Sam Vaknin’s Instagram Epigrams

 

Me on Israeli TV 21 years ago. Life is a cruel master and a merciless mentor. By the time you have learned your lessons - you can no longer put them to good use.

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In 1995 I coined the phrase "narcissistic abuse" to describe the unique brand of abuse inflicted on victims by narcissists. One of the techniques of abuse I dubbed "gaslighting or ambient abuse". The Australian published an article titled: "Gaslighters and the Erosion of Self" You can read it here: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/narcissisticabuse/conversations/messages/8674

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This is the original manuscript of "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited". I wrote it in prison, in Hebrew, at night, by candlelight, standing and scribbling on my upper bunk in a barrack with 7 other men. I posted an English version online in 1997 and published the first edition in Prague two years later. http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/thebook.html

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Lecture on cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Was too technical and dry, definitely not one of my best. More about the topic here: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/nm17.html

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No, not a horror movie. The corridor to my rented apartment in Krasnodar on a particularly bad day. The apartment itself is comfy and Ludmila the admin is as helpful and friendly as can be. My Mind Game stories are available here: http://samvak.tripod.com/sipurim.html

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Fredericka, my blind ageing goldfish (like master, like pet). Got her from my wife, Lidija, when we effectively separated for one year as she was renovating an apartment to render it our home. The handimen she was working with brought it to her in a truncated Coca-Cola plastic bottle "to keep your husband company so that he is not lonely". Wrote a story about her here: http://samvak.tripod.com/petsnail-en.html

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This Bambi is loved, protected, feels safe enough to fall asleep and let its guard down. It know that is accepted and understood, bathed as it is in the warmth of the underlying hands. And the man holding it will never let go, will never just walk away. His hands are a commitment to the Bambi. My poetry is here: http://samvak.tripod.com/contents.html

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I am losing my Magic Unicorn. Forty years and forty nights to find her. But she is no one's. Not mine and no one else's. She is wild freedom reified. Some say she does not even exist. She touches and transforms and gallops away in misty grey. I miss her so already and she is not even gone yet.

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[IMAGE OF TEXT]  From my book "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited" http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/thebook.html

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Can anyone identify the object drawn on the whiteboard? No? No wonder. Either I am the world's worst sketcher - or I haven't had access to this kind of object in a great while. I will let you guess which. Videos about the narcissist's sexuality on my YouTube channel http//www.youtube.com/samvaknin

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Medical doctors falsify lab results and order unnecessary and sometimes injurious medical tests in order to extort money from gullible, scared, and hypochondriac patients. This is a global phenomenon - 200 BILLION USD in the USA alone! I initiated and participated in the healthcare committee of Macedonia headed by then Minister of Health (now Deputy Prime Minister) Bujar Osmani. Here is its interim report https://issuu.com/samvaknin/docs/health

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Interview with Milan Adzievski on a Macedonian TV station. Topic: Cryptocurrencies and the Financial Crisis. Milan, as always, with questions from left field. I, as always, know everything about everything (=narcissist). Some previous interviews we made are here: http://www.youtube.com/vakninmusings

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Interesting and courageous point of view. The Holocaust is a touchy subject. I received death threats on these 2 videos about Hitler, the Jews (I am a Jew!), and the Holocaust https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=eIZv9QwoQVc and https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VjRwearNVII

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In Russia, "love" is measured by how many expensive gifts the woman extorts from her man. Relationships between men and women there are so hopelessly dysfunctional and antagonistic that the men have to bribe the women to stay with them. It is a part of the general culture of bribery and corruption in Russia. See my book on sex, monogamy, and relationships http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/sexmonogamy.pdf

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Hate and fear - the twin fuels of pathological narcissism of both individuals and collectives. A quote from my book "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited" (http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/thebook.html)

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Narcissists are emotional cannibals. A quote from my book "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited" (http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/thebook.html)

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There are no diagnostic HPV tests for MEN. All HPV "tests" for men are FAKE. Such tests are sold exclusively in poor countries to the gullible and ignorant population. The most prestigious private clinic in the USA, Mayo Clinic write: "The HPV test is available only to women; no HPV test yet exists to detect the virus in men." https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/hpv-test/about/pac-20394355 About Mayo Clinic https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayo_Clinic

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Empathy has three components: reflexive-instinctual, cognitive, and emotional. Narcissists and psychopaths have only the first two (I coined the phrase: "cold empathy" to describe it). More about empathy - or lack thereof - in personality disorders: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/personalitydisorders68.html

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These are my new - brandname - shoes. My previous branded shoes - bought in Geneva - disintegrated within the year. My 250 euros belt purchased a year ago started falling apart in 6 months. All my 25 euros belts and shoes are intact years - even decades - later. Brands are the biggest forms of commercial fraud ever perpetrated. They are manufactured in poor countries often using inferior materials (despite claims to the contrary) and then sold as status symbols in societies that elevate conspicuous and ostentatious consumption to the level of a religion. The gullible and the vain pay 10 times the right price just to own - and show off - the "right" label. More about differential pricing http://samvak.tripod.com/pp151.html

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The Histrionic (woman or man with Histrionic Personality Disorder - HPD) does not like sex at all - she likes the POWER that her sexuality gives her over men. So when the man is hers, when she had won, conquered, mastered, and subjugated her man, she loses all sexual interest in him and begins to pay sexual attention to other men. She reframes her extinguished flame (discarded lover) and the now dead relationship or infatuation: instead of a much desired lover he is now a good friend, a sadistic enemy, or a much-needed interlude. My latest vid on the topic:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9zoMG9Jzys

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"Sociopath" is not a mental health diagnosis. Neither is "psychopath". These are labels given - by the media and by an assortment of self-styled experts and scholars - to the extreme end of the spectrum of Antisocial Personality Disorder. Robert Hare, who spent all his career in the prison system, contributed more than anyone else to common misunderstandings and widespread misinformation regarding psychopathy. He also devised an idiotic and deeply flawed "test" for "psychopathy" - the PCL-R - that unfortunately caught on in corporate America and its typically ignorant media. Here is my critique of his "test": http://samvak.tripod.com/personalitydisorders11.html#pcl

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Only Switzerland has a real direct democracy. All other 104 “democracies” are actually PLUTOcracies (ruled by the moneyed elites). More here: http://samvak.tripod.com/democracy.html

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I am the quintessential wandering Jew (I hope I look somewhat better than this Nazi propaganda image). I haven't visited my homeland, met my family or any of my friends, or spoken my native tongue (Hebrew) since 1996. I have lived in 13 countries and worked in 53. I wrote this in 2001 and nothing has changed since then: http://samvak.tripod.com/narcissistroots.html

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Contemplating my lecture about "The Sexual Determinants of Personality" tomorrow and the day after, starting at 09:30 in Southern Federal University in Rostov on Don (Bolshaya Sadovaya street). More here: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/sexgender.html

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The evening after (the lecture about sex in Southern Federal University). In Onegin Dacha, a regal restaurant in Rostov on Don.

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The lecture's topic: psychology is not a science and does not describe reality. It is a descriptive and taxonomic language and a literary art form. More here: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/psychoanalysis.html

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Outside can be hell: snow and dirt and noise and worse. But when a woman flowers on your windowsill - all is well: she is happiness and love and life regained. Happy 8th of March to these magical wonder-filled fairies we call "women" and to the one special woman in every man's life.

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Thinking up clever answers for the comments on my Insta posts. The narcissist does not use language to communicate but to impress and subjugate: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/journal34.html

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Sherlock Holmes in an ultimate display of cold empathy (instinct and cognition but no emotion). Contrary to widely held views, Narcissists and Psychopaths may actually possess empathy. They may even be hyper-empathic, attuned to the minutest signals emitted by their victims and endowed with a penetrating "X-ray vision". They tend to abuse their empathic skills by employing them exclusively for personal gain, the extraction of narcissistic supply, or in the pursuit of antisocial and sadistic goals. They regard their ability to empathize as another weapon in their arsenal. There are two possible pathological reactions to childhood abuse and trauma: codependence and narcissism. They both involve fantasy as a defense mechanism: the codependent has a pretty realistic assessment of herself, but her view of others is fantastic; the narcissist’s self-image and self-perception are delusional and grandiose, but his penetrating view of others is bloodcurdlingly accurate.

I suggest to label the narcissist’s and psychopath's version of empathy: "cold empathy", akin to the "cold emotions" felt by psychopaths. The cognitive element of empathy is there, but not so its emotional correlate. It is, consequently, a barren, detached, and cerebral kind of intrusive gaze, devoid of compassion and a feeling of affinity with one's fellow humans.

More about cold empathy (typical of narcissists and psychopaths): http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/personalitydisorders68.html

The FULL VIDEO: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=utwenXbh9hA

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[TEXT IMAGE] In an interview I granted to American Thinker in March 2016 I suggested that Donald Trump is a malignant narcissist. Since then this view went mainstream and became accepted wisdom. My texts on Trump, his personality, and his cult are available here: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/faq19.html#trump

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Like every histrionic, she was flirtatious, voluptuous, obsessed with her looks, seductive, sultry, and irresistible. Like every borderline, she was labile, moody, terrified of abandonment, and somewhat delusional. Like every narcissist, she was grandiose. Like every psychopath, she was ruthless and callous. These "dramatic" cluster B personality disorders are frequently comorbid (diagnosed together in the same patient). She was a man's wettest dream and most horrifying nightmare, a withering addiction, an oasis of promise, and a fatal malediction. She was Marilyn Monroe. Read more about her psychology here: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/faqpd.html

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The first book ever written and published in Hebrew in 1987 on the topic of portfolio management. I proceeded to co-found a stock brokerage firm and co-own Israel Agriculture Bank. There I discovered mass corruption by several prominent politicians in power. I proceeded to sue them and ended up ... in prison. I learned my lesson: if you cannot join them, you will never beat them. A portion of the book's text is here: http://samvak.tripod.com/portfolio.html

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If your husband or boyfriend bullies you, he does not love you. Bullying and abuse can never coexist or go together. They are mutually exclusive because bullying ruins intimacy and engenders sex aversion - and there is no love without intimacy. If he bullies you and then buys you flowers for your birthday - it is not an act of love but a crude attempt to bribe you to not abandon him and thus collaborate in your own abuse. Throw these poisoned flowers back in his face. Do not succumb to intermittent reinforcement (hot and cold, approach and then avoidance, torture and then gestures of "love"). Of course, some women explicitly make the trade: they consent to being mistreated in return for a generous expense account. Such women say: "I'd rather be miserable in a Mercedes than happy on a bicycle." To each her own, I guess. More here: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/intimacyabuse.html

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My poems http://samvak.tripod.com/contents.html

They say, with a knowing smile: "If he is really a narcissist - how come he writes such beautiful poetry?". "Words are the sounds of emotions" - they add - "and he claims to have none". They are smug and comfortable in their well classified world, my doubters.

I use words as others use algebraic signs: with meticulousness, with caution, with the precision of the artisan. I sculpt in words. I stop. I tilt my head. I listen to the echoes. The tables of emotional resonance. The fine tuned reverberations of pain & love and fear. Air waves and photonic ricochets answered by chemicals secreted in my listeners and my readers.

I know beauty. I have always known it in the biblical sense, it was my passionate mistress. We made love. We procreated the cold children of my texts. I measured its aesthetics admiringly. But this is the mathematics of grammar. It was merely the undulating geometry of syntax.

Devoid of all emotions, I watch your reactions with the sated amusement of a Roman nobleman.

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.

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If you are self-loathing and self-destructive and self-punitive, you would want to stay in your sick relationship with a narcissist. Here are some tips:

FIVE DON'T DO'S – How to Avoid the Wrath of the Narcissist

Never disagree with the narcissist or contradict him;

Never offer him any intimacy;

Look awed by whatever attribute matters to him (for instance: by his professional achievements or by his good looks, or by his success with women and so on);

Never remind him of life out there and if you do, connect it somehow to his sense of grandiosity;

Do not make any comment, which might directly or indirectly impinge on his self-image, omnipotence, judgment, omniscience, skills, capabilities, professional record, or even omnipresence.

The TEN DO'S – How to Make your Narcissist Dependent on You If you INSIST on Staying with Him

Listen attentively to everything the narcissist says and agree with it all. Don't believe a word of it but let it slide as if everything is just fine, business as usual.

Personally offer something absolutely unique to the narcissist which they cannot obtain anywhere else. Also be prepared to line up future Sources of Primary Narcissistic Supply for your narcissist because you will not be IT for very long, if at all. If you take over the procuring function for the narcissist, they become that much more dependent on you.

Be endlessly patient and go way out of your way to be accommodating, thus keeping the narcissistic supply flowing liberally, and keeping the peace. Act as “background noise”: ask no questions, never criticize or disagree, when addressed confine your response to the issues broached and do not introduce new topics into the conversation. In short: never initiate or be proactive – always react meekly, compliantly, and subserviently.
Be endlessly giving. This one may not be attractive to you, but it is a take it or leave it proposition.

Be absolutely emotionally and financially independent of the narcissist. Take what you need: the excitement and engulfment and refuse to get upset or hurt.

Additional tips here: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/npdtips.html

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For some people, love and pain are flip sides of the same tortured coin. Intimacy is an agony that leads to lustful ecstasy and to an orgy of self-annihilation. The woman in such couples loves with all her being, her quiddity and essence. When rebuffed, she turns into an untouchable, stone-faced, and cruel Madonna-mistress and an unspeakable whore. The man prostitutes her, shares her with other men because his arousal crucially subsists on her humiliation and degradation. They punish each other via sadistic sex and desired betrayal in a futile attempt to restore justice and sanity to an escalating spiral of obsession and abandonment anxiety. Their love becomes a dungeon, their bodied tools of mutual execution. As for me: I have experienced several such relationships. There is nothing that comes close to them in intensity and color. I felt exuberantly alive and profoundly entombed. Such affairs are exhilarating. But not for the fainthearted. Reviews of films with a psychological angle here: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/film.html

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Today, Russians vote in "elections" to the Presidency. Don't hold your breath: they will overwhelmingly vote for Putin. In 2001, I published this essay worldwide via United Press International (UPI): http://samvak.tripod.com/putin.html

Here is an excerpt:

"The Second Empire is very reminiscent of Vladimir Putin's reign in post-Yeltsin Russia.

Like the French Second Empire, it follows a period of revolutions and counter-revolutions. It is not identified with any one class but does rely on the support of the middle class, the intelligentsia, the managers and industrialists, the security services, and the military.

Putin is authoritarian, but not revolutionary. His regime derives its legitimacy from parliamentary and presidential elections based on a neo-liberal model of government. It is socially conservative but seeks to modernize Russia's administration and economy. Yet, it manipulates the mass media and encourages a personality cult.

Disparate Youths

Like Napoleon III, Putin started off as president (he was shortly as prime minister under Yeltsin). Like him, he may be undone by a military defeat, probably in the Caucasus or Central Asia.

The formative years of Putin and Louis-Napoleon have little in common, though.

The former was a cosseted member of the establishment and witnessed, first hand, the disintegration of his country. Putin was a juvenile delinquent and a low-key KGB apparatchik. The KGB may have inspired, conspired in, or even instigated the transformation in Russian domestic affairs since the early 1980's - but to call it "revolutionary" would be to stretch the term.

Louis-Napoleon, on the other hand, was a true revolutionary. He narrowly escaped death at the hands of Austrian troops in a rebellion in Italy in 1831. His brother was not as lucky. Louis-Napoleon's claim to the throne of France (1832) was based on a half-baked ideology of imperial glory, concocted, disseminated and promoted by him. In 1836 and 1840 he even initiated (failed) coups d'etat. He was expelled even from neutral Switzerland and exiled to the USA. He spent six years in prison." Continued analysis here: http://samvak.tripod.com/putin.html

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It is amazing the hold that celebrities with severe personality disorders have over the public imagination. Their pathologies render them hypnotically charismatic. Princess Diana suffered from every cluster B personality disorder supplemented by mood and affect disorders, body dysmorphic disorder and more. She was a very sick woman. But underlying it all was Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Like both narcissists and psychopaths, borderlines are impulsive and reckless. Like histrionics, their sexual conduct is promiscuous, driven, and unsafe. Many borderlines binge eat, gamble, drive, and shop carelessly, and are substance abusers. Lack of impulse control and lability are joined with self-destructive and self-defeating behaviors, such as suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, gestures, or threats, and self-mutilation or self-injury.

The main dynamic in Borderline PD is abandonment anxiety. Like codependents, borderlines attempt to preempt or prevent abandonment (both real and imagined) by their nearest and dearest. They cling frantically and counterproductively to their partners, mates, spouses, friends, children, or even neighbors. This fierce attachment is coupled with idealization and then swift and merciless devaluation of the borderline's target.

Exactly like the narcissist, the borderline patient elicits constant narcissistic supply (attention, affirmation, adulation, approval) to regulate her gyrating sense of self-worth and her chaotic self-image, to shore up serious, marked, persistent, and ubiquitous deficits in self-esteem and Ego functions, and to counter the gnawing emptiness at her core.

Borderline Personality Disorder is often co-diagnosed (is comorbid) with mood and affect disorders. But all borderlines suffer from mood reactivity.

Borderlines shift dizzyingly between dysphoria (sadness or depression) and euphoria, manic self-confidence and paralyzing anxiety, irritability and indifference. This is reminiscent of the mood swings of Bipolar Disorder patients. But Borderlines are much angrier and more violent." More here: http://samvak.tripod.com/personalitydisorders18.html

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"The Last Tango in Paris" is a harrowing film about sex as a futile attempt to overcome loss and secure love. Like in reality, the man is more romantic: he is the one who falls in love and insists on emotional sharing and a relationship. The woman is the cruel huntress who executes him because he transgressed against the anonymity of their love-making.
I have had my share of anonymous sex and have had long sexual liaisons. One of these "relationships" lasted more than a year of constant, wild love-making exactly like in the movie. I felt not a trace or hint of emotion throughout. So I know that it is absolutely possible to share bodies without sharing minds. Intimacy is a choice - not an inevitable outcome of the exchange of bodily fluids.

But, hey, I am a narcissist, what do I know about emotions, attachment, and love? I am like a Martian writing his dissertation on Mankind. Not very likely to get it right.
Only studies show that I AM right. In the current hookup culture, emotional entanglements are assiduously avoided especially by young women. They want only sex - good sex if possible, any kind of sex if not. They gave up on fantasies of home and hearth and marital bliss because they do not regard their male peers as marriage material. There is contempt and hostility between the genders where attraction and love used to blossom. It is a sterile world. No wonder many women elect to remain childless.

And as for loss: Paul's wife commits suicide and the new love he had found shoots him dead. "Don't push you luck" - Bertolucci warns the viewers - "If you can at least fuck in this alienated world of ours, count your blessings and call it a day. Ambitions for love and intimacy can and will be lethal - even in Paris, the city of Love and Lovers. Like Romeo and Juliet we are all star-crossed and doomed to eternally search but never find. We can only consummate, orgasm and ejaculate". Or cum. Don't forget the butter next time!

Additional reviews of films with psychological angles here: http://samvak.tripod.com/film.html

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Body image disorder. Body dysphoria. We are all unhappy with our bodies: we are obese (too fat). Anorectic (too thin). Boobs are too small. Hips too wide. Lips too pronounced. Cheeks. Even vaginas (outer labia get in the way or not aesthetic). Diets. Gyms. Fitness training (and muscular trainers 😉). Plastic cosmetic surgeries (some of which go horribly wrong as in the photo). This is a new phenomenon. It started in the 1950s. Prior to that people just accepted their bodies as god-given and immutable.
Under the influence of fashion magazines, the media, the entertainment industry, and medical fads, women - now increasingly joined by men - started to hate their bodies and seek to divorce them by altering them beyond recognition.

The new ideal of feminine beauty was promulgated by homosexuals in the fashion and beauty industries. Inevitably, it resembled a flat-chested pubescent boy. Women were supposed to become Twiggies: thin, bosoms and asses suppressed, hair cropped.

But this is all part of a larger trend: our bodies have become superfluous. We do not need them anymore. We have outsourced most of the physical activities that have once been indispensable: from food production to sex and childbirth.

We are all being transformed into atomized brains in cyber jars. No bodies needed, thank you. Too much trouble, too much hassle, too much maintenance. Not enough pleasurable return on onerous investment.

More here: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/journal31.html and http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/journal35.html

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Narcissists try to follow this sage advice in Proverbs: they elicit narcissistic supply from their sources. But when they fail to do so, they are not above bragging incessantly. They resort to egregious and aggressive self-promotion: they attest to their own superior traits, they embellish their alleged accomplishments, they lie about their education or acquired skills, they attribute to themselves superhuman qualities or powers. And they react with rage or even violence if you dare disagree with this self-promulgated self-assessment.

But there is another, more insidious technique: false modesty.

The "modesty" displayed by narcissists - especially covert, or inverted narcissists - is false. It is mostly and merely verbal. It is couched in flourishing phrases, emphasised to absurdity, repeated unnecessarily – usually to the point of causing gross inconvenience to the listener. The real aim of such behaviour and its subtext are exactly the opposite of common modesty.

False modesty is intended to either aggrandise the narcissist or to protect his grandiosity from scrutiny and possible erosion. Such modest outbursts precede inflated, grandiosity-laden statements made by the narcissist and pertaining to fields of human knowledge and activity in which he is sorely lacking.

The narcissist publicly chastises himself for being unfit, unworthy, lacking, not trained and not (formally) schooled, not objective, cognisant of his own shortcomings and vain. This way, if (or, rather, when) exposed he could always say: "But I told you so in the first place, haven't I?" False modesty is, thus an insurance policy. The narcissist "hedges his bets" by placing a side bet on his own fallibility, weakness, deficiencies and proneness to err.

Yet another function is to extract Narcissistic Supply from the listener. By contrasting his own self-deprecation with a brilliant, dazzling display of ingenuity, wit, intellect, knowledge, or beauty – the narcissist aims to secure an adoring, admiring, approving, or applauding protestation from his interlocutor.

Much more here: http://samvak.tripod.com/faq36.html

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As a young man I spent time gambling professionally in all the major casinos of Europe from Greece's mountaintops to the Spanish capital.

Gambling reveals and accentuates human nature like few other avocations. I have witnessed amazing events that few have ever seen. Depths of depravity and heights of generosity. Violence. Greed. Hope. Despair. Celebrities and hoi-polloi. Exuberance and terror.

Finally, I ineluctably came up with my own martingale: a gambling method. It largely worked and got me banned by these dens of iniquity for a while.

This book I wrote in my 20s. It is an exploration of all known games of chance and of my own modest contribution to defeating or at least ameliorating the casinoes's "avantage" over us, their suckers.

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Histrionics and psychopaths experience their needs and wishes as uncontrollable urges, akin to extreme hunger or thirst. It is a torture to deny these insatiable inner drives.

Though perfectly capable to control their impulses and delay gratification, histrionics and psychopaths choose not to do so for two reasons:

1. Pathological narcissism is a diagnostic-clinical dimension of all cluster B personality disorders.
Consequently, histrionics and psychopaths place a higher value and weight on their needs compared to the needs of others. They come first.
2. They lack empathy and, therefore, do not really grasp the hurt and pain they cause. Even when they do - they do not care. And even when they do care - they believe that they have a right to gratify their desires and fulfill their wishes no matter the cost to others. Histrionics may feel guilty and ego-dystonic (bad about themselves and their actions) - but it will not prevent them from misbehaving.

So when a histrionic feels the need for male attention and admiration, she will seek it without dedicating a single thought to the pain and hurt she may be inflicting on her nearest and dearest or on her male targets.

And when a psychopath wishes to secure money or power or sex he will go to any ruthless length and embark on any number of unconscionable and callous acts until he feels sated and gratified.

Histrionics and psychopaths are not evil. The pain, damage, harm, and hurt they invariably cause are rarely premeditated. They are like self-absorbed children or natural catastrophes replete with enormous collateral damage.

Are narcissists evil? http://samvak.tripod.com/journal65.html

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The narcissist forces his nearest and dearest, his colleagues and employees to lie to him, to be dishonest. Communicating openly and sincerely with the narcissist carries a high price tag.

There is no winning strategy with the narcissist. If you are honest and truthful with him, you are punished. If you are deceitful, you are equally penalized because the narcissist feels that you have tried to manipulate him with your lies and underestimated his intelligence.

Narcissists invariably react with narcissistic rage to narcissistic injury.

Narcissistic injury (or wound) is any threat (real or imagined) to the narcissist's grandiose and fantastic self-perception (False Self) as perfect, omnipotent, omniscient, and entitled to special treatment and recognition, regardless of his actual accomplishments (or lack thereof). The narcissist perceives every disagreement – let alone criticism – as nothing short of a threat. He reacts defensively. He becomes conspicuously indignant, aggressive and cold. He detaches emotionally for fear of yet another (narcissistic) injury. He devalues the person who made the disparaging remark, the critical comment, the unflattering observation, the innocuous joke at the narcissist's expense.

By holding the critic in contempt, by diminishing the stature of the discordant conversant – the narcissist minimises the impact of the disagreement or criticism on himself. This is a defence mechanism known as cognitive dissonance.

Like a trapped animal, the narcissist is forever on the lookout: was this comment meant to demean him? Was this utterance a deliberate attack? Gradually, his mind turns into a chaotic battlefield of paranoia and ideas of reference until he loses touch with reality and retreats to his own world of fantasised and unchallenged grandiosity.

When the disagreement or criticism or disapproval or approbation are public, though, the narcissist tends to regard them as Narcissistic Supply! Only when they are expressed in private – does the narcissist rage against them.

More here: http://samvak.tripod.com/faq73.html

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The narcissist masturbates with and in his partner's body. She is an inert object. He does things to her - never with her. He rarely bothers to ascertain her likes and dislikes. And because narcissists are misogynists, sex with the narcissist is frequently sadistic, painful, repulsive, and humiliating. The partner feels used if not abused. Many describe the encounters as "sick and perverted". Yet, counterfactually, the narcissist considers himself to be the world's greatest lover. Moreover: he coerces his unfortunate sexual partners to uphold this grandiose fantasy and its attendant delusions.

He is likely to enquire if he is the best lover the woman has ever had, how many times she climaxed, if she has had with him experiences she had never had with another man. Sex with the narcissist is akin to an anxiety producing 100 meters dash coupled with a reality TV quizz.

The partner would do well to lie and acquiesce, to tell the narcissist that his was the best sex she has ever had and that he is, by far, the most endowed, creative, and skilled of lovers. Narcissists do not take well to being contradicted, criticized, or disagreed with. Advice is not welcome. No equal partnership bladderdash here.
But the deception has to be subtle and convincing because if the narcissist finds out that he had been conned about his sexual prowess it constitutes severe narcissistic injury and produces narcissistic rage or even withdrawal.

More here: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/faq29.html

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My article about Bolivar the narcissist provoked many readers: "Bolivar, Simon

Simon Bolivar (1783-1830) is a Latin American folk hero, revered for having been a revolutionary freedom fighter, a compassionate egalitarian and a successful politician. He is credited with the liberation from Spanish colonial yoke of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, a country named after him. Venezuela's new strongman, Hugo Chavez, renamed his country The Bolivarian republic of Venezuela to reflect the role of his "Bolivarian revolution". Yet, while alive, Bolivar was a much hated dictator and - at the beginning of his career - a military failure.

His aide and friend, Gen. Daniel O'Leary, an Irish soldier described him so: "His chest was narrow, his figure slender, his legs particularly thin. His skin was swarthy and rather coarse. His hands and feet were small …a woman might have envied them. His expression, when he was in good humor, was pleasant, but it became terrible when he was aroused. The change was unbelievable." Bolivar explained his motives: "I confess this (the coronation of Napoleon in 1804) made me think of my unhappy country and the glory which he would win who should liberate it"

And, later, after a victory against the Spaniards in 1819: "The triumphal arches, the flowers, the hymns, the acclamations, the wreaths offered and placed upon my head by the hands of lovely maidens, the fiestas, the thousand demonstrations of joy are the least of the gifts that I have received," he wrote. "The greatest and dearest to my heart are the tears, mingled with the rapture of happiness, in which I have been bathed and the embraces with which the multitude have all but crushed me." Venezuela became independent in 1811 and Bolivar, being a minor - though self-aggrandizing - political figure, had little to do with it. After his first major military defeat, in defending the coastal town of Puerto Cabello against royalist insurgents out to oust the newly independent Venezuela, he advocated the creation of a professional army (in the Cartagena Manifesto)." Continue: http://samvak.tripod.com/factoidb.html

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When I was 26, I purchased, together with other partners, the Israel Agriculture Bank. We discovered that senior government ministers (and former military heroes and commanders) borrowed money from the ailing institution and never bothered to repay it. So we took them to court. Needless to say who ended up in prison.

This is the first interview I granted immediately on my release on probation. In it, I am unrepentant, cocksure, defiant, contumacious, and more predatory than ever. The poor interviewer, Dan Margalit, is flabbergasted and bemused, like a deer caught in extraterrestrial headlights. Some women found this posture irresistible - others creepy.

Soon enough, structures in the deep state made sure that I lost a job I found with an Israeli satellite firm established by another ex-con whom I met in prison, Dov Raviv, the father of Israel's missile program.

I was hunted down wherever I went. The organs of the state made clear - always explicitly and often in writing - that it would be a bad idea to employ me or collaborate with me.

Finally, even I got the hint. I packed two giant suitcases and moved live in Macedonia.

My biography: http://samvak.tripod.com/cv.html

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The narcissist ages without mercy and without grace. His withered body and his overwrought mind betray him all at once. He stares with incredulity and rage at cruel mirrors. He refuses to accept his growing fallibility. He rebels against his decrepitude and mediocrity. Accustomed to being awe-inspiring and the recipient of adulation - the narcissist cannot countenance his social isolation and the pathetic figure that he cuts.

The narcissist suffers from mental progeria. Subject to childhood abuse, he ages prematurely and finds himself in a time warp, constantly in the throes of a midlife crisis. On the other hand, he is a puer aeternus, an eternal child: immature, sulking and pouting, unable to delay gratification, unwilling to commit or to assume adult roles and chores.

As a child prodigy, a sex symbol, a stud, a public intellectual, an actor, an idol - the narcissist was at the centre of attention, the eye of his personal twister, a black hole which sucked people's energy and resources dry and spat out with indifference their mutilated carcasses. No longer. With old age comes disillusionment. Old charms wear thin.

Having been exposed for what he is - a deceitful, treacherous, malignant egotist - the narcissist's old tricks now fail him. People are on their guard, their gullibility reduced. The narcissist - being the rigid, precariously balanced structure that he is - can't change. He reverts to old forms, re-adopts hoary habits, succumbs to erstwhile temptations. He is made a mockery by his accentuated denial of reality, by his obdurate refusal to grow up, an eternal, malformed child in the sagging body of a decaying man.

More about the pathetic, ageing narcissist: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/journal54.html

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The Lifestyle involves sexual acts performed by more than two participants whether in the same space, or separately. It is also known as “swinging”, “wife-, or spouse-swapping”, “wife-, or spouse-sharing”, “group sex” and, where multiple people interact with a single person, “gangbanging”. Swinging can be soft (engaging in sexual activity with one’s own intimate partner, but in the presence of others, including acts of candaulism), or hard (having sex not with one’s spouse or mate.) Threesomes (commonly male-female-male or MFM) are the most common configuration.

The psychological background to such unusual pursuits is not clear and has never been studied in depth. Still, thousands of online chats between active and wannabe adherents and fans in various forums reveal 10 psychodynamic strands:

1. Latent and overt bisexuality and homosexuality: both men and women (but especially women) adopt swinging as a way to sample same-sex experiences in a tolerant, at times anonymous, and permissive environment;

2. The Slut-Madonna Complex: to be sexually attracted to their spouses, some men need to “debase” and “humiliate” them by witnessing their “sluttish” conduct with others. These men find it difficult to have regular, intimate sex with women to whom they are emotionally attached and whose probity is beyond doubt. Sex is “dirty” and demeaning, so it should be mechanical, the preserve of whorish and promiscuous partners;

3. Voyeurism and exhibitionism are both rampant in and satisfied by swinging. Oftentimes, those who partake in the Lifestyle document their exploits on video and share photos and saucy verbal descriptions. Amateur porn and public sex (“dogging”) are fixtures of swinging;

SEVEN additional psychological reasons for swinging (go to the link and choose the "swinging" section in the text): http://samvak.tripod.com/pedophilia.html

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Cold Therapy Level 1 seminar in Rostov-on-Don April 12-14. Cold Therapy is a treatment for pathological narcissism and for depression.

Developed by Sam Vaknin, Cold Therapy is based on two premises: (1) That narcissistic and depressive disorders are actually forms of complex post-traumatic conditions; and (2) That narcissists are the outcomes of arrested development and attachment dysfunctions. Consequently, Cold Therapy borrows techniques from child psychology and from treatment modalities used to deal with PTSD.

Cold Therapy consists of the re-traumatization of the narcissistic client in a hostile, non-holding environment which resembles the ambience of the original trauma. The adult patient successfully tackles this second round of hurt and thus resolves early childhood conflicts and achieves closure rendering his now maladaptive narcissistic defenses redundant, unnecessary, and obsolete.

Cold Therapy makes use of proprietary techniques such as erasure (suppressing the client’s speech and free expression and gaining clinical information and insights from his reactions to being so stifled). Other techniques include: grandiosity reframing, guided imagery, negative iteration, other-scoring, happiness map, mirroring, escalation, role play, assimilative confabulation, hypervigilant referencing, and re-parenting.

Lecture notes: https://www.scribd.com/document/349440458/Cold-Therapy-Seminar-Level-1-Lecture-Notes

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[TEXT IMAGE] Here is a detailed guide on how to divorce a narcissist or a psychopath: courts, custody, property, stalking - what to do, how to behave, and what to expect.
Visit this link: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/5.html

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[TEXT IMAGE] There is no reliable information on covert narcissism online. None. It is all misinformed hype. "Covert" sounds good: sneaky, shifty, cunning. Unscrupulous YouTubers caught on to this mass psychosis and cynically and ignorantly leveraged the ominously-sounding clinical construct to garner views - and money.

This table was put together by Akhtar and Cooper in 1989. It summarizes the main traits and behaviors of the two cardinal types of narcissist: overt/grandiose vs. covert/shy.
And what about the inverted narcissist? the clinical subtype that I proposed back in 1999?

The Inverted Narcissist is a co-dependent who depends exclusively on narcissists (narcissist-co-dependent) ... To "qualify" as an inverted narcissist, you must CRAVE to be in a relationship with a narcissist, regardless of any abuse inflicted on you by him/her. You must ACTIVELY seek relationships with narcissists and ONLY with narcissists, no matter what your (bitter and traumatic) past experience has been. You must feel EMPTY and UNHAPPY in relationships with ANY OTHER kind of person. Only then, and if you satisfy the other diagnostic criteria of a Dependent Personality Disorder, can you be safely labelled an "inverted narcissist". Not all covert narcissists are inverted narcissists. But all inverted narcissists are covert (“shy”, “fragile”) narcissists. They are self-centred, sensitive, vulnerable, and defensive, or hostile, and paranoid. They harbour grandiose fantasies and have a strong sense of entitlement. They tend to exploit other, albeit stealthily and subtly. Covert narcissists are aware of their innate limitations and shortcomings and, therefore, constantly fret and stress over their inability to fulfil their unrealistic dreams and expectations. They avoid recognition, competition, and the limelight for fear of being exposed as frauds or failures.

Much more about codependents, covert and inverted narcissists here: http://samvak.tripod.com/faq66.html

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The most vulnerable members of society are children. They end up paying the ultimate price for genocide, ethnic cleansing, war, neglect, corruption, stupidity, and indifference. Child prostitutes, child fighters, child labor, child abuse, pedophilia, and the burnt carcasses of trapped and terrified children - the hallmarks and signposts of anomic, ossified, dysfunctional societies ruled by rapacious and inhuman or rather subhuman "elites".

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The bibliotherapist Bijal A. Shah recommends my book, "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisitdd" as the number 1 tome President Trump should peruse.

A bibliotherapist is a mental health professional or life coach who recommends books to facilitate personal healing.

Shah writes: "I chose this book based on President Trump’s inherent ‘’NPD’ or ‘Narcissistic Personality Disorder’. defined as ‘an enduring pattern of grandiose beliefs and arrogant behaviour together with an overwhelming need for admiration and a lack of empathy for (and even exploitation of) others’. The author, Sam Vaknin, a lifelong NPD sufferer hits the nail on the head when describing the disorder and his experience, documenting it magnificently. On reading the book, Trump may feel that the book is about him. Connecting strongly with the author through his writing, he may get some insight and awareness into his own behaviour."

You do not have to be Trump to afford to purchase my book. Just go here: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/thebook.html

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The real femme fatale is an ingénue, an innocent child poised on the verge of decadent corruption. She is surrounded by salivating wolves and yet is the only true predator among them, hunting with the joy and abandon of a toddler in a toy shop.

The true femme fatale is never cunning or malicious - that would be off-putting. She is not mature, an adult, or an intellectual - that is boring. She is not a busty blonde - she is never vulgar.

Never mind what she wears, with or without makeup, just woke up, night or day - the femme fatale makes your heart leap out of its cage, thump and throb. She is an infarct in the flesh, in installments, and in slow motion. She is as ineluctable as death and as foreordained as self-destruction. And equally delectable.

Regardless of how she looks, the femme fatale is always the most beautiful and irresistibly seductive woman you will have ever seen. She is both sex and femininity reified.

But the true power of the femme fatale rests with her absentminded indifference to the consequences of her actions: a puerile psychopathy that is never malignant and always devastating.

She is selfish in the purest sense: she pursues her needs and wishes because she cannot do otherwise: she experiences them as overwhelming, intolerable urges and anxiety-inducing drives. She hurts even her loved ones because she has no other choice.

The true femme fatale is UTTERLY UNAWARE of her "fataleness" and of her unbridled power over men!

This obliviousness to her impact is irresistible: it makes her a relentless, ruthless, and callous huntress and an impersonal force of nature.

More about female narcissists: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/faq34.html

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This is the bullet-riddled body of Shabtai Kalmanovich, one of the two most vivacious men I have ever met (the other is Eli Ronen). In 1985, I was stationed in London. Together with my girlfriend, Sigal Bareket, I resided in a 5-storied mansion (34 Connaught Square, later purchased by Tony Blair). I had two butlers, a personal secretary, live-in maids. Having grown up in a slum, I was intoxicated with money and its accoutrements and status symbols.

I co-owned s firm (IPE) with all the protagonists of the infamous Iran-Contras affair that almost toppled POTUS Ronald Reagan: Ya'akov Nimrodi, Al Schwimmer, Elkana Gali, Ephraim Ilin and others.

I met Shabtai in 1985 when he knocked unannounced on my door. An amazing man: the quintessence of charm, a mane of black, oil-slicked hair framing a hawklike face, eyes imbued with fierce intelligence, tall, muscular, and (to women) irresistible.

He offered us a deal: we buy a private jet for President Momoh of Sierra Leone (where Kalmanovich operated the only bus company, "Liat") and in return get a concession for an island where we can bury nuclear and chemical waste from Germany.

I spent the next 2 incredible years with Shabtai in Africa and Germany. It was like an improbable story lifted straight out of "1001 Arabian Nights". At the end I lost every penny I had and Shabtai was arrested in London on trumped-up charges. It was only then that we all found out that this former advisor to Israeli PM Golda Meir was a senior KGB officer. He ended up doing time in a harsh Israeli prison.

Many aspects of my encounter with Shabtai are still highly classified by several governments, including my own. But I invariably remember him fondly: his creased smile, wry humor, imposing figure, astounding tales, and his hypnotic influence on women.

Wikileaks Global Intelligence Files: https://wikileaks.org/gifiles/docs/54/5432785_re-fw-follow-up-.html

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As far as our economic and financial decisions are concerned, we all behave as though we are going to live forever and we all act under the constraint that goods and services are scarce and a zero-sum game ("I win, you lose"). Those of us who take these underlying, hidden assumptions to their extreme become frugal or even stingy.

Stingy individuals abstain from spending money even on essentials or when such spending is rational. They therefore undermine both their long-term wealth and their happiness.

The frugal save money by resorting to cheaper substitutes or, more rarely, by refraining from consumption where it is inessential (luxury). But both those pillars of economic thought - scarcity and immortality - are wrong.

Scarcity is the attribute of a "closed" economic universe. But it can be alleviated either by increasing the supply of goods and services (or of human beings) - or by improving the efficiency of the allocation of economic resources. Technology and innovation are supposed to achieve the former - rational governance, free trade, and free markets the latter.

Though aware of their finitude, most people behave as though they are going to live forever. Economic and social institutions are formed to last. People embark on long term projects and make enduring decisions - for instance, to invest money in stocks or bonds - even when they are very old.

Childless octogenarian inventors defend their fair share of royalties with youthful ferocity and tenacity. Businessmen amass superfluous wealth and collectors bid in auctions regardless of their age. We all - particularly economists - seem to deny the prospect of death.

Examples of this denial abound in the dismal science, economics.

More here: http://samvak.tripod.com/mortal.html and http://samvak.tripod.com/scarcity.html

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In the movie "Roman J. Israel, Esq.", the eponymous character, a savant civil rights lawyer, is savagely verbally abused by two women as "sexist and patronizing". His sin? He suggested that 2 men in the audience vacate their seats and, in an act of chivalry, offer them to the standing "ladies". Many #metoo claims of sexual harassment made by women in the West would be considered laudatory compliments in countries such as Russia. Women there regard such male macho gestures as proof positive of their own irresistibility. They are devastated when they are ignored by men. "Better inappropriate attention and behavior - then no attention at all", they exclaim. They expect the men in their lives - husbands and lovers, even one night stands or hookups - to defray all their costs, treat them to expensive restaurants, hotels, and trips and shower them with gifts. They are not shy about their precise wishes either.

I grew up, was educated and worked in many countries in the West. Women's Lib rendered women there more manly. Gender roles have blurred to the point of vanishing. Everyone is unisex.

In the West, women "go Dutch": they pay their share of the bills in restaurants, their rooms in hotels. They believe that only prostitutes let men pay their expenses and then fuck them. They reject gifts: only cheap whores expect, accept or even demand gifts after sex or in an affair. Even flowers in abundance are suspect and smarmy.

These women of the West would never dream of being the recipients of special treatment (opening doors and such). They are emancipated and equal to men in every way.

The women of the East regard the women of the West with disdain: as too masculine, too aggressive, tasteless, charmless, even repellent. "They are not women at all!" The women of the West regard the women of the East as glorified prostitutes, always on sale to the highest bidder, slaves in disguise, their tawdry and often vulgar femininity and sex a mere weapon.

I wrote this about the women of eastern and central Europe 20 years ago: http://samvak.tripod.com/pp70.html

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The funniest of books, "Three Men in a Boat", opens with one of the protagonists - a man, obviously - convincing himself that he is suffering from every affliction in a voluminous medical encyclopedia with one exception (a disorder of the womb). Hypochondriasis ("somatic symptom disorder" coupled with "illness anxiety disorder") is a combination of delusional disorder and the cognitive impairment known as "catastrophizing"

It comprises elements of delusion because never mind how many times the patient is reassured by medical authorities that he is healthy, he persists in his insistence that he is not. Never mind how symptom-free the hypochondriac is, she will conjure up some pain or malaise to support her narrative of imminent doom and decomposition. She is emotionally invested (cathexed) in her self-destruction, helplessness, and death.

The hypochondriac also catastrophizes: he regards even the slightest itch and the most minor glitch as a sure portent of his long overdue demise. She exaggerates to the point of comic inanity the daily vicissitudes of her utterly normal and hale body.

More here: http://samvak.tripod.com/journal31.html and http://samvak.tripod.com/journal35.html

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Is the right partner like-minded, a clone, a carbon copy? Common interests, same beliefs and values, similar history?

I beg to differ. I disagree. The right woman for me is unlike me. She should bring to our couple her differences with me. She should challenge and criticize and disagree with me - even risking at times my retaliatory immature rage and abuse.

My woman should push me out of my comfort zone. She should never be a mere echo. She should deflate my grandiosity, not enhance it. She should be my firm reality test and my trusted advisor - not my accomplice in a delusional shared psychosis.

My ideal woman is curious but never fawning. She compliments but does not idealize. She criticizes but does not devalue.

And of course my bambi woman is beautiful beyond words and intelligent in a natural, wholesome kind of way, and irresistibly stubborn and intolerably cute at times, even - actually, especially - when she is stubborn and petulant and infuriating (but never ornery and contrarian). Which she is very often!

My woman gives me life and is my world in the sense that she is a necessary but also a sufficient condition for my happiness. No reflection in the mirror or echo in a chamber can accomplish that. Only a true, vibrant, vivacious, ambitious, supportive, and transformative intimate partner who fosters my personal growth and evolution into ever higher forms of myself. Isn't this what love is all about?

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Fredericka, my blind ageing goldfish (like master, like pet) passed away last night, gently resting on the two mossy rocks she had long designated as her bed. I cried like a baby. Beloved pets have this capacity to render us children all over again.

We are childless, so my wife, Lidija, gave me Fredericka when we effectively separated for one year as she was renovating an apartment to render it our home. The handimen she was working with brought the button-sized fish to her in a truncated Coca-Cola plastic bottle "to keep your husband company so that he is not lonely". Ever since then my golden fish became a good friend to me. Despite her attention deficits and hyperactive ways, she really tried to listen attentively to what I had to say. She responded with emphatic "ba, ba, bas" whenever she disagreed with my ossified ways (or when she demanded food - which was always). She used my smartphone to correspond with Lidija: commiserating with her for having to suffer my presence and ornery personality, demanding attention, or just having a woman-to-woman chit-chat. In my long emotional and physical absences, Fredericka and Lidija became true mates.

Last evening, Lidija placed two table-cloth clad chairs in front of the aquarium to hide Fredericka's last moments from her view. When I informed Lidija that it is all over, she gasped and ran to her refuge, a small balcony at the back where she spends all her time with the birds and cats and lone dog of the neighborhood.

Then Lidija returned defeated, cheeks streaked with dried tears and said forlornly: "Now I am really all alone in the world". I wrote a story about Fredericka here: http://samvak.tripod.com/petsnail-en.html

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There are two possible pathological reactions to childhood abuse and trauma: codependence and narcissism. They both involve fantasy as a defense mechanism: the codependent has a pretty realistic assessment of herself, but her view of others is fantastic; the narcissist’s self-image and self-perception are delusional and grandiose, but his penetrating view of others is bloodcurdlingly accurate ("cold empathy"). Pathological narcissism is a form of addiction to narcissistic supply.

The narcissist is caught in a conundrum of his own making: on the one hand he considers himself superior and godlike. On the other hand, to maintain his inflated, grandiose, and fantastic sense of self-worth, the narcissist is abjectly and humiliatingly dependent on constant input from people whom he considers vastly inferior to him. He clings to them but hates and resents them and himself for his dependence. This leads to bouts of approach followed by avoidance, a repetition complex.

About codependency: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/personalitydisorders22.html

About narcissistic supply: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/faq76.html

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I adore children. Babies, toddlers, and even adolescents love me back unreservedly, enthusiastically, and wholeheartedly.

Being the narcissist that I am, it is a self-interested affection: It is addictively gratifying to teach, to be a guru and a sagacious, infallible guide. With children and teenagers everything I do and say is imbued with a sense of wonder and revelation: I am showing them the world and the way and they look up to me with awe. With the young I am always awesome. Adults often perceive me as repellent, pathetic, or pitiable.

But if the child is immune to my charms (I have yet to come across one, admittedly), if the child resists me and is ornery - my attitude darkens considerably. I then regard the child as a competitor for scarce narcissistic supply (attention, adulation). Moreover: I feel that the child is using his or her unfair advantages to deprive me of what is rightfully mine. Read about my state of mind when I am like that here: http://samvak.tripod.com/journal36.html

Philip Larkin, my favorite modern poet described best my inner experience, my inscape when children fail to cater to my grandiosity: "... I should be unhappy ... having to put up indefinitely with the company of other children, their noise, their nastiness, their boasting, their back-answers, their cruelty, their silliness ... The realization that it was not people I disliked but children was for me one of those celebrated moments of revelation ..." (Philip Larkin, Required Writing: Miscellaneous Pieces 1955-1982, Faber, 1983, p. 111) “Anybody who hates children and dogs can’t be all bad.” (Leo Rosten, introducing W.C. Fields at a dinner)

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People with severe dissociation (memory lapses and "lost time") are often misunderstood and perceived as liars.

Frequently they appear to be lying - but they are actually not prevaricating.

It is just that because of their extreme dissociation, these people have learned to NOT FORGET. They hoard memories, they never discard even the tiniest detail. They memorize dates and numerous trivial data as "handles", some things to hang on to in their hole-ridden minds.

Consequently, dissociative people often have CONTRADICTORY memories about the SAME OBJECT, EVENT, or PERSON AT THE SAME TIME!

A dissociative man can regard the same woman as irresistible AND as repulsive; the same building as prestigious and as decrepit; the same person as someone who makes him feel good and bad.

Such gaping discrepancies make dissociative people appear inconsistent and deceitful. But it is NOT LYING or deception! It is simply their archaeological memory: they maintain access to ALL the conflicting layers and strata AT ONCE.

But why would they have radically differing viewpoints about the same person, event, or object?

Precisely because of the way their struggle to maintain their unruly memory and cling to it. They never DELETE a memory because they CHERISH their memories like treasures. And they cherish their memories like treasures because they have SO FEW OF THEM. Where there is a troubling gap & their memory fails them, such patients CONFABULATE: they invent a plausible narrative or scenario that must - or may - have happened.

So, they never get rid of a memory, replace it with another, or modify it. They simply ADD to it another memory even if the 2 memories are diametrically opposed.

Dissociation is typical in Borderline Personality Disorder. Borderlines are LABILE. The changes in their internal states (cognitions, emotions, moods) are so abrupt and violent that they disrupt any personal continuity and sense of coherent identity. This discontinuity also makes them APPEAR to be lying - but they are not! They are just struggling with their fragmented memories and excruciating lability.

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Some relationships are characterized by a degree of laissez-faire and "freedom" that border on emotional absenteeism, neglect, and abandonment.

Both members of these couples lead separate lives, minding their own business. They rarely enquire about the other's whereabouts. DADT (Don't Ask, Don't Tell). The reason they grant each other such latitude is because one of them is a codependent with extreme abandonment anxiety - and the other a histrionic, compensatory narcissist, or, more rarely, borderline who wants to be dumped by her intimate partner.

When such a partner is dumped she feels good and relieved, even elated for 2 reasons:

1. It validates her view of herself as a bad and worthless object (usually the main message of the introjects - inner voices - of a sadistic-narcissistic mother or role models such as teacher or peers); and

2. It prevents intimacy. Such partners hate intimacy and fear it. Intimacy suffocates them. Being dumped puts an end to this threat.

So, they push their partners to dump them by being avoidant, passive-aggressive, plain aggressive, and verbally abusive.

If - no matter what they do and what they try - their partners keeps loving them, they feel deeply frustrated. They begin to hate the patient, loyal, and loving partner viscerally and wholeheartedly.

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AVOID AUSTRIAN AIRLINES if you possibly can.

Another horror experience with Austrian Airlines, the worst run and most chaotic European airline. Stinginess that borders on disgrace, operational glitches galore, a decrepit ageing fleet, insolent and brutal cabin crews, frequently cancelled or mysteriously non-existent flights, savagely exorbitant ticket prices and overworked ground crews. Customer service centers are rarely manned by dour and impudent clerks who are often incompetent.

The frequently antiquated craft are dirty, smelly, and disintegrating. Toilets out of commission are a common sight. The "business class" consists of a curtain moved back and forth among the rows according to demand.

Regrettably, this disastrous airlines has a virtual monopoly in the less savory parts of Europe where politicians are amenable to venality and worse. One can only guess why Austrian Airlines has no sorely needed competition in these benighted and godforsaken locales. Indeed the shabby and tawdry Austrian Airlines and its more forlorn destinations are a perfect fit: hopeless.

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Some relationships are characterized by a degree of laissez-faire and "freedom" that border on emotional absenteeism, neglect, and abandonment.

Both members of these couples lead separate lives, minding their own business. They rarely enquire about the other's whereabouts. DADT (Don't Ask, Don't Tell). The reason they grant each other such latitude is because one of them is a codependent with extreme abandonment anxiety - and the other a histrionic, compensatory narcissist, or, more rarely, borderline who wants to be dumped by her intimate partner.

When such a partner is dumped she feels good and relieved, even elated for 2 reasons:

1. It validates her view of herself as a bad and worthless object (usually the main message of the introjects - inner voices - of a sadistic-narcissistic mother or role models such as teacher or peers); and

2. It prevents intimacy. Such partners hate intimacy and fear it. Intimacy suffocates them. Being dumped puts an end to this threat.

So, they push their partners to dump them by being avoidant, passive-aggressive, plain aggressive, and verbally abusive.

If - no matter what they do and what they try - their partners keeps loving them, they feel deeply frustrated. They begin to hate the patient, loyal, and loving partner viscerally and wholeheartedly.

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I landed in Macedonia in 1996, fresh out of Israeli prison. At that time, it was a poor, landlocked country whose citizenry was rural or newly urban and ill-educated.

My first task was to find a woman to love and live with. Without a woman by my side I am paralyzed. The woman I love is the fuel in my tank AND the driver of my car. She is the one all and be all, the raison d'etre, and the primum movens. Lidija and I married 6 years later (it took her that long to succumb to my dubious charms). I then proceeded on a dual track: to make money and help to change the venal and incompetent regime of the time.

I opened a thriving corporate finance consultancy and became a media celebrity and an educator (I gave free lectures and lengthy seminars on economic and financial issues). One of the participants in my seminars caught my eye. We co-authored a book of dialogs on the Macedonian economy which made his name as an up and coming technocrat: Nikola Gruevski.

I had to flee the wrath of the regime to Prague and then to Moscow. In 1999, the opposition party won the elections. Nikola became Minister without portfolio and then, in rapid succession, Minister of Trade and Minister of Finance. He called me back to Macedonia where I served as Economic Advisor to the Government together with Ante Markovic, the last Prime Minister of Yugoslavia prior to its dismemberment.

This was only the beginning of a long and convoluted story yet to be recounted here in some other post. Nikola became head of the opposition party, the impossibly named VMRO-DPMNE and then Prime Minister. And that is when things started to get really complicated, when the rented apartment we had been living in suddenly burned down.

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The narcissist can get better, but rarely does he get well ("heal"). The reason is the narcissist's enormous life-long, irreplaceable and indispensable emotional investment (cathexis) in his disorder. It serves two critical functions, which together maintain the precariously balanced house of cards called the narcissist's personality. His disorder endows the narcissist with a sense of uniqueness, of "being special" - and it provides him with a rational explanation of his behaviour (an "alibi"). Most narcissists reject the notion or diagnosis that they are mentally disturbed. Absent powers of introspection and a total lack of self-awareness are part and parcel of the disorder. Pathological narcissism is founded on alloplastic defences - the firm conviction that the world or others are to blame for one's behaviour. The narcissist firmly believes that people around him should be held responsible for his reactions or have triggered them.

With such a state of mind so firmly entrenched, the narcissist is incapable of admitting that something is wrong with HIM.

But that is not to say that the narcissist does not experience his disorder.

He does. But he re-interprets this experience. He regards his dysfunctional behaviours - social, sexual, emotional, mental - as conclusive and irrefutable proof of his superiority, brilliance, distinction, prowess, might, or success. Rudeness to others is reinterpreted as efficiency. He considers himself to be the next step in the evolutionary ladder of humanity.

Abusive behaviours are cast as educational. Sexual absence as proof of preoccupation with higher functions. His rage is always just and a reaction to injustice or being misunderstood by intellectual dwarves.

Thus, paradoxically, the disorder becomes an integral and inseparable part of the narcissist's inflated self-esteem and vacuous grandiose fantasies.

More here: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/narcissistlove.html

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In 1982, as I was living in Geneva, Switzerland, I endured one of my attacks of clinical depression.

Only 3 years before, I was a media celebrity in Israel. Even in Geneva I made inroads: I co-founded the unfortunately acronymed GLAS (Geneva Literary Society) which counted among its members luminaries such as Peter Ustinov, the actor and Peter Bailey, the photographer.

As the youthful vice president of the enormous NOGA-APROFIM group of companies (owned by the enigmatic Nessim Gaon), I befriended billionaires of all ages, from the 60+ years old Dudley Wright to the 20+ years old Azad Shivdasani. They both offered me lucrative multi-annual scholarships if I abandon the world of business and its trappings (the private jet - a story for another post). They encouraged me to revert to my roots as a scholar.

I applied to Harvard University and was turned down by no less than Robert Nozick himself - perhaps because in the oral interview I criticized his work scathingly.

In my despair I attempted to join the secretive and powerful Jesuit Order in Geneva. I am a non-practising Jew and had no compunction about converting to any expedient religion - I regarded all of them as variants on the same hogwash themes anyway.

I knew one of the Order's senior members who worked at the United Nations. I was inexorably attracted to the Order's emphases on acquiring multiple academic degrees and on teaching.

I was sent to Boston - incidentally, Harvard's domicile - and was again turned away when I confirmed that I haven't yet "found Jesus". The whole adventure concluded with the most incredible symbolic incident which I describe here in "My Affair with Jesus": http://samvak.tripod.com/jesus-en.html

Happy Easter, Orthodox (Pravoslav) Christians, wherever you are.

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Most common wisdom on the effects of divorce on children is wrong.

Children's emotional reactions to divorce dissipate within a maximum of 2 years. Only 15% continue to be distressed afterwards and into adulthood.

When the parents separate but do not divorce, the child adjusts even better, perhaps because there is hope that the parents will reconcile and the marriage will be restored.

The most severe long-term damages and traumas are incurred by children who grow up in conflict families where the marriage is hopelessly and irreparably dysfunctional.

The effects on children are particularly severe and long lasting when the parents constantly fight volubly, abusively, aggressively, and violently.

Such children grow up to be maladapted adults and experience difficulties in their own relationships

So, staying married "for the children's sake" ("parenting marriage") is an extremely bad idea and detrimental to the child. If the marriage is beyond salvage and there is no effective communication - the parents should DIVORCE exactly FOR THE CHILDREN'S SAKE.

Scientific American https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-divorce-bad-for-children/

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Contrary to online popular online "information", most narcissists are self-aware.

Cognitive understanding of the disorder does not constitute a transforming INSIGHT though: it has no emotional correlate. The narcissist does not INTERNALIZE what he understands and learns about his disorder. This new gained knowledge does not become a motivating part of the narcissist. It remains an inert and indifferent piece of knowledge, with minor influence on the narcissist's psyche.

Moreover: the narcissist may grow aware of certain behaviors of his that are pathological, dysfunctional, or self-defeating. He may even label them as such. But he never grasps the psychodynamic significance of his conduct, the deeper layers of motivation, and the relentless and inexorable engine at the convoluted and tormented core of his being. So he may say: “I really like attention” or even, disparagingly or self-deprecatingly: “I am an attention whore”. But, he won’t be able to fully account for WHY it is that he is addicted to narcissistic supply and what role it plays in his psychology, interpersonal relationships, and life. The narcissist may realize, belatedly, that he is ticking – but never what makes him tick.

Sometimes, when the narcissist first learns about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), he really believes he could change (usually, following a period of vehement denial). He fervently wants to. This is especially true when his whole world is in shambles. Time in prison, a divorce, a bankruptcy, a death of a major source of narcissistic supply - are all transforming life crises. The narcissist admits to a problem only when abandoned, destitute, and devastated. He feels that he doesn't want any more of this. He wants to change. And there often are signs that he IS changing. And then it fades. He reverts to old form. The "progress" he had made evaporates virtually overnight. Many therapists refuse to treat narcissists because of the Sisyphean frustration involved.

More here: http://samvak.tripod.com/2.html

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In one of my gambling sprees I have witnessed an event that occurs once a century if at all.

Eli and I were regular patrons of the casinos in Deauville & Divonne, where we befriended the famous actor & unlucky card player Omar Sharif (of "Dr. Zhivago" fame). One day we went with Omar to watch the roulettes. A Saudi player was losing a fortune nonchalantly & off-handedly, surrounded by beautiful corpulent women, possibly his wives.

Then he started to gamble more methodically. He placed bets on specific numbers & lost. On whole rows - & lost. On half the board - and lost. Finally, he placed bets on ALL the numbers bar one. Mysteriously, that number came up. Clearly the roulette was being illegally manipulated with a brake.

Disgusted, having squandered the entire GDP of a small country, he left the table. On his way out, in the very last second, as the croupier was exclaiming "faites vos jeux, markes vos jeux", he threw his remaining assets on a single number - over a million USD (4-5 million of today). And that number came up!

Transfixed, we all - the Saudi included - stared with incredulous astonishment at the decelerating colorful wheel. The croupier froze, mouth agape. All games ceased. A hush descended.

A few seconds later, bulky security personnel converged on the Saudi and his entourage and surrounded him with a firewall of muscles.

The pit manager rushed outside the steaming room to alert the casino manager. The table was unlimited. The casino had to pay out in excess of 40 million USD (c. 200 million in today's money). After a tense interlude the manager arrived and handed the Saudi a check. The Saudi, warily eyeing the hostile setup departed hurriedly.

The manager & two assistants left and then returned carrying a black velvet sheet. Walking backward so as not to gaze at the benighted table, they flung the yarn over it. The table was "dead". It almost killed the casino. Now it was enshrouded funereally. The games resumed where they were interrupted. Only then did we realize that we were holding our collective breath.
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Another poetry prize: winner of the International Open Amateur Poetry Contest.

Here is a poem I wrote about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is replete with many references to the recounting of the crucifixion and resurrection in the four canonical gospels in the New Testament.

Happy Easter to all my Christian Orthodox/Pravoslav friends and loved ones wherever they are:

The Miracle of the Kisses

That night, the cock denied him thrice.
His mother and the whore downloaded him,
nails etched into his palms,
his thorny forehead glistening,
his body speared.
He wanted to revive unto their moisture.
But the nauseating scents of vinegar
and Roman legionnaires,
the dampness of the cave,
and then that final stone... His brain wide open,
supper digested
that was to have been his last.
He missed so his disciples,
the miracle of their kisses.
He was determined not to decompose.

Other poems I wrote: http://samvak.tripod.com/contents.html

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Transubstantiation (metousiosis, metabole, and other names) is the Christian doctrine that the bread and wine in the sacrament of the Eucharist are mysteriously transformed into the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ - literally, not figuratively, not symbolically, not metaphorically - but IN REALITY.

Technically, therefore, every Eucharist is an act of cannibalism (if we accept that Jesus was a human being). Cannibalism (more precisely, anthropophagy) is an age-old tradition that, judging by a constant stream of flabbergasted news reports, is far from extinct. Much-debated indications exist that our Neanderthal, Proto-Neolithic, and Neolithic (Stone Age) predecessors were cannibals. Similarly contested claims were made with regards to the 12th century advanced Anasazi culture in the southwestern United States and the Minoans in Crete (today's Greece). The Britannica Encyclopedia (2005 edition) recounts how the "Binderwurs of central India ate their sick and aged in the belief that the act was pleasing to their goddess, Kali." Cannibalism may also have been common among followers of the Shaktism cults in India.

Other sources attribute cannibalism to the 16th century Imbangala in today's Angola and Congo, the Fang in Cameroon, the Mangbetu in Central Africa, the Ache in Paraguay, the Tonkawa in today's Texas, the Calusa in current day Florida, the Caddo and Iroquois confederacies of Indians in North America, the Cree in Canada, the Witoto, natives of Colombia and Peru, the Carib in the Lesser Antilles (whose distorted name - Canib - gave rise to the word "cannibalism"), to Maori tribes in today's New Zealand, and to various peoples in Sumatra (like the Batak). Wikipedia numbers among the practitioners of cannibalism the ancient Chinese, the Korowai tribe of southeastern Papua, the Fore tribe in New Guinea (and many other tribes in Melanesia), Aztecs, people of Yucatan, Purchas from Popayan, Colombia, denizens of the Marquesas Islands of Polynesia, and natives of captaincy of Sergipe in Brazil.

Much more here: http://samvak.tripod.com/cannibalism.html

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Asperger's Disorder (renamed in the DSM V Autistic Spectrum Disorder Level 1) is often misdiagnosed as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), though evident as early as age 3 (while pathological narcissism cannot be safely diagnosed prior to early adolescence). In both cases, the patient is self-centered & engrossed in a narrow range of interests & activities. Social and occupational interactions are severely hampered & conversational skills (the give and take of verbal intercourse) are primitive. The Asperger's patient body language - eye to eye gaze, body posture, facial expressions - is constricted and artificial, akin to the narcissist's. Nonverbal cues are virtually absent and their interpretation in others lacking.

Yet, the gulf between Asperger's and pathological narcissism is vast.

The narcissist switches between social agility and social impairment voluntarily. His social dysfunctioning is the outcome of conscious haughtiness and the reluctance to invest scarce mental energy in cultivating relationships with inferior and unworthy others. When confronted with potential Sources of Narcissistic Supply, however, the narcissist easily regains his social skills, his charm, and his gregariousness.

Many narcissists reach the highest rungs of their community, church, firm, or voluntary organization. Most of the time, they function flawlessly - though the inevitable blowups and the grating extortion of Narcissistic Supply usually put an end to the narcissist's career and social liaisons.

The Asperger's patient often wants to be accepted socially, to have friends, to marry, to be sexually active, and to sire offspring. He just doesn't have a clue how to go about it. His affect is limited. His initiative - for instance, to share his experiences with nearest and dearest or to engage in foreplay - is thwarted. His ability to divulge his emotions stilted. He is incapable or reciprocating and is largely unaware of the wishes, needs, and feelings of his interlocutors or counterparties.

Much more here: http://samvak.tripod.com/journal72.html

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Lecture in Southern Federal University in Rostov-on-Don about "Mind and Personality". Do dogs have a mind (hint: we anthropomorphize dogs - but also people. In both cases, we only ASSUME the existence of a mind). Is the mind "real" or just an element of the language we use to describe our introspection? Is the construct of "individual" rigorously defensible? Is the mind a-priori and categorical - or a-posteriori and acquired? Are brain and mind one and the same? Will humans be enslaved by AI (Artificial Intelligence)? Why wasn't the computer invented by giraffes? And much more besides. Tentative conclusion: "mind" and "personality" are theories used to reduce angst and make sense of our experiences of ourselves and of the world.

More here: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/faq24.html

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How a predator psychopathic narcissist describes his strategy of hunting for women, penetrating their defenses and inflicting unbearable agony on them for profit (psychopathy) or pleasure (sadism).

And before you ask: it is NOT about me. I am not like that in my relationships with women. "You first create a fissure, a crack in the facade that runs deep into the frozen quiddity of a love-starved woman. Then you introduce into this abyss her tears born of arbitrary incomprehensible avoidance. As they congeal and expand they tear the mental tissue apart, giving one access to and view into the barely beating, rarely hopeful heart - all ready for the ripping, the Aztec rite of appeasing the predatory hunter that is such a woman’s only possible lover."

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Questions and answers session in Southern Federal University, mainly about god and religion and therapy as belief systems. Lots of opposition, shock, and awe.

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Nazism was not merely a German political ideology. It was a global political philosophy. At some point in the early 1940s, there were Nazi governments and major political movements in a dozen countries from Egypt (Green Shirts), through Iraq (Rashid Ali al-Khilani), Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Norway (Quisling), not to mention Latin America.

Nazism offered an alternative to liberal capitalism, fascism, and communism. It was an eclectic hodgepodge of halfbaked ideas lifted from socialism, corporatism, etatism, imperialism, social Darwinism, eugenic racism, and anything that caught the fancy of the voracious reader at its helm, Adolf Hitler.

Hitler as an inverted saint http://samvak.tripod.com/hitler.html

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The civil war in Syria started in the wake of an extreme multi-annual drought. In this sense, it is a water conflict or water war.

Growing up in Israel in the 1960's, we were always urged to conserve precious water. Rainfall was rare and meager, the sun scorching, our only sweet water lake under constant threat by the Syrians. Israelis were being shot at hauling water cisterns or irrigating their parched fields. Water was a matter of life and death - literally.

Drought often conspires with man-made disasters. Rapid, unsustainable urbanization, desertification, exploding populations, and economic growth, especially of water-intensive industries, such as microprocessor fabs all contribute to the worst water crisis the world has ever known.

Governments reacted late, hesitantly, and haltingly. Water conservation, desalination, water rights exchanges, water pacts, private-public partnerships, and privatization of utilities may have been implemented too little, too late.

Rising incomes lead to the exertion of political pressure on the authorities by civic movements and NGO's to improve water quality and availability. But can the authorities help?

Turkey is constructing more than two dozen dams on the Tigris and Euphrates within the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP). Once completed, Turkey will have the option to deprive both Syria and Iraq of their main sources of water, though it vowed not to do so. In a cynical twist, it offers to sell them water from its Manavgat river. Iraq's own rivers have shriveled by half. Still, this is the less virulent and violent of the water conflicts in the Middle East.

Israel controls the Kinneret Sea of Galilee. It is the source of one third of its water consumption. The rest it pumps from rivers in the region, to the vocal dismay of Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. Despite decades of indoctrination, Israelis are water-guzzlers. They quaff 4-6 times the water consumption of their Palestinian and Arab neighbors. Giant desalination projects cater to their liquid needs.

Much more here: http://samvak.tripod.com/pp146.html

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Divorce in modern times constitutes one of the biggest transfers of wealth in the annals of Mankind. Amounts of cash and assets, which dwarf anything OPEC used to have in its heyday, pass between spouses yearly. Most of the beneficiaries are women. Because the earning power of men is almost double that of women (depending on the country) – most of the wealth accumulated by any couple is directly traceable to the husband's income. A divorce, therefore, constitutes a transfer of part of the husband's wealth to his wife. Because the cumulative disparities over years of income differentials are great – the wealth transferred is enormous.

Consider a husband that makes an average of US $40,000 after-tax annually throughout his working years. He is likely to save c. $1,000 annually (net savings in the USA prior to 1995 averaged 2.5% of disposable income). This is close to US $8,000 in 7 years with interest and dividends reinvested and assuming no appreciation in the prices of financial assets.

His wife stands to receive half of these savings (c. $4,000) if the marriage is dissolved after 7 years. Had she started to work at the same time as her husband and continued to do so for 7 years as well – on average, she will have earned 60% of his income.

Assuming an identical savings rate for her, she would have saved only US $5,000 and her husband would be entitled to US $2,500 of it. Thus, a net transfer of US $1,500 in cash from husband to wife is one of the the likely outcomes of the divorce of this very typical couple.

But this ignores the transfer of tangible and intangible assets from husband to wife. A seven year old couple in the West typically owns $100,000 in assets. When they divorce, by splitting the assets right down the middle, the man actually transfers to the woman about $10,000 in assets, taking their income differential into account.

An average of 45% of the couples in the Western hemisphere end up divorcing within 7 years. Divorce is, by far, the most powerful re-distributive mechanism in modern society.

More here: http://samvak.tripod.com/nm057.html

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What kind of a spouse/mate/partner is likely to be attracted to a narcissist, or to attract a narcissist?

On the face of it, there is no (emotional) partner or mate, who typically "binds" with a narcissist. They come in all shapes and sizes. The initial phases of attraction, infatuation and falling in love are pretty normal. The narcissist puts on his best face – the other party is blinded by budding love. The narcissist is indiscriminate: if you are capable and willing to provide secondary narcissistic supply - you "qualify" as his partner.

Living with a narcissist can be exhilarating, is always onerous, often harrowing.

First and foremost, the narcissist's partner must have a deficient or a distorted grasp of her self and of reality. Otherwise, she (or he) is bound to abandon the narcissist's ship early on. The cognitive distortion is likely to consist of belittling and demeaning herself – while aggrandising and adoring the narcissist.

The partner is, thus, placing herself in the position of the eternal victim: undeserving, punishable, a scapegoat. Sometimes, it is very important to the partner to appear moral, sacrificial and victimised. At other times, she is not even aware of this predicament. The narcissist is perceived by the partner to be a person in the position to demand these sacrifices from her because he is superior in many ways (intellectually, emotionally, morally, professionally, or financially). The status of professional victim sits well with the partner's tendency to punish herself, namely: with her masochistic streak. The tormented life with the narcissist is just what she deserves.

In this respect, the partner is the mirror image of the narcissist: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/faq6.html

The codependent, covert narcissist, and inverted narcissist: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/faq66.html

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In contemporary thought, incest is invariably associated with child abuse and its horrific, long-lasting, and often irreversible consequences. Incest is not such a clear-cut matter as it has been made out to be over millennia of taboo. Many participants claim to have enjoyed the act and its physical and emotional consequences. It is often the result of seduction. In some cases, two consenting and fully informed adults are involved.

Many types of relationships, which are defined as incestuous, are between genetically unrelated parties (a stepfather and a daughter), or between fictive kin or between classificatory kin (that belong to the same matriline or patriline). In certain societies (the Native American or the Chinese) it is sufficient to carry the same family name (=to belong to the same clan) and marriage is forbidden.

Some incest prohibitions relate to sexual acts - others to marriage. In some societies, incest is mandatory or prohibited, according to the social class or particular circumstances (Ugarit, Bali, Papua New Guinea, Polynesian and Melanesian islands). In others, the Royal House started a tradition of incestuous marriages, which was later imitated by lower classes (Ancient Egypt, Hawaii, Pre-Columbian Mixtec). Some societies are more tolerant of consensual incest than others (Japan, India until the 1930's, Australia). Perhaps the strongest feature of incest has been hitherto downplayed: it is, essentially, an autoerotic act.

Having sex with a first-degree blood relative is like having sex with oneself. It is a Narcissistic act and like all acts Narcissistic, it involves the objectification of the partner. The incestuous Narcissist over-values and then devalues his sexual partner. He is devoid of empathy.

But it is the reaction of society that transforms incest into such a disruptive phenomenon. The condemnation, the horror, the revulsion and the attendant social sanctions interfere with the internal processes and dynamics of the incestuous family. It is from society that the child learns that something is horribly wrong.

More: http://samvak.tripod.com/incest.html

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Photos from some of the meetings I (and one other Israeli delegate) held with Arab politicians and intellectuals in 1984-89. The meetings were organized by the PWPA (Professors World Peace Academy). I later became the President of the Israel chapter of the PWPA.

In 1984-7 (1987 being the year of the First Intifada), Arabs (and, of course, Iranians) refused to meet Israelis, so these meetings were groundbreaking and highly unusual. They paved the way to the peace process that followed in 1991.

Among those photographed: Jawad Anani, Deputy Prime Minister of Jordan; Saad a-Din Ibrahim, Egypt's leading intellectual; Yemen's Prime Minister at the time; Jordan's Minister of Agriculture; participants from Iran, Turkey and Syria and other countries.

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To a narcissistic employer, the members of his "staff" are Secondary Sources of Narcissistic Supply. Their role is to accumulate the supply (remember events that support the grandiose self-image of the narcissist) and to regulate the Narcissistic Supply of the narcissist during dry spells - to adulate, adore, admire, agree, provide attention and approval, and, generally, serve as an audience to him.

The staff (or should we say "stuff"?) is supposed to remain passive. The narcissist is not interested in anything but the simplest function of mirroring. When the mirror acquires a personality and a life of its own, the narcissist is incensed. When independent minded, an employee might be in danger of being sacked by his narcissistic employer (an act which demonstrates the employer's omnipotence). The employee's presumption to be the employer's equal by trying to befriend him (friendship is possible only among equals) injures the employer narcissisticly. He is willing to accept his employees as underlings, whose very position serves to support his grandiose fantasies.

But his grandiosity is so tenuous and rests on such fragile foundations, that any hint of equality, disagreement or need (any intimation that the narcissist "needs" friends, for instance) threatens the narcissist profoundly. The narcissist is exceedingly insecure. It is easy to destabilise his impromptu "personality". His reactions are merely in self-defence.

Classic narcissistic behaviour is when idealisation is followed by devaluation. The devaluing attitude develops as a result of disagreements or simply because time has eroded the employee's capacity to serve as a FRESH Source of Supply.

The veteran employee, now taken for granted by his narcissistic employer, becomes uninspiring as a source of adulation, admiration and attention. The narcissist always seeks new thrills and stimuli.

More: http://samvak.tripod.com/faq81.html

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It is very easy to "break" a narcissist in court by revealing facts that contradict his inflated perception of his grandiose (false) self; by criticising and disagreeing with him; by exposing his fake achievements, belittling his self-imputed and fantasized "talents and skills"; by hinting that he is subordinated, subjugated, controlled, owned or dependent upon a third party; by describing the narcissist as average, common, indistinguishable from others; by implying that the narcissist is weak, needy, dependent, deficient, slow, not intelligent, naive, gullible, susceptible, not in the know, manipulated, a victim, an average person of mediocre accomplishments.

Detailed guide here: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/faq78.html

How to Divorce a Narcissist or a Psychopath? http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/5.html

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Me. 1989. Sic transit gloria Mundi.

My biography http://samvak.tripod.com/cv.html

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The narcissist is the guru at the centre of a cult. Like other gurus, he demands complete obedience from his flock: his spouse, his offspring, other family members, friends, and colleagues. He feels entitled to adulation and special treatment by his followers. He punishes the wayward and the straying lambs. He enforces discipline, adherence to his teachings, and common goals. The less accomplished he is in reality – the more stringent his mastery, the more outlandish and incredible his mission and message, and the more pervasive the brainwashing.

Cults are, therefore, person-centred organizations compared to other impersonal bureaucracies. This is the ironic paradox at the heart of cults: even as cult leaders dehumanize and objectify people, they do it with a “human face”, the face of the cult’s charismatic founder and chieftain.

Cult leaders are narcissists who failed in their quest to "be someone", to become famous, and to impress the world with their uniqueness, talents, traits, and skills. Such disgruntled narcissists withdraw into a "Pathological Narcissistic Space" that assumes the hallmarks of a cult.

The – often involuntary – members of the narcissist's mini-cult inhabit a twilight zone of his own construction. He imposes on them an exclusionary or inclusionary shared psychosis, replete with persecutory delusions, "enemies", mythical-grandiose narratives, and apocalyptic scenarios if he is flouted. It is a mental enclave of suspended judgement which fast becomes the disciples’s comfort zone where – devoid of all responsibilities and the guilt attendant on failure (“performance anxiety”) – they feel calm and assured of the master’s unconditional acceptance and “love”. It is a re-enactment of the follower’s early childhood, only this time with an ideal, benevolent parent.

Exclusionary shared psychosis involves the physical and emotional isolation of the narcissist and his “flock” (spouse, children, fans, friends) from the outside world.

More: http://samvak.tripod.com/journal79.html

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I am a voracious reader of the most convoluted and lexiphanic texts - yet, there is one author I prefer to most. She gives me the greatest pleasure and leaves me tranquil and craving for more when I am through devouring one of her countless tomes. A philosopher of the mundane, a scholar of death, an exquisite chronicler of decay and decadence - she is Dame Agatha Christie. I spend as much time wondering what so mesmerizes me in her pulp fiction as I do trying to decipher her deliciously contorted stratagems.

First, there is the claustrophobia. Modernity revolves around the rapid depletion of our personal spaces - from pastures and manors to cubicles and studio apartments. Christie - like Edgar Ellen Poe before her - imbues even the most confined rooms with endless opportunities for vice and malice, where countless potential scenarios can and do unfold kaleidoscopically. A Universe of plots and countervailing subplots which permeate even the most cramped of her locations. It is nothing short of consummate magic.

Then there is the realization of the ubiquity of our pathologies. In Christie's masterpieces, even the champions of good are paragons of mental illness. Hercules Poirot, the quintessential narcissist, self-grooming, haughty, and delusional. Miss Marple, a schizoid busybody, who savors neither human company, nor her inevitable encounters with an intruding world. Indeed, it is deformity that gifts these two with their eerily penetrating insights into the infirmities of others.

And there is the death of innocence. Dame Agatha's detective novels are quaint, set in a Ruritanian Britain that is no more and likely had never existed. Technologies make their debut: the car, the telephone, the radio, electric light. The very nature of evil is transformed from the puerile directness of the highway robber and the passion killer - to the scheming, cunning, and disguised automatism of her villains. Crime in her books is calculated, the outcome of plotting and conspiring - continue here: http://samvak.tripod.com/christie.html

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God is omniscient, omnipotent and good. Why, therefore does he allow evil and won't he eliminate it? If he cannot eradicate evil, then he is not all-powerful (or not all-knowing). If he will not do so, then surely he is not good!

Epicurus is said to have been the first to offer this simplistic formulation of the Logical (a-priori, deductive) Problem of Evil, later expounded on by David Hume in his "Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion" (1779). Evil is a value judgment, a plainly human, culture-bound, period-specific construct. St. Thomas Aquinas called it "ens rationis", the subjective perception of relationships between objects and persons, or persons and persons. Some religions (Hinduism, Christian Science) shrug it off as an illusion, the outcome of our intellectual limitations and our mortality. As St. Augustine explained in his seminal "The City of God" (5th century AD), what to us appears heinous and atrocious may merely be an integral part of a long-term divine plan whose aim is to preponderate good. Leibniz postulated in his Theodicy (1710) that Evil (moral, physical, and metaphysical) is an inevitable part of the best logically possible world, a cosmos of plenitude and the greatest possible number of "compatible perfections". But, what about acts such as murder or rape (at least in peace time)? What about "horrendous evil" (coined by Marilyn Adams to refer to unspeakable horrors)? There is no belief system that condones them. They are universally considered to be evil. It is hard to come up with a moral calculus that would justify them, no matter how broad the temporal and spatial frame of reference and how many degrees of freedom we allow.

The Augustinian etiology of evil (that it is the outcome of bad choices by creatures endowed with a free will) is of little help. It fails to explain why would a sentient, sapient being, fully aware of the consequences of his actions and their adverse impacts on himself and on others, choose evil?

Find some answers here: http://samvak.tripod.com/sciencereligion4.html

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The narcissistic medical doctor or mental health professional and his patients, the narcissistic guide, teacher, or mentor and his students, the narcissistic leader, guru, pundit, or psychic and his followers or admirers, and the narcissistic business tycoon, boss, or employer and his underlings – all are instances of Pathological Narcissistic Spaces.

The narcissist naturally gravitates towards those professions which guarantee the abundant and uninterrupted provision of Narcissistic Supply. He seeks to interact with people from a position of authority, advantage, or superiority. He thus elicits their automatic admiration, adulation, and affirmation – or, failing that, their fear and obedience.

Several vocations meet these requirements: teaching, the clergy, show business, corporate management, the medical professions, the military, law enforcement agencies, politics, and sports. It is safe to predict that narcissists would be over-represented in these occupations.

The cerebral narcissist is likely to emphasize his intellectual prowess and accomplishments (real and imaginary) in an attempt to solicit supply from awe-struck students, devoted parishioners, admiring voters, obsequious subordinates, or dependent patients. His somatic counterpart derives his sense of self-worth from body building, athletic achievements, tests of resilience or endurance, and sexual conquests.

More: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/journal70.html

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Ironically, guilty people experience guilt because they have had the power to make a different choice. One cannot feel guilty when one is powerless or impotent and therefore not responsible for events, circumstances, and decisions.

So, guilt goes with empowerment. Helpless people feel shame, not guilt.

This is why pathological narcissism is associated with shame, not with guilt.

The Grandiosity Gap is the difference between self-image - the way the narcissist perceives himself - and contravening cues from reality. The greater the conflict between grandiosity and reality, the bigger the gap and the greater the narcissist's feelings of shame.

There are two varieties of shame:

Narcissistic Shame – which is the narcissist's experience of the Grandiosity Gap (and its affective correlate). Subjectively it felt as a pervasive feeling of worthlessness (the dysfunctional regulation of self-worth is the crux of pathological narcissism), "invisibility" and ridiculousness. The patient feels pathetic and foolish, deserving of mockery and humiliation.

Narcissists adopt all kinds of defences to counter narcissistic shame. They develop addictive, reckless, or impulsive behaviours. They deny, withdraw, rage, or engage in the compulsive pursuit of some kind of (unattainable, of course) perfection. They display haughtiness and exhibitionism and so on. All these defences are primitive and involve splitting, projection, projective identification, and intellectualization.

The second type of shame is Self-Related. It is a result of the gap between the narcissist's grandiose Ego Ideal and his Self or Ego. This is a well-known concept of shame and it has been explored widely.
Guilt is an "objectively" determinable philosophical entity (given relevant knowledge regarding the society and culture in question). It is context-dependent. It is the derivative of an underlying assumption by OTHERS that a Moral Agent exerts control over certain aspects of the world.

More about guilt, shame, codependence, and narcissism here: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/faq01.html

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I am often described as a creep or freak or weirdo. This is because, as a narcissistic psychopath, I am not fully human. I am a near perfect imitation or simulation - but not quite there. There is something plastic and forced and artificial that people detect often unconsciously. It puts them off or even frightens them, though some traumatized women find my high-octane eeriness irresistible.

The concept of “Uncanny Valley” was coined in 1970 by the Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori. Mori suggested that people react positively to androids (humanlike robots) for as long as they differ from real humans in meaningful and discernible ways. But the minute these contraptions come to resemble humans uncannily, though imperfectly, human observers tend to experience repulsion, revulsion, and other negative emotions, including fear.

The same applies to psychopathic narcissists: they are near-perfect imitations of humans, but, lacking empathy and emotions, they are not exactly there. Psychopaths and narcissists strike their interlocutors as being some kind of “alien life-forms” or “artificial intelligence”, in short: akin to humanoid robots, or androids. When people come across narcissists or psychopaths the Uncanny Valley reaction kicks in: people feel revolted, scared, and repelled. They can’t put the finger on what it is that provokes these negative reactions, but, after a few initial encounters, they tend to keep their distance.

At the other extreme of this spectrum, we find “empaths” whose super- or hyper- empathy amounts to a kind of “Empathic Personality Disorder”: their overabundant empathy leads them to ignore, deny, and suppress their own personality, needs, wishes, desires, dreams, and priorities in order to cater to the emotional requirements of significant others (or, in some cases, of total strangers). Empaths are not necessarily codependent or even people-pleasers: they are simply overwhelmed by their resurgent empathy, by their “exposed nerve ends” to the point of self-suspension.

More http://samvak.tripod.com/personalitydisorders68.html

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Today is Adolf Hitler’s birthday. We are living in the world that he shaped, in his legacy.

Colonialism always had discernible religious overtones and often collaborated with missionary religion. "The White Man's burden" of civilizing the "savages" was widely perceived as ordained by God. The church was the extension of the colonial power's army and trading companies.

It is no wonder that Hitler's Lebensraum colonial movement - Nazism - possessed all the hallmarks of an institutional religion: priesthood, rites, rituals, temples, worship, catechism, mythology. Hitler was this religion's ascetic saint. He monastically denied himself earthly pleasures (or so he claimed) in order to be able to dedicate himself fully to his calling. Hitler was a monstrously inverted Jesus, sacrificing his life and denying himself so that (Aryan) humanity should benefit. By surpassing and suppressing his humanity, Hitler became a distorted version of Nietzsche's "superman". But being a-human or super-human also means being a-sexual and a-moral. Hitler was a post-modernist and a moral relativist. He projected to the masses an androgynous figure and enhanced it by fostering the adoration of nudity and all things "natural". But what Nazism referred to as "nature" was not natural at all.

It was an aesthetic of decadence and evil (though it was not perceived this way by the Nazis), carefully orchestrated, and artificial. Nazism was about reproduced copies, not about originals. It was about the manipulation of symbols - not about veritable atavism.

In short: Nazism was about theatre, not about life. To enjoy the spectacle (and be subsumed by it), Nazism demanded the suspension of judgment, depersonalization, and de-realization. Catharsis was tantamount, in Nazi dramaturgy, to self-annulment. Nazism was nihilistic not only operationally, or ideologically. Its very language and narratives were nihilistic. Nazism was conspicuous nihilism - and Hitler served as a role model, annihilating Hitler the Man, only to re-appear as Hitler the stychia.

More: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/hitler.html

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Taking a break from the hectic posting on Instagram which became a full-time job.

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I am 57 years old today (well, in 6 minutes). Why do we celebrate birthdays? What is it that we are toasting? Getting one year nearer to death? Is it the fact that we have survived another year against many odds? Are we marking the progress we have made, our cumulative achievements and possessions? Is a birthday the expression of hope sprung eternal to live another year?

None of the above, it would seem.

If it is the past year that we are commemorating, would we still drink to it if we were to receive some bad news about our health and imminent demise? Not likely. But why? What is the relevance of information about the future (our own looming death) when one is celebrating the past? The past is immutable. No future event can vitiate the fact that we have made it through another 12 months of struggle. Then why not celebrate this fact?

Because it is not the past that is foremost on our minds. Our birthdays are about the future, not about the past. We are celebrating having arrived so far because such successful resilience allows us to continue forward. We proclaim our potential to further enjoy the gifts of life. Birthdays are expressions of unbridled, blind faith in our own suspended mortality.

But, if this were true, surely as we grow older we have less and less cause to celebrate. What reason do octogenarians have to drink to another year if that gift is far from guaranteed? Life offers diminishing returns: the longer you are invested, the less likely you are to reap the dividenda of survival. Indeed, based on actuary tables, it becomes increasingly less rational to celebrate one's future the older one gets.

Thus, we are forced into the conclusion that birthdays are about self-delusionally defying death. Birthdays are about preserving the illusion of immortality. Birthdays are forms of acting out our magical thinking. By celebrating our existence, we bestow on ourselves protective charms against the meaninglessness and arbitrariness of a cold, impersonal, and often hostile universe.

And, more often than not, it works. Happy birthday!

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This is what happens when I have had one too many. No inhibitions. Only exhibitions.

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The first-ever print runs were tiny and costly. Gutenberg produced fewer than 200 copies of his eponymous and awe-inspiring Bible & died a broken and insolvent man. Other printers followed suit when they failed to predict demand (by readers) & supply (by authors who acted as their own publishers, pirates, underground printers, and compilers of unauthorized, wild editions of works). Confronted with the vagaries of this new technology, for many decades printer-publishers confined themselves to pornographic fiction, religious tracts, political pamphlets, dramaturgy, almanacs, indulgences, contracts, & prophecies & mostly disposable trash. As most books were read aloud – as a communal, not an individual experience – the number of copies required was limited.

Despite the technological breakthroughs that coalesced to form the modern printing press, printed books in the 17th and 18th centuries were derided by their contemporaries as inferior to their laboriously hand-made antecedents and to the incunabula. One is reminded of the current complaints about the new media (Internet, e-books), its shoddy workmanship, shabby appearance, & the rampant piracy. The first decades following the invention of the printing press, were, as the Encyclopedia Britannica puts it "a restless, highly competitive free for all ... (with) enormous vitality and variety (often leading to) careless work". There were egregious acts of piracy - for instance, the illicit copying of the Aldine Latin "pocket books", or the all-pervasive piracy in England in the 17th century (a direct result of over-regulation and coercive copyright monopolies). Shakespeare's work was published by notorious pirates and infringers of emerging intellectual property rights. Later, the American colonies became the world's centre of industrialized and systematic book piracy. Confronted with abundant and cheap pirated foreign books, local authors resorted to freelancing in magazines and lecture tours in a vain effort to make ends meet.

More about the history of the book: http://samvak.tripod.com/busiweb21.html

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On a windy day in Russia, wearing my new leather jacket, gazing at the Black Sea and contemplating past, present, the future, and other conundrums. Notice the “vision thing” faraway look and the James Dean posture as I lean on the indispensable balustrade. Even I am impressed!

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Pathological narcissism is an addiction to Narcissistic Supply (attention), the narcissist's drug of choice. It is, therefore, not surprising that other addictive and reckless behaviours – workaholism, alcoholism, drug abuse, pathological gambling, compulsory shopping, or reckless driving – piggyback on this primary dependence.

The narcissist – like other types of addicts – derives pleasure from these exploits. But they also sustain and enhance his grandiose fantasies as "unique", "superior", "entitled", and "chosen". They place him above the laws and pressures of the mundane and away from the humiliating and sobering demands of reality. They render him the centre of attention – but also place him in "splendid isolation" from the madding and inferior crowd.

Such compulsory and wild pursuits provide a psychological exoskeleton. They are a substitute to quotidian existence. They afford the narcissist with an agenda, with timetables, goals, and faux achievements. The narcissist – the adrenaline junkie – feels that he is in control, alert, excited, and vital. He does not regard his condition as dependence. The narcissist firmly believes that he is in charge of his addiction, that he can quit at will and on short notice.

The narcissist denies his cravings for fear of "losing face" and subverting the flawless, perfect, immaculate, and omnipotent image he projects. When caught red handed, the narcissist underestimates, rationalises, or intellectualises his addictive and reckless behaviours – converting them into an integral part of his grandiose and fantastic False Self.

A drug abusing narcissist may claim to be conducting first hand research for the benefit of humanity or that his substance abuse results in enhanced creativity and productivity. The dependence of some narcissists becomes a way of life: e.g. busy corporate executives, race car drivers, or professional gamblers.

Narcissists, addicts, 12 steps and more: http://samvak.tripod.com/journal66.html

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Listening attentively, brain whirring, analyses swirling, scenarios written, deconstructed, deleted, archived, contrasted, cognitions erupting, formulated, compared, reformulated, associations, dissociations, data, facts, intuitions, speculations, theories ... stream of consciousness that never ever ceases, not even when I sleep. It is tiring to be possessed by a mind like mine, depleting, exhausting.

More about the brain and its mind http://samvak.tripod.com/meta.html

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Some victims never learn. They say: "It is true that he is a narcissist and his behaviour is unacceptable & repulsive. But all he needs is a little love and he will change. I will rescue him from his misery and misfortune. I will give him the love that he lacked as a child. Then his narcissism will vanish and we will live happily ever after." Such sad examples of the powers of self-delusion that the narcissist provokes in his victims I call "malignant optimism". People refuse to believe that some questions are unsolvable, some diseases incurable, some disasters inevitable. They see a sign of hope in every fluctuation. They read meaning and patterns into every random occurrence, utterance, or slip. They are deceived by their own pressing need to believe in the ultimate victory of good over evil, health over sickness, order over disorder.

Life appears otherwise so meaningless, so unjust and so arbitrary... So, they impose upon it a design, progress, aims, and paths. This is magical thinking. "If only he tried hard enough", "If he only really wanted to heal", "If only we found the right therapy", "If only his defences were down", "There MUST be something good and worthy under the hideous facade", "NO ONE can be that evil and destructive", "He must have meant it differently" "God, or a higher being, or the spirit, or the soul is the solution and the answer to our prayers.” The Pollyanna defences of the abused are aimed against the emerging and horrible understanding that humans are specks of dust in a totally indifferent universe, the playthings of evil and sadistic forces, of which the narcissist is one - as well as against the unbearable realization that their pain means nothing to anyone but themselves.

The narcissist holds such thinking in barely undisguised contempt. To him, it is a sign of weakness, the scent of prey, a gaping vulnerability. He uses and abuses this human need for order, good, and meaning - as he does all other human needs. Gullibility, selective blindness, malignant optimism - these are the weapons of the abuser.

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It is common knowledge among unicorns that even the THOUGHT of a cake - especially a wedding cake - is enough to induce the most profound slumber, safe and at peace in the arms of Hypnos and Morpheus. But I have yet to meet a unicorn who could resist taking a bite of anything syrupy and sweet, perfect and luscious, and so promisingly round.

Having sunk her tiny teeth into the ambrosia, content, the unicorn rests her horny head on the roundness that so gratified her, her mark discernible in her besotted floury prey.

There, surrounded by smells and tastes and textures, she dreams of other lands and mighty adventures and of Love itself.

And when she wakes up, as all unicorns do, she finds that it is all reality, all true. Thus happy, she rushes to take another bite.

The older I get the better I can spot them. They typically pretend to be human, you know.

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Alone of all the social networks, Instagram has two main functions, both highly narcissistic: 1. As a comparative measure of social ranking and social status (the proxy being the number of likes); and 2. As a channel for interpersonal signalling and posturing.

Popularity on Instagram is therefore determined by how much the superstar resembles his followers: the greater the resemblance, the more easy it is for the followers to fantasize about attaining superstardom one day, exactly like their ephemeral idol did out of nowhere. Instagram is, therefore, another example of a platform of echo chambers of like-minded people replete with rampant confirmation bias and communal reinforcement.

Thus, the more empty-headed, vain, and self-centered he or she appears to be - the more influential the poster is. Of course there are notable exceptions, even among teenage Instas: I follow and have met one or two of them whom I appreciate. But these are the exceptions that prove the Rule.

But aren’t all social media the same? Nope! Read why I think so here: http://samvak.tripod.com/journal67.html

To the narcissist, the Internet is an alluring and irresistible combination of playground and hunting grounds, the gathering place of numerous potential Sources of Narcissistic Supply, a world where false identities are the norm and mind games the bon ton. And it is beyond the reach of the law, the pale of social norms, the strictures of civilized conduct.

The positive characteristics of the Net are largely lost on the narcissist. He is not keen on expanding his horizons, fostering true relationships, or getting in real contact with other people. The narcissist is forever the provincial because he filters everything through the narrow lens of his addiction. He measures others – and idealizes or devalues them – according to one criterion only: how useful they might be as Sources of Narcissistic Supply.

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In 2000 I was the first to suggest to apply the new proposed diagnosis of CPTSD to victims of "narcissistic abuse" (a phrase I coined in 1995). Here are excerpts from my original article (The full text is available here: http://samvak.tripod.com/abusefamily22.html):

"Contrary to popular misconceptions, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Acute Stress Disorder (or Reaction) are not typical responses to prolonged abuse. They are the outcomes of sudden exposure to severe or extreme stressors (stressful events). Yet, some victims whose life or body have been directly and unequivocally threatened by an abuser react by developing these syndromes. PTSD is, therefore, typically associated with the aftermath of physical and sexual abuse in both children and adults.

This is why another mental health diagnosis, C-PTSD (Complex PTSD) has been proposed by Dr. Judith Herman of Harvard University to account for the impact of extended periods of trauma and abuse."

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Fear of flying (aviophoboa, not aerophobia) affects well over 6% of the world's adult population.

Like all phobias, aviophobia is irrational: air flight is by far the safest means of transportation and a very safe technology. It symbolizes and reifies inner mental processes which have little to do with actual flying, airplanes, or airports.

Fear of flying is the symbolic representation and culmination of three other psychological problems:

1. Performance anxiety 2. Fear of loss of control (over one's life) and 3. Fear of being autonomous or independent.

Aviophobia is not associated with paranoid tendencies or other issues with trust.

Aviophobia is treated like all other phobias: desensitization (exposure therapy) coupled with talk therapy (usually CBT - Cognitive Behavioral Therapy).

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In a historic summit the rulers of the two Koreas - south and north - agreed to officially end the Korea War which flared up in 1950-1953 and has ended with a ceasefire (armistice).

In 2010 I was asked to make ten predictions regarding the coming decade. This was prediction number 2: "Korean Unification. By late 2010, a succession war was simmering in North Korea. His panoply of suddenly-bestowed senior political and military posts notwithstanding, the generals and military establishment are less than happy and impressed with Kim Jong-un, the younger son of the Dear Leader, Kim Jong-il. Each side flexes muscles in an attempt to burnish their nationalist and martial credentials. The outcomes of this internecine conflict are ominous: a series of ever-escalating military skirmishes with South Korea and the ramping up of North Korea’s already burgeoning nuclear weapons and cyberwar programs (as Sony discovered to its cost.) North Korea’s leaders are likely to try to reform their country’s economy and introduce capitalism, but this will fail. The regime in North Korea is all but dead on its feet. These are its last days. China is facing the terrifying spectacle of a crony failed state with tens of millions of starved and destitute potential refugees swarming across its porous and indefensible borders. China’s ascendance to superpowerdom and its respectability are threatened by this association with the last remaining pariah rogue state. There is only one solution to all the problems of the Korean Peninsula: unification. The parties came close to discussing it in secret talks in 2002 and then again in 2009."

The other 9 predictions: http://samvak.tripod.com/blog.html

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The Stupid, the Trivial, and the Frivolous are everywhere: among the working classes, of course, but increasingly you can find them displacing the erstwhile elites, spawning hordes of mindless politicians, idiot business tycoons, narcissistic media personalities, gullible clergy, vacuous celebrities, illiterate bestselling authors, athletes with far more brawn than brain, repetitious pop singers, less than mediocre bureaucrats, bovine gatekeepers, and even ignorant and semi-literate academics. Their cacophony drowns the few voices of wisdom, expertise, and experience and their sheer number overwhelms all systems of governance and all mechanisms of decision-making. Rather than futilely fight back this tsunami, the well-educated, the erudite, and the intelligent choose to withdraw and seclude themselves in self-constructed, schizoid ivory towers, all bridges drawn.

Imbeciles are a menace to the continued existence not only of our civilization, but also of our species. We may end up being all Homo, no sapiens.

Stupid people use DEMOCRACY and TECHNOLOGY to rule the world - and us. Learn more about this threat to our survival here: http://samvak.tripod.com/blog.html

A study of nine million young adults over 40 years (conducted by Jean Twenge and her colleagues and published in the March 2012 issue of the Jour­nal of Per­son­al­ity and So­cial Psy­chol­o­gy) has starkly demonstrated the deterioration from one generation to another. Youngsters are now focused on money, image, and fame and disparage values such as community, volunteerism, the environment, and knowledge acquisition. Other surveys have documented a rising level of illiteracy. As if to illustrate the imminence of these new Dark Ages, the Encyclopedia Britannica announced that it will cease the publication of its print edition after 244 years. Its surviving digital editions are a far cry from the print equivalent in terms of depth, length, and erudition.

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Your intimate partner can't stand it when your abode does not resemble a museum, when your things are strewn all over the place, when there are splatters of coffee on the kitchen counter, when the books and DVDs are not stacked at right angles, and when the towels in the spotless bathroom are crumpled. He is a neat freak and most probably suffers from Obsessive-compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD). Obsessions and compulsions are about control of self & others. OCPDs are concerned (worried and anxious) about maintaining and being seen to be maintaining control. They are preoccupied with the symbolic aspects and representations (symbols) of control.
OCPDs are perfectionists and rigidly orderly or organized. They lack flexibility, openness and efficiency. They tend to see the world and others as at best whimsical and arbitrary and at worst menacing and hostile. They are constantly worried that something is or may go wrong. They share some traits with the paranoid and the schizotypal.

It is easy to spot them. They are constantly drawing up and dreaming up lists, rules, orders, rituals, and organizational schemes. They demand from themselves and from others perfection and an inordinate attention to minutia. Actually, they place greater value on compiling and following rigid schedules and checklists than on the activity itself or its goals.

OCPDs are workaholics, but not because they like to work. Ostensibly, they sacrifice family life, leisure, and friendships on the altar of productivity and output. Really, they are convinced that only they can get the job done in the right manner. Yet, they are not very efficacious or productive.

Socially, OCPDs are sometimes resented and rejected. This is because some OCPDs are self-righteous to the point of bigotry and tyranny.

Much more about this type of personality: http://samvak.tripod.com/personalitydisorders29.html

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There are four cardinal ways to regulate sex within committed relationships, each with its own explicit or implicit contract.

1. Sexual exclusivity

Contract: the intimate partners engage in all forms of sex acts as well as flirting and dating only with each other. Any sexual, romantic, or emotional interaction with someone outside the relationship is considered cheating and a betrayal of the intimate partner.

2. Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT)

Contract: the intimate partner in a DADT relationship turns a blind eye to, ignores, or denies the facts about his/her partner's infidelity. He/she implicitly allows his/her partner to date others, flirt with them, and have all manner of sex acts outside the relationship. But they have to be discreet about their affairs, to eliminate all the evidence, and to continue to love their partners and share a life with them exclusively.

Falling in love outside the relationship or setting up a parallel life are considered not only cheating - but a betrayal of the intimate partner.

3. Open relationship

Exactly the same as DADT only the partners know about each other's sexual involvement with others and approve of such escapades.

Falling in love outside the relationship or setting up a parallel life are considered not only cheating - but a betrayal of the intimate partner.

4. Polyamory

The partners are allowed to date, flirt, fall in love, maintain full-fledged relationships, and, of course, have sex with others. There is no concept of cheating or betrayal although the partners are expected to not neglect or abandon each other in favor of their other lovers.

More about the multifarious forms of modern marriage here: http://samvak.tripod.com/marriage.html

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Pope Francis is fighting a losing battle against the conservative establishment of his own church.

The history of the Catholic Church reads like the annals of a global crime concern. It gave the world the inquisition, incestuous and murderous popes, religious warfare, paedophiliac sex scandals, idolatry, money laundering scandals, and the gnawing guilt that comes from embracing life-defying ideals. Its intentional lack of transparency, murky dealings, and refusal to be held accountable for the actions of its adherents and officials have rendered the Catholic Church complicit in the most horrendous events of the last two millennia. It might well meet the criteria for a “criminal organization” set in the London Charter and endorsed and implemented in the Nuremburg Trials.

With a modicum of justice it has been accused of anything and everything from collaborating with the Nazi regime (and helping war criminals flee justice) to instigating and perpetrating the more insidious forms of anti-Semitism. The Church’s former head – Pope Benedict XVI, former chief of the current-day intolerant incarnation of the infamous Inquisition - was a member of the Nazi youth movement: when he had joined, in 1939, only one third of Germany’s youth belonged to the Hitlerjugend although membership of Aryan youth was theoretically compulsory by law. The German Pope added insult to injury by reinstating patently anti-Semitic bishops, excommunicated by his predecessor (who, on his part, actively spread AIDS throughout the developing world by prohibiting the use of contraceptives). Hence "The da Vinci Code" and a slew of other anti-Catholic tomes. This genre thrives on the widespread conviction that there is nothing the Catholic Church will refrain from doing or find too abhorrent to further its earthly wealth and might. Alas, history this time is on the side of the conspiracy theorists.

"The most scandalous charges were suppressed; the vicar of Christ was only accused of piracy, murder, rape, sodomy, and incest." (English historian Edward Gibbon on Pope John XXIII)

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Feel trapped in an unhappy, sexless, emotionally-dead, loveless, and doomed marriage? Don't dump your partner. Studies show that there is a 70% chance that in 10 years you will be very happy that you stayed. And your chances of finding happiness and fulfillment in a new marriage are even lower than in the current one.

You should, however, immediately divorce your partner if s/he is ABUSIVE: verbally, psychologically, or physically. Bullying, rejection, humiliation, neglect, and abandonment are all forms of abuse. If the lack of sex and love are permanent features of the relationship, they are also forms of aggression or passive-aggression. Then you should leave your spouse and the sooner the better.

But what if divorce is out of the question? Common children, a common business, social stigma, religious proscriptions ... Divorce is not always an option.
The truth is that separation or divorce are always viable alternatives to a bad marriage, but they do call for painful sacrifices or compromises. People are unlikely to divorce if they want the cake and to eat it, too; if they lack the courage and self-confidence to go it alone; or if they fail to secure a viable alternative to their current spouse. They are likely to opt for compromises such as having fuck buddies or lovers rather than divorce.

More here: http://samvak.tripod.com/family.html

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The only thing worse than a narcissist is a FAILED narcissist. Such narcissists are the quintessence, epitome, and reification of a lifelong, self-ruinous, uninterrupted, and unmitigated stream of failures, leaving in its wake traumatized and befuddled spouses, partners, colleagues, and audiences.

High-functioning narcissists are indistinguishable from driven and ambitious alpha over-achievers. But even they tend to implode and self-destruct. Low-functioning narcissists are antisocial, sometimes schizoid, and beset by disorders of mood and affect.

Three traits conspire to render the low-functioning narcissist a failure and a loser: his sense of entitlement, his haughtiness and innate conviction of his own superiority, and his aversion to routine.

The narcissist's sense of entitlement encourages his indolence. He firmly believes that he should be spoon-fed and that accomplishments and honors should be handed to him on a silver platter, without any commensurate effort on his part. His mere existence justifies such exceptional treatment. Many narcissists are under-qualified and lack skills because they can't be bothered with the minutia of obtaining an academic degree, professional training, or exams.

The narcissist's arrogance and belief that he is superior to others, whom he typically holds in contempt - in other words: the narcissist's grandiose fantasies - hamper his ability to function in society. The cumulative outcomes of this social dysfunction gradually transform him into a recluse and an outcast. He is shunned by colleagues, employers, neighbors, erstwhile friends, and, finally, even by long-suffering family members who tire of his tirades and rants.

Unable to work in a team, to compromise, to give credit where due, and to strive towards long-term goals, the narcissist - skilled and gifted as he may be - finds himself unemployed and unemployable, his bad reputation preceding him.

Much more here: http://samvak.tripod.com/journal48.html

"Narcissistic collapse" is a very misleading nonclinical term. Faced with a grandiosity gap (the abyss between grandiose fantasies and intrusive reality), narcissists never "collapse" (whatever that means): they mutate, they adopt new defenses. Read this: http://samvak.tripod.com/journal42.html

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The decriminalization and legalization of recreational drugs and substances is a tangled issue involving many separate moral/ethical and practical strands which can, probably, be summarized thus:

Whose body is it anyway? Where do "I" start and the government begins? What gives the state the right to intervene in decisions pertaining only to my self and countervene them?

The government exercises similar "rights" in other cases (abortion, military conscription, sex)

Is the government the optimal moral agent, the best or the right arbiter, as far as drug abuse is concerned?

For instance, governments collaborate with the illicit drug trade when it fits their realpolitik purposes.

Is substance abuse a PERSONAL or a SOCIAL choice? Can one LIMIT the implications, repercussions and outcomes of one's choices in general and of the choice to abuse drugs, in particular? If the drug abuser in effect makes decisions for others, too - does it justify the intervention of the state? Is the state the agent of society, is it the ONLY agent of society and is it the RIGHT agent of society in the case of drug abuse?

What is the difference (in rigorous philosophical principle) between legal and illegal substances? Is it something in the NATURE of the substances? In the USAGE and what follows? In the structure of SOCIETY? Is it a moral fashion?

Does scientific research support or refute common myths and ethos regarding drugs and their abuse?

Is scientific research INFLUENCED by the current anti-drugs crusade and hype? Are certain facts suppressed and certain subjects left unexplored?

Should drugs be decriminalized for certain purposes (e.g., marijuana and glaucoma)? If so, where should the line be drawn and by whom?

Recreational drugs sometimes alleviate depression. Should this use be permitted?

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We are so grateful to our abusers when - once in a blue moon, incomprehensibly and unpredictably - they are actually nice and civil to us. We are in tears at the unexpected relief.

The more sadistic and bullying the abuser - the more profound our gratitude when he is not.

Stockholm Syndrome, traumatic bonding, and intermittent reinforcement - the trifecta of weaponry in the abuser's arsenal.

Domestic abuse and family violence

http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/abusefamily.html

http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/abuse.html

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May 1. Chance for some quality family time - but not for the narcissist!

Holidays and birthdays should be times of family get-togethers, love shared, & relatives and friends brought up to date. They are supposed to be the reification of that contradiction in terms: mass or group intimacy.

Instead, for victims of family violence and abuse, holidays and birthdays are recurring nightmares, replete with danger and duplicity, a theater of the absurd with menacing overtones. It is important to understand the mindset of such abusers.

Narcissists hate it when other people are happy if they are not the cause of such happiness. Plus no one should tell the narcissist how to feel and WHEN.

Holiday blues are a common occurrence even among the mentally sound. In abusers with narcissistic or antisocial personalities, they provoke a particularly virulent strain of pathological envy. The psychopathic narcissist is jealous at others for having a family, or for being able to celebrate, or for possessing the right, festive mood. He keeps telling himself: "look at these inferior people, wasting their time, pretending to be happy". Yet, deep inside, the narcissist knows that he is defective. He realizes that his inability to rejoice is a protracted and unusual punishment meted out to him by his own hands. Though he will never admit it, the narcissistic or psychopathic abuser is actually sad and enraged. Consequently, he wants to spoil the party for everyone else. He wants them to share his misery, to reduce them to his level of emotional abstinence and absence.

Holidays remind the narcissist of his childhood, of the supportive and loving family he never had. The narcissistic and psychopathic abuser feels deprived and, coupled with his rampant paranoia, he feels cheated and persecuted. To him, holidays are a conspiracy of the emotional haves against the emotional haves not.

Read about other reasons (control freakery and passive-aggression) and how to behave here:
http://samvak.tripod.com/narcissisthappiness.html

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"Animal rights" is a catchphrase akin to "human rights". It involves, however, a few pitfalls. First, animals exist only as a concept. Otherwise, they are cuddly cats, curly dogs, cute monkeys. A rat and a puppy are both animals but our emotional reaction to them is so different that we cannot really lump them together. Moreover: what rights are we talking about? The right to life? The right to be free of pain? The right to food? Except the right to free speech – all other rights could be applied to animals.

But when we say "animals", what we really mean is non-human organisms. This is such a wide definition that it easily pertains to extraterrestrial aliens. Will we witness an Alien Rights movement soon? Unlikely. Thus, we are forced to narrow our field of enquiry to non-human organisms reminiscent of humans, the ones that provoke in us empathy.

Even this is way too fuzzy. Many people love snakes, for instance, and deeply empathize with them. Could we accept the assertion (avidly propounded by these people) that snakes ought to have rights – or should we consider only organisms with extremities and the ability to feel pain?

For a detailed analysis of the ethics and politics of animal rights - go here:
http://samvak.tripod.com/animal.html

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Narcissists do not want to communicate: they want to impress and establish superiority over their interlocutors (you see what I mean? 😂) In the narcissist's surrealistic world, even language is pathologized. It mutates into a weapon of self-defence, a verbal fortification, a medium without a message, replacing words with duplicitous and ambiguous vocables. “Conversational narcissism”, Charles Derber calls it, replete with “shift responses” (replicas that shift the attention back to the narcissist). Narcissists don't talk, or communicate. They fend off. They hide and evade and avoid and disguise. They lecture and hector and preach. In their planet of capricious and arbitrary unpredictability, of shifting semiotic and semantic dunes they perfect the ability to say nothing in lengthy, Castro-like orations. Their speech is impregnated with first-person pronoun density: it is saturated with first person pronouns ("I", "me", "my", "mine"). The ensuing convoluted sentences are arabesques of meaninglessness, acrobatics of evasion, a lack of commitment elevated to an ideology.

It is often impossible to really understand a narcissist. The evasive syntax fast deteriorates into ever more labyrinthine structures. The grammar tortured to produce the verbal Doppler shifts essential to disguise the source of the information, its distance from reality, the speed of its degeneration into rigid "official" versions.

Buried under the lush flora and fauna of idioms without an end, the language erupts, like some exotic rash, an autoimmune reaction to its infection and contamination. Like vile weeds it spread throughout, strangling with absent minded persistence the ability to understand, to feel, to agree, to disagree and to debate, to present arguments, to compare notes, to learn and to teach.

Much more here: http://samvak.tripod.com/journal34.html

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Miracles have always been a lucrative business. But are miracles for real? Can God suspend the Laws of Nature, or even change or "cancel" them?

Can we even contemplate a breach of the natural order? Isn't this very juxtaposition meaningless, even nonsensical? Can Nature lapse? And how can we prove divine involvement in that which is supranatural when we are at a loss to conclusively demonstrate even His (God's) contribution to the natural?

Moreover, if God, or some other supernatural agency stand outside Nature, then when they effect miracles, they are not violating the Laws of Nature to which they are not subjected.

Another problem: machines and devices operate in accordance with and are subject to the laws of nature. Can they record an event that is outside of Nature? Do miracles occur within Nature or outside it? If miracles transpire within Nature, shouldn't they be deemed ipso facto "natural" (though ill-understood)? If miracles emerge without Nature, how can anything and anyone within Nature's remit and ambit witness them? How can we record miracles outside nature with means that are natural, inside nature?

Indeed, it is not possible to discuss miracles meaningfully. See why here: http://samvak.tripod.com/sciencereligion5.html

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Sexless relationships have acquired pandemic proportions. Legions of sex-starved women roam the streets, foraging for the ever-dwindling numbers of sexually active men. These few remnants of virility end up with ravenous harems whose morally conflicted inmates reluctantly seek extramarital intimacy and romance. Most men now prefer porn and its solitary aftermath to the dubious pleasure of modern female company. How have we come to that?

Modern Man is a narcissistic, porn-addicted misfit. Women have banished men from their lives: they raise their children alone; they educate their offspring on their own (90% of teachers are female); they are way more accomplished academically and they are breaching all the remaining glass ceilings forcefully. Men are on the retreat, hiding in cyber caves, self-medicating perilously, assiduously avoiding the dual threats of intimacy and sex with women, their newfound nemesis. It is War and all sides are losing it.

Women in sexless, loveless marriages often behave like single women (go out alone, travel alone, drink alone in bars, associate with single women). I call this kind of women ‘virtual singles’. They send out signals (broadcasts) which are identical to the signals of single women. Men pick up on these signals and respond to them powerfully by aggressively courting the virtual single, by sexualising her behavior, and by reducing her to a sex object ("doll"). Additionally, other women react to virtual singles with resentment and fear because they consider them to be predatory. Every woman in the company of a virtual single is afraid that the virtual single will seduce her husband and abscond or elope with him (steal him away from her). All the men around the virtual single assume that she is available for sex, a "whore".

Read (free) "The Death of Sex and the Demise of Monogamy" http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/sexmonogamy.pdf

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Those who believe in the finality of death (i.e., that there is no after-life) – they are the ones who advocate suicide and regard it as a matter of personal choice. On the other hand, those who firmly believe in some form of existence after corporeal death – they condemn suicide and judge it to be a major sin. Yet, rationally, the situation should have been reversed: it should have been easier for someone who believed in continuity after death to terminate this phase of existence on the way to the next. Those who faced void, finality, non-existence, vanishing – should have been greatly deterred by it and should have refrained even from entertaining the idea. Either the latter do not really believe what they profess to believe – or something is wrong with rationality. One would tend to suspect the former.

Suicide is very different from self sacrifice, avoidable martyrdom, engaging in life risking activities, refusal to prolong one's life through medical treatment, euthanasia, overdosing and self inflicted death that is the result of coercion. What is common to all these is the operational mode: a death caused by one's own actions. In all these behaviours, a foreknowledge of the risk of death is present coupled with its acceptance. But all else is so different that they cannot be regarded as belonging to the same class. Suicide is chiefly intended to terminate a life – the other acts are aimed at perpetuating, strengthening and defending values.

Those who commit suicide do so because they firmly believe in the finiteness of life and in the finality of death. They prefer termination to continuation. Suicide may be an obsessive-compulsive ritual aimed at forestalling much-dreaded change. Indeed, suicide rates are highest among people whose lives are adrenaline-filled roller-coasters: physicians and Bipolar patients, for example. Yet, all the others, the observers of this phenomenon, are horrified by this preference. They abhor it. This has to do with our understanding of the meaning of life.

How? Find out here: http://samvak.tripod.com/suicide.html

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The sadistic woman-lover (philogynist) is drawn to women, desires them, covets their traits, admires them, and, generally, prefers to spend his time with them. But it is precisely this inexorable pull that terrifies him: he is awed by women’s hold over him and mortified by his own resultant women-centred obsessions and compulsions. He is poorly equipped to deal with and is overwhelmed by the emotions that women provoke in him. In a desperate attempt to extricate himself, he adopts avoidant behaviors, shuns women and frustrates them, abuses them, tortures and humiliates them. This panoply of behaviors restores his sense of control, power, and superiority.

The sadistic woman-hater (misogynist) holds women in utter contempt, detests them, wishes them ill, and seeks to punish them. He displays the same range of behaviors as the sadistic women-lover but for an entirely different reason. The sadistic women-lover seeks to restore a semblance of balance of potency between himself and the women he finds so irresistible. The sadistic women-hater aims to annihilate women, remove them from his life, penalize them harshly for daring to intrude on his being with their demands for love, sex, and intimacy, (which he perceives as women’s self-interested manipulation).

Narcissists hate women http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/faq79.html

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Do stereotypes usefully represent real knowledge or merely reflect counter-productive prejudice? We know that a disproportionate number of criminals in the USA are black, that alcoholism and substance abuse among Native-Americans (Indians) is rampant and that the vast majority of anti-Western terrorists are Muslim. In light of these facts, racial profiling (a sub-species of stereotyping) appears to be a rational and ethically justified act of self-defense. But is this a “post hoc ergo propter hoc” fallacy? In other words: does racial profiling cause the very ills it is intended to counter? Hardly likely.

In an age of information overload, "nutshell" stereotypes encapsulate information compactly and efficiently and thus possess an undeniable survival value. Admittedly, many stereotypes are self-reinforcing, self-fulfilling prophecies. A young black man confronted by a white supremacist may well respond violently and an Hispanic, unable to find a job, may end up in a street gang.

But this recursiveness does not detract from the usefulness of stereotypes as "reality tests" and serviceable prognosticators.

For an in-depth analysis of stereotypes and their roles: http://samvak.tripod.com/stereotype.html

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Selfies of a newfound friend and me.

Narcissists can't empathise or love and, therefore, have no friends. The narcissist is one track minded. He is interested in securing Narcissistic Supply from Narcissistic Supply Sources. He is not interested in people as such. He is incapable of empathising, is a solipsist, and recognises only himself as human. To the narcissist, all others are three dimensional cartoons, tools and instruments in the tedious and Sisyphean task of generating and consuming Narcissistic Supply.

The narcissist over-values (idealizes) people (when they are judged to be potential sources of such supply), uses them, devalues them (when no longer able to supply him) and discards them nonchalantly. This behaviour pattern tends to alienate and distance people.

Gradually, the social circle of the narcissist dwindles (and ultimately vanishes). People around him who are not turned off by the ugly succession of his acts and attitudes are rendered desperate and fatigued by the turbulent nature of the narcissist's life. The narcissist especially resents his benefactors and sponsors because they remind him of his inferiority, neediness, and helplessness. Diderot, the 18th century French encyclopedist, wrote: “Rousseau is a monster ... He said he hated all those he had reason to be grateful to and he has proved it.” Rousseau, of course, was a prime narcissist.

Those few still loyal to the narcissist gradually abandon him because they can no longer withstand and tolerate the ups and downs of his career, his moods, his confrontations and conflicts with authority, his chaotic financial state and the dissolution of his emotional affairs. The narcissist is a human roller coaster: fun for a limited time, nauseating in the long run.

Read what Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, and Hercule Poirot have to do with all that: http://samvak.tripod.com/journal85.html

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The world sure looks different through my new spectacles. Hiding from the Skopje sunshine in a typical Balkan coffeehouse. Long heart-to-heart talks, strong libations, and memories. The stuff life is made of.

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When the sexually healthy man watches porn, he says: "I wish my wife were like this." When the sexually inhibited man watches porn, he mutters: "God forbid my wife should ever be like this." Sam Vaknin, “Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited” http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/thebook.html

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Some things are better left UNsaid. Some thoughts, anxieties, and fears when formulated, vocalized, and verbalized acquire a life of their own and become reality.

Sometimes, an utterance, an outburst, or a confession can affect oneself and others in unexpected and unwanted ways: plant ideas where there were none or give shape to ephemeral and unformed stirrings, thoughts, and emotions, or yield sudden, life transforming insights. A kind of self-fulfilling prophecy.

The Jews believed that the Hebrew alphabet, the true and occult name of God, and words in general have the power to wreak havoc on the world (recall the legend of the Prague golem). The Kabbalah - the Jewish mystical tradition - is based on this. Gimatria (the Jewish numerological system) assigns values to each letter and then sums them up in creative ways to yield insights and predictions. God created the entire universe with His speech. The New Testament starts with Logos (word). All systems of Magic, both white and black, are based on locutions and exhortations.

Be careful what you wish for and doubly careful of what you fear - especially when you say it out loud.

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If you are a rebellious child or teenager you are at risk of being labelled and pathologized. The DSM informs us that "The essential feature of Oppositional Defiant Disorder is a recurrent pattern of negativistic, defiant, disobedient, and hostile behavior towards authority figures that persists for at least 6 months." Unbelievable as this Orwellian, Big Brother text is - it gets worse. If you are under 18 years old and you lose your temper, argue with adults, actively "defy or refuse to comply with the requests or rules of adults", deliberately do things that annoy said adults, blame others for your mistakes or misbehavior - then unquestionably you are a sick little puppy. And who is to make these value judgements? An adult psychologist or psychiatrist or social worker or therapist. And what if you disagree with these authorities? They get annoyed and this is proof positive that you are afflicted with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). Did anyone mention catch-22?

And the charade continues, masquerading as "science". If you are touchy or get easily annoyed (for instance by the half-baked diagnoses rendered by certain mental health practitioners), you are ODD (i.e., you suffer from Oppositional Defiant Disorder).You are allowed to be touchy when you are an adult - it is then called assertiveness. You are allowed to get pissed off when you are above the crucial (though utterly arbitrary) age limit. Then it is called "expressing your emotions", which is by and large a good thing.So tell us the charlatans that call themselves mental health 'professionals' (as though psychology is an exact science, not merely an elaborate literary exercise). If you are habitually angry and resentful, spiteful or vindictive and these traits impair your "normal" social, academic, or occupational functioning (whatever "normal" means in today's pluralistic and anomic culture), beware: you may be harbouring Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD).

More about this"diagnosis": http://samvak.tripod.com/personalitydisorders43.html

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I am a foot fetishist. Give me a pair of elegant, streamlined, sensuous, voluptuous feet to play with and I have little need for the rest of the woman.

Sexual fetishism is predicated on a pathological sexual attachment to a fetish. The fetishist climaxes only in the presence of the fetish and cannot reach orgasm otherwise. In the absence of their fetish, most fetishists are sexually dysfunctional (for instance, they suffer from erectile dysfunction or are sexually hypoactive). Some forms of fetishism involve sado-masochistic and domination/submission fantasies (with fetishes such as feet or boots and shoes). The circumstances surrounding the sexual encounter are immaterial to the fetishist, as is his environment. Thus, a fetishist who is fixated on bras or feet is unlikely to mind the physical characteristics of the proprietress of either.

There are three types of fetishes:

I. An inanimate object, usually with a sexual connotation (such as a bra); II. A body part that is clearly still connected to a complete body, dead or alive (e.g., hair, feet); III. A reified trait, usually a deformity or idiosyncrasy that implies inferiority, helplessness, or dependence (for instance, a lame, or grotesquely obese, or hunchbacked person). Consequently, there are three categories of fetishism and fetishists:

I. Objective fetishists, for whom the inanimate fetish stands for and symbolizes a desired whole that is out of reach;

II. Somatic fetishists, for whom the body part stands for and symbolizes a coveted human body (and, by extension, a relationship) that is unattainable;

III. Abstract fetishists, who latch on to a trait or a characteristic as a means to indirectly interact with their "defective" bearer and thus fulfill the fetishist's grandiose fantasies of omnipotence and innate superiority (pathological narcissism). More here: http://samvak.tripod.com/pedophilia.html

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All people lie some of the time. They use words to convey their lies while their body language usually gives them away. This is curious. Why did evolution prefer this self defeating strategy?

We lie for three main reasons and these give rise to three categories of lies:

The Empathic Lie – is a lie told with the intention of sparing someone's feelings. It is a face saving lie – but someone else's face. It is designed to prevent a loss of social status, the onslaught of social sanctions, the process of judgment involved in both. It is a derivative of our ability to put ourselves in someone else's shoes – that is, to empathize. It is intended to spare OUR feelings, which are bound to turn more and more unpleasant the more we sympathize with the social-mental predicament of the person being lied to. The lie achieves its goal only if the recipient cooperates, does not actively seek out the truth and acquiescently participates in the mini-drama unfolding in his or her honour. The reverse, brutal honesty, at all costs and in all circumstances – is a form of sadistic impulse.

Brutal honesty is:

1. Gratuitous (there is really no need to be honest)

2. Aggressive. You can say the same thing is many ways. Abrasiveness is not an essential part of honesty.

3. Repeated despite the obvious discomfort of the listener(s). 4. With the intent of causing pain or harm and with a clear enjoyment in inflicting them.

The Egocentric Lie – is a lie intended to further the well being of the liar. This can be achieved in one of two ways. The lie can help the liar to achieve his goals (a Goal Seeking Lie) or to avoid embarrassment, humiliation, social sanctions, judgement, criticism and, in general, unpleasant experiences related to social standing (a Face Saving Lie). The Goal Seeking Lie is useful only when considering the liar as an individual, independent unit. The Face Saving type is instrumental only in social situations. We can use the terms: Individualistic Lie and Social Lie respectively.

The Narcissistic Lie – http://samvak.tripod.com/fragments2.html

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I never was a child. I was a "Wunderkind", the answer to my mother's prayers and her intellectual frustration. A human computing machine, a walking-talking encyclopaedia, a curiosity, a circus freak. I was observed by developmental psychologists, interviewed by the media, endured the envy of my peers and their pushy mothers. I constantly clashed with figures of authority because I felt entitled to special treatment, immune to prosecution and superior. It was a narcissist's dream. Abundant Narcissistic Supply - rivers of awe, the aura of glamour, incessant attention, open adulation, country-wide fame.

I refused to grow up. In my mind, my tender age was an integral part of the precocious miracle that I became. One looks much less phenomenal and one's exploits and achievements are much less awe-inspiring at the age of 40, I thought. Better stay young forever and thus secure my Narcissistic Supply. Plus, my life is my parents' punishment. Childless and a sad failure, I keep hoping against hope and counterfactually that they care enough to hurt.

So, I wouldn't grow up. I never took out a driver's licence.

I do not have children. I rarely have sex. I never settle down in one place. I reject intimacy. In short: I refrain from adulthood and adult chores. I have no adult skills. I assume no adult responsibilities. I expect indulgence from others. I am petulant and haughtily spoiled. I am capricious, infantile and emotionally labile and immature. In short: I am a 57 years old brat.

I talk to Arlen about my childhood and other issues here: http://samvak.tripod.com/journal22.html

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The narcissistic or psychopathic leader is the culmination and reification of his period, culture, & civilization. He is likely to rise to prominence in narcissistic societies. The leader’s mental health pathologies resonate with the anomies of his society and culture (“psychopathological resonance”.) The leader and the led form a self-enhancing & self-reinforcing feedback loop, a dyad of mirrored adoration & reflected love. By elevating and idealizing their “Fuehrer”, the mob actually elevates and idealizes itself & the leader’s harnessed ochlocracy; in the “Duce’s” ascendance they find hope, in his manifest illness – curative solace & a legitimation of their own collective insanity. The dictator himself equates being elected – however patently unfairly – with being chosen by the transcendental forces of the gods & history. His is a manifest destiny, his exceptionalism - the nation’s own.

The leader’s personal-intimate life and persona may be utterly different to his political-public ones. It is an unsettling Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde effect. In private, the narcissistic-psychopathic leader may be avuncular, empathic, sentimental, helpful, dull, bourgeois, mediocre, middling, sickly, fussy, aloof, or friendly. But, he is at great pains to conceal these attributes from the public.

The narcissist's personality is so precariously balanced that he cannot tolerate even a hint of criticism and disagreement. Most narcissists are paranoid and suffer from ideas of reference (the delusion that they are being mocked or discussed when they are not). Thus, narcissists often regard themselves as "victims of persecution". The narcissistic leader fosters and encourages a personality cult with all the hallmarks of an institutional religion: priesthood, rites, rituals, temples, worship, catechism, mythology. The leader is this religion's ascetic saint. He monastically denies himself earthly pleasures (or so he claims) in order to be able to dedicate himself fully to his calling.

Much more: http://samvak.tripod.com/15.html

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I have no past and no identity because I have no memory. If I try very hard, I recall only fleeting images, ephemeral moments, snippets floating and dissolving out of context in a maddening dance of whack-a-mole.

I try to hang on to this shredded personal history, but as soon as the recollections surface, they elude me and drift away into the penumbral netherworld of my unconscious. Sometimes I am not sure as to who the other people in these dreamlike sequences are: which of my wives or friends or colleagues.

In a desperate attempt to make a rudimentary sense of this ever-shifting kaleidoscope, to introduce a meaningful plot or narrative that I could call "my life", I confabulate. I substitute what could or may have been and should have occurred to what had actually transpired.

Pathological narcissism has been compared to Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly Multiple Personality Disorder). By definition, the narcissist has at least two selves. His personality is very primitive and disorganized. Living with a narcissist is a nauseating experience not only because of what he is - but because of what he is NOT. He is not a fully formed human - but a dizzyingly kaleidoscopic gallery of mercurial images, which melt into each other seamlessly. It is incredibly disorienting.

It is also exceedingly problematic. Promises made by the narcissist are easily disowned by him. His plans are ephemeral. His emotional ties - a simulacrum. The narcissist contradicts himself from one minute to another. Most narcissists have one island of stability in their life (spouse, family, their career, a hobby, their religion, country, or idol) - pounded by the turbulent currents of a dishevelled existence.

More here: http://samvak.tripod.com/narcissistdiscontinuous.html

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On this date the Soviet Union (USSR) formally vanquished what was left of Nazi Germany's Third Reich. But it was too late for the Jews. Hitler's only success was the annihilation of European Jewry. By the end of the war Europe was Judenrein and there more Nazis in Europe than Jews.

Rabid anti-Semitism, coupled with inane and outlandish conspiracy theories of world dominion, is easy to counter and dispel. It is the more "reasoned", subtle, and stealthy variety that it pernicious. "No smoke without fire," - say people - "there must be something to it!". I wrote a dialog between an anti-Semitic Jew-hater and a Jew. I wrote both texts - not an easy task considering my ancestry (a Jew) and my citizenship (an Israeli). But to penetrate the pertinent layers - historical, psychological, semantic, and semiotic - I had to "enter the skin" of "rational", classic anti-Semite, to grasp what makes him click and tick, and to think and reason like him.

I dedicated the last few months to ploughing through reams of anti-Semitic tracts and texts. Steeped in more or less nauseating verbal insanity and sheer paranoia, I emerged to compose the following exchange: "The Anti-Semite says:

The rising tide of anti-Semitism the world over is universally decried. The proponents of ant-Semitism are cast as ignorant, prejudiced, lawless, and atavistic. Their arguments are dismissed off-handedly.

But it takes one Jew to really know another. Conditioned by millennia of persecution, Jews are paranoid, defensive, and obsessively secretive. It is impossible for a gentile - whom they hold to be inferior and reflexively hostile - to penetrate their counsels.

Let us examine anti-Semitic arguments more closely and in an unbiased manner:

Argument number one - Being Jewish is a racial distinction - not only a religious one." Continue to read the reasoned debate between the Jew and his hostile detractor here: http://samvak.tripod.com/jews.html

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Schizoids enjoy nothing and seemingly never experience pleasure (they are anhedonic). Even their nearest and dearest often describe them as "automata", "robots", or "machines". But the schizoid is not depressed or dysphoric, merely indifferent. Schizoids are uninterested in social relationships and bored or puzzled by interpersonal interactions. They are incapable of intimacy and have a very limited range of emotions and affect. Rarely does the schizoid express feelings, either negative (anger) or positive (happiness). Schizoids never pursue an opportunity to develop a close relationship. Schizoids are asexual - not interested in sex. Consequently, they appear cold, aloof, bland, stunted, flat, and "zombie"-like. They derive no satisfaction from belonging to a close-knit group: family, church, workplace, neighborhood, or nation. They rarely marry or have children.

Schizoids are loners. Given the option, they invariably pursue solitary activities or hobbies. Inevitably, they prefer mechanical or abstract tasks and jobs that require such skills. Many computer hackers, crackers, and programmers are schizoids, for instance - as are some mathematicians and theoretical physicists. Schizoids are inflexible in their reactions to changing life circumstances and developments - both adverse and opportune. Faced with stress they may disintegrate, decompensate, and experience brief psychotic episodes or a depressive illness.

Schizoids have few friends or confidants. They trust only first-degree relatives - but, even so, they maintain no close bonds or associations, not even with their immediate family.

Schizoids pretend to be indifferent to praise, criticism, disagreement, and corrective advice (though, deep inside, they are not). They are creatures of habit, frequently succumbing to rigid, predictable, and narrowly restricted routines. From the outside, the schizoid's life looks "rudderless" and adrift.

Some narcissists are also schizoid: http://samvak.tripod.com/faq67.html

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No woman has ever wanted to have a child with me. In my 57 years, only two women came close to wanting it - and then withdrew in haste. It is very telling. Women have children even with incarcerated murderers. I know it because I did time in prison with these people. Women have children with their abusers. But not with me: no woman has ever felt the urge to perpetuate US - the we-ness of she and I.

Women are very hesitant, even my fiance who fled and my 2 wives who agreed to marry me only after years of begging. Women definitely do not want anything binding with me. It is as though they want to maintain all routes of escape clear and available.

Women are curious, even inexorably drawn. But as they inch closer, they sense the void that I am; the howling abyss where a person should have been; the abode of death cloaked in the deceptive hallmarks of an ebullient, exuberant, ostensibly productive life. I am the quintessentially deceptive package, an awry being, a mental alien in an uncanny carnal outfit.

In women I induce confusion. They are attracted and then repelled by some essence that they cannot explain, nor name. "He is so unpleasant" - they say, hesitantly - "He is so... aggressive and disagreeable". My own girlfriends, paramours, and wives struggled with this fetid, repellent emanation. They called me “sick” and “creepy” or “damaged goods.” They meant to say that I am not a healthy person altogether, not all there. They invariably ended up with other men, cheating, swinging, desperately trying to recoup their molested self-esteem, feeling rejected and dejected.

The animals we are, women sense my infirmity. I read somewhere that female birds avoid the sickly males in mating season. I am one sickly bird and they skirt me with the hurt perplexity of the frustrated. In this modern world of "what you see is what you get", the narcissist is an exception: false advertising, a diversion, an android of virtual reality with bug-infested programming.

Narcissists hate women http://samvak.tripod.com/faq79.html

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The function of bridging the gap between our idiosyncratic, private languages and a more universal one was relegated to a group of special individuals called artists. Theirs is the job to experience (mostly emotions) and to mould their experiences into the grammar, syntax and vocabulary of a universal language in order to communicate to us the echo of their own idiosyncratic languages. Artists are forever mediating between us and their own experiences. Rightly so, the quality of an artist is measured by his ability to loyally represent his inner unique language to us. The smaller the distance between the original experience (the emotion of the artist) and its external representation, the more prominent the artist.

We declare artistic success when the universally communicable representation succeeds at recreating and evoking in us the original emotion (felt by the artist). It is very much like teleportation which allows, in sci-fi yarns, for the decomposition of the astronaut's body in one spot and its recreation, atom for atom in another.

Even if the artist fails to faithfully recreate his inner world, but succeeds in calling forth any kind of emotional response in his viewers/readers/listeners, he is deemed successful.

Every artist has a reference group, his audience. They could be alive or dead (for instance, he could measure himself against past artists). They could be few or many, but they must be present for art, in its fullest sense, to exist. Modern theories of art speak about the audience as an integral and defining part of artistic creation and even of the artefact itself.

But this, precisely, is the source of the dilemma of the artist:

Who is to determine who is a good, qualitative artist and who is not?

An attempt to answer this question here: http://samvak.tripod.com/artist.html

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Pathological narcissism - originally a defense mechanism intended to shield the narcissist from an injurious world - becomes the main source of hurt, a generator of injuries, counterproductive and dangerous. Overwhelmed by negative or absent Narcissistic Supply, the narcissist is forced to let go of it.

The narcissist then resorts to self-delusion. Unable to completely ignore contrarian opinion and data - he transmutes them. Unable to face the dismal failure that he is, the narcissist partially withdraws from reality. To soothe and salve the pain of disillusionment, he administers to his aching soul a mixture of lies, distortions, half-truths and outlandish interpretations of events around him.

Read about the FOUR SOLUTIONS to the narcissist's predicament when narcissistic supply is scarce: http://samvak.tripod.com/journal42.html

I. The Delusional Narrative Solution

II. The Antisocial Solution

III. The Paranoid Schizoid Solution

IV. The Paranoid Aggressive (Explosive) Solution

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Is homosexuality abnormal, not natural, a human aberration?

Recent studies in animal sexuality serve to dispel two common myths: that sex is exclusively about reproduction and that homosexuality is an unnatural sexual preference. It now appears that sex is also about recreation as it frequently occurs out of the mating season. And same-sex copulation and bonding are common in hundreds of species, from bonobo apes to gulls.

Moreover, homosexual couples in the Animal Kingdom are prone to behaviors commonly - and erroneously - attributed only to heterosexuals.

Still, that a certain behavior occurs in nature (is "natural") does not render it moral. Infanticide, patricide, suicide, gender bias, and substance abuse - are all to be found in various animal species. It is futile to argue for homosexuality or against it based on zoological observations. Ethics is about surpassing nature - not about emulating it.

The more perplexing question remains: what are the evolutionary and biological advantages of recreational sex and homosexuality? Surely, both entail the waste of scarce resources.

Read my analysis here: http://samvak.tripod.com/sexnature.html

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Birth is life's first major trauma. The womb is a self-contained though open (not self-sufficient) ecosystem. The Baby's Planet is spatially confined, almost devoid of light and homeostatic. The fetus breathes liquid oxygen, rather than the gaseous variant. He is subjected to an unending barrage of noises, most of them rhythmical. Otherwise, there are very few stimuli to elicit any of his fixed action responses. There, dependent and protected, his world lacks the most evident features of ours. There are no dimensions where there is no light. There is no "inside" and "outside", "self" and "others", "extension" and "main body", "here" and "there". Our Planet is exactly converse. There could be no greater disparity. In this sense, the baby is an alien. He has to train himself and to learn to become human.

To assume that the child is born a "tabula rasa" is superstition. Cerebral processes and responses have been observed in utero. Sounds condition the EEG of fetuses. They startle at loud, sudden noises. This means that they can hear and interpret what they hear. Fetuses even remember stories read to them and music while in the womb. They prefer these stories and music to others after they are born. This means that they can tell auditory patterns and parameters apart. They tilt their head at the direction sounds are coming from. They do so even in the absence of visual cues (e.g., in a dark room). They can tell the mother's voice apart. In general, babies are tuned to human speech and can distinguish sounds better than adults do. Chinese and Japanese babies react differently to "pa" and to "ba", to "ra" and to "la". Adults no longer do.

The equipment of the newborn is not limited to the auditory. It has clear smell and taste preferences (it likes sweet things a lot). It sees the world in three dimensions with a perspective (a skill which it could not have acquired in the dark womb). Depth perception is well developed by the sixth month of life.

Much more about the amazing processes of pregnancy and birth: http://samvak.tripod.com/alien.html

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Could official corruption actually be a GOOD thing?

Corruption runs against the grain of meritocratic capitalism. It skews the level playing-field; it imposes onerous and unpredictable transaction costs; it guarantees extra returns where none should have been had; it encourages the misallocation of economic resources; and it subverts the proper functioning of institutions. It is, in other words, without a single redeeming feature, a scourge.

Strangely, this is not how it is perceived by its perpetrators: both the givers and the recipients. They believe that corruption helps facilitate the flow and exchange of goods and services in hopelessly clogged and dysfunctional systems and markets (corruption and the informal economy "get things done" and "keep people employed"); that it serves as an organizing principle where chaos reins and institutions are in their early formative stages; that it supplements income and thus helps the state employ qualified and skilled personnel; and that it preserves peace and harmony by financing networks of cronyism, nepotism, and patronage.

Bribes are paid in order to limit choice and eliminate competition. Consequently, in corrupt environments consumers pay less than optimal prices. The difference between the competitive price and the new, post-corruption cost equals the amount of bribe paid in cash or in kind. Corruption amounts to a unilateral transfer from the consumers's pockets to the manufacturers's. In times of economic crisis, consumers tend to shop around (in other words: they prefer price competition and encourage it via their behavior). Producers/manufacturers tend to collude in order to fix prices. In recessions, businesses regard consumers as enemies and vice versa: producer-firms court consumers, but they also seek to limit their choices by "channelling" their purchases and determining their preferences.

More about venality and corruption here: http://samvak.tripod.com/corruption.html

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Humans made monsters by inhuman treatment abound in literature.

In "The Man Who Laughs", published in 1869, the French author, Victor Hugo (1802-1885), described the comprachicos thus:

"The comprachicos (child buyers) were strange and hideous nomads in the 17th century. They made children into sideshow freaks. To succeed in producing a freak one must get hold of him early; a dwarf must be started when he is small. They stunted growth, they mangled features. It was an art/science of inverted orthopedics. Where nature had put a straight glance, this art put a squint. Where nature had put harmony, they put deformity and imperfection. The child was not aware of the mutilation he had suffered. This horrible surgery left traces on his face, not in his mind. During the operation the little patient was unconscious by means of a stupefying magic powder. In China since time immemorial, they have achieved refinement in a special art and industry: the molding of living man. One takes a child two or three years old and puts them into a grotesquely shaped porcelain vase. It is without cover or bottom, so the head and feet protrude. In the daytime the vase is upright, at night it is laid down so the child can sleep. Thus the child slowly fills the contours of the vase with compressed flesh and twisted bones. This bottled development continues for several years. At a certain point, it becomes an irreparable monster. Then the vase is broken and one has a man in the shape of a pot."

The Kyrgyz writer, Chingiz Aitmatov (or Aytmatov) (1928 - ) recounts in "The Day Lasts More than One Hundred Years" (1980) the legend of the Ana-Beiit cemetery and the zombies known as "mankurts". According to tradition, the nomad Zhuan’zhuan, shaved the heads of the younger and more fit prisoners of war and wrapped their skulls in raw camel hide. The prisoners were then left to shrivel in the desert's scorching sun, without food or water. As the caps shrank around their heads, they perished in terrible agony. The survivors completely lost their memory.

More: http://samvak.tripod.com/factoidm.html

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When you wake the morning,

red headed children shimmer in your eyes.

The veinous map

of sun drenched eyelids

flutters

throbbing topography.

Your muscles ripple.

Scared animals burrow

under your dewey skin.

Frozen light sculptures

where wrinkles dwell.

Embroidered shades,

in thick-maned tapestry.

Your lips depart in scarlet,

flesh to withering flesh,

and breath in curved tranquility

escapes the flaring nostrils.

Your warmth invades my sweat,

your lips leave skin regards

on my humidity.

Eyelashes clash.

More of my poems http://samvak.tripod.com/contents.html

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Mikhail Gorbachev wasn't the 1st to introduce Perestroika: the economic liberalization of the communist system along capitalistic lines.

During the Russian civil war (1918-1922) the Bolsheviks implemented "War Communism" (1917-1921), the militarization of the economy. Between 1916-1920, industrial output plunged by more than 80%. Grain harvests in both 1920 and 1921 disastrously dwindled, leading to widespread famine, claiming 5 million lives. A series of rebellions of sailors broke out, most famously in the Krohnstadt naval base.

To counter the party's loosening grip on power, Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924) introduced the New Economic Policy (NEP). Trade was liberalized, as were industrial and agricultural production. Peasants were allowed to sell surplus produce on the open market & taxes were made proportional to net output.

In stark departure from communist ideology, farmers could lease land and hire laborers. The state embarked on an ambitious privatization program of small & medium-size enterprises, though it maintained control of the finance, transportation, heavy industry, and foreign trade sectors (the "commanding heights"). In 1921-2, Lenin re-introduced money to re-monetize the economy which consisted of barter, quotas, and centrally issued economic directives. Within less than 7 years, production in many parts of the economy reverted to pre-revolutionary levels. Nor did the NEP die with Lenin. It continued for 4 years after his death in 1924.

But the policy was not without its faults.

NEP was characterized by inflation and the need to cap the prices of non-agricultural goods. Peasants hoarded grain for speculation purposes. A black market in goods was developed by Nepmen - private traders. Communist party General Secretary Joseph Stalin (1879-1953), reinstated agricultural production quotas in 1929, collectivized all arable land, and criminalized private trading in 1930. In 1928, he promulgated the first Five-Year Plan (1928-1932) and central planning replaced market mechanisms. The NEP was dead.

More here: http://samvak.tripod.com/factoidn.html

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According to British law, there were two types of suicide: an act committed by a person of unsound mind and "felo de se" ("felon upon himself") - an act of self-destruction committed knowingly and willingly by a person of sound mind: “A felo-de-se, therefore, is he that deliberately puts an end to his own existence.”—Blackstone: Commentaries, book iv. chap. xiv. p. 189. But killing oneself inadvertently, while trying to kill another, is also considered felo-de-se: “If one commits any unlawful malicious act, the consequence of which is his own death, as if attempting to kill another he runs upon his antagonist’s sword, or shooting at another the gun bursts and kills himself.” Prior to 1870, the estate of a feb-de-se - except his land - reverted to the crown. The relatives could redeem the chattels and goods for a fee. The body was subjected to an “ignominious burial on the highway, with a stake driven through the body.” The Burial Act of 1823 forbade such practices and ordered to bury the feb-de-se within 24 hours after the coroner's inquest, between 9 PM and midnight, and without Christian last rites.

The Interments act of 1882 permitted to inter the culprit in a churchyard or parish burial grounds, again without rites - though a special kind of rite was allowed.

British law did not cross the ocean. Thus, William Penn included this clause in the charter of privileges he granted to the inhabitants of Pennsylvania: "If any person, through temptation or melancholy, shall destroy himself, his estate, real and personal, shall notwithstanding, descend to his wife and children, or relations, as if he had died a natural death." More: http://samvak.tripod.com/factoids.html

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The "winter blues" are supposed to cause suicidal ideation. There is even a mental health syndrome called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), supposedly alleviated by bright light therapy (therapy using artificial sources emulating daylight). But suicide rates are HIGHEST in the spring and summer months. They are LOWEST in winter. The propensity to commit suicide INCREASES with increasing hours of daylight. It is not correlated with any other meteorological variable, such as rainfall or temperature.

Suicide rates appeared to increase with increasing hours of daylight, and showed no connection to other meteorological factors such as changing temperature or rainfall.

Surprisingly , sunlight is known to indirectly induce heightened brain levels of serotonin, a biochemical inversely linked to depression. The lower the levels - the deeper the depressive episode. Serotonin drops during winter months.

It seems that suicide has nothing to do with depression! Depressed people do not commit suicide - they are too busy being their depressed selves.

If suicide were caused by depression, suicide rates would have been HIGHEST in winter - when serotonin is lowest and depression rates are highest. But suicide peaks in spring and summer.

Depression is a biochemical illness. One can feel hopelessness and helplessness to the point of committing suicide WITHOUT being clinically depressed.

It is this feeling that is very dangerous: that there is no satisfactory solution, no way out, that one is helpless, trapped. Of course it is SHEER NONSENSE. There is always a way out and a solution. Always!

SOURCE: American Journal of Psychiatry 2003;160:793-795.

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Some narcissists seek to imitate or even emulate their (ever changing) role models. It is as if by imitating the object of his envy, the narcissist BECOMES that object. So, narcissists are likely to adopt their boss' typical gestures, the vocabulary of a successful politician, the views of an esteemed tycoon, even the countenance and actions of the (fictitious) hero of a movie or a novel.

In his pursuit of peace of mind, in his frantic effort to alleviate the burden of consuming jealousy, the narcissist often deteriorates to conspicuous and ostentatious consumption, impulsive and reckless behaviours and substance abuse.

Other narcissists "choose" to destroy the object that gives them so much grief by provoking in them feelings of inadequacy and frustration. They display obsessive, blind animosity and engage in a compulsive acts of rivalry often at the cost of self-destruction and self-isolation.

More here: http://samvak.tripod.com/narcissistjealous.html

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I published this a few weeks after 9-11-2001, long before the ascent of Trump: "The United States of America started out as a series of loosely connected, remote, savage, and negligible colonial outposts. The denizens of these settlements were former victims of religious persecution, indentured servants, lapsed nobility, & other refugees. Their Declaration of Independence reads like a maudlin list of grievances coupled with desperate protestations of love & loyalty to their abuser, the King of Britain.

The inhabitants of the colonies defended against their perceived helplessness & very real inferiority with compensatory, imagined, and feigned superiority and fantasies of omnipotence and exceptionalism.

The United States was (until the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s) and still is, a pre-Enlightenment, white supremacist society. It is rife with superstition, prejudice, conspicuous religiosity, intolerance, philistinism, and lack of social solidarity. Its religiosity is overt, aggressive, virulent and ubiquitous. It is replete with an eschatology, which involves a changing cast of demonized "enemies", both political and cultural.

In fact, America's ascendance over the British Empire owes a lot to the fact that its social reforms lagged one century behind Britain's. This licence to profiteer and exploit its slaves and laborers gave the United States a competitive edge it has yet to amortize.

Americans' religion is a manifestation of their "Chosen People Syndrome". They are missionary, messianic, zealous, fanatical, and nauseatingly self-righteous, bigoted, & hypocritical. This is especially discernible in the double-speak & double-standard that underlies American foreign policy.

Narcissism is frequently comorbid with paranoia. Americans cultivate & nurture a siege mentality which leads to violent acting out & unbridled jingoism. Their persecutory delusions sit well with their adherence to social Darwinism (natural selection of the fittest, let the weaker fall by the wayside, might is right, etc.)"

More: http://samvak.tripod.com/pp112.html

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If you want to read ONLY ONE TEXT to capture the essence of the narcissist, read Ken Heilbrunn's insightful and magisterial introduction to "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited" by Sam Vaknin written back in 1999 when no one even heard of narcissism!

Read the full text here: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/kenintro.html

"Hello. Recognise me? No? Well, you see me all the time. You read my books, watch me on the big screen, feast on my art, cheer at my games, use my inventions, vote me into office, follow me into battle, take notes at my lectures, laugh at my jokes, marvel at my successes, admire my appearance, listen to my stories, discuss my politics, enjoy my music, excuse my faults, envy me my blessings. No? Still doesn't ring a bell? Well, you have seen me. Of that I am positive. In fact, if there is one thing I am absolutely sure of, it is that. You have seen me.

Perhaps our paths crossed more privately. Perhaps I am the one who came along and built you up when you were down, employed you when you needed a job, showed the way when you were lost, offered confidence when you were doubting, made you laugh when you were blue, sparked your interest when you were bored, listened to you and understood, saw you for what you really are, felt your pain and found the answers, made you want to be alive. Of course you recognise me. I am your inspiration, your role model, your saviour, your leader, your best friend, the one you aspire to emulate, the one whose favour makes you glow.

But I can also be your worst nightmare. First I build you up because that's what you need. Your skies are blue. Then, out of the blue, I start tearing you down. You let me do it because that's what you are used to. You are dumfounded. But I was wrong to take pity on you. You really ARE incompetent, disrespectful, untrustworthy, immoral, ignorant, inept, egotistical, constrained, disgusting. You are a social embarrassment, an unappreciative partner, an inadequate parent, a disappointment, a sexual flop, a financial liability."

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The Arabs in Palestine have equal rights to the Jews and an Arab engineer is one of the leaders of the new society. A rabbi who runs for office on a platform of Jewish nationalist chauvinism is defeated.

But these are the exceptions.

In "Altneuland" (translated to Hebrew as "Tel Aviv"), the feverish tome composed by Theodore Herzl, Judaism's improbable visionary and the founder of Zionism, the author refers to the Arabs ("negroes", who have nothing to lose and everything to gain from the Jewish process of colonization) as pliant and compliant butlers, replete with gloves and tarbushes ("livery"). The country is sparsely populated and underdeveloped.

In the book, German Jews prophetically land at Haifa, the only port in erstwhile Palestine. They are welcomed and escorted by "Briticized" Arab ("negro") gentlemen's gentlemen who are only too happy to assist their future masters and colonizers to disembark.

Frequently, when religious or ethnic minorities attempted to assimilate themselves within the majority, the latter reacted by spawning racist theories and perpetrating genocide.

More about relationships between minorities and majorities in modern nation states: http://samvak.tripod.com/pp27.html

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They say that the Present is an illusion, comprised as it is of half a moment of Past and half a moment of Future. In the last two days I feel that I have lost my entire past - and my whole future. I am suspended in an emulsion of permanent Present, an overweight insect caught in the amber of here and now.

We not only inhabit dreams - we ARE dreams. Some of these spectres are retroactive, other prospective. But Man can survive without food or drink or even air for a while. Take away his dreams and he dies forthwith, shrivels and withers, and crumbles into a pile of dust and howling winds, a deserted abode, a defiled shrine.

And so at present I eat and post on Instagram and listen to the news. An automaton, the shell of Sam, a zombie in my image. Going through the motions, the spirit long departed.

I know from a lifelong of searing losses that I will dissociate away my pain, immerse myself in the ambrosia of amnesia, turn off all residual emotions until I emerge triumphant from this trial by abandonment again a man of steel, the impervious robot that I used to be before my life began. I will prevail. Survive. Resurge. Return. Be Present.

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In 1996 I published a series of prescient essays about the future of the Internet in the Israeli (Hebrew) edition of PC Magazine. The Internet was in its infancy, its formative epoch. I have left the text essentially unchanged, except for a few minor errata I corrected. I find time travel fascinating. It is interesting to recall the mainstream view, twenty-odd years ago, about the Internet, its goals, its role, and its future. So, here goes, translated by yours truly to English:

http://samvak.tripod.com/internet.html

"As far as content is concerned, the Internet cannot be currently defined as a medium. It does not function as one - rather it is a very disordered library, mostly incorporating the writings of non-distinguished megalomaniacs. It is the ultimate narcissistic experience. The forceful entry of publishing houses and content aggregators is changing this dismal landscape, though.

Ever since the invention of television there hasn't been anything as begging to become a medium as the Internet.

Three analogies spring to mind when contemplating the Internet in its current state:

1. A chaotic library
2. A neural network or the latter day equivalent of previous networks (telegraph, telephony, railways)
3. A new continent

These metaphors prove to be very useful (even business-wise). They permit us to define the commercial opportunities embedded in the Internet."

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Skopje is a city of extremes. Its winter is harsh in shades of white and grey. Its summer is naked and steamy and effulgent. It pulses throughout the year in smoke-filled, foudroyant bars and dingy coffee-houses. Polydipsic youths in migratory skeins, eager to be noted by their peers, young women on the hunt, ageing man keen to be preyed upon, suburbanites in search of recognition, gold chained mobsters surrounded by flaxen voluptuousness - the cast of the watering holes of this potholed eruption of a city.

The trash seems never to be collected here, the streets are perilously punctured, policemen often substitute for dysfunctional traffic lights. The Macedonians drive like the Italians, gesture like the Jews, dream like the Russians, are obstinate like the Serbs, desirous like the French and hospitable like the Bedouins. It is a magical concoction, coated in the subversive patience & the aggressive passivity of the long oppressed. There is the wisdom of fear itself in the eyes of the 600,000 inhabitants of this landlocked, mountain-surrounded habitat. Never certain of their future, still grappling with their identity, an air of "carpe diem" with the most solemn religiosity of the devout.

The past lives on and flows into the present seamlessly. People recount the history of every stone, recite the antecedents of every man. They grieve together, rejoice in common and envy en masse. A single organism with many heads, it offers the comforts of assimilation and solidarity & the horrors of violated privacy and bigotry. The people of this conurbation may have left the village - but it never let them go. They are the opsimaths of urbanism. Their rural roots are everywhere: in the the division of the city into tight-knit, local-patriotic "settlements". In the traditional marriages and funerals. In the scarcity of divorces despite the desperate shortage in accommodation. In the asphyxiating but oddly reassuring familiarity of faces, places, behaviour and beliefs, superstitions, dreams & nightmares. Life in a distended tempo of birth and death & in between.

Skopje as I see it: http://samvak.tripod.com/pp57.html

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A quintessential loser, an out-of-job puppeteer, is hired by a firm, whose offices are ensconced in a half floor (literally. The ceiling is about a metre high, reminiscent of Taniel's hallucinatory Alice in Wonderland illustrations). By sheer accident, he discovers a tunnel (a "portal", in Internet-age parlance), which sucks its visitors into the mind of the celebrated actor, John Malkovich. The movie is a tongue in cheek discourse of identity, gender and passion in an age of languid promiscuity. It poses all the right metaphysical riddles and presses the viewers' intellectual stimulation buttons.

A two line bit of dialogue, though, forms the axis of this nightmarishly chimerical film. John Malkovich (played by himself), enraged and bewildered by the unabashed commercial exploitation of the serendipitous portal to his mind, insists that Craig, the aforementioned puppet master, cease and desist with his activities. "It is MY brain" - he screams and, with a typical American finale, "I will see you in court". Craig responds: "But, it was I who discovered the portal. It is my livelihood". This apparently innocuous exchange disguises a few very unsettling ethical dilemmas.

Read about them here: http://samvak.tripod.com/being.html

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I have no roots. I have lived in rented hovels most of my life. I avoided intimacy in my marriages, converting my loving spouses into abusive roommates. I have no children, no driving licence, few clothes.

I was born in Israel but had left it many times and now have been away for 22 years. I haven't seen my parents since 1996. I have met my a niece and a nephew for the first and only time a decade ago. I haven't been in touch with any of my "friends". I haven't exchanged one additional word with my ex after we split up. I - an award winning author - am slowly forgetting my Hebrew. I do not celebrate any nation's holidays or festivals. I do not pay taxes in any country. I stay away from groups and communities. I wonder, an itinerant lone wolf. I was born in the Middle East, I write about east Europe and my audience is mostly American.

This reads like a typical profile of the modern expatriate professional the world over - but it is not. It is not a temporary suspension of self-identity, of group-identity, of location, of mother tongue and of one's social circle. In my case, I have nowhere to go back to. I either burn the bridges or keep walking. I never look back. I detach and vanish.

I am not sure why I behave this way. I like to travel and I like to travel light. On the way, in between places, in the twilight zone of neither here not there and not now - I feel like I am unburdened. I do not need to - indeed, I cannot - secure Narcissistic Supply. My obscurity and anonymity are excused ("I am a stranger here", "I just arrived"). I can relax and take refuge from my inner tyranny and from the anxious depletion of energy that is my existence as a narcissist.

I love freedom. With no possessions, devoid of all attachments, to fly away, to be carried, to explore, not to be me. It is the ultimate depersonalisation. Only then do I feel real. Sometimes I wish I were so rich that I could afford to travel incessantly, without ever stopping. I guess it sounds like escaping and avoiding oneself. I guess it is.

More here: http://samvak.tripod.com/narcissistroots.html

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Do Aliens (extraterrestrial beings) exist and can we communicate with them? If they do and we can, how come we never encountered an extraterrestrial, let alone spoken to or corresponded with one?

There are six basic explanations to this apparent conundrum and they are not mutually exclusive: (1) That Aliens do not exist; (2) That the technology they use is far too advanced to be detected by us and, the flip side of this hypothesis, that the technology we use is insufficiently advanced to be noticed by them; (3) That we are looking for extraterrestrials in the wrong places; (4) That the Aliens are life forms so different to us that we fail to recognize them as sentient beings or to communicate with them; (5) That Aliens are trying to communicate with us but constantly fail due to a variety of hindrances, some structural and some circumstantial; (6) That they are avoiding us because of our misconduct (example: the alleged destruction of the environment) or because of our traits (for instance, our innate belligerence).

Before we proceed to tackle these arguments, we need to consider two crucial issues: (1) How can we tell the artificial from the natural? How can we be sure to distinguish Alien artefacts from naturally-occurring objects? How can we tell apart with certainty Alien languages from random noise or other natural signals? (2) If we have absolutely nothing in common with the Aliens, can we still recognize them as intelligent life forms and maintain an exchange of meaningful information with them?

Answers here: http://samvak.tripod.com/seti.html

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The irony is that narcissists, who consider themselves worldly, discerning, knowledgeable, shrewd, erudite, and astute - are actually more gullible than the average person. This is because they are fake. Their self is false, their life a confabulation, their reality test gone. They live in a fantasy land all their own in which they are the center of the universe, admired, feared, held in awe, and respected for their omnipotence and omniscience.

Narcissists are prone to magical thinking. They hold themselves immune to the consequences of their actions (or inaction) and, therefore, beyond punishment and the laws of Man. Narcissists are easily persuaded to assume unreasonable risks and expect miracles to happen. They often find themselves on the receiving end of investment scams, for instance.

Narcissists feel entitled to money, power, and honors incommensurate with their accomplishments or toil. The world, or God, or the nation, or society, or their families, co-workers, employers, even neighbors owe them a trouble-free, exalted, and luxurious existence. They are rudely shocked when they are penalized for their misconduct or when their fantasies remain just that.

The narcissist believes that he is destined to greatness - or at least the easy life. He wakes up every morning fully ready for a fortuitous stroke of luck. That explains the narcissist's reckless behaviors and his lazed lack of self-discipline. It also explains why is so easily duped.

By playing on the narcissist's grandiosity and paranoia, it is possible to deceive and manipulate him effortlessly. Just offer him Narcissistic Supply - admiration, affirmation, adulation - and he is yours. Harp on his insecurities and his persecutory delusions - and he is likely to trust only you and cling to you for dear life. Both paranoia and grandiosity impair the narcissist’s reality test and lead to the erection of complex and wasteful defences against non-existent threats.

Narcissists attract abuse: http://samvak.tripod.com/journal68.html

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Narcissists cheat on their spouses, commit adultery and have extramarital affairs and liaisons for a variety of reasons which reflect disparate psychodynamic processes:

1. In the quest for narcissistic supply, the somatic narcissist resorts to serial sexual conquests.

2. Narcissists are easily bored (they have a low boredom threshold) and they have a low tolerance for boredom. Sexual dalliances alleviate this nagging and frustrating ennui. The quest for novelty, diversions, and thrills – a vacation from his own life - is combined with a journey of self-exploration and discovery that involves “filling in the gaps” in the narcissist’s biography: a missed adolescence, an old flame, a new aspect of his personality.

3. Narcissists maintain an island and focus of stability in their life, but all the other dimensions of their existence are chaotic, unstable, and unpredictable. This "twister" formation serves many emotional needs which I expound upon elsewhere. Thus, a narcissist may be a model employee and pursue a career path over decades even as he cheats on his wife and fritters their savings away.

4. Narcissists feel superior and important and so entitled to be above the law and to engage in behaviors that are frowned upon and considered socially unacceptable in others. They reject and vehemently resent all limitations and conditions placed upon them by their partners. They act on their impulses and desires unencumbered by social conventions and strictures.

5. Marriage, monogamy, and child-bearing and rearing are common activities that characterize the average person. The narcissist feels robbed of his uniqueness by these pursuits and coerced into the relationship and into roles - such as a husband and a father - that reduce him to the lowest of common denominators. This narcissistic injury leads him to rebel and reassert his superiority and specialness by maintaining extramarital affairs.

Other reasons why narcissists cheat: http://samvak.tripod.com/faq29.html

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Inevitably, the sexual fantasy life of narcissists and psychopaths reflects their psychodynamic landscape: their fear of intimacy, misogyny, control freakiness, auto-eroticism, latent sadism and masochism, problems of gender identity, and various sexual paraphilias.

Fantasies which reflect a fear of intimacy involve the aggressive or violent objectification of a faceless, nameless, and sometimes sexless person, often in impersonal, alien or foreign settings (example: narratives of rape.) These usually coalesce with misogynistic erotic storylines in which females are humiliated, coerced into hurtful submission, and subjected to violation and degradation by one or many. Where sadism-masochism, homosexuality, or sexual paraphilias such as pedophilia are present, they are injected into the fantasy and colour its composition and progression.

In his fantasies, the narcissist or psychopath is always in unmitigated control of the environment. The assemblages of bodies and limbs which populate his daydreams – his body included - are minutely choreographed to yield maximum titillation. He is like an exhibitionistic and voyeuristic porn director with an endless supply of well-endowed actors either cowed into compliance or craving it. Naturally, the narcissist’s fantasies are devoid of any performance anxiety or of the need to reciprocate in the sex act by pleasing his anonymous and robotic partners. Such imaginarium invariably leads to acts of self-stimulation, the ultimate manifestations of auto-eroticism. Even when the narcissist incorporates his real-life partner in his fantasies, he is bound to treat her as a mere prop, a body to masturbate with, in, or on, or an object to be “defiled” in acts such as group sex, swinging (wife-swapping), or outright sexual deviance (examples: urophilia, or coprophilia.) This crude & overt denigration serves to render her a “slut”, or a “whore” in his mind, the kind of woman with whom he can have lustful, emotion-free sex.

More about the narcissist's fantasy sex life: http://samvak.tripod.com/faq29.html

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New Order one world government, Zionist and Jewish cabals, Catholic, black, yellow, or red subversion, the machinations attributed to the freemasons and the illuminati - all flourished yet again from the 1970's onwards. Paranoid speculations reached frenzied nadirs following the deaths of celebrities, such as "Princess Di". Books like "The Da Vinci Code" (which deals with an improbable Catholic conspiracy to erase from history the true facts about the fate of Jesus) sell millions of copies worldwide.

But there is more to conspiracy theories than mass psychology. It is also big business. Voluntary associations such as the Ku Klux Klan and the John Birch Society are past their heyday. But they still gross many millions of dollars a year.

It is impossible to tell how many people feed off the paranoid frenzy of the lunatic fringe. I found more than 7000 lecturers on these subjects listed by the Google search engine alone. Even assuming a conservative schedule of one lecture a month with a modest fee of $250 per appearance - we are talking about an industry of c. $20 million.

More about the multi-billion dollars industry of conspiracy theories here: http://samvak.tripod.com/pp132.html

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Irish voters opted in a referendum to allow abortion. They authorized their parliament to rescind the 8th amendment to the constitution which forbids the medical procedure.

The issue of abortion is emotionally loaded and this often makes for poor, not thoroughly thought out arguments.

The questions: "Is abortion immoral" and "Is abortion a murder" are often confused. The pregnancy (and the resulting fetus) are discussed in terms normally reserved to natural catastrophes (force majeure). At times, the embryo is compared to cancer, a thief, or an invader: after all, both cancers and fetuses are growths, clusters of cells. The difference, of course, is that no one contracts cancer willingly (except, to some extent, smokers – but, then they gamble, not contract). When a woman engages in voluntary sex, does not use contraceptives and gets pregnant – one can say that she signed a contract with her fetus.

A contract entails the demonstrated existence of a reasonably (and reasonable) free will. If the fulfillment of the obligations in a contract between individuals could be life-threatening – it is fair and safe to assume that no rational free will was involved. No reasonable person would sign or enter such a contract with another person (though most people would sign such contracts with society). Much more serious problems arise when we study the other party to these implicit agreements: the embryo. To start with, it lacks consciousness (in the sense that is needed for signing an enforceable and valid contract). Can a contract be valid even if one of the "signatories" lacks this sine qua non trait (sentience)? In the absence of consciousness, there is little point in talking about free will (or rights which depend on sentience). So, is the contract not a contract at all? Does it not reflect the intentions of the parties?

Arguments for and against abortion here: http://samvak.tripod.com/abort.html

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Fantasy is a psychological defense mechanism: "One day I will (divorce my spouse, make millions, move to live in ...)". Fantasy has many functions: to avoid a painful or disagreeable (ego-dystonic) reality; to rehearse, plan, and prepare for possible futures founded on strong wishes or desires (including of a sexual nature); to escape into imaginative daydreaming and render life more pleasant; to act as an organizing principle with explanatory power; to compensate for lacks and deficiencies in oneself (narcissistic compensatory fantasy) or in one's life; and so on.

It is generally true that fantasy is a substitute for action. He who fantasizes rarely acts and she who acts rarely talks. To fantasize is to procrastinate and fantasies often include elements of unattainable perfectionism and unrealistic goals, narratives, and scenarios precisely in order to justify and account for such inaction. Often people conjure up conditional fantasies: "I will (do that or be there) IF (certain usually difficult or impossible conditions) are met." The conditions thus imposed ascertain that the fantasy can never be realized.

Some people have made fantasy their main realm of existence and their overriding preoccupation. Society affords such individuals socially-sanctioned outlets: they can write fiction or make films. But the majority of fantasists lose touch with reality and rapidly descend and degenerate into psychopathological states such as narcissism or paranoia. Some people fantasize precisely in order to transcend or flee social inhibitions, constraints, or mores. Some paraphilias - such as pedophilia and fetishism - and some sexual practices emanate from powerful conscious fantasies.

More about grandiose fantasies: http://samvak.tripod.com/faq3.html

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The mentally ill form dyads or couples. Pathologies attract each and other and resonate in alliances of pain, fused relationships.

Such partnerships are suffused with torment: the mentally ill spouses or intimate partners engage in mutually hurtful conduct. It is also heartbreaking to watch your loved one's inexorable decline.

Gradually, the parties settle on coping strategies that are either "approach" or "avoidance" oriented.

The "approach" strategies include active denial of the problem often via a shared psychosis which renders the mental illness something to espouse, encourage, or be proud of.

Another strategy involves enabling. The enabler collaborates with the mentally sick partner so as to accommodate his or her disability.

Sometimes one of the partners assumes the role and mantle of guru, teacher, coach, guide, or father or mother. He or she suppresses dissent and re-molds the mentally ill partner to conform to some ideal. This could involve harsh or even sadistic criticism and humiliation on a daily basis as well as intermittent reinforcement.

But more often the mentally ill members of the dyad end up avoiding each other and the pain that they cause one another. This hurt aversion leads to extreme estrangement and cruel disengagement. Being ignored and neglected results in decompensation and acting out. The mentally ill partner tries to provoke attention and punish his or her avoidant counterpart by engaging in promiscuous and reckless behaviors.

In extreme cases the wayward partner internalizes and accepts the harsh judgment of her significant other. This can lead to major depressive episodes, psychotic disorders, and suicide.

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I hate routine. I always start off with a volcanic burst of promising and irresistible energy - only to let down people who trusted me and followed my leadership, succumbing to my misleading, goal-oriented charisma. I leave a trail of embittered, bewildered, and disappointed people in my wake.

When I find myself doing the same things over and over again, I get depressed, impossibly lazy, and inert. I oversleep, over-eat, over-drink and, in general, engage in addictive, impulsive, compulsive, self-destructive and self-defeating behaviours. This is my way of re-introducing risk and excitement into what I (emotionally) perceive to be a barren life, the repetitive wastelend of routine.

The problem is that even the most exciting and varied existence becomes rote after a while. Living in the same country or apartment, meeting the same people, doing essentially the same things (though with changing content) all "qualify" as stultifying recursivity. I prefer fantasy to action. It is much more varied.

I feel entitled to more. I feel it is my right - due to my intellectual superiority - to lead a thrilling, rewarding, kaleidoscopic life. I feel entitled to force life itself, or, at least, people around me - to yield to my wishes and needs, supreme among them the need for stimulating variety.

This rejection of habit is part of a larger pattern of aggressive entitlement. I feel that the very existence of a sublime intellect (such as myself) warrants concessions and allowances. Standing in line is a waste of time best spent pursuing knowledge, inventing and creating. I should avail myself of the best medical treatment proffered by the most prominent medical authorities - lest the asset that is I be lost to Mankind. I should not be bothered with proofreading my articles (or even re-reading them) - these lowly jobs best be assigned to the less gifted. The devil is in paying precious attention to details.

More here: http://samvak.tripod.com/journal10.html

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Life forces us to play the odds. Sometimes we have to place all our chips on a single number to recoup our past losses. The casino always has the advantage over us: whether we are cautious players or reckless ones, we still end up bankrupt when dawn breaks.

Ask your elders and be told invariably:

The only stable thing is change.

The only certain thing is death.

The only predictable thing is the unforeseen. You cannot time your bets because although you know a lot about the past and some things about the present, you know nothing about the future.

So, do more living and a lot less planning and scheming and hedging. In the long run all your stratagems will come to naught.

To claim "I had no choice" is to make a choice to see no options and contemplate no alternatives. It is cowardice disguised as rationality.

Successful people are merely lucky, not superior. They know that to distrust is wise, to indiscriminately suspect is folly. They realize that fear and caution are good advisors but bad managers. They discover early on that there is nothing that better serves their interests than selfless empathy, love, compassion, and giving.

He who avoids risks at all costs ends up paying the highest price for his reticence and paranoia.

She who insists on ironclad guarantees prior to any commitment dooms herself to paralysis and finds herself committed to doom.

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The majority of women in the world still live in male-dominated patriarchal societies replete with sex aversion, male chauvinism & misogyny.

Such a societal mindset is the effluence of backward religiosity, oppressive economic & legal circumstances, and, in some parts of the globe, a numerical surplus of women over men.

Women in such environments encounter the same problems as women everywhere: loveless & sexless marriages, pay gaps, glass ceilings, sexual harassment, & economic hardship. They react in largely the same ways: they resort to lovers, for example. Or they enter the workforce. Or they focus on their offspring.

But there are major differences, too: women in patriarchal societies are fierce supporters and defenders of the social order and its attendant values of male superiority. Men are expected to be the primary providers, the sole decision-makers, the leaders. Women are eminences grise: the power behind the throne and behind the scenes. Western mores and solutions to inter-gender problems are frowned upon as both decadent & unworkable, destructive & dangerous.

In traditionalist cultures, women channel their rebellion and are passive-aggressive & manipulative rather than being openly defiant. In such societies men initiate divorces, not women. By comparison, in the West most divorces are the initiative of disgruntled & disheartened women.

Even women who maintain long-term extramarital affairs will bear children only to their estranged, alienated, hateful, and hated husbands. Most businesses are family owned. The family - however dysfunctional - is sacred, an organizing principle, & renders life itself meaningful.

So, most women in these backward communities lead double lives. They have a hidden, occult inner world to which they retreat. They are unhealthily and incestuously obsessed with their children. Homo-eroticism between women is rife & rampant. Some of these women find love with other men but never as viable options or substitutes to husband or family. They lead compartmentalized, sad - indeed, tragic - lives.

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Those scarred by economic and financial traumas let money dictate their lives. In the pursuit of safety and luxury they sacrifice love, happiness, and self-actualization. Money also provides an escape hatch akin to the oblivion afforded by drugs. In time, profligacy becomes an addiction.

For some people money makes life meaningful and reifies its sense: moneymaking provides a reason to get up in the morning. Money is an explanatory and organizing principle which renders the world and human actions comprehensible. Money helps regulate one's sense of self-worth: it is a measure of how much one is appreciated and loved.

Possessing money is a shorthand testament to one's natural endowments, acquired skills, sagacious and perspicacious choices, Darwinian fitness, and even moral righteousness.

People feel that they deserve to have earned their money. If they end up wealthy by some coincidence or stroke of luck, it is proof that both the gods and the Universe favor them, that they have been singled out. Money is, therefore, a form of quantifiable narcissistic supply and an utterly bias-free ranking algorithm: alpha makes make more money than their beta brethren.

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Depression is a big component in the narcissist's emotional make-up. But it mostly has to do with the absence of Narcissistic Supply, with nostalgia to more plentiful days, full of adoration and attention and applause. It occurs after the narcissist has depleted or had lost his Secondary Source of Narcissistic Supply (his lover, spouse, mate, girlfriend, colleagues) - his external memory - and thus the ability to "replay" his days of glory. Some narcissists even cry - but they cry exclusively for themselves and for their lost paradise. And they do so conspicuously and publicly to attract attention.

The narcissist is a human pendulum hanging by the thread of the void that is his False Self. He swings between brutal and vicious abrasiveness - and mellifluous, saccharine sentimentality. It is all a simulacrum. A verisimilitude. A facsimile. Enough to fool the casual observer. Enough to extract the drug - other people's glances - the reflection that sustains this house of cards somehow.

But the stronger and more rigid the defenses - and nothing is more resilient than narcissism - the bigger and deeper the hurt they aim to compensate for.

One's narcissism stands in direct relation to the seething abyss and the devouring vacuum that one harbors in one's True Self.

I know it's there. I catch glimpses of it when I am tired, when I hear music, when reminded of an old friend, a scene, a sight, a smell. I know it is awake when I am asleep. I know that it subsists of pain - diffuse and inescapable. I know my sadness. I have lived with it and I have encountered it full force.

Perhaps I choose narcissism, as I have been "accused". And if I do, it is a rational choice of self-preservation and survival. The paradox is that being a self-loathing narcissist may be the only act of self-love I have ever committed.

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We are surrounded with malignant narcissists. How come this disorder has hitherto been largely ignored? How come there is such a dearth of research and literature regarding this crucial family of pathologies? Even mental health practitioners are woefully unaware of it and unprepared to assist its victims.

The sad answer is that narcissism meshes well with our culture [see: http://samvak.tripod.com/lasch.html ]. It is kind of a "background cosmic radiation", permeating every social and cultural interaction. It is hard to distinguish pathological narcissists from self-assertive, self-confident, self-promoting, eccentric, ambitious, or highly individualistic persons. Hard sell, greed, envy, self-centredness, exploitativeness, diminished empathy are all socially condoned features of Western civilization.

Our society is atomized, the outcome of malignant individualism gone awry. It encourages and rewards narcissistic leadership and role models: http://samvak.tripod.com/15.html

Its sub-structures - institutionalized religion, political parties, civic organizations, the media, corporations - are all suffused with narcissism and pervaded by its pernicious outcomes: http://samvak.tripod.com/14.html

The very ethos of materialism and capitalism upholds and extols certain narcissistic traits, such as reduced empathy, exploitation, a sense of entitlement, or grandiose fantasies ("vision"). More about this here: http://samvak.tripod.com/journal37.html

Narcissists are aided, abetted and facilitated by four types of people and institutions: the adulators, the blissfully ignorant, the self-deceiving and those deceived by the narcissist.

More about these supporters of narcissists here: http://samvak.tripod.com/journal62.html

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Abandonment (separation) anxiety is the outcome of object inconstancy: the infantile belief that the physical absence of a love object is forever and portends an imminent emotional absence. This is why a baby cries when mommy leaves the room: it catastrophizes. The inner narrative of doom is: mommy will never return, she will not love me anymore, and, consequently, I am bound to die. “Normal” people sublimate urges,drives, powerful emotions, and attendant anxieties: they redirect the energy into other activities (sports, writing, gardening, and so on). Adults with mental health disorders react to abandonment anxiety in two major ways:

Codependents and Borderlines (people who suffer from Dependent or Borderline personality disorders) cling. They seek to micromanage and control significant figures in their lives with emotional blackmail, labile drama, modulated aggression, or outright bribes (sex, money, power). "I cannot live without you" is the manipulative battlecry of such personalities.

Narcissists and psychopath dissociate. They mentally delete the source of frustration, anxiety, discomfort, and threat. They avoid emotional depth and continuity. Shallow or flat affect and no emotional investment guarantee little to no pain when they are abandoned or separated. They simply move on to the next partner or sexualize their anxiety and frustration by becoming promiscuous. The saying "out of sight, out of mind" must have been coined by a psychopath.

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My interview for the WNAAD Telesummit 2018 was not broadcast and is not made available to listeners. It is a bit like patricide: ironic that I coined the phrase "narcissistic abuse" and started the whole narcissism awareness movement online back in 1995 - and now the organizers of this for profit event suppress and censor what I have to say.

Why did they do it? They won't say. They have also ignored all my requests to provide me with a recording of my interview. They did not bother to inform me that my interview will not be streamed online. They did not even apologize until after I wrote to them an email titled: "A Primer in Courtesy and Civility". I do not think anyone should decide for you what you should be listening to and reading. Censorship is the exact opposite of empowerment.

If you want to listen to my one hour interview write to the organizers or call them and let them know:

BREE breelcsw@gmail.com

ATHENA

athena@athenamoberg.com

athenamoberg@icloud.com

CALL from outside the USA +1 808 283 1231

CALL from inside the USA

1 808 283 1231

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Every few years, I lose the woman in my life. Weighed down by my broken fantasies, sadistic abuse, control freakery, mood swings, & insistent grandiosity, my women invariably walk out on me. Literally. They spend most of their time away from me, end up with other men, divorce me, or abandon me and return to the life they had before I sucked them into my demented maelstrom. Even those women who choose to not let go of our togetherness, make it a point to retreat into a parallel, hidden, Sam-free realm.

Narcissists are accustomed to loss. Their obnoxious personality & intolerable behaviours, delusional fantasies, peripatetic nature & instability make them lose lovers, friends & spouses, mates & colleagues, jobs & family, their place of residence, property, businesses, country, & language.

There is always a locus of loss in the narcissist's life. He may be faithful to his wife & a model family man - but then he is likely to change jobs frequently & renege on his financial & social obligations. Or, he may be a brilliant achiever with a steady, long term and successful career - but a lousy homemaker, thrice divorced & unfaithful.

In time, the narcissist develops defence mechanisms against the inevitable pain & hurt he incurs with every loss & defeat. He ensconces himself in an ever thicker skin, an impenetrable shell, a make belief environment in which his sense of in-bred superiority & entitlement is preserved. He appears indifferent to the most harrowing and agonizing experiences, inhuman in his unperturbed composure, emotionally detached & cold, inaccessible, & invulnerable. Deep inside, he, indeed, feels nothing.

The narcissist cruises through his life as a tourist would through an exotic island. He observes events and people, his own experiences and loved ones as a spectator would a movie that at times is mildly exciting and at others mildly boring. He is never fully there, entirely present, irreversibly committed. He is constantly with one hand on his emotional escape hatch, ready to bail out, to absent himself, to re-invent his life in another place, with other people.

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When is a mother a good (enough) mother? According to Winnicott, when she gradually and increasingly frustrates her child. These cumulative denials of the child's wishes and negations of his delusional and fantastic magical thinking are crucial to his emerging perception of an external world and his unimpaired reality test.

The good mother encourages the child's separation from her and its individuation via the formation of inviolable and respected personal boundaries. She does not sacrifice her autonomy and identity and does not fuse or merge with her child or treat it as her extension.

The good mother acknowledges her own moments of exasperation and depression. She does neither idealize nor devalue herself or the child. She harbors realistic expectations of the budding relationship and reacts proportionately. She has no mood swings and is not labile. She is stable, firm but not harsh, just and predictable but never dull. She encourages her offspring's curiosity even as she indulges her own.

More about the dysfunctional mother: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/faq64.html

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Having abandoned, rejected, abused, & humiliated my intimate partner (my woman), I am hurt, shocked, & infuriated when she reacts in kind by avoiding me, abandoning me, & becoming herself abusive.
I list more than 100 (!) behaviors the narcissist uses to avoid intimacy here: http://samvak.tripod.com/narcissismemotional.html

I call them the "Emotional Investment Prevention Measures" (EIPMs). The delusion that he is in total control crumbles as the narcissist is abandoned time & again by lovers, spouses, mates, friends & colleagues.

It is then - when loss is rendered tangible - that the narcissist regains his former zeal & erstwhile fervour. He courts a long neglected wife, invests himself in a hated job, befriends spurned colleagues, or engulfs with unnatural warmth & empathy offended friends.

It is very common, for instance, for a narcissist to rediscover the joy of sex with an adulterous intimate partner or spouse. Cerebral narcissists then become somatic narcissists (type-switching) for as long as it takes to “re-acquire” (hoover) the “target” (the source of supply). The narcissist professes to being shocked & puzzled by the untoward behaviour of a hitherto faithful spouse, loyal friend, or patient neighbour. "Whatever happened to them?" - He wonders - "What brought this on?" Why did his wife cheat on him? Why did his colleagues demand his resignation? Why did his neighbour turn violent all of a sudden?

Aware of impending loss & doom, the narcissist embarks on a charm offensive, parading the most irresistible, brilliant, captivating, titillating, promising & thrilling aspects of his False Self. The aim is to reacquire that which has been forfeited to neglect & indifference, to rebuild relationships ruined by contempt & abuse and, thus, to regain Narcissistic Supply.

Needless to add that once these targets are achieved, the narcissist reverts to old form and goes back to being impatient, negligent, emotionally absent, indifferent & abusive. Until another round of losses looms and reanimates the narcissist - a sad, repetitive automaton, forever imprisoned by his own repetition compulsion.

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Is narcissism contagious? Can we become narcissists just by living with a narcissist or working with him?

For example: many moderators & owners of discussion groups & support forums for traumatized victims of abuse are tyrannical narcissistic bullies with little or no impulse control & the tendency to form cult-like settings where the wayward are sadistically penalized and publicly humiliated by peers for speaking out of turn and in contravention of the “party line.” Some people adopt the role of a professional victim. In doing so, they become self-centred, devoid of empathy, abusive, and exploitative. In other words, they become narcissists. The role of "professional victims" - people whose existence and very identity rests solely and entirely on their victimhood - is well researched in victimology. It doesn't make for a nice reading.

These victim "pros" are often more cruel, vengeful, vitriolic, lacking in compassion and violent than their abusers. They make a career of their victimhood, real and alleged, factual and embellished. They identify with this role to the exclusion of all else. I call this phenomenon "Narcissistic Contagion" or "Narcissism by Proxy". The proxy narcissist entertains the (false) notion that she can compartmentalize her narcissistic behavior and direct it only at the narcissist. In other words, she trusts in her ability to segregate her conduct and to be verbally abusive towards the narcissist while civil and compassionate with others, to act with malice where the narcissist is concerned and with Christian charity towards all others.

She clings to the "faucet theory". She believes that she can turn on and off her negative feelings, her abusive outbursts, her vindictiveness and vengefulness, her blind rage, and her non-discriminating judgment. This, of course, is untrue. These behaviors spill over into interactions with innocent non-narcissists.

More about narcissistic contagion plus many interview transcripts: http://samvak.tripod.com/faq42.html

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The Discarder

Any thing can serve as a Source of Narcissistic Supply, providing that it has the potential to attract people's attention & be the subject of their admiration. This is why narcissists are enamoured of status symbols, i.e., objects, which comprehensively encapsulate and concisely convey a host of data regarding their owners which generate a reaction in people: they make them look on, admire, envy, dream, compare, or aspire. In short: they elicit Narcissistic Supply.

But, generally, discarder narcissists do not like souvenirs & the memories they foster. They are afraid to get emotionally attached to them & then get hurt if the objects are lost or stolen or taken.

Objects, situations, voices, sights, colours provoke and evoke unwanted memories. The narcissist tries to avoid them. The discarder narcissist callously discards or gives away hard-won objects, memorabilia, gifts, and property. This behaviour sustains his sense of omnipotent control & lack of vulnerability. It also proves to him that he is unique, not like "other people" who are attached to their material belongings. He is above it.

The Accumulator

This kind of narcissist jealously guards his possessions – his collections, his furniture, his cars, his children, his women, his money, his credit cards... Objects comfort him. They remind him of his status. They are linked to gratifying events & thus, constitute Secondary Sources of Narcissistic Supply. They attest to the narcissist's wealth, connections, achievements, friendships, conquests, & glorious past. No wonder he is so attached to them. Objects connected with failures or embarrassments have no place in his abode. They get cast out.

More about narcissists and objects:

http://samvak.tripod.com/faq46.html

http://samvak.tripod.com/journal53.html

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Euthanasia, whether in a medical setting (hospital, clinic, hospice) or not (at home) is often erroneously described as "mercy killing". Most forms of euthanasia are, indeed, motivated by (some say: misplaced) mercy. Not so others. In Greek, "eu" means both "well" and "easy" and "Thanatos" is death.

Euthanasia is the intentional premature termination of another person's life either by direct intervention (active euthanasia) or by withholding life-prolonging measures and resources (passive euthanasia), either at the express or implied request of that person (voluntary euthanasia), or in the absence of such approval (non-voluntary euthanasia). Involuntary euthanasia - where the individual wishes to go on living - is an euphemism for murder.

Modern medicine seems to be preoccupied with delusions of omnipotence and the need to avoid the narcissistic injury to the doctor’s ego that death constitutes. This preference of the profession’s image over the patient’s welfare and quality of remaining life is patently unethical. But, to my mind, passive euthanasia is equally immoral. The abrupt withdrawal of medical treatment, feeding, and hydration results in a slow and (potentially) torturous death. It took Terri Schiavo 13 days to die, when her tubes were withdrawn in the last two weeks of March 2005.
Since it is impossible to conclusively prove that patients in PVS (Persistent Vegetative State) do not suffer pain, it is morally wrong to subject them to such potential gratuitous suffering. Even animals should be treated better.
Moreover, passive euthanasia allows us to evade personal responsibility for the patient's death. In active euthanasia, the relationship between the act (of administering a lethal medication, for instance) and its consequences is direct and unambiguous.

For a thorough analysis of the ethics of euthanasia: http://samvak.tripod.com/euthanasia.html

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According to David McClintick ("Swordfish: A True Story of Ambition, Savagery, and Betrayal"), in the late 1980's, the FBI and DEA set up dummy corporations to deal in drugs. They funnelled into these corporate fronts money from drug-related asset seizures.

The idea was to infiltrate global crime networks but a lot of the money in "Operation Swordfish" may have ended up in the wrong pockets. Government agents and sheriffs got mysteriously and filthily rich and the whole sorry affair was wound down. The GAO reported more than $3.6 billion missing. This bit of history gave rise to at least one blockbuster with Oscar-winner Halle Berry.

Alas, slush funds are much less glamorous in reality. They usually involve grubby politicians, pawky bankers, and philistine businessmen - rather than glamorous hackers and James Bondean secret agents.

Slush funds infect every corner of the globe, not only the more obscure and venal ones. Every secret service - from the Mossad to the CIA - operates outside the stated state budget. Slush funds are used to launder money, shower cronies with patronage, and bribe decision makers. In some countries, setting them up is a criminal offense, as per the 1990 Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure, and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime. Other jurisdictions are more forgiving.

More about slush funds: http://samvak.tripod.com/pp138.html

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Some officeholders binge on endless quantities of lucre. They abscond with billions of USD from the coffers of their destitute countries.

These inconceivable dollops of hard cash & valuables often remain stashed & untouched, mouldering in bank accounts & safes in Western banks. They serve no purpose, either political or economic. But they do fulfill a psychological need. These stashes aren’t the megalomaniacal equivalents of savings accounts. Rather they are of the nature of compulsive hoarding.

The ever-heightening mountains of greenbacks in their vaults soothe them, fill them with confidence, regulate their sense of self-worth, and serve as a love substitute. The balances in their bulging bank accounts are of no practical import or intent. They merely cater to their psychopathology.

These politicos are not only crooks but also kleptomaniacs. They can no more stop thieving than Hitler could stop murdering. Venality is an integral part of their psychological makeup.

Kleptomania is about acting out. It is a compensatory act. Politics is a drab, uninspiring, unintelligent, & often humiliating business. It is also risky & rather arbitrary. It involves enormous stress and unceasing conflict. Politicians with mental health disorders (for instance, narcissists or psychopaths) react by decompensating. They rob the state and coerce businessmen to grease their palms because it makes them feel better, it helps them to repress their mounting fears & frustrations, & to restore their psychodynamic equilibrium. These politicians and bureaucrats "let off steam" by looting.

Kleptomaniacs fail to resist or control the impulse to steal, even if they have no use for the booty. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV-TR (2000), the bible of psychiatry, kleptomaniacs feel "pleasure, gratification, or relief when committing the theft." The good book proceeds to say that " ... (T)he individual may hoard the stolen objects ...". As most kleptomaniac politicians are also psychopaths, they rarely feel remorse or fear.

More: http://samvak.tripod.com/pp138.html

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Alice - Ten Years Later” is my sequel to Alice in Wonderland. Here goes:

Ten year anniversaries are nothing to sneeze at”, thought Alice as she surveyed the kitchen. Sure enough, someone sneezed vociferously and insistently just to her left. “Have I been thinking aloud?” enquired Alice, alarmed. “No more than usual,” answered the cook, “and the soup decidedly begs for more pepper, you know.” Exasperated, Alice rolled her eyes (a gesture she mastered only recently and was very proud of): “This time, I came armed with the recipe, Cook,” she admonished her sternly, “Here, read for yourself: not a trace of pepper to be had throughout the proceedings!” “Impossible!” declared Cook and eyed her suspiciously. She snatched the tattered page, perused it awhile and then read it aloud, triumphantly.

Disconcerted by this decisive rebuttal of her new-found bravado, Alice settled on a three-legged stool which stood smack in the geometric navel of the kitchen. “When will everyone be here?” she mused to no one in particular. “Precisely when they will arrive!” bellowed Cook and hauled the sooty cauldron onto the fire – “The Cat’s grin has been here since the morning!” “Is there anything else on the menu?” enquired Alice “I am mighty hungry and don’t think I can quell it with a mere dollop! And the pepper is bound to make everyone so thirsty, not to mention sneeze-prone!” Cook grunted absentmindedly: “March Hare promised to bring some wine. And to drag in Dormouse, if he is not asleep, of course.” “Dormouse is always asleep” sighed Alice “and March Hare doesn’t know the first difference between wine and tea!” “Wine, tea” snorted Cook as she hurried around in a haze of pepper “It’s all the same to me. It should be all the same to you, you know, makes life considerably simpler!” “Things can go awfully wrong if you don’t call them by their proper names” insisted Alice “Consider this recipe for chicken in wine. It wouldn’t be the same with tea, I grant you!” Cook eyed her pityingly:

Continued here: http://samvak.tripod.com/aliceanniversary.html

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I love to be hated and I hate to be loved. Hate is the complement of fear and I like being feared. It imbues me with an intoxicating sensation of omnipotence. I am veritably inebriated by the looks of horror or repulsion on people's faces. They know that I am capable of anything. Godlike, I am ruthless and devoid of scruples, capricious and unfathomable, emotion-less and asexual, omniscient, omnipotent and omni-present, a plague, a devastation, an inescapable verdict. I nurture my ill-repute, stoking it and fanning the flames of gossip. It is an enduring asset.

The English pediatrician and psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott suggested that abused children need to hate and to be hated as a defense against the false hope of ever being loved. They not only act out anti-socially but also seek to provoke hatred in parents, caregivers, and authority figures. At least in this comfort zone of mutual antagonism there is no risk of being shattered by the disappointment and frustration that are the ineluctable outcomes of hope.

Of course, he who loves to be hated and hates to be loved also loves to hate and hates to love (fears intimacy). The narcissist’s emotional complexity (ambivalence) towards significant others is notorious: his “love” often comes laced with bouts of vitriolic or even violent abuse and aggression.

But, the narcissist’s hatred is atypical. Rempel and Burris suggested in 2005 that hate is a stable experiential state; that it is an emotion; and that it involves a goal-driven motivation to diminish or utterly eradicate the well-being of the target of hate.

In contradistinction, the narcissist’s hatred is not stable; it is a transformation of resentment and, therefore, an aggressive reaction to frustration; and the narcissist does not care about his victim’s well-being: he just wishes to remove the fount of frustration altogether and expediently. So, by the lights on Rempel and Burris it does not qualify as hate at all.

More: http://samvak.tripod.com/narcissistmasochist.html

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When one is my age, all that remains is one's memories. You are the director of the movie of your life : a decades long film. Now, sit back and let the screening begin: is the yarn boring? would you have watched this oeuvre had you not been its main protagonist? If the answers are negative and positive, respectively, you have succeeded to live well, regardless of the price you have paid.

One lesson I have learned the hard way is that chances to be happy come rarely and unannounced and in the most unexpected form. These opportunities must be seized upon irrationally, exuberantly, and forcefully. One must never let go of such an opening, a portal to future joy and contentment. Nothing is more risky than unhappiness. No one is poorer than the miserable. Mostly, the true regrets we have are with regards to what we could have done or accomplished - but didn’t, owing to pusillanimity and cowardice.

The true and only purgatory and hell are lost potentials, broken dreams, forlorn hopes: who we could have been had we only dared to live instead of plan, had we only seized the present day and not succumbed to the past night of our soul.

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[IMAGE] The “personality” part is dead wrong (“stays out of trouble”). The “life and opportunities” part absolutely right (“university is crucial”). More about my turbulent life: http://samvak.tripod.com/cv.html

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Given a high enough level of frustration, triggered by recurrent, endemic, and systemic failures in all spheres of policy, even the most resilient democracy develops a predilection to "strong men", leaders whose self-confidence, sangfroid, and apparent omniscience all but "guarantee" a change of course for the better.

These are usually people with a thin political resume, having accomplished little prior to their ascendance. They appear to have erupted on the scene from nowhere. They are received as providential messiahs precisely because they are unencumbered with a discernible past and, thus, are ostensibly unburdened by prior affiliations and commitments. Their only duty is to the future. They are a-historical: they have no history and they are above history.

Indeed, it is precisely this apparent lack of a biography that qualifies these leaders to represent and bring about a fantastic and grandiose future. They act as a blank screen upon which the multitudes project their own traits, wishes, personal biographies, needs, and yearnings.

The more these leaders deviate from their initial promises and the more they fail, the dearer they are to the hearts of their constituents: like them, their new-chosen leader is struggling, coping, trying, and failing and, like them, he has his shortcomings and vices. This affinity is endearing and captivating. It helps to form a shared psychosis (follies-a-plusieurs) between ruler and people and fosters the emergence of an hagiography.

The propensity to elevate narcissistic or even psychopathic personalities to power is most pronounced in countries that lack a democratic tradition (such as China, Russia, or the nations that inhabit the territories that once belonged to Byzantium or the Ottoman Empire). More about leaders and leadership: http://samvak.tripod.com/leader.html

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For her traumatic wounds to heal, the victim of abuse requires closure - one final interaction with her tormentor in which he, hopefully, acknowledges his misbehaviour and even tenders an apology. Fat chance. Few abusers - especially if they are narcissistic - are amenable to such weakling pleasantries. More often, the abused are left to wallow in a poisonous stew of misery, self-pity, and self-recrimination.

Depending on the severity, duration, and nature of the abuse, there are three forms of effective closure.

Conceptual Closure

This most common variant involves a frank dissection of the abusive relationship. The parties meet to analyze what went wrong, to allocate blame and guilt, to derive lessons, and to part ways cathartically cleansed. In such an exchange, a compassionate offender (quite the oxymoron, admittedly) offers his prey the chance to rid herself of cumulating resentment.

He also disabuses her of the notion that she, in any way, was guilty or responsible for her maltreatment, that it was all her fault, that she deserved to be punished, and that she could have saved the relationship (malignant optimism). With this burden gone, the victim is ready to resume her life and to seek companionship and love elsewhere.

Dissociative Closure

Absent other forms of closure, victims of egregious and prolonged mistreatment tend to repress their painful memories. In extremis, they dissociate. Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) - formerly known as "Multiple Personality Disorder" - is thought to be such a reaction. The harrowing experiences are "sliced off", tucked away, and attributed to "another personality". Sometimes, the victim "assimilates" his or her tormentor, and even openly and consciously identifies with him. This is the narcissistic defence. In his own anguished mind, the victim becomes omnipotent and, therefore, invulnerable. He or she develops a False Self. The True Self is, thus, shielded from further harm and injury.

Other forms of closure: http://samvak.tripod.com/abuse17.html

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The Truman Show" is a profoundly disturbing movie. On the surface, it deals with the worn out issue of the intermingling of life and the media.

The blurring line between life and its representation in the arts is arguably the main theme. The hero, Truman, lives in an artificial world, constructed especially for him. He was born and raised there. He knows no other place. The people around him – unbeknownst to him – are all actors. His life is monitored by 5000 cameras and broadcast live to the world, 24 hours a day, every day. He is spontaneous and funny because he is unaware of the monstrosity of which he is the main cogwheel.

But Peter Weir, the movie's director, takes this issue one step further by perpetrating a massive act of immorality on screen. Truman is lied to, cheated, deprived of his ability to make choices, controlled and manipulated by sinister, half-mad Shylocks. As I said, he is unwittingly the only spontaneous, non-scripted, "actor" in the on-going soaper of his own life. All the other figures in his life, including his parents, are actors. Hundreds of millions of viewers and voyeurs plug in to take a peep, to intrude upon what Truman innocently and honestly believes to be his privacy. They are shown responding to various dramatic or anti-climactic events in Truman's life. That we are the moral equivalent of these viewers-voyeurs, accomplices to the same crimes, comes as a shocking realization to us. We are (live) viewers and they are (celluloid) viewers. We both enjoy Truman's inadvertent, non-consenting, exhibitionism. We know the truth about Truman and so do they. Of course, we are in a privileged moral position because we know it is a movie and they know it is a piece of raw life that they are watching. But moviegoers throughout Hollywood's history have willingly and insatiably participated in numerous "Truman Shows". The lives (real or concocted) of the studio stars were brutally exploited and incorporated in their films.

Continued: http://samvak.tripod.com/seahaven.html

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Hemingway penned this excellent encapsulation of impulse control decades back, before I made narcissism a household epithet via my work & online presence in the 1990s.

Narcissists are not prone to "irresistible impulses" & dissociation (blanking out of certain stressful events and actions). They more or less fully control their behavior & actions at all times. But exerting control over one's conduct requires the investment of resources, both mental and physical. Narcissists regard this as a waste of their precious time, or a humiliating chore. Lacking empathy, they don't care about other people's feelings, needs, priorities, wishes, preferences, & boundaries. As a result, narcissists are awkward, tactless, painful, taciturn, abrasive & insensitive.

The narcissist often has rage attacks & grandiose fantasies. Most narcissists are also mildly obsessive-compulsive. Yet, all narcissists should be held accountable to the vast and overwhelming majority of their actions.

At all times, even during the worst explosive episode, the narcissist can tell right from wrong and reign in their impulses. The narcissist's impulse control is unimpaired, though he may pretend otherwise in order to terrorize, manipulate & coerce his human environment into compliance.

The only things the narcissist cannot "control" are his grandiose fantasies. All the same, he knows that lying & confabulating are morally wrong & can choose to refrain from doing so.

The narcissist is perfectly capable of anticipating the consequences of his actions & their influence on others. Actually, narcissists are "X-ray" machines: they are very perceptive and sensitive to the subtlest nuances (cold empathy). But the narcissist does not care. For him, humans are dispensable, rechargeable, reusable. They are there to fulfil a function: to supply him with Narcissistic Supply. They do not have an existence apart from carrying out their "duties". Still, it is far from a clear-cut case: http://samvak.tripod.com/personalitydisorders49.html

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The tendency to remain in bad relationships - abusive, hopeless, sexless, loveless, doomed - is known as the Sunk Cost (Concorde) Fallacy (or bias). Co-owning a business or property, shared memories, and especially co-parenting tend to cement this bias and pile it on top of traumatic bonding and a fused relationship.

We throw good money after bad just because “we are already invested” in a project. We watch an atrocious movie to the end because we have already spent an hour doing so. We eat food we have ordered even if it sucks. We keep clothes we never wear because we have paid for them. It is a particularly pernicious brand of loss aversion (proclivity to avoid waste). This utterly irrational behavior is motivated by malignant optimism: overestimation of the probabilities of positive outcomes if we just keep going or do something differently.

We are also afraid to look foolish if we admit to having made the wrong decisions consistently (“narcissistic injury”). We sometimes feel responsible and guilty for having made these decisions in the first place.

Of course the rational thing to do is to cut your losses and abandon the dysfunctional relationship. But - divorce statistics aside - surprisingly few do so in time. The results? Wrecked marriages, hateful exes, bruised children, and crumbling enterprises.

My articles in economics: http://samvak.tripod.com/guide.html

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My IQ was tested every time I got myself into serious trouble: at age 9 (result: 185), in the army (180), & in prison by an orthodox religious psychologist who made me his pet project (190). There are only 60 people in the world with IQ 185 & only 7 with IQ 190. It gets pretty lonely pretty fast. Being the sadistic asshole that I am, I am fond of saying that the gap in IQ between me & the average human is far bigger than the difference between that human & an orangutan (or a chimpanzee). The prodigy – the precocious "genius" – feels entitled to special treatment. Yet, he rarely gets it. This frustrates him & renders him even more aggressive, driven, & overachieving.

As Horney pointed out, the child-prodigy is dehumanised & instrumentalised. His parents love him not for what he really is – but for what they wish & imagine him to be: the fulfilment of their dreams & frustrated wishes. The child becomes the vessel of his parents' discontented lives, a tool, the magic brush with which they can transform their failures into successes, their humiliation into victory, their frustrations into happiness.

The child is taught to ignore reality & to occupy the parental fantastic space. Such an unfortunate child feels omnipotent & omniscient, perfect & brilliant, worthy of adoration & entitled to special treatment. The faculties that are honed by constantly brushing against bruising reality – empathy, compassion, a realistic assessment of one's abilities & limitations, realistic expectations of oneself & of others, personal boundaries, team work, social skills, perseverance & goal-orientation, not to mention the ability to postpone gratification & to work hard to achieve it – are all lacking or missing altogether.

People are envious of the prodigy. The genius serves as a constant reminder to others of their mediocrity, lack of creativity, & mundane existence. Naturally, they try to "bring him down to their level" & "cut him down to size". The gifted person's haughtiness & high-handedness only exacerbate his strained relationships.

More: http://samvak.tripod.com/narcissistprodigy.html

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Narcissists invariably react with narcissistic rage to narcissistic injury.

These two terms bear clarification (also see note): Narcissistic Injury

Any threat (real or imagined) to the narcissist's grandiose and fantastic self-perception (False Self) as perfect, omnipotent, omniscient, and entitled to special treatment and recognition, regardless of his actual accomplishments (or lack thereof). Narcissistic injury can be passive (when the narcissist enviously compares himself to or measures himself against another person) or active (the outcome of the interpretation or misinterpretation of someone else’s act, inaction, or utterance as a humiliating insult). Narcissists are hypervigilant and paranoid and they constantly scan for narcissistic injuries.

Narcissistic rage has two forms:

I. Explosive – The narcissist flares up, attacks everyone in his immediate vicinity, causes damage to objects or people, and is verbally and psychologically abusive.

II. Pernicious or Passive-Aggressive (P/A) – The narcissist sulks, gives the silent treatment, and is plotting how to punish the transgressor and put her in her proper place. These narcissists are vindictive and often become stalkers. They harass and haunt the objects of their frustration. They sabotage and damage the work and possessions of people whom they regard to be the sources of their mounting wrath.

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People with certain personality disorders (mainly borderline, narcissistic, compulsive-obsessive, schizotypal, and paranoid) have a "persecutory object". It is a tormenting, devaluing, and sadistic inner voice (introject). It repeatedly and authoritatively informs them that they are bad, worthless, weak, immoral, and a disappointment.

Such an inner critic, a relentless integrated prosecutor and judge is of course intolerable. In an attempt to exorcise it, the patient projects it - usually onto an intimate partner. The spouse, mate, or lover then become the outer embodiment or reification of the internal agonizing construct.

The patient tries to coerce and shoehorn the intimate partner into behaving in a way that upholds his newfound status as an enemy and a threat. This defense mechanism is known as "projective identification". If the intimate partner has his own issues, he will comply in his assigned role and transform himself into an abuser ("introjective identification"). The patient then proceeds to rebel against her externalized persecutory object (=her intimate partner), punish, and defy him by behaving promiscuously and cheating ("being a slut or whore"); envying and sabotaging her partner's career; passive-aggressively challenging and provoking him; humiliating, rejecting, and undermining his well-being and self-esteem; compromising his public image and standing in society; and penalizing him in myriad other ways.

Naturally, the patient then expects a penalty commensurate with her egregious misbehavior. She becomes paranoid, hypervigilant, and exceedingly anxious. These dissonant emotions only augment her perception of the intimate partner as a source of unmitigated sadistic control and judgment, an imminent and omnipresent threat, and the fount of ambivalence (love-hate relationship).

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If your psychotherapy is painLESS - change your therapist. Professionally administered and efficacious psychotherapy is not about getting advice. The therapist is not your best friend, avuncular guru, or bespectacled and loving granny. Therapy is about dismantling and forgoing: defendes, narratives, habits, cognitions, deepset behaviors, & emotions. It is about unearthing long buried & traumatic content. And, most important, it is about wrenching & agonizing change.

Victims of abuse are saddled with emotional baggage which often provokes even in the most experienced therapists reactions of helplessness, rage, fear & guilt. Countertransference is common: therapists of both genders identify with the victim & resent her for making them feel impotent & inadequate (for instance, in their role as "social protectors"). To fend off anxiety & a sense of vulnerability ("it could have been me, sitting there!"), female therapists involuntarily blame the "spineless" victim & her poor judgement for causing the abuse. Some female therapists concentrate on the victim's childhood (rather than her harrowing present) or accuse her of overreacting.

Male therapists may assume the mantle of a "chivalrous rescuer", "savior", or "knight in the shining armour" – thus, inadvertently upholding the victim's view of herself as immature, helpless, in need of protection, vulnerable, weak, & ignorant. The male therapist may be driven to prove to the victim that not all men are "beasts", that there are "good" specimen (like himself). If his (conscious or unconscious) overtures are rejected, the therapist may identify with the abuser and re-victimise or pathologise his patient.

Many therapists tend to overidentify with the victim and rage at the abuser, at the police, & at "the system". They expect the victim to be equally aggressive even as they broadcast to her how powerless, unjustly treated, & discriminated against she is. If she "fails" to externalise aggression & show assertiveness, they feel betrayed & disappointed.

Pitfalls of therapy: http://samvak.tripod.com/abusefamily24.html

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We are brought up to believe that we have to choose between happiness and survival, that they are mutually exclusive.

"Marry the accountant or the dentist - not the poet or the dreamer who is the true love of your life. You need food on the table, roof over your head, first class travel, five star hotels, and brandnames in your closet! And marry him now - before he gets snatched by your similarly indoctrinated peers!"

Results? A sexless, loveless and sometimes abusive marriage; a gaggle of extramarital affairs; traumatized children; depression; and if all ends well - a divorce.

"Don't become an artist or an actress or a fiction writer as you have always wished to be. Study law or medicine or management. You need cash to survive, you know! And you need to have a family and a proper home and lifestyle! Only losers don't own these by their forties!"

Results? Nervous breakdown or midlife depression; broken homes; dysfunctional kids.

"Follow your heart's desire. Excellence is the outcome of happiness and its virtuous cause. Delve into your vocation and make it your avocation. Marry the spouse you love - never the one you should."

Results? John Lennon. And millions of other happy, energized, industrious, creative, productive people.

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The terms "slut/whore", "sex addict/nymphomaniac", and "promiscuous" are used interchangeably - and wrongly so.

Slut/whore is an epithet reserved - usually by men - to sexually assertive women with a healthy libido. To satisfy their needs, urges, desires, and hunger such women do not hesitate to outsource sex, intimacy, and love if their intimate partner fails to provide or withholds them. They are usually disinhibited but in full control of their choices of partners, locations, and settings. Their conduct is not pathological though it may defiantly contravene the norms and mores - or even laws - of their cultures and societies.

A promiscuous woman is disinhibited and indiscriminate as far as the quality and the attributes of her sexual partners. She simply has no standards and filters when it comes to copulation but this is an issue of vulgarity and bad taste - not of any mental health problem. They are in full control of their choices and actions - they simply love to fuck.

If the woman is compulsive about the quantity and frequency of her sexual liaisons, or if she engages in a sex act because she feels that she cannot do otherwise, or if she dissociates during sex (on "auto-pilot"), she may be addicted to sex.

But such behavior may indicate other psychological issues or even the wish to conform to social expectations ("if I date a man and he spends money on me, I have to return the favor"). Some women with certain personality disorders act out: they sexualize frustration and anger at the partner and punish him by having sex with other men.

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