Narcissistic Confinement - The Narcissist as Recluse
Frequently Asked Question # 37
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Do narcissists have friends?
Not in the usual sense of the word and not that they know of. The narcissist is one track minded. He is interested in securing the provision of Narcissistic Supply emanating from Narcissistic Supply Sources. His world is as narrow as an ant's, to borrow a poetic turn of phrase (from the Hebrew lyrical poetess, Rachel).
This insularity also characterises the narcissist's human and interpersonal relationships. The narcissist is not interested in people as such. Incapable of empathising, he is a solipsist, recognising only himself as human. All others are to him three dimensional cartoons, tools and instruments in the tedious and Sisyphean task of generating and consuming Narcissistic Supply.
The narcissist over-values them (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 to distance people from him.
Gradually, the social circle of the narcissist dwindles (and ultimately vanishes). People around him who are not alienated by the ugly succession of his acts and attitudes are rendered desperate and fatigued by the turbulent nature of the narcissist's life.
These few still loyal to him, 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.
This is one aspect of the process of narcissistic confinement.
This article appears in my book "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited"
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Ever sensitive to outside opinion, the narcissist's behaviour, choices, acts, attitudes, beliefs, interests, in short: his very life is curtailed by it. The narcissist derives his Ego functions from observing his reflection in other people's eyes. Gradually, he homes in on the right mixture of texts and actions, which elicit Narcissistic Supply from his environment.
Anything which might however remotely endanger the availability, or the quantity of this supply is censored. The narcissist avoids certain situations (for instance: where he is likely to encounter opposition, or criticism, or competition). He refrains from certain activities and actions (which are incompatible with his projected False Self).
He employs a host of Emotional Involvement Prevention Measures (EIPMs). He becomes rigid, repetitive, predictable, boring, limits himself to "safe subjects" (such as, endlessly, himself) and to "safe conduct", hysterical, and raging (when confronted with unexpected situations or with the slightest objection to his preconceived course of action).
The narcissist's rage is not so much a reaction to offended grandiosity as it is the outcome of panic. The narcissist maintains a precarious balance, a mental house of cards, poised on a precipice. His equilibrium is so delicate that anything can upset it: a casual remark, a disagreement, a slight criticism, a hint, or a fear.
The narcissist magnifies it all into monstrous, ominous, proportions. To avoid these (not so imagined) threats the narcissist prefers to "stay at home". He limits his social intercourse. He abstains from daring, trying, or venturing out. He is crippled. This, indeed, is the very essence of the malignancy that is at the heart of narcissism: the fear of flying.
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