2 old photos of famous narcissists

bill_hillary
That is Bill and Hillary Clinton when they were dating as college students. (Bill may have been a narcissist, but I always sort of liked him anyway).

osama_bin-laden_family
A very normal-looking 1970s family, aren’t they? Well, guess which one is Osama bin Laden? (He’s in the green shirt on the right).

Click the photos to enlarge.

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Narcissist Achilles Heel

This is a kind of a followup of yesterday’s rant about how I was played for a fool by someone I wanted to give the benefit of the doubt to due to my “malignant optimism.” A good post by a fellow blogger from the narc abuse community, as well as a great friend and supporter. I wanted to share her words. I hope my friend doesn’t mind.

Let this be a lesson to anyone who thinks a narcissist can ever be your friend. They cannot.

galesmind

nobody hurt without permission

I just read a very eloquent article by a really brilliant woman. You may know her.
https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/03/07/my-friendship-with-a-famous-narcissist-is-over/

This is her article I did reblog but I wanted to go further than that. What made this wonderful, caring brilliant woman care about an avowed narcissist who openly has great distain for women and people in general? She really cared about him and thought she could help him. This exact nature of hers to care about others is what entrapped her in his web. Back an forth he supported then he withdrew. He found out about her interest in narcissism from Googling his own name for heaven sake!! I made an innocuous comment and of course like the humorless narcissist he is he took offense. Instead of telling me off he went after her and blamed her for my words. If you are so proud of yourself being an uncaring narc what…

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My “friendship” with a famous narcissist is over.

wtf_narc

Some of you may have noticed I’m posting less these days. Not long ago I was averaging 3-5 new posts a day; now it’s about 1-2. To most of you, that’s probably still considered a lot of posts, but for a blogging demon like me, it’s pathetic and makes me ashamed of my lack of motivation. I hold myself to higher standards than one post a day. Lack of motivation was a problem for me during my years living with a narc; that’s not supposed to be in the picture anymore.

There are two reasons for my lack of motivation, but really just one. The first one is not the real reason but the one I’ve been using as an excuse to not post as much: too much work stress.

That’s a lie because I’ve always had too much work stress. Nothing has really changed on that front. In fact, I’m coping with work stress better than I used to, so that’s not the real reason at all.

The real reason is stupid and embarrassing, and that’s why I haven’t talked about it. Because I’m afraid I’ll be judged harshly because of it.

But I did commit to complete honesty on this blog, and I think it’s become pretty clear that nothing I confess to on this blog will be used against me or will make people judge me harshly (which is one of my biggest fears).

I also think by admitting what my problem is, that in itself might be the remedy and get my blogging mojo back up again.

So here’s the real truth.
I lost what I foolishly thought was a friendship with a man who writes books and is quite famous within the narcissistic abuse community. That man himself is a self-professed narcissist and that in itself should have been a huge red flag. I will not say his name (because I don’t want to have to add it as a tag here), but I think almost all of you in the narcissistic abuse community will know exactly who I am talking about.

I am not going to go into great detail about what happened because there is no reason to. There was never anything other than what I thought was a nice, professional online friendship. However, in my fascination with this man’s unusual mind, I became obsessed to an unhealthy level and found myself being drawn further in, even though I was simultaneously repelled by his personality.

I was not immune to his abuse. No one is. Get too close, and he will abuse you. Just because he writes books and runs forums and makes videos for victims of narcissistic abuse doesn’t mean he isn’t a snake who will bite you if you get too close.

snakes

The man’s initial love bombing of this blog was followed by using it and me for narcissistic supply followed by devaluation and unfair (and untrue) accusations against me. I will not go into the ugly details; it’s not necessary. In a nutshell, I offended him in some way, and now I am “the enemy.” Ultimately he blocked me on most social media. He used me and threw me away when I was no longer of use to him. That’s what narcs do. Just because they’re famous writers who navel-gaze at their own narcissism doesn’t make them some sort of exceptions. A narc is a narc, end of story. They’re all the same.

He no longer comes to this blog, which is probably a good thing, but I won’t lie–it hurts me that he doesn’t. I miss his presence. As a matter of fact, his disappearance and blocking me sent me into a kind of depression. But that’s just part of the abuse cycle a narc uses. I feel so stupid for thinking he was going to continue to be nice to me. That he was some kind of exception just because he’s intellectually brilliant and writes material for people like us.

Ding, ding, ding! WRONG.

But there’s a nice benefit to me from his rejection too. I used to live in mortal terror of offending this overly sensitive man because I didn’t want to lose his “friendship.” I felt like I had to tippytoe around him and never say anything critical about him in order to avoid offending him. I wasn’t even allowed to make a joke at his expense, and once when I said “LOL” to a valued member of this community who made a rather innocuous joke about him, he overreacted and flew into a narcissistic rage directed at me. He blocked me for one day and then unblocked me and apologized, but at the same time lso demanded that I never allow my commenters to make jokes at his expense ever again. Whoa. After that I was very careful not to insult him and never “like” any comment that even implied a criticism.

Now I can call him on his bullshit, and that’s good because calling out the narcs on their crap is part of what this blog is for. Narcissists deserve to be called out.

Offending him was inevitable because he’s a narc, and guess what. I don’t care. In fact I’m glad I offended him and he stopped coming here. Because now I can write whatever I want about him and not be afraid of offending him because I’m already on his shit list apparently, and he doesn’t come here anymore anyway so he probably won’t even see it.

Even though he’s a raging, batshit crazy horse’s ass, to be fair, he helped me a lot in the beginning getting this blog the jump start it needed and maximum visibility. There were heady days in November and December where my blog stats shot through the roof due to something I wrote about him that got shared by him everywhere. That was good for my self esteem. He also taught me a lot of things about narcissism as well as how to promote my blog on my own. He gave me validation, maybe even a little narcissistic supply of my own (which satisfied my own inner narcissist–we all have one).

I don’t need his help anymore. I can do this on my own. But I can’t help wishing he was still around. It was kind of a huge rush that someone I admired so much and was so well known seemed to like or at least take so much interest in my little blog. His attention made me feel kind of special, if truth be told.

In addition, I wanted nothing more than to see this self professed narcissist get healed, because it seemed to me, a narcissist with that much insight and intelligence actually had hope. But I was wrong. He has no hope because he hangs onto his narcissism as a kind of trophy, but more than that, he hangs onto it as a way to keep punishing himself because he hates himself more than anyone I have ever known. He suffers but he loves his suffering. He believes he deserves it. He believes he deserves to be hated. He devalues those who reach out to him in friendship. He cannot get well because he has chosen to remain a narcissist because he thinks it’s all he deserves and it gives him some sort of twisted satisfaction (as well as being his claim to fame and source of income).

a_girl_once_told_me

So those heady days of fake “friendship” with a renowned narcissistic writer are gone. Whatever kind of friendship we had, if you can call an Internet relationship with a narcissist a friendship, is over.

He knows I no longer need his help. This blog is doing fine without him now. And he certainly wasn’t the only person who helped this blog get started anyway. But I can’t help feeling as if I did something wrong to make him cut me off. I don’t know what that thing was, because he’s not forthcoming and will probably never tell me what that thing was, if it was anything at all. He’s just another narcissist playing his narcissist games. Narcs don’t know the first thing about true friendship or even how to maintain a working professional relationship, which I stupidly thought we had.

I feel like I’ve been duped and taken for a fool, and that threw me off the roller coaster-like high I’d been riding on due to all his attention.

Okay, fine. Not only was my obsession becoming unhealthy, one day back in December, I was horrified to realize my intellectual Aspie obsession with a disordered man’s mind had developed into a massive infatuation. I was realistic about it though; I knew it was just a ridiculous crush. Not for one minute did I ever have any desire for it to materialize into anything but a pleasant mind diversion for myself alone.

For awhile that’s exactly what it remained. But some of my friends told me I had been taken in under his dangerous spell and to be very careful. They thought my obsession combined with the fact we were in direct communication was unhealthy and dangerous. I’m also afraid I might have driven off a few good friends due to my obsession. He’s not very well liked by some of my friends, and for good reason.

I understand I am not the first or the last person this man will have this kind of effect on. He’s charismatic and has a strange charm and many of us find his brilliant but disordered mind enthralling and exciting. These are exactly the same qualities cult leaders have over their followers and we all know how dangerous they can be.

narcissist_friends

The man’s works do have value though. He is a good writer and has a brilliant mind and if you keep your distance from him, his writings and videos can be valuable to us as ACONs and survivors of relationships with narcissists. Many people say his writings have changed their lives. I’m sure they are telling the truth. He gives good advice to abuse victims.

But that’s as far as it goes. I don’t agree with all his opinions and can understand the dislike some people have for his writings too. He’s pessimistic and dark and offers little to no hope for people suffering from NPD. His self hatred is so evident in his writings. He paints all narcissists as monsters because of his self hatred and that view has permeated the entire narcissistic abuse community, whether they like him or not.

While it’s good to think of narcissists as inhuman monsters when you’re trying to leave or disconnect from one, it’s actually a very toxic philosophy because this sort of negativity and pessimism demonizes a group of very sick people and gives them no hope, even those with insight who want to change, and they do exist. I’ve seen boards and blogs for narcissists who actually want to get well. Maybe they’re in the minority, but they’re out there–and they hate being stereotyped so negatively and offered nothing but hopelessness by a man who has turned his own malignant narcissism into a kind of performance art.

navel_gazing

I was foolish and got way too close due to my morbid curiosity about what made this tragically disordered man’s mind tick. Like others have been (and who had warned me in advance), I was drawn too far inside this man’s darkness. A wise person will not go up to a poisonous snake and start trying to pet it, because the snake will bite you. Stupidly, I allowed myself to get too close to the snake and got bit. Duh.

Just because he writes material for victims of narcissistic abuse and some of it can be of value to us, doesn’t mean he’s a nice person. He is not a nice person. He is a narcissist. That should be enough warning right there.

I’m trying to move on from this experience. I appreciate what he’s done for this blog. His help in the beginning was invaluable and I’ll always be grateful to him for that, as well as teaching me so much about the way the narcissistic mind operates. He was a great teacher to me, for as long as that was possible. I will still continue to read his written material, but only as one among many others.

There is a Buddhist proverb: “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” I believe he had a purpose to me, and his purpose has been fulfilled. But there will be other teachers. There already are other teachers–all of you who share your experiences with me on this blog. I value each one of you.

teachers

I have learned you will never be able to really understand the narcissistic mind. I tried, using his mind. The Poster Child of NPD. I tried to get as far inside his mind as it’s possible to go for someone who’s never actually met the person. I read voraciously, did my research, read interviews, heard stories from insiders who do know him, devoured his journals and poetry. I was so drawn to his disordered and undeniably fascinating mind, almost against my will. He had drawn me, as he has many others, under his powerful spell. But once I gained a kind of entry to his mind, it was like entering a hall of smoke and mirrors. I just kept getting more confused and disoriented and found that instead of my questions being answered, even more questions arose. Questions that led to more questions but never any real answers. That’s what happens if you are foolish enough to attempt to figure out what makes a narcissist tick. You will never figure it out but feel like you are losing your own mind in trying to do so.

I’ve been licking my wounds and feeling a little down because of what happened, and there you have it, folks. That’s the reason I haven’t been posting like a maniac. Please don’t judge me for that.

I love this blog and love my community of supporters and readers, and my TRUE FRIENDS. Soon I’ll have forgotten all about what happened. It won’t matter to me anymore. And I’ll be posting like a maniac again.

Famous people who have NPD

parishilton

This is not my own list, but I agree with most of the people listed in this blog post.

Here is the entire article:

There are many people all around us that suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), more commonly referred to as narcissism. There are many well known individuals who display characteristics of narcissism, if not full blown NPD. They range from politicians to celebrities, from ministers to business leaders. Some writers and researchers believe that successful and famous people have acquired or situational narcissism; they do show narcissistic traits but only after they have worked hard, sometimes for years, to get there. But that success often produces a personality pattern replete with narcissistic traits. Others believe that these people were narcissistic to begin with and sought out opportunities and fields that would satisfy their narcissistic needs. Either way, once they become famous it leads to narcissistic thinking and behaviors; they have lots of money and/or fame, don’t wait in line at restaurants or events, have limo service, and are asked for photographs and so on. This often leads to demanding behavior, feeling they are above the law, becoming more exhibitionistic and many have public social or emotional meltdowns (frequent run-ins with the law, drug and alcohol abuse, attempting suicide, etc.).
Let’s take a look at some of the famous people who show personality traits that suggest narcissism. Most of them show grandiose thinking and exaggerated self-importance, many believe or fantasize about the power they have, most believe they are special, need to be admired and feel entitled. Many dictators and criminals had or have narcissistic personalities as well as the Hollywood celebrities; some are negative role models and some are positive. Hitler and Stalin both had grandiose self-images as did Casanova, Marquis de Sade, Peter Sellers, and the heart surgeon Christiaan Barnard. Other likely suspects are Madonna, Margaret Thatcher, Paris Hilton and O.J. Simpson. Here are just a few of the many that come to mind:

hitler

Jim Jones
Saddam Hussein
Warren Beatty
Ryan O’Neal
Alec Baldwin
Sharon Stone
Elvis Presley
William Shatner
Joan Crawford
Pablo Picasso
Ike Turner
Lee Harvey Oswald
Donald Trump
Kayne West
Charlie Chaplin
Marlon Brando
Eva Peron
Simon Cowell
Liberace
Adolph Hitler
Joseph Mengele
Joseph Stalin
Ted Bundy
O.J. Simpson
Paris Hilton
Madonna

donaldtrump

The author also has Marilyn Manson on the list, but while I do think he has psychological issues, I don’t think that he is a narcissist. From what I have read of him, he has exceedingly low self esteem and was bullied in school. Narcissists are rarely victims of school bullying.

Many of these people are successful and talented entertainers, and as such have contributed in a positive way to the world, so while they may be narcissists, some of them are probably not malignant narcissists or psychopathic (this just means they are less high on the narcissist spectrum than people who have contributed nothing to the world except evil and misery or have led a parasitic, exploitative lifestyle. Some may even possess small amounts of empathy and give generously to charity.)

simoncowell

Here’s a few others I would add (not a complete list by any means):

Kanye West

The Koch Brothers
Rush Limbaugh
Ayn Rand (she glorified narcissists in her books and a serial killer was her role model)
Scott Peterson
Osama bin Laden
Susan Smith
Jodi Arias
Dick Cheney
Sarah Palin
John Edwards (D-SC who cheated on his wife while she was dying from cancer)
Joel Osteen
Bette Davis
Joan Crawford (may have been Borderline rather than NPD)
Bing Crosby
Mick Jagger
Ted Nugent
Justin Beiber
Nikki Minaj
Most televangelists
Most Reality TV stars
Many rap and rock stars (narcissism is part of their whole badass “package” but it may not be genuine)

justinbeiber

Many people have accused Barack Obama of being a narcissist, but I disagree.

I found this interesting chart showing different high-profile professions and the corresponding level of narcissistic traits. Not surprisingly, Reality TV scores highest. (Click to enlarge the chart)

narcissistchart

Sam Vaknin: Narcissist or narcissist wannabe?

samvaknin

Who in their right mind would want to be a narcissist?

Sam Vaknin evidently does. Vaknin, a self-identified narcissist, is a bit different from the average narcissist. He seems to fit the profile in many ways, but he is surprisingly introspective and in 1997, wrote a self-help book called “Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited. It can be purchased through Amazon or through his own site, but you can also read free excerpts from the PDF version which is also available through his website.

I have read the PDF full version and while it’s extremely long, verbose, and often repetitive (the published version may have better editing but I am not sure), Vaknin tells you everything you want to know about narcissism (and a few things you may not have known) and offers advice to “normals” on how to deal with narcissistic people like himself. He does not glorify narcissists and in fact is quite critical of them. While it appears he wants to help people handle or even cut themselves off from narcissists, one can’t help but wonder if he wrote the book as a way to promote himself and if he might not actually take pride in having the disorder. After all, narcissism has become Vaknin’s claim to fame and he purports himself as an expert on the disorder (which I can’t argue with, despite his lack of professional credentials). It was Vaknin who coined the term “narcissistic supply,” which is now used by bonafide professionals in the field who specialize in NPD.

Most books about narcissistic personality disorder or malignant narcissism are written by doctors, psychologists, or other professionals who deal with them in their practice, so reading such a book by a self-proclaimed narcissist is an odd experience but gives the reader an entirely different perspective about what really makes narcissists tick–and in a way, perhaps a more accurate one.

vakninandbook
Vaknin with a copy of his book.

Vaknin also differs from the garden variety narcissist because of his brutal honesty. Pathological lying is one of the narcissist’s calling cards, but in 2009 Australian filmmaker Ian Walker made a fascinating and somewhat disturbing but at times extremely funny documentary about Vaknin called I, Psychopath. (I highly recommend watching this film, the extended version of which can be viewed on Youtube (I have linked the first section). In the film Vaknin lies about nothing, and in fact he’s as brutally and cruelly honest as Simon Cowell used to be when judging American Idol contestants (I definitely suspect Mr. Cowell is himself a narcissist, but I digress). That being said, there has been some controversy about Mr. Vaknin’s educational credentials. During one of his interviews with a psychologist, she questions him about his degree–he had written on the questionnaire that he has a Ph.D, but it turned out that doctorate is actually from a diploma mill and its validity is questionable at best. So dishonesty is not unknown to Sam Vaknin (as it isn’t unknown to the rest of us).

In the film, we are treated to interesting and slightly creepy, oddly lit stills of Vaknin superimposed over things like clanking machinery (hinting at how the narcissist is more machine than human), strange landscapes, and time-lapsed highways at night.

Vaknin was born in 1961 to a Turkish mother and an Israeli father. We find out that Vaknin has an extremely high IQ and he is in fact a genius. In his native Israel, he became extremely wealthy at a shockingly early age through clever (and probably dishonest) financial wheelings and dealings, and was a successful dot-com entrepreneur until he was busted for securities fraud in 1999, and lost all his money. He also postulated a scientific theory on chronons and time asymmetry.

At the tender age of 21, Vaknin was living the high life, flying around the world in a private jet, eating in the most expensive restaurants, visiting exotic locales all over the world, and raking in enormous amounts of money. The film describes how the most successful entrepreneurs and corporate bigwigs tend to possess three important traits that make them so successful: good looks, high intelligence, and most importantly, a high level of psychopathy (determined by giving the tycoons Dr. Robert Hare’s Psychopathy Checklist, which is most commonly used to make sentencing decisions for criminals.). Sam Vaknin possesses all three of these traits.

One of the psychologists who tests Vaknin during the film finds that while he does score high in traits that signify NPD, he scores even higher in traits that indicate Schizotypal Personality Disorder, Paranoid Personality Disorder, and bizarrely, scores highest of all in AvPD (Avoidant Personality disorder–a common disorder in narcissists’ victims). This psychologist does not think Mr. Vaknin is actually a psychopath, but that he may be narcissistic. Vaknin, for his part, seems petulant, insulted and almost angry that he is not more of the big, bad psychopath that he believed he was.

Later, his wife, Lidija, is also tested to find out if she is a typical “victim” (highly empathic, sensitive, putting other’s needs ahead of her own) and it is found that she is. And yet, although Sam and Lidija argue frequently, their relationship (at least on film) seems to work for them and Vaknin doesn’t seem excessively abusive, although he insists he has no capacity to feel love the way his wife does. It’s possible he may be more abusive toward Lidija off screen, but this is another thing we are left wondering. One issue that is raised is she wants a baby, but is unsure if her husband would make a good father, due to his narcissism.

vakninandwife
Vaknin with his wife, Lidija.

Vaknin gives his filmmaker, Ian Walker, a difficult time, and while we don’t see an excess of bullying on screen, in Walker’s commentary, he frequently discusses the way Vaknin abuses and calls him terrible names when the camera is off. So to try to capture Vaknin’s alleged abusive behavior on screen, he has Vaknin take over the filming and film Walker. Indeed now we hear Vaknin hurling insults and abuse at him. Walker, for his part, seems hurt, but could this just be the two of them acting out a part for the sake of giving the film more credibility of making it more interesting? There’s no way to tell, but the experiment is entertaining enough.

During the film, well known professionals who specialize in psychopathy and narcissism are interviewed and give their opinions about these character disorders, and their opinions about Vaknin himself. Vaknin, for his part, seems irascible and easily angered (and sometimes acts like a petulant child), but he also is oddly likeable (which could just be his narcissistic charm doing its work) and occasionally is extremely funny. Vaknin’s high intelligence is obvious and he speaks English extremely well too, although it’s not his native tongue.

Vaknin gifts each of the doctors and psychologists who interview him a complimentary copy of his “Malignant Self-Love,” which could be a gesture of courtesy or it could be narcissistic.

vakninsam

Vaknin is an enigma. During the documentary I sometimes wondered whether he is actually a narcissist at all. He certainly doesn’t seem psychopathic (although I’m not going to say it’s impossible), but if he’s a narcissist, I don’t think he’s a particularly malignant one. My own opinion of Sam Vaknin is that he has Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), which shares a number of traits with NPD because they are both Cluster B character disorders but differ in important ways. I think Vaknin has strong narcissistic, paranoid, and schizoid traits, but he is no psychopath. Clearly, Vaknin isn’t the easiest person to spend a lot of time with, but that doesn’t make him evil or a psychopath. However, he does say he was diagnosed with NPD twice–in 1986 and 1995.

I do wonder if he wants to be a narcissist more than he actually is one, and if so, why? Whatever the case, Mr. Vaknin has written an excellent and highly readable (if a bit verbose) book about malignant narcissism. I don’t personally care if he doesn’t have the right “credentials,” either as a professional or as a person with the actual disorder, because his book has helped so many people deal with the narcissists in their own lives better.

Update 11/20/14
I added a new post honoring Mr. Vaknin’s requests in the comments section, and also made the requested changes in this article. After viewing the links he posted, I’m much more convinced he’s really the narcissist he says he is.
https://otterlover58.wordpress.com/2014/11/20/sam-vaknin-read-my-post-and-has-a-few-corrections/