Sam Vaknin ( http://samvak.tripod.com ) is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East as well as many other books and ebooks about topics in psychology, relationships, philosophy, economics, and international affairs.
He served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, Global Politician, PopMatters, eBookWeb , and Bellaonline, and as a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent. He was the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101.
Narcissism is a very misunderstood term. In the popular lexicon, it seems to be used interchangeably with self-confidence or self-absorption. How do you define narcissism?
Narcissism (rather, pathological narcissism) is the absence of a functioning self (or, to be more precise, Ego).
It is the constant dependence upon other people to gain self-esteem, to regulate a sense of self-worth and to gain self-confidence.
Narcissism is, therefore, other-absorption rather than self-absorption.
The narcissist is attuned to input (real or perceived) from other people because in the absence of such constant feedback he feels annulled, non-existent, void (and in many respects, he is). I use he, though everything I say here applies equally forcefully to women narcissists.
The narcissist constructs an elaborate, largely fictitious, grandiose image of himself (the False Self). He then hurls it at people and monitors their every reaction. Reactions that conform to the misinformation purveyed by the False Self generate flooding, immersive sensations of omnipotence, omniscience, brilliance and perfection.
Reactions that negate the False Self cause narcissistic injury:- a terrible, insupportable, excruciating agony. The narcissist administers mental painkillers to himself by discounting ("devaluing") the source of the hurtful reaction, by dismissing the reaction itself, or by altering the False Self to conform to it - in short, by activating a mechanism known as "cognitive dissonance".
Is there such a thing as healthy narcissism, and at one point would you say that narcissism enters the realm of pathology?
Narcissism is an integral part of our development as humans. A residue of it survives well into adulthood. It is essential, it keeps us alive. It drives us to achieve things and to seek the approval of other humans. It helps us bond with significant others, motivates us to raise children, to consume, to study, to explore, to discover, to invent, to innovate. It is a powerful engine of human and personal progress.
Pathological narcissism has very little to do with healthy narcissism. It thrives on ANY kind of attention, even on a negative one (infamy, fear, hatred) and from ANYONE (the narcissist has no significant or meaningful others in his life). It is divorced from reality (fails the reality test). The False Self is... well ... false. It is a concoction, a confabulation, a distorted invention, replete with magical thinking and ideas of reference. It leads to dependence rather than to inter-dependence, to conflict rather than to collaboration, to sadistic behaviours rather to tender emotions and intimacy. It is a malignant form of narcissism because it takes over the host and then kills it.
Sex is dead and so is monogamous marriage. What will replace them? Read about alternative lifestyles (such as swinging), sexual preferences (such as bi- and homosexuality), sexual paraphilias (such as incest, fetishism, and pedophilia), and the role of malignant narcissism in the disintegration of relationships between men and women.
What was in Hitler's personal file kept by the Nazi Party's own intelligence agency, the SD? Israel Sarid Roth, only son of two survivors of the Holocaust is about to find out, as a routine assignment in Jerusalem plunges him into the center of a deadly nightmare.
The history of four terrorist organizations in the Balkans and a general introduction to terrorism and freedom fighting.
Also includes essays about religious co-existence in the Balkans and about pathological narcissism as a precursor to terrorism.
Six essays about the alleged incompatibility between God and modern science and four essays about Psychoanalysis and its role in the landscape of modern, scientific psychology and evidence-based psychotherapies.
Cyclopedia of issues in modern philosophy: The philosophy of science and religion, the cognitive sciences, cultural studies, aesthetics, art and literature, the philosophy of economics, the philosophy of psychology, and ethics.
The Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and relationships with abusive narcissists and psychopaths - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), journal entries, excerpts from the archives of the Narcissism List.
The effects on victims and survivors of traumatic experiences, long-term and repeated abuse, and torture. Includes in-depth profile of the Narcissistic Abuser and hundreds of links to literature and resources.
Narcissistic and psychopathic leaders come in all shapes and degrees of virulence. Learn to recognize them in various settings (the workplace, religion, politics) and to cope with the toxic fallout of their "leadership".