I love Israel. Thank you for having me, too.
First of all, we would like to welcome you to the Hungarian people to bring a little bit more information about you and your work.
I started with my work on narcissism in 1995. The field has been in suspended animation for more than 20 years.
The last studies made of narcissism were in 1974, by a quote. And prior to that, frankly, only Sigmund Freud wrote something substantial about narcissism in 1914. And the whole field was made of narcissism. And the whole field was utterly neglected. You couldn't find, for example, the topic of narcissism in textbooks of psychology. It was not taught in universities and so on.
So when I started my work in 1995, I opened the first website on narcissism, and it remained the first website for nine years until 2004. I opened the first six support groups for victims of narcissism.
But honestly, my biggest problem was there was no language to describe narcissism, no language to describe what narcissists do to people, and no language to describe the internal experience of people exposed to narcissism.
So I needed first thing to invent the language, and I invented most of the language in use today, including narcissistic abuse and many other phrases. And that gave voice to victims of narcissism. Finally, they were able to communicate using a common language, the experiences that they had with narcissism.
Now, why is that important?
Because narcissistic abuse is different to any other type of abuse, in all other types of abuse, because many people abuse, there are many abusers, and only a small minority of them are actually narcissists, and even a smaller minority, tiny, vanishingly small psychopaths.
So, why is it important to distinguish between narcissistic abuse and regular abuse?
Because regular abuse targets an aspect of your personality, a dimension of your being, something you do, something you don't do, but it's highly specific. It's target specific, target oriented, it's concrete.
Narcissistic abuse is total. It is the negation of your existence, the attempt to subvert, undermine your mind, and to take over your personality and your life so totally that you feel that you have vanished. It is an existential type of abuse, the only existential type of abuse.
So there was a dire need to put into words these unequal experiences that have no parallel.
When victims of narcissistic abuse went to therapists, or to other mental health professionals, when they sought help, even from family, even from good friends. They were not able to say what was happening, they were not able to describe what was happening. They were not able to convey the all-pervasiveness, the ubiquity, the depth of narcissistic abuse, how it vitiates them, how it makes them feel like they are evaporating, and so on.
In other words, they were dumb, dumb in the sense that they couldn't speak, they were speechless.
And so I think my biggest contribution to the field was to give a voice to victims of narcissism. And I've been at it since 1995, I've written a series of books on the topic, a YouTube channel, which is among the first channels on the topic.
And today, of course, the situation is much better and very different.
There are numerous voices, both expert voices, coaching voices, victims of a voice, a loud voice in forums, and so on. You can find help and support instantly if you are a victim of narcissistic abuse. You can identify and understand what had happened to you, which is a crucial step in healing.
And narcissists themselves find it considerably more difficult to target victims because victims are now educated. It's been a missionary educational campaign.
So now I think we're in a much better state as we were 25 years ago when I started.
But still, we're very far. We're very far because ironically, the white public is well educated.
It is the psychological profession which is not educated.
Ignorance doesn't reside in victims' forums. The ignorance resides in universities where you find ignorance is in the offices of therapists.
Therapists don't know what is narcissistic abuse, what is narcissism.
Professors of psychology don't know what is narcissism.
It is there that ignorance exists. And they don't bother to educate themselves because they are very arrogant.
In some way, they are grandiose.
And they say, we are not going to learn from random voices on forums. I mean, it's beneath us. We don't do such things.
They don't do this, and they don't conduct serious research.
You have studies of narcissism which involve six subjects.
I mean, ridiculous. Narcissism and pathological narcissism is the core issue of today's age, the core issue.
It's not only in interpersonal relationships. It's in politics. It's in a series of professions.
It is a defining principle of our civilization. Our civilization is narcissistic. It's an organizing principle.
People modify their behavior to be more narcissistic.
Because the more narcissistic you are, the better adapted you are to the modern world, the better outcomes you have.
So people are becoming way more narcissistic. Technologies are narcissistic technologies.
They empower narcissism, encourage narcissism. Narcissism is an explanatory principle. It explains the world to us.
If we have an understanding of narcissism, suddenly we understand many things that are happening around us.
And it is also an organizing principle.
Gradually, we are all going to end up living in narcissistic societies.
If we don't have awareness and knowledge of narcissism on the institutional level, for example, among judges, among law enforcement agencies, in courts, in universities, in therapists' offices, if we don't have institutional knowledge of narcissism, we are doomed. We are doomed because narcissists are experts at leveraging institutional power.
That's why we have narcissists at the top. That's why we have narcissistic presidents and prime ministers, chief executive officers, and so on.
Because they are great at using institutions to promote themselves.
If there is no defense by way of knowledge, they will take over.
Let it be completely clear.
In a narcissistic society with zero knowledge of narcissism, where it counts among the gatekeepers, among our protectors, among therapists, among...
So if we don't have this, it's an open field for narcissists.
Narcissists are predators, and they will prey on other people.
So we have still a very long way to go.
Ironically, it is the public who should educate the professionals, not the way it should have been, professionals educating the public.