Monday, May 24, 2010


OK so this filmmaker hooked up with Sam Vaknin, the web-savvy self-proclaimed narcissist, & made a documentary film abt it. Towards the end of this short the filmmaker talks about being conned by Old Sam.



Sam has played me like a violin
but thats what real psychopaths are good at
so maybe i shouldn't feel so stupid
about getting caught up in his scam
it happens to the best of us

Most victims of psychopaths end up
thinking that they're the problem
that one can bully manipulate & con them
& rather than responding
by either leaving or fighting back
often they will take it say, he's right
everything he says about me is right
there's something
wrong with me
and i deserve this
the victims all have something in common
and that is, they're all human
everybody can be victimized
i hvb conned & manipulated by psychopaths
& i shd know better
but how do you know?
if we blv in the fundamental goodness of man
we're doomed

It is not pleasant to be a narcissist. The narcissist experiences all manner of depressive episodes and lesser dysphoric moods. He goes through a full panoply of mood disorders and anxiety disorders. He experiences panic from time to time. But he has a diminished capacity to empathise, so he rarely feels sorry for what he does. He almost never puts himself in the shoes of his "victims".

Sure, he feels distress if he is intelligent enough to realise that something is wrong with him. He compares himself to others and the outcome is never favourable. His grandiosity is one of the defence mechanisms that he uses to cover up for this disagreeable state of things. But its efficacy is partial and intermittent. The rest of the time, the narcissist is immersed in self-loathing and self-pity. He is under duress and distress most of his waking life.

The narcissist is a fossilized child trapped in the amber of his own defence mechanisms against progressively more hurts, paranoid and delusional with a sadistic impulse to control and revenge. This inner landscape is never-changing but, as he ages it is less exposed to the outside world.

The narcissist indulges the infantile idea: I am a child, no one will hurt me, I will be loved without any reservations. Such unconditional acceptance does not exist among adults and the fantasy constitutes a barrier to mature, adult relationships.

The narcissist regards himself as being on a constant mission, whose importance is cosmic and whose consequences are global. This self-misperception is not amenable to light-headedness or self-deprecation.

The narcissist is easily insulted. Even the most innocuous remarks are taken as belittling, intruding, or coercive.

The narcissist is dead serious about himself. He may have a scathing and cynical sense of humour, but he never laughs when the joke’s on him.

The narcissist defines a rigid, impenetrable, personal territory and is physically revolted when it is breached.

His time is more valuable than others'; therefore, it cannot be wasted on unimportant matters such as social intercourse. Any suggestion to help, any advice or concerned inquiry are immediately interpreted as coercion. Any attempt to set an agenda is seen as an intimidating act of enslavement.

If he feels intrusion and abuse of his precious time, he acts bored, disdainful, even angry. He is very impatient, easily bored, with strong attention deficits - unless he is the topic of discussion.

If asked to relate directly to his emotions, he will intellectualise, rationalise, speak about himself in the third person and in a detached "scientific" tone, as if he were a director or an actor in a movie about his life.

The narcissist's perception of his existence is discontinuous. He is a walking compilation of "people", each with its own personal history. Since he does not feel in any way related to his former "selves", he does not understand why he must be punished for actions done by someone else.

With the narcissist's detachment from his former selves, societal punishment breeds in him surprise, hurt and rage. He is baffled by society's insistence that he be punished for deeds perpetrated, as far as he is concerned, by a previous phase of his self, alien to his current self.

He feels wronged, hurt, affected by bias, discrimination and injustice. He rebels and rages. Depending upon the pervasiveness of his magical thinking, the narcissist may feel persecuted by ominous cosmic forces.

The narcissist plays host to an assemblage of personas. One is always in the "limelight". This is the persona that interfaces with the outside world, and which guarantees an optimal inflow of narcissistic Supply. This is the persona that minimises the resistance to the narcissist offered by his human environment.

The "Limelight Persona" is surrounded by "Shade Personas", ready to surface as needed. Their emergence depends on their usefulness.

An old persona might be rendered less useful by a confluence of events.

The narcissist is always changing his circumstances. He switches constantly and erratically between jobs, vocations, marriages, friendships, residences, lovers, and even enemies with startling swiftness.

The narcissist avoids "emotional handles": photographs, music identified with a certain period in his life, places, people, mementos and emotional situations.

The narcissist lives a borrowed life on borrowed time. Every place and time are sufficient but not necessary, merely transitory, leading only to the next unfamiliar environment. The narcissist feels that the end is always near.

He lives in rented apartments, is an illegal immigrant in many countries, works without the necessary permits and licenses, is fully mobile on a short notice, does not buy real estate or immovables. Peripatetic and itinerant, he travels light.

The narcissist distances himself from the communities he inhabits: his neighbourhood, city, state, nation; his religion and ethnic background; his friends and relatives.

The narcissist cultivates feelings of incompatibility with his surroundings. He considers himself superior to others and keeps criticizing people, institutions and situations.

He favors grandiose fantasies of professions in which he does not have to face a practical, rigorous and constant course of conduct. Without doing the hard work, he strives to "belong" and to be admired for his ability to ingratiate himself. For instance, in speaking with professionals, he uses the most obscure jargon to project an impression of exceptional intelligence.

The narcissist reacts very slowly to a changing environment. He is a pessimist, knows he will lose his job - so he is constantly engaged in constructing plausible alibis.

This yields a feeling of temporariness, which prevents engagement, involvement, commitment, dedication, identification and emotional hurt in case of change or failure.

The frequent change of vocations prevents the narcissist from having a clear career path and annuls the need to persevere. All the initiatives adopted by a narcissist are egocentric, sporadic and discrete. They focus on an aspect of the narcissist, are randomly distributed in space and in time, and do not form a thematic or other continuum - they are not goal or objective oriented.

Sometimes the narcissist engages in the construction of invented goals with no correlation with the real world. To avoid facing performance tests and to maintain grandiosity and uniqueness the narcissist refrains from acquiring technical skills and systematic knowledge. The Child in the narcissist is reaffirmed this way - because these are adult activities and attributes that are avoided.

The narcissist avoids success because it brings emotional involvement, it requires emotional investment. He shuns a success which obliges him to invest and to identify himself with some goal and emphasizes areas of activity in which he is unlikely to succeed.

The narcissist ignores the future and does not plan. He invests only the minimum energy necessary to keep his job. He under-performs; his work is shoddy, defective and incomplete. He evades responsibility and tends to pass it on to others while exercising little control. His decision-making processes are rigid. When he presents himself as a man of principles, he means his own whimsical moods.

narcissists are afraid of intimacy. Intimacy is the emotional involvement that develops with safe and stable interaction. It is formed not only within a romance, but also in a workplace, in a neighbourhood, in collaborating on a project. Intimacy is the very foundation of a successful career, project, or friendship.

narcissists interpret intimacy as strangulation, the snuffing of freedom, death in installments. narcissists are elated after they unshackle these "chains". They feel liberated, free at last.

In a vague way, he may even feel sorry for those upon whom he inflicts the consequences of his personality disorder. He knows they are not happy, and he knows it has something to do with him. He tells himself: they can never understand me, poor things, they are so inferior.

The narcissist, fearing and loathing intimacy, stability and security - yet craving them - approaches and then avoids significant others in apparently inconsistent episodes.

Sporadic sex with long intervals of avoidance encourages abandonment by frustrated emotional objects.

Sexual frigidity with significant other, abstinence or autoerotic practices, or sex with indifferent and undemanding objects, provides dis-intimization.

The aim of negative, offputting behaviours is to test whether the narcissist's uniqueness will override and offset them in the mind of the object.

He likes to talk about himself and only about himself. He is disinterested in what others have to tell him about themselves. He might pretend to be interested - but this is only with a potential Source of narcissistic Supply.

To the narcissist, objects have no autonomous existence except as primary and secondary sources of narcissistic supply. Knowledge and intelligence serve as control mechanisms and extractors of adulation and attention.

The narcissist employs the twin mechanism of idealisation and devaluation. The former helps him attach to his new-found source of supply; the latter is used to detach from a source once its usefulness has been exhausted.

The Object of his attention may be used to recreate early life conflicts: The narcissist is bad and asks to be punished anew and to have confirmation that people are angry at him.

The object is kept emotionally distant through deterrence and is constantly tested by the narcissist who reveals his negative sides to the object.

The object experiences emotional absence, repulsion, deterrence, and insecurity. It is thus encouraged not to develop emotional involvement with the narcissist, as involvement requires feedback. The erratic and demanding relationship with the narcissist is experienced as a burden. It is punctuated by a series of "eruptions" followed by relief.

The narcissist is imposing, intrusive, compulsive, and tyrannical. Reality is interpreted cognitively so that negative aspects - real and imagined - of the object will be highlighted.

This preserves distance, fosters uncertainty, prevents emotional involvement and activates narcissistic mechanisms such as grandiosity which, in turn, increase the repulsion and aversion of the partner.

Another Emotional Involvement Prevention Mechanism is anhedonia, a constant boredom and lack of enthusiasm, a wish to "be free", to hop from one subject matter or object to another, with laziness, fatigue, dysphoria to the point of depression - low energies leading to reclusiveness, detachment.

Envy, rage, cynicism, vulgar frankness are all externalised forms of aggression that contribute to dis-intimization and pathological emotional and sexual communication.

The narcissist displays haughty body language, with a physical posture exuding an air of superiority, seniority, hidden powers, mysteriousness, amused indifference, etc. Rarely does the narcissist engage in eye contact and normally he refrains from bodily contact or physical proximity. he refrains from engaging in a discussion unless from a state of condescension, faked "magnanimity and largesse". He rarely mingles socially and prefers to adopt the stance of the "observer" or the "lone wolf".

The narcissist displays a sense of entitlement. He immediately asks for "special treatment" of some kind: not to wait for his turn, to have a longer or a shorter therapeutic session, to talk directly to authority figures, not to their assistants or secretaries. He wants to have special payment terms, custom tailored arrangements, special attention by the head waiter in a restaurant and so on. He reacts with rage and indignantly if denied his wishes.

The narcissist instantly idealises or devalues. Depending on his appraisal of the potential Source of narcissistic Supply, he either flatters, adores, admires and applauds the "target" in an embarrassingly exaggerated and profuse manner - or he sulks, abuses and humiliates. In the latter case (devaluation) he may force himself to be polite, because of proximity to a Supply Source. But this barbed sort of politeness degenerates into displays of abuse, rage, or cold detachment; this process being totally out of the control of the narcissist.

The narcissist prefers show-off to substance. One of the most effective methods of exposing a narcissist is by trying to go deeper and discuss substantial matters. The narcissist is shallow, a pond pretending to be an ocean. He likes to think of himself as a Renaissance man, a Jack of all knowledge. A narcissist will never admit to ignorance IN ANY FIELD!

Very often, the narcissist lies or fantasises in a manner very easy to discern. The narcissist brags. He name-drops. His speech is peppered with "I", "my", "myself", "mine" and other appropriating linguistic structures. He describes himself as intelligent, or rich, or modest, or intuitive, or creative - always extraordinarily so. His biography is implausibly rich and complex, incommensurate with his age, education, or recognition, and his actual state is incompatible with his claims.

The gap between the projected image of charisma, knowledge, grandiosity, and fantasy and the actual achievements gives the narcissist a feeling that he is a fraud, living an unreal life in a movie-like setting. This then gives rise to an ominous sensation of threat and a compensating sense of immunity.

1 comment:

  1. The source of all the Vaknin quotes above is:

    and the book "Malignant
    Self-love: Narcissism Revisited".

    Lidija Rangelovska