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Tragic History of the Narcissist You Shared Your Life With (with Moshe Fabrikant)

Uploaded 4/28/2023, approx. 50 minute read

Okay, I'll put an intro on, or mine.

Perfect.

Like 10 seconds.

And we are going to start the show.


So first of all, I want to say thank you, Professor Sam Vaknin for coming to the show, former professor, and also I would like to state off the bat that your videos were interesting in me understanding the human nature.

I like to understand humans and you brought this perspective of narcissists, how to understand them, how to figure them out and all of that.

And I would like to start with the question, what is a narcissism?

What is narcissism, if you can answer me that?

First of all, thank you for having me. We are the men in black, it seems today. Yes, we are.

So narcissism is a very crucial phase in the personal development of the child.

Children use narcissism and especially the grandiosity element in narcissism to explore the world, because when you are 18 months old, when you are two years old, to let go of mommy and to explore the universe, you need to be seriously delusional, seriously grandiose.

So children go through a phase of narcissism early on around the age of two, two to three.

And there were various thinkers starting with Freud and Jung and way into the sixties and seventies, and Skowood and Kernberg and many others. And they describe narcissism as a crucial component of the regulation of a sense of self worth.

In other words, a crucial component in self esteem, self confidence, the ability to take on the world and to secure favorable outcomes, something known as self efficacy.

So we are all narcissists in this sense. We all have healthy narcissism.

However, when you remain stuck at age two, when you don't grow up emotionally, when there's no parallel development, parallel emotional development, when for example, you don't transition towards other people, but you remain stuck within yourself.

Then we talk about pathological narcissism, also known as secondary narcissism.

Secondary narcissism includes various components.

First of all, a lack of empathy, inability to perceive other people as separate from you, their own needs, three dimensional.

The second thing is a tendency to exploit people or abuse them in order to exploit them.

There is also an issue of negative affectivity.

In other words, no access to positive emotions, only to negative emotions. There is an issue of inability to tell the external world from the internal world.

So in this sense, narcissists are a bit psychotic. They confuse external objects with internal objects.

So a narcissist, for example, wouldn't regard you as separate from him. He would regard you as a function or an extension or an introject, an external internal object, and he would interact with you as if you were a part of his mind.

And so on and so forth.

Narcissism is a form of extreme arrested development. It's extreme immaturity.

Think of narcissists as toddlers. That will help you.

But okay, so let's start with being the toddler or being the young child and being abused by the parents and all of that.

Okay, so basically what happens are, for example, the environment or the parents attack this young child and his feelings are suppressed. And because of it, because his feelings, he tries to survive and therefore his feelings are suppressed. And because of it, he starts to be a narcissist because of it.

Is it like that? Does it work like that?

In some cases, in some cases, it's like that abuse is any situation, parental abuse is any situation where the parents would not allow the child to separate from them and to become an individual.

Now, this can be done, for example, via sexual abuse. It can be done via physical abuse.

When you beat up the child or when you molest the child sexually, you are breaching the child's emerging boundaries. You're not allowing the child to have a firewall, a protection.

The child becomes enmeshed with you, merged with you, fused with you as a parent.

So these are the classical forms of abuse, verbal abuse, psychological abuse, etc. They don't recognize the child's separateness and they treat the child, they objectify the child, treat the child as an object.

But there are many other forms of abuse which are not recognized as abuse, actually, especially with Jewish mothers. And smothering the child, spoiling the child, pampering, idolizing, pedestalizing the child. These are forms of abuse because you're not allowing the child to go out into the world, to get in touch with reality, and to learn the lessons of mistakes and misbehaviors. You're overprotective. And you're also broadcasting to the child that he can do no wrong, that he's infallible, that he's godlike, that he's perfect and superior to other children. These messages are abusive because they don't allow personal growth and development.

Similarly, if you use the child as an instrument, instrumentalize the child, for example, you have as a parent, as a mother, as a father, you have an unfulfilled dream and you force the child to realize your dream. That's a form of abuse.

If you parentify the child, if you become the child as a parent, you become the child and the child becomes your parent.

So you force the child to mother you or to father you. You create alliances, a coalition with the child against your spouse. You treat the child as your intimate partner.

These are all forms of adultifying and parentifying, and they're also abusive.

In short, it is very, very easy to abuse your children. It is very, very difficult to be what Winnicott called a good enough mother or a good enough parent.

And vast majority of parents fail. That's the truth. They fail. They're not good parents. We talked about good enough parents and we talked about giving a lot of attention to the kids.

But is giving less attention to the kids can cause any form of narcissism?


Because, like logically, I think not.

But how do you see it?

Because it's some form of abuse as well.

Yes.

Andrei Green in 1978 coined the phrase dead mother.

Dead mother is not a physically dead mother. She's a mother who is emotionally absent, depressive, narcissistic, self-centered, selfish, or absent in the sense that she's out and auto.

So here's the problem with parenting.

You need to find the thin line, the perfect equilibrium, the balance between overbearing and being absent, between encouraging the child to separate and protecting the child, providing the child with a secure base, with a safe environment.

Very few parents find this balance.

Now children, when they get hurt, when they get seriously hurt, when the abuse is extreme, when the child is not allowed to develop boundaries and to separate and become an individual, children begin to grieve. They develop a grief response and they grieve what they could have become. They develop a lot of anger. There's a reservoir of anger, which they cannot direct at the parent because it's not legitimate.

So children then develop a false self. A false self is an imaginary friend and the false self is everything the child is not. The false self is omnipotent, all powerful. The false self is omniscient, all knowing. The false self is perfect and brilliant.

In short, the false self is a divinity. It's a God, it's a private God. And the whole thing becomes a private religion.

Narcissism, pathological narcissism, is a private religion where the child is both God and a worshiper.

Wait a second. Sam, can you please lower the camera so I can see your whole face?

Okay, perfect, perfect.

Is that what you mean?

Yeah, that's perfect.

And you talked about the God, like the narcissist being God, because in a religion, you're always can find a way to convince yourself of anything that you do, the good and the bad.

And therefore, let's talk about it in narcissism.

Do they convince themselves in everything that they do?

Is there a mechanism for it that they use in themselves for it?

Narcissists, like many other people, have defense mechanisms.

Defense mechanisms are psychological processes which falsify reality or reframe reality in a way that would make you feel comfortable.

It's known as egosyntony, would make you feel egosyntony.

So of course, narcissists make use of this, but ironically, much less than other people.

And the reason is this, the false self becomes the narcissist.

Gradually, the child disappears completely.

I compare it to human sacrifice.

This new God, the false self, is a very demanding God.

It's a molech, yes?

It's a molech.

So he demands human sacrifice.

And then the child sacrifices his true self.

And there's nobody left except the false self.

The narcissist merges with the false self, becomes the false self.

And so all that is left is a piece of fiction, a concoction, a narrative, a storyline.

It's the false self.

And the false self is God-like.

It has God's attributes.

Exactly as we wouldn't think that God second-guesses his own actions, or that God has self-doubt, or that God goes to therapy, we wouldn't assume that a narcissist would do this.

Because in the narcissist's eyes, he is a kind of deity.

He is a kind of divinity.

He is infallible.

Everything he does is for the good and for the better.

You even have communal narcissists.

These are narcissists who really do good.

They are charitable.

They are altruistic.

They help people.

They are in the helping professions.

Medical doctors, therapists, activists, social activists.

There are studies, including, by the way, a major study in Israel by Gabbai and her partners, four studies actually in Israel, that demonstrate that victimhood is a narcissistic construct.

So many narcissists use their victimhood as a form of grandiosity.

They become social activists and they leverage their victimhood to feel unique and special and God-like.

There's no end to the guises and disguises and permutations of narcissists.

They are narcissists who are proud that they are the world's biggest losers.

They are the world's unique failures.

A narcissist would go around and say, "My company was the biggest bankruptcy in Israel ever." And I'm proud of it.

Grandiosity is about being special for better, but also for worse.

You've talked about it in other interviews that you did about we as human beings, in order to understand ourselves, we need to experience the world.

And that means, in the Navy SEALs, in order for you to be in the Navy SEALs, you need to go for hard training and all of that to show that you are made of what they need.

And therefore you understand yourself.

Can narcissists do it and somehow go to the real them that was suppressed when they were children and understand themselves really, or you cannot do it and you're only left with this God-like figure that is just not the real you.

The child who became a narcissist as an adult found reality unacceptable and intolerable, especially the parental environment.

So the core of narcissism is impaired reality testing, suspension of reality, rejection of reality.

Lekli, who was the father of the study of psychopathy wrote that psychopaths and narcissists reject life.

And that's very true.

So narcissists would go to great lengths to falsify reality through cognitive distortions, for example, grandiosity.

Hegrandiosity. He would create this inflated self image, which is essentially a fantasy defense gone awry.

And then he would reframe reality. He would figure out information. He would falsify and he would confabulate. He would invent stories about himself, about others, which later he would believe in all this in order to maintain himself inside a solipsistic, utterly isolated bubble.

It's a bubble existence. That's why Kernberg and other scholars, myself included, no comparison.

We believe that narcissism is one step removed from psychosis. They are no longer with us. They're floating in the clouds. They can't judge reality properly.

Ironically, narcissists gaslight themselves. They gaslight themselves because they lie to themselves about reality and they tend constantly to falsify.

But to what length it goes, because I think that each human somehow lies about the reality or reality as we see it.

So if you can go more into depth on it, I would appreciate that.

People reframe reality and to some extent falsify it via psychological defense mechanism.

And the idea is not to feel too uncomfortable about who you are and what you do.

And this state is known as ego-syntony.

So you're trying to avoid ego-distony in order to attain a state of ego-syntony.

In other words, to avoid discomfort, to avoid extreme harsh, life-threatening inner criticism and so on.

So yes, you're right that everyone has a view of reality that doesn't exactly match reality 100%, shall we say, gently.

Not so with the narcissist.

The narcissist rejects reality in its totality and subjects it to a single organizing principle, which is the fantastic false self.

Now, the false self is called false self because it's false.

So whereas people would, normal people, healthy people, whatever that means, by the way, would falsify reality 10% of the time and only in special occasions and special circumstances where they feel uncomfortable with who they are and what they've done.

A narcissist would falsify reality 100% of the time, simply 100% of the time, in order to buttress and uphold an image of himself that has nothing to do with reality, actually.

And then this raises a question about criminal responsibility.

And in at least one case in the United Kingdom, it was a teenager who murdered his parents. In at least one case, narcissistic personality disorder had been recognized as an insanity defense and that may be a growing trend.

So narcissists are insane, in my view, clinically insane. You yourself are a narcissist.

And when I saw that fact, I was mind blowing because you're talking about it and okay, it's understandable.

Like if you have this quote unquote problem, you want to deal with it and want to learn about it and all that.

But how do you control this horse that is so wild? How can you do it yourself?

That's so interesting.

And I know you have high IQ. You said like in some interview that your IQ was measured like when you was a kid or something, you can say it later, about 185 IQ or something along those lines.

So if you can go into length on it, I will appreciate it.

That's precisely the solution I found.

Solution I found is imposing my intellect, my intelligence as a barrier or a constraint on the insanity of narcissism.

Is it working some of the time? Is it working all the time?

No.

So every narcissist uses his or her resources.

We have, for example, somatic narcissists. They use their body. They use their bodies in order to obtain narcissistic supply.

Now, narcissistic supply is the input from other people that helps the narcissist regulate his sense of self worth.

So the narcissist maintains his inflated and fantastic self image by coaxing and sometimes coercing other people to give him the kind of input that would support his view of himself.

So if I'm a genius or I consider myself to be a genius, I would push you and others to tell me that I am a genius. You're great and smart. You're great. You're amazing. What an intellect.

Yes.

Since they're unbound.

So it's and this is the narcissistic supply that I need in order to maintain my fantastic view of myself.

But every narcissist uses what he has.

So if you have a nice body, you develop it, you evolve it, you become a bodybuilder, an athlete, and then you engage in sexual conquest. That's your narcissistic supply. That's how you maintain your inflated self image and self view.

If I have a hundred and eighty five hundred ninety most recent tests, IQ, then you're going to use this. This would be your resource.

It never works all the time. It caters. It never works. It's not a path to healing. It's a path to self restraint and self control, which is very minimal, intermittent, and very often fails.

So narcissists have, I would say, 70 percent of the time moments of insanity, self destructive and self defeating acts, huge damage to others. They hurt other people in a variety of ways all the time.

And then they have these lucid moments, these lucid moments like in dementia. They have these lucid moments where they control themselves. They can verbalize. They can intellectualize. They can. They sound normal. They sound convincing, even charming and so on and so forth. It's a facade. It's a mask and it never holds.

But can you control it, though, this facade?

I can put it on for a while. But sooner or later, the real me, the false self will emerge. False self will take over. It's a part of the false self.

The masks are what we call in psychology sublimation. Sublimation is converting urges and drives which are socially unacceptable to activities and speech acts which are socially acceptable and commendable.

So from being condemned to being commended to being commended, if I were to act on my impulses, narcissistic impulses, I would have been socially condemned or even worse.

So I sublimate them. I convert them into socially acceptable behaviors.

But this is a process that consumes a lot of energy. And it's a process of self denial. You have to deny who you truly are or who you feel that you truly are. You feel that it's true.

The false self.

And so sooner or later, there's an internal rebellion. There's a defiant reaction, very antisocial.

So that's why many, many scholars conflate narcissism with psychopathy in the form of malignant narcissism.

So at some point, the narcissist rebels, the facade cracks, and the true beast emerges.

So you just said the thing, the true beast and Machiavelli talks about the beast and all of that.

And we can talk about the term Machiavellianism and link it also to psychopathy, as you said, and also to narcissism.

If you can explain the links between those three terms, you can. It's an idea that is now being further developed. It's called the dark triad, the dark triad.

And it's part of what is known as dark personalities.

So the dark triad includes subclinical psychopathy, traits and behaviors that cannot be diagnosed in psychopathy, although they are typically psychopathic.

Subclinical narcissism, traits, behaviors, fantasy defenses that are narcissistic, but do not amount to a diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder. So these are known as subclinical conditions, coupled with a tendency to manipulate, which is known as Machiavellian, the tendency to manipulate in a variety of techniques, including gaslighting in other ways, and so on and so forth.

If you put the three together, you get a dark triad.

If you add to this sadism, the wish to inflict pain on others and gratification from doing so, then you have the dark tetrad personality.

And recently I suggested the dark pentagram personality.

I added to the mix borderline.

So then we cover essentially all cluster B personality disorders.

Dark personalities are much more common than diagnosis of cluster B personality disorders.

Anywhere between 10 and 15% of the population have dark personalities.

We don't know. We are not quite sure, but it should be between 10 and 15%.

And dark personalities are very similar to another construct, another idea proposed by Lynne Sperry.

Sperry said that we should distinguish between disorder and style.

So he said you could have a narcissistic personality disorder, or you can have a narcissistic style.

And Theodore Millon, one of the giants of the field, accepted this.

And so narcissistic style is basically being an a-hole, a jerk, essentially.

But if you take it to extreme, and if you're unable to perceive other people as separate from you, and if you treat them as objects, and if you dehumanize them, and if you exploit them, then it becomes a disorder.

All in all, I have huge reservations about the entire field.

I'll tell you why, for two reasons.

Number one, I think many of these so-called disorders are actually not clinical entities, but social judgments. We call these culture-bound syndromes.

A psychopath is someone who rejects the rules and laws and mores of society. He is defined. He is contumacious. He is authority. He is reckless. It's all bad. Of course, it's bad in the eyes of society, and many of these guys end up in prison.

But is it a mental health issue?

I don't think so at all. It may be a character, a specific character, coupled with a specific temperament, if you're impulsive. It may be a predilection. It may be the outcome of some upbringing. It may be many things, but it's not a mental health disease.

Similarly, narcissists, there's a very thin line between being a jerk or an a-roll and being a narcissist. It is so thin that sometimes it's invisible.

So yeah, these people are obnoxious. They're not nice.

But do they have a mental illness?

The only thing that militates against this view is that narcissists have impaired reality testing. So they are a bit psychotic. So maybe they do have a mental illness.

In borderline, you have emotional dysregulation. So that's a real clinical thing.

But in psychopathy, there's nothing. Nothing clinical.

If you read the diagnostic criteria for antisocial personality disorder, they are all about functioning in society and behavior. Nothing about the internal world of the psychopathy.


The second reservation I have is that every narcissist becomes psychopathic, every psychopath become narcissistic, every borderline has narcissistic moments, every borderline becomes a secondary psychopath when she's rejected, abandoned, humiliated, etc.

In short, I think all these distinctions are artificial. I think there is a single personality disorder.

And everyone with a personality disorder transitions between these phases. Sometimes he's paranoid, sometimes he's schizoid, a loner, sometimes he's a narcissist, sometimes he's a psychopath, sometimes he's a borderline. We transition.

When you have a personality disorder, you are all the above and sometimes none of the above. It is wrong. It is wrong to demarcate them. It's wrong to say, to put them in different boxes.

And that's why we have the phenomena of co-orbility, where the same person is diagnosed with seven personality disorders, and a mood disorder, and an anxiety disorder, and a substance abuse disorder.

This is ridiculous.

But that actually makes sense because you're not a real you. So you don't know what you are really.

And there is this easy line or crossing that you intertwine between those disorders.

And that's very logical, the way you say it.

And we didn't really talk about the fact that about the narcissist, can he be born a narcissist? Is that a thing?

Because we understood that it can be made and all of that, but can he be born?

Boredom is more a trait of psychopaths.

Boredoms are very low.

Psychopaths are very low boredom threshold.

They react very badly to boredom. They begin to act out defiantly. They do reckless things. They go crazy.

Borderlines also have a low boredom threshold.

So borderlines tend to react to boredom with drama. They create drama.

The psychopath acts criminally and antisocially when he is exposed to boredom. The borderline creates drama.

Narcissists don't get bored. Narcissists don't get bored because they anyhow inhabit a fantastic space.

And in this fantastic space, there's constant storytelling. It's a narrative generating space.

So the narcissist inhabits a movie. The narcissist perceives his life as a movie or a theater production. And it's never boring because he is the director, the producer, the scriptwriter and the star actor, actually the only actor. He's the hero. He's the hero. He's never the zero.

A borderline can go from zero to hero. She is extreme phases of self-devaluation. She can experience guilt and shame. She's overwhelmed by emotions.

Narcissist has none of these. Narcissist is a figment, a fictitious character. And he perceives his life as unreal. That's why narcissists are shocked when they are called to account, when they have to serve time in prison or pay a fine or be shamed publicly. They're shocked because they don't feel they have done anything. They are divorced from themselves. They don't take ownership. They don't feel responsible and so on because they're one step removed.

They're like constant observers, eternal tourists.

So basically from what I understood from you, a narcissist can only be made a narcissist by the environment that isn't. It cannot be born a narcissist.

Yeah.

This ties to the previous question, believe it or not.

Bottom is a dissociative response. It's a form of dissociation.

And narcissists, borderlines especially, but also narcissists suffer from dissociation. Dissociation has several forms.

And the most famous of which is known as amnesia. It's forgetting things.

The second form is known as depersonalization, when you don't feel that you're a real person, but you're a character in a comic, in a Marvel comic.

The third form is derealization. When you feel that everything that's happening to you is not real, you're inside some movie.


Okay.

So borderlines have all three and narcissists have all three to a lesser extent, much less intense.

But they do.

And telling you this because dissociation is caused by abuse. Dissociation is a lifelong response is caused by early childhood abuse.

So there is no development of cluster B personality disorders without childhood abuse.

However, in the case of borderline, we found conclusive proof of brain abnormalities. We also are able to easily prove some hereditary genetic component. For example, if someone close in your family has borderline personality disorder, you are five times more likely to have borderline personality disorder.

So there's a genetic component. It's even worse in psychopathy or antisocial personality disorder where the structural and functional abnormalities in the brain are massive.

Not only in the brain, for example, psychopaths have different skin conductance.

Psychopaths sweat a lot less.

Psychopaths do not react to startling events or fearful events.

The amygdala is atrophied, reacts much less.

So it would seem that what we call psychopaths is a brain abnormality.

What we call borderline personality disorder is a mixture between brain abnormality, hereditary component and childhood abuse.

And what we call narcissism is probably strictly childhood abuse because we have failed.

We have failed either to find any or rigorously find any brain abnormalities in narcissism.

So because the environment like that shapes you and your feelings that are being suppressed, can narcissists really love?

What is love for them?

The feelings are not suppressed. The feelings are attached to negative outcomes.

So the child learns to associate love, loving and being loved with pain, with rejection, with absence, with objectification.

So the child learns that love is a bad thing because you feel bad when you love and you feel bad when you're loved.

So why go there?

So the child learns to deny himself access to positive emotions and preserve negative emotions because negative emotions are efficacious.

If you're angry, you modify people's behaviors around you. If you're envious, it can become a motivation to do better or to destroy the object of your envy.

So these are self efficacious emotions. In other words, they help the child to function.

But positive emotions, whenever the child endeavored, whenever he tried to love, to be affectionate, to be compassionate, to be empathic, he was punished.

So he learned to associate positive emotions with negative outcomes.

And that's the end of it. Life long.

And he tries again.

So excuse me for interrupting.


Another thing is that these children develop what we call insecure attachment styles.

So they can't attach. They are free to attach. So they have a fearful attachment style or they have a dismissive attachment style, which is more psychopathic. Or they go anxious attachment style.

They feel anxiety when they get attached because they anticipate, they catastrophize, they anticipate catastrophic consequences.

I'm going to be abandoned. I'm going to be cheated on. I'm going to be rejected. This is more common in borderline.

Yeah.

So, so basically in a relationship, if we go there, how to first of all, okay, there is a narcissist and there is a woman, for example, they are in a relationship.

What does he try to do?

Meanwhile, he's in a relationship. What he first tries to gain, if he cannot really attach the narcissist, as I said before, narcissism is a fantasy defense, a gun out of control.

So the narcissist interacts with other people, not only a woman, if he's heterosexual or a man, if he's homosexual, whatever.

The narcissist reacts with, to other people by instantly generating a fantasy space. It's called shared fantasy. He instantly generates a fantasy and then he incorporates these other people in the fantasy.

And they have a role in the fantasy, which is very similar to the role of an actor in a movie. And they should conform to the role in the fantasy. And when they don't, he devalues them and he discards them. He becomes very abusive.

So the separate existence of any other person in the narcissist's life is denied. And instead the narcissist superimposes a script on people in his life and they should fulfill the script.

And the aim of the script is to support, uphold the narcissist's inflated, fantastic self-image, aka the false self.

Now a woman in this particular case should provide with the narcissist with four things.

She should provide them with sex, services, sadistic or narcissistic supply.

I call them the four S's.

Sex, services, sadistic or narcissistic supply and safety.

So she provides them with two of the four.

She is this intimate partner.

These four, if you take them together, they convince the narcissist that his false self is not false.

Because if the woman has sex with him, he is irresistible.

If the woman gives him services, he is superior.

If the woman gives him supply, he is a genius or whatever.

And if the woman provides him with safety, he has a mother figure who finally does not abuse him and provides him with a secure base and unconditional love.

So whichever way you look at it, it's all fantasy, it's all fantasy, it's all reality.

It's not like that.

In adult relationship, you see the other person as they are.

You don't idealize them. You don't convert your intimate partner into a mother.

You don't force her to provide you with supply, to tell you how great you are, amazing.

You don't do these things.

This is a bit coercive and it's crazy also because gradually you're forcing your intimate partner to detach from reality the way you do.

She becomes totally immersed in the fantasy and then you have a cult.

Narcissists create cults. The cult could be your intimate partner, the cult could be your family, including your children, the cult could be your workplace.

So she also loses touch with reality as well. She becomes a member of a cult.

Exactly.

Okay.

We'll go back to relationships right now, but I want to ask this question then about leaders.

Then leaders, in my opinion, and also Hollywood actors, I would like to think that they have a higher degree of narcissism more than the average person.

And if you can go into depth about those leaders and what role those narcissism play in their actions, if you can go and explain it, I would like to.

We have no studies that support this widespread belief that politicians are more narcissistic than any other group of any other cohort, any other population.

However, they are likely to have higher or more robust and resilient, healthy narcissists.

In other words, their self-confidence is likely to be much higher. Their self-esteem is likely to be much higher.

And so their sense of self-worth is likely to be regulated from the inside. They would not need other people in order to feel confident and assured of themselves.

This assuredness, this, I know who I am and I know where I'm going and you should follow me.

This is what people confuse with narcissism or with pathological narcissism, but it's actually healthy narcissism.

However, of course you have politicians who are narcissists. And what these politicians will try to do, they will try to impose a fantasy on the electorate, on the people.

They will try to use their nations, their people, as a partner in a fantasy.

So they would allocate to the people, to the voters, to the nation, they would allocate a role, a script, and the nation or the voters or the party, they should follow the script in order to buttress the leader's fantasy.

In very extreme cases, you have Adolf Hitler. And in less extreme cases, you have Viktor Orban or perhaps Perish the Thought, Netanyahu.

So narcissistic leaders, how do you tell the difference between self-assured, highly self-confident, maybe a big narcissist? How do you tell the difference between these kind of leaders and a narcissist who is a leader?

The narcissist who is a leader is no longer embedded in reality fully. He pursues a vision which is fantastic, unrealistic, unlikely to be materialized or actualized. And he forces his nation to conform to the fantasy and he punishes people who don't conform to the fantasy.

These are the hallmarks of a leader who has pathological sick malignant narcissism.

So with those examples in hand, can we say that the narcissist or this leader that cares about the people or he doesn't really care about the people?

Because I would say that, for example, and it's a different kind of example in a relationship, the narcissist tries to all the time understand and analyze what the other does and like that being selective and see every move and use it for his advantage later on.

So do they care or do they not?

No, narcissists don't care about they're incapable of caring. They're incapable of positive emotions. As I said before, they have no access to positive emotions.

He cares about controlling the people. He cares about forcing the people to conform to his fantasy. He cares about realizing the vision embedded in the fantasy. He cares about the adulation and admiration of the people. He cares about exterminating or eliminating his rivals and adversaries and enemies and all leaders who are narcissists are also paranoid. He cares about many things. He cares about manipulating the people to conform to his fantasy.

And some leaders who are narcissists pose, pretend to be communal narcissists. So they would elevate caring for the people and this would become their grandiosity. They would say, I feel superior because I care for the people. Other politicians don't. I really care. I'm unique. I'm special in the whole history of my nation. I'm the most caring politician ever.

And so they would take caring, which is a pure, beautiful emotion, and they would convert it into a cognitive distortion, a lie, a pretension, a fake, a faking, a forging of behavior. And then this would become their grandiosity.

So you have social activists and you have people like Mother Teresa who did exactly this. I'm charitable. I'm altruistic. I'm helping people. I'm loving people. I'm supporting people. I'm a victim. And so I'm helping victims.

And so you have whole victimhood movements online and offline centered around a fantasy of victimhood with a grandiosity of caring and support and so on.


Just to gain power over them.

Which essentially is, yes, but it's less about power.

Psychopaths are interested in power.

Psychopaths are power hungry. Narcissists are not. They don't care about power. They don't care about money. They don't care about sex. They care about narcissistic supply.

So anything that gets them narcissistic supply, anything that supports the fantasy, they would care about it.

But they don't care about the thing itself. They care about what the thing can do for them.

So they don't care about power, but they care about the fact that if they have power, it's easier to realize the fantasy. And the supply will keep coming. They're junkies. Simply junkies.


Okay.

So if we'll go back to the relationships, then we'll go to the example given of this man that was a narcissist and a woman was not.

How can she control the supply of this?

And is that the way to make this relationship so-called healthier?

A relationship with a narcissist can never be healthy.

It's based on fantasy.

Nothing based on fantasy is healthy by definition.

Fantasy is a defense mechanism.

It can never be healthy.

It can be manageable.

So if you're astute, you're sharp and cunning, smart cookie, then you would know how to manipulate the narcissist.

Narcissists are very easy to manipulate. They're gullible. They are fantasy prone.

You give them a little supply, they'll do anything. They're junkies.

As I said, think of it as a junkie.

So you give the narcissist drug of choice, which is narcissistic supply. He will do anything for you.

You can literally handle the narcissist perfectly, but then you have to sacrifice your own values and your own integrity and your own honesty and your own everything.

In effect, the narcissist forces you to vanish, to disappear and to reappear as a dark personality.

And this is why I keep saying that narcissism or pathological narcissism is contagious. It's infectious.

Even if you start off as a very strong personality with integrity and values and beliefs, and you know, by the time you've spent a period of time with a narcissist, you become a dark personality.

The only way to survive with a narcissist is to become Machiavellian, manipulative, dishonest. Otherwise you just walk away.

If you're honest with yourself, you walk away.

If you stay with a narcissist, you are going down the rabbit hole.

The thing is with narcissists, that's at least what you said in one of your lectures or I think documentary you've said it, that they do everything in their power to seem likable in the start and do everything that you love, for example.

So if you love the color red, then they would love the color red. And then they will turn their mask off and they would be their full self.

So what is there types that are attracted to those narcissists?

Like is there a certain type?

There are two questions actually.

Let's start with the first one.

The narcissist's main weapon is not the fact that he can emulate you, that he can imitate you. That's not his main weapon.

The main weapon the narcissist has, he idealizes you.

During the love bombing and the grooming phases, the narcissist tells you that you are perfect, amazing, unprecedented, unique, handsome, super intelligent, and he never felt with anyone else the way he feels with you. So he idealizes you.

And then he reflects, he shows you this idealized image and you fall in love with your idealized image.

When you talk to victims of narcissists, they say, "I loved the way he loved me." Or "I loved to see myself through his eyes, through his gaze." I call it the Hall of Mirrors.

The narcissist idealizes you and then introduces you to a Hall of Mirrors where you see yourself reflected a thousand times. Who can resist this? This is self-love in the extreme.

And the second technique the narcissist uses, he offers you to be your mother.

He tells you, "Listen, you're ideal. You're perfect. You're flawless. There's nothing ever wrong with you. You have no shortcomings and no frailties. You're always God. You're always Divine. So I'm going to love you unconditionally because no conditions are needed. You're perfect."

Who loves unconditionally? Mother does. Mother loves her baby unconditionally.

So the narcissist regresses you to infancy, renders you a child, and then loves you unconditionally the way a mother does.

And these two together, the ability to self-love your idealized image and the motherhood which the narcissist offers to you, this is an irresistible proposition because it's like a second childhood.

Like a second childhood, it's an oceanic feeling of being safe and secure and held and contained and loved like nothing before, like at no time before.

And many victims complain that what they've had with the narcissist, they're never going to have a child.

They're nostalgic. They're nostalgic. They're endured the most extreme abuse and they keep coming. They're nostalgic.

Now borderlines and codependents are the two main types who are attracted to narcissists.


I want to make something clear.

The narcissist is promiscuous, he's indiscriminate. The narcissist goes for anyone who offers him narcissistic supply. End of story.

Narcissists have no type. If you offer supply, if you're willing to participate in the fantasy, if you're willing to adopt your script and follow it, you're an intimate partner, potential intimate partner. End of story. You can be a psychopath.

Many narcissists team up with psychopaths. To their detriment.

But on the other side of the equation, borderlines and codependents, people with dependent personality, they are attracted to narcissists much more than to any other type.

And the reason is that the narcissist idealizes.

So the borderline is grandiose. She has a false self also.

In borderline we also have a false self.

So the narcissist caters to the borderline's grandiosity and he caters to the codependents' need to mother him and to be mabbled. I call it the dual mothership, the dual mothership principle.

So that's why they are attracted to him, but he is indiscriminate. Indiscriminate. He would go with anyone. He would go with anyone.

And with that comes this thought of evil.

How much evil those narcissists cause to the world.

And if we can talk about the causes of evil in the world, how much those narcissists cause it?

Even is a complicated problem.

There's the issue of theodicy. How can we reconcile a benevolent God with the existence of evil and so on and so forth?

I wrote by the way a very long essay on theodicy. It's available on my website for those of you who are religiously inclined.

There was a guy called Scott Peck. Scott Peck wrote the book People of the Light. He suggested that narcissism is just a new name for what used to be called evil up until the 18th century, up until the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment got rid of the concepts of good and evil. The Enlightenment introduced relativism into the equation and then we started to...

Never mind.

So Scott Peck said, because I'm a philosopher by training, so we can veer off and you will never find me.

So Scott Peck said that narcissism is just another name for evil.

I used to dispute this. For many, many years I used to dispute Scott Peck and so on. But now that I'm older and hopefully a bit wiser, I think he had a pertinent point.

I think a lot of the vocabulary of the Middle Ages has transitioned into psychiatry and we just refuse to recognize it because psychiatry and psychology pretend to be a science.

Sciences.

Psychology is not a science. It's a pseudoscience. Psychology is a form of art. It's a form of literature.

The greatest psychology, psychologist who ever lived was Fyodor Dostoyevsky. And Freud was actually a great author and a very poor scientist.

So psychology is a pseudoscience.

Like every other pseudoscience, like the occult, we borrow a lot from the Middle Ages.

So psychology has innate concepts which can be mapped one to one to the Middle Ages.

For example, possession. Possession in demons. We don't call it possession in demons anymore. We call it psychotic disorder or schizophrenia paranoia.

For example, hubris or vanity is a mortal sin. We call it narcissism. For example, evil. We call it cluster B personality disorder.

So psychology is a continuation of medieval theology by other means and with a pretension to objectivity and science.

And this is what is known as scientism, imitation science, ersatz science.

But Sam, again, I would rephrase that question again.

How much do you think it causes in the world?

The narcissist itself, how much evil does it cause?

The vast majority of what we call evil is caused by people with cluster B personality disorders. Borderlines, narcissism, psychopaths, end of story.

And the thing is...

There's another group which is sadist, sexual and emotional sadist, but they are tiny, tiny group.

There is a thing about my computer, something happened. You can pause the recording for a second if you can.

No, I'm still recording. If I pause, it'll be a mess. We'll have to reload this.

Okay, so wait a second.

I don't know what happened. It's like that I'm recording. We have backup.

Okay.

No, no, I have the backup as well. It's okay. I'll restart my computer and I will send a new link.

But the video in my side is also like...

So let's take this opportunity. Let's call it a day on narcissism and dedicate the next conversation to digital.

That's what I wanted to say.

That was the turning point of the digital narcissism.

Okay, great.

So we cut it off now and I will upload it like two episodes.

One episode about narcissism and the other about the digital.

Sounds great.

So two minutes. I'll be there.

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