When I was growing up, which is a process still ongoing, by the way, we used to say about certain people they have a weak character. These were the misfits, the miscreants, the people who did bad things, who misbehaved, the people who couldn't rely on. They had a weak character.
Now, a weak character hasn't made it yet into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Probably, there's not enough money in it. But I believe it's a catch-all phrase that captures a lot of what's wrong with the mental health of many people.
So today, I'm going to discuss weak people, and especially people pleasers.
My name is Sam Vaknin and believe it or not, I'm a professor of psychology, hard to tell, but I'm also the author of Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited, the Bible of Narcissism.
The first book ever published about narcissistic abuse in 1999, Narcissistic Abuse, is a phrase that I had coined. So I know a bit about it and today we're going to discuss narcissistic abuse in conjunction with weakness of character.
I have a personal confession to make. Yes, yes, another one.
Weak people terrify me. To my mind, weakness of character is indistinguishable from evil.
Weak people act as though or as if they were evil.
Weak people are suggestible, malleable, mutable. They shape-shift all the time. They don't have a core. And so they're highly unstable. They're unreliable. They're untrustworthy. People-pleasing and an inability to say no, even to the most degrading offers and demands, these lead weak people to be reckless.
They engage in the most disgraceful and antisocial acts simply because they cannot countenance or contemplate the alternative of saying no up to here. This is my boundary. This is where I begin and you cease to be.
People-pleasers are also enablers in the worst sense of the word. They aid and abet the self-destructiveness of others again because they can't say no.
Weak people are the core problem of humanity nowadays.
Ironically, in an age of empowerment, where every woman is as strong as every man and every man is self-sufficient because of technology, etc. And in this very age, I think, weakness of character is rampant, but never been worse, never been more widespread.
So gradually these people, weak people, in order to survive their racking guilt and shame and self-loathing, they evolve into narcissists and psychopaths.
Marson was the first to suggest that narcissism is a compensatory mechanism for shame.
These people, weak people, mistake defiance for boundary assertiveness. They are aggressive. They are not self-respecting. They have no dignity.
But to compensate for that, they try to take away the dignity and self-respect of others.
Weak people betray their loved ones. Weak people breach their own fragile and permeable boundaries time and again. And they do all this just in order to fit in, to be liked, or to counter loneliness and boredom, which they find intolerable.
They have a low threshold for both.
Granted, many weak people, many weak folks are mentally ill. They suffer from borderline personality disorder or dependent personality disorder, for example.
But other weak people are not mentally ill. They have just been conditioned by needy and selfish parents to become subservient and self-denying and to lie about it and to hide and to conceal and to manipulate, to become, in other words, Machiavellian.
There's a certain type of person attracted to weak characters. The rescuer, the saviour, the fixer types.
You should watch my video on the Cartman drama triangle.
These rescuers or saviours or fixers, they're attracted to weak mates. They crave the omnipotence that comes with the territory, but also the drama. They desire the ups and downs, the pain of betrayal, the sweet reconciliation or reconciliations after tumultuous fights, the intermittent reinforcement and the trauma bonding.
They are, like Portland lead, substrate and reagent. They're perfect together. They're perfect together, weak people and rescuer or fixer types.
Some intimate partners of the weak mistake the people pleaser for the empathic, kind, loving, loving and altruistic sort.
They say, my partner is not weak and he's not a people pleaser. He's just kind. He's just nice. He's just empathic. He's just altruistic. He's just charitable. He's just highly sensitive.
And yes, of course, the culmination of it all. He is a super galactic Nova empath.
But these are just weak people masquerading as empathic people, pretending to be kind, loving and altruistic. Whatever they do, they do because they don't dare to be themselves. And the partners of such people are in for a rude awakening as the weak mate or the weak spouse or the weak girlfriend or the weak boyfriend pivots and cheats on them and then lies and betrays them just in order to gain the approval and the continued presence of others who are supposedly far less significant.
So the people pleaser and the weak personality, there's no waiting. There's no wait. There are no waits like everyone is interchangeable. Everyone is the same. A boyfriend, a boyfriend and a casual stranger. They're the same.
To please the casual stranger, the girlfriend, the weak girlfriend will not hesitate to betray her boyfriend and to cheat on him, to cheat, to fit in. The weak character boyfriend will not hesitate to push his girlfriend to have group sex, for example. They would sacrifice anything and anyone and everything and everyone and everyone just to feel accepted, loved, liked, in, cool.
Many weak people also provoke abuse. They behave in ways which they know are going to lead to maltreatment. They push buttons. This is called projective identification. They provoke the abuse and the abuse in this case is reactive and not justifying abuse. Nothing ever justifies abuse, but still we are all human and weak people tend to bring on abuse in copious quantities.
They also strain compulsively, extramarital affairs, compulsive cheating. They prevaricate. They lie. They confabulate habitually. They abuse substances. They engage in extreme, extreme sexual self-trudging. You won't believe some of the things are hurt and they act recklessly and all these are forms of self-harming.
The weak personality is ego dystonic. The weak person hates himself. The weak character loathes herself, the self-loathing, self-hatred.
There's a desire for punishment on the one hand and to prove to oneself that one is really an unworthy or bad object. The weak character grew in an environment where he or she were told that they're bad, they're unworthy. If they don't perform, they don't deserve love.
So they seek to affirm, to confirm this verdict, this sentence by parental figures. They seek to be the bad objects, the unworthy objects that they were told they are. They seek to behave in ways which inflict on them the pain and punishment that they deserve for being bad and unworthy.
And all these behaviors, compulsive cheating, provoking abuse, habitual lying, substance abuse, extreme sexual self-trudging, reckless acts, all these are forms of self-harming the exact equivalent of cutting or self-mutilation in borderline personality disorder.
Weak personality, here is Mimi. She's been hanging out for months with other monks but she relented and she apologized and she shed tears and now I find her hot. Very hot. Mimi is the quintessential weak person and I'm of course a rescuer, saviour and fixer type. If Mimi ever breaks, I'll fix her with my superglue. Don't ask.
Okay, some high-functioning patients compartmentalize their mental illness.
Some of these weak personalities appear to be strong, agentic and empowered. They appear to be autonomous and independent. They appear to be dominant. So an accomplished professional by day prostitutesherself intoxicated by night. A beloved medical doctor turns pedophile after working hours. A respected politician burgles homes by moonlight or home-trails by the way.
So these are weak personalities masquerading. Masquerading is strong personalities by emphasizing their professional lives but in their private lives they are good for nothing.
Their mental illness, the mental illness of such people, functions like a pressure valve, a dysregulated and unbounded release of anxiety, depression, antisocial impulses and other derangements.
What should you do with weak people? What should you do with mentally ill because all mentally ill people are weak of course.
Forgive these people. Do not rage. Do not rage. Do not be angry. There's nothing to be angry at. Do not mourn what could it be because nothing could it be. Don't let their accomplishments and standing in society mislead you. There's nobody home. There's nobody to be angry at. There's nobody to negotiate with. There's nobody to compromise with. There's nobody to talk to. They know not what they are doing. These people are spiraling out of control and they're threatening to take you with them.
Do not try to make sense of the choices and actions of such poor miscreants and misfits for there is none. It's all nonsense. Just move on with your life. Forget these people.
Remember, you are under no obligation to sacrifice yourself. I repeat, you are under no obligation to sacrifice yourself. There is no duty to love the mentally ill and the weak, especially if they cheat on you or lie to you or place you in impossible situations. There's no obligation to love them and there's no duty to sacrifice yourself.
Your remote sympathy and pity are sufficient offerings. Believe me, if you can, go no contact. Safeguard your life. Safeguard your life. Protect your sanity. Stay away. Remove such people from your life post-haste, regardless of how agonizing and heartbreaking such a breakup may be to you. No contact. Do not be a rescuer. Do not be a savior. Do not be a fixer, because if you do, you will end up being in need of rescuing, saving and fixing. You will have become just the latest victim of these people.
These people victimize not because they are malicious. They victimize because they're helpless, because they are weak, and because weakness is ultimately indistinguishable from evil.