Narcissism, Substance Abuse, and Reckless Behaviours

Written by Sam Vaknin


Pathological narcissism is an addiction to Narcissistic Supply,repparttar narcissist's drug of choice. It is, therefore, not surprising that other addictive and reckless behaviours workaholism, alcoholism, drug abuse, pathological gambling, compulsory shopping, or reckless driving piggyback on this primary dependence.

The narcissist like other types of addicts derives pleasure from these exploits. But they also sustain and enhance his grandiose fantasies as "unique", "superior", "entitled", and "chosen". They place him aboverepparttar 126200 laws and pressures ofrepparttar 126201 mundane and away fromrepparttar 126202 humiliating and sobering demands of reality. They render himrepparttar 126203 centre of attention but also place him in "splendid isolation" fromrepparttar 126204 madding and inferior crowd.

Such compulsory and wild pursuits provide a psychological exoskeleton. They are a substitute to quotidian existence. They affordrepparttar 126205 narcissist with an agenda, with timetables, goals, and faux achievements. The narcissist repparttar 126206 adrenaline junkie feels that he is in control, alert, excited, and vital. He does not regard his condition as dependence. The narcissist firmly believes that he is in charge of his addiction, that he can quit at will and on short notice.

The narcissist denies his cravings for fear of "losing face" and subvertingrepparttar 126207 flawless, perfect, immaculate, and omnipotent image he projects. When caught red handed,repparttar 126208 narcissist underestimates, rationalises, or intellectualises his addictive and reckless behaviours converting them into an integral part of his grandiose and fantastic False Self.

Thus, a drug abusing narcissist may claim to be conducting first hand research forrepparttar 126209 benefit of humanity or that his substance abuse results in enhanced creativity and productivity. The dependence of some narcissists becomes a way of life: busy corporate executives, race car drivers, or professional gamblers come to mind.

The narcissist's addictive behaviours take his mind off his inherent limitations, inevitable failures, painful and much-feared rejections, andrepparttar 126210 Grandiosity Gap repparttar 126211 abyss betweenrepparttar 126212 image he projects (the False Self) andrepparttar 126213 injurious truth. They relieve his anxiety and resolverepparttar 126214 tension between his unrealistic expectations and inflated self-image and his incommensurate achievements, position, status, recognition, intelligence, wealth, and physique.

Serial Killers

Written by Sam Vaknin


Countess Erszebet Bathory was a breathtakingly beautiful, unusually well-educated woman, married to a descendant of Vlad Dracula of Bram Stoker fame. In 1611, she was tried - though, being a noblewoman, not convicted - in Hungary for slaughtering 612 young girls. The true figure may have been 40-100, thoughrepparttar Countess recorded in her diary more than 610 girls and 50 bodies were found in her estate when it was raided.

The Countess was notorious as an inhuman sadist long before her hygienic fixation. She once orderedrepparttar 126199 mouth of a talkative servant sewn. It is rumoured that in her childhood she witnessed a gypsy being sewn into a horse's stomach and left to die.

The girls were not killed outright. They were kept in a dungeon and repeatedly pierced, prodded, pricked, and cut. The Countess may have bitten chunks of flesh off their bodies while alive. She is said to have bathed and showered in their blood inrepparttar 126200 mistaken belief that she could thus slow downrepparttar 126201 aging process.

Her servants were executed, their bodies burnt and their ashes scattered. Being royalty, she was merely confined to her bedroom until she died in 1614. For a hundred years after her death, by royal decree, mentioning her name in Hungary was a crime.

Cases like Barothy's giverepparttar 126202 lie torepparttar 126203 assumption that serial killers are a modern - or even post-modern - phenomenon, a cultural-societal construct, a by-product of urban alienation, Althusserian interpellation, and media glamorization. Serial killers are, indeed, largely made, not born. But they are spawned by every culture and society, molded byrepparttar 126204 idiosyncrasies of every period as well as by their personal circumstances and genetic makeup.

Still, every crop of serial killers mirrors and reifiesrepparttar 126205 pathologies ofrepparttar 126206 milieu,repparttar 126207 depravity ofrepparttar 126208 Zeitgeist, andrepparttar 126209 malignancies ofrepparttar 126210 Leitkultur. The choice of weapons,repparttar 126211 identity and range ofrepparttar 126212 victims,repparttar 126213 methodology of murder,repparttar 126214 disposal ofrepparttar 126215 bodies,repparttar 126216 geography,repparttar 126217 sexual perversions and paraphilias - are all informed and inspired byrepparttar 126218 slayer's environment, upbringing, community, socialization, education, peer group, sexual orientation, religious convictions, and personal narrative. Movies like "Born Killers", "Man Bites Dog", "Copycat", andrepparttar 126219 Hannibal Lecter series captured this truth.

Serial killers arerepparttar 126220 quiddity and quintessence of malignant narcissism.

Yet, to some degree, we all are narcissists. Primary narcissism is a universal and inescapable developmental phase. Narcissistic traits are common and often culturally condoned. To this extent, serial killers are merely our reflection through a glass darkly.

In their book "Personality Disorders in Modern Life", Theodore Millon and Roger Davis attribute pathological narcissism to "a society that stresses individualism and self-gratification atrepparttar 126221 expense of community ... In an individualistic culture,repparttar 126222 narcissist is 'God's gift torepparttar 126223 world'. In a collectivist society,repparttar 126224 narcissist is 'God's gift torepparttar 126225 collective'". Lasch describedrepparttar 126226 narcissistic landscape thus (in "The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an age of Diminishing Expectations", 1979):

"The new narcissist is haunted not by guilt but by anxiety. He seeks not to inflict his own certainties on others but to find a meaning in life. Liberated fromrepparttar 126227 superstitions ofrepparttar 126228 past, he doubts evenrepparttar 126229 reality of his own existence ... His sexual attitudes are permissive rather than puritanical, even though his emancipation from ancient taboos brings him no sexual peace.

Fiercely competitive in his demand for approval and acclaim, he distrusts competition because he associates it unconsciously with an unbridled urge to destroy ... He (harbours) deeply antisocial impulses. He praises respect for rules and regulations inrepparttar 126230 secret belief that they do not apply to himself. Acquisitive inrepparttar 126231 sense that his cravings have no limits, he ... demands immediate gratification and lives in a state of restless, perpetually unsatisfied desire."

The narcissist's pronounced lack of empathy, off-handed exploitativeness, grandiose fantasies and uncompromising sense of entitlement make him treat all people as though they were objects (he "objectifies" people). The narcissist regards others as either useful conduits for and sources of narcissistic supply (attention, adulation, etc.) - or as extensions of himself.

Similarly, serial killers often mutilate their victims and abscond with trophies - usually, body parts. Some of them have been known to eatrepparttar 126232 organs they have ripped - an act of merging withrepparttar 126233 dead and assimilating them through digestion. They treat their victims as some children do their rag dolls.

Killingrepparttar 126234 victim - often capturing him or her on film beforerepparttar 126235 murder - is a form of exerting unmitigated, absolute, and irreversible control over it. The serial killer aspires to "freeze time" inrepparttar 126236 still perfection that he has choreographed. The victim is motionless and defenseless. The killer attains long sought "object permanence". The victim is unlikely to run onrepparttar 126237 serial assassin, or vanish as earlier objects inrepparttar 126238 killer's life (e.g., his parents) have done.

In malignant narcissism,repparttar 126239 true self ofrepparttar 126240 narcissist is replaced by a false construct, imbued with omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. The narcissist's thinking is magical and infantile. He feels immune torepparttar 126241 consequences of his own actions. Yet, this very source of apparently superhuman fortitude is alsorepparttar 126242 narcissist's Achilles heel.

The narcissist's personality is chaotic. His defense mechanisms are primitive. The whole edifice is precariously balanced on pillars of denial, splitting, projection, rationalization, and projective identification. Narcissistic injuries - life crises, such as abandonment, divorce, financial difficulties, incarceration, public opprobrium - can bringrepparttar 126243 whole thing tumbling down. The narcissist cannot afford to be rejected, spurned, insulted, hurt, resisted, criticized, or disagreed with.

Likewise,repparttar 126244 serial killer is trying desperately to avoid a painful relationship with his object of desire. He is terrified of being abandoned or humiliated, exposed for what he is and then discarded. Many killers often have sex -repparttar 126245 ultimate form of intimacy - withrepparttar 126246 corpses of their victims. Objectification and mutilation allow for unchallenged possession.

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