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Can the Narcissist Tell Right from Wrong? Is the Narcissist Insane?


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Can the Narcissist Tell Right from Wrong? Is the Narcissist Insane? Should We Hold Him Accountable for His Actions?

By Sam Vaknin
Author of "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited"


The narcissist knows to tell right from wrong and is aware of social norms and laws. Lacking empathy, he simply doesn’t care enough about others to act properly or to refrain from harmful action.




Narcissists of all shades can usually control their behaviour and actions. They simply don't care to, they regard it as a waste of their precious time, or a humiliating chore. The narcissist feels both superior and entitled – regardless of his real gifts or achievements. Other people are inferior, his slaves, there to cater to his needs and make his existence seamless, flowing and smooth.


The narcissist holds himself to be cosmically significant and thus entitled to the conditions needed to realise his talents and to successfully complete his mission (which changes fluidly and about which he has no clue except that it has to do with brilliance and fame).
What the narcissist cannot control is his void, his emotional black hole, the fact that he doesn't know what it is like to be human (lacks empathy). As a result, narcissists are awkward, tactless, painful, taciturn, abrasive and insensitive.


The narcissist should be held accountable to most of his actions, even taking into account his sometimes uncontrollable rage and the backdrop of his grandiose fantasies.
Admittedly, at times, the narcissist finds it hard control his rage.


But at all times, even during the worst explosive episode:
He can tell right from wrong;
He simply doesn't care about the other person sufficiently to refrain from action.
Similarly, the narcissist cannot "control" his grandiose fantasies. He firmly believes that they constitute an accurate representation of reality. But:
He knows that lying is wrong and not done;
He simply doesn't care enough about society and others to refrain from confabulating.
To summarize, narcissists should be held accountable for most of their actions because they can tell wrong from right and they can refrain from acting. They simply don't care enough about others to put to good use these twin abilities. Others are not sufficiently important to dent the narcissist's indifference or to alter his abusive conduct.


Is the Narcissist Legally Insane?


Narcissists are not prone to "irresistible impulses" and dissociation (blanking out certain stressful events and actions). They more or less fully control their behavior and acts at all times. But exerting control over one's conduct requires the investment of resources, both mental and physical. Narcissists regard this as a waste of their precious time, or a humiliating chore. Lacking empathy, they don't care about other people's feelings, needs, priorities, wishes, preferences, and boundaries. As a result, narcissists are awkward, tactless, painful, taciturn, abrasive and insensitive.


The narcissist often has rage attacks and grandiose fantasies. Most narcissists are also mildly obsessive-compulsive. Yet, all narcissists should be held accountable to the vast and overwhelming majority of their actions.


At all times, even during the worst explosive episode, the narcissist can tell right from wrong and reign in their impulses. The narcissist's impulse control is unimpaired, though he may pretend otherwise in order to terrorize, manipulate and coerce his human environment into compliance.


The only things the narcissist cannot "control" are his grandiose fantasies. All the same, he knows that lying and confabulating are morally wrong and can choose to refrain from doing so.


The narcissist is perfectly capable of anticipating the consequences of his actions and their influence on others. Actually, narcissists are "X-ray" machines: they are very perceptive and sensitive to the subtlest nuances. But the narcissist does not care. For him, humans are dispensable, rechargeable, reusable. They are there to fulfil a function: to supply him with Narcissistic Supply (adoration, admiration, approval, affirmation, etc.) They do not have an existence apart from carrying out their "duties".


Still, it is far from a clear-cut case.


Some scholars note, correctly, that many narcissists have no criminal intent (“mens rea”) even when they commit criminal acts (“acti rei”). The narcissist may victimise, plunder, intimidate and abuse others - but not in the cold, calculating manner of the psychopath.


The narcissist hurts people offhandedly, carelessly, and absentmindedly. The narcissist is more like a force of nature or a beast of prey - dangerous but not purposeful or evil.
Moreover, many narcissists don't feel responsible for their actions. They believe that they are victims of injustice, bias, prejudice, and discrimination. This is because they are shape-shifters and actors. The narcissist is not one person - but two. The True Self is as good as dead and buried. The False Self changes so often in reaction to life's circumstances that the narcissist has no sense of personal continuity.


From my book "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited":


"The narcissist's perception of his life and his existence is discontinuous. The narcissist is a walking compilation of "personalities", each with its own personal history. The narcissist does not feel that he is, in any way, related to his former "selves". He, therefore, does not understand why he has to be punished for "someone else's" actions or inaction. This "injustice" surprises, hurts, and enrages him."

---
Encyclopedia of Narcissism and Psychopathy

http://samvak.tripod.com/siteindex.html

Buy 16 books and video lectures on 3 DVDs about narcissists, psychopaths, and abusive relationships

http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/thebook.html
Apr/10/2012, 6:00 am Link to this post  
 


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