I’m not sure how many of you have heard of Sam Vaknin. He’s a self-proclaimed narcissist and abuser. Part of his pathology has been to write at least one book, and put lots of videos on youtube to purportedly help others understand abuse and narcissism. (It also gets him a lot of attention.) It’s fairly creepy to listen to him, but I will say that whatever his motives, he gives a ton of information about narcissists and abusers.
Quite a long time ago, I listened to many of his youtube clips and took notes. I thought it might be helpful to share some of the notes I took back then.
I don’t even want to type his name again, so the ‘he’ is referencing the same person.
He said that abusers exploit, lie, demean, ignore, manipulate, and control. He said that kind of ‘love’ is not respecting privacy, treating you as an extension or object, using you for gratification, being consistently tactless, expecting too much of you, being brutally honest in a way that disregards hurting you, and capable of sadistic humor.
He said that some will abuse by proxy; in other words, recruiting and grooming third parties who are unaware and can be manipulated.
He said covert abuse is also ambient. The atmosphere is one of instability, fear, foreboding, and an irksome feeling. Over a long time, it erodes a victim’s sense of self-worth, confidence and esteem. Ambient abuse can reverse roles: the victim will be considered unstable, while the abuser is regarded as a suffering soul married to the victim.
The solution he suggested at this point? “Run. You owe yourself your life.”
More covert tactics of abuse were what he described as intermittent reinforcements: unpredictability, uncertainty, capricious, inconsistent, and irrational behaviors. He explained that this will render the people around the abuser to be more dependent on him. Dependent on the next twist and turn, the next inexplicable whim, wound, outburst, denial and smile.
“The abuser makes sure that he is the only reliable element in the lives of his nearest and dearest… and he does that by shattering the rest of the world through his seemingly insane behavior. He creates a rollercoaster, a hurricane, a tornado, as he perpetuates his stable presence in their lives by destabilizing their world.”
His suggestion? Demand predictability. Demand rational. Demand respect and boundaries.
He said that narcissists have disproportionate reactions; e.g. supreme rage to a slight offense. Narcissists can be inordinately attentive, and have a shifting code of conduct.
His suggestion? Demand just and proportionate behavior and standards.
He said a narc will attack the very foundations of human interaction to dehumanize and objectify you. While a narc imitates adults, deep inside they are emotionally absent and immature.
His advice? Never show you are afraid. Do not negotiate with bullies. Respond with your full arsenal. If things get rough, disengage. Whatever you do, keep it secret. Abusers collect information, and will not hesitate to misuse it.
He said that abusers engineer impossible situations; they create dangerous, unpredictable, unprecedented, or highly specific environments in which the abuser is sorely needed. The abuser makes sure that his knowledge, his skills, his traits, are the only ones applicable and useful in the situations that he himself has wrought. The abuser generates his own indispensability.
He advises: Scrutinize every suggestion. Prepare back-up. Be doubting.
The narcissist is a partial adult. The narc interferes with your ability to work and function.
The effects of abuse might be forgetfulness, fatigue, panic attacks, intrusive memories, shame, depression, anxiety, enhanced sense of vulnerability, sleep disturbances, guilt, and humiliation. A narc will lack friends, engage in more isolated activities, and avoid competition with sharp minds, or self-sufficient people. A narc needs an unthreatening audience for supply.
A narc cannot empathize or love, and is not interested in people other than as supply. When a narc can no longer use you, he’ll discard you. Narcs resent benefactors. Narcs are convicted that no one can resist their charm. Narcs believe they are entitled and deserve special treatments and allowances. To a narc, charming means having power over.
The above notes are from listening to a narc lecture on narcissism and abuse. Take it with a grain of salt, but I think he knew what he was talking about for the most part.