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Snapshotting’s Role in Narcissist's Shared Fantasy

Uploaded 2/15/2023, approx. 17 minute read

Minnie and I welcome you back to my YouTube garden.

You miss me. Admit that you miss me. It's because I'm kind and loving and caring and empathic and exceedingly cute.

Today we're going to discuss the role of snapshotting, the role of snapshotting in the shared fantasy.

There's a lot of misunderstanding about snapshotting and about the shared fantasy.

And I'm going to help you understand the darkest resources of the narcissist mind even deeper.

Welcome to my rabbit hole. And into wonderland with me your guide Sam Vaknin in wonderland.

And I propose a back name. That's my name. And I'm the author of malignant selflove. Narcissism revisited. I'm also a striped professor of psychology today because my blue sweater is too hot for the weather.

Water warming has arrived at my doorstep.

Ok Vaknin enough with a banter and the nonsense. Get to work. Get busy.

Give us value for our money. Say all of you in unison. That's precisely what I intend to do.


First let's clarify something.

The narcissist is perfectly capable of having pseudo intimate relationships that do not involve a shared fantasy.

I want to make this clear.

Narcissists can have relationships that resemble romantic relationships, involve a modicum, some kind of intimacybut they are not constructed upon or founded upon a shared fantasy.

They don't involve any fantasy element or defense.

In such liaisons, in such couples, the narcissist is indifferent. He is dismissivebut he is very rarely if ever abusive. He is not triggered in such relationships. He doesn't feel the need to be abusive or he is not compelled to be abusive. There is no compulsion. The narcissist's egregious maltreatment or mistreatment of his intimate partners is a compulsion. It is not something he fully controls.

And so there are these types of relationships which essentially involve indifference, sometimes even contempt, dismissiveness, coldness, detachment. They resemble very much reifications of the insecure attachment styles.

That's not the case with shared fantasies.

So the narcissist has two types of relationships, pseudo intimate relationships and shared fantasies.

Whatever you ask me, can the narcissist love, can the narcissist commit an investing relationship, affect a relationship?

Well the answer is the narcissist is incapable of positive emotions of any kind. It's a defense against the enormous reservoir of helplessness, helplessness and shame that imbue the narcissist since early childhood.

Remember that the narcissist had been abused as a child and felt helpless and shameful.

So there is a bad object inside the narcissist.

Tapping into positive emotions releases the bad object and threatens the narcissist very life.

So narcissists don't do positive emotions. They don't love.

However they are emotionally invested in the shared fantasy. They do affect it and they are pretty committed to it.

Actually compulsively committed to it, obsessively committed to it, insanely committed to it.

Anyone observing shared fantasy from the outside would tell you that it resembles a fully adieu, a shared psychosis. Something what is called a mass psychogenic illness. Something really unhealthy.

Now in the shared fantasy the narcissist snapshots his intimate partner.

Now before we proceed and before you flod me with the same old tired comments I'm using the male gender pronouns. They are totally interchangeable with the female gender pronouns.

Cookie, he, she, he, his, her, him, her etc.

Just change your gender pronouns, everything I'm saying is valid for women, female narcissist as well.

Okay, within the shared fantasy the narcissist snapshots his intimate partner. He introjects her and then he idealizes the resultant internal object.

So the narcissist comes across someone, it's a potential intimate partner, he takes a snapshot and then he photoshops the snapshot. He idealizes the snapshot.

Henceforth from this moment onwards the narcissist abusively coerces this new intimate partner into conforming to this inner representation of her, to her avatar in his mind.

I'm going to repeat this sentence for two reasons.


Number one, I adore the sound of my voice.

Number two, it's a very complex densely written prose.

So it requires elaboration.

When the narcissist comes across an intimate partner, he internalizes her, there's a snapshot, he idealizes the snapshot and from that moment onwards the narcissist forces his partner using abuse and training and brainwashing and other techniques.

The narcissist forces his partner to conform to the snapshot, to conform to the introject, to conform to the internal object that represents her in his mind.

Because remember the narcissist interacts only with internal objects, never with external ones.

And this course of action, the need to coerce the partner to behave in a certain way, this course of action of course is self-defeating or couple-defeating to be precise.

If you coerce someone, if you force someone, if you mistreat someone, if you abuse someone, the way for example, I'm abusing many, this guarantees the dissolution of the bond. It guarantees break up, a breakup.

If you behave this way, your partner is going to break up with you one way or another and we will discuss the ways a bit later.

But it guarantees the absence of your partner in the long term. It guarantees that you will stay alone.

And so snapshotting, idealization, which is the photoshopping of the snapshot.

So the introject, idealizing the introject and then forcing the partner to conform to the introject or else guarantees the ultimate dissolution of the bond via devaluation and discard.


Now in psychology there's a principle, whatever we do, we mean to do. Whatever we do is because we seek the outcomes of what we're doing.

So the narcissist attempt to shoehorn his partner into an idealized introject, into an idealized snapshot in his mind, snapshot that is inert, immutable, never changes.

This attempt is intended to break up the couple.

The narcissist wants to dissolve the bond. The narcissist wants his partner gone.

It is the long sought after separation from a maternal figure.

Now pay attention to what I'm saying.

I'm saying that the narcissist uses snapshotting in projection, idealization, photoshopping the snapshot.

He uses this in order, as instruments, in order to guarantee a breakup. He uses these tools, these mental tools, so that he can go through devaluation and discard and separate from his intimate partner, who in his mind is a maternal figure.

How do the partners react to all this?

They're like pawns in a chess game. They're like tools and instruments. They are objectify. They're like crazy figurines or status in a movie of the narcissist making. There are props in his theater production.

How does anyone with half a mind, how would anyone with half a mind react to this kind of dehumanization, objectification, and in some cases, coercive control?

Well in several ways.

The narcissist partners end up abandoning him. That's one way.

Power bonding makes this very difficult, but some people break away and they're the ones who got away.

The second solution is to triangulate with a third party. That's the famous Cartman drama triangle, the abuser, the victim, the rescuer.

So to find the rescuer and to triangulate with the savior or the rescuer or the fixer or the healer, that's the second solution.

So such an intimate partner chooses to triangulate or even to mortify the narcissist with infidelity or other forms of betrayal.

This second solution is a desperate attempt to jumpstart the moribund relationship. It's a cry for help.

Actually the narcissist pushes his partner to choose this second solution. The partner is exposed to the narcissist inexorable betrayal fantasy. The narcissist pushes his partner to cheat on him, to betray him.

And I refer you to the two videos I have made a month ago regarding the narcissist betrayal fantasy.

So this is the second solution, a cry for help.

Listen, I'm in such distress. I'm so scared of you, but I still love you. And I'm going to introduce another man into the couple in order to signal to you how desperate I am in order for you to show some commitment to get a rise out of you, to help me back into the relationship, to fight for me.

But of course the narcissist wants this to happen. That's his betrayal fantasy. He is not a cackle. This is not masochism. It's a way to separate from the partner while blaming her for the separation. She cheated on me. Of course I had to get rid of her.

So this is the second solution.

First solution, abandoning the narcissist altogether, breaking up, divorcing, going away.

Second solution, triangulating with another man or cheating with another man or betraying the narcissist in some other way.

And this is brought on by the narcissist betrayal fantasy.

The narcissist pushes his partner to do this.

And the third way, of course, is succumbing, giving in, surrendering, becoming a figment in the narcissist shared fantasy. This is the third way.

And many intimate partners of narcissists choose this way because they want to stay with him. They want to have a relationship with the narcissist owing to trauma bonding, resonance with earlier parental figures, early childhood trauma, daddy issues, mommy issues, I mean you name it. For whatever reason, actually the majority of intimate partners of narcissists stay in the relationship. They accept the shared fantasy as a common psychotic space. They become characters, animated characters in the narcissist comic book.

And so these figments, erstwhile partners now turned figments, they become abstract. They're not real to the narcissist. They've never been real. They've been internal objects all along. They're having merged with internal objects by suspending reality and suspending their animation.

The partners merged with internal object. They become this snapshot.

And then of course they lose any claim to external existence.

When the narcissist intimate partner says, okay, I'm going to conform with a snapshot in your mind, the narcissist partner is saying, I'm going to suspend my existence. I'm going to not be.

And so obviously that makes it impossible for the narcissist to regard his intimate partner as anything but the snapshot.

But remember, remember why all this is happening.

The narcissist snapshots the partner, interjects her, photoshops the snapshot, idealizes her, and then coerces her, forces her, prevails on her, abuses her so as to make her become one with a snapshot, conform to the snapshot 100%.

The narcissist is doing this in order to push his partner away.

The narcissist behaves in this way, knowing full well that no very few partners would tolerate it in the long run because he wants the partner's gone. He needs to replay or reenact separation, individuation with the new maternal figure, the intimate partner, because he could not complete it or had not completed it with his original mother.

Intimate partner becomes a mother substitute and now he has a chance to separate, individual.

So he makes impossible demands on her. He sets her up for failure. He baits her. He attacks her, pushes her away. He devalues her.

Then he feels legitimized to discard her because, for example, she abandoned him or she cheated on him or she triangulated or she betrayed him somehow.

And then separation is completed. Individuation is another issue and I refer you to my video on why does the narcissist hover.

But separation is completed in this case.

Now when the partner refuses to collude in this macabre dance, when the narcissist's intimate partner refuses to collaborate with the narcissist, refuses, for example, to abandon him, refuses to betray him, refuses to cheat on him, becomes one with a snapshot, converges with the snapshot, suspends her own autonomy, independence and agency, becomes a nobody and a nothing, an object, the property of the narcissist, a tool, an instrument, an extension.

That moment separation becomes impossible. The narcissist is unable to separate from such a partner because this kind of partner won't go away.

Never mind what the narcissist does to this third type of intimate partner, she never goes away.

The narcissist devalues her, abuses her, attacks her, cheats on her, steals from her, I mean you name it. And she won't go away, so separation and individuation fails in this case, in the third solution.

It fails.

This makes the narcissist very resentful, very frustrated and very aggressive.

He hates his intimate partner for having stayed. He resents his intimate partner for not allowing him to devalue her and discard her. She's doing it on purpose. It's malevolent. She's a bloodsucker. She's a gold digger. He hates her.

And yet he is unable to go through the motions because the introject, the snapshot is idealized and he cannot discard an idealized snapshot.

And the intimate partner does not contradict the snapshot or undermine it. So he's stuck.

He feels that he's entrapped, in a trap.

No matter which course of action he chooses, his intimate partner who chose to remain loyal to him is frustrating. He cannot get rid of the snapshot and he cannot get rid of her.

So what he does, he defeminizes her. He takes away her femininity. He does not see her as a woman anymore.

Of course, again, I remind you, it applies to the opposite gender.

So a woman would emasculate her intimate partner. A woman narcissist would emasculate her intimate partner.

But the male narcissist dehumanizes his intimate partner, the intimate partner who sticks around, the intimate partner who would not be pushed away, the intimate partner who insists on sharing his life and keeping the shared fantasy alive.

The intimate partner who has become the snapshot, an external representation of an internal object, intimate partner who is meek, submissive, subservient, obsecuous, obedient. In other words, an intimate partner who has no identity or agency or autonomy or independence of her own. She is just a figment or an extension.

This intimate partner frustrates the narcissist because he cannot complete the separation.

So he defeminizes her. He aggressors against herand he maternalizes her. He converts her into a total mother figure.

The relationship then becomes sexless and transactional. If it is a somatic narcissist, he starts to cheat on a regular basis. He becomes a serial cheater. If it's a cerebral narcissist, he withdraws into a world of intellect and learning and ignores his intimate partner altogether. The relationship becomes a give and take, totally business-like. And it's like two roommates or business partners sharing the same space occasionally. There's no sex involved, definitely.

When the intimate partner chooses the third solution, she becomes a full-fledged mother figure. And like a real mother, she is free to have sex and romance and intimacy with other men. That's not a problem because to the narcissist in the shared fantasy, she's a motherand mother can date other men. The narcissist has no sexual or romantic claim on his mother, obviously. That would be incest and pathological expression or manifestation of the Oedipus complex.

So the narcissist, when the intimate partner refuses to be devalued, refuses to be discarded, without giving him the chance to separate and individuate, narcissist becomes absent. He absents himself from the relationship. He vanishes emotionally or sometimes physically. And he lets the partner do whatever she wishes with whoever she wishes.

But she should always be at the beck and call of the permanently infantilized narcissist.

Unable to complete separation and individuation, the narcissist remains regressed in an infantile state.

He is again a child and he again is a mother who won't let him go.

Again he is a mother who refuses to allow him to separate from her and become his own person and individual.

So now he remains an infantand like every infanthe has temper tantrums, he has demands and she should always be there for him, object constancy. She should always be there for him and she should service him, she should provide him with services, safety and supply.

Three out of the four.

The sex she can have with others, intimacy, romance she can have with others. And all the rest she should provide on a regular basis.

And this is how the relationship remains.

And in such cases they could last for a very long time, even decades.

The narcissist stuck at a baby or toddler phase of development and the intimate partner increasingly assuming maternal roles.

And at some point some narcissists rebel, they grow up, they become adolescents and they venture out into the world on their own, which is heartbreaking for the intimate partner.

But that's a story for another video.

Hope you enjoyed.

Many sense of regards.

So do I.

Good to be back with all of youand should nothing untoward happen again, I hope to see you regularly from now.

Thank you.

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