Excerpts from the Archives of the Narcissism List - Part 50

Listowner: Dr. Sam Vaknin


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1. Sexual Abuse

Narcissistic abusers always objectify their sexual partners and abuse them.

One form of abuse is when the narcissist treats his spouse as a sex slave or "sex toy".

Another form of abuse is when the narcissist completely withholds sex from his spouse.

A third form of abuse is rampant adultery and fornication.

A fourth form of abuse is excessive autoeroticism (masturbation) and resort to pornography.

A fifth form of abuse is coercing the partner to participate in sexual acts such as group sex, same-sex intercourse, voyeurism, exhibitionism, pedophilia, swinging, and so on.

2. Aping the Narcissist

The narcissist has very little self-awareness and introspection. As a result, when you mirror a narcissist - he doesn't "get it". He doesn't realize that you merely aping his obnoxious traits and behaviors. Instead, he projects these onto you. He may say: "You are so aggressive/arrogant/insensitive/inconsiderate. Whatever happened to you? What did I do to deserve this?". Two defense mechanisms are at work: projection and denial.

3. Healing in the Wake of a Crisis - Is It Possible?

It really depends on what use the narcissist makes of this window of opportunity.

If he is attending therapy merely in order to reconstruct his old world and buttress his old (now battered) defenses - the marriage will turn abusive in no time. The True Self is a dilapidated, ossified, emaciated, and weak psychological construct. It needs all the professional succor and emotional nourishment it can get. If the narcissist is not committed to healing - his momentarily revealed True Self stands no chance against his well entrenched and powerful False Self.

What are the chances?

Very poor.

The True Self - exposed as the narcissist's defenses crumble - is usually immediately eclipsed by a resurgent False Self. Therapy deteriorates into a power play, a match between therapist and narcissist as the latter tries to coerce the former to conform to his agenda. The new "love" is often nothing but yet another - utterly dispensable and interchangeable - Source of Supply. The narcissist reverts to his old abusive habits, self-delusional cognition, stunted emotions, sense of entitlement, lack of empathy, and exploitativeness.

(continued below)

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4. The Narcissist's Obsession

It flatters you to believe that he is obsessed with YOU and not merely with the Narcissistic Supply that emanates FROM YOU.

IF he is a narcissist - to him you are nothing more than an interchangeable prop, an instrument of gratification, a utility. He values the supply and may even be obsessed with its high quality and abundance. But he cares not one iota about you. Sources of Narcissistic Supply are nameless and faceless faucets to be used, abused, bled dry, and discarded offhandedly. You are no different. No one is.

If he keeps thinking about you in terms of a WIFE, or GIRLFRIEND, or a ROMANTIC Source of Supply - it is not because he is "obsessed" with you but because you keep giving him good and tantalizing reasons to do so. You keep luring him in, "seducing" him by refusing to completely eradicate him from your life, delete him from your mind, erase him from your emotions. It is you who seem to me to be obsessed with him - not the other way around.

Most Sources of Supply refuse to believe that such callousness is possible, that they are so unimportant, that they have been discarded like old socks, that they never meant anything to the narcissist. So they delude themselves into thinking that it is the narcissist who is obsessed with them. Some of them even go over the edge and develop ideas of reference. They claim that the narcissist is stalking and harassing them - when, in fact, he has long lost all interest in them.

Narcissists do stalk and harass - but they do so ONLY when this conduct extracts Narcissistic Supply from their victims.

But, there is one iron-clad, inviolable, rule:

If you really, truly, clearly, irrevocably ignore the narcissist - he disengages swiftly and completely.

If he does not disengage swiftly and completely - it means only one thing:

That you do not really, truly, clearly, irrevocably ignore the narcissist. That you keep giving him Narcissistic Supply. That you keep giving him reasons to hope. That you have remained a Source of Narcissistic Supply.

5. The Narcissist's Equal

Mate selection is a conscious choice. The mate is supposed to enhance and lend credence to the narcissist's grandiose fantasies and help him elicit Narcissistic Supply (by proxy). In other words, the narcissist brags about his wife and appropriates every compliment and praise SHE gets - he regards them as Narcissistic Supply!

The irony is that the narcissist would never consider his spouse or mate as his equal, regardless of her objective qualities, skills, and accomplishments.

6. Hypnosis

I am not aware of any attempt to treat narcissism or NPD with hypnosis.

The narcissist's control freakery and ingrained sense of superiority would make it difficult to apply hypnosis as a treatment modality. The narcissist is likely to resist the suggestive cues of the hypnotist in an attempt not to lose control and not to "succumb" to someone else's willpower.

Moreover, unlike the dissociative class of disorders, narcissism is not the result on a single, deeply repressed event or series of events. It is not the result of trauma - it is the result of abuse. The narcissist clearly knows and remembers what was done to him, usually over many years. No need to use hypnosis to elicit these memories. The therapist only casts the narcissist's recollections in a new light - reinterprets them and thus helps the narcissist to cope with his sad past.

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