Sam Vaknin’s Instagram Epigrams (archive only)
Narcissism with Vaknin on Instagram (active account)
Extreme weakness of character is
indistinguishable from evil.
Unbridled pleasure is often experienced as pain (when a child or a pet witnesses sex).
Exaggerated, possessive love is the identical twin of hate.
Ubiquitous dependence is about unmitigated control via emotional blackmail, neediness, and clinging.
Uncompromising freedom is an addiction, a form of slavery.
Unblemished beauty is repulsive (uncanny valley).
Perfect is harmony is death, entropy: only disorder is meaningful.
Sex with numerous partners is lonely masturbation.
Too much learning is a form of escapist stupidity.
Fun which is too frequent is boring.
As are interminable lists. So, here I stop.
And you are invited to continue these paradoxes of excess in the comments section.
promiscuous, always promiscuous? Once a cheater, always a cheater? In a
relationship with a promiscuous partner, they will always cheat on you? They
can’t help it: it’s an addiction to sexual attention? Are all these statements
true? Yes, they are, according to all the studies we have.
As the author and therapist Kerry Cohen observes, promiscuity (“loose girl syndrome”) is a lifelong condition which is often associated with mental illness and substance abuse.
But where the literature fails is in making the distinction between formative and situational promiscuity.
Formative promiscuity is the learned use of sexual attention to regulate negative moods and affects. It is a form of self-soothing and an attempt to reassert control over a life perceived as adrift and meaningless. In some respects, it is the same psychodynamic that drives the narcissist's solicitation of narcissistic supply.
Formative promiscuity is a process addiction (to an activity, not to a substance) which starts in early adolescence, persists throughout the lifespan, and characterizes all interactions with potential sex partners, regardless of the promiscuous person’s life circumstances at the moment.
Situational promiscuity is a reaction to trauma, most commonly to rejection, neglect, and abandonment by a loved one. It is limited in time and responsive to overcoming grief and depression.
Situational promiscuity also disappears once the circumstances change - for example when a new love interest emerges.
Speaker at the 2nd Global Conference on Addiction Medicine, Behavioral Health, and Psychiatry, October 2021. Will be presenting my new concepts of trauma cascade and trauma imprinting.
Chairperson welcome message: 26th International
Conference on Psychiatry, Neuroscience, and
My lectures and presentations are also made available on my YouTube channel. Watch the latest ones here.
Speaker in other international conferences on psychology, psychiatry, mental health, and neuroscience:
WHAT you do in sex is not important. WHY you do it - is. Sex for all the
wrong reasons can be bad for your mental health and lead to or enhance
preexisting depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.
What are the wrong, detrimental kinds of sex?
Sex intended to regulate affects (emotions), moods, self-esteem, or self-worth;
Sex in situations where meaningful informed consent is impossible (for example: extreme intoxication);
Sex as a form of self-harm, self-punishment, or self-trashing, especially when coupled with addictions and the use of disinhibiting substances;
Extreme self-objectification (for example: group sex with strangers without an intimate partner or friend present);
Reckless, risky sexual practices and encounters;
Sex as part of a power play, or a bid for control.
Non-autonomous sex intended to make the sex partners like you, accept you, “love” you, to feel chosen or special;
Sex with people you
dislike or are not attracted to out of a sense of duty, gratitude, or because
they provide you with benefits (e.g., free drinks, or a place to crash for the
Participants in such sex often claim to have wanted the sex and to have acted in an agentic and empowered manner. These protestations are counterfactual and intended to resolve the cognitive dissonances, shame, guilt, and traumas that inevitably arise out of wrong sex.
The denials, reframings, and reduced affect display are all variants of defensive emotional numbing and inappropriate affect.
They mask debilitating dissonances, inner conflicts, and traumas. Left to fester, they generate depression and anxiety and lead to substance abuse as a form of self-soothing (though, of course, the abuse of alcohol and drugs has many other functions and cater to multiple psychological needs).
The psychosexuality of such people fluctuates between psychopathic, objectifying individual or group sex (cold, mechanical, exhibitionistic, emotionless, even anonymous) and people pleasing instrumental sex (intended to render potential partners addicted to the sex and to make them “like” or “love” the provider of the sexual services).
Women have never been less empowered sexually than nowadays.
Some of them brag of being “supersluts”, others of being agentic.
But, in reality, all women had adopted the stereotypes propagated and perpetuated by chauvinistic men. They dress and act the part, to the great delight of male predators who never had it better.
I wrote this 21 years ago: “That thing between a man
and a woman, I lack.
That moist energy, the hungry eyes, the imperceptible tilt of bodies lusting, that magnetism. I do not have it. I do not know the frequency of the silent broadcasts of sexuality. My face is handsome in a man-child way. My features broad but quite agreeable. Sometimes I am rich and powerful, or famous. I can turn on at will a fount of irresistible, immersing, spuriously empathic charm.
Women are curious, even inexorably drawn. But as they inch closer, they sense the void that I am; the howling abyss where a person should have been; the abode of death cloaked in the deceptive hallmarks of an ebullient, exuberant, ostensibly productive life. I am the quintessentially deceptive package, an awry being, a mental alien in an uncanny carnal outfit.
In women I induce confusion. They are attracted and then repelled by some essence that they cannot explain, nor name. "He is so unpleasant" - they say, hesitantly - "He is so... aggressive... and so... disagreeable".
My own girlfriends, paramours, and wives struggled with this fetid, repellent emanation. They called me “sick” and “creepy” or “damaged goods.” They meant to say that I am not a healthy person altogether, not all there.
They invariably ended up with other men, cheating, swinging, desperately trying to recoup their molested self-esteem, feeling rejected and dejected.
The animals we are, women sense my infirmity. I read somewhere that female birds avoid the sickly males in mating season. I am one sickly bird and they skirt me with the hurt perplexity of the frustrated.
Continued here: https://samvak.tripod.com/narcissistattraction.html
Among the nonsensical myths about narcissism is
the trope that grandiosity
is about perfection: being the greatest and the best. It is not.
Grandiosity is a set of psychological defenses founded on cognitive biases and an impaired reality testing. Its main function is to uphold and buttress a distorted fantasy self-perception or counterfactual self-image.
But this self-image (the locus of fantastic grandiosity) can be negative! A narcissist can be proud of what a consummate failure or loser he is, or how humble or downtrodden, mistreated and virtuous, whorish or unattractive he is and so on. The perfect (insert the denigrating adjective).
In these cases, the grandiosity will be invested in negative automatic thoughts and serve to aggressively defend them against challenges and countervailing information from the outside.
cheaters are masters of evasion and obfuscation. Two of
their favorite self-justifying refrains:
1. “The relationship had been already dead when I cheated”.
Relationships can be either on or off, nothing else. As long as a dyad is on, it is very much alive. Behaving as if the relationship were off when it is actually on is deception and betrayal at their ugliest and most extreme. Doing it time and again is highly narcissistic and borders on psychopathy.
2. “The relationship was sexless, I wasn’t getting what I needed, so I cheated”.
In the majority of cases, this is a lie: the other partner is attempting to have sex, or the sex is merely unsatisfactory. In many cases, the cheaters are the ones who undermine the sex with passive-aggressive behaviors or by rejecting the partner.
Only in a vanishingly minuscule number of instances, known as “sex aversion”, is sex utterly absent.
Even then, the only right thing to do is to negotiate an open relationship and, failing that, walk away.
as metaphors or similes figure large in
We tell people to imagine their mind as a series of rooms that they visit. We ask them to manipulate the mental “furniture” in these chambers. This simple exercise generates amazing healing dynamics, reduces anxiety, and restores mindfulness.
It is also used as a mnemonic technique: you visualize a palace or a house and place objects, numbers, or words you wish to remember in different rooms. When you revisit these rooms, you recall them.
Finally, rooms have a great significance in the interpretation of dreams.
The narcissist demands 2 out of 3 Ss from his
"intimate" partner in the shared fantasy: sex, supply (narcissistic
and sadistic), and services.
But he also expects the E2A: unmitigated exclusivity, adulation, and availability. If the partner denies him any of these three, he devalues and discards her. Henceforth he absents himself from the relationship, either physically or emotionally.
The compensatory cerebral narcissist is the only exception. He demands only supply and services and expects only total adulation and availability.
His lengthy bouts of celibacy are the trenchant outcomes of egregious self-punishment grounded in fathomless self-hatred and a misogyny or misandry couched in ideological terms of grandiose superiority ("I need and want nothing from women/men, they have no power over me.")
One of the most common exclamations of the promiscuous or otherwise
dysregulated Borderline: “Now I want to settle
down and have a stable, lifelong love relationship.”
Healthy folks transition through phases in life, evolve, grow and develop in a linear, predictable fashion. Not so the Borderline: she cycles between beliefs, behavioral norms, preferences, priorities, and fervent wishes. There is no stable or foreseeable core. This is known as “identity disturbance”.
So, the Borderline’s sudden adherence to prudery and domesticity is a self-deluding sham, a fantasy, or an experiment: she is likely to revert to an earlier, promiscuous, unboundaried, decompensated, and dysregulated form and recurrently pendulate between several mutually exclusive self-states.
Physical self-trashing horrifies me: promiscuous self-objectifying drunk sex,
alcoholism, drug abuse, heavy smoking, medical neglect, or self-mutilation.
These are all forms of self-rejection and self-loathing, a denial of life itself and its potentials, slow motion unfolding suicide.
I do my best to keep away from such people and their dark, toxic ambit. As far as I am concerned, it is evil reified and I recoil in revulsion as I experience a vague sense of ambient menace.
Oddly, I am totally indifferent to other, no less pernicious and life-vitiating forms of self-annihilation, perhaps because I am their most devoted practitioner: making all the wrong choices knowingly; self-sabotage; teaming up with wrong partners, institutions, or mates; buffoonish or obnoxious public misconduct; a lack of impulse control; inability to delay gratification; perfectionism; procrastination; rumination; avoidance; and numerous other forms of self-defeating, reactant, defiant, and passive-aggressive misbehaviors that constrict life and render it unlived.
When we lack self-discipline,
self-efficacy is impaired.
Self-efficacy is the ability to secure good outcomes from the human and natural environment.
When it is adversely impacted, the result is generalized anxiety.
The response to this dread of change is to institute rigid control over oneself and others as well as ritualized coping strategies and processes. In extremis, this ossifies into obsession-compulsion.
Personality disorders and primitive psychological defenses are examples of such rigidity: they start off as positive adaptations and end up as straitjackets.
Every new information or behavior is made to fit into this mold, which is how addictions work.
What can you do about it?
1. Identify the constricting rigidity and magical thinking
2. Exit the comfort zone
3. Shift locus of control, develop self-efficacy where it is lacking
4. One day at a time, no grandiose schemes
5. Alternate between addictions until you are addicted to nothing and on one.
Rigid controls often lead to self-trashing.
bonding is often a form of self-mutilation or
self-harm, replete with the same three functions: 1. To numb dysregulated
emotions that threaten to overwhelm us; 2. To allow us to feel alive through
pain; 3. To punish, defeat, and destroy ourselves.
Lidija Rangelovska (@reframingtheself) wrote these words recently:
“Our Narcissistic defences preserve us from self-destruction in desperate, hopeless, and uncertain times.
The need to socialise (to compare ourselves with others) is intended to restore control over our innate urges.
Having been terrified of our dark side we actually trauma-bond with others. Thus, others “remind” us that we are weak and have to fight for our survival.
One should embrace his/her weaknesses in order to restore the energy, hope, and the will to live. Others won’t do it for you.
It’s a choice you have to make: to suffer or live.”
Wise counsel, indeed.
The narcissist outsources his
sense of existence and being, substitutes
for it or displaces it.
Existence agents and narcissistic supply.
Creates imbalance, dependence, a sense of inferiority.
Substitutive existence is hampered by devaluation and paranoia.
Displaced existence is obstructed by passive-aggression and entitlement.
Shared fantasy: companionship vs. submissive.
There is a difference between strong (healthy) and
Powerful emotions, strong empathy, a high sex drive are all conducive to self-efficacy, especially in social interactions and interpersonal relationships.
But the dysregulated versions are self-defeating and even self-destructive: overwhelming emotions, hurtful sensitivity to others (HSP), and unboundaried reckless sex all lead to dysfunctions such as a lack of impulse control, hypervigilance, risky behaviors, and antisocial misconduct.
The twin industries of self-help and psychotherapy are founded on the largely false assumption that fundamental
personal transformation is always within reach, given sufficient willpower and
This counterfactual bit of self-serving, big bucks generating nonsense is pernicious: it sets up its hapless and unhappy clients for perpetual failure and an inevitable all-pervading sense of guilty inadequacy.
The truth is that we can alter a small number of behaviors efficaciously and permanently - but that’s it.
Having passed some critical lifespan milestones, the personality is largely immutable.
Attachment styles, promiscuity, dysfunctional behaviors such as cheating, addictions, repetition compulsion (such as selecting for wrong mates), many post traumatic reactions, and most other psychological features and psychodynamics - are all cast in stone.
The two keys
to a functional life, even a happy one are Humility and Flexibility. Patience=humility+flexibility.
Believing oneself to be the only criterion for right and wrong, healthy and not heathy is grandiose and grandiosity is the opposite of humility.
Some behaviors are right or wrong, healthy or unhealthy regardless of how we feel about them - and how they make us feel.
Humility is about accepting your limitations, that how you feel about things is only ONE consideration - and NEVER the most important consideration, that you are not omniscient and omnipotent. It is about learning to co-exist with your helplessness, insignificance, ignorance, and fallibility.
Similarly, rigidity, a lack of flexibility is one of the main pillars of grandiosity. It constricts life, confining it to a comfort zone. It also fosters conflicts with others and a host of self-defeating behaviors.
Psychopaths have an inverted fear reaction: they are hypervigilant and paranoid with their nearest and
dearest or in familiar settings - but they are indifferent, fearless, and
reckless with strangers in circumstances which would cause extreme alarm and
anxiety - or even trauma - in everyone else.
This inversion is the outcome of a skewed perception and assessment of risk and freedom of action: to be intimate with someone in predictable settings is to hand over power and consequently to block all exit strategies, thereby becoming a hostage (catastrophizing).
The psychopath’s nonchalant grandiosity also results in an inverted fear reaction: he feels immune and superior to people who do not possess privileged information about him and gain no meaningful access to his body, mind, or world.
Psychopaths are said to be fearless and carefree. Their physiological pain tolerance is, indeed, very high.
Still, contrary to popular perceptions and psychiatric orthodoxy, some psychopaths are actually anxious and fearful. Their psychopathy is a defense against an underlying and all-pervasive anxiety, either hereditary, or brought on by early childhood abuse.
(Video dated April 11, 2021)
Foot fetish is linked to abandonment or separation anxiety:
the intimate partner or object of desire uses his or her feet to walk out on
and away from the fetishist. Holding onto feet and making love to them is a way
of attaining symbolic object constancy or permanence.
The propensity to regard and treat other people (caregivers, parents) as objects (to "objectify" them) is an inevitable phase of personal development and growth during the formative years (6 months to 3 years).
As psychoanalysis and the Object Relations school of psychology teach us, we outgrow this immature way of relating to our human environment and instead develop a sense of empathy.
Yet, some of us remain "fixated" and do not progress into full-fledged adulthood. Arguably the most ostentatious manifestation of such retardation is the sexual paraphilia known as fetishism.
There are three types of fetishes:
I. An inanimate object, usually with a sexual connotation (such as a bra);
II. A body part that is clearly still connected to a complete body, dead or alive (e.g., hair, feet);
III. A reified trait, usually a deformity or idiosyncrasy that implies inferiority, helplessness, or dependence (for instance, a lame, or grotesquely obese, or hunchbacked person).
Consequently, there are three categories of fetishism and fetishists:
I. Objective fetishists, for whom the inanimate fetish stands for and symbolizes a desired whole that is out of reach;
II. Somatic fetishists, for whom the body part stands for and symbolizes a coveted human body (and, by extension, a relationship) that is unattainable;
III. Abstract fetishists, who latch on to a trait or a characteristic as a means to indirectly interact with their "defective" bearer and thus fulfill the fetishist's grandiose fantasies of omnipotence and innate superiority (pathological narcissism).
is a cognitive bias that leads to a pattern of self-defeating behaviors. If characterizes individuals as well as collectives founded
on aggressive principles of “honor” and reputation.
The narcissist would do anything, incur tremendous losses, and sacrifice everything to defend his grandiose, fantastic, inflated self-image.
He would reject overt sexual advances in order to feel superior and omnipotent at the moment;
undermine his job by contradicting, questioning, and criticizing his superiors and bullying his colleagues;
ruin his marriage and alienate his children with his controlling and contemptuous behaviors;
miss out on crucial information and advice, claiming to know it all (omniscience);
provoke neighbors, service providers, professionals, and the authorities so as to not become aware of his needs.
Your Narcissist Retreat - an extended event like
no other. A Mary Kane @loseyournarc initiative.
My honor to be opening this series with a fascinating conversation I have had with Mary Kane.
We are going through by far the greatest upheaval in human
affairs: millennia-old organizing principles and fundamentals are being
challenged and torn asunder.
Every transformation has its costs. The current one involves losses too many to enumerate. One of the major ones is the disappearance of intimacy and relationship skills.
Sex is now a mere mechanical release, leveraging the bodies of strangers on “dates” and hookups.
Food and dining are now relegated to gorging on junk food and microwave dinners.
Majorities of men and women are single and lead largely sexless lives. The frequency of dating had declined by 60% since 2008. People had resigned themselves to a lonely existence for the rest of their natural lives.
Communal institutions and social safety nets have been rendered obsolete by recent trends.
Friendships, marriages, childbearing, intimate relationships, and face to face interactions have gone the way of the dodo long before the pandemic.
We no longer press the flesh - we press buttons and icons instead. Our only “friends” are random passersby on the misnomered “social” media.
Can our species survive without intimacy? Possibly. Would such a dystopian future be worth living in and for? I am not sure.
The young are born into this new normal. They see nothing wrong with it. What about us, old codgers, who still harbor the memories of a smile and a handshake and making love and sitting around a campfire? Where do we go from here?
are pathetic. Men are on their way out. Women are taking
over. Men are resentful but resigned to their own fate: they withdraw,
emotionally and even sexually.
CHARGE SHEET AGAINST MEN. Men are ...
Uneducated, underachievers, underemployed, resentful, sulking, atomized losers and failures, defeated by life, throw in the towel defeatism
Effeminate, threatened, and confused: gender vertigo, sexual scripts, stalled revolution, competition
Conspiracist Misogynistic (MGTOW, incels, redpillers, but also mainstream, someone like Jordan Peterson (soft misogyny)
Hyposexual or asexual (watch youth sexlessness video): dating down, video games up, porn addiction impacts sexual practices and objectification of females, reducing them to body parts and slaves to be degraded (Lisa Wade)
Immature, narcissistic, Peter Pan syndrome (Twenge studies)
Children of divorce and single parenting: want to avoid the same traumatizing mistakes but also give up without a fight, intimacy aversion and intimacy anorexia, open relationships
Predatory (hookups in parties, clubs, dating apps)
Parasitic, exploitative: boomerang children study longer, live with parents well into their thirties
Irresponsible, unreliable, entitled
Carpe diem, reckless, defiant, impulsive, feel immune to the consequences of their actions (everything is simulation, reality TV)
No relationship, social, or intimacy skills: a pandemic of autistic deficiencies
Virtue signaling within mass victimhood movements, not in one on one interactions.
Culted Child: The True Story of a Daughter Disciple, Maria D. Peregolise.
A deep dive into cults and their aftermath, especially when inducted into them in childhood.
More about narcissism as a cult https://samvak.tripod.com/journal79.html
Some grandiose narcissists and all primary (F1)
psychopaths have a relatively robust self-concept and stable
self. Not so vulnerable (covert) narcissists and
secondary (F2) psychopaths (aka borderlines).
Stephen M. Doerfler, Maryam Tajmirriyahi, William Ickes, Peter K. Jonason, The self-concepts of people with Dark Triad traits tend to be weaker, less clearly defined, and more state-related, Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 180, 2021, 110977, ISSN 0191-8869, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2021.1...
Why Poor Sense of Self Underlies Dark Triad Traits by Grant Hilary Brenner MD, FAPA in ExperiMentations (Psychology Today)
Campbell, J. D., Trapnell, P. D., Heine, S. J., Katz, I. M., Lavallee, L. F., & Lehman, D. R. (1996). Self-concept clarity: Measurement, personality correlates, and cultural boundaries. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70(1), 141-156.
Judith M. Flury & William Ickes (2007) Having a weak versus strong sense of self: The sense of self scale (SOSS), Self and Identity, 6:4, 281-303.
and regret are irrational in most cases.
If you could not have predicted the consequences of your actions and choices, you could not have acted otherwise.
If you could have predicted them and still acted the way you did or settled on the choices you had made - why the second guessing? You must have been content with the path you had chosen or you would not have embarked on it.
Remorse and regret involve judging the past by the standards and parameters of the present.
But assessing the bygone by current knowledge, preferences, priorities, urges, wishes, and hopes is inane. These were not available at the time as input into the decision-making process.
People often change so dramatically that any continuity between past and present is merely illusory: we are not the same persons we used to be, we had become literally “someone else”.
Regretting someone else’s “mistakes” borders on the psychotic.
Your Narcissist Online Retreat - an
extended event like no other. A Mary Kane initiative.
My honor to be opening this series with a fascinating conversation I have had with Mary Kane.
Strategies to Thrive Mentally, Physically, Emotionally & Financially Out of Narcissistic Abuse! JULY 19-21, 2021
The twin arts of critical thinking and
argument are all but extinct. In this age of
truthiness, even facts are malleable and relativized.
There are three types of statements:
1. Facts. These are open to refutation by debunking counterfactual claims.
Example: “You did time for grand fraud”. It is either true or false, based on court records and the like;
2. Evidence-based opinion is open to modification and reversal by presenting countervailing information.
Example: “I think that you are a shady character who prevaricates” can be countermanded by presenting proofs of truthtelling or a preponderance of data demonstrating consistent veracity and authenticity;
3. Predilections, prejudices, conspiracy theories, and biases cannot be altered. No amount of arguing and no quantity of proofs can or will change the mind of such an interlocutor whose psychological needs are catered to by such cognitive distortions.
Example: “Fraudsters like you are running the world” or “I get a bad vibe from you and you turn me off because of my intuition about your murky character.”
are all becoming more narcissistic and psychopathic, embedded in a civilization that is best described as anomic
and atomized. Why is that? What has happened to facilitate this disturbing and
First interview of three with Game Changers.
in a state of victimhood and rendering it a part
of your identity is exactly what the narcissist wants you to do. It is
perpetuating by your own hand the abuse you had suffered.
Third interview of three with Game Changers.
The same sequence of actions can bear
fundamentally different or even mutually exclusive meanings.
A one night stand with a stranger, never mind how torrid, never feels the same like the sex acts with a loved one, never mind how staid.
Some churchgoers mumble their perfunctory way through the prayers, in a hurry to return to the hustle and bustle of daily life. Others utter the very same words and undergo a transcendental mystical experience.
A gourmand indulges in the very same food in a way the rest of us do not. In a romantic candlelit dinner, the same dish tastes different to the way it felt in a business brunch.
A kiss or a hug can convey lust or pity or compassion or gratitude or any of a number of emotions.
What matters is not what people do - but how they experience their actions.
Women and men in their 20s mock me for warning
against the dangers of casual sex as an exclusive practice. “OK, Boomer” is the
typical reaction of this delightfully sagacious generation.
Fast forward ten years. The same people come to my practice, defeated and humbled, and pay me a fortune for relationship advice.
Here’s the thing:
If you practice only one night stands - you fail to develop relationship and intimacy skills. It is a “use it or lose it” situation. Your “relationships” resemble glorified, extended casual sex - and you end up being discarded.
The behaviors that get you laid in casual sex militate AGAINST you when you are trying to find a partner for a relationship.
Even skilled diagnosticians find it difficult
between psychopathy (and Borderline), autism, schizoid personality, and C/PTSD.
All four conditions involve extreme reduced affect display: no show of emotions, flat presentation of personal experiences, and reticent self-disclosure.
All four types of patients use language in a highly idiosyncratic way: vulgar, putrid, ambiguous, non-committal, clinical, and impersonal. They corrupt language and render it circumspect and cynical.
But the etiologies of this identical presentation couldn't be more different.
The psychopath has no empathy or positive emotions, so truly has nothing to report. He is a goal-oriented, binary ("feel good/bad") mimicked human.
The autistic person is oblivious to social and sexual cues and this renders his reactions weird, even antisocial. He is reluctant or unable to verbalize his inner world, partly because it overwhelms him and partly owing to anticipated rejection.
The schizoid just wants to be left alone. Incapable of strong emotions or intense experiences, he flatlines into solitude, his sole comfort zone.
The survivor of trauma represses (numbs) her emotions because she finds them, and the memories they are attached to, threatening. She is reluctant to revisit her harrowing experiences and is triggered by any attempt to be intimate with her in any way.
To some, the New Normal is a horror how. To others it is, well, Normal. Which camp
are you in?
Megan Fox, The Fringe podcast from New York.
They are inaccessible, sealed off from the
world, emotionally numb, incapable of true intimacy.
They are …
Self-loathing, self-trashing, self-hating, self-destructive in multiple ways.
Their attitudes to sexual or intimate partners, to sex, and to their bodies are shocking, unsettling, horrifying, and gross. They are likely to engage in extreme and reckless sex from an early age, develop eating disorders, and suffer from body dysmorphia.
They are deceitful and unfaithful (psychopaths are parasites, gold diggers, and goal-oriented).
They are devaluing and humiliating, hypervigilant and sometimes paranoid.
doesn't do separation well: he needs you to lose
your vitality, independence, autonomy, and social support network.
Interview with Paxton from Narcabuse TV on IGTV (Instagram TV)
Internal objects, introjects arranged in a coherent narrative which could be flexible (responsive to new information) or rigid (mental illness).
The perimeter of the narrative is guarded by psychological defense mechanisms of two types: dissociative and cognitive distortions.
Dissociation results in the formation of self-states (for example: the secondary psychopath self-states in BPD). Internal Family System theories conceptualize this brilliantly.
When defenses get associated with specific self-states we gravitate towards one of two states: Narcissism (a form of introversion with no ego or constellated self) or psychosis (only ego or self, no world).
Patients in both these conditions are cathected in their internal objects, not in reality and have impaired reality testing. The narcissistic defenses confuse external objects as internal (snapshotting) and psychoticism confuses internal objects as external (hyperreflexion).
In both cases, all relationships are internalized and when reality strongly diverges from the internal objects, there is decompensation, acting out, narcissistic injuries and mortification mediated via specific self-states.
Anxiety and depression can be reconceived as a failure to effect such mediation and the collapse of the internal universe, rendering the patient non-agentic and far less self-efficacious.
are mirror humans. The few emotions they do possess (all of
which are raw, primitive, and negative) are inverted 180 degrees. Amazingly
they are convinced that this inversion is normal and common.
They “love” or “like” others who are useful and only for as long as they benefit from them, one way or the other. They use the disposition and flow of material goods to gauge such sentiments.
They experience shame only when they are exposed as weak, desperate, or helpless.
They get angry when they cannot secure a goal - even a self-destructive or humiliating one. They lash out at those who would not or cannot collaborate in whatever it is they set their minds to do or to be done to them.
They fearlessly risk their lives, limbs, and fortune habitually and with total strangers - but are paranoid, anxious, and hypervigilant with their “nearest and dearest”. Intimacy and commitment are perceived as threats.
They regret and feel “guilty” for having failed or having been caught red-handed - but never for having hurt and harmed others. They rationalise and justify their misdeeds by contorting language to its breaking point.
A psychopath never says “no”. Only shrugs and utters “why
not” before s/he engages in the most unspeakable or degrading acts. Without
shame, guilt, or remorse to rein them in, psychopaths are primitive,
whim-driven, stochastic, bug-ridden, often intoxicated machines. They are even
worse when in pursuit of a goal, however whimsical or outlandish.
When you encounter a psychopath, you come face to face with the undead: they look still alive, charming and witty and erudite - but they had actually died in their teenage years, inside and out. They age fast, their progeria terrifying to behold. Theirs is an eternal present, a dawnless night of the soulless.
Psychopaths treat their bodies and their lives as a corpse would: like decomposing trash. They are black holes: nothing escapes, not even they.
It is nothing short of horrifying to hear the winds of the psychopath’s insanity howling in the deserted hallways of his or her vacated mind.
They rot and disintegrate in slow motion, unglued by a lack of scruples and morality, a void of empathy and emotions, a howling abyss where a human should have been.
More than 10,000 mental health practitioners in my Linkedin network: psychiatrists, therapists, psychologists, neuroscientists, psychiatric nurses, and academics.
The ability to thrive in intimacy is inextricably linked to the capacity to maintain and enforce
personal boundaries. In personality disordered patients, both are sorely
Intimacy, however fleeting and of whatever nature (even merely physical) is a tightrope act.
On the one hand, it involves the disclosure of vulnerabilities and the relaxation of firewalls intended to fend off unwarranted or coerced attention.
On the other hand, real intimacy entails the maintaining of personal autonomy, agency, and self-efficacy. In other words: of separateness.
To attain intimacy, one needs to feel sufficiently secure of one’s core identity, self-worth, self-esteem, internal regulation, and boundaries to invite another person in.
The mentally ill tend to enmesh, engulf, merge, or fuse with others - even as they push them away and flee (approach-avoidance repetition compulsion).
This dysfunctional attachment style is the outcome of twin contradictory anxieties: of abandonment and of engulfment.
The ancient institution of monogamous marriage is ill-suited to the exigencies of modern Western
People of both genders live and work longer (which renders sexual exclusivity impracticable); travel far and away frequently; and are exposed to tempting romantic alternatives via social networking and in various workplace and social settings.
As leisure time increases and physical survival is all but effortlessly guaranteed, recreation takes precedence over procreation.
Personality disordered patients have no personal boundaries and consequently they have an impaired capacity for intimacy.
Even (lazy) scholars get it wrong, this stereotype of the
primary (factor 1 or F1) psychopath as fearless.
Psychopaths experience anxiety and fear even more than the rest of us do. There are several important differences, though:
1. Their brain and physiology are different. Skin conductance, brain activity, heart rate, blood pressure and other markers of fear are subdued or absent altogether.
2. Things and behaviors that normal people find repulsive, shocking, or frightening elicit no emotional reaction from the psychopath: his perception of risk and his disgust response are fundamentally different. He is impulsive and reckless, but rarely considers himself as either.
Still, most psychopaths are paranoid, hypervigilant, and conspiracist: they live in a constant state of irrational terror, afraid of and worried about the innocuous and the random.
3. Finally, psychopaths misinterpret both internal and external cues, very much as autistic people do. Consequently, they mislabel and misattribute their inner dynamics. When they are afraid, they are likely to say that they are excited, for example.
The psychopath’s defiance and contumaciousness are often misperceived as fearlessness or nonchalance, but, in reality, there is a lot of trepidation in both. They are form of dysregulation.
In my Junior Suite at the magnificent Dolder Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland. First pandemic trip in 18 months. Delta everywhere - but it is time to resume life as cautiously as we can. View from the balcony.
Narcissists like to surround themselves with people who are inferior to them in some significant way in order to feel superior.
When the narcissist comes across his equals, he instantly either devalues them - or admires them (co-idealization).
Narcissists can and do maintain long term relationships with intellectual peers and are capable of respect, affection, or even attachment to these intelligent, prized, and discerning sources of high quality narcissistic supply.
Modern psychology is permeated by concepts and constructs of
dubious provenance and even less impressive evidence.
Consider, for example, the individual, personality, the self. All useful literary metaphors - but not science by any extension of the word.
Similarly, that we have a core identity is taken for granted. Identity diffusion and identity disturbance are perceived as real.
But, like the internet, the brain is a distributed network: decentralized and with built-in redundancies. Why would our brain-based psychology be any different?
A far more realistic model of consciousness and mind would revolve around a cloud of self-states with permeable partitions which allow for frequent exchanges of information, emotions, and cognitions, probably organized in scheme-like lattices.
And, yes, this is me in the photo, age 2 (pudgy palm resting on my young mother’s shoulder).
Many processes, traits, and behaviors are mistaken for shyness. Among them: paranoid ideation, anticipatory anxiety, dysregulated emotions, depression, body dysmorphia, strong inhibitions, passive aggression, fear of intimacy.
We are all profoundly unhappy and a growing minority of us are clinically mentally ill.
This astounding outcome of human history can be traced back to four pernicious
wrong turns: agriculture, urbanization, growth orientation, and the adversarial
Agricultural was the harbinger and antecedent of the rape of Earth (think ploughing). Using sheer muscle power, Man harnessed natural resources unsustainably.
Climate change is a direct consequence of agriculture.
Agriculture created surplus produce and freed the majority of the population from hitherto communal hunting and gathering. It gave rise to an addiction to economic growth as an overriding value - and consumerism and economics as its ethos-inculcating tools.
Agriculture also led to the emergence of the patriarchy, slavery, and cities - three unnatural arrangements with grave social and psychological outcomes.
Finally, as a species we had opted for conflict rather than harmony and justice. We conjured up adversarial, combative systems and conflict-based science to back them up (think evolution or free market economics).
Psychopaths can be shy. Covert narcissists can be avoidant
and self-effacing. Both pathologies sometimes present with vulnerabilities,
fragility, and with a schizoid core.
Some children are rejected and ridiculed by their peers: those who are on the Autism Spectrum, who suffer from social anxiety/phobia, who are gifted or exceptional in some way, who are depressed or anxious, or who are otherwise deemed “freaks” or “nerds”.
Such kids often develop narcissistic and psychopathic defenses, traits, behaviors (conduct and oppositional defiant disorders), and worldview (theories of mind and internal working models). They grow up to become full-fledged adult narcissists and psychopaths.
You need to truly understand the inner workings of the
narcissist in order to manipulate
him/her and survive to share your story.
Three part seminar with Richard Grannon and Sam Vaknin available on both our YouTube channels.
psychosexuality includes exhibitionism and arousal by
Substance abuse is often involved as both a form of self-trashing and as disinhibiting agency.
Having a memory is not a necessary nor a
sufficient condition for possessing a self-identity. Watch No Identity Without Memory.
It would seem that we accept that someone has a self-identity if:
(a) He has the same hardware as we do (notably, a brain) and, by implication, the same software as we do (an all-pervasive, omnipresent self-identity) and
(b) He communicates his humanly recognizable and comprehensible inner world to us and manipulates his environment.
We accept that he has a specific (i.e., the same continuous) self-identity if
(c) He shows consistent intentional (i.e., willed) patterns ("memory") in doing (b) for a long period of time.
It seems that we accept that we have a specific self-identity (i.e., we are self-conscious of a specific identity) if
(a) We discern (usually through memory and introspection) long term consistent intentional (i.e., willed) patterns ("memory") in our manipulation ("relating to") of our environment and
(b) Others accept that we have a specific self-identity.
Emotions are composites, often confused with moods, states of mind, and cognitions. They are often mislabeled or misinterpreted. Consider, for example, shyness.
Ancient Bedouin wisdom applied to resolve conflicts involving divisions of property and prioritizing.
Did we get it completely wrong? Are we not a social species - but a race of self-sufficient loners? Do we actually much prefer being alone to having to suffer the quirks and intrusions of others? Are intimacy and society merely manipulative myths intended to foster herd mentality? Is solitude the normal baseline state and cities a pathological aberration?
Research by the Institute of Institute of Workplace and
Facilities Management, which spoke to 2,000 adults in the UK, found that the
majority were frustrated by the return to office life after 14 months of
The respondents deplored background human noises, having to share a desk with a co-worker, and inadequate video conferencing facilities (to avoid face to face contact).
The survey found that half - and an overwhelming majority of the young - believed that they were more productive working from home, all on their own, with minimal human interaction. They resented bitterly the need to exit their schizoid cocoons and face other people.
Even dating and sex have almost vanished in the past 20 years (see the work of Lisa Wade, Jean Twenge, and others).
We are increasingly avoiding each other, ensconced in digital impregnable castles and enmoored in compensatory fantasies. And we seem to prefer it this way!
Introverts are invested in introspection, are never impulsive, reckless, defiant, or dysregulated (never borderline or psychopathic). They avoid over-stimulation. Unlike shy people, they are not apprehensive, anxious, or afraid of unfamiliar social settings. Introversion is a choice or a preference - not an avoidant, phobic behavior (like in social anxiety or social phobia).
Most schizoids are hyposexual or
even asexual. They are totally self-contained and
self-sufficient, with an empty core. But a small minority are hypersexual, even
to the point of promiscuity and self-trashing.
These schizoids use dysregulated, haphazard, and unboundaried sex IN LIEU of meaningful object relations and intimacy.
Sex plays a crucial role in the psychodynamics and lives of such schizoids. It is their cardinal mode of communication; their only efficacious method of socializing and bonding; and the main regulatory mechanism.
But it is also auto-erotic and fantasy based. So, it is NOT meaningful on the interpersonal level.
This profound meaninglessness may be the reason why schizoids keep selecting wrong mates: culturally or religiously inhibited, hyposexual, misogynistic or misandrist, narcissistic, psychopathic, avoidant, or classically schizoid.
The schizoid uses sex to connect only to himself and instrumentalizes his sex partners - their gaze (for exhibitionistic self-trashing), their bodies (leveraged for sado-masochistic self-degradation or mutual masturbation), and their attention (to regulate the schizoid’s sense of self-worth) - in order to become alive, to experience his own existence.
When hypersexed, the schizoid’s sexuality is also a form of
self-harm with all the functions of self-harming:
drowning out negative affectivity,
affirmation of negative self-perception and introjects.
Society, institutions, community, and human interactions are all things of the past. Sex is doomed. Welcome to a new schizoid world.
One of the most moronic bits of politically correct
advice online is: “Your partner’s sexual, social, and psychological histories,
his or her past, are not relevant and you have no right to inquire about them.
Only present choices, decisions, and behaviors matter. Don’t be retroactively
Yet, by far the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Recidivism - defaulting to past misconduct - is rife.
More than 80% of alcoholics restart drinking within a year from rehab. Almost 70% of criminals repopulate their erstwhile cells. Having cheated once, you are three times as likely to cheat again. Promiscuous women sleep around extradyadically much more often than the regulated, boundaried sort.
By all mean: interrogate a new potential intimate partner to the greatest possible extent. It is your only protection against future nasty surprises.
Narcissism is conspiring with technology in a dystopian new normal.
have never been less empowered sexually than
nowadays. As sexual scripts and gender roles crumbled (“gender vertigo”), they
had been replaced exclusively by male stereotypes of women as sluts. Work by
Lisa Wade and Kerry Cohen, among many others, supports this counterintuitive
claim as does the explosive growth of female-objectifying pornography.
Rather than resist this typecasting, women have conformed: they post online self-porn to dozens of leering men; sleep around promiscuously, often inebriated; hook up; and subject themselves to multifarious degradations by individual men and sometimes by groups of predatory males. The male gaze came to define women more than ever (“stalled revolution”).
To resolve the inevitable cognitive dissonance that such abject submission creates, women had convinced themselves that they are agentic, endowed with choice and decision-making powers, and actually enjoy what they are made to do in order to conform to male expectations and to garner male attention: “I am a proud slut”.
Where the narcissist faces lies, deceit, obfuscation,
stonewalling, or refusal to communicate, or when he
cannot gain access to critical bits of information - he tries to deduce and
extrapolate, not always successfully.
Owing to his grandiosity, he perceives his deductions, hypotheses, and extrapolations as FACTS and reacts to them as such.
This can lead to hair-raising situations and conflicts.
Do not lie, deceive, stonewall, or obfuscate. Always communicate clearly, fully, and truthfully with the narcissist. You do not want him to deploy his fantasy, delusional imagination, and impaired reality testing to fill in the gaps.
The narcissist's life is entirely in the public
is anathema to the narcissist.
In theory, private life is insulated and shielded from social pressures, the ambit of norms and laws, and even the strictures of public morality. Reality, though, is different. The encroachment of the public is inexorable and, probably, irreversible. The individual is forced to share, consent to, or merely obey a panoply of laws, norms, and regulations not only in his or her relationships with others - but also when solitary.
Failure to comply - and to be seen to be conforming - leads to dire consequences. In a morbid twist, public morality is now synonymous with social orthodoxy, political authority, and the exercise of police powers. The quiddity, remit, and attendant rights of the private sphere are now determined publicly, by the state.
In the modern world, privacy - the freedom to withhold or divulge information - and autonomy - the liberty to act in certain ways when not in public - are illusory in that their scope and essence are ever-shifting, reversible, and culture-dependent. They both are perceived as public concessions - not as the inalienable (though, perhaps, as Judith Jarvis Thomson observes, derivative) rights that they are.
People - especially the recent young generations - hate to go deep. They inhabit shimmering surfaces, punctuated with dismissive grunts, defensive empty one liners, superficial hilarity, and cliched emojis.
relies heavily on privacy and uniqueness (being
special to your partner). This is why sexual EXCLUSIVITY is still the dominant
If you place your body and sex in the public domain via rampant casual sex and public self-porn, you create a legacy that renders intimacy between you and future partners all but impossible.
If you share your sex with everyone casually - you ruin your ability to integrate it with intimacy. You destroy the linkage between the two, the very capacity to associate them.
Instead, you are likely to compensate with FANTASIES of sex and of intimacy.
Hence the tsunami of porn and self-porn, the precipitous decline in dating (-60%), intimate relationship formation (-40%), and sex (-20%) since 1998 (Twenge; Wade; Zimbardo; Campbell).
Your history of casual sex leads inexorably to a deficiency in intimacy and relationship skills.
Your future partners are affected, too.
If your partners know that you had shared your body and sex with so many random persons, they cannot regard your choice to have sex with them as SPECIAL. After all: you did it with everyone, even people you didn’t know at all.
Intimacy is not possible when the partners feel that they are just numbers, statistics, the next conquest, in the queue, next in line.
A partner with a history of casual sex as a dominant practice also creates insecurity: it is difficult to be safe when your partner takes sex so casually and flippantly.
This commodification of your body and sex makes your partners feel that when you offer and grant them access to both, it is meaningless because you had offered exactly the same to dozens of total strangers.
Your partners do not feel special or that they stand out from others. They might as well be among the countless strangers to whom you had granted exactly the same privileges.
Your partners do not feel chosen - because you had selected so many before, so indiscriminately, including anonymous strangers.
Sex with you cannot be intimate (special) - only clinically arousing. It is pornography, not lovemaking. And without lovemaking, there is no intimacy.
The more money we make, the less we appreciate
its relative, respective, and proportional value to others. With very few
exceptions, rich people, no matter how stingy, seem to lose touch with the
pecuniary reality of the “99%” of the population who are poor(er). Indeed, to
the wealthy, money is not a store of value as much as a token which allows them
to participate in economic and non-economic games.
I call this process of desensitization to the value of money “personal inflation” because, precisely like “classic” inflation, as far as these affluent persons are concerned, it thwarts the price signal and distorts the efficient allocation of economic resources. It also misinforms their decisions and adversely affects their motivation to work, save, and invest.
On my Vaknin Musings YouTube channel.
never learn because they know everything already.
Psychopaths never learn because no one knows anything anyhow. Both are
characterized by a profound lack of curiosity about themselves and others.
Narcissists construct penitentiaries of the mind and then try to break out or demolish them. It does not occur to them to repurpose the prison and render it a tourist attraction – or a hotel!
The narcissist outsources important ego functions to his environment. Consequently, he confuses and conflates his self with the external world. When he is trying to effect a change in the latter, he perceives it as the destruction of the former (self-destructiveness). Narcissists avoid change because they experience it as self-annihilation.
Narcissists convert everyone they are in constant or intimate touch with into persecutory objects (“enemies”). Then they construct counterfactual narratives which are both paranoid and grandiose: “they are out to get me because I made them behave this way, I forced them into malevolence” (omnipotence). Catastrophizing becomes a rational and often self-fulfilling expectation within such a view of others.
People with kinky or paraphiliac
psychosexuality often repress or curb it unless and until a
“loving” partner - real or imaginary - legitimizes it with his presence or
active cooperation and thus helps to resolve the dissonances and ego dystony
involved in their sexual practices.
Consequently, they go through huge stretches of involuntary celibacy or unsatisfactory sex simply because their partners either don’t love them to start with or are totally turned off by them and by their attitude to sex, love, and relationships.
This self-denial is especially complicated by love addiction. Craving for love renders such people tenacious and stalkish. They give up and sort of move on (cheat rather than break up outright) only when they receive incontrovertible proof that they are not loved and not desired sexually (more or less coterminous, as far as they are concerned).
Such dysfunctional strategies and behaviors are common to everyone who has outlier psychosexuality COUPLED with a burning desire to be in a traditional intimate LOVE relationship. These, alas, rarely go together.
Of course, there are only two other solutions to this predicament:
1. Find a loving partner with a psychosexuality similar or complementary to one’s own and who is aroused by such sexual preferences to the point that s/he is eager to incorporate them into the couple’s common sex life on a permanent basis; or
2. Pursue one’s psychosexuality and PRETEND that one is with a loving intimate partner (fantasy defense).
In the long run, the second solution is the more feasible and the most common one.
Etiologically, in all these cases, there is an unresolved conflict between sexual preferences, emotional preferences (craving a loving partner), and socialization (the need for legitimacy and acceptance).
Narcissists confuse and conflate their universe of internal persecutory objects with reality. So, they perceive any change in their environment as a destruction of the self. This creates anxiety and they use kinky or paraphiliac sexuality to mitigate it. In an increasingly more narcissistic and psychopathic civilization, these individual pathologies became normative.
The narcissist is shocked when his victim gives
him a taste
of his own medicine. He accuses her of … being a narcissist. The
genders pronouns are interchangeable, of course: many narcissists are women.
This has partly to do with the twin processes of “snapshotting” and co-idealization.
At the commencement of every interpersonal relationship, the narcissist introjects the (in)significant other and converts her into a stable, inert internal object (“snapshot”). This helps him to overcome his abandonment anxiety and establish object constancy.
He then proceeds to “photoshop the snapshot”: idealize the partner and thereby aggrandize himself as the “owner” of such an ideal possession.
When the other party diverges from this inner rendition or avatar by becoming agentic, autonomous, defiant, self-efficacious, assertive, and resistant - the narcissist experiences panic, frustration, and aggression. He projects his own narcissism onto her and using reaction formation, devalues and decries it as “abusive”.
is often confused with love because it produces the
same bonding/attachment to its subjects. The transition from love to hatred is
seamless and imperceptible. The two emotions often cohabit (ambivalence which
is a form of dissonance).
Such conflation is especially pronounced in mental health disorders that involve object inconstancy, persecutory objects, dysregulation, and abandonment anxiety. In these, the wish to subsume the intimate partner, merge or fuse with him is felt as a wish to destroy an object that is, at times, frustrating.
Consequently, hate is sometimes mistaken for love and vice versa.
This is especially true when certain defense mechanisms - such as projection, reaction formation, splitting, projective identification - are at work and reframe reality.
Many self-styled narcissism “experts” would
tell you with the faux authoritativeness of the hack that all psychopaths are
narcissists. It is rank nonsense, of course.
The comorbidity of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder is high - but it still constitutes a small minority of the cases.
Most psychopaths are GRANDIOSE. But anyone who confuses grandiosity with narcissism has no business deceiving the gullible into believing that he or she is an expert on narcissism.
Grandiosity is a fantasy defense founded on a cognitive distortion. It makes an appearance in many mental health disorders: personality disorders (including Borderline, Paranoid, and Schizoid), mood disorders (Bipolar), and psychotic disorders, to mention but a few.
Grandiosity is common to both narcissists and psychopaths. But it does not make them one and the same. And this, dear self-proclaimed “experts”, is narcissism 101. A class which you had just failed spectacularly.
Both laymen and scholars confuse sexual submission (“sub”,
“bottom”) with masochism and domination (“dom”, or top) with sexual sadism. All
four are consensual practices, but there are important differences.
Submission and domination are intradyadic practices, rarely conducted in public (not exhibitionistic). They involve the ritualistic and rigidly boundaried exchange of pain and power between the parties.
Sexual arousal in BDSM is the outcome of the suspension of the bottom’s autonomy and the outsourcing of potentially self-harming decision-making to a loving, compassionate, or caring dom. It is an extended fantasy or role play.
Masochism revolves around self-objectification, sexual degradation, the infliction and reception of real pain, and public exhibitionism. It is sometimes embedded in a fantasy of intimacy with a partner, real or imaginary. Physical pain and public despoiling are the founts of arousal - not humiliation or transient choreographed helplessness.
Sexual sadism is about being turned on by torturing a partner and observing her writhing and agony, however orgasmic it may be to the masochistic partner, and however momentary, and fleeting. It need not involve humiliating the partner or public exposure but, if the partner is averse to both, it often does.
I am so clueless and so
severely dissociative that I experience my life as a 1920s
expressionistic film: disjointed, hallucinatory floating snippets with no
rhyme, reason, or connective tissue.
I draw blanks: no context, bridging narrative, or meaning. A kaleidoscopic nightmare.
Sometimes, I recall static scenes, like snapshots. But I cannot reanimate them.
A scene in a restaurant. A woman by my side. Who is she? We have had a fight. Over what? When? Where?
The second story of a house. What am I doing there? Why does it reek faintly of sex when there had been none?
A meeting with criminals in a cafe. No idea over what, with whom.
I can’t remember well over 90% of my personal life. Only the grandiose, adventurous, and risky parts. Or encyclopedic entries.
Women - a parade of them - signalling desire, sexually advancing. I am utterly oblivious. I lecture to them incessantly or compulsively analyze their behavior as an entomologist would his insects.
I can’t wake up, no matter how hard I try.
A 2017 study shows that many narcissists are MORE forgiving and merciful that healthier folk. This debunks one of the many nonsensical myths propagated online by hacks with academic degrees who proclaim themselves as "experts" on narcissism with zero relevant credentials.
Twenty years ago, I coined the phrase “communal prosocial
narcissist” to refer to a narcissist whose grandiosity is invested in being
moral, charitable, and altruistic.
Similarly, there is a communal prosocial psychopath who leverages his psychopathy to find love, acceptance, and social legitimacy (sublimates his antisocial tendencies). The Covert Borderline - a new diagnosis I am proposing - is a communal variant of psychopath.
He seeks love the way a psychopath would (become sexually dysregulated, unboundaried, self-trashing, and promiscuous for example).
This subtype of psychopath craves to belong and to be loved, liked, admired, and desired and so would do anything - including antisocial acts - to feel that way.
Both primary and secondary psychopaths can be communal, but their personality disorder is likely to be comorbid with other mental health issues.
This comorbidity causes them to behave in ways which are reminiscent of borderlines and narcissists.
From a new book I am writing, “The Goldfish Way”:
“These are the three mistakes that we all commit when we search for meaning in life:
1. Never choose the path. Let the path choose you.
2. We have all the answers we need all the time. What we lack is the ability to identify them as answers.
3. It is wrong to seek the correct answers. One should focus on the right questions. Getting the questions right yields the answers which are correct for you.”
The twin concepts of "original" and
"author" are less than a millennium old and are
artifacts of the rise of private property-based economies.
From 65,000 years ago until the 12 century, art was a collective effort and works of art were communal palimpsests and endeavors carried out by multiple generations.
Crowdsourcing on the Internet (think Wikipedia) is therefore a throwback to traditions which characterized almost the entirety of human existence.
To refuse to get vaccinated in view of the cumulative data is defiant, contumacious, and
reckless - in short: it is psychopathic and grandiose.
I chose to get vaccinated, having engaged in an obligations-rights utilitarian calculus.
Vaccines reduce infections - obligation to protect others (like avoiding DUI). Vaccines reduce hospitalization rates - obligation to not exploit others and impose on them. Vaccines reduce death rates - but while there no obligation to stay alive, there is an obligation to not harm or kill others for minor infringements of even the most fundamental and weighty rights.
So, should we not treat unvaccinated? We should the same way we treat smokers, drug addicts, extreme sports athletes, skiers, victims of accidents. But we should punish the unvaccinated by constricting their lives and coercing them to get vaccinated.
Love addicts crave the high of falling in love, but not the intimacy and relationships that follow. They are dysregulated, unboundaried (especially sexually), prone to fantasy, compulsive, impulsive, and suffer from mood and anxiety disorders.
I am terrified of the pain of betrayal - but seek it.
Terrified of intimacy - but crave it.
So, I choose women whose idea of intimacy is betrayal and whose concept of love is pain.
Women whose past consists of both.
Women who had first and foremost betrayed, defiled, degraded, and hurt themselves.
Unlike anti-vaxxing, vaccine hesitancy is legitimate but beware: information is
not knowledge, critical thinking and misinformation, research is not hoarding.
Virulent confluence of conspiracy theories and victimhood movements.
Conspiracy theorists such as anti-vaxxers are mentally ill: conspiracism and pareidolia, paranoid ideation, anxiety, depression, Delusionality and impaired reality testing, grandiosity and anti-intellectualism (truthiness, anti-expertise, malignant egalitarianism, sacred body), contumacious defiance.
Fear to speak out against anti-vaxxers: political correctness/woke, hijacking of activism by narcissists and psychopaths.
1. The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories by Karen M. Douglas, Robbie M. Sutton, and Aleksandra Cichocka, Current Directions in Psychological Science, December 2017
2. Paranoid Ideation Without Psychosis Is Associated With Depression, Anxiety, and Suicide Attempts in General Population by Na, Eun Jin MD; Choi, Kwan Woo MD; Hong, Jin Pyo MD, PhD; Cho, Maeng Je MD, PhD‡; Fava, Maurizio MD; Mischoulon, David MD, PhD; Jeon, Hong Jin MD, PhD The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: October 2019 - Volume 207 - Issue 10 - p 826-831
3. Lantian, A., Muller, D., Nurra, C., & Douglas, K. M. (2017). “I know things they don’t know!”: The role of need for uniqueness in belief in conspiracy theories. Social Psychology, 48(3), 160–173.
4. “Looking under the tinfoil hat: Clarifying the personological and psychopathological correlates of conspiracy beliefs”, S.M. Bowes and S. Lilienfeld, Journal of Personality, August 2020
5. Belief in conspiracy theories: The predictive role of schizotypy, Machiavellianism, and primary psychopathy by Evita March, Jordan Springer, PLOS One, December 2019
Closure prevents moving on from trauma and abuse and retards personal growth.
On my way to Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt: the breathtaking Istanbul Airport on transit in Turkey and the airport in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm El Sheikh. Arrived at the Savoy Sharm El Sheikh Hotel in Soho Square at 4 AM. Slept 3 hours. Then a great breakfast. I recommend my career to all of you!
partners with a rich fantasy life are far more
prone to cheating and other forms of betrayal.
Fantasy is a defense mechanism that severely impairs reality testing and often degenerates into full-fledged dysempathic narcissism.
People with prominent fantasies frequently compromise their self-proclaimed values, standards, and boundaries owing to identity disturbance, dysregulation, and lability. Some of their actions and choices are always self-degrading, antisocial, and shocking.
Fantasies are compensatory and offer an escape from overwhelming mood and anxiety disorders. They allow for the reframing of experiences to render them ego syntonic and to allay shame, guilt, and remorse (to resolve dissonances).
The problem is that resorting to fantasy is addictive. The potency of extant fantasies fades and new ones are constantly sought.
So, novelty-seeking, reckless, or immoral behaviors like cheating become more and more prevalent as current relationships lose their fantastic veneer and allure.
Copious studies show that we have all - young
and older alike - adopted a sex worker’s attitude to
sex and to our sex partners.
Sex used to be described (though never practiced) as the sublime apex of intimacy with another person.
A prostitute’s clinical, mechanical, statistical, dehumanizing, casual, impersonal approach to sex was widely frowned upon and considered both disgusting and horrifying.
Sex was supposed to involve emotions, however rudimentary and these imbued the acts with meaning.
Sex to modern men and women is exactly that: mechanical, statistical, dehumanizing, casual, impersonal. Clinical.
Even the language used to discuss sex is a sex worker’s lingo.
Sex had become merely an aerobics exercise, or a physiological release.
Sex partners are at best amusing anecdotes and more often just forgettable warm bodies.
Sometimes, we hang a fantasy onto our sex partners. But they are otherwise invisible, just an excuse to fantasize.
We had become auto-erotic and porn addicted. We masturbate with a kaleidoscopic parade of interchangeable animated corpses.
Being a sex worker is not “wrong”. It is morally defensible or neutral. It is NOT immoral to be a prostitute.
True: sex workers typically have mental health issues. Who doesn’t?
My beef with sex work is different.
I am old-fashioned about sex.
To me, sex is a wonder of intimacy, each encounter and partner etched in my memory in vivid detail.
To me, sex is a miracle of vulnerability and connectedness, an aesthetic, a work of art, a sacred text.
And my sex partner is a goddess, even if only for a night. She transforms me. Our bodies fuse. Emotions resonate. The experience is always meaningful, sometimes transformative.
I never fuck. I make love. Unforgettable. Profound. Enchanted.
The concept of the unitary self is being
replaced with the idea that an internal operating system determines which of
several self-states emerges, given internally and externally (environmentally)
Self-efficacy is the overriding constraint which the system seeks to optimize when hailing forth these sub-personalities or pseudoidentities.
When all relevant or available self-states at the disposal of the system are equally self-efficacious, the system may opt to keep two or more of them in operation (I call it a “state of residuals”). This ineluctably leads to dissonance and internalized aggression.
A collapsed narcissist may evolve a binary system of two residual self-states: an overt narcissist and a covert one, both equally inept in securing narcissistic supply from outside sources.
Such a constellation is geared to generate self-supply in two ways: the overt self-state’s superiority to and rejection of the covert self-state and the covert’s fantasies of overt grandiosity.
The overt’s aggression towards the covert is recycled by the covert into a depressive state (self-directed aggression) and incorporated into its aforementioned sadistic fantasies. The overt and the covert collude in creating a sublimatory channel for the pent up rage, envy, and resentment that the collapsed narcissist is experiencing.
When aggression is channeled via
grandiosity, it can resolve into one or more of these
Judgmental-contemptuous (I am superior, unequalled)
Victorious (I am unique, for better or for worse)
Merciful-empathic (I pity people, have compassion, act charitably but ostentatiously)
Educational (I am a guru who elevates others to my level).
Overt+Covert Narcissist in One Person: Self-supply, Binary Narcissism
The sadistic narcissist perceives himself as godlike, ruthless and devoid of scruples, capricious and unfathomable, emotionless and non-sexual, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, a plague, a devastation, an inescapable verdict.
The narcissist is a 2 years old forever trapped in the no man's land between Mommy and the Big World out there.
The good enough mother allows her child to separate from her, take on reality, and individuate even as she helps it to maintain object constancy by always acting as a "safe base". The narcissist's mother refuses to let him go because she is insecure, selfish, depressed, parentifying, or dependent.
Consequently, the adult narcissist pendulates between a maternal figure in a shared fantasy and a pathological narcissistic space (his fantastic paracosm).
As he transitions between these two states, the narcissist experiences infantile helplessness. While in either of these two states, he feels at first grandiose and manic and then constricted, dysregulated, and aggressive.
To revert from one state to another, the narcissist uses four stratagems:
1. Termination (e.g, divorce, breakup, relocation, resigning from a job);
2. Deception (for instance: cheating or faking);
3. Undermining intimacy and trust, including by withholding and indifference;
4. Persecutory object fantasies, rendering people around him his enemies or adversaries best avoided.