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What Narcissist Attributes to YOU

Uploaded 6/6/2023, approx. 40 minute read

Okay, Shvat Batim and Shvat Batot. Look it up. Even Hebrew speakers may have trouble with these ones. And today we are going to discuss what does the Narcissist attribute to you in his mind? What are your attributes in the Narcissist's mind? We are going to make use of a family of theories known as attribution theories. And a proper attribution. My name is Sam Bakhnin. I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited. I'm also a former visiting professor of psychology in Southern Federal University. I was Stovendón, a Russian Federation and a long time member of the Faculty of CEOPS, Commonwealth for International Advanced Professional Studies in Cambridge, United Kingdom, Toronto, Canada and Lagos, where else? Nigeria. Let's delve right in after this lengthy and utterly boring introduction. Okay, Shoshanim, attribution theory.

Attribution theory is a proposition.

Like every other theory, it puts together disparate or ostensibly disparate phenomena.

It is synoptic. It's a theoretical proposition about the processes by which people ascribe motives to their own and to other people's behaviours.

In other words, we ask people, "Why did you do that?" We ask people, "Why did he do that?" We ask people, "Why did she do that?"

And then they list the possible motivations and motives of people.

And this is attribution theory.

Attribution theory also deals with the question whether these motives are internal and personal or external and circumstantial.

Internal and personal motives, sort of an internal engine that drives the behaviours of individuals. This is known as dispositional attribution.

But some people behave the way they do in reaction to external circumstances. And this is known as situational attribution.

A short recap.

Attribution theory deals with the following questions.

Number one, what were your motives? Why did you behave the way you did? Why do you behave the way you do?

Question number two, why do others behave the way they do?

Question number three, these motives, your motives, other people's motives, are they internal? Are they personal? Are they, in other words, dispositional?

They dispose you to behave in a certain way? Or are they external, environmental, circumstantial and situational?

These are the questions.

Now, let's elaborate a bit on dispositional attribution and situational attribution and then apply these to narcissism.

Dispositional attribution, it's when you ascribe to, you ascribe your own actions or you ascribe someone else's actions or even an event to internal or psychological causes specific to you or to the person concerned.

So dispositional attribution is the ascription of one's own or another's actions or an event or an outcome to internal or psychological causes specific to you or to the person you are ascribing them to.

In other words, the question is, why did you behave the way you did? Why do you behave the way you do? Why do you make the choices that you make? Why do you select for certain outcomes?

And the answer is because of psychological reasons, because of internal causes.

And similarly, so you ascribe to yourself psychological internal reasons and causes.

Similarly, you can ask this about another person.

Why did he behave the way he did? Why did he make the choices and selections that he has made?

And again, you can say because that's the way he is. That's his psychology. These are his internal dynamics. These are his traits, his moods, his attitudes, his decisions and judgments and abilities and effort. They're all derivative. They emanate from his internal composition.

And similarly, everything I do, my traits, my moods, my attitudes, my decisions, my judgments, my abilities, my effort, they're all part and parcel of who I am. My essence. It is an essentialist explanation of motivation.

It's also known as internal attribution or personal attribution.

Okay, this is dispositional attribution.

What about situational attribution?

It is when you ascribe your behavior or someone else's behavior or any event or an outcome, when you ascribe these to causes or reasons which are outside yourself or outside the person concerned.

For example, when you ascribe them to luck, why did he behave the way he did? Or why did this happen to him? He was unlucky.

Or to pressure from other people. Why did you behave the way you did? Why did you make this choice?

Because of peer pressure or because my boss told me or because I had no other choice. There was no other possibility or because of external circumstances.

So when we attribute motives, motivation to the outside environment, other people, luck, the universe, God, when we attribute our own actions, decisions, choices, behaviors to the outside, to external forces acting upon us, this is situational attribution, also known as environmental attribution or external attribution.

And of course, dispositional attribution is intimately linked to an internal locus of control and auto plastic defenses.

In other words, someone with a dispositional attribution attitude believes that he or she is in control of their lives and also tend to blame themselves or to assume responsibility for mistakes, defeats, failures, losses.

Someone with a situational attribution has an external locus of control.

He or she believes that others are responsible for any mishap or failure or defeat or miscalculation or misjudgment or whatever. It's never your fault, someone else's fault.

And this is known as alloplastic defense.


Okay, that's the theoretical background.

Now let's apply what we've just learned to the narcissist.

You remember that the narcissist confuses external objects with internal objects.

In other words, he never sees other people as separate from him because he himself has never separated from mummy at age two. He didn't experience, he didn't go through separation, individuation, so he cannot perceive the separateness of other people.

As far as a narcissist is concerned, other people are extensions of himself. They're just internal objects in an internal space. They're just introjects, disembodied voices, if you wish, or mental representations of other people.

But as far as a narcissist is concerned, everything is internal. There's nobody out there. There's nobody in there, but there's nobody out there as well.

So this is the first fact about narcissists.


The second fact is grandiosity.

Now grandiosity is a cognitive distortion. It's a falsification of reality and a filtering out of information data in order to buttress, uphold and support an inflated, fantastic self-image.

So number one, the narcissist cannot tell the difference between external object and internal object. Everything is happening here. Everything is inside his mind.

And number two, his reality testing is impaired, is not very good at perceiving reality as it is. He falsifies it and reframes reality to support a totally fantastic, imaginary fictitious, inflated sense of self, also known as the false self.

And this is grandiosity.

So if you put the two together, the narcissist is constitutionally incapable of situational attribution. He cannot accept the separate existence of other people.


So how can he attribute anything to other people, to external objects?

The narcissist is capable only of dispositional attribution with regards to the positive aspects of himself.

Let me try to explain this.

The narcissist actually maintains two types of attribution.

One type of attribution is dispositional attribution.

And the other type of attribution is what I call the null attribution, which is very similar to situational attribution, but not exactly.

So bear with me.

Like everything else with narcissism, with pathological narcissism, the distortions, the convolutions, the contortions are mind-boggling, literally mind-boggling.

So you need to be on your toes at all times. Nothing is simple with a narcissist.

Unhealthy people sometimes are dispositional, sometimes are situational.

Unhealthy people are either dispositional or situational.

The narcissist is incapable of situational attribution when he is positive about himself and he is incapable of dispositional attribution when he is negative about himself.

And I will try to explain what I mean.

When the narcissist deals, contemplates, considers, revises, analyzes, thinks about the positive aspects of himself, his perfection, his brilliance, his drop-dead gorgeousness, his divine-like features, his omnipotence, all powerful, his omniscience and so on.

When he deals with positive aspects of himself, in other words, when he is being grandiose and hyper-reflexive, look it up, grandiosity and hyper-reflexivity.

I won't go into it right now.

When the narcissist deals with positive aspects of himself, he is only dispositional.

He cannot be situational.

So when he has to explain to himself or to others why he is such a unique, amazing, unprecedented, perfect specimen, he would attribute everything to himself.

He would say, "This is all because of me.

I am accomplished because I'm a genius.

I am irresistible because I am drop-dead gorgeous.

So it's all about me.

He would attribute everything to his traits, to his endowments, to his capabilities, to his skills, to his training, to his personal history, to his contacts.

So everything will revolve around him when it's positive.

When he has to explain the positive aspects of his life, his accomplishments, his self-efficacy, it's all because of who he is.

It's an essentialist explanation.

Everything good that's happening to me, everything good that I generate is because I am a perfect God.

I am a perfect divinity.

That's why all these positive things, that's whence they come.

This involves two cognitive distortions, grandiosity and hyper-reflexivity.

I dealt with them in other videos, so I won't go into it right now.


But what happens when you talk to a narcissist, when you ask a narcissist about the negative aspects of his personality, of his misconduct, of his wrong choices, of his failing selections?

What happens when the narcissist is confronted with incontrovertible evidence of his own imperfection?

At that moment, the narcissist flips from dispositional attribution to situational attribution.

When you talk to the narcissist about the negative aspects of himself and of his life, his biography, people around him, at that moment the narcissist becomes incapable of dispositional attribution, incapable only of situational attribution.

This is at the core of alloplastic defenses.

In other words, when you ask the narcissist about something negative, connected to him, he would blame other people.

He would say, "It's because of the world.

It's because of people out there.

It's because I'm being envied.

It's because the world is wrongly structured.

It's because there's no justice, because there's discrimination, because the state is after me if he's a paranoid.

When you talk to him about positive things, it's all his doing.

Everything positive that happens to him, everything positive that he is, everything positive that he's accomplished, it's because of who he is, a perfect God-like being.

Everything bad that's happening to him, every failure, every loss, every mistake, every defeat, all negative things, being hated, being prosecuted or persecuted, everything that's happening to him has nothing to do with him.

It's because of the outside.

It's because of other people.

It's because of misunderstanding.

It's because of limitations of society or communities or collectives or you name it.

It's nothing to do with him.

When you talk to the narcissist, when you ask a narcissist, when you interrogate a narcissist about the positive aspects of himself and of his life, he is incapable of situational attribution, environmental attribution.

He will attribute everything to himself, to his advantages, to his skills, to his talent, to his amazing personality.

Everything comes from him.

Everything positive comes from him.

This is known as disposition of attribution.

But when you talk to him about negative things, then it's never his fault. It has nothing to do with him and who he is and how he's structured and his composition. Or his psychology. Nothing to do with him.

And that's, of course, situational attribution.

Narcissists are the only creatures, if you wish, entities who are rigidly either situational or dispositional, depending on the input.

All people in the world, everyone in the world, every human being is capable of both dispositional and situational attribution.

But only the narcissist is rigid, inflexible. He reacts either or with one type of attribution or another.

The transition from one to the other doesn't come from the inside. It comes from the outside. He's triggered.

And in this sense, the narcissist is a binary machine.

This is when you talk to the narcissist about himself.

Now, what happens when you ask the narcissist about the alleged or imputed motivations of other people?

When you ask the narcissist, why did she do this to you? Or why did he behave this way with you? When you ask the narcissist to attribute motives to other people, what happens then?

He's dumbfounded. He's dumbfounded.

The narcissist is incapable of any kind of attribution with regards to other people's actions, choices, decisions, and behaviors. Period.

As far as the narcissist is concerned, it's an unsolvable enigma.

Now, why?

Because the narcissist does not recognize the separate existence of external objects.

When you ask the narcissist, why did she behave this way?

He has to resort to the mental representation of his intimate partner in his mind. Why did your intimate partner cheat on you?

The narcissist is incapable of conceptualizing his intimate partner as a separate person, as a separate object with their own needs and fears and pain and emotions. He's incapable.

What the narcissist would do if he were to be asked why did your intimate partner cheat on you? What he would do?

He would resort to his intimate partner's introject to the internal object that represents her in his mind, and he would interrogate that internal object.

But because it's an internal object, it's not possible to attribute to it anything.

So the narcissist is incapable of any kind of attribution with regards to other people because there are no other people in existence. Other people don't exist. There are no external objects.

And this inability to attribute motives to other people is especially evident in the shared fantasy.

The shared fantasy never happens in a healthy relationship, ever.

A healthy relationship does not comprise any element of fantasy. Fantasy is a defense mechanism. And when it is applied to relationships, it's always pathological.

Shared fantasy occurs only in pathological relationships.

In the shared fantasy, there is a problem of attribution because the narcissist is unable to perceive his intimate partner as a separate external object. He is unable to attribute to her motives and motivations. He cannot tell whether her behavioral choices are driven by who she is, by her internal composition or whether her conduct is driven by external environmental cues and circumstances, for example, his abuse.

Narcissists cannot tell why other people behave the way they do.

And in this sense, narcissism is very close to severe extreme cases of autism spectrum disorder, inability to read cues.

But the equipathology, the reason for the autistic person's inability to read other people is probably neurological.

While the reason for the narcissist's inability to read other people is compounded.

The fantasy defense, the grandiosity and the confounding and confusing of external and internal objects because no other because other people don't exist separately from the narcissist.

There are mere extensions of him. The mere internal objects in his mind.

Of course, he cannot attribute to them any motivation. They are inert objects. They're playthings. They're not people.

Harold Kelly identified three general principles of attribution.

Number one, the covariation principle states that for a factor to be considered as a cause of behavior for any factor, for any reason, for any cause to be considered as a reason or a cause for behavior, it must be present when the behavior occurs normally and not present when the behavior does not occur.

Now, this sounds like gibberish, like sure, like duh, you know, of course we know.

But listen well, this is a cumulative condition.

The factor that serves as a cause or a reason for the behavior has to fulfill two conditions. It has to be present when the behavior occurs and not present when the behavior does not occur.

And this again presents a problem with narcissism.

The covariation principle is problematic when it comes to narcissism because the narcissist is only present, is always present, is always present and is present everywhere because he interacts only with internal objects in his mind and he is always present in his mind.

And so as far as the narcissist is concerned, he is the cause of both the behavior when it occurs and the absence of the behavior when it does not occur.

I want you to listen to this because this is seriously f'd, you know.

As far as the narcissist is concerned, all of humanity, or at least all people he has met and definitely all significant others, people who matter to the narcissist, intimate partners, business partners, friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, people he is in constant interaction with. As far as the narcissist is concerned, all these people don't exist out there. They exist in his mind and only in his mind.

I repeat, only in his mind.

That's why Kernberg thought that narcissism is not very far from psychosis and he was right.

So because these people exist only in the narcissist's mind, when they behave in a certain way, the narcissist is the only cause for this behavior. And when they don't behave in a certain way, he is also the cause of this lack or absence of behavior.

So the narcissist violates the covariation principle.

The narcissist is always the cause, the reason, the driving force, even when the behavior does not occur.

As far as the narcissist is concerned, for a behavior to not happen, for a behavior to not manifest, it's an active thing. It's a choice to not behave.

So the narcissist says to himself, she, my intimate partner, behaved in a certain way because I made her do it. I was the cause.

Or he says to himself, my intimate partner chose to not behave in a certain way. And again, I am the cause of this choice. Whatever she does, whatever she doesn't do, I am the cause.

The ancients called it the prima causa and the causa mauvets, the moving cause and the first cause. God was also known as God.

Okay.

But this creates a dialectic, creates a problem because if you are the cause of someone's behavior and if you are the cause of someone's choice to not behave in a certain way, then what is the decision making algorithm? How is it determined whether this internal object will behave this way or that way?

Even if the narcissist is the sole and only and prime cause in the entire universe, how does the narcissist decide? How does the narcissist make something happen? How does he cause the behavior and how does he cause the non behavior?

And what is the decision making algorithm? What tells him to choose to make the internal object behave in a certain way or to make the internal object not behave in that way?

Where is the inflection point?

It's a dialectic and it is resolved by radically transforming in the narcissist's mind, radically transforming the traits and identity of the internal objects or by denying reality, by reframing in action as action.

Allow me to explain.

When the narcissist is faced, let's again continue with the example of an intimate problem.

When the narcissist is faced with a specific behavior of an intimate problem, to explain to himself why he made her behave this way, because he is the cause, he is the reason, he is the only driving force, he is the engine and he is the fuel, that's it. Everything revolves around him. He is the pivot and he is the axis. He is the world.

If she behaves in a certain way, it's because of him.

We call this internal defense.

So if he behaves in a certain way, she behaves in a certain way, it's because of him.

But why did he make her do it? Why did he make her behave in a certain way?

Because of who she is.

Because of the way actually that she has changed. Her traits, her demeanor, her secret or hidden motives, if he's a paranoid, she's changing, she's changed, her identity is changed.

The internal object in the narcissist's mind must undergo a transformation for the narcissist to explain to himself why this internal object had adopted this specific behavior.

So let's say again the unsavory example of cheating.

I'll drink to that.

Imagine that the narcissist's intimate partner cheats on you.

He needs to tell himself, "I made her do it. I made her cheat on me. I pushed her to cheat on me." That's the story he's telling himself and I call it the betrayal fantasy.

There's a video here about the betrayal fantasy.

Okay, so there's a story he's telling himself. I made her do it. I'm the cause. I'm the reason. I drove her to this decision and this choice and finally to this behavior or misbehavior.

But she's idealized in his mind.

How can you reconcile these two?

She's an ideal perfect object, a good object.

And on the other hand, she misbehaved. She cheated on him.

Infidelity doesn't sit well with a good object.

So what is she? A good object or a bad object?

The narcissist's solution, the narcissist's answer is, "I made her do it because she was no longer a good object." Or "I made her do it because she was beginning to become a bad object.

I wanted the other shoe to draw. I wanted to get it over with. I wanted to accelerate the inevitable, ineluctable process of corruption.

So to explain to himself how could he have motivated his intimate partner to cheat on him?

The narcissist needs to revamp, to transform the internal object that represents his intimate partner in his mind. He needs to rewrite the introject. He needs to play with properties of the internal object and in many cases devalue the internal object and render it a per-secretary object.

Okay, this is one solution.

There's another solution.

Another solution is to deny reality, to reframe the action as inaction or to reframe the inaction as action or to reframe the action as actually desirable.

So the narcissist would tell himself, "Yes, she cheated on me, but she did it to please me." Or he would say to himself, "She didn't actually cheat on me. I wasn't cheating." He would reframe the action.

Or he would say, "She hadn't cheated on me for many, many years. So this transgression is out of character. Something happened to her."

So he would reframe the action.

So these are the two solutions.

Either the narcissist transforms the internal object or the narcissist transforms reality in order to resolve the contradiction, the dialectic.

Because if you are the sole reason and cause for people's behaviors, how do you explain behaviors which are injurious to you, mortifying to you, against your interests, betrayal, and so on and so forth.

Why doing this?

Okay.

You remember when we were much younger, we were talking about Harold Kelly's, Harold H. Kelly's three general principles of attribution.

And the first one was the covariation principle.

The second principle of Kelly is the discounting principle, stating that the role of a particular cause in producing a particular effect should be given less weight if other plausible causes are also present.

Yes, again, the only exception to this is the narcissist.

Because according to the narcissist, he is the only cause.

Other causes, plausible or not, other causes are never present.

No other causes are ever present during the narcissist interaction, as long as the narcissist is an interaction with an object which is always invariably internal, never external.

This is the mover and shaker of his internal world and of every internal object in his internal world.

So how could other causes interfere?

There are no other causes.

This is especially true during the idealization phase.

During the idealization phase, the narcissist idealizes the representation of an external object in his mind.

So he idealizes an internal object and then he subsumes it. He consumes this internal object in order to allow the idealized internal object to idealize him, the process of co-idealization.

So during the idealization phase, which follows on the heels of the love bombing phase, during the idealization phase, the narcissist is utterly solipsistic. He is the sole cause of anything and everything that ever happens to his intimate partner who is nothing more than a figment, an avatar in his mind.

When the narcissist withdraws from the object, when he defects the internal object, he takes away his emotional investment, he disinvest emotionally in the internal object and devalues it and discards it much later, a little later.

So when he withdraws from the object, at that point the narcissist ceases to exist as a cause or a reason for the object's behaviors, choices and decisions.

And at that point only other causes operate.

You must wrap your mind around this.

As long as you are idealized by the narcissist, he is the sole cause and reason for anything you do or do not do in his mind.

In his mind, he is the only driving force in your life. Everything you do is about him. Every choice you make is about him. Every decision you take revolves around him.

And if you don't do some things, if you choose to not do some things, it's because of him.

That's when in the idealization phase.

In the withdrawal phase, in the devaluation and discard phase, at that point the narcissist absends himself. He is no longer the cause. He is no longer the cause for anything you do, for anything you say.

Only other people are the cause, only external circumstances are the cause.

So when the narcissist devalues you, he may tell you, your sister has a bad influence on you. Your mother is destroying our marriage. Your colleagues are poisoning you.

In other words, when he is withdrawing from you, when he is devaluing and discarding you, everyone else becomes the cause of your behaviors and of the transformation from idealized to persecutory object.

It's your fault that you become his enemy. It's your fault that you are being devalued. You earned it. You deserved it because you have exited his ambit and remit and sphere and you are now subject to other people's influences.

They are now the exclusive causes.

Narcissist has nothing to do with it. Your corruption is an autonomous process driven by other people.

You are no longer interiorized. It's the only point when the narcissist tries desperately to project your decrepit, destroyed, devalued object, the internal object on you.

He tries to match the two of you, the internal object that represents you and you.

Anyhow, during idealizing, during love bombing and idealization, the narcissist is the only reason for your existence.

And when he ceases to idealize you, he begins to devalue you.

Narcissist has nothing to do with you and you have nothing to do with him.

He has expelled you from his garden of Eden. He has corrupted your idealized introject.

At least try to. He fails and that's why he constantly fails in attempting this.

That's why he hovers you.


But there's another video dedicated to this.

Now, the result of all this dynamic, which is unique to the narcissist, is the triggering of defense mechanisms such as splitting in a general state of paranoia.

Is when the narcissist devalues you, when he attempts to discard you, when he renders you persecretary objects, when he transforms you into a demon, an inner demon or a persecutor, at that point, he develops paranoia.

Because at that point, you are under the influence of other people. Other people are the causes.

He is no longer the reason or the cause.

And so at that point, because other people are out to get him, they're poisoning you against him, they're manipulating you to hurt him, he develops paranoia and he splits.

He becomes all good in you and your collaborators, the collusion you're involved in, conspiracy against him, of course, all bad.

So it's splitting.


Okay, so this was the second principle of Kelly, second attribution principle, known as a discounting principle.

The third attribution principle is known as the augmentation principle.

It states that if someone performs an action, when there are known constraints, costs or risks, then his or her motive for doing so must be stronger than any inhibitory motive.

So according to Kelly, we have two types of influences inside us.

There are motivations and there are inhibitions.

Now inhibitions are also motivations.

Inhibitions are motivations not to not act.

So we have motivations to act and motivations to not act.

What determines whether we act or not?

The balance, the balance of costs, the balance of risks, the balance of consequences, the balance of constraints, the balance of social judgment, sanctions, benefits, rewards, etc.

So there's an intricate cost to benefit ratio analysis going on.

What Kelly says in the augmentation principle, if someone behaves in a way that looks crazy, a way that looks self-defeating, self-destructive even, it's because the motivation to behave this way is stronger than any motivation to not behave this way, than any inhibition, than cluster B personality disorder.

The motives can be self-defeat, self-handicapping, self-harm, self-trashing and self-destruction.

In healthy people, these are inhibitory motives.

Healthy people say, "I am not going to do this because it's going to be self-defeating, because I'm going to be harmed. It's self-harm, it's self-trashing, it's self-destructive, I'm not going to do this."

The cluster B person, person diagnosed with cluster B personality disorder, most notably borderline, narcissism, they say on the very contrary, "I am going to do this because it is selfborderline, narcissism, they say on the very contrary, "I am going to do this because it is self-defeating, self-punitive, self-handicapping, painful, self-harming, self-trashing and self-destructive."

Rational self-love is inhibited.

This is the mirror image of mental health.

Kelly's work and other prominent attribution theories emerged from what we call the naive analysis of action, developed in 1958 by Fritz Heider.

So let's go even deeper and discuss correspondent inference theory.

Correspondent inference theory is a model that describes how people form inferences about other people's stable personality characteristics from observing their behaviors.

So we observe other people's behaviors over a protracted period of time and then we say, "He is stingy."

We derive stable personality characteristics and traits and attribute them to people based on their long-term and consistent behaviors.

So there is a correspondence between behaviors and traits. And this is more likely to be inferred.

The connection between behaviors and traits is much stronger and more likely to be created, to be generated.

If the actor is judged to have acted freely, intentionally, and in a way that is unusual for someone in the situation, and in a way that does not usually bring rewards or social approval.

I'm going to explain this in a minute.

Whether I drink my wine, first things first, I have my priorities.

Life-work separation.

The correspondence inference theory says you are likely to derive conclusions about someone's personality characteristics and traits having observed their behaviors.

If these behaviors appear to be free, intentionally, a bit unusual for someone in this situation. So they are highly unique. They are highly individualistic. They are idiosyncratic.

And the behavior is not aimed at generating rewards or social approval.

In other words, the behavior is about the individual, not about society.

This was proposed in 1965 by US social psychologist Edward Jones and Keith Davis, who I think is still alive.

So observing behavior is how we determine the personalities of other people. We attribute to them a personality.

Personalities, even in clinical settings, even in experimental settings, personalities are derived exclusively from observations of the behaviors of people.

No other way.

In self-reporting. No other way.

That's why psychology is, all of psychology is on very shady ground and can never be a science.

Okay. Don't get me started.


Now, here's a problem again with narcissism and other cluster B personality disorders.

When you observe the behaviors of people with cluster B personality disorders, you get the wrong inferences.

You get the wrong information.

Observing people with cluster B personality disorders in order to determine the structure, composition and dynamics of their personalities is a seriously bad idea.

It's a great way to go about it because people with cluster B personality disorders are compulsive.

They're not free. They don't make free choices. They're compelled to make choices. Their decisions are chaotic, not intentional. They're not intentional because these people have an identity disturbance.

You cannot generate consistent intention based on shifting identity.

So there's chaos, not intentionality. There's compulsion, not free will.

These people always act abnormally.

So this is not a test and they always act in a way that brings social opprobrium, sanctions and worse penalties.

So these tests in the correspondence, correspondent inference theory, the four tests of the correspondent inference theory do not apply, cannot be applied to people with cluster B personality disorders.

I mentioned that a lot of attribution theory came from the work of Fritz Heider in 1958.

Now Fritz Heider sounds like some SS commandant of our concentration camp, but actually was a nice guy. So he came up with something called the naive analysis, naive analysis of action.

It's a process of reasoning or intuiting by which lay persons, not qualified mental health practitioners, but just lay people determine whether another person, an actor caused a certain action.

This is also known as lay psychology or naive psychology.

So they lay people, normal people, just people in the street.

They observe someone's behavior and they decide whether there was causation there, whether the person wanted to do it.

They attribute to the person causes internal or external.

Now naive personality theories emanate from this.

These are ideas that lay people tend to hold about how specific personality traits cluster together within a person. Such so-called theories, which are often held implicitly rather than explicitly, they are also dealt with in attribution theory.

Now naive personality theories, theories propagated and postulated and promulgated by lay people, people who are not trained in psychology. They are also known as implicit personality theories, lay person personality theories.


Let's talk about implicit self theory.

In other words, the theories that you have about people, you don't have training in psychology, you're just lay people.

Just walk about your business, observing people or other people all the time.

Then you come up with the theory about how other people, specific people behave and why the causation and this is known as implicit self theory.

It is a proposal that people hold a self belief that psychological attributes such as personality, emotion, intelligence are either fixed essential qualities that are impossible to control or are more malleable, controllable and able to be developed gradually.

Implicit self theory has made its way into psychology and we have this division in personality psychology between what we call entity theory and incremental theory.

Entity theory, which is a form of implicit self theory, entity theory says personality, emotion, intelligence are fixed, they're essential, they're impossible to change or to control. They're there forever.

I am an adherent of entity theory.

Incremental theory, which is another form of implicit self theory says no, all traits, all qualities are malleable, controllable, transformable, develop gradually and develop throughout the lifespan. This is intimately linked with the idea of neuroplasticity of the brain.

These self beliefs imply certain expectancies which in turn guide behavior.

In particular, beliefs about controllability guide the way that people construe their reality and also influence the motivations of people to engage in self regulation.

And I refer you to the excellent work by US personality psychologist Carol Dweck, D-W-E-C-K. She analyzed cognition, personality, motivation, she did it much better than I can ever hope to do.

Okay, Dweck.

What about narcissists?

Narcissists and even more so psychopaths adhere to a rigid entity theory.

In other words, their self belief is that they can never change. And they can never change because there's no need to change. They're proud of their rigidities. They're proud of their rigidities. They affect their disorders. They're emotionally invested in the disorders. They convert who they are, the fact that they cannot change or will not change. They convert it into an ideology, organizing principle, interpretative principle. It imbues their universe with meaning.

The inability or lack of will to change is a hallmark, a badge of honor.

And so they use this to generate sets of rules and values.

In other words, they have ideology and they superimpose on it what we call axiology and deontology.

They create a whole worldview, Weltanschau, a whole philosophy of their disorder. This is why it's extremely difficult to treat narcissists and psychopaths because they come to you and they say, "I am a superior being. I'm the next stage in evolution."

So they adhere only to entity theory, never to incremental theory. And I am aware that maybe my choice to believe in entity theories of the self is influenced by my diagnosis as well. I'm aware of this, possible handicap. Anyhow, that's the situation. This is how attribution theory does not apply to narcissists, psychopaths, borderlines and histrionics. It doesn't.

And to some extent doesn't apply to paranoia.

So we need a new attribution theory when it comes to narcissists and psychopaths, especially narcissists and especially borderlines because they don't live in reality. They either inhabit their minds exclusively, the narcissists, or they have no mind. They outsource it.

External regulation in borderline.

Attribution theory is meaningless in the absence of a functioning, autonomous, self-owned, authentic mind.

Narcissists and borderlines don't have this.

And so attribution theory fails catastrophically when we try to apply it to these people.

As usual, we need to write a whole new psychology for these pseudo humans, half baked, half made imitation, simulation, I don't know what to call it, lacking empathy and access to positive emotions.

And, you know, they are mirror images of healthy normal humans.

It really begs the question, who are these people?

Thank you. ###

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