Notes on abuse

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.

(yeah… right)

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.

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17 Responses to Notes on abuse

  1. Exodus says:

    Yes, Sam knows what he’s talking about. I can relate to your getting creeped out by the guy but he also makes me laugh. He’s truly so full of himself that it’s embarrassing to watch him…like watching Michael Flatley in Riverdance or Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. hahahha Maybe that means I’m getting healthier. I agree with his advice when it comes to dealing with bosses and other associates that we cannot avoid but when it comes these types of spouses, I don’t think anyone should be advised how to manage to tolerate. We need to rid ourselves of them.

    “When a narc can no longer use you, he’ll discard you. ”
    This is what my mother has done to me several times in my life and even her friends noticed it and thought it was so strange that a mother could just rid of her child without any regret. As soon as I started packing, Norman ‘dumped’ me. It’s very disturbing and hurtful …..nah, let me just tell the truth..it angers me that I have such little worth in my marriage other than being Norman’s caretaker. I’m not really angry at Norman as much as I am at myself for allowing such a shallow man to use me all these years. I’m really not this stupid. I just never believed that I deserved the same good health and happiness that others did.

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  2. Seeing the Light says:

    “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.” This is the part that is inescapable and that concerns me so much in regard to the children. No matter what we do internally and externally to set protect ourselves, it seems almost impossible to alter the atmosphere. I haven’t given up on it, but I’m not sure it’s possible.

    “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.” Every word of this advice is absolutely true in my experience. It took me a long time to learn this.

    “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.” Yep. Just about all of these effects. It’s true, too, that the more self-sufficient I become, the more I speak my mind confidently, the lower the demand for supply from me.

    I have seen a lot of videos of “his” and I have “his” book. Very good information and very blunt and to the point. Thanks for sharing, PJs.

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    • Exodus says:

      “A narc will lack friends, engage in more isolated activities, and avoid competition with sharp minds, or self-sufficient people. ”

      I don’t completely agree with this description of N’s. N’s are usually very social and love attention and they surround themselves with sharp minds and sharp people who make them look good. However, they don’t like self sufficient people ..that’s very true so they tend to look for those super intelligent needy types…….people that have disabilities or are emotionally traumatized, vulnerable in some way. N’s need to feel needed – it’s their guarantee that their supply will stick around. I do agree that they don’t like their intelligent friends or anyone else for that matter to compete with them on any level. They fear being humiliated.

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      • WritesinPJ's says:

        People love my husband. Anyone he engages with really enjoys him. I wouldn’t say he’s close to any of them, at least not as long as I’ve known him. Our neighbors really enjoy him, and barely know who I am.

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        • Exodus says:

          Yes, good point. I guess we need to distinguish between friends vs acquaintances. Everyone loves Norman too. He’s such a sweetie pie, such a peaceful soul and has a very youthful look about him. Norman doesn’t have any loyal friends or people who would come to his defense. However, after I hit him with the remote, he ran to a woman and she let him move into her house. I hope she’s got a lot of cleaner and time to care for him.
          No one knows me either and it’s a shame that we end up retreating into the background. I don’t have the energy or desire to even defend myself. Haven’t for years.

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    • WritesinPJ's says:

      Thanks, Seeing. If you have any more interesting helpful tidbits from his book, please share!

      The thing that really got me thinking was “he perpetuates his stable presence in their lives by destabilizing their world”, referring to how someone can create dependency via chaos and instability.

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      • Seeing the Light says:

        PJs, I will do that if anything comes to mind!

        “The thing that really got me thinking was ‘he perpetuates his stable presence in their lives by destabilizing their world’, referring to how someone can create dependency via chaos and instability.” This is so true! The funny thing is that when we met, I was the more stable one. His life was falling apart. As soon as we got engaged/married, I started to lose my footing and my identity and he assumed the role of the solid one while I fell apart. It is so surreal!

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        • Exodus says:

          “The funny thing is that when we met, I was the more stable one. His life was falling apart. As soon as we got engaged/married, I started to lose my footing and my identity and he assumed the role of the solid one while I fell apart. ”

          SAME HERE! This is what happens when narcissists assume our identities

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      • Seeing the Light says:

        PJs, so where did your mind go when you started thinking about this?

        Like

  3. newshoes123 says:

    I hate to say but this Sam guy has a perspective that is very rare and valuable, which I am sure he knows. Very enlightening and all he has said very true. Cheech, I have flashbacks of events for every single word he’s said. I’m going to copy and keep this as a reminder that I’m not crazy.

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    • WritesinPJ's says:

      newshoes123, that’s pretty much what I thought. He has some valuable perspective, but he was just so creepy to watch and listen to.
      Really hate the flashback memories here.

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  4. Exodus says:

    He has a new book out, ‘ The Narcissist’s Mother’. Just released this month.

    Just received a phone call from Norman that he is heading to his therapy session. Can’t wait to hear about which fruit his therapist was munching on this week and how happy she is that he’s having more fun hanging out with his ‘friends’ who are less than half his age.

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  5. DotedOn says:

    . “Whatever you do, keep it secret. Abusers collect information, and will not hesitate to misuse it.”… or sabotage you… That’s so right. Keeping it secret and showing no emotion is the key to success.

    Liked by 1 person

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