My Woman and I: Narcissists and Women
By: Dr. Sam Vaknin
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No woman has ever wanted to have a child with me. It is very telling. Women have children even with incarcerated murderers. I know because I have been to jail with these people. But no woman has ever felt the urge to perpetuate US - the we-ness of she and I.
I was married once and almost married twice but women are very hesitant with me. They definitely do not want anything binding. It is as though they want to maintain all routes of escape clear and available. It is a reversal of the prevailing myth about non-committal males and women huntresses.
But no one wants to hunt a predator.
It is an arduous and eroding task to live with me. I am atrabilious, infinitely pessimistic, bad-tempered, paranoid and sadistic in an absent-minded and indifferent manner. My daily routine is a rigmarole of threats, complaints, hurts, eruptions, moodiness and rage. I rail against slights true and imagined. I alienate people. I humiliate them because this is my only weapon against the humiliation of their indifference to me.
Gradually, wherever I am, my social circle dwindles and then vanishes. Every narcissist is also a schizoid, to some extent. A schizoid is not a misanthrope. He does not necessarily hate people - he simply does not need them. He regards social interactions as a nuisance to be minimized.
I am torn between my need to obtain narcissistic supply (the monopoly on which is held by human beings) - and my fervent wish to be left alone. This wish, in my case, is peppered with contempt and feelings of superiority.
There are fundamental conflicts between dependence and contempt, neediness and devaluation, seeking and avoiding, turning on the charm to attract adulation and being engulfed by wrathful reactions to the most minuscule "provocations". These conflicts lead to rapid cycling between gregariousness and self-imposed ascetic seclusion.
Such an unpredictable but always bilious and festering atmosphere is hardly conducive to love or sex. Gradually, both become extinct. My relationships are hollowed out. Imperceptibly, I switch to a-sexual co-habitation.
But the vitriolic environment that I create is only one hand of the equation. The other hand is the woman herself.
I am heterosexual, so I am attracted to women. But I am simultaneously repelled, horrified, bewitched and provoked by them. I seek to frustrate and humiliate them. Psychodynamically, I am probably visiting upon them my mother's sin - but I think such an instant explanation does the subject great injustice.
This article appears in my book "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited"
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Most narcissists I know - myself included - are misogynists. Their sexual and emotional lives are perturbed and chaotic. They are unable to love in any true sense of the word - nor are they capable of developing any measure of intimacy. Lacking empathy, they are incapable of offering to the partner emotional sustenance.
I have been asked many times if I miss loving, whether I would have liked to love and if I am angry with my parents for crippling me so. There is no way I can answer these questions. I never loved. I do not know what is it that I am missing. Observing it from the outside, love seems to me to be a risible pathology. But I am only guessing.
I am not angry for being unable to love. I equate love with weakness. I hate being weak and I hate and despise weak people (and, by implication, the very old and the very young). I do not tolerate stupidity, disease and dependence - and love seems to encompass all three. These are not sour grapes. I really feel this way.
I am an angry man - but not because I never experienced love and probably never will. No, I am angry because I am not as powerful, awe inspiring and successful as I wish to be and as I deserve to be. Because my daydreams refuse so stubbornly to come true. Because I am my worst enemy. And because, in my unmitigated paranoia, I see adversaries plotting everywhere and feel discriminated against and contemptuously ignored. I am angry because I know that I am sick and that my sickness prevents me from realizing even a small fraction of my potential.
My life is a mess as a direct result of my disorder. I am a vagabond, avoiding my creditors, besieged by hostile media in more than one country, hated by one and all. Granted, my disorder also gave me "Malignant Self Love", the rage to write as I do (I am referring to my political essays), a fascinating life and insights a healthy man is unlikely to attain. But I find myself questioning the trade-off ever more often.
But at other times, I imagine myself healthy and I shudder. I cannot conceive of a life in one place with one set of people, doing the same thing, in the same field with one goal within a decades-old game plan. To me, this is death. I am most terrified of boredom and whenever faced with its haunting prospect, I inject drama into my life, or even danger. This is the only way I feel alive.
I guess all the above portrays a lonely wolf. I am a shaky platform, indeed, on which to base a family, or future plans. I know as much. So, I pour wine to both of us, sit back and watch with awe and with amazement the delicate contours of my female partner. I savor every minute. In my experience, it might well be the last.
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