Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Emotions In Psychopaths & Narcissists.


A very interesting comment was placed under the article 'Does Psychopaths Know They're Psychopaths?' by a Reader who had some very interesting questions regarding differences between Psychopathy and Narcissism. He uses the best known and certainly in my opinion a primer example of someone who represents both conditions to a T: Mr. Sam Vaknin.

And I thought I would take the time to write a little extended answer and publish an article about the subject, in part because the relationship between psychopathy and narcissism is undeniable, but also because it continues - for good reasons - to have an interest in the wider public.


But just before I go ahead and post, I thought I should mention that I have found out what happened to the article I published yesterday and which never showed. It's rather banal and not worth going into detail about, but I happen to have the original text saved, so I will publish it again.

It's a two (or maybe three) parts article, and I will still have to find image, good websites that are worth linking to, selecting labels, and do editing, all of which usually takes at least as long as writing the article itself... No, that's not really true. When I get started writing I am finished in a lot shorter time than any time I have spend on the finishing touches: Edit, links, labels, and proof reading.

First the text from the Reader who asked me and wrote the words, and following after that is my reply which hopefully answers what my Reader is asking. - I will have to say, though, that you seem to have understood quite a lot yourself, and there were times where I could add nothing new. Anyway, here we go:
Do you know this Internet Psychopath called Sam Vaknin? He knows everything about what he stand for and that is total frustration. He can't help it to hate people. He even hates people with not only his mask but also the two childs inside of him hate people. That's one of the main differences between a narcissist and a psychopath. A narcissist is frustrated because the child inside has created a fake ego that defends him from harm. This false ego has the same traits as some ignorant child that wants everything done the way he wants and he lies and manipulates to get it. Children are btw more narcissistic than real grownups that had a normal childhood and got raised without traumatic events. So, narcissists are kinda childish when you understand their behaviour and im sure a pscyhopath can control and hurt a narcissist very easily because a narcissist stands or falls with the need of feeling admired and getting attention the way he tries to control it. Without his ability to control people he falls apart right? PSychopaths dont have this problem right? They can be alone without a problem. Is this really true or do you think at this part the defence mechanism of Sam Vaknin is talking as he knows he is a psychopath instead of the narcissist he claimed to be? In brainscans (documentary I-psychopath) he scored out of the roof on psychopathy. Still, he does it all for money (power). A lot of the traits remain the same.
He also claims he just can't understand what people feel when it comes to emotions. You claim you do feel this because you know the differences. THat means you have to have emphaty orelse you can't see the differences between your emotions or the emotions of others. THat would mean that psychopaths have emotions? Please explain this. Thank you. You can call me Fleetwood if you like. :)
Yes, I know Sam - not offline, and I've only exchanged a few words with him, but I know who he is and what he stands for.

A lot of psychopaths are narcissists too, and if I'm to be completely honest - and I am - I also know how it feels to hate people. I've hated people most of my life, 'even behind the mask'.

That said, I do believe he is more narcissistic than I am, and that's not meant to be degrading, in fact I have some admiration for what he does. He really does take it all the way, and while he would say "I can foresee the outcome of everything I do, so there's nothing brave about it", I'd still say there's something brave about standing up in public and declare that you hate children... he made a short but very honest video on Youtube: 'Narcissists Hate Children and Envy Them'about the subject but even I was too much of a pussy to compliment him for having expressed something I myself have felt when I was younger but still an adult.

The difference, I believe, is that narcissists feel negatively all the time, the emotions Vaknin express in the video I've mentioned are not fleeting or occasional, they're the feelings he have for children every time he is presented for situations where children are involved like he explains.... and - as I said - I do think it is a sign of bravery to be open to this extent, for children is probably the one taboo that none of the rest of us have admitted any ill feelings against.

Well I've finally been open about it now, in this reply, and I'm going to again in a future article. -- But my ill emotions regarding children aren't chronic, and therein lies the difference between Vaknin and other major narcissists, and psychopaths who's narcissism is secondary.

You're right: At least to the outsider who understands a narcissist his feelings appear childish, and he is certainly - a common narcissist is - easy to control when you know the more central things about his emotional life, and they easily fall apart if they loose control and ability to maintain it.

But make no mistake about Sam Vaknin, he's no ordinary narcissist. He may exaggerate here and there about his superiority, but that doesn't mean he has no superiority over most people, he obviously does, and that too deserves admiration - something he never got when it was most important to him.

Your question about psychopaths, about whether or not they can live alone without feeling lonely, that, I would say, is definitely true. I haven't met a psychopath who knows what it means to 'feel lonely'.

Psychopaths can easily be alone.

It is being isolated, not necessarily from people but from the world, it is being isolated from your surroundings whatever they are and being unable to go exploring or go out and build a life for yourself, start doing something good, for example (as in my case, ironically enough); it is things like these that we don't have the capacity to tolerate well.

Had I not luckily arrived at a time in my life, after 3-4 years of deep research and self scrutinizing, I would very likely - or rather, if I'm to be completely honest - I would've gone out and killed people during night time. I would've done it as a way to get an outlet, a means to survive another day or two, and I wouldn't have needed to be paid even though I'm as poor as ever and deeply dependent upon somebody to lend me a hand.

But instead of killing people and stop caring about what I have come to view as possibly the most important thing I will be contributing to society during my life time (if I manage to turn things around!), I become horribly self destructive[1*].

If you have read the last few articles I've published here in the blog, you will know that I am dying - not only from medical malpractice and denied treatment and surgery, but from the isolation that has been forced upon me. I can say with complete honesty that I meet more lonely people outside than I ever did inside prison[2*].

I think I trailed off...[3*]

Make no mistake, Sam Vaknin is no ordinary Narcissist. I suspect that if psychopathy had been in the eye of the media when he began his authorship and started an internet presentation based career, he would've put more emphasis on his psychopathy. And his psychopathy is what enables him to distance himself emotionally when he feels slighted or attacked (as you saw in 'I, Psychopath - at least according to the journalist who must've been an emotionally fragile person, and it doesn't surprise me that it was someone like him who felt drawn to the project. When you experience emotional 'overload' your memory has a way of creating or altering things so that they appear worse than they in reality were.

I myself have experienced this on several occasions, and while in this case it did Sam Vaknin good in that it helped cement his capacity for mental cruelty and control, in my case it has at times led to me being accused of doing or saying things that I didn't do or say, and there's nothing I can do about it because people never believe him who is known as the stronger, bad guy.

Sam Vaknin can distance himself emotionally when the situation calls for it, this is what makes him successful. When he has weak moments he don't show it but retreats, and I suspect that has cost him a few business deals. But that is for him to know and for the rest of us to only guess about.

You write:
He also claims he can't understand what people feel when it comes to emotions.
That must be the emotional level of understanding that he talks about, for he most definitely understands from an intellectual level what people feels very well, just like any other psychopath does. He's also an eminent observer with a very well functioning high intellect, and at least the first is something he has in common with psychopaths everywhere (far from all psychopaths - or narcissists, for that matter - are intelligent let alone highly intelligent, or has an intellect that functions well).

Neither narcissists nor psychopaths understand emotionally what other people are feeling. The psychopaths don't understand it because they lack the neuropsychological ability to feel the emotions themselves, and narcissists don't understand them because they have subliminized these feelings so deeply and so well that they may as well not be there in the first place - though they can be brought to surface with the help or the unrefusable cruel destructiveness of someone who lives to see people's minds fall apart and themselves go into a chronic state of madness of catatonic non-existence.

This, again, is understandably not possible to do to a psychopath, and that is so whether or not he is a narcissist. Psychopaths are simply too well educated in the game of emotional-psychological hide and seek and have fine tuned their cognitive abilities so that only the most narcissistic can be caught off guard or reached that way.

I will say it is reality that psychopaths can absolutely be alone without a problem if they have a reason to do so and put their mind to it (are focused).

Do I think Sam Vaknin is aware that he is a psychopath first and a narcissist second? Well I don't even know that he really IS a narcissist second to being a psychopath. I will say that being a psychopath is the most 'powerful' aspect of his psyche, while being a narcissist is the antisocial way that his personality has grown to develop it's traits most prominently and visible.

You write:
In brainscans (documentary I-psychopath) he scored out of the roof on psychopathy. Still, he does it all for money (power).
No, that is incorrect. If he did it all for money and vague power he would be motivated only by typical psychopathic traits. But remember that Vaknin has an intellect and a background that - if he chose to - he could no doubt use to gain a similar amount of money and vague power, but he wouldn't be able to so it as a free person in the sense that a man like himself needs to do things. There would be a lot of conditions on part of those who gave him the necessary contacts and loans, i.e., to make such an accomplishment.

The truth is he does it very much out of narcissistic motivation: I need to be my own man, I can't be below someone else, I can't answer to others, I know I'm better than others so I have to make my livelihood in a way that gives me sole power and as much money as possibly, but maybe most of all: Narcissistic Supply (= people who have to work with or for him on his terms - some of these people doing this freely since some people will see in him what he is striving to show the world that he is gifted with and can contribute with.


It is true that I say - and keep saying - that I have the capacity to feel empathy, but I am aware that my empathy is shorter lived than that of normal people, unless the person I have empathy remains within my immediate company for an extended time. Even so I will tend to switch my empathy for sympathy, and it is often the case that my sympathy makes me able to do much more for a hurting person than the mpathy I had at first.

Sympathy is the same as empathy but without the emotion, and it is the cognitive understanding of the other person's feelings and situation that make me able to see the whole, the larger picture, where most people see only the person who is hurting (and themselves who are hurting along with that person).


My extended awareness enables me to see what is needed in the situation and make decisions that will get those necessary things done. -- I don't have number of how many times I've taken control on an accident scene - car crash, for example - and been the one who made sure everything went smoothly - or as smoothly as possible in a situation where a lot of people have to follow orders given by one individual who were some of the times much younger than themselves, and who had no visible authority to take any leader position.

I don't know what you mean by: "[I] do feel this because [I] know the differences."

But even so it is true, I do indeed have feelings, and so do most other psychopaths. The reason for this is that psychopathy isn't a set one-fits-all condition, it's a personality scale that has a lot of variation between the individuals, some have a little bit of a lot of different types of feelings or emotions while others have few, but strong emotions. How do you think we would get through life if we felt nothing? We'd have no reason, no incentive to do anything to survive.

The notion of the psychopath as some lizard like being with no human traits at all except for his appearance and ability to talk and mimic social skills, is ridiculous to the point of being outright laughable if it wasn't because it is so unbelievably harmful, not only to the psychopaths - let's forget about us for a second! - but to society and the future of the human race per se!

And that, my friend, is what I have learned, and it is what keeps me going - though I still don't do it as well as I would like, but am struggling to change that.

And I believe I will return strong and capable as I always have! I believe that I will rise again, and I will do so in spite of everything!

"I WILL BE BACK!"

As one certain movie villain said. And be back he did - as a hero!

..........

[1*] - I can't help it, I must do this or... go out and commit very nasty types of violent crimes. So I take lots of drugs to ease the pain and make it possible to sit and write for an hour at the time before it gets too painful, and I drug myself into a stupor when I get so angry or frustrated that I simply can't remain in that situation and therefore have to remove myself from it (which, as we know, isn't physically possible at this time) or give in to horrible urges that I hardly can call urges anymore because they're only a possible outlet.

Other than that I chain smoke and have been forced to eat take-away food from the approx. 1,5 mill citizen capital's only fast food restaurant who delivers past 11 PM, and one such pizza, if I take away most of the fat stuff keeps my weight at a stand still for as far as I only eat one every day. But as another means of trying to numb my frustrations and anger, I have lately eaten more than that, so I'm growing beyond what's healthy or comfortable.

[2*} - I happen to live in the country in the world who has the largest number of 'lonely' and single people (yes, they know this because everything the population does is being registered and recorded - AND kept secret from the population, but that's a future discussion).

[3*] - I used to trail off a lot when I first began keeping this blog. I have a slight dyslexia along with the psychopathic ADHD-like trait being extremely pronounced in me, so it has taken me a LONG time to get over this trailing off to other subjects and forgetting what I was talking about to begin with in the process. That I see this returning is a very clear sign of the seriousness of the damage that my current treatment and overall situation does to me.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

G'day.

Firstly, Mr Vaknin. I find it hard to watch his stuff because of the annoying petty emotionality of his narcissistic self. He is classic narcissist. I really fail to see the psychopath in him. I have put a lot of thought and study into psychopathy and narcissism, and to my understanding, he is clearly NOT a psychopath. When psychopaths are narcissistic, even to that degree, they have the want of attention and are self focused beyond the level of most psychopaths, but they are emotionally psychopaths, and this super seeds narcissism, so that the narcissism you do see in psychopaths who are also narcissistic, is quite different cognitively and feels/behaves differently to a plain old narcissist. Vaknin clearly, and annoyingly, shows narcissistic emotionality.


What about Vaknin makes you really think he is psychopath Zhawq? Everything you mentioned fits within narcissism. They too have the ADHD type brain, the ability to separate themselves emotionally when it is not directly affecting their egotistical nature. These are the things that make narcissists more likely to be found and be successful in power jobs, just like psychopaths.

I have more to say but will require a second message.

Cheers, Jay

Anonymous said...

continued..

I wrote an answer on quora the other day, to the question 'How would you describe narcissism in psychopaths?'. If you have the time..


It varies greatly. Narcissism is NOT actually a psychopathic trait, but many psychopaths have aspects of narcissism, though it is different to both born narcissists who are non psychopaths and narcissists who develop such a cognitive structure through life experiences.

I would describe the narcissism in psychopaths as being quite different to plain old narcissism. Firstly, there are the made psychopaths, also know as sociopaths or secondary psychopaths. These people develop narcissism as a coping mechanism. Not all sociopaths do, but it is common in those who have come to see themselves very poorly in their own eyes, and or the eyes of people or society in general. This disharmony is an uncomfortable state the the mind tries to rectify by countering with a bolstered sense of self worth. This irrational, emotional coping mechanism effectively solves the situation by giving them the opposite of what they had. These types are thus very sensitive if you manage to make them think or feel badly about themselves, or appear that way in the eyes of others. That inflated pride sits on a see saw with their insecurities and self doubt. Typical narcissists are like this too, and it is really the key feature that seems to be narcissistic to me.

The Narcissism in psychopaths though, seems more rooted in pride and want of attention. In fact many psychopaths seem narcissistic when young, but as they mature, simply dissolving this built up pride, which may well happen as a result of being emotionally isolated, and replacing it with the calm logic that is our natural disposition, really removes any trace of narcissism. Something that is irrational, emotional, and inflated beyond its true form, really runs counter to a psychopaths grain, learning that these feelings of pride etc are not realistic or helpful is all it takes to start the process in decline.

The most narcissistic psychopaths I know just want attention. They are focused on themselves and want someone to give them some fleeting pleasure. Lots of selfies on facebook, and a motivation for the attention they crave. Quite different to the narcissist, who is more emotionally driven, and literally seems in love with themselves, or occasionally, when they have been made to have a poor self image, are hostile bitter people to the core.

Often behaviours from psychopaths that others, including some experts, think is narcissistic, is actually rooted in other causes. I saw a leading profiler in the US talking to the eye ball killer in jail. He described the killers description that it took a great deal of skill and knowledge to perform this particular surgery, then the profiler asks does it, and the killer says yes. He used this as a sign of narcissism, and I have seen other such as Dr Hare make the same mistake.

To our perception, if something is, it is. We would say the same thing if it weren't us that did it. When non psychopaths assimilate a situation like this one, they do so through emotions. When psychopaths do it, generally we do so via our awareness without emotions engaged. One of the reasons psychopaths have such a sharp perception, and also a reason why psychopaths tend to remove any narcissism as they become aware and mature, gaining control over any emotions like pride and moving to a detached assessment of things.

cheers Jay

Zhawq said...

Part 1
..........

G'day Jay,

an interesting read indeed.

Why do I think Vaknin is a psychopath? Well, first of all there's that hard-to-put-a-finger-on feeling or recognition that I have come to learn is quite common among psychopaths. But it's more than that...

I don't think there's a way in hell that a narcissist would choose a career based on being something that he knows everybody loathes and looks down on.

Most psychopaths don't think of themselves as psychopaths - that was especially the case when Vaknin was young. But Vakning knew he was different and a psychiatrist or a book pointed him in the direction of narcissism, he saw the likenesses and thought "Hey, this is true, this is what I am, and I can make a living from it too if I do it right!" (the making a living part most likely came to later on, but you get the idea).

Then, to take another detail that has been added "recently": His tests that shows a very flat emotionality. Not a childish or simple emotionality, but a flat emotionality. That's makes a big difference. Narcissists are not unemotional though they can seem like they are.

It is true that Vaknin in many of his texts expresses many emotions and almost emphasizes them, but it is not uncommon for psychopaths to believe ourselves more emotional than we are. I myself have the better part of my life believed myself to have deeper emotions than normal people. It's very common.

The way he calmly explains those of his own personality traits that are the most loathsome to normal people simply does not fit with what a narcissist would do. You can theorize that he does it because his political and business careers didn't work out, but a narcissist of his proportions - if narcissist is all that he is - would rather die, and do it dramatically, than tell the truth like Vaknin does.

Narcissists don't like themselves deep down, and the last thing they want is for others to know what and who they really are. It's true that we are taught narcissism is about loving oneself, but that self love is easily torn apart if you get to know the narcissist for even the smallest imperfection. He can be no less than perfect or his glass house falls apart.

But not Vaknin. He will always know how to manage shortcomings , mistakes and misfortune. A narcissist cannot handle misfortune because he cannot control it, and lack of control represents lack of perfection, the greatest fear because with lack of perfection your whole well build, but false, self esteem crumbles.

No amount of IQ can change these facts about narcissism.

Don't get me wrong, I believe Vaknin is a narcissist, or rather, I can tell he is. But he's definitely also a psychopath.

Psychopathy has begun to change it's paradigm, but we've only just started and with very small steps. Vaknin has already incorporated psychopathy in many of his texts about narcissism, and that too is not what a narcissist would do. A narcissist will cater to the largest possible audience, but not an audience that the rest of the world looks down upon. They want to be kings in Hollywood, not under a bridge in LA.

Zhawq said...

Part 2
..........

When all this is said, I am no expert in narcissism. It is for me but a side project that I had to familiarize myself with because I was researching psychopathy. You can't learn about psychopathy and not to some extent learn about the rest of the Cluster B conditions. So what I'm saying is, I could be wrong, but I'm fairly sure that I'm not.

And by the way, I didn't know that narcissists are prone to have ADHD like traits such as we (psychopaths) have. That's an interesting new learning to me and I will have to look it up some time so I can gain some understanding of how and why they incorporate this particular characteristic.

..........

I will make sure to visit Quora soon. I haven't been active there for a long time. The moderators banned me from posting there because I had spelled my last name as AmaDiable instead of AmaDraque, and they demand that you write under your real name... thus not caring about people who may have something to say that can be dangerous to them.

Just imagine the consequences that could visit an anti racist who lives in southern Missouri after they voice their opinions on the matter of Ku Klux Clan on Quora. But nope, they must writer under their real name. We really respect freedom of speech here at Quora. But it's a good place to get the word out when you have something important to say.

Tom Arrow said...

"I don't think there's a way in hell that a narcissist would choose a career based on being something that he knows everybody loathes and looks down on."

therein lies your error, zhawq. i was once linked by mr. vaknin and thus got a glimpse of his target demographic. almost exclusively old or seemingly damaged women from age 30 upwards and some younger men. his audience is narcissistic itself and enjoys the feeling of moral superiority he offers it through his self-loathing. he offers a canvas on which all those self-identified victims can project their problems on. he describes himself as a monster and warns people against his own kind. that's not something a rational self-interested person would do - a monster doesn't warn it's prey. but it's something one would do if one were interested in being seen as selfless on one hand and if one were interested in running a business which provides people with what i mentioned - a way to run away from their own weaknesses by analyzing all their faults into "their" narcissists.

sam wrote a particularly self-loathing article once on which i commented. what i wrote was no accusation, rather i asked him why he lets other people dictate him who to be. i proposed that empathy is just an argument of idiots to make you obey their wishes and asked him how he - who calls himself a narcissist - can even understand the perspective of the "victims" if he himself is not how they are. it's illogical, after all. all he can do is believe - or claim to believe - the accusations of a certain part of individuals who are interested in blaming narcissists for their problems. believe that they are better. yet he sells it as truth. it's a pretty smart move, if it is calculated.

which it probably is. he didn't hesitate to remove me from his friends list and block me from seeing his profile an hour later.

you say that narcissism is something looked down upon. i argue that it is merely a certain subpopulation who is even invested in this topic. i think that most people don't care about narcissism - they see a narcissist and simply go their way if he annoys them. but to these people, narcissists are some sort of hate-love. what a great drama it is to desire what one cannot have. oh, the folly.

another indicator for my viewpoint is the nature of his writings. negativistic, pessimistic, with a pretty static model of personality in which narcissism is an immutable form of being - one has to wonder why he bothers writing, if not for audience and money. he writes almost nothing that may be of use to a narcissist who wants to improve, but everything that a narcissist could use for either lazy self-loathing or, if less reflected, for projection.

among his audience, he is indeed popular. he offers them the feeling of superiority through altruistic acceptance of his own depravity. what a soap opera.

rb said...

Tom A good one !

Zhawk... You're "pretending"



" but it is not uncommon for psychopaths to believe ourselves more emotional than we are "

I would say it goes for 99% of western mankind. They just don' kill someone out of general frustration ;)


You did list some other psychopathic traits, I do consider very normal. But don't we all really know it already... Business is all about psychopathy. From marketing to enslaving foot soldiers, as in working bees. Women are the tool. Give those irrational creatures the rights by law, and the less irrational husband, will reach the "normal logical conclusion"... But who is the major "queen" bee.. Who are we feeding.. For most people a lot is help to self-help. Aka "empathy". I am also among those. I am extremely "empathic", as long as it doesn't cost me much and as long as a persons story does not give me bad emotions :).. AND I get something in return :). Salary, fuck or just something I want to have.

But with such a basic "psycho-narcish" foundation as Capitalism really is. What is there to expect, but a normalizing of such rewarded traits. Psychopathy-light seems to me as the optimal combo for success. Since I don't have any real better alternative, I should not really criticize it either. Just pointing my finger on that you seem to be claiming traits as very psychopathic, when many of those you mention, seems quite normal among normals, at least to me.

Anonymous said...

On the surface of reading your reply Zhawq and Tom Arrow's perception, I must say I agree with Tom more.

I too have only studied narcissism in depth as a side note to psychopathy, though the side of my family with the Psychopath gene also has narcissists, and is obviously genetic too, so I have a close and personal understanding of family members, with a range of narcissism amongst them.

In reply to your points Zhawq:

I don't think there's a way in hell that a narcissist would choose a career based on being something that he knows everybody loathes and looks down on-

Well, to my mind, this is incorrect. I have an uncle who is highly narcissistic, his chosen career was a government inspector. These guys are hated through and through, they all have their names off the electrol roll and private phone numbers etc. They receive death threats regularly, and basically they stand in the place of righteousness and authority and ruin the lives of people who come under their scrutiny. He loved it, fucking loved it. It played right into his narcissism, the whole power and superiority, the prestige and 'secret club' of government officials, being able to be an out and out ass hole with impunity. The hating of people like him, actually fed straight into his narcissism too. It was like a mirror model of his pathology and life experience...on the one hand hated and loathed on mass, but him having a position that he knows he is above them in. I think you will find narcs are quite familiar with being hated on, and set up with Vaknin as the famous author and any attention only adds to his overall worth and exposure, its quite fitting.


continued...

Anonymous said...

continued..

Most narcissists don't reach the lofty heights they think they deserve, and have to make do with whatever authority or power they can find, and they then embellish this, constantly seeking to self comfort. You have no doubt noticed how different people, say typical and psychopaths, resolve cognitive dissonance differently. Well narcissists are different here again. Typical people resolve primarily through emotions, with these being the strongest, most meaningful, and most fixed values for them. You can provide them with facts that they know and realise, but if they are in direct contrast to their valued emotional attachments, the will go into denial, knowingly. To a psychopath this is nearly impossible, when we resolve cognitive dissonance, we do so with a focus on facts with emotional attachments detached. It doesn't matter how unpopular it is or what emotional implications stem from experience, we are ready to compute it as is without that bias.

When it comes to narcissism, the most pivotal and meaningful thing to them is their own self worth. When cognitive dissonance occurs, if it has anything to do with themselves emotionally, their own emotional comforting and appraisal of worth comes above all else, and they can actively block out and go into extreme denial when information is processed contrary to this. They are also quite logical though, and at times you can pierce through this denial and you will meet hostility, with them now focused on a longer form of rectifying cognitive dissonance that will re-establish them at the top of the throne.

Your point about his flat emotionality- again, this really depends on the context because narcissists do have flat emotionality compared to most. Much of the time, they seem like psychopaths in that they are superficial emotionally and not much goes deep. I have even found the odd time that my narcissistic family members were better equipped to remain impartial about certain things. Right at the point where things had crossed over to a personal issue for me and is was suppressing anger, was the point they withdrew emotionally.

It is not the expression of emotions that gets me about Vaknin, and I am quite familiar with having to try and express and focus on emotions myself, but it is the type of emotionality he is expressing- and it sits fairly in narcissistic territory. In all my other experience of this type of thing, if he was psychopathic, this would be different. That emotional feel narcissists have where they are like a big spoilt selfish pig of children, utterly petty emotionally at times....these are the the parts of narcissism that is different in a psychopath. A psychopath is not like this emotionally.

Most of the Narcissists I am personally familiar with have ADHD type brains. These are born narcissists as opposed to sociopaths and others who develop it as a coping mechanism.

Yeah that part of Quora could be better, but it is easy enough to rectify.


Cheers, Jay

Anonymous said...

Also, you write

"Sympathy is the same as empathy but without the emotion, and it is the cognitive understanding of the other person's feelings and situation that make me able to see the whole, the larger picture, where most people see only the person who is hurting (and themselves who are hurting along with that person)."

That sounds a bit wonky tbh. I recall you writing something in the past too that seemed confused on the topic.

Sympathy can be both an emotion, or a positive regard stemming from understanding of perspective. Due to the fact that we lack spontaneous reciprocal emotions for others( The part of emotional empathy we don't have) in place of an automatic emotion to others plights, cognitively we understand their position and can choose to be sympathetic. The actual understanding of others is just your cognitive empathy and knowledge combined. Sympathy is merely then choosing to have positive regard for that perspective. We can also feel the emption sympathy if we try, but unlike typical people, we don't get that spontaneous emotional sympathy that comes when the mirror neurons fire.

Cheers, Jay.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled over this one. The discussion under the article is great. Plenty of wisdom and interesting viewpoints.

https://lonelygenius.wordpress.com/2007/10/07/the-plight-of-the-lonely-genius/

Just an example

We say love, but we are adulterers. We say charity, but we do not care. What we mean is impregnation and territory, tribal protection and annihilation.

rb said...

Gonna give you my "feeling" about Dutton.

I didn't know about the concept of "existensial intelligence", before that blog I linked. I think Dutton has a lot of it.

This is what my "imagination" tells me about him.

Grew up in a really hard family. Psychopathic parents. Being ginger himself, he was probably picked on. Discovered that aggression was a solution. Then rediscovered, that he himself, was turning into the same piece of shit as his parents. He learned how easy it is to pass a negative legacy, but manage to change his own course. There is probably some decent amount of the normal, analytical type of intelligence involved here, that did him good. After changing himself, he became curious about how his own parents ended up where they did. And of course a lot of other persons too. Deep down, I do not think he himself, believe it is all biological. But he struggles a bit with that point, because he can recognize elements within himself, that are a bit shady, plus, some resemblance in appearance to some "crazy" familymembers.
His major concern, his mission, is primarily to get people to understand that there is also a part of the free will involved in what people choose to do. Aka, "the good psychopath". He himself, chose to not follow the family traditions. The psychopathic side, may not even be anymore strange than the fact that eastern africans are good in marathon, chinese are good at school and west africans are good sprinters. Those are just facts, but they do not explain why exactly Haile Gebreselassie became such a good runner and so forth. And that is Dutton's mission. He wants to explain and emphasize that part and put less stress that biology is the major determinant. On the contrary, each society needs biologically born "psychopaths". They just gotta behave within the context :)

Zhawq said...

Tom Arrow - part 1

first of all, lets get established what you mean in your first sentence....you write you were once 'linked by mr. Vaknin'.

What do you mean? Sam has sent me several links and some of them were very good; there are even some that I would refer to, but mostly it's not about psychopathy so his texts - at least those that I like most - doesn't fit so well with what I write. Another reason is that he and I have a few points on which our opinions differ, but I have found no reason to make that public.

I have read a couple of 'testimonies' from people - exactly as you mention, women in their thirties, mostly, and what they write is exactly what you say is happening with those who gets into Vaknin's close circle (close online circle, anyway). It all fits.

"it's something one would do if one were interested in being seen as selfless on one hand and if one were interested in running a business which provides people with what i mentioned - a way to run away from their own weaknesses by analyzing all their faults into "their" narcissists."

The first of what you write fits with narcissism, but the latter is exactly what some psychopaths love to do. It's also called Gaslighting. Turning people into something they're really not and which is far from good for them.

What you say about Vaknin's audience themselves being narcissists strikes me as peculiar. I mean, wouldn't this type of audience be the last a narcissist wants?... People who themselves hope to gain Vaknin's undivided attention, love and admiration, hoping to become his leading stars - each and every one of them - without whom he can't imagine surviving another day because they're so wonderful? ...I just can't see that picture in my mind.

But as I said above, that his audience ends up thinking they're narcissists as well, that I can easily imagine, and that is what I have heard is happening, and it is what I read in the rest that you have said.

"which it probably is. he didn't hesitate to remove me from his friends list and block me from seeing his profile an hour later."

This I can obviously not truly comment on since I didn't see what either of you wrote nor the context in which it happened. But my guess would be that he took you off the list because he realized he couldn't use you, you were too critical towards what he stands for. Or maybe he misunderstood what you meant - that's another possibility. We don't know since you haven't been able to ask him and hear a reason for his decision. - It can also be a combination, he really thought you offended him and he had no positive use for that where the rest of his audience was concerned. But it is all theorizing.

Zhawq said...

Tom Arrow - Part 2:

When you say you think people don't particularly look down on narcissists, I can tell you that you're wrong at least to some extent. Maybe more mature people can be overbearing and just keep their thoughts to themselves, and otherwise keep out of the narcissist's way if he get's difficult to deal with. But most I have spoken to - or overheard talking about the subject - do show the typical signs of disdain, but also irritation, and - if they're employees in a firm run by a narcissist, - they often feel victimized and unduly scolded by the person.

Obviously people in high positions - and specifically wealthy people who have no reason to fear becoming dependent upon others - are most often prone to laugh at the narcissist behind his back and openly utter remarks of less polite nature about the person, but I have been poor too, as well as sitting somewhere in the middle income part of the Western economies, so I've heard a little bit from most sides.

Funny enough, those who are really poor can sometimes be just as acidic in their sarcasm about narcissists as can the top 10% - I'e never belonged to the Really wealthy top 1%, lol....and guess what: I don't care! lol

I agree that Vaknin's authorship is not about giving advice for narcissists to become not narcissists. Mostly it is simply a very precise - and sometimes personal = not generally agreed on by the larger community of narcissism experts - description of the condition as it is experienced from within (opposite as it is believed to be by researchers). And overall I think he's rather good at it.

There's one thing that I find a bit sad: Most of the people who were once Vaknin's followers, at which point they felt Vaknin could say and do nothing wrong, have since they broke out of the group decided that nothing he says or does is good. It is very typical cult behavior, the all believing indiscriminate, or non-believing all negating and all denying.

But, like I said the first time around: When all is said and done, I am far from any expert in narcissism, and I may be wrong about some of the things I believe to see in Vaknin's texts. As for the man himself, I can only stand to my "instinct" feeling and the recognition of his psychopathic traits. He is both a narcissist and a psychopath.

IF his brain scan had come out differently, then I would've been less certain, but it was pretty convincing.

"among his audience, he is indeed popular. he offers them the feeling of superiority through altruistic acceptance of his own depravity. what a soap opera."

That's cult behavior for ya. And as for narcissists and soap operas, they go very well in hand. If I come across it again, I'll link to a Youtube video where a guy goes undercover in order to reveal how narcissistic abusive some of these people in the industry are.

Zhawq said...

RB,

The empathy you speak of is not really empathy, but a lot of people do it.

I wouldn't call capitalism "psycho-narcish" in itself, but it can be made to function that way, especially if the people governed by it's rule don't understand what psychopathy and narcissism is, or capitalism for that matter. Some of the most socialist or communist countries in the world are run by very narcissistic psychopaths. The same goes for the religious rules.

A business can be run in a way that doesn't fit the psychopathic model - unless you mean that everything that has to do with using and being used is psychopathic. In that case the whole world is psychopathic, and in a certain sense we can say that it is. Psyhopathy is part of the human condition. But so is the opposite end of the scale and they work in these businesses too. There are even some of them who owns businesses.

You really think I'm pretending? That's interesting. What do you think am I pretending?

Zhawq said...

Jay,

you're right, government inspectors are hated, but they have one very important thing for a narcissist: Power over others. They are there to direct and regulate, weak people and children even fear them when they pull their "I shall tell you how it is and what you can and cannot do here or there" stunt.

Sometimes being feared makes up for any hatred towards a narcissist. It is being king that makes his day, even if he's only a small king and a fake king. With these little narcissists it is often a question who loathe them more, themselves or their surroundings. They can only keep the self loathing at bay by continuously putting others below them, often in sadistic ways if not exactly physically so.

"Most narcissists don't reach the lofty heights they think they deserve, and have to make do with whatever authority or power they can find, and they then embellish this, constantly seeking to self comfort."

Exactly.

But remember, Sam Vaknin has education, he didn't have to take the lesser spot. He could've been a professor somewhere. Instead he chose to out himself as an author and spend a lot of time online doing the same.

"It is not the expression of emotions that gets me about Vaknin, and I am quite familiar with having to try and express and focus on emotions myself, but it is the type of emotionality he is expressing- and it sits fairly in narcissistic territory"

I have noticed this too. But if I have to be totally honest, I'm not sure that he doesn't to some extent mold his emotional expressions to make them fit the narcissism which is his livelihood. It would be exactly the thing a psychopathic narcissist would do, and I see him do it.

Of course I can't be sure, none of us can but Vaknin. I can only go with my guts.

On empathy and sympathy, you write:

"That sounds a bit wonky tbh. I recall you writing something in the past too that seemed confused on the topic."

It may be a tad worky to explain, but in practice it happens automatically. The rest of what you say about this topic is the exact same thing that I keep trying to explain to people, so we can't disagree there. '^L^,

Zhawq said...

Anon,

you wrote:

"We say love, but we are adulterers. We say charity, but we do not care. What we mean is impregnation and territory, tribal protection and annihilation."

Why the annihilation? Except if you have no choice in order to protect - yourself and/or your tribe?

Great article you found there. I like the "... especially not as long as nobody knows who is writing." It is pretty much what I am doing - no, it IS what I am doing. And he's right, the IQ chart alone just about says it all. '^L^,

Zhawq said...

RB,

you're probably spot on with Dutton. I think he has an unusual curiosity and that he has inherited some stubborn fearlessness from probably his dad. He never speaks of his mom so we don't really know about her.

He believes in the combination of nature and nurture, about that there is no doubt. From a societal standpoint I can only agree with your finishing line, that all societies need psychopaths for as far as they can manage to meet us in a positive way that doesn't alienate and turn us against society as is what is happening today.

Bob Hare, on the other hand, thinks of psychopaths only in terms of antisocialness and mentions the inuit or eskimo who would quietly kill such antisocial elements. Yet, he seems to have begun ever so slightly to change his opinion of psychopaths as an ultimate evil and nothing else.

There will always be antisocial elements, that's in the nature of man. The day that no antisocial aspect exists within the frames of society, society will die, because society needs friction in order to remain unified.

Zhawq said...

Jay,

you wrote:

"I have even found the odd time that my narcissistic family members were better equipped to remain impartial about certain things. Right at the point where things had crossed over to a personal issue for me and is was suppressing anger, was the point they withdrew emotionally."

I am curious about what kind of dispute they reacted in this manner to. As I have said earlier, I'm no expert in narcissism and I want to learn.

Zhawq said...

One more thing... I am usually not certain about someone being a narcissist until I see his reaction to pressure. As several of you have pointed out, narcissists are good at hiding their emotions and put especially much effort into hiding insecurities for obvious reasons.

So for me, if I don't see that happen, I need to get to know the person in order to tell if they're a narcissist or not. I can't say I know Sam Vaknin at all and I haven't really studied him. I have my impressions of him, that's all.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough....I will give him a go another time and try and be aware of other possibilities like the fact he is playing up the narcissism aspect for sales, he is fucking annoying though. Narcissists, they bring out my head smashing side.


Funny you mention the under pressure behaviour...I had never thought about this before in terms of narcissists, but immediately I recalled many instances of it being a great way of gauging psychopaths and sociopaths.....the calm open awareness we develop as psychopaths, and the focused to a calm ready place via the activation of hyper vigilance for sociopaths. In terms of my narcissistic relatives...their stress levels go up and they try and concentrate on logical solution actions...and get quite grumpy if you interrupt their train of thought lol.

What is the reaction you speak of Zhawq?

Zhawq said...

Yeah, if you have an interest in narcissism he's definitely worth a good look, and he's made a lot of material available - books, blogs and articles, as well as videos where he explains his views which in some aspects differ from the established psychology's views.

I have to say I think he wants to sell, but whether that in itself has anything to do with how he sees narcissism I can't say, I simply haven't studied his material close enough.

You write:
"Narcissists, they bring out my head smashing side."

Lol, normally the same is the case for me, but for some reason I don't feel that way about Vaknin. I mainly feel an understanding, and for the rest I feel curiosity because he has those elements that I don't think I have - at least not to the same degree.

"gauging psychopaths and sociopaths.....the calm open awareness we develop as psychopaths, and the focused to a calm ready place via the activation of hyper vigilance for sociopaths"

That is actually very well put.

"their stress levels go up and they try and concentrate on logical solution actions...and get quite grumpy if you interrupt their train of thought lol."

Yeah, I can imagine.

As for sociopaths, they often reveal themselves by the way they tend to read stuff into situations and emotions into psychopaths that aren't there. They can get quite worked up if you don't fit the model they had worked out for you, but in their minds it is you who get worked up. I had quite a lot of fun at the start of my blog with a group of people like this, and I don't think the majority of them ever realized their error. They also had their group pride to protect, after all, while I'm just me and could decide to withdraw at any time I saw fit, and I did just that when I realized there was something else I wanted with this blog.

"What is the reaction you speak of Zhawq?"

I'm not sure I follow. Did I speak of a reaction? - Or do you mean my own reaction with regard to my situation?

Anonymous said...

You said you could tell narcissists by their reaction to pressure, what is their reaction to pressure that you notice?

You wrote-
"As for sociopaths, they often reveal themselves by the way they tend to read stuff into situations and emotions into psychopaths that aren't there. They can get quite worked up if you don't fit the model they had worked out for you, but in their minds it is you who get worked up."

Soooo true mate. I have had a lot of dealings with sociopaths online who thought they were psychopaths and whom wanted to join my groups etc....more than psychopaths in terms of numbers....and they do it exactly like you say. They are unable to separate their emotional attachments from their decision making and awareness, project their faulty assumptions onto others, especially a more neutral person like myself...I am contacted every day nearly by at least 1 sociopath telling me I am a fraud and this and that...and it is always a direct projection of themselves. Funny creatures. I have tried teaching a few to get past this, but even though they recognise the difference when they are not being the emotional one, it seems far beyond most to see it when they are emotionally engaged and acting like the typical people they so despise. The irrationality and sporadic subjectivity and morality males them plain untrustworthy.

Cheers, Jay

Anonymous said...

Interesting the comment about how Sam sees children. I see them as mini engineering humanoids like little biological robots. I see them as autonomous really not much different from an adult only smaller.