Pathological Narcissism Psychosis And Delusions

1

One of the most important symptoms of pathological narcissism (the Narcissistic Personality Disorder) is grandiosity. Grandiose fantasies (megalomaniac delusions of grandeur) permeate every aspect of the narcissist’s personality. They are the reason that the narcissist feels entitled to special treatment which is typically incommensurate with his real accomplishments. The Grandiosity Gap is the abyss between the narcissist’s self-image (as reified by his False Self) and reality.

When Narcissistic Supply is deficient, the narcissist de-compensates and acts out in a variety of ways. Narcissists often experience psychotic micro-episodes during therapy and when they suffer narcissistic injuries in a life crisis. But can the narcissist “go over the edge”? Do narcissists ever become psychotic?

Some terminology first:

The narrowest definition of psychosis, according to the DSM-IV-TR, is “restricted to delusions or prominent hallucinations, with the hallucinations occurring in the absence of insight into their pathological nature”.

And what are delusions and hallucinations?

A delusion is “a false belief based on incorrect inference about external reality that is firmly sustained despite what almost everyone else believes and despite what constitutes incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary”.

A hallucination is a “sensory perception that has the compelling sense of reality of a true perception but that occurs without external stimulation of the relevant sensory organ”.

Granted, the narcissist’s hold on reality is tenuous (narcissists sometimes fail the reality test). Admittedly, narcissists often seem to believe in their own confabulations. They are unaware of the pathological nature and origin of their self-delusions and are, thus, technically delusional (though they rarely suffer from hallucinations, disorganised speech, or disorganised or catatonic behaviour). In the strictest sense of the word, narcissists appear to be psychotic.

But, actually, they are not. There is a qualitative difference between benign (though well-entrenched) self-deception or even malignant con-artistry – and “losing it”.

Pathological narcissism should not be construed as a form of psychosis because:

The narcissists is usually fully aware of the difference between true and false, real and make-belief, the invented and the extant, right and wrong. The narcissist consciously chooses to adopt one version of the events, an aggrandising narrative, a fairy-tale existence, a “what-if” counterfactual life. He is emotionally invested in his personal myth. The narcissist feels better as fiction than as fact – but he never loses sight of the fact that it is all just fiction.

Throughout, the narcissist is in full control of his faculties, cognisant of his choices, and goal-orientated. His behaviour is intentional and directional. He is a manipulator and his delusions are in the service of his stratagems. Hence his chameleon-like ability to change guises, his conduct, and his convictions on a dime.

Narcissistic delusions rarely persist in the face of blanket opposition and reams of evidence to the contrary. The narcissist usually tries to convert his social milieu to his point of view. He attempts to condition his nearest and dearest to positively reinforce his delusional False Self. But, if he fails, he modifies his profile on the fly. He “plays it by ear”. His False Self is extemporaneous – a perpetual work of art, permanently reconstructed in a reiterative process designed around intricate and complex feedback loops.

Though the narcissistic personality is rigid – its content is always in flux. Narcissists forever re-invent themselves, adapt their consumption of Narcissistic Supply to the “marketplace”, attuned to the needs of their “suppliers”. Like the performers that they are, they resonate with their “audience”, giving it what it expects and wants. They are efficient instruments for the extraction and consumption of human reactions.

As a result of this interminable process of fine tuning, narcissists have no loyalties, no values, no doctrines, no beliefs, no affiliations, and no convictions. Their only constraint is their addiction to human attention, positive or negative.

Psychotics, by comparison, are fixated on a certain view of the world and of their place in it. They ignore any and all information that might challenge their delusions. Gradually, they retreat into the inner recesses of their tormented mind and become dysfunctional.

Narcissists can’t afford to shut out the world because they so heavily depend on it for the regulation of their labile sense of self-worth. Owing to this dependence, they are hypersensitive and hypervigilant, alert to every bit of new data. They are continuously busy rearranging their self-delusions to incorporate new information in an ego-syntonic manner.

This is why the Narcissistic Personality Disorder is insufficient grounds for claiming a “diminished capacity” (insanity) defence. Narcissists are never divorced from reality – they crave it, and need it, and consume it in order to maintain the precarious balance of their disorganised, borderline-psychotic personality. All narcissists, even the freakiest ones, can tell right from wrong, act with intent, and are in full control of their faculties and actions.

Personality Testing Myth And Realities

1

It is commonly believed myth that personality testing instruments can measure your personality and predict your future behaviors. The pre-employment testing mechanism has been following this creed without any solid evidence. The testing industry claims all out validity. The educational institutions and employer organizations use them for screening purposes. Their transparency and equity has even convinced the courts of law.

But it is still an unresolved riddle; what do they test?

Do they test personality? What is personality then? What is its nature? How does it come into existence? Is it outcome of evolution? Does matter has capability to generate a personality? Why animals don’t have a personality? Does it remain the same during whole of your life? And many more questions.

It is like peeling off an onion. Every strip leads to many more. Finally you get a heap of onion strips. Where is the onion?

But personality is not an onion…

Allport has recorded hundreds of different definitions. Most of the psychologists equate it to your style, behaviors and reactions. They have devised instruments to measure these main areas. The collected data about your behaviors and temperaments help them to decide your career. You may organize your behaviors in future but you may never be able to go for a career of your passion.

Why?

Experts like to predict. They predict weather. They predict political situations. They predict economic conditions. They predict your future with signs, numbers, cards or palms. And they predict your future performance with the help of personality testing instruments.

What’s Your Personality?

———————–

It is well recognized fact that every human being has a personality. It is not merely your physical body. It is not merely your consciousness. It is not merely your ego. It is not merely your behaviors. It is not merely your physical expression. It is not merely your style. It is not merely your temperament.

But they all and many other characteristics are expressions of your personality.

I don’t find it wise to define personality. Admittedly it is an abstract reality. You get it with your birth. You can either develop it or disintegrate. Your style, behaviors and reactions are expressions of your developed, undeveloped or under-developed personality.

How do you look? How do you react? How do you talk? How do you live? How do you think? They all are expressions of your personality. The psychometrics measures these expressions and not your personality.

The abstract nature of personality can neither be measured nor be analyzed with any scientific or non-scientific tool. It can only be visualized. It can be developed. It can be disintegrated. Your thinking and doing makes all out the difference. A developed personality gives better style, behaviors and reactions than an undeveloped one.

Why Psychometrics are Getting Popular?

—————————————

The very first reason is that every one wants to know who he is.

But bigger reason of their massive use is just a desire of the employers to avoid bad-hire. They get hundreds of applications for a single situation. They are the only available tools to avoid idiosyncrasies.

They don’t have alternatives for psychometrics.

Tests are going to stay. Whether you are trying to be admitted for a specific discipline or looking for your dream job, you are going to encounter psychometrics at one stage or the others. You need to prepare before encountering them.

How to Prepare for Personality Testing Sessions?

———————————————–

Keep in mind…

Personality is an amazing entity. You can think. You can visualize. You can discover. You can express. You can plan. You can create. You have unlimited hidden potentials. But your selected options on paper are going to decide your future.

You should practice offline and online personality tests before encountering a real session. Your practice shall not only make them familiar to you but also generate a list of your strengths and weaknesses. You can improve them with your conscious effort.

However, it is much more important to learn how different personality and aptitude tests measure expressions of your personality. What theories are working behind them? How do they relate different jobs with different types? This knowledge shall make it a lot easier to encounter psychometrics.

The Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Dsm Pros And Cons

fotolia_35644230

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fourth edition, text revision [American Psychiatric Association. DSM-IV-TR, Washington, 2000] – or the DSM-IV-TR for short – describes Axis II personality disorders as “deeply ingrained, maladaptive, lifelong behavior patterns”. But the classificatory model the DSM has been using since 1952 is harshly criticized as woefully inadequate by many scholars and practitioners.

The DSM is categorical. It states that personality disorders are “qualitatively distinct clinical syndromes” (p. 689). But this is by no means widely accepted. As we saw in my previous article and blog entry, the professionals cannot even agree on what constitutes “normal” and how to distinguish it from the “disordered” and the “abnormal”. The DSM does not provide a clear “threshold” or “critical mass” beyond which the subject should be considered mentally ill.

Moreover, the DSM’s diagnostic criteria are ploythetic. In other words, suffice it to satisfy only a subset of the criteria to diagnose a personality disorder. Thus, people diagnosed with the same personality disorder may share only one criterion or none. This diagnostic heterogeneity (great variance) is unacceptable and non-scientific.

In another article we deal with the five diagnostic axes employed by the DSM to capture the way clinical syndromes (such as anxiety, mood, and eating disorders), general medical conditions, psychosocial and environmental problems, chronic childhood and developmental problems, and functional issues interact with personality disorders.

Yet, the DSM’s “laundry lists” obscure rather than clarify the interactions between the various axes. As a result, the differential diagnoses that are supposed to help us distinguish one personality disorder from all others, are vague. In psych-parlance: the personality disorders are insufficiently demarcated. This unfortunate state of affairs leads to excessive co-morbidity: multiple personality disorders diagnosed in the same subject. Thus, psychopaths (Antisocial Personality Disorder) are often also diagnosed as narcissists (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) or borderlines (Borderline Personality Disorder).

The DSM also fails to distinguish between personality, personality traits, character, temperament, personality styles (Theodore Millon’s contribution) and full-fledged personality disorders. It does not accommodate personality disorders induced by circumstances (reactive personality disorders, such as Milman’s proposed “Acquired Situational Narcissism”). Nor does it efficaciously cope with personality disorders that are the result of medical conditions (such as brain injuries, metabolic conditions, or protracted poisoning). The DSM had to resort to classifying some personality disorders as NOS “not otherwise specified”, a catchall, meaningless, unhelpful, and dangerously vague diagnostic “category”.

One of the reasons for this dismal taxonomy is the dearth of research and rigorously documented clinical experience regarding both the disorders and various treatment modalities. Read this week’s article to learn about the DSM’s other great failing: many of the personality disorders are “culture-bound”. They reflect social and contemporary biases, values, and prejudices rather than authentic and invariable psychological constructs and entities.

The DSM-IV-TR distances itself from the categorical model and hints at the emergence of an alternative: the dimensional approach:

“An alternative to the categorical approach is the dimensional perspective that Personality Disorders represent maladaptive variants of personality traits that merge imperceptibly into normality and into one another” (p.689)

According to the deliberations of the DSM V Committee, the next edition of this work of reference (due to be published in 2010) will tackle these long neglected issues:

The longitudinal course of the disorder(s) and their temporal stability from early childhood onwards;

The genetic and biological underpinnings of personality disorder(s);

The development of personality psychopathology during childhood and its emergence in adolescence;

The interactions between physical health and disease and personality disorders;

The effectiveness of various treatments – talk therapies as well as psychopharmacology.

Highly Sensitive People Traits And Characteristics

1

One in every twenty people is considered to be a highly sensitive person (HSP). This means that either you yourself may be sensitive or someone you know is. 42% of the population is not highly sensitive, meaning that most things don’t bother them the way they will an HSP. Everyone else falls somewhere in between, with the odd few being completely unemotional about anything. (By the way – 20% of the entire animal kingdom is highly-sensitive as well).

Who are HSP’s and What Are They Like?

Who are HSP’s? We’re the thinkers, the cautious ones, the conservative people; the ones that say “Hey, wait a minute. Let’s think this through before doing something rash.”

Every society needs highly sensitive people, just as we need the warriors, the leaders who are ready to take the risks. However, we’re the ones that help to temper the not-so-sensitive types, the ones who can be bold, rash and impulsive and may have not thought things through to the consequences of their actions. Highly sensitive people are most often the people found in the roles of advisors, counselors and advocators for restraint.

Unfortunately, in western society, we’ve also been labeled as somewhat “defective”, according the way non-hsp’s see us. We’re considered “too sensitive, too cautious, too shy, too timid, too introverted, too fearful.” What needs to be realized is that these are not “problems” that need to be corrected and fixed with sensitive people. It’s the labels that are attached to us that cause the problems. Many non-sensitive people are also shy, timid, introverted and fearful, while there are many highly sensitive people who are out-going, super-friendly, extroverted, and risk-takers. We just tend to think things through first and weigh all the factors that our senses pick up on before forging ahead.

Traits and Characteristics Misinterpreted

So, what are some of the traits and characteristics of a highly sensitive person? Let’s look at some of the facts and the mythical labels that have been attached to this special group.

Shyness – You’ll probably find a larger portion of shy people in the HSP group. That does not mean that everyone is shy. That’s a myth. A lot of non-sensitive people are also shy. Sometimes, what’s mistaken as shyness is actually a sizing up of the situation and the people that we have just met. We’re cautious. If our senses are saying something isn’t right about the person, we won’t be so open to them. First impressions count. It’s not just the way the person is dressed, but their whole demeanor, aura, attitude and other little subtleties that we absorb with all of our senses. We process the thoughts, feelings and sensations that we receive in each new situation. This may make some of us appear “shy”, when we’re not.

Introverted – Another myth. You’ll find many HSP’s can be extroverted, out-going and fun-loving. You’ll also find many non-sensitive people as being introverted. Don’t mistake deep-thinking and inner-reflection as introversion. We do require much more alone time. This is because our nervous systems can go into over-load in a situation that a non-sensitive person would find somewhat stimulating. If we become frazzled and over-stimulated, we need to find a quiet spot as soon as possible to settle back down. This is why many HSP’s tend to stay at home more often than not, rather than go out to party. It’s not that we don’t want to… we just know our systems can’t handle the overload for too long a time. If we can’t get away, we’ll pull into ourselves, as a sort of protective shield, to try to reduce the noise, sights, sounds and smells that are bombarding us in order to calm down.

Fearfulness – Unless you’re completely unemotional and have a lack of conscious consideration toward others, who can say that they’ve never been fearful at times? This is not an exclusive trait of sensitive people. New experiences often cause butterflies, fearful thoughts and inner-turmoil in most people. HSP’s just tend to feel those emotions more deeply.

Timidness – Caution, careful evaluation of the situation, needing the see the “entire picture”, and the possible resulting consequences of our actions is just in our nature. If everyone heedlessly rushed into everything, we’d have even more chaos in our world than we do now.

Too-Sensitive – Yes, this is our major trait. We assimilate everything around us at once. Lights, noises, smells, energy vibrations, they all get absorbed, processed and evaluated. Unfortunately when there’s too much activity and noise around us, we can’t handle it for a great length of time. For example, what may be a low to moderate level of music for a non-sensitive person could sound like the level of a rock concert to us. Emotionally, we’re affected by much of the disharmony in the world. We feel another person’s heartache, we are aware of low levels of anger or resentment in a room, we empathize with other people’s problems, and feel great sorrow over horrific tragedies.

What Does All This Mean?

A highly sensitive person will pick up on subtleties in the surroundings that many non-sensitive people can’t see or feel. This can give us some great advantages. It can save us in many situations where there’s trouble brewing. Our abilities can keep us from making disastrous business or personal decisions, if we follow our instincts. And because of our deep sense of the environment around us, we’re often the ones that make others aware of potential environmental problems that unscrupulous companies ignore for their own benefits. HSP’s are often the ones that push for reforms and changes in government law for the better good of everyone.

As with anything, it’s good to know that you’re not alone, that there are others out there that have to deal with the same types of situations and “labels” as you do. True, it doesn’t hurt any less, but you know there are similar types that you can seek out and talk to…and they’ll understand. Yes, we do tend to exhibit more of the above traits and characterisitcs than non-sensitive people do, but we’re not exclusive owners of them either. Sometimes, it’s a misinterpetation of what’s really going on in the mind of an HSP by non-HSP’s. Only another highly sensitive person could really understand. The good news is that highly sensitive people have been around for as long as man has walked the earth… and we’ll always be here, working to make the world a more understanding, considerate and peaceful haven for everyone.

What Is Hypno Psychotherapy

1

Psychotherapy

Psychology is the study of human behaviour. It seeks to look at the motivational drives within an individual and offer an explanation to the behaviour that is demonstrated.

Psychotherapy is the use and application of psychological knowledge to help people understand themselves and begin to make appropriate changes, or to be comfortable with who they are.

Psychotherapy has several different theoretical models that have developed over time, the most commonly known being psycho-analysis. The therapy that I practise uses some of the best ideas from these differing schools of thought in order to help people achieve not only a rapid rate of improvement but also a lasting one. It has its basis in a cognitive-analytical model that seeks to look at the process behind thought, and understand how it has developed, and of course how to change negative thought processes into positive ones.

Hypnosis

Hypnosis is a very effective method of treatment. It is a state of altered consciousness with increased and heightened awareness, which is often accompanied by deep relaxation; this in itself can be beneficial. Contrary to popular belief it does not involve becoming unconscious and has nothing to do with sleep.

Hypnosis cannot be forced upon people, but it is a state which people allow themselves to enter.

It is important to understand that, during hypnosis, people cannot be forced to do things that they would choose not to do. Hypnosis or “trance” as it is often referred to is similar to the experience of day dreaming, when you lose a sense of time and may without thought continue a task that routinely requires concentration, such as driving from one place to another but not actually remembering the journey. This is an example of an altered state of consciousness that we experience every day of our lives.

What is Hypno-psychotherapy?

Hypno-psychotherapy is the practice of psychotherapy with applied hypnosis being the primary approach. The United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy, the lead body for the provision of Psychotherapy in the United Kingdom, recognises the practice of hypno-psychotherapy.

Both hypnotherapy and hypno-psychotherapy utilise hypnosis in a therapeutic form, however an individual that only practises as a hypnotherapist may not have undertaken training in psychotherapeutic theory and practice.

For therapists to be able to register with United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy requires an extensive programme of 4 years training.

Short courses of study that are readily available may give an insight into the techniques and practice of hypnosis, but they do not in themselves enable the practitioner to be able to address all forms of presenting problems.

It is strongly advised that anyone seeking any form of therapy investigates the qualifications and registrations of the practitioners they approach for treatment.

A United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy registered therapist will always provide information relating to their qualifications and registrations if requested.

Why Do People Think Mind Control Is Bad

fotolia_61252036

Here’s a question for you:

Why do people think mind control is “bad”?

People shudder at the thought of mind control because they live under the belief that there is a “free will”. They are scared to think that they don’t have control. Yet the truth is we never have complete control.

Being the beasties that we are we’ve lived, died and evolved based on what gives us the most control. Control is important, vital to our survival, self image and self esteem. But, in many cases control is an illusion.

There are levels to how much control we do have and the things within our control. And while we don’t have control in many areas we will often deny that fact with a passion.

Being able to Control our own thoughts and emotions is one of the most difficult things anyone can do. But those individuals who know how people respond and react use that knowledge to control and manipulate us all the time. That’s why advertising is such a big industry.

While mind control may be an unpleasant fact it isn’t “bad” because as human beings wanting control we will resort to anything that gives themselves an advantage.

One factor in our evolution is determined by how much more in control we become. Perhaps the next level of evolution is to know that we can be controlled and are always under some subtle influence without our knowing.

How would we begin to evolve if instead of fighting the fact that we are subject to mind control we accepted it? This would be the difference between working to understand our limitations and denying them.

This is a fundamental difference between me and the PCT (Paranoid Conspiracy Theorists). For me that we are subject to mind control creates awe, not fear.

To make a personal evolution of sorts, the only thing you can do is know that people are using mind control on us all the time and try to be aware of it. We should also be aware that most of the mind control is so well executed it will likely pass right by us without even a warning.

On an individual level we should also use what we know of mind control to your advantage. This means making an effort to understand human psychology and our own personal psychology. Only then can we truly evolve beneath the omnipresent specter of mind control.

Serial Killers

1

Countess Erszebet Bathory was a breathtakingly beautiful, unusually well-educated woman, married to a descendant of Vlad Dracula of Bram Stoker fame. In 1611, she was tried – though, being a noblewoman, not convicted – in Hungary for slaughtering 612 young girls. The true figure may have been 40-100, though the Countess recorded in her diary more than 610 girls and 50 bodies were found in her estate when it was raided.

The Countess was notorious as an inhuman sadist long before her hygienic fixation. She once ordered the mouth of a talkative servant sewn. It is rumoured that in her childhood she witnessed a gypsy being sewn into a horse’s stomach and left to die.

The girls were not killed outright. They were kept in a dungeon and repeatedly pierced, prodded, pricked, and cut. The Countess may have bitten chunks of flesh off their bodies while alive. She is said to have bathed and showered in their blood in the mistaken belief that she could thus slow down the aging process.

Her servants were executed, their bodies burnt and their ashes scattered. Being royalty, she was merely confined to her bedroom until she died in 1614. For a hundred years after her death, by royal decree, mentioning her name in Hungary was a crime.

Cases like Barothy’s give the lie to the assumption that serial killers are a modern – or even post-modern – phenomenon, a cultural-societal construct, a by-product of urban alienation, Althusserian interpellation, and media glamorization. Serial killers are, indeed, largely made, not born. But they are spawned by every culture and society, molded by the idiosyncrasies of every period as well as by their personal circumstances and genetic makeup.

Still, every crop of serial killers mirrors and reifies the pathologies of the milieu, the depravity of the Zeitgeist, and the malignancies of the Leitkultur. The choice of weapons, the identity and range of the victims, the methodology of murder, the disposal of the bodies, the geography, the sexual perversions and paraphilias – are all informed and inspired by the slayer’s environment, upbringing, community, socialization, education, peer group, sexual orientation, religious convictions, and personal narrative. Movies like “Born Killers”, “Man Bites Dog”, “Copycat”, and the Hannibal Lecter series captured this truth.

Serial killers are the quiddity and quintessence of malignant narcissism.

Yet, to some degree, we all are narcissists. Primary narcissism is a universal and inescapable developmental phase. Narcissistic traits are common and often culturally condoned. To this extent, serial killers are merely our reflection through a glass darkly.

In their book “Personality Disorders in Modern Life”, Theodore Millon and Roger Davis attribute pathological narcissism to “a society that stresses individualism and self-gratification at the expense of community … In an individualistic culture, the narcissist is ‘God’s gift to the world’. In a collectivist society, the narcissist is ‘God’s gift to the collective’”.

Lasch described the narcissistic landscape thus (in “The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an age of Diminishing Expectations”, 1979):

“The new narcissist is haunted not by guilt but by anxiety. He seeks not to inflict his own certainties on others but to find a meaning in life. Liberated from the superstitions of the past, he doubts even the reality of his own existence … His sexual attitudes are permissive rather than puritanical, even though his emancipation from ancient taboos brings him no sexual peace.

Fiercely competitive in his demand for approval and acclaim, he distrusts competition because he associates it unconsciously with an unbridled urge to destroy … He (harbours) deeply antisocial impulses. He praises respect for rules and regulations in the secret belief that they do not apply to himself. Acquisitive in the sense that his cravings have no limits, he … demands immediate gratification and lives in a state of restless, perpetually unsatisfied desire.”

The narcissist’s pronounced lack of empathy, off-handed exploitativeness, grandiose fantasies and uncompromising sense of entitlement make him treat all people as though they were objects (he “objectifies” people). The narcissist regards others as either useful conduits for and sources of narcissistic supply (attention, adulation, etc.) – or as extensions of himself.

Similarly, serial killers often mutilate their victims and abscond with trophies – usually, body parts. Some of them have been known to eat the organs they have ripped – an act of merging with the dead and assimilating them through digestion. They treat their victims as some children do their rag dolls.

Killing the victim – often capturing him or her on film before the murder – is a form of exerting unmitigated, absolute, and irreversible control over it. The serial killer aspires to “freeze time” in the still perfection that he has choreographed. The victim is motionless and defenseless. The killer attains long sought “object permanence”. The victim is unlikely to run on the serial assassin, or vanish as earlier objects in the killer’s life (e.g., his parents) have done.

In malignant narcissism, the true self of the narcissist is replaced by a false construct, imbued with omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. The narcissist’s thinking is magical and infantile. He feels immune to the consequences of his own actions. Yet, this very source of apparently superhuman fortitude is also the narcissist’s Achilles heel.

The narcissist’s personality is chaotic. His defense mechanisms are primitive. The whole edifice is precariously balanced on pillars of denial, splitting, projection, rationalization, and projective identification. Narcissistic injuries – life crises, such as abandonment, divorce, financial difficulties, incarceration, public opprobrium – can bring the whole thing tumbling down. The narcissist cannot afford to be rejected, spurned, insulted, hurt, resisted, criticized, or disagreed with.

Likewise, the serial killer is trying desperately to avoid a painful relationship with his object of desire. He is terrified of being abandoned or humiliated, exposed for what he is and then discarded. Many killers often have sex – the ultimate form of intimacy – with the corpses of their victims. Objectification and mutilation allow for unchallenged possession.

Devoid of the ability to empathize, permeated by haughty feelings of superiority and uniqueness, the narcissist cannot put himself in someone else’s shoes, or even imagine what it means. The very experience of being human is alien to the narcissist whose invented False Self is always to the fore, cutting him off from the rich panoply of human emotions.

Thus, the narcissist believes that all people are narcissists. Many serial killers believe that killing is the way of the world. Everyone would kill if they could or were given the chance to do so. Such killers are convinced that they are more honest and open about their desires and, thus, morally superior. They hold others in contempt for being conforming hypocrites, cowed into submission by an overweening establishment or society.

The narcissist seeks to adapt society in general – and meaningful others in particular – to his needs. He regards himself as the epitome of perfection, a yardstick against which he measures everyone, a benchmark of excellence to be emulated. He acts the guru, the sage, the “psychotherapist”, the “expert”, the objective observer of human affairs. He diagnoses the “faults” and “pathologies” of people around him and “helps” them “improve”, “change”, “evolve”, and “succeed” – i.e., conform to the narcissist’s vision and wishes.

Serial killers also “improve” their victims – slain, intimate objects – by “purifying” them, removing “imperfections”, depersonalizing and dehumanizing them. This type of killer saves its victims from degeneration and degradation, from evil and from sin, in short: from a fate worse than death.

The killer’s megalomania manifests at this stage. He claims to possess, or have access to, higher knowledge and morality. The killer is a special being and the victim is “chosen” and should be grateful for it. The killer often finds the victim’s ingratitude irritating, though sadly predictable.

In his seminal work, “Aberrations of Sexual Life” (originally: “Psychopathia Sexualis”), quoted in the book “Jack the Ripper” by Donald Rumbelow, Kraft-Ebbing offers this observation:

“The perverse urge in murders for pleasure does not solely aim at causing the victim pain and – most acute injury of all – death, but that the real meaning of the action consists in, to a certain extent, imitating, though perverted into a monstrous and ghastly form, the act of defloration. It is for this reason that an essential component … is the employment of a sharp cutting weapon; the victim has to be pierced, slit, even chopped up … The chief wounds are inflicted in the stomach region and, in many cases, the fatal cuts run from the vagina into the abdomen. In boys an artificial vagina is even made … One can connect a fetishistic element too with this process of hacking … inasmuch as parts of the body are removed and … made into a collection.”

Yet, the sexuality of the serial, psychopathic, killer is self-directed. His victims are props, extensions, aides, objects, and symbols. He interacts with them ritually and, either before or after the act, transforms his diseased inner dialog into a self-consistent extraneous catechism. The narcissist is equally auto-erotic. In the sexual act, he merely masturbates with other – living – people’s bodies.

The narcissist’s life is a giant repetition complex. In a doomed attempt to resolve early conflicts with significant others, the narcissist resorts to a restricted repertoire of coping strategies, defense mechanisms, and behaviors. He seeks to recreate his past in each and every new relationship and interaction. Inevitably, the narcissist is invariably confronted with the same outcomes. This recurrence only reinforces the narcissist’s rigid reactive patterns and deep-set beliefs. It is a vicious, intractable, cycle.

Correspondingly, in some cases of serial killers, the murder ritual seemed to have recreated earlier conflicts with meaningful objects, such as parents, authority figures, or peers. The outcome of the replay is different to the original, though. This time, the killer dominates the situation.

The killings allow him to inflict abuse and trauma on others rather than be abused and traumatized. He outwits and taunts figures of authority – the police, for instance. As far as the killer is concerned, he is merely “getting back” at society for what it did to him. It is a form of poetic justice, a balancing of the books, and, therefore, a “good” thing. The murder is cathartic and allows the killer to release hitherto repressed and pathologically transformed aggression – in the form of hate, rage, and envy.

But repeated acts of escalating gore fail to alleviate the killer’s overwhelming anxiety and depression. He seeks to vindicate his negative introjects and sadistic superego by being caught and punished. The serial killer tightens the proverbial noose around his neck by interacting with law enforcement agencies and the media and thus providing them with clues as to his identity and whereabouts. When apprehended, most serial assassins experience a great sense of relief.

Serial killers are not the only objectifiers – people who treat others as objects. To some extent, leaders of all sorts – political, military, or corporate – do the same. In a range of demanding professions – surgeons, medical doctors, judges, law enforcement agents – objectification efficiently fends off attendant horror and anxiety.

Yet, serial killers are different. They represent a dual failure – of their own development as full-fledged, productive individuals – and of the culture and society they grow in. In a pathologically narcissistic civilization – social anomies proliferate. Such societies breed malignant objectifiers – people devoid of empathy – also known as “narcissists”.