Dr. Sam Vaknin
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NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) is
often diagnosed with other mental health disorders (such as the Borderline,
Histrionic, or Antisocial Personality Disorder). This is called
"co-morbidity". It is also often accompanied by substance abuse and
other reckless and impulsive behaviours and this is called "dual
But there is one curious match, one
logic-defying co-appearance of mental health disorders: narcissism and the
Schizoid Personality Disorder.
The basic dynamic of this particular brand of
co-morbidity goes like this:
- The narcissist feels
superior, unique, entitled and better than his fellow men. He thus tends
to despise them, to hold them in contempt and to regard them as lowly and
- The narcissist feels that
his time is invaluable, his mission of cosmic importance, his
contributions priceless. He, therefore, demands total obedience and
catering to his ever-changing needs. Any demands on his time and resources
is deemed to be both humiliating and wasteful.
- But the narcissist is
DEPENDENT on input from other people for the performance of certain ego
functions (such as the regulation of his sense of self-worth). Without
Narcissistic Supply (adulation, adoration, attention), the narcissist shrivels
and withers and is dysphoric (depressed).
- The narcissist resents this
dependence (described in point 3). He is furious at himself for his
neediness and - in a typical narcissistic manoeuvre (called
"alloplastic defence") - he blames OTHERS for his anger. He
displaces his rage and its roots.
- Many narcissists are
paranoids. This means that they are afraid of people and of what people
might do to them. Think about it: wouldn't you be scared and paranoid if
your very life depended continually on the goodwill of others? The
narcissist's very life depends on others providing him with Narcissistic
Supply. He becomes suicidal if they stop doing so.
- To counter this
overwhelming feeling of helplessness (dependence on Narcissistic Supply),
the narcissist becomes a control freak. He sadistically manipulates others
to his needs. He derives pleasure from the utter subjugation of his human
- Finally, the narcissist is
a latent masochist. He seeks punishment, castigation and ex-communication.
This self-destruction is the only way to validate powerful voices he
internalized as a child ("You are a bad, rotten, hopeless
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As you can easily see, the narcissistic
landscape is fraught with contradictions. The narcissist depends on people -
but hates and despises them. He wants to control them unconditionally - but is
also looking to punish himself savagely. He is terrified of persecution
("persecutory delusions") - but seeks the company of his own
The narcissist is the victim of incompatible
inner dynamics, ruled by numerous vicious circles, pushed and pulled
simultaneously by irresistible forces.
A minority of narcissist (I am one) choose
the SCHIZOID SOLUTION. They choose, in effect, to disengage, both emotionally
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