So, do you want to have a child with me or not?
Today, we are going to discuss a very sensitive and ever-growing topic, pregnancy and how does the narcissist react to your unborn child.
We are going to start with this and then we are going to unravel this Ariadne threat gradually and slowly into the narcissist's head, his internal inferno that he calls his mind.
You are going to discover through the process of pregnancy and childbirth a lot more about the shared fantasy and the dynamics between you and the narcissist.
So, stay tuned. It is going to be a bumpy ride, but a nightmarish one, I promise you.
My name is Sam Vaknin and I am the handsome author of Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited. I am also a very cherished and admired and adulated professor of psychology in several countries around the world which will remain unnamed.
Ok Shoshanim, it's time to get your Christmas present.
Oh, oh, oh.
Okay, let's get serious, which seems to be ever more difficult as this pandemic progresses.
Some narcissists devalue and discard their partners during a pregnancy or shortly after childbirth. This is true even when the narcissist had initiated the pregnancy, even when he is the one who had wanted to have a child with you.
What gives? Why do narcissists react so adversely to this process?
Well, to start with, a pregnant woman is an autonomous, agentic female. She has agency, she has autonomy, she is independent and this challenges and undermines the inert and malleable internal object that represents her in the narcissist's mind, the object that I call Snackshot and clinicians call Introject.
So remember from previous videos, those of you who had survived them, the narcissist makes a snapshot of you, then he photoshops the snapshot, he idealizes you and then he continues to relate to the snapshot, not to you. As you diverge from the snapshot, you frustrate the narcissist, he becomes aggressive, he devalues and discards you.
Now pregnancy, getting pregnant is one hell of a way of deviating from the snapshot, from diverging from it because the changes in your body and to some extent in your mind, these changes are visible to the narcissist. He cannot deny them, reframe them or ignore them.
So he sees you changing day by day and there's nothing he can do about it. Your transformation is out of his hands, out of his control and this transformation takes you further away from him, further away from the snapshot and further away from the Introject, from this internal object that in his mind is you.
It's a very threatening process. The narcissist reacts with separation insecurity which is the clinical term for abandonment or separation anxiety. He feels that you're abandoning him somehow by transforming, by becoming more agentic, by harboring independent processes in your body and in your mind, you are drawing away from him, you are drifting away from under him and from his control.
This divergence creates in him extreme insecurity and anxiety is likely to tell you that he feels that you had changed, he feels unsafe, he's humiliated at his own exposed dependence on you and helplessness without you.
And so in an attempt to rid himself of these negative effects, of these negative emotions, of these turbulent and tumultuous internal havoc that your pregnancy wreaks on him, so in an attempt to get rid of all this, because it's not pleasant, it's dissonant, it's something which generates in him anxiety, so to rid himself of all these and to cope somehow with the attendant frustration, aggressively devalues you and then he dumps you, unceremoniously, pregnant as you are.
Now, he may dump you only emotionally, he becomes absent, cold, detached or he might definitely pack up his things and walk away with a much younger and much less pregnant version of you.
Most narcissists would opt for absenteeism, detachment, withdrawal and avoidance in line with their insecure attachment styles.
The narcissist, typically, would protest his victimhood claiming to have been neglected and ignored by you. You're not the same he would tell you, you don't pay me attention, you don't care about me anymore, it's only your pregnancy, it's only this unborn child, you're focused on him or her, only you have forgotten me, you had abandoned me in effect, I'm no longer in your thoughts, I'm no longer the main focus of your attentions and compassion and caring and affection.
The narcissist cannot control the processes and emotions unfolding in your body and your mind. These are way out of his remit.
The merger and the fusion and the symbiosis between you and the narcissist break down the minute a third party enters the picture. It's a form of triangulation.
The narcissist experiences this as cheating on him, betrayal, triangulating on him with a third party.
The narcissist's body and mind conspire against him in the process of pregnancy and conspire against him with another person about to be born.
The narcissist anticipates and catastrophizes the childbirth. He realizes that a newborn baby is likely to consume even more of your resources, more of your presence than a fetus or an embryo.
The narcissist cannot outdo, cannot outcompete with you. You are, he cannot get pregnant, he cannot give childbirth, you are creating life. It's an act of creation and a creative act and he cannot outdo you in any way. He feels inferior. He feels that mysteriously and oddly and weirdly you would become much more potent, much more powerful than him because you are creating life. You're God-like.
He that too, he had been God-like. Now you are God-like and this comparative inferiority constitutes a protracted narcissistic injury best avoided.
You become a source of frustration and he aggresses against you or he avoids you altogether.
Narcissism is a fantasy defense, gun or eye. Even the DSM says this.
There are two types of narcissistic fantasies. There's grandeur, money, sex, power, access or adulation. This is one type of narcissistic fantasy and then there's the shared narcissistic fantasy, a fantasy of perfect love with a soulmate.
You are embedded firmly in the second type of fantasy, in the shared fantasy.
The narcissist is far more prone to engage in the latter in a shared fantasy when he is in the throes of the former, of a grandiose fantasy.
In other words, when the narcissist is successful, when he is able to obtain narcissistic supply, when he is realizing his goals and moving forward and he feels much more confident, he feels his sense of self-worth, he's stabilized and so he can now embark on a shared fantasy.
The narcissist is also far more psychopathic when he is mired in the grandiose fantasy. So he is likely to objectify you much more.
The demise of either fantasy, grandiose or the shared, leads to the ultimate unraveling of the other fantasy.
So when he fails in his grandiose fantasy, your shared fantasy is in trouble. And when he fails in the shared fantasy, it makes it difficult for him to obtain supply.
But the grandeur fantasy, the grandiose fantasy is more resilient and takes longer to fall. When a shared fantasy goes punk abruptly, for example, when you become pregnant, the narcissist embarks on frantic and indiscriminate efforts to find an alternative to you.
Only when he fails at the discard and replace phase is the grandiose fantasy adversely affected too.
So when you get pregnant, the narcissist feels abandoned and neglected. He feels that his shared fantasy is breaking down. He is no longer the focus of you. He is no longer at the center of your attention and ministrations.
So his shared fantasy is challenged by your independence, autonomy, agency, self-efficacy and increasingly divergent behaviors.
As the shared fantasy is collapsing, he wants to maintain at least the grandiose fantasy. So he's trying to look for a replacement. He's trying to devalue you and then discard you and then replace you.
And only if he fails in that will the rest of his life be affected, the grandiose fantasy.
Within the shared fantasy, you are not real. You're a figment.
The narcissist conjures his intimate partner in the shared fantasy exactly as a magician would conjure up a sleight of hand.
And then the narcissist dematerializes you.
Now these two processes are very important, the conjuring and the dematerialization.
The shared fantasy is a template and a matrix. It's a rigidly coded simulation, which like many other artificial intelligence applications yields unexpected results.
The narcissist codes for this simulation. He writes the program and then he runs the program in his mental computer.
But because reality interferes and because the program is so complex, it very often has unexpected outcomes which the narcissist cannot cope with.
Pregnancy is one such outcome.
The shared fantasy is a matrix. You are supposed to be plugged into the matrix and pretend to believe or believe or really believe that it is reality. It is a template upon which all your interactions with the narcissist take place and they are formed and shaped by this template.
But the shared fantasy is also a network and also a hierarchy, both network and hierarchy. The hierarchical rigidity of the shared fantasy is manifest in the conjuring act.
The narcissist coerces you to be and to behave in regimented, micromanaged and minutely specified and controlled ways. The narcissist micro controls you.
Whenever you deviate, however minutely, from the choreography, from the orchestrated set of steps, algorithmic also, whenever you deviate from this algorithm, the narcissist penalizes you. He panics, he panics at first and then he punishes you for having caused him this panic and distress.
So it's very rigid and very hierarchical. It's top down.
But being the simulation that it is, the narcissist disubstantiates you, forces you to renounce reality.
So the condition for fitting, for plugging into the matrix is to not be, or at least to not be in reality, to suspend your animation.
Pregnancy challenges this. It's very clear in pregnancy that you are creating new life upon which the narcissist can exert no control and to which he has no access.
That makes you, renders you alive as well because only life can give rise to life. Only life can give new life to new life.
It is a reminder that you are alive outside the confines and the remit and the limitations and the boundaries of the matrix. It challenges the hierarchy and the template. It's an act of utter rebellion in the narcissist's mind. It's defiance reified.
And so caught in a dream like cobweb, both parties in the shared fantasy develop paranoid ideation. And this paranoid ideation is leveraged and amplified by the pregnancy.
In the cult like settings of the shared fantasy, life itself is the enemy. And so life can threaten the shared fantasy, can impinge upon it, can challenge it, undermine it and expose it for what it is, a fantasy.
And so anything that reeks of life, that smells of life, that reminds one of life, anything reminiscent of life is a threat.
Narcissists hate life with a passion. They avoid life, they evade life, they escape from life into fantasy.
That is a very good definition of narcissism.
And although the narcissist as a programmer seems to be in control, actually anything is possible in the nightmare that evolves out of the shared fantasy.
The network effects of this form of lucid dreaming, they lead to a psychogenic illnessand they are unforetold. You can't predict these effects. They can go any way.
That's why the narcissist catastrophizes any sign of independence, because the system is so precariously balanced that even a butterfly can produce a hurricane. The slightest deviation, divergence, sign of independence can unravel the whole shared fantasy. Everything needs to be seriously ossified, fossilized, dead and mummified.
In this form of lucid dreaming, only the dream can be real and reality should be rendered a dream.
And so the hallucinatory crazy making and cataclysmic, then one more of all romantic relationships with the narcissist, they have to do with the fantasy. And they have to do with the narcissist desperate attempts to kill you and to suppress any sign of life in you.
Pregnancy is therefore perceived as the mother of all challenges, the ultimate defiance, the epitome of rebellion, the most corrosive act within a shared fantasy.
And even when the narcissist had initiated it in order to garner supply one way or another, now or in the future, even then he is totally unready, totally unprepared for the unfolding of the pregnancy and for what it's going to do to his mind or what is left of his mind.