The Cyber Narcissist

Written by Sam Vaknin


Continued from page 1

Butrepparttar Internet may also berepparttar 126203 closest many narcissists get to psychodynamic therapy. Because it is still largely text-based,repparttar 126204 Web is populated by disembodied entities. By interacting with these intermittent, unpredictable, ultimately unknowable, ephemeral, and ethereal voices repparttar 126205 narcissist is compelled to project unto them his own experiences, fears, hopes, and prejudices.

Transference (and counter-transference) are quite common onrepparttar 126206 Net andrepparttar 126207 narcissist's defence mechanisms notably projection and projective identification are frequently aroused. The therapeutic process is set in motion byrepparttar 126208 unbridled, uncensored, and brutally honest - reactions torepparttar 126209 narcissist's repertory of antics, pretensions, delusions, and fantasies.

The narcissist everrepparttar 126210 intimidating bully is not accustomed to such resistance. Initially, it may heighten and sharpen his paranoia and lead him to compensate by extending and deepening his grandiosity. Some narcissists withdraw altogether, reverting torepparttar 126211 schizoid posture. Others become openly antisocial and seek to subvert, sabotage, and destroyrepparttar 126212 online sources of their frustration. A few retreat and confine themselves torepparttar 126213 company of adoring sycophants and unquestioning groupies.

But a long exposure torepparttar 126214 culture ofrepparttar 126215 Net irreverent, skeptical, and populist usually exerts a beneficial effect even onrepparttar 126216 staunchest and most rigid narcissist. Far less convinced of his own superiority and infallibility,repparttar 126217 online narcissist mellows and begins hesitantly to listen to others and to collaborate with them.

First published in my "Narcissistic Personality Disorder" Topic Page on Suite 101

Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent, and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory Bellaonline, and Suite101 .

Visit Sam's Web site at http://samvak.tripod.com




The Shattered Identity - Part II

Written by Sam Vaknin


Continued from page 1

We, therefore, have to modify our previous conclusions:

Having a memory is not a necessary nor a sufficient condition for possessing a self-identity.

We are back to square one. The poor souls in Oliver Sacks' tome, "The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat" are unable to create and retain memories. They occupy an eternal present, with no past. They are thus unable to access (or invoke) their self-identity by remembering it. Their self-identity is unavailable to them (though it is available to those who observe them over many years) - but it exists for sure. Therapy often succeeds in restoring pre-amnesiac memories and self-identity.

V. The Incorrigible Self

Self-identity is not only always-on and all-pervasive - but also incorrigible. In other words, no one - neither an observer, norrepparttar person himself - can "disprove"repparttar 126202 existence of his self-identity. No one can prove that a report aboutrepparttar 126203 existence of his (or another's) self-identity is mistaken.

Is it equally safe to say that no one - neither an observer, norrepparttar 126204 person himself - can prove (or disprove)repparttar 126205 non-existence of his self-identity? Would it be correct to say that no one can prove that a report aboutrepparttar 126206 non-existence of his (or another's) self-identity is true or false?

Dan's criminal responsibility crucially depends onrepparttar 126207 answers to these questions. Dan cannot be held responsible for Jack's murder if he can prove that he is ignorant ofrepparttar 126208 facts of his action (i.e., if he can proverepparttar 126209 non-existence of his self-identity). If he has no access to his (former) self-identity - he can hardly be expected to be aware and cognizant of these facts.

What is in question is not Dan's mens rea, norrepparttar 126210 application ofrepparttar 126211 McNaghten tests (did Dan knowrepparttar 126212 nature and quality of his act or could he tell right from wrong) to determine whether Dan was insane when he committedrepparttar 126213 crime. A much broader issue is at stake: is itrepparttar 126214 same person? Isrepparttar 126215 murderous Danrepparttar 126216 same person asrepparttar 126217 current Dan? Even though Dan seems to ownrepparttar 126218 same body and brain and is manifestly sane - he patently has no access to his (former) self-identity. He has changed so drastically that it is arguable whether he is stillrepparttar 126219 same person - he has been "replaced".

Finally, we can try to unite allrepparttar 126220 strands of our discourse into this double definition:

It would seem that we accept that someone has a self-identity if: (a) He hasrepparttar 126221 same hardware as we do (notably, a brain) and, by implication,repparttar 126222 same software as we do (an all-pervasive, omnipresent self-identity) and (b) He communicates his humanly recognizable and comprehensible inner world to us and manipulates his environment. We accept that he has a specific (i.e.,repparttar 126223 same continuous) self-identity if (c) He shows consistent intentional (i.e., willed) patterns ("memory") in doing (b) for a long period of time.

It seems that we accept that we have a specific self-identity (i.e., we are self-conscious of a specific identity) if (a) We discern (usually through memory and introspection) long term consistent intentional (i.e., willed) patterns ("memory") in our manipulation ("relating to") of our environment and (b) Others accept that we have a specific self-identity.

In conclusion: Dan undoubtedly has a self-identity (being human and, thus, endowed with a brain). Equally undoubtedly, this self-identity is not Dan's (but a new, unfamiliar, one).

Such isrepparttar 126224 stuff of our nightmares - body snatching, demonic possession, waking up in a strange place, not knowing who we are. Without a continuous personal history - we are not. It is what binds our various bodies, states of mind, memories, skills, emotions, and cognitions - into a coherent bundle of identity. Dan speaks, drinks, dances, talks, and makes love - but throughout that time, he is not present because he does not remember Dan and how it is to be Dan. He may have murdered Jake - but, by all philosophical and ethical criteria, it was most definitely not his fault.



Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent, and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory Bellaonline, and Suite101 .

Visit Sam's Web site at http://samvak.tripod.com




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