Excerpts from the Archives of the Narcissism List - Part 31

Listowner: Dr. Sam Vaknin


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1. Euphoria and Dysphoria

The narcissist has various overlapping cycles of euphoria-elation and dysphoria-depression.

Bipolar Disorder (the current name for mania-depression) is an altogether different affliction which can and does co-appear with personality disorders (co-morbidity). Why (genetics? environment?) is anyone's guess. But it seems to be more of a biochemically induced disorder.

Narcissists have also been known to be cyclothimic and dysthimic.

Narcissists very rarely commit suicide though they often resort to suicidal ideation and to suicide threats or allusions.

2. Saying Goodbye

If you wish to stay out of her life altogether - why would you care what she does with her life?

I know. It's a cruel sentence. But there is no half separation as there is no half pregnancy.

To say goodbye to another person is easy. What is difficult is to say goodbye to what WE once were, to ourselves, to the relationship. It is easy to get out of a relationship - but very difficult to get the relationship out of us. Addiction wears many guises - altruism the most common, love, compassion, and empathy.

3. On the Move

I am never on the move on what appears to me to be my free accord.

Cognitively, I know that I am the organizer of my own itinerary.

Emotionally, I feels like a sailor after an off shore leave on the way to yet another sleazy port.

4. Creating Dependence

Not all character traits are the result of narcissism.

A person can be parsimonious and this will have nothing to do with his personality disorder.

Deploying money to control others IS narcissistic.

The narcissist tries to make significant others financially dependent on him by preventing them from obtaining a job, keeping a bank account, or having access to money.

Some narcissists secure this dependence by threatening and being verbally or physically abusive to the other - or by berating the partner and eroding her self-esteem to the point where she is afraid or ashamed to  look for a job or to otherwise financially fend for herself.

Some narcissists are impulsive - others are control freaks.

The important thing is the use of money as a tool of subjugation of others.

The narcissist always maintains a double standard: the best for me, at any cost - as for you, dear significant other, the bare minimum necessary to keep you by my side.

5. N-magnets a Bad Metaphor

I disagree with the term "N-magnets".

Magnets are inert, physical objects.

They attract and are attracted because that's the way they are.

There is nothing a magnet can do about being a magnet.

Magnets have no will, responsibility, cognition, analytical skills, choices, decision making powers, the ability to change, etc.

It is very convenient to think about oneself as a magnet. If one is a magnet - one is subject to natural forces beyond one's control. It is such a cosy feeling.

The world is bad - I can't help being what I am.

Inverted narcissists are NOT magnets.

They are human beings who ARE responsible for their choices and for the decisions they make.

They can change themselves for the better and, to a large extent, they choose not to do so.

Inverted narcissists ARE narcissists - only they are inverted (read FAQ66).

Like all other narcissists, they refuse to get better until they are narcissistically injured by a major life crisis.

And then, as all narcissists do, they blame the world (i.e., the narcissists in their lives) rather then assume responsibility for their actions and realizing that something is wrong with them, that THEY are narcissists who need professional help and treatment.

Read more about the alloplastic ("the world is guilty") versus the autoplastic ("I am guilty") defences in FAQ 15.

The phrase "N-magnets" is a BAD metaphor.

It is not a question of semantics. Metaphors both stand for unconscious processes and prompt them.

Metaphors are VERY dangerous things. They should be handled with care.

Inverted narcissists are FULL FLEDGED narcissists who are attracted to other people with personality disorders (NPD, BPD, AsPD, etc.).

They do so out of choice. They do so repeatedly. Many of them do so willingly.

Magnets do not choose. Magnets do not have a will.

(Physical) Magnets are not RESPONSIBLE for what is happening to them.

Magnets are PASSIVE. They are SUBJECT TO natural forces and natural laws which are IMMUTABLE.

Magnets CAN DO NOTHING about being magnets.

(continued below)

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Inverted narcissists can be hurt, can rage, can strike back, can choose to heal, can avoid narcissists.

That so few of them do - is because they are narcissists.

Narcissists - of ALL types - blame the world (in this case, they blame other narcissists) for their troubles.


Narcissists - including inverted narcissists - harbour grandiose delusions, have a False Self and feel entitled.

Narcissists of all stripes exploit others and are devoid of empathy.

The difference is in the strategy. The survival strategy of inverted narcissists is to be victims.

The survival strategy of narcissists is to victimize - a perfect match.

Comparing oneself to a magnet is COPPING OUT. It is refusing to assume responsibility.

Moaning and groaning, complaining and crying, accusing and finger pointing, pouting and screaming - are all therapeutically commended and recommended activities.

BUT, it is NOT healing. Magnets, may I remind you, cannot heal. How convenient.

6. Ideas of Reference

An idea of reference is when you attribute to yourself - your existence, your qualities, your behaviour - something which has nothing to do with you.

Ideas of reference are a derivative of grandiosity and magical thinking.

You think that the world revolves around you, that you are the centre of attention (often negative attention), that you somehow direct other people's behaviour and elicit their reactions, that you are the target of actions and inaction.

It is a mild form of paranoia - non-persecutory paranoia, if I may use this oxymoron.

7. Fighting Back

The first thing you have to do is stop loving M.

It is natural to harbour these feelings so shortly after a separation.

But M is and always has been an enemy of yours.

You did not love M but his False Self - a projection of his, a movie he no longer screens for you.

Loving M (in your case, being infatuated with him as well) - is a bad strategy.

It provides your enemy with an immediate advantage.

Your enemy being unscrupulous and ruthless - he is bound to maximize this advantage. It is his main weapon.

Your second mistake is to continue to play the role of the hapless and helpless victim.

M is used to this. Any reversal of roles is likely to whack him completely out of balance and to yield miraculous results.

Think how to grasp the initiative. Think how you could victimize HIM.

Think how to put him on a desperate defensive.

Play the strong - he will immediately play the weak.

One way of achieving this by finding a man, a boyfriend.

I know how emotionally inhibited you are after this traumatic affair.

But getting attached - however superficially - to a man will serve the dual purpose of infuriating M while rendering him helpless.

It will also annul your third mistake - that you continue to provide M with Narcissistic Supply.

Your emails, your pleas, your threats - are all music to M's ears.

They serve to prove that you are still addicted to him, that he can still fine tune you.

M derives a sense of sublime omnipotence whenever he hears from you.

He is sadist and a narcissist - so your pain is his supply, your fear is his sustenance.

Stop it immediately. Ignore him completely.

Two weeks of utter, complete, unbroken silence will do more to shatter M than two years of legal battle.

M NEEDS you. You hold enormous power over him - the power of the attention that you give him.

No attention and a new man in your life (just be SEEN with him, make sure M knows about him, that's all). Take the initiative and dictate new rules of the game and M is quivering history.

Just two caveats: do not do anything illegal and make sure you are protected from his physical abuse. Your lawyer can advise you on the first - the police and your new boyfriend can take care of the latter.

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Lasch - The Cultural Narcissist

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