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Author: Sam Vaknin

Narcissist’s Reactions to Deficient, Fake, Negative, Low-grade, or Static Narcissistic Supply

The narcissist presents to the world a facade of invincibility, equanimity, superiority, skillfulness, cool-headedness, invulnerability, and, in short: indifference. This front is penetrated in times of great crises that threaten the narcissist’s ability to obtain Narcissistic Supply, or when the Narcissistic Supply is spurious (fake or low-grade), negative, or static. In the majority of cases, narcissists react to deficient narcissistic supply by resorting to several adaptive solutions: The Delusional Narrative Solution The narcissist constructs a narrative in which he figures as the hero – brilliant, perfect, irresistibly handsome, destined for great things, entitled, powerful, wealthy, the centre of attention,...

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The Insanity of the Insanity Defense

Aron Levy, who kidnapped, murdered and dismembered 8-year old Leiby Kletzky in Brooklyn now faces a battery of defense-appointed experts in an attempt to plead NGRI (“Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity”). He has a history of “psychiatric disorders” and had been hearing voices, his lawyers claim. The insanity defense in criminal trials is nothing new. The Babylonian Talmud had this to say 1800 years ago: “It is an ill thing to knock against a deaf-mute, an imbecile, or a minor. He that wounds them is culpable, but if they wound him they are not culpable.” But even the...

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I Can’t Live Without Him / Her

Dependence on other people is a kind of addiction and, therefore, fulfills important mental health functions. First, it is an organizing principle: it serves to explain behaviors and events within a coherent “narrative” (fictional story) or frame of reference (“I acted this way because …”). Second, it gives meaning to life. Third, the constant ups and downs satisfy your need for excitement and thrills. Fourth, and most crucially, your addiction and emotional lability place you at the center of attention and allow you to manipulate people around you to do your bidding. So, while you can surely survive without...

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Psychopathic Narcissists: The Uncanny Valley of Cold Empathy

Cold Empathy evokes the concept of “Uncanny Valley”, coined in 1970 by the Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori. Mori suggested that people react positively to androids (humanlike robots) for as long as they differ from real humans in meaningful and discernible ways. But the minute these contraptions come to resemble humans uncannily, though imperfectly, human observers tend to experience repulsion, revulsion, and other negative emotions, including fear. The same applies to psychopathic narcissists: they are near-perfect imitations of humans, but, lacking empathy and emotions, they are not exactly there. Psychopaths and narcissists strike their interlocutors as being some kind of “alien life-forms” or “artificial intelligence”, in short: akin to humanoid robots, or androids. When people come across narcissists or psychopaths the Uncanny Valley reaction kicks in: people feel revolted, scared, and repelled. They can’t put the finger on what it is that provokes these negative reactions, but, after a few initial encounters, they tend to keep their distance. Contrary to widely held views, Narcissists and Psychopaths may actually possess empathy. They may even be hyper-empathic, attuned to the minutest signals emitted by their victims and endowed with a penetrating “X-ray vision”. They tend to abuse their empathic skills by employing them exclusively for personal gain, the extraction of narcissistic supply, or in the pursuit of antisocial and sadistic goals. They regard their ability to empathize as another weapon in their...

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Dancing as an Evolutionary Strategy

Dances are thinly disguised simulations of sex acts. But there’s more to dancing than bawdy ribaldry. The sweaty proximity allows the partners to exchange an enormous amount of information about their respective bodies: from joint suppleness, through spatial orientation and coordination, and down to the fine details of their immunological systems (such as the major histocompatibility complex MHC) carried by their body odours. In this sense, dancing aids and abets the forces of natural selection and eugenic breeding. Indeed, in many 16th and 17th century textbooks dancing is grouped with hunting, fighting, wrestling, and running. In times past, the...

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