For a survivor's view of Sam Vaknin's "Therapy" by "Invicta":
As noted on the previous page, Narcissism On the Internet, I was targeted by an Internet psychopath; he was practiced in manipulating someone into loving him. The relationship resembled a cult of two. The brainwashing and manipulation were subtle and insidious- when one becomes vulnerable, when someone penetrates your defences, or you have few defences, it is easy then to begin an onslaught of mental rape.
The one thing that I didn't expect, when I sought support online, was to end up the survivor of not one, but two online psychopaths, not to mention a myriad assortment of fanatics on the support group most heavily associated with him- the cult groupies, the cult followers (not the unsuspecting innocents). I have written about my group experience on that page with some pertinent links.
New facts keep coming to light. They were always there, I imagine, but were largely ignored. But no longer. I have felt for a long time that Sam Vaknin and his book, Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited, were meant to engender a cult following, among other things. He even attests to this and other views about victims, healing, and his hatred for Americans in the following interview: Natterbox Interview With Sam Vaknin
Some Vaknin Quotes
I, therefore, am doubtful not only with regards to the prognosis of a narcissist but also with regards to the healing prospects of those exposed to his poisoned charms.
I am by far the most intelligent person I know, so, the deep-seated belief that others are bumbling, ineffectual fools is a constant feature of my mental landscape.
The book was never intended to help anyone. Above all, it was meant to attract attention and adulation (narcissistic supply) to its author, myself. Being in a guru-like status is the ultimate narcissistic experience.
Well, what else is new?
Suffering tremendously from the mental rape of an Internet psychopath, knowing that most therapists would not understand (and I could not afford one) I joined Sam Vaknin's board with a psyche like hamburger. At the time, it was the only board around. Over time the games began, and the capricious deletions and many people got hurt. Instead of being in a place of healing, I was in a war zone. I was also, it turns out, deceived and misled, not realising that there was a cultish following.
When you're hamburger, you don't think as clearly,you just want to know you're not alone. I am a mental health professional and you'd think that we would know better, but let me tell you, when you are wounded beyond belief, all your training means nothing. Some people were wonderful on that site, but they left. That's why I started my own site, but didn't include a board. Just some fair and objective information, partly to counteract the dreck. I never imagined that unmasking a fraud would be part of my healing journey. Sometimes, Providence has a strange sense of humour.
I also felt very humbled. For I was dealing with a sadistic psychopath/sociopath and Sam Vaknin's views fed right into that; to realise that helps you grasp how out of control your life really is. He wasn't talking about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
Mr Vaknin is trying to reform "Narcissism" into an all-encompassing explanation for all bad behaviour, blurs distinctions between the Personality Disorders, and collapses the uniqueness and severity of the disorder for each person into a single [malevolent] entity. In effect, it seemed to me that Sam Vaknin was recreating "Narcissism" and NPD in his own image, according to his worldview. Which means it is not simply narcissism, nor is it NPD. According to the author, it is not anything remotely recognisable as Narcissistic Personality Disorder as he knows it.
My feeling is that, in effect, Sam Vaknin was drawing in vulnerable victims, desperately looking for answers, sometimes easy answers, and recreating them in his own image, inoculating them with his hatred and alienation, and creating a world view where things are worse than imagined, instead of better; it is a world of paranoia, where, in effect, there are monstrous "Ns" under every bush.
I speak as one who, at first, believed a lot of this stuff. He has pathologised almost everyone in every manner. So how can any true healing take place for any of us if we are misled and misinformed- imo, his version of healing, if he had one, is that everyone see it his way. Just like a cult leader wannabe. And his answer against accountability would be, "you knew what I was, so you have only yourself to blame for 'x'".....
Update: 8/13/03 I just discovered this information in an article by a forensic psychologist which can be found in toto, here: http://www.crimelibrary.com/criminal_mind/psychology/psychopath/1.html?sect=19
In 1970, Otto Kernberg pointed out that the antisocial personality was fundamentally narcissistic and without morality. He called it malignant narcissism, which included a sadistic element. That self-love is central seems correct but this conception failed to go very far with clinicians who needed practical instruments.
The article is a fascinating and rigorous delineation of the history of attempts to define psychopathy and to predict it. Robert Hare's instrument has the most validity and incorporates Kernberg's conception of a narcissistic component.
It reinforces my belief that a "malignant narcissist" in effect resembles a sadistic psychopath and that that is the construct Sam Vaknin's book describes and explains, not Narcissistic Personality Disorder.