The Cyber Narcissist

Written by Sam Vaknin

Torepparttar narcissist,repparttar 126203 Internet is an alluring and irresistible combination of playground and hunting grounds,repparttar 126204 gathering place of numerous potential Sources of Narcissistic Supply, a world where false identities arerepparttar 126205 norm and mind gamesrepparttar 126206 bon ton. And it is beyondrepparttar 126207 reach ofrepparttar 126208 law,repparttar 126209 pale of social norms,repparttar 126210 strictures of civilized conduct.

The somatic finds cyber-sex and cyber-relationships aplenty. The cerebral claims false accomplishments, fake skills, erudition and talents. Both, if minimally communicative, end up atrepparttar 126211 instantly gratifying epicenter of a cult of fans, followers, stalkers, erotomaniacs, denigrators, and plain nuts. The constant attention and attendant quasi-celebrity feed and sustain their grandiose fantasies and inflated self-image.

The Internet is an extension ofrepparttar 126212 real-life Narcissistic Pathological Space but without its risks, injuries, and disappointments. Inrepparttar 126213 virtual universe ofrepparttar 126214 Web,repparttar 126215 narcissist vanishes and reappears with ease, often adopting a myriad aliases and nicknames. He (or she) can thus fend off criticism, abuse, disagreement, and disapproval effectively and in real time and, simultaneously, preserverepparttar 126216 precarious balance of his infantile personality. Narcissists are, therefore, prone to Internet addiction.

The positive characteristics ofrepparttar 126217 Net are largely lost onrepparttar 126218 narcissist. He is not keen on expanding his horizons, fostering true relationships, or getting in real contact with other people. The narcissist is foreverrepparttar 126219 provincial because he filters everything throughrepparttar 126220 narrow lens of his addiction. He measures others and idealizes or devalues them according to one criterion only: how useful they might be as Sources of Narcissistic Supply.

The Internet is an egalitarian medium where people are judged byrepparttar 126221 consistency and quality of their contributions rather than byrepparttar 126222 content or bombast of their claims. Butrepparttar 126223 narcissist is driven to distracting discomfiture by a lack of clear and commonly accepted hierarchy (with himself atrepparttar 126224 pinnacle). He fervently and aggressively tries to imposerepparttar 126225 "natural order" either by monopolizingrepparttar 126226 interaction or, if that fails, by becoming a major disruptive influence.

The Shattered Identity - Part II

Written by Sam Vaknin

Butrepparttar unconscious is as much a part of one's self-identity as one's conscious. What if, due to a mishap,repparttar 126202 roles were reversed? What if Dan's conscious part were to become his unconscious and his unconscious part - his conscious? What if all his conscious memories, drives, fears, wishes, fantasies, and hopes - were to become unconscious while his repressed memories, drives, etc. - were to become conscious? Would we still say that it is "the same" Dan and that he retains his self-identity? Not very likely. And yet, one's (unremembered) unconscious - for instance,repparttar 126203 conflict between id and ego - determines one's personality and self-identity.

The main contribution of psychoanalysis and later psychodynamic schools isrepparttar 126204 understanding that self-identity is a dynamic, evolving, ever-changing construct - and not a static, inertial, and passive entity. It casts doubt overrepparttar 126205 meaningfulness ofrepparttar 126206 question with which we endedrepparttar 126207 exposition: "Who, exactly, then, is Dan?" Dan is different at different stages of his life (Erikson) and he constantly evolves in accordance with his innate nature (Jung), past history (Adler), drives (Freud), cultural milieu (Horney), upbringing (Klein, Winnicott), needs (Murray), orrepparttar 126208 interplay with his genetic makeup. Dan is not a thing - he is a process. Even Dan's personality traits and cognitive style, which may well be stable, are often influenced by Dan's social setting and by his social interactions.

It would seem that having a memory is a necessary but insufficient condition for possessing a self-identity. One cannot remember one's unconscious states (though one can remember their outcomes). One often forgets events, names, and other information even if it was conscious at a given time in one's past. Yet, one's (unremembered) unconscious is an integral and important part of one's identity and one's self. The remembered as well asrepparttar 126209 unremembered constitute one's self-identity.

IV. The Memory Link

Hume said that to be considered in possession of a mind, a creature needs to have a few states of consciousness linked by memory in a kind of narrative or personal mythology. Can this conjecture be equally applied to unconscious mental states (e.g. subliminal perceptions, beliefs, drives, emotions, desires, etc.)?

In other words, can we rephrase Hume and say that to be considered in possession of a mind, a creature needs to have a few states of consciousness and a few states ofrepparttar 126210 unconscious - all linked by memory into a personal narrative? Isn't it a contradiction in terms to rememberrepparttar 126211 unconscious?

The unconscious andrepparttar 126212 subliminal are instance ofrepparttar 126213 general category of mental phenomena which are not states of consciousness (i.e., are not conscious). Sleep and hypnosis are two others. But so are "background mental phenomena" - e.g., one holds onto one's beliefs and knowledge even when one is not aware (conscious) of them at every given moment. We know that an apple will fall towardsrepparttar 126214 earth, we know how to drive a car ("automatically"), and we believe thatrepparttar 126215 sun will rise tomorrow, even though we do not spend every second of our waking life consciously thinking about falling apples, driving cars, orrepparttar 126216 position ofrepparttar 126217 sun.

Yet,repparttar 126218 fact that knowledge and beliefs and other background mental phenomena are not constantly conscious - does not mean that they cannot be remembered. They can be remembered either by an act of will, or in (sometimes an involuntary) response to changes inrepparttar 126219 environment. The same applies to all other unconscious content. Unconscious content can be recalled. Psychoanalysis, for instance, is about re-introducing repressed unconscious content torepparttar 126220 patient's conscious memory and thus making it "remembered".

In fact, one's self-identity may be such a background mental phenomenon (always there, not always conscious, not always remembered). The acts of will which bring it torepparttar 126221 surface are what we call "memory" and "introspection".

This would seem to imply that having a self-identity is independent of having a memory (orrepparttar 126222 ability to introspect). Memory is justrepparttar 126223 mechanism by which one becomes aware of one's background, "always-on", and omnipresent (all-pervasive) self-identity. Self-identity isrepparttar 126224 object and predicate of memory and introspection. It is as though self-identity were an emergent extensive parameter ofrepparttar 126225 complex human system - measurable byrepparttar 126226 dual techniques of memory and introspection.

Cont'd on page 2 ==> © 2005
Terms of Use