By Sam Vaknin
Author of “Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited”
Frustrating one’s nearest and dearest has the dual “advantage” of simultaneously satisfying the narcissist’s masochistic and sadistic urges. By withholding love, sex, intimacy, and the fulfillment of other people’s desires and needs, the narcissist torments them even as he obstructs his own gratification. This enhances and buttresses his fantastic sense of omnipotence.
Self-sabotage, self-defeat, self-denial, and self-destruction (the martyred victim stance) also serve to prevent the forming of attachment and intimacy and the potential for ultimate hurt and pain as they dissolve. But they also uphold the narcissist’s sense of superiority, uniqueness, and omnipotence. Only the strongest can overcome and vanquish desires, urges, needs, and emotions that easily overwhelm lesser mortals. The narcissist adheres to his idiosyncratic brand of ascetic religion in which he is both god and worshipper.
The narcissist’s inner monologue goes: “I reject everything that matters to other people, everything deemed valuable, worthwhile, meaningful, and desirable. I hold the weaklings who succumb to their emotions and drives in contempt: nothing they have or can possess or attain is of value to me. It is all meaningless.” The narcissist devalues the “commoners”, the average Joe, the pedestrian and routine, the “animalistic” (sex), and the socially conformist.
Thus, self-defeating, self-denying, and self-destructive behaviors and choices engender narcissistic supply because they support, demonstrate, and “prove” the superhuman nature of the narcissist, his utter titanic independence of society, of nature, and of others in interpersonal relationships. When narcissistic supply is in short supply, embarking on the path of self-negation is an efficacious shortcut to obtaining and securing. At the very least it draws astounded attention to the narcissist.
The Negativistic (Passive-Aggressive) Personality Disorder is not yet recognized by the DSM Committee. It makes its appearances in Appendix B of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, titled “Criteria Sets and Axes Provided for Further Study.”
Some people are perennial pessimists and have “negative energy” and negativistic attitudes (“good things don’t last”, “it doesn’t pay to be good”, “the future is behind me”). Not only do they disparage the efforts of others, but they make it a point to resist demands to perform in workplace and social settings and to frustrate people’s expectations and requests, however reasonable and minimal they may be. Such persons regard every requirement and assigned task as impositions, reject authority, resent authority figures (boss, teacher, parent-like spouse), feel shackled and enslaved by commitment, and oppose relationships that bind them in any manner.
Passive-aggressiveness wears a multitudes of guises: procrastination, malingering, perfectionism, forgetfulness, neglect, truancy, intentional inefficiency, stubbornness, and outright sabotage. This repeated and advertent misconduct has far reaching effects. Consider the Negativist in the workplace: he or she invests time and efforts in obstructing their own chores and in undermining relationships. But, these self-destructive and self-defeating behaviors wreak havoc throughout the workshop or the office.
People diagnosed with the Negativistic (Passive-Aggressive) Personality Disorder resemble narcissists in some important respects. Despite the obstructive role they play, passive-aggressives feel unappreciated, underpaid, cheated, and misunderstood. They chronically complain, whine, carp, and criticize. They blame their failures and defeats on others, posing as martyrs and victims of a corrupt, inefficient, and heartless system (in other words, they have alloplastic defenses and an external locus of control).
Passive-aggressives sulk and give the “silent treatment” in reaction to real or imagined slights. They suffer from ideas of reference (believe that they are the butt of derision, contempt, and condemnation) and are mildly paranoid (the world is out to get them, which explains their personal misfortune). In the words of the DSM: “They may be sullen, irritable, impatient, argumentative, cynical, skeptical and contrary.” They are also hostile, explosive, lack impulse control, and, sometimes, reckless.
Inevitably, passive-aggressives are envious of the fortunate, the successful, the famous, their superiors, those in favor, and the happy. They vent this venomous jealousy openly and defiantly whenever given the opportunity. But, deep at heart, passive-aggressives are craven. When reprimanded, they immediately revert to begging forgiveness, kowtowing, maudlin protestations, turning on their charm, and promising to behave and perform better in the future.
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
Filed under: Abusive Relationships with Narcissists and Psychopaths, The Mind of the Psychopathic Narcissist | Tagged: abuse, antisocial, battering, divorce, domestic violence, dsm-iv, ego, harassment, narcissism, narcissistic, narcissistic personality disorder, npd, object relations, personality, personality disorder | Leave a comment »