Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sam Vaknin: Diagnosed Psychopath

July 24, 2009 Update : Dr Robert Hare reacts to the film (below)
Filmmaker says that DVD coming out soon!

March 26, 2009

I have been debunking SV and his acolytes ever since an aborted stint of revictimisation on his forum at Suite 101 (now, happily, defunct.) I have always asserted that he is a psychopath:
Anatomy of Malignant Narcissism, Malignant Narcissism: Vaknin Revisited.
I was watching a documentary last night, I, Psychopath
where a purported psychopath allows himself to be filmed as he travels in search of a diagnosis. It turned out to be Sam Vaknin. What the...? He has always proclaimed himself a narcissist, spamming the web with declarations of extra special knowledge, with particular insight into the victims of narcissists.

I was blown away. This little gem of a documentary follows him and his wife of 11 years, as they are tested and interviewed by various researchers, SV for psychopathy, Lydja as victim. There is now solid,
empirical proof that he is a psychopath.Link
Outcomes:
In England, SV was given the MMPI. He began to throw a tantrum when the researcher, a psychologist, probed about his so-called Ph.D., which we know for fact, is from a diploma mill. Can't touch Sammy's ego, expose him, even though in a sequence later, he casually had admitted to the film-maker, Ian Walker, that he, indeed, purchased it from a diploma-mill and that it's worthless. Which throws the filmmaker for a loop. SV simply moved the goalposts when it was to his advantage. What we see here is the psychopath playing whatever angle suits him at the moment. For him, all "truths' are equal. He is not invested in any of them, or, as it turns out, in anything.

His MMPI profile was illustrated by a graph showing several personality disorders; this, as I understand, represented a 'trend' which is compared with similar graphic trends from different populations: successful corporate psychopaths, criminal psychopaths, and the psychiatric population. SV boasts that he made and lost millions and that is borne out in the research. But, surprisingly, SV did not match the trend of successful corporate psychopaths-
he matched the psychiatric population! In other words, he's nothing special.

Afterwards, the researcher mused about the implications: what does someone do, how does someone manage, if they lose that identity? Walker took it a step further: was SV putting on this persona and he really wasn't a psychopath? Was he conning everyone about being a con? Yet conning suggests a psychopath!

Secondly, SV's wife of 11 years, Lidja, was interviewed by another researcher who studies victims of psychopaths. She was tested, and then asked to answer the psychopathy checklist for SV. She scored similarly to other victims of psychopaths in that she was highly empathic, highly emotional and generous. Yet, her scores for SV on the psychopathy checklist were very low, which the researcher said was unusual. Asked about her perception of SV afterwards, Lidja asserted that he was not abusive and was an honest man.

Yet late in the film, we hear her being callously and coldly evaluated, 'clinically' trashed by SV in a separate interview. He 'dispassionately' asserts that there is no love and no sex and she wants a baby but there will be no baby and yet she stays. It's an intensely humiliating moment for Lydja, as she watches the tape and has no obvious reaction though there is a light veil of frozen pain suffusing her face. Much later on she says she had given up on love so then she met SV. In my estimation her reactions and thoughts were classically those of someone completely held in thrall, brainwashed. SV is no slouch in that department and very thorough.

The third set of researchers in Germany revealed some truly hard evidence. SV and Lydja were subjected to MRIs to watch for changes in the insula, an area of the brain which has a role in basic emotions. They were each given a visual challenge to control their emotions; emotions were quantified visually by a bar graph for the subject who must then think of things to raise the bar or lower it. His wife was the control subject and showed normal emotional response.
His flatlined. SV is only capable of "cold emotion".

SV was also given a battery of tests and a series of interviews over several days, and the researchers secretly obtained reports from his family in Israel. He was also given an abbreviated version of the Hare Psychopathy Checklist .
On the European scale SV scored a 13 which suggests he is not a psychopath. He immediately adapted to that idea by saying he always thought he was a narcissist anyway. On the American scale, he scored an 18, which Hare, in the film, said represents less than 1% of the general population. In relation to psychopathy, it is in the stratosphere.

Sam Vaknin is a psychopath (I believe him to be a sadistic psychopath), not just a garden variety narcissist. He has adopted this persona of narcissist because it suits his purposes and allows him to victimise a world full of vulnerable people while aggrandising and amusing himself. He purportedly has an IQ of 185; that's a lot of potential damage.

The most telling aspect of this film for me is the effect of hanging with SV on the film-maker, Walker. There are secret camera-phone videos of SV raging at him. More on this later.

I, too, was creeped out; I have described in the past how insidious and toxic are the effects of a psychopath on the victim's psyche. I described it as a slowly creeping poison***. That's what the psychopath says at the beginning- those are his exact words. What were the chances, huh? And that is what we see in the film- how over time SV affects Walker's ability to think straight, raises doubts about his perceptions and reality. It's a perfect case study of what happens when you come into contact with a mental rapist. You can see the mind fuck unfolding and if you're really well-versed in their strategies, you can see how the psychopath operates. And of course, the most important aspect to the mind fuck is that t
he victim listens to the content.

And therein lies the crux and the warning, in my estimation: if you listen to the
content, you will be destabilised and lose your mental and emotional footing, you will be subtly undermined, mind fucked and start to fragment and disintegrate bit by slow bit. It concerns me because SV's essays on the victims of narcissists is a psychopath's unreal, distorted assessment of human beings. As a psychopath, he is not capable of seeing human beings as a whole; he is only capable of seeing them through a damaged and twisted lense. Anyone who listens to his perceptions and especially his advice, no matter how convincing it seems, is being revictimised and damaged further. The psychopath does only damage. SV is the (also psychopathic) L Ron Hubbard of the psychobabble movement.

The psychopath lives from moment to moment, changes his story at will, and is not invested in anything. The only true emotions he knows are paranoia, rage and contempt. The thin veneer of civilisation and civility lies in his moments as a 'master assessor' of the human condition. Psych speak is his nuclear arsenal. That is all. He has no insight into himself or anyone else. Just jargon. His entire world is created of psychiatrese. There is nothing real about it, or understandable. He is merely a technician who is incapable of fixing anything. His pyrotechnical con is just more elaborate than most. Epic fail.

The final moments of the film are spent with the reactions of the filmmaker, Ian Walker, as SV (via secret camera) rages on and on at him, not bothering with charm any longer. Unleashing on him an unrelieved arsenal of criticism and scorn, I wonder why... I think it's because the filming was coming to an end and the filmmaker was no longer useful... Or it amused the psychopath to do it... It's about control... Whatever. I realise I am getting seduced by the content. 'Why' doesn't really matter when it comes to dealing with a psychopath.

Walker admits to doubting his own reality over time, that he is starting to wonder if he is to blame for everything, wonders if he is being manipulated to make the film that SV wants. He cancels the last day of filming, there is a cold parting. In his hotel room, while scraping off a scruffy, days old beard, he takes a long, hot, cleansing shower.

Nearing the end of the film, and seeing Walker's dawning distress, I became agitated. Even watching it, you feel the mind fuck over time. This is what it was like for me with psychoguy- he didn't rage per se, unless you can call rage an icy and callous barely hidden moral imperiousness. They adapt to the interests and 'vulnerabilities' of the person they've targeted for their own desires; I truly doubt that they know the reasons. Now I feel like taking a shower.

After watching this, I seriously entertained for the first time, the notion of whether psychopaths are actually human as we understand human beings to be. I have called psychopaths subhuman in the past. They look like human beings, walk and talk like human beings, but what if they are am evolutionary sub-species, indeed, subhuman? The majority of research suggests that they are hard-wired. Perhaps there should be a new
homus sub-classification for them. Is it possible that they, at best, possess only a rudimentary soul?
*** Date: December 18, 2001 11:25 AM

He's the master of the single word or two- injected poison in a sentence. No need to abuse and trash. Better to hit the nerve. Better to do it exquisitely, with finesse.have been to your site and read your N's trash. I don't know how you can take it. The only way I would be able to is to ignore it. Nowadays I turn a blind eye to that sort of thing, recognise it for what it is and ignore it. It's purely trash and means nothing. I don't think there's any emotion whatsoever behind it. Sometimes I don't think it's even hatred. It's just him trying to keep you in the game. I truly don't think they're angry all the time. Even angry words may be without feeling, cause I think it's all for effect. "IloveyouIhateyou" often I think it's all the same to them, often it seems that words have no meaning for them. Just a weapon, a poison dart to throw at the appropriate time to keep control.
From: MSN NicknameInvictaTwo (Original Message)Sent: 11/11/2004 3:37 AM
From: InvictaTwo Sent: 4/23/2003 12:08 AM

Brandi,
I felt after a certain point that psychoguy was trying to merge with me, that that's what he wanted. That somehow his poison would become mine and he would not be alone. He injected it into me bit by bit. and his poison lived inside of me and felt like mine but I knew it was not. yet, i couldn't rid myself of it- I felt it was too great for me, I felt in thrall, I felt that it might overwhelm me and that I would remain subject to its peculiar, venomous, darkness forever. I was really scared.

A series of dreams and psychic events among other things, plus a Jewish ritual (spiritual)cleansing and prayers for spiritual healing finally pulled me out of it enough to get back on track. But for a very long time I was afraid I would be lost in it. It was frightening. It felt like voodoo.

Most insightful post, btw......and yes it is surreal for you because it is PTS at work as is the fog, it happened to me for months- it is cognitive and physical and the sense of the poison is greater because of that- in a sense, you are still in thrall....but it does get better and the poison seeps away over time. True Life kills it. I promise.
Hugs to you,
~Invicta

Update, July 24, 2009. Response from Dr Hare:

Ian,

Just watched the CBC broadcast of I, Psychopath. You did a brilliant job, arguably the first documentary to capture the complex, fascinating, and destructive interplay between psychopath and victim.
Perhaps most remarkable was your insightful and amazing documentation of the manner in which you became an integral part of the action. You experienced first-hand what it is like to be caught in the psychopath’s web of deceit, manipulation, domination and control, and to be subjected to psychological and emotional abuse that can be every bit as debilitating and demeaning their physical counterparts.
Fortunately your exposure was time-limited, and you were able to extricate yourself from the situation. The other victim in the documentary clearly is not so fortunate. Like many victims she is trapped in a macabre dance with an unfeeling, controlling partner.
Awards for this documentary should follow if there is any justice in the media world.
Robert Hare, PhD
http://www.i-psychopath.com/?page_id=16 (Update: Link no longer available)
Watch it here: I, Psychopath

56 comments:

James said...

Thanks!

Not being a very big fan of SV myself I enjoy the information you wrote about SV and his wife.

Having had some exposure albeit it short with SV on a forum and having read some of his book about (for free) what he has to says about NPD was for me anyway a joke. To me it’s like the blind leading the blind. I mean how can anyone take what any “known” NPD tells you? I not surprise to learn there is nothing “special” about SV. There are other authors and books that can help victims understand about these toxic relationship and how to heal from them over time. To me SV book is more about capitalizing on his disorder then helping anyone other then himself. A true NPD to the bitter end...

Anyway thanks again for the information!

Timon said...

Thanks very much for putting this info out there, it is nice to see a page about NPD and narcissism that isn't tainted with Vaknin's self-serving, self-promoting BS. Also I was wondering if you knew where I could see the 'I, Psychopath' documentary. I tried to get it streaming on the CBC website...it says full length movies are only available in Canada, but I am in Canada and all I can find is a 54 second promo clip. Am I missing something? Is there a full length video available that I'm missing out on? Or is it just the clip that's available?

Also, something else I wasn't really clear on:
What's the difference between psychopathy/malignant narcissism and vanilla NPD?

Finally, thanks again for doing this website.

qikiprana said...

Plunking this here as it's your last post and didn't want to attach it in a post that was buried in the past...

Have you heard of William A. McConochie, Ph.D., Psychologist work? His website is: Political Psychology Research, Inc.(politicalpsychologyresearch.com) and be sure to see his video: The Psychology of Violence, Warmongering and a New Democracy, Part I: Lecture - link: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-9019372013108327136&ei=_sBfSuC6EY3AqgP1-aEd&q=war+mongering&hl=en

If you haven't seen it, you absolutely must!!!! I mean must!!! He actually developed a methodology of statistically identifying this behaviour and the percentage of said in society.

All the best, and thank you for your efforts on behalf of loving all of us!!!

qikiprana (cheeky prana)

Anonymous said...

how bored am i?


i visited and read vaknun's site
i read and followed link at varius forum about N and P
i read this and other blog on the matter


i bothered to comment..

i dint think vankin the auther here or any of the participent in those forums are N P or victom of.

they just want atention and are bored

time to fing best thing with one's time


P.S dout that any og you are phd or have 185 iq.

p.p.s gonna chat in isrealy chat or meet same bored women on one of the N P forums.

peace dude.

Barbara said...

Here's a link for you Invicta:
http://blip.tv/file/2268740

Invicta said...

Many thanks, Barbara!

Anonymous said...

So often, we as humans live our lives "Backwards" we let our traumatic childhood experiences become our adult experiences....

“Embrace nothing:
If you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha. If you meet your father, kill your father. Only live your life as it is, Not bound to anything.”~Buddha

Running into SV was and is your Buddha, SV is someone from your past, your childhood. Your energy drew you to SV, and the past was played out with the same outcome.

It is about reconzing your subconscious, the enegry that draws others to you, you can't change the past, but reconizing it helps you to stop playing it out with the same disasterous results.

Killing the Buddha means that we must stop looking at others to solve our own issues. Until we realize that our past i.e. our Buddha will keep getting the best of us.

You can only take another person as far as you have gone yourself.

Negativeions said...

Thanks for the info. I think I've been a victim of a narcissist. I've been brainwashed and feel very inadequate and pathetic for not being smart enough to see it and for going with it for so long. My lack of confidence and direction was completely taken advantage of. It's time I start doing things for myself.

chrisa said...

i am very unsure now of how to proceed with my recovery from an N sister. i joined an on-line forum in which the subject of this post is an administrator.
i am not altogether sure as to what his role is there with the members. there are many posts by him there and i notice most lead back to his book and how to purchase it and really offer nothing directly. why would a forum that is set up to help those dealing with N's or P's in their lives, encourage or have this person acting as an adviser in any capacity?

i watched the documentory on this man and his wife and i am very disturbed, i am afraid i may very well be in the wrong place. i have some therapy arranged for myself next month to begin on a regular basis, to cope with all i have been through, but i thought that this forum i joined would be beneficial, now i am not so sure.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I have believed for a long time that a Narcissist is a body who is without a soul. Literally.

I used to wonder why God would put Narcissists here on earth, what their purpose is. But now I know that it is not God's purpose. They are without God.

I picture them as little children being abused by their mom. And, I picture their soul bailing out on their body, leaving their body.

And there remains simply a soulless human being!

Anonymous said...

Sam Vaknin has another website going for victims of abuse, it's been up a couple of years now. http://thepsychopath.freeforums.org/interested-to-participate-in-a-case-study-t10267.html
I spotted a few red flags on the site and when I checked it out further his name came up.

gavgams said...

"I, psychopath" has just been screened on ABC tv in Aust.
I'm intersted in the NPD thing as I was shook up with a woman friend who I reckon has got this full on.

Anyway, there is a great interview available on line (mp3)with Ian (maker of doco) and Bob Hare. and a link to the film

http://www.abc.net.au/rn/latenightlive/stories/2010/2854555.htm

Maybe you could put this link up as a post, Invicta? so others will get a ref about it. It's really a rich and rewarding reflection on the doco and the after effects, and the condition, etc.

Thanks for your care, Invicta
Bye

Anonymous said...

I don't think SV is any big deal, to be honest. There's seems to be a standard persona of some (many?) middle Easterners that's very much like that, it's an ego defence mechanism, it's culturally shaped also, and pretty transparent and laughable. Nobody has to take people like that seriously, you can just walk away, which in the end is usually what happens in these people's lives. More to be pitied than feared.

I know someone from Iran who is 'descended from royalty' who has psychiatric problems with paranoia and narcissism, and is remarkably similar in persona to SV. I've given up even going out for coffee with them as a favour as their narcissistic behaviours are just too transparent and disturbed to make it worthwhile. She loses a lot of friends all the time, is extremely superficial and impressionistic in her relationships, etc etc, as per DSM-IV and all the rest. It only gets worse and sometimes beggars the imagination in fact, especially when you couple it with paranoia. The usual multi-dimensional problem, or co-morbidity or dual diagnosis or whatever.

As I said, the smartest thing to do is just walk away from people like that, you're not obliged to engage with them, if you have to work to one in a dysfunctional workplace hierarchy, get them disciplined if you dare go over their heads, or change jobs for your own peace of mind, but these people inevitably end up either alone or surrounded by masochistic and needy types.

Anonymous said...

'I, Psychopath' can also be found on YouTube currently:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKn4IYpXK6g

(in 5 parts)

Thank you Invicta for your great work, very much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Excellent work!
I'm not all that impressed with SV myself, seen his site - most people will be able to see through him/take what he says with a pinch of salt. Not entirely convinced about the IQ 185BS either, he doesn't come across as all that clever, just provides some very literary entertaining reading. A psychopath with an IQ that high really wouldn't be as laughably bold about it, they'd be far more subtle than that. Do people realise just how incredibly high and rare (therefore unlikely for SV...) an IQ like that is? Mine is in the top 2 percentile and its only 146! Most of the socios/Ps, Ns and BPDs I've met haven't been very good at covering themselves up ultimately either - it's the impulsiveness trait in them all you see, gets em all in the end. The rest of us just have to get out the popcorn, sit back and wait....for the inevitable meltdown.
The one thing about them is that they are very predictable once we know what to look for which is why your website is so valuable. We can't change them (they aint wired the same way) we can only arm ourselves and get the heck outta there ;)
In the long run it seems to me that SV is more of a playactor than a true danger to anyone really. He's an idiot because he's so obvious about it, and once people are aware of that, less will be affected by his make believe world.
I know it seems I'm minimising SV and such types. I'm truly not - my life and my career have been destroyed over the years by such demons in human form. I'm not naive to how dangerous they can be but as my veteranship has advanced, I've begun to see them in a different light - how pathetic they actually are.I firmly believe that once we decent folk know how to handle them with websites such as yours, they'll very quickly be beaten down because most are not as clever as they are commonly believed to be - just cunning. We've been confusing cunning with intelligence for a long time! =) xx

Anonymous said...

"I used to wonder why God would put Narcissists here on earth, what their purpose is. But now I know that it is not God's purpose. They are without God."

I think this statement really applies to psychopaths specifically, as they are the ones who are born without a conscience. It is hard to cohere the existence of psychopaths with the existence of a benevolent god. However, if psychopaths exist, then they MUST be part of God's purpose. If God is all powerful then anything that happens only happens by his will. God could put an end to psychopathy if he so desired.
You try to rationalize the contradiction between your world-view and the existence of psychopaths by positing that psychopathy has a largely environmental cause; "I picture them as little children being abused by their mom. And, I picture their soul bailing out on their body, leaving their body." But research repeatedly shows that psychopathy does not have an environmental basis. Twin studies suggest that psychopathy has a strong genetic component. This is largely due to the nuerobiological structure of the patient's brain, and is present from birth. A person with the best family in the world can still be a psychopath.
So the question must be asked; why would God allow for some people to be born without a conscience? If life is a test to see who will get into heaven, surely everyone must possess a conscience (an understanding of the difference between "right" and "wrong"). Psychopathy makes no sense from a theistic view, but makes total sense from an atheistic view. As social creatures, humans (like other social animals) have evolved the ability to empathise with others and to perform altruistic behaviours. This opens an evolutionary niche for the individual who is capable of manipulating the trusting masses. People like SV are proof that there is no God.

juliesugarbabydoll said...

Oh good, as a brand new discoverer of the absolute horror, my mother has been inflicting on me (enjoying every single minute of it with glee),

I saw Sam Vaknin's video on youtube and was disgusted, amazed that anyone would take him seriously, then disturbed to realize he and others like him, the patsy's the sycophant apologists for evil narcissism, had to comment.

Called him a freak, and wished him hellfire, damned to the seventh level, both in this life and that to come! Hope the guy enjoys spending eternity with his stoopid little wannabe pretenters!

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for this site and article.

My family and I are going through the attacks, online defamation and slander of a psychopath right now and it is not fun :-)

I absolutely agree with you that psychopath are not human, but what I consider demons or other negative beings in human bodies.

Innocent people believing they are just humans like them is their best disguise and weapon in my opinion.

SV saying to the filmaker in I, Psychopath :'' I firmly believe that you want to believe that I am human'', is the most revealing statement and most authentic moment of the movie in my opinion.

I also agree with you that the best way to fighting these beings and their draining and truth twisting is on a spiritual level like you did with the shamanic cleansing ceremony you did. Taking a shower definitely falls in this category too. I noticed when I am under much attack that something wants to prevent me from taking showers and cleaning myself, because I believe it is easier for neagtive energies to attach to you, if your body is not clean. So if you feel you are under attack shower at least once a day, brush your teeth regularly and keep your finger and toe nails and your hair trimmed and your ears clean hahahahaha so you can hear the good voices not the negative and corrupt ones that try to being you down :-)

What psychopath or dark and negtive souls do to people is true voodoo and black negative magick just like you said, and it is no fun and can truly drain your life force and physically kill you if you do not know what is going and can't defend yourself ( just like the Death Eaters in the Harry Potter movies).

I bet you experienced plenty of psychic attack when attempting to cut the psychopath off. For other people who read this and do not know what I am talking about check out this article about symptoms of psychic attack:
http://www.mkprojects.com/fa_PsychicAttacks.htm

All the best to all of you you have suffered or are suffering right now from the attacks of a male or female psychopath. My heart goes out to you and I am sending you strength and courage that your authentic spirit will prevail in this war for minds and souls.

OnceSmitten said...

Vaknin is a piece of freakin' work, isn't he? I have to say, though, that he was one of the first people I read about narcissism from and for that I may always have the horse's mouth as mental reference. He does twist and turn and change the rules as he travels but overall what appears from his wacky antics is that his travels, such as they are, occur in a very small room. I read his ostensibly regretful and disappointed assignment of the "Inverted Narcissist" as being fundamentally hopeless and became belligerent and suspicious then, of his stuff, and was very glad to find this site and it's very much more interesting clarification of the nature of the beast, but again, Vaknin's kooky digressions were an interesting lesson in reptilian (my new perspective on the N mental process) language and thought.

Anonymous said...

Hi Invicta:
I really enjoyed reading this article/blog. You do write extremely well!

klck

Anonymous said...

There is truly a dark force at work in the unconcious reality of the 'N' and 'P's' and there is inevitably a psychic intrusion into the world of those intimately involved with them. It is even possible to share eventually share their psychosis. Their psychic chords attach to their prey on very deep levels and are difficult to disconnect from, even after the relationship has ended. I am just coming to realize now after being involved with an 'N' for 3 years.
This Dark force preys upon those who carry alot of light. It's the war that exists on our planet...the battle between light and dark. I do believe that the light will always prevail, we just need to learn how to protect the light inside.

ellenolensk said...

ps -
as far as why "God" put narcissists or psychopaths on the earth; we could as the same thing of cancer, or alzheimer's disease where one ends up not possessing a mind at all, and war, and poverty, and on and on. We will never answer those questions. And to those sending someone to "hellfire and damnation", a very wise man (Ghandi) once said: "only God decides who goes to heaven and who goes to hell". Invicta, I think your advice in dealing with Narcissists, can even be taken in a broader sense, the best way is to "deal" with ourselves.

Anonymous said...

nancy said...

Thanx all for your comments - my father & husband were both psychopaths-also boyfriend whom I moved on from 1&1/2 years ago, & broke up a friendship w "best friend"-narcisist- 2 mos ago before researching & realizing that was what I had been dealing with my whole life. - AnonyEmous is correct - it is about persons full of darkness stealing your light & infusing you with their poisonous dark energy. I am learning how to recognize this, heal & protect myself, keep my light for myself - sooo wonderful -when you really learn how to do this, you are astounded at how powerful you are & how pathetic & pitiable the narcissit & psychopath truly are
Much light to all of you.

Edited to remove book title.

Catherine Todd said...

I just watched and commented on a Sam Vaknin video on YouTube and he went after me! "Diagnosed" me as "abusing my son" because I didn't want him to cry at his birthday when his biological father didn't show up, and how I tried to make him happy in spite of the treatment he received.

I talked about how my son was exactly like his biological father now that he was grown, and wondered if Narcissim was genetic, and objected to Sam's statement and general psychology that says it is "abusive parents" who create Narcissists. I said I had done everything I could to have a good relationship with him, and that I wanted to see him happy, yet nothing worked.

He turned out just like his biological father, despite hardly ever being around him!

That made me wonder how much of this complete and total lack of empathy, along with alcoholism, is actually genetic?

Vaknin then diagnosed ME as an "abusive parent" who was smothering my son, not setting boundaries, and on and on and on. It was unbelievable. All based on two or three sentences on YouTube. Here is what he said to me:

"I am not blaming ALL the parents. I am blaming only ABUSIVE parents. Judging by your own words, you have abused your son by smothering him, doting over him, not setting proper boundaries between you and him, spoiling him, and acting too permissively. "Trying too hard to please your son" is not what a good parent should do - it is merely another form of abuse."

samvaknin in reply to CommentsSurvey


I had heard that this man was a self-professed Narcissist himself, and used his book and videos to prey on victims, and now, after first-hand experience, I have to agree.

I am waiting to see what his response will be to my objection of his characterization of me (and all parents who want their children to be happy!) and then I will remove my comment and block him for good. Thank God for the Block Button!

See more at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRb-2tz-d50&lcor=1&lc=H-UHVRwrC7abPYBqO6wcfPBxAzu9jsTH4Qphxd78xpg&lch=email_reply&feature=em-comment_reply_received

Catherine Todd said...

My previous comment and personal experience with S.V. is from

"When the Narcissist's Parents Die"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRb-2tz-d50

If I didn't know better, I would be very shocked by this man's response, but finding this blog explains so much. He really IS a psychopath. I guess NO DISAGREEMENT is ALLOWED.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused. I thought that psychopaths and narcissists were pretty much the same thing. Isn't it true that Vaknin is BOTH a psychopath AND a narcissist? Regardless of which name you give to it, the manifestions and the results are the same. So I don't understand why you focused on him being a psychopath rather than a narcissist. I believe that he is definitely a narcissist and a psychopath. Also, I've actually learned a lot from his writings. I'll take truth wherever I find it, even if it's coming from a reptile like Vaknin.

Catherine Todd said...

Update: When I objected to Vaknin's "diagnosis" and determination that I "abused my son" by wanting him to be happy and not cry at his birthday party, Vanknin removed my response and blocked me from commenting but left his attack on me for all to see.

No disagreement here! Nothing but his own opinion allowed. It's unbelievable but I grew up with people just like him. Male and female. Now I know to keep my distance at all costs and just PRAY.

Anonymous said...

Dear Catherine Todd,
Narcissists do not argue. They stonewall. Shut out. These are the most diabolical lot on this earth, and sociopaths might as well be the same thing. They are heartless, black holes who can pose so well, they fool so many and pride themselves on it. They feel no shame, and live for the adoration of others. When they lose that adoration, for good reason, they cut that person off. There is never any discussion.

Catherine Todd said...

Anonymous, you explained it all so well. And so succinctly!

"They are heartless, black holes who can pose so well, they fool so many and pride themselves on it. They feel no shame, and live for the adoration of others. When they lose that adoration, for good reason, they cut that person off. There is never any discussion."

This is exactly what I've experienced after one conversation where I "dared" to question the Narcissist - not "argued," just asked a question and offered another opinion. CUT! NEXT! And that was the end of me. And I never got an explanation either.

And everyone else thinks this person is a "saint" and a "role model for us all." Ugh. Not true at all!

Thank you for explaining this behavior. Now I will never have to think about them again... and as soon as I see the signs in someone else, I will "give them wide berth." Gracias, amigo.

Catherine Todd said...

Anonymous, you wrote: "I picture them as little children being abused by their mom. And, I picture their soul bailing out on their body, leaving their body."

I can assure you that I never abused my son, who is a classic Narcissist, as is my own mother. Mothers are blamed for everything nowadays; fathers never even mentioned. And some people are just born that way!

Is it genetics or environment or a combination of both? But I can assure you I did everything possible to try and be sure my son did not turn out like my parents, and he is just like them. It isn't pleasant to always be held responsible for someone else's behavior. I'm not anything like my son, who is a cruel angry alcoholic, just like my father.
And a Narcissist like my mother. I am none of the above.

I am a raging codependent who tried all my life to satisfy him and it did me no good, and I blamed myself and kept trying long after I should have insisted that I be treated with respect, since all I heard and read was how he was the way he was because he "had to have been abused as a child."

You can't imagine what this is like for a mother to hear. It's salt and vinegar in the wound and does no good for healing.

No. Some people are born with personality characteristics already fixed. A family with six children will have six different personality types. It's not always the mother's fault.

I was severely abused physically, mentally and emotionally in the extremely dysfunctional family I grew up in, and my soul "didnt' leave." I didn't grow up to be mean and cruel. I didn't drink or use drugs or put fists through walls and abuse other people. He did those things, not me. I am not responsible for his behavior. Not in the least.

My son's personality was set from the day he was born, and he hasn't changed a bit no matter what any of us tried. He chose the path he is on, and if it wasn't his "choice," he refused any kind of help at all.

Please don't automatically blame the mothers. People's attitudes about this have to change. People are responsible for themselves, for their own actions, and responsible for their own destiny.

If the abuse I suffered as a child caused me turn into a Narcissist / Psychopath, I would have been a mass-murderer a LONG TIME AGO.

We all have a soul and heaven and hell awaits. Based on what WE do.

Red said...

I was involved with a N. Took my 'life' took my financial security and left me broken. I was a pretty resilient person...come from a very poor background, with all that can entail, BUT she was thorough and insidious and I worshiped her. 3 yrs on I'm poor, more reflective and really happy to say the best thing that came out of it is: I won't go there again and I'm more secure in who I am than I ever was! So in a weird way what I took from the experience has been positive. I'm so glad I'm me and not her!

Catherine Todd said...

Red, loved what you said, and it *almost* made it all worthwhile:

" I'm so glad I'm me and not her!"

Or him! Gracias, amigo. Best to you and Amen!

Anonymous said...

Sam Vaknin is a fraud and I amazed that anybody takes his nonsense seriously. I have commented on his Youtube videos, nothing more than a polite debate and mostly in agreement with him but he's blocked me twice and when I remonstrated with him via e mail saying how silly he was being, he vlovked me again. That's a narcissist for you. If you want to see somebody who is far far nastier and a chronic narcissist since the mid 1990s then Google: scanner central. Narcissists sack their sincere friends (me included) and then try to get them back again (this really made me laugh) and then realise the best way to keep the supply going is to have FOLLOWERS. Yes there is a book and also these cult scanner nights, I mean when you have started a church to yourself you've reached a new extreme, much worse than Vaknin, not as articulate and entertaining by any means and always the expert, always in charge. If you check this guy out bear in mind he isn't a psychotherapist or counsellor, all a sham.

Catherine Todd said...

Thank you Anonymous. I couldn't believe it when Vaknin did the same thing to me: blocked me on youtube for pointing out that he could not "diagnose" me on youtube for saying I did not want my son to be sad and that this did not mean I was "obviously smothering him and abusing him" all his life!

When I pointed out that I was referring to a birthday party for my son when he was 5 years old, and that I hoped Vaknin did not "diagnose" others in this way by one small paragraph on a video, he removed my comment, kept his own, and blocked me from making any corrections!

I couldn't believe it, and his statements about me are still there on youtube with none of my comments or rebuttal. That's how I found this website, as I was so shocked that anyone would behave this way.

Even though his behavior is outrageous, I'm glad to find out that I'm not the only one. He's turned his malicious self-centered Narcissism into a paying profession, apparently. Talk about "supply." I hope he gets shut down somehow. What a joke. But it does show clearly how Narcissists operate. No contradiction or correction, no matter how slight, is ever tolerated. Not for a minute.

Reminds me of some family members I have. I always wondered what was wrong with them and why we could never have a simple discussion without it turning into a fight. If they said they "liked red" I couldn't like blue! Now I'm catching on.

Anonymous said...

I have been watching Sam Vaknin's videos for a while, they are very engaging and pretty convincing. The problem I have is that he never cites any case studies or research. He is articulate and intelligent but I sense that his book and appearances on Youtube are an attempt to create a little church for himself online. He is after all stuck in Macedonia and it must get pretty lonely there. I did try to politely debate some of the points he made and he deleted my posts and blocked me twice. He also blocked me when I tried to remonstrate with him by e mail. This is a 50 year old man, telling us he isn't all the sick because he is self-aware, making a career for himself out of fake credentials and a false modesty which had me a little bit fooled until I found out what he is like. There will always be people like him and thanks to the interent it is very easy to self-promote these days.

Anonymous said...

Sam Vakinin is actually a milder kind of narcissist. He's too introverted to try and start a personality cult and not crass enough to try and corner the self-help market. I used to have a friend whom I have not seen for 15 years who in a short space of time became a total narcissist and like a loyal friend of 5+ years' standing I took all the punishment going. If you want to check out what a chronic narcissist, much worse than any Vaknin is like then Google: scanner central.

Anonymous said...

You keep deleting my posts. You must be a massive narcissist. Get help and stop calling the kettle black you control freak.

Invicta said...

@Anonymous 10.23 am

"You keep deleting my posts. You must be a massive narcissist. Get help and stop calling the kettle black you control freak. "

I just checked the spam filter because there has been nothing wrong with the content of your posts. I imagine this has been distressing for you, to think it's all been deleted. For some reason, they and other comments did go to spam! I'll try to restore them. I apologise for Blogger's glitch.

PS. Not every control freak is a massive narcissist- not everyone is disordered who is into control. It doesn't help to label all behaviour as disordered. It just makes things more confusing for yourself and everyone else. Just wanted to point that out.

Catherine Todd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Catherine Todd said...

Invicta, thank you for clearing this confusion up. I noticed that Anonymous' posts weren't showing up here, even though I was getting them by email. I thought some kind of spam filter must have been malfunctioning when I saw this.

But I have to say that the violent outburst and name-calling really shocked me, and I was hesitant to come back here. If I hadn't seen your calm and measured response, I would have been afraid to come right now. Thank you, but I will be afraid to come back for awhile as I grew up with these kinds of blow-ups over accidents, unintentional or otherwise, and just can't go through them again. PTSD, so to speak.

Blowing up really does cause collateral damage, and I am now one of them. But thank you for your website as I was just as shocked when good ole SV attacked me and blocked me on youtube. Your blog is obviously helping a lot of people, me included. Gracias!

Anonymous said...

Ok, having had a triple dose of Sam Vaknin deleting/blocking me and I WAS being very polite to him I thought you were another one. Comments retracted ok? I got blocked from the 'out of the fog' sociopath website last year because I ventured an opinion to somebody who posted asking for general advice and my I thought helpful advice was deleted and I was given a sound and derisive lecturing on the forum for all to see because I had offered a DIAGNOSIS!!! It was just an opinion and I was blocked when I tried to argue back. I do have an Honours Degree in psychology for what it's worth and I don't go around diagnosing people because abnormal psychology is only one subject amongst many. They did not allow me back on even though they knew that I had had to live and try to retain my sanity in the family home with my sociopathic brother for five weeks after my father died. I needed to write things down and share them with people. Being blocked when I couldn't talk to anybody else and my mother had her finger on the transmit button with cr*p about how my brother and I were suddenly great 'friends' (no we were NOT) was a raw experience. I hope you accept my explanation.

Invicta said...

Thank you for your considered responses, Catherine Todd and last anonymous!

I find the internet to be a powder keg of triggers which is why I suggest refraining from using it as a primary outlet. It can also breed understandable hypervigilance; in this case, though, caution is a good thing. Because of the nature of these issues, I tend to give someone the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.

If you know something is triggering you, it's good to remove oneself as Catherine has suggested and work it through. Identifying the monster helps. Enquiring politely about deletions is always fair and your right. Having been exactly where you are, I understand how triggering deletion can be; SV and other places are notorious for it. I do delete, but only if something is pretty egregious or wacky or might potentially harm the ongoing healing of readers here.

May you both go from strength to strength! Your contributions are always welcome additions in this narrow world that abandons survivors to their grief. There is always someone that will be helped in their healing by your considered words.

@anonymous,
If you choose to post more comments, may I suggest you use the "Name/URL" feature so I can identify your comments and let them through. I don't know why it keeps going to spam. With this feature just make up a name or number (let me know it's you), and you don't need to provide a URL- there will be no link to you. Though I monitor comments, I'm not on the website very often.

Catherine Todd said...

Thank you, Invicta. I've got a lot to learn from trying to follow your lead regarding attacks, verbal or otherwise.

I tend to either leave or return the same "in kind;" the "fight or flight" response. Gracias, amigo. It's always good to see a role model of any sort. Very much welcome and I guess I should thank Anonymous for setting up this model for better behavior, whether it's "for" or "against."

How else do we learn but by seeing and believing?

May God give grace to us all and show us The Way.

Anonymous said...

Part 1

I think that people like Vaknin are tragic entities, the more so because they are actually intelligent and articulate. I suppose the 'saving' thing about Vaknin is that he has bothered to write a good book about his subject which many claim has helped them. I do not think that applying labels to people helps, it is better for ordinary people to become better educated about types of people and after reading about Vaknin I have realised that narcissists can be quite stereotypical.

I knew a narcissist before he became a full-blown narcissist. These days he has a book with the brash and horrible Mansonesque title of 'Screw Work Let's Play' expressing his delusional ideas about having the the sole key to success by being individual and making no contribution to society and working in groups. He also runs a church or cult in the form of scanner central, no friends, nobody getting too close but quite a number of fans and dare I say disciples. Google: scanner central if you want to see a chronic narcissist at work, goes far beyond Vaknin's activities, but I do wonder what would happen if they ever met.

My narcissist claims experience in psychotherapy and counselling, all totally bogus which is why I have kept an eye on him over the years to make sure he does not have access to the genuinely vulnerable. You can find out who he is via the internet, probably isn't fair to name him here. When I first posted

Anonymous said...

Part 2

It is very hard to say anything positive about this person, I have thought about contacting him in recent years but when I discovered his creative coaching site in recent years I knew that this was a delusional narcissist who had actually progressed from being somebody who had been totally corrupted by a degree of success as a computer programmer to somebody who was genuinely mad. It is fair to say that he probably started to become mad in the last two years that I knew him.

Around that time I was having a very tough time trying to get a proper break in my dream job. I recall that when I complained about it to him his comment was 'well you chose it' and when I half-heartedly asked for some kind of opportunity in the large media company he worked in he wrote me off in three words 'no product knowledge'. That was coming from a friend. He never failed to mention when he had received a pay rise, even when I was unemployed. In the last two years he started to cultivate pretentions as a creative person, musician, writer, etc all half baked and when he had an article printed about a physical health condition he and others suffer from in the Guardian 2 he never stopped talking about it. On the day it was published I bought two copies and showed it to my co-workers and then rang him to tell him I thought it was good. Some months later after spending a good part of an evening taunting me about some audio samples I had given him and which he had used in an avant garde jingle to be broadcast on Radio 3 he then whipped out an attack about how I was the person who had been the coldest about his newspaper article, even colder than his mother and that he would keep on reminding me about it. He actually extorted an apology from me. I should have just walked away.

Anonymous said...

Part 3

One evening when we were in a bar he flew into a temper about how I think it was about plotting behind his back. He walked into the underground station and straight down the escalator without a backward glance. I completely accepted that as the end of the friendship and resolved never to have any contact again. However he called me with a faux apology and a lie about how he had waited for me. Rather than lose a friend I accepted him again.

You may ask why I ever hung about with somebody as vicious and not to mention ignorant as the author. I should mention that again when I was unemployed, he would fizz about how London was like 'a great big playground' because he had a good disposable income. I should also mention that he had ideas about becoming a counsellor, very fond of diagnosing people, also chock full of class hatred to a degree I have not seen since and very touchy about being criticised himself to the point of choosing a type of counsellor who not tell him what to do. He frequently used to argue with these people. Fortunately he lacked the commitment to become a counsellor or have access to genuinely vulnerable people, something which I have monitored and have told the webmasters of various self-help forums he posts on that I would make a very real complaint to the appropriate authorities about if I ever heard of it, citing my reasons why. Finally I must say that the author had another most unpleasant hobby, linked to his liking for one-upmanship and that was to undermine people which he did insidiously and once or twice with my friends as an audience. He liked to re-write history and attenuate projects and activities we had shared on a few years before as silly and worthless. He also liked to say things which had an innocent meaning but also a more damning double-meaning.

Anonymous said...

Part 4

I have recognised academic qualifications in psychology, nothing amazing, but something that the author on the strength of a few evening classes liked to undermine. I had happened to mention that the lectures of one academic we had to listen to were not that good, which was all he needed to start to discount me. The last time I ever spoke to him on the phone he started ranting about how he was 'a counsellor'. Simply stating that he was NOT a counsellor stopped him dead in his tracks.

I suppose I hung around with this person, because I was scared of being alone or losing a friend and I was pretty vulnerable at the time because of what was going on at work. The author exploited all of this and acted as no friend at all. I find it horrific that the author should now be in a position where he is giving advice to anybody and where he is able to propagate his frankly idiotic views about motivation. As long as confines his activities to a few people with more money than sense I suppose no real harm can be done, but there is a whole raft of psychopathology behind the guise of the happy motivational coach.

Knowing this person left me with some very deep scars and it took me a long time to learn to like myself by spending time alone and to find new friends. The funny part of it is that the author is such a wage slave, actually obsessed with money, that he is the last person who would give up a full-time job and become self-employed. I once suggested that he use some of his paid holiday time years ago to create music in and I received a very hostile response indeed because I suggested that creativity might involve something that did not flatter his ego and was in fact inconvenient in a practical sense.

I think that the lesson learned is that you must have no contact with a narcissist, the danger is that they can be so plausible that your boundaries need to be completely water-tight, no contact in that case, he did actually try and crawl his way back into a friendship with me some months after sacking me. This is a good example of a narcissist who was not a full-blown narcissist for quite some years but then became insane when about 30 years old. I think what might have triggered it was the injections of growth hormone and testosterone he started receiving for hypothyroidism. Having witnessed the effects of medicinal steroids on somebody quite recently I think this was the trigger to give the psychopathology full reign.

I witnessed the transition from somebody who had his faults just like anybody else, through a saga of arrogance and nastiness where the stock response to anything I said was 'No it isn't'. I should have realised that I was dealing with the shell of a person by then

Catherine Todd said...

Wow, Anonymous... you really hit the nail(s) on the head! Thank you so much. Everything you wrote sounds so much like the 40 year old I'm dealing with now. And you have helped me make the decision to not get sucked back in, and "give them wide berth." No boundaries will be needed with NO CONTACT. Hah!

Catherine Todd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Invicta MA said...

Hello, I'm a journalist out of Columbia Journalism School who is working on a piece about narcissistic personality disorder. As part of this, I spent a week with Sam near his home. I was hoping some of you might want to speak about your experience with NPD, or SV's online forums.

Alexis,

I edited your comment. It is the policy of this site not to allow self-advertising or allow others to trawl for subjects. Without thorough vetting, that is not going to happen.

And if there is to be vetting, protocol (and good manners) demands that one present their credentials, etc., to the owner of this site (me) who takes full responsibility for its content and also strives to protect survivors and this site from many things, including exploitation.

Invicta

Catherine Todd said...

Invicta , THANK YOU! It never occurred to me that someone should present credentials and be vetted, while of course they should. Unfortunately, I sent him an email. I hope it doesn't cause any harm.

You can remove my comment above or this one if you want.

Sincerely, Catherine Todd

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Anonymous said...

As much as his Malignant self love site helped me understand narcissism after I discarded or was discarded from a narc after 9 months for beating...I never truly understood how he could be so honest about it since these black hole non human reptile liars lived in lies, control, and manipulation. Never understood it till now...he is as sick and twisted as ever. Look up Lisa E. Scott for by rush help and understanding.

Minna said...

I always thought it was strange that a self confessed narcissist could help people rcovering from a narcissist. I am surprised people have given him as much space in the community as they have. Being under the spell of a narcissist is the exact problem the people were/are trying to escape! So good for you for calling him out.

Catherine Todd said...

Thank you Minna, you said it so perfectly. What a fraud this horrible man is. And his poor wife... I can't believe she still stays with him, after the things he has said about her publicly. Just goes to say he does "practice what he preaches." Awful!

suedarn said...

I do not care what your credentials are or what you judge Sam to be. I have followed him for at least 15 years. I am an adult child of an "N". "N" is close to being a “whatever you call it a psychopath” but not one. HE is a true "N" all the way. I've been on ""N" victim support group lists for eons. They are people in immense pain and Sam is a genuine "N". As for not being credentialed in the cookie cutter sense that you judge he "should" be, it is now a known fact that if you study anything long enough or practice it long enough, and that is meaning 10 years or more, that you are in fact an expert on that subject. One does not need another expert (where there may not even be one) to be absolutely correct. Sam is also a genius. Tests are not always accurate. The biggest problem with them is that they LACK OBSERVATION ON A LONG TERM SCALE. Some people do not belief in panic attacks. Even "experts"/ Some do not believe in DID. So there ya go with yer cookie cutter judgments and your fragmented perceptions of the whole situation. He educates in an area where no has accurately ever done so. I have seen only 1 other page that really describes what an "N" really is. And I won't go into it. But Sam has every single symptom and is genuinely a victim of an "N" injury and he reacts accurately as you describe, like an "N". Tantrums and all. The pain is that bad. I forgave my mother before she died and I miss her every day. There was no living with her, she could not live with anyone ever. How I survived as a child or my sibling survived is beyond belief. How she survived as a child became her coping mechanisms for life. I'm surprised nobody murdered her. When someone lied and had the MD change her meds on her death bed I believe there was a murderous spirit involved. I needed a few more days with her. A few weeks would have been grand. But the meds made that an impossibility and she ultimately submitted to her cancer without fulfilling what she truly wanted to do. Her work was unfinished but I gave her permission to leave her body and she in peace finally I hope if there is such a thing. I truly have seen this disease for 59 years. And she had hundreds of enemies. I had already forgiven her for being sick. And that is what we must do when we know there is a disease. Not expect "normal behavior." Sam is a professional at what he does. And his personal behavior has nothing to do with his education. He helped me to heal and no one who knows me can dispute this. Yes I got Suite 101 postings for years... Don't even know if that site is still going.... But Sam is still going... And it is for a good reason... what you see is what you get. MMPI my ass. I have had 4different Dx's from the MMPI. Maybe I have a few alters? - Sue D.