be directly and exclusively attributed to them.


I have a compliment here from Skirtu Marianne. I have nothing to ask only to show my admiration or appreciation for all his work.

Well, wait till we meet. Next.

Vessana Odak says, what is the best way to deal with teenagers that are showing traits of narcissism?

Teenagers cannot show traits of narcissism. That's another nonsensical online myth. We are forbidden from diagnosing pathological narcissism before the age of 18.

And now we are changing this and probably it will become 25.

So, for example, recent studies in narcissism, Keith Campbell, John Twenge, they study populations between the age of 18 and 25, 15 and 25, I'm sorry.

And they define this group as adolescents.

Okay. We are moving the goalposts of adolescents and probably shortly we will not diagnose pathological narcissism, let alone narcissistic personalities.

So before the age of 25, why? Why?

Because there are two periods of healthy narcissism.

One is in the formative years between age six months and six years. And the other period is adolescence. In both periods, narcissism is healthy, healthy because it helps the individual to explore the world grandiosely, to take on the world.

You need to be grandiose to take on the world. And you need to be grandiose to separate yourself and individuate yourself. You need to say, I know better than my mother. I'm more clever than my father and I'm strong enough to change the world.

These are narcissistic grandiose statements, but they're healthy when you're an adolescent. You don't have this narcissism.

Actually, the main form of abuse in early childhood, which produces narcissism later in adulthood, is when the mother or father, usually the mother, does not allow the child to express his healthy narcissism.

Does not allow the child to separate, to become an individual, to criticize her, to explore the world grandiosely, either because she's narcissistic and feels challenged or because she's co-dependent and depends on the child, parentifies the child, renders the child a parent, or because she competes with the child or because she's absent or because she's depressive, whatever it is, it's called dead mother.

Andrei Green called it dead mother. Whatever it is, it's when the child is not allowed to express healthy narcissism that he becomes a narcissist.

Because when you don't have healthy narcissism, you have malignant narcissism. One way or the other, you're going to end up with narcissism.

So we don't diagnose narcissism in teenagers.


So I have another question here.

Radek Pillitz asked him what he thinks about the recently published personality construct of the tendency for victimhood.

And I'm not familiar with this. I don't think it was your study.

It's a series of three studies by a group of Israeli psychologists led by a psychologist woman called Gabbai. And they suggested after these three studies, they suggested that there is a personality construct of a victim.

Now, to explain personality construct is a set of traits and behaviors that go together all the time, go together. And our manifest are expressed, are observable, discernible in a variety of settings.

So the same traits and behaviors will happen with a family, workplace, church, football match, neighborhood bubble. In all these situations, these traits and behaviors will suddenly be visible.

So this is a personality construct. And they said there is a personality construct of a victim. This kind of person will interpret everything as being victimized.

It's got the pervasiveness.

Yeah, he will. His identity would crucially depend on his victim.

Now, mind you, there's absolutely nothing new about this. There's actually a branch of psychology called victimology.

Okay. Nothing new about this.

I myself, I've written an article in 1995 titled When Victims Become Narcissists. Really nothing new about this, but it's nice to have substantiation of this.

And I fully concur. I absolutely think that there are people who had transformed their victimhood into the main determinant of their identity.

They use victimhood to understand the world, to make sense of the world. They use victimhood to organize their lives and how they behave, what they avoid, what they do, their choices, mate selection, which mates to choose. Their comfort zone is victimhood.

So they would tend to select abusers to be abused so that they feel comfortable. And their victimhood is coupled with grandiosity. So they would be angelic, blameless, blemishless, etc.

Abrogating personal responsibility. Actually, the studies conducted by Gabbai contributed something. She proved, they proved, big studies, by the way, they proved conclusively that professional, eternal victims lack empathy, are grandiose, and are vengeful and vindictive.

And if this sounds like a narcissist, it's because it is.

Wow. That's why I keep saying empaths are covert narcissists. They just don't mind.

It's good that they're doing this ongoing research on this then to really flush out some of these nuances, I guess.

I'm not saying that empaths know that they are narcissists and pretend they're active. No, they really believe it. I mean, they have the victimhood stance. They have this, the victimhood thing, you know?

So the victimhood trait or the victimhood personality construct, and they really believe themselves to be victims. And they really believe that they are impeccable and perfect and had contributed nothing whatsoever, even remotely, to the situation they find themselves in for decades.

And they don't stop from saying, what the heck? I've been married to four abusers. I've dated 26 abusers. My boss had abused me in the last 12 working places. In church level, could it be that there's some common denominator to all these situations? And might it be me?

They never asked this.

Well, I have Nadia Komarov. She says, I have no questions. Just would like to express my gratitude.

Immense, may I say.

Are these common splinters to provide me with supply to keep me going?

I'll sprinkle them in here and there.

Olivia Aknin says, how do I overcome fear, obligation, and guilt?

How do you overcome fear, obligation, and guilt?

Why are these negative things?

These are called regulatory affective stimuli. These are the things that keep you, for example, social and not antisocial. These are the things that warn you that you're doing some things you shouldn't because of the consequences, fear. Guilt prevents you from hurting other people. These are good things.

Why would you want to overcome them? It's a psychopathic question.

Okay. Psychopaths come todoctor, can you let me, I don't want to feel guilty when I screw people. I don't want to be afraid.

And by the way, psychopaths lack the fear response. They have no physiological reaction to fear. For example, they don't sweat. Their heart rate remains stable.

And the parts of the brain that are activated during fear are not activated in psychopaths. They are fearless in the foolishness of the world.

I've seen them actually laugh when something dangerous is happening. I've seen people actually laugh and think it's funny.

They also tend to laugh at other people's misfortune and mishaps.

So they have a totally, they have what we call inappropriate affect. Inappropriate affect is when you laugh in a funeral.

And they have, but they also, their bodies and brains are very, very different to normal people. One of the main things, things, they don't have a fear reaction.

So this guy is asking, oh girl, he's asking how to become a psychopath in effect.

Right. So not to worry about that so much.

Simon Schechter has rather long one here, a rather technical question on the subject of object relation theory, which he seems to mention quite often while discussing the mutual basis of all personality disorders.

In a video with Richard Grannon, he mentioned that narcissists possess only internal objects while psychopaths are exactly the opposite. They have only external objects.

But how about psychopathic narcissists? This seems like a paradox and it bothers me.

So, I'm sorry to have bothered you and let me try to un-bother you.

Compounded disorders such as, for example, psychopathic narcissists, which used to be known as malignant narcissists. Kernberg called them malignant narcissists. Today we call them psychopathic narcissists after running stuff, running some change the appellation.

It goes like this. There is a dominant type and this dominant type controls the regulation of emotions, moods to prevent liability, self efficacious agency. In other words, how the person acts in the world in order to obtain favorable outcomes from the environment.

So all this is controlled by the dominant type, but in situations of extreme unregulated, dysregulated anxiety, mood lability, stress, conflict, unresolvable dissonance in all these situations which are intolerable.

Another type takes over.

It's like the second non-dominant type says, excuse me dominant type, you failed. I'm feeling bad. I'm taking over and this type comes forth.

So the psychopathic narcissist is most of the time a narcissist, but faced with these extreme situations, he becomes a primary psychopath and we call these self-states. Borderline has several self-states, one of which is a secondary psychopath.

Just to explain the difference between secondary and primary, is a primary psychopath doesn't have empathy, doesn't have emotions. Secondary psychopath has empathy and emotions.

So the borderline becomes a secondary psychopath. The self-state comes out.

Now, in the past, we have stress, dissonance, fear of abandonment, for example, in the case of the borderline, etc. In the past, we used to have something called multiple personality disorder. Today we have something called dissociative identity disorder.

We are beginning to think that these compounded types, psychopathic narcissists, psychopathic borderline, these compounded types are actually an agglomeration of self-states mediated via dissociation.

So the psychopathic narcissist is a narcissist all the time. Then he faces mortification, narcissistic mortification, which is the most stressful situation a narcissist can ever face. At that point, he dissociates. The narcissistic part recedes and the psychopath takes over to protect the whole structure because the psychopath is more aggressive, more defiant, is more like it, is a fighter. So the fighter takes over, the psychopath takes over. The person who asked the question makes the implicit assumption that both types manifest all the time.

The wrong assumption.

Okay.

I have a question that's a little bit related to this idea of what you were saying, that a lot of these social activism and social justice movements are hijacked by narcissists and psychopaths.

So my question was on healthy leadership styles.

There are groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, use 12 steps, that promote stewardship of the next sick and suffering. And there's books like Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. You might be familiar with that. It promotes stewardship on an interdynamic model.

So would stewardship be more of a guiding framework for leadership in a healthy style?

There is a moment of confusion between stewardship, stewardship, sponsorship, and delegation. Now Covey's, Covey's, not Covey, Covey, C-O-V-EY.

Covey's stewardship is actually delegation, which he himself admits in the book. It starts with stewardship. Actually, it's kind of controlled delegation.

Okay. So it is the transfer of trust and the transfer of responsibilities to another person, so that that other person can fulfill an assignment or a task or a mission and present the outcomes.

So stewardship is about a transfer of locus of control via trust.

It's not the same in rehab or 12 steps. In 12 steps, you have a sponsor. And that's a parental board, more like a parent.

And there is no full delegation, absolutely. I mean, you seem to have personal experience with this. I'm not sure. There's not, absolutely there's not total delegation.

It's not like the sponsor tells you in 12 steps, okay, I fully trust you. I mean, go away. Don't call me when it's over. No way. The sponsor is enmeshed in your life and controls micromanages. You control, I mean, you call the sponsor when you fell off the wagon. I mean, your sponsor is you. It's your real husband. It's, I mean, it's your real mother and father and sister and brother and husband and your world.

And this could last for 10 years or decades even. I've heard of relationships and sponsors that lasted 20, 30 years. It's very different.

Okay. Also COVID approach is more organization.

Trust flows together with responsibilities and outcomes flow up and so on.

While the sponsorship thing is more equals, like I'm a sponsor, but I've been where you were. I've been there. I'm you. It's not that I'm above you. I'm not giving you, you know, I don't have what to delegate to you. Okay. I just give you my empathy, my compassion, my caring, my presence, above all my presence. You need someone to be there for you. So I will be there for you.

Like an advocate or something.

Yeah.

And, and in 12 steps, 12 steps is a very interesting thing, not in conjunction with leadership, but we'll talk about leadership in a minute, because 12 steps is about giving up grandiosity. It's called therapy. It's about giving up grandiosity.

They have this thing with the Supreme being and supreme power and all this, but it's actually giving up grandiosity. You lose the locus of control. You don't think that you're the king of the universe. It's one, one day at a time.

So there's no catastrophizing or poor depression and so on.

Leader, a good leader is like a good spouse or intimate partner. It's wrong to merge. It's wrong to become one. It's wrong to fuse. That's not leadership. That's psychosis. That is typical in cults, especially personality cults.

A good leader is not about becoming one with you, representing you. He's not your long arm. A good leader is about motivating you to be you.

Okay. If, if this you is different to the leader, is not like the leader, opposes the leader, you know, it's okay because that's what a good leader and a good parent does.

I keep saying that the main role of a good mother is to push away her children. To allow them to separate.

But yeah. And the same with a good leader.

The main role of the good leader is to generate self-autonomy, self-reliance, self-sufficiency, self-efficacy, agency, empowerment.

He, a good leader doesn't want people to be weak and dependent on him. That's not a good leader. A good leader wants to be, wants people to be so strong that one day they will get rid of him. That's difficult, succeedingly difficult in the entire history of the human race.

I can count on two hands, maybe leaders who were like that. The great ones.

Wow. Pervitless, maybe in Athens. It's difficult.

You take people like Hitler, you know, they fostered dependence and weakness and they told you, listen, suspend your judgment, suspend your separate existence. Trust, transfer everything to me.

Something goes wrong. You're not guilty. It's my fault.

And it's that uniform face that represents it all. Just like one face represents the whole thing.

That to me is like a real red flag when it's just that one, one symbol or face that it's always being promoted.

No teamwork, no composite figure. Yeah, true. Of course. Of course, because everything is channeled into the leader, the leaders.

It's the fear of principle. It's a fear.

Well, I have an interesting question related to things that kind of be, are pervasive like that.

You know, in Mac, I know you're an expert on macroeconomics among your many other things that you're an expert on.

China has made huge investments in Africa and South America. And I was going to ask you, should we be more concerned about the CBDC, which is the central bank digital currency, that they have a Chinese version of the digital one. It's a digital coin electronic pay. And with their footprint in South America, I mean, all the cars in South America are Chinese. And in Africa, they have these huge solar fields. They're developing these industrial projects.

I mean, should we be more concerned that they are pervading and, you know, what's going to happen with the dollar being, you know, the default currency, if this digital one takes over the rest of the world?

What are your thoughts on that?

The dollar is only one of a few reserve currencies, not default currencies, but reserve currencies. So it's only one of a few, although it's the major one.

Reserve currencies reflect the economic might behind the currency and the ability to print the currency, the control over the printing presses.

But honestly, all currencies had been digital since the 1960s. All currencies are digital. They are all stored in computers. Your bank, in 1980, your balance was a digital thing. I mean, you drew money.

So until now, stupidly, we had to convert digital currencies into physical currencies. We wanted to touch the coins and the papers. And then we said, wait a minute, why do we need this nonsense? All currencies are fiction. All of them are invented in computers, manipulated in computers, moved from one computer to another computer. It's digital entries.

We can dispense with the coins and the papers. And now we can issue our currency digitally only.

The difference between national digital currencies, and China is by no means alone. The difference between Russia and many others. There's about 30 countries in the world today, including in Latin America, including poor countries, which are issuing digital currencies.

So the difference between digital currencies and crypto currencies is that in the case of digital currency, the central authority of the central bank, the fiat money, the money that is made by decision, the central authority is maintained. And it's illegal to issue the digital currency, although China has had a private company which had issued the digital currency before the Chinese central bank, but now they're getting rid of it.

So digital currencies are issued only by central banks.

And therefore, there is no difference between now and 1970, because in both cases, digital banks printed money electronically, distributed to banks electronically, and the money was stored digitally.

That we, in a retarded way, insisted on coins and it means nothing. Crypto currencies don't have a central authority, and they have blockchain technology to verify identity. So they are much more difficult to falsify. And the blockchain technology, as some of your viewers may know, simply means that every change in the money supply, every mining of new currency and every distribution of the mined currency is registered on millions of computers simultaneously via a specialized algorithm. So it's not possible to falsify, because there will always be a few million computers where the truth resides.

A great tool to identify for identity.

So actually, if you combine the two, digital currency, plus blockchain technology, it helps to fight money laundering.

Because the identity cannot be falsified, helps to fight crime, cartel, drug cartel money, etc, etc. It's anti-terrorism.

So it's a good development.

But the fact, so the transition to digital currency in China doesn't bother me. It only means that the yuan or renminbi would become a reserve currency, which is not such a bad thing, because it should reflect the global economy.

There is a separate issue not related to this. And that's the rise of China.

The rise of China is very worried, very worried, because if you look at the history of humanity, let's say, in the past, at least 800 years, all the empires that had risen were committed to some form of representation, not always liberal democracy, but some form of representation, opinion, public opinion, some form of equal equitable distribution of, for example, redistribution to the poor via taxation. So there was commitment to some ideals.

And all since the Magna Carta in Britain in 1215, all empires after that were committed to similar things. Even colonialism, the people who colonized Africa and Asia, they came with good intentions. It later became malignant.

It's like communism. Communism was a good, good in principle, but horrible in execution. But even communism was built on respect for the individual, respect for work, some form of representation.

I mean, China is the first major power which is not committed to any of this. It's collectivist.

The individual has no place. It's a totally collectivized society. There's no concept of representation of any kind. There is absolute sanction of aggression and violence to resolve as a way to resolve and arbitrate disputes.

So you don't agree with me, I kill you. It's very psychopathic. And I am extremely worried by the rise of China.

It's a very old civilization, and it has very laudable philosophies like Confucianism, but it's not practiced.

Jack Ma once said the religion of China is Confucianism.

Confucianism, basically.

Yeah, that was his opinion of that.

Would you like to field a few questions on physics, astrophysics? I have some from the members, but also I was just wondering if you had a brief comment on dark matter. Is it a particle? What is that stuff?

Let me answer by referring a bit to history. Whenever we discover a phenomenon or a set of phenomenon that we cannot explain, we invent something that we cannot measure.

Simple. There was a period in chemistry in the 18th century. When you burn something, it loses weight. The weight of the ashes is not like the weight of the original object that you had burned. So they were stumped. They couldn't come with an explanation.

What the heck is happening? Where the weight has gone.

So they came up with something called Flogiston. Flogiston was this missing thing. And for well over 70, almost 100 years, this was, they were teaching this in chemistry, and they were convinced that it exists.

There were huge names, huge prominent chemists like Lavoisier, who insisted that Flogiston exist.

So and then much later, there was a problem with some experiments in physics. So before that, they said, well, the whole universe is permeated by something called ether. There's ether in the universe. And you had books about ether analyzing its properties and how light moves through ether. But of course, it's not ether. Dark matter and dark energy belong in this group.

We have come across certain phenomena that at this stage, we are at a loss, how to account for within an established models, instead of saying, okay, so the models suck. We say no, the models are okay.

For example, we say general relativity must be true. We don't say reality challenges general relativity, the hell with general relativity. We don't say this. We say reality challenges general relativity, the hell with reality.

It reminds me that once Einstein was asked, what happens if light passes next to the sun, and doesn't obey general relativity, just doesn't obey your predictions? He said, well, the sun has a problem. Dark matter and dark energy are these kinds of things.

Now, dark matter and dark energy, these inventions, there is a real problem. But this problem can be solved in other ways, which do not require dark matter and dark energy.

There is a principle in science. It's called the principle of parsimony, Occam's razor. Do not multiply entities. Do not multiply forces. If you have two theories, one with two entities, and one with one entity, choose the one with one entity.

The fewer entities, the closer you are to the truth. That's Occam's razor.

Now, in classic, in current day modern physics, we are multiplying entities. We have almost 300 elementary particles. We have seven components of the universe.

We started off with one matter. Then we added energy. Then we added dark energy. Then we added dark matter.

I mean, first dark matter, then dark energy.

And now we have the lambda model, which is a concordance model, which essentially has seven components. We're multiplying all the time. It's a bad sign. We can explain it differently, and I'll give you very briefly two possible explanations.

Explanation number one, the universe is not homogeneous. Because there is the assumption the universe is the same whichever way you look. It's a base assumption.

The same density of matter, the same.

So if you look this direction or that direction or behind you, you will see, you will not be able to tell the differences. They will all look identical.

This is called the homogeneity.

But we could have a non-homogenous universe. Like if you stir milk, then sometimes you have lumps of sour milk. So you could have this. It's called an inhomogenous universe.

And if you have an inhomogenous universe, you don't need dark matter, dark energy. That's one possible explanation.

Second possible explanation is actually my work. So I came up with a new theory in physics, a theory that is like next stage.

The time asymmetry, is it related to this?

It's about time.

And so this new theory assumes that there is a field, field of time, only time, not motion, not mass, not anything, not energy, just time. And the time, time is homogeneous. Time is what we call scalar.

So if you just use this assumption, problem vanishes. You don't need dark matter, dark energy.

So scalar fields, not only time.

I propose time, others propose.

But I'm not going now into the quintessence and moduli and all the solutions, but I want to say that dark matter and dark energy reflect our ignorance combined with our grandiosity.

I think the recent discoveries are sufficient to challenge substantially, to undermine substantially, even general relativity.

Would that be related to like the gravitational wave measurements? I know that the 2015 Nobel Prize winners, they use gravitational wave measurements as compared to like visible lightweight measurements to decide that there are no outside dimensions because there's no leakage. The numbers came through perfectly what they expected. So nothing leaked into other dimensions. And therefore they say there are no more dimensions. We've discovered them all.

I mean, is that a beneficial way of looking at it?

These experiments, first of all, tended to support actually the existence of dark energy in a way which I'm not going to right now. They discovered some patterns that are known as gravitational welds.

But more importantly, they present a refutation to some extent. If we trust these measurements, which I have difficulty doing, but even so, if they are trustworthy, then they will challenge multi-dimensional theories, extra-dimensional theories like string theories.

Again, when we confront ignorance, we react with grandiosity.

And so these extra dimensions are like the floggy stone, like the ether, like dark energy.

When we confront situations, experiments in nature that we cannot explain, we need to go back to the drawing board and start from zero, not say what we have until long must be true.

So let's add to it.

No, we must throw everything off the table and start from zero. That's what Einstein did, ironically. When Einstein was confronted with a Michelson-Moulli experiment with light, Einstein didn't say, oh, well, the ether must be true.

Now I will add to the ether something, and I will solve the problem.

No. He said this single experiment, it was one experiment, one. He said this single experiment means we have to throw the entire physics to the garbage and start from zero, which is what he did.

We trains and elevators, and I don't know why. He started from zero. That's why he's a genius.

Newton did the same. Newton started from zero.

We have a critical mass of experiments which legitimize starting from zero, saying we just discovered that everything we thought was wrong.

We need to start from zero. And that's what I did with all humility. I don't know if my solution is remotely the correct one, but that's what I tried to do, at least.

So as far as our observations of observing this universe, one of our group members, Johnny Taz, asks about that.

Professor Baknin, why is it commonly portrayed in quantum physics that an observing consciousness creates reality rather than simply observes reality?

Can the intention of the conscious observer be scientifically measured in the results of those quantum experiments? Is it reasonable to say the study of quantum physics is a study of the edge of the present and the future? And does time that you're talking about interact with quantum and classical physics, does time operate only within the realms of these quantum and classic physics?

And, you know, are these laws considered connecting, you know, is time a connection between them?

And thank you for your thought-provoking lectures.

So how would you?

Time, time essentially does not exist in quantum mechanics and quantum physics.

On most of the, all the equations are time reversible. So if we put time flowing forward and time flowing backward, we get the same result.

So time doesn't matter.

And which is one of the reasons which led me to believe that time could be a fundamental building block of a new theory.

My new theory, time is a field. And everything that happens, all the events that happen, we give them names.

So when a certain type of event happens in the time field, let's call it a wave, small wave or fluctuation. In the time field, we call it particle.

When another type of event happens, we call it motion.

So everything in physics that we have until now, if you agree to have a time field, then you can derive all the equations of physics from this single assumption that there is a field.

So that would be the starting back at zero, start with time.

That's starting with zero.

Yes. What I did, I said, I want to start from zero and I want to use minimal number of entities.

So I don't want to use mass. I don't want to use motion. I don't want to use energy. I refuse to use all these.

I'm going to use a single word. And with this single word, word, I will try to write Shakespeare.

And so I took the, I took time. I said, okay, of course.

Of time as it is now flowing, going forward, I mean useless. Also, it's wrong because most of our equations don't show any flow of time. Something must be wrong.

So I said, okay, let's think of time as a field. It's a field of potentialities, a field of what could happen. So now it's a field of what could happen. Now let's see if this happens.

How does it look?

If this wave happens, how does it look?

I said, wait a minute. If this wave happens in the field, it looks very much like a particle.

And now then one of the things which would please religious people very much is that in my theory, what we call the universe is a time field. And in order for it to become, in order, for example, to produce matter or to produce a particle, to produce motion, to produce energy, it must observe itself. So the entire field must observe itself.

Okay.

It's not enough for a single individual to observe the field. There will be zero result. The whole field must observe the field for any result to happen. And many people say that's very close to God.

Because the condition in my theory is that the whole field observes itself all the time. Otherwise there's no creation. That's besides the point.

Now to the question about the observer. It is not true that in quantum physics, an observer creates anything.

First of all, it is only one of many interpretations of quantum mechanics. It's known as the Copenhagen interpretation. There are many others equally plausible, like many worlds interpretation, which is now the dominant one, actually. And in the many worlds interpretation, the multiverse, that's the dominant interpretation of quantum mechanics today. And there's no observing. There's no need for an observer. That was a very old interpretation from 1920, from the Solvay conferences. It's a series of conferences that were held in Denmark.

And that interpretation said, well, when a particle evolves, moves forward in time, the particle can end up here, or here, or here, can end up anywhere. And they call it the wave function.

Okay. Like this was the set of all probabilities where the particle may end.

It is the choice of the experimenter that decides where the particle is going to be.

Mind you, the experimenter doesn't create the particle. The experimenter just chooses one of the possibilities, one of the potentials of the wave function. We call it collapse. The observer collapses the wave function into a particle.

But even this, the observer, has largely disappeared from quantum mechanics and quantum physics. And today, we rarely use it as a definitely, even at that time, there were huge debates.

What does it mean? For example, Schrodinger came up with a cat experiment. What if there's a cat in a box? Is it alive or is it dead? And when the experimenter opens the box, does the experimenter decide if the cat is alive or dead?

And Einstein and others, Podolsky was in, they also, I mean, there were many challenges to this.

So this by no means the orthodoxy of quantum mechanics.

Constantly new discoveries.

There was a recent Nobel Prize winner, I cannot think of his name, who he believes there was a universe before this universe based on the cosmic microwave background and signs that we see in it now.

So we could be discovering more and more.

One of the main problems of physicists is that they have no training in philosophy. We should not discuss anything that is not decidable. Anything that cannot be subjected to experiments, falsified, falsifiability.

So to say there was a universe before this universe, nice, meaningless. To say there is God, nice, meaningless. To say the world is a simulation, nice, meaningless. I don't deal with meaningless things.

I'm a scientist by training, my original training was a physicist. I'm a scientist.

Can I design and can the theory produce predictions, which I can design experiments to falsify, to prove that the predictions were wrong? This is science. The rest is metaphysics, bullshit, nonsense.


HBO proposed TV scripts. Very nice. There's a place for everything. Science, it's not. It's pseudoscience in the worst sense of the word.

Now, of course, these people who tell you there was a previous universe, they tell you in the seam between the previous universe and the current universe, we can measure this, we can measure that, you cannot measure anything. We don't know what the seam is.

One of the reasons I've left physics, one of the reasons I left physics is that physics went the opposite way of chemistry. Chemistry started with alchemy and became a science. Physics started as a science and became superstition, became fantasy, became alchemy, became an esoteric thing. Physics now is esoteric, it's occult, it's magic. It's not serious.

I'm sorry, but 90% of the work produced nowadays in physics is not serious work. Cannot be tested, cannot be falsified, cannot be experimented, speculative, nonsensical, grandiose, counterfactual. It's a very disappointing field in which there had been no real progress since the inflationary model. Since then, it's utter sheer unmitigated alchemy, metaphysics.

Kind of like conspiracy theories in a way, yeah.

It's nonsense, it's simply nonsense. Simply nonsense.

You mentioned astrology and I asked you to not ask me about this because I don't want to insult you or others. But honestly, together with astrology, I would consider string theories in the same class.

Right. Many physical theories in physics do not have an ontological or epistemological advantage over astrology nowadays.

And that's a set testimony.


Yeah.

Well, let's get back to some of these questions.

Lady A had another one. This is relating to the merging and the fusing.

Is inclination of codependent to merge and fuse always dysfunctional? It welcomes abuse and shared fantasy. Or can fusing happen within personal boundaries and be healthy?

So that's like, I guess, is there a healthy type of codependency?

How can you fuse within boundaries? Fusion, by definition, is the elimination of boundaries.

Okay.

So that's your answer.

The answer is it cannot be healthy because you cannot be healthy without boundaries.

Right. Boundaries are the guardians and the firewalls of health, of your mental health. If you allow people to invade your space and to do with your furniture as they please, then you are subject to home invasion.

So the life is home invasion. And the same with walking on actions. If you walk on actions, it's a circus act, not a life.

You know? Yeah. So merging with someone, fusing with someone, become one organ, becoming one organism with two heads is a freak show, not a life.

Okay.


Jean Marie and cruel Ender, they say Merry Christmas and happy Hanukkah Sam.

Cruel, says Merry Christmas. Oh, cruel.

Simona Freya, her and I have had quite some interesting conversations on these topics.

She says, dear Professor Vaknin, please, what is the difference between emotional intelligence, IQ and empathy? Is there a good reliable test for EQ? Maybe online.

Thank you.

Well, first of all, there are numerous tests, good, reliable, valid tests for emotional intelligence.

First popularized by Goldman and others.

But so if you go to Wikipedia, simply type emotional intelligence, they have a section on the test summarizing the test.

Okay. Okay.

So it's a great section. Best of my knowledge includes all the tests known with links to the original tests and so on.

So this is about the tests, emotional intelligence and empathy are not the same. I would put it this way.

Emotional intelligence is the cake, the chocolate cake and empathy is a chocolate.

Empathy is an ingredient without which you cannot have emotional intelligence, but emotional intelligence is way more than empathy.

Empathy is an instrument, the base ingredient, but emotional intelligence includes ability to interact, ability to respect other people's boundaries, ability to collaborate, lack of grandiosity, etc.

I mean, it has dozens of parameters.

And of course, Daniel Goldman and others, they've written extensively about emotional intelligence and I recommend to read the books.

There are both, each of these books is well over 400 pages.

So you can imagine it's not all the empathy.

Wow.

Yeah. So Olesa Sanchez, how much is narcissism a personal choice as the consequences of truck life? Do human beings have any control over it?

Um, yes. So yeah, sorry.

Continue. I was just wondering, does it happen when you're too young to have control over it or you mentioned when you're too young, you cannot be a narcissist.

There's healthy narcissism.

Narcissism is a choice and I can prove it very easily.

When narcissists, the most malignant, vicious, grandiose, hypervigilant, insane, obnoxious narcissists, when they are put in the army, when they join the army, when they are placed in prison and they're hospitalized, suddenly they're pussycats, they're supportive, they're attentive, they are empathic. They never ever offend anyone because if you do this in jail, you have very short life expectancy, etc.

Given what we call total institutions, these are called total institutions.

The fact that the narcissist is able to modulate and regulate and eliminate most of his behaviors, if not all of them, and display suddenly traits that no one had ever suspected that he possesses proves conclusively that narcissism is a choice. That's a choice.

The narcissist can empathize with you because he has called empathy at least.

The narcissist can take your wishes and needs and priorities into account. He just doesn't care about you.

Doesn't care.

Oh, so, Charmaine Williams asks, do narcissists ever confront their mothers for abusing them?

I'm sure they do. I mean, I don't know. I know a few who did and a few and many who didn't.

They might be aware that the abuse came from the mother.

No, that many of them do, many of them do. Although, it depends on the type of abuse.

If the narcissist as a child had been idolized, placed on a pedestal, he would tend to idealize his mother. That's the famous Madonna whore complex.

Okay. He would tend to render her a saint. And if his spouse dares to confront his mother, he would rather divorce than, but that's only in case he had been idolized. And in case he had been classically abused, verbally, psychologically, let alone sexually and so on, most narcissists have clear recollection of such things and are angry at their mothers and parents and so on.

But their solution is to outdo the abuser. Like next time it's not going to happen to me. Next time I'm going to be the one who does this to people.

Right.

So another one is who is worse is Angelique Tenure.

Hi, I would like to know if BPD is worse than NPD. To me, they're quite similar. I tend to believe border lines are more dangerous and impulsive.

So border lines are more labile. They are more dysregulated and consequently they are less predictable. And when they're confronted with stress and anxiety, especially abandonment anxiety, they become secondary psychopaths, which is seriously bad and dangerous and reckless. And because they aren't predictable, you can't defend yourself.

You know, there are no worries. I mean, it's out of the blue, literally, because it's an internal unknown.

It's an internal dynamic. This is what we call an ability.

Because, you know, it's so the dynamic is internal, the threat is real, and it's like serious mess. At least with the narcissist, if you know the narcissist, you can pretty much predict it. I mean, he likes narcissistic supply. Giving some supply, he calms down. You know, it's very manageable.

His trajectory is pretty pronounced of the eventual devaluation. It's just...

He also can predict this. It's predictable. You know, he's going to tell you. I mean, you know, he's going to discard you. Prepare yourself. I mean, it's all in the cards. Borderline is totally chaotic. It's totally chaotic in the distance.

But psychologically, border line is, well, there's a debate here. I mean, it's emotionally, border line is in a far better place than the narcissist.

There was a scholar by the name of Brotstein. Brotstein said that children, when they're confronted with abuse, first they try to become narcissists. Some of them succeed to become narcissists. They develop a false self, and the false self protects them, isolates them from the abuse. So some of them become narcissists.

But many of them fail to become narcissists. These are the failed narcissists. And the failed narcissist is what we call border lines. That's Brotstein.

So border lines are in much better place than narcissists because they have empathy and they have access to emotions. They feel love.

Narcissists, can you imagine what a punishment it is? Never to feel love. Never. Ever.

So for example, not only love.

It's very hollow, hollow existence.

It's non-existence. It's absence. It's death. It's death.

Narcissists are dead inside. They are the walking dead. They're zombies. Border lines are not like that. They're hyper emotion.

But on the other hand, because border lines don't have the narcissistic defenses, it's much easier for them to become psychopaths and psychotic to lose it, to go insane and therefore to commit suicide. So there's a plus side and a minus side to this coin.

Border lines are given the gift of emotions and empathy, but it is this gift, this vulnerability, this exposure, they don't have a skin. They don't have a skin to protect them.

The narcissistic skin. They're skinless.

It is this that pushes them to suicide and to psychosis, which was the observation first made by Otto Kernberg. I'm trying to use others, mention other scholars, so the people don't accuse me that I'm promoting only myself.

Right.

So Renate Bachter, he's asking, is having no or only cold empathy in all its fallen consequences, the main sign of being a narcissist?

No. Cold empathy is common to narcissists, common to psychopaths, and common to victims of complex trauma, actually. So cold empathy is simply a device that is intended to avoid the emotional consequences of empathizing with other people.

If you are in a post-traumatic state, let's say a horrible divorce, you've been abused by a narcissist for 20 years, when you exit, you need all the energy and all the resources to yourself. You can't afford the luxury of empathizing. You can't afford to absorb the pain and the hurt of other people. So you become much less empathic. You actually develop cold empathy.

Now, cold empathy simply means that you're able to read other people properly, but you don't react emotionally to the information that you glean. It's robotic. If I look at you and say she's sad, but it does nothing to me. I'm not reacting emotionally to your sadness. I'm just noting the fact that you're sad.

Yeah. So John Knowles asked, does parental alienation syndrome result in narcissism in a male child?

Parental alienation syndrome is a hotly, hotly contested construct.

Generally, before we proceed in psychology, we have nonsense. Nonsense are constructs that rely on nothing. They don't rely on studies. They're not substantiated. There's no proof.

And many of them are internally contradictory and contradict a lot of well-established information.

So example of nonsense, empath, example of nonsense, emotional flashback. These are nonsense.

Then we have middle of the way. These are constructs where the scholarly experimental substantiation is lacking to some extent, but the constructs are compelling.

So among other nonsense, by the way, is shy borderline and recovered narcissist. These are also bits of nonsense.

If we are making an inventory list, parental alienation syndrome belongs to this group of middle of the way, because it makes a compelling case, but lacks the substantiation.

So maybe it needs more research.

Yeah. A lot more research and a much better definition of what it is, because right now, right now, PAS is whenever your husband turns the kids against you. That's not PAS. That's a jerk. That's an asshole. We need a much better definition, which will allow us to design experiments, which will allow us to conduct studies, which will allow us to finally declare a verdict of yes or no.

Are there things that I mentioned in the nonsense class? There's no way even to design an experiment, even if you wanted to. They are so utterly nonsensical that they are...

Well, I personally experienced the situation with the flashback being distorted. I had reoccurring flashbacks of my family member that would shoot a BB gun at my feet when I was a very small child. It did torment me. And we had so many weapons around and everything that I had remembered it as like a 22 gun being shot at me. But in therapy, discussing it over and over, I realized it was a BB gun, not a real gun being shot at me. So for years, I had distorted that in my mind. And then I kind of came back down to realize the reality of what had really happened.

So I myself have experienced that distortion of the flashback. You get so emotional over it.

It's not flashback. It's false memory.

Yeah. So I mean, it can happen.

It's no flashback, what you described. There's nothing to do with flashback.

It's false memory.

But flashback is when reality vanishes and you think you're in another place in another time with other people.

That seems real right at that.

You could have very powerful, overwhelming emotions connected to specific memories. That happens, of course. That's emotional dysregulation.

It's a traumatic feeling.

You can't have emotional flashbacks because flashbacks include taste, smell, sight, and the total loss of reality. You are no longer next to the library. You are back there and he's pointing a gun at you. And you really believe it. And you may even shoot him back and discover later that you had shot the librarian.

Because if you see the librarian, you saw him. That's a flashback.

But if suddenly you have an influx of emotions connected to that incident and you are totally destroyed and that's not a flashback. That's simply emotional dysregulation.

So emotional flashback is such a nonsensical construct. We can't even design experiments. It's meaningless.

And we have many, many nonsense like this. Like he recovers what exactly? What is a recovered nonsense? He recovers from what?

It's his personality. When you recover something, you go back to a previous state.

Right.

Like recovered from cancer. You used to be cancer free. Now you recovered. You went back to being cancer free. Narcissist has no previous state. He's always been a narcissist. He recovers to what? He goes back to what?

So we can't even make sense of this nonsense. So we don't bother.

In proper academia, not the YouTube so-called doctors, half of which are not real doctors but liars. Forget all this. I'm talking in real academia, university. We don't even bother to. I mean, we just mock these people. We just say they're converters. They're simply converters.

Well, I have a question relating to how that works with the narcissists remembering things.

Donna Masley says, I would like to ask the professor if the history or fantasy thinking changes with the narcissist.

She relates an example of where someone told him that the third woman would be the one for him. And he was convinced that I was the third.

But now that I have been discarded, will the next one be the magical third? Can he reject that vision because it didn't work out or it was wrong or adjust it? Or are these lies he tells himself or does he believe them so strongly?

He has to devise a way to make them fit, the circumstances.

If he believes them, it has nothing to do with narcissism. It's schizotypal.

This type of belief is called schizotypal. It's a form of very extreme and malignant magical thinking.

And if he doesn't believe them, which is far more likely, he simply told her what she wanted to hear and it was his way of hoovering her or making sure she remains in his life.

If I want a woman, I would tell her when I was a kid, someone told me that I would meet a woman with red hair and these are the circumstances.

And you see it happens and it's you. You're the one, you're the chosen.

This is catering to her grandiosity. She's the chosen one. She's the one who is on earth to fulfill this vision. He's catering to her grandiosity.

Narcissists manipulate other people's grandiosity or need for grandiosity or need to be special.

But if he does believe it really, it's a serious problem because it's very sick.

And when the vision conflicts with reality, he has to withdraw from reality even further. And then he becomes, it could lead to psychosis.

Oh, wow.

Mariisan Zungjunki asks, any comment or clue regarding Myers-Briggs, is it complete trash or is there some value, at least in the Jungian original part?

The great thing of the all previous versions of the diagnostic and statistical manual is that they compiled lists of symptoms. They were what we call categorical. They were not dimensional.

And human beings cannot be reduced to lists or to categories. Human beings are dimensional. They're on a spectrum.

And in this sense, Myers-Briggs and others, by the way, not only Myers-Briggs, I mean, there's quite a few, they were a very welcome contribution, not in the sense that they are valued or had been tested extensively or they have predictive power, which they don't. But in the sense that they let go of this inventory list thing, like what is a narcissist is my points. Are you kidding me?

This is a narcissist. Nine points. Are you serious?

In the latest edition of the diagnostic and statistical manual, edition five, 2013, there is an alternate model of narcissism, which reads like a short story. It has no lists, no bullet points, nothing. It describes the narcissist.

And so you finally say, well, now I understand what is a narcissist. Myers-Briggs and others, they did this. They were engines, literary engines. They produce stories. They produce narratives. They produce pieces of fiction, which corresponded much more closely to humans, actual humans, how people think, how people talk, how they behave, how they interact. So they were a kind of mental intellectual bridge.

And there are no studies that validate these dimensional descriptions. And they have been largely rejected by the academic community, which I'm against. I think they should be studied more closely.

But they were very, very benign and welcome developers at the time. And to this very day, they resonate with many people.

The problem with this, the reason why academe is rejecting them is because they are, the definitions are too broad.

Okay. Too like, can fit anyone. You know, when you go to a fortune teller, yeah, she tells you the kind of sentences that can fit nine out of 10 people. And of course, they fit you. They say, wow, she's amazing. She has access to the spiritual realm and it's nonsense.

You're in a transition.

You're in transition. You have had difficult relationships. Are you bloody? I mean, who did what? I mean, it's so they migrate all these, they have this like, too generalized. And there's a lot of overlap. If you bother to read everything, there's a lot of overlap.

So they can't miss.

Now we don't like in psychology, so-called scientific psychology. We don't like when something can't miss. We actually look for things that will miss, because when they miss, they eliminate.

Okay, they eliminate and we are left with a core.

But if there's something that applies to everything, what does it say? It says nothing.

Yeah, okay. I have another one. It's a little bit long. It's about her personal experience.

Agnes Barmakaszewski. We're not holding it against them.

Does the still-faced experiment give us any insight as to how a child grows up not having empathy happen to me as I should feel something as a person relates a painful event, but I just feel frantic looking upon for empathic ways I should react. It's like being blindfolded in a world of people who see all have the map. I was put in child care at three months, and I do not think I got enough mirroring there.

So does that still-faced experiment give us any insight?

Okay. Is that a childhood related to childhood psychology?

The still-faced experiment, which was first conducted in 1978 and then repeated many, many times, I think conclusively proved that reflexive empathy is heavily influenced by the mother's reactions.

Now we must make a distinction between reflexive, cognitive, and emotional empathy.

The narcissist, for example, has reflexive and cognitive, but not emotional. That's why I call it cold empathy.

There's no warmth. It's totally automated, robotic.

So children are born with reflexive empathy.

When a baby follows you with his eyes and smiles at you, that usually smiles at you when you smile. I mean, mothers think it's reverse. Mother's think that the baby smiles at them, and then they smile.

But we documented it on camera. The mother smiles first. The baby reacts.

And so if the mother keeps a still face, which was the experiment, the very cruel experiment, but I'm not sure how ethical it is.

If the mother keeps a still face, the baby goes frantic because the baby absolutely goes hysterical. He develops a baby equivalent of a panic attack.

The lack of feedback from the mother frustrates his reflexive empathy, and the babies depend on mothers. If mother doesn't smile at me, the baby sort of catastrophizes. Mother doesn't smile at me means she doesn't notice me. She doesn't notice me. She will not feed me. I will die.

The need to be seen. I have a lecture online, the need to be seen. The need to be seen is crucial, crucial survival skill.

And because a narcissist never evolves beyond the age of four, probably, he still has this, the need, the baby need to be seen.

Narcissist is a big baby who keeps seeking, who keeps looking, wants to be seen.

Because in his primitive mind, if he's not seen, he will die simply.

And this is the inner experience. This is the first time I'm mentioning my personal experience.

When I'm not seen, I die.

The narcissists maybe are the only humans who had experienced death and came to tell about it.

Their existence is vitiated when they're not seen.

So children whose reflexive empathy is frustrated, are terrified. It's a state of existential profound dread.

And you see that in their behavior, in videos, go online, type, still face experiment video, watch the videos. Child is in panic. Child, I mean, few days old, few days old, panic. But the mother's facial expressions, body language, movements in the room, which the child follows, critical only when it comes to the reflexive empathy. They have no effect on cognitive or emotional empathy. They are critical in developing object constancy, realizing, internalizing the certitude that mother will always be there, will not abandon me.

And so this is crucial.

The still face experiments affects, creates object inconstancy, or as Piaget called it, objecting permanence, but has no effect on the cognitive and emotional aspects of empathy.

The answer to this lady's question is no. This experiment is not relevant.

However, because she had been raised in an environment where cognitive and emotional empathy had been affected, foster homes, orphanages, we have a series of very famous experiments where Romanian orphans were taken from Romania, brought to the United States and adopted. And they hold all of them when they grew up, lacked empathy, they had no empathy, because they grew up in orphanages.

Cognitive and emotional empathy is the outcome of an interaction with an object with a good enough mother, usually.

Object means a person. With an object that is accepting, warm, caring and compassionate, loving, but also reflecting, mirroring, boundary setting. A bit disciplinarian, like you shouldn't take this girl's toy. It makes a cry. That's the way you create empathy.

If all this is missing, if you grew up as part of a homogenized, commodified mass of faceless children, when no one pays you specific attention, I mean, you end up without empathy and then you have to fake empathy, imitate empathy. You have to think about empathy. That's what she's doing. When she's confronted with a person, she says, how should I react? That is thinking. That is cognitive empathy. And that is cold empathy. She has cold empathy. She just described the experience of cold empathy.

Well, that's fascinating. I have another question relating to children.

Donna Masley, she was wondering if there's a connection between the somatic

narcissists and pedophilia. Are they capable of understanding it's wrong or due to the abuse they suffered? Do they spend energy fighting this internally or find ways just to satisfy it?

No, there's no connection between somatic narcissism and pedophilia. These are two totally distinct mental health issues that have totally different etiology, causation. And they're not even remotely related. They really belong to two families. But somatic narcissists are much more likely to commit incest. But incest and pedophilia, even if incest is committed with a child, it's not pedophilia. People confuse the two. They confuse incest and pedophilia. Phelia is a totally different issue. Incest is also a totally different issue. Incest, the somatic narcissist is likely to commit incest because he is autoerotic. And when he sleeps with his child or has sexual interaction with his child, he's having sexual interaction with 50% of himself.

So it's autoerotic.

Second thing, he objectifies everyone. Everyone becomes his property. So the child is his property. He can do whatever he wants. Thirdly, the somatic narcissist derives narcissistic supply from his body. Irresistibility, sexual prowess, muscles, et cetera. And so the child, he will relate to the child via this dimension. Not cerebrally, not intellectually. So there's a whole different dynamic. But to answer the question, they are more prone to incest, but not to pedophilia. Okay.

All right. You've hung in there. I've only got a couple more. Elizabeth Thompson, she has a question. How do humans know that humans aren't sapient and aware of their own mortality? And isn't this related to the Cartesian split where we thought we were so divorced from nature? I've heard of many experiments where monkeys do like tend to their dying with food and comfort and grooming. So I think we've kind of come out of that thinking that animals aren't sapient.

So I'm not sure I understood the question. She's asking how do we know that animals are not sapient?

How do humans know that animals aren't sapient?

Oh, I see. Well, here's the thing.

How do humans know that other humans are sapient?

Okay. The answer is we don't.

Okay. I don't have access to your mind. You might as well be a very, very sophisticated Android robot sent back from the future. I have no access to your mind. I have to rely 100% on your self-reporting.

You are telling me I'm human. I have a mind. It's very much like yours.

Well, maybe not. You're not an artist, I hope. I feel sad. I feel happy. I'm tired. You're tired.

I mean, we build this verbal bridge, which is known as the intersubjectivity agreement, but it's total fantasy. It's total confabulation. It can never, ever be substantiated.

You see the color red. I see the color red. Forget love. Red.

How on earth do I know what is your inner experience of the color red? It's the same wavelength. We both agree. We can measure the wavelength.

But how do I know that your experience of red is the same as mine? Maybe I'm a Daltonist, colorblind. Maybe the color red in my mind is associated with a major catastrophe.

I saw my mother bleeding to death when I was four. In your mind, red is associated with beautiful balloons on your first birthday.

How do we experience red?

Now, this is red. Red, which is an objective quantity, a wavelength.

How do I know that when you say love, you mean the same thing as when I say love?

I have no access to your mind. I have access to one mind only, mine, and even that you know what is debatable.

How on earth would I access the mind of animals?

We cannot say anything about other minds, animal or not. This is known as the other minds problem.


Last question. We're here. We've made it through.

Lady 8 had a question. Is there anything behaviorally speaking that the codependent can learn or should adopt from the narcissist that would protect him or her from future abuse and the desire to attach to those NPD partners?

You said we both made it. We survived. I'm 60 years old. My years are dog years. Every minute of yours is like dog years. I have seven years to live.

I think that codependent, there's something to learn from everyone. I mean, narcissism has been a total loss, total waste. Evolution would not have allowed it to form.

Narcissists, for example, motivated to create because creativity attracts attention. So many, many creative people and narcissists. Narcissists are motivated to dominate, to secure attention. They have insecure attachment style. They need to control and so on. So they gravitate to the top.

The lobster.

Yeah, psychopaths are goal oriented. So psychopaths are very good in obtaining goals, which is very helpful if you're a surgeon or a military leader or in charge of the moon shot. So there's nothing which is...

And also in psychology, people make this mistake. They say, oh, depression is bad. Really? If you are in Auschwitz in a concentration camp and all your family has just been converted into smoke and you do not react with depression, that you are sick. Depression is healthy depending on the context and sick, depending on the context. Everything crucially depends on context. There's nothing that is by itself sick, by itself healthy, by itself good, by itself bad. This is splitting. This is...

Or possibly like a stagnating depression instead of a progressing depression? No, depression could last.

For example, in the previous example, if you left Auschwitz and you've been depressed for the rest of your life, I'm not sure it's an unhealthy reality.


Okay, all right.

It depends on context.

So the point is that you can learn a few things from the narcissists.

First of all, boundaries.

Narcissists have extremely rigid boundaries.

Second thing, assertiveness.

Yeah, be assertive.

Third thing, put yourself first. Your welfare, your interests, your well-being, your happiness.

Put yourself first from time to time. Try it, you know.

Fourth thing, do not please people. Observing the narcissist, you can take actually everything the narcissist does and says and just reduce the temperature and you get healthy things.

Narcissism is a healthy state which had become malignant by exaggeration. Boundaries are good, narcissistic boundaries are bad. A little aggression is good. A lot of aggression is bad. Narcissism is like a caricature of the human being, but the human being is discernible there.

Just imitate the narcissist without overdoing it. And you will have reached a state of health because remember, narcissism is healthy. We all have healthy narcissism.

Everyone, every single human being has healthy narcissism.

And we shouldn't try to just completely disavow it. We should just try.

Without healthy narcissism, you have no boundaries, no self-esteem, no self-confidence, no sense of self-worth, no grandiosity needed in order to accomplish things in life, to take on challenges.

This is all emanates from your healthy narcissism, which is very good.

The narcissist actually tries to compensate for a lack of healthy narcissism with a malignant variety.

So observe the narcissist, imitate him as a codependent, imitate him without the overdoing, without exaggeration, without the characteristic levels or dimensions of his misbehavior. Don't misbehave, behave.

And accept a little feedback once in a while.

Thank you so much in a marathon session, but I really appreciate your time.

Thank you. I enjoyed it.

Thank you all. This has been great. I really appreciate everything you're doing for this field and helping all of us. You've helped me, you've helped all of us. You really have.

I've been trying for 26 years now.

Okay, go to the library, get yourself a good book and try to forget this conversation, this trauma that you will never recover from.

All right, Sam.

Take care there.

Stay safe. I'm about to stop the recording and sign off. Take care.

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