Why Do You Trust Learn To Trust Again! ( Bonus Rant)

Uploaded 9/5/2020, approx. 41 minute read

Okay, dudes and dudettes, kids and cadets, babies and babies.

Today I have a special treat for you. I'm going to spend the first 10 minutes of this video venting big time.

You like to see me vent, don't you?

And then there are three other much less interesting parts.

The first part is, why do you trust narcissists?

I'm going to tell you about bleeding edge, cutting edge research in psychology, as is our habit.

And then the second, the next part, the third part is how to trust safely, how to trust again. And finally, how to distinguish your true friends from your fake ones.

Separately, on my other channel, Vaknin Musings, my name is Vaknin Musings, I'm going to post another video.

Trust in economics, how our entire economic and financial system is built on trust. I used to be economic advisor to quite a few governments and I used to be financial advisor to multinationals. So I had a front row seat observing trust in transactions, transactions between multinational institutions, such as the IMF and the World Bank and governments, and transactions between bankers and their clients and transactions between manufacturers, suppliers, customers, and other principles, other stakeholders, such as shareholders and so on.

So all this in the other video, that other video is uploaded only to my Vaknin Musings channel, because I don't want to bore you and I don't want you to hate me more than you already do.

So as promised, drum roll, Vaknin Venting, VV, malignant egalitarianism, malignant egalitarianism is something I've been complaining about forever.

Everyone, and his dog or his cat, are experts and they are experts at everything and they are experts at everything because they have access to a smartphone. That they have access to a smartphone doesn't mean that they are smart in using the smartphone. It doesn't mean that they even use the smartphone. Even when they do, they do not bother to use it to research. They don't bother to edify themselves and educate themselves, but it's enough that they have a smartphone and it's in their pocket.

And so they have access to Wikipedia and that renders them an encyclopedia.

So I have three examples for you.

The first example, I've received, I don't know how many letters and emails and comments and so on correcting me, informing me that I'm wrong, that the right word in German is a Scheinung. And in the video I said a Scheinung.

Just to remind you, Kant made a distinction between how things appear and how they really are, the thing in itself. And he said the appearance and the thing in itself are not necessarily commensurate.

That's topic for another conversation, although it underlies the issue of trust.

But I use the word Scheinung and everyone was very happy to catch me in a mistake. And like they were beside themselves with joy and jubilation and celebration and cheer that they had succeeded to catch the obnoxious Sam Vaknin in a mistake.

Regrettably, it's their mistake, not mine.

Like other German philosophers, Kant, Immanuel Kant, tweaked familiar words to imbue them with new meaning. This is, for example, what I had done 25 years ago when I borrowed the phrase narcissistic supply and I borrowed the word gaslighting and I imbued them. I infused them with totally new meaning within the context of narcissistic abuse.

Another phrase that I coined. Kant did the same. He actually used the word Scheinung, not a Scheinung. And it was not a typo. He used it on purpose. He used it in 1787 in his book Metaphysische Anfangsgründe der Naturwissenschaft. He used it in 1790 in his book Kritische Breve. And he used it in 1812 in his book Kritik der einen würnschenst.

Good enough for you. Later editors, later publishers, corrected Kant. They modified the original text and they inserted the word Scheinung instead of Scheinung.

It reminds me of a Jewish joke. Not a joke, actually. It's a true event. When Jews started to print books in Yiddish, Yiddish was the colloquial Jewish language.

So when they started to print books in Yiddish, there was a publisher, a Jewish language publisher, who published a one-volume edition of Shakespeare's play. And on the title page he wrote, William Shakespeare adapted, abreached and greatly improved.

So that's what these editors and publishers did to Immanuel Kant.

Immanuel Kant greatly improved, correcting his misuse of the German language.

Actually, he did want to use the word Scheinung.

Why I'm mentioning all this? I'm mentioning all this because malignant egalitarianism is a manifestation of grandiose narcissism. Something happened. Technology empowered us to the point that we had become grandiose.

We think ourselves omniscient. We think ourselves omnipotent. We're capable of anything and everything.

Yes. Why not publish a book? Why not correct Sam Vaknin in German? Why not contest? I mean, I am receiving emails telling me that I don't know that I'm wrong about inverted narcissism, that I'm getting it all wrong.

There's only one minor problem with this. I had invented inverted narcissism. It's a diagnosis that I had come up with. I mean, really, humility is dead. Humility is dead.

And without humility, there's no learning.

Because in order to learn, you must accept that you don't know. There's Socrates. What Socrates had taught us almost 3000 years ago is that we don't know. And often we don't know that we don't know.

The wise man knows that he doesn't know. The wise man learns because he is ignorant.

He wants to overcome his ignorance.

But if you come to the table with a full belief that you know everything, what is there for you to learn?

And this is perhaps the epitome and the crux and the combination and the apex and the reification and the essence of narcissism.

We are living in a narcissistic age. The people who wrote to me didn't ask me, Sam Vaknin, you wrote a shayum. Is this wrong or is there a reason for it?

No, they told me you're wrong. Jesus. I don't know. I cringed.

Example number two.

I don't know how many people wrote to me. We don't lie 90% of the time. I don't care about academic studies. They are wrong. I don't lie 90% of the time.

Well, academic studies don't deal with a single individual. They deal with populations.

And the second thing I always prefer 100% of the time, academic studies over your anecdotal evidence.

And there's an issue here. If you claim not to lie 90% of the time, how do you know? Did you measure? Do you have a kind of a diary or a journal listing all your statements and then comparing them with the truth? How do you know that you don't lie 90% of the time?

Because you feel that you're not lying?

I have a surprise for you. In most cases, people lie and they don't feel that they're lying. They convince themselves via cognitive dissonance, reframing and other mechanisms, other psychological defense mechanisms and psychological strategies.

People convince themselves that they're telling the truth, even when they are blatantly lying.

It reminds me of the Piminidis paradox. Piminidis was a philosopher in the sixth and seventh centuries before Christ, a Greek philosopher. And there's something called the Piminidis paradox or the liar antinomy. If someone comes to you and says, I always lie, there are two things. He's telling the truth, but then the sentence is false. I mean, if I tell you I always lie and I'm telling you the truth, that means I don't always lie.

But then there's the other possibility that I'm lying. But then if I'm lying about the sentence, I always lie. Maybe I'm telling you the truth.

So sentences about lying should be handled with care.

Moreover, not one of the people who wrote to me, and there were well over 70 emails, not one of the people who wrote to me bothered to look at the description of the video where I've listed scholarly academic resources, links to books, links to TED talks, links to articles and academic papers, links to non-academic papers. I've listed sources in the description of the video.

And there's a pinned comment with sources, yet no one bothered to do their homework before they contested my claim.

It's okay to disagree with me. It's okay to disagree with me. It's not okay to disagree with me just because you consider yourself to be an authority, without any commensurate training or research or study or knowledge.

And this is the vast majority of people today. This is narcissism. It's ugliest. You can't tell anyone anything. They know everything better than you. They know everything about your wife better than you. They know everything about your country better than you. They know everything about God and about religion and about history and about art and about culture and about physics and about mathematics and about anatomy and about zoology and about science. There is no topic on earth that people are not an expert on.

So there is a trend of contesting, undermining, deriding, mocking, devaluing expertise. There's a hatred of intellectual authority and even bigger hatred of intellectuals, unless they tell you what you want to hear, of course, that you are great, that you are giants, that you're amazing, that if you only put your mind to it, reality will manifest and all good things will happen to you.

If they tell you what you want to hear, they can take your money because you're brain dead.

But if they don't tell you what you want to hear, then you are equal authority with any medical doctor, with any physicist, with any, I mean, who can teach you anything? You know everything. You know everything because you have the latest smartphone. And on that smartphone, you have the potential to access Wikipedia, which you never do.

Calling a lie a lie is difficult in an age of academic studies, corrupted by political correctness.

When I said that people lie 90% of the time, I included I and others, like Ariely, Dan Ariely, like Ghad Assad and others, other scholars and academics and so on.

But a lie is also when you don't tell the truth, when you omit the truth, when you evade, when you hide. That's also a lie.

So if your dog, Pooch, had just died, and I asked you, how are you? And you're telling me I'm great. You're a liar. It's a lie.

If my wife asks me where I've been, and I tell her that I've been to the supermarket, when actually I've been gambling my head off at the corner establishment, that's a lie. Of course, if I'm having an affair, it's a lie.

We lie all the time about everything. We lie about our mood, our state of mind, our goals, our direction in life, our beliefs, our values.

We try to conform. We try to fit in. We try to rebel. We try to be defined.

I mean, there's so many motivations to lie and very, very few reasons to tell the truth. Telling the truth is counterproductive. It is self-destructive.

I came out. I told you about my mental illness.

Many people tell me that I've been an idiot. Of every 100 experts and coaches online, I bet my right hand and my left hand that 95 are actually narcissists. But none of them is telling you this. None of them is telling you this because it doesn't pay to tell the truth. And they are not telling you that they are not narcissists.

So are they lying? Yes, of course, they're lying. We are told on average 200 lies a day, and we lie to ourselves on average twice a day.

Yes, go online, search these numbers. You'll find them.

In a typical lifetime, men tell 109,000 overt lies. Overt lie is when you know it's Tuesday and you tell someone that it is Wednesday. Counterfactual lies, falsifying facts and reality. This is like the tip of an iceberg. That's like 1% of the lies.

And men tell 109,000 such lies in a lifetime and women tell 65,000 such lies. Yes, shockingly, women lie less than men.

And this is based on a study conducted, unsurprisingly, by a vodka maker, WKD, and it's known as a WKD study.

And I propose political correctness. I've received an email from a German woman chastising me for being politically incorrect when I had mocked the sound of the German language. And I thought to myself, it's a bit rich that a German chastises a Jew for being politically incorrect.

Did you get that? A German wrote to a Jew, criticizing me for being politically incorrect about her language. So, you know, that's how her language sounds to me.

Yes, I know German, of course. You might have noticed by now. But that's how it sounds to me.

And there was a Greek, I received an email from a Greek. Greeks don't like the Germans. And they wrote to me that, ich liberdich means I'm going to dismember you and tell you limb from limb and feed you to my Schweinen. That's how Greeks perceive the sound of German. It sounds convincing, but I still think that ich liberdich simply means I love you in German. Don't ask. Honestly, in Hebrew, it sounds even worse.

A neo-evotach.

Example number three of malignant egalitarianism.

I've received emails informing me that there is good narcissism, that narcissism is healthy.

Well, welcome to the party which started 120 years ago, because Freud was the first to suggest that narcissism is actually healthy.

It's called primary narcissism.

There are two types of narcissism, healthy versus pathological, but there is a corrupt group. Let's reverse. There's a group of corrupt academics, scholars, intellectuals, and they are promoting the agenda of narcissism. They say that narcissism is good. Narcissists are high functioning. Pathological narcissism is needed, efficacious and evolutionary adaptation. Good for our times.

I'm actually reading a book, The Laws of Human Nature, by Brian Green. And the book teaches you how to become not only a narcissist, but a psychopath. And the author breaks about it. He calls himself the modern Machiavelli. And it's a bestseller.

There's a whole movement in academia, because there's money. Where there's money, you will always find corrupt academics, corrupt intellectuals, compromised intellectuals. In and out of academia, they're after money. They're after celebrity. So they cater to whoever pays them.

You want me to call you an empath? I will call you an empath. No such thing, I know, because I happen to be a professor of psychology. But as long as you're paying me, I will call you anything you want. I will call you an empath. Makes you feel good. Makes you feel morally superior. Makes you feel a victim. Makes you feel that you have no responsibility for what has happened to you, because you are an empath, whatever the hell that means. I'll call you an empath. You are a corporate chief executive officer, and you want to believe that your narcissism or psychopathy, which brought you to this position in the first place, are actually a positive adaptation, that you are the next stage in evolution.

I will tell you this. No problem. Just pay my fee, and I will tell you anything you want to hear.

And this is not a new phenomenon.

Unfortunately, Albert Einstein started the whole thing. He was the first celebrity public intellectual.

Einstein couldn't say no to the media. It's rare that he said no to an interview request, or, I mean, people were coming all the way to his island home. I mean, journalists were coming all the way to his island home. He was well known to be a promiscuous interviewee, someone who couldn't say no to an interview request. He even had a program with astrologers. I mean, Albert Einstein, who had deciphered the cosmos, wasted hours talking to astrologers about astrology.

Why? Because it afforded him exposure in the media. He was an addict. He was a prostitute.

So I'm not impressed that there are some academics and intellectuals who say that narcissism is great. I keep referring you to the July 2016 issue of New Scientist, arguably the first or the second most important science journal out there. And in July 2016, they had a story about narcissism, and the cover said, parents teach your children to be narcissists. Narcissism is in vogue, you know.

Lidia van Gelowska, my wife and the editor of Malignant Self-Love: NarcissismRevisited, said the following once, support, emotional, consultative, materialistic is the most important for me. It underpins relationships of any kind with family members, friends, partners, callings.

In my view, everyone needs to be supported and to support another. When any two people support each other with constancy, they develop a relationship of common trust and respect. Then they rely on each other and share their emotions. In my world, this is what I call love.

So van Gelowska connects intimately love with trust. For millions of years, nature embedded in us the notion that the past can teach us a lot about the future. This is very useful for survival. You know, on Wednesday, there was a tiger, he almost ate me.

So next Wednesday, if I see a tiger, I run away. The past helps me to predict the future. It is also mostly true with inanimate objects. The behavior of inanimate object is predicated on their past conditions.

As far as people go, the story is less straightforward. Though it is reasonable to project someone's future behavior from his past contact, this sometimes proves erroneous some of the time. We can't safely, 100% of the time, say about someone, well, that's his behavior pattern. That's the way he had behaved in the past. So it's safe to assume that he will continue to behave like that in the future.

It is mistaken to project someone's behavior into the future and onto other people. Each one of us is unique.

Lessons you have learned about, I don't know, Mike, they don't apply to Nick. Our behaviors are idiosyncratic, they're special to us, they're specific to us.

Actually, psychotherapy amounts to an attempt to disentangle the past from the present and to inculcate in the patient that the past is no more and has no reign over you, unless, of course, the patient blesses it.

Our natural tendency is to trust. It's very important to understand. If we have a choice, we trust.


Because we learn to trust from the first hour, literally, by the way. We trust our parents in order to survive.

Reflexive empathy, mimicking expressions, mother is smiling, I'm smiling as a baby, mimicking expressions, facial expressions, it's called reflexive empathy. It starts within six hours of birth. In the very first hour after a baby is born, she tilts her head to follow her mother. It feels good to really trust. It is also an essential component of love and an important test of love. Love without trust is dependence masquerading as love. We must trust. We must trust. Don't feel bad about yourselves that you had trusted the wrong person. Trust is a biological urge.

Social psychologist Shelley Taylor says that trust accounts for our successes as species.

Paul Zuck, a neuroeconomist, he had demonstrated that people secrete oxytocin, a hormone, the hormone oxytocin, when they trust. When you trust someone, your oxytocin production ramps up and trusting someone enhances the perception of others as more trustworthy.

So there's a virtuous or vicious, depending circle here, you trust, oxytocin goes up, you trust even more. People look much more trustworthy to you.

Just want to understand what is oxytocin?

Oxytocin is the hormone that binds mothers to their babies when they breastfeed. Oxytocin is the hormone that binds you to your sexual partner during the sex and especially when you orgasm. That's why there's no such thing as meaningless sex, total nonsense.

If you squirt oxytocin nasally in someone's nose, they trust you much more.

Most of the time we do trust. It's called presumptive trust. We trust the universe, for example, to behave according to the laws of physics. You don't get up every morning and say, is the sun likely to go up? I really don't know if I can trust the laws of physics.

No one is saying this. And the very few who do say that, they've been hospitalized for decades now.

Soldiers, we trust our soldiers to not go mad, to not shoot at us. That's why PTSD was such a horrifying phenomenon when soldiers returned from Vietnam and started shooting civilians. I mean, that's the thing that brought PTSD post-traumatic stress disorder in war veterans to our attention.

We trust our nearest and dearest to not betray us, although they often do. We trust our institutions to function. We filter out. We repress. We ignore or we challenge information that undermines our trust, that questions it.

And this process is called confirmation bias.

And we all have implicit theories. Implicit theories are stereotypes, beliefs that correlate, that link observable cues with psychological traits.

So if we see someone who is tall, we trust him more, strangely. We trust white people more than we trust black people.

It's also a fact. Unpleasant fact. But not racism. Fact. There's a difference between fact and racism.

We trust women more than we trust men. And we also think that our judgment is better than average. This is known as the Dunning-Kruger effect.

We trust ourselves. We trust ourselves to detect fraud, to detect manipulation. We say to ourselves, it's okay. If someone is trying to pull the wool over my eye, I'm going to notice it. I'm protected.

And we trust others to tell us who to trust. So there are opinion makers and thought leaders. They tell us who to trust. If someone you trust tells you to trust someone, you will trust the third party.

Illusions of personal invulnerability and unrealistic or malignant optimism. They underlie our trust. We somehow feel that nothing bad is ever going to happen to us. And on the very contrary, that many good things are going to happen to us. Even when we are confronted with hard data, someone comes and tells us, you know, your spouse is cheating on you. Your boss is planning to fire you. And your employees are stealing from you. We don't want to hear that. We don't want to hear that. Bad things are not going to happen to us because we are good people. And good things are going to happen to us because we deserve them.

This cosmic justice, this poetic justice, good things come to good people. Good things come to hardworking people.

It's part, an integral part of the protestant work ethic and even the Jewish work ethic and the Chinese work ethic.

And part of the American dream, which had become the global dream via the capitalistic transmission mechanism.

Everyone today has an American dream. Work hard, reality will manifest.

Regrettably, work had been replaced by think, thinking. So it's magical thinking today. You don't have to work. You just have to really, really, really want it.

But it's also part of malignant or unrealistic optimism. If you think hard enough, if you wish to want something hard enough, it's going to happen to you. You're going to get it, manifest. Trust indicators. Trust indicators are easily manipulated. If someone smiles at you, trust him more. Eye contact, touch, casual touch, banter.

Unbelievably, incredibly, if someone tells you he's honest, you trust him much more.

So if I come to you and I say, I'm a very honest person. I like to play with all my cards on the table. Automatically, you trust me more, much more, by the way, substantially more.

So that's why when you go online, there are all these people and they're telling you, we love people. We are so empathic. We want to help you.

Just, you know, pay for the retreat, pay for the book, pay for the counseling, pay for this, pay for that. But we're doing this selflessly just because we want to help people, because we love people. That's enough. That's it.

You trust them. You trust them. We trust what people say about themselves. And we trust what people say about themselves. Hold your breath. A whopping 95% of the time.

And here's another amazing fact from academic research. When we warn people, when we tell people, don't trust this guy, don't trust this girl, this woman. They are frauds, they are cheaters. They're out to get you, they're out to get your money, they're out to manipulate you, they're out to betray you, they're out to stab you in the back.

I mean, don't trust them. It enhances your gullibility.

You trust these people even more.

It seems that people who are forewarned, people who are put on notice, people who are informed of the risks, feel even better at detecting fraud.

They say, ah, now I know everything. So now I'll be careful. I'll be cautious. I look after myself. I look out for myself and everything will be okay.

So if you warn someone against the danger, against the risk, it's counterproductive because they will feel even more immune and they will feel counterfactually even better at detecting the danger.

Nadia Bratier, a cognitive scientist, and Elizabeth Marsh, a cognitive psychologist, they conducted studies together and they discovered that information is judged to be true based on something called a base rate.

To summarize it for you, a base rate simply means we are naturally trustful. We naturally trust.

Statistically, we will trust much more than we will distrust. For every 19 times, one nine times that we will trust, we will distrust only once. Trust is also based, according to their studies, on emotional attachment or feelings. Emotions play a huge part in trust and on consistency. The more you repeat a claim, the more true it's considered to be. The truthfulness of a claim depends on one, one factor only, how often you've heard it, how often it's repeated.

That's the force, that's the power of social media, echo chambers or silos, false silos. Goebbels knew that, the Nazi propaganda minister. He paraphrased Hitler, who said that if you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes a truth.

So, consistency, repeating the same message again and again.

So, if I come to it and I say to you, you can trust me, and if I say this to you a hundred times, by the time I'm finished, you will have trust, you will trust me fully.

There's another thing called proportionality bias.

Proportionality bias has many manifestations, but one of them is, the bigger, the more forceful the claim, the truer it is perceived to be.

If I claim something, if I make a claim that is with great emotion and so on, you will think it's true. If I make the same claim with a bland voice, bland face and a monotone voice, you will not believe it's true.

So, all the manipulators online, they know how to play you. They know how to play you. They pretend, they imitate, they fake emotions and it gets to you and you trust them.

There's also something called intentionality bias.

You tend to attribute intentions to people and if they tell you what their intentions are, you tend to believe them.

So, if someone tells you, I just want to help people. I'm doing this because I just want to help people. I'm so empathic. I can't see them suffer. You believe them. Never mind that you paid attention to the facts. You would have seen that their main and only concern is to make money off you, nothing else.

They don't give a fig about you.

And finally, there's something called apophenia.

Phenia is searching for patterns. People search for patterns even in themes and events and sentences and facts that are not connected. They connect the dots. They often connect the dots wrongly, of course.

And what's even worse, people conflate, confuse patterns with meaning. When they find a pattern, or they believe they had found the pattern, most patterns are wrong, they believe also that the pattern gives meaning to the connected dots.

When trust is broken, we feel as though a part of us had died, as though we had been hollowed out. There's no worse feeling than betrayal.

We trust people who are similar to us. We trust people who are members of our social in-group.

There was a psychologist, Lisa de Bruin. Lisa de Bruin morphed faces on screen, so she showed people computer screens. And on the computer screen, she showed them a human face. And then she morphed the human face to resemble the observer. The closer the human face was to the observer's face, the higher the trust.

We can trust people who look like us, literally look like us.

Maybe because twins are one and the same. Maybe because people who look like us are automatically perceived to be relatives, sharing the same genetic heritage. No one knows, but it's a fact.

Another thing discovered by Dieter Keltner, physical contact enhances trust. The more we are in the physical proximity of someone, the longer, the more we trust them.

Never mind what they do or do not do. Just the physical proximity is enough to establish trust.

To not trust is abnormal. And you don't trust, you lose trust. Usually it takes a lot for you to lose trust. It's the outcome of bitter, traumatic life experiences.

Mistrust and distrust are induced not by our own thoughts or incognitions or even by our emotions. That's not where mistrust and distrust start.

Mistrust and distrust are not created by some device or machination of ours. Life forces us to distrust and mistrust the sad circumstances, tragic circumstances.

To continue to not trust is to reward the people who had wronged us, the people who had made us distrustful in the first place.

Our abusers, your abusers, made you lose trust, made you distrustful.

So if you continue to not trust, you're continuing their work, you're continuing the abuse by other means.

Those people, those abusers, have long abandoned you and yet they still have a great malignant influence on your lives.

This is the irony of the lack of trust. The lack of trust perpetuates the abuse long after the abuser is gone.

Some people prefer to not experience this sinking feeling of trust violated. They choose to not trust anymore. They choose to never be disappointed anymore, to never hurt anymore. They're pain averse, they're hurt averse. They say better not to experience the good things in life like love, like togetherness, like companionship, like cooperation, better not to experience these things. If they come with a price tag of betrayal, I don't want my trust to be violated. It's too painful.

So I will never put myself in a situation of trusting anymore.

But this is of course both fallacy and folly. Trusting releases enormous amounts of mental energy, which is better invested elsewhere.

But trust, like knives, can be dangerous to your health if used improperly. That's all you need to know. Trust is good for you. You should trust.

But be careful about it. You have to discern who to trust. You have to learn how to trust. You have to know how to confirm the existence of mutual functional trust.

Roderick Cramer calls it tempered trust.

People often disappoint. Most people are not worthy of trust.

This is said truth, especially in today's world.

Some people act arbitrarily. They're fickle. They're treacherous, perfidious, vicious. And sometimes they do all these things, offhandedly. You are more like a collateral damage.

So it doesn't mean you can't trust anymore. It means you have to select the beneficiaries of your trust, the recipients of your trust, more carefully.

He who has the most common interest with you, it's a good start. Someone like that deserves trust. If he's invested in you for the long haul, you know, after some tests, after some tests, if he's incapable of bridging trust, what we call a good person, if he doesn't have much to gain from betraying you, he's not likely to mislead you.

You know, these are initial tests, filtering tests. These are people you can consider to trust.

You should not trust indiscriminately. No one is completely trustworthy.

And one common mistake is to trust someone. If you trust someone in one field, you trust them in all fields.

So if someone gives you good financial advice, you ask them for romantic advice. If they give you good psychological advice, you ask him what to do with your mother, with your home, with your children, with your car.

You must allocate trust. Some people can be trusted in some areas, in some fields, others in others. There is no one you can trust in all fields of life.

And most often our disappointments stem from our inability to separate one area from another.

Consider the following. A person could be sexually faithful to you, right? Never cheat on you. Never double time. I mean, totally sexually faithful. But the same person is utterly irresponsible when it comes to money. You can trust this person with your monogamy and sexual exclusivity, but you can't trust this person with money. You give him money, he shops. He's a shopaholic, or he's a pathological gambler, or he makes commitments and obligations that will deplete your savings.

So here's an example of someone you can trust with one thing, but not with the other. He could be a good, reliable father, but a womanizer. So while he's great to raise your children with, you can't trust him as an intimate partner because he refuses to be sexually or cannot be sexually exclusive, faithful. You can trust someone to carry out some assignments, but not other assignments, other tasks because, or chores, because these activities are more complicated, more boring, or don't conform to its values.

We should not trust everyone with everything. It's a common mistake. And we should never trust with reservations.

Trust. Qualified or tempered trust is common in business. It's common among criminals. The source of such trust is rational, a common goal, common benefits.

Game theory in mathematics deals with these questions of calculated trust.

When you trust in interpersonal relationships, either you trust wholeheartedly, you trust in specific areas of life, as I mentioned, but in these areas, you trust unreservedly and wholeheartedly.

And if you know who can you trust with what, the truth is that statistically, you'd be rarely disappointed.

As opposed to popular opinion, trust must be put to the test.

Because if you don't put trust to the test, it goes stale, it goes state.

So while you should trust people unreservedly, you should trust them fully, you should trust them wholeheartedly in the fields, in specific fields, not in everything.

Even in these fields, you must subject them to tests.

We are all somewhat paranoid. The world is complex, inexplicable, arbitrary, and overwhelming. Some forces are benign, some forces are capricious, others downright malicious.

There must be an explanation we feel for all these amazing coincidences, for our existence, for events around us.

And this tendency to introduce external powers and ulterior motives into our reality by way of explanation, this tendency permeates human relations as well.

So even in the most established relationship, where trust is rock solid, we gradually grow suspicious.

We inadvertently hunt for clues of, I don't know, infidelity, betrayal, theft, or worse, we are masochistically relieved, even happy when we find proof of betrayal.

So these are very sick, these are very unhealthy dynamics in every interpersonal relationship.

The key is this, find someone you can trust in principle, then find out in what can you trust them, in which field, in which sense, which dimension of your life, which area, then trust them.

But even though you trust them, be alert, be vigilant, not hypervigilant, but vigilant, be on your toes, people change, circumstances change, you change, changes in you may induce changes in him.

Always be with your eyes, with your eyes open.

There's a big difference between being vigilant and being distrust.

I'm telling you to trust, and as long as you trust, I'm telling you to trust unreservedly and unheartily, but be alert for signs that your trust may be misplaced.

It's like Theodore Roosevelt said, you know, carry a big stick, talk softly and carry a big stick.

The more often we successfully test the trust we had established, the stronger our brain embraces it, because our brain is pattern prone.

Our brain searches for patterns, apophenia, remember?

So we trust someone, and then there's a test, and he passes it, another test, he passes it, the trust grows more solid, more firm, more irreversible, irrevocable.

Constantly, in a precarious balance, our mind needs and devours reinforcements.

Such testing, I would like to qualify myself, such testing of trust should not be explicit, because when it is explicit means you don't trust.

When you test someone explicitly, when you set him up for failure, when you design, when you create circumstances in which he will be tested, that means there's no trust. That is distrust, but the testing should be circumstantial.

In other words, life proceeds and continues as before. You don't design a test, you don't apply a test, you don't set up someone for a test, but he is constantly on a test, he's constantly being tested.

Not by you, never by you, by life, by life.

And you observe, you don't observe with the hope that he will fail, with the intention of failing.

On the contrary, you observe because you want to reassert and reaffirm and strengthen your trust.

The aim of circumstantial, of life testing, is to enhance the trust.

But if you set up a test, if you test him on purpose, that's in order to destroy the trust, that reflects distrust.

Your husband could easily have had a lover, your partner could easily have embezzled your mother.

And look, they haven't, they haven't. Life happened, they had the opportunities, and they didn't take them. They've passed the tests, afforded them by life, not by you. They've resisted temptation, but the temptation was not engineered by you. It was just there, beyond your control, circumstantial.

And yet, you had observed, you were not blind. You didn't turn a blind eye. You didn't engage in confirmation bias. You're alert with your eyes open all the time, not negatively. You don't maintain a state of mind of, I'm keeping my eyes open because I don't trust you.

On the contrary, your state of mind is, I'm keeping my eyes open because I trust him. Trust him. I want to see him enhancing, strengthening my trust. Trust is based on the ability to predict the future.

I said that we react not only to the act of betrayal, but also to the feeling that the very foundations of our world are crumbling, that our world is no longer safe, because it's no longer predictable.

When we are betrayed, we are in the throes of death of one theory or one paradigm, in the birth of another theory, a paradigm as yet untested.

And here, there's another important lesson. Whatever the act of betrayal, with the exception of our outright maiming, rape, murder, whatever the act of betrayal, the outcomes of betrayal are frequently limited, reversible, ultimately in the long run, and with the long view, negligible.

Naturally, when we are inside the betrayal, when we are in the throes of the betrayal, when it had just happened, we tend to exaggerate the importance of the event.

And this serves a triple purpose.

First of all, when we exaggerate what had happened to us, when we become a bit of a drama queen, it aggregates us. If we are worthy of such an unprecedented, unheard of and major betrayal, we must be worthwhile, must be important, must be truly special. That's the foundation of paranoia. That's the foundation of conspiracy theory.

So very often we are betrayed and we exaggerate the betrayal because it makes us feel important and special. The magnitude of the betrayal reflects on us, reestablishes the fragile balance of powers between us and the universe.

The second purpose of exaggerating the act of perfidy, the second reason for transforming a run of the mill misbehavior into something earth-shattering, stab at the back, is simply to gain sympathy and empathy, mainly from ourselves, but also from others.

Catastrophes doesn't adapt. There's so many catastrophes. There's empathy fatigue, sympathy fatigue. People are tired to empathize and sympathize with other people.

In the modern world, everyone is experiencing like six catastrophes before breakfast. In today's world, it's difficult to provoke anyone to regard your personal tragedy and disaster as anything exceptional because it had happened to them six times before.

Finally, the third reason why we exaggerate is the greater and more unheard of and unprecedented is the act of treason, the less responsible we feel for what had happened.

The more we believe that there was nothing we could have done to prevent it.

That's the foundation of the movement of empaths.

The message of the empath is, I have been 100% victim. I contributed nothing to what had happened to me. It's not my fault, 1000%.

Things happened to me. I was passive. I was a magnet. I was an inanimate object. All this happened because of my personality, which is morally superior, sensitive, refined, amazing, delicate, etc.

Self-aggrandizing as a way to shirk and avoid responsibility or part responsibility.

This is not a way to live because you don't derive lessons. It's going to happen to you again.

So if you exaggerate the bad things that happened to you, it's bad for you because this means you have fallen victim to forces which resemble forces of nature.

Demonizing the narcissist or the psychopath is transforming them into a force of nature. It's like a tornado or a virus. Nothing you could have done about it. Amplifying the event therefore has some very self-serving and self-solving, self-soothing purposes.

But finally, this self-deception poisons your mental circulation, poisons the victim's mind.

Putting the event in perspective goes a long way towards the commencement of a healing process.

No betrayal, no amount of betrayal stamps the world irreversibly. No treason, no cheating, no theft, no stealing, no criminal act.

Eliminate other possibilities, opportunities, chances, and other people. People have gone through Auschwitz and came the other end and carried on with their lives. And a few of them helped millions like Viktor Frankl.

Time goes by. People meet, people part, lovers quarrel, lovers make love. Dear, dearest and nearest live, intimate ones die. It's the essence of time. Time reduces all of us to the finest dust. And our only weapon in the face of time, however crude, however naive even, against this inexorable process of not being, our only weapon is to trust each other.

The wise person know when to stop suspecting and to start to trust. There is a thin line separating the paranoid from the more, from the stupid. To suspect all the time is counterproductive and also idiotic. It inhibits, it retards, it falsifies reality testing, it consumes scarce resources to suspect all the time.

Paranoia prevents collaboration, prevents progress. It constricts one's life, limits it. It's a straitjacket. Constant distrust impairs one's reality test, as I said. Constant vigilance is the long name for anxiety and fears induced by ignorance and honestly by stupidity. Paranoia is a form of grandiosity.

I have to repeat this again and again. It's an narcissistic defense. I'm important enough to be the target of conspiracies and the epicenter of critical events and vicious people like my abuser.

Don't be a narcissist. Don't let your abuser transform you into a narcissist.

By rendering your abuser bigger than life, by making your abuser a demonic force of nature, you're aggrandizing him but indirectly yourself. You are becoming him. You are confabulating. You are detaching from reality. You are beginning to inhabit a grandiose delusion.

At some point you have to say enough is enough. I'm willing to lay a bet on this new person. I'm willing to invest in this business. I'm willing to go on a trip. I'm willing to go on with my life.

In hindsight, you may again make a wrong decision. There's no guaranteed life.

Of course, the next man you fall in love with could be your next abuser. There's no guarantee. There's no insurance policy.

But you have to keep trying. Any decision is better than a lifelong paralysis.

In love and to some extent in sex, we address. We remove protective layers. We expose vulnerabilities and weaknesses to other people.

And this information that we provide about the chinks in our armor, about our penetration and intrusion points, this information can and will be used against us. I'm not misleading you.

Even the most loving of mates, the most intimate of partners, at some point will use this information against you.

We must take this fact into account when we decide what to share.

But share, we must.

In a healthy relationship, secrets are an essential ingredient.

Not everything should be disclosed all the time.

Unmitigated and alloyed truth-telling is never a good idea. Coupledhood and intimacy wither on the vine of total openness.

And this is unwise to be totally open.

But not all secrets are created equal. Some information, if it is held back, if it is concealed, festers. It poisons any relationship. Fundamental issues have to be aired, tackled, dissected, resolved. Emotions and conflicts require communication, require closure.

Expectations and hopes must be expressed. Otherwise, you will never affect change. And in the absence of change, your relationship will stagnate and then it will die.

Behavior modification is predicated on good communication and you want to modify the behavior of everyone around you, your significant others.

Not every mood should be reported, I agree. Not every lapse and transgression need to be confessed, so-so-true. Not every fear should be articulated. You should let time, the great healer, do its job.

It's all very true.

But you must decide to trust. Trust is a choice. It's a decision. And it's one decision you cannot afford not to make.

I will conclude by giving you a few markers how to tell a true friend from a fake friend.

A true friend supports you only when he believes that you are doing the right thing in your own self-interest and welfare. A fake friend supports you always, no matter what you do. That's a fake.

A true friend respects you only when you have earned this respect, when you've earned his respect and when you act respectably. Respect must be earned and you must act consistently in ways that respect yourself, only when a true friend would respect you.

A fake friend respects you regardless of your behavior or misbehavior. He always respects you. Never mind what you do. Even if you disrespect yourself, he still claims to respect you.

A true friend trusts you but only as long as you prove yourself trustworthy, only while you do not put his trust to the test too often and only on certain issues, not on everything.

A fake friend trusts you with everything. Always. Never mind what you do.

To summarize, a true friend puts to you a mirror. He mirrors you. And in this mirror, you can see reality. You can see truth.

A fake friend also puts to you a mirror.

But in this mirror, you see your own reflection. You see only yourself. You see nothing else besides.

There's no reality and no truth. This is grooming. This is love bombing.

A true friend loves you in the relationship. He loves you, even without your friendship. A fake friend loves himself in the relationship.

Oh, he loves the friendship itself, but never you.

With a true friend, you need never ask. What is he getting out of this relationship? Loving you is its own reward. What he's getting out of this relationship is the privilege of loving you. That's a true friend.

A fake friend, you should always ask. Why is he still in this relationship? Loving you is not the reward. What he gets out of you is the reward.

A good time. I don't know. You pay for everything. Contacts, access, power, money, sex. That's a fake friend. He's in it for what he gets out of it.

Apply these standards to all your friends, spouses, mates, even children. Everyone around you who means anything to you. And you will be able to tell the fake ones from the true ones and try really to spend much more of your time with the true ones than with the fake ones.

And the true ones, you can trust. Trust them. Will they ever disappoint you? Of course. Will they ever hurt you? Guaranteed. Is it worth it? 100%.

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