Chapter 9, The Soul of a Narcissist, The State of the Art
Loss of Control of Grandiosity
What happens if the narcissist fails to find Narcissistic Supply Sources (NSSs)?
This precipitates a narcissistic crisis. The narcissist becomes more desperate and more compulsive in looking for his drug. The more he fails, the more he is hurt and he expresses his emotional turmoil by acting out.
Moreover, the absence of SNSSs or their deficiency coupled with the resulting narcissistic crisis increase the fluctuations in the quantity of Narcissistic Supply and widen the Grandiosity Gap (between the grandiose fantasies of the narcissist and his less than glamorous reality). This volatility erodes the narcissist's self-esteem, self-image, and self-confidence. The narcissist self-devalues and is reduced to depression and doubts.
In other words: the gap between the narcissist's grandiose fantasies and reality is so wide that the FEGO's narcissistic defence mechanisms can no longer be maintained even with the use of strong repression and denial.
This triggers two defensive reactions. Their aim is to stabilise Narcissistic Supply and to reduce the narcissist's emotional lability:
- The Reactive Repertoire is reawakened (encouraging the narcissist to flee the scene of his failures and thus create an alibi for future failures).
- An increase in the consumption of PNSSs (if SNSSs are deficient) or of SNSSs (if PNSSs are deficient).
This last measure does stabilise the situation in the short run but it has a destabilising effect in the longer run.
All this is done mainly to protect the FEGO. The narcissist "knows" that when the FEGO is shattered, the ability of the Hyperconstruct to resist the punitive influence of the SEGO dwindles and both TEGO and the narcissist's relations with outside objects are in danger.
In the absence of SNSS, an increase in the consumption of randomly available PNSS leads to an enhanced volatility of Narcissistic Supply. If prolonged, this leads to a collapse of the Hyperconstruct, including the eminently important FEGO.
This opens the way to the tyrannical SEGO and to an era of suicidal tendencies and ideation.
From a psychodynamic point of view, when the Narcissistic Supply fluctuates with increasing volatility, the result is an oscillation between over-valuation or idealisation (the outcome of the narcissist's grandiose fantasies) and under-valuation and even de-valuation (the Grandiosity Gap, the confrontation between his grandiose fantasies and a decidedly less grandiose reality).
Gradually, the effects of the PNSS fade. This type of NSS is not stable - precisely why a function of accumulation is required. The release of accumulated Narcissistic Supply - the role of the SNSS - smoothes the supply derived from PNSS by equally distributing it over time (regulating it).
Still, the devaluation extreme of this pendular motion erodes the narcissist's sense of self-worth, self-image, self-esteem, and self-confidence. This weakens the FEGO considerably and the SEGO takes over with a double-pronged action:
- It attacks the TEGO, provoking dysphoria and depressive anhedonia in the process. It devalues the narcissist's self-worth and self-image, inciting self-hatred and self-loathing, which lead to self-destruction and to suicidal ideation.
Suicide cannot be ruled out in such a case.
- It attacks the objects (meaningful or significant others) in the narcissist's life. It repels them by externalising the narcissist's depression and self-destructive urges, by "spoiling" good feelings and achievements, by fostering compulsive acts, by generating overt transformations of aggression (envy, boredom, rage, cynicism), by displaying emotional platitude, by avoiding sex.
The next phase is comprised of rebellious acts against authority figures and institutions, delinquent behaviour, and passive-aggressive sabotage.
But this raging battle and the arsenal of weaponry used in it are a reflection of deeper turbulence in the soul of the narcissist.
The narcissist transforms his life into his single biggest creative act. In other words, the narcissist is an actor (FEGO) whose creation is his own life. He adapts the narrative to fit changing audiences. There is, actually, no discernible, identifiable, single narcissist - but a myriad, mirrored, confabulations.
This constant acting creates - both in the narcissist and in his social milieu - feelings of deceit, falsity, vacillating moods, a multi-layered existence, evasiveness, crookedness, and evil mysteriousness. SNSSs are frustrated by this and often feel threatened by the inability to "capture" and pigeonhole the narcissist.
Life as a work of art (rather than one's art as part of one's biography) is an element of the narcissist's "virtual normalcy" (simulated normal functioning). The narcissist assembles whereas others create, cohabits instead of sharing, establishes and runs "Potemkin" businesses, and indulges in bogus fantasies instead of doing the real thing. He pursues PNSS (publicity) in lieu of professional reputation and standing.
The narcissist does not realise his potentials because he needs to work with others to do so. But he avoids getting involved in order to forestall pain and self-destruction (in the wake of abandonment). The narcissist's schizoid reclusiveness is an act of self-preservation. One can convincingly argue that the narcissist's self-destructive streak is better manifested in the way he secures NSSs.
The narcissist assumes that he is so unique that his uniqueness is enough to establish his position as entitled to special treatment - even without actually creating or achieving anything (works of art, fathering children, making a home, building a business, maintaining a relationship).
The narcissist deserves of Narcissistic Supply (adulation, attention) by virtue of merely existing and due to the complexity of his special personal history. By refraining from doing and from acting, the narcissist avoids narcissistic injuries. The narcissist never invests in anything and never perseveres - so he never gets emotionally attached to anything.
Still, we must differentiate between the actor's (FEGO's) role and his function (the function of the whole personality, or of the TEGO).
The FEGO's role involves low emotional investment and emphasises yields in terms of Narcissistic Supply and the consumption of that supply. It is characterised by ego-dystony.
The TEGO's function calls for a high level of emotional involvement, yields in terms of Narcissistic Supply are a marginal consideration and it fosters high ego-syntony.
The repertoire of possible roles adopted by the narcissist's FEGO is enormous. The more characteristic are:
- Crook, dangerous, unpredictable, verbally violent, deterring;
- Businessman, rich, well connected, powerful;
- Genius, innovator, encyclopaedic;
- Revolutionary, reformer, non-conformist, rebellious;
- Asexual, monkish, pervert;
- Author, intellectual, bohemian, artist;
- Family man, father, sage, experienced, stable, and authoritative;
- Charming, childish, honest, open, innocent, vulnerable, requires assistance and support.
Narcissists deceive their environment in more than one way. Even when they express emotions it is because they have discovered the efficacy of this tactic in obtaining Narcissistic Supply (NS). The emotions used and expressed are part of a role played - as are the narcissist's creativity and social interactions.
Every resource at the narcissist's disposal is mobilised and subjected to the overriding goal of obtaining PNSSs and SNSSs. The narcissist says all the right things but in such a manner that they sound hollow. Thus, when the narcissist says: "I love you" he really means: "I depend on you for the stabilisation of my Narcissistic Supply and for the accumulation of supply."
People feel that something is amiss but they can't put their finger on it. So they keep their distance from the narcissist, or abandon him altogether thus reinforcing the Narcissistic Cycle and, unwittingly, participating in it. The FEGO's role is to successfully limit social interactions to the plane of NS and to secure the denouement: the abandonment of the narcissist. It also helps contain the resulting emotional or narcissistic damage. The narcissist can always pretend that it is all a game to him.
His abandonment leads the narcissist down a straight path to Loss Dysphoria and from there to the Reactive Repertoire. The Reactive Repertoire contains two categories of behaviour patterns:
The first category is characterised by a denial of reality, reclusive behaviour, disintimisation, aberrant sexual practices, and by the avoidance of intimacy.
These behaviours are common once a Grandiosity Gap emerges and leads to a continuous conflict with reality. This friction shatters the illusion of virtual normalcy. The loss of some of the grandiose fantasies in conjunction with more practical costs due to the narcissist's seclusion lead to a Loss Dysphoria and to the Reactive Repertoire.
The behaviours in this first group are typical of states of uncertainty and of transition between Pathological Narcissistic Spaces (PN Spaces).
The second category of behaviours is comprised of escape, change (of place, job, or vocation), displacement of grandiose fantasies and the development of an alternative PN Space. These are intended to close the problematic Grandiosity Gap and to match reality and fantasy.
Yet, nothing can prevent the eruption of a Deficiency Dysphoria and the impulse to secure PNSSs in the alternative PN Space. If the development of an alternative PN Space is not possible, the narcissist exhibits symptoms of a Deficiency Dysphoria - but only after a while. The reason for the delay: the narcissist has an "alibi" for the absence of Narcissistic Supply - he lost one PN Space and has not, as yet, developed another.
Failing to obtain SNSSs leads to an inability to complete the Narcissistic Cycle and to a Loop of Grandiosity Compensation. The functions of the SNSSs are performed through intricate Feedback Loops that monitor and regulate the stabilisation mechanisms.
The absence or malfunctioning of these feedback mechanisms lead the narcissist down the dangerous path of excessive Grandiosity Compensation and thenceforth to subsequent and resultant losses and to a Loss Dysphoria.
In a way the Grandiosity Gap and the Grandiosity Compensation Loop regulate each other. The Grandiosity Gap activates the Grandiosity Compensation Loop and the SNSS Feedback Loop, which measures the amount of Grandiosity Compensation and halts it when the Grandiosity Gap has been reduced to a tolerable size.
The SNSSs, therefore, monitor the state of the Grandiosity Gap. They halt the operation of the Grandiosity Compensation Loop once the Grandiosity Gap has been reduced to a tolerable size. They also activate the Reactive Repertoire when necessary (after a loss), once the Grandiosity Gap has widened, or when Grandiosity Compensation is low.
Thus, in the absence of SNSSs, Grandiosity Compensation mechanisms are incessantly activated even when there is no Grandiosity Gap. This leads to a Loss of Control of Grandiosity and to subsequent real life injuries.
The narcissist loses in any case:
- When there are no SNSSs, there is no stabilising Feedback Loop, there is excessive Grandiosity Compensation, a Loss of Control of Grandiosity and real life losses.
- When SNSSs are available, the Wunderkind mask is activated replete with all the EIPM and this is tantamount to the initiation of losses.
Grandiosity Compensation is common after the Reactive Repertoire. The absence of SNSSs leads to the excess use of the Reactive Repertoire (denial of reality, disintimisation, escapism, changes of residences or jobs, fantasies and the development of alternative PN Space) as well as the excessive use of the compensatory mechanisms.
But the excess use of Grandiosity Compensation interferes with the efficacy of obtaining PNSSs in two ways:
A vicious circle ensues: the absence of stabilisation and feedback functions provided by the SNSS leads to an excessive use of the Reactive Repertoire and to an incessant and exaggerated Grandiosity Compensation.
These raise the stimulation threshold of the PNSSs and adversely affect their efficiency to the point of fully frustrating it. A Loss of Control of Grandiosity follows, which leads to losses and to Loss Dysphorias.
This, in turn, increases the Grandiosity Compensation within the Narcissistic Cycle.
The loss, therefore, is not, in this case, only of objects - but of NSSs.
The Loss of Control of Grandiosity generates malignant versions of the various means for acquiring PNSSs:
What used to be a relatively benign projection of power is transformed into rage and humiliation directed at individuals or ethnic or other groups (misogyny, racism).
The projection of wealth is transformed to ostentatious and uncontrolled overspending (coupled with ego-dystony).
Publicity is mostly obtained through lies, indecent exposure, and fantasies.
This malignancy transforms NSSs into dysfunctional NSSs. Instead of helping to reduce the Grandiosity Gap, they widen it either directly, or by their very unavailability.
The heightened threshold of stimulus causes "NSS creep". Some NSSs lose the ability to compensate for lost grandiosity and, thus, to bridge the Grandiosity Gap. These are a-functional NSSs.
They lose this ability because the elevated threshold renders low their narcissistic content. Their narcissistic yield becomes insufficient.
The narcissist reacts in different ways to NSSs, which cease to be functional (dys- and a- functional):
He may lose all interest. This is part of the Reactive Repertoire: the repression of the consequences of important losses. Or, he may rage, aware of the Grandiosity Gap, which continues to widen despite all efforts. The narcissist feels helpless, faced with the failure of the protective mechanism of cognitive dissonance.
Difficulties finding sexual partners, for instance, exacerbates the Grandiosity Gap. The solution: a cognitive dissonant abstinence ("I never really like sex") and trying to cast the very act of forgoing sex as NSS (as proof of exceptional personal strength).
This is a part of the Reactive Repertoire aimed at coping with a narcissistic injury. The dual Dysphorias develop as well (Loss and Deficiency). Alternatively, the failure of the dissonance elicits rage, an inability to convert the dissonance to NSSs, narcissistic injury and the two dysphorias.
The Loss of Control of Grandiosity is double: the narcissist loses both his objects and his NSSs, which are exposed either as a-functional or dysfunctional.
We must, therefore, differentiate between rage which is the reaction to the loss of NSSs through their transformation into dysfunctional NSSs and to the widening of the Grandiosity Gap - and rage which is the malignant form of projection of power as PNSSs (the gratifying humiliation of groups of people or of individuals).
When SNSSs lose their functionality, the Loss of Control of Grandiosity and the malignancy process lead to perturbations in the SNSS transaction and in the process of locating the SNSS and conditioning it. For instance, the possibility of being attracted sexually may be affected (due to a dysfunctional PNSS), or the conditioning measures (due to a-functional SNSS), or the very SNSS transaction.
Actually, there is an increase in the stimulus threshold which causes the "SNSS creep".
This creep is evident in the increase in the velocity of the SNSSs. The SNSSs become a-functional and the narcissist loses any interest in them. He directs aggression and transformed aggression at them, trying to facilitate an abandonment and rapid loss in order to switch to the next SNSS. This is a malignancy of the SNSS transaction.
All this yields a Functionality Shift. One shift is from dys- and a- functional NSS to NSSs, which are still functional (still provide NS needed to close the gap) - the Vertical Shift. And there is the increase in the dosage and the magnitude of NSSs in the hope of restoring their functionality - this is the Horizontal Shift.
The Vertical Shift is part of a Loss of Control of Grandiosity and the Horizontal Shift is part of the malignancy process.
The dysphorias are "selection switches" between NSS Sets in the NSS Space. The selection process is carried out through the above mentioned Functionality Shifts. The NSS Cycle is the changing of the guard between NSS Sets within the NSS Space. Specifically reacting to the dysphorias, some of them become functional (the Active Sets) and the other sets lose their functionality (the Shadow Sets).
The Narcissistic Cycle is a set of specific reactions to specific dysphorias, which create a specific Grandiosity Gap, which calls for a specific Grandiosity Compensation. This is the "bias" of the Narcissistic Cycle.
The selection of the Active Sets responds to this bias - and so does the deactivation of the Shadow Sets. The bias also sets the parameters of the two shifts.
What determines the dysfunctionalisation of NSSs is their (lack of) availability and what determines their a-functionalisation is their (lack of) yield of Narcissistic Supply in the PN Space (in a specific group, or culture, or society).
Put differently: the Narcissistic Cycle is not completed (does not cancel the dysphorias) if the NSSs which are needed to solve the dysphorias are not available (dysfunctional NSSs), or if their yield of Narcissistic Supply is low in the specific PN Space (a-functional NSSs). In these cases, the dysphorias stay put and a Loss of Control and malignancy processes set in.
Mental Map # 10
Biased Set (failure to obtain NSSs or collapse of PN Space)
Deficient NSSs stabilisation and feedback
the Reactive Repertoire Loop,
the Grandiosity Compensation Loop.
Loss of Control due to incompletion of the Narcissistic Cycle
and malignancy of NSSs.
Increase in the velocity of the Narcissistic Cycle
Loss of Control leads to:
Loss of objects, Loss Dysphoria,
Deficiency of objects, Deficiency Dysphoria.
And it also leads to:
An increase in the stimulation threshold of PNSSs
and to efforts to obtain PNSS frustrated by the environment.
Dysfunctionalisation and a-functionalisation of NSSs
Loss of NSS (set S0)
Shifts (Vertical and Horizontal) from S0 to S1
(S1 is S0 less S1 shades + S0 shades)
[The Reactive Repertoire]
Dissonance: converting the shifts to Narcissistic Supply
Dissonance: extracting Narcissistic Supply from a shift
Failure of dissonance
Loss Dysphoria in S0 (NSS selection switch)
Reactions: loss of interest or rage
Deficiency Dysphoria in S0 (NSS selection switch)
[Commencement of the Narcissistic Cycle]
[Bias of Narcissistic Cycle]
Testing the availability of NSSs - dysfunctionalisation of S1
Testing of yield of NSSs in PN Space - a-functionalisation of S1
The NSS Cycle:
Loss of NSS not relevant to the deficiency in S1
Shifts (Vertical and Horizontal) - result of NSSs availability and yield tests
Resolution of the Dysphorias (Loss and Deficiency) by restoring S0
Equilibrium and homeostasis of Narcissistic Supply around new Narcissistic Equilibrium Point
An increase in the stimulation threshold of PNSSs-
-and so on and so forth.
The transfer from S0 to S1 is achieved through sublimatory channels coupled with a cognitive dissonance. This calls for an expansion of the concept of sublimation and a clearer definition of the concepts of libido and NSS. Sublimation can be redefined as any mechanism, which precipitates the NSS Cycle. The dissonance is there to prevent cognitive conflicts and to encourage ego-syntony.
The narcissist's disordered personality aspires to a homeostatic (independent of the environment) Narcissistic Equilibrium. The point at which this equilibrium is established is the Narcissistic Equilibrium Point (NEP). Full ego-syntony is maintained at the NEP and the narcissist experiences there pleasure and euphoria.
The introduction of a NSS, which is not part of the Equilibrium Set, destabilises the set and provokes an anxiety reaction (really the fear of losing the equilibrium). The narcissist reacts to this anxiety with discomfiture, rage and EIPM. PNSS can perturb only a set of PNSSs and a SNSS can destabilise only a set of SNSSs.
Usually there is a considerable overlap between S0 and S1 and the transition is smooth and unfelt. Only one or two NSSs are not transferred from the outgoing to the incoming set. These become Shaded NSSs.
The incoming set contains a reference to them, a sort of a pointer, which incorporates the most rudimentary information, or an imitation or a reminder, or an actual remnant of them. These are the SHADES. The role of the shades is to maintain a bridge allowing these NSSs to return and to be included in a future incoming set. The shades form a kind of a blueprint or template of all available NSSs.
S0 is an outgoing set which includes the following NSSs - sex, projections of wealth, mysteriousness and publicity. It has a shade of the NSS Projection of Power.
S1 is an incoming set which includes projection of wealth, projection of power (was converted from shade in the outgoing set to actual member of the incoming set), mysteriousness and publicity. Sex has become - in S1 - a shade.
Any attempt to relate to a shade as though it is active shifts the NSS Set off the NEP and provokes anxiety and reactions to anxiety (rage, aggression, discomfort, repulsion, transformations of aggression) as well as an active repression of the Shaded NSSs. This kind of repression affects the smooth transition to a new NSS Set in due course.
The equilibrium is thereby adversely affected.
The NSS Space is the list of all NSSs, Primary and Secondary, active and shaded.
Each set has two subsets: the PNSS Subset and the SNSS Subset.
Laws of equivalence, conservation and interchangeability are observed within each subset. These laws help preserve the Narcissistic Equilibrium. There is a complex inter-relationship between the existence of the homeostasis and the existence of the equilibrium. One cannot survive without the other.
Infrequently a Biased Set is formed. This is an Asymmetric Set. There is a difference between the output of the two subsets. The PNSS Subset does provide Narcissistic Supply, while the SNSS does not, or vice versa. The Biased Set reacts by blocking the reaction patterns (the loops, loss of control, malignancy, increase in the velocity of the Narcissistic Cycle, real life losses and deficiencies, the various shifts, and the resolution of the two dysphorias in the process of creating an homeostatic equilibrium around the NEP).
Mental energy is thus conserved under stress and the old NEP is preserved (when there is no Residual Libido). This is a process of self-deception through reclassification. SNSSs are reclassified as PNSSs, the Grandiosity Gap is reduced and there is only a partial Reactive Repertoire (only a few of the first category behaviours are active: denial of reality and reclusive life) - a reaction to the perceived loss of PNSSs (the self-deception works only partially).
PNSSs are never reclassified as SNSSs. Thus, the solution of reclassification is not applicable to a PNSS Biased Set. It is handy only in the case of an SNSS Biased Set.
All the same, despite the crystallisation of a NEP, a new type of dysphoria can erupt and intervene in the orderly transfer of power from one set to another. This is the Pathological Narcissistic Space Dysphoria, a prolonged reaction to the loss of a PN Space. This dysphoria is not influenced by the activation of the Reactive Repertoire, by the formation of an alternative PN Space, by the obtaining of NSSs and by the consummation of a NSS Cycle.
It is a process of mourning and lasts a long time until it vanishes as suddenly as it appeared. The dysphoria is focused on the geography of the PN Space, on memories of events, which took place in it and on people in it. It resembles nostalgia. Its aim is to mentally recreate the NSSs in the PN Space and is tinged with longing to the virtual normalcy that the narcissist ostensibly enjoyed in the bygone PN Space.
The narcissist punishes himself by attributing the loss of the PN Space to his own faults and to massive personal failures. He entertains himself by imagining the reconstruction of the PN Space - only to withdraw in fear once the emotional price becomes evident. The dysphoria is highly unstable and is replaced, time and again, with dissonant loathing of the PN Space.
It is easy to confuse a PN Space Dysphoria with nostalgia or unadulterated longing. Yet, its sources are pathological. The narcissist does not really miss anything or anyone. He misses just the Narcissistic Supply he used to derive so abundantly in the PN Space.
The PN Space Dysphoria has an anticipatory function. It is a reminder that the current PN Space is not immune to a similar fate. It encourages the narcissist to put on the Wunderkind mask and it facilitates the activation of all the EIPM. This dysphoria is really a warning signal: remember, it whispers, that all PN Spaces are transient. Therefore, it is not worthwhile to get emotionally attached to any particular PN Space (EIPM, Wunderkind mask) and the narcissist should be always ready to move on to the next narcissistic destination.
This is common to all dysphorias. They all encourage mobility: between themselves (the selection switches), between PN Spaces, or through the Reactive Repertoire. The dysphorias are the engines of the psychodynamics of the narcissist. They feed off the narcissist's staples of deficiencies, losses, fears and repression.
Only rarely is a state of Narcissistic Coherence achieved with full compatibility between all the components and structures of the narcissist's personality.
When this happens (usually in an optimal PN Space), there is complete interchangeability between PNSS and SNSS. Actually the very distinction between the two becomes blurred. If a certain PNSS is
terminated, there is an increase in the use of SNSS to compensate for it. The converse is also true.
The narcissist always prefers PNSSs. SNSSs are used less when PNSSs are available and the reverse is never true, if the narcissist can help it. When there is low compatibility between the structures of the narcissist's personality, especially when there is a shortage of PNSSs (a sizeable Grandiosity Gap, conflict between the mental structures, or when the Reactive Repertoire or the dysphorias are in operation), there is a tendency to reduce the SNSSs as well and thus rebalance the picture.
A fixed ratio is maintained between PNSSs and SNSSs. Whenever the compatibility between personality structures is low (conflictive personality) the narcissist tries to maintain this fixed ratio. If the compatibility is high, he maintains an asymmetric compensatory interchangeability: a decrease in PNSSs leads to increased use of SNSSs. Still, the mere availability of SNSSs does not alter the usage pattern. PNSSs always reign supreme.
The Principles of Narcissistic Compensation:
- The Principle of Symmetric Interchangeability
Less SNSSs - More PNSSs
Less PNSSs - More SNSSs
- Principle of Asymmetric Interchangeability
More PNSSs - Less SNSSs
More SNSSs - Same PNSSs
- The Principle of Symmetric Interchangeability
Whatever the internal machinations, the narcissist experiences constant anxiety. In his case it is real and justified fear with an endogenous, instead of an exogenous, source. Horrible, frightening things do threaten the narcissist from the inside.
We neglected to mention the reactions of human NSS.
To obtain Narcissistic Supply the narcissist must degrade the NSS and belittle it. Only so does he establish his own superiority. Inferior-superior, clever-stupid, experienced-inexperienced, handsome-ugly, educated-less educated, knowledgeable-ignorant, vulgar-refined, poor-wealthy, these are the implicit and explicit comparisons effectively used by the narcissist to extract his pound of Narcissistic Supply.
But the NSSs rebel against their prescribed role. Abandoning the narcissist is the ultimate form of resistance. It follows that the narcissist must encourage this mutinous attitude to secure his abandonment and to establish an environment conducive to the operation of the EIPM.
But if the NSSs are, indeed, worthless (as the narcissist insists), then the Narcissistic Supply that they provide is, surely, as worthless. The narcissist uses a dichotomous approach to solve this paradox. True, the NSSs well deserve humiliation, degradation and belittling. However, the specific specimen selected by the infallible narcissist is a fine one, different from the others. The narcissist complements himself on his choice, judiciousness, and taste, thus enhancing his sense of uniqueness - and, at the same time, solves the paradox.
A misogynistic narcissist strives to frustrate women and, thus, to externalise transformed aggression. But, to his mind, the SNSS is not a woman but an object. The narcissist uses the SNSS's very presence by his side (as a spouse, for instance) to frustrate other women - but while doing so he also deprives her of her femininity.
He turns her into a child, an angel, a sex slave, or even an animal. In the first two cases (child, angel), the narcissist finds it hard to have sexual intercourse with her. In the third case (sex slave) the narcissist finds it hard to be in touch with any other element of her personality or of her femininity except her (objectified) sexuality. He uses these methods to deny and neutralise such big chunks of her femininity that she gradually becomes a functioning object with no gender or sex. Her single remaining important role is to adore the narcissist.
There is a gap between reality and the way that the narcissist perceives the female SNSS (her idealised figure, actually).
This gap is not the result of blind love. Its aim is to frustrate other women ("How come he is with her and not with me? I am more intelligent/beautiful/etc.") and to conserve his partner's quality as SNSS ("She may be ugly - but she is amazing").
The narcissist could never live with his feminine equal. His ability to frustrate other women by being with her is effected and she makes him anxious that her conditioning is ineffective ("She could be with anyone she wishes - why should she stay with me?").
Another function of the woman by the narcissist's side is to attend to daily chores which the narcissist is too self-important to tackle. The narcissist also holds himself to be infallible. Any time he commits an error, has a bad turn, makes the wrong judgement, or, simply, faces a mundane task - the narcissist "passes the buck".
People close to him are to blame. They did not pay attention, they did not alert him on time, they did not prevent what happened, or did not notice the importance of what he was doing, did not make his life easier (after all, this is their raison d'etre).
He attempts to transform the aggression that he feels towards them because he knows that he cannot defend his bloated entitlement. But, since the alternative is to direct this aggression at himself and this endangers his fragile psychic balance, he experiences conflict.
The narcissist is in distress and afraid to admit this (or any other emotion, for that matter). This is why he keeps manufacturing or exaggerating emergencies. He communicates his inner turmoil by making his spouse experience external turmoil, an emergency, a stressful external occurrence.
Again, the narcissist lives through others, vicariously, by proxy. A fleeting image, unreal even to himself, he is doomed to contemplate only his reflection.
Vaknin, S. (2008, November 7). Chapter 9, The Soul of a Narcissist, The State of the Art, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, September 22 from https://www.healthyplace.com/personality-disorders/malignant-self-love/chapter-nine