Book Review: “Malignant Self-Love” by Sam Vaknin

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Vaknin’s “Bible of Narcissism”

I first heard about Sam Vaknin’s book “Malignant Self-Love” about 15 years ago–when I made a cursory online search about NPD after I realized my own mother was one. At that time, Vaknin was pretty much the only voice on the Internet about narcissistic abuse. Vaknin, a self-confessed narcissistic psychopath , had written a “bible of narcissism” and it became obvious, from scanning the selected pages he provided in PDF format on his website (which has never been upgraded to a more current look and format–he uses the ancient blogging site, Tripod), that this guy was obsessed with his own disorder to the point of unhealthy navel-gazing and what’s more, he and seemed to hate people like himself. What was this, some kind of pathology performance art?

His book and his own story that inspired the book intrigued me, but at the time, I was still trapped (or thought I was trapped) in my abusive marriage and my kids were still very young, so I filed this information away in the back of my brain, and quickly moved onto other things, such as trying to keep my doomed marriage together. In fact, I didn’t think about his book again until late last year, after I left my narcissist.

When I started my blog in September 2014, Vaknin still had a huge presence online (though he no longer had a monopoly on narcissism). He was often quoted on ACON blogs and even in more serious articles in publications like Psychology Today. The difference was, by now, he was no longer alone. There were other voices joining his–Kim Saeed, Michelle Mallon, and Kathy Krajco (who is with us no more) just to name a few, and of course psychologists and other authors like Dr. George K. Simon, Robert Hare, and Marsha Stout. And too many ACON (Adult Children of Narcissists) bloggers to count. By this time, Narcissism was a Very Hot Topic, at least on the Intenet. Sam Vaknin probably began that trend, in spite of his being so vilified by so many of the narcissism bloggers he paved the way for.

A self-professed malignant narcissist writing self help books for victims of abuse may seem like the ultimate irony–but when you look a little deeper, it makes a lot of sense. Who better than a narcissist to know what makes a narcissist tick? Every other expert who writes books about narcissism has to make educated — or not so educated — guesses.

If you’re not a narcissist, it’s almost impossible to imagine what such a disorder can feel like to its bearer, just as the pain of cancer can never be convincingly described by one who has never suffered from cancer. If a book were to be written about what it’s like to have cancer, the writer should be a cancer survivor–or one about to succumb. My point here being that Sam Vaknin, whether you like him or not, whether you think he’s doing ACONs a service or hurting them, whether he’s got the proper credentials or not (and personally I don’t care about the whole credential brouhaha because not once in the book does he say he’s a mental health professional and in fact it’s full of disclaimers), is definitely qualified to write about narcissism. His primary qualification–the only qualification that really matters–is that he is speaking from personal experience.

So I pulled out my debit card and ordered the huge black-and-red tome with its Caravaggio “Narcissus” illustration on the cover (which, for me, was a draw in itself, because I love the painting). It set me back about $40 on Amazon (you can get a copy signed by the author for about $54.95) I thought the price was a bit high, until I held the book in my hands. It was as big as the Bible! Maybe even bigger. I flipped through its onion-skin thin Bible-like pages and saw how tiny the print was.

Oh, man, I thought. I don’t think I can read this. But I was determined to. I wanted to understand what it felt like to be a narcissist, what it felt like to be inside Sam’s head. And so I began to read.

Malignant Self-Love is not a book you can read in one sitting–or even ten. Maybe not even twenty. Normally, I’m a very fast reader. Until I started blogging (and no longer had time to read much), I could consume about 3 good-sized books a week. People looked at me like I had three eyes and a horn growing out of my head when I’d tell them I finished a 300 page novel in 2 days. But Vaknin’s book is different. It’s not only got a LOT of information–almost more information about narcissism than you’d ever need or want to know–but it’s a dark and depressing read too, and I found that while reading it, I felt my mind being sucked into Vaknin’s bottomless black vortex of pain. He’s pessimistic, negative, and hates his own disorder. He also seems to hate himself for having NPD, and demonizes narcissists in general, referring to them as non-humans and machines. He demonizes himself in the process, and warns his readers to stay far away from people like himself. You would think from all this encouraging advice to the sort of people who would have been his prey, that he cares about the victims. I’m not so sure, since he himself is quoted as saying he never intended to help anyone by writing Malignant Self-Love, that his primary motive was narcissistic supply and attaining a guru-like status for himself.

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Sam Vaknin, the psychopathic, emotionless predator.

Yet in spite of his heart never having been in its creation, Malignant Self-Love is an outstanding piece of writing, and English isn’t even Vaknin’s native language. He weaves words together into a beautiful piece of literature the way a holy man weaves tiny colored threads together to create a Persian rug–with an intricacy and detail that is rare in modern writing.

Indeed, Vaknin’s writing at times can seem as if it’s from a bygone century. His phrasing is old-fashioned and his writing is highly descriptive, hearkening back to 19th century authors. At times it reads almost like poetry. And it’s very emotional writing. You come away from the pages (which feels somewhat like coming up for air after having been underwater too long), with the strong sense that whenever Vaknin refers to the “Narcissist,” he is really speaking about himself in the third person. There is passion and pain in these pages, but more than anything else, there is rage. White hot rage. Sam Vaknin is…intense. And so is his book.

Although some mental health professionals and other who study NPD have criticized Vaknin for appearing to take several related personality disorders–Antisocial, NPD (the less malignant type described in the DSM-V), Borderline Personality Disorder, and even autism–and churn them together into a mutation of the psychiatric definition of NPD into a devastating form of psychopathic malignant narcissism. Some mental health experts have even said Vaknin’s book has been damaging to the field of diagnostic psychology because it blurs the lines between several distinct personality disorders.

But since when is the field of diagnostic psychology a real science anyway? At best, it’s a social science; at worst, an art form–so in my mind, Vaknin’s theories about NPD make as much–or more–sense than some of the experts.’

Vaknin was also not the first narcissism writer to ever do this. While M. Scott Peck’s 1983 book “People of the Lie” is written from a completely different perspective from Vaknin’s–one with religious overtones written by psychiatrist who is also a born-again Christian–Peck’s book too seems to mix traits of NPD and ASPD. And while Peck didn’t call the hybrid disorder “malignant narcissism” (he calls it “evil”) because that term wasn’t in wide use in 1983, people could relate–because we almost all know someone like that. Vaknin’s book also describes people that victims of narcissistic abuse recognize–a dangerous kind of narcissist who has nothing but ill will toward others, but it was born from having been abused themselves, as Vaknin was abused.

Vaknin’s readers are mostly women, who are in a relationship with a narcissist or thinking about leaving one. Sam Vaknin does not disappoint. Victimized, emotionally damaged women see Vaknin as a kind of online therapist (especially those who frequent his discussion groups and forums), and the “transference” of strong feelings of a patient to their therapist is an important development in the psychotherapeutic relationship. If they’re using the Internet as their therapist, Vaknin can easily become the object of these feelings of transference. He becomes a kind of mirror reflecting back to them all the admirable qualities they have imbued him with–-which may or may not be accurate-–but it’s what they want or need to see in him. The problem is, unlike with a therapist in a controlled psychotherapeutic setting, women experiencing transference toward a online cult hero like Vaknin have no idea what to do with these feelings or how to use them to learn more about themselves. But on the plus side, he does tell them how to disengage and tell them WHY they should disengage and what makes their narcissist tick, and of course he’s right. Many of these women (and men too) claim Vaknin’s book saved their lives and helped them get started along the road to self-discovery and freedom from abuse.

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I think this picture shows a sad side Sam Vaknin rarely shows in public. That’s why I think it might have been a candid photo that caught him with his mask temporarily down. Of course he could be acting for the camera too.

If you don’t like ponderous, pessimistic tomes or books that don’t require the reader to think, then Vaknin’s bible of narcissism may not be for you. But if you like a book you can savor and digest over weeks or months, the way you would savor a fine wine by taking small sips and not chugga-lugging it down like a cheap bottle of Gallo, then I recommend his book if you’re in an abusive relationship with a narcissist, trying to go No Contact, or just interested in narcissism. His writing is so good it’s worth reading even as just a work of literature, even if you disagree with his assessment of NPD as a blight on humanity and the precious little hope he conveys that sufferers of NPD can ever get well (which is one of the few problems I have with his book).

It took me nearly three months to finish Malignant Self-Love, but only because I could only swallow a little of his brand of darkness at a time without making myself sick. However, when I finally read the last page, I came away feeling like I had an insight into my narcissists that no one else could have made possible. It was as if Mr. Vaknin provided a sort of mirror to my narcissists and made them talk to me– openly and honestly–about why they did the awful, hurtful things they did. In giving my narcs a voice, albeit a depressing, raging one–I felt as if Vaknin’s book had somehow stripped away some of their power over me. And that’s always a good thing.

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Narcissism’s Emotional Fallout

Here is another great blog I found, and this is a great article. We are all at different stages of processing the narcissistic abuse that was done to us, and this writer points out that we should not take negative comments personally and as people in recovery, we may ourselves act testy or negative at times, even when blogging.

For me, blogging about narcissism is smething that makes me happy–even though the topic is a dark one. I love everything about writing and blogging about narcissism, even the emotional pain and yes, testiness and negativity that tends to arise from time to time. We have lived in an emotional war zone for most of our lives and it wouldn’t be realistic to expect us to be Sunshine Susies all all the time. Sometimes we’re going to be Debbie Downers instead.

Blogging about narcissism is hard, hard work, because at the time we are blogging, we are also doing deep self-therapy and painful emotions can come to the surface and cause us to say and do things we normally wouldn’t. But in spite of all this, I feel like this is my life’s calling and is leading to a future career as a writer. I have never been more deeply involved or emotionally invested in any hobby I ever had…and this is a hobby, but more, so much more. Read on!

In the Net! - Stories of Life and Narcissistic Survival

I’ve noticed from time to time a tendency on some of the narcissism blogs that I read, for people to get a little testy about the things said about narcissism, narcissists and their victims. I have experienced testy commentary a couple of times and in one case, an outright angry response to a comment that I made – an accusation that I didn’t understand narcissism, that I didn’t know what I was talking about, that I didn’t know what it is like to be a victim.

Initially, I was hurt by the remark. I took it personally.

Reading, writing and thinking about narcissism is an emotional and arduous task. It requires a great deal of work, very difficult work that takes time, effort and sometimes, money.

When I first separated from my ex-narcissist, I went for counselling. I was fortunate on several fronts. First, I had a health care account that allowed…

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Notes of first therapy session with Sam V., male, 43, diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)

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The following is about ten years old, I think. I’m not going to editorialize this further, but let the therapist’s words speak for themselves. (I do not know who the therapist was). Pretty interesting stuff and a vivid picture of how NPD can manifest itself in one person, in this case a well known author who writes about his own disorder. Sam Vaknin suffers from the cerebral form of narcissism; the other type is somatic.

Notes of first therapy session with Sam V., male, 43, diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)
http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/personalitydisorders65.html

Sam presents with anhedonia (failure to enjoy or find pleasure in anything) and dysphoria bordering on depression. He complains of inability to tolerate people’s stupidity and selfishness in a variety of settings. He admits that as a result of his “intellectual superiority” he is not well placed to interact with others or even to understand them and what they are going through. He is a recluse and fears that he is being mocked and ridiculed behind his back as a misfit and a freak. Throughout the first session, he frequently compares himself to a machine, a computer, or a member of an alien and advanced race, and talks about himself in the third person singular.

Life, bemoans Sam, has dealt him a bad hand. He is consistently and repeatedly victimized by his clients, for instance. They take credit for his ideas and leverage them to promote themselves, but then fail to re-hire him as a consultant. He seems to attract hostility and animosity incommensurate with his good and generous deeds. He even describes being stalked by two or three vicious women whom he had spurned, he claims, not without pride in his own implied irresistibility. Yes, he is abrasive and contemptuous of others at times but only in the interests of “tough love.” He is never obnoxious or gratuitously offensive.

Sam is convinced that people envy him and are “out to get him” (persecutory delusions). He feels that his work (he is also a writer) is not appreciated because of its elitist nature (high-brow vocabulary and such). He refuses to “dumb down”. Instead, he is on a mission to educate his readers and clients and “bring them up to his level.” When he describes his day, it becomes clear that he is desultory, indolent, and lacks self-discipline and regular working habits. He is fiercely independent (to the point of being counter-dependent – click on this link: http://samvak.tripod.com/faq66.html ) and highly values his self-imputed “brutal honesty” and “original, non-herd, outside the box” thinking.

He is married but sexually inactive. Sex bores him and he regards it as a “low-level” activity practiced by “empty-headed” folk. He has better uses for his limited time. He is aware of his own mortality and conscious of his intellectual legacy. Hence his sense of entitlement. He never goes through established channels. Instead, he uses his connections to secure anything from medical care to car repair. He expects to be treated by the best but is reluctant to buy their services, holding himself to be their equal in his own field of activity. He gives little or no thought to the needs, wishes, fears, hopes, priorities, and choices of his nearest and dearest. He is startled and hurt when they become assertive and exercise their personal autonomy (for instance, by setting boundaries).

Sam is disarmingly self-aware and readily lists his weaknesses and faults – but only in order to preempt real scrutiny or to fish for compliments. He constantly brags about his achievements but feels deprived (“I deserve more, much more than that”). When any of his assertions or assumptions is challenged he condescendingly tries to prove his case. If he fails to convert his interlocutor, he sulks and even rages. He tends to idealize everyone or devalue them: people are either clever and good or stupid and malicious. But, everyone is a potential foe.

Sam is very hypervigilant and anxious. He expects the worst and feels vindicated and superior when he is punished (“martyred and victimized”). Sam rarely assumes total responsibility for his actions or accepts their consequences. He has an external locus of control and his defenses are alloplastic. In other words: he blames the world for his failures, defeats, and “bad luck”. This “cosmic conspiracy” against him is why his grandiose projects keep flopping and why he is so frustrated.

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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

“The Con Man Cometh”

I found a short story from Sam Vaknin’s website, that really may not be that fictional. Fiction often says more about the writer of a story than even confessional nonfiction. This story, really a monologue to a hypothetical “mark,” seems as if it could be a look inside Sam’s motives for writing about narcissism and running forums and online groups for its victims. I think it speaks for itself.

Yes, Sam could be conning us all, and most likely is, but frankly I don’t care and never will. His words, regardless of his true motives, have helped me and other victims of narcissistic abuse, and his writing, as always, is hauntingly poetic.

His eloquent words provide a searingly vivid look inside the mind of malignant narcissist who may also be psychopathic. It helps us to know the way they think. It’s prudent to be very careful not to engage directly with even an insightful, intelligent narcissist as they too are dangerous. But if you keep your distance they can teach you something.

The Con Man Cometh

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Image of Abhishek Bachchan (Bollywood actor) from Apunkchoice.com

Swathed in luminosity, we stir with measured competence our amber drinks in long-stemmed glasses. You are weighing my offer and I am waiting for your answer with hushed endurance. The armchairs are soft, the lobby is luxurious, as befits five-star hotels. I am not tense. I have anticipated your response even before I made my move.

Soon, temples sheathed in perspiration, you use the outfit’s thick paper napkins to wipe it off. Loosen your tie. Pretend to be immersed in calculations. You express strident dissatisfaction and I feign recoil, as though intimidated by your loudness. Withdrawing to my second line of defense, I surrender to your simulated wrath.

The signs are here, the gestures, the infinitesimal movements that you cannot control. I lurk. I know that definite look, that imperceptible twitch, the inevitability of your surrender.

I am a con man and you are my victim. The swindle is unfolding here and now, in this very atrium, amid all the extravagance. I am selling your soul and collecting the change. I am sharpened, like a raw nerve firing impulses to you, receiving yours, an electrical-chemical dialog, consisting of your smelly sweat, my scented exudation. I permeate your cracks. I broker an alliance with your fears, your pains, defense compensatory mechanisms.

I know you.

I’ve got to meld us into one. As dusk gives way to night, you trust me as you do yourself, for now I am nothing less than you. Having adopted your particular gesticulation, I nod approvingly with every mention of your family. You do not like me. You sense the danger. Your nostrils flare. Your eyes amok. Your hands so restless. You know me for a bilker, you realize I’ll break your heart. I know you comprehend we both are choiceless.

It’s not about money. Emotions are at stake. I share your depths of loneliness and pain. Sitting opposed, I see the child in you, the adolescent. I discern the pleading sparkle in your eyes, your shoulders stooping in the very second you’ve decided to succumb. I am hurting for what I do to you. My only consolation is the inexorability of nature – mine and yours, this world’s (in which we find ourselves and not of our choice). Still, we are here, you know.

I empathize with you without speech or motion. Your solitary sadness, the anguish, and your fears. I am your only friend, monopolist of your invisible cries, your inner hemorrhage of salty tears, the tissued scar that has become your being. Like me, the product of uncounted blows (which you sometimes crave).

Being abused is being understood, having some meaning, forming a narrative. Without it, your life is nothing but an anecdotal stream of randomness. I deal the final, overwhelming coup-de-grace that will transform the torn sheets of your biography into a plot. It isn’t everyday one meets a cheat. Such confident encounters can render everything explained. Don’t give it up. It is a gift of life, not to be frivolously dispensed with. It is a test of worthiness.

I think you qualify and I am the structure and the target you’ve been searching for and here I am.

Now we are bound by money and by blood. In our common veins flows the same alliance that dilates our pupils. We hail from one beginning. We separated only to unite, at once, in this hotel, this late, and you exclaim: “I need to trust you like I do not trust a soul”. You beseech me not to betray your faith. Perhaps not so explicitly, but both your eyes are moist, reflecting your vulnerability.

I gravely radiate my utter guarantee of splendid outcomes. No hint of treason here. Concurrently I am plotting your emotional demise. At your request, not mine. It is an act of amity, to rid you of the very cause of your infirmity. I am the instrument of your delivery and liberation. I will deprive you of your ability to feel, to trust, and to believe. When we diverge, I will have molded you anew – much less susceptible, much more immune, the essence of resilience.

It is my gift to you and you are surely grateful in advance. Thus, when you demand my fealty, you say: “Do not forget our verbal understanding”.

And when I vow my loyalty, I answer: “I shall not forget to stab you in the back.”

And now, to the transaction. I study you. I train you to ignore my presence and argue with yourself with the utmost sincerity. I teach you not to resent your weaknesses.

So, you admit to them and I record all your confessions to be used against you to your benefit. Denuded of defenses, I leave you wounded by embezzlement, a cold, contemptible exposure. And, in the meantime, it’s only warmth and safety, the intimacy of empathy, the propinquity of mutual understanding.

I only ask of you one thing: the fullest trust, a willingness to yield. I remember having seen the following in an art house movie, it was a test: to fall, spread-eagled from a high embankment and to believe that I am there to catch you and break your lethal plunge.

I am telling you I’ll be there, yet you know I won’t. Your caving in is none of my concern. I only undertook to bring you to the brink and I fulfilled this promise. It’s up to you to climb it, it’s up to you to tumble. I must not halt your crash, you have to recompose. It is my contribution to the transformation that metastasized in you long before we met.

But you are not yet at the stage of internalizing these veracities. You still naively link feigned geniality to constancy, intimacy and confidence in me and in my deeds, proximity and full disclosure. You are so terrified and mutilated, you come devalued. You cost me merely a whiskey tumbler and a compendium of ordinary words. One tear enough to alter your allegiances. You are malleable to the point of having no identity.

You crave my touch and my affection. I crave your information and unbridled faith. “Here is my friendship and my caring, my tenderness and amity, here is a hug. I am your parent and your shrink, your buddy and your family.” – so go the words of this inaudible dialog – “Give me your utter, blind, trust but limit it to one point only: your money or your life.”

I need to know about your funds, the riddles of your boardroom, commercial secrets, your skeletons, some intimate detail, a fear, resurgent hatred, the envy that consumes. I don’t presume to be your confidant. Our sharing is confined to the pecuniary. I lull you into the relief that comes with much reduced demands. But you are an experienced businessman! You surely recognize my tactics and employ them, too!

Still, you are both seduced and tempted, though on condition of maintaining “independent thinking”. Well, almost independent. There is a tiny crack in your cerebral armor and I am there to thrust right through it. I am ready to habituate you. “I am in full control” – you’d say – “So, where’s the threat?” And, truly, there is none.

There’s only certainty. The certitude I offer you throughout our game. Sometimes I even venture: “I am a crook to be avoided”. You listen with your occidental manners, head tilted obliquely, and when I am finished warning you, you say: “But where the danger lies? My trust in you is limited!” Indeed – but it is there!

I lurk, awaiting your capitulation, inhabiting the margins, the twilight zone twixt greed and paranoia. I am a viral premonition, invading avaricious membranes, preaching a gospel of death and resurrection. Your death, your rising from the dead. Assuming the contours of my host, I abandon you deformed in dissolution.

There’s no respite, not even for a day. You are addicted to my nagging, to my penetrating gaze, instinctive sympathy, you’re haunted. I don’t let go. You are engulfed, cocooned, I am a soul mate of eerie insight, unselfish acumen. I vitiate myself for your minutest needs. I thrive on servitude. I leave no doubt that my self-love is exceeded only by my love for you.

I am useful and you are a user. I am available and you avail yourself. But haven’t you heard that there are no free lunches? My restaurant is classy, the prices most exorbitant, the invoices accumulate with every smile, with every word of reassurance, with every anxious inquiry as to your health, with every sacrifice I make, however insubstantial.

I keep accounts in my unstated books and you rely on me for every double entry. The voices I instill in you: “He gives so of himself though largely unrewarded”. You feel ashamed, compelled to compensate. A seed of Trojan guilt. I harp on it by mentioning others who deprived me. I count on you to do the rest. There’s nothing more potent than egotistic love combined with raging culpability. You are mine to do with as I wish, it is your wish that I embody and possess.

The vise is tightened. Now it’s time to ponder whether to feed on you at once or scavenge. You are already dying and in your mental carcass I am grown, an alien. Invoking your immunity, as I am wont to do, will further make you ill and conflict will erupt between your white cells and your black, the twin abodes of your awakened feelings.

You hope against all odds that I am a soul-mate. How does it feel, the solitude? Few days with me – and you cannot recall! But I cannot remember how it feels to be together. I cannot waive my loneliness, my staunch companion. When I am with you, it prospers. And you must pay for that.

I have no choice but to abscond with your possessions, lest I remain bereft. With utmost ethics, I keep you well-informed of these dynamics and you acknowledge my fragility which makes you desirous to salve my wounds.

But I maintain the benefit of your surprise, the flowing motion. Always at an advantage over you, the interchangeable. I, on the other hand, cannot be replaced, as far as you’re concerned. You are a loyal subject of your psychic state while I am a denizen of the eternal hunting grounds. No limits there, nor boundaries, only the nostrils quivering at the game, the surging musculature, the body fluids, the scent of decadence.

Sometime, the prey becomes the predator, but only for a while. Admittedly, it’s possible and you might turn the tables. But you don’t want to. You crave so to be hunted. The orgiastic moment of my proverbial bullets penetrating willing flesh, the rape, the violation, the metaphoric blood and love, you are no longer satisfied with compromises.

You want to die having experienced this eruption once. For what is life without such infringement if not mere ripening concluding in decay. What sets us, Man, apart from beast is our ability to self-deceive and swindle others. The rogue’s advantage over quarry is his capacity to have his lies transmuted till you believe them true.

I trek the unpaved pathways between my truth and your delusions. What am I, fiend or angel? A weak, disintegrating apparition – or a triumphant growth? I am devoid of conscience in my own reflection. It is a cause for mirth. My complex is binary: to fight or flight, I’m well or ill, it should have been this way or I was led astray.

I am the blinding murkiness that never sets, not even when I sleep. It overwhelms me, too, but also renders me farsighted. It taught me my survival: strike ere you are struck, abandon ere you’re trashed, control ere you are subjugated.

So what do you say to it now? I told you everything and haven’t said a word. You knew it all before. You grasp how dire my need is for your blood, your hurt, the traumatic coma that will follow. They say one’s death bequeaths another’s life. It is the most profound destination, to will existence to your pining duplicate.

I am plump and short, my face is uncontrived and smiling. When I am serious, I am told, I am like a battered and deserted child and this provokes in you an ancient cuddling instinct. When I am proximate, your body and your soul are unrestrained. I watch you kindly and the artificial lighting of this magnific vestibule bounces off my glasses.

My eyes are cradled in blackened pouches of withered skin. I draw your gaze by sighing sadly and rubbing them with weary hands. You incline our body, gulp the piquant libation, and sign the document. Then, leaning back, you shut exhausted eyes. There is no doubt: you realize your error.

It’s not too late. The document lies there, it’s ready for the tearing. But you refrain. You will not do it.

“Another drink?” – You ask

I smile, my chubby cheeks and wire glasses sparkle.

“No, thanks” – I say.

The man you love to hate…or hate to love.

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For victims of narcissistic abuse, Sam Vaknin is the man you love to hate–or the man you hate to love. He’s a controversial figure in the field of narcissism. He has ardent fans within the community as well as seething haters. Just taking a quick scan of the comments under his many Youtube videos will give you an idea of just how polarizing Sam Vaknin really is.

Vaknin, self-professed malignant narcissist and possible borderline psychopath, is in the unlikely and highly ironic position of being a guru and hero for countless victims of narcissistic abuse, and remains one of the most famous voices on the subject.

Until narcissism became a thing a few years ago and blogs by survivors of narcissistic abuse began to proliferate like wildfire, Vaknin was one of the only voices on the Internet who delved deeply into the subject of narcissism and its effects on victims, outside of mental health professionals and psychologists–and not even many of them paid much attention to the problem of narcissistic abuse. Sam was a voice in the wilderness and offered hope to many who felt they had no hope at all. And yet Sam was exactly the kind of person they were trying to get away from.

Sam is a conundrum. If he’s a malignant narcissist who is also a self-professed misanthrope and psychopath, why on God’s green earth does he feel the need to write self help books for victims of abuse and run forums and discussion groups for them? Why does he warn us against people like himself?

When I first found out about Sam Vaknin, there was no way I thought he could be a real narcissist. I was already aware of his books and already knew he was a self professed narcissist, but other than that, knew very little about him. Later on, after watching “I, Psychopath,” I decided he was a narcissist wannabe who more likely had Borderline personality disorder (BPD) with some narcissistic and schizoid traits, and I wrote this article stating my case.

Sam found this article and apparently really liked it, because he disseminated it all over social media. It wasn’t particularly complimentary. I nearly accused him of being a huge fraud, and yet Sam began to visit this blog and share some of the other posts I wrote about him. I read in one of his interviews, that Sam loves to be hated and feared. He doesn’t like to be liked or thought well of. He hates to be loved. But he does like to be thought of as a guru and an expert. Maybe he liked the fact I was critical of him in that post, although I did say some nice things too. Whatever the reasons for his approval and attention, I was inadvertently feeding his narcissistic supply and in return, he was helping give my new blog much needed visibility. This quickly became a mutually beneficial arrangement (though due to his being much more famous than me, I’m sure I benefited more than he did).

Going back to the film “I, Psychopath,” Vaknin’s behavior toward the filmmaker and others, including his submissive, endlessly patient, high-empathy wife Lidija, was as whiney, argumentative and petulant as a three year old who needs a nap or maybe a spanking. He seemed impossible to please. Ian Walker (the filmmaker) who was also in the film, seemed to be losing his mind and it was clear there was no love lost between them. I wasn’t sure how much of Sam’s childish and explosive behavior was an act for the camera to appear more narcissistic than he actually was, but when Walker secretly filmed Vaknin at one point to prove it wasn’t just an act, Sam’s behavior remained just as abusive.

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Walker, for his part, seemed to have bit off far more than he could chew in making this film, and seemed nearly destroyed by Vaknin’s abuse. (I read it took him two years to recover from the experience). But to be fair, Walker had chosen to make this film about a self professed malignant narcissist and possible psychopath, so what did he expect? Candy and roses?

Vaknin became petulant when one of the psychological tests he took (the one that scored in all known personality disorders) had him scoring higher in schizoid and avoidant traits than narcissistic ones. In fact, his N score wasn’t really all that high. Other tests he was given gave him much higher scores, and Robert Hare’s Psychopathy Checklist (the test that’s given to criminals to make sentencing and judging decisions in courts of law) gave Vaknin a whopping score of 18 in psychopathy, which is extremely high, even for conscienceless criminals.

An intelligent man like Sam, of course, could be faking the answers. Having a lot of knowledge of personality disorders and general psychology, he could have answered the questions in the manner a psychopath would have answered them to get the results he wanted.

The brain scans were more telling. He was definitely missing some essential connections that people with a conscience possess. But I still didn’t buy it. I didn’t believe he was a psychopath and if he was a narcissist at all, he was a very weak one.

Sam seemed to be all over the place, but his behavior in the film, while mostly unpleasant, still didn’t scream “narcissist.” I was initially confused by him–and then I was fascinated, and finally mesmerized. Even though I had never met the man or spoken to him, I was falling under his spell, which I hear is legendary. This could prove he is dangerous.

Many narcissists can be quite charming, and Sam, for all his toolish and childish behavior, certainly could turn on the charm. He was intelligent, incredibly so, and sometimes funny. He was self aware and quick to admit how much of a bastard he was. Sometimes he was nice. He was always brutally honest, something most narcissists are not. He was definitely unpredictable and moody. He wasn’t someone I’d want to spend much time alone with, and part of me wanted to protect his sweet little wife Lidija from her unstable husband, whatever his psychological problem was. He was a ticking time bomb, and although he has never been physically abusive, he was clearly verbally abusive and the poor woman seemed to have “settled” for a disordered man who could never really return the love she constantly showered on him, as much as he sometimes appeared to try.

In the film, she said she wanted to have a baby with him but knew it probably wouldn’t happen (partly due to her age but also because they have barely any sex life. Sam is not interested in sex. He lives inside his head). What a sterile, joyless life any normally wired woman would have to endure to be married to him. But Lidija, in her codependent way, seems happy and satisfied. It’s very dysfunctional but apparently works for both of them. She’s his constant supply and she’s more than happy to fulfill that role, or says she is.

So, moving on…I think it’s a very good thing that they never had children. I read somewhere (I can’t find the link now) they mutually decided not to reproduce, in order to protect any potential child from either becoming NPD or a victim of its effects, which to my way of thinking shows a side of Sam that does not want to inflict his disorder on a child–so does that mean he has some semblance of a conscience? In another video, I saw how impatient Sam seemed toward some children playing nearby. “Why can’t they just be born adults?” he said. Clearly Sam would not be an ideal father to a child.

It didn’t take long for Sam’s brilliant but disordered mind became my latest Aspie obsession (we do get obsessed over things). I wanted to find out what really made Sam Vaknin tick. I wanted to get inside Sam’s mind and feel what it felt like to be him, and maybe that would give me some answers in solving the puzzle of him. By now, having read more of his writings and seen his interviews, I was becoming convinced that Sam was really a narcissist, but probably not a malignant one.

I read everything I could about him. Interviews, articles, his own stuff. I read blog posts and articles by both his fans and his haters. I watched his videos. I read the comments under them. I read his personal journals and poetry, which are publicly available on his website

Sam’s poetry and personal journals show a side of him that cannot be detected in his almost robot-like Youtube videos where his face is nearly devoid of expression or emotion. It’s my belief this intellectual automaton he wants everyone to believe is the real him is a mask he wears to fool everyone into thinking he is just a walking, talking brain with no emotions, a person who cannot feel anything, a person with no vulnerabilities. I believe these creative writings are the only windows we have into Sam’s true character–his lost self.

Sam’s emotionality can’t be directly detected in “Malignant Self-Love,” although he does write with passion and there’s an odd underlying mood of darkness and pain I’m picking up that I don’t get from watching his videos. I can’t explain why I feel this underlying anger and pain emanating from the pages because it’s not really present in the words themselves. He’s a powerful writer and it just comes through, whether he intended it to or not. Other people have said the same thing about this book.

It’s taking me longer to read than I anticipated, partly due to its length, but also because I’m finding I need to put it down from time to time, because the rage and hurt I can detect that underlies his intellectual, scholarly prose can make me feel depressed. I feel like I’m being drawn against my will into a dark night of the soul. It’s nothing I can put my finger on, just a mood of bottomless sadness and hopelessness that filters through his words. I haven’t reviewed his book yet but I will say this. In spite of his having written “Malignant Self Love” primarily to obtain narcissistic supply for himself, it’s actually one of the most insightful books on narcissism I’ve ever read. Who better than a narcissist to be able to write about what the disorder feels like and what really causes it? But if you’re sensitive at all, it’s not a fun book to read.

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Sam has said even in his videos that he often feels sad and depressed. There are flashes of humanity occasionally too. In one of them he is being questioned about something he did to another boy when they were about 12. He had tried to brainwash this other boy, and the boy was so damaged by the psychological abuse that he had to be hospitalized. When the interviewer asked if Sam felt any remorse, he replied he knew it was wrong on an intellectual level but couldn’t feel any remorse or shame. But his face told another story. For just a moment, Sam’s face changed. It seemed to clench and then softened and he looked away quickly from the interviewer, as if he didn’t want his humanity to be seen. I saw him grimace a little, as if remembering this was causing him a jolt of pain.

His journals and poetry are where I believe is Sam’s true self really comes out. Creative writing is the only form of expression it has. Even with all the honesty and insight he has into his disorder (and what I believe a strong desire to be rid of it too) his true self is eternally dissociated from the hostile, volatile, intellectual mask of protection he shows to the world. I no longer have any doubt Sam is a narcissist on the higher end of the spectrum, if not malignant, but even for such an insightful intelligent narcissist as Sam, a cure is probably not going to happen.

Sam’s journals, short fiction, and poetry are so filled with sadness, rage, hopelessnes and pain it takes my breath away. It’s almost too painful to read them. His writing, as emotional as his videos are intellectual, makes you feel like you’ve been punched several times in the gut. People have accused him of being a fake, but there’s nothing fake in the raw emotion he is able to express in his creative writing and journals. No one could fake that.

His words tell what it really feels like to have NPD–from the inside of a sufferer who really does suffer and at the same time is all too aware of it. And it’s pure hell, worse than anything you can imagine. Knowing you can never escape, wanting to be human but not knowing how. Knowing you can never give or receive love like a normal person. That you long to be good but don’t know how. That you feel superior and worthless at the same time. That you want to be hated and feared because deep inside you feel like you don’t deserve any love because of what was done to you by your mother as a child. That you hate and envy others for what you want but can’t have. It’s like being possessed. Maybe it is being possessed. Maybe when one chooses to become a narcissist (Vaknin said he chose to become one at a very young age to protect himself from further hurt) you are drawn into darkness, and once you’ve entered you can’t ever escape.

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I read an interview where he admitted he has memories of himself as a very young child, and these are indicative of a person who may have been an empath had he not been subjected to horrific abuse. I think Sam is actually a deeply emotional man with very sensitive feelings but these are unfortunately limited to just himself. Any ability he once had to feel empathy and love for others was cut off like a leg that was amputated for no good reason other than his mother’s malignant envy of him. Sam’s overreaction to a slight on this blog proved to me just how sensitive he actually is. It’s tragic that sensitivity was not allowed to develop into empathy for others. Here is an excerpt from that interview (because I found it posted on another blog with no link, I don’t know where it came from or who was interviewing him):

Q: So can you remember not being a narcissist?

A: That is a really good question. I do remember a period before I became a narcissist, that must have been around age 3 or 4, I do remember forming my narcissism as a conscious effort. I remember I’ve been diagnosed with 180+ IQ, very high, which allowed me to achieve results which were not age-appropriate, advanced. Also my memories are unusual for a child of three, I remember as a child of ¾ inventing the narratives, the stories that became my narcissism later. Inventing the stories of my omniscience, how I knew everything, and inventing fictitious figments of me that are very powerful. Telling myself I would not feel pain if I told myself not to. I remember assembling it like Lego. Before that, I remember being a spoiled child, admired and loved because I was achieving things that were not typical for a child, the entire neighborhood was there first, then the whole nation. So I became a spoiled brat. Later I was subjected to horrific physical abuse up until the age of 16. The answer to the question is yes – I remember the exact moment where I decided to be a narcissist.



Q: So you remember the empathic abilities you have lost in this process?

A: No, I was too young to develop real empathy.



Q: A little compassion, do you remember that at least?

A: I remember being compassionate, that I cried when my mother was sad, that I was a good-hearted kid, I used to give away my things, tried to understand other peoples emotions. But these are just flickers of memory, they have receded so fare. It’s like the shades on the wall of Plato’s cave. I do not relive them, do not have access to them. I just know of them.

Sam is a paradox, an enigma, a person too complicated for anyone to ever be able to really understand, and he is just as flummoxed by his complexities as those who try to understand him. I believe he’s a good person trapped forever in a disordered mind that betrays him and makes him lash out at a world that never gave him a chance to become fully human. Having so much insight just makes it all so much harder.

Do I think he’s dangerous? Yes, without a doubt. Even if he doesn’t want to, he can draw you into his illness. He can infect you with his misery and darkness. I don’t think it was necessarily Sam’s abuse of Ian Walker that made him feel the need to symbolically wash himself clean at the end of the film and that changed him for the worse for two years hence. After all, Walker chose to make that film and knew what he was getting into. I think it was the darkness that surrounds Sam that infected Walker and threatened to engulf him. Sam has to live with that every day of his life and can’t free himself from it like Walker can.

When I think about Sam Vaknin, I’m reminded of “Demons” by Imagine Dragons. The protagonist is warning us of his malignancy.

Sam is warning us too. That’s why I don’t think he should be demonized and dismissed as a fraud or someone with malignant intentions, even if they’re primarily self-serving and intended to procure narcissistic supply for himself. There’s a good core in Sam that wants to separate himself from the rest of humanity. That’s why he went into exile by moving to Macedonia and lives a life as a near recluse. He knows what he has become and I think he hates it. But he’s helping people. People look up to him for advice about how to deal with their abusers, and the advice he gives is good. So does it really matter if his primary motives are selfish? I don’t think it does. Just don’t get too close.

On political correctness and the inevitability of offending people

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Blogging isn’t all fun and games. Sometimes it can be a real challenge. I’m beginning to experience a few of these challenges for the first time and at times I even feel like I’m possibly in over my head.

As this blog has grown and become more visible, I’m beginning to face a few of the problems that most blogs and websites are eventually faced with if the subject they focus on has even the slightest potential to be construed as offensive or controversial and the website remains publicly accessible.

A few days ago, a blogger who suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID, formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder or MPD) called me out for giving outdated and incorrect information about DID. I do not follow this blog, but the admin was very upset about one of my posts, which no longer exists on this blog. In addition to giving outdated information, I referred to their personalities as “fragmented” instead of entire personalities within the same person that are known as “alters.”

Not being very confrontational and not caring much about that particular post anyway (it wasn’t one of my best and I admit I did not have current information about DID), it was easier to just delete it and not have to go head to head with someone over a post I didn’t even care much about.

Today I found a trackback in my comments folder to an article this same blogger wrote where I was again called out for giving misinformation. I have also been criticized by this person for having a joke page about people with NPD and for writing about a disorder that I do not myself have.

As for the jokes: my intention was never to offend anyone, including people with NPD or any other mental or personality disorder. I put up the joke page not to enrage people with NPD but as a tool we victims of narcissistic abuse can use to lighten our moods. When we read jokes about the types of people who have been abusing us, it makes them seem less threatening and therefore easier to deal with. Personally I’ve always believed laughter is medicine and when we can laugh at what is hurting us, that thing ceases to have so much power over us. Besides, most of the jokes aren’t even my own. They are links to other websites and pages or copies of cartoons other people have made. I think only the “12 Steps of Narcissism” one is my own.

Our MNs and psychopaths have hurt us so often and so badly that sometimes it just feels good to be able to laugh at them (instead of the other way around, which has often been our experience with them). This isn’t to make light of this devastating disorder or to demonize them. I do not hate narcissists, I feel sorry for them.

It may surprise some, but I actually have a great deal of empathy for people with NPD who want to change or who suffer due to their disorder. Those who are aware of their disorder suffer enormously in ways we, as people who do not have NPD, cannot even begin to imagine. As much as they may seem like machines or robots or devils to us, they are still human beings and as some of us have seen for ourselves in the past week right here in this blog, they have very sensitive feelings and do not take jokes at their expense well.

I have said before that I will welcome any narcissist who has enough insight to write honestly about their disorder and/or who is in pain because of it or who wants help. Two days ago I received an email from one that made me cry because I was so happy she was seeking help. So I do care about them. I cannot help them here and am certainly not qualified to give psychological advice to them but I can possibly help point them in the right direction to get help. I do not hate narcissists. I hate what they do and the way they act. But this blog is not intended to help narcissists, even though they may come here. It’s intended to help those of us who have been targets of their actions.

I do not believe in political correctness, at least not when it’s taken to ridiculous extremes the way it sometimes is. We live in such a litigious society and almost everything can be construed as offensive. It can get pretty ridiculous. Of course this doesn’t mean I’m going to go around using racial slurs or make sexist remarks. I’m not going to say you’re deluded or mentally deficient or a bad person because of your religion, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. That’s not cool and pretty much anyone with an iota of respect for others will avoid saying those things.

politicalcorrectness2

As for this blogger’s opinion that I am not qualified to write about NPD because I do not have NPD myself, I call bullshit on that. How many people who have NPD are writing about NPD? Sam Vaknin, and that’s about it. Is only he and mental health professionals allowed to write about NPD? I feel that, having been very close to several malignant narcissists in my lifetime, gives me a unique perspective on the disorder different from that of a sufferer or a mental health professional and makes me every bit as qualified to write about it. There are many of us who write about NPD, a whole community of us, and we are finding healing by writing about what was done to us and how to cope with the narcissists in our lives. For some of us who are still in an abusive relationship with a narc, or who can’t afford therapy, writing about it is the only hope we have.

So I’m also not going to allow one disgruntled blogger (in this case, one who doesn’t even suffer from NPD) to make me fear speaking my mind or keep me from sharing my opinions on a blog that is meant primarily as a form of self-therapy and support for others who have experienced similar situations with their narcissists. I am going to remain completely honest on this blog, about my thoughts, opinions and feelings. Not everyone who reads them is going to like what I have to say, or agree with it. But if I start censoring what I say for fear of offending someone, then this blog ceases to be the haven of honesty and I will have sold out. And selling out is something I simply will not do.

This is my blog, and these are my feelings, and I will continue to write whatever I want about narcissists for as long as the topic is of interest to me. Again, what I write is not intended to offend those with NPD or any other disorder. It’s intended to help US, the victims of abuse. In the process a few toes will be stepped on, and that’s just the way it is.

I will never set this blog up where you will be required to sign in to read posts. I can’t stand that and will usually bypass a website that requires me to sign in. That said, I am beginning to understand why some website owners and bloggers require people to sign in with a password, especially if it’s a topic that is controversial or sensitive. I hope I never have to do that.

I looked to see if I could make the “jokes” page semi-private (where only my followers could see it) but unfortunately there is no way I can do that. I could make it password-protected, but anyone who wanted to read the jokes would have to know the password and that’s simply too difficult to do, so for now, I will leave the page up as a publicly accessible page. Most people have told me they don’t mind the jokes and even find them helpful in making the narcissist seem less dangerous in their minds.

It’s hard for me when I get negative feedback or someone takes offense to something I said. It’s scary as a fairly new blogger whose blog is growing so fast and becoming visible much quicker than I thought it would. But it’s something that I will need to learn to deal with and get used to. No matter how politically correct you try to be, someone is always going to find something to be offended about, especially on a blog that focuses on such a sensitive subject as mental illness and abuse.

Please provide feedback. I would like to hear your thoughts.