BlackAngel: My last relationship was with a narcissist. He was manipulating and controlling, often times without words, just a glance. Is this characteristic of NPDs? It is taking me a long time to regain my sense of self, and nature back. I feel that he drained me dry of everything good in me. Is this a natural feeling to have?
Dr. Vaknin: Yes and yes. Narcissists manipulate because they are control freaks and they are control freaks because they lost control early in life with devastating consequences. They manipulate verbally and behaviourally, and body language is an important weapon in their arsenal of communication. And, yes, your reaction is absolutely normal. You are sad (depressed?). You have gone through the trauma of being a Prisoner Of War. It was war, you know, not a relationship. You were fighting for your life and identity. For your sanity and his. For your relationship as you wanted it to be. So, now you have depression and PTSD. Get help. These two things are treatable, unlike narcissism.
David: I'm wondering how many people in the audience are repeat "victims" of narcissists? I bring this up because we held a conference about sexual abuse dealing with how sexually abused people leave themselves open to further abuse if they don't get professional help. I'm guessing, Dr. Vaknin, that also holds true for victims of narcissists.
Dr. Vaknin: Most victims I know have spent all their life interacting with one narcissist after another. Abused people seem to unconsciously choose abuse in the hope of solving old conflicts and salving old wounds.
SAGUI: Is there any report of a narcissist who, after a life crisis, cured completely?
Dr. Vaknin: Yes, a few in the literature. It was even suggested (1996) that there are two forms of narcissism: transient and permanent. I also think that we should distinguish between: reactive narcissism, narcissistic episode, NPD and narcissistic traits (or overlay).
David: Did the awareness of your Narcissistic Personality Disorder change anything about your "real self"?
Dr. Vaknin: No, I have no access to my real self. I know as much as anyone about narcissism and it helped me none. To heal one must undergo an emotional transformation, to reach the point of the "unbearable being", to want to change fervently. I have only my brain. This is one thing it is not good at: healing. In this sense, I am only a quarter human, an emotional quadriplegic. I had high hopes. I really wanted my brain to conquer my disorder. I studied. I wrote. I read. I fought with the only weapons I had and the only way I knew how. But it was the wrong war. I never got to meet the enemy.
David: It's been a fast two hours. Thank you, Dr. Vaknin for coming and staying so long to answer questions. We appreciate it. And thank you to everyone in the audience for coming and participating. I hope you found it helpful.
Jacqui B: Please, thank Sam on my behalf for his valuable time and care in answering all our questions. Thanks!
vielen: Just wanted to thank you, David and Dr. Vaknin for a very enlightening discussion.
Dr. Vaknin: I want to thank all you for allowing me to talk about this disorder. Thanks for the compliments, the questions - and to the hosts!
SAGUI: It was a pleasure being your Narcissistic supply!!
Dr. Vaknin: LOL
David: Have a good day everyone.
Dr. Vaknin: And from me!
David: Here's the link to the HealthyPlace.com Personality Disorders Community.
Disclaimer: We are not recommending or endorsing any of the suggestions of our guest. In fact, we strongly encourage you to talk over any therapies, remedies or suggestions with your doctor BEFORE you implement them or make any changes in your treatment.
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