Why Narcissist Can't Get You Out of His Mind? (Introject Constancy)

Uploaded 7/31/2022, approx. 13 minute read

Good evening to all of you. This is my new haircut. My name is Sam Vaknin. He is still Sam Vaknin after the haircut. And I'm still, as far as I know, the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.

I'm also a professor of psychology.

The last two videos I've uploaded seem to have confused all of you without a single exception, myself included.

So I will attempt to disentangle this compounded plot of the narcissist relationships within the shared fantasy.

I try to answer some of your questions.

So this is essentially a questions and answers video, your favorite.

And we start with the first question. I'm going to read to you a comment that I've received online on one, on the video before last, the penultimate video.

Professor Vaknin says the comment, this seems to contradict something stated earlier regarding the narcissist's separation and individuation. Previously you stated that the narcissist fails in the individuation process because an idealized interjection exists in his mind that he cannot read himself off, even though he discards the external you that there is an accumulation of snapshots of idealized significant others. And he attempts to over them in order to compulsively repeat the process. But here in this video, you seem to indicate that the narcissist returns the idealized snapshot to the significant other, devaluing the significant other first. I'm trying to better understand your faults on how the individuation fails and the hovering begins.

Another comment, another confused comment. I really appreciate this video, professor, but I don't think I grasp the discard and devaluation in the narcissist mind versus the devaluation and discard in reality. So these are the two questions I'm going to deal with to start with.

The first question is the snapshot. What happens to the snapshot? In previous videos, I made clear the snapshot, the interject, the avatar, the internal representation of the intimate partner remains stuck, so to speak, in the narcissist's mind. While he gets rid of the intimate partner in reality, he fails to get rid of the interject of the intimate partner, of the avatar, the icon, the representation, the inner photograph, the snapshot of the intimate partner. He fails to get rid of it. He fails to rid himself of this intrusion and invasion of the intimate partner into his internal world. The intimate partner goes away, exists his life, but lives behind a trace. And this trace is the snapshot. That's what I said in earlier videos. In the video that I've released two days ago, I said that the narcissist hands over the snapshot back to the intimate partner.

So the narcissist splits himself, splits his thinking, splits his emotions, splitting as an infantile defense mechanism. The narcissist goes back to childhood where he attempts to replay, to reenact the conflict he has had with his original mother. So now that he's a child again, in an attempt to reenact the conflict, he reacquires the defense mechanism known as splitting and he splits. He becomes all good and you become all bad. The narcissist tries to hand over to you your snapshot, but this time he devalues the snapshot. Originally, the narcissist idealized the snapshot. He idealized your introject. This is the process of co-idealization. Love bombing is a sub phase, is a phase in idealization. The narcissist saw you as perfect and brilliant and intelligent and drop dead gorgeous, not to mention rich if the narcissist is Jewish. So he idealized you, but then he needed to separate from you. He needed to discard you in order to separate from his original mother. He wanted to complete the incomplete or uncompleted business of separation. In his childhood, his mother did not allow him to separate from her. Now he wants to separate from you because you are his new mother. You are his maternal figure.

Okay, clear?

To do this, he needs to devalue you. He needs to separate from you because you're bad, because you're worthless, because you've changed, because you're his enemy, the secretary object for whatever reason.

So he needs to devalue you.

How does he devalue you?

He takes the snapshot, he imbues it, he covers it, he colors it, he paints it, he immerses it and submerges it in negative qualities and then he gives it back to you.

By handing over all the negativity and all the badness and all the evilness to you, the narcissist remains wholly good, perfect.

In other words, the narcissist's grandiosity is restored. The narcissist becomes an all good object and you become an all bad object.

But when the narcissist tries to hand over the snapshot to you, as I actually said in the video, he fails.

This attempt to get rid of the introject ultimately fails, which is why he needs to devalue you in reality.

Devaluation in his mind, devaluation of the snapshot fails.

So he has to do it in reality. He has to humiliate you and degrade you and denigrate you and criticize you in reality, because attempting to devalue the snapshot, this attempt fails.

And so what's the reason for that?

Why can't the narcissist Photoshop the snapshot in a bad way?

Originally, the narcissist takes a snapshot of you and photoshops it in a good way. He idealizes it.

Why isn't the reverse process possible?

The narcissist first discards you in his mind. He needs to separate from you.

So he gets rid of you in his mind.

The first stage of discard is in the mind.

Then he tries to devalue the snapshot and having failed, he devalues you in reality.

And then he discards you in reality.

This moment of failure, not being able to get rid of the snapshot or to alter the characteristics of the snapshot, this moment of failure causes the narcissist in the future to try to hoover you, because the snapshot remains in his mind and he needs to match you with the snapshot.

It's like unfinished business.


But why this failure? Why can't the narcissist Photoshop the snapshot in a way that would allow him to devalue you because of introject constancy?

Now you should differentiate between two things, object constancy and introject constancy.

Healthy people, normal people, people whose childhood has been relatively functional. These people have object constancy. They perceive other people as constant, as reliable, as predictable, as friendly. This is object constancy.

Even when people are absent, they are traveling their way, they move to another country. Still, there is a feeling of constancy. This object constancy allows the healthy person to feel safe.

The world is not a jungle. The world is not hostile because people in the world are constant. Mentally ill people, and especially people with Cluster B personality disorders, they have object inner constancy. They perceive other people as some kind of abstracts, as like paintings or something. They perceive other people as traits. Other people can abandon them. Other people are liable to reject them. Other people will cause them pain and hurt. Other people tend to vanish and disappear without a word or an explanation. Other people are painful.

So there is object in constancy, the inability to maintain a stable inner representation of someone out there, an external object.

This is object in constancy. With a narcissist, there is something called introject constancy. The narcissist has object in constancy, exactly like the borderline.

But the narcissist found a perfect solution. He maintains constancy among the introjects rather than among people in his life.

The narcissist doesn't trust people in his life to remain in his life. He believes that people will betray him, abandon him, reject him, humiliate him, causing pain and narcissistic injury.

He actually doesn't like people. He depends on them, but dislikes them and is afraid of them.

Instead of maintaining constant objects, the narcissist creates introjects, representations of these people in his mind. Symbols of these people, icons, avatars of these people in his mind.

These symbols or icons or avatars or introjects populate his inner world and they are known as internal objects.

And these objects, these internal objects, they are constant.

The representations of people out there in real life, these representations in the narcissist's mind are constant.

The narcissist can trust, trust these introjects.

The narcissist believes these introjects.

He controls them. They are predictable. They are reliable. They are always accessible. They are always there for him. They will never abandon him or hurt him or reject him or humiliate him.

He prefers to interact with his internal objects, not with the external objects that these internal objects represent.

Because of this introject constancy, the narcissist can never get rid of any introject because if he tries to, it causes him enormous anxiety.

When the borderline loses someone real in her life, when the borderline loses an external object, for example, a boyfriend, an intimate partner, a father, a mother, a husband.

So when the borderline loses someone real, three dimensional out there in reality, she reacts with severe abandonment anxiety.

When the narcissist loses an introject, he reacts with severe abandonment anxiety.

The borderline reacts to the loss of real people. The narcissist reacts to the loss of introjects, of internal representations of real people, of snapshots, the loss of internal objects.

So the narcissist cannot get rid of internal objects because it provokes in him enormous anxiety.

When he comes across an intimate partner, he takes a snapshot of her. He creates an introject, an internal object. He idealizes this internal object. He creates a shared fantasy.

And then he needs to get rid of the real partner of the external object because he needs to separate from this maternal figure.

The intimate partner represents his mother, stands in for his real life mother. So he needs to separate from the intimate partner as a way to affect separation, to conclude the unfinished business of separation from his original mother.

To do this, to discard his intimate partner, he needs a reason why he needs also to convince himself that he hasn't been wrong about his intimate partner.

His judgment was perfect, but she has changed. So he needs to devalue her. He discards her in his mind and because he doesn't interact with his external, narcissists don't interact with external objects. They interact with the snapshots.

So he discards the snapshot in his mind. Then he tries to devalue the snapshot in his mind and he fails. He fails because of introject constancy. He fails because discarding the introject, devaluing the introject creates in him enormous abundant anxiety.

So instead he discards and devalues you. That's the sequence. I hope I've been clear.

Someone answered to the question by saying, I think there could be two parts of the discard, the psychological separation and then the physical one.

My interpretation of Professor Sam's words are, narcissists feels good in their ego and compelled to discard you as they couldn't discard their mother.

They take the power and control they did not have as a child. They make a new narrative they themselves control.

Reality is devaluation then discard as it justifies their cowardly actions and makes their significant others low in self esteem and broken.

So it's easy to discard or get them to discard the narcissist. Their narrative is discard then devalue.

So your faults do not become apparent until they are no longer connected to you and their ego is intact or boosted. We are worth something when we are with them providing the service and we are worthless and bad news afterwards.

I hope that makes sense as I have been trying to figure it out all for myself.

So I hope now the picture is clear. I'm going to repeat it one last time because it's a really complicated concept.

Stage one, the narcissist meets you in a library. He hits, he homes in on you. He says this could be a great intimate partner, a great source of narcissistic supply. He takes a snapshot of you, exactly like a camera snapshot. He internalizes the snapshot. Then he gets to work. He photoshops the snapshot. He idealizes it and idealizes you. From that second, from that moment, the narcissist continues to interact with the snapshot, with the idealized image of you, with the internal representation of you that has very little to do with you. He interacts internally. He is inward directed. Not with you. He continues and then at some point he converts you into a mother. He love bombs you, this, that. You create a shared fantasy and within the shared fantasy he renders you a maternal figure.

He wants to re-enact with you, to replay with you the conflict that he has had as a child with his original mother who had abused him and traumatized him. He couldn't separate from his original mother, so he wants to separate from you because you are his new mother.

But how to do this?

He has to discard you. Discarding you is a symbolic separation.

But why would he discard you?

There are two problems with that. You are ideal. You have been idealized. You are an ideal partner.

Why would he discard an ideal partner?

That's problem number one.

Problem number two. If he were to discard you, it means he has made a mistake in choosing you. It means his judgment is poor and that's narcissistic injury. He cannot countenance it or even contemplate it.

So what to do?

He needs to devalue you.

First, he discards the snapshot in his mind. He decides to enter the phase of separation. He discards the snapshot in his mind and then he tries to explain to himself why he is discarding the snapshot. And what he does?

He devalues the snapshot. He renders the snapshot all bad so that what's left is all good. The narcissist is all good.

The snapshot is all bad.

Okay, so it's the narcissist. Great mission accomplished. We have a devalued snapshot. I discarded the snapshot in my mind.

Now I will just hand it over to my intimate partner and tell her to F off. I never want to see you again.

But when he tries to get rid of the snapshot, he experiences enormous anxiety, abandonment anxiety.


Because narcissists have introject constancy. Their introjects, the internal objects are constant. They serve to restore a sense of safety and to reduce and mitigate and ameliorate anxiety.

When the narcissist tries to get rid of the snapshot, the anxiety drives him to re-adopt the snapshot, post-asthe.

He can't get rid of the snapshot. He says, well, how am I going to complete the separation? I guess I need to get rid of the external object. I cannot get rid of the internal object. I need to get rid of an external object. I need to devalue her and then I need to discard her.

And that's precisely what happens. That is the sequence.

I hope I answered your questions. These are very convoluted and difficult concepts to understand. And if you have any further questions, don't hesitate. Write to me in the comments and I promise to ignore you. No, I'm just kidding. I promise to respond.

Thank you.

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