Excerpts from the Archives of the Narcissism List - Part 28

Listowner: Dr. Sam Vaknin


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1. The Digital Narcissist (SEX)

After years of being convinced that I invented a digital (finger) version of Kama Sutra, I was told lately that I actually HURT the women thus penetrated.

It shocked me somewhat.

Also, rhythm-wise I am absolutely out of synch with my partner.

I can't dance and I can't mate. I have no sense of harmony or beat.

And - though trying to be as altruistic in sex as I can - I usually end up a total egotist.

This is why, INVARIABLY, all my women refused to have sex with me after a year or two and deteriorated to furtive lovemaking with strangers.

Do you know that not a single woman ever wanted to have a child with me?

I find this STUNNING. In prison, women begged MURDERERS to impregnate them.

I NEVER met ANYONE, including real psychos and the retarded, who was actively avoided by women where procreation is concerned.

It is so outlandish - as though they felt an alien presence, had a frisson of natural abhorrence.

We are sad people.

2. Eye Contact

Avoiding eye contact and evading conversation is the narcissist's haughty way of saying: "I am above these people who are so undeserving of my company".

The narcissist - by avoiding other people who might contradict and shatter his or her grandiose fantasies - is actually employing a DEFENSE mechanism.

A narcissistic injury is a horrible and interminable pain and provokes in the narcissist rage, indignation, hate, envy, and other disagreeable emotions. Slowly, the narcissist learns to isolate herself from potential sources of narcissistic injury (basically, all humans and human situations).

Many narcissists become schizoids (see: http://samvak.tripod.com/faq67.html).

3. Narcissism Forming

Pathological narcissism develops during the formative years of the narcissist (1-6).

A narcissistic reactive formation, or narcissistic regression is possible following later-life trauma - but that would be a short term affair and would not alter the underlying personality.

I, therefore, tend to doubt the linkage between late life trauma and personality change.

There is a lot of material about the formation of narcissistic pathology in my FAQs.

Additionally, only a qualified mental health professional can render a diagnosis of NPD.

Even then I would recommend at least one more (second) opinion.

NPD is a new mental health category, there is no experience in treating it, almost no research.

4. The Human Maelstroms

Narcissists are human maelstroms.

They suck others around them into their turbulent lives with irresistible ferocity.

They invent a narrative - or use one - and force others to play their parts within it ("emergence").

To remain healthy in their presence, one must have a strong inner core, a set of immutable principles, and to apply them unflinchingly.

You cannot live by your daughter's or your son's reactions or potential reactions.

Humans are take it or leave it propositions (with minor modifications around the edges).

Let them make the decision to take you or leave you.

In truth there is nothing much you can do about being who you are.

The worst you can do is collaborate and become a statist in someone else's scenario.

5. More about the False Self and the True Self

("Ego" and "Self" are used here interchangeably - I do not apply Jung's or Kohut's distinctions).

(continued below)


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The False Self is a device invented by the narcissist in order to support his grandiose, compensatory delusions, to shield him from hurt, and (more importantly) to attract other people and lure them into fulfilling ego-functions for him.

This attraction is the result of the mental make-up of those attracted to the narcissist - and of his ability to excite, thrill, project certainty, etc.

So, the narcissist's False Ego is far more rewarding than his dilapidated, dysfunctional and immature True Ego.

The non-narcissistic person has no False Self.

His Ego (the True one) is integrated into his personality and is functional, realistic, and mature.

The "normal" person does not need others to help him to be himself, to properly gauge his talents and limitations, to support grandiose fantasies, etc.

So, he has only True Ego and no False Ego to prefer to it.

6. Detoxifying

Detoxifying is never joyous.

There is always pain associated with flexing one's atrophied muscles of self-protection.

Training for the marathon of life is often bone breaking and we never even get to race.

Meaninglessness, circularity, entrapment hurt.

The agony of saying goodbye is often nothing compared to the anguish of saying hello.

Unfortunately, we learn by error conceived in constant trial.

Call that taxi. Sometimes, the shortest phone calls take us the longest way.

It takes a total stranger to soothe and drive you in the right direction.

And even then one has to pay the fare.

This is a consolation. The togetherness of solitude, the communion of the solitary, the solitaire of life.

7. NPD, AsPD

I have written extensively about NPD versus AsPD but, in a nutshell, the important differences, in my view, are:

As opposed to what Scott Peck says, narcissists are not evil - they lack the intention to cause harm.

They are simply indifferent, callous and careless in their conduct and in their treatment of their fellow humans.

We often crave abuse because we mistakenly identify abuse with purification and growth (abuse retards personal growth).

It is an erroneous assumption that you matter to him.

You don't. You are a representation, a silhouette, a shadow, a statistic.

To him, appearances notwithstanding, you are utterly interchangeable, dispensable and replaceable.

I know that you find this difficult to believe - isn't the very essence of pride the belief that we are INdispensable, IRreplaceable, unique?

Yet, to the narcissist we are mere instruments for his gratification.

He derives pleasure from humiliating others, basks in their pain (which he interprets as proof of his omnipotence), derives Narcissistic Supply from their attention and adulation.

Your departure will only vindicate him and validate his basic distrust of humans and human nature.

There is nothing you can do about this deep seated misanthropy.

Your staying will not stay it - and your departure will not enhance its venom.

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