Transient Narcissist: Substances, Circumstances

Uploaded 3/29/2023, approx. 1 hour 19 minute read

The work conditions here are less than optimal. I apologize to you for the echo.

The apartment is still empty, as you can hear. I'm still waiting for some basic furniture to arrive. It's on my way to Budapest, where hopefully by the end of May or beginning of June I will finally have found a rental apartment.

They are rare. They are very, very rare. Trust me, this is unbelievable, especially in the center.

So I'm stuck at this stage in the heartland in Israel. And it seems that I will be here for quite a while, longer than I've expected. And then when everything is ready there, I will move.

But in the meantime, as you can see, there's very little to support life, let alone recordings. So I hope you can cope with the sound. It's irritating and you have my apologies.

As the apartment is fulfilled with furniture and carpets and I don't know what else, hopefully some of the sound will be absorbed.

We have a more balanced presentation.

So today I'm going to discuss transient narcissism, late onset narcissism.

A narcissist per day, a narcissist for a day. Can you, totally normal, totally healthy, suddenly become a narcissist?

Is narcissism like, I don't know, the flu? Can you catch narcissism? Is it contagious or infectious?

Narcissistic personalities, NPD, is a systemic or pervasive condition. It's very much like pregnancy. Either you're pregnant or you're not. And don't get started with all this his/she transgender thing, okay? Either you're pregnant or you're not.

Once you have narcissistic personality disorder, you have it day and night. It's an inseparable part of who you are. It is your personality. It is a recurrent set of behavior patterns centered around a lack of identity or identity disturbance so extreme that there's nobody there. It's an emptiness.

But research by Romingstam and others starting going back to 1996 showed that there is a condition that may be called transient or temporary or short term or late onset narcissism.

And this is opposed in contradistinction to the full fledged variety.

Even prior to this discovery, there was something called reactive narcissistic regression. People regress to a transient narcissistic phase. They adopt narcissistic behaviors, narcissistic traits, narcissistic ways of thinking, cognitions, or cognitive pathways, and even suppress positive emotions the way narcissists do.

And people regress to this condition when they are faced with a major life crisis which threatens their mental composure, reactive narcissistic regression, reactive or transient narcissism may also be triggered by a medical condition, an organic condition.

And I have a video here dedicated to brain injury, traumatic brain injury, and how it's documented to have produced the equivalent, the full equivalent of narcissistic personality disorder.

Brain injuries have been known for well over a century to induce narcissistic and antisocial traits and behaviors.

So can narcissism be acquired? Can it be learned? Can it be provoked by certain well-defined situations?

Robert B. Millman, professor of psychiatry at New York Hospital called Cornell Medical School, thinks that it can.

He proposes to reverse the accepted chronology. According to him, pathological narcissism can be induced in adulthood by celebrity, wealth, and fame.

Pathological narcissism can also be a reaction to the consumption of substances, illicit substances. For example, cocaine, cocaine or alcohol. Both coke and alcohol induce states of mind which are essentially indistinguishable from narcissistic personality disorder or be it for only a few hours.

If the usage, if the abuse of the substance is occasional, if the abuse of the substance is permanent, in other words, if we are dealing with an addiction to the substance, then the narcissistic state of mind becomes entrenched. And arguably, the person becomes a full-fledged narcissist. We'll deal with this in the second half of the video, second half of the lecture.

How does coke and alcohol, coke not coca-cola, cocaine, how does coke and alcohol make you a narcissist?

Lydia Rangeloska suggested that narcissism or narcissistic reactivity is also an integral part of CPTSD in victims of traumatic narcissistic abuse.

And this is a commonplace view, also being suggested by the likes of Judith Herman and others.

So, acquired situational narcissism. When you start life as totally balanced, healthy, empathic, loving, caring, compassionate person, and then you suddenly become a raging malignant narcissist or even psychopathic narcissist.

Acquired situational narcissism.

And the victims, billionaire tycoons, movie stars, renowned authors, politicians, rock stars, authority figures, the victims develop grandiose fantasies. They lose their erstwhile ability to empathize. They can't empathize anymore. They react with rage and slights, both real and imagined.

So when they become hypervigilant, they scan the environment for slights and insults, and then they react with narcissistic rage.

In general, they begin to act like textbook narcissists. It's a form of late onset or adult secondary narcissism.

But is the occurrence of acquired situational narcissism inevitable, universal, or are only certain people prone to it?

In other words, if you were to become tomorrow a rock star, if you were to win the lottery and become a very rich man or woman, if you were to become a politician or, I don't know, an influencer on Instagram, or the owner of a YouTube channel with 10 million viewers, subscribers, will you then inevitably become a narcissist or at least way more narcissistic?

Will you lose your capacity to empathize, for example? Or does it depend on the personality that had preceded the fame, the celebrity, the power, the money and the sex.

In other words, is there a personality type that is much more prone to developing acquired situational narcissism?

Similarly, is there a personality type that is much more prone to become narcissistic under the influence of substances such as alcohol or cocaine?

We will deal with it a bit later. It is likely that acquired situational narcissism is merely an amplification of earlier narcissistic conduct, traits, style and tendencies. It's an amplifier. It's a magnifier of what's already there.

Celebrities with acquired situational narcissism already had a narcissistic personality or narcissistic style way before they have acquired fame and money and power. They were on the verge of becoming narcissists and their life circumstances just triggered it.

So long before their narcissism erupted, it was there in the form of a seed, a bed seed or a kernel.

Being famous, powerful or rich, only legitimized, triggered and conferred immunity from social sanction on the unbridled manifestation of a pre-existing disorder.

Indeed, narcissists tend to gravitate to professions and settings which guarantee fame, celebrity, power and wealth.

As Mihlman correctly knows, the celebrity's life is highly abnormal. The adulation is often justified and plentiful. So it gives rise to legitimate grandiosity.

The feedback is biased and filtered and psychophantic. The criticism is muted and belated. Social control is either lacking or excessive and vitriolic.

And such, this institutional existence is not conducive to mental health, even in the most balanced person.

The confluence of a person's narcissistic predisposition, proclivities and his pathological life circumstances give this confluence, gives rise to acquired situational narcissism.

It borrows elements from both classic narcissistic personality disorder ingrained or pervasive and from transient or reactive narcissistic regression.

Celebrities are therefore unlikely to heal, unlikely to heal once their fame or wealth or might a gone.

Instead, their basic narcissism merely changes form. It continues unabated, as insidious as ever, but modified by life's ups and downs.

In short, they will revert from overt and grandiose narcissism to covert fragile, vulnerable and shy narcissism and back.

Collapse, narcissistic collapse, is the mediator and the bridge between these two types.

In a way, all narcissistic disturbances are required. Patients acquire their pathological narcissism by being exposed to and subjected to abusive or overbearing parents, peers and role models.

So, narcissism is acquired, it's inculcated. Narcissism is a defense mechanism designed to fend off hurt and danger, and it is brought on by circumstances always, such as parental abuse in early childhood in the classic form, or celebrity, and all these circumstances are beyond the person's control.

Social expectations play a role as well. Celebrities try to conform to the stereotype of a creative but spoiled, self-centered, monomaniacal and emotive individual.

It's the romantic ideal, 18th century and of course, German. A tacit trade takes place. The tortured genius.

We offer the famous and the powerful, all the narcissistic supply that they crave, and they in turn act for us, play act, the consummate, fascinating, albeit repulsive, narcissist.

But acquired situational narcissism may occur in a variety of other situations, as I mentioned, for example, substance abuse, but also in other mental health issues.

For example, take codependency. Codependents aiming to fend off knowing abandonment anxiety, and the same goes for borderlines.

They can resort to, and they often resort to, evolving narcissistic and even psychopathic behaviors and traits.

When faced with abandonment and rejection, real, imaginary or anticipated, many borderlines and codependents become essentially narcissistic or psychopathic.

And codependents, for example, can adopt a narcissistic role or even a psychopathic role to cater to the whims and the needs of their loved ones.

So, acquired situational narcissism is well documented.

And now, to substance abuse.

Start with coke, cocaine.

The Massachusetts General Hospital Handbook of General Hospital Psychiatry, 6th edition, 2010, has this to say about cocaine intoxication.

The symptoms of cocaine intoxication include euphoria and grandiosity, irritability or agitation, lack of sleep, dilated pupils and psychomotor restlessness, facing hand wringing and so on.

The effects of coke, as any coke head can tell you, as any coke addict or coke user can tell you, the effects of cocaine are immediate and they're very pleasurable and they don't last long, which is why many, many people prefer to use coke than any other substance.

Both coke and crack, crack cocaine, both of them produce intense but short lived euphoria and they can make users very energetic, similar to caffeine.

There's wakefulness, there is reduced hunger, but the psychological effects are even more pronounced and more startling, I would say.

There's a feeling of well-being coupled with a grandiose sense of power and ability.

The reality testing is shattered and one's self-awareness is diminished considerably.

So there's no perception of one's limitations, one's shortcomings and so on. They're all gone by the wayside.

There is this restlessness and anxiety mixed with a conviction that you can do, that there's nothing you cannot do, that you are essentially godlike.

As long as the drug effects last, which is pretty briefly, this grandiosity is extreme to the point that it matches the grandiosity of someone diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, even in its extreme form.

As the drug wears off, these feelings of mastery and grandiosity are replaced by intense depression and this, what we call, a crash.

The user becomes lethargic, sleepy and there is this horrible feeling that you are cast down into earth like a fallen angel.

Only half an hour before, you were god. You could do anything if you just set your mind to it. You were always right. You were superior. Your knowledge was barred numb, was second to numb. And you were it. And then half an hour later, you're depressed, you're sleepy.

And so there is this urge to use coke again. And it is the source of the addiction, this waning, much lamented grandiosity.

According to the Massachusetts Study of Adult Development, these are the psychological effects of coke, reckless, reckless and risky behaviors, which are typical to psychopaths and borderline problems in friendships and other interpersonal relationships, intense paranoia, psychosis or psychotic elements, violent mood swings, hallucinations, a break from reality, feeling that the drug is needed to function or to survive, craving, inability to exert good judgment, the rationalization of drug use and other misdeeds and misbehavior, unexplained changes in personality and a lack of motivation.

Now, not all these symptoms appear all the time. Depends whether you are an occasional user, whether you're not an occasional user, but you're not yet addicted, which is what most users tell themselves, keep telling themselves counterfactually, but okay.

Or if you are a full fledged addict, full fledged addict just can't survive without coke, just keeps on taking coke, most of full fledged addicts and dead of overdose. It's a sad fact.

Now, the problem is that owing to the grandiosity, the coke addict lies to himself or to herself. They say we are in control of the drug, the drug is not addictive. We know what we're doing, we can stop it at any minute, we can regulate the amount used.

These are all nonsense. These are all lies.

Levi, in 1989, published an article titled "Grandiosity Within Alcoholism: Implications for Treatment". It was published in the Psychotherapy Patient Edition 5.

And again, in the description, you will find all the literature.

Having discussed coke, and I'm going to discuss coke again a bit later, let's talk about alcoholism.

I'm going to read to you the abstract of this article.

When grandiosity is a cause and/or consequence of abusive drinking, the first step in treatment is to encourage a patient to stop drinking or to get the drinking under control.

Among those patients whose grandiosity may have preceded their alcoholism, their drinking is given first priority. And grandiose and narcissistic issues are addressed later when needed.

Hospitalization may be indicated if the acknowledgement of a drinking problem precipitates major depression. The usefulness of separate groups, such as AA, is discussed in the article.

Now, imagine the confluence of coke and alcohol. Imagine the extreme grandiosity that this combination induces. And then imagine this grandiosity which exceeds the grandiosity in narcissistic personality disorder. Imagine this grandiosity coupled with paranoia, coupled with persecutory delusions, and as pseudo or quasi-psychotic state where you are not in full grasp or correct grasp of reality. This is exceedingly dangerous. It can lead to criminal behavior or other antisocial misconduct.

Drinking and drugging, they fuel grandiosity. They amplify certain traits and certain behaviors.

And so they cause a lot of denial.

Users of coke and alcoholics, they tend to appear arrogant, impatient, determined, selfish, aggressive, opinionated, all-knowing, inconsiderate.

Ring the bell? Yes. Narcissism. Narcissism is induced by certain drugs and by alcohol. I mentioned coke, but other drugs, some other drugs, create the same effects.

Coke is the most extreme. A coke eye is indistinguishable from narcissistic personality disorder, the malignant form, the psychopathic form. So it's a great threat to others and to oneself because there's a lot of denial involved.

There's an inability to achieve or to accomplish serenity and recovery because the addiction feeds into reservoirs of resentment, and rage, and anger.

If you've seen coke addicts and alcoholics, there's a lot of anger there. Chemically dependent people are grandiose and they convince themselves owing to their grandiosity that they are consuming drugs responsibly. They are complacent. They're complacent and so they relapse a lot and they have a lot of negative attitudes and destructive emotions.

And then ultimately they become self-destructive. There's no telling how much of overdosing has to do with self-destructiveness.

In short, there's no way to isolate suicidal ideation, even if it is unconscious, suicidal drive, and suicidal conscious, suicidal ideation. There's no way to separate them from overuse of substances.

Everyone knows the risks, even addicts, junkies, they know the risks and yet they take these risks time and again.

Grandiosity also leads to behaviors which is self-defeating.

For example, procrastination, delaying confrontation with reality and the need to change.

Another very important factor that is magnified and amplified via substance abuse is envy.

Envy explodes, simply explodes. If you're a coke addict or an alcoholic, let alone both, you're going to spend like 90% of your time being envious of other people, feeling that you don't get what you deserve, believing that you're discriminated against, that there is some conspiracy to deprive you of that which is yours.

And this attitude leads to a lot of aggression and greed and anger and splitting or nothing thinking and feeling.

They lash out, these people lash out and blame others so they have alloplastic defenses and they tend to do things in excess.

They act very compulsively, they are obsessive, they are impatient, they are jealous, they are pressured, they are stressed and so this again amplifies anger, fear, hatred, and envy.

In short, these addicts or even frequent users of coke and alcohol, they have much more access to their negative affectivity than to their positive affectivity.

They're incapable of love but they're capable of rage.

And this is very similar to the narcissist and this is why they keep failing in their relationship all the time.

They cannot call upon a repertory or a reservoir of positive emotions and so they fall prey.

They're torn apart with negative emotions.

Grandiosity, when you're grandiose, you insist to subjugate other people. You want them to submit to you, to surrender to you.

And you on the other hand, never surrender. So you're never wrong. Everyone around you is wrong. Everyone around you is crazy or stupid or how to get you or but you are never ever wrong.

You never say I'm sorry. You never acknowledge that you made a mistake. You never look back in remorse. There's no remorse, no regret. There's no attempt to compensate and remediate and help people you've hurt because you don't, you're always the victim. You never hurt anyone.

All this, of course, is common in narcissism. Alcohol creates something known as alcohol myopia. It's a cognitive physiological theory and it says that many of alcohol's social and stress-reducing effects which create the addiction, they are the consequence of the narrowing of perceptual and cognitive functioning.

What this theory says is that alcohol produces a myopia effect, short-sightedness. So users pay more attention to environmental cues in the here and now.

Alcohol, people who drink as alcoholics or even occasionally, they are much more focused in the here and now, in the present.

They are incapable of gauging the consequences of their actions because they cannot relate to the future.

The salience, I mean, there's something called salient cues.

So the salient cues when you drink alcohol are all present. The people around you, the physical environment, the drink in your hand, the social interactions of that minute, the cues regarding the consequences of your actions, the future, whether what you're doing is right or wrong, empathy even, all these cues are suppressed.

So you're like a short-sighted person and these myopic effects, they cause intoxicated people to respond only to the immediate environment. It limits their ability to consider future consequences of their actions.

And so they can't regulate their reactive impulses. The behavior changes, decision-making processes are suppressed, executive functions are affected and there are cognitive deficits.

Overall, the alcohol myopia theory is that intoxicated people, drunk people, they act rashly, recklessly and they choose simple solutions even when the problem is complex.

But in this theory of alcohol myopia, one of the main observed phenomena is self-inflation.

Alcohol consumption alters your self-image. When you drink, your self-image changes. Alcohol enhances feelings of self-appraisal and even narcissism.

I'm quoting from one of the articles that you can find in the description.

Alcohol inhibits also sophisticated mental processing.

So you can't recognize your own limitations and personal flaws and shortcomings and mistakes you're making. There's a tunnel vision.

The effect of alcohol is that it limits your attentional capacity. It causes you to focus on favorable and superficial characteristics, including in yourself.

So there's also a misperception of physical attributes, for example, symmetry, facial symmetry.

So you begin to consider yourself as perfectly handsome, as an amazing genius. Everything you say has cosmic significance. You're creative suddenly.

So the self-inflating effect of alcohol can increase the drinkers' self-confidence and lead the drinker to engage in activities or in social situations that would normally make him nervous, uncomfortable when he's sober and he would avoid them.

Alcohol alleviates stress and anxiety.

And so there are no inhibitions. There's no way to regulate these crazy behaviors which are driven by a very unrealistic self-perception, inflated, fantastic.

If you're godlike, you can do anything. You can do anything and you will never feel stressed or anxious.

So alcohol exaggerates the drinker's perception of himself and the world around him.

So he becomes erratic and dramatic. Yes, exactly like Lester B.

Under the influence of alcohol individuals, they don't process long-term consequences. They also don't form long-term memories.

The hippocampus is strongly affected by alcohol.

They respond to immediate cues.

Alcohol disinhibits urges, including outcomes of socialization that are normally considered socially unacceptable.

So the sober brain uses the front-view cortex to make executive decisions and to restrain impulses.

The drunk brain is unable to regulate urges.

So the drunk brain overreacts and disregards implications of actions, provokes aggressive behavior.

This is a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde effect.

People are amiable when they're sober, but suddenly they are aggressive and violent when they're drunk.

Alcohol is a dramatic connection to criminal behavior, rage, physical destruction and sexual assault.

It is important to note that the effects on excessive behavior are not the same in all drinkers.

Some of them become aggressive. Others simply become more talkative, flirtatious, adventurous, but it's always excessive.

Inhibitory cues are suppressed.

There is sometimes the opposite effect. The individual becomes a very, very reticent, passive, frightened, paranoid.

At any rate, many of these features are also common in Cluster B personality disorders.

Rush behavior is psychopathic, for example. Certain emotions and actions of inebriated people resemble startlingly borderline personality disorders.

So there is something known as inhibition, cognitive function, which allows people to make decisions based on immediate stimuli that require higher level of processing.

So you also misjudge the environment. You misjudge the stimuli. It's a mess, but it's a mess that resembles very much what goes on, what goes in the narcissist's mind.

Risky sexual behavior is an example, but not only spending money recklessly, placing yourself at risk with, for example, criminals.

Risky behavior is a major feature of alcohol, myopia. There's an increased risk taking brought on by alcohol, and the consequences are never good.

OK, so this is what cocaine and alcohol does.

There are many other, of course, effects and impacts. They're not directly related to narcissism or to psychopathy.

So I will kind of skip this.

I want to read to you the abstract of an article published in the Journal of Experimental Psychopathology.

The article is titled Addicted to Self-Esteem: Understanding the Neurochemistry of Narcissism by Using Cocaine as a Pharmacological Model.

It was written by Alina Kasna Bosek and she says in the abstract.

They are pronounced behavioral and neuroimaging parallels between cocaine abuse and narcissism.

Although the observed commonalities are not specific to cocaine as opposed to other types of addiction, we argue that the relatively constrained molecular actions of cocaine, more importantly, the covariance of narcissism-like behaviors with cocaine use, build a strong case for taking the known effects of cocaine as a starting point for addressing the hitherto under-investigated neurophysiology of narcissism.

I'm going to read this again because it's a shocking statement.

What she actually says is that the use of cocaine is utterly indistinguishable as far as the body is concerned, utterly indistinguishable from full-fledged narcissistic personality disorder.

So, I repeat, we argue, she says, that the relatively constrained molecular actions of cocaine and more importantly, the covariance of narcissism-like behaviors with cocaine use, build a strong case for taking the known effects of cocaine as a starting point for addressing the hitherto under-investigated neurophysiology of narcissism.

In this review, she continues, we discuss the potential relevance of cocaine abuse as a pharmacological model for narcissism.

We outline previous research on the role of monoamines across several domains affected in narcissistic personality disorder and subclinical narcissism, namely selected personality traits, social behaviors, emotional empathy and self-referential processing.

In conclusion, we provide recommendations for future research.

Another article, I'll conclude with another article, titled "Grandiose and vulnerable narcissism: associations with alcohol use, alcohol problems and problem recognition".

The authors are Logan Welker and others. It was published in 2019.

And the results of the study, grandiose narcissism was a positive predictor of alcohol consumption and a positive good evaluation of alcohol-related problems.

Vulnerable narcissism was a positive predictor of alcohol-related problems, problem recognition readiness to change and problem expectancies.

The results speak to the effects that different types of narcissism have on alcohol use, alcohol problems and attitudes toward alcohol problems among young adults.

Sorry, this was not the last article. The next article is Linda Brennan and Jesse Feist, published in Health Psychology.

And it's actually a part of a book titled "Introduction to Behavior and Health", sixth edition, thoughts on Wordsworth 2017.

And in this article, there is a bibliography which I strongly recommend.

So this is it. Acquired situational narcissism can be either the outcome of changing life circumstances, acquiring fame, celebrity, money, wealth and power, or it can be the outcome of substance abuse, even if the substance abuse is occasional, even when it's one time.

Someone who drinks alcohol, someone who uses Coke becomes briefly someone with narcissistic personality disorder and even psychopathic features.

So a psychopath and a narcissist.

I have something horrible to share with you. I have reached a conclusion that my meaning has borderline personality disorder.

Let me tell you why.

First of all, she disappears overnight and appears only during the day. I don't know what she's doing.

Second thing, she always starts hot, but the more intimacy we have, like this, the colder she gets, hot and cold.

This is what we call in psychology, splitting, dichotomous behavior.

Second thing, I caught her several times in the local dishwasher with some exceedingly good looking mugs. I can't tell you how much this hurt.

So all in all, she vanishes. Her only object constancy seems to be in the dishwasher and she disappears overnight.

I think I have a bottle out of my hands or in my hands, but I still love her. Look.

So I've prepared drinks. I'm going to discuss a different kind of drink today. It has been known throughout history as alcohol.

My name is Sam Vaknin. I'm a professor of psychology and the author of Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited in a series of books and other books about personality disorder.

My most recent book has been co-authored and it's The Narcissism Reader, which you can find on Amazon and one of the authors.

So today we're going to discuss what alcohol does to the covert narcissist, not to the grandiose overt narcissist, but to the covert narcissist.

Remember that the main feature of the covert narcissist is, shockingly, that he is covert. He presents a facade of being humble, of being modest, self-effacing even. He hides. He's surreptitious. He's subterranean. He's passive aggressive. He never seeks attention or adulation directly, but through other people.

He is very envious. He lacks moral standards. He's morally compromised.

And above all, he's a collapsed narcissist. He's a narcissist who failed to obtain narcissistic supply.

In the classical ways of reaching out to the world, going out to potential sources of supply, then grooming them or converting them into active sources of supply.

It's bad enough as it is, but it gets much worse when the covert narcissist gets drunk, gets wasted, when the covert narcissist teems up with alcohol.

But before we go there, perhaps it would behoove us to remind ourselves what alcohol does to the human mind.

Alcohol has basically seven effects.

Many of these effects are not well known. And many of them are counterintuitive. And many of them are misrepresented in literature online.

There is a fad or a fashion nowadays to try to find an equivalent in brain activity or blood flow in the brain to every mental health condition.

And also there's another fad of pathologizing things or medicalizing things.

And so today, alcoholism is considered a brain disease for some reason.

Of course, alcohol induces changes in the brain, some of them irreversible.

But the cause and effect are not clear. And one cannot say with any certainty that alcohol is the outcome of the changes in the brain.

It's much more likely actually, although this is speculative, but it's much more likely that it's the alcohol that has caused the neuroplastic transformations in the brain rather than the other way around.

So I am not an adherent of the medical school of psychology, which attempts to transform psychology into a form of medicine.

And so I don't buy this story that alcoholics have a brain disease, because if they really had a brain, if it really was a brain disease, they would not have been able to stop.

And there are numerous alcoholics who succeeded to win themselves off alcohol. They no longer consume alcohol. And they don't consume alcohol for years, sometimes decades.

Can you win yourself off tuberculosis? Can you just wish away brain cancer? Can you decide to not have COVID-19?

So in my personal opinion, as someone who had been trained in medicine and any psychology, I don't buy this story that alcoholism is a brain disorder.

I think alcoholism is a choice.

Now, alcoholism has seven effects.

Number one, it changes empathy, not as the misinformation online goes, it does not eliminate empathy. It changes the targets of the empathy.

Alcohol reduces empathy towards loved ones, nearest and dearest.

In other words, the alcoholic would feel less empathic, this empathic with his spouse or with his children or with his co-workers or with his boss or with people, meaningful, significant people in his life.

But at the same time, alcohol has a very bizarre effect.

It enhances empathy towards perfect strangers. So alcohol tends to encourage attachment and bonding with perfect strangers and also motivates the alcoholic to take care of these strangers, to care for the well-being of these strangers and to try to enhance it.

Which explains, of course, why many alcoholics, many people, many problem drinkers, many people who had consumed alcohol end up having sex with other strangers as a form of an empathic expression, as a way of making the stranger feel good, catering to the stranger's emotional needs.

The second effect of alcohol is that it disinhibits. We all know this. It removes inhibitions. Inhibitions are inculcated in us. Inhibitions are put in us.

Via the process of socialization and acculturation. Social agents, for example, parents, teachers, role models or even peers, teach us what is not socially acceptable, what we should not do because we will end up being punished or because we'll end up being ostracized or excommunicated or because we'll pay the price of some kind.

So anticipating the consequences of our actions prevents us from acting on pre-existing wishes. But it's very important to understand.

An alcoholic or someone under the influence is disinhibited in the sense that he no longer avoids or controls his behavior and so he acts on pre-existing wishes.

In other words, if someone under the influence tells you the next day, "I really didn't want to do that. I can't believe I did this. It's not me. I'm shocked. I'm surprised. I don't believe a word of it."

He wanted to do whatever he had done. He wanted to aggress. He wanted to be violent. He wanted to sleep with that beautiful woman. He wanted to do all these things. Or she wanted to do all these things.

But she didn't dare.

When sober, we have these social constraints, we have these voices, introjects in our head, which tell us, "Don't do this. It's not nice. It's not okay. It's not moral. You will be punished." These are called inhibitions.

Alcohol removes these voices, silences them, and then we are free to act on our real wishes. But these wishes predate the alcohol. These wishes exist in our mind.

A woman enters a bar, she sees a drop-dead gorgeous heart-throat guy at the end of the counter. She wants to have sex with him. She will not because she is married and she loves her husband.

But after a few drinks, her empathy towards her husband will vanish, and she will act on her wish. She will have sex with that gorgeous stranger, because she is disinhibited.

The next effect is known as, colloquially known as "beer goggles". It simply means that under the influence of alcohol, we find other people, especially people of the opposite sex, if we are heterosexual, we find other people much more attractive than we would find them, we would have found them without alcohol.

Alcohol affects our perception of attractiveness of other people.

One of the ways alcohol does this is by having an effect on the part of our brain, on the center of our brain, that perceives symmetry. We are naturally attracted to symmetrical faces. And when we drink, we perceive everyone to be symmetrical. Even very asymmetric, asymmetrical people are perceived by us to be symmetrical. So our symmetry perception is affected by alcohol, and we regard everyone as symmetrical, symmetric with symmetric faces, and so as attractive. Attractiveness is enhanced.

And this is why, again, this is why many encounters with alcohol end up in casual sex with partners, which the next morning we find to be very, very unattractive physically.

The next thing alcohol does is it disguises hesitancy. If you feel like a fraud, if you feel like an imposter, if you feel that you are acting the role, acting, for example, the gender role, if you feel that you're not really a man, but you're acting the man, you're not really a woman, you have low self-esteem, low self-confidence, you have body image problems, but you're acting the woman.

So if you feel that you're acting, if there is this pause for thinking, pause for planning, pause for if there is this hesitancy, this delay, microsecond delay, which normal healthy people don't have, alcohol helps to disguise it.

If you want to act in a certain way and you have to think about it, it doesn't come to you naturally and automatically, but it's part of a script, it's part of an act.

When you raise the glass to you by time, you simply by time, and you are able to camouflage the hesitancy, you're able to camouflage the delay by engaging in an activity which is socially acceptable, drinking, and this activity makes you also look more sophisticated, more of the world, so to speak. Of course, I'm not talking about getting wasted or getting drunk, this is the opposite effect.

But at the very beginning of the evening, if you raise a glass and you drink, you're sophisticated and you are disguising your hesitancy.

Drink also provides for an alibi or an excuse. A drink is therefore, alcohol provides for an alloplastic defense.

In other words, the next morning you can say it wasn't me, it was the drink. It's the drink's fault. The alcohol made me do it. I would have never done it had I not been drunk.

I go drunk and he goes lucky, etc. So these are alloplastic defenses.

The sixth effect is memory.

Alcohol affects memory from the very beginning.

From the first imbibing of the tiniest amount of alcohol, the memories begin to be affected.

When you reach a certain level, a certain concentration of alcohol in your blood, your long term memory shuts off.

The hippocampus region shuts off and you're unable to form long term memories.

And this is known as alcoholic brownout or alcoholic blackout.

So memory is affected.

But prior to that concentration, even even the concentration is lower, short term memory is affected and there are memory gaps.

In other words, alcohol is dissociative.

Ironically, alcohol is also depressive. It creates depression. It emulates and imitates a dysphoric state.

But that comes much later.

First it disinhibits. It disinhibits and then it depresses.

And throughout this, it helps you to dissociate. Dissociation is also egosyntonic because you can claim I don't remember what I've done or I don't fully remember what I've done.

I've been so out of it. I've been so wasted a bit.

So the seventh and last effect of alcohol is known as alcohol myopia.

Alcohol encourages stereotypical grandiosity.

In other words, alcohol renders the drinker a narcissist, a temporary narcissist.

It's kind of a quiet situation of narcissism.

But the narcissism is focused on grandiosity and it is very stereotypical.

So a man who drinks would become a stereotypical macho, a savior, a messiah, a tough guy, protector, a violent guy.

So an imitation, an imitation of exaggerated caricature gender role.

Grandiosity is induced by alcohol sometimes to extremes and people engage in activities to which put them at risk.

So alcohol encourages reckless behavior. You do things that you're not skilled to do, you're not qualified to do, you're not trained to do and that can cost you your life sometimes.

Similarly, women, for example, would go into a hotel room with a perfect stranger they've never met before. They know nothing about. And so they end up being sexually assaulted. It's a form of grandiosity. Nothing will happen to me. I'm in you. I'm invisible.

So this grandiosity affects recklessness.

Okay. These are the effects of alcohol.

Alcohol serves several psychological purposes, several psychological needs very effectively.

And this is why alcoholism is so intractable, difficult to get rid of, difficult to treat.

Before I continue, just to correct something I've said, blackouts and brownouts, the dissociation induced by alcohol depends crucially not only on the level of the concentration of alcohol in the blood, but how fast you had consumed the alcohol, whether you had consumed a huge amount of alcohol in a very short period of time. Otherwise, there will be no blackout or brownout, no matter how much you drink.

So if someone tells you that he had drunk six bottles of vodka over 12 hours and he had a blackout, don't believe him or don't believe her.

So it depends crucially on how fast you drank the alcohol within what period of time.

Alcoholism is also should be distinguished from problem drinking and binge drinking.

Binge drinking is a social activity. These are social drinkers.

Problem drinkers are people who resort to alcohol in order to regulate emotions and moods.

But they are not addicted to alcohol. Only when they have a mood that they wish to eradicate or when only when their emotions are out of control and they overwhelm them, only then do they do the use alcohol.

So these are problem drinkers or what's correctly called neurotic drinkers.

Alcoholism is a different issue. It's an addiction.

But all these behaviors are very difficult to get rid of and to treat because alcohol is adaptive. It serves very important functions.

And this is also why recidivism is as high as 60 percent within the first year after rehab.

In other words, 60 percent of people who go through rehab start to drink again within one year.

The functions of alcohol can be divided into four.

First, palliative. It helps the person under the influence to cope with dissonance, with pain, with frustration, with anxiety, with anger, with stress, with sadness, with panic, without the negative emotions, without the mood disorders. This is palliative drinking.

Then there is restorative drinking. Helps the alcoholic to restore his or her self-confidence and self-esteem via the aforementioned grandiosity. Also helps people to re-enter fully or occupy fully gender roles as men or women, especially men and women who have body image issues.

The third function of alcohol is disinhibitory. It lowers inhibitions.

Alcohol legitimizes narcissistic traits and behaviors like lack of empathy, extreme selfishness, a sense of entitlement, or cheating on your loved one. It allows the alcoholic to express his or her repressed promiscuity and aggression.

Trades that he or she find egotistic when they are sober.

In other words, when the person under the influence is sober, she dislikes or he dislikes or finds denigrating or unacceptable promiscuity or aggression. But under alcohol, she or he allow, allow, allow themselves to behave this way. Alcohol legitimizes.

Alcohol renders the alcoholic much more sociable, for example, much more grandiose, much more sociopathic, to use a colloquial term. The alcoholic becomes volubly defiant, hates authority figures, feels in control, or in charge of others and of the situation, capable of doing anything.

She puts her mind to irresistibly attractive, charming, charismatic and unfettered by rules or social mores.

The alcoholic or the problem drinker says, "I can do whatever the hell I want to. No one will tell me what to do."

As a result of these cognitive and emotional changes, the drunk person engages in reckless behaviors like unprotected sex with a stranger or compulsive shopping or compulsive gambling or, of course, reckless driving.

The final function of alcohol is instrumental. It allows the alcoholic to accomplish goals, to become goal oriented.

These are goals that he would never even try when he is sober.

And for example, going after a beautiful woman that you desire or attempting to accomplish something, which normally you would not even dream of trying.

So as you are beginning to see, alcohol would bring out the narcissist in the covert narcissist.

Alcohol would eliminate the covert part and leave behind only the narcissist part.

The problem with the covert narcissist when he gets drunk is that the covert part falls away like so much unneeded skin. He sheds.

The covert narcissist under the influence of alcohol sheds his covert nature. He's no longer humble, no longer modest, he's grandiose, he's antisocial.

The problem with the covert narcissist when he gets drunk is that he also becomes psychopathic.

I have another video which I advise you to watch where I explain the transition from doormat, doormat covert narcissist to a primary psychopath.

This transition is often encouraged by alcohol.

In other words, covert narcissists induce this transition on purpose by drinking.

Covert narcissists drink in order to become primary psychopaths, in order to have Dutch courage. Dutch courage, you know, alcohol gives you courage.

So they're doormats. Covert narcissists are doormats. They're afraid of the world. They are terrified of the limelight. They are avoidant. They're socialist, shy. They're pseudo humble, fake modesty. They are very wary of challenges because they can't take rejection and failure and criticism and disagreement. Much more so than the narcissist. They're very hypervigilant, much more than the classic narcissist.

So they have all this and it constrains them, it constricts them. It makes them people pleases on the one hand and on the other hand, it narrows their lives. They live like in a tunnel vision. They have a tunnel.

And so they want to break out. They're like prisoners, hostages of their own disorder. And they want to break out.

One way to break out is to disinhibit and become grandiose at the same time.

And alcohol does that for the covert narcissist.

So many covert narcissists drink on a regular basis. They are problem drinkers or binge drinkers. When they want to socialize, they drink. When they want to have sex, they drink. When they want to go after a sexual target, they drink. When they get cold feet, they drink. Whenever they're faced with stressful situations, with performance anxiety or abandonment anxiety, or whenever they want to go after unattainable targets or targets, they perceive to be out of their reach normally.

And so they would drink because when they drink, they are transformed. It's like a werewolf. You know, one minute they're human, they drink, they become wolves in their own minds, at least. They become wolves. They become animalistic, bestial, psychopathic narcissists. They can do anything to anyone, at any time, anywhere. They are limitless. They're perfect. They're brilliant. They are omnipotent. They are powerful. They are all knowing. They are saviors. They are messiahs. They are protectors. They are there. They are everywhere.

This is the mindset, the sick, extremely frightening mindset of the covert narcissist when he drinks. This is why some people ask me, I consider covert narcissism by far the most dangerous type of either narcissist or psycho.

Nothing terrifies me more than a covert narcissist.

I have witnessed over 25 years, I have witnessed covert narcissists when they undergo this transformation under the influence of alcohol.

They cheat on their loved ones. Fiancé, girlfriend, wife. They have sex with totally inebriated and intoxicated sexual sex partners.

I'm not saying the sex is not consensual or consensual, but it's a fact. I've seen them when drunk, not giving a damn on professional obligations, on proper conduct, on moral standards. I mean, they give up. They are utterly, utterly out of control. And they have so much pent up rage, so much pent up frustration and aggression and envy that when these are let loose, they're like the hounds of hell. They're like the four horses of the apocalypse. It's nothing more frightening, nothing more intimidating and nothing more repulsive than a drunk covert narcissist.

This suddenly transforms from this non-entity into this extreme psychopathic narcissistic grandiose, a bjak of a non-human and monstrous with no standards, no rules, no empathy, no consideration, no thought for others. After unmitigated recklessness and the ability to damage, hurt and ruin everyone around them.

And I'm saying this in professional settings when they pick up strangers in a bar, you name it, whatever the setting is in a family, whatever the setting is, the covert narcissist plus alcohol is an exceedingly bad idea.

Here's the problem, habituation.

First time transgressions, cheating on your fiance, doing drugs, having sex with intoxicated partner, stealing money from your boss, being late for a very important professional engagement with 10 people waiting for you.

I mean, all these things, acting immorally in other ways, pretending to know things you don't know, all these things under the influence of alcohol, these are when they are first, when the covert narcissist does it for the first time.

It involves emotional preparedness.

Covert narcissist would engage in this kind of behavior when they're bored, when they're frustrated, they possess a low arousal or low boredom threshold, very much like psychopaths.

And so they have this kind of background, preparing a big background substrate and then add to this disinhibition induced by the alcohol, overcoming guilt, overcoming shame, overcoming peer pressure, ignoring the environment and then losing impulse control.

And then there's a cognitive choice.

So first there is boredom, frustration, stress, anxiety, depression, envy. This is the emotional substrate, petri dish within which the covert narcissist is festering and multiplying.

Then there is alcohol, which creates disinhibition and loss of impulse control. And this is a cognitive decision, cognitive choice. I'm going to go for it. I'm going to go get it. Never mind the price. Never mind who I'm going to hurt. I'm just going to do it.

So this is the first time. So you can see that the first time transgression, the first time the covert narcissist uses alcohol to overcome the covert part of his disorder is not easy. It requires multiple steps and it requires synergy and collaboration between various constructs within his personality.

But the second time is different because it had already become a habit.

First of all, the covert narcissist discovered the charms and the magic of alcohol.

He realizes after the first time that alcohol made him a different person.

He did score with that girl. He did end up with someone else's money.

He says to him, "Wow, that's the winning formula. All I have to do is down a few drinks and I'm a different person. I'm a narcissist. I'm a go-getter narcissist. I'm a daredevil psychopath and I'm self efficacious. I can do it. There's a giant inside me waiting to wake up.

Now you understand why I consider these messages by a variety of coaches to be extremely pernicious and dangerous messages.

So the second time the covert narcissist uses alcohol is very different. It had become a habit with practice, moves.

Habituation often leads to addiction. It's a form of compulsion. It's a confluence of physiological and psychological factors that conspire to render the newly formed behavior a pattern of behavior.

It's the thrill of the illicit or the dangerously risky and reckless self destructiveness and masochism go into it.

Affirmation of oneself as bad, unworthy object and on the other hand, in control. Someone who can get things done, someone who everyone is frightened of. So all empowering, omnipotent.

And of course all this goes with the bodily effects. It's a witch's brew.

Covert narcissist under the influence is like he had consumed Macbeth's witch's brew.

There are two types of habits, intensive and extensive. Intensive habits are for example, smoking, binging on food, libation. Intensive habits cater to and satisfy a limited array of needs and cravings, pretty elections and proclivities, pathologies and wishes. They're easier to dispense with because they satisfy a limited set of needs. So these needs can be satisfied otherwise or can be ignored.

But extensive habits like for example, cheating on your spouse or antisocial conduct. These are very difficult to get rid of because they gratify and they reflect the totality of the personality.

It's quirks, it's idiosyncrasies.

When you cheat with someone, it's not only that part, the genitalia, the terrible soul of you. All of you, even in a one night stand, it's all of you.

The serial adulterer brings into play every aspect and dimension of who she is or who he is.

Only a miracle will slow her down. Same goes for the drug addict, the pathological gambler or the alcoholic.

So what I'm saying is that the alcohol satisfies so many needs and reduces so many deficiencies in the covert narcissist that it becomes an extensive habit.

When the covert narcissist drinks, he perceives himself as much more than he is.

And he also perceives his deficiencies, his defects, his deformities, his problems as gone.

He says, wow, alcohol not only makes me a different person, it also heals and cures me of everything that had troubled me before. Everything that pulled me down, everything that kept me hidden.

I'm no longer a collapse narcissist. Alcohol eliminates the collapse. It makes me perfect, makes me brilliant, makes me self-affications. I can do things.

If I want to put my mind to it, plus alcohol, plus alcohol. I have to put my mind to it and then imbibe, drink a little, and then I'm all good. I'm all set. Set to go. I'm going to get there. I'm like a rocket. I'm unstoppable. I'm invincible.

This in itself is intoxicating. You don't need alcohol for this.

Now, if you add alcohol to this, it disinhibits you. So you're free to do these things.

You know what? In many ways, the covert narcissist is right. When the covert narcissist drinks, he becomes a narcissist. And narcissism is largely egosyntonic. In other words, narcissists are proud of who they are. They're happy with who they are. They think they're the next stage in the evolutionary ladder. They think they are much better adapted to life and to reality than normal people.

They hold neurotypicals. They hold normal people, healthy people, in contempt and disdain because they belong to an inferior race. They are like the Neanderthals. All other people are Neanderthals, and the narcissist is the chroma neon. He is the future.

And so the covert narcissist feels even less than the Neanderthals. He feels like a failed Neanderthal.

But then when he drinks, he suddenly belongs to the elite of narcissists. He suddenly joins the fraternity of narcissists. He gets rid of his covert label, and he becomes a member of the fraternity of the elite, the future rulers of the world who can resist this, not the covert narcissist.

The abuse of substances such as alcohol and drugs provides the addict with much more than a fuzzy feeling or a high.

This is why it is nearly impossible to eradicate or to reverse, and recidivism rates out stratospheric, as I mentioned.

The daily consumption of the substance is ritualized, involves special implements. The day is structured around securing the drugs or the alcohol, imbibing, injecting, smoking, sniffing, snorting at regular intervals.

And in this sense, drugs and alcohol are very much like an institutionalized religion. It's an exoskeleton. It prevents the addict from falling apart from this integrate.

The addict wakes up in the morning, and so the drugs and alcohol provide him with goals. The drugs and alcohol render the addict's life comprehensible. They give his life meaning.

He has to get up in the morning. He has to obtain the cash to buy the drugs. He has to obtain bitcoins to purchase illicit goods. He has to, he has things to do. He has a schedule. He has goals. He has targets. He has meaning. His life suddenly makes sense. He has to set up the utensils. He has to interrupt the day, to drink, to get stoned, to repeat the cycle.

And when he drinks, especially when he's a covert narcissist, he feels godlike. He feels divine. He can get any girl. He can do anything. There's nothing he cannot do if he puts his mind to it. It's magical thinking.

My mind is the world. If I think something, it is. If I imagine something, it will happen.

And this is, of course, what all these pernicious, poisonous coaches are teaching you, that all you have to do is imagine something in your mind and it will happen. It will happen. You will attract.

This is the secret. You will attract reality to you. It's a totally, totally sick message.

Also happens to be counterfactual. They are scammers. They're stealing your money.

The interactions with these substances, they are bound to an organizing and hermeneutic principles. They introduce order into existence.

The alcoholic is a very orderly and structured person. The drug addict is even more rigid in his timetables.

And they imbue, as I said, life itself with meaning and direction.

One thing you need to understand about the covert narcissist is because he's collapsed, because he had essentially failed to become a narcissist.

His life is utterly chaotic. It's like his life had imploded or exploded or some plodded. And it's all over the place. It's fragmented. And no shard has anything to do with any other shard.

And he can't put it back together. And even if he tries, the glue is visible and it's not holding under the tiniest stress. It falls apart again.

The same with borderline, but in this sense, covert narcissists and borderline share this low level of organization of personality.

The alcohol helps. Alcohol is the glue. Alcohol helps the covert narcissists put all these pieces together so that they make sense.

And what is the sense? Grandiosity. Who else has this sense of the world?

The narcissist, the classic narcissist.

So when the covert narcissist drinks, he becomes a classic narcissist. He organizes the world around his newfound grandiosity.

Alcoholics and drug addicts congregate also. They get intoxicated or wasted or stoned or high, usually socially, together.

So alcohol also provides the covert narcissist with a social setting, with a social context, with social activity.

It's a form of social, I mean, social drinking is a form of getting integrated into a network or interacting with other people.

Covert narcissists, by definition, are covert because they have what Adler called an inferiority complex. They regard themselves as defective, deficient, inadequate, zeros.

And suddenly when they drink, they're heroes from zero to hero in no time. And they're heroes to others.

Who are these others? Fellow drinkers. They go to a bar, they go to a pub. They pick up three or four or five men and women around them. They all drink together and they know well that they may end up going to bed with one of these men or women.

So there's this added bonus of benefit. There's a future. There's a prospect. There's hope. There's fun. There's fantasy.

Consider alcohol, social drinking and sex. Alcohol encourages its habitués to socialize. It makes them more outgoing and self-confident, as I mentioned, but it does not alter choices.

Rather, alcohol affects goal-seeking behaviors by increasing grandiosity, increasing confidence, eliminating empathy and elevating short-term gratification of impulses, urges and desires over consideration of long-term consequences.

I'm just summarizing what I said before.

Alcohol also enhances the perception of attractiveness of potential mates, as you remember.

So it often results in reckless casual sex.

But can you decide to not have cancer? Can you decide to not have tuberculosis or AIDS or bipolar disorder? Of course not.

Alcoholics make people who drink alcoholics or not alcoholics, problem drinkers, alcohol abusers, that's the official clinical term, they make choices. It's not a disease.

So back to back to social drinking and to the effect alcohol has on perceiving attractiveness in others.

I want to elaborate a bit on this.

Attractiveness is gender-neutral. Of course, depending on the genders involved in the interaction, it may lead to sex, to romance, to bromance or to any other outcome on a spectrum of friendship and collaboration.

But both men and women react with attraction or with repulsion to other men and women.

Attractiveness is a composite of character traits and behaviors.

But to be deemed attractive, these character traits and behaviors have to conform to social and cultural mores, prejudices, preferences, biases.

What would be considered attractive in one civilization or cultural society would be judged off-putting, totally repulsive in another.

Language also plays a role.

Stinginess can also be described as frugality, for example.

Eloquence can be described as verbosity, self-care as vanity, self-confidence as narcissism.

So there are two components here.

One, any interaction has a social dimension or is culture-bound, depends on cultural and social, societal context, but also depends crucially on language.

Context is influential. Peer consensus is crucial.

Women find more attractive men who are always in the company of other women. It's a fact.

The time of day, alcohol consumption, events immediately preceding the encounter, all of them determine attractiveness.

And surprisingly, body shape and good looks are less crucial and far more variable than they are made out to be by evolutionary biologists and by miktows and incels and red pillows and black pillows and other pillows.

Actually, consistently in studies we have demonstrated that body shape and good looks are not important.

In different parts of the world, opposite body shapes, lanky versus fat, for example, attract and criteria of beauty are disparate.

It seems that in determining attractiveness, when I say attractiveness, I want to say not only sexual attractiveness, but social attractiveness, the wish to spend time with that person.

It seems that the mind plays the biggest role. The brain is indeed the largest sex organ and the largest social organ.

Intelligence, resourcefulness, optimism, charisma, attentiveness, empathy, self-assurance, sense of humor, kindness, creativity, generosity, all these are far more creative than possessing the right kind of body.

And so the covert narcissist lacks his serious deficiencies in all these departments, at least in his mind.

It's not always the objective reality, but definitely in his mind, he feels utterly inadequate and deficient.

Alcohol compensates for that, covers up for that, renders him attractive, and again attractive not only sexually, attractive socially, for example, to socialize with other people.

So he renders him attractive, he feels much more self-confidence, much more, but the problem with the covert narcissist is the compensatory wave is not a wave, it's a tsunami.

In other words, because he has very primitive defenses like splitting and so on, he goes from one end of the pendulum, I'm a zero, I'm a nobody, I'm inadequate, I'm a doormat, I'm stupid, I should please people.

But he goes from this end to this end, I'm perfect, I'm brilliant, he goes from total, total beta gamma male, or beta gamma, or dog, I don't know what you want to call it, to the absolute extreme narcissism.

Like from, again, as I said, from zero to hero.

And it is this enormous swing, compensatory swing, that renders the transition, especially when watched from the outside, observed from the outside, rather the transition very creepy. Something very wrong with the covert narcissist when he drinks, something awry, you feel that, you feel that, you know what, had I been a religious person, I would have said demon possession. You feel it is overtaken by another entity.

Of course, it's not a lot of entities, compensatory features in his mind.

If he is trying to compensate by exaggerating, which is essentially what many compensatory narcissists do, but observing it from outside is horrible.

Like a minute before he drinks, he's very modest, self-effacing, self-deprecating, attentive, kind, generous, gentle, you name it, then he has a few drinks, and he's a jerk. He's a jerk, he's a dysempathic, he's vulgar, he's unpleasant, he's sadistic, he's repulsive, he's aggressive, and all this could be within the space of 30 minutes.

And this is like, exactly like switching in multiple personality disorder. Exactly like changing from the host personality or from one personality to another in dissociative identity disorder, like an alter, alternative personality taking over the body.

Indeed, the body language changes. The typical body language of the covert narcissist is containing, is restrictive and constrictive. The covert narcissist has this invisible firewall, invisible moat, he is within a fortress, he is self-contained, he avoids people, he's avoidant, he's shy, he's fragile, vulnerable, he's afraid to be hurt, he's hurt averse, pain averse.

The minute he drinks, he becomes expansive. His body language is aggressive, all out. He touches, he slaps, he hugs, he kisses, he is coercive, he can even sexually assault, given the right circumstances.

So, I would even venture to say that most sexual assaults are perpetrated by covert narcissists under the influence.

What is, when we talk about this, you know, covert narcissism, problem drinking, we need to remind ourselves, what is narcissism?

Covert narcissist has two features, a negativistic, passive-aggressive feature, which is the covert, but he's also a narcissist, don't forget that.

An inverted narcissist is a narcissist, it's a codependent with narcissism.

A covert narcissist is a passive-aggressive with narcissism. These are narcissists.

And pathological narcissism is an addiction, it's an addiction to narcissistic supply, attention, bad and good. Narcissistic supply is a drug, it's a narcissist's drug of choice.

It is therefore not surprising that other addictive and reckless behaviors, alcoholism, alcoholism, drug abuse, pathological gambling, compulsory shopping, reckless driving, you name it, even pathological lying, in case of psychopathic narcissists.

So, all these piggyback, piggyback on the primary addiction, on the primary dependence on narcissistic supply, it's an addictive personality, it's an addictive personality.

We know from practice, in rehab centers, I've been an advisor to two rehab centers, medical advisor to a rehab center in Israel and psychological advisor to a rehab center in the United States, one of the biggest in the world.

And so, we know from experience in rehab centers that if you take an addict and you eliminate his addiction, that's when you take an addict and he's drunk, he's an alcoholic, he's addicted, you eliminate the alcohol addiction, he will find some other addiction. He will become a love addict, a sex addict, or he will do drugs, or he will begin to shop recklessly.

I mean, the addictive personality is a personality in search of addiction.

And so, the narcissist has addictive personality and he found the drug, it's called narcissistic supply.

But if you take away narcissistic supply, many narcissists end up being alcoholics or drug addicts.

The narcissist, like other types of addicts, derives pleasure from these exploits, these addictive exploits. But they also sustain and enhance his grandiose fantasies.

Because when the narcissist abuses substances or drives recklessly or is a walker or a loon, or he feels unique, he feels superior, entitled, chosen, which are exactly the emotions that the covert narcissist misses, the unsatisfied psychological needs of the covert narcissist.

He also wants to feel unique, superior, entitled, chosen. He wants to feel this way at least once, so he drinks.

This kind of feelings and emotions place the narcissist above, above the laws and pressures of the mundane, of the pedestrian, of the day-to-day life, away from details.

Narcissists hate details. They see the big picture. Away from the humiliating and sobering demands of reality, they render the narcissist the center of attention, but also place the narcissist in splendid isolation from the maddening and inferior crowd from the great unwashed, from the chimpanzees.

Such compulsory and wild pursuits provide a psychological exoskeleton. They are substitute to quotidian existence. They afford the narcissist with an agenda, with timetables, goals and with fake achievements.

The narcissist is an adrenaline junkie. He is exactly like the psychopath he is addicted to risk and thrill and novelty. He feels that he is in control, that he is alert, that he is excited, that he is vital when he engages in addictive behaviors. He does not regard these conditions as dependence. God forbid, narcissist depends on nobody and no one and nothing.

Narciss firmly believes that he is in charge of his addiction, that he can quit at will and on short notice.

Narcissist will typically tell you, "I don't need you. I don't need you in my life. I don't need you. I can get whatever you are giving me elsewhere."

He often hears and announces and proclaims and promulgates his ostensible independence.

Covert narcissist does not have this luxury. He cannot do this. He cannot afford to lose people.

He is at the end of his rope. He is out of choices, out of options, out of alternatives.

But when he drinks, he becomes a narcissist and he can delude himself, he can deceive himself into believing that the world is his oyster. He can choose anyone and anything and no one will stand in his way. No one will say no.

If he wants sex, there is no woman who will turn him down. If he wants money, there is no man who will not give it to him. If he wants the job, he will get it.

This is precisely again the message that scammers and con-out-his-coaches sell all around the world, many of them with millions of followers.

The narcissist denies his cravings for fear of losing face.

Because if the narcissist were to admit that he needs something, that he craves something and then not get it, there will be a slap in the face, there will be a challenge to his grandiosity.

Narcissist believes that he is omnipotent. He can do anything. He is all-powerful. He is god-like.

So if he wants something and doesn't get it, that reminds him that he is not. It mortifies him. That is mortification.

So, narcissist prefers to say, "I don't want it. This is cognitive dissonance."

How to resolve cognitive dissonance?

When you want something and cannot have it, you say, "I don't want it. I actually don't want it." "I don't want this guy. He is ugly. I don't want this girl. She is stupid."

So, narcissist spends a big part of his life denying that he needs anyone, that he loves anyone, that he is anyone's friend, that anyone has power over him.

Because if he does, it may end up subverting the flawless, perfect, brilliant, immaculate, omnipotent, omniscient image he projects. It may end up subverting his god-like or divine self-imputed status.

It reminds me of Benedict Spinoza, who was a Jewish philosopher. He suggested that God cannot want anything. It doesn't have a will. It doesn't have volition.

Because if God were to want something, it means that something is outside God. You can't want something that is inside you. You don't want your own liver. You don't want your own heart.

But if you want something, it means it's outside you. And God includes everything. God is everywhere. God is everything.

So, how can he want something? There's nothing outside God.

Very clever guy.

By the way, as an anecdote, my grave, grave, grave, grave, very grave ancestor, a rabbi by the name of Paudo. Paudo is my mother's family name. Excommunicated Spinoza threw him out of the Jewish community. He had to go through a very humiliating ceremony, ritual, in the local synagogue, which was orchestrated and organized by my ancestor.

And so he excommunicated him and threw him to the dogs, basically.

Because of what Spinoza had said about God, it was considered sacrilegious. Luckily, I'm much more open-minded.

So, when caught red-handed, inflegrant, the narcissist underestimates or rationalizes or intellectualizes his addictive and reckless behaviors. He converts them into an integral part of his grandiose and fantastic false self.

If he's caught cheating with a totally drunk woman, he would aggrandize himself. He would say, "I'm irresistible." That's a narcissist.

The covert narcissist, on the other hand, would react with guilt, shame, blame, imitation of remorse, self-legilation.

Because the covert narcissist is a masochist, essentially, the masochist. He hates himself.

The covert narcissist has a nonce, self-loathing, and self-hatred. He regards himself as a failure, as a collapse, as not good enough.

And so, any time he's caught doing something wrong, he is the first to castigate, chastise, and punish himself.

A drug-abusing narcissist may claim to be conducting first-hand research for the benefit of humanity, or that his substance abuse results in enhanced creativity, the productivity. He says, "If I don't consume these drugs, I'm less productive, less creative. And I'm doing this for the benefit of humanity."

The dependence of some narcissists on substances becomes a way of life.

For example, busy corporate executives, race car drivers, professional gamblers, they all, many of them, consume substances.

But substance abusers can decide to stop the consumption of alcohol or drugs, and then they abstain for years at a time.

Like everything else we do in life, eating, sex, binge-watching of TV series, drinking and resorting to illicit drugs affect the body.

But not everything that affects the body is a disease in the strict medical sense.

As I said before, so why are we being misinformed that alcoholism and other addictions are illnesses when they are manifestly nothing of the kind?

Well, there are three reasons, actually.

One, money. Once doctors medicalize a behavior, once they pathologize some behavior, they begin to charge big time for curing this behavior or healing the condition.

So the original edition of the DSM was a hundred pages. Now it's a thousand pages.

The more the better, the more the merrier. The more behaviors the pathologizes, the more behaviors the medicalizes, the more they claim to find new diseases and new disorders, the more money there is from insurance companies.

And the second reason is feel good narcissism.

People can say my egregious, hurtful, traumatizing, misconduct is not my fault. I am sick for me. Little I can do about it.

What a relief.

The third reason is so you very often find covert narcissists who would say, I've been struggling with alcohol since I was a teenager, but now I know that it's an illness, a disease, and so I'm not responsible for it. It's not my fault, everything that I had done, not my fault that I cheated on my loved one, that I had misbehaved professionally, that I, you know, none of this is my fault. I'm sick.

The third reason is the general tendency to pathologize everything.

So covert narcissists use alcohol to change from covert state, from a covert state to an overt state. And from an overt state to a psychopathic state.

Alcohol legitimizes immoral and socially unacceptable misconduct, which often ends up hurting significant others.

And the covert narcissist needs this legitimacy because he lacks the self-confidence and self-esteem, exaggerate self-confidence and self-esteem, that overt narcissists have.

One last comment.

In previous videos, especially the video about the difference between CPTSD and borderline, I have explained that victims of complex post-traumatic stress disorder essentially develop narcissistic and psychopathic traits. They become covert narcissists.

If you go online into forums of empaths, you will see what I mean. They are all covert narcissists. The label, the nonsensical, clinically meaningless label of empath is used for self-aggrandizement.

I'm an empath. Now they have gradations, by the way. Empath, super empath and nova, super nova empath.

Do you believe this? I mean, it's transitioning from the grandiose to the pathetic and the pathetic to the creepy.

So these women are technically indistinguishable, clinically indistinguishable and easily diagnosable as psychopathic narcissists.

Now, unfortunately, most victims of CPTSD have to go through this overlay, through these phases.

Luckily, most of the people who self-diagnose as having CPTSD don't have CPTSD. It's another form of self-aggrandizement.

My abuser was so horrible that I ended up with CPTSD. He's special. My abuser is special. My narcissist is special. So that makes me special. And my story special. I'm going to write a book and make some money.

So it's really a swamp, a cesspool. We need the equivalent of Donald Trump to clean the online narcissism environment.

It's more sick than narcissism. But don't get me started.

Prolonged abuse in an intimate relationship changes some women, some victims. Don't have to be women, of course. Changes some victims and some survivors.

And so profoundly alters their psychology and behavior that they are rendered unrecognizable even to themselves.

Having emerged from the black hole of a dysfunctional liaison, these broken, vulnerable people are transformed into the dark mirror images of their former selves.

For example, having been faithful before, now they become sexually promiscuous. They avoid intimacy. Trust no one. Have developed a secretary in paranoid ideation, addictions, abuse alcohol, abuse drugs, engage in a panoply of reckless behaviors, generally self-destructive. They become covert narcissists.

Why is that?

Someone with a pre-existing mental health condition would internalize the abuser's rejection and the sentence that the abuser pronounces.

What's the abuser's message?

Abuser's message is you're worthless, you're bad, you're a slut, you're stupid, you're crazy, you're repellent, whatever.

And the victim internalizes this, introjects it, accepts it as part of his or her identity.

And the victim begins to behave in ways that conform to her abuser's already internalized voice, to the introject.

Confirm the verdict, the verdict that he had passed. Confirm his observations.

And such congruence is intended to avoid dissonance and inner conflict.

So if the victim were to disagree with the abuser, he would have created conflict and dissonance, which are the things the victim tries to avoid.

Victims try to avoid dissonance and conflict.

The drunk person, during an alcohol-induced state, is fully aware of what he's doing, who he is doing it with, whether what he's doing is right or wrong, and if he is hurting loved ones with his promiscuity, immoral or antisocial or even criminal acts.

And during the entire episode of being under the influence of alcohol, she or he makes multiple choices and decisions based on rational analysis and emotional states.

It's not true that people under the influence are not in control, they are 100% in control.

And that's why, of course, people under the influence of alcohol go to prison. They are held accountable for the misbehavior.

So it's true that alcohol affects orientation, reasoning, moral sense, short-term memory, decision-making, and sometimes long-term memory. It's true.

But these effects are minimal. All these executive functions are intact.

The only thing that is truly affected, irreparably, if you consume a huge amount of alcohol within a very short period of time, is long-term memory.

And as I tell some people who experience this the next morning have zero recall of what had happened during the blackout or the brownout.

And this is precisely why sometimes it's very difficult to tell a drunk person from a merely inebriated person, from a social drinker or from a sober person. They all appear to be fully present, fully cognizant throughout the incident, and they are.

And the motor functions are affected. So you wobble a bit, you swagger, you...

The motoric functions are affected. There's a tendency to repeat the same sentences over and over again, but that's more or less it.

This is the only effect of alcohol.

So it's a magic. It's a charm. It's a spell. It's a magic solution for the covert loss.

The effects of alcohol, where, you know, it doesn't impair him, but when he consumes alcohol, he becomes a legend. He becomes a monster. an overt, like a classic narcissist. When he consumes alcohol, he doesn't care about anything or anyone but himself.

Behavioral inhibitions are down. Empathy towards his nearest and dearest is turned off or redirected to strangers. A sense of invulnerability, invincibility, omnipotence, impunity sets in.

The drunkard experiences attraction or even infatuation with all and sundry.

And the high and the buzz of the dream compensate for any frustration, any depression, stress, anxiety, deficiency, inferiority. It is a heightened sense of well-being, heightened sense of control and aggression.

And so covert narcissist gets addicted not to the alcohol, but to what the alcohol does to him.

Ironically, alcohol being a depressant, all these effects are viciously reversed on sobering up, especially with the covert narcissist.

Once the covert narcissist sobers up, the experiences of the night before are the worst ever.

Like he remembers, he recalls, he's immersed in shame, in guilt, in self-atrocity self-loathing, self-destructiveness.

He tries to repent and make up for what...not because he's a good or moral person, he's not, but because he's terrified.

He's terrified of losing people around him because he has nothing.

He's a collapsed narcissist. He's very few people in his life, very few assets. He's terrified to lose these.

In the covert narcissist's mind that he had become a narcissist is an unacceptable risk because he may alienate people, he may lose money, he may lose his job.

And it's very difficult for him to find replacements and substitutes. He's not like the narcissist, he's not outgoing. He's usually introverted, he's shy.

So he's flabbergasted. He's utterly shocked that he had done it. He wants to kill himself and he swears to himself. He makes vows and pledges and promises, sacred promises, that he will never ever do this again until the next time, of course.

And people, covert narcissists, get that drunk in order to feel better about themselves and about their lives, legitimize their promiscuity in cheating and trash themselves in a bout of self-destruction.

And in the case of the covert narcissist, even these things are major accomplishments.

My name is Sam Vaknin. I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.

Pathological narcissism is an addiction to narcissistic supply, attention, admiration, adulation. This is the narcissist's drug of choice. It actively seeks attention in order to regulate his sense of self-worth.

It is therefore not surprising that other addictive and reckless behaviors such as drug abuse, alcoholism, drug abuse, pathological gambling, compulsory shopping, reckless driving and even compulsive lying, piggyback on this primary dependence on narcissistic supply.

The narcissist, like other types of addicts, derives pleasure from these exploits, but they also sustain and enhance his grandiose fantasies as unique, superior, entitled and chosen.

These addictive behaviors place him above the laws and pressures of the maintainer and away from the humiliating and sobering demands of reality.

They render him the center of attention, but also place him in splendid isolation from the netting and inferior crowd.

Such compulsory and wild pursuits provide a psychological exoskeleton, external skeleton.

These addictive behaviors are a substitute to quotidian existence. They afford the narcissist with an agenda, timetable, goals and faux achievements.

The narcissist, being an adrenaline junkie, feels that he is in control, alert, excited and vital when he does drugs, when he drinks, when he drives recklessly, when he gambles, pathologically and even when he lies.

He does not regard his condition as dependence. The narcissist firmly believes that he is in charge of his addiction, that he can quit at will and on short notice.

The narcissist denies his cravings for fear of losing face and subverting the flawless, perfect, immaculate and omnipotent image that he is trying to project.

When caught red-handed at one of these addictive behaviors, the narcissist underestimates, rationalizes and intellectualizes his addictive and reckless behaviors. He converts them into an integral part of his grandiose and fantastic fourcell.

Thus, for instance, a drug-abusing narcissist may claim to be conducting first-hand research for the benefit of humanity. He may say that his substance abuse results in enhanced creativity and productivity for the benefit of mankind.

The dependence of some narcissist becomes a way of life. Busy corporate executives, race car drivers or professional gamblers may all be narcissists engaging in these behaviors.

The narcissist's addictive behaviors take his mind off his inherent limitations. They divert him from his inevitable failures, from his painful and much-feared rejection, and they serve to bridge what I call the grandiose-ty gap, the abyss between the image that the narcissist projects, his false self, and the injurious truth, his drug reality, his shabby existence.

This gap is very painful for the narcissist, and he uses these compulsive, reckless behaviors, doing drugs, drinking, gambling, recklessly driving, the logical line, uses these behaviors to bridge the gap.

This conduct relieves his anxiety, resorts attention between his unrealistic expectations of life and his inflated self-image, and the incommensurate achievements, his low position and status, his non-recognition, his mediocre intelligence, his non-existent wealth, and his less than impressive physique.

Thus, there is no point in treating the dependence and recklessness of the narcissist without first treating the underlying personality disorder.

The narcissist's addictions serve deeply ingrained emotional needs. They intermesh seamlessly with the pathological structure of the narcissist's disorganized personality with his character thoughts, with his primitive defense mechanisms.

Techniques such as 12 Steps may prove more efficacious in treating the narcissist's grandiose-ty, rigidity, sense of entitlement, exploitativeness, and lack of empathy.

This is because, as opposed to traditional treatment modalities, the emphasis is on tackling the narcissist's psychological makeup, rather than on modifying his behavior.

The narcissist's overwhelming need to feel omnipotent, all-powerful, and superior can be co-opted in the therapeutic process.

Overcoming an addictive behavior can be, truthfully, presented by the therapist as a rare and impressive feat, worthy of the narcissist's unique method.

It can be presented to the narcissist as a challenge. If he is truly omnipotent and all-powerful and superior, can he stop his habits? Can he cease to take drugs? Can he not drink anymore?

It's a challenge, and the narcissist will rise to the challenge, nearly in order to support his fallacious self-image and to restore his self-confidence, self-esteem, and sense of self-worth.

Narcissists fall for these transparent features surprisingly often, but this approach can also backfire, unfortunately.

Should the narcissist relapse, which is almost a certainty, narcissists are recidivists, should he relapse back to his old habits, he will feel ashamed to admit his fallibility, his need for emotional sustenance, and his impotence.

He is likely to avoid treatment altogether then, and convince himself that now, having succeeded once to get rid of his addiction, he is self-sufficient and omniscient.

He needs no one. He can do it all by himself next time.

So, it's a double-edged sword, playing up to the narcissist for self, co-opting it, leveraging it to cure the narcissist of his addictive behaviors, may backfire.

Next time around, the narcissist may be too ashamed to admit reality, and may sort of go into a delusional mode of face and live forever in a fantasy world where he is in control, regardless of his uncontrollable urges and behaviors.

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Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the distinction between narcissistic traits and narcissistic personality disorder, emphasizing that narcissism is a coping strategy that has become more common in today's society. He explains that narcissism can manifest differently in men and women and delves into the warning signs of narcissistic behavior in relationships. Vaknin also explores the concept of shared fantasy and trauma bonding in relationships with narcissists, and the impact of narcissistic abuse on individuals. He also touches on the different subtypes of narcissism and the potential for individuals to undergo a process of self-discovery and authenticity. Ultimately, he suggests that narcissism has no cure and that individuals may need to accept or leave the situation.

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Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the manipulation of narcissists, the prevalence of narcissistic traits in society, and the impact of aggression on children. He emphasizes that the only effective way to deal with a narcissist is to go no contact, as staying in contact can lead to adopting narcissistic behaviors oneself. He notes that narcissism is on a spectrum, with healthy narcissism at one end and narcissistic personality disorder at the other. Vaknin also observes that narcissism and psychopathy are becoming more socially accepted and even encouraged in certain contexts. He mentions that narcissists can recognize each other but not psychopaths, and that psychopaths prey on narcissists. Lastly, he discusses the impact of aggression on children, stating that witnessing or experiencing physical or sexual aggression can lead to destructive or self-destructive behavior, while verbal aggression tends to perpetuate verbal abuse within the family structure.

Doormat Covert Narcissist Turns Primary Psychopath

In this video, Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the covert narcissist and their potential for change. He explains that the covert narcissist can transform into a primary psychopath under stress, and that they experience identity disturbance and difficulty in maintaining relationships. He also touches on the concepts of switching and modification in the context of covert narcissism.

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Sam Vaknin, a diagnosed psychopathic narcissist, explains that narcissism is a desperate attempt to obtain attention to regulate the internal landscape of the narcissist. He describes the signs of narcissism, distinguishes between narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic style, and argues that it is impossible for narcissists to have successful relationships. Narcissism is not treatable because it is the entire personality that is deformed beyond reconstruction in early childhood. Sam Vaknin discusses his journey of self-discovery and how he became an expert on narcissistic personality disorder.

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How Narcissist Falls Apart (Compilation)

The transcript is a compilation of various lectures and discussions by Professor Sam Vaknin, an expert on narcissism. He delves into the behaviors and reactions of narcissists when they are deprived of narcissistic supply, comparing their withdrawal symptoms to those of drug addicts. Vaknin explains that narcissists consume admiration and attention to sustain their self-esteem, and when these are lacking, they experience a state he terms "narcissistic deficiency dysphoria," which can lead to depression, mood swings, and aggressive behavior. He also discusses how narcissists may resort to delusional narratives, antisocial behavior, or paranoid ideation as coping mechanisms. Additionally, Vaknin touches on the concept of "collapsed narcissists" and "collapsed histrionics," who are individuals that have failed to maintain their narcissistic or histrionic facades and have retreated into more covert or self-destructive behaviors. He emphasizes the importance of understanding these dynamics for both therapeutic interventions and personal interactions with individuals exhibiting such traits.

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