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Scoop on Narcissism and Abuse (with Shayel Naava)

Uploaded 12/1/2020, approx. 34 minute read

Welcome to Emotion with Euphoria, the masterclass series that provides the tools necessary to understand and heal from emotional use and the resources to begin to build a true identity.

My name is Sam Vaknin, author of Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited, among numerous other esteemed publications related to psychology, philosophy, economics, and international affairs. He is a digital professor of psychology at Southern Federal University in Russia, professor of finance and psychology at the Centre for International Advanced and Professional Studies. His highly popular website is narcissisticabuse.com, and his YouTube channels have garnered multiple millions of visitors.

Sam, it is truly an honor to have you with us today. Thank you for joining us.

Thank you. Thank you for the very generous introduction.

In the past, you have publicly stated that you are narcissists and that along with your academic achievement and your expertise qualify you as one of the best people to speak to in order to get an insider's perspective on the subject.

You have a specific understanding that others don't.

Please briefly describe the factors that contribute to producing a narcissist in the first place.

Today, we believe that there are two developmental pathways to narcissism.

One developmental pathway involves classic abuse, that would be physical abuse, verbal abuse, psychological abuse, and of course, sexual abuse. Sexual abuse tends to produce people with multiple personality disorders, for example, borderline and narcissist or psychopath and narcissist.

So this is one developmental pathway and the one best documented, most well-researched and most founded on statistics, double-blind studies and so on.

And in the past 15 years, more or less, we are beginning to consider an alternative developmental pathway, where the child is actually idolized, spoiled, hampered, used as an extension by the parent.

When the parent regards the child as a tool to realize the parent's unfulfilled wishes, dreams, and fantasies, where the child can do no wrong, is insulated from the environment and from its corrective influences by a parent which interminably idealizes and always justifies the child.

So in this environment, it seems that narcissism thrives as well.

We are beginning to understand that the very concept of abuse had been flawed for many decades.

Abuse is any situation which fulfills two conditions.

One, the child is not allowed to separate from the parent and to become an individual.

Number two, the boundaries of the child are repeatedly violated and breached.

It could be in a violent or aggressive way, it could be in a sexual way, but it could also be by treating the child, objectifying the child. It could also be, for example, by forcing the child to act as the parent's parent. It could be by inducing ambient incest, that's emotional incest, where, for example, the mother pollutes with the child against the father, and so on and so forth.

So there are multiple numerous ways to abuse children, and they all involve these two conditions, not allowing the child to go away, to form his own life, to not allowing his personality to coalesce.

And the second thing, breaching the child's boundaries, forcing the child to merge and fuse with the parent to become a single organism.

Now, some children react by developing pathological narcissism.

Other children react by developing dependent personality disorder.

These are developmental choices.

Actually, statistically, the majority of children exposed to abuse, luckily for all of us, end up totally mentally healthy, without any dysfunction, including no attachment dysfunction. It's a miracle. It's a miracle.

But about 15% of children end up with personality disorder.

When this child is on its way becoming a narcissist, is there any way to prevent this from happening before adulthood?

Narcissism develops at the very early stage.

Moreover, we are beginning to consider the very, very strong possibility that narcissism involves genetic factors.

Although narcissism does not inform, it seems brain abnormalities or abnormalities of brain function.

In one study in 2013, we found some abnormalities in the narcissist's brain.

But it's a tiny study and not far from conclusive.

Compared, for example, to the psychopath or the borderline patient, where brain abnormalities are glaring and enormous, and there are severe disturbances in brain functioning, we have two techniques to sort of visualize brain functioning, fMRI and DTI.

And in both these techniques, immediately you can see a psychopath's brain or a borderline's brain.

You give me imaging, and I will tell you immediately, there's a psychopath, there's a borderline.

For example, borderlines and psychopaths have deviations of up to 30%. That's three zero percent in the quantity of white matter versus gray matter.

Now, this is enormous. But in narcissism, the brain is normal.

So immediately the question, why do certain children become narcissists?

If their brains are totally normal, functioning is healthy, everything is okay.

Why some children, and very few children, mind you, we believe today it's between one and three percent, become narcissists.

And we think there's a genetic predisposition. There's no other good explanation.

And so that reduces our hopefulness because the brain is neuroplastic.

You can reprogram the brain or deprogram the brain. You can eliminate traumatic or post-traumatic effects. You can rewire the brain.

I teach not only psychology but neuroscience.

So today we have multiple studies that show that the brain is malleable. It's absolutely packed. You can play with it. You can recombine it. It's redundant. Some parts of the brain compensate for these functions in other parts.

The brain is wonderful. It's a beautiful, beautiful creation.

But where your genetics are involved, that's a problem.

We are still not there. We can't tamper effectively with genes.


The second problem is that pathological narcissism emerges extremely early in development, even in pre-verbal stages or not totally verbal stages.

For example, it's very common for a child to become a pathological narcissist at age four.

So children are not able to articulate what's happening to them. They're not fully self-aware, of course. There's no clear boundaries. So they can't tell where the world ends and they begin.

They are not totally separate from the parent.

So there are many parental artifacts. There are many parental constructs that are inside the child and operating. And so on and so forth. It's a big mess to cut a long story short.

And that's precisely why I'm trying to reconceive of pathological narcissism.

That's my work in the last seven years.

I'm trying to suggest that narcissism is not only a personality, or not at all a personality disorder, but a post-traumatic condition.

It's a multiple systemic reaction to trauma involving numerous mechanisms, such as, for example, dissociation.

And so all this happens at a certain age and the child freezes, is ossified.

There's a true self, which is like a tombstone. It's a stalactite or a stalagmite of salt.

The child is frozen and never continues to develop.

And that's precisely the mistake of most therapists and therapies, treatment modalities, when they try to cope with narcissism.

They treat the narcissist as an adult.

But the narcissist is not an adult. The narcissist is a child.

It's a case of arrested development.

When you try to treat a narcissist in your clinic or your office, you are dealing with a four-year-old, with a six-year-old, in the best, most optimistic scenario, with a nine-year-old.

If you attempt to use techniques that are adult-oriented techniques, such as contracting, therapeutic alliance, decision-making, and this will not work with the narcissist, it is not an adult.

And so I'm very pessimistic with regards to our ability to effectively intervene in early childhood because we cannot stop this process.

What exactly does a narcissist understand once they're all grown up physically and somebody says to them, what you said or what you've done hurt me? What do they, behind the scenes, understand or hear?

You should think child. You should think child.

When narcissism is formed, the pathogenesis of narcissism, the psychogenic aspects of narcissism, the child makes use of tools that children have.

For example, the child invents an imaginary friend. This imaginary friend is what we call the false self.

The imaginary friend of the child is everything the child is not. The imaginary friend is omniscient, knows everything. Child doesn't.

The imaginary friend is all-powerful, brilliant, perfect, the savior, etc. So everything the child is not. It's a compensatory imaginary friend.

The imaginary friend protects the narcissist. It's a protective shield.

And that's why I keep comparing narcissism to a private religion.

Because if you take a list of the attributes of this imaginary friend, it's God.

The child invents God and worships this God. It's a one-man religion, one God and one worshipper.

And the only case where the worshipper is God.

And so to break into this cycle is exceedingly difficult because these artifacts, these constructs survive into adulthood.

When you try to communicate with an adult narcissist, he is immediately shielded by a firewall. And this firewall is the false self.

It's a decoy.

You never ever communicate with a narcissist. It's a common mistake. You always exclusively communicate with the false self.

And the false self is God. He has God's eye view. He has a synoptic view. He has an omnipotent, an omniscient view, etc., etc. Your concerns are human. The false self is God.

It's exactly like praying to God or communicating with God and telling God, I'm in pain. Help me.

So we have personalized God very often. Jesus is one example. But it's not possible to do with the narcissist because there's nobody there.

The narcissist vacated himself. The narcissist is not a being, not an entity, not an existence. The narcissist is an absence. It's an absence.

I keep saying that the narcissist is a hall of mirrors. The reason you fall in love with the narcissist, addictively, inexorably, the reason for the death of the trauma body, etc., etc., is because you are not falling in love with anyone. There's no one there. You're falling in love with your idealized reflection in this carnival hall of mirrors.

Oh my gosh, I'm so glad you said that. That answers the next question I was going to ask, how so many people say they fall in love with the narcissist.

They've married the narcissist, they want the relationship to work, and they just can't seem to get that love back. And you just said they're looking at their own love reflected back to them. Is that right?

It's very right. There's nothing like loving a narcissist.

Let's start with the fact. Anyone would tell you this.

Your love a narcissist, the world erupts in technicolor. It's the most exciting thrill ride, roller coaster. It's an amazing experience. It's a theme park. It's Disneyland rolled into a horror movie. It's edge of your seat. It's edge of your seat. It's uncontrolled. It's always unpredictable and exciting and infuriating and everything is intense and immense. So it's bigger than life.

But the reason it's bigger than life is that you are not falling in love with a narcissist ever, by the way, because there's nobody there.

You're falling in love with your idealized image.

Now, here's the thing. Many so-called intimate partners of the narcissist have never experienced self-love before. They are borderlines. They are co-dependence. They're broken and damaged by their upbringing, by their parents, by their background, by their large circumstances, by their substance abuse, by any number of factors.

These people, these women, for example, because majority are women, they never experience self-love ever.

The first time, ironically, that they are able to experience self-love is with the narcissist, and via the narcissist, all of mirrors.

However, it's not real self-love. It's not love of the real self. It's love of an idealized, aggrandized, non-realistic self.

It's love of what you could have been, what Freud called the ego ideal. It's love of your ego ideal.

That is why it's addictive. Not only for the first time in your life, you experience self-love, which is intoxicating, but you experience yourself as perfect, brilliant, amazing, wondrous, miraculous, unparalleled, unprecedented, omniscient, omnipotent, etc.

This is accomplished by forcing you to merge with the narcissist's false self.

You become an element, a part of the narcissist's false self.

The narcissist never idealizes his partner. He co-idealizes.

It's a very important distinction.

The narcissist idealizes his partner because if he shares his life with an ideal partner, it reflects on him.

If his partner is the most beautiful woman in the world, what does it say about him as a man? If his partner is the most intelligent person in the universe, what does it say about him that she had chosen him?

He idealizes and gets idealized reflexively. He co-idealizes.

Now, in this process of co-idealization, you become an integral part, inseparable part, via co-dependent merger and fusion. You become an inseparable part of the narcissist's false self.

In other words, his grandiosity comes to depend on you.

You facilitate his grandiosity in a variety of ways, which we're not going to right now.

One of the most obvious is that you provide narcissistic supply, but you become a tool, a weapon. You become a weapon in his arsenal.

From that moment, you become a part of him, an extension of him.

Indeed, when the narcissist first meets you, the first meeting, first date, first time he targets you, by the way, the narcissist can target you without saying a word to you, you may not be aware that the narcissist has been idealizing you for a month.

He never says a word to you, but he has spent the last four weeks idealizing you.

So the process starts sometimes surreptitiously.

The narcissist idealizes you, converts you into a part of himself, then you begin to fulfill a function.

When he does that, he takes a snapshot of you, exactly like a snapshot. He takes a snapshot and he internalizes this snapshot.

From that moment, he continues to interact with a snapshot, not with you. All his interactions, all the psychodynamic exchange takes place with a snapshot.

That is why narcissists become infuriated, explosively angry, rageful, when you deviate and diverge from the snapshot.

That makes sense.

If that person that the narcissist selects is still ideal and a great extension of him or herself, then how does that rage come in? How does that happen?

It's the exact opposite of what you've indicated.

The rage is because you are idealist.

The thing is this.

When the narcissist first comes across you as a potential source of supply, he acquires you.

I call the term hoovering. He hoovers you. He acquires you.

When he acquires you in the process, he has to idealize you because if you are less than ideal, he is less than ideal.

Obviously, his mate has to be like everything else in his life, perfection. So he must idealize you.

But how can he idealize you?

You are not ideal.

So he takes a snapshot of you, a literal snapshot. It's called inner representation in clinical terms. He takes a snapshot and he says, I'm going to ignore the real person because the real person is imperfect and can never be rendered perfect. I'm going to interact from now on with that person's representation in my mind.

Narcissist is confused, internal objects with external objects, exactly like in psychosis.

So he begins to interact with a photo, with a snapshot.

And then suddenly you do something which contradicts the snapshot. You diverge from the snapshot. You display signs of personal autonomy, of independence, of disagreement, of criticism. You suggest something which implies that you know something the narcissist doesn't know, challenges his omniscience. You give him advice, you offer him help.

All these things provoke him because they imply one, that he is less than perfect and needs you, needs you for help, needs you for advice, needs you for comfort and support.


And the second thing, it means that you have an independent life of your own.

Now, if you have an independent life of your own, he challenges the narcissist's snapshot, which is static and totally malleable and controllable, and also provokes his object in constancy.

Remember, it's a baby. Narcissist is a baby. He has something called object in constancy. Out of sight, out of mind.

If you're independent and autonomous, tomorrow you can find another man. Tomorrow you can travel away. Tomorrow you can disappear.

It's very frightening. There's abandonment and separation anxiety. Any sign of separateness, any sign of autonomy, any sign of independence, any sign that you have a mind of your own is nothing short of life threatening. It threatens the inner balance because you challenge the snapshot, you challenge this library of representations and the whole edifice can come crumbling down.

You challenge the perfection of the narcissist, his ideal inflated grandiose view of himself, and you threaten the narcissist with potential abandonment and provoke his object in constancy.

So, of course, he's frustrated and he's infuriated by your intransigence, by your lack of considerateness, by your inability or unwillingness to collaborate with him in maintaining his inner equilibrium.

You're perceived to be deliberately and intentionally frustrating.

I mean, it's so easy for you to not be.

Why do you insist on being?

All I'm asking you is to mummify yourself. All I'm asking you is to render yourself an inanimate object.

My audience when I need to, my sex slave when I'm up to it, my whatever, I just want you to be an object. I have no problem with my refrigerator. Why won't you be like my refrigerator?

If you are not like my refrigerator, you're doing this on purpose. You're doing this to me. You're provoking me. You're evil. You're evil. You're a malevolent, malicious object.

This is the trigger.

That explains why he would be so angry or she would be so angry.


So is there hope for people who are dedicated to their relationship with a narcissist?

Many would say, no contact and you offer something else. You offer something you call cold therapy?

I invented the no contact strategy in 1995. For well over 10 years, psychologists, therapists were infuriated. They were very angry that I came up with this strategy because this strategy caught on very fast.

And now it's a standard advice.

So no contact is my brainchild and I still stand by it.

This is the only effective way to cope with a narcissist.

Cut your losses. Go away. End of story. Don't waste time. Don't listen to coaches. Don't pay therapists. Don't buy books. Don't watch this sandwich.

Just cut your losses. Go away. And yes, do it even if it's your daughter. Do it even if it's your mother. Do it even if it's your boss. Cut your losses and walk away.

There is no other effective strategy.

I've invented seven other strategies.

I invented a strategy called mirroring.

It's also a way to cope with narcissists.

There are other strategies.

You can go to my YouTube channel.

There is a recent lecture I gave in Budapest.

How to manipulate the narcissist and stay alive.

So there I give the details of the eight strategies that I have developed.

Plus another strategy that I had not developed.

And not my brainchild. And it's called gray rock, which is a wonderful strategy.

Cold therapy is not for victims. Cold therapy is for narcissists.

Does it want to cure them?

Cold therapy is a therapy that I developed to eliminate the false self.

And the false self need for grandiosity. That's all it does.

It does not develop. It does not help the narcissist develop empathy. It's too late for that.

Narcissists and psychopaths read people much better than you. They are X-ray. They're human scanners. They understand immediately, instantly, all your vulnerabilities, all your chinks in the armors, all your needs, all your hopes, all your fears.

And they leverage these to obtain goals like narcissistic supply or sex or money or power or whatever.

Cold therapy cannot deal with this.

And there's no way to cure this.

Also, cold therapy doesn't help with interpersonal relationships.

Because interpersonal relationships involve other dynamics, like abandonment, anxiety and so on.

There's no way to render the narcissist an adult.

I am not the first one to have said it, by the way.

I don't want to take credit where credit is not due. Much before me, there was a guy who wrote the book The Peter Pan Syndrome. And he described narcissists. And he said, narcissists are children.

And much before him, there was a group of psychoanalysts and they came up with the term puer aeternus, the eternal adolescent.

This is a long pedigree, a long tradition of knowledge and studies and scholarship.

There is no way, that's why no contact is the only viable strategy.

There is absolutely no way to render the narcissist an adult. End of story.

That would be hard to just let go and not want to help that narcissist raised the inner child that froze so long ago.

Yes, it's true.

The narcissist lures in his victims, his so-called intimate partners, by harping and provoking their maternal instincts.

The narcissist looks for mother substitutes and many women fall in this trap.

And they mother the narcissist with a false hope on the false premise that if you give the narcissist enough love and compassion and holding and acceptance and warmth, somehow this will trigger the long-delayed development of personal growth.

That is malignant optimism.

There's no such thing. It's nonsense.

Even in therapy, where we know what we're doing, we cannot induce growth in narcissists.

We can eliminate the grandiosity part and eliminate the false self part and therefore make the narcissist more bearable.

If the person wants to be autonomous and self-actualized, they would have to forfeit that in order to have a peaceful life with a narcissist.

There is a very long millennia-old tradition of self-denial, of annihilation of the ego, of disappearing as a form of enlightenment, nirvana.

Nothingness, suspended animation, elimination of ego functions, elimination of your separateness, merging with someone else, that someone else could be God, that someone else could be the narcissist, that someone else could be a nation, that someone else could be a football club.

We all deny parts of ourselves in order to belong, belonging, being accepted, conforming. They fulfill critical psychological functions which are as important as self-actualization.

The majority of humanity outside Western civilization believe that disappearing and vanishing and suppressing who you are is the way to happiness.

It is Western civilization and only in the last hundred years that came up with individualism.

Individualism is frownable and considered counterproductive and destructive in the majority of cultures in the world.

Ask any Japanese.

So we must be very aware of cultural context, societal context, period context. These are not absolutes. These are not absolutes.

You can be self-actualized via self-sacrifices, via self-denial.

So the women who are happy with narcissists, they feel that they are sacrificing themselves and denying themselves on behalf of a greater good.

It's a cultish frame of mind.

They believe that the narcissists in their lives are superior, for example, or have an important cosmic mission, or are worthy of the sacrifice and the self-denial, or that by merging and fusing with the narcissists, they will attain a higher level of being, even more self-actualization than they can by themselves.

They think there's a synergy.

If they team up with the narcissists, they become double what they are.

If the one partner agrees to be with the narcissist, and the narcissist is happy the way they are, and the both partners agree, would you recommend that as a way to raise your children?

Children is an entirely different story.

I'm dead set against narcissists having children.

There's a question of consent.

There's a difference between an adult who willingly, knowingly, self-consciously sacrifices herself, denies herself, annihilates herself, announces herself, merges and fuses with another person, because she believes this caters to her emotional needs or will make her a better person.

She believes her self-actualization is by eliminating the self.

It's a legitimate course of action, and very common in most cultures of the world.

But that's an adult. That's an adult. It's a consensual act, ultimately, if not at the very beginning.

At some point, you know what you're doing, you know?

So, children, it's not the same.

It's exactly like asking, are you against having sex with children?

When children are brought to the world, they have no tools to cope with the narcissist, with his demands for merger and fusion, with his stultifying influence on personal development, growth, separation, individuation, and all the healthy processes.

I don't think narcissists should have children.

In an ideal world, they would have been barred by law from having children.

Narcissists, psychopaths, borderlines. People with cluster B personality disorders have the potential to produce unhappy children and unhappy adults. And this potential is inordinately large, where a normal parent, you know, is 3% likely to produce unhappy children.

Narcissist is 80% likely to produce unhappy children.

Why breed unhappiness? Why breed dysfunction?

All children of narcissists have dysfunctional attachment. All of them have identity problem. It's known as identity disturbance or identity diffusion. All of them have problems with gender differentiation and other forms of identity dimensions.

Many children of narcissists have dissociation in order to cope with trauma. All children of narcissists are traumatized.

All, no exception. All children of narcissists are exposed to a very unhealthy and dysfunctional form of relationship between their parents, the wrong type of interpersonal relationship, the wrong model, and they carry this model forward.

It's an intergenerational problem.

I mean, I don't think narcissists would have children.

Absolutely not. I don't. I don't have children.


Are there any final thoughts you'd like to deal out easily?

The only thing I would add to this comprehensive interview, for which I thank you, is that narcissism is way beyond the mental health problem.

It's an organizing principle. It's an organizing principle even of institutions and organizing principle of some human practices, such as, for example, politics.

It's also an explanatory, hermeneutic principle. It imbues life with meaning.

Even for victims, when a victim tries to make sense of her life, of her world, of her emotions, of her cognitions, she can say, ah, that's because my husband is a narcissist.

So narcissism makes sense of the world.

And in this sense, narcissism is really a religion, a kind of religious practice.


Now, unfortunately, because narcissism has these dimensions, which are extra psychological, have nothing to do with psychology, but have to do with the world, narcissism permeated the world.

Narcissism affected the design of technologies, such as social media. Narcissism affected the design of devices and electronics. Narcissism affected certain practices, like show business, like politics, like law enforcement.

Narcissism is now used by everyone, from political commentators to cultural critics. They use narcissism to explain what's happening and what will happen and to predict the future.

We increasingly are having more and more narcissistic civilization. Our civilization is becoming more and more narcissistic.

Why is this bad news?

It's bad news because this means that narcissism is becoming a positive adaptation.

In a narcissistic civilization, it pays to be a narcissist, and it does not pay to have empathy. It does not pay to be normal and healthy. It does not pay to have no insight into the narcissist's mind because if institutions are narcissistic and the people who practice within these institutions are narcissists and you don't understand narcissists, you are at a disadvantage.

So you need to study narcissism, and then you need to emulate narcissism, and then you need to become more and more narcissistic just to cope.

Many victims, perhaps the majority of victims, adopt narcissistic and psychopathic behaviors and traits trying to cope with their narcissistic and psychopathic abusers.

So we have even a clinical term. It's called narcissistic psychopathic overlay.

It's when a victim is exposed to such horrific narcissistic and psychopathic abuse that the only way for her to survive is to become a narcissist and a psychopath.

And you see this in forums online. People lose empathy. People attack each other. People are aggressive. People are explosive. And these people are not narcissists, but they have become narcissists.

So in July 2016, the famous science magazine, New Scientist, came up with a cover story, possibly the most shocking cover story I've ever seen because the cover story was parents teach your children to be narcissists.

It's a positive adaptation. We are headed towards a narcissistic and psychopathic future.

And if you don't fit in, if you don't learn to become a big narcissistic and a big psychopathic, you're going to fall behind. Your children are going to fall behind.

This is becoming a positive adaptation. And it's a major disaster because, and it's my finishing sentence, I promise, because all narcissists and psychopaths end life or they end an enterprise or they end the business or they end their administration or they end whatever. They end their endeavors in a cataclysmic volcanic eruption.

Narcissists and psychopaths are self-destructive and other destructive.

You put a narcissist in charge, you will end up with destruction of your business, of your country, of your political party, of your church, of your family.

Narcissism invariably, ineluctably ends in destruction.

If we become a narcissistic civilization, ruled over by narcissists, permeated by psychopaths, guided and directed by narcissistic and psychopathic principles, we are absolutely doomed.


Okay, thank you so much for your insight.

Thank you.

If you would like to keep in touch with Sam Bachman, just for watching this interview, he is offering absolutely free the A to Z of Narcissistic Abuse, Narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Encyclopedia, the Narcissism Bible.

Just go to the email address below and put in your information and it will be sent to you.

Thank you so much for joining us today.

Thank you very much for having me and I appreciate the plug.

Thank you.

Thank you.

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Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the prevalence of narcissism in various professions, including the entertainment industry and corporate settings. He also delves into the traits and behaviors of narcissists and offers advice on how to identify and deal with them in different contexts. Additionally, he explores the impact of technology and societal trends on the rise of narcissism and the infiltration of victimhood movements by narcissists and psychopaths.


Big Bang of Narcissism (Game Changers Interview 1 of 3)

Dr. Sam Vaknin, a writer and psychologist, discusses narcissism and narcissistic abuse in society. He coined the phrase "narcissistic abuse" in 1995 to distinguish it from other forms of abuse, as it targets all dimensions of the victim simultaneously with the aim of eliminating the victim. Vaknin believes that the explosion of narcissism in society is due to population growth and the culture of consumption, which objectifies human beings. He also notes that political leaders reflect the underlying realities of the population, and that the electorate is narcissistic, which is why leaders are narcissistic. The conversation also touches on the role of the market and social media in perpetuating narcissistic behavior patterns.


Narcissist’s Selfish Genes

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the role of genetics and heredity in narcissism, emphasizing that heritability does not imply gene specificity and that narcissistic personality disorder is not localized but all-pervasive. He reviews studies on the genetic components of narcissism, highlighting the lack of conclusive evidence for specific genes associated with narcissism. Vaknin also explores the impact of genetics and environment on the development of personality disorders, emphasizing the complexity and interplay of these factors.


Narcissism: The New Normal? (Mental Health Speak Show)

Sam Vaknin, a professor of psychology and author of Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited, discusses the distinction between pathological narcissism and narcissism as a societal, cultural, and historical organizing principle. He believes that narcissism is an all-pervasive phenomenon today and is the organizing principle of our society, civilization, and culture. Vaknin also discusses his own experience with narcissistic personality disorder and how he has developed a treatment modality called Cold Therapy, which has had an impact on him and has been successful in treating others.


Civilization Ntopia: To Hell in a Narcissistic Handbasket

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the rise of pathological narcissism in modern society, which he believes is a ubiquitous phenomenon. He argues that healthy narcissism is rendered pathological by abuse and trauma, which are universal human behaviours. Vaknin also suggests that the way pathological narcissism manifests is dependent on the particulars of societies and cultures, and that human collectives can acquire a life and character of their own, which can lead to a common pathology.

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2024, under license to William DeGraaf
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