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Why Narcissists Commit Suicide? To Be Great Again!

Uploaded 5/6/2023, approx. 21 minute read

Okay, Chmad Madim and Chmad Mad Doth. Those of you who are fortunate enough to watch my interview with Dalia Zhukovska, the Polish clinical psychologist, realize that suicide is a risk in narcissistic personality disorder, especially during narcissistic mortification, the rate of suicide among people with antisocial behaviors sometimes can ratchet up to 62% of the cohort of patients with suicidal ideation. That is six times the average among people with borderline personality disorder. So suicide plays a role in the narcissistic pathology.

And yet we don't have any data, I repeat, we don't have any data as to how many narcissists commit suicide under which circumstances and why, especially why.

My name is Sam Vaknin. I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited and a former visiting professor of psychology.

And today we're going to discuss why and when do narcissists commit suicide.

In the narcissistic pathology, suicide or suicidal ideation is not the outcome of depression, like in normal people or healthy people or other mental health disorders.

The narcissist aggrandizes his or her suicidal ideation.

As far as the narcissist is concerned, suicide is an act of self-control.

Suicide restores the narcissist's sense of grandiosity.

It's the ultimate solution, the glorified exit, a way to signal to the world, I'm showing you the middle finger, I always have a way out. There's no way you can lay your hands on me, etc.

So suicidal ideation in narcissism is suffused with grandiosity and in this sense it reflects an underlying cognitive distortion.

Strangely, the narcissist does not perceive suicide as the end of the road. It perceives it as a signal. It's very strange because once you are dead, what is the meaning of a signal? Where does it lead you? What good is it to you?

And yet the narcissist perceives suicide exactly this way, as a way to obtain narcissistic supply post-mortem if you wish.

That is the first strange characteristic in suicide among narcissists.

There is a problem with narcissism when it is comorbid with other mental health issues.

The rate of suicidal ideation and suicide among narcissists who also, for example, have major depression, narcissists who are also psychopaths, psychopathic narcissists, and narcissists who also borderline the rates are very high or much higher than in a population that is purely unadulterated narcissistic personality disorder.

The narcissist who contemplates suicide is not depressed at all. He doesn't communicate his need for help because narcissists never need help. They're omnipotent. They're godlike. So there are no warning signs in the vast majority of cases.

There is a problem with the regulation of a sense of self-worth and self-esteem following repeated narcissistic injuries, narcissistic wounds, or in the throes of narcissistic mortification, as I've said before.

And so the narcissist grapples with his own internal dynamics, with his own psychodynamics. He transitions from internal mortification to external mortification and so on and so forth.

I again refer you to my recent interview with Darya Shukorska, where I dwell upon these dynamics.

What I'm trying to say is that the unfolding of these dynamics in the case of the narcissist is autonomous. It's inexorable. There's nothing the narcissist can do about this.

And it is this feeling of helplessness and hopelessness that challenges, undermines, and then the narcissist's grandiosity.

In some cases, the only way to restore a sense of self-control, the battered grandiosity, the only way is to commit suicide, or at least to contemplate suicide.

In the wake of some life events, for example, narcissists often consider suicide. They have suicidal ideas and suicidal fantasies, but these serve narcissistic self-regulatory functions.

As I said, Rollingston wrote, "Knowing that suicide is a possible option can sustain self-regulation and sense of control and help such people stay connected, work in function, and even enjoy life. Itlife.

It is very important, she continues to say, to differentiate between the life-threatening and life-sustaining implications of these patients' suicidal faults and fantasies.

And again, in comorbidity, in situations of comorbidity, this is doubly, doubly, doubly round.


Okay.

What are the characteristics of suicidal behaviors in narcissistic personality disorder when there is no comorbidity in pure cases?

So, a side ideation comes to the surface, becomes conscious, and then, like everything else in the narcissist's life, it transforms itself into a grandiose fantasy.

Narcissism is a fantasy defense gone awry. The narcissist is expansionist, very much like the psychotic. The narcissist converts external objects into internal objects, this way subsuming the world.

So when the narcissist comes across obstacles, hindrances, challenges, humiliation, public shaming, and so on and so forth, suicidal ideation becomes a way of reasserting control over himself, the situation, and his ability to affect other people.

Suicide hurts people, even people who hate the narcissist. When he commits suicide, are liable to feel guilt and shame. So that's the narcissist's way of getting back at them.


Now, the characteristics in pure narcissism, in pure narcissistic personality disorder are, and this is lifted from an article by Ilse Ronnigstone and her collaborator, Igo Weinberg. There's a link in the description to relevant literature.

So the characteristics in these cases of contemplated suicide are a loss of ideal self-state and a breakup of a life dream, a fantasy, especially a shared fantasy, not meeting high and perfectionistic standards, a sudden breakdown in defenses, also known as decompensation.

And in this way, suicide is acting out. Suicide is exactly like acting out in borderline personality disorder. And exactly like in borderline personality disorder, it's a form of self-harm and self-mutilation.

The difference between the two is that in borderline personality disorder, acting out invariably involves other people. It is outwardly directed because the borderline is capable of perceiving external objects. She has a problem with introjects. She has introject inconsistency, not object inconsistency.

But the narcissist is unable to perceive external objects. So everything with the narcissist is internalized, introjected.

Similarly, suicidal ideation is a form of acting out, which is self-directed.

Another characteristic is turning revengeful wishes against oneself, punishing oneself for having failed. The narcissist's bent object resurrects, reasserts itself, resurges and takes over the narcissist, overwhelming him with the equivalent of emotional dysregulation, like in borderline.

And then the narcissist wants to destroy himself because he perceives himself as inadequate, insufficient, a failure, a loser, unworthy of love and unworthy of life.

Some scholars in the '40s, '50s and '60s called it a rejection of life. The empty schizoid core in the narcissist, the borderline, other disorders, the empty schizoid core is firewalled, is isolated. The narcissist has no access to this core because this core is flooded with shame.

When these defenses break down, the narcissist gets in touch with this reservoir of self-annihilating, self-hating, self-loathing shame, and then he wants to destroy himself. Destroying the bent object would restore the all good object.

It's a form of self-splitting. That's why he's telling you that narcissists don't perceive suicide as the end. They perceive suicide as the means.

It's extremely irrational, infantile thinking. And under the age of two, don't perceive death as final.


And so another thing is the intolerance of passivity.

Assuming an active role through suicide, ligation and ultimate suicide, the narcissist feels that he is objectified by circumstances and by other people, for example, in mortification. He needs to take over the situation. He needs to reassert control. The only way to do it sometimes is to commit suicide.

There's an intolerance, humiliation, defeat, entrapment, shame, envy.

Life events precipitate suicidal ideation and attempted suicide in narcissists, like with every other person, healthy or unhealthy.

This is closely associated with suicidal ideation and suicidal behaviors and suicidal ideas and thoughts and fantasies, even in totally healthy and normal people, let alone people with borderline personality disorder, paranoid personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and believe it or not, antisocial personality disorder.

Watch my video, how does one become a psychopath?


So when the narcissist is faced with legal problems, disciplinary problems, impending incarceration, unemployment, physical illness, financial problems, problems at school or a job, aging and aging related losses and transitions, a breakdown in a romantic relationship, the narcissist version of a romantic relationship, which is a shared fantasy, being publicly humiliated, berated and shamed, narcissistic mortification.

When the narcissist faces with disability, with a chronic illness, with dementia, whenever the narcissist's grandiosity is no longer sustainable, no matter the effort put into sustaining it, the narcissist's precarious equilibrium is challenged.

Internal and external sources of supply are eliminated. Self-worth, sense of self-worth begins to fluctuate very wildly, the disability of mood and affect, and the narcissist is overwhelmed.

Similarly, in these conditions, the narcissist becomes a borderline. He regresses from narcissism to the borderline state, and that is broadshine.

And if we adopt Jung's view, he also becomes introverted.


So all the energy, all the emotions, all the cognitions will now be introverted, will become introverted, will be self-directed.

Jung closely associates narcissism with introversion in the early stage of development.

So when the narcissist is faced with adverse life circumstances, what he does, he retreats, he withdraws, he avoids, and in short, he becomes a schizoid.

He enters a schizoid phase.

In the schizoid phase, he attempts to self-supply, and one of the attempts to self-supply is internal mortification, telling yourself that you're godlike.

The narcissist tells himself that he's a puppet master, and everyone around him is playing to his tune and script.

This doesn't work well, of course, so then the narcissist resorts to external mortification.

And external mortification involves demonizing other people, paranoid and persecutory delusions, converting internal objects into persecretary objects, and so on so forth.

But at the same time, it involves a withdrawal from the world, an avoidance of reality and of life.

It resembles fear, but it's actually not fear.

It's self-preservation.

This is the narcissist's way of shielding himself from the slings and arrows of a cruel fate.

This is his way of creating a fortress within a moat within which he is self-sufficient, self-sustaining, self-supplying, and can rebuild his grandiosity incrementally but safely and assuredly.

During this period, one of the ways to reconstruct and reassert grandiosity is when the narcissist tells himself that worse comes to worse, he can kill himself and thereby show the middle finger to everyone.

He tells himself that he is the master of his own fate, body and life, and no one else has any remit or control or power or authority over these.

He is the ultimate arbiter and decision-maker because he can always take his life.

It is as if the narcissist is saying, "You are ungrateful. You did not know how to appreciate me, my contributions to you, my help, my support, my participation in your life. You rejected me, you abandoned me, you humiliated me, you are not fit to benefit, and I'm going to withdraw my bounty and I'm going to absent myself from your lives so that you feel the void, the emptiness, the lacuna that I live behind and regret your behavior."

It is a narcissist's grandiose way of broadcasting.

I am so superior to you, I am so supreme that of course you lack the capacity to even appreciate who I am and what I've done.

And so now that I've seen your real face, your true face, your bad intentions, I'm going to withdraw and I'm going to withdraw maximally. I'm going to kill myself so that even in principle I would never be available to you again and you will spend the rest of your lives mourning and grieving my absence and what could have been had you treated me well, had you treated me as I should be treated.

A deity, a faction, reified the one and only, a unique entity, a unique creature, a manifestation of some divine grace.

And since you failed to trick me right, I am walking away in every possible way.

This is of course suicidal ideation.

However, paradoxically and ironically, this resurgence in God-like psychopathic defiant grandiosity is very closely coupled with a volcanic eruption of suicidal ideation because a narcissist perceives suicide as the ultimate solution, the ultimate slap in the face to all his tormentors and persecutors and abusers and haters.

That's his ultimate slap in the face.

He's going to show them. He's going to show them. He's going to kill himself and then they will feel guilt and shame or at the very least they will have lost the battle because there's nothing they can do to you as a corpse.


So this paradoxical confluence, which was first described, I repeat, by Roniksam and Weinberg in 2013, this paradoxical confluence separates narcissistic suicidal ideation from borderline suicidal ideation, separates narcissistic suicide attempts from typical suicide attempts.

There is no background of depression. There is a background of antisocial psychopathy.

The suicide is a defiant act, a reckless act, acting out in effect, an aggressive act, an externalization of aggression towards others by using the ultimate sacrifice, one's own body and life.

The emotional states associated with narcissistic suicidal ideation and suicide attempts are the best predictors of suicide among narcissists.

Narcissistic vulnerability, I'm going to quote from Roniksam article, narcissistic vulnerability creates susceptibility to feelings of shame, humiliation, defeat, entrapment and meaninglessness, which force narcissists into a sense of desperation leading to suicidal behaviors.

Association between these feelings and suicide has been confirmed empirically in several studies, four or five that I'm aware of by you.


So now let me read to you at length the table, a very comprehensive table, which you can find in Roniksam and Weinberg's article, link in the description, about the personality characteristics of suicidal narcissistic personality disorder patients.

Trait number one, perfectionism, the suicidal dynamic, one related to high unattainable standards that precipitate a persistent sense of failure, of not being good enough and relentless pursuit of elusive perfection.

I'm adding to compensate for the hyperactive bad object triggered by narcissistic injury, narcissistic wound or more dominantly and prominently by narcissistic mortification.

Narcissistic mortification reactivates the bad object and creates perfectionism is a compensatory mechanism.

Perfectionism is intended to counter the bad object by saying you're wrong. I'm not worthless. I'm not bad. I'm not inadequate. I'm not sufficient. I am lovable because I'm perfect. I'm perfect. God likes perfectionism is a defense against bad object dynamics and bad object dynamics left unchecked and uncontrolled could lead and do lead to suicide in definitely to suicide like Asian in among narcissists.


The second trait is a lack of self disclosure.

Shame avoidance leads the suicidal dynamics dynamic. Shame avoidance leads to self disclosure deficits, interferes with help seeking, thus contributing to increased suicide risk.

Say, running some in Weinberg.

Like number three, dissociation, detachment for one's body. The body provides a sense of being real and represents a valued part of the self.

Dissociation eliminates these feelings, making suicide easier to carry out.

Cerebral narcissist especially are divorced from their bodies completely. They consider their bodies to be containers at best, masturbatory machines, devices.

So it's very easy for the cerebral narcissist to contemplate just getting rid of this annex, this appendix of a body. Why do I need it? I have my brain. I have my mind. I have my towering intellect.

And so the cerebral is it a much higher risk of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.

Dissociation also leads to cognitive deconstruction.

A defensive avoidance of thinking in meaningful ways because of threats to the self. It increases the propensity for destructive actions.

Dissociation leads to inner deadness.

The famous current emptiness or schizoid core.

Science for the schizoid core. Very weak in a deadness commonly found in NPD patients as well as in suicidal people. The empty schizoid core is a great predictor of ultimate suicide or at least suicidal ideation.


And finally dissociation makes suicide more likely as an attempt to get rid of a meaningless life and an already dead self or a life that is about to become meaningless.

Now, another trait is body hatred.

Expectations of Venus or Apollo like bodies or a preoccupation with body imperfections, for example, body dysmorphic disorder, lead to a desire to get rid of an imperfect body.

And this is common among somatic narcissists, especially as they age, as they grow older. So they go into a frenzy of building bodybuilding, cultivating muscles, tattoos. I mean, they go nuts. They transform their bodies into a lifelong project in a desperate attempt to render it perfect.

And when they inevitably fail, there's a lot of suicidal ideation and some suicide attempts.

So the cerebral would contemplate suicide and carry it out sometimes because his body, he perceives his body as an encumbrance, as burdensome, as unnecessary, as a liability, while the somatic would go through the same suicidal ideation.

So we'll try to get rid of his body because his body failed him. It's no longer perfect. It's no longer functioning as it used to.

So body hatred in both forms, according to Roninz and Weinberg, is a great predictor of suicide among narcissists.


And finally, inconsistent self-representation, a confused self-identity, also known as identity disturbance, this is much more common among narcissistic borderlines.

Inconsistent standards of self, such as ideals and obligations, a propensity for self-integration, self-defeat, self-destructiveness, and a generally increased risk of suicide, owing to changing life circumstances, adverse stressful stressors and life circumstances that threaten the narcissist, threaten the narcissist's self-perception, his grandiosity, his fantastic space, his fantasy defense is disabled, and he's shamed and humiliated in public, his freedom is at risk, his livelihood is at risk, etc., his romantic or intimate partner has abandoned him, he lost all his sources of supply.

All these push the narcissist to say to the world, "I'm here and I'm as great as ever. I'm as divine and godlike as I've ever been." To prove this to you, I'm going to show you that I don't care even about my life and my body, I'm beyond this, I'm superior to this, I transcend this pedestrian lowbrow concerns.

You are mere mortals, I am immortal.

I'm going to show you that I don't care, I'm going to defy you, I'm going to defy your authority, I'm going to be contumacious and I'm going to be reckless with my life and with my body.

And to prove all this to you, I'm just going to kill myself, just to show you how little I care about you and your shenanigans.

This is the narcissist contorted, convoluted and twisted logic. Everything revolves around the grandiose fantasy defense and everything is made to fit into this defense, even self eradication and self extermination, as acts of grandiosity.

The Germans call it Goethe der Morn, the twilight of the gods, when Hitler committed suicide in his bunker, with cyanide and a ganshok by the way, he did this as a supreme act of historic defiance.

He was a god descending into hell, that was the twilight of his divinity.

He didn't consider himself a coward, he wasn't afraid. Hitler was pretty fearless by the way. He wasn't afraid, he wasn't terrorized, it was none of these things.

He was showing the middle finger to the Allies and to history, you shall not get me, you will not put me on trial.

I'm going to evade you and frustrate you, I'm just going to take myself out of this game which is for low lives and lowly people, because I'm above all this, I am God.

And in some respects, Jesus Christ did exactly the same.

He planned and executed his own suicide, he arranged everything and orchestrated it, but he did this as an apotheosis, as a way to become a god.

He did this out of motivations of grandiosity, telling the Roman Empire, the Jewish people and everyone around him, I am the one who controls my own death.

I in cahoots and in collusions with my father in heaven, I am his son, I am going to kill myself, you are just instruments in my own suicide.

The crucifixion was a suicide of course, Jesus could have easily evaded it, as anyone who has read the New Testament could testify.

Jesus wanted to be crucified, he orchestrated his own demise because it was a historic act of defiance and guaranteed his place in the annals of history as a new god.

Narcissists kill themselves in order to live forever.

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