Your Threatening Love: Why You Stay, Why He Abuses You

Uploaded 9/12/2020, approx. 32 minute read

The only reason you are watching these videos is to catch me committing an error, to catch me making a mistake. I know it. And I'm not mistaken at least about this.

So let's tackle today's crop before we revert to the topic of the video.

I've received several comments, emails, and two carrier pigeons in bad shape with messages that I'm mispronouncing serotonin. I'm pronouncing it as serotonin. And the accepted pronunciation is indeed serotonin.

But it's wrong. Exactly as you wouldn't say adrenaline, you should not say serotonin.

How did this happen? This is the accepted pronunciation. Everyone is saying serotonin.

How did this mistake take root so deeply and inextricably?

Well, the scientists who discovered serotonin in the 1940s mispronounced the word. They combined the word serum and tonic and they mispronounced the word. And this mispronunciation was handed down the generations. And today that's the way we saved.

But my critics are right. If I want to be understood, if I want to be comprehensible, I should adhere to the way the overwhelming vast majority of people pronounce the word serotonin. And from now on, I will.

The thing is I'm a bit eccentric, which is a politically correct way of saying that I'm totally nuts. And one of my eccentricities is language. I'm addicted to language you may have noticed. I study the etymology, the roots of words. I try to understand how they were made, how they're created, etc. And I'm utterly allergic, utterly allergic to mispronouncing words, not using the correct pronunciation when it comes to words.

And I regret to say no nationalism or racism, imply Americans do it a lot. They mispronounce words all the time because Americans are in control of the global mass media, Hollywood and social media. These mispronunciations become entrenched and widespread. And it's very, very difficult to eradicate them after that.

And so from now on, it's serotonin.

But you should know that properly, it should have been serotonin exactly like adrenaline.

Now, another torrent, another torrent of mischievous unraveling of my alleged omniscience had to do with the fruit.

In the previous video, I said that Eve gave the fruit to Ada. And I've received numerous misives informing me that she gave him an apple.

Well, actually, she didn't.

If you go to the text in Genesis 2 and Genesis 3, it's fruit, not apple.

So where does this very common misconception come from?

It comes from Latin. In Latin, the word evil is malum. And the word apple is malum, malum, malum.

And people confused it when they wanted to say that Eve handed evil to Ada. They said that she handed him malum, an apple.

Now, the last thing I want to tackle before we go to the topic of the video is the commentary by various people that God acted very eventually and narcissistically and so on and so forth in expelling Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, just for eating, just for engaging in vegetarian diet.

God actually acts in the text as a loving father would not only is he a loving father, but he is the first fashion designer long before Coco Chanel. He, as you will see shortly, he made the first clothing, the first clothes, I'm quoting, and to Adam also and to his wife, did the Lord God made coats of skins and clothed them.

But then, of course, he posted security guards and he instructed Adam and Eve to leave the Emporium as he caught them shoplifting. And then they ghosted him.

This is the whole story. So he drove out the men and he placed at the east of the Garden of Eden, cherubim's security guards and a flaming sword, which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life. So God wasn't as bad as he's made out to be.

He actually was very compassionate. He saw that Adam and Eve were naked and he made clothes for them and he gave him these pieces of clothing free of charge.

And of course, he wanted to protect his property. So he placed security guards with swords at the entrance to make sure that the shoplifters, Adam and Eve, will never come to visit this particular shopping mall again.

Today, we are going to review the literature. And we're going to ask the question, why do they abuse you? Why do narcissists and psychopaths abuse you? Why does he abuse you? And why do you stay?

He abuses you and you stay. Something is going on here.

Some very unhealthy diet, some very unhealthy connection of bonding, some dance macabre.

And I've received complaints from various listeners and viewers that I tend to focus too much on two, three, four scholars and I keep mentioning them. And in the letters that I've received, people said, but surely these topics are dealt with by other scholars, by other psychologists and by other theoreticians.

Can you tell us a bit about these other people?

Well, today I'm going to do that.

First of all, I'm going to refer you to a book as had become our tradition. And the book is sadism: analytic developmental perspectives. I strongly recommend this book. It's an anthology of articles, but it gives a great overview of dysfunctional relationships.

So the first scholar I would like to mention in this context is a guy by the name of Glasser. Glasser is G-L-A-S-S, sorry, E-R. Glasser came with the concept of the core complex. The core complex characterizes sadistic and aggressive people.

Glasser thought he developed the idea. He developed the idea in 1986 and he had written about it in 1986, 1992, 1996.

And Glasser saw the core complex as a universal stage. Everyone, he said, goes through the core complex.

And a central feature of the core complex is the very delicate relationship with a primary object, which is usually the mother.

There is a kind of dance, a kind of approach and avoidance, but it's very gentle and very subtle and very delicate and very nuanced and very hinted.

The core complex is on the one hand a withdrawal from the object, a withdrawal from the mother.

You remember that the baby tries to separate from the mother, tries to individuate in the process of becoming an individual.

The first thing that has to be sacrificed is mommy. And mommy is a safe base. Mommy provides, mommy is the world. Mommy is also in a unitary bond, in a unitary cell with the child. The child doesn't really regard himself or herself as separate from mommy.

And so in a way, in order to become an individual, in order to separate, the child has to sacrifice a part of himself.

So the withdrawal from the object, the separation, leads to a sense of desolation, aloneness, desperateness, and even in some cases fear.

This is why it's critical for the mother to be a safe base, to be a rock, to be solid, to be there for the baby so that the baby can feel safe enough, strong enough, secure enough to venture out into the world grandiosely to take on the world, knowing that mother has his back and that he can always return to mother.

But even if the mother is a totally safe base, compassionate and loving and warm and accepting and unconditionally there for the child, even in this total perfection of a case, even then there's a lot of fear. Venturing out into the unknown is frightening even when you're an adult.

Now imagine when you are, I don't know, a few months old. So there's a lotof aloneness, a lot of desolation, a lot of fear, and it can become unbearable.

And so children react sometimes by clinging to mother. Clinging to mother. If the mother is a safe base, gradually this clinging will wane and disappear. The child will venture further afield and further afield and further afield. He will start to run away from mother. He will lose sight of mother and he will not panic. He will know that she's somewhere there monitoring him, looking after him.

But if the mother is not a safe base, if the mother is narcissist or narcissistic, if the mother is labile, this regulated like a borderline, or if the mother is extremely and rigidly immature and forces the baby to be the mother, parentifies the baby.

Well, in this case, the clinging will only increase. The clinging will only be enhanced because there will be a perception of doom, impending doom. I'm about to lose mommy forever. Better cling to her.

And in many, in many cases, even clinging is not enough.

And then there is inside the baby, the realization that he needs to utterly control and possess the object. Utterly control and possess mommy. Because if he doesn't, he's going to lose her.

So clinging, control freakery, possessiveness, they develop very early on in life.

But at the same time, the child wants to separate. He wants to individuate. He wants to set very clear, demarcated, impermeable boundaries. He wants to become his own person.

So there is a dissonance. Yes, there's a conflict, there's a clash. On the one hand, fear, panic, loneliness, desperation, despondence, desolation, on the other hand. On the other hand, there's the fear of engulfment, of being digested, of being assimilated, of vanishing by merging and fusing with the mother.

And when the mother is unhealthy mentally, when she's not able to provide the safe base, there is no resolution to this dissonance. Both strands, both psychodynamic processes operate at the same time.

And one of the reactions is an narcissistic and omnipotent psychic organization, where power and control are the pillars and the foundations. The child relies on power plays, displays of unmitigated control, and mind games, frankly, a bit later.

And the child also sexualizes the relationship, even with mother. There are hints of incest, and these hints grow with time. The relationship becomes very incestuous emotionally.

And as the child matures, becomes, for example, adolescent, this ambient incest, this emotional incest, becomes dominant, and the child is totally parentified. He becomes the mother's boyfriend, he becomes the mother's husband's substitute.

But it's later down the road. It all starts in childhood.

But such a child learns to relate to objects. In other words, he learns to relate to other people only via control, only via power play, only via submerged submersion, possession, immersion, fusion, merger. These are all utterly dysfunctional ways of relating to an object. They don't allow for whole object relating. They don't allow for proper relating to other people, because they don't see other people.

In all these ways of relating to an object, the object is there to be subsumed, to be digested, to be devoured, to be integrated, to become an extension. The object is not an autonomous, independent entity with its own boundaries, and its own mental space, its own psychology. The object becomes, in a way, a symbol, a representation, the condition, the condition for inner peace, the condition for egosyntony. It's like a favorite food. You have to eat this food to feel good. Soothing, it's a form of self soothing.

And this creates, in turn, an addiction, because the devouring of the object, the possession of the object and the control of the object, the critical, soothing, comfort, inner peace, a level of coordination, self-efficacy, autonomy, reality testing, all these critical functions become highly reliant on possessing and controlling the object.

Now, there are two ways to possess and control the object.

You can blackmail the object into possession and control by becoming helpless, by becoming needy, and that's the codependent solution.

The codependent is so helpless and so needy that she coerces, forces the object to respond in a way that bonds and binds the object to her.

If the codependent is so helpless and so needy and so childlike, and so at risk, and so disorganized and so disintegrative, and so, you know, then you feel that you're obliged to help. It's not okay not to help her. It's cruelty, not to cater to her emotional needs.

So it's a form of control. Codependency is a form of control, frikery. It's a form of possession. That's one solution, clinging, neediness.

And the other solution is the narcissistic solution, aggression, power, contempt.

So, but in both these solutions, there's no real object related. There's no ability to relate to other people.

And so Glasser says, remember Glasser? This guy who invented all this.

Glasser says that in core complex defenses, I've just described core complex defenses.

Core complex defenses are characterized by a denial of the object.

It's like the person says, my mother is not a safe base. She doesn't give me the reassurance and acceptance and unconditional love and presence that I need in order to feel safe and secure and strong and resilient and able to take on the world.

So I can't trust her. I can't rely on her. She's not serious, you know?

So who can I trust? Who can I rely on? Who is my best and only friend? Who am I in total control of? Who is utterly predictable? Me, only me.

So goodness, safety, security, they come from a single source, the self, the self. And everyone else is considered to be unsafe, hostile, insecure, dangerous, risky to be avoided.

There's a disavowal of the very possibility of receiving love and care from another person.

And now if you challenge this, if you try to love a narcissist, if you try to care for a narcissist, you're challenging his worldview. He has a worldview that he is and only he is the source of everything that's good, everything that's safe, everything that's secure, everything that's permanent, everything that's predictable, only me, only the self.

If you are trying to get close to a narcissist, if you're trying to be intimate with a narcissist, rather trying to love the narcissist and to care for the narcissist, if you're trying to embrace the narcissist, even sometimes physically, you're challenging, you're actually criticizing the narcissist. You're telling the narcissist what you think about the world is utter blatherdash, utter nonsense. It's not true that you are the only source of everything that's good and safe. I'm also there for you. I also love you. I also care for you. And you know, narcissists don't like to be criticized. They don't like it when you disagree with them. They don't like it when you challenge their grandiosity and to be the source of all good and the source of everything that's safe and stable and permanent.

That's a God like attribute that renders the narcissist divine.

And here you come and you're telling the narcissist you're wrong. You're not divine. You're not divine. I can give you the same. I can give you love. I can give you intimacy. I can hug you. I can kiss you. I can make you feel safe. You can sleep, safely sleep on my chest, on my shoulder. You can trust me.

This is a direct challenge.

And the narcissist reacts to these, to your empathy, to your compassion, to your caring, to your love.

Narcissist reacts to this with unmitigated aggression and violence because you, all these that I've just mentioned, your empathy, love and so on and caring, these are challenges. You are challenging him. You are trying to deconstruct and destroy decades of work.

Bateman in 2006 developed the work of another scholar by the name of Roseanne. Roseanne suggested that there are two types of narcissists.

Thick, thick skinned narcissist and thin skinned narcissist. Thin skinned narcissist, when they're challenged, tend to withdraw. They tend to become schizoid. They have many elements of borderline and they are a bit covert. They are also passive aggressive and so on.

Thick skinned narcissist, when they feel under attack, when they feel criticized or disagreed with or challenged, they react, when they react with aggressive strategies, they become inaccessible. They become defensive. They become violent. They protect themselves against the perceived threat, the threat of unsettling and undermine their world view.

Here they are with a perfectly well arranged point of view and view of the world, a theory of the world actually, in which they are all good and everyone else is all bad. This is called splitting. It's a defense mechanism where the narcissist is all good and everyone else is all bad and they firmly believe this and here you come into the lives, into the life of a narcissist and you're telling the narcissist you're wrong.

There are other good people. For example, me, I love you. I love you. I care for you. I feel your pain. I want to participate in, I want to be a part of your life and so the thick skinned narcissist would immediately put up a wall, a firewall. He would immediately become utterly inaccessible. His eyes will glaze over. You will see that there's nobody home. He will put forward his absence. His absence will become conspicuous absence or stentatious absence.

So as to inform you, I'm no longer here. I'm gone. Forget it. Don't even try. There's nobody home. Don't knock on the door. Go away.

And this is done very aggressively and Bateman, 2006, described the process.

Glass's concept of core conflicts helps us to understand the development of the special relationship between the aggressive narcissist and psychopath and his mate, his spouse, his intimate or so-called intimate partner. I call it his insignificant other.

Why do you stay?

I've just explained why he abuses. He abuses you precisely because you're empathy, because you're loving, because you're embracing it, because you're helpful, because you're supportive. All these things he hates. He hates because there are indications of weakness, not only your weakness, but his weakness. He sees in you his weakness. He's projecting onto you all his negativity. And if you refuse to accept it, if you remain a positive person, he suddenly realizes that the negativity is his, not yours. The projection fails. You, you undermine his projection, which is his main defense mechanism.

So he hates your guts. He hates your guts for being good and for, and especially for being good to him.

Okay, we got this part, but why do you stay?

Glasser says that people stay in such relationships because there is what he calls a sadomasochistic fit. Glasser believes that the core complex has its origin, as I said, in normal developmental phenomena. He said it's the infant's wish to merge with an idealized, omnipotent and gratifying mother as an early solution to anxieties of loss and gendered by the infant's move towards separation and individuation, as I explained before.

But as I again said before, if the mother is unavailable, if it's a dead mother, if it's narcissistically oriented, or if it forces the narcissist to meet her own narcissistic need and to become a primary caregiver, if it parentifies the child, this creates serious problems.

So the core complex is actually a glorified version of what Sigmund Freud called approach avoidance repetition compulsion. He describes a movement, a repetitive undistructed movement between a deep seated longing for intimate closeness with an object, and at the same time, simultaneously terrifying, terrifying escape and flight away from the object.

So at the same time, there is a flight response. The narcissist tries to run away. You threaten him, you intimidate him, your very presence and your properties and your love and your care and your empathy, they're serious threat. So he's trying to run away. But he also craves it. He really misses it. He wants to fulfill his emptiness with your love and empathy. And he can't. He can't because the desired merger with you threatens him. He believes that if he were to accept your love and empathy and caring and hugs and sexuality and intimacy, if he were to accept this, it would result in his annihilation. He would vanish. It's his annulment.

The narcissist cannot understand any other type of relationship except when one of the parties vanishes. When he approaches you, he wants you to vanish in him. And when you approach him, he thinks that you want him to vanish in you because in the narcissist mind, one of you must vanish. It's the same in the codependency mind. It's the same in the borderline mind. This vanishing effect is a kind of magical thinking effect. If I fuse, if I merge, if I vanish, I'm safe. I'm safe because we become one. I can never be abandoned. If I become one with my intimate partner, if we become a single organism with two heads, if we share everything to perfection 100%, if I vanish, he can never abandon me. How can he abandon himself? I become him so he can never abandon him. He can never abandon himself.

So in the narcissist mind, this is the only way that objects that people relate to each other. His version of object relations is one object which takes over kind of a hostile takeover, merger and acquisition, you know, one object that takes over another object, a leveraged buyout of the other object.

So whenever someone approaches a narcissist offering friendship, love, intimacy, empathy, the narcissist immediately translates it in his persecutory, paranoid ideation. He immediately interprets it. Oh, this guy, he wants something for me. He wants to take over me. He wants to take something that's mine. This woman, she's offering love. It's conditional. She wants something.

Gradually, she will digest me. She will assimilate me. I will disappear. I will vanish. She wants to devour me. She wants to eat me alive. I need to run. I need to run, but it feels so good. What am I going to do?

And the ensuing oscillation, this pendulum movement, this is the confused. This is the confused interplay of closeness annihilation and distance abandonment. And it's almost unresolvable.

Glasses says that there are various ways that the narcissist copes. And in a minute I will come to the answer, why are you staying? For you to understand why you're staying, you first need to understand the narcissist more deeply.

He said, when the narcissist experiences this fear, this panic, this terror, because it's equivalent of mortification, it's terrorizing. When he fears that you will annihilate him, that you will consume him, that you will devour him. So he either becomes defensive and he withdraws. That's when you see that the narcissist becomes cold, detached, absent, sometimes physically absent. He becomes, for example, a workaholic. And that's one solution.

And the other solution, he becomes depressed and arrogant and contemptuous. And so there's an aggressive solution, aggressive solution where the narcissist tries to destroy the engulfing object, to destroy the object that threatens to eat him alive. In other words, to destroy you.

He wants to destroy your existence because it's only one of you will be left standing.

It's like duel at noon, you know.

The first one to draw is the first one to win.

So he has to draw first. He has to eliminate you and annihilate you because you are threatening his existence. Or he has to keep his distance. He has to withdraw.

And when he withdraws from you, he devalues you. He becomes arrogant and contemptuous.

But in both cases, he loses you. He desires you. He craves you. He wants you. He wants love. He's hungry. He's thirsty. He's exhausted.

To be a narcissist is a horribly depleting experience. I mean, it's internal exhaustion that cannot be communicated. Trust me, I'm a master of words and I have no words. I'm speechless. There's no way to communicate. The vacuity, the howling void, the deep space that consumes the narcissist from the inside, like an unrelenting, metastatic, systemic cancer. Every cell co-opted, every cell compromised, every tissue, a traitor.

The narcissist has a fifth column inside him, multiplicity, a herd of Trojan horses. And he's fighting this inner battle in this battlefield and he takes away all his energy. And he's dying to take your energy from you. That's the vampiric element in narcissism.

But he also wants to be loved. He's a child, remember, yes? Don't ever forget this.

Masis is a child and he's dying to be loved. And he has this terror that you will abandon him, this extreme abandonment anxiety. And the loss of the desired object is the ultimate tragedy. That's why it usually leads to mortification where the false self crumbles, the narcissist suddenly faces himself in the mirror.

And this is the fundamental conflict of narcissism. This is the circular nature of the core complex.

The aggression, when the narcissist is aggressive, according to Glasser and his core complex concept, when the narcissist is aggressive, it's because he wants to master you. He wants to master you. He wants to own you. He wants to possess you because he says he gives up on himself. The narcissist gives up on himself. He says, it's not going to work. It's not going to work because I have no capacity to accept love and care and concern and empathy. I am disabled. I can't do empathy. I don't do empathy well.

Of course, majority of narcissists aggrandize and reframe this. They don't present it. They don't regard it as a disability, but they regard it as an evolutionary advantage. It makes them superior. It makes them untouchable. It makes them immune. It makes them strong, makes them strong, makes them omnipotent, etc.

But deep inside, aloneat night, when everyone's asleep and the narcissist is in the bathroom, looking at the mirror, he knows everything. He knows something's wrong with him. And he knows he can't fix it. And he knows that he can't do what other people do effortlessly.

What every man does 200 times a day in every restaurant, in every bar, in every workplace, intimacy, real talk, real communication, concern, capacity for empathy. It doesn't get through to the narcissists. The walls, the defenses, the fortresses, the draw bridges. I mean, it's totally isolated on a hill. It's like a city on a hill. It's like a citadel and no amount of siege will get through.

And Glasser suggests that reality is corrupted in order to meet narcissistically driven needs.

But it works against any toleration of dependence, of separateness, of loss, of ambivalence. All these are experiences, threats to the self.

So on the one hand, he wants you gone. He wants to separate from you. Like the child that he is, he's still stuck in the separation individuation.

But on the other hand, he wants you to be a safe base. He wants you to be there for him, to have his back, to love him, to caress him, to kiss him gently, to make tender love to him. He wants this and he can never have it.

It's like Moses and the promised land. It's like the fold, the folks and the grapes.

And of course he has numerous cognitive dissonances. I don't really need it. I don't really want it. I'm strong and resilient. I don't need anyone. I'm sufficient, self-sufficient and self-contained.

Yeah, we heard all this. We heard all this nonsense.

And when he's alone, he knows it's not.

Glasser distinguishes between what he calls self-preservative violence and sadistic violence.

He says that self-preservative violence has to do with eliminating the threat posed by the object. It's about attacking the object, destroying the source of the ego-discrepant messages, destroying the found and the foundation of the challenge to the grandiosity.

The narcissist feels extremely discomfited, extremely vaguely menaced by your presence because your very existence proves to him that it's possible to be different. You don't have to be a narcissist. You can be something else. You can be happy. You can be smiling. You can be loving. You can be caring. You can be empathic. You can bond with other people. You can have great fun. You can have a good time. You know what? You can make love even with strangers.

And here he is crippled, invalid by his own haughtiness, arrogance and honestly stupidity, profound stupidity. The narcissist, even if he has 190 IQ, is an unmitigated idiot. He is the wisdom of a donkey. He is knowledgeable but never wise.

And so he wants to destroy you because you are a reminder of all these things and you're a witness to his inanity, foolishness. He's a fool of himself, fool.

And this is the self-preservative violence because he wants to preserve his self, his false self.

And then there is sadistic violence. And sadistic violence is more about gaining control of him, the pleasure of dominating you in an extreme cases of sadistic narcissists, inflicting pain on you. This causes the narcissist's pleasure because it reaffirms his superiority and his omnipotence. Sadistic violence leads me to the answer to your question.

Why are you staying? You're staying because you are enmeshed in a sadomasochistic diet.

You yourself have a sadomasochistic streak. There is a sadomasochistic object.

And if the relationship between you proceeds beyond a certain point, the manifestations of aggression become toxic because they become addictive.

Let me explain.

Violence and aggression and passive aggression in a typical relationship with the narcissist has to do with sadomasochism. Someone enjoys being the recipient of the aggression and someone enjoys inflicting it because it reaffirms his omnipotence, because it ameliorates his abandonment and anxiety, whatever the reason is.

There is joy, subjective joy, reaffirmation. There is egosyntony, restore, inner peace in inflicting this pain and power play, within the power play.

And the recipient has the same reaction. So there's a sadomasochistic object and you gradually pick up the signals from the narcissist.

The narcissist actually establishes boundaries for you. What you do in a relationship with the narcissist is you outsource your boundaries. You allow the narcissist to set your boundaries. If you try to transgress, if you try to cross these boundaries, extend them flexibly, redefine them, reframe them.

The narcissist has a persecutory, a persecutory and paranoid reaction. He's going to regard you as a threat and he's going to react with aggression and sometimes violence.

There was another scholar by the name of Motz, M-O-T-Z, he's a woman. She came up with the concept of toxic coupling and she demonstrated in her work how the two partners, the narcissist and his intimate partner or insignificant other, how they are destructively dependent on each other. They're allied in a perverse bond.

I advise you to read her work, especially articles, papers and books published in 2014.

According to Motz, the main defenses that are used to preserve the relationship are projection and projective identification and these defenses serve important functions. They're destructive, but when you are inside the relationship and when you experience the projection and the projective identification, you feel vindicated, you feel alive, you feel you have a firm grasp of reality, you feel addicted. It's very addictive.

I have a video about projection, projective identification and projective introspection. So projection, introjection, projective identification. I have several videos actually, but there's one of them which deals also with interjection.

And interjection is what you do in the relationship with the narcissist. You have the narcissist's spouse or mate or girlfriend or whatever and he is doing projection. You are doing interjection. You are equally contributing to the relationship.

Steiner, in 1993, discussed the emergence of Saddam's autistic type of relating in such relationships. He said that both love and hate exist in these relationships and they both function in a perverse way. He said that both parties, the narcissist and his partner, they create fantasies and that these fantasies have very strong Saddam's autistic elements and hues.

And these are the Saddam's autistic elements, create a lot of excitement and thrill and pleasure because cruelty is sexual. I mean, Croft Ebbing was the first to describe this.

Sadism and cruelty have a very powerful sexual element. Well over 80% of women have submissive masochistic fantasies. Well over 20% of women, their main sexual fantasy is rape. And of course, men have aggressive fantasies.

So when there's embedded cruelty, when the abuse is ritualized, when it becomes a common religion, a shared fantasy, a shared psychosis, there's a lot of excitement and pleasure and thrill. It's like a joint adventure.

And this is not inhibited by any recognition of hurt or damage to the object.

We see this a lot in BDSM, in Saddam's autistic sex, where the hurt and the pain are recognized. The parties know that they're inflicting pain and hurt on each other, but it's highly regimented. It's rigid, it's ritualized, it's like a ceremony.

And there are key words and everything is like catechism in the Catholic church. It's like a religion.

And the confusion and excitement, this confusion, this excitement, this cruelty, they characterize the relationship.

It seems that gradually the parties, even if you start out as a totally normal person, loving, empathic, empathic, caring, even if previously we had relationships where everything was totally functional, and emotional expression was healthy, and forthcoming communication was well established and working. Even then, when you enter the narcissist's hall of mirrors, your ability to link hurt and pain to the subject, to another person, your disability disintegrates. You develop difficulty in linking the concepts of being hurt or inflicting pain on the subject and the object.

In other words, let me try to explain this. It's like hurt and pain becomes the third part.

There's the narcissist, there's you, and there is what you do to each other. What you do to each other has nothing to do with you or with the narcissist. It's like a third entity.

You can see this plainly and wonderfully in two movies, The Last Tango in Paris and Who is Afraid of Virginia Woolf, where you have couples, men and women, and they're clearly very bonded and very attached, but they together cultivate and nurture a universe of pain and hurt, maybe also nine and a half weeks.

The hurt and pain become like children, and they both emotionally invest in growing this sibling, this child of anguish and torment and torture.

Suddenly, these emotions are disjointed. They're not connected to the narcissist or to his spouse or mate. They're like their stand-alone units to be used devices, and so it's extremely difficult in couple therapy to work through this, because the members of the couple, the narcissist and his spouse, they play roles. The spouse or the mate or the intimate partner usually plays the role of a victim within a comfort zone, and the narcissist plays the role of the abuser. Sometimes it's reversed.

The narcissist claims to be the victim, but these are role plays. It's like a theater production. It's like a movie.

Wellden, in 2012, coined the phrase malignant bonding. She highlighted the enmeshed relationships in which abuse and cruelty become the norm.

Wellden saw the violence in such relationships as the way in which partners attempt to overcome earlier trauma. It's like they're trying to reenact experiences in order to triumph over learned helplessness.

She was not the first to say this.

My good friend, John LaChiusa, in the 80s, she wrote the seminal groundbreaking book, Narcissistic Borderline Couples, now in its second edition. LaChiusa was the first to point out that narcissists and borderlines, they have archaic wounds.

The archaic wound is something first described by Freud. It's trauma, childhood traumas. They're trying to heal each other, actually. They're interacting with each other's archaic wounds. It's like scratching a wound. You can't help it. It's itchy. They scratch each other's wounds.

Later she invented the term v-spot, vulnerability spot. Hyatt Williams in 1998 suggested that enactments of aggression, violence, and even murderousness, they are part of this toxicity, part of these toxic relationships.

Because a lot of the emotional experiences are not processed. There's no mutual containment as but beyond called it. They're not processed. The emotions are not really processed.

What happens is the emotions are converted into the language of mutual aggression, mutual infliction of pain and hurt.

Yekli in 2010 suggests that if the child had internalized a pathological attachment relationship, then he's of her capacity to regulate emotions is very reduced and the individual is more likely to express emotions in a primitive way by engaging in aggression and violence towards self and others.

But I value most an earlier contribution by Vaknin. In 1995, she asserted that aggression and violence come about because people are unable to reflect and unable to mentalize, unable to mentalize.

And in my next video, I'm going to discuss mentalization because mentalization is the very mechanism, the very process by which we generate empathy. Mentalizing is a process where we make sense of each other and we make sense of ourselves by making sense of each other in terms of subjective states and mental processes.

In other words, we ask ourselves what's happening to this guy or girl? What's going on through their minds? What makes them tick?

This is mentalizing. It's a social concern. We are attentive to the mental states of people we're with physically, psychologically. It's the ability to understand the mental state of oneself and of other people.

And it leads to behavior, translates to behavior. It's a form of imaginative, creative mental activity.

It's with mentalization that we perceive and interpret human behavior in terms of intentional mental states. And without mentalization, we cannot create a theory of mind, a theory of other people's minds.

And therefore, we cannot empathize. And I think this insights by Fornace and Target, this is the crux. This is the issue. This is the issue.

When you are not allowed to separate and individuate, there's no one there. You are not allowed to become.

And when you are not allowed to become, who? There's no one there to do the observing. If you don't exist, you can't observe. If you can't observe, you can't reflect. If you can't reflect, you can't mentalize. If you can't mentalize, you can't realize that there are other people. You can't, you can never understand other people because there's no you. If there's no you, there's no he. If there's no you, there's no she. If there's no you, there's no they. If there's no you, there is no world except something very fuzzy, very foggy, very ominous, very about to become, but never really there.

The narcissist is an absence about to become on the threshold of becoming a presence, an absence on the threshold of becoming a presence, and yet absence fears presence.

And here you come and you're offering the narcissist your hand and your heart and your mind. And you're telling the narcissist, take my hand. I'm going to lead you over the threshold. I'm going to lead you over the threshold from absence to presence, but you don't understand.

What you're saying to the narcissist is, take my hand. I'm going to lead you into your greatest terror, into your most horrible nightmare. I'm going to lead you into becoming. I'm going to lead you into becoming an entity.

Narcissist fears nothing more than the world and than having a presence in the world. And you can facilitate this.

Therefore, you are the enemy. The more you love him, the more of an enemy you are.

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