The narcissist`s image is stable, unlike the Borderline (BPD) and not affected by any fears of abandonment. They are less self-defeating and destructive and proud of their possessions and accomplishments. They hold the sensitivity and weakness of others in contempt and use their vulnerability as a means of supply. The Narcissist garnishes supply from the environment (any form of attachment/recognition, positive or negative) to regulate a labile fluctuating sense of self. They feel empty, injured and humiliated when criticised and react with disdain (devaluation), rage and defiance to any single real or imagined slight. Some will socially withdraw and feign false modesty, developing a dysphoric and depressive disorder, a common reaction to isolation and feelings of shame and inadequacy. They can be seeking either cerebral (intellect) or somatic (body/sexual) supply to fill the empty void. Covert (introverted) narcissists garnish supply via three subtypes.

  1. High functioning -outgoing and achievement orientation
  2. Fragile- wants to feel important to ward off feelings of inadequacy and loneliness.
  3. Grandiose/malignant- privileged and exploits others and lusts for power

Due to an infantile sense of self still fused with their mother, they confuse their habits and behaviours with identity. The inability to change responses, compounded with rigid behaviours and shifting circumstances, indicates an arrested ego fixation and a disordered individual. One’s habits and behaviour substitute for one’s identity, as they identify themselves with their environment and social network, taking behaviour and emotions from it.

“The Narcissist has a significant infatuation and obsession with their own needs, with the exclusion of all others combined with a ruthless pursuit of one’s gratification, dominance and ambition.”

  • Feels grandiose and self-important
  • Fantasies of wild success, fame and power
  • Unique and special due to excessive admiration, adulation and attention.
  • Entitled – demands auto compliance with unreasonable expectations.
  • Denial of empathy and unable to identify with others. interpersonally exploitative
  • Constant envy of others and seeks to destroy the object of envy. paranoid delusions

Their identity is referenced to and by others and used excessively to regulate self-esteem by setting goals to gain approval from others. They lack self-awareness of their own motivations and drives, finely attuned to the reactions of others when the topic is relevant to their false image (Cold empathy). They tend to overestimate (classic) or underestimate (inverted) the inner beliefs, values and needs of others. Their idea of intimacy is self-serving, shallow and superficial for personal gain, and they are not interested in intimate experiences. This may trigger their vulnerability, sense of inferiority and fears of separation from the fused object. There is a constant battle between instinctual urges (Id) and drives against the constraints imposed by reality or the neutralisation of those impulses (Ego) or norms of society (Super Ego).

Defence Mechanisms

  • Acting out inner conflict transformed into aggression, acting with no insight to attract attention and disrupt others.
  • Denial- ignore unpleasant facts and delete data that contravenes false self-image, prejudices and preconceived notions of others in the world.
  • Devaluation-attaching negative/inferior qualities onto others helps mitigate the impact or importance of the devaluation, self-defeating and destructive act.
  • Displacement-when we cannot confront real sources of frustration, pain and envy, we must place it somewhere else.
  • Disassociation-lose track of space, time and continuous identity. Becomes someone else with minimal awareness of the environment and incoming Info.
  • Fantasy and idealisation- seeking gratification (drives and desires) act as a substitute for true ego coping structure and methods. Attach positive and superior traits to oneself and others deemed as supply.
  • Isolation of affect– conflicts can be avoided by separating cognition and emotions. They are fully aware of intellectual dimensions but feel numb and have no emotional context.
  • Projection-to keep the ego ideal self-image intact, they attribute to others unacceptable, discomforting and negative feelings they possess. By disarming these features, they then have the right to criticize those who have them (unconsciously).
  • Reaction formation– Homophobia example. Baits homosexual men but is a latent homosexual and finds these feelings shameful (Ego-dystonic)
  • Regression-the removal from consciousness or forbidden thoughts and wishes. Split off to ferment and fester in the unconscious.
  • Splitting-due to early infancy frustrations where they were unable to integrate contradictory qualities of the same object (Good/Bad), they invent two opposite and opposing constructs. This develops alternating cycles of idealisation for the good mother/object and devaluation of the bad mother /object.
  • Sublimation conversion and channelling of unacceptable emotions, especially aggression and anger, into socially acceptable behaviours. Primitive sexual urges/desires are transformed into creative pursuits or politics.

Ego Dystonic behaviour denotes aspects of a person’s thoughts, impulses, attitudes, and behaviour that are repugnant, distressing, unacceptable, or inconsistent with the rest of the personality. Ego syntonic denotes the behaviours, values, and feelings that are in harmony with or acceptable to the needs and goals of the ego or consistent with one’s ideal self-image. The False image is created to be deemed lovable and accepting by the disapproving unemotional mother. Continually blames others for misconduct, unable to accept responsibility. If they provoke him, they believe the other should be punished, where apologies in some form of humiliation are not always enough. Rage is sent out as vitriolic smearing directed onto imaginary persecutors of the innocent offence. Anyone who falls short will witness a reign of terror, belittlement and humiliation via anger and hostility.

Dominated by their ego, id and superego, the neutralisation does not occur as libido development is an unrewarding and frustrating exercise of trying to love the other object. A smothered spoiled child is dehumanised, fulfilling their parents’ dreams, needs, and frustration wishes. They will convert humiliation into victory and frustration into happiness.

The concepts of teamwork, social skills, personal limitations of oneself and others, personal boundaries, and perseverance are all missing or underdeveloped. The narcissist is besieged by feelings of inadequacy, fears of failure, masochistic desires, fluctuating self-worth and being a fraud. Their childhood dynamics create a strong dependence on the parents via fear, mirror image (cloning) of oppression and object loss, creating a phobic, helpless, raging child. This dynamic transforms the superego into an idealised sadistic parent, where the Ego becomes hated via a devoted parent/child-fused relationship.

The Child becomes in rabid need of attention: approval, and admiration. The first sign of disapproval (real or imagined) transforms the superego into a sadistic, punishing and inflicting pain. Only when they can withdraw some libido from the idealised parent can the superego be neutralised and develop new inner injunctions.

3 Stages of Dysfunctional Development.

  1. Early disturbances in their relationship with an ideal object, with deficient stimulus and filter, means they are forever vulnerable.
  2. Later in life – pre-oedipal – unable to learn and master the controlling, channelling and neutralising of drives and urges
  3. Oedipal disturbance- seeking out external figures for approval and leadership due to insufficient idealised superego. (normally as a result of a weak father being unable to let the child idealise them)

In times of crisis, anxiety and extreme stress, there is a rapid, uncontrollable dissolution, the collapse of false images and the feeling their life is under threat and in real danger. Due to the lack of separation and believed omnipotence, they seek answers for themselves in themselves. They can fix themselves. They constantly lie about self, history and vocation to avoid any forms of intimacy as they feel imprisoned or punished within a partnership. There is a primary failure with the parent of the opposite sex and creates extreme ego defences to avoid hurt and pain reoccurring, experiencing and feeling the narcissistic injury again. Caught up in the interpersonal paradox of despising the submissive but fearing one`s own independence.

A purely sexual infantile connection is based on a pregenital/genital fixation or an unresolved oedipal conflict where the sexual is separated from the emotional. They can have great sex when devoid of emotion but can struggle with erectile problems when intimacy is involved. Homosexual operates as somatic narcissist, where they are effectively making love to themselves. They can regress into pathological masturbation, objectifying the body and reducing it to genital excitement and stimulation. Primitive object relations organise Their emotions to the libido (positive pole) or to aggression (negative pole) associated with hurt and pain. Anger operates as a two-headed Janus, alternating between like/love or hatred/envy. Their Libido (energy) is cathected to sexual excitement and base emotions. Libido and aggression are inseparable, undifferentiated, and unable to discern between elation and rage. Intense envy and hatred fuel the need to destroy the bad object, to make them suffer or control them, justified on the grounds of legitimate revenge. Envy-object of love that needs to be destroyed. Hatred to remove and deny the emotion and awareness of it.

They unfavourably compare themselves to others, to their possessions, their bodies, success. Impulsive impotent rage diverted via cognitive dissonance, allowing one to devalue the source of frustration and envy. They can find fault in most desires and aspire to be critical and self-righteousness, social justice warriors and favourites of the disabled. The use of withdrawal, avoidance and hatred to eliminate any source of frustration

“Mature adult thought processing and perceptions of true reality would provoke full-scale raging and paranoia, with denial of possession transacting as an overwhelming fear of loss and crippling anxiety.”

The malignant type can be criminally compulsive, with manic clashes with authority and feel they should have special treatment and immune to persecution and destined for greatness. No adult responsibility and renounces adulthood. Asking for help means not being omnipotent and would rather experience fear, pain or hunger than ask for help, as that is better than repeating the experience of the narcissistic wound. They can manifest as great altruists, feeling superior when needed or depended on, showing the world their compassion for others. As they cannot express or vent their anger towards their mother or father, they decide to destroy the self through blame instead, losing any capacity to realise what they are feeling and regulate emotions. A family dynamic is based on the massive denial of any real problems and keeping dysfunctional family secrets hidden.

Families are often reclusive and self-sufficient, and sustaining, rejecting and encouraging social abstention leads to defective sexual, gender and self-identity.  The impaired Parent encourages excellence and perfection, especially in intellectual pursuits, as human relationships all end in betrayal, pain and abandonment. They learn to avoid commitment, attachment, dedication and perseverance to develop any sense of security and are immune to the consequences of their actions. The inverted Narcissistic portrays an image of being forever innocent and loveable with no need for real adult skills or qualifications.

Oversensitivity leads to the regression of overwhelming memories, experiences and negative feelings such as anger, hurt and pain. Obsessed with delusions of grandeur and superiority, being very competitive, driven, ruthless and relentless and needs an audience’s approval to be seen and acknowledged. Sometimes they feel engulfed and trapped with little tolerance for boredom and react with self-destructive and defeating acts. They sublimate their libido to produce and maintain the false self, false world view and inflated sense of self. They are a predator of narcissist cravings with an intense appetite for admiration, approval and attention, incapable of an inner dialogue with everyone seen as objects and cardboard cutouts. They are all consumed internally, working as extensions of themselves and experienced as inner objects with no external presence or difference. Alternating poles of opposites between the inflated ego and despair and disintegration equalised through the attainment of narcissistic supply.

The impaired and punitive super ego affects three facets of development

  1. Self-worth and worthiness. worthless without supply
  2. Self-esteem and lacks clear boundaries and unsure of abilities and weaknesses
  3. Self-confidence- can’t set realistic goals and accomplish them to sustain self-worth.

The Child reacts with rage to the injustice and mistreatment of his parents for conditional and transactional love, and the fury is directed outward. (passive-aggressive/psychopath) or inward (masochistic). Unable and unwilling to grow up embossed by the fear of incurring the parent’s wrath with who they are fused. They regularly destroy the fruit of their labour by walking away midstream or by wreaking havoc on their frustrated deepest desires.

  • Afraid of real, mature intimacy, which feels like emotional strangulation and suffocation of freedom.
  • Default behaviour- to preserve the past and restore it.
  • Passive-aggressive withholding of love and fulfilment of other desires obstructs own gratification.
  • Primitive envy- avoid abandonment or death of a loved one, need to destroy and devalue object of love to eliminate desire effect, which is the source of the frustration and pain. Envies himself and seeks others to punish him through projective identification.
  • Must convince themselves they are the focus of observations and attention and everyone is a member of their audience, being continuously monitored, criticised and compared to by others.
  • Succumbs to the power of the collective and surrenders own personal autonomy.

The narcissist becomes addicted to an overbearing, over-spoiling, smothering and clinging (not seen as abuse) mother. Between 0-6 years, due to the lack and denial of parental empathy, they cannot accept or identify the feelings, needs and preferences of others. They are more gullible and easy to persuade as they live in a fantasy land in the centre of their own omniverse, immune to the consequences of their actions. Normally partner with co-dependents and inverted narcissists.

The false self-collapse and entering depression signal the surrender of the struggle to survive.  Through parental frustrations with surplus cognitive deficits and distortions, the helpless ego acts disillusioned and disassociated to sustain misconceptions and fantasies. They replace Love with their own rituals, language and worldview without emotional contamination. Anger is the suspension of empathy, which may lead to losing a narcissistic supply. Compulsions and free will choices are perceived as the same and not subject to any outside forces. Two forms of anger

  1. Explosive flares up and cause damage
  2. Passive aggressive-silent treatment, sulks and punishment transgressed

Many suffer from body symptoms such as anorexia or flaunt their physical charms and prowess. Guardians of conformity need an audience with supply gained through the mother’s goals and beliefs. Insidious indoctrination, guilt fermentation and emotional sanctions and blackmail.

Transsexuals demand special treatment and cossetting designed for the destruction of their own gender. Their Self-identity relies on sexual identity redirecting the libido to the body. Over-evaluation of the opposite sex and expects entitlement and omnipotence as they become objects of sexual desires and arouse themselves as women. There is no remorse, remediation or restoration, and lead a superficial life.

The retriggering of the narcissistic injury is experienced when there is no readily available Narcissistic supply, evoking post-traumatic stress symptoms. They adhere to strict schedules, are highly self-disciplined and feel rewarded when complying with the creed, group or masses. When feeling guilty or worthless, the Superego takes over and chastises them for being a failure or imperfect. The gap between the false self and superego needs a consistent narcissistic supply to fill the emotional void and protect them from the murderous superego.

The true self is warped, deflated and dilapidated—the use of celebrity to project dreams, fears and wishes fulfilled. Narcissistic supply is exhibited through cosmetics, health, business, media, and finance, with arrested personal growth by avoiding pain and experiences. With unattainable views and judgements, the world should conform to its universe and expect total loyalty for the longevity of supply for sustenance. They act out their ruthlessness and unscrupulous behaviour via work and career pursuits without taking on any responsibility and will abandon or reject you when experiencing ambivalence or instability. They loathe intimacy, stability and security and yet crave and strive for their emotions and experiences. When they feel any slight injustice, real or imagined, they feel deeply insulted and devalued. The reactive rage denies their human frailties and disdain for feelings as weak. They are afraid of reexperiencing deep pain and suffering: a well-constructed shell or exoskeleton that is inhibitive and prohibitive, lacking empathy and awareness.

The inverted Narcissist can pathologically help people, people-pleasing, to gain attention, gratitude, and adulation by generating other people’s weak emotions and dependency. Abruptly discard people when no longer deemed good supply, and or the experience of an ungrounded reality may be from boredom. Shifting from idealisation to devaluation only takes a slight disagreement, working as an immediate protective mechanism.

Narcissistic process of abuse

  • Infiltrates defences confuses, and confronts
  • Shatters self-confidence, demeans and debases
  • Exhausts resources which threaten their stability
  • Humiliates periodically and privately

The narcissist loves to be hated and hates to be loved. The creation of empathy requires the suspension of belief and ideology, surrendering control by allowing others to impact how they feel. The classic relational dynamics between the co-dependent and narcissist embrace and compound their distorted false images based on fantasy and delusional thinking. Empathy normally has three working components of instincts, emotions and cognition. Cold empathy (mirroring) leapfrogs the emotional with predatory “empathy”, working with the resonance and the vibrational field(transference) between the two people. Due to parental neglect and misattunement, hypervigilance and hypersensitivity create the perfect predator, able to mimic emotions and responses without feeling the experience. True empathy increases, as does one own self-concept and inner knowledge., when they can separate, they increase their unconscious awareness and develop greater ego functioning. The culture we live in now has destroyed any social institutions that verified, propagated and administered empathy, combined with the breakdown of the nuclear family, friendly neighbourhood, community and church. Society is now atomised and anomic, with no moral guidance for individuals.

Vaknin, S. and Rangelovska, L., 2015. Malignant Self Love. 1st ed. Skopje [Macedonia]: Narcissus Publications.