Excerpts from the Archives of the Narcissism List - Part 51

Listowner: Dr. Sam Vaknin


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1. Consistent Behavior

The narcissist can and will sustain any kind of behavior – good or bad – as long as it yields him Narcissistic Supply. What behavior he adopts depends on what, to him, constitutes Narcissistic Supply. Some narcissists regard being feared and being notorious as Narcissistic Supply. They are likely to engage in antisocial behavior.

2. More of the Same

Antisocial (psychopathic) narcissists never run out of lies, manipulations, and victims. Whenever they hit rock bottom (lose all their Sources of Supply simultaneously), they act reformed: go to therapy, vow undying love, behave themselves. But they modify their behaviors not because they are changed, transformed, or reformed  – but because they want to RESTORE the past and to manipulate their disillusioned Sources of Supply! They want it all to revert to form, as it was, in the "good old days". They don't change – and they want others (suckers) to never change as well. They like it just the way it was and he likes you just the way you were.

3. No Closure

It is tough enough to try to truly understand what makes NORMAL people tick – how do you expect to comprehend WHY she, a pathological narcissist (and histrionic) behaved the way she did?

Moreover, what makes you think SHE understands why she behaves the way she does?

And finally, what gives you the impression that there are REASONS for everything that has happened to you?

The two things the victims find most difficult to accept in a relationship with a narcissist are:

  1. The whole thing is capricious, arbitrary, and unpredictable. In other words, the "relationship" – from "magical" beginning to agonizing end – is meaningless, as far as the narcissist is concerned; and
  1. The narcissist provides no closure because he (or she) has lost interest in the counterparty but also because the narcissist himself (herself) doesn't fully grasp what has transpired. The narcissist cannot provide the injured ex-partner with explanations, reasoning, justification, or enlightenment. He (she) has none. The narcissist simply IS, without rhyme or reason.

4. The Cycle of Idealization and Devaluation

Narcissists always first idealize their Sources of Supply – and then devalue them. It is merely a question of quantity: the more the narcissist idealizes – the stronger he devalues later. The cycle of idealization-devaluation is not dependent on anything objective or external. It does not depend on the narcissist's personal circumstances, the nature of the relationship, or the qualities, traits, and skills of the Source.

(continued below)

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A Source of Narcissistic Supply is rendered "redundant" when the narcissist has found another Source of Supply.

Once this happens, there is little the original – now redundant – Source can do. Devaluation and being discarded is inevitable.

This is because novelty and conquest are very important to the narcissist. They enhance his sense of omnipotence. He takes old Sources for granted and the value he attaches to their Narcissistic Supply goes down with time.

5. The Manipulated Narcissist

Most narcissists are intelligent and do realize, almost from the very beginning that they are being manipulated. But they deny it and suppress this knowledge because they wish to maintain their sense of omnipotence and because they enjoy the Narcissistic Supply that comes with the attention of the manipulator.

6. Life Crisis

A life crisis does not change the narcissist either fundamentally or irreversibly. It only – and rarely – causes him or her to seek help to RESTORE his previous life, to aid, abet, and buttress his/her wounded narcissism.

As the crisis recedes and the narcissist reconstructs his life, his pathological narcissism fully reasserts itself, often with a vengeance because the narcissist feels proud for having survived the ordeal.

7. Competing Sources of Supply

Narcissists are very reluctant to lose Sources of Supply in whom they have "invested" so much. Cultivating and conditioning (programming, brainwashing) a Source of Supply is a tedious and long process.

Thus, the narcissist is loth to introduce two competing Sources of Supply to each other – or invite them to the same function – for fear of losing both or one of them. Narcissists are paranoids and they compartmentalize their lives. Secrecy is of paramount importance. It is a form of control.

8. Do Narcissists Ever Change?

People – even narcissists – change, modify their behaviors, adapt to new circumstances, new people, altered environments, and the inexorable process of aging.

Narcissists, actually, change their behavior MORE OFTEN than "normal" people do. This is because they only have a FALSE Self that is malleable and geared towards obtaining Narcissistic Supply. The narcissist's True, relatively immutable, Self is dilapidated and dysfunctional.

In other words, the narcissist is all smoke and mirrors and, a one man entertainment industry that adapts itself to the passing tastes, fads, and fashions of its audience.

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