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.
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 the 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: ||Sent: 11/11/2004 3:37 AM|
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,
Update, July 24, 2009. Response from Dr Hare:
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)