Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sam Vaknin (part 1)

A reader writes regarding Sam Vaknin:
I'm thinking it might be interesting to do a post on this internet phenomenon. I'm guessing you've come across this guy already, but if not, he's a very interesting subject. He's a self-proclaimed malignant narcissist who writes incessantly about narcissism. First there is the clusterfuck that is his main site (samvak.tripod.com), but if you do a google search he's all over the place. He does interviews with himself, and has his own forums where he's the only one allowed to post or answer questions. There is quite a bit of controversy surrounding him in narcisissm circles, and it is said his writing actually causes damage to victims of narcissism. I think he's kind of awesome in his own fucked up way.
Now, why a post of narcissism on a sociopathy site?

Two reasons:

1. He's not your average self-deluded narcissist. He's extremely self aware, and also extremely intelligent. He's especially interesting because at first glance it looks like he's trying to help out victims, but really he's just a very self-involved dude who is really writing about himself and his journey of destinationless self-realization. His most telling stuff is his journals (samvak.tripod.com/journal1.html).

2. He is the subject of the documentary I, Psychopath (indiemoviesonline.com/watch-movies/i-psychopath), in which he actually goes through a battery of tests and is diagnosed as a psychopath in two countries. The film shows him fucking with everyone around him, including the filmmaker, who ends the film in a disturbed state. There is also his sad wife, the victim, who will never leave him, who knows what he is but still stays.

3. I think a lot of the self-proclaimed sociopaths as well as some of the "victims" that post comments on your blog are actually narcissists, or are self-aware enough to be struggling with narcissistic tendencies :)

I also recommend reading this thread about him: http://www.psychforums.com/narcissistic-personality/topic48396.html

I first read Vaknin (and many other resources including your blog) in an attempt to get a grip on what was going on with a relationship with a narcissist/sociopath, but in the process recognized myself in a lot of his writings. At first it was like swallowing a horse pill, but I've gotten used to it now and am trying to figure out how best to proceed.

I keep using the "narcissist/sociopath" term, instead of one or the other, because I do think it can very hard to tell the difference from the outside, though I know they are very different internally. It can be very hard to tell if the self-deception is feigned or not. This particular person I am talking about is self-aware (at least partially) but often acts like he is not. Is a self-aware narcissist still a narcissist? Or does he become something else? This is why Vaknin is especially interesting. The self-aware narcissist actually diagnosed with psychopathy.

21 comments:

  1. Wait- Does this mean that sociopaths are not self aware? I thought they were but I could be mistaken.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What's your self-aware definition ? I have no serious ideas of what that is

    ReplyDelete
  3. "Is a self-aware narcissist still a narcissist?"

    Yep. I'm completely aware of what I do, but then a situation will come up, and I'll have the same ol' reactions every time.

    The trouble with being self-aware is that you have three options: kill yourself out of misery, attempt to get better, or become malignant (if you were't already).

    BTW, PsychForums is one of the only places with ACTUAL Narcs and Socios, instead of a lot of trolls and hypochondriacs.

    ReplyDelete
  4. An annoying waste of space and sick of seeing this idiot's name everywhere on the net.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'd say he's the (ex)victim of an NPD, likely one of his parents.
    Hence the obsession with trying to help (other) victims.

    ReplyDelete
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