Excerpts from the Archives of the Narcissism List - Part 47
Listowner: Dr. Sam Vaknin
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1. Validation and Healing
The most critical element in the arduous process of post-traumatic healing is VALIDATION. The harrowing experiences of the victim need to be acknowledged and the victim must be embraced ("mirrored" and "held"). IT IS THE DENIAL OF THE VICTIM'S ORDEAL THAT DOES MOST DAMAGE - FAR MORE THAN THE TRAUMA ITSELF!!!
Healing time is considerably reduced with validation - REGARDLESS OF WHO DOES THE VALIDATING (therapist, good friend, family, colleague, neighbor). Alas, few therapists are sufficiently empathetic and knowledgeable to be of meaningful and long-term help. Moreover, society at large is antithetic to the victim's inevitable demands of compassion and resources. The therapist often reflects the community's recoil.
Things are gradually improving, though - not because the number of narcissists is on the rise (it is not), but because awareness - both public and professional - is growing. The media picked up the subject of narcissism, corporate malfeasance and greed brought narcissists to everyone's attention, the Internet made feasible the speed-of-light dissemination of knowledge and swapping of personal experiences. Narcissists find it harder to conceal their disorder and to manipulate and con others.
2. Magical Thinking and Shared Psychosis
Magical thinking is typical of the narcissist - he feels invulnerable, part of a cosmic scheme, immune to punishment, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, has ideas of reference, persecutory delusions, and so on. But this propensity rarely deteriorates to occult beliefs and superstitions (as it does in the Schizotypal Personality Disorder).
Of course, if pretending to believe in esotericism guarantees him Narcissistic Supply - the narcissist would do it instantly. If he can brainwash his mate, spouse, or partner into believing it as well (as a manipulative ploy) - he would not hesitate. It is all part of the folie a deux, the psychosis shared by the narcissist and the other member of the couple.
3. Brain Abnormalities and Mental Health Disorders
Brain abnormalities - physiological as well and biochemical - have long been associated with the Antisocial and Borderline Personality Disorders.
The problem is that no one can determine cause and effect:
Are the brain abnormalities CAUSED by the psychological disorders - or do they CAUSE the psychological disorders?
As many of the neurological anomalies are spotted in MEDICATED people - it is often difficult to disentangle the effects of the medication from other factors.
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Narcissists are compulsively competitive because their grandiose fantasies are unrealistic and unattainable. They must have the last word and the upper hand - or risk experiencing the excruciating Grandiosity Gap (the abyss between reality and the False Self-image). Emotionally, they cannot afford to be "defeated" and thus "humiliated". Too much rides on it - the very precarious balance of their personality.
5. Normal - or Narcissistic?
So much of what the narcissist does looks "normal" or "common" - yet, it never is.
From an earlier entry:
"The narcissist sees a beautiful woman, who is also reasonably clever - and he wants to 'convert' her."
You convert objects - such as houses or cars. You can also convert the infidel to your faith. You do not "convert" women. You court them. The very use of the word "convert" is alarming and sets the narcissist apart from normal folks.
"...to make her admire him, to cause her to spread news and views about him and 'proselytize' to ever expanding circles of family and friends."
In other words, the narcissist wants to convert the woman to a FUNCTION. He wants her to become a sort of bulletin board or news agency or slowly spreading poison. He wants her to recruit more victims. There is not an ounce of emotion in the sentence above.
"This wish is the psychological equivalent of hunger or thirst (or sex drive). It is a craving gradually translated into a plan of action. But first comes the insatiable addiction to Narcissistic Supply - and only then a cognitive 'blueprint' of hunting, conversion and conquest."
This is the crucial paragraph. FIRST, there is a craving for Narcissistic Supply - and then the hunt. The narcissist pursues women not because he finds them attractive, appealing, possible soul mates, or sexual partners. He pursues women because he needs his drug. He is an energy and attention vampire and women are the best sources of this much-desired elixir.
6. Fantasies as a Narcissistic Trait
Many narcissists never unravel. Many narcissists are successful pillars of their community. Many narcissists are celebrities and celebrated as "Great Men". And they are.
What distinguishes a narcissist from a normal person is NOT the OUTCOMES of his fantasies - but their NATURE and SCOPE.
Grandiose fantasies - whether successfully
realized or not - are a narcissistic trait.
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Lasch - The Cultural Narcissist
Excerpts from Archives of the Narcissism List
Narcissism Frequently Asked Questions
The Iron Mask - The Common Sources of Personality Disorders
Internet: A Medium or a Message?
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