Web War - Part 2
A commenter recently gave an example of something Sam Vaknin says that could indeed hurt the victims of narcissists. I quote:
At Vaknin's message board, he has written a description of the women who are targeted by narcissists. Among other "qualities," she should be submissive and not demanding, Neither "submissive" nor "not demanding" describe me.. In fact, I'm quite the opposite. What really struck me was how Vaknin stroked his own ego by stating that she should be "inferior to the narcissist." Any whole, emotionally healthy person is, in my opinion, superior to the narcissist. Remember, after we get away or are devalued and discarded (whatever it takes), we'll move on to healthier and happier pursuits. The narcissist, on the other hand, will always be seeking, grooming, trying to attract narcissist supply. Like a jungle animal, always in search of food, the narcissist will never know what it feels like to rest or what it feels like to be at peace with oneself. I don't call that superiority.
Exactly. Now here, people warning against swallowing everything he says whole are dead right!
If you are the spouse of a narcissist, that's the last thing you should hear. It adds to the abuse. It reinforces the devaluing judgement of you, telling you AGAIN (and this time with the voice of authority) that something's wrong with YOU, that you are inferior.
Now, perhaps if he'd taken the time to time to explain that a narcissist will target prey from a lower socio-economic class or people who are meek and easily hurt, it wouldn't be so bad. But he simply says that you are targeted because you're inferior to the narcissist.
I can't say that I think he's making this error on purpose. He IS a narcissist, so what else can we expect?
Notice how differently I describe the same thing on this website and blog. I put it this way: the narcissist targets "easy prey." I do explain that he targets the vulnerable, whom he REGARDS as inferior. And I go further in citing examples of easy prey to show that vulnerability is his trigger, not inferiority. They are not just the poor and the meek; they are also children, the dying (who are in great need of expressions of your love for them), BENEFACTORS, and altruists. This longer list of examples shows clearly that he is targeting the vulnerable, the least suspecting, those most easily deeply hurt, those who won't hit back, those who have every reason to expect love instead of abuse from him and who will therefore be pierced through by the narcisisst's shocking viciousness. In short, ANY species of easy prey will do.
Why is my account so different from Vaknin's? Because I'm not a narcissist, so my vision isn't clouded like his is. Does that mean people shouldn't read what he writes? No! I recommend reading it. I link to it. I just say, Read him, and everyone including me, with your brain on. Okay?
Which reminds me of one of my gripes about the way this disease is studied. Psychiatrists and other authorities need to hear the accounts of those victimized by narcissists. They're hearing one side of the story -- the narcissist's, a patholigical liar's. Only when they get both sides will they have any idea how reliable the narcissists' self reports on the couch are.
Similarly, he describes narcissists as usually highly intelligent. Baloney. I have known stupid narcissists. But stupid ones generally stay below society's radar, because they can't dominate a workplace, a whole neighborhood, or a nation like an intelligent one can. Does that mean they're harmless? No! Child abuse and domestic abuse are never "harmless." Ruining careers by slander and calumny is illegal and serious offense. Driving people to needing psychiatric care themselves is a serious offense.
No one is infallible on this subject. And the irony of regarding a narcissist himself as the infallible authority on it defies belief. We all must critically examine everything we read on NPD to see if it squares with logic and observation.
Here's a rule of thumb you can detect from the examples above: For the most part, when Vaknin talks about narcissism, what he says rings true to me. The moment he starts talking about OTHERS though, look out. In other words, his introspective writing can be very enlightening and helpful. But when he is making any sort of value judgement that compares the narcissist to others, look out. Hence, he views the narcissist as highly intelligent (compared to other people). Hence the narcissist seeks victims among "the inferior." I recently gave an example of how far off he (a European) goes in his talk about Americans. It seems that whenever he talks about OTHERS, the narcissist in him comes out.
But what else should we expect? If he didn't do this, he wouldn't BE a narcissist.