Dr. Vaknin is author of of the informative book, Malignant
Self Love - Narcissism Revisited. He also edits various mental
health categories on Open Directory, Suite101, Go.Com and
SearchEurope.com. While his doctorate is not in mental health,
this well-informed author clearly did his homework and writes from
experience. Dr. Vaknin's CV is published
here. His book, and much more, is available in hard copy or
download on his main
EDITED 2/09. Unfortunately, while the content itself stands on its own
in helping people understand narcissism, the writer's credibility may
For example, see here:
Why does the narcissist react with rage to gestures or statements of
NOTHING is more hated by a narcissist than this sentence, "I Love
You". It evokes in the narcissist almost primordial reactions. It
provokes him to uncontrollable rage. Why is that?
(a) The narcissist hates women virulently and vehemently. Being a
misogynist he identifies being loved with being possessed, encroached
upon, engulfed, digested and excreted. To him love is a dangerous
intestinal tract - stench and all.
(b) Loving someone means knowing him intimately. The Narcissist likes
to think that he is so unique that no one can ever really fathom him. The
narcissist believes that he is above mere human understanding and empathy.
The Narcissist believes that he is ONE of a kind. To say to him "I
love you", means to negate this feeling, to try to drag him to the
lowest common denominator, to threaten his sense of uniqueness. After all,
everyone is capable of loving and everyone, even the basest human being
actually loves. To the narcissist it is an ANIMAL trait - exactly like
(c) The Narcissist knows that he is a con artist, a fraud, an elaborate
hoax, a script, hollow and really non-existent. The person who loves a
narcissist is either lying (after all, what is there to love in a
narcissist) - or a dependent creature, blind and imbecile, unable to
discern the truth. The narcissist cannot tolerate the thought that he
selected a liar or an idiot for a mate. Indirectly, a declaration of love
is a devastating critique of the narcissist's own powers of judgment.
The narcissist hates love - however and wherever it is manifested.
Thus, for instance, when his spouse demonstrates her love to their
children, he wishes them all dead. Nothing less than a horrible, tortuous
death. He is so pathologically envious of spouse that he wishes she never
existed. Being a tad paranoid, he also nurtures the growing conviction
that she is doing it ON PURPOSE, to remind him how miserable he is, how
deficient, how deprived and discriminated against. He regards her
interaction with their children to be a provocation, an assault on his
emotional welfare (emotional balance). Seething
envy, boiling rage and violent thoughts is the flammable concoction that
floods the narcissist's brain whenever he sees other people happy.
Many people naively believe that they can cure the narcissist by
flooding him with love, acceptance, compassion and empathy This is not
supported by reality and research. The only way an NPD can heal is if he
experiences a severe narcissistic injury, a LIFE crisis. Forced to
shed his malfunctioning defenses - a window of vulnerability is formed
through which therapeutic intervention can try and sneak in. This window
is very brief.
The narcissists perceives love and compassion as narcissistic supply.
But this window of opportunity CANNOT COEXIST
with available narcissistic supply. The narcissist is susceptible to
treatment ONLY when his defenses are down because they FAIL to secure a
steady stream of narcissistic supply. The roles of narcissistic supply
should be clearly distinguished from those of an emotional connection
(such as love). Narcissistic supply has to do with the functioning of
primitive defense mechanisms in the narcissist. The affective component in
the narcissist has been repressed to oblivion. It does not permeate the
conscious level. The narcissist pursues narcissistic supply as a junkie
Junkies can have emotional "connections" but they are always
subordinated to their habit. Their connections are the victims of their
habits. Ask children or spouses of alcoholics or drug addicts.
There is no possibility to have any real, meaningful, or lasting
emotional relationship with the narcissist - until his primitive defence
mechanisms are discarded. Dysfunctional interpersonal relationships are
one of the diagnostic criteria of most personality disorders.
So, the right order, to my mind, is:
(1) Cut the narcissist from his sources of supply and thus precipitate
a narcissistic crisis or injury;
(2) Utilize the window of opportunity to treat the narcissist, to help
him mature emotionally;
(3) Encourage him in his baby steps in the emotional field.
Not the other way around. Emotional connections which co-exist with the
narcissistic defense mechanisms are part of the narcissistic theatrical
repertoire, fake and doomed.
The narcissist does not employ his defense mechanisms because he needs
them - but because he knows no better.
His defense mechanisms were useful in his infancy. They were adaptive
in an abusive environment. Old tricks and old habits die hard. The
narcissist is a primitive person with a disorganized personality (Kernberg).
He is likely to heal simply in order to avoid the pain of the narcissistic
injury - and not with the intention of reaching a "safe place".
No place is safe. No one is to be trusted. Avoidance of pain is a
powerful manipulative therapeutic tool. Narcissists come to therapy in the
first place to try and alleviate some of what has become an intolerable
pain. None of them goes to therapy because he wants to improve his lot in
life or to better interact with his loving significant other. Love is
important - but to fully enjoy its emotional benefits, first the
narcissist must heal.
NARCISSISTS & WOMEN
COPYRIGHT: One time English language
print North American Rights and right to maintain in an archive
indefinitely - granted.