Good day. During this winter semester, we are going to discuss atypical presentations of narcissism. Sometimes it's difficult to identify a patient or client as a narcissist. It's an outlier.
The characteristics, the traits and the behaviors don't amount to what we commonly perceive as narcissism, either overt or covert.
What to do with this kind of people? If they have emphasized grandiosity, they could as well be psychopaths or borderlines.
How do we tell the differences?
So, the first two lectures are going to deal with a sub-type of narcissist known as the schizoid narcissist. It's a very unusual, very bizarre concoction cocktail of personality disorders.
And this comorbidity misleads many diagnosticians and they misdiagnose this type as something else, avoidant personality disorder, a covert narcissist, etc.
I'm often asked, narcissists are supposed to be gregarious. They are supposed to be sociable and excitable. They are supposed to garner narcissistic supply by acting pro-socially, by eliciting attention, affirmation, by mingling and mixing up with people.
What about narcissists who avoid all social contact, do not attend any social event? They are stay at home, recluses, lone wolves, loners. Doesn't this behavior go against the grain of narcissism? Isn't it the antithesis of narcissism?
My name is Sam Vaknin. I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited and a professor of psychology. Some narcissists are also schizoids. There is a comorbidity between narcissistic personality disorder and schizoid personality disorder.
Howard Goldman in the review of general psychiatry puts it this way. The person with schizoid personality disorder sustains a fragile emotional equilibrium by avoiding intimate personal contact and thereby minimizing conflict that is poorly tolerated.
The problem with schizoid narcissists is that they are often confused with and misdiagnosed as covert narcissist. Both types are shy. Both types are vulnerable and fragile. Both types are socially anxious and avoid social interactions. Both types appear to be at times lacking in affect and unemotional.
So, it's very easy for a diagnostician to mistake the schizoid narcissist for a covert narcissist.
Here are some of the differences.
The covert narcissist is likely to create an ideology around his social aversion, around his inability to elicit narcissistic supply directly. He is likely to believe that he is special exactly and precisely because he avoids the classic narcissist's ways of obtaining supply. He is likely to consider himself elevated and superior. He is likely, in other words, to consider his social aversion, his social exclusion, his own avoidance as integral parts of his grandiosity.
The schizoid narcissist would also do the same, but his ideology would be outward directed. Whereas the covert narcissist would say, I don't mingle, I don't mix, I don't socialize, I don't ask people for attention and adulation and admiration and so on and so forth, because I'm beyond that. I don't need it. I am self-sufficient. I am self-contained. I am my own best friend and entertainment, etc., etc.
The schizoid narcissist is going to say that he is avoiding society and so on and so forth, because people are not up to his standards. They don't appreciate him properly. They discriminate against him. They misjudge him. They don't treat him justly.
So the schizoid narcissist's ideology is going to be outward directed and alloplastic. He is going to attribute his aversive avoidant behavior to the environment, to deficiencies in the environment, to the misbehavior of other people, while the covert narcissist is going to attribute the very same behaviors to his makeup, to the way he is, to his essence, to his grandiose inflated view of himself.
In this sense, the covert narcissist is actually much more autoplastic than alloplastic. So that's the first distinguishing feature, the ideology.
Consequently, by the way, schizoid narcissists are in due time much more prone to antisocial psychopathic modes of action. We'll come to it in the second lecture.
The second thing is emotional reactivity. Covert narcissists do react emotionally. Most of their emotional reactions are, of course, negative, envy, anger. So covert narcissists, exactly like overt narcissists, are unable to experience positive emotions, for example, love, true empathy, compassion, but they are able to experience negative emotions.
The schizoid narcissist does not experience any emotions at all. He is totally unemotional.
People describe him as robotic, or machine-like. So this is a major difference between the two.
For example, when the covert narcissist is criticized, when he is humiliated, when he is slighted, the covert narcissist is actually very likely to react with rage. He is likely to act out. He is likely to become a psychopath, a primary psychopath.
But when the schizoid narcissist is humiliated or criticized and so on, he's going to brush it off. He's going to devalue the source of the insult, the source of the criticism. And by devaluing the source, he's going to reduce the emotional potency of the narcissistic injury to the point that it's no longer injurious.
These are two different mechanisms of coping with egodystoniness.
The covert narcissist copes with egodystoniness by attacking aggressively the sources of discomfort. The schizoid narcissist copes with egodystoniness by devaluing them and then easily ignoring them. He appears to be from the outside to observers. The schizoid narcissist appears to be indifferent, apathetic, impervious, unmovable.
Next is the issue of sex and sexuality. Most narcissists, both overt and covert, use sex as an instrument. They instrumentalize. They weaponize sex. They leverage sex in order to obtain or acquire a potential partner in a shared fantasy. The shared fantasy could be cerebral. The shared fantasy could be somatic. But the shared fantasy is the organizing principle of classic narcissism, both overt and covert.
The narcissist needs to establish a shared fantasy in order to avoid extreme egodystony and potential mortification. The environment is not conducive, is not helpful to the narcissist's inflated grandiose self-image. The environment, other people, circumstances, institutions, they countermand. They countervail. They attack. They undermine. They sabotage. They challenge the narcissist's grandiosity all the time.
The narcissist needs to establish a space, a mental space, coupled with a physical space, the pathological narcissistic space. But he needs to establish a mental space where he is what he believes himself to be. A genius, invincible, god-like, omniscient, omnipotent, etc. And this space is the shared fantasy.
But he needs at least one person within the shared fantasy to confirm to him, to affirm to him, to tell him that his false self is not false, that he is not delusional, that his grandiose inflated self-image is not grandiose and not inflated, that it's all real and this is the element of fantasy within the shared fantasy.
But to acquire someone, to convert someone into a member of such a cult, because it's a cult in essence, to convert someone into becoming a member of such a cult, the narcissist needs to use everything at his disposal to get the other person addicted to create the equivalent of an addiction.
And sex is by far the major instrument.
So most narcissists go through periods of hypersexuality, being sexually hyperactive, creative, imaginative, excited about sex and this is followed by periods of celibacy, asexuality and sexlessness in relationships. And yes, this applies also to somatic narcissists. They would seek sex, but with external partners outside the bond, outside the dyad. On very rare occasions, and there are such occasions, the sex will continue within the dyad, within the bond or within the couple, but this is usually because the narcissist is afraid of abandonment. He anticipates imminent abandonment all the time, possibly because he's a paranoid, for example. So such a narcissist will continue to provide sex to his partner because he's afraid that she will abandon him. And this fear of abandonment, this abandonment anxiety and separation anxiety could be real, could be founded on real life facts, on intentions, on plans, on discoveries, or could be founded on paranoia and natural hypervigilance and suspiciousness. But these are rare occasions.
In the vast majority of relationships with narcissists, it start off with a sexual big bang, great sex, kinky sex, even sadistic sex, followed later by utter drought, utter famine, total lack of sexuality once the partner had been acquired.
Or if the narcissist decides for some reason that the potential partner is no longer potential and no longer a partner in the discard phase, for example.
So sex characterizes, permeates, pervades, typifies the behaviors of narcissists. It could be hyper sexuality, it could be hypo sexuality, it could be asexuality, but sex is in the air. Sex is a major factor, a regulatory factor of the relationship. It serves to regulate the mood and the emotions and the bonding and the attachment and the functionality, operational functionality of the dyad, of the couple.
The narcissist uses sex as a regulatory mechanism. This is not the case with the schizoid narcissist.
So both overt and covert are like that.
Now, the schizoid narcissist, as distinct from the covert narcissist, and of course, as distinct from the classic narcissist, the schizoid narcissist genuinely has no interest in sex at all. Even in the love bombing and grooming phases, the initial phases, when the schizoid narcissist tries to acquire the partner, tries to convert the potential into an actual source of supply within a shared fantasy, even in this very, very initial phase, the schizoid narcissist is likely to be hypo sexual. He's likely to be sexually inactive.
Such a schizoid narcissist, for example, never initiates sex. His sex is totally reactive. He reacts when the other partner, when the partner initiates sex, but he would never initiate it himself. His sex is mechanical. It's routine. It lacks imagination and creativity, simply because schizoid narcissists do not enjoy sex. There's no pleasure. They are sexually unhedonic. They find no pleasure in sex.
But this is typical only of schizoid narcissists.
Both overt classic narcissists and covert narcissists actually do enjoy sex when they have sex. It's just that at a certain point when object constancy is established and abandonment anxiety is ameliorated and reduced, somehow their sex drive vanishes. It's not that their ability to find pleasure in sex vanishes. They still find pleasure in sex. They just don't seek it out.
It's like someone who likes to ski. Someone who likes to ski wouldn't spend all his life skiing. He would go on a ski vacation once a year.
It's the same with a classic and the covert narcissist. Somatic and cerebral. They lack sex when they do have it, but they don't pursue sex. They don't initiate sex. They don't regard sex as an integral dimension of a relationship. They place emphasis on other things within the relationship. For example, narcissistic supply, sadistic supply, service provision.
Sex is at the bottom of the list. With a schizoid narcissist, sex is not on the list at all because it doesn't give him pleasure. It's a chore. It's just something to do. It's a maintenance function. It's boring. It's dull. And very often, many schizoid narcissists report, they find sex disgusting, the physical aspect.
So here's another very important difference between covert and overt narcissists and the schizoid narcissist.
When the schizoid narcissist does engage in sex, it's very crucial what type of schizoid narcissist we are talking about.
As you will see, there are several types of schizoid narcissist.
When the schizoid narcissist is a sadistic schizoid narcissist and he does engage in sex, which is very rare, his sex would be kinky and sadistic. He would seek to despoil, degrade, humiliate the partner via the sex. There's a whiff of misogyny if he's a man, heterosexual man. But it's not really misogyny because schizoid narcissists are unable to experience any emotion, even hatred. So they don't really hate women. It's just that possibly it's maybe resentment that they are forced to be having sex. Whatever the reason may be, it's a transformation of aggression.
But that is typical only to the sadistic subtype of the schizoid narcissist.
What about the schizoid somatic narcissist? After all, somatic narcissists rely on their bodies, on their sexual prowess, on their long-honed musculature, on their good looks to obtain supply.
How does a somatic narcissist cope when he is also schizoid, when there is a comorbidity between somatic narcissism and schizoid personality disorder?
In such a case, the somatic narcissist would tend to be auto-erotic. He would tend to derive sexual gratification from his own body. He is likely to emphasize and prefer masturbation to actual sexual encounter. He is likely to be a porn consumer or a porn addict.
And even when he is with a sexual partner, he is likely to be very egotistical, focus on himself and on his self-gratification, using the partner's body to masturbate with kind of an animated sex doll or an animated dildo, if that's a female.
So the thing is that the overriding organizing principle, the dominant organizing principle of all types of narcissism, including schizoid narcissist, is the shared fantasy.
And this creates extreme dissonance and conflict when there is a comorbidity of schizoid personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder.
The schizoid wants to avoid people. He doesn't like people. They don't give him pleasure. He doesn't have friends. He barely interacts with his family. He has no sexual partners. He is an isolated solipsistic atom. That's his need. That makes him happy. He is egodystonic only when he is solitary alone. He is a lone wolf, not because he has no other choice, but because this is his choice.
But the narcissist needs people. The narcissist is dependent on other people for internal regulation, for example, of his sense of self-worth. He needs people to provide you with supply. He is addicted to other people. He has to be pro-social.
If a narcissist is isolated, sequestered, secluded, guaranteed, away from other people for an extended period of time, he crumbles. He goes through a process called decompensation. He falls apart. His defense mechanisms, including his false self, become disabled.
Narcissists need people. Schizoids avoid people. Schizoids are happy only when they are alone. Narcissists are happy only when they are with other people or at least get feedback from other people.
How to reconcile these two?
The shared fantasy is the way the narcissist incorporates sources of narcissistic supply within a fantastic space, which will not undermine and challenge his grandiosity. And he creates a shared fantasy with any type of supply of any kind.
Narcissists have shared fantasies with friends, with family, with business associates, with intimate partners. Whether the supply is primary or secondary doesn't matter. Supply is obtained only via a shared fantasy.
So if we have a grandiose narcissist who is forced, coerced to establish a shared fantasy in order to obtain supply from other people, but at the same time, he is also a schizoid.
He has schizoid personality disorder. This kind of narcissist will have an interminable, enduring internal conflict, a dissonance that they can never resolveand they're likely to react with animosity, with contempt, with hostility. They are likely to try to disengage from people.
In other words, they become approach avoidant. They approach people.
That's the narcissistic part.
But the minute they get in touch with people one way or another in order to obtain supply, the schizoid part takes over. And then they withdraw in haste and in aggression and rage and anger and contempt and hostility. They become even faintly sadistic within the shared fantasy, within the shared fantasy, with an intimate partner, with a friend, with a business associate, there is some kind of compromise.
The schizoid narcissist trains domesticates his partner, his friends, his business associates to let him be, to give him his personal space, to leave him alone, to allow him his solitary universe.
So within the shared fantasy, over time, the intimate partners of the schizoid narcissist, the business associates, his business associates, his friends, they learn to minimize contact. They understand that the schizoid narcissist has a huge need for solitude, that he is happy only, actually, when he is alone pursuing his hobbies, reading, writing, watching films, whatever it is that he's doing.
When such intimate partners, business associates, friends, family, never mind who, when they try to withdraw too much, because it's difficult to modulate, it's difficult to reach the right balance to get to within shared fantasy, it's very difficult to get it right.
How much should the intimate partner withdraw to what extent? A withdrawal can easily be misinterpreted as abandonment.
When the schizoid narcissist is together with an intimate partner in a shared fantasy, and the intimate partner wants to give the schizoid narcissist personal space, personal time, wants to leave him alone to his own solitary devices, the schizoid narcissist very often interprets such behavior as abandonment.
And so there are extreme approach behaviors. For example, stalking, hoovering.
The relationships with schizoid narcissist are by far the most complex and most unmanageable.
Because on the one hand, the schizoid narcissist pushes people in the shared fantasy away. He wants them gone. He wants to be alone. He's happy only when he's alone.
But when they do go away, when they do maintain distance, his abandonment anxiety kicks in.
And he approaches them aggressively via stalking or hoovering.
This is very confusing to the narcissist, human environment, because they don't know what to do. They are at a loss.
These are mixed signals. One signal is, I need you. Don't abandon me. Don't leave me alone.
The other signal is you're bothering me. You're a nuisance. Go away. I want to be alone. I'm not happy when you consume my time and impose on my existence.
So this subspecies of narcissist reacts with animosity, contempt and hostility to any act of friendliness, to any mindless adulation, to any offered empathy, support, succor, advice, even any attempted intimacy, even sexual advances, provoking such a narcissist, extreme aggression.
And it's enormously confusing because it is the narcissist side of the schizoid narcissist who actually signals come hither, come here, come hither, come here. I need you. I want you. I want you to give me sex. I want you to give me supply. I want you to give me attention. I want you.
So he is the one who is interpolating, hailing the others. He is the one who, who opens the gates. He's the one who invites people into his ambit.
And when they do come in, when they do, when they are attracted to him, for example, when they seek to have sex with him, talk to him, spend time with him, whatever, he's the schizoid narcissist then sends the exact opposite signal.
What are you doing here? What are you doing here? Imposing on my time. He regards such overtures of intimacy, such gestures of closeness and attempted friendliness. He regards these as presumptuous, narcissistically injurious, impertinent impositions, encroachment on his personal turf and territory.
The schizoid becomes seriously aggressive to the point of violence.
The ideal narcissistic supply source of the schizoid narcissist is a commodity like so many grains of rice. The ideal source of narcissistic supply in the schizoid narcissist universe has no face, no identity, is anonymous.
So for example, the schizoid narcissist would prefer an audience at a lecture because an audience at a lecture has no identity or names or faces. He would prefer to have views on his videos if he makes videos and uploads them to YouTube. He would prefer to have views, many views, but no comments because comments are personalized. Comments have identity. Views are commoditized. They are anonymous.
The ideal narcissistic supply of the schizoid narcissist is a non-existent entity, a number, an abstract, which could be somehow packaged and quantified, a statistic.
In effect, the best, the highest quality of unadulterated narcissistic supply in the case of the schizoid narcissist is statistics.
If the schizoid narcissist is also sadistic, the ideal sadistic supply, his victim of sadistic mistreatment must be personal and intimate.
So we see a double, a dual track in schizoid narcissist, sadistic schizoid narcissist.
When it comes to narcissistic supply, they want anonymous, faceless, identity-less narcissistic supply, adulation, admiration, attention.
But when it comes to sadistic supply, when it comes to the ability to derive gratification by inflicting pain, these kinds of narcissists prefer personal, intimate, identifiable people.
So they reserve, they reserve their intimacy to sadistic encounters. Their intimacy equals sadism.
The reason is very simple. These people grew up as children, identifying attachment and bonding with pain and hurt. As far as they're concerned, any type of attachment, any type of bond, any type of relationship has to revolve around pain and hurt and disillusionment.
And so they try to recreate this whenever they do have intimacy. They introduce pain, hurt, humiliation, rejection into the relationship to make it understandable, comprehensible.
This is, in other words, their comfort zone.
Now there are four types of schizoid narcissist.
The first one I've mentioned, that's the sadistic schizoid narcissist.
Now many schizoid narcissists end up being sadistic because the approach avoidance is so extreme and so frequent, they feel under siege. They feel that people will not let them be. They feel surrounded. They feel, so they have to become extremely aggressive and they resent people and they hate people. They hate them because they depend on them, but they also hate them because they respond to their signals. And so they are totally trapped and sadism is a way out of this trap because sadism allows the schizoid narcissist to recreate a form of intimacy, to actually experience intimacy while maintaining superiority and avoiding real intimacy because of course you can't have real intimacy in a sadistic relationship.
Now the intimate partners of such sadistic schizoid narcissists, these intimate partners tell themselves, okay, you know, everyone has his own specialties and eccentricities and flaws. I'm going to compromise. He wants kinky sex. I'm going to give him kinky sex. He wants group sex. I'm going to give him group sex. He wants to humiliate me, despoil me and degrade me.
During sex, after sex, verbally, psychologically, in any other way, I will accept it. This is a compromise which is very common in relationships with sadistic schizoid narcissists, not only by intimate partners, the friends of the schizoid narcissists, they react the same way.
That's the first subtype.
The second subtype is the paranoid schizoid narcissist.
The paranoid schizoid narcissist becomes paranoid and hypervigilant over time, precisely because of what I've described earlier. He feels that people are encroaching on him, that they are digesting him, engulfing him and meshing him, subsuming him. He feels that he's about to vanish, to disappear. He's terrified.
So he reacts with paranoia. He's hypervigilant, he scans. Is this person going to try to have sex with me? Is this person going to try to have intimacy with me? Is this person going to try to become my friend? God forbid.
So this is the second subtype.
The third subtype narcissistis a subtype where the narcissism is much stronger than the schizoid features.
So this kind of schizoid narcissist would actually be much more sociable, much more pro-social, would have a career, would be a good team worker, collaborate with other people, but then suddenly would have a period of solitude. He would pack up his things and disappear for a year. He would move to another address or to another country and not inform anyone. He would destroy a pathological narcissistic space and establish a new one. Or he would divorce and create a new family. So he would need the break.
This kind, the avoidant schizoid narcissist is what I call the punctuated narcissism. He's a narcissist and he's 100% narcissist and then he's a pure schizoid. And then he's a pure narcissist, then he's a pure schizoid. And so actually it's a form of multiple personality disorder in a way. It's a form of dissociative identity disorder. It's a breakup of the personality, of the coherence, integrity, and cohesion of the personality.
The person has in effect two fully functioning modes. One mode is narcissist and one mode is schizoid. They don't intermix. They don't intermingle.
This is not approach avoidance. There is no repetition compulsion. There is simply one personality vanishes and another personality suddenly appears fully fledged, fully fleshed, fully formed and takes over. It takes over for a period and then this personality disappears and the first one reappears.
It could be described as extended fugues, but memory is intact and identity is intact.
So this is not actually dissociation.
I would like to expand a bit on what is a schizoid because I've been using the term schizoid and it would behoove all of you to get a bit deeper into the inner world of the schizoid.
Now I'm about to describe the inner universe of the schizoid and in the next lecture I'm going to show that I'm going to demonstrate that schizoid and narcissists have identical psychodynamics. That's why I've been advocating since 1995 to unify all the personality disorders into a single diagnosis, but that's the next lecture.
Schizoids have very few friends or confidants. They trust only first-degree relatives, but even so schizoids maintain not close bonds or associations, not even with their immediate family. They pretend to be indifferent to praise criticism, disagreement and corrective advice, though deep inside some of them are not.
You remember the subtypes?
Schizoids are creatures of habit, frequently succumbing to rigid, predictable and narrowly restricted routines. From the outside, the schizoid's life looks rudderless. The schizoid looks adrift, like there's no plan, no connecting thread. It's just floating in space and exactly like people with autism spectrum disorder type 1, used to be known as Asperger's, exactly like these kind of people, schizoids fail to respond appropriately to social cues. They rarely reciprocate gestures or facial expressions. They rarely smile back, for example.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual says that they seem socially inept or superficial and self-absorbed. Of course, many narcissists are like that. These are the comorbid narcissists, schizoid and narcissists at the same time.
Schizoids enjoy nothing. They seemingly never experience pleasure. They are unhedonic. Even the nearest and dearest often describe the schizoid as an automata, an automat, robot or machine.
But the schizoid is not depressed. Schizoid is not dysphoric. He's merely apathetic, indifferent, is truly indifferent, is not pretending.
Schizoids are uninterested in social relationships. They're bored, they're puzzled by interpersonal interactions. They're incapable of intimacy. They have a very limited range of emotions and affect.
Rarely does the schizoid express feelings, either negative or positive, anger, happiness, no way. Flat. I coined the phrase flat attachment and there is the phrase flat affect. And they have flat emotionality.
Schizoids never pursue an opportunity to develop a close relationship. A close relationship.
Schizoids are asexual. They're not interested in sex. They can engage in sexual activity. Nothing's wrong with the machinery. But they don't enjoy it. They don't find pleasure in it.
They're very befuddled and perplexed.
Why do people pursue sex? What for? It's boring.
Consequently, schizoids appear to be called aloof, bland, stunted, flat and zombie-like. They derive no satisfaction from belonging to a close-knit group. They don't like their families. They don't go to church. They don't socialize in the workplace. They don't meander around the neighborhood. They don't even belong to a nation or club. They rarely get married. They never, almost never have children.
Schizoids are loners. Given the option, they invariably pursue solitary activities or hobbies. Inevitably, schizoids prefer mechanical or abstract tasks or jobs that require such skills.
Many coders, computer hackers, crackers and programmers, for example, are schizoids. Some mathematicians, some theoretical physicists, they're schizoids.
Schizoids are inflexible in their reactions to changing life circumstances and developments. Even if these developments are positive or opportune, they still don't know how to react or how to take advantage of them.
And if the developments or life circumstances become adverse, bad, they're equally indifferent.
Faced with stress, schizoids may disintegrate, decompensate and experience brief psychotic episodes or depressive illness, but it's going to be very brief. It's going to be reactive, and it's going to leave no mark on the schizoid, barely a memory or a trace.
Schizoids are often described, as I said, as robots. And I mentioned that they're uninterested in social relationships or interactions, limited emotional repertoire, and so on.
But it's important to emphasize it's not that they do not have emotions. The problem is not with the underlying emotionality. The problem is they can't express emotions. They express emotions poorly and intermittently. They appear called stunted, flat and zombie-like, but not because they are, but because their emotions never reach the surface.
Now, imagine this coupled with a narcissist. Narcissists don't have even this. Narcissists have no access to positive emotions, end of story. Many narcissists have access only to extreme negative emotions. So even the negative emotions have to be really, really powerful.
So when you have a schizoid narcissist, the situation is really bad because there all emotionality is eradicated, eliminated totally, including negative emotionality.
Many scholars say that schizoids are not human, and that's the only case in clinical literature where people are described as not human, by scholars, not by YouTube, not by YouTubers.
So these people are loners. When they need to confide or to confess or to consult, they seek first degree relatives. But even this doesn't create any body, any attachment.
It's like there's no cumulative memory. Like every minute is a new minute, every start is a new day, and every day is a new start.
And this is a typical dissociative feature where you don't, if you are the schizoid narcissist's friend, you don't have credit. There's no deposits in the emotional bank. You start with the schizoid narcissist every day, as though you have just met.
He has no emotional, institutional memory. Your relationship is like a string of beads. Each bead is a totally separate moment, and each bead has a beginning and an end, and no bead is connected to any other bead except through this thin, imaginary thread.
But this extreme dissociation helps the schizoid narcissist to cut off intimacy, to disappear, to vanish, to extricate himself, to withdraw, to isolate, to firewall, because where there's no attachment, and no bonding, and no love, and no affection, and no compassion, and no empathy, it's easy to walk away. And walking away is the schizoid narcissist's number one and two and three coping strategy.
Things get rough, intimacy threatens, sex is demanded, relationship is bargained, someone has expectations, the schizoid narcissist walks away.
And to do that, he needs to be emotionally uninvolved, or in clinical terms, he needs to be de-affected.
So they naturally gravitate to solitary activities. They find solace and safety in being constantly alone.
And their sexual experiences, such as they are, they are sporadic, limited. And finally, usually, they cease altogether.
There is this issue of anhedonia. They find nothing pleasurable, nothing attractive. But don't confuse anhedonia with depression. They're not sad, they're not dysphoric, they're not depressed. Even their asexuality is very close to the asexuality of the cerebral narcissist. It's a bit of an ideology. Like, you know, I'm asexual because I'm special.
The schizoid narcissist is, in a way, invested emotionally in his own asexuality. He glorifies it. He renders it, he transforms it into a religion, or a ideology that makes him superior.
Both classic schizoids and schizoid narcissists pretend to be indifferent. But they are indifferent not only to criticism and disagreement, and corrective advice. They're indifferent also to praise.
So whenever they get positive supply, they don't react. Whenever they get negative supply, they don't react. Whenever they're criticized, they don't react. They don't react.
This is coping strategy number two of the schizoid narcissist. And it sets the schizoid narcissist apart from the classic narcissist, and even the covert narcissist.
The classic narcissist and the covert narcissist react with extreme narcissistic injury and aggression, narcissistic rage, to any attempt to criticize or disagree with them or to give them advice.
They perceive this as aggression, and they counteract with aggression. They feel humiliated to the core. In extreme cases, they may even decompensate and go through a process known as narcissistic mortification.
The schizoid narcissist is not like that at all. He does not respond. He does not react. He has poker face. He has flat affect, flat face, monotone voice. He is really machine-like.
And so you can do anything you want. You can say anything you want to such a narcissist, and you will not react.
The only reason we know this person to be a schizoid narcissist is that, as opposed to the typical schizoid, the schizoid narcissist has periods of approach.
The schizoid narcissist has periods of time where he does try to attract people because he needs supply. And this is the only way we can tell apart real schizoids from schizoid narcissists, because real schizoids never approach people. They don't want people, end of story. They don't want supply.
Thank you very much. They don't want people. I mean, they want to be alone. Just leave me alone 100% of the time.
The schizoid narcissist needs people, needs people from time to time to replenish the reservoir of narcissistic supply.
Both of them are creatures of habit. Both of them are rigid. They have predictable, narrowly restricted routines, as I said.
Now, I mentioned the avoidant subtype, the sadistic subtype, the paranoid hypervigilant or referential subtype. That's a subtype of schizoid narcissist who anticipates looming attack. The attack would be an attempt to create intimacy, attempt to have sex with him, attempt to befriend him, attempt to take away his time, his precious time, his precious, invade his space.
So this kind of schizoid narcissist becomes very paranoid. He scans the environment all the time, who is coming, who is about to enter my territory. That's hypervigilance.
And he's also referential. He tends to assume that people are conspiring and colluding and planning to impose on him intimacy, sex, friendship, consequently, demands and expectations.
So this is the third type.
There's a fourth type. And the fourth type is the schizotypo, the schizotypo schizoid narcissist.
The schizotypo schizoid narcissist is, for example, a conspiracy theorist, some of who believes in conspiracy theories or in UFOs or in reptiles or in Donald Trump's election victory. These are people who have divorced reality, have suspended reality testing totally and have replaced it with a totally fictitious narrative. A fictitious narrative that caters to very crucial psychological needs and fosters specific psychodynamics.
The schizotypo schizoid narcissist is a solitary figure, totally alone. And he doesn't approach other people for narcissistic supply. He approaches himself. He has self supply.
His narcissistic supply is himself. He's self referential. He's also extremely autoerotic. He derives sexual pleasure from his own body in a variety of ways, including looking at himself in a mirror.
So the schizotypo lives in an imaginary fictitious universe where things are dictated by theories of the world and theories of mind, which have very little to do with reality. He renounces reality and he renounces and denounces and abrogates and gives up on everyone in reality.
So not only reality, but everyone, people in general.
So this is the kind of schizoid narcissist who would go and live in a shed or in a hut, in a forest all alone, or he would be homeless, or he would be in a shelter and he would avoid people assiduously. And his only form of supply is derived from the inside via the narcissistic, via the conspiracy theory in effect, via the via piece of fiction that he adheres to.
Now, this is the end of the first of three lectures. In the next lecture, we're going to deal with solutions, solutions adopted by narcissists in general and schizoid narcissists in particular when they run out of supply.
The approach avoidant behavior gradually depletes the number of people, the reservoir of people available to the narcissist.
The schizoid narcissist is sending mixed signals. He approaches people and then he avoids them. He solicits narcissistic supply and then he reacts aggressively. He has sex with a potential partner and then he goes asexual.
Now, gradually people get tired of such a narcissist, more particularly the schizoid narcissist. They get tired of this kind of narcissist and ultimately such a narcissist finds himself alone, unable to find alternative sources of supply.
How does he cope with this?
This is the next lecture. What do narcissists do when they run not only out of narcissistic supply, but when they run out of sources of narcissistic supply?
When there's a dawning realization that they can never ever get supply again, what do they do faced with such an apocalypse, such a calamity?
There are several solutions, several behavioral modes that they adopt.
This is the second lecture and the third lecture is about the theory, the various psychological theories that connect schizoid personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder and schizophrenia.
Because there is an affinity, as Otto Kahnberg had observed, there is an affinity between narcissistic personality disorder and psychosis. The schizoid behaviorally is indistinguishable from the psychotic, especially if it's a schizotypal schizoid.
So we are beginning to see the connecting lines. We are beginning to realize that the disorders bleed into each other.
Narcissists, having been exposed to narcissistic injuries, humiliations, degradations, having been insulted, having been rejected and rebuffed, many, many narcissists end life and their lives as schizoid. They avoid the world because the world is too painful.
As they enter the schizoid phase, as they become schizoid narcissists, many of them reject reality to the point of psychosis.
So there is an affinity, there's a strong link between schizophrenia, which is a psychotic disorder, narcissism, and schizoid personality disorder.
And this is the topic of the third lecture.
Put together, the three lectures constitute one credit for cluster C personality disorders and they belong to the psychology track in CEOPS.
Thank you for listening. ###