Friday, August 31, 2007

Narcissist infects others

New HIV victim claim


August 31, 2007 05:10pm

POLICE have uncovered an eighth man who has allegedly been infected with HIV by Adelaide man Stuart McDonald.

Prosecutors today told the Adelaide Magistrates Court that McDonald would now face 11 counts of endangering life, relating to eight men he is accused of infecting with the virus.

The Advertiser understands the new victim came to light as a result of the ongoing investigation into McDonald's sexual history.

Previously it had been alleged that McDonald had only infected seven men with the HIV virus.

He is only the second person in SA history to face endangering life charges over sexual acts.

The first, Andre Chad Parenzee, is awaiting sentence for endangering the lives of three women he had slept with.

Parenzee, like McDonald, has the HIV virus.

McDonald has yet to plead to allegations he recklessly and deliberately infected men with HIV between January, 2005, and mid-last year.

McDonald allegedly lied to some of the men - who he met through the Gaydar website - about the deadly virus before having sex with them.

The court has previously heard psychiatrists claim he has a narcissistic personality and was dismissive about infecting others, saying "that's their problem".,22606,22339804-5006301,00.html

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Attention: I Gotta Have It All

Almost everything narcissists do centers upon their all consuming need for all available attention. Just as you can't get a heroin addict in withdrawal to know the difference between mine and thine with respect to any heroin in the house, you can't get a narcissist to let anyone else have any attention. He or she has gotta have all.

Nature has genetically programmed the offspring of all higher animals to clamor for attention at birth. This is how Nature pressures the parents to forget their own needs and run themselves ragged caring for their offspring. It's amazing how much noise a nest full a baby birdies can make. And it's amazing how much noise a human baby can make. No parent can stand it! The lungs and vocal chords are magnificent already at this stage!

Why do offspring clamor so for attention? Why do babies sometimes cry for no discernible reason? Because Nature has programmed into them a desperate need for attention. In fact, even if their physical needs are taken care of, human babies can die from never being otherwise held and coddled and played with.

This great need for attention that results in clamoring for it improves offspring's chances of survival, but it also creates a problem that later development must resolve. For, it's a good life — being the center of the universe and having others anticipate and cater to your every need, there to make you happy.

The decision whether to grow up and strike out on your own or not can be a close call. Hence, some of those baby birdies need to get unceremoniously shoved out of the nest. When human babies hit their "terrible twos," they too can be a pain. They must be gently weaned from "king" status, or they will start using temper tantrums to control you and become a spoiled brat.

Like a narcissist.

She is like a three-year-old who stamps her foot and yells, "I want Mamma's attention, and I want it NOW!"

"It's all mine. Because I am the one who matters."

Kathleen Krajco

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Narcissist Paper Bag rapist... denied parole again

VANCOUVER (CP) - A man dubbed the Paper Bag Rapist serving an indefinite sentence for a string of brutal attacks on Vancouver women over almost eight years is beyond hope for treatment, says the National Parole Board.

John Horace Oughton, 57, was convicted of 14 counts of sex-related crimes in 1987, but has been accused of more than 100 attacks in Vancouver in the 1970s and 1980s.

Though he was declared a dangerous offender, he has the right to apply for parole every two years.

But at this month's hearing, the parole board said psychiatric reviews found there are no treatment options available that could help Oughton's narcissism and grandiosity and he remains a high risk for reoffending.

"Your dangerous maladaptive personality structure is so entrenched and widespread that you are unsuitable for any currently available psychiatric treatment intervention at the present time," said the parole board's report.

"No intervention exists to reduce your very high risk to reoffend to a manageable level in the community."

Oughton was arrested in September 1985, after three months of round-the-clock surveillance by police to confirm they had the man who they believed was responsible for as many as 150 sex assaults beginning in 1977.

The former hot-tub salesman used wigs and theatrical makeup as disguises and was dubbed the Paper Bag Rapist because he would use one to cover his head.

The parole board said Oughton had been given six chances to complete sex offender treatment programs while in prison, but failed every time.

Oughton has been diagnosed as having multiple-personality disorder and at the time of his arrest told police someone named Oliver was committing the crimes.

At his trial, he testified that he had been sexually abused as a child and was at one point an alcoholic and a cocaine dealer.

The board report says Oughton refused to acknowledge that the parole board has a right to make decisions in his case and provided no plan for how he would handle being on parole in advance of the hearing.

His next parole hearing will be in July 2009.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Teenagers' narcissism may be all on the surface

Jacey Eckhart,
The Virginian-Pilot
© August 14, 2007

I THOUGHT MY STICKY floors were the result of Popsicle chunks dropped from mouth to floor. Or orange juice trailed from fridge to family room. Instead I just found out that the whole sticky mess appeared when one of my high school senior's friends mentioned college applications. Suddenly a giant pool of self-esteem was melting right out there in the open.

What was this? I thought these teens were part of the generation we'd filled with an overflow of self-esteem. We sat 'em down for years of I-believe-in-me lessons delivered on "Sesame Street" and the Disney Channel. We dutifully read the you-can-do-anything-if-you-try exhortations on the pages of "Superman" and the "American Girl Doll" series. We dusted tiny golden trophies for gymnastics and T-ball and swim team and that one afternoon they went bowling in preschool. We even paid for the juice and the hardware that delivers hours of fun on YouTube and Facebook and MySpace.

In fact, we have done such a good job raising a generation of kids with high self-esteem that a study was released last winter that said today's college students were the most narcissistic generation ever.

That's not a compliment. The term narcissism means love of oneself. It refers to character traits like self-admiration, self-centeredness and self-regard. While we are all supposed to be narcissistic to some degree, this generation's growing sense of special-ness worried these researchers.

The team of five psychologists examined the responses of college students to the standardized Narcissistic Personality Inventory between 1982 and 2006. The 16,475 students responded to statements like "I am a special person," "I am a born leader," "I will be a success," "The world would be a better place if I were in charge."

The growing number of affirmative responses from the students was enough to make the authors of the study worry about the self-centeredness, self-promotion and lack of empathy evinced by this younger generation.

But it made me wonder. If these young people are so narcissistic, so full of themselves, how come their self-esteem oozes all over my kitchen floor like arterial blood? I listen to these guys and hear that no matter how high their GPA is, it isn't high enough. No matter what they got on the SAT, the stupidest person they know scored higher. Teachers reportedly gather in empty classrooms to scoff over essay questions written on a test in 2004. And the letters UVA apparently stand for Unavailable to Virtually All.

The more I hear, the more I think that somehow this great self-esteem and its accompanying narcissism are all on the surface for this generation. Our kids don't really believe in their abilities that much. Instead they are spitting back the ideas we have taught them with such care. They know they are supposed to think they are special. They know they are supposed to say they will be successful. They know if they show any doubt, someone will send them to remedial I-Love-Me lessons.

It turns out their individual selves are as fragile as our individual selves. It's no wonder that a teen or young adult who must compete on the open market feels about as strong as an adult who has just been laid off.

I would never tell my job-seeking girlfriend to believe in herself. I would never assure my laid-off neighbor that he was "special." The same is true for my teenagers. They also have entered the realm where the important thing is to keep filling out the form. To aim in the direction. To put their heads down and keep mopping up the mess that self-esteem leaves behind.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Vanity Generation

By Courtney Reed

So you may have heard that my Generation Y or Me or Next or whatever is the most narcissistic generation ever – worse than the Neros, Antoinettes, Monroes, or Bushes throughout history – and that we are probably going to destroy the world because we only care about ourselves, according to another generational study.

We—I’ll call us Generation Awesome – range in age from 18 to 25. We are characterized by excessive self-admiration, vanity, lack of empathy and meaningful relationships, materialism, binge-drinking, self-centeredness and sense of entitlement, according to the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, a study by Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University.

Twenge and her colleagues drew these conclusions using an inspired questionnaire that asked students to affirm or reject statements like:

I think I am a special person.

If I ruled the world, it would be a better place.

I have a natural talent for influencing people.

I can live my life the way I want to.

Twenge, author of “Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled – and More Miserable Than Ever Before,” finds through anecdotal evidence and loaded questions that advances in technology, Web sites like MySpace and YouTube and self-esteem programs in schools are major sources of our increased narcissism.

I don’t know about you, but I text-message myself at least seven times a day, have a live stream on YouTube so I can make sure my hair hasn’t gone flat while updating my Facebook profile, and am currently pursuing my dream of becoming the first female juggler/astrophysicist/synchronized-swimmer/psychic/wrestler, because I believe I can be anything I want to be.

You know who I don’t blame? Our Baby Boomer parents and Greatest Generation grandparents (and they call us narcissistic).

My grandmother constantly told me I would make a perfect housewife – and nothing more. She still believes I’m only in college to find a husband.

My parents, whose coming-of-age during the 1970s included sex with anonymous partners and massive experimentation with illegal substances, which I’m constantly reminded of through popular culture and stolen diaries, had little if any influence over my choices as an adult. And to think that I considered the cocaine-induced greed of the ‘80s to be the most narcissistic period in recent history! I mean, why would 81 percent of us want to maintain our standard of living by getting rich? Don’t even get me started on the increase in divorce rates, because if you try to tell me that the inability to have stable, meaningful relationships stems from our society’s lack nuclear families, I’m going to have to blog about my contemptuous feelings.

But for a moment, let’s put aside the fact that RainmakerThinking, Inc., an organization dedicated to researching the changing generation in the workplace, reported in December 2006 that we are the “most socially conscious generation since the sixties.” Disregard the survey by Pew Research Center in January 2006 that found us “the most tolerant of any generation on social issues such as immigration, race and homosexuality” (must be because red ribbons are so hot right now…). I myself will forgo deciding if I should spend the afternoon spitting on homeless people or attending an Amnesty International meeting.

Instead, let us imagine what life will be like for our children, who we’ll probably call Generation Z (what I lack in originality I make up for in popularity). And I feel I’m qualified to do this because I’m special.

Anyway, there will only be 13,479 members of Generation Z because most of us never managed, or cared, to solicit meaningful relationships, let alone nurture offspring. In fact, the 13,479 children are only products of the exceptionally narcissistic, who wanted their bloodline and image to live forever.

Instead of these children learning to follow their dreams, they’ll be assigned professions and wages at birth, because we have selfishly applied our college educations to obtain the most desirable employment, which we’ll refuse to relinquish.

In response to Generation Awesome’s narcissism, respecting yourself will become a crime, rebellious teens will stop using drugs, all mirrors will be shattered and the shards of glass used to mangle each other’s faces, so everyone will be equally heinous.

But why listen to the hypothetical ramblings of a girl who has spent the past 48-hours falling in love with her reflection in a pool of room-temperature Evian?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Eight Easy Ways to Spot an Emotional Manipulator -

Warning: Contains profanity

Written by Fiona McColl

Emotional manipulators get extra marks for subtlety. A patronizing, mind-fucker can bend and twist and warp but somehow after a period of time they set off the ol’ bullshit meter. An emotional manipulator is smoother. You’ll have to adjust the sensitivity of your bullshit meter to escape unscathed. What is emotional manipulation? Well, emotional manipulation is a method of using words, body language and behavior for the purposes of provoking a particular reaction, getting a desired response or to just plain ol’ screw you over. If the emotional blackmailer is any good, he’ll having you offering to bend over and be fucked one more time, "anything you want dear." Lets talk about how an emotional manipulator works and how to recognize the game (because it very much IS a game) so you can reset that bullshit meter and safeguard against possible attack.

1. There is no use in trying to be honest with an emotional manipulator. You make a statement and it will be turned around. Example: I am really angry that you forgot my birthday. Response - "It makes me feel sad that you would think I would forget your birthday, I should have told you of the great personal stress I am facing at the moment - but you see I didn’t want to trouble you. You are right I should have put all this pain (don’t be surprised to see real tears at this point) aside and focused on your birthday. Sorry." Even as you are hearing the words you get the creeped out sensation that they really do NOT mean they are sorry at all - but since they’ve said the words you’re pretty much left with nothing more to say. Either that or you suddenly find yourself babysitting their angst!! Under all circumstances if you feel this angle is being played - don’t capitulate! Do not care take - do not accept an apology that feels like bullshit. If it feels like bullshit - it probably is. Rule number one - if dealing with an emotional blackmailer TRUST your gut. TRUST your senses. Once an emotional manipulator finds a successful maneuver - it’s added to their hit list and you’ll be fed a steady diet of this shit.

2. An emotional manipulator is the picture of a willing helper. If you ask them to do something they will almost always agree - that is IF they didn’t volunteer to do it first. Then when you say, "ok thanks" - they make a bunch of heavy sighs, or other non verbal signs that let you know they don’t really want to do whatever said thing happens to be. When you tell them it doesn’t seem like they want to do whatever - they will turn it around and try to make it seem like OF COURSE they wanted to and how unreasonable you are. This is a form of crazy making - which is something emotional manipulators are very good at. Rule number two - If an emotional manipulator said YES - make them accountable for it. Do NOT buy into the sighs and subtleties - if they don’t want to do it - make them tell you it up front - or just put on the walk-man headphones and run a bath and leave them to their theater.

3. Crazy making - saying one thing and later assuring you they did not say it.If you find yourself in a relationship where you figure you should start keeping a log of what’s been said because you are beginning to question your own sanity --You are experiencing emotional manipulation. An emotional manipulator is an expert in turning things around, rationalizing, justifying and explaining things away. They can lie so smoothly that you can sit looking at black and they’ll call it white - and argue so persuasively that you begin to doubt your very senses. Over a period of time this is so insidious and eroding it can literally alter your sense of reality. WARNING: Emotional Manipulation is VERY Dangerous! It is very disconcerting for an emotional manipulator if you begin carrying a pad of paper and a pen and making notations during conversations. Feel free to let them know you just are feeling so "forgetful" these days that you want to record their words for posterity’s sake. The damndest thing about this is that having to do such a thing is a clear example for why you should be seriously thinking about removing yourself from range in the first place. If you’re toting a notebook to safeguard yourself - that ol’ bullshit meter should be flashing steady by now!

4. Guilt. Emotional manipulators are excellent guilt mongers. They can make you feel guilty for speaking up or not speaking up, for being emotional or not being emotional enough, for giving and caring, or for not giving and caring enough. Any thing is fair game and open to guilt with an emotional manipulator. Emotional manipulators seldom express their needs or desires openly - they get what they want through emotional manipulation. Guilt is not the only form of this but it is a potent one. Most of us are pretty conditioned to do whatever is necessary to reduce our feelings of guilt. Another powerful emotion that is used is sympathy. An emotional manipulator is a great victim. They inspire a profound sense of needing to support, care for and nurture. Emotional Manipulators seldom fight their own fights or do their own dirty work. The crazy thing is that when you do it for them (which they will never ask directly for), they may just turn around and say they certainly didn’t want or expect you to do anything! Try to make a point of not fighting other people’s battles, or doing their dirty work for them. A great line is "I have every confidence in your ability to work this out on your own" - check out the response and note the bullshit meter once again.

5. Emotional manipulators fight dirty. They don’t deal with things directly. They will talk around behind your back and eventually put others in the position of telling you what they would not say themselves. They are passive aggressive, meaning they find subtle ways of letting you know they are not happy little campers. They’ll tell you what they think you want to hear and then do a bunch of jerk off shit to undermine it. Example: "Of course I want you to go back to school honey and you know I’ll support you." Then exam night you are sitting at the table and poker buddies show up, the kids are crying the t.v. blasting and the dog needs walking - all the while "Sweetie" is sitting on their ass looking at you blankly. Dare you call them on such behavior you are likely to hear, "well you can’t expect life to just stop because you have an exam can you honey?" Cry, scream or choke ‘em - only the last will have any long-term benefits and it’ll probably wind your butt in jail.

6. If you have a headache an emotional manipulator will have a brain tumor! No matter what your situation is the emotional manipulator has probably been there or is there now - but only ten times worse. It’s hard after a period of time to feel emotionally connected to an emotional manipulator because they have a way of de-railing conversations and putting the spotlight back on themselves. If you call them on this behavior they will likely become deeply wounded or very petulant and call you selfish - or claim that it is you who are always in the spotlight. The thing is that even tho you know this is not the case you are left with the impossible task of proving it. Don’t bother - TRUST your gut and walk away!

7. Emotional manipulators somehow have the ability to impact the emotional climate of those around them. When an emotional manipulator is sad or angry the very room thrums with it - it brings a deep instinctual response to find someway to equalize the emotional climate and the quickest route is by making the emotional manipulator feel better - fixing whatever is broken for them. Stick with this type of loser for too long and you will be so enmeshed and co-dependent you will forget you even have needs - let alone that you have just as much right to have your needs met.

8. Emotional manipulators have no sense of accountability. They take no responsibility for themselves or their behavior - it is always about what everyone else has "done to them". One of the easiest ways to spot an emotional manipulator is that they often attempt to establish intimacy through the early sharing of deeply personal information that is generally of the "hook-you-in-and-make-you-sorry-for-me" variety. Initially you may perceive this type of person as very sensitive, emotionally open and maybe a little vulnerable. Believe me when I say that an emotional manipulator is about as vulnerable as a rabid pit bull, and there will always be a problem or a crisis to overcome.

Some would say it is possible with time, a great deal of honesty and communication to work through emotional manipulation. Personally I think life is short and precious - the only worthwhile thing to do when confronted with an emotionally manipulative person is to BROOM THEIR ASS TO THE CURB! A Relationship with emotionally manipulative person is similar to re-exposing yourself over and over and over to a highly toxic and potentially fatal virus. Each brush with it reduces your immunity and weakens your defenses. It can take more time for someone that has been in an emotionally manipulative relationship (READ: ABUSE) to recover than it does for someone that leaves a physically abusive one. At least you can name that punch that hit you. Emotional abuse is subtle. It is insidious. It is dangerous. If you are in it - walk away and never look back. Make it a rule!

Fiona McColl & Heartless Bitches International

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Seven Stages of Recovery - by Still Smilin

1) The Roadkill Stage
This is when you finally hit bottom due to the experience with a Narcissist.

2) The Realization Stage
This is when the answers to the questions that have been plaguing you begin to get answered and you now know what it is you have been dealing with all this time. You begin to research everything you can find on Narcissism. You usually feel better that you know, but the sense of betrayal begins to hit you like a Mack truck. Unfortunately, you start to feel angry at yourself for letting it go on for so long.

3) The Anger Stage
This is when the full impact of what you went through hits home and all hell breaks loose! Anger is uncomfortable, but I think it is a necessary step towards healing. At first, it is like an erupting volcano, then it usually evolves in focusing on how to get through. If you don't let as much of the anger out at this stage, you will stay stuck for a longer period of time. (I did this).

4) Taking Affirmative Action Stage
This is when you begin to learn to effectively focus your new-found knowledge into making life decisions. This is also the period where you begin to learn and practice techniques on how to protect yourself from the Narcissist. This is the stage where some decide on divorce, relocating, changing jobs, and lifestyle changes. This is also a time of great upheaval, because the Narcissist usually knows that the "gig is up" The Narcissist will fight you tooth and nail to win. This is a crucial stage in healing, because it is at this stage that the Narcissist will also try to "put on the charm" to return you to status quo. The Narcissist can be very vicious at this stage. It is usually best to have as little contact as possible with the Narcissist. It is also the time to continue to learn about how to continue to protect yourself and continue to focus on you and your healing.

5) The Fall-Out Stage
This is when you become more comfortable in your knowledge of how to deal with the Narcissist, where you begin to forgive yourself, where you begin to feel better about yourself and your abilities. You are actively planning your future, getting to know yourself again, and you notice how much better physically and emotionally you feel out of the presence of the Narcissist. The fog of Narcissism has lifted somewhat and you begin to get your confidence back. While this is happening, you are still experiencing the waves of the past stages, it seems to come in cycles that diminish in intesity over time.

6) The Mirroring Stage
Not everyone goes through this stage, it is a personal decision. This is when you mirror the Narcissists behavior back at them, effectively scaring them off! I was particularily fond of this stage, because it allowed me to siphon off the anger and project it back to the person who caused it. It is effective in scaring off the Narcissist, but sometimes it takes many sessions of "mirroring" before the stubborn Narcissist finally "gets it". Unfortunately for many victims, many Narcissists aren't willing to accept that it is OVER and continually try to get back under the victims skin using guilt, fear, pity, threats, violence and financial abuse. Many Narcissists keep "coming back for more NS."

Depending on how you handle the Narcissist in this stage, it will depend on how long this stage lasts. If you, even for a moment give the Narcissist ANY NS at all, show any vulnerability, sympathy, fear, or confusion, it will put you back a few stages and you will have to work your way through again. This cycle can happen many times.

7) Realization and Apathy
Once you effectively block all means of communication with the Narcissist as efficiently as possible, protect yourself from them as much as you can, gain knowledge and confidence in yourself, you reach a stage of realization that there was nothing you could have done to help or prevent the nightmare that you just lived through. You start looking for effective ways to manage your life, work towards your new future and close the door in the face of the Narcissist. The most effective way that I have found to do this is with APATHY. Apathy works. It requires very little work on your part. You display no outward emotions towards the Narcissist, who seems to forever be trying to re-enter your life for the coveted NS, you yawn frequently whenever they have something to say, you outright IGNORE their existence as if they died.

Eventually, in a sense they do die, because without your attention, without your sympathy, without your guilt, without your adoration, without your anger, and without your fear, they do wither away and die. If there is nothing for them to affirm their existence through you, and they cannot exist around you. It is not to say that they won't try. They want to be able to evoke an emotional response in you. If you don't give them any, then eventually, like Pavlov's dog they figure out the bowl is empty and move on to the next victim. This stage can take some time, because as we know, the Narcissist does not give up on precious supply sources easily.

Hugs from Still Smilin

Friday, August 24, 2007


Protecting yourself While Divorcing a Borderline or a Narcissist

by William A. Eddy, foreward by Mike Roe

Item# 0032a
150 pgs., softcover

If you are getting a divorce or thinking about getting a divorce, you really need this booklet that will take you step by step through the process and save you grief and many thousands of dollars. William Eddy may be the only clinician in the United States who is both a clinician and an attorney. He also specializes just in people with both borderline disorders. The comprehensive information in this booklet, if you had to buy William's time, it could have cost you $50,000. People who have used this booklet say more than anything else, it has helped them stay sane and know what to do during their divorce. The following is a message from Bill.”

SPLITTING is designed for anyone facing a high conflict divorce, whether or not your spouse meets the criteria for a Borderline or Narcissistic Personality. Its explanations of WHAT TO EXPECT in Family Court and WHAT TO DO to protect yourself and your children, can be used by anyone, including your attorney, your therapist, your family and others involved in your case.

I wrote SPLITTING after ten years as a divorce attorney representing many fathers (and mothers) whose spouses appeared to have Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorders or traits. Since I had been a therapist for the previous decade, I recognized these personality problems -- but I did not realize at first how successful they can be at manipulating and confusing legal professionals.

Rather than being rational and protective, the Family Court process can be very unpredictable and inadvertently encourages false allegations, aggressive and sometimes violent behavior, and intense blaming of the Non-BP or Non-NP spouse. Many Nons have been unable to protect themselves and their children from abuse by the BP or NP, and instead have found themselves experiencing restraining orders, supervised visitation, financial sanctions and even incarceration, because the courts are often more persuaded by the intense emotions and blaming behavior of a Borderline or Narcissist, than by your honest presentation of the facts. I call them "Persuasive Blamers."

This book explains how the Family Court process interacts with these Persuasive Blamers, and summarizes the lessons I have learned, including: the importance of careful preparations before announcing the divorce, using therapists and experts, avoiding short hearings on important issues, fighting hard at the beginning rather than trying to fix bad decisions later, and how to work most effectively with your attorney. I do not blame Borderlines and Narcissists, as they are also caught up in this adversarial process which often enables them to remain stuck rather than getting the help they need.

--William A. Eddy, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Family Law Specialist

See reviews at:

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Killer arsonist detained indefinitely

An unemployed disc jockey who set fire to a house in London, killing seven people, has been ordered to be detained indefinitely.

Richard Fielding, 21, was sent to Rampton Hospital in Nottinghamshire under the Mental Health Act after pleading guilty at the Old Bailey to the manslaughter of seven people.

The Recorder of London, Judge Michael Hyam, told Fielding: "If the crime had been committed by anyone with a normal mind, it would have been a crime of desolating wickedness."

Outside court, Kelly Himpfen, 21, the mother of three children who died in the fire, said: "It just goes to show you can get away with murder."

Fielding, from Walthamstow, east London, carried out the attack because of a grudge he bore his former school friend Lee Day, 22, who he claimed had ruined his chances of becoming famous.

He was charged with murder but his plea of guilty to manslaughter due to diminished responsibility was accepted on Monday.

House set alight

Fielding admitted killings Mr Day, his 17-year-old girlfriend Yvonne Colverhouse, his twin daughters Maddison and Rhiannon, aged three, and son Reece, two, Mr Day's mother Sandra, 50, and his grandmother Kathleen, 76.

They died in the early hours of 6 March last year when the three-storey family home in Bellamy Road, Chingford, north-east London, was set alight after petrol was poured through the letter box.

Lee and Sandra's bodies were found in the second floor bedroom where they had gone in a vain attempt to rescue the children.

The only member of the family to escape the fire, grandfather Brian Day, 52, who was rescued by ladder by neighbours from a first floor window before the windows were blown out by an explosion, sat at the back of the court.

Mother lost three children

He was joined by Kelly Himpfen, the 21-year-old mother of the dead children.

She had separated from Lee Day and the children were staying with him for the weekend.

On the night of the fire Fielding filled up a plastic canister in a petrol station and cycled round the corner to the Day house.

Asked by the garage attendant if his car had broken down, he replied: "No, I am going to do a house", but he was not taken seriously.

The petrol can containing Fielding's fingerprint was found in the area the next day and he was arrested.

Orlando Pownall, prosecuting, said: "He seemed elated and buzzing. He was behaving like a small child."

Mr Pownall said: "He said it was revenge. He felt bad. He said 'If it had just been the kids, it would have been easier to say sorry'."

Probation reports spoke of Fielding having paranoid psychosis and narcissistic personality disorder, going back many years.

One doctor said his prognosis was "appalling" and he had little chance of his illness improving.

Fielding denied the attempted murder of Brian Day and the Recorder of London, Michael Hyam, ordered the charge to remain on file.

Mr Pownall said Fielding suffered a severe hand injury during a burglary he carried out with Mr Day and bore a grudge against him.

He believed the injury made him unattractive to women and felt Day had wrecked his dreams of being a top DJ.

It was a resentment which festered and eventually led to seven people, including three children, losing their lives.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

When Katie Wakes

by Connie May Fowler

ISBN-10: 034544454X
ISBN-13: 978-0345444547

Book Description
Connie May Fowler is known to the world as the author of bestselling novels and powerful essays—but no one knew that for years she was the victim of brutal abuse and relentless humiliation. Now in this harrowing, spellbinding memoir, Fowler finally tells her own story.

The daughter and grand-daughter of battered women, Fowler found herself irresistibly drawn to a man who was bent on destroying her, physically and emotionally. Despite her youth, spirit, education, and wonderful talent, she was trapped in a cycle of violence and despair with no way out. Until the day she adopted an incredible puppy she named Kateland.

With stunning candor, Connie May Fowler reveals how the unconditional love and loyalty of this dog helped her turn the corner, find a safe place, and reclaim her own life. A work of extraordinary passion and courage, When Katie Wakes holds out hope and inspiration to anyone who has ever dreamed of starting over.

Inside Flap Copy
Connie May Fowler is known to the world as the author of bestselling novels and powerful essays?but no one knew that for years she was the victim of brutal abuse and relentless humiliation. Now in this harrowing, spellbinding memoir, Fowler finally tells her own story.

The daughter and grand-daughter of battered women, Fowler found herself irresistibly drawn to a man who was bent on destroying her, physically and emotionally. Despite her youth, spirit, education, and wonderful talent, she was trapped in a cycle of violence and despair with no way out. Until the day she adopted an incredible puppy she named Kateland.

With stunning candor, Connie May Fowler reveals how the unconditional love and loyalty of this dog helped her turn the corner, find a safe place, and reclaim her own life. A work of extraordinary passion and courage, When Katie Wakes holds out hope and inspiration to anyone who has ever dreamed of starting over.


A poignant, beautifully crafted memoir
J. N Sandell (Maplewood, MN United States)

Ihave nothing but respect and gratitude for Ms. Fowler baring her soul to us and showing us what it truly means to triumph in the midst of so much pain and adversity. I, myself cannot imagine having to live through the horror that she has endured and then to want to relive it again by writing it, however, this book is a testament to her resilience. Connie Fowler's story may be difficult to swallow, harrowing to read, but ultimately it transcends all the violence and is so rewarding and courageous that it begs to be read and learned from.

Connie May Fowler is a victim and ultimate survivor of alcoholism and domestic violence just as her Mother and Grandmother were before her. Despite her talents, education and past experiences, she finds herself trapped in the cycle of unspeakable violence and seemingly endless despair. She is drawn to a man who seems bent on destroying her both mentally and physically. That is, until she adopts a puppy that she names Kateland and the two of them develop a relationship the likes of which I have never experienced; they seem to draw strength from each other and actually live for each other and that is what Connie needs to begin to turn the corner and start living without fear.

Ms. Fowler has a rare and wonderful gift for not only inspiring us but making us understand and for that I am grateful.

very heartwrenching
Sammy Madison (USA)

I had to set this book aside several times because it was so painful to read. Connie May Fowler's story about her and her sister growing up as the daughters of an abusive alcoholic mother and their lives after their mother's death struck me as the most honest I have ever read. I could feel her hatred of living in an old travel trailer in Florida "like a blister...I wanted to pop it". Small details like her mother's purse having cockroaches in it are gritty and authentic. The girls had some relief from their situation early in childhood when they lived near the ocean. When the mother decided to move away from the sound of the waves, it almost seems deliberate, to eliminate any joy or hope from their lives. If anyone really wants to understand how it feels to grow up in poverty, they need to read this book. The details about eating beans, all the time, and the conditions in the apartment Connie and her mother moved into when Connie won a full scholarship to college all make me know that the author really experienced this. Her sister got married and got out, but starved herself of food even though she had escaped from her old life. Connie's mother died and Connie got a degree and was working as a bartender at Bennigan's, since an English degree is not as salable as an MBA. There she meets a washed-up radio personality who has burnt all of his bridges behind him. Connie's mother used to listen to his broadcast on the steps of the old travel trailer, and said if she were younger, she would marry that man. Connie, whose father died when she was young, thought she had found someone successful to guide and validate her. She fell for his con game and let him take over her life like a vampire. Connie's abuser was a textbook pathological narcissist. Jobless, impotent, and 30 years older than she, he found the perfect victim for his manipulation and bullying. I found myself actually crying out loud, "just leave him- run away". People who are successful and haven't been programed by their upbringing the way Connie was would have been able to leave as soon as the abuse began, but Connie's abuser was the exact mirror image of her mother. Before Connie's mother died in the hospital, she had to clean the hardened excrement off her mother. When Connie's new abuser drank while taking antabuse, she had to do the same for him. She was well trained for her role. The only love and success she knew was from a puppy named Katie she adopted and saved from the same poverty she had grown up with.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Narcissistic Personality: A Stable Disorder or a State of Mind?

Elsa Ronningstam, Ph.D.
and John Gunderson, M.D.
Psychiatric Times February 1996 Vol.XIII Issue 2

For clinicians, the assiduous and sustained resistance to change common in patients with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) has been especially noticeable and trying. The narcissistic patient's persistent denial of problems or limitations and lack of motivation for treatment until faced with a major failure have been documented by Kernberg (1985, 1992) and Millon. However, until recently the natural course of NPD has not received much attention in the clinical and empirical literature, and there is very little documented knowledge about the factors that might contribute to changes. Knowledge about the natural course of a disorder is important in evaluating the benefits of treatment.

In a first prospective follow-up study of patients diagnosed with NPD, we investigated the occurrence of changes in pathological narcissism over time (Ronningstam and Gunderson 1995). Twenty patients with clinical NPD diagnoses were interviewed with the Diagnostic Interview for Narcissism (DIN) (Gunderson and colleagues) at baseline and three years later at follow-up, and the patients' baseline scores were compared to their follow-up scores. The DIN includes 33 characteristics for pathological narcissism, 10 of which overlap with the NPD criteria set in DSM-III-R and DSM-IV. The characteristics are grouped into five sections: grandiosity, interpersonal relations, reactiveness, affect and mood states, and social and moral adaptation. In addition to the DIN, an unstructured interview was given to explore the subjects' interval histories regarding personal, vocational and treatment events, and to identify factors that could have contributed to changes in the patients' behavior and experiences of themselves and others.

A significant decrease in the overall level of pathological narcissism occurred over the three-year period. In particular, the patients' narcissistic features had lessened in the area of their interpersonal relations and patterns of reactivity, and their unrealistic grandiose sense of themselves had substantially diminished. Of the nine NPD criteria in DSM-IV, six showed high changeability (>50 percent, defined as the rate of decrease in the DIN presence score of 2), i.e., grandiose fantasies, uniqueness, arrogant and haughty behavior, entitlement, exploitiveness and lack of empathy. Exaggeration of talents and achievements, need for admiration, and envy proved to be more stable. Sixty percent of the subjects significantly improved while 40 percent sustained a high level of pathological narcissism. This was surprising insofar as, by definition, personality disorders are expected to be stable.

Our findings suggested that what appeared to be a narcissistic personality disorder at baseline actually included two types of pathology: one being a context or state-dependent type of pathology, and the other being a more long-term and stable trait pathology. The unimproved group proved to have had a higher level of pathological narcissism in the area of interpersonal relations at baseline, especially in their capacity to become involved in committed long-term relationships. This implies that severely narcissistically disturbed interpersonal relations may be the essential feature that defines patients with narcissistic personality disorder.

Prior research (Ronningstam and Gunderson 1990), as well as clinical and theoretical literature (Millon; Akhtar and Thomson) showed that the definition of NPD relied heavily upon characteristics of grandiosity. Our research shows that a considerable change in grandiosity occurred over the three-year period. This suggests that grandiose self-experience may be a particular mental state that is context-dependent. As such, grandiosity requires a careful assessment with specific consideration both to the patient's developmental stage-late adolescence, early adulthood, middle age-and to the mental state at the time of diagnostic evaluation.

Corrective Life Events

Another surprising result was that intervening treatment experiences (i.e., treatment length, type and intensity) were relatively equally distributed among the improved and unimproved group. In other words, treatment experiences did not differentiate between those narcissistic patients who had an enduring long-term personality disorder and those whose narcissistic pathology underwent change. What seems, however, to be causally related to the improvement in pathological narcissism were corrective life events.

Three types of such events could be identified through the unstructured interviews: those related to achievements, to interpersonal relations and to disillusionments.

Corrective achievements, such as graduations, promotions, recognitions, acceptance to sought-after schools, programs, or positions, etc., were the most common type of life event that contributed to change in pathological narcissism. These events contributed to a more realistic and accepted sense of the self with less need for grandiose fantasies and exaggerations of talents. The following case vignette describes such development.

Case vignette #1. - Mr. A, an extremely intelligent, shy but arrogant 25-year-old man, was a college student and came for psychotherapy because he had suffered from depression for several years. Although an exceptionally competent student, he constantly felt unappreciated. He tended to devote his time in lectures to "giving the teachers and professors a hard time" by criticizing them, and asking "impossible" questions in order to prove their incompetence and make them embarrass themselves in public. He described himself as extraordinarily superior with feelings of disdain and confusion toward people he experienced as different from himself—people who he felt had lower standards and different values than he. He also described himself as intellectually unique, stressing his specific theoretical and philosophical perspectives and high academic standards. He had several close friends among his male peers, but admitted that he experienced severe problems in relating to young women, had difficulty connecting, and felt shy and insecure. Mr. A came from a very competitive and successful family background. His father was a famous lawyer in his early 60s, and Mr. A described having a complicated relationship, with mixed feelings toward the father. On the one hand he highly admired and idealized his father; on the other hand he despised the father's demands, values and expectations, and tended to take every opportunity to protest against him. While he envied his father and fantasized about becoming as successful, Mr. A also felt inferior, and believed that he would never become as successful as his father. Often he felt deeply misunderstood by his father. After successfully graduating from college, Mr. A decided to work as a pizza deliverer, a decision that he considered to be unusually risky but in line with his "unique approach" to life.

At follow-up time three years later, Mr. A reported a number of important changes and developments in his life. He had been in individual psychotherapy for 18 months and had specifically focused on depression and insecurity. A new job as a university teacher had, according to Mr. A, contributed to the most important change in his behavior and attitude toward himself and others. As a teacher, he had the opportunity to create the specific teaching atmosphere and technique he felt that his former teachers were unable to do. Through his work, he had learned to interact with people, was forced to and actually successfully managed to understand people with different ideas and values, and made efforts to develop specific teaching methods to facilitate learning and intellectual growth for his students. He described himself as more tolerant of criticism. His sense of pride was associated with a far more realistic self-appraisal and markedly diminished derogatory, arrogant behaviors. His relation with his father was still conflictual, but a more sincere desire to identify with the competent successful father had appeared. His relations to women had improved and a two-year relationship with a girlfriend also contributed to a change in Mr. A's self-esteem.

Real Achievements

As Mr. A's experiences of realistic academic competence and independent professional responsibility increased, his need for exaggerated superior and unique self-experience and grandiose fantasies diminished as did his need to antagonize and devalue others' achievements. Animosity and arrogant, passive-aggressive oppositional behavior were replaced by active, goal-oriented professional striving, and Mr. A's underlying capacity for interpersonal relations could in that context develop. At baseline he did not present the severe manifestations of narcissistic interpersonal relations such as exploitiveness, lack of commitment, and deep envy and inability for empathy.

Corrective relationships, where the person was able to establish a long-term, close and mutual relation seemed to diminish pathological narcissism in three cases. Changes were evident in diminished need for devaluation, entitlement and exploitive behavior. Two of the subjects had actually become engaged, and one was in the process of getting married.

Case vignette # 2. - Miss B, an attractive, intelligent, self-assertive and articulate woman in her 30s, was caught stealing drugs at a drug company where she had been working as a research assistant since her graduation from college. It became evident that over the last five years she had been using increasing amounts of intravenous drugs, more recently on a daily basis.

She came from a working-class background with parents with high expectations, and she graduated from college magna cum laude. However, the parents decided not to support her continuing education in graduate school and she experienced this as a treachery. Miss B described herself as superior, especially compared to other drug abusers since she had been able to keep herself "clean" and use more sophisticated methods to gain access to drugs. Although hard to please, she usually got what she wanted. She dreamt about becoming a famous journalist, and she loved to drive her car recklessly, believing that she would not be caught. After graduation from college, three problem areas gradually emerged and became more apparent despite Miss B's intense efforts to deny their presence and consequences. A feeling of indecisiveness and lack of certainty made it difficult for her to identify her purpose and track in life. A pattern of relationships developed, especially to boyfriends, characterized by quick, intense involvement and abrupt withdrawal when the relationship stabilized and became more close. She especially feared spending sustained time with the same man and expressing and returning feelings and intimacy, and sharing personal private matters. A fear of becoming bored and failing at work also became more predominant, despite her high level of competence.

At follow-up, Miss B described several notable changes in her life. Six months of drug detoxification and drug-abuse-focused treatment and two years of psychotherapy had contributed to a remission of drug dependency and highlighted underlying problems of low self-esteem and inferiority feelings. She had been accepted to graduate school and was studying business. However, the most important and fundamental change, according to Miss B, was that she had met a man and experienced being in love for the first time in her life, and she was actually in the process of getting married.

Contrary to all previous men with whom she had been involved, she experienced that her husband-to-be accepted her, was stronger than she without defeating her, and she could feel secure and able to stay in and develop the relationship. Her self-description was no longer exaggerated and focused on her specialness; she was more realistic and pointed out changes within several areas. She used to think she did not need other people but now realized that she did and that she actually enjoyed them. In the past she felt she was different from other people and constantly misunderstood. She now realized that she had, through her tough, independent and self-sufficient demeanor, actually made people unnecessary in her life.

The most important change according to Miss B was her new capacity to tolerate and enjoy closeness and intimacy. This experience had a major impact on improving her self-esteem. Grandiose fantasies still sustained, but now related to success within the field she was studying. She still had strong feelings of envy and difficulties empathizing with other peoples' sadness, which made her helpless and disgusted.

Miss B's low self-esteem, compensatory grandiosity, recklessness and drug dependency developed out of increasing difficulties in the context of close and intimate relations. However, the absence of more severe narcissistic features (deep devaluating, condescending, ruthless, paranoid, and exploitive attitudes and behavior) in her interpersonal relations at baseline made it possible to attach, first to treaters and later to a man. The correctional achievements and being accepted to graduate school also improved her self-esteem.

Corrective disillusionment involved experiences that challenged the person's previous grandiose self-experience and actually resulted in an adjustment toward a self-concept more in accord with their actual capabilities. This could be the realization of personal, intellectual or vocational limitations, failure to achieve goals in life, or facing losses or lost opportunities in life. (However, if these disillusions are too severe and experienced without support, a development into a worsening narcissistic pathology can occur.)

Case vignette #3. - Mr. C, a man in his mid-40s, considered himself to be goal-oriented and superintelligent, with strong puritan values, quick reasoning skills and an extraordinary leadership capacity. Although happily married with two teenage sons and one younger daughter, he considered himself to be a loner, not interested in wasting time on meaningless social activities. He had a top managing position in a small Canadian company where he had worked since graduation from high school. Showing a bragging, self-praising and self-centered manner, devaluating behavioral styles of others, he did admit that he actually envied them for their social belonging.

When he reached his early 40s, two things happened in Mr. C's life. When his company suddenly and unexpectedly underwent a major expansion, he was sent to one of the most challenging business schools in the country for graduate education in order to meet the company's new needs for business expertise. At this time his sons reached adolescence and developed lifestyles, value systems and spheres of interests that disgusted and threatened Mr. C. He could not find reasonable and adequate ways to communicate with or to influence his sons. He considered himself a failure as a parent and struggled with intense aggressive impulses, urges to either detach from them totally or to punish them in various ways.

As he had been a straight-A student in college and the most intellectually accomplished person in his environment, Mr. C was at first consternated when he discovered the high level of intelligence among the students in the graduate program. It was with a combination of humbleness, envy and admiration he gradually accepted that the majority of the other students were extremely capable and that he, despite enormous efforts, only managed to maintain a B to B-plus level.

At follow-up this man, who was in the process of moving back and reinstating himself into a new position in his company, was remarkably more humble, and had less intense aggressive reactions, bragging and self-inflating behavior. He felt that he had reached the maximum of his capacity professionally and as a father, and although satisfied with his results in graduate school, he felt dethroned and incompetent in his parental role because he realized that he could not convince his sons about the importance of his own values and lifestyle. However, his intense anger was replaced with a new and more realistic ambition to become a friend and supporter of his sons.

Mr. C's experience of shortcomings and limitations in both professional and personal life was an enormous challenge for his self-esteem. However, the sustained support from his loyal wife, and his own personal flexibility and capacity to integrate initially unacceptable aspects of himself, made it possible to modify his grandiose self-experience into more realistic concepts. Although grandiosity and reactivity improved, the narcissistic interpersonal style with devaluation, envy and some arrogant behavior still remained.

New Questions

This first prospective study of narcissistic patients raises questions about the construct validity of NPD. It seems as if patients with identifiable pathological narcissism and NPD actually can have grandiosity with higher degree of changeability, as well as pathologically narcissistic relations that can remain stable over time. These results also raise the question whether people with NPD differ in their capacity to gain from life events or environmental influence-whether people with certain types of narcissistic psychopathology, including more narcissistic interpersonal relations, have more difficulties in accommodating to or benefiting from environmental experiences. If these results can be replicated with other samples and with an assessment instrument that identifies and differentiates covert forms of pathological narcissism (Akhtar & Thomson; Gabbard; Cooper and Ronningstam) from overt types, a redefinition of the diagnostic category of NPD would be necessary.

Dr. Ronningstam is instructor in psychology at Harvard Medical School and assistant psychologist at the Psychosocial Center, McLean Hospital, Belmont, Mass.

Dr. Gunderson is professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and director of the Psychosocial Center at McLean Hospital, Belmont, Mass.


1. Akhtar S, Thomson JA Jr. Overview: narcissistic personality disorder. Am J Psychiatry. 1982;139(1):12-20.
2. Cooper A, Ronningstam E. Narcissistic Personality Disorder. In: Tasman A, Riba MB, eds. American Psychiatric Press Review of Psychiatry, Vol. 11. Washington: American Psychiatric Press; 1992.
3. Gabbard GO. Two subtypes of narcissistic personality disorder. Bull Menninger Clin. 1989;53(6):527-532.
4. Gunderson JG, Ronningstam E, Bodkin A. The diagnostic interview for narcissistic patients. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1990;47(7):676-680.
5. Kernberg O. Borderline Conditions and Pathological Narcissism. New York: Jason Aronson; 1992.
6. Kernberg O. Internal World and External Reality. New York: Jason Aronson; 1985.
7. Millon T. Disorders of Personality DSM III: AXIS II. New York: Wiley & Sons; 1981.
8. Ronningstam E, Gunderson. Identifying criteria for narcissistic personality disorder. Am J Psychiatry. 1990;1477:918-922.
9. Ronningstam E, Gunderson J, Lyons M. Changes in pathological narcissism. Am J Psychiatry. 1995;152(2):253-257.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Escape from Narcissism

Perhaps the most powerful motivator of human behavior is an inner force that could loosely be called "ego." We all want to feel important and valuable, at least within our own environment, and we will often go to extreme lengths to prove this value—for example, by training for the Olympics, struggling to do our best in school or dressing to enhance our beauty. Ego can be expressed in both constructive and malignant ways. Dictators are driven to power by it, and serial killers torture their victims for it. If you can't be valuable on your own merits, then at least you can cut down the value of others.

The quest for value is a primitive drive as natural as breathing. It is born into us and is quickly exhibited at an early age. "Look at me, Mommy!" demands the 4-year-old, displaying some theatrical feat of daring-do. Parents, if they are at all sensitive to the child, are going to respond with praise and attention. Bad parents are going to ignore or demean the child, pushing ego underground and possibly leading to serial killing and all the other dysfunctional methods of ego expression.

Good parents know instinctively that the child needs affirmation and an acknowledgement of his specialness, but the rest of the world probably isn't going to respond the same way. The transition from even a healthy childhood to the brutalities of the real world is always going to be traumatic. Mom and Dad praised you as the center of the universe, but the real world sees you only as a peripheral bit player. Somehow, you have to come to grips with this position, finding your own specialness and value in an environment of indifference.

To adapt to the pressures of ego, everyone goes through a period of narcissism, which may last for a few years or an entire lifetime. Narcissism is an emotional theory that the world exists only for your benefit. You can "know" that you aren't the center of the universe, but you react impulsively as though you are. "Watch me, Mommy!" is basically a narcissistic appeal. The child expects the world to revolve around him, and in attentive households, it essentially does.

When they are involved in any socially-connected activity, adult narcissists are motivated more by a desperate need for praise and attention than by any satisfaction from the task itself. They can become great athletes, actors and politicians, but whatever they accomplish in their field is only a means to an end. Their ultimate goal is not the perfection of their craft but the perfect adoration that theoretically awaits at the end of the rainbow.

For examples of narcissism, you only have to look as far as the supermarket checkstand. The movie stars and debutantes who fill our tabloid media are overwhelmingly narcissistic. Paris Hilton? Duh! She's as narcissistic as they come: Even with no recognizable skills, she acts like the center of the universe. Madonna? Certainly narcissistic, but a more interesting case. Look at all the shameless ways she has tried to get attention over the course of her career. (Remember that "virgin" was a risqué word when "Like a Virgin" first came out.) Even when she picks up a new metaphysical philosophy—Kabbalah—supposedly for her own inner enlightenment, she's on the talk shows announcing it. She's like, "Look at me, everybody, I have a new religion!"

The interesting part about Madonna is that her ego has driven her to obvious musical accomplishment. Her main motivator is still attention, but in service of this need, she has often cranked out some pretty good songs.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is another interesting case. There can be nothing more narcissistic than bodybuilding. People with low core self-esteem and limited technical skills tend to respond by pumping up their packaging. Their body itself can become a big neon sign: "Look at me!" Arnold parlayed bodybuilding success into movie mega-stardom in a fairly naked play for attention. He married into the Kennedy clan in an obvious "power" marriage, and when his movie career began to wane, he took advantage of a legal loophole to make himself governor of California.

The funny thing is, he doesn't seem to be a bad governor of California, nor a bad husband or father. For all of his evident attention-seeking narcissism, Arnold comes across as a genuinely nice guy.

Perhaps there are hints here about how narcissism can be transcended. We all start out as narcissists, which may not be a bad thing if pushes us to make something of ourselves. The question is how we are ultimately going to overcome our self-centeredness and become something more.

The trouble with raw narcissism is that it is shallow and ultimately unfulfillable. "Look at me!" is only going to carry you as far as your audience is willing to praise you. Arnold achieved the ultimate narcissistic goal: his face on more billboards and videos screens than any world leader. This is the pinnacle of what a narcissist can be expected to attain: maximum audience adoration. No one is going to accuse Arnold of producing any great ideas or inventions or of changing society for the better, because audience adoration just can't take him there.

The kind of satisfaction that most narcissists seek isn't really possible. You can labor all your life to achieve stardom, but once you have it, is it really going to make you feel better? Without core self-esteem, narcissists are desperately trying to fill up a leaking bucket. Even if the whole world adores you, it probably isn't going to repair any nagging self-doubt you harbor inside. Fame, inevitably, is fake. People are praising an artificial image of you—The Terminator—and you know they aren't really appreciating you as a person.

To find much satisfaction in life and much depth in whatever field you are in, you have to set aside your narcissism and focus instead on the requirements of the task. For example, movie actors tend to be narcissistic, while movie directors tend to be less so. The directors may be no less ego-driven than the actors—that is, seeking personal value—but it's not the same sort of "Look at me!" approach. A director is concerned with building the best product possible based on the rules of movie-making, which requires another dimension of skill beyond acting. When the movie is done, he'll say, "Look at my product!"

The next level of development beyond narcissism could be called "super-narcissism." That's when you recognize your own impulsive ego needs and start compensating for them. You express your ego by deliberately trying not to be egotistical. Your aim is to produce a higher level of product: not just "Look at me!" but "Look at my whole life!"

Adolph and Saddam were narcissists who built pretty substantial power bases for themselves while they were alive. At one time, they had whole societies worshipping them, with hagiographic praise coming from the mouth of every schoolchild and emblazoned on every lamppost. But where are they now? How does history regard them?

This is the risk of shallow "Look at me!" narcissism: It doesn't last. The same is true of any fame you can achieve or any monument you can construct to yourself: It is going to crumble eventually. Sure, the pharaohs built pyramids, and the structures themselves survive, but who really cares about the pharaohs themselves?

Given that fame is fleeting and that all the attention in the world can't really supply inner satisfaction, ones natural narcissism must be shifted to something else—to some higher form of accomplishment that doesn't require adoration in the end. You can still seek personal value, but you should do it by creating actual value rather than the public appearance of it.

If you have taken on any task—be it movie-making, public politics or raising children—there is a certain satisfaction to be gained simply by doing the job well according to its own rules, regardless of any recognition you may eventually receive. If you have chosen to live a life on Earth, then you might as well strive to make it the perfect life, or at least as close as you can get with the tools available.

You can still be a narcissist, but when you become a super-narcissist, people stop noticing. If part of your self-absorption is to obliterate all visible signs of narcissism, then you begin to come across as a genuinely nice guy, attentive to others and concerned about the needs of society. It may be a deliberate act with some calculation behind it, but it is a healthy role you can be proud of.

If you play the role for long enough, then you may start to believe you own act and become the generous, selfless person you pretended to be—with a bit of wise caginess thrown in.

By Glenn Campbell - Family Court Philosopher

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Narcissistic Celebrities

Article by Rebecca Skloot:

A new study shows that celebrities are more narcissistic than the general public.

You wouldn’t be alone if reading that made you think, Well, duh! Everyone knows that. But you’d be wrong. Until recently, no one had studied celebrities to determine whether they’re truly narcissistic. Why? Because celebrities are shielded by public-relations people and managers who reject requests for things like personality questionnaires. Unless you’re Drew Pinsky, the University of Southern California psychiatry professor and host of “Loveline,” a syndicated radio talk show.

Pinsky has celebrity guests on his show who talk about their latest projects while he answers questions from teenagers about love and sex. Over the years, during commercial breaks, he and his colleague Mark Young, a professor of sports and entertainment business at U.S.C., have surveyed 200 celebrities using the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, a widely respected questionnaire that measures narcissistic tendencies and ranks individuals on a scale of 1 to 40, with 40 being “extremely narcissistic.”

Pinsky and Young found that on average, celebrities scored 17.84 — about 17 percent higher than the general public — with females ranking significantly higher than males. Interestingly, celebrities with the most skill (musicians) were the least narcissistic; those with no skill (reality-show stars) were, as Pinsky says, “off the narcissism charts.”

When Pinsky and Young published their data, people said, Whoa, celebrities love themselves— what a shocker! But in fact, that’s not the case. “Narcissism is not about self love,” Pinsky says. “It’s a clinical trait that belies a deep sense of emptiness, low self-esteem, emotional detachment, self-loathing, extreme problems with intimacy.”

The way Pinsky sees it, celebrities have a huge influence on us, and it’s important to know whom we’re modeling ourselves after. Young agrees: “We’ve all heard stories of celebrities in disastrous relationships; we watch them lie, cheat and get away with it. Drew and I just hope that people — especially kids — won’t try to emulate that behavior if they know that some of those folks may actually have an underlying disorder making them behave like that.”

Rebecca Skloot

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Narcissism and Entitlement:

Sexual Aggression and the College Male

by David R. Champion

ISBN: 1931202494
ISBN-13: 9781931202497

From the Publisher
Champion examines the premise that sexually aggressive men possess distinct, cognitively structured belief systems. To explore these belief systems he focuses on entitlement. Entitlement was measured through existing scales for Machiavellianism and narcissism. Sexual aggressors tend to be more narcissistic, Machiavellian and sexually experienced than other men. Contrary to popular notions and some past research, athletic and fraternity membership had no relationship with sexual aggression. Champion postulates that entitling personality structures are associated with sexual aggression and speculates on the implications of this for future criminological study.

Reporting on the results of a study of 308 male college students, Champion (administration of justice, U. of Pittsburgh at Bradford) lays out the theoretical groundwork for the study, describes the methodology, and analyzes implications. The study used established questionnaires to measure levels of narcissism, Machiavellianism, sexual aggression, levels of participation in athletics and fraternities, amount of sexual experience, and numbers of college credit earned. While the study was not able to find causal variables for sexual aggression, it did find significant correlative variables, including high scores for narcissism, age, Machiavellianism, and sexual experience. Other variables were found to be unrelated. Annotation c. Book News, Inc.,Portland, OR

Friday, August 17, 2007

Selfishness and Narcissism

... in Family Relationships

Here is an article by Lynne Namka that deserves careful attantion but is too long to post here. It can be found at:

The introduction follows:

"Narcissism as a psychological definition is typically seen as self-involved attitudes and behavior where there is little or no empathy for others. Narcissistic wounding starts early in life to children whose parents are insecure, abusive, addictive or have narcissistic patterns themselves.

Narcissistic injury happens to the child when his or her emotional needs are not met. The narcissistic parent has unresolved needs for attention and caretaking because his or her needs were not met in their early life. Neglect, physical, mental and sexual abuse, being spoiled and not given structure and limits create the wounding. Narcissism can be an inflated ego sub part or the trait can take over the personality. Narcissistic attitudes and behavior come from the ego defenses that function as smoke screens to hide the deep shame and fractures that came from being hurt emotionally or physically as a child.

The child who was not allowed to have boundaries becomes energetically and developmentally arrested at this level with beliefs of not being safe in the world and being unworthy and unlovable. Thus the Shadow is born with the defenses and negative core beliefs becoming set in the child's repertoire. The child carries this primitive, self-defense core of fear even into adulthood. This is called the “Core Script” or Core Identity, which is like a big lens of perception by which the world is viewed. The defenses remain lurking in the unconscious mind ready to be called into action at any resemblance of threat."
- Lynne Namka, Ed. D © 2005

Thursday, August 16, 2007

On Being Perfect

A well worth reading article on narcissism written by Paul Lutus can be found at this link:

Here is the conclusion as a taste (a funny way to do it, I admit)


According to many mental health professionals, the biggest single mistake people make in dealing with narcissists is to underestimate how dangerous they are. A good percentage of prison inmates are narcissists whose impulses got out of control, and the only thing separating a typical clinical narcissist from iron bars is a fortuitous mixture of circumstances. Narcissists live in a perpetual state of barely suppressed rage, are frequently unbelievably reckless, and appear to be oblivious to the risk their behavior poses to themselves and to others.

I don't think anyone can doubt that the above examples of clinical narcissism are involuntary, on the ground that they are so destructive to the narcissist that no one would choose to engage in the behavior. In the Blind Fury accusation story, she very clearly wasn't thinking about the consequences of her actions. If she possessed the insight of a normal person, she would realize she had systematically fed her credibility like firewood into a bonfire of narcissistic rage, and the courts on which she had depended for her public rants will now see her coming.

As to the physics illiterate, so long as he persists in arguing instead of thinking, he simply won't be able to learn the topic, and his unwillingness to reëvaluate his own beliefs will cripple his intellectual development as long as it lasts. Which brings me to another point about narcissists — they tend to have a rather shallow grasp of most topics, because they can't bring themselves to sincerely ask questions, for fear of appearing stupid. This leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy, where the thing most feared becomes a certainty.

This is all trivial to see from an adult perspective, but the point is narcissists don't have an adult perspective. They have the outlook and instincts of a six-year-old child, forever. It is this hard-wired intellectual and emotional limitation that motivates mental health professionals to almost universally offer this advice: the best way to deal with narcissists is to get away from them, as soon as possible, before they destroy you. That is a lesson I am still learning.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Identifying Narcissistic Traits

Here are 15

An obvious self-focus in interpersonal exchanges

Problems in sustaining satisfying relationships

A lack of psychological awareness

Difficulty with empathy

Problems distinguishing the self from others

Hypersensitivity to any slights or imagined insults

Vulnerability to shame rather than guilt

Haughty body language

Flatters people who admire and affirm him

Detests those who do not admire him

Uses other people without considering the cost of that for them

Pretends to be more important than he is

Brags and exaggerates his achievements

Claims to be an 'expert' about most things

Cannot view the world from the perspective of another person

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Narcissism: A Critical Reader

by Anastasios Gaitanidis (Editor), Polona Curk (Editor)

ISBN-10: 1855754533
ISBN-13: 978-1855754539

Book Description

This book provides a comprehensive review of the existing perspectives and applications of narcissism as a psychoanalytic concept that has been extremely influential in the fields of psychotherapy, social science, arts and humanities.

Ten authors from different disciplines have been invited to write on the topic of narcissism as it is approached in their specialist field. This resulted in an exciting and inclusive overview of contemporary thought on narcissism. This book is also a critical reader. Each author closely examined and analyzed the possibilities and limitations of different views on narcissism.

About the Authors

Anastasios Gaitanidis is a Permanent Visiting Lecturer in Psychoanalytic Studies at Goldsmiths College (University of London), an Associate Lecturer in Social Sciences at the Open University and a Visiting Lecturer in Cultural Studies at the University of Kent. He is also a psychodynamic counsellor/psychotherapist in private practice. He is currently co-authoring the book Male in Analysis with Tessa Adams and Larry O’Carroll (Palgrave), and co-editing the book Authoring the Sublime with Tessa Adams (Karnac). Polona Curk holds an MA in Psychoanalytic Studies from Goldsmiths College (University of London) and is currently a full-time PhD candidate at Birkbeck College (University of London). Her research is concerned with the concept of autonomy in the meeting of two subjects, and with the feminine and masculine subjectivity and their representations in the social realms, using psychoanalytic approaches and feminist theory.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Narcissism on Steroids

"I’m going to hold my breath till I turn blue!”

Most parents have heard similar words from toddlers who don’t get their way. Outbursts like these are some of the earliest expressions of our fallen nature. Upon hearing this, a reasonable parent begins the long process of teaching the child that selfishness and temper tantrums are not appropriate. That would be a reasonable parent. Unfortunately, reason seems to be a diminishing quality in today’s parents. For many parents today, narcissism on steroids has replaced reason.

For example, many are shaking their collective heads over a bizarre situation playing out in football crazed Texas. A 14-year-old incoming freshman high school student tries out for the junior varsity cheerleading squad. This happens every year in big and small towns across America. What happened in Yorktown, Texas, however, is a dramatic illustration of just how narcissistic our culture has become.

The young lady in question didn’t make the squad. She was cut. Again, a reasonable parent would use this as a golden opportunity to teach their daughter that this is an important “life lesson." The lesson may have sounded something like this: "Honey, life often is not fair. This is going to make you stronger.” Not in Yorktown, Texas! In a television interview the rejected cheerleader said she cried constantly for three weeks, claiming that being a cheerleader was her entire life.

At this point the parents needed to do something. So what did they do? They did what has become the "American Way" in a situation like this—they sued. Yep, they sued. The family’s attorney said, "We have no other option but to move forward with the lawsuit." The details at this point are sketchy. The school is saying one thing; the girl, her parents and their attorney, another. But a lawsuit because she was cut from a JV cheerleading squad? What do these parents think they are teaching their child? “Honey, whenever you don’t get what you want just remember those three wonderful letters S.U.E.” and “Sweetie, just remember, today there is an attorney for everything!”

Life is seldom fair. Reasonable people—and Christians above all—understand this reality. However, this sad commentary on one family's response to a perceived injustice is an ideal time to rehearse a distinctly Christian understanding of life's tests and trials.

The Christian knows that God "causes all things to work together for our good" (Rom. 8:28) and that trials are one of the means God uses to mold us more into the image of His Son. Consider, for example, Romans 5:3-5: "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." The Christian understands suffering as producing perseverance, proven character and, ultimately, hope. And unlike the fleeting pleasures of this world (e.g., cheerleading), God's hope will not disappoint.

A similarly counter-cultural message comes from the book of James: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything" (1:2-4). Consider trials as "pure joy"—how can this be? Only by understanding that when the Christian's faith is tested, perseverance results. And ultimately Christians find themselves "mature and complete, not lacking anything." In other words, we can become hope-filled people rather than narcissistic grumblers suing for our "rights."

The ultimate example, of course, is our Lord Himself. Heb. 12:2-3 reminds us: "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." If anyone's rights were wronged it was the Son of Man's. He willingly endured unspeakable injustices at the hands of sinful men. Jesus "humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!" (Phil. 2:8). Therefore, with our eyes fixed on Jesus, we do not grow weary and lose heart!

What are our children being taught by displaying such extreme narcissism as in the case of the rejected cheerleader in Yorktown, Texas? We're teaching them that they are the most important reality in the universe and, therefore, should always get what they want. We're confirming for them the truth of what happens when human beings try to live apart from God: "They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator" (Rom. 1:25). Isn't narcissism really the worship of created things, namely, oneself?

The story of the Yorktown freshman is a parable for our times. In it we see some of the devastating consequences of our "rights" oriented culture and what happens when narcissism replaces reason and, ultimately, Christian truth. The parable is also a challenge to us to respond to our present and future trials in a way that honors not self, but God.

Bob Burney is Salem Communications’ award-winning host of Bob Burney Live, heard weekday afternoons on WRFD-AM 880 in Columbus, Ohio.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Adult Children of Narcissists

Interview granted By San Vaknin to Elizabeth Svoboda of Psychology Today

Q. Once you became an adult, how did your relationship with your parents change? What are some of the unique difficulties of being an adult child of narcissistic parents? Feel free to give examples or describe specific situations you found yourself in.

A. Adult children of narcissists adopt one of two solutions: entanglement or detachment. Children of narcissists should avoid the encounter because it is bound to stir up a nest of emotional hornets which they may not be able to cope with effectively. They should refuse to subject themselves to repeated abuse, however subtle, surreptitious, and ambient. Absenteeism is a way of neutralizing the abusive parents' weapons.

But the vast majority of grown up offspring of narcissists find themselves enmeshed in unhealthy permutations of their childhood, caught in an exhausting dance macabre, developing special semiotic vocabularies to decipher the convoluted exchanges that pass for communication in their families. They compulsively revisit unresolved conflicts and re-enact painful scenes in the forlorn hope that, this time around, the resolution would be favorable and benign.

Such entanglement only serves to exacerbate the corrosive give-and-take that constitutes the child-parent relationship in the narcissist's family. Such recurrent friction, unwelcome but irresistible, deepens and entrenches the grudges and enmity that both parties accumulate in sort of a bookkeeping of hurt and counter-hurt.

Q. When we become adults, what are our responsibilities to parents who have personality problems? Do you think we're obligated to put up with them as a kind of payback for everything they gave us when we were young, or are we justified in cutting them off if the situation gets too intractable?

A. Our first and foremost obligation is to ourselves and to our welfare - as well as to our loved ones. People with personality disorders are disruptive in the extreme. They pose a clear and present danger both to themselves and to others. They are an emotional liability and a time bomb. They are a riddle we, their progeny, can never hope to resolve and they constitute living proof that not only were we not loved as children but are unloveable as adults.

Why would one saddle oneself with such debilitating constraints on one's ability to feel, to experience, to dare, and to soar to one's fullest potential? Narcissistic parents are an albatross around their children's necks because they are incapable of truly, fully, and unconditionally loving.

Q. How can we try to manage difficult parents' behavior, if at all-or at least, minimize its impact on us? Q. What advice would you give others who find themselves in a similar situation with their parents? What were some of the strategies that worked for you?

A. At the risk of sounding repetitive: disengage to the best of your ability. Make it a point to limit your encounters with these sad reminders of your childhood to the bare minimum. Delegate obligations to third parties, to professionals, to other members of the family. Hire nurses, accountants, and lawyers if you can afford it. Place them in a senior home. Move to another state. The more distance you put between yourself and your personality disordered abuser-parents and their radioactive influence, the better you are bound to feel: liberated, decisive, empowered, calmer, in control, clear about yourself and your goals.

These points are crucial:

Do not allow your parents to manage your life any longer

Do not allow them to interfere with your new family: your wife and children

Do not allow them to turn you into a servant, instantaneously and obsequiously at their beck and call

Do not become their source of funding

Do not become their exclusive or most important source of narcissistic supply (attention, adulation, admiration)

Do not show them that they can hurt you or that you are afraid of them or that they have any kind of power over you

Be ostentatiously autonomous and independent-minded in their presence

Do not succumb to emotional blackmail or emotional incest

Punish them by disengaging every time they transgress. Condition them not to misbehave, not to abuse you.

Identify the most common strategies of fostering unhealthy (trauma) bonding and the most prevalent control mechanisms:

Guilt-driven ("I sacrificed my life for you.")

Codependent ("I need you, I cannot cope without you.")

Goal-driven ("We have a common goal which we can and must achieve")

Shared psychosis or emotional incest ("You and I are united against the whole world, or at least against your monstrous, no-good father ...", "You are my one and only true love and passion")

Explicit ("If you do not adhere to my principles, beliefs, ideology, religion, values, if you do not obey my instructions - I will punish you").

Sam Vaknin