Taming the Beast: Pathological Narcissism and the Quality of Life

Topics: Narcissism, Narcissistic personality disorder, Psychoanalysis Pages: 4 (1233 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Sam Vaknin's Psychology, Philosophy, Economics and Foreign Affairs Web Sites
Part 1
Many textbooks (and many patients ...) claim that the psychodynamic therapies when applied to personality disorders are ineffective. Functional (cognitive, behavioral) treatments should be preferred in certain cases and regarding certain aspects of the disorder.

To a Narcissist, I would recommend a beavioral-cognitive-functional and less protracted type of therapy.
(1) Know and accept thyself. This is what you are. You are highly intelligent. You are very inquisitive. You are a Narcissist. These are facts. Narcissism is an adaptive mechanism. It is dysfunctional - but it saves you from a LOT MORE dysfunction or even a-function. Make a list: what does it mean to be a Narcissist in your specific case? What are your typical behaviour patterns? Which types of behaviour are counterproductive, irritating, self-defeating or self-destructive? Which are productive, constructive and should be enhanced DESPITE their pathological origin?

(2) Decide to suppress the first and to promote the latter. Construct lists of self-punishments, negative feedback and negative reinforcements. Impose them upon yourself when you exhibit one of the behaviours in the first list. Make a list of prizes, little indulgences, positive feedbacks and positive reinforcements. Use them to reward yourself when you display a behaviour of the second kind.

(3) Keep doing this with the express intent of conditioning yourself. Be objective, predictable and just in the administration of both punishments and awards, positive reinforcements and feedback and negative ones. Learn to trust your "inner court". Constrain the sadistic, immature and ideal parts of your personality (known as "superego" in psychoanalytic parlance) by the application of a uniform codex, a set of immutable and invariably applied...
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