Excerpts from the Archives of the Narcissism List - Part 35
Listowner: Dr. Sam Vaknin
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1. How to Leave a Narcissist
The narcissist analyses (and internalizes) everything in terms of blame and guilt, superiority and inferiority, gain (victory) and loss (defeat) and the resulting matrix of Narcissistic Supply. Narcissists are binary contraptions.
Thus, the formula is very simple:
Shift the blame to yourself ("I don't know what happened to me, I have changed, it is my fault, I am to blame for this, you are constant, reliable and consistent.").
Tell him you feel guilty (excruciatingly so, in great and picturesque detail).
Tell him how superior he is and how inferior you feel.
Make this separation your loss and his absolute, unmitigated gain.
Convince him that he is likely to gain more supply from others (future women?) than he ever did or will from you.
Make clear that your decision - though evidently "erroneous" and "pathological" - is FINAL, irrevocable and that all contact is to be severed henceforth.
And never leave ANYTHING in writing.
2. Can Narcissists be Helped by Hypnosis?
The narcissist's problem is not that of repression of traumatic past events.
Hypnosis is often used to gain access to repressed events in childhood or some other traumatic period of the subject's life (regression).
It is also somewhat effective in behaviour modification.
The narcissist clearly remembers all the abuse and trauma. His is a problem of interpretation and defence mechanisms employed AGAINST what he so clearly and painfully remembers.
3. Predicting the Narcissist
As you know, narcissism is a SPECTRUM of diseases with gradations, shadows and hues.
If you refer strictly to diagnosed, non self-aware NPD's then I would say that this kind of person deviates once every 10 times from the "manual".
A deeper look into these "deviations" usually yields an overlooked datum, omitted fact or neglected detail.
If there were a perfect mind able to pay constant and equal attention to all data - however negligible and marginal - I believe it would have been able to predict the narcissism 99 out of 100 times, so great is the rigidity of this disorder.
By the way, it is possible to reach this level of accurate prediction with obsessive-compulsives, for instance. Mental illness contracts one's universe so dramatically that it becomes deterministic and simple - in other words, predictable. After all, isn't this what personality disorders are all about - eliminating the unpredictability and arbitrariness of a menacing world?
4. Narcissists and Children
The severest form of narcissists - NPD - loathe babies. I came across this startling phenomenon time and again. The reasons are varied and multifaceted. But the sentiment - pretensions and social etiquette aside - is unmistakable and unequivocal.
As usual, to secure Narcissistic Supply, the narcissist will go to any length and will act as though enamoured with children in general, with specific children (including his or her own) in particular, or with the very concept of childhood (innocence, freshness, etc.). But this is an act - calculated, short-lived, goal-orientated, often cruel, and abruptly terminated.
This article appears in my book, "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited"
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Why this repulsion and sadistic impulses?
Envy is a major factor. Narcissists are likely to have had a miserable childhood. They are violently jealous of children who seem to enjoy an altogether different experience.
They cannot bring themselves to believe that there is such a thing as parental love, non-abusive relationships, and reciprocity.
They impose their own values and behaviour patterns on the situation. A cute and cuddly infant is likely to be perceived by them as manipulative. A kiss or hug - as an ominous violation of boundaries.
An expression of love is always hypocritical, peremptory, or designed to achieve some goal.
Children are a nuisance, boring, demanding, selfish, feel entitled, lack empathy, cunning, they idealize and then devalue...
To the narcissist children are ... NARCISSISTS! Their personality still being formed, they are the perfect object of projection and projective identification. Hence the strong emotional reaction they elicit in the narcissist. Mirrors always do.
Additionally, because children are perceived to be narcissists by the narcissist - to him, they are his competitors. They compete with him on scarce Narcissistic Supply, attention, adulation, or applause. They are often entitled to things he is not and their behaviour is tolerated where his is reviled and rejected.
None of what I wrote hitherto contradicts the fact that children - especially his or her own - are the narcissist's favourite Source of Supply.
The narcissist often despises his Sources of Supply and deeply resents his dependence on them for the regulation of his wavering sense of self-worth.
Then there is the issue of emotions. The narcissist detests and abhors emotions.
This is the result of fear. The narcissist fears his pent-up emotions because most of them are terrifyingly and uncontrollably and violently negative. To the narcissist, emotions and their expression signify weakness and an irrevocable and unstoppable deterioration towards disintegration. And what provokes and reifies emotions more than children do? Thus, in the narcissist's twisted mind and to his thwarted emotional makeup, children constitute a threat.
5. Why do I Write Poetry?
My world is painted in shadows of fear and sadness. Perhaps they are related - I fear the sadness. To avoid the overweening, sepia melancholy that lurks in the dark corners of my being - I deny my own emotions. I do so thoroughly, with the single-mindedness of a survivor. I persevere through dehumanization. I automate my processes. Gradually, parts of my flesh turn into metal and I stand there, exposed to sheering winds, as grandiose as my disorder.
I write poetry not because I need to. I write poetry to gain attention, to secure adulation, to fasten on to the reflection in the eyes of others that passes for my Ego. My words are fireworks, formulas of resonance, the periodic table of healing and abuse.
These are dark poems. A wasted landscape of pain ossified, of scarred remnants of emotions. There is no horror in abuse. The terror is in the endurance, in the dreamlike detachment from one's own existence that follows. People around me feel my surrealism. They back away, alienated, discomfited by the limpid placenta of my virtual reality. Now I am left alone and I write umbilical poems as others would converse.
Before and after prison, I have written reference books and essays. My first book of short fiction was critically acclaimed and commercially successful.
I tried my hand at poetry before, in Hebrew, but failed. 'Tis strange. They say that poetry is the daughter of emotion. Not in my case. I never felt except in prison - and yet there, I wrote in prose. The poetry I authored as one does math. It was the syllabic music that attracted me, the power to compose with words. I wasn't looking to express any profound truth or to convey a thing about myself. I wanted to recreate the magic of the broken metric. I still recite aloud a poem until it SOUNDS right. I write upright - the legacy of prison. I stand and type on a laptop perched atop a cardboard box. It is ascetic and, to me, so is poetry. A purity. An abstraction. A string of symbols open to exegesis. It is the most sublime intellectual pursuit in a world that narrowed down and has become only my intellect.
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