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The Aging Narcissist: Three Perspectives

2nd EDITION

Sam Vaknin
The Author is NOT a Mental Health Professional.
The Author is certified in Counselling Techniques.

Editing and Design:


Lidija Rangelovska

A Narcissus Publications Imprint


Prague & Haifa 2014

2014 Copyright Narcissus Publications

All rights reserved. This book, or any part thereof, may not be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission from:
Sam Vaknin write to: malignantselflove@gmail.com

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CONTENTS

Throughout this book click on blue-lettered text to navigate to different chapters


or to access online resources

1. To Age with Grace


2. The Midlife Narcissist
3. The Narcissist as Eternal Youth and Child

Author Bio

To Age with Grace: The Narcissist as an Old Person

"Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board. For some they come in with the tide.
For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the
Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time."
Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)
"Do not go gentle into that good night, / Old age should burn and rave at close of day; /
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
Dylan Thomas, Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night
"The permanent temptation of life is to confuse dreams with reality. Then permanent
defeat of life comes when dreams are surrendered to reality."
James Michener, Author
"Making my entrance again with my usual flair / Sure of my lines / No one is there."
Send in the Clowns by Stephen Sondheim
The narcissist ages without mercy and without grace. His withered body and his overwrought
mind betray him all at once. He stares with incredulity and rage at cruel mirrors. He refuses
to accept his growing fallibility. He rebels against his decrepitude and mediocrity.
Accustomed to being awe-inspiring and the recipient of adulation - the narcissist cannot
countenance his social isolation and the pathetic figure that he cuts.
The narcissist suffers from mental progeria. Subject to childhood abuse, he ages prematurely
and finds himself in a time warp, constantly in the throes of a midlife crisis. On the other
hand, he is a puer aeternus, an eternal child: immature, sulking and pouting, unable to delay
gratification, unwilling to commit or to assume adult roles and chores.
As a child prodigy, a sex symbol, a stud, a public intellectual, an actor, an idol - the narcissist
was at the centre of attention, the eye of his personal twister, a black hole which sucked
people's energy and resources dry and spat out with indifference their mutilated carcasses. No
longer. With old age comes disillusionment. Old charms wear thin.
Having been exposed for what he is - a deceitful, treacherous, malignant egotist - the
narcissist's old tricks now fail him. People are on their guard, their gullibility reduced. The
narcissist - being the rigid, precariously balanced structure that he is - can't change. He
reverts to old forms, re-adopts hoary habits, succumbs to erstwhile temptations. He is made a
mockery by his accentuated denial of reality, by his obdurate refusal to grow up, an eternal,
malformed child in the sagging body of a decaying man.
It is the fable of the grasshopper and the ant revisited.

The narcissist - the grasshopper - having relied on supercilious stratagems throughout his life
- is singularly ill-adapted to life's rigors and tribulations. He feels entitled - but fails to elicit
Narcissistic Supply. Wrinkled time makes child prodigies lose their magic, lovers exhaust
their potency, philanderers waste their allure, and geniuses miss their touch. The longer the
narcissist lives - the more average he becomes. The wider the gulf between his pretensions
and his accomplishments - the more he is the object of derision and contempt.
Yet, few narcissists save for rainy days. Few bother to study a trade, or get a degree, pursue a
career, maintain a business, keep their jobs, or raise functioning families, nurture their
friendships, or broaden their horizons. Narcissists are perennially ill-prepared. Those who
succeed in their vocation, end up bitterly alone having squandered the love of spouse, offspring, and mates. The more gregarious and family-orientated - often flunk at work, leap
from one job to another, relocate erratically, forever itinerant and peripatetic.
The contrast between his youth and prime and his dilapidated present constitutes a permanent
narcissistic injury. The narcissist retreats deeper into himself to find solace. He withdraws
into the penumbral universe of his grandiose fantasies. There - almost psychotic - he salves
his wounds and comforts himself with trophies of his past.
A rare minority of narcissists accept their fate with fatalism or good humour. These precious
few are healed mysteriously by the deepest offense to their megalomania - old age. They lose
their narcissism and confront the outer world with the poise and composure that they lacked
when they were captives of their own, distorted, narrative.
Such changed narcissists develop new, more realistic, expectations and hopes commensurate with their talents, skills, accomplishments and education. Ironically, it is
invariably too late. They are avoided and ignored, rendered transparent by their checkered
past. They are passed over for promotion, never invited to professional or social gatherings,
cold-shouldered by the media. They are snubbed and disregarded. They are never the
recipients of perks, benefits, or awards. They are blamed when not blameworthy and rarely
praised when deserving. They are being constantly and consistently punished for who they
were. It is poetic justice in more than one way. They are being treated narcissistically by their
erstwhile victims. They finally are tasting their own medicine, the bitter harvest of their wrath
and arrogance.
Interview granted to Harmony (India), February-March 2011
The first thing that occurs to me when thinking of aging is a gradual change in ones
physical structure that is apparent to others, and to oneself of course. Now what
precisely do we mean by aging, or getting old or older, in terms of the mind or psyche?
"Old" is commonly thought of as an adjective which bundles together objective physical and
mental changes (for the worse); growing dysfunctions in a variety of areas of life; and
cultural and social norms and prejudices that together constitute a pernicious stereotype.
Reality, however, is more complex. Aging has its positive sides: perspective and experience
tend to reduce anxiety and increase efficacy; a life-long worth of networking provides
enhanced access to a variety of societal and economic benefits; an extended family generate
emotional (and, at times, economic) succor; as leisure time increases, one can cater to one's

hobbies and fulfil one's dreams; and so on. These largely positive "externalities" are often
ignored and the undeniably negative dimensions of aging are sensationally emphasized.
What major kinds of fear(s) are associated with aging in its psychological sense that you
just explained? (also tell a bit about the root cause of those fears)
It is of course the fear of Death that wears a thousand guises. "Aging" is the name we give to
the cumulation of irrefutable proofs that we are mortal. So, when we fear physical
decrepitude, mental deterioration, illness, loss of capacities, social ostracism, and other less
than savory facets of growing old, what we actually dread is our very end. The promise of an
afterlife doesn't really fool anyone, including the most devout believers. No one wants to die
and no one wants to be reminded constantly of the transience of his existence. Old-age is also
a time of soul-searching and tallying: dreams unfulfilled; wishes denied; fantasies which have
remained exactly that; wrong turns and erroneous decisions; remorse, regret, and heartbreak.
The knowledge that there is no second chance imbues one's last years with tragedy.
Please tell our readers a little about what narcissism is, its key personality features, and
why some people develop such personalities? (Also tell who/which professions people
etc is more prone to developing narcissism)
Pathological narcissism is a pattern of thinking and behaving in adolescence and adulthood,
which involves infatuation and obsession with one's self to the exclusion of others. It
manifests in the chronic and compulsive pursuit of personal gratification and attention
(narcissistic supply), social dominance and ruthless personal ambition. The narcissist
constantly brags; is insensitive to others; lacks empathy; is hypervigilant (spots slights and
insults in every utterance and beahvior); and is excessively dependent on others to meet
his/her responsibilities in daily life. Possessed of a grandiose and inflated fantasy of himself
(the False Self), the narcissist feels entitled to special treatment regardless of his actual
accomplishments, or lack thereof.
Pathological narcissism is at the core of the narcissistic personality disorder. As distinct from
healthy narcissism which we all possess, pathological narcissism is maladaptive, rigid,
persisting, and causes significant distress, and functional impairment.
Pathological narcissism is a reaction to prolonged abuse and trauma in early childhood or
early adolescence. The source of the abuse or trauma is immaterial - the perpetrators could be
parents, teachers, other adults, or peers. Pampering, smothering, spoiling, and "engulfing" the
child are also forms of abuse. There may be a genetic component in the make-up of the
narcissist which predispose him to his pathology.
Can aging narcissists hope for returning to a normal life with some kind of therapy,
counseling, or just social support? (tell briefly about what works for making narcissists
get to normal thinking and behavior)

How can a narcissist return to a normal when by the very definition of his disorder he
has never had a normal life and is utterly incapable of one? Narcissists are mentally-ill.
Pathological narcissism cannot be healed", or "cured". Only certain attendant mental health
problems - such as depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder - can be ameliorated or
controlled with medication. Additionally, particularly abrasive, grating, or antisocial
behaviours can be modified using talk therapy (cognitive-behavioral being the most
successful).
What are the major signs obvious to the family or loved ones of an aging narcissist that
help them identify his/her emotional crisis so as to seek therapeutic help?
Narcissists rarely seek therapeutic help and they definitely do not listen to advice of any kind.
The narcissist constantly consumes (really, preys upon) adoration, admiration, approval,
applause, attention and other forms of Narcissistic Supply. When lacking or deficient, a
Narcissistic Deficiency Dysphoria sets in. The narcissist then appears to be depressed, his
movements slow down, his sleep patterns are disordered (he either sleeps too much or
becomes insomniac), his eating patterns change (he gorges on food or is avoids it altogether).
He is constantly dysphoric (sad) and anhedonic (finds no pleasure in anything, including his
former pursuits, hobbies, and interests). He is subjected to violent mood swings (mainly rage
attacks) and all his (visible and painful) efforts at self-control fail. He may compulsively and
ritually resort to an alternative addiction alcohol, drugs, reckless driving, shopaholism.
How do you think an aging narcissist need to be treated at home and in workplace to
ensure his emotional wellbeing?
Avoid all contact with the narcissist in your life. All other advice is spurious and erroneous.
Narcissists cannot be fixed and, if you do not keep absolute distance, will ruin your life
thoroughly. To believe that one can affect the narcissists wellbeing is malignant optimism, a
manifestation of the rescue fantasies that are so common among co-dependents.
Finally Sam, what are some of the healthy things or activities that an average narcissist
should engage in for living positively?
Narcissists cannot live positively. They are other-destructive, self-destructive, and selfdefeating. They are a menace to themselves, to their nearest, and to society at large. They are
like drug addicts in that they compulsively and ruthlessly pursue narcissistic supply (attention
and adulation). But, unlike substance abuse, narcissism is an all-pervasive and malignant
problem that invades and infects all the dimensions of the narcissists existence. Narcissists
are recidivistic, incorrigible, intractable, and hopeless cases.
Return

The Midlife Narcissist

The narcissists life is chaotic, unstable, and unpredictable. The narcissist is in a constant state
of midlife crisis.
This constant adrenaline rush is aimed at compensating the narcissist for all-pervasive
feelings of boredom and to buttress his sense of uniqueness.
Question:
Are narcissists likely to go through a midlife crisis and, if so, to what extent does such a crisis
ameliorate or exacerbate their condition?
Answer:
The sometimes severe crises experienced by persons of both sexes in middle age (a.k.a. the
"midlife crisis" or the "change of life") is a much discussed though little understood
phenomenon. It is not even certain that the beast exists.
Women go through menopause between the ages of 42-55 (the average age of onset in the
USA is 51.3). The amount of the hormone oestrogen in their bodies decreases sharply,
important parts of the reproductive system shrink and menstruation ceases. Many women
suffer from "hot flashes" and a thinning and fracturing of the bones (osteoporosis).
The "male menopause" is a more contentious issue. Men do experience a gradual decline in
testosterone levels but nothing as sharp as the woman's deterioration of her oestrogen supply.
No link has been found between these physiological and hormonal developments and the
mythical "midlife crisis".
This fabled turning point has to do with the gap between earlier plans, dreams and aspirations
and one's drab and hopeless reality. Come middle age, men are supposed to be less satisfied
with life, career, or spouse. People get more disappointed and disillusioned with age. They
understand that they are not likely to have a second chance, that they largely missed the train,
that their dreams will remain just that. They have nothing to look forward to. They feel spent,
bored, fatigued and trapped.
Some adults embark on a transition. They define new goals, look for new partners, form new
families, engage in new hobbies, change vocation and avocation alike, or relocate. They
regenerate and reinvent themselves and the structures of their lives. Others just grow bitter.
Unable to face the shambles, they resort to alcoholism, workaholism, emotional absence,
abandonment, escapism, degeneration, or a sedentary lifestyle.
Another pillar of discontent is the predictability of adult life. Following a brief flurry, in early
adulthood, of excitement and vigour, of dreams and hopes, fantasies and aspirations, we
succumb to and sink into the mire of mediocrity. The mundane engulfs us and digests us.
Routines consume our energy and leave us dilapidated and empty. We know with dull
certainty what awaits us and this ubiquitous rut is maddening.

Paradoxically, the narcissist is best equipped to successfully tackle these problems. The
narcissist suffers from mental progeria. Subject to childhood abuse, he ages prematurely and
finds himself in a time warp, constantly in the throes of a midlife crisis.
The narcissist keeps dreaming, hoping, planning, conspiring, scheming and fighting all his
life. As far as he is concerned, reality, with its sobering feedback, does not exist. He occupies
a world of his own where hope springs eternal. It is a universe of recurrent serendipity,
inevitable fortuity, auspiciousness, lucky chances and coincidences, no downs and uplifting
ups. It is an unpredictable, titillating, and exciting world. The narcissist may feel bored for
long stretches of time but only because he can't wait for the ultimate thrill.
The narcissist experiences a constant midlife crisis. His reality is always way short of his
dreams and aspirations. He suffers a constant Grandiosity Gap the same Gap that plagues
the healthy midlife adult. But the narcissist has one advantage: he is used to being
disappointed and disillusioned. He inflicts setbacks and defeats upon himself by devaluing
persons and situations that he had previously idealised.
The narcissist regularly employs a host of mechanisms to cope with this simmering, festering
incessant "crisis". Cognitive dissonance, over- and de- valuation cycles, abrupt mood swings,
changes in behaviour patterns, goals, companions, mates, jobs and locations are the
narcissist's daily bread and escapist weapons.
Whereas the healthy and mature adult confronts the abyss between his image of himself and
his real self, his dreams and his achievements, his fantasyland and his reality only late in life
the narcissist does so constantly and from an early age.
The healthy and mature adult recoils from the predictability of his routine and is abhorred by
it. The narcissist's life is not predictable or routine in any sense of the word.
The mature 40+ years old adult tries to remedy the structural and emotional deficits of his
existence either by a renewed commitment to it or by a cataclysmic break with it. The
narcissist so regularly and habitually does both that these decisions are rendered flitting and
insignificant
The narcissist's personality is rigid but his life is changeable and tumultuous, his typical day
riddled with surprises and unpredictable, his grandiose fantasies so far removed from his
reality that even his disillusionment and disappointments are fantastic and, thus, easily
overcome.
Soon enough, the narcissist is engaged in a new project, as exciting, as grandiose and as
impossible as the ones before. The gap between his confabulations and the truth is so
yawning that he chooses to ignore his reality. He recruits people around him to affirm this
choice and to confirm to him that reality is illusory and that his fantasyland is real.
Such pretensions are counterproductive and self-defeating, but they also serve as perfect
defences. The narcissist does not go through a midlife crisis because he is forever the child,
forever dreaming and fantasising, forever enamoured with himself and with the narrative that
is his life.
Return

The Narcissist as Eternal Child and Youth

"Puer Aeternus" the eternal adolescent or youth, the sempiternal Peter Pan is a
phenomenon often associated with pathological narcissism. People who refuse to grow up
strike others as self-centred and aloof, petulant and brattish, haughty and demanding in
short: as childish or infantile.
Pathological narcissism is a reaction to prolonged abuse and trauma in early childhood or
early adolescence. The source of the abuse or trauma is immaterial - the perpetrators could be
parents, teachers, other adults, or peers. Pampering, smothering, spoiling, and "engulfing" the
child are also forms of abuse.
In an abusive environment, the child finds it difficult to assert his personal boundaries, to
separate from his parents, and to individuate. Consequently, it chooses either of two
solutions: to internalize and introject the abuser (to become a monster), thereby siding with
the strong and winning party or to remain a child forever, thus securing empathy,
compassion, and pity in a heartless, hostile universe. The typical narcissist is unusual in that it
chooses to adopt both solutions at once and is, therefore, simultaneously a monster and a
child.
The narcissist is a partial adult. He seeks to avoid adulthood. Infantilisation the discrepancy
between one's advanced chronological age and one's retarded behaviour, cognition, and
emotional development is the narcissist's preferred art form. Some narcissists even use a
childish tone of voice occasionally and adopt a toddler's body language.
But most narcissist resort to more subtle means.
They reject or avoid adult chores and functions. They refrain from acquiring adult skills (such
as driving) or an adult's formal education. They evade adult responsibilities towards others,
including and especially towards their nearest and dearest. They hold no steady jobs, never
get married, raise no family, cultivate no roots, maintain no real friendships or meaningful
relationships.
Many a narcissist remain attached to their families of origin. By clinging to his parents, the
narcissist continues to act in the role of a child. He thus avoids the need to make adult
decisions and (potentially painful) choices. He transfers all adult chores and responsibilities
from laundry to baby-sitting to his parents, siblings, spouse, or other relatives. He feels
unshackled, a free spirit, ready to take on the world (in other words omnipotent and
omnipresent).
This curious abdication may have to do with what I termed the Inversion-Null Dynamic.
Briefly: the narcissist always seeks to fulfil the role of a child. His parents, his spouse, even
his own kids usually compliantly respond to this hidden signal. This is the inversion part.
Then, when another child enters the scene (the narcissists siblings, or his own newborn
offspring), everyone react awkwardly, dismissively, or abusively towards the addition to the
family because it is perceived as threatening to usurp the narcissists role and to upset the

delicate dynamics and equilibrium that rule the narcissists intimate relationships. The
newcomer is, thus, annulled.
Such "delayed adulthood" is very common in many poor and developing countries, especially
those with patriarchal societies. I wrote in "The Last Family":
"To the alienated and schizoid ears of Westerners, the survival of family and community in
Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) sounds like an attractive proposition. A dual purpose
safety net, both emotional and economic, the family in countries in transition provides its
members with unemployment benefits, accommodation, food and psychological advice to
boot.
Divorced daughters, saddled with little (and not so little) ones, the prodigal sons incapable
of finding a job befitting their qualifications, the sick, the unhappy all are absorbed by
the compassionate bosom of the family and, by extension the community. The family, the
neighbourhood, the community, the village, the tribe are units of subversion as well as
useful safety valves, releasing and regulating the pressures of contemporary life in the
modern, materialistic, crime ridden state.
The ancient blood feud laws of the kanoon were handed over through familial lineages in
northern Albania, in defiance of the paranoiac Enver Hoxha regime. Criminals hide
among their kin in the Balkans, thus effectively evading the long arm of the law (state).
Jobs are granted, contracts signed and tenders won on an open and strict nepotistic basis
and no one finds it odd or wrong. There is something atavistically heart-warming in all
this.
Historically, the rural units of socialisation and social organisation were the family and
the village. As villagers migrated to the cities, these structural and functional patterns were
imported by them, en masse. The shortage of urban apartments and the communist
invention of the communal apartment (its tiny rooms allocated one per family with kitchen
and bathroom common to all) only served to perpetuate these ancient modes of multigenerational huddling. At best, the few available apartments were shared by three
generations: parents, married off-spring and their children. In many cases, the living
space was also shared by sickly or no-good relatives and even by unrelated families.
These living arrangements more adapted to rustic open spaces than to high rises led to
severe social and psychological dysfunctions. To this very day, Balkan males are spoiled by
the subservience and servitude of their in-house parents and incessantly and compulsively
catered to by their submissive wives. Occupying someone else's home, they are not well
acquainted with adult responsibilities.
Stunted growth and stagnant immaturity are the hallmarks of an entire generation, stifled
by the ominous proximity of suffocating, invasive love. Unable to lead a healthy sex life
behind paper thin walls, unable to raise their children and as many children as they see fit,
unable to develop emotionally under the anxiously watchful eye of their parents this
greenhouse generation is doomed to a zombie-like existence in the twilight nether land of
their parents' caves. Many ever more eagerly await the demise of their caring captors and
the promised land of their inherited apartments, free of their parents' presence.

The daily pressures and exigencies of co-existence are enormous. The prying, the gossip,
the criticism, the chastising, the small agitating mannerisms, the smells, the incompatible
personal habits and preferences, the pusillanimous bookkeeping all serve to erode the
individual and to reduce him or her to the most primitive mode of survival. This is further
exacerbated by the need to share expenses, to allocate labour and tasks, to plan ahead for
contingencies, to see off threats, to hide information, to pretend and to fend off emotionally
injurious behaviour. It is a sweltering tropic of affective cancer."
Alternatively, by acting as surrogate caregiver to his siblings or parents, the narcissist
displaces his adulthood into a fuzzier and less demanding territory. The social expectations
from a husband and a father are clear-cut. Not so from a substitute, mock, or ersatz parent. By
investing his efforts, resources, and emotions in his family of origin, the narcissist avoids
having to establish a new family and face the world as an adult. His is an "adulthood by
proxy", a vicarious imitation of the real thing.
The ultimate in dodging adulthood is finding God (long recognised as a father-substitute), or
some other "higher cause". The believer allows the doctrine and the social institutions that
enforce it to make decisions for him and thus relieve him of responsibility. He succumbs to
the paternal power of the collective and surrenders his personal autonomy. In other words, he
is a child once more. Hence the allure of faith and the lure of dogmas and ideologies,
especially in troubled times, when everyone's narcissistic defences are out in full force.
But why does the narcissist refuse to grow up? Why does he postpone the inevitable and
regards adulthood as a painful experience to be avoided at a great cost to personal growth and
self-realisation? Because remaining essentially a toddler caters to all his narcissistic needs
and defences and nicely tallies with the narcissist's inner psychodynamic landscape.
Pathological narcissism is an infantile defence against abuse and trauma, usually occurring in
early childhood or early adolescence. Thus, narcissism is inextricably entwined with the
abused child's or adolescent's emotional make-up, cognitive deficits, and worldview. To say
"narcissist" is to say "thwarted, tortured child".
It is important to remember that overweening, smothering, spoiling, overvaluing, and
idolising the child are all forms of parental abuse. There is nothing more narcissisticallygratifying than the admiration and adulation (Narcissistic Supply) garnered by precocious
child-prodigies (Wunderkinder). Narcissists who are the sad outcomes of excessive
pampering and sheltering become addicted to it.
In a paper published in Quadrant in 1980 and titled "Puer Aeternus: The Narcissistic Relation
to the Self", Jeffrey Satinover, a Jungian analyst, offers these astute observations:
"The individual narcissistically bound to (the image or archetype of the divine child) for
identity can experience satisfaction from a concrete achievement only if it matches the
grandeur of this archetypal image. It must have the qualities of greatness, absolute
uniqueness, of being the best and prodigiously precocious. This latter quality explains
the enormous fascination of child prodigies, and also explains why even a great success
yields no permanent satisfaction for the puer: being an adult, no accomplishment is
precocious unless he stays artificially young or equates his accomplishments with those of
old age (hence the premature striving after the wisdom of those who are much older)."

The simple truth is that children get away with narcissistic traits and behaviours. Narcissists
know that. They envy children, hate them, try to emulate them and, thus, compete with them
for scarce Narcissistic Supply.
Children are forgiven for feeling grandiose and self-important or even encouraged to develop
such emotions as part of "building up their self-esteem". Kids frequently exaggerate with
impunity accomplishments, talents, skills, contacts, and personality traits exactly the kind
of conduct that narcissists are chastised for!
As part of a normal and healthy development trajectory, young children are as obsessed as
narcissists are with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence,
and unequalled brilliance. Adolescent are expected to be preoccupied with bodily beauty or
sexual performance (as is the somatic narcissist), or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering love or
passion. What is normal in the first 16 years of life is labelled a pathology later on.
Children are firmly convinced that they are unique and, being special, can only be understood
by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people.
In time, through the process of socialisation, young adults learn the benefits of collaboration
and acknowledge the innate value of each and every person. Narcissists never do. They
remain fixated in the earlier stage.
Preteens and teenagers require excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation. It is
a transient phase that gives place to the self-regulation of one's sense of inner worth.
Narcissists, however, remain dependent on others for their self-esteem and self-confidence.
They are fragile and fragmented and thus very susceptible to criticism, even if it is merely
implied or imagined.
Well into pubescence, children feel entitled. As toddlers, they demand automatic and full
compliance with their unreasonable expectations for special and favourable priority
treatment. They grow out of it as they develop empathy and respect for the boundaries, needs,
and wishes of other people. Again, narcissists never mature, in this sense.
Children, like adult narcissists, are "interpersonally exploitative", i.e., use others to achieve
their own ends. During the formative years (0-6 years old), children are devoid of empathy.
They are unable to identify with, acknowledge, or accept the feelings, needs, preferences,
priorities, and choices of others.
Both adult narcissists and young children are envious of others and sometimes seek to hurt or
destroy the causes of their frustration. Both groups behave arrogantly and haughtily, feel
superior, omnipotent, omniscient, invincible, immune, "above the law", and omnipresent
(magical thinking), and rage when frustrated, contradicted, challenged, or confronted.
The narcissist seeks to legitimise his child-like conduct and his infantile mental world by
actually remaining a child, by refusing to mature and to grow up, by avoiding the hallmarks
of adulthood, and by forcing others to accept him as the Puer Aeternus, the Eternal Youth, a
worry-free, unbounded, Peter Pan.
Return

About the Author

Sam Vaknin ( http://samvak.tripod.com ) is the author of Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism


Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East, as well as many other books and
ebooks about topics in psychology, relationships, philosophy, economics, and international
affairs.
He is the Editor-in-Chief of Global Politician and served as a columnist for Central Europe
Review, PopMatters, eBookWeb , and Bellaonline, and as a United Press International (UPI)
Senior Business Correspondent. He was the editor of mental health and Central East Europe
categories in The Open Directory and Suite101.
Visit Sam's Web site at http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com
Work on Narcissism
Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love: Narcissism Revisited. (number 1 bestseller
in its category in Barnes and Noble). His work is quoted in well over 1000 scholarly
publications and in over 5000 books (full list here).
His Web site "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited" was, for many years, an Open
Directory Cool Site and is a Psych-UK recommended Site.
Sam Vaknin is not a mental health professional though he is certified in
psychological counseling techniques by Brainbench.
Sam Vaknin served as the editor of Mental Health Disorders categories in the Open Directory
Project and on Mentalhelp.net. He maintains his own Websites about Narcissistic Personality
Disorder (NPD) and about relationships with abusive narcissists and psychopaths here and in
HealthyPlace.
You can find his work on many other Web sites: Mental Health Matters, Mental Health
Sanctuary, Mental Health Today, Kathi's Mental Health Review and others.
Sam Vaknin wrote a column for Bellaonline on Narcissism and Abusive Relationships and is
a frequent contributor to Websites such as Self-growth.com and Bizymoms (as an expert on
personality disorders).
Sam Vaknin served as the author of the Personality Disorders topic, Narcissistic Personality
Disorder topic, the Verbal and Emotional Abuse topic, and the Spousal Abuse and Domestic
Violence topic, all four on Suite101. He is the moderator of the Narcissistic Abuse
Study List , the Toxic Relationships Study List, and other mailing lists with a total of c.
20,000 members. He also publishes a bi-weekly Abusive Relationships Newsletter.
You can view Sam Vaknins biography here.