The Narcissist’s Stripped Ego

By Sam Vaknin
Author of “Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited

The narcissist’s True Self is introverted and dysfunctional. In healthy people, Ego functions are generated from the inside, from the Ego. In narcissists, the Ego is dormant, comatose. The narcissist needs the input of and feedback from the outside world (from others) in order to perform the most basic Ego functions (e.g., “recognizing” of the world, setting boundaries, forming a self-definition or identity, differentiation, self-esteem, and regulating his sense of self-worth). This input or feedback is known as narcissistic supply” .Only the False Self gets in touch with the world. The True Self is isolated, repressed, unconscious, a shadow.

The False Self is, therefore, a kind of “hive self” or “swarm self”. It is a collage of reflections, a patchwork of outsourced information, titbits garnered from the narcissist’s interlocutors and laboriously cohered and assembled so as to uphold and buttress the narcissist’s inflated, fantastic, and grandiose self-image.

In healthy, normal people ego functions are strictly internal processes. In the narcissist, ego functions are imported from the surroundings, they are thoroughly external. Consequently, the narcissist often confuses his inner mental-psychological landscape with the outside world. He tends to fuse and merge his mind and his milieu. He regards significant others and sources of supply as mere extensions of himself and he appropriates them because they fulfil crucial internal roles and, as a result, are perceived by him to be sheer internal objects, devoid of an objective, external, and autonomous existence.

Forcing the narcissist’s False Self to acknowledge and interact with his True Self is not only difficult but may also be counterproductive and dangerously destabilising. The narcissist’s disorder is adaptive and functional, though rigid. The alternative to this (mal)adaptation would have been self-destructive (suicidal). This bottled up, self-directed venom is bound to resurface if the narcissist’s various personality structures are coerced into making contact.

That a personality structure (such as the True Self) is in the unconscious does not automatically mean that it is conflict-generating, or that it is involved in conflict, or that it has the potential to provoke conflict. As long as the True Self and the False Self remain out of touch, conflict is excluded.

The False Self pretends to be the only self and denies the existence of a True Self. It is also extremely useful (adaptive). Rather than risking constant conflict, the narcissist opts for a solution of “disengagement”.

The classical Ego, proposed by Freud, is partly conscious and partly preconscious and unconscious. The narcissist’s Ego is completely submerged. The preconscious and conscious parts are detached from it by early traumas and form the False Ego.

The Superego in healthy people constantly compares the Ego to the Ego Ideal. The narcissist has a different psychodynamic. The narcissist’s False Self serves as a buffer and as a shock absorber between the True Ego and the narcissist’s sadistic, punishing, immature Superego. The narcissist aspires to become pure Ideal Ego.

The narcissist’s Ego cannot develop because it is deprived of contact with the outside world and, therefore, endures no growth-inducing conflict. The False Self is rigid. The result is that the narcissist is unable to respond and to adapt to threats, illnesses, and to other life crises and circumstances. He is brittle and prone to be broken rather than bent by life’s trials and tribulations.

The Ego remembers, evaluates, plans, responds to the world and acts in it and on it. It is the locus of the “executive functions” of the personality. It integrates the inner world with the outer world, the Id with the Superego. It acts under a “reality principle” rather than a “pleasure principle”.

This means that the Ego is in charge of delaying gratification. It postpones pleasurable acts until they can be carried out both safely and successfully. The Ego is, therefore, in an ungrateful position. Unfulfilled desires produce unease and anxiety. Reckless fulfilment of desires is diametrically opposed to self-preservation. The Ego has to mediate these tensions.

In an effort to thwart anxiety, the Ego invents psychological defence mechanisms. On the one hand the Ego channels fundamental drives. It has to “speak their language”. It must have a primitive, infantile, component. On the other hand, the Ego is in charge of negotiating with the outside world and of securing a realistic and optimal “bargains” for its “client”, the Id. These intellectual and perceptual functions are supervised by the exceptionally strict court of the Superego.

Persons with a strong Ego can objectively comprehend both the world and themselves. In other words, they are possessed of insight. They are able to contemplate longer time spans, plan, forecast and schedule. They choose decisively among alternatives and follow their resolve. They are aware of the existence of their drives, but control them and channel them in socially acceptable ways. They resist pressures – social or otherwise. They choose their course and pursue it.

The weaker the Ego is, the more infantile and impulsive its owner, the more distorted his or her perception of self and reality. A weak Ego is incapable of productive work.

The narcissist is an even more extreme case. His Ego is non-existent. The narcissist has a fake, substitute Ego. This is why his energy is drained. He spends most of it on maintaining, protecting and preserving the warped, unrealistic images of his (False) Self and of his (fake) world. The narcissist is a person exhausted by his own absence.

The healthy Ego preserves some sense of continuity and consistency. It serves as a point of reference. It relates events of the past to actions at present and to plans for the future. It incorporates memory, anticipation, imagination and intellect. It defines where the individual ends and the world begins. Though not coextensive with the body or with the personality, it is a close approximation.

In the narcissistic condition, all these functions are relegated to the False Ego. Its halo of confabulation rubs off on all of them. The narcissist is bound to develop false memories, conjure up false fantasies, anticipate the unrealistic and work his intellect to justify them.

The falsity of the False Self is dual: not only is it not “the real thing” – it also operates on false premises. It is a false and wrong gauge of the world. It falsely and inefficiently regulates the drives. It fails to thwart anxiety.

The False Self provides a false sense of continuity and of a “personal centre”. It weaves an enchanted and grandiose fable as a substitute to reality. The narcissist gravitates out of his self and into a plot, a narrative, a story. He continuously feels that he is a character in a film, a fraudulent invention, or a con artist to be momentarily exposed and summarily socially excluded.

Moreover, the narcissist cannot be consistent or coherent. His False Self is preoccupied with the pursuit of Narcissistic Supply. The narcissist has no boundaries because his Ego is not sufficiently defined or fully differentiated. The only constancy is the narcissist’s feelings of diffusion or annulment. This is especially true in life crises, when the False Ego ceases to function.

From the developmental point of view, all this is easily accounted for. The child reacts to stimuli, both internal and external. He cannot, however, control, alter, or anticipate them. Instead, he develops mechanisms to regulate the resulting tensions and anxieties.

The child’s pursuit of mastery of his environment is compulsive. He is obsessed with securing gratification. Any postponement of his actions and responses forces him to tolerate added tension and anxiety. It is very surprising that the child ultimately learns to separate stimulus and response and delay the latter. This miracle of expedient self-denial has to do with the development of intellectual skills, on the one hand and with the socialisation process, on the other hand.

The intellect is a representation of the world. Through it, the Ego examines reality vicariously without suffering the consequences of possible errors. The Ego uses the intellect to simulate various courses of action and their consequences and to decide how to achieve its ends and the attendant gratification.

The intellect is what allows the child to anticipate the world and what makes him believe in the accuracy and high probability of his predictions. It is through the intellect that the concepts of the “laws of nature” and “predictability through order” are introduced. Causality and consistency are all mediated through the intellect.

But the intellect is best served with an emotional complement. Our picture of the world and of our place in it emerges from experience, both cognitive and emotional. Socialisation has a verbal-communicative element but, decoupled from a strong emotional component, it remains a dead letter.

An example: the child is likely to learn from his parents and from other adults that the world is a predictable, law abiding place. However, if his Primary Objects (most importantly, his mother) behave in a capricious, discriminating, unpredictable, unlawful, abusive, or indifferent manner – it hurts and the conflict between cognition and emotion is powerful. It is bound to paralyse the Ego functions of the child.

The accumulation and retention of past events is a prerequisite for both thinking and judgement. Both are impaired if one’s personal history contradicts the content of the Superego and the lessons of the socialisation process. Narcissists are victims of such a glaring discrepancy: between what adult figures in their lives preached – and their contradictory course of action.

Once victimised, the narcissist swore “no more”. He will do the victimizing now. And as a decoy, he presents to the world his False Self. But he falls prey to his own devices. Internally impoverished and undernourished, isolated and cushioned to the point of suffocation – the True Ego degenerates and decays. The narcissist wakes up one day to find that he is at the mercy of his False Self as much as his victims are.

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Author Bio

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, international affairs, and award-winning short fiction.
He is the Editor-in-Chief of Global Politician and served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, 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.
Visit Sam’s Web site at http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com

Abusers Abuse despite Abandonment Anxiety

By Sam Vaknin
Author of “Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited

The abuser abuses his intimate partners, significant others, and nearest and dearest because it helps him to regulate his excruciating abandonment anxiety in 4 ways:

(1) By devaluing others, he restores his sense of superiority and grandiosity;

(2) He preempts his own abandonment by precipitating it and, thus, he feels that he is in control of the situation;

(3) His abusive conduct helps him to learn more about his “loved” ones by observing their reactions. He deploys abuse as a probe, a controlled experiment in a lab and the information he thus gleans alleviates his anxiety;

(4) Abuse works: it leads to the modification of the victims’ behavior and to submissiveness.

The victim has 5 effective coping styles:

(1) Submissiveness;

(2) Counterdependent/conflictive stance;

(3) Mirroring;

(4) Collusion (agreeing with the narcissist’s denigration, chastising, and deprecation);

(5) Displacement (redirecting the abuse at third parties) which is a form of cultish shared psychosis.

How to cope with your abuser?

Sometimes it looks hopeless. Abusers are ruthless, immoral, sadistic, calculated, cunning, persuasive, deceitful – in short, they appear to be invincible. They easily sway the system in their favor.

Here is a list of escalating countermeasures. They represent the distilled experience of thousands of victims of abuse. They may help you cope with abuse and overcome it.

Not included are legal or medical steps. Consult an attorney, an accountant, a therapist, or a psychiatrist, where appropriate.

First, you must decide:

Do you want to stay with him – or terminate the relationship?

If you want to leave him and your children are above the age of 18 – Click HERE

If you have Children with Him (under the age of 18) – Click HERE

  1. I want to Stay with Him

FIVE DON’T DO’S How to Avoid the Wrath of the Narcissist

  • Never disagree with the narcissist or contradict him;
  • Never offer him any intimacy;
  • Look awed by whatever attribute matters to him (for instance: by his professional achievements or by his good looks, or by his success with women and so on);
  • Never remind him of life out there and if you do, connect it somehow to his sense of grandiosity;
  • Do not make any comment, which might directly or indirectly impinge on his self-image, omnipotence, judgment, omniscience, skills, capabilities, professional record, or even omnipresence.

The TEN DO’S – How to Make your Narcissist Dependent on You If you INSIST on Staying with Him

  • Listen attentively to everything the narcissist says and agree with it all. Don’t believe a word of it but let it slide as if everything is just fine, business as usual.
  • Personally offer something absolutely unique to the narcissist which they cannot obtain anywhere else. Also be prepared to line up future Sources of Primary Narcissistic Supply for your narcissist because you will not be IT for very long, if at all. If you take over the procuring function for the narcissist, they become that much more dependent on you.
  • Be endlessly patient and go way out of your way to be accommodating, thus keeping the narcissistic supply flowing liberally, and keeping the peace.
  • Be endlessly giving. This one may not be attractive to you, but it is a take it or leave it proposition.
  • Be absolutely emotionally and financially independent of the narcissist. Take what you need: the excitement and engulfment and refuse to get upset or hurt when the narcissist does or says something dumb, rude, or insensitive. Yelling back works really well but should be reserved for special occasions when you fear your narcissist may be on the verge of leaving you; the silent treatment is better as an ordinary response, but it must be carried out without any emotional content, more with the air of boredom and “I’ll talk to you later, when I am good and ready, and when you are behaving in a more reasonable fashion”. Treat your narcissist as you would a child.
  • If your narcissist is cerebral and not interested in having much sex – then give yourself ample permission to have “hidden” sex with other people. Your cerebral narcissist will not be indifferent to infidelity so discretion and secrecy is of paramount importance.
  • If your narcissist is somatic and you don’t mind, join in on group sex encounters but make sure that you choose properly for your narcissist. If you do mind – leave him. Somatic narcissists are sex addicts and incurably unfaithful.
  • If you are a “fixer”, then focus on fixing situations, preferably before they become “situations”. Don’t for one moment delude yourself that you can fix the narcissist – it simply will not happen.
  • If there is any fixing that can be done, it is to help your narcissist become aware of their condition, with no negative implications or accusations in the process at all. It is like living with a physically handicapped person and being able to discuss, calmly, unemotionally, what the limitations and benefits of the handicap are and how the two of you can work with these factors, rather than trying to change them.
  • Finally, and most important of all: Know Yourself.
    What are you getting from the relationship? Are you actually a masochist? A codependent? Why is this relationship attractive and interesting?
    Define for yourself what good and beneficial things you believe you are receiving in this relationship.
    Define the things that you find harmful to you. Develop strategies to minimize the harm to yourself. Don’t expect that you will cognitively be able to reason with the narcissist to change who he is. You may have some limited success in getting your narcissist to tone down on the really harmful behaviors that affect you – but this can only be accomplished in a very trusting, frank and open relationship.

(1a) Insist on Your Boundaries – Resist Abuse

Click HERE to Watch the Video

Personal boundaries are rules of conduct, red lines in the sand any infringement and breach of which you deem unacceptable behavior. You need to set your boundaries clearly, unequivocally, and unambiguously firstly to yourself: how to protect your dignity, privacy, freedom, and priorities. You then need to communicate your boundaries to your partner replete with a “price list”: the costs associated with ignoring or violating them. Finally, you need to be firm and enforce your boundaries: your credibility depends on a consistent and fair application of these rules of engagement.

  • Refuse to accept abusive behavior. Demand reasonably predictable and rational actions and reactions. Insist on respect for your boundaries, predilections, preferences, and priorities.
  • Demand a just and proportional treatment. Reject or ignore unjust and capricious behavior.
  • If you are up to the inevitable confrontation, react in kind. Let him taste some of his own medicine.
  • Never show your abuser that you are afraid of him. Do not negotiate with bullies. They are insatiable. Do not succumb to blackmail.
  • If things get rough- disengage, involve law enforcement officers, friends and colleagues, or threaten him (legally).
  • Do not keep your abuse a secret. Secrecy is the abuser’s weapon.
  • Never give him a second chance. React with your full arsenal to the first transgression.
  • Be guarded. Don’t be too forthcoming in a first or casual meeting. Gather intelligence.
  • Be yourself. Don’t misrepresent your wishes, boundaries, preferences, priorities, and red lines.
  • Do not behave inconsistently. Do not go back on your word. Be firm and resolute.
  • Stay away from such quagmires. Scrutinize every offer and suggestion, no matter how innocuous.
  • Prepare backup plans. Keep others informed of your whereabouts and appraised of your situation.
  • Be vigilant and doubting. Do not be gullible and suggestible. Better safe than sorry.
  • Often the abuser’s proxies are unaware of their role. Expose him. Inform them. Demonstrate to them how they are being abused, misused, and plain used by the abuser.
  • Trap your abuser. Treat him as he treats you. Involve others. Bring it into the open. Nothing like sunshine to disinfest abuse.

(1b) Mirror His Behavior

Mirror the narcissist’s actions and repeat his words.

If, for instance, he is having a rage attack – rage back. If he threatens – threaten back and credibly try to use the same language and content. If he leaves the house – leave it as well, disappear on him. If he is suspicious – act suspicious. Be critical, denigrating, humiliating, go down to his level.

(1c) Frighten Him

Identify the vulnerabilities and susceptibilities of the narcissist and strike repeated, escalating blows at them.

If a narcissist has a secret or something he wishes to conceal – use your knowledge of it to threaten him. Drop cryptic hints that there are mysterious witnesses to the events and recently revealed evidence. Do it cleverly, noncommittally, gradually, in an escalating manner.

Let his imagination do the rest. You don’t have to do much except utter a vague reference, make an ominous allusion, delineate a possible turn of events.

Needless to add that all these activities have to be pursued legally, preferably through the good services of law offices and in broad daylight. If done in the wrong way – they might constitute extortion or blackmail, harassment and a host of other criminal offences.

(1d) Lure Him

Offer him continued Narcissistic Supply. You can make a narcissist do anything by offering, withholding, or threatening to withhold Narcissistic Supply (adulation, admiration, attention, sex, awe, subservience, etc.).

(1e) Play on His Fear of Abandonment

If nothing else works, explicitly threaten to abandon him.

You can condition the threat (“If you don’t do something or if you do it – I will desert you”).

The narcissists perceives the following as threats of abandonment, even if they are not meant as such:

  • Confrontation, fundamental disagreement, and protracted criticism
  • When completely ignored
  • When you insist on respect for your boundaries, needs, emotions, choices, preferences
  • When you retaliate (for instance, shout back at him).
  1. I can’t Take It Any Longer – I Have Decided to Leave Him

(2a) Fight Him in Court

Here are a few of the things the narcissist finds devastating, especially in a court of law, for instance during a deposition:

  • Any statement or fact, which seems to contradict his inflated perception of his grandiose self. Any criticism, disagreement, exposure of fake achievements, belittling of “talents and skills” which the narcissist fantasizes that he possesses, any hint that he is subordinated, subjugated, controlled, owned or dependent upon a third party. Any description of the narcissist as average and common, indistinguishable from many others. Any hint that the narcissist is weak, needy, dependent, deficient, slow, not intelligent, naive, gullible, susceptible, not in the know, manipulated, a victim.
  • The narcissist is likely to react with rage to all these and, in an effort to re-establish his fantastic grandiosity, he is likely to expose facts and stratagems he had no conscious intention of exposing.
  • The narcissist reacts with narcissistic rage, hatred, aggression, or violence to an infringement of what he perceives to be his entitlement. Any insinuation, hint, intimation, or direct declaration that the narcissist is not special at all, that he is average, common, not even sufficiently idiosyncratic to warrant a fleeting interest will inflame the narcissist.
  • Tell the narcissist that he does not deserve the best treatment, that his needs are not everyone’s priority, that he is boring, that his needs can be catered to by an average practitioner (medical doctor, accountant, lawyer, psychiatrist), that he and his motives are transparent and can be easily gauged, that he will do what he is told, that his temper tantrums will not be tolerated, that no special concessions will be made to accommodate his inflated sense of self, that he is subject to court procedures, etc. – and the narcissist will lose control.
  • Contradict, expose, humiliate, and berate the narcissist (“You are not as intelligent as you think you are”, “Who is really behind all this? It takes sophistication which you don’t seem to have”, “So, you have no formal education”, “you are (mistake his age, make him much older) … sorry, you are … old”, “What did you do in your life? Did you study? Do you have a degree? Did you ever establish or run a business? Would you define yourself as a success?”, “Would your children share your view that you are a good father?”, “You were last seen with a Ms. … who is (suppressed grin) a cleaning lady (in demeaning disbelief)”.
  • Be equipped with absolutely unequivocal, first rate, thoroughly authenticated and vouched for information.

(2b) If You Have Common Children

I described in “The Guilt of the Abused – Pathologizing the Victim” how the system is biased and titled against the victim.

Regrettably, mental health professionals and practitioners – marital and couple therapists, counselors – are conditioned, by years of indoctrinating and dogmatic education, to respond favorably to specific verbal cues.

The paradigm is that abuse is rarely one sided – in other words, that it is invariably “triggered” either by the victim or by the mental health problems of the abuser. Another common lie is that all mental health problems can be successfully treated one way (talk therapy) or another (medication).

This shifts the responsibility from the offender to his prey. The abused must have done something to bring about their own maltreatment – or simply were emotionally “unavailable” to help the abuser with his problems. Healing is guaranteed if only the victim were willing to participate in a treatment plan and communicate with the abuser. So goes the orthodoxy.

Refusal to do so – in other words, refusal to risk further abuse – is harshly judged by the therapist. The victim is labeled uncooperative, resistant, or even abusive!

The key is, therefore, feigned acquiescence and collaboration with the therapist’s scheme, acceptance of his/her interpretation of the events, and the use of key phrases such as: “I wish to communicate/work with (the abuser)”, “trauma”, “relationship”, “healing process”, “inner child”, “the good of the children”, “the importance of fathering”, “significant other” and other psycho-babble. Learn the jargon, use it intelligently and you are bound to win the therapist’s sympathy.

Above all – do not be assertive, or aggressive and do not overtly criticize the therapist or disagree with him/her.

I make the therapist sound like yet another potential abuser – because in many cases, he/she becomes one as they inadvertently collude with the abuser, invalidate the abuse experiences, and pathologize the victim.

(2c) Refuse All Contact (Click HERE to Watch the Video)

  • Be sure to maintain as much contact with your abuser as the courts, counsellors, mediators, guardians, or law enforcement officials mandate.
  • Do NOT contravene the decisions of the system. Work from the inside to change judgments, evaluations, or rulings – but NEVER rebel against them or ignore them. You will only turn the system against you and your interests.
  • But with the exception of the minimum mandated by the courts – decline any and all gratuitous contact with the narcissist.
  • Do not respond to his pleading, romantic, nostalgic, flattering, or threatening e-mail messages.
  • Return all gifts he sends you.
  • Refuse him entry to your premises. Do not even respond to the intercom.
  • Do not talk to him on the phone. Hang up the minute you hear his voice while making clear to him, in a single, polite but firm, sentence, that you are determined not to talk to him.
  • Do not answer his letters.
  • Do not visit him on special occasions, or in emergencies.
  • Do not respond to questions, requests, or pleas forwarded to you through third parties.
  • Disconnect from third parties whom you know are spying on you at his behest.
  • Do not discuss him with your children.
  • Do not gossip about him.
  • Do not ask him for anything, even if you are in dire need.
  • When you are forced to meet him, do not discuss your personal affairs – or his.
  • Relegate any inevitable contact with him – when and where possible – to professionals: your lawyer, or your accountant.

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Author Bio

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, international affairs, and award-winning short fiction.
He is the Editor-in-Chief of Global Politician and served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, 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.
Visit Sam’s Web site at http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com

Narcissist’s Projection, Projective Identification, and the Victim’s Introjective Identification

By Sam Vaknin
Author of “Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited

The narcissist’s False Self is grandiose. The narcissist seeks to maintain his inflated fantasy of himself. He denies, slices and splits off, and “evacuates” or projects onto others emotions, cognitions (thoughts), traits, impulses, behaviors and qualities that contradict and contravene it. In the idealization and devaluation phases, the narcissist also attributes to his sources of primary or secondary narcissistic supply ideal/positive or negative traits and behaviors, some of which he may actually possess.

Additionally, the narcissist feels omnipresent, all-pervasive, the prime mover and shaker, the cause of all things. He is also convinced that everyone is exactly like him when it comes to negative emotions and motivation. Hence his constant and facile projection of his own traits, fears, behaviour patterns, beliefs, and plans onto others. The narcissist is firmly convinced that he is the generator and regulator of other people’s emotions; that they depend on him for their well-being; that without him their lives will crumble into grey mediocrity. He regards himself as the most important component in the life of his nearest and dearest.

To avoid painful contradictions with reality or cognitive dissonances and also to ameliorate his raging abandonment or separation anxiety, the narcissist aims to micromanage and control his human environment by subsuming it or by merging and fusing with it (exactly as codependents do). His nearest and dearest are reduced to mere representations, avatars, extensions of himself, or internal objects.

This is where projective identification comes into play. Like the simpler projection defense mechanism, it consists of the attribution of the narcissist’s own psychological makeup, urges, desires, and processes to others. But it also involves forcing the target of the projection to conform to its contents: to actually become someone else and behave in ways prescribed by the narcissist (to undergo introjective identification).

In the idealization phase, the narcissist cajoles, coerces, extorts, and incentivizes his chosen source of supply to transform herself into the kind of person that the narcissist projects: intelligent, for example, or “strong”. Similarly, in the devaluation stage, the “target” is manipulated to assume, adopt, and exhibit the narcissist’s shortcomings and unmanageable, chaotic, and dysregulated emotions and behaviors, such as rage, envy, contempt, abusive conduct, and shame.

The narcissist rejects these and refuses to own them because they challenge his self-perception, his False Self, and his ability to regulate his sense of self-worth. So, instead, he “farms them out” and “outsources” them to others around him, while also pressuring them to playact these roles in the screenplay of his life and to affirm what he knows about the world and about himself, i.e., his comfort zone, or Pathological Narcissistic Space. They become convenient props, containers of unwanted bits of the narcissist’s persona and psyche, and constant reminders of his superiority and magnanimity.

Still, it is important to realize that the material that is cast off in the process of projective identification remains a part of the narcissist because the people it is projected onto are integral parts of him: his extensions and appendages, mere inner spectres. With the narcissist, projection and projective identification don’t work because, in his mental world, there are no “others”, no “outside”, and no “reality”, but a mere interplay between internal psychological constructs and structures, having little to do with the world. The narcissist’s solipsistic worldview prevents him from successfully getting rid of what bothers him the most: his imperfections.

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Author Bio

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, international affairs, and award-winning short fiction.
He is the Editor-in-Chief of Global Politician and served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, 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.
Visit Sam’s Web site at http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com

Narcissist: Fake it Till You Make It

By Sam Vaknin
Author of “Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited

Why do some narcissists end up being over-achievers, pillars of the community, and accomplished professionals – while their brethren fade into obscurity, having done little of note with their lives?

There seem to be two types of narcissists: those who derive ample narcissistic supply from mere appearances (“Potemkin narcissists”) and those whose narcissistic supply consists of doing substantial deeds, of acting as change-agents, of making a difference, and of creating and producing things of value. The former type aim for celebrity (defined as “being famous for being famous”) and the fostering and promulgation of an “empty brand” (name recognition without commensurate real-life accomplishments). In contradistinction, narcissists of substance strive for meaningful careers, albeit in the limelight.

We find Potemkin narcissists with empty brands in politics (the “Being There Syndrome” manifested in the likes of Obama, Palin, and Putin); in the media (where, for example, compulsively self-promoting physicists like Kaku or even Hawking are worshipped as transformative geniuses even though they are credited with a mere single, esoteric, and marginal contribution to physics, decades ago); in business (e.g. Donald Trump, or the infamous “empty suits”); and in entertainment (Paris Hilton, the Kardashians).

To create the empty brand, the narcissist cultivates a following with his alleged distinct character traits, looks, behavioral modes, daring audacity, and even shallowness (presenting his facade as proof that he is “a common man or woman, a typical member of the crowd”). He transforms himself into a fantastically grandiose cartoon, a caricature of the unfulfilled dreams, hopes, and wishes of his acolytes.

The Potemkin Narcissist accomplishes the impossible: he resonates with the shortcomings, losses, and failures of his obsequious “constituencies” or rapt audience even as he simultaneously ostentatiously flaunts his flamboyance, riches, and glamorous, meticulously documented life. This paradoxical admixture imbues his proponents, fans, followers, adherents, and admirers with hope: “We are so alike! If he made it, then, surely, so can I!” TV reality show programs like “The Apprentice” or “American Idol” capture this yearning for a breakthrough, a deus ex machina resolution and solution to the dreariness, shabbiness, and miserable hopelessness of the average spectator’s life. As the late lamented Bruno Bettelheim noted, these are the very same elements that make up great fairy tales like Cinderella or Red Riding Hood.

The celebrity narcissist has a short attention span. He rapidly cycles between the idealization and devaluation of ideas, ventures, places, and people. This renders him unfit for team work. Though energetic and manic, he is indolent: he prefers the path of least resistance and adheres to shoddy standards of production. His lack of work ethic can partly be attributed to his overpowering sense of entitlement and to his magical thinking, both of which give rise to unrealistic expectations of effortless outcomes.

The life of the celebrity narcissist is chaotic and characterized by inconsistency and by a dire lack of long-term planning and commitment. He is not really interested in people (except in their roles as instruments of instant gratification and sources of narcissistic supply). His learning and affected erudition are designed solely to impress and are, therefore, shallow and anecdotal. His actions are not geared towards creating works of lasting value, effecting change, or making a difference. All he cares about is attention: provoking and garnering it in copious quantities. The celebrity narcissist is, therefore, not above confabulating, plagiarizing, outright crime, and otherwise using short-cuts to obtain his fix.

The other strain of narcissist, the career narcissist, is very concerned with leaving his mark and stamp on the world. He feels a calling, often of cosmic significance. He is busy reforming his environment, transforming his milieu, making a difference, and producing and creating an oeuvre of standing value. His is a grandiose idée fixe which he cathexes. To scale these lofty self-imputed peaks and to realize his goals, the career narcissist acts with unswerving passion and commitment. He plans and inexorably and ruthlessly implements his schemes and stratagems, a workaholic in pursuit of glory and fame.

The career narcissist does not recoil from cutting the odd corner, proffering the occasional confabulation, or absconding with the fruits of someone else’s labor. But while these amount to the entire arsenal and the exclusive modus operandi of the celebrity narcissist, they are auxiliary as far as the career narcissist is concerned. His main weapon is toil.

The career narcissist is a natural-born leader. When not a guru at the center of a cult, he operates as the first among equals in a team. This is where the differences between the celebrity narcissist and the career narcissist are most pronounced: the relationships maintained by the former are manipulative, exploitative, and ephemeral. The career narcissist, by comparison, is willing and able to negotiate, compromise, give-and-take, motivate others, induce loyalty, forge alliances and coalitions and benefit from these in the long-term. It is this capacity to network that guarantees him a place in the common memory and an abiding reputation among his peers.

Not unexpectedly, the communication styles of these two types of narcissists are completely different. The Potemkin narcissist is sensitive to form, protocol, decorum, and etiquette. He is hypervigilant, constantly on the lookout for signs of disrespect, insults, and slights. He reacts with unbridled rage to any hint of disregard, disagreement, or criticism. The narcissist of appearances is vindictive, holds grudges, and obsessive-compulsive in his reactions to such misconduct and awelessness. In contrast, the narcissist of substance tends to focus on content rather than delivery. He is pragmatic and willing to compromise and reach a consensus. He does not take everything personally and to heart. He bears no grudges and is, usually, not vindictive (though he may be decisive or even punitive).
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Author Bio

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, international affairs, and award-winning short fiction.
He is the Editor-in-Chief of Global Politician and served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, 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.
Visit Sam’s Web site at http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com

President Trump

By Sam Vaknin
Author of “Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited

Laymen confuse “narcissistic style” with “narcissistic personality disorder”. Many politicians have a narcissistic style: narcissistic traits and behaviors that may amount to a narcissistic personality. They are vain, self-centered, haughty, bombastic, and infantile. Narcissistic Personality Disorder in general and “malignant narcissism” in particular are an entirely different ballgame. It’s like the difference between a social drinker and an alcoholic.

Narcissists (people with a full-fledged personality disorder) are positively dangerous: they are delusional, their thinking is clouded by grandiose fantasies, they are vindictive, contemptuous, aggressive, destructive, bullying, sadistic, and have no self-awareness. They are not curious and vehemently and sometimes violently reject any criticism, suggestion, or disagreement. They lack empathy and they exploit people, having objectified and abused them.

One more thing: it is common practice to evaluate someone’s mental health not having interviewed him or her and without administering psychological tests. Mental health evaluation (as distinct from a proper diagnosis) does not require physical access to the evaluated person. The CIA has an entire department dedicated to the psychological profiling of world leaders (read Jerrold Post’s analysis of Saddam Hussein, now available online – or the OSS psych-profile of Adolf Hitler). The FBI uses psychiatrists to construct psychological profiles of serial killers and terrorists. Scholars habitually publish “remote diagnoses” of public personalities in weighty and venerable academic journals. It is common practice!

Evaluating the mental health of a public figure requires an inordinate amount of research. Over the past 5 years, I have watched well over 600 hours of Trump in various settings and read everything he has written and was quoted as saying. I have no such in-depth acquaintance with the other candidates except Clinton.

Trump is a malignant narcissist. This view is shared by dozens of mental health professionals who went on public record with their analyses of his mental infirmity. He is dangerous, antisocial, destructive, vindictive, sadistic, and hypervigilant (paranoid and hypersensitive). He tends to cast himself as a belligerent martyr: the self-sacrificial victim of a vast conspiracy of the establishment, in a David vs. Goliath confrontational morality play.

Clinton strikes me as somewhat psychopathic: she is a pathological liar, a rank manipulator, a confabulator, and is exploitative and dysempathic. But, she is far less likely to implode and self-destruct than Trump. While she is far from an optimal choice for any public office, she is no way near as ominous as Trump.

Trump is so unfit to be President that I am not sure where to start. But here are a few issues that are likely to raise their collective ugly heads even in the first weeks of a Trump presidency:

Trump regards himself as omniscient, an authority on anything and everything, from aesthetics to ethics. He, therefore, lacks intellectual curiosity and regards outside advice as both superfluous and injurious (because it implies that he is less than perfect). He is likely to surround himself with timid yesmen and sycophantic acolytes and generate an impregnable echo chamber rather than a council of wise men and women.

Trump’s grasp of nuanced reality, weak as it already is, is likely to deteriorate further to the point of paranoid psychosis. Faced with opposition, however tenuous, he is likely to react by scapegoating and by inciting street or state violence against targeted groups. Trump is the state, so his enemies (anyone who as much as voices doubt or disagrees with him) is, by definition, an enemy of the state.

Owing to his self-perceived innate superiority, Trump regards himself as above and transcending laws made by lesser mortals. Laws are meant to trap and ensnare giants like him, to drag him down to the pedestrian level of mediocrity. He plays by the rules only when and if they accord with his predilections and self-interest.

Like all narcissists, Trump believes that he is universally loved, adored, and admired. He attributes this ostensible (and utterly delusional) blanket approbation to his effusive charm and irresistibility. He is firmly convinced that he can motivate people to transgress against their own moral convictions and to break the law, if necessary, just by the sheer force of his monumental personality. Trump idealizes and then rapidly devalues people, collectives, and institutions. Trump is in sempiternal flux: he is inconstant in his judgements, opinions, views, and fleeting attachments.

Trump is intellectually lazy, so he is a firm adherent of shortcuts and of “fake it till you make it”. It is a dangerous approach that led him to botch numerous business deals and inflict untold damage and suffering on thousands of people.

Trump is authoritarian in the worst sense of the word. In his disordered, chaotic mind, he is infallible (incapable of erring), omnipotent (can achieve anything if he just sets his mind to it), and omniscient (needs to learn nothing as he is the fount of all true, intuitive knowledge). This precludes any proper team work, orderly governance, institutional capacity, flow of authority and responsibility, and just plain structure. Trump is an artist, led by inconsistent and intermittent inspiration, not by reliable, old-fashioned perspiration. He is not a self-made man, but a self-conjured caricature of a self-made man. Trump is guided by his alleged inner divine wisdom. He is a malevolent guru and cult leader, not a politician or a statesman.

Ironically, Trump’s much trumpeted grandiosity is fragile because it is based on delusional and fantastic assumptions of perfection and intellectual brilliance which are hard to defend. Hence Trump’s relentless and compulsive pursuit of affirmation and adulation. He needs to be constantly idolized just to feel half human. Criticism and disagreement, however minor and well-intentioned, are perceived as unmitigated threats to the precarious house of cards that is Trump’s personality. Consequently, Trump is sadistically vindictive, aiming not just to counter such countervailing opinions regarding his Godlike status, but to deter and intimidate future critics.

Finally, aiming to disavow his own fragility and the indisputable fact that his public persona is nothing but a fabrication, Trump ostentatiously and volubly abhors and berates the weak, the meek, “losers”, “haters” (of which is a prime example), the disabled, women, minorities, and anyone else who might remind him by their very existence of how far from perfect and brilliant he is. The public Trump is about hatred, resentment, rage, envy, and other negative emotions because he is mercilessly driven by these very demons internally. Trump’s quotidien existence is a Kafkaesque trial in which he stands accused of being a mere, average, not-too-bright, mortal and is constantly found wanting and guilty as charged. His entire life is a desperate, last ditch attempt to prove wrong the prosecution in this never-ending courtroom drama.

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Author Bio

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, international affairs, and award-winning short fiction.
He is the Editor-in-Chief of Global Politician and served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, 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.
Visit Sam’s Web site at http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com

Tourism, Safety, and Security: From Vacation to Staycation

By Sam Vaknin
Author of “Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited

Isolated terrorist attacks have no long-term effects on destination tourism. Only a prolonged period of civil unrest and warfare can decimate a country’s inbound tourism. Facing a variety of threats has always been an integral part of the “job description” of a tourist. Today, as they embark on their annual “vacance”, tourists are mentally prepared to cope with international terrorism; domestic terrorism and insurgencies; blended terrorism (domestic malcontents inspired by international ones); crime (pickpockets, panhandlers, muggers, kidnappers, the homeless, unsolicited prostitution, etc.); the risks attendant on inadvertently violating social and cultural mores, norms, customs, and laws in the host country; endemic diseases and health hazards (food poisoning and food allergies, or encounters with indigenous predatory or venomous fauna and flora for example); natural disasters; and economic disruptions. Nowadays, tourists are far more versed at adopting precautions and implementing preventive measures.

We tend to forget, though, that tourists not only fall victims to mishaps and delinquency – they are also vectors of threats. Tourists are often zero patients in the spread of contagion and pandemics. Terrorists, narco-dealers, and intelligence officers frequently pose as tourists to gain safe passage to their targets. Some tourists constitute a threat to other tourists owing to their nationality (Israeli, American) or their misconduct and inappropriate behavior.

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, there has been an imperceptible move away from vacation to staycation (spending one’s days off at home) and, more broadly, to domestic tourism. Abroad, tourists are tempting soft targets for criminals and terrorists, both homegrown and international. Often greeted by xenophobia and rabid stereotypes, tourists cannot rely on suspicious local law enforcement or on the hostile populace to come to their aid or to not abet their persecutors.

The “starburst” model of asymmetrical warfare seeks to strike against multiple nationalities in a single operation carried out with minimal assets and means. It is part and parcel of the concept of “total war” which makes no distinction between combatants and civilians. A tourist resort is, therefore, an ideal target. It is also impossible to enhance the resilience of such soft targets by fortifying them because this would counteract and conflict with the openness and freedom which are an essential part of the experience of tourism. Truly defending against terrorist attacks would require the conversion of hotels into prisons and the transformation of the tourist’s numbered holidays into an anxiety-ridden, worry-filled nightmarish sojourn.

Security planners would do well to emulate the lessons learned in information technology defenses: establish a comprehensive, hard to penetrate perimeter (firewall); multi-layered, distributed as well as concentric intrusion detection systems; intelligence-driven protection (akin to signature-based antivirus products); biometric and face recognition defenses; systems founded on heuristic, behavioral, and tell-tale signs; coping with insider threat (hotel personnel or tour guides recruited by terrorist organizations or crime rings, for instance); compartmentalization and backup zones (similar to the architecture typical of ocean liners); and dynamic, proactive protection and surveillance of paths, routes, marketplaces, downtown city centres, hubs, transportation, events, etc.)

It is clear that passive deterrence (e.g. CCTV) is not enough. It should go hand in hand with preventive and preemptive measures, education, preparedness, and active deterrence (via, for example, a pronounced, advertised, and visible police presence). A customer-friendly and specially-trained Tourism Police, integrated with various suppliers and providers in the tourism industry could go a long way towards ameliorating and countering persistent threats to tourism. Simple maintenance has been proven to reduce crime dramatically: street lighting, hedge pruning, sanitary measures, homeless shelters, needle exchanges, and so on. Organized tours should always incorporate one or more security guards.

Tourist education is critical: cultural sensitivity training; introduction to the legal system in the destination and to specific, relevant laws; the role, functions, and limitations of the diplomatic missions in situ, safety and security measures and behaviors; and lists of useful and emergency contacts (including medical personnel and lawyers).

Tourist attractions, accommodation, and services should be ranked for security and safety, possibly via crowdsourcing (similar to the comparative information provided by TripAdvisor.com).
References

Tourism, Security and Safety – From Theory to Practice (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/book/9780750678988), A volume in The Management of Hospitality and Tourism Enterprises, 2006 – Edited by:Yoel Mansfeld and Abraham Pizam – ISBN: 978-0-7506-7898-8 – doi:10.1016/B978-0-7506-7898-8.50001-1 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-7506-7898-8.50001-1) – Copyright © 2006 Elsevier Inc. (https://www.elsevier.com/) All rights reserved.

Risk and safety management in the leisure, events, tourism and sports industries – Erdogan Koc – doi:10.1016/j.tourman.2015.12.006 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2015.12.006) – Tourism Management (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/02615177), Volume 54, June 2016, Pages 296–297 – Published by Elsevier (https://www.elsevier.com/)

Tourism Security – Strategies for Effectively Managing Travel Risk and Safety (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/book/9780124115705) – Peter E. Tarlow – ISBN: 978-0-12-411570-5 – doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-411570-5.09991-8 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-411570-5.09991-8) – Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. (https://www.elsevier.com/) All rights reserved.
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Author Bio

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, international affairs, and award-winning short fiction.
He is the Editor-in-Chief of Global Politician and served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, 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.
Visit Sam’s Web site at http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com

Will Trump Quit the Race?

By Sam Vaknin
Author of “Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited

Even his most ardent foes agree that Trump is not stupid and that he is a relentless fighter. Based on what flimsy evidence? His own repeated and vociferous reassurances, of course. Yet, when we apply the cold instruments of psychology to both boasts, they appear to be decidedly shaky.

I will dispense with his claim that he is intelligent by referring the reader to the incredible transcripts of his recent interviews with the New York Times and the Washington Post. As he emerges from these painful exchanges, he makes Sarah Palin look like a towering intellect by comparison. Scoring well in all manner of IQ tests requires an endowed vocabulary, an awareness and knowledge of current affairs (which indicates curiosity, a pillar and hallmark of intelligence), and analytic skills. Trump demonstrates not a hint of these three.

His second attempt at self-portrayal as a dauntless warrior merits much deeper study.

Start with the facts: Trump is a quintessential quitter. He had quitted marriages, business deals, enterprises, and campaigns. When things get rough, he reflexively abandons ship. He is labile, desultorily hopping from one harebrained scheme to another, one romantic union to its successor, one burst of self-promotion to a spectacular, implosive feat of self-destruction. Indeed, this is his brand: a feckless, reckless, daring, unpredictable, vicissitudinal Trump with a capital T.

Trump is taking a lot of flak, heat, criticism, and mockery from his reference group: the people whose opinions he values, whose club he wants to join, to whom he wishes fervently to belong, and by whom he dreams to be finally and unconditionally accepted and respected. I am not talking about his mindless supporters and fans whose dreary lives he probably abhors and whose unthinking loyalty inspires in him only profound contempt. No, he aspires to be counted among the very people that he constantly denigrates, belittles, and humiliates: eggheads, pundits, accredited public intellectuals, analysts, the elites, his father. Indeed, their rejection of him is the trigger for his unbridled wrath. Hell hath no fury like a narcissist scorned.

Trump feels entitled to be admired, adulated, specially and exceptionally treated, and revered (he compulsively seeks “narcissistic supply”). Instead, he is mocked and insulted (he garners “negative supply”). These massive and recurrent narcissistic injuries may well be enough to put him off and, thus, derail his quest for the nomination. Faced with deficient narcissistic supply in their chosen Pathological Narcissistic Space (their stomping grounds, their “kingdom”), narcissists disengage and move on as swiftly and as decisively as circumstances permit. Trump is no exception. But he is so invested in his grandiosely fantastic self-image, that he is likely to go through decompensation and acting out.

What are these?

In extremis, when all the narcissist’s default behaviors, charm, stratagems, and solutions fail, or when only negative, fake, low-grade, and static narcissistic supply is to be had, the narcissist “falls apart” in a process of disintegration known as decompensation (the inability to maintain psychological defenses in the face of mounting stress.) This is accompanied by “acting out”: when an inner conflict (most often, frustration) translates into aggression. It involves acting with little or no insight or reflection and in order to attract attention and disrupt other people’s cosy lives.

The dynamic forces which render the narcissist paralysed and fake – his vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and fears – are starkly exposed as his defences crumble and become dysfunctional. The narcissist’s extreme dependence on his social milieu for the regulation of his sense of self-worth is painfully and pitifully evident as he is reduced to begging, threatening, and cajoling.

At such times, the narcissist acts out self-destructively and anti-socially. His mask of superior equanimity is pierced by displays of impotent rage, self-loathing, self-pity, passive-aggressiveness, and crass attempts at manipulation of his friends, family, and colleagues – or the public comprised of his disaffected and outraged acolytes. His ostensible benevolence and caring evaporate. He feels caged and threatened and he reacts as any animal would do: by striking back at his perceived tormentors as well as at his hitherto “nearest” and “dearest”.

But, if Trump is, as I suggested, a malignant narcissist, how could he possibly justify withdrawing from the race at this late stage, having promised so much to so many? Isn’t he emotionally invested in winning?

Narcissists rationalize their actions. Rationalization is a psychological defense mechanism. It is intended to cast one’s behavior after the fact in a favorable light. To justify and explain one’s conduct or, more often, misconduct by resorting to “rational, logical, socially-acceptable” explications and excuses. Rationalization is also used to re-establish ego-syntony (inner peace and self-acceptance).

Cognitive dissonance – the state of having simultaneous and equipotent but inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes – usually provokes rationalization. It involves speech acts which amount to the devaluation of things and people very much desired or perceived positively but frustratingly out of one’s reach and control or socially deemed unacceptable. In a famous fable, a fox, unable to snag the luscious grapes he covets, says: “these grapes are probably sour anyhow!” This is an example of cognitive dissonance in action.

Trump is likely to use three lines of defensive reasoning:

(1(1) They don’t deserve me. I am much ahead of my time, perspicacious, and sage. People are just not ready for me. History will vindicate me; and/or

(2(2) I am quitting the race in order to protect my family and heal the wounds of the nation; and/or

(3(3) I have proved what I wanted to prove (whatever that may be). No need for me to continue to waste my time and resources. I have better things to do.

WWe can all only wish.

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Author Bio

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, international affairs, and award-winning short fiction.
He is the Editor-in-Chief of Global Politician and served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, 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.
Visit Sam’s Web site at http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com

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