Tag Archives: malignant narcissism

Amazon Review, Emotional Manipulation and The Human Magnet Syndrome

I decided to publish both the review and my response to it to further educate others on the topics discussed in both my book The Human Magnet Syndrome, and my work that followed it.

First, I present you the actual unedited review.  Then, my response.

THE REVIEW

“It would be an excellent book if it were not for the authors accusatory terminology and then his justification of the same. I read this book because I am currently in divorce proceedings from my -4 co-dependent and, as I once believed she was my soul mate, wanted to understand her in order to harbor no ill feelings regarding the termination of our marriage.. So okay, I am on the plus side of the authors scale. The label the uses for anyone on the plus side is “emotional abuser.” While co-dependent is widely used (although not a psychiatric diagnosis, ) to the best of my knowledge this author is the only one who uses the terminology “emotional abuser” to describe anyone on the positive side of his scale. He then uses the 3 most negatively connotative psychiatric personality disorders (borderline, narcissistic, antisocial) to further his cause.

He then goes on to write that if your insulted by being called an emotionally abusive borderline pain in the ass jerk narcissist with antisocial (possibly criminal) tendencies it is because you are impossible to fix and don’t want to look at how totally screwed up you really are and this just proves his theory. Who is the emotional abuser now?

Okay, so in fairness, let’s see how many books he can sell if he changes the name of those clustered on the negative side of his scale. How about instead of “co-dependent” he calls them….I don’t know…how about…I got it….”doormat martyrs” and parallels their condition with the dependent, histrionic, and avoidant personality disorders. I am sure that if they take offence at this it is just a defense mechanism they are using to deny their condition.”

MY RESPONSE

Many reviews like yours help me explain my work even further. So I thank you for yours.

There is a long story about the term “Emotional Manipulator” and “Emotional Manipulation,” but it will suffice to say that I never wanted that term to be used for narcissists/narcissism. The publisher did research and determined that term was “sexy” and would draw people to my seminars.  To get the gig, I reluctantly agreed to swap my term “Pathological Narcissism (ASPD, BPD, NPD and active addicts) with “Emotional Manipulator.”  I did my best, however, to delineate in The Human Magnet Sydrome book,  that “Emotional Manipulators” specifically meant what I now consider “Pathogical Narcissism.”

In addition to not liking the simple use of “Emotional Manipulators,” all  of my work before my HMS book and what followed it, clarified that codependents and narcissists can be both emotionally manipulative or an “emotional manipulator,” when understood according to the denotative sense of the term.   I even created the term subcategories to account for manipulative codependents (Active Codependency), to illustrate how this subgroup can be manipulative.   More about this category can be found in my YouTube video, Codependents Can Be Manipulative.  Understanding Active and Passive Codependency.

You will find that I have not used the “emotional manipulator term for over 4 years.”  I also dumped the term “codependent” as it was less descriptive the real problem/person than I desired and had unnecessary stigmatizing and pejorative impact on the “codependent.”  The book’s 2nd edition which is available in French and Spanish has all of these changes.  The English version won’t be available until 4/18 due to the contract i signed with the publisher.

As much as I want to sell books, I have not sold out out used terms that do match my personal and clinical experience (psychotherapist for 30 years).  As much as I am into marketing myself and my products, I will not create content that isn’t accurate, research based, or helpful to both the clientele I am writing about or the practitioners who are helping them.  Simply, my book and my other material are not created for Pathological Narcissists.  I am writing for the victims of narcissistic abuse.  I don’t even try to be open and fair to this population.  I just try to be accurate about the problem of Self-Love Deficit Disorder (formerly “codependency” and narcissistic abuse.

To your paragraph: “He then goes on to write that if your insulted…”  Clinical research hundreds of books written on NPD, ASPD, BPD, confirm that these Pathological Narcissists are resistive to seeking help because they deny having the problems others accuse them of having.  Moreover, their psychological makeup is extremely fragile; so much so, the mere suggestion that they are responsible for harm they perpetrated, triggers (activates) a narcissistic injury, which manifests in some form of aversive or punishing response.  Most reactions like these are projections, which are the placement of one’s unconscious or disassociated core shame onto the person who challenges, corrects them or tries to hold them accountable.  So, I am not sure why you consider me an “emotional abuser” by stating clinical facts that are irrefutable?

Lastly, since you identified your partner as having a (-4) Continuum of Self Value, and I assume you are correct, then you would be a (+4) narcissist.  If this is the case, then, according to my Human Magnet/Continuum of Self Theories), you have some insight into your narcissism.  Such is evidenced by your 3 star review and a fairly balanced review of my book.  Considering you read my book and subcribe to the Human Magnet Syndrome nad Continuum of Self Theory, then you must me a (+4).  If this is the case, then you clearly have some insight into your problems and could benefit from psychotherapy.

As I say repeatedly in The Human Magnet Syndrome, “it takes two to dance;” both parties share responsibility in their dysfunctional relationship.  Therefore, I hope you seek psychotherapy so that you too can experience increased levels of self-love and mental health.

Thank you again for review.

Sincerely,

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT
Clinical Care Consultants Owner
Self-Love Recovery Institute Owner
Psychotherapist, Author & Professional Trainer
Author of The Human Magnet Syndrome

Creator of “The Codependency Cure: Recovering from Self-Love Deficit Disorder” seminar (and upcoming book)

SELF LOVE RECOVERY INSTITUTE                         

Did You Vote for An Iceberg. The Danger that Lurks Ahead. The Trump Presidency

DID YOU VOTE FOR AN ICEBERG?

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT

TITANIC TRUMP

Most, if not all politicians are inherently self-serving, dishonest and moderately to patho- logically narcissistic. Successful ones win elections because they are able to create a praiseworthy image while secretly stowing away and hiding their truer ambitions and secrets. Often, the public is informed about factual (not contrived) secrets, lies, private affairs, or even mental health issues, is when a person with an agenda publishes, reports, or leaks it to public. Whether it is a news organization wanting to raise ad revenue or individuals or groups who are motivated to create a smear or propaganda campaign, most of this “fake news” has just one purpose: to manipulate us to believe one candidate will cure the ills of our society, while instilling doubt, fear, paranoia that the other will hurt us. Such propaganda peddlers are successful because they craftily prey on our emotions, especially fear, so that we believe their guy will be our savior and the other, the devil incarnate. To solve this scourge, we must vigilantly discern truth from fiction while taking the time and expending the energy to critically think about the “news” that is fed to us. Let us not forget that shiny, sparkly and harmless seeming chunk of ice, may actually be a Titanic sinking iceberg.

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT
Clinical Care Consultants Owner
Advanced Clinical Trainers Owner
Psychotherapist, Author & Professional Trainer
Author of The Human Magnet Syndrome

Creator of “The Codependency Cure: Recovering from Self-Love Deficit Disorder” seminar (and upcoming book)

                         

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT

www.AdvancedClinicalTrainers.com

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DON’T USE MY BOOK TO FIGHT A NARCISSIST! You Will Lose, I Promise.

 

Male hand holding a fake pistol with red flag isolated on white background.

DON’T USE MY BOOK TO FIGHT YOUR NARCISSIST!  You Will Lose, I Promise. 

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT

I am so grateful to the many people who have told me that my book was life-changing.  Having such a positive impact on the human condition is my teenager “gonna change the world” dream come true.  I couldn’t be happier!

My book was written to inspire and motivate people to understand their part in the dysfunctional dance they have been irresistibly drawn into their whole life.  It WAS NOT written to be used as a defensive or offensive strategy in dealing with harmful pathological narcissists (PNarcs).

The “codependent” and “narcissistic” designations in The Human Magnet Syndrome were designed to identify a very serious personal and relational problem so the reader would be motivated to get help to disconnect from it.  The book was never intended to be used as a retaliatory weapon to be used by angry, vindictive and/or controlling codependents, or what I now refer to as individuals with Self-Love Deficit Disorder (SLDD).  Similarly, it wasn’t written to be used as a countermeasure against narcissistic harm.

The mere mentioning of my book to a PNarc is almost always counterproductive, as it will ALWAYS trigger a negative reaction, no matter how much you believe otherwise. I strongly suggest to never give a copy of my book to PNarc. Never! It will always trigger a narcissistic injury and set up a dysfunctional interaction, or dance, where the PNarc has complete control and the person with Self-Love Deficit Disorder does not.   If a PNarc learns of discovers or is told that their partner is reading my book, they react in one of two manners

  1. They exhibit various forms of vindictive and indignant rage, which compels them to openly intimidate, manipulate, and consequently sabotage their partners attempt at SLDD recovery.
  2. This is the more insidious and harmful reaction, that is common with Covert and Malignant Narcissists. In this scenario, the PNarc covertly executes a plan of sabotage and dis-empowerment, which may include gas lighting, mind-manipulation, and continued brainwashing.

The latter is more dangerous, as the PNarc is allowed to maintain their victim role, while manipulating their partner to believe that they have the problems, not them. In these cases, some of my clients, in the beginning of therapy, are convinced that they are the PNarc and their significant other the SLD. Believe it or not, a few of these client’s PNarc read my book, and then gave it to their partner with the continued brainwashing narrative that they are the “codependent” and their partner the “narcissist.”

 

Plain and simple, ANY SUGGESTION THAT THE NARCISSIST IS AT FAULT will elicit a narcissistic injury.  Giving them my book, or referring to it, while telling them you are SLD or codependent, is and will cause them to react in one of two ways.  One, they will project onto you that you are the narcissist and they the codependent; or, two, they will be triggered with a narcissistic injury, and subsequently rage against you for the comment or suggestion.  You will be the target of their unmitigated fury and vitriolic criticisms, and they will punish you.

The following excerpt from the Human Magnet Syndrome exemplifies the predictable negative response that PNarcs have to my work.

“According to their verbal and/or written feedback, they feel the seminar is offensive, ill-conceived, biased and even absurd. In particular, they are quite bothered by what they perceive as prejudice. These participants hear me say that codependents are the victims and emotional manipulators are the perpetrators of their dysfunctional relationships. Nothing could be further from the truth, as the training (and this book) specifically details how both the codependent and the emotional manipulator are equally willing magnets in their dysfunctional “dance.” The codependent’s tendency to find harmful partners and remain with them cannot and should not be blamed on emotional manipulators, or vice versa.

It would appear that the severe reactions from my audience are likely products of a narcissistic injury, which occurs when the narcissistic individual felt criticized, judged or defeated.’ 

‘Anger and defensiveness are the common reactions of a narcissistically-injured emotional manipulator, as they feel offended, degraded and/or humiliated when confronted about their wrongdoings.” (Rosenberg, 2013).

Depending on the PNarc’s sub-type or diagnosis, their narcissistically prompted rage will be either delivered directly (“in your face”) or passive aggressively/covertly, which is the common strategy by Covert Narcissists and Malignant Narcissists.  The covert and passive aggressive form of the narcissistic injury is more harmful than the reactions from the garden variety overt narcissists.  They deliver maximum damage to the triggering (activating) SLD because of the invisible, secretive and manipulative nature of their counter-attack.  Examples include triangulation of family, friends or co-workers, in order to promote their victim narrative.

Sadly, and ironically, the mere fact of fighting for what SLDs most want and need— unconditional love, respect and care (LRC)[i]—results in the loss of it. Once in a relationship with a PNarc, any attempts to control or coerce[ii] the narcissist into loving, respecting and caring for the SLD are quickly offset by a dizzying array of self-serving manipulative countermeasures.  These come in various forms, depending on your PNarc’s subtype.  Unfortunately, as long as codependents fight for LRC in a manner that renders them powerless and ineffectual, they are virtually guaranteed never to receive it.

I learned 22 years ago that setting boundaries, resolving conflict, and defending myself from a PNarc was a complicated and dangerous endeavor that left me feeling worse than I felt before the ordeal.  I was surprised to learn that my repeated and unsuccessful attempts to control my PNarc’s neglectful and harmful treatment were the primary interactional components of our relationship.  My behavior was so automatic and reflexive that I was completely oblivious to it.  Adding insult to injury, the only predictable outcome of my control compulsion was feelings of shame, loneliness, anxiety, and anger.

We must learn that PNarcs are never the primary problem.  Instead, it is a SLD’s distorted and delusional belief system that compels them to keep trying to change and control their PNarc partner, who has a great deal riding on not letting you succeed.  Despite ample evidence that SLDs can rarely effectively and consistently control their Pnarcs, they blindly continue.

In conclusion, please do not use my book or other works to wage a battle against your PNarc.  In the words of George Bernard Shaw, I beseech you to Observe and Don’t Absorb your PNarc into oblivion!

I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig.
You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it!
George Bernard

Ross Rosenberg is a licensed clinical professional counselor and professional trainer. He is the author of The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us. Contact him at info@advancedclinicaltrainers.com

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT © 2016
Clinical Care Consultants Owner
Advanced Clinical Trainers Owner
Psychotherapist, Author & Professional Trainer
Author of The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us

                  

Malignant Narcissism (from The Human Magnet Syndrome 2013)

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Malignant Narcissism (from Rosenberg’s Human Magnet Syndrome Book 2013)

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT

In 1984, Dr. Otto Kernberg, a Cornell University psychoanalyst, coined the diagnostic term “malignant narcissism.” Kernberg believed that there is a narcissism continuum, with NPD at the low end, and malignant narcissism with psychopathic features at the high end. Malignant narcissism appears to be a hybrid of NPD, as it is a combination of four pathological extremes: narcissism, psychopathy, sadism and paranoia. Even with the other forms of psychopathology, they are still distinctly narcissistic as they demonstrate most narcissistic traits/symptoms. The difference, though, is that malignant narcissists are able to force their grandiose fantasies onto others.

Like NPDs, they are entitled and grandiose. However, malignant narcissists take it to a more extreme level because they believe they have a special destiny in life. By believing in their special status or destiny, their extreme sense of entitlement and grandiosity in their relationships is reinforced. They are outwardly selfish and unapologetic, while also feeling compelled to direct the lives around them. They are often suspicious of others, especially those who could remove them from their position of power. They are belligerent and scheming, while manipulatively casting themselves as the injured party. They often rise to influence by claiming they are victims of oppression. As a direct result of their beguiling charm and calculating nature, they are able to sympathetically rally support for their cause. With legions of dedicated followers, they are able to lead and inspire rebellions, which in turn secure their leadership and power structure.

Because malignant narcissists are fundamentally insecure and paranoid in their relationships, they counter by maintaining complete and total control of others. With a rise to power through popular support, they believe there is a mandate for them to maintain power and strict control over their legions of followers. Once they have achieved control, they will do almost anything to maintain it, including rape, murder, and even genocide. As a direct result of their paranoid and psychopathic tendencies, they challenge, defy, demean and even murder anyone who is either an authority figure or has the power to hurt them. Examples of malignant narcissists include Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Muammar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein.

Malignant narcissists are known to be emotionally, physically and/or sexually abusive and will purposely and maliciously harm others. Their cruel and harmful treatment of others is reinforced by their need to maintain power, control, and a sense of superiority over others. Although they seem similar to psychopaths or those diagnosed with an antisocial personality disorder, they are different in that they can internalize right and wrong, form meaningful personal and social relationships and rationalize their actions as a desire to advance society. They may be loyal in relationships, but because of their paranoia, may hurt or harm those who pledge loyalty to them.

LINK TO MY VIDEO: Malignant Narcissist Are Dangerous! Loving the Destroyer

COME SEE ME IN LONDON ON 11/28/15

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Narcissists Can Love – But Run! Understanding Narcissistic Codependent Love

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 Narcissists Can Love – But Run!

Understanding Narcissistic Love

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT

Considering Narcissists have hurt and damaged the lives of so many people, it makes a great deal of sense why there is a proliferation of information, advice, articles and books on the subject of narcissism.  There seems to be a surplus of people on Facebook, YouTube and other social networking sites who are making it their life’s mission to vilify narcissists, while making themselves out to be specialists (or even experts) on the subject. Those who contribute are often victims of narcissistic abuse and want to help others avoid their mistakes.  I am thankful for their efforts, especially since it is connected to codependency recovery, which is where I spend a great deal of my personal and professional effort.  It seems to be one of the biggest psychological movements I have seen in recent years.

And there are well-researched and experienced experts in the area who have and are making valuable contributions to the understanding of narcissism.  Sam Vaknin is one such expert on narcissism who, just by his own efforts, has almost made the term “Malignant Narcissist” a household term.  But even with his contributions, and perhaps because of them, there has been a backlash of misunderstanding on the subject.  By focusing on Malignant Narcissism (which happens to be the condition he purports to have), he has accidentally and unintentionally given the impression that “Malignant Narcissism” is the same clinical condition or psychopathology as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).  The truth of the matter is Malignant Narcissism is a subcategory of NPD.  Moreover, those with NPD, or what I call “garden variety narcissists,” do not display many of the same characteristics as those with Malignant Narcissism.

One common mistake about Narcissism, which I see frequently on the Internet, about which there is now a deluge of articles, posts and blogs is that those with NPD cannot love and do not have empathy.  This subject was discussed in detail in a recent YouTube collaboration video with me and Sam Vaknin entitled, “Can Narcissists Love and Do They Have Empathy?”  Although Vaknin and I agreed it was a complicated question that has an equally complicated answer, we agreed for the most part that narcissists can, in fact, feel and express love and can be empathetic.

We also mostly agreed that Malignant Narcissists and those with Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD or Sociopaths) cannot feel or experience love.  Because Malignant Narcissism is often confused with ASPD, it is necessary to simply define it as a subcategory of NPD, which is not only a pathologically narcissistic disorder, but also combines traits of Paranoid Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder.  For more information on Malignant Narcissism, consider reading Vaknin’s book, “Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited” (2015).  It is, therefore, correct to assume that Malignant Narc’s and ASPD’s cannot love as it is understood in our general culture.  But it is incorrect to make that same leap for those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which will henceforth be referred to as “narcissists.”

As I have mentioned in my YouTube videos and in my book “The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us,” “garden variety narcissists,” or those with NPD are capable of love and empathy AS LONG AS IT MAKES THEM FEEL GOOD OR THEY GET SOMETHING IN RETURN.  Since they desperately and perpetually seek love, appreciation and affirmation from others, they will consciously and unconsciously (Human Magnet Syndrome) gravitate toward others that can meet this impossible need.  Sadly, however, the people who are going to fall in love with them and, consequently, try to take their problems and pain away are deprived of the very same love, respect and care that the narcissists fight so hard to obtain.  These unfortunate people are almost always going to be codependents.

Since narcissists suffered unmitigated abuse and trauma as a child, which was when their pathological narcissism was created, they have a huge gaping empty hole inside themselves that endlessly motivates their futile search for their “holy grail” or fountain of love, respect and care.  Sadly and pitifully, they can NEVER receive enough of love, respect and care to satiate their unquenchable thirst for it.

My Human Magnet Syndrome book explains in detail why narcissists perpetually seek love, respect and care from others, while not being able to reciprocate in the same manner.  My book also explains why codependents are the only personality type that can actually withstand the narcissist’s selfishness while shaping it (distorting it) into a loving relationship.  Therefore, according to this clinician and writer, it is a fact that both the narcissists and codependents love each other.  The feeling is quite real to them.  If you don’t believe me, just ask one!

When narcissists fall hopelessly and deeply in love with codependents, they love even more intensely than a person who is psychologically healthy, i.e., a person who is neither a codependent nor a narcissist.  In the rapturous and euphoric beginning stages of the relationship, the narcissist experiences complete and unconditional love, which is what they have been seeking their whole life.  Because the codependent can deliver the goods, they fall hopelessly in love.  And why not?  They just found the one person who will adore them for who they are and give them love, praise and affirmation despite their broken selves, which they keep nicely repressed and out of the way of their conscious mind.  But what the narcissist cannot and does not realize is that their soulmate experience is going to be short-lived.

The fleeting and unstable nature of their love experience is best explained through a metaphor – a bucket with holes.  Narcissists need a steady stream of unconditional love, respect and care to keep their hole-ridden bucket filled.  No amount of unconditional love or affirmation, kindness, empathy, etc., will ever keep their “buckets” topped off!  Hence, their need for affirmation, attention, etc. while desperately self-promoting themselves, gives us an idea why they are motivated, if not addicted, to their narcissistic ways and why they are unable to stop.  But here is the rub: they can only adore and love people who fill their holey bucket.  They really do “love” these people – their codependents.  And the codependents selflessly “love” them back.  A sad state of affairs…

Incidentally, the psychologically healthy person has the same bucket. But because the bucket is whole instead of having holes, it can be filled and remain that way.  A filled bucket promotes love for self and others.  It also promotes an aversion to others who scoop away too much of their own water.

When the narcissist’s bucket is empty, which is a perpetual problem for them, their “love” experience mysteriously vanishes.  What once started off as ‘soul mate” experience quickly devolves into a “cellmate” nightmare.  They will do whatever they need to do to find a source from which they can siphon water.  Their desperate need to keep their bucket filled magnetically draws them back into the “loving embrace” of their endlessly forgiving, selfless and altruistic lover – their codependent; or compels them to find another codependent source.  And, as soon as the existing or new codependent re-fills their love bucket, the narcissist’s subjective experience of love returns.

In conclusion, NARCISSISTS CAN LOVE. The question should be why can’t they love someone else unconditionally or why do they hurt people they love. The confusion of Malignant Narcissism with Narcissistic Personality Disorder may be the source of this confusion.  Lastly, I don’t want to criticize or blame people for mistakenly believing narcissists can’t love.  When one is a victim of narcissistic abuse, it is ever so easy to think of them as monsters who lack human feelings.  But don’t get me wrong, I am not on the “love your narcissist” bandwagon!

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT

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