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Why Do You Stay, Narcissist Cheats, Both Triangulate?

Uploaded 3/1/2021, approx. 39 minute read

Okay, Bon Bonin, my name is Sam Vaknin, and I am the most handsome professor of psychology on Earth, after Jordan Peterson, of course.

And today we are going to discuss the following.

You are the narcissist's Netflix. He pays a subscription, he controls you with a remote control and he expects you to be available on demand. One could say that you are a pod partner on demand. You are the narcissist's pod.

And the questions we are going to deal with today are two.

Question number one, why are you staying? Why do you remain in the relationship? Why don't you bail out? Why don't you break up? Why don't you just vanish? Why don't you discard him rather than the other way around?

And the second question is, why do you cheat on each other? The narcissist cheats on you and more frequently than you care to admit, you cheat on him.

Why is all this happening? And we're going to come up with some very, very surprising answers based on the latest studies and research and so on and so forth, as is our habit. We're going to discover that people stay in relationships, women more specifically, stay in relationships for very surprising reasons. And we're going to find out that narcissists cheat for reasons which have nothing to do with the reasons healthy people cheat.

Narcissists have very special reasons to cheat. And as usual, these reasons are surrealistic, alien, out of this world and out of your mind.

So let us plunge in, shall we?

Why do some spouses elect to have extramarital affairs, to deceive their partners or otherwise just to remain in a marriage or in a relationship which is devoid of love, devoid of intimacy, and very often, more often than not, devoid of sex, definitely devoid of good sex.

Why stay in such a relationship? Why would any person in his or her right mind make such a self-defeating and demoralizing choice? Why not abandon sheep altogether? Why eat, keep eating the stale and patteried cake and still have it? Why sacrifice your morality, your values, everything, just in order to stay stuck in something which is dragging you down day by day, driving you to literal insanity and to dysfunction?

We have discovered a few very surprising things about the inertia of relationships, why people don't bail out.

One of the most famous discoveries was hidden or sunk costs. Sunk costs is when you throw good money after bad money. You had already invested 20 years in the relationship.

Bailing out sounds like a bad investment strategy. On the contrary, you should redouble your efforts. You should try to restore and fix your marriage. After all, you had put in so much your effort, the best years of your life.

You have common memories, you have common children. There's a lot going on.

And so we have this tendency in human affairs, not only in relationships, to redouble our efforts and our investment, even and especially when they go wrong and awry. And this is called the sunk cost fallacy.

The rational thing to do, of course, is if you made the wrong choice, if you adopted the wrong decision, if you had embarked on the wrong course of action, never mind how much you had invested, you should just put an end to it. You should just stop everything and get out.

But few people do this.

So this was one of the most famous discoveries, the sunk cost fallacy.

But we have discovered some additional things.

Here are the most commonly given reasons in studies and research for why people stay.

Number one, and it will come as no surprise to the vast majority of you, money.

The most recurring and the most crucial reason is guilt. Money and what money affords. The freedom and the security that money provides. Financial security and prosperity trump all other considerations, it seems.

Everyone at heart is a gold digger driven by fear, driven by insecurities, by low self-esteem, by sheer avarice, greed. People sacrifice everything. They sacrifice their individuality, their identity, their morality, their values. They even sacrifice their children's mental or physical health. They sacrifice their own physical and mental health. They sacrifice the ultimate thing. They sacrifice their happiness, their well-being, their inner peace, everything, just to wake up in the morning knowing that you have a roof over your head and food on the table.

Financial security, economic considerations are by far the main reason people stay in highly dysfunctional, problematic, dying, dead relationships. These are empty shelves supported by the Golden Calf.

And so many people have lack self-confidence. They don't have any marketable skills. They have very rudimentary or basic education, high school or less. They are old, too old to enter the workplace, the market. Or they simply have a wrong self-perception, an erroneous self-perception. Very, very low self-esteem and self-confidence can lead to the conclusion that you will never amount to anything, that you will never be good at anything, that you don't have to make money, that you can't survive on your own.

And so this is a self-hostaging situation. You're taking yourself hostage. You're putting yourself in a Stockholm syndrome. You're inserting yourself into a Stockholm syndrome founded on the assumption that whatever you have within the marriage, whatever had survived within this emptiness and desert of a meaningful relationship, whatever the crumbs, the residues, the vestiges, the ruins, archaeological ruins of what used to be, even this is better than any alternative you can come up with or conjure.

And then you stay. You stay because you're afraid. You're terrified of going out there, venturing out there on your own.

And the narcissist invests years and decades in convincing you that you're right. You are no good. You will amount to nothing. You will succeed in nothing. You will not be able to make a living. You will not be able to survive on your own.

And you buy into this crucial pillar of the shared fantasy. I'm the provider, says the narcissist. And without me, you will be destitute and desolate and poor and probably homeless.


The second reason, surprising reason, people give women the emphasis is on women in this case, because women initiate 73% of all divorces. Women break up couples. Women break up marriages.

Men are very content. Men are very happy in marriage because men are served. They prosper within marriages.

It is the woman usually who suffers. And consequently, it is the woman who initiates divorce in the vast majority of cases.

So one of the reasons women stay remain in dark, hopeless relationships which lead nowhere, dead end, cul-de-sac relationships. One of the reasons they stay in such relationships is because they pity. They pity their partner. They're compassionate. They care for the partner. They keep catastrophizing. These women catastrophize. They keep imagining that the partner cannot survive without them. That if they were to leave the partner, he will die of a heart attack or something, stroke. I don't know what. That he is as helpless as a child without them. That he needs them crucially. That in their absence, he is bound to make wrong decisions, deteriorate, degenerate, decompose and just kill himself one way or another.

And they're terrified. They don't want this to happen to him. They still, in some way, even if they don't love the partner anymore, they deeply care about the partner.

The remaining intimacy is sufficient to motivate the woman to be compassionate and caring and affectionate. So pity is a huge element in going on, in keeping on, keeping on. This is especially common in couples where one of the partners is parentified, where one of the partners plays the role of a parent. You're his mother. He's your father.

Divorce then feels like abandoning a helpless, hurting child. And what mother can abandon her child, really?

So this is the second most important reason.


The third most important reason, and you've noticed by now that I didn't mention children, will come to children at the very end.

Children are actually not as important a reason as people think.

Okay.

The next important reason is shared memories and common history. The attachment and the bonding are displaced into a counterfactual, a fantastic, a sentimental memory landscape, memoryscape of nostalgia.

The couple becomes sticky, and the glue that holds the couple together, despite all the pain, despite all the hurt, despite all the betrayals, in the face of the hollowing out of the relationship. The glue that still holds everything together is memory and common history and nostalgia, the pain of letting go of a part of yourself when you let go of him.

There is an element of fusion, an element of merger. You consider him a critical vector and dimension of your identity. And without him, you are less you. You're no longer you without him. And of course you have a shared, shared memory pool, common experiences, common adventures, funny things that had happened, horrible things that you had survived together. And these things bind you. These things hold you together because these things are your personal history. They are who you are.

And without him, you are no more.


Now we come to children.

When the couple has common children, the children's interest in welfare actually come at a very low, it's a very low priority.

The children's interest in welfare, these are really truly, truly decisive parts of the calculus of pros and cons.

Parents lie to themselves. They deceive themselves into believing that their kids are the reason they are not divorcing. The reason they're not breaking up is to maintain the peace of mind or the inner peace or the psychological welfare, the proper developmental path of their children or to send them to college together, pulling up economic resources.

At any rate, when you ask men and women, why do you stay in this clearly defunct liaison in this non-functioning dyad in this non-functioning family, they would often tell you because of the kids.

Once the kids leave home, there's an emptiness, we are likely to break up.

But this is an excuse, of course. It's an excuse.

Parents deceive themselves into believing this because it's socially acceptable and it's egosyntonic.

Many of these reasons are actually forms of grandiosity.

When you say he cannot survive without me, I pity him, he's like my child, I cannot abandon him. That's grandiose, of course. It's grandiosity. He will survive without you. He had survived without you before he had met you. And he will survive without you long after your gone, but you can't admit it. It's too painful and it negates your core grandiosity.

And so this is a grandiose excuse to remain in the relationship.

Similarly, to say, to claim that you're in the relationship because of your children's well-being and welfare, welfare and interest, that's also a grandiose statement. It's actually a self-sacrificial statement.

Look what a moral person I am. Look what a good person I am. Look what a wonderful person I am. Look what a wonderful mother I am. I'm sacrificing my own well-being. I'm sacrificing my own mental and physical health just to sustain and maintain the physical and mental health of my children.

Never mind that this flies in the face of anything and everything we know about the mental health of children in dysfunctional marriages. It's much better if your child's well-being, welfare and interests are in your mind. I mean, if you're mindful to them, you will divorce. If your relationship is cantankerous, acrimonious, if you keep fighting, if there's no agreement, if there's no cooperation, if you hate each other, if you betray each other, if you cheat on each other, the ones who pay the price are your children.

Your children's physical and mental health is adversely affected within a dysfunctional marriage much more than they would be outside such a marriage.

You want to take care of your children, you love your children, you want them to be happy and healthy, you divorce. You divorce. You don't stay in a marriage that's not working for you and of course for your partner.

Because if it's not working for you, it's not working for your partner, it's most definitely not working for your children.

The next reason is cultural and social mores.

In some societies, in some cultures, divorce is still frowned upon. It is stigmatized, shameful and disgraceful to divorce.

In some societies and cultures, divorce carries inordinate costs.

For example, in many societies, the woman loses access to the children, custody is granted to the men. In some societies, mainly Muslim societies. And the woman can lose her share in the community property in other countries.

At any rate, divorce people are much more likely to sink under the poverty line and they find it more difficult to find gainful employment which accords with their qualifications and skills, which is commensurate with their education and so on. Divorce is a harrowing, traumatic event also economically. But it has other attendant costs, social costs, cultural costs and legal costs, which render the whole process very, very fraught and difficult and potentially dangerous.

So people say better stay in the relationship than go through this. This is especially true if you're divorcing someone who is a narcissist or a psychopath or paranoid or a stalker or a vindictive type of person or just an abuser or a vengeful type of person.

I mean, this kind of people drag out the divorce, render it into a traumatic acrimonious process which can never be forgotten. They convert the breakup or they convert the divorce into a nightmare and they pursue this nightmare with relish. They invest in it. It is a work of art. It involves bullying. It involves stalking. It involves threats. It involves withholding. It involves denial of access. It involves underhanded tactics and techniques, criminal acts even.

So some people, people who are married to narcissists and psychopaths, they say, well, better freeze where I am. It's a freeze. It's a freeze response, you know, flight or fight. It's a flight or fight or freeze. This is the freeze part.

So many people are trapped in relationships, especially with narcissists and psychopaths and paranoid, not necessarily because they are afraid for their lives or something, although this also happens, but because they know that what could have been an amicable, an amicable splitting of assets and liabilities and obligations and rights and, you know, what could have been a very friendly parting of ways is bound to become an infernal, an infernal process which will consume them and, and leave nothing out. I mean, destroy. It's all pervasive. It's a process which will destroy every aspect of their lives and people don't want that simply.

Okay. So people stay in relationships for the reasons that I've enumerated, but why, why do they cheat on each other?

So healthy people, normal people basically cheat for two reasons. Either they have unmet needs, they have sexual needs, they have emotional needs, they have basic needs for intimacy, compassion, a habit, a cuddle, that they need to be seen, they need to be attended to, they need attention, they need to, they need a friend and all this is missing in the relationship. So they cheat. They cheat in the sense that they find an alternative. They outsource their needs.

Now, the majority of women cheat for this reason. A small minority of women and a majority of men cheat because they want to experience other bodies, other sex acts for diversity, for variety, because it's fun, because it's on the menu and they don't want to eat the same dish every night. So variety, diversity, thrill seeking, novelty seeking, risk taking, the forbidden fruit, all these play an element in the minority of women who cheat and the majority of men who cheat.

Men are opportunistic. They react to availability, essentially. If a woman is available, they're very likely to cheat. Women are much more programmatic. They are much more, they plan ahead.

When a woman cheats or betrays, it's rarely, very rarely, casual sex or a one night stand. In most cases, actually, she's looking for a long term lover to kind of compliment what she misses at home.

So this is why healthy people cheat.

But narcissists and psychopaths and borderlines and histrionics and paranoid, schizoids, people with personality disorders, they cheat on their spouses, they commit adultery and they have extramarital affairs or liaisons. And they even have casual sex for reasons which reflect internal psychodynamic processes.

In other words, where healthy people typically commit adultery or infidelity when they react to an adverse environment. Healthy people commit, healthy people cheat because the environment they are in is unhappy, unsatisfactory, problematic.

So healthy people cheat in reaction to the environment. Their cheating is reactive in most cases.

Narcissists and people with close to B and other personality disorders, they cheat in response to internal processes. Their cheating is also reactive, but it's not reactive to the environment.

Put differently, you could be the best spouse in the world. The most loving, the most empathic, the most caring, the most compassionate, the most everything, the most beautiful, the most intelligent, the most everything. You could be the ideal, you could be the queen bee.

And yet the narcissist will cheat on you. He will cheat on you because it has nothing to do with you. Cheating in the case of the narcissist is not Q activated, is not the outcome of signaling from the environment, is not an attempt to extricate himself from a situation or from circumstances or from an environment which he dislikes or which doesn't cater to his needs.

No, the narcissist cheats because something happens inside him of which he is usually not fully aware. And these processes are seething, they're fermenting, they are the kind of, it's like lava, it's like magma in a volcano. It's like an earthquake tremor or tremble. It's like an oncoming tsunami wave.

And everything there inside the narcissist is shaking and breaking and unsettling and unbalancing and destabilizing.

And then finally, there is this discharge, which we call in clinical terms, acting out. Finally, there's a discharge of this energy.

And the discharge is, in many cases, via cheating, through cheating.

So the narcissist releases, it's an act of release. It's not an act towards something, it's an act away from something.

While healthy people cheat because they try to obtain some goal. Their cheating is towards something, it's towards someone, it's towards love, it's towards excitement, it's towards compassion. Healthy people cheat because they seek in the outside what they miss at home.

And so it is goal-oriented, it's other-oriented, it's a form of object relations, external object relations.

Narcissists don't cheat directionally, they don't cheat at someone, they cheat something, but they cheat internally. They cheat in order to regulate their internal environment.

We could therefore say that cheating is a form of re-regulation, form of internal regulation because emotions are dysregulated, for example, in borderline. Negative emotions are dysregulated with the narcissist and psychopath. Moods are labile in all these disorders, impulses are uncontrolled, so the narcissist uses cheating to get a hold of himself, to control his internal environment, to re-establish a modicum of order and structure where chaos threatens to prevail.

And so here are the reasons why narcissists cheat.

First of all, and the most important reason is they seek narcissistic supply. This is especially the case with the somatic narcissist.

Somatic narcissists need a serial sexual conquest to regulate their internal environment, their sense of self-worth, their self-esteem.

So the quest for narcissistic supply.

Number two, frustration in boredom.

Psychopaths, to a large degree, narcissists, bottleize on. They have a low boredom threshold. They get bored very easily and they cannot tolerate boredom.

Boredom creates anxiety and they are bored and they're also frustrated very often because of unrealistic expectations or because of mismatch between reality and grandiosity or because of uncontrollable impulses.

But this confluence of boredom and frustration causes them to decompensate and act out. They have this low tolerance thresholds for frustration in boredom, push them inexorably to reduce the frustration and eliminate the boredom and thereby mitigate and ameliorate the resulting anxiety.

Sexual dalliances, sexual affairs short or long, one-night stands or two-year love affair alleviate this nagging and frustrating and wee.

The quest for novelty, diversions, thrills, a vacation from one's own life in a way. This is combined with the journey of self-exploration and discovery that involves filling in the gaps in the narcissist's biography.

The narcissist, for example, the narcissist's childhood was very problematic, very traumatic, very abusive. The narcissist never becomes a normal adolescent, actually never becomes an adolescent, period.

So the narcissist uses cheating as a way of re-experiencing, reviving his missed adolescence.

So narcissists are very likely to look up old flames or to try to emphasize a new aspect of the personality within the transgression, within the act of cheating.


Number three is that the narcissist, as I've said before in several videos, narcissists maintain an island, a focus of stability. In the narcissist's life, there is this oasis of stability, this point and counterpoint of stability.

But all the other dimensions of the narcissist's existence and life are chaotic, unstable, unpredictable. It's like this huge perfect storm swirling around this placid and beautiful island.

And so this twister formation serves many emotional needs, which I had discussed elsewhere.

So the narcissist, for example, can be a model, model employee. He can have a career which he pursues over decades, but then he would need to cheat on his wife. He would need to fritter their savings away. He would need to gamble compulsively. He would need to drive recklessly. He would need to do drugs.

In other words, if there is an island of stability, the narcissist needs to compensate with instability in all other dimensions of his life.

So if the island of stability is the workplace, the career, the intellect, the narcissist would try to introduce instability, chaos, disorder, into the remaining dimensions of his existence, including his marriage.

If he is a great employee, if he's a chief executive officer of a company, if he is stable in his profession, then he would need to cheat on his wife because the stability must always be compensated for with instability. It's a law of nature almost.

Conversely, if the narcissist has an unstable career, if he changes jobs very often, if he has low skills, if he's itinerant, if he never survives in any workplace for more than three months, he is extremely unlikely to cheat on his wife because he has the instability that he needs elsewhere in the workplace.

So he does not need to inject instability into his marriage. His marriage is the island of stability. His marriage is the anchor and the axis and the pivot, and he will not risk it. It will remain stable and he will never cheat.

The next reason is that narcissists feel superior and important, and so they feel entitled to be above the law. They feel they have every right to engage in behaviors that are socially unacceptable, that are frowned upon, and that are considered condemnable.

Narcissists always pretend to be moral people. They always claim they're good people, they're moral people, so they are likely to condemn cheating and condemn infidelity and adultery, especially if they are also ostensibly religious people. So they will be the first to cast the stone. They will be the first to chastise and castigate and criticize someone who had cheated on his wife, for example, but secretly they will engage in the same behavior.

Narcissists reject and vehemently resent all limitations and conditions placed upon them by their partners.

We'll discuss this in a minute.

Narcissists act on their impulses and desires, unencumbered by social conventions and strictures. They are above the law.

The next reason is that marriages, monogamy and childbearing, and child rearing, these are common activities. Average people do these things, common people do these things.

When the narcissist engages in a typical marriage with the typical brood of children in a typical suburb, the narcissist feels robbed of his uniqueness. This lifestyle, these pursuits, denigrating, he feels humiliated, having ended up this way, because everyone and his dog has a family. Everyone has a wife. Everyone has a house in the suburbs.

The narcissist is not everyone. He's unique. He's special. He's unprecedented. He's cosmically significant. What on earth is he doing with a wife and three children and one and a half dogs mowing the lawn? Something is wrong here. He feels that he had been coerced into the relationship, into these roles, roles of a husband, roles of father. He doesn't like that. He feels that these roles reduce him to the lowest of common denominators.

This is narcissistic injury and it leads him to rebel, to reassert his superiority and specialness by maintaining extramarital affairs.

So cheating in this case is an act of defiance. It's what we call in psychology a reactant act. It's an act of reactance. It's an act intended to signal, I am not bound by any rules, by any laws, by any rules, by any regulations. I'm not common. I am not like you. I am special. I'm doing special things. I'm cheating. I'm extricating myself. I'm taking myself out of this world that you had created for me, that you had tricked me into, that you had coerced me into.

I resent this. Narcissist is a control freak and having a relationship implies give and take. It's a train of compromises which a narcissist acutely interprets as a loss of control over his life. If you have to give and take, you're not in control. You're not omnipotent. You're not good like.

And to reassert this omnipotence, this grandiosity, this control, these divine attributes, the narcissist initiates other relationships in which he is the one who is dictating the terms of engagement.

Narcissists are terrified of intimacy. Their behavior is a kind of approach, avoidance, repetition, compulsion.

Adultery is a formidable and excellent tool in the armory, in the arsenal of retarding intimacy. Nothing like adultery and infidelity and cheating to destroy intimacy.

And once intimacy is gone, what remains is a less threatening mode of interaction.

Narcissists actually like relationships where the intimacy is demolished and nothing is eradicated and nothing is left of it because intimacy is suffocating and stifling and imprisoning. Intimacy is shackles. Intimacy is the opposite of freedom.

Narcissists typically claim that they have cheated in order to put the spark back into the relationship with the spouse or primary intimate partner.

Of course, how exactly an act of betrayal and faithlessness can rekindle the embers of a relationship founded initially on trust and sexual and emotional exclusivity, how this miracle is accomplished is left conveniently unspecified.

In the wake of an affair, the narcissist possesses the perfect alibi. If he does try to revive his sex life with his spouse and fails, he can proudly say, I left no stone unturned. I even went as far as cheating on my partner all in order to resurrect our bond.

If he doesn't try to reanimate his sex life with his spouse, he turns it around and says, this is proof that the relationship was doomed to start with. And what I did, therefore, was not cheating. It was actually forced. I was actually forced to seek sexual and emotional alternatives by the dead weight of this relationship.

And so this is the narcissist's way of looking at, of regarding, let's say, cheating.

But there are gradations of cheating. And when I say narcissist, I want you to be clear.

Many, many victims of narcissistic abuse identify the narcissism of their partner, but they fail to identify their own narcissism and their own contribution.

The more you spend time with the narcissist, the more narcissistic and psychopathic you are.

And some, some of the victims started off as narcissists. They teamed up with the narcissist because they were, for example, covert narcissist or inverted narcissist.

So there's a lot of narcissism to go around. It's not limited to one of our partners.

And when I talk about cheating, I'm referring to both parties because the most typical case is actually when both partners cheat on each other successively or simultaneously.

Much more common is triangulation.

There are two types of triangulation. Triangulation to remind you is using a third party to manage the emotional intimacy and transactional aspects of a relationship. And no, I, I've heard the, I want to be coach. I want to be narcissism expert stating the triangulation is secret. That's just about the most stupid statement I've ever heard. Triangulation cannot be secret. The aim of triangulation is to get a rise out of the partner. Triangulation is always ostentatious and conspicuous and evident in public. To triangulate means to use another party, to use a third party, to provoke your partner, to make him do something or prevent him from doing something or get an emotional rise out of him. So how can it be secret? These coaches and experts will be the death of me. Okay. So there are two types of triangulation. Breakup triangulation involves overt and ostentatious cheating with a third party in conjunction with other egregious misbehavior.

The aim of breakup triangulation is to irrevocably break up with an existing partner.

Why triangulate? Why not simply terminate?

There are many reasons. Some of them I've mentioned before, revenge, rage, community property, inability to let go among co-dependence, for example, and border lines, restoring the cheaters self-esteem within the relationship, feeling desirable and alive again, obtaining succor and a zaat's fake intimacy, or uncertainty about one's true wishes.

You cheat because it's not clear to you what you really want to do, how you want to proceed, whether you want the relationship to survive or not.

But usually it is simply the desire to cast your mate, your partner, as the villain. The villain who ended it all because he is insanely jealous and not magnanimous or empathic enough to forgive you and to understand your transgressions.

So this is breakup triangulation.

Restorative triangulation, triangulation that is intended to restore, has the exact opposite goal, to revive the relationship by provoking an emotional response from the jilted partner.

Such triangulation involves the mere favorable mention of another person, hence it's possible misconduct or compromising circumstances, or at the maximum aggressive flirting and non-penetrative sex acts such as kissing or petting, making out, hugging, you know, this kind of thing.

Trangulation, everyone knows, is a lost resort and it's a risky strategy. It often escalates counter-productively into sexual assault by the recruited third party. It also results in an extreme reaction by the offended partner who chooses to discard sometimes an unfaithful, flirtatious, disrespectful, seductive, narcissistic, histrionic and dysempathic counterparty.

So it's a Russian roulette, you are, you are gambling with everything when you triangulate.

Many partners perceive triangulation as the exact equivalent of cheating, as a form of cheating.

Triangulation, using a third party to provoke jealousy in your partner, to garner attention from your partner, to punish your intimate partner, triangulation sometimes goes awry, ends badly. The third party can sexually assault you or your targeted intimate partner can simply walk away from the whole manipulative scene.

Most triangulators are impulsive and defiant and these are psychopathic traits. Most triangulators externalize their own aggression and dysregulated negative emotions, which often overwhelm them.

The thinking of triangulators is short-term. Their empathy is gone and they're often shocked by the consequences of their own misbehavior, being raped by the nice guy or a breakup with a spouse or boyfriend or girlfriend.

Things especially cascade and escalate out of control if all the parties involved are immature and narcissistic, if all of them are callous and exploitative and aggressive or even violent.

What starts as a mere flirtation ends up being a deleterious power play to the point of no return for everyone involved, beware when it comes to sexual assault.

Also there are no safe men or safe women, more rarely.

So these are the rudiments of cheating and triangulation and one very important element in all this as you have noticed is defiance and we defy, usually, two classes of things. We defy overt express demands and also implicit demands. We defy demands and we defy expectations.

Now very often innocent, innocuous speech acts are interpreted as demands, even a request can be perceived or misperceived as a demand, even a wish, even a dream, even a fantasy. Even not saying anything and not moving can be interpreted or misinterpreted as a demand.

And this is called referential ideation. This is one form of refer, ideas of reference.

Similarly expectations are usually in the air, they're ambient, regrettably. Very few people communicate expectations clearly unequivocally and explicitly. So they are in the air and everyone has to guess and use telepathy to gauge the expectations of the partner.

And this leads to numerous misunderstandings and problems.

The narcissist, psychopaths, borderlines, paranoid histrionics etc, react very badly to demands, real or misperceived, true or imaginary, and they react even worse to expectations, because they perceive it as a form of criticism.

And so expectations cause, immediately, narcissistic injury while demands threaten and challenge, freedoms expectations threaten and challenge, what the narcissist sense of self-worth, his grandiosity, so many years ago, a UK child psychologist by the name of Elisabeth Ann Newson came up with an idea.

She was working with autistic children and she came up with a psychological construct which she named pathological demand avoidance.

She thought at the time that pathological demand avoidance is a subtype of autism spectrum disorder.

Pathological demand avoidance is when someone refuses to do what is expected of him, what is asked of him, he even refuses to do what is expected of him and what is required of him, even if he likes it.

So he refuses the core, the core behavior, the core effect is refusal, refusal, like if it is a demand, if it is an expectation, even if I would like actually the outcome, I'm going to refuse and decline it, it's a form of defiance.

And at the beginning peoplesaid well it's like oppositional Defiant Disorder, this is simply Defiant Case. But that's not entirely true because people with pathological demand avoidance are passive aggressive, they're avoidant, they're manipulative.

While people with oppositional Defiant Disorder are extreme violent aggressive, embarrassing, age inappropriate, etc. So oppositional Defiant Disorder is in your face.

Pathological demand avoidance is covert. It's passive aggressive. It's under the radar. It's manipulative subterranean. It's subtle and it's very difficult to spot. To describe and to prove.

So pathological demand avoidance in my opinion is not only typical of people with autism spectrum disorder, I think most narcissists actually engage in pathological demand avoidance. It's an integral part of the bargaining phase in the shared fantasy.

You remember in the shared fantasy when you start to make demands, when you start to develop expectations, when you try to negotiate and haggle and reach compromises, at that point which is the bargaining phase.

The narcissist begins to push you away. He begins to he becomes absent. He withdraws. He becomes avoidant. He becomes cold. He becomes disinterested.

And he pushes you actively away from him. Sometimes away to other men. He pushes you to cheat. Which is what the topic of my previous video about collusive infidelity.

So we're beginning to see how everything meshes in pathological demand avoidance in the bargaining leads to collusive infidelity as a way to get rid of you in effect.

And so the debate started and regrettably the whole thing died out, petered out. I think it's a mistake.

Because newson was onto something. There were other scholars, which said that there's a lot in common between PDA, pathological demand avoidance and some behaviors in psychopaths.


At any rate, in 2014 someone put up a list of proposed criteria for pathological demand avoidance, and I'll read the list to you, number one, passive early history, passive early history in the first year, avoiding ordinary demands, and missing milestones.

Number two, continuing to avoid demands, panic attacks, if demands are escalated, number three, surface sociability, but apparent lack of sense of social identity.

Number four the ability of mood and impulsivity.

Number five comfortable in role play and pretending.

Number six language delay, seemingly the result of passivity. Often caught up quickly later on.

Number seven obsessive behavior.

Number eight neurological signs like awkwardness, similar to autism spectrum disorder.

Pathological demand avoidance can be definitely conceptualized as an anxiety disorder. It's a kind of anxiety reaction, where the cause of the anxiety is real or anticipated demands, actual factual or perceived expectations.

This creates anxiety, anxiety, creates aggression.

And I recommend that you watch my videos on the nexus between narcissism and autism, because I explained there that the autistic child is so different, so unique, in the bad sense, actually, at the beginning.

So shunned, excommunicated by his peers, even by his own parents, that many many autistic children develop pronounced narcissistic defenses. And I think demand avoidance, this extreme reaction, radical reaction to being imposed upon, which is essentially a schizoid feature.

You see how everything comes together, the schizoid element, psychopathic element, narcissistic element, grandiosity. The autistic element.

So this is all interconnected. You know, back to cheating, very often the narcissist will cheat because of pathological demand avoidance. He perceives the more you escalate your demands, the more he thinks that he is letting you down, not meeting your expectations, the more he will try to exit this framework, this relationship with you, because it causes him constant narcissistic injury, and he's terrified of ultimate mortification.

He also anticipates your own betrayal, he anticipates that you will cheat on him, that you will betray him. So he has numerous, very good reasons to break up with you.

This is the sequence, the sequence is that the narcissist is a schizoid. He wants to be left alone to play. He wants you to be there on demand, like netflix. He wants to control you with a remote control as he does with netflix and his television.

And if you suddenly come alive, if you're independent and autonomous, if you require and demand things, if you express your wishes and dreams and expectations, you're bad for him.

You threaten him, you destabilize him. He needs to get away from you because he knows that he's going to let you down. He knows that you're going to get more and more angry, more and more disappointed, up to the point that you will hurt him badly, up to the point of mortification, which is mortification.

It's the thing the narcissist wants to avoid, the most in the world, and it's leading there.

So he cheats, first, pre-emptive abandonment. No one said narcissism is simple or easy.

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