Thursday, November 30, 2006

Mixing oil and water

Psychologists often find that opposites attract in couples with personality disorders.

By Bridget Murray

By now, Florida psychologist Florence Kaslow, PhD, has seen the pattern so often among some couples that it's practically a clinical archetype: Both parties have personality disorders (PDs)--but on opposite ends of the spectrum.

The fastidious, stoic spouse with obsessive-compulsive PD clashes with the often messy, flamboyant spouse with histrionic PD. Or, likewise, the self-absorbed, self-important person with narcissistic PD spars with the needy, clingy partner with dependent PD.

"They seem to have a fatal attraction for each other in that their personality patterns are complementary and reciprocal--which is one reason why, if they get divorced, they are likely to be attracted over and over to someone similar to their former partner," Kaslow says.

Problems derive from each partner's unexpected reaction to the other, Kaslow says. She explains: "These people often literally see the other person as 'their other half.' But that half is one they have cut off in themselves, so they're essentially attracted to the thing they've rejected or have a negative attitude toward."

Exacerbating the situation is the fact that each partner stirs up some unconscious, unresolved developmental issue in the other, says Joan Lachkar, PhD, a Los Angeles practitioner who writes on partners who exhibit certain traits and characteristics of narcissistic and borderline PDs. For example, explains Lachkar, an instructor at the Southern California Psychoanalytic Institute, the borderline's neediness chips at the narcissist's armor against intimacy, and the narcissist's rejection stokes the borderline's abandonment anxiety, reaction to shame and tendency to feel shunned or abused.

Such partners are frequently developmentally arrested, forming a pattern that Lachkar calls "the dance" in a narcissistic/borderline relationship. The dysfunction in that dance--the narcissist's emotional withdrawal and the borderline's need for rejection and emotional upheaval--can stem largely from childhood attachment problems, a hallmark of personality disorders, Lachkar argues.

In adult relationships, Solomon adds, people with PDs may act out early abuse, neglect, violence and other forms of childhood attachment failure--although, as pointed out in the literature on PD underpinnings, it's not clear how much these failures stem from parental abuse, already existing childhood pathology that elicits negative parental reactions or an interplay of both.

Causes aside, Solomon maintains that the ingrained PD mechanisms form early: "When a child is terrified at 0 to 18 months, the left brain--the rational language part of the brain--has not yet developed, so the right brain either puts up a shield or views the self as flawed," Solomon says.

Combating those right-brain reactions by adding left-brain cognitive functions is key to treating couples battling PDs, Solomon says. However, practitioners lack research on how to effectively do that, says Links, author of the article on couples' treatment prospects for people with narcissistic PDs. In that paper, Links drew on his own clinical experience to argue that, when the partnership involves a narcissist, its survival depends on that person's ability to:

* Curtail acting-out behaviors, such as using drugs or alcohol, overspending, acting in sexually compulsive ways or physically or verbally abusing a partner.

* Reduce levels of defensiveness and show vulnerability.

In addition, says Links, the Arthur Sommer Rotenberg Chair in Suicide Studies at the University of Toronto, the couple needs to "rebalance" itself so that that the narcissist's partner--likely a more masochistic, dependent type--still gratifies the narcissist's need for admiration, but also can glean increased love, approval and support from the narcissist.

Bridget Murray

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Accountable Narcissist

Narcissists of ALL shades can usually control their behaviour and actions. They simply don't care to, they regard it as a waste of their precious time, a humiliating chore. The narcissist feels both superior and entitled – regardless of his real gifts or achievements. All others are his inferiors, his slaves, there to cater to his needs and make his existence seamless, flowing and smooth. The narcissist is cosmically significant and must be accorded the conditions needed to realise his talents and to successfully complete his mission (which changes fluidly and about which he has no clue except that it has to do with brilliance and ideal).

What the narcissist CANNOT control is his void, the emotional black hole, the fact that he doesn't know what it is like to be human (lacks empathy). As a result, narcissists are awkward, tactless, painful, taciturn, abrasive and insensitive.

The narcissist should be held accountable to most of his actions, perhaps with the exceptions of his rage and his grandiose fantasies. These are two fine examples, which allow us to make the distinction clearer.

The narcissist CANNOT control his rage and, therefore, should not be held accountable to it. BUT, if he attacks someone physically while raging, he should be held accountable because:

* He can tell right from wrong;

* He simply didn't care about the other person sufficiently to refrain from action.

Similarly, the narcissist cannot "control" his grandiose fantasies. He firmly believes that they constitute an accurate representation of reality. BUT, if he lies about his education, he should be held accountable because:

* He knows that lying is wrong and not done;

* He simply didn't care enough about society and others to refrain from doing so.

Narcissists should be held accountable for most of what they do because they can tell wrong from right AND they can refrain from acting as they do. They simply don't care enough about others to put to good use these twin abilities. Others are not sufficiently important to dent the narcissist's indifference.

Sam Vaknin

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Narcissistic Sexual Attitudes Dampen Intimacy

While a connection between narcissism and sex has been around since Freud, researchers are only now acknowledging its implications. In the current issue of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, University of Florida researchers found that narcissists are fixated on sexual gratification rather than enduring intimacy.

According to psychologist Ilan Shrira, narcissists are more likely to have a history of short-term sexual conquests compared to people who consider commitment the most important aspect of a relationship. "Narcissists have a heightened sense of sexuality, but they tend to view sex very differently than other people do," said Shrira. "They see sexuality more in terms of power, influence and as something daring, in contrast to people with low narcissistic qualities who associated sex more with caring and love."

It may come as no surprise to hear that men are generally more narcissistic than women. A finding that could even explain the wandering eye syndrome women see in their male partners. "Even when [narcissists] are in a relationship, they always seem to be on the lookout for other partners and searching for a better deal," Shrira said. "Whether that's because of their heightened sexuality or because they think multiple partners enhance their self-image isn't entirely clear." The results of one study showed that highly narcissistic people were 50 times more likely to view sexual intercourse as a way of increasing their own sexual pleasure, rather than complementing partner intimacy.

Source: University of Florida

Monday, November 27, 2006

Narcissism in Business

Narcissus was a beautiful youth in Greek mythology. He fell in love with his own reflection and then pined away while seeking it, not realizing that the image was illusory. Subsequently, narcissism became associated with a destructive pattern of behavior that results from an unrealistic and dangerous sense of one's importance and power, and the American Psychiatric Association classifies narcissism as a personality disorder.

Understanding narcissism may also provide some insight into the recent spate of executive scandals. While greed and ego may also play a role, recent events seem to venture into previously uncharted areas.


Almost on a daily basis, many of us ask, "What was in their minds?" Depending on the day, the "their" in question might involve one or more of a variety of corporate and financial services leaders:

• How could the Rigas family of the telecommunications firm Adelphia think they could use the public company they operated as a piggy bank for personal projects?

• How could Dennis Kozlowski of Tyco think he could avoid taxes on $13 million of art purchases?

• Had Samuel Waskal of ImClone Systems and Martha Stewart never heard of insider trading laws?

• How could analysts like Jack Grubman of Salomon Smith Barney continue to tout WorldCom stock as the negative news piled up?

• How could Andrew Fastow, CFO of Enron, believe that the investor marketplace would accept his Rube Goldberg-like financial structures? How could the bankers from Citi, JP Morgan Chase, Merrill, and many others believe that that the investor appetite was endless and unquestioning for these transactions?

All of the above-mentioned people are smart and well accomplished; they also managed to destroy their reputations and futures.

The NEW YORK TIMES reports that these people, as well as many others, may have become "lost in a narcissistic fog in which they imagined that they were above the law-that the rules no longer applied to people as grand as themselves."

It cannot be surprising that this personality type permeates both corporate management and investment banking. The author of a recent book on this topic states, "The narcissist lacks empathy-the ability to put himself in other people's shoes.[He] regards himself as one would an expensive present: he is a gift to is company, to his family, to his neighbors, to his colleagues, to his country." This sense of entitlement "makes him feel immune to mortal laws and somehow divinely protected and insulated from the inevitable consequences of his deeds and misdeeds." And, of course, until recently we all seemed to be living in an age of entitlement, one that would encourage narcissism.


Employees with narcissistic traits are dangerous to both themselves and their employers. Narcissism goes beyond mere ego in that it results in actions that can cause real and measurable harm:

• Merrill Lynch just paid a $100 million fine to settle a New York Attorney General lawsuit stemming from its security researchers' activities

• A number of narcissistic leaders built and then destroyed billions of dollars of shareholder value

• Sometimes they even end up in prison (remember who said, "Only the little people pay taxes"?)

On the personal side, we have seen executives destroy their families as a result of narcissistic actions. We once worked for a consulting firm at which one of the top executives constantly harassed female employees. When confronted with very strong evidence of his actions, he simply denied, denied, denied. And, for many years, the employer, not wanting to lose this employee's revenue producing power and intellect, simply closed its eyes to the problem. Ultimately, the employee left, after harming internal morale and eroding respect for those to whom he reported.


Traditionally, banks have been consensus driven organizations in which employees have "to play nice together." That is not always the case with, for example, finance companies and investment banks. And, one factor in the failure of some investment bank acquisitions to work within a bank culture may relate to the ability of a narcissistic culture to mesh with one that is more collegial.

Jack Welch often categorized employees as fitting into one of four

1. The good performer who fit into the company's culture
2. The good performer who did not fit into the company's culture
3. The OK performer who fit into the company's culture
4. The OK performer who did not fit into the company's culture

He felt it was easy to deal with numbers one (praise and retain) and four (exit). The focus with number three is to determine if you can make that person a good/great performer. Number two is the most difficult person to deal with. He is the excellent producer, but, may also be culturally abrasive and see himself as beyond the rules that others have to follow.

As banks change their hiring mix to bring in more aggressive sales people, traders, and bankers, senior management has to become more aware of the potential downside of some producers. Recognition and counseling can allow banks to take advantage of the substantial strengths of these high achievers while avoiding the land mines they may be carrying with them.


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Why Is It Always About You?

Why Is It Always About You? Saving Yourself from the Narcissists in Your Life

In the normal course of relationships, we all depend on others to affirm our sense of who we are. There are some people, however, who are incapable of this fundamental form of give-and-take. Spend enough time around these narcissists and anyone can start to feel invisible. In this groundbreaking book -- the first popular book on narcissism in more than a decade -- clinical social worker and psychotherapist Sandy Hotchkiss shows how to cope with such controlling, egotistical people and offers healthy strategies for rebuilding self-esteem.

Why Is It Always About You? explores the dynamics of the narcissistic personality -- how such individuals come to have this shortcoming, why you get drawn into their perilous orbit, and what you can do to break free. There is a touch of narcissism that lives in all of us, and some of it is even normal. Before you can disentangle yourself from the "web" of someone else's unhealthy narcissism, you will have to examine your own foibles and vulnerabilities and come to terms with that most uncomfortable of feelings, shame.

Beginning with an explanation of what has become one of the foremost personality types of our time, Sandy Hotchkiss describes what she calls the "Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism" -- Shamelessness, Magical Thinking, Arrogance, Envy, Entitlement, Exploitation, and Bad Boundaries -- and where they come from. You will learn to recognize the hallmarks of unhealthy narcissism in its many guises and to understand the roles that parenting and culture play in its creation.

Whether the narcissist in question is a co-worker, spouse, parent, or child, Why Is It Always About You? provides abundant practical advice and strategies for survival for anyone struggling to break narcissism's insidious spread from one generation to the next and for all those who encounter narcissists in their everyday life.

Why Is It Always About You? Saving Yourself from the Narcissists in Your Life
Sandy Hotchkiss
ISBN: 0743214277

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Narcissists Go For Their Gun When Criticized

For some time, psychologists have debated whether high or low self-esteem underlies violent behavior. New research suggests that the most dangerous people are "those who have a strong desire to regard themselves as superior beings." The research, which will be published in the July issue of the American Psychological Association's (APA) Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, demonstrates that actual self-esteem may have little if any relation to aggression.

Psychologists Brad J. Bushman, Ph.D., of Iowa State University and Roy F. Baumeister, Ph.D., of Case Western Reserve University conducted two studies in which they explored the connection between narcissism, negative interpersonal feedback, and aggression in 540 undergraduate students. Narcissists, according to the authors, are emotionally invested in establishing their superiority, yet while they care passionately about being superior to others, they are not convinced that they have achieved this superiority. While high self-esteem entails thinking well of oneself, narcissism involves passionately wanting to think well of oneself. In both studies, narcissism and self-esteem were measured, and participants were given an opportunity to act aggressively toward a neutral third party, toward someone who had insulted them, or toward someone who had praised them.

The psychologists found that the most aggressive respondents in both studies were narcissists who were attacking someone who had given them a bad evaluation.

Narcissists were exceptionally aggressive toward anyone who attacked or offended them, yet when they received praise, their level of aggression was not out of the ordinary. In both studies, self-esteem was not related to aggression, suggesting that the relationship between self-esteem and aggressive behavior is small at best.

Regarding the recent spate of school shootings throughout the country, Dr. Bushman, lead author of the study, notes that many schools are attempting to increase their students' self-esteem, which will probably have no effect on violent behavior. But excessive self-love, or narcissism, could actually increase violence in schools. While asserting that schools are not teaching kids to be narcissistic,

Dr. Bushman notes that "if kids begin to develop unrealistically optimistic opinions of themselves and those beliefs are constantly rejected by others, their feelings of self-love could make these kids potentially dangerous to those around them."

The researchers assert that people with high self-esteem are a heterogeneous group that may be more different than alike since high self-esteem can be an accurate appreciation of one's good traits, or it may be a highly doubtful sense of personal superiority that is not reality-based. While some individuals with high self-esteem are largely unaffected by feedback, others may require frequent confirmation and validation of their favorable self-image by others. Thus the psychologists assert that differences in the validity of individuals' self-esteem undermines its usefulness as a predictor of aggression.

The authors suggest that aggression by narcissists is an interpersonally meaningful and specific response to an ego threat. "Narcissists mainly want to punish or defeat someone who has threatened their highly favorable views of themselves," the authors note. "People who are preoccupied with validating a grandiose self-image apparently find criticism highly upsetting and lash out against the source of it."

Science A-GoGo

Friday, November 24, 2006

Narcissism and Substance Abuse

Pathological narcissism is an addiction to Narcissistic Supply, the narcissist's drug of choice. It is, therefore, not surprising that other addictive and reckless behaviours – workaholism, alcoholism, drug abuse, pathological gambling, compulsory shopping, or reckless driving – piggyback on this primary dependence.

The narcissist – like other types of addicts – derives pleasure from these exploits. But they also sustain and enhance his grandiose fantasies as "unique", "superior", "entitled", and "chosen". They place him above the laws and pressures of the mundane and away from the humiliating and sobering demands of reality. They render him the centre of attention – but also place him in "splendid isolation" from the madding and inferior crowd.

Such compulsory and wild pursuits provide a psychological exoskeleton. They are a substitute to quotidian existence. They afford the narcissist with an agenda, with timetables, goals, and faux achievements. The narcissist – the adrenaline junkie – feels that he is in control, alert, excited, and vital. He does not regard his condition as dependence. The narcissist firmly believes that he is in charge of his addiction, that he can quit at will and on short notice.

The narcissist denies his cravings for fear of "losing face" and subverting the flawless, perfect, immaculate, and omnipotent image he projects. When caught red handed, the narcissist underestimates, rationalises, or intellectualises his addictive and reckless behaviours – converting them into an integral part of his grandiose and fantastic False Self.

The narcissist's addictive behaviours take his mind off his inherent limitations, inevitable failures, painful and much-feared rejections, and the Grandiosity Gap – the abyss between the image he projects (the False Self) and the injurious truth. They relieve his anxiety and resolve the tension between his unrealistic expectations and inflated self-image – and his incommensurate achievements, position, status, recognition, intelligence, wealth, and physique.

Thus, there is no point in treating the dependence and recklessness of the narcissist without first treating the underlying personality disorder. The narcissist's addictions serve deeply ingrained emotional needs. They intermesh seamlessly with the pathological structure of his disorganised personality, with his character faults, and primitive defence mechanisms.

Sam Vaknin

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Destructive Narcissistic Pattern

For all of us forced to deal with "infuriating, mean, critical people," seasoned counselor Nina Brown has a word of warning. "You must accept that your usual coping strategies are not effective, and will not be effective, with this person," she advises. "You cannot expect them to react and behave as adults." So what's a victim to do? Start with the suggestions in this book. In Coping with Infuriating, Mean, Critical People, Brown explains why many people, who may not display all of the characteristics necessary for a formal, full-blown narcissist diagnosis, still display what she calls a "destructive narcissistic pattern" that results in much the same anguish for those with whom the individual interacts. Thankfully, she also provides specific methods that will help victims of this behavior deal with the narcissistic colleague, supervisor or boss, parent, or intimate other. Only the extremely lucky among us have never faced or felt the effects of narcissistic behaviors and attitudes, displayed by colleagues, bosses, friends, parents, or lovers. These individuals may boast and brag constantly, take credit for other people's work, expect favors but return few or none, never listen (but always know all the answers), be sure of what is right and best regardless of the topic. They devalue others, micromanage, are hypercritical and mistrustful. Other characteristics of this harmful personality include an inflated sense of importance, although achievements are exaggerated and actual outcomes don't support feelings of superiority. They are exploitative, without empathy, and believe they are envied by all. Brown's excellent advice will help you cope.

Coping with Infuriating, Mean, Critical People: The Destructive Narcissistic Pattern
Nina W. Brown
ISBN: 0275989844

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The tyranny of toxic managers

Narcissistic managers are toxic managers

Preoccupied with their own importance, narcissistic managers are grandiose and arrogant. They devalue others, lack empathy for others and have little, if any, conscience. Feeling exempt from the normal rules of society, they exploit people without remorse.

Narcissistic individuals are also very sensitive to anything that threatens their self-esteem. Challenges to their grandiose self image can lead to narcissistic rage that sees them lose all judgment and attack in ways that are destructive to themselves and their victims.

Arrogant with peers and subordinates, they may suddenly become submissive in the presence of a superior. Once the superior has left, they may well disparage her. They generally deprecate and exploit others, including former idols. They may, however, idealize powerful individuals who support them, though only for a short time.

Under the surface, narcissistic managers struggle with fragile self-esteem. They also have a sense of emptiness arising from their lack of true self-love and inability to care about other people or about abstract values such as honesty and integrity. Their grandiose fantasies are attempts to fill the emptiness and reinforce their fragile self-esteem.

The classic narcissistic manager is grandiose. Grandiose managers are legends in their own minds. Preoccupied with their exaggerated accomplishments and grandiose expectations for the future, they expect others to hold them in awe. Constantly boasting, they resemble peacocks strutting around with their tail feathers unfurled.

Some narcissistic managers are not effusive about their abilities and accomplishments. What stands out about them is a willingness to exploit others, a willingness to break the law, or a desire to control and dominate others.

Narcissistic managers are less likely to make major changes in their behaviour than are managers with other issues. They are also particularly likely to become outraged and vindictive if someone challenges their behaviour. Therefore, when you are dealing with a manager who is rigid or aggressive, it is important to know whether narcissism or other disorders lie underneath their destructive behaviour.

A milder variant of narcissistic managers are those with learned narcissism. They are not desperately trying to hide and shield fragile self-esteem arising from a troubled childhood. Rather, their success in some area has brought sufficient fame and fortune that they have been shielded from the normal consequences of behaving arrogantly and treating others poorly. Moreover, as people incessantly flatter them, they come to believe the glorifying compliments. Although somewhat grandiose and inconsiderate of others, these people have a conscience and can feel empathy for others; they simply do not realize the full impact of their behavior on others. People with learned narcissism are far more amenable to change than are those with narcissism resulting from problems early on in emotional development.

Coping with a narcissistic manager is very difficult for most people. You can't make it a fun experience, but there are things you can do to make yourself less vulnerable to them.

Superiors of narcissistic managers also need to be careful. If you supervise a narcissistic manager you should:

• Watch your back

• Don't ignore signs of trouble

• Don't believe them over their subordinates

• Assess if the narcissism is learned or from early development and if it can be modified with the help of a therapist/coach

• Get coaching for them

• Get 360 feedback on them and use it as a major part of their assessment

Roy Lubit

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Shadow and the little child the Shadow ate.

It has possession of his mind, his house. Like any little child, he adores Big Daddy Demon, imitates Big Daddy Demon, and has an unsettled issue in trying to win Big Daddy Demon's approval. So, instead of kicking his tormentor out of his house, he abuses others to be like Big Daddy Demon and fool himself about what he is.

Like Big Daddy Demon, he abuses those most innocent and defenseless, those least deserving of the punishment for his Daddy's sins. That's what they exist for.

And so the curse of malignant narcissism is passed from generation to generation in families.

In the cases on which my work is based there has been what I call a true self hidden, protected by a false self. This false self is no doubt an aspect of the true self. It hides and protects it, and it reacts to the adaptation failures and develops a pattern corresponding to the pattern of environmental failure. In this way the true self is not involved in the reacting, and so preserves a continuity of being. However, this hidden true self suffers an impoverishment that derives from lack of experience.

— D. W. Winnicott, from "Clinical Varieties of Transference," 1955-56

What's in There?

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Tragedy of the Inverted Narcissist

To "qualify" as an inverted narcissist, you must CRAVE to be in a relationship with a narcissist, regardless of any abuse inflicted on you by him/her. You must ACTIVELY seek relationships with narcissists and ONLY with narcissists, no matter what your (bitter and traumatic) past experience has been. You must feel EMPTY and UNHAPPY in relationships with ANY OTHER kind of person. Only then, and if you satisfy the other diagnostic criteria of a Dependent Personality Disorder, can you be safely labelled an "inverted narcissist".

The inverted narcissist is compelled to filter all of her narcissistic needs through the primary narcissist in their lives. No independence is permitted. The IN feels amplified by the narcissist's commentary (because nothing can be accomplished by the invert without the approval of a primary narcissist in their lives). - Sam Vaknin

The inverted narcissist is a co-dependent who caters to the emotional needs of a classic narcissist. Often a relative or mate of a narcissist-- this person feeds the narcissistic supply of adulation, admiration, coddling etc. that the classic type requires. - Lisa Angelettie

Dependent Personality Disorder

Personality disorder characterized by at least 3 of the following:

(a) encouraging or allowing others to make most of one's important life decisions;

(b) subordination of one's own needs to those of others on whom one is dependent, and undue compliance with their wishes;

(c) unwillingness to make even reasonable demands on the people one depends on;

(d) feeling uncomfortable or helpless when alone, because of exaggerated fears of inability to care for oneself;

(e) preoccupation with fears of being abandoned by a person with whom one has a close relationship, and of being left to care for oneself;

(f) limited capacity to make everyday decisions without an excessive amount of advice and reassurance from others.

Associated features may include perceiving oneself as helpless, incompetent, and lacking stamina.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

5 Sure-fire ways to provoke a narcissist

Narcissists become unhinged when their hot-buttons are pushed. By continually bringing the narcissist back to reality by repeatedly 'stinging' him on his sore-places is both a community service and a source of amusement.

Here we have 5 sure-fire ways of putting a narcissist in his place.

1. If you are able to contradict him, do so and do it publically and support your contradiction or disagreement with facts. The effect will be the same as a blow to his head with a sledgehammer.

2. ALL narcissists fear intimacy. Try to draw the narcissist out to comment on intimate matters or highlight his obvious inability establish and maintain intimate relationships. Try something like: "I see you have been married a number of times, I guess you have a problem with women, ever thought of trying a man?" or "You have a weight problem, how are you trying to deal with that?"

3. When he talks about himself and his achievements always look bored, where possible interject and where appropriate, say in a formal meeting, ask him back to stick to the topic. Try something like: "Why are we hearing about you? The subject under discussion here is ...... so can we stick to the point please."

4. Always remind him of reality and bring him back down to earth when his sense of grandiosity gets the better of him. Try something like: "Can we please stick to the reality? I am not sure dealing with individual fantasies is advancing this discussion."

5. Make comments that directly or indirectly impinge on his self-image, omnipotence, judgement, omniscience, skills, capabilities, professional record, or even omnipresence.

Good ways to start sentences are:
"I think you overlooked ... made a mistake here ... you don't know ... do you now ... you were not here yesterday so ... you cannot ... you should ... (perceived by narcissists as a rude imposition, narcissists react very badly to restrictions placed on their freedom to live their fantasy) ... I (always remind him that you are a separate, independent entity, narcissists regard others as extensions of their selves, their internalization processes were screwed up and they did not differentiate properly) ..." You get the gist of it.

With apologies to the authors of : The Inverted Narcissist

Saturday, November 18, 2006

How to Divorce a Narcissist

Divorce is a life crisis - and more so for the narcissist. The narcissist stands to lose not only his spouse but an important source of narcissistic supply. This results in narcissistic injury, rage, and an all-pervasive feelings of injustice, helplessness and paranoia.

I. How to Cope with the Narcissist

If he has a rage attack – rage back. This will provoke in him fears of being abandoned and the resulting calm will be so total that it might seem unbelievable. Narcissists are known for these sudden tectonic shifts in mood and in behaviour patterns.

Mirror the narcissist’s actions and repeat his words. If he threatens – threaten back and credibly try to use the same language and content. If he leaves the house – leave it as well, disappear on him. If he is suspicious – act suspicious. Be critical, denigrating, humiliating, go down to his level – because that is where he permanently is. Faced with his mirror image – the narcissist always recoils.

The other way is to abandon him and go about reconstructing your own life. Very few people deserve the kind of investment that is an absolute prerequisite to living with a narcissist. To cope with a narcissist is a full time, energy and emotion-draining job, which reduces the persons around the narcissist to insecure nervous wrecks.

II. The Narcissist in Court

How can you expose the lies of the Narcissist in a court of law? He acts so convincing!

A clear distinction has to be made between the FACTUAL pillar and the PSYCHOLOGICAL pillar of any cross-examination or deposition of a narcissist.
It is essential to be equipped with absolutely unequivocal, first rate, thoroughly authenticated and vouched for information. The reason is that narcissists are superhuman in their capacity to distort reality by offering highly "plausible" alternative scenarios, which fit most of the facts.

It is very easy to break a narcissist – even a well-trained and prepared one.

Here are a few of the things the narcissist finds devastating:

Any statement or fact, which seems to contradict his inflated perception of his grandiose self. Any criticism, disagreement, exposure of fake achievements, belittling of "talents and skills" which the narcissist fantasizes that he possesses, any hint that he is subordinated, subjugated, controlled, owned or dependent upon a third party. Any description of the narcissist as average and common, indistinguishable from many others. Any hint that the narcissist is weak, needy, dependent, deficient, slow, not intelligent, naive, gullible, susceptible, not in the know, manipulated, a victim.

The narcissist is likely to react with rage to all these and, in an effort to re-establish his fantastic grandiosity, he is likely to expose facts and stratagems he had no conscious intention of exposing.

The narcissist reacts with narcissistic rage, hatred, aggression, or violence to an infringement of what he perceives to be his entitlement.

Narcissists believe that they are so unique and that their lives are so cosmically significant that others should defer to their needs and cater to their every whim without ado. The narcissist feels entitled to special treatment by unique individuals, over and above the regular person.

Any insinuation, hint, intimation, or direct declaration that the narcissist is not special at all, that he is average, common, not even sufficiently idiosyncratic to warrant a fleeting interest will inflame the narcissist.

Add to this a negation of the narcissist's sense of entitlement – and the combustion is inevitable. Tell the narcissist that he does not deserve the best treatment, that his needs are not everyone's priority, that he is boring, that his needs can be catered to by an average practitioner (medical doctor, accountant, lawyer, psychiatrist), that he and his motives are transparent and can be easily gauged, that he will do what he is told, that his temper tantrums will not be tolerated, that no special concessions will be made to accommodate his inflated sense of self, that he is subject to court procedures, etc. – and the narcissist will lose control.

The narcissist believes that he is the cleverest, far above the madding crowd. If contradicted, exposed, humiliated, berated ("You are not as intelligent as you think you are", "Who is really behind all this? It takes sophistication which you don't seem to have", "So, you have no formal education", "you are (mistake his age, make him much older) ... sorry, you are ... old", "What did you do in your life? Did you study? Do you have a degree? Did you ever establish or run a business? Would you define yourself as a success?", "Would your children share your view that you are a good father?", "You were last seen with a Ms. ... who is (suppressed grin) a DOMESTIC (in demeaning disbelief)". I know that many of these questions cannot be asked outright in a court of law. But you CAN hurl these sentences at him during the breaks, inadvertently during the examination or deposition phase, etc.

III. What to Expect

Narcissists are often vindictive and they often stalk and harass.

Basically, there are only two ways of coping with vindictive narcissists:

1. To Frighten Them

Narcissists live in a state of constant rage, repressed aggression, envy and hatred. They firmly believe that everyone is like them. As a result, they are paranoid, suspicious, scared and erratic. Frightening the narcissist is a powerful behaviour modification tool. If sufficiently deterred – the narcissist promptly disengages, gives up everything he was fighting for and sometimes make amends.

To act effectively, one has to identify the vulnerabilities and susceptibilities of the narcissist and strike repeated, escalating blows at them – until the narcissist lets go and vanishes.


If a narcissist is hiding a personal fact – one should use this to threaten him. One should drop cryptic hints that there are mysterious witnesses to the events and recently revealed evidence. The narcissist has a very vivid imagination. Let his imagination do the rest.

The narcissist may have been involved in tax evasion, in malpractice, in child abuse, in infidelity – there are so many possibilities, which offer a rich vein of attack. If done cleverly, non-committally, gradually, in an escalating manner – the narcissist crumbles, disengages and disappears. He lowers his profile thoroughly in the hope of avoiding hurt and pain. Most narcissists have been known to disown and abandon a whole PNS (pathological narcissistic space) in response to a well-focused campaign by their victims. Thus, a narcissist may leave town, change a job, desert a field of professional interest, avoid friends and acquaintances – only to secure a cessation of the unrelenting pressure exerted on him by his victims.

I repeat: most of the drama takes place in the paranoid mind of the narcissist. His imagination runs amok. He finds himself snarled by horrifying scenarios, pursued by the vilest "certainties". The narcissist is his own worst persecutor and prosecutor.

You don't have to do much except utter a vague reference, make an ominous allusion, delineate a possible turn of events. The narcissist will do the rest for you. He is like a little child in the dark, generating the very monsters that paralyse him with fear.

Needless to add that all these activities have to be pursued legally, preferably through the good services of law offices and in broad daylight. If done in the wrong way – they might constitute extortion or blackmail, harassment and a host of other criminal offences.

2. To Lure Them

The other way to neutralize a vindictive narcissist is to offer him continued narcissistic supply until the war is over and won by you. Dazzled by the drug of narcissistic supply – the narcissist immediately becomes tamed, forgets his vindictiveness and triumphantly takes over his "property" and "territory". Under the influence of narcissistic supply, the narcissist is unable to tell when he is being manipulated. He is blind, dumb and deaf to all but the song of the NS sirens. You can make a narcissist do ANYTHING by offering, withholding, or threatening to withhold narcissistic supply (adulation, admiration, attention, sex, awe, subservience, etc.).

Sam Vaknin

Friday, November 17, 2006

Narcissism - Diagnostic Criteria

The Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) has been recognized as a seperate mental health disorder in the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual (DSM) in 1980. Its diagnostic criteria and their interpretation have undergone a major revision in the DSM III-R (1987) and were substantially revamped in the DSM IV in 1994. The European ICD-10 basically contains identical language.

An all-pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behaviour), need for admiration or adulation and lack of empathy, usually beginning by early adulthood and present in various contexts.

Five (or more) of the following criteria must be met:

• Feels grandiose and self-important (e.g., exaggerates accomplishments, talents, skills, contacts, and personality traits to the point of lying, demands to be recognised as superior without commensurate achievements);

• Is obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, unequalled brilliance (the cerebral narcissist), bodily beauty or sexual performance (the somatic narcissist), or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering love or passion;

• Firmly convinced that he or she is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people (or institutions);

• Requires excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation - or, failing that, wishes to be feared and to be notorious (Narcissistic Supply);

• Feels entitled. Demands automatic and full compliance with his or her unreasonable expectations for special and favourable priority treatment;

• Is "interpersonally exploitative", i.e., uses others to achieve his or her own ends;

• Devoid of empathy. Is unable or unwilling to identify with, acknowledge, or accept the feelings, needs, preferences, priorities, and choices of others;

• Constantly envious of others and seeks to hurt or destroy the objects of his or her frustration. Suffers from persecutory (paranoid) delusions as he or she believes that they feel the same about him or her and are likely to act similarly;

• Behaves arrogantly and haughtily. Feels superior, omnipotent, omniscient, invincible, immune, "above the law", and omnipresent (magical thinking). Rages when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted by people he or she considers inferior to him or her and unworthy.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Lies [with deceptions]

Knowing, deliberate lies with deceptions are nearly always at the heart of the distorted perception, narcissism and abuse of power of the victims.

The goal of the liar is to convince you that perception is reality--that is to say, his perception is to be your reality.

The second goal of the liar is to convince you that the end justifies the means so that you will abandon all integrity and pull out all the stops to achieve what the abuser wants to achieve.

Acting out the premise that the end justifies the means is a deal with the Devil: You are automatically trapped in the lies and deceptions as a willing accessory.

If you are caught in the immoral, unethical and illegal acts in following the premise that the end justifies the means, it is generally arranged that you alone will bear the consequences in the arena of accountability.

Participating in lies and deceptions, making yourself a party to them, destroys your character and weakens your position with the abuser. It is a trap from which you may not be able to extricate yourself.

Lies result in apathy, when people come to know the lies and find they cannot do anything about them because their options are limited by superior force. Listen for the statement of hopelessness: "Nothing ever changes around here".

When people begin to find options to the enforced lies they are forced to live with, what usually follows is rebellion. Rebellion takes many forms--from sedition to quitting the job and working elsewhere to outright violence. Going Postal often finds its foundation in the fruition of the frustrations of bearing lies and deceptions in an insane environment. Abuse often ends in violence or divorce when people feel they can't live with it any longer.

Quiet Safe [org]

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

When you see these guys, be prepared to run

By Samantha Bonar, Los Angeles Times

He makes you feel as safe and warm as a cup of cocoa with a marshmallow melting in it. But then, when you get to the bottom of the mug, you find a dead fly, and disgust replaces delight.

Virtually every woman has had experience with a man who comes on strong and retreats just as vehemently.

This type calls and e-mails constantly, is romantic and generous, talks about how special and wonderful you are, how perfect your dates and kisses have been, and speculates about your future together - often including marriage and kids.


But just about the time your wary modern woman starts to think, "Well, maybe this would be kind of nice" - which is generally the moment she has invested in new lingerie or bought the guy a toothbrush to keep at her house - this scenario unfolds.

The man says: "Let me hold you. Relax. Do you feel safe? Do you feel warm? Good. Now I am going to drop you on the floor. Try not to conk your head too hard. Bye!"

He also might offer one or more of the following statements: "I'm not sure I'm over my ex-girlfriend," "This is moving too fast for me," "I don't want to be in a relationship right now," "I'm going to leave you alone for a while while I figure things out," "I'm confused about my feelings for you."

The woman is left rubbing her head. Is this the guy who was sending her flowers, annoying her with phone calls, begging to see more of her, buying her Kobe steak and gelato, caressing her arm for an hour and telling her how beautiful she is? The experience is completely disorienting.


Descriptions of this sort of fellow - he's practically an archetype - range from the clinical (the Commitmentphobe, the Narcissist) to the poetic (the Houdini, the Vapor Trail) to the sarcastic (the Scared Wittle Wabbit) to the caustic (the Creep). I like to call them "Runners," from the 1976 futurist film "Logan's Run." (In the movie, doomed Runners tried to escape from their domed city to the unknown "Sanctuary.")

I prefer not to think of such gentlemen as psychological anomalies (or "whack jobs," to use the clinical term) at all but rather as a dangerous natural phenomenon, like nitric acid.

And since it is no longer socially acceptable to have one's father or brother horsewhip such triflers on the steps of the club, my interest lies in how to spot and avoid them. In other words, in social control.


A modest proposal would be to brand or tattoo such men with a small "R" on the palm or perhaps behind the ear. The problem is, women are experts at ignoring warning signs, even one so obvious. Also, Runners undoubtedly would offer all sorts of assurances, such as "I used to be a Runner, but I'm more mature now," "I got branded by my vindictive ex-girlfriend/wife," "I may have run in the past, but you are so special, I'd never run from you."

And it would work, too, because even without the branding, most women must admit that when they first started dating Runners, in between the "Sweethearts" and the cuddling, at some point the Runner made an unequivocal statement such as: "When I start to have feelings for someone, I run." To which the woman responded with something like: "Did you say something? Would you kiss my hand again?"

And then, typically, women let the Runner run back and forth after his wishy-washiness emerges. When he gets too close, he runs away. When he gets some distance and turns around and sees the woman isn't chasing him, he runs back. If she accepts him with open arms, he's off again. If she slams the door in his face, he starts up with the five phone calls a day again, but just until she answers. Then he runs again. He doesn't want to be with her, but he wants to know she's still there.

Even absent the tattooed "R," your self-respect demands that the next time a man gives you a big clue that he's a Runner, you put on your running shoes and sprint in the other direction as fast as you can.

Besides, swimmers are hotter anyway.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Serving your narcissist boss well

If you are dominated by a narcissist, you probably are challenged to continually strive to satisfy the demands which deplete you mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically, economically, and politically.

You know that your narcissistic parasite relies upon you to make them feel alive and confirm again that they are the center of the universe.

They are "bigger than life" and it is your job to tirelessly and perpetually shamelessly promote them as being the very best--whether they are the smartest, most clever, most handsome / beautiful or athletic--there is no one who can compare to them; they are a triumph of image over substance.

It is truly difficult to live up to the greatness of these people and you should always feel extremely honored to know these people.

Many of these people are avowed atheists, but do not be deceived--none of them truly are, for they ARE God!

You must recognize this godhood as part of their perfection: Narcissists are beyond mere perfection.

The person might be your friend, your spouse, your boss, a family member or a drinking buddy: The specifics of the nature of the relationship is unimportant--they have selected you to be their Ego Drug Supplier.

You are their unpaid prostitute to not just give them strokes according to their desires and needs; you must anticipate their wants and needs in advance to be ready to go the distance to satiate them.

Plan ahead.

Observe and learn them thoroughly to play in complete harmony in concert with them as second fiddle without missing a beat or generating a sour note.

Give them the feeling of power and superiority by volunteering to let them dominate you and expressing your willingness to do anything they want.

Give into their demands freely of yourself at any time, day or night; ignoring their weird sense of time and timelessness.

When your narcissist tells you to "Jump!", ask them how high ON THE WAY UP!

Be certain to always listen in silent attentive rapt attention as they go on and on for hours about how stupid people are and how they've been so insulted and how they're being so mistreated and how it's so hard to find anyone competent and how bad service is and how really rotten everyone in the world is.

Remember that these people are very sensitive to any hint of a suggestion that they may be wrong: To insinuate that they are anything but perfect will instantly destroy your credibility.

Resist the nagging doubts of your psychological early warning autoimmune system, nagging you that you might have made a deal with the Devil, that your narcissist is peculiar and disturbing, amoral and conscienceless, entitled, self-contradictory, stingy, grandiose, delusional, humorless, seductive, insensitive, pessimistic, secretive, cruel, immature, envious, competitive, contemptuous, critical, unpredictable, authoritarian, inflexible, cynical, gloomy, impulsive, having a highly selective memory, being a superior revisionist of history, may be wrong, might be mentally ill, might be an alcoholic, might be an abuser, might be a dirty rotten scoundrel who could land you in prison on death row.

You are a sadly flawed person who can never measure up to the perfection of the narcissist and are beneath contempt--you will never amount to anything and are not to be thanked or given any kind of recognition and gratitude: Any recognition and gratitude must always flow to your narcissist.

Always provide narcissists with what they expect from you, instantly, without question, gratefully and cheerfully.

In the back of your mind maintain that little voice that tells you, "What you are doing is for your own good and for the good of the whole world--you are doing an excellent thing, and you must continue!".

Never expect respect: Remember your place--you are a worthless, valueless, stinking piece of repugnant garbage who has been graced with the opportunity to satisfy your narcissist's addiction to you as their source to feed from.

Realize your place.

They are your Lord and Master; you are their unimportant obscure slave, lackey, footman / mistress--never make the mistake to think you should ever expect anything in return except your perpetual subservience.

You will always stand in the shadow of their greatness and never be any more than you are today.

Your Master will always stand above you with Executive Privilege as the successor of the Divine Right of Kings.

Be aware that your existence is only fulfilled in protecting the reputation of your narcissist King.

If your narcissistic source ever diminishes, understand that your narcissist will dump you in favor of someone who can better supply their continually burgeoning need for their drug of choice--you.

Never feel the need to be free from your abuser--your path is clearly one of sorrow, suffering, trials, burdens and utter joylessness; always be prepared to be trivialized--to lie down and bare your neck to show your submission to your narcissist as leader of the pack.

You must eternally compromise yourself and your principles, conforming to the will of your obsessed, unstable, erratic, demoniacal Master, negotiating appeasement at every turn, living in fear of their temper, anger, rage, ire, menace, and contempt.

As the needs of your narcissist escalates, you will find yourself continually losing ground.

You must be prepared for this.

After years of tolerating excruciating abuse, you will be dumped.

You will feel guilty, lonely, insecure, empty--severed from the one to whom you have sacrificed your entire life, selflessly, asking and needing nothing from them.

Your narcissist will have moved on to a new source, for that is the cruel creature they are and what you have willingly volunteered to support.

But they are not finished with you yet.

You are expected to come to them on bended knees, repentant and contrite, groveling in sackcloth and ashes, admitting your sinfulness by not treating them with the extreme honor they came to expect, bearing your shame and embarrassment, begging and pleading with them with sincere tears of sorrow to forgive you and accept you back, apologizing for your worthlessness, sins and weaknesses--to make promises that you can reform to please your former Master; and most of all you must bear the blame for everything that has gone wrong in their lives; acknowledging your heretofore lack of gratitude for their presence in your life.

Just apologizing to them for offending them, though you have done nothing wrong, is a sure sign that you have entered this phase of your relationship.

If it pleases your narcissist, they may toy with you and make vague references to accepting you back, "After you prove yourself"; more often than not they, will threaten you by saying things like, "You'll PAY for this!" and "You'll regret it!".

The worst thing you could do at this point is to ignore them and get on with your life to be truly freed from your slavery.

Fortunately, there are others who need to live off of a narcissistic source.

If you seek, you shall find; if you knock, it will be opened to you; ask, and it shall be given unto to you.

You can always start the cycle all over again.

Quiet Safe [org]

Monday, November 13, 2006

The narcissist - a hunchback without a mirror

The Narcissistic Lie - is separated from [other types of lies] by its breadth and recursiveness. It is all-pervasive, ubiquitous, ever recurring, all encompassing, entangled and intertwined with all the elements of the liar's life and personality. Moreover, it is a lie of whose nature the liar is not aware and he is convinced of its truth. But the people surrounding the Narcissist liar notice the lie. The Narcissist-liar is rather like a hunchback without a mirror. He does not believe in the reality of his own hump. It seems that where the liar does not believe his own lies - he succeeds in convincing his victims rather effectively. When he does believe in his own inventions - he fails miserably at trapping his fellow men.

The narcissist's lies are not goal-orientated. This is what makes his constant dishonesty both disconcerting and incomprehensible. The narcissist lies at the drop of a hat, needlessly, and almost ceaselessly. He lies in order to avoid the Grandiosity Gap - when the abyss between fact and (narcissistic) fiction becomes too gaping to ignore.

The narcissist lies in order to preserve appearances, uphold fantasies, support the tall (and impossible) tales of his False Self and extract Narcissistic Supply from unsuspecting sources, who are not yet on to him. To the narcissist, confabulation is not merely a way of life - but life itself.

We are all conditioned to let other indulge in pet delusions and get away with white, not too egregious, lies. The narcissist makes use of our socialization. We dare not confront or expose him, despite the outlandishness of his claims, the improbability of his stories, the implausibility of his alleged accomplishments and conquests. We simply turn the other cheek, or meekly avert our eyes, often embarrassed.

Sam Vaknin

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Self Inflation: Key to Emotional Survival of Narcissists

Because they need continuous proof of the significance of their voice, narcissists must find people, particularly important people, to hear and value them. If they are not heard, their childhood wound opens, and they quickly begin to melt away like the Wicked Witch of the West. This terrifies them. Narcissists use everyone around them to keep themselves inflated. Often they find flaws in others and criticize them fiercely, for this further distinguishes them from those who are defective.

Children are ready targets: narcissists consider children flawed and lacking, and therefore most in need of severe "teaching" and correction. This negative picture of children is a sad projection of how the narcissist truly feels about his or her inner self before the self-inflation began. But the narcissist never recognizes this: they consider their harsh, controlling parenting magnanimous and in the child's best interest. Spouses receive similar treatment--they exist to admire the narcissist and to remain in the background as an adornment. Frequently, spouses are subject to the same barrage of criticism. This can never be effectively countered, because any assertive defense is a threat to the narcissist's wounded "self."

Not surprisingly, narcissists cannot hear others: spouse, lover, or friends, and especially not children. They are interested in listening only to the extent that it allows them the opportunity to give advice or share a similar incident (either better or worse, depending upon which has more impact). Many engage in "sham" listening, appearing to be very attentive because they want to look good. Usually they are unaware of their deafness--in fact they believe they hear better than anyone else (this belief, of course, is another attempt at self-inflation). Because of their underlying need for voice and the resultant bluster, narcissists often work their way to the center of their "circle," or the top of their organization. Indeed, they may be the mentor or guru for others. The second they are snubbed, however, they rage at their "enemy".

What makes it difficult to help this type of narcissist is their self-deception. The processes used to protect themselves are ingrained from childhood. As a result, they are absolutely unaware of their constant efforts to maintain a viable "self." If they are meeting with success, they are satisfied with life regardless of whether the people around them are happy. Two circumstances bring this type of person to a therapist's office. Sometimes a partner who feels chronically unheard and unseen drags them in. Or, they have met with some failure (often in their career) so that the strategies they previously used to maintain self-esteem suddenly no longer work. In the latter situation, their depression is profound--like cotton candy, their robust false self dissolves, and one is able to see an accurate picture of their inner sense of worthlessness.

Can such people be helped? Sometimes. The critical factor is whether they ultimately acknowledge their core problem: that as a child they felt neither seen nor heard (and/or their self was fragile as a result of trauma, genetic predisposition, etc.), and they unconsciously employed self-building strategies to survive. Acknowledging this truth takes much courage, for they must face their underlying lack of self-esteem, their exceptional vulnerability, and significantly, the damage they have caused others. Then comes the long and painstaking work of building (or resurrecting) a genuine, non-defensive self in the context of an empathic and caring therapy relationship.

Richard Grossman, Ph.D .

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Bystanders: Don’t count on there being many heroes

"Bystanders resent the tortured because they make them feel guilty and ashamed for having done nothing to prevent the atrocity. The victims threaten their sense of security and their much-needed belief in predictability, justice, and rule of law. The victims, on their part, do not believe that it is possible to effectively communicate to "outsiders" what they have been through. The torture chambers are "another galaxy"." — K. Zetnik's testimony in the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem in 1961.

People prostitute themselves to a bully out of fear, which is understandable. But amazingly foolish. If they had any sense, they would do the opposite of what they do. Instead of abandoning the first one the he sets the evil eye on, they would rush to that person's side and tell this bully that "What you do to him you do to us."

But don't count on it. Few have the integrity to do the right thing. So, seek help among OUTSIDERS. They are your silver bullet. If necessary, have the courage to shine the light of day on what is going on so that the outside world looks in on what is going on.

Insiders, even if friends and family members, may treat you like you're radioactive. They go to great lengths to avoid witness of what happened. They say they had no idea what was going on and that the narcissist never said one bad word about you to them. This is the Mark of Cain, a sign that their knife is in your back. For, an innocent person bothers to know what happened to his brother.

They all have a vested interest in covering up, because they all have complicity in it to cover up. For example, the non-narcissistic parent covers her guilt for not protecting the child from abuse. The non-narcissistic neighbor or teacher covers their guilt for not sounding the alarm and reporting evidence of abuse. The co-worker covers his guilt for going along with crimes committed against his colleague.

And so, they all are in the narcissist's pocket, covering up his crimes for him with sealed lips. In other words, they participate in a virtual conspiracy.

Yes, even though they too are victimized by what this agent provocateur does! Even others destroyed will not bear witness. Why? Because they participated in the lynching of somebody lynched before them. The need to protect their self concept as that of a "good" person is so compelling that they would rather die than let the whole thing come to light — for the same reason that thieves don't report being robbed by their fellow thieves.

This is the deplorable state of affairs a narcissist (like any con artist) creates in a family, a neighborhood, a church, a workplace, an institution, or nation he has the power to corrupt. Everyone abandons you. People see you coming and get away.

Even those who bear no direct guilt distance themselves from you — and will alienate you to make you stay away — simply because they listened to the narcissist slander you. Like Adam and Eve, they shouldn't have believed it, so they run and hide when they see you coming. They do not want to get involved, no matter what the consequences of to you of their refusal to bear witness to/of what they know. They do not want to hear you defend yourself. They do not want to know that they have been duped. They do not want to know that they have done wrong. They want to unsee the damage done. They want it all (= you) to go away.

Kathleen Krajco

Friday, November 10, 2006

Physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse is commonplace

"One of the most painful aspects of being abused by a man you love is a feeling of being alone with the problem. That emotional isolation often leads to a feeling of "I must be crazy." Fortunately, this situation is changing as more people are learning that abuse of women by their male partners is widespread. Emotional abuse is even more prevalent." - Ginny NiCarthy

See the Abuse Mini-movie

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Megalomaniac Delusions of Grandeur

"One of the most important symptoms of pathological narcissism (the Narcissistic Personality Disorder) is grandiosity. Grandiose fantasies (megalomaniac delusions of grandeur) permeate every aspect of the narcissist's personality. They are the reason that the narcissist feels entitled to special treatment which is typically incommensurate with his real accomplishments. The Grandiosity Gap is the abyss between the narcissist's self-image (as reified by his False Self) and reality."

"Granted, the narcissist's hold on reality is tenuous (narcissists sometimes fail the reality test). Admittedly, narcissists often seem to believe in their own confabulations. They are unaware of the pathological nature and origin of their self-delusions and are, thus, technically delusional (though they rarely suffer from hallucinations, disorganised speech, or disorganised or catatonic behaviour). In the strictest sense of the word, narcissists appear to be psychotic."

"Narcissistic delusions rarely persist in the face of blanket opposition and reams of evidence to the contrary. The narcissist usually tries to convert his social milieu to his point of view. He attempts to condition his nearest and dearest to positively reinforce his delusional False Self. But, if he fails, he modifies his profile on the fly. He "plays it by ear". His False Self is extemporaneous – a perpetual work of art, permanently reconstructed in a reiterative process designed around intricate and complex feedback loops."

"As a result of this interminable process of fine tuning, narcissists have no loyalties, no values, no doctrines, no beliefs, no affiliations, and no convictions. Their only constraint is their addiction to human attention, positive or negative."

Sam Vaknin

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Extreme (Pathological) Immaturity of a Narcissist

Grown-ups are able to consider other people's rights and feelings, and they have a sense of fairness. Three-year-olds and narcissists aren't mature enough.

To be sure, they entice their prey into a close, dependent relationship through bribery, by heroic acts of generosity. But, once thus suckered into the spider's web, you always pay.

And pay.

And pay.

Narcissists often meet people who immediately see them as obnoxious attention-pigs. These people can't stand them from the get-go. Several times I have seen ordinarily pleasant people have a surprisingly hostile reaction to a narcissist they've met for the first time.

Most of us are too tolerant though.

But in the end, no amount of enticement or bribery will make people able to put up with a narcissist. They refuse to grow up and stop thinking they're the center of the universe. They refuse to pay even half as much attention as they get.

Demand it and they will stamp their foot and cross their arms like a little brat sticking out the lower lip in a pout and emphatically shaking their head "No!" Their cerebral circuitry has never developed beyond that mental age.

Because it's too hard for these omnipotent little gods to get real and reasonable. No matter what their age. Because their egos are still that fragile.

Kathleen Krajco

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Narcissists are Evil

According to M. Scott Peck, M.D, psychiatrist and author of the best selling book on evil, The People of the Lie, most of us view a situation first in light of how we are affected by it and only as an afterthought do we stop to consider how it might affect others involved. But we do, eventually, usually, consider the viewpoint of the other.

Not so those who are evil. Theirs is a brand of narcissism so total that they seem to lack this capacity for empathy.... We can see then, that their narcissism makes the evil dangerous not only because it motivates them to scapegoat others, but also because it deprives them of the restraint that results from empathy and respect for others....The evil need victims to sacrifice to their narcissism, their narcissism permits them to ignore the humanity of their victims as well. ..The blindness of the narcissist to others can extend beyond a lack of empathy; narcissists may not "see" others at all.

If you have ever lived in quiet desperation fearing the release of rage from the Pandora's Box of the narcissist, then decided to stop the abuse, you have been the victim of a campaign designed to destroy you. It is as systematic, calculated and well thought out as that of any battle plan in any war.

Scott Peck describes for us the characteristics of the personality disorder that encompasses evil:

* consistent destructive scapegoating, often subtle

* excessive, usually covert intolerance to criticism

* pronounced concern with public image, denial of vengeful motives

* intellectual deviousness with likelihood of mild schizoid disturbance
of thing at times of stress

Evil then must be named. Doing so can be enormously frightening. It means that some of us must do battle with a force that wants to destroy us.

Evil leaves its mark on us at the cellular level. There is a physiology to evil. Cells are imprinted at the moment terror engulfs us. Brain cells are destroyed by stress and facing evil is neverending stress. The body never leaves flight or fight mode. Children silently suffer the slings and arrows of the narcissistic parent who is unable to care. What happens to the child is of no concern to the narcissist. For he must prevail no matter the cost. The child as collateral damage is unimportant. Winning is everything.

Ann Bradley

Monday, November 06, 2006

The "Innocent" Bystanders

"Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator. Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander." — Israeli historian Yahuda Bauer
as quoted on the wall of United States Holocaust Memorial, Washington, D.C.

People are like sheep. When a wolf approaches, you think they are blissfully unaware of his presence, but they are studying his every move. By showing no alarm, each sheep is just being careful to draw no attention to itself. The moment the wolf sets the evil eye on one of their number, the rest explode in all directions away from that lamb. In other words, they leave the victim to the wolf.

The narcissist relies on this behaviour.

Which is to say that they abandon the lamb to the wolf. They betray (hand over) the lamb to the wolf. They sacrifice the lamb to the wolf. Don't tell me fifty sheep couldn't stand off a wolf, because they could. They just don't. Later, they come back to graze upon that very spot as if Lamb never existed.

The narcissist relies on this behaviour.

History is replete with examples the human race doing the same thing. The most ironic famous example is what happened to Jesus of Nazareth. The same people who thronged to welcome him crying, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord" one day abominated him crying "Crucify him!" the next. All because the wind shifted. So, they couldn't get close enough to him one day, and they couldn't distance themselves from him enough the next.

The narcissist relies on this behaviour.

The same thing happens in every purge, pogrom, persecution, and witch hunt. People behave like unsupervised children do when a school-yard bully sets the evil eye on one of them. In fact, bullies quickly learn to exploit this behavior. The Lord of the Flies is a brilliant, sad, and enlightening novel (also made into a movie) that explores this phenomenon.

The narcissist relies on this behaviour.

Before you know it, the bully is constantly picking on somebody. Why? To periodically make an example of what happens to anybody he sets the evil eye on. In other words, your little school-yard bully is now a terrorist. He is victimizing one kid to control the others. And he does so just frequently enough to maintain the atmosphere of terror he thrives on. He deliberately targets the last ones to deserve his hatred, because that shows the others that they needn't give him any reason to attack. He is so wild that he is likely to just go off at anybody. This makes the other children fall all over themselves to ingratiate themselves to him. They are so anxious to kiss up that they take advantage of opportunities to be seen by him abusing his victim themselves. So, he can sic them like a pack of hounds on anybody he wants.

The narcissist relies on this behaviour.

How do the other children justify taking no action against the terrifying bully and persecuting the victim instead? The same way the terrifying bully does — by blaming the victim. How do they deal with their guilt? The same way the terrifying bully does — by projection. Onto the victim, of course. So, the victim gets to be, not only the victim of their sins, but also the one punished for them to boot.

The narcissist relies on this behaviour.

To "rationalize" (= irrationalize) what they're doing, the bystanders twist their thinking to pervert everything, so that anything the victim does is somehow wrong and everything the terrifying bully does is somehow excusable. They do this by looking on what the wild one does like those three famous apes...

See No Evil, Hear No Evil, and Speak No Evil

This is the worst form of lying, and to do it one must pervert the very mind to think something utterly absurd. Frankly, I don't understand how people can have so little self respect that they can bear to make such fools of themselves. But they do.

The narcissist relies on this behaviour.

Main text and theme by Kathleen Krajco

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What Makes Narcissists Tick,

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Behind the narcissist's management style.

Narcissistic leaders need affirmation from their followers - preferably adulation. Secondly, narcissists tend to be isolated, dismissing caution and advice from others. Rather than attempting to persuade those who disagree, the narcissist tends to ignore them. They only listen to the kind of information they seek, and don't easily learn from others. They prefer indoctrination or control to teaching. They also tend to shun emotions, and given their own difficulty with knowing or acknowledging their own feelings, they tend to be extremely uncomfortable with other people expressing theirs - particularly negative feelings. They cannot tolerate dissent, bruise easily, and can easily become paranoid. Some narcissists are so defensive that they actually make a virtue of the fact that they do not listen to others. Whilst narcissists often crave empathy from others, they do not, on the whole express empathy for others. Whilst narcissistic leaders often say that they want teamwork, what that means in practice is that they want a group of yes-men. Narcissists see no reason to change their behaviour, and as long as they believe they are 'successful', they don't have to.

Phil Hine

Saturday, November 04, 2006

It's fun to get in a narcissists face

Confront a narcissist in the workplace. Though you are being perfectly civil and uttering no threats, it will scare the socks off him. He will get so nervous his throat tightens. You will find yourself feeling sorry for the panicked look in his eyes. He will try to appease. And he will be rational. Afterwards you will walk away amazed thinking, "Wow, I must be the first person in the world to stand up to him and live to tell about it!" You'll probably be wrong, of course. Anybody can stand up to Little Big Man and live to tell about it.

Is he a neighbor letting his big mean dogs run lose to terrorize the neighborhood and threaten other people's pets, infringing on your property and then destroying it to intimidate you if you won't let him? Okay, if that's the way he reacts to your being friendly, see how he reacts to your being an enemy. Get in his face with a bigger dose of his own medicine. Turn his dirty tricks on him. Show him that you'll fight fire with fire. You'll find that, like any bully, what he needs is one punch — in the nose — to send him home crying to his mamma. It's the only language he understands. He will afterwards leave you alone and look for easy prey.

Is he a sibling or parent? Test his irascibility. The next time he treats you like dirt, blow up in his face. Treat him with utter contempt and use the most abusive language you can think of. He won't explode. Yell him down and get right down to name-calling. Call him a jackass and tell the Bogey Man that's an asshole in the middle of his face. He will shock you by meekly and docilely taking it.

He's only ferocious when he can sneak-attack.

This makes sense when you consider what is wrong with a malignant narcissist. He is a deeply wounded person, and he is just doing to vulnerable others what was done to vulnerable him when he was very young child. So young that it marred his budding self concept. And this is how he proves to himself that he is not that wretched little weakling. He can control his actions, but he cannot control his urges to trample people.

The narcissists I have known remind me of an abused dog one of my past neighbors had. That dog came up to you every time it saw you, but always from directly behind your back. Once you had convinced it that you had eyes in the back of your head, you were safe. But nobody else, except its abusive master, was.

If the narcissist is a neighbor, you often can make him leave you alone by showing him that you will play by the same rules he does. That's because a neighborhood is usually not a crucible. He can easily use his Magical Thinking Machine to unknow it happened and forget you exist. The world is full of easier prey.

The workplace and the home are crucibles though. Does he have an out? If not, when Mr. Paranoid crawls off to lick his wounds, in his secret rage he may blow a gasket and decide to get back at you by attacking in a bigger way than ever before. And the only reign on a narcissist's conduct is what he thinks he can get away with, so he is as dangerous as a furious five-year-old with a gun. This does not mean that you should keep turning the other cheek. As with terrorists, that is the worst thing to do! But it does mean that you must carefully analyze every aspect of the situation and devise a smart, goal-oriented plan, taking steps to protect yourself from anything he could possibly do.

Apparently, in the workplace the most successful strategy is for his fellow workers to just get together and compare notes. Once everybody has his number, he sees a different image of himself reflected in the mirrors around him and flees.

Kathleen Krajco

Friday, November 03, 2006

Narcissism is not curable

“Treatment of the narcissist does not usually have positive results except for reducing the side effects of depression and anxiety which are treated with medication. The narcissist does not usually stay in treatment long enough for therapy to be beneficial.”

“Narcissism pervades the entire personality. It is all-pervasive. Being a narcissist is akin to being an alcoholic but much more so. Alcoholism is an impulsive behaviour. Narcissists exhibit dozens of similarly reckless behaviours, some of them uncontrollable (like their rage, the outcome of their wounded grandiosity). Narcissism is not a vocation. Narcissism resembles depression or other disorders and cannot be changed at will. Adult pathological narcissism is no more "curable" than the entirety of one's personality is disposable. The patient is a narcissist.
Narcissism is more akin to the colour of one's skin rather than to one's choice of subjects at the university.” – Sam Vaknin

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Recognizing Narcissism In Action

When the narcissistic defense is operating in an interpersonal or group setting, the grandiose part does not show its face in public. In public it presents a front of patience, congeniality, and confident reasonableness. However, beneath the surface it is supremely smug and superior. It is confident it can deceive the "fools" or their objective it is committed to blocking, while maintaining its own control and dominance over either the rules, and/or the flow of events.

It is critical to understand that the narcissistic defense is addicted to power and control. It, the defense, and they, the people who are controlled and possessed by the defense, must have power. The addict in the private sector gains power by instantaneously gratifying his needs through drugs, alcohol, sex, or gambling. The addict, or the person or group dominated by the narcissist, gains and holds power by dominating and controlling the flow of information, the rules, and the processes for participating in life.

One of the best places to spot narcissism, unfortunately, is at the top of a company or a public organization. The narcissism can be detected by being sensitive to resistance from the top. The top, or the person or persons at the top, will resist efforts toward change in process or structure. The resistance is communicated through a variety of techniques: always needing more information, appearing confused or having a lack of clarity; excuses; premeditated "blowups" or other distractions from whatever the issues being considered. A common example is as follows: a position needs to be filled in order for an important project to move forward. The boss, preferring control over progress and efficiency, delays and delays the hiring of the new executive, consistently finding something wrong with either the candidates or the search firm.

Another common sign of narcissism is the experience of pressure. This pressure comes from the unrelenting demand for perfection which is necessary to the narcissism if the grandiosity and illusion of omnipotence is to be maintained. The employee or group member will feel pressure either to conform, or to continue producing until exhaustion. The pressure is unpleasant and contains the negative expectation that people can't meet objectives through their own resources and cooperative participation without pressure from above. It devalues pride of accomplishment, commitment, and capacity to follow through and complete tasks.

When narcissism perceives that it could lose control of a situation or process, it often feels threatened. The grandiosity's sense of omnipotence is being threatened. When this happens, narcissism's response can be one of character assassination of those who are threatening its objectives. The presence of character assassination is another way of detecting the presence of narcissism.

There is another important way to recognize narcissism. Narcissism is often contained in language through the use of "I". If a person listens carefully to another's use of "I" one can detect the grandiosity inside, the part speaking for the whole.

Bruce Gregory, Ph.D

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

How to Protect Yourself from Narcissistic Vampires

Narcissistic Vampires have
huge egos and tiny consciences.
It's not they're actively
trying to hurt people; they
just never consider other
people at all, unless they
want something.

LEGENDS IN THEIR OWN MINDS with talent like theirs, who needs performance?
LOOK FOR: Self-proclaimed genius, with membership in MENSA listed as greatest life achievement.
DRAW YOU IN WITH: Talent and potential.
DRAIN YOU BY: Blaming everybody else for their inability to realize that potential.
THE ONE YOU SEE EVERY DAY: Your brother-in-law, the genius who can't hold down a job.
DEFENSIVE STRATEGY: Getting them to do the parts they don't like first, and paying attention to performance rather than talk.

SUPERSTARS do what it takes to climb the ladder of success – whatever it takes, especially taking advantage other people.
LOOK FOR: Success, achieved at all costs.
DRAW YOU IN WITH: Talent, charisma, and acting as if you were as cool as they think they are.
DRAIN YOU BY: Perpetually seeing their needs as more important than anybody else's, and not giving a rip once they've gotten what they want.
THE ONE YOU'RE MOST LIKELY TO SEE EVERY DAY: Politicians, prima-donnas, and hard-driving competitors who throw tantrums when they lose,
DEFENSIVE STRATEGY: Keep a ledger book in your mind. Make sure Superstars pay up front for anything they want from you. Never accept promises or extend credit.