Taker, User Narcissist Feels Loved, Vindicated

Uploaded 8/1/2023, approx. 20 minute read

The 14th century Persian poet Hafiz wrote, "The earth would die if the sun stopped kissing her. The sun bestows its endowments and its gifts on earth and its inhabitants, free of charge, no strings attached, no conditions. The sun loves the earth unconditionally, or so it could seem.

The narcissist and the psychopath are definitely unlike the sun, and when they kiss you, it is not the kiss of life, but very often the kiss of death, definitely emotional death.

Today we are going to discuss why do narcissists and psychopaths feel the need to be takers and users? Why can't they act reciprocally? Why can they maintain relatively healthy relationships of give and take? Why do they regard everyone around them as a source of something? Source of supply, source of sex, source of power, source of access, source of a contact, source of money?


What is the psychology behind this extremely peculiar and, in the long-term, self-defeating view of the world and everyone in it?

Unlike the Sun, psychopaths and narcissists are not going to survive for another 4 or 5 billion years.

Thank God.

But in the short time allotted to them on this planet, they cause havoc and mayhem and pain and hurt and worse.

And all this can be traced to their inability to give and their compulsion to take, which is the topic of today's video.

To my Arab listeners, As-salamu alaikum. To my Jewish, Israeli listeners, Shalom. To my Balkan denizens, Zdravo.

According to all the rest of this wide, beautiful pale blue dot, I bid, "Okei shoshanim." And for those of you who are wondering, who is this nakjom on the screen?

My name is Sam Vaknin. I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited. I'm a former visiting professor of psychology and currently on the faculty of CEOPS.

And let's delve right in.

Both narcissists and psychopaths are users. They're takers. They're exploiters.

This is because of the environment they grew up in.

They are imitating and emulating their mothers or their fathers, parental figures, caregivers, primary objects in clinical terms. They grew up in an environment where mother and father were takers and users and abusers and exploiters.

Mother and father, especially mother, instrumentalized the child, parentified the child, imposed on the child, tasks, forced the child to realize their unfulfilled dreams and expectations and fantasies.

The child has been objectified, dehumanized.

Growing up in such a family unit, narcissists and psychopaths have learned a very important lesson, give minimally and give conditionally.

When emotional exchange is excluded, what is left?

Narcissists have no access to positive emotions, only to negative ones.

Narcissists arguably have no emotions at all, judging by functional magnetic resonance imaging studies or psychopaths.

So these two groups of people, narcissists and psychopaths, cannot offer positive emotions and cannot involve positive emotions in their discourse and intercourse, sexual and otherwise, with other people.

And when you can't trade emotions, when you can't reciprocate love, prefer affection, when you can't be compassionate because you lack empathy, what have you left to give?

Material, the material, services, functions, goods.

And of course, if you give these things, you expect to receive them.

Narcissists and psychopaths reduce all their interpersonal relationships into a transactional plateau where it's a give and take, but it's a win-lose situation.

Narcissists and psychopaths seek to optimize return on investment or to maximize it actually, return on investment by minimizing their investment and maximizing their returns.

They're very business-oriented in a way.

But there is a much deeper psychological reason for this.

Narcissists and psychopaths perceive the very act of taking, the very act of possessing, appropriating, expropriating, taking over the very act of owning.

They perceive these as love substitutes, signs of love, signals of love.

Surely if they possess someone, they're being loved.

Surely if they receive and if someone else gives, that someone else loves them.

Surely if they end up with a lot of money, a lot of power, a lot of sex, a lot of anything, this is a sign of the love that God has for them, of the love that the universe has for them.

It's a sign of cosmic justice.

Narcissists and psychopaths, exactly like the Puritans of the 16th and 17th centuries, narcissists and psychopaths believe they have been educated this way.

It's been inculcated in them that taking is receiving love.

The act of taking is a way to evidence love substantiated and prove it beyond doubt.

And so when other people refuse to give to the narcissist or to the psychopath because of the asymmetry between giving and taking, when other people refuse to be exploited, refuse to be used, the narcissist and psychopaths, psychopaths regard this as a withholding of love, as passive aggressive, passive aggression, as intentional frustration and this provokes in them aggression.

This is the core of what we call entitlement.

Narcissists and psychopaths believe that they're worthy of love.

They should be loved.

They deserve love.

The world owes them love.

Other people owe them love.

And the only way to show this love is to give them, to give them material goods, to give them services, to give them attention, to give them admiration and adulation, to give them functionality, to give them sex, to give them money, to give them power, to give and to give and to give because that's the only way they feel loved.

And like everybody else, God's green earth, they deserve to be loved.

If you refuse to give them, if you refuse to be taken advantage of, if you refuse to split your property with them or better still give them your property, if you refuse to be quit your inheritance, if you refuse to share with them everything you have, then you are evil. You're malevolent. You're malicious. You refuse them love. You don't love them. And you are doing it on purpose because you want to hurt them, passive aggressive.

And so they lash out at you, become aggressive and they believe that they can do anything to you justifiably.

Being loved, taking, also buttresses the narcissist and psychopaths sense of grandiosity.

Grandiosity is a cognitive distortion.

Grandiosity is a way to falsify reality, to cause you to believe that you are perfect, brilliant, omnipotent or powerful, omniscient or knowing Godlike.

And so when you take from people, when you use people, when people are at your beck and call, when they are helpless before you, when they are submissive, when they collude and collaborate in your acts of exploitation, this means that you have been chosen. This means that you're omnipotent. This means that you're omniscient.

And again, this is reminiscent of the protestant work ethic.

In Protestantism, making money, being successful, especially as a businessman, was considered to be proof of God's love for you.

And so the successful ones felt chosen by God.

That is the way the narcissist and the psychopath see the world.

If they end up on top, if they end up triumphant and victorious, if they end up with everything you have, if they take over your life, if they steal everything from your loved ones to your money, to your work, to your ideas, to everything you possess, I mean, if they denude you of the totality of your accomplishments, they plagiarize, they steal.

If they do all this, they at the same time feel ironically loved, loved by the world.

They feel that justice is being restored.

It's a morality play.

They are all good. They are all bad for having refused to be exploited.

And they feel chosen, perfect, omnipotent and omniscient.

The narcissists and psychopath have what I call the extraction mindset.

They're like miners. They see the world as extractive or mining opportunities.

They can mine for money here. They can mine for power here. They can mine for access here. They can mine for a luxury life here. And they can mine for your love there.

It's all about extracting from you anything and everything that you can give.

So a narcissist or a psychopath wouldn't say, I'm attracted to her because of who she is. They would say, I can obtain sex from her.

In other words, you don't matter what you can give matters. You are a non-entity.

However, the benefits that could emanate from you, the services, the sex, you name it. These are important.

So when the narcissist and psychopath look at you, they don't see you. They don't see you as a personality. They don't see you as a potential intimate partner. They don't see you as a love opportunity. They see you as a giver. They see you as the sum total of everything you can give them, everything they can take from you, every way they can use you and exploit you. That's how they see you.

And this is what I call the extraction mindset or the extractive mindset.

Love, how can I mine this person for her love, for her sex, for her money, for her contacts, for her access? How can I mine this man for his friendship, for his contacts, for his money, for his power? How can I mine?

They keep digging into people metaphorically in order to extract everything people can give.

They wouldn't say we love each other. They would say I can leverage her love to secure my goals.

There's no question of love here. There's a question of what love can do for you and what love can do to you.

So the effects and the impacts matter, not the substance.

If you fall in love with the narcissist, this is going to gratify the narcissist, no end. He's going to be very happy about this, but not because you're in love with him, not even because he's being truly loved, but because this gives him power over you to take from you everything you have and everything you may have in the future, to enslave you, to subjugate you, to render you an extension of himself, and then to play with your mind to the point that you become mindless and unthinking, obedient device, instrument.

So this is a process of instrumentalization, dehumanization and objectification.

The narcissist would never, or a psychopath would never say we can be friends or we are friends. He's going to say he can introduce me to the right kind of people. He can arrange for things, he can arrange for things for me. He can cut red tape for me. He can give me money.

The emphasis is on what the narcissist and psychopath can extract from you, not on who you are, not on how you feel about them. The emphasis is not on your love, not on your commitment, not on your friendship. All these matter. Nothing. Don't matter. They're irrelevant. They're not important.

What is crucial is can these assets, emotional assets, be converted into tangible material outcomes?

Taking and using, create a power asymmetry.

They restore control to the narcissist and psychopath.

And this way they mitigate and assuage the narcissist and psychopaths underlying anxieties.

So taking is anxiolytic, exploiting other people, using other people, absconding with everything they have is a way to reduce anxiety.

When you own everything, you control everything. Why would you need to be anxious?

This is the narcissist and psychopath's way to cope with the world that is perceived as selfish, hostile, dangerous.

The only way to somehow survive in such a world is to subjugate it to your will, to make it an unthinking accomplice and colluder in your fantasy, to render the world an extension of yourself and a playground in which you can accomplish your goals by taking the toys from all the other kids.

The classic mechanisms of cathexis and de-cathexis, emotional investment and withdrawing emotional investment. These classic mechanisms are at play in the process of taking, abusing and exploiting others.

When you are of any use to the narcissist or the psychopath, even as a partner in a shared fantasy, when you are of any use whatsoever, they can become charming. They are into you. They are solicitous, attentive, affectionate, compassionate, helpful. Too good to be true.

The narcissist even idealizes you and comes to believe his own alleged emotions towards you. He mislabels, of course, internal processes which have nothing to do with love as love. He develops a kind of attachment which compensates for the original insecure attachment.

Being, exploiting, abusing people, these all fulfill a role in the narcissist and the psychopath's attachment styles.

Insecure attachment styles lead to anxiety.

As I said, the anxiety can be ameliorated only via extreme control.

So, the first phase always involves cathexis, the narcissist and psychopath all over you. You find them irresistible for reasons that I enumerate in my videos on the shared fantasy.

By the way, there's a playlist on the shared fantasy on this channel.

So the phase of cathexis causes the narcissist to believe in his own fantasy. Causes you to believe in the narcissist fantasy. Causes you to believe in your own idealized image.

You see yourself through the narcissist gaze. That's the whole of mirrors effect.

And causes both of you to collaborate in a dance macabre, in an elaborate tango where you give and he takes and you give more and he takes more and you give even further and he takes even further.

The exploitation becomes habituated and even an ethos of the relationship. The axis of exploitation, the asymmetry of giving and taking and consequently of power and control become enshrined in the cult-like percepts and ideology of the couple. That's the way it should be. It's a right thing to do. I should be giving, he should be taking because for example he is far superior to me or because I'm afraid to lose him because I'm a people pleaser and a codependent.

Narcissist pushes your buttons and leverages your vulnerabilities to induct you, to introduce you into a fantasy where he is a recipient by right. He has a right to receive because he is God. God receives our prayers in previous times, times of yore. God received sacrifices. God is always the recipient.

We need to convince ourselves very, we need to invest a lot of effort in convincing ourselves that he also gives. He definitely receives all the time our offerings.

Narcissist is this kind of God because he is so vastly superior, so amazingly endowed, such a genius or something he deserves, he's entitled and you buy into this, you buy into this personal mythology and this is the Cathars stage.

Psychopath does the same.

The only difference is that he doesn't believe in the fantasy. We'll come to it in a minute.

And then when you have nothing left to offer, when you have been impoverished and denuded of any asset that you have ever had, you've introduced the narcissist to everyone, you gave him all your money, you had as much sex with him as he wanted and it became boring. You have nothing left to give. You're not as young anymore and so on.

They become cold. They become detached, contemptuous, dismissive and impatient.


Because then you start to take.

When you have nothing left to give, any hint of attention that you receive is a burden on the narcissist and psychopath.

Now they have nothing to take from you, but they still have to give you and they don't like this. They resent this and the narcissist even devalues you.

You become a taker and a user and an exploiter in the narcissist's mind.

They have no memory.

Narcissist and psychopaths are discontinuous. They're dissociative. They have no memory. You don't have credit with the narcissist and psychopath for your past performance. You may have given the narcissist all your money, but then when you ask him back for $10, he's going to frown, he's going to sulk and he's going to tell you that you're exploiting him. You've given the psychopath all your love and then you're sick for a while and you need him to attend to you. He's going to resent this. He's going to accuse you of taking advantage of him because there's no credit. There's no credit because there's no memory and no continuity and no core identity. There's nobody there. There's nobody there to recall how kind you have been, how giving you have been, how forthcoming and outgoing you have been and how much you loved the narcissist and the psychopath to the point of self-sacrifice.

This means nothing because it's soon forgotten.

Narcissists and psychopaths reside in the present. They inhabit the present. They have no past and they have no future.

That's why narcissists and psychopaths act crazily and dangerously because they don't anticipate the consequences of their misconduct, bad choices, wrong decisions. They don't have a future and they don't have a past.

And so who are you? Who are you suddenly materializing like ectoplasm in this room asking me for anything? What right do you have to ask the narcissist for anything? What gave you? Why do you think the psychopath is an obligation to cater to your needs? What you've done this for them in the past, the past is past. What can you do for them now?

Nothing go away. Stop bothering the narcissist and psychopath.

You're a stalker. You're crazy. You're insane.

And so both the narcissist and the psychopath.

Use the shared fantasy.

Borderlines do too. Shared fantasy is a cluster B feature.

Shared fantasy is a narrative that includes you and assigns a role to you. It's kind of a role play thing and it leads to control, mind control and behavioral control.

But there's an important difference.

The narcissist is delusional. He believes that the fantasy is real and he coerces you to accept its reality and he punishes you if you don't.

This is what I call a coercive snapshotting.

The psychopath designs a fantasy for you, but he knows it's a fantasy. He is intact reality testing. He is just using the fantasy to manipulate you. He is being scheming. He is being manipulative. He knows that you crave for a fantasy.

So he offers one to you.

Whereas the narcissist deceives himself as well as you.

The psychopath is at all times fully aware of what's happening and he's simply exploiting you to the hilt.

Period. No conscience there.

The narcissist shared fantasy, by the way, can revolve around giving. The narcissist harvests narcissistic supply by giving or by making himself available, accessible or even prey, even the victim.

The narcissist's locus of grandiosity can be focused on pro-social, communal, altruistic and charitable acts. The narcissist can love you back.

By whatever the narcissist does, he does it ostentatiously, visibly, conspicuously and he expects in return narcissistic supply.

So the narcissist giving is conditional. It's not real giving and it's minimal, the minimum needed to garner supply.

Because the narcissist engages in intermittent reinforcement, often called, I love you, I hate you, come here, go, come either, go away.

Even the slightest giving, the most basic sign of kindness are considered a big deal by the long suffering intimate partner.

The psychopath is incapable of even this.

Narcissists never give, period, because they have no need for narcissistic supply. They never reciprocate. They have no emotions, no empathy and no conscience. They don't need you. They don't need your praise. They don't need your approbation and approval. They don't need anything from you except what they want from you.

So they create a shared fantasy as a means to an end, as a manipulative device and environment.

But even within the shared fantasy, they never ever give. They never make themselves available or accessible indefinitely. They never agree to play the role of the victim. They couldn't care less about what other people have to say. They want to end up with the money, with the sex, with the power, with the access, with the luxury life, with the contacts, with something. That's what they want.

They can attain their goal, your gone, your history, your nobody, your innocence and annoyance. You've served your purpose. Go away.

The narcissist is not the same. The narcissist has more commitment and investment in the relationship via the mechanism of the shared fantasy.

But even the narcissist insists on taking, even when he is giving. Even the narcissist giving is a form of taking because it's conditioned and it's revocable.

If the narcissist does not receive narcissistic supply, his giving stops. Seizes suddenly he is not available, he is not accessible, he is not loving, he is not open to collaboration, he is not giving, etc, etc.

Both the narcissist and the psychopath use you, exploit you, take from you, infinitely, indefinitely as much as they can until you are depleted and exhausted and withered and have nothing more to give.

And then they walk away.

Then they walk away.

The difference is the psychopath walks away, period.

The narcissist gives you a second chance to adulate and admire him as the great altruistic, charitable giver.

If you blow this second chance up, if you blow this second chance, he has gone as swiftly, as cruelly and as determinately as his psychopath brother.

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