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The "Lone Wolf" Narcissist and His Prey
The “Lone Wolf” Narcissist and His Prey
By Sam Vaknin
Author of "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited"
The narcissist’s False Self requires constant dollops of narcissistic supply (attention.) The narcissist’s sense of entitlement and innate superiority collide painfully with his unmitigated dependence on other people for the regulation of his labile sense of self-worth and the maintenance of his grandiose fantasies. Narcissists who are also psychopaths (antisocial) or schizoids choose to avoid the constant hurt and injuries entailed by this conflict by withdrawing from society – physically as well as psychologically - into a cocoon of self-delusion, confabulated narratives, and vivid dreams of triumph and revenge. They become “lone wolf” narcissists and prey on society at large by indiscriminately victimizing, abusing, and attacking any person unfortunate enough to cross their path.
Inevitably, the lone wolf narcissist is in a constant state of deficient narcissistic supply, very much like a junkie deprived of access to his drug of choice. This overwhelming, unquenched, vampiric hunger coupled with an almost-psychotic state render the lone wolf narcissist dangerous to others. His aggression often turns to outright violence; his frustration to vindictive rage; his addiction to narcissistic supply drives him to coerce people – often randomly selected – to serve as sources of adulation, affirmation, and support; his detachment evolves into a loss of touch with reality, cognitive deficits, and utter misjudgement of his environment and milieu; he seeks fame and celebrity by all means available to him, even by resorting to crime and terrorism.
Schizoids enjoy nothing and seemingly never experience pleasure (they are anhedonic). Even their nearest and dearest often describe them as "automata", "robots", or "machines". But the schizoid is not depressed or dysphoric, merely indifferent. Schizoids are uninterested in social relationships and bored or puzzled by interpersonal interactions. They are incapable of intimacy and have a very limited range of emotions and affect. Rarely does the schizoid express feelings, either negative (anger) or positive (happiness).
Schizoids never pursue an opportunity to develop a close relationship. Schizoids are asexual - not interested in sex. Consequently, they appear cold, aloof, bland, stunted, flat, and "zombie"-like. They derive no satisfaction from belonging to a close-knit group: family, church, workplace, neighborhood, or nation. They rarely marry or have children.
Schizoids are loners. Given the option, they invariably pursue solitary activities or hobbies. Inevitably, they prefer mechanical or abstract tasks and jobs that require such skills. Many computer hackers, crackers, and programmers are schizoids, for instance - as are some mathematicians and theoretical physicists. Schizoids are inflexible in their reactions to changing life circumstances and developments - both adverse and opportune. Faced with stress they may disintegrate, decompensate, and experience brief psychotic episodes or a depressive illness.
Schizoids have few friends or confidants. They trust only first-degree relatives - but, even so, they maintain no close bonds or associations, not even with their immediate family.
Schizoids pretend to be indifferent to praise, criticism, disagreement, and corrective advice (though, deep inside, they are not). They are creatures of habit, frequently succumbing to rigid, predictable, and narrowly restricted routines. From the outside, the schizoid's life looks "rudderless" and adrift.
Like people with Asperger's Syndrome, schizoids fail to respond appropriately to social cues and rarely reciprocate gestures or facial expressions, such as smiles. As the DSM-IV-TR puts it, "they seem socially inept or superficial and self-absorbed".
Many narcissists are also psychopaths. On my YouTube channel I have a video explaining the oh-so-subtle differences between the two.
Still, like narcissists, psychopaths lack empathy and regard other people as mere instruments of gratification and utility or as objects to be manipulated. Psychopaths and narcissists have no problem to grasp ideas and to formulate choices, needs, preferences, courses of action, and priorities. But they are shocked when other people do the very same.
Most people accept that others have rights and obligations. The psychopath rejects this quid pro quo. As far as he is concerned, only might is right. People have no rights and he, the psychopath, has no obligations that derive from the "social contract". The psychopath holds himself to be above conventional morality and the law. The psychopath cannot delay gratification. He wants everything and wants it now. His whims, urges, catering to his needs, and the satisfaction of his drives take precedence over the needs, preferences, and emotions of even his nearest and dearest.
Consequently, psychopaths feel no remorse when they hurt or defraud others. They don't possess even the most rudimentary conscience. They rationalize their (often criminal) behavior and intellectualize it. Psychopaths fall prey to their own primitive defense mechanisms (such as narcissism, splitting, and projection). The psychopath firmly believes that the world is a hostile, merciless place, prone to the survival of the fittest and that people are either "all good" or "all evil". The psychopath projects his own vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and shortcomings unto others and forces them to behave the way he expects them to (this defense mechanism is known as "projective identification"). Like narcissists, psychopaths are abusively exploitative and incapable of true love or intimacy.
Narcissistic psychopath are particularly ill-suited to participate in the give and take of civilized society. Many of them are misfits or criminals. White collar psychopaths are likely to be deceitful and engage in rampant identity theft, the use of aliases, constant lying, fraud, and con-artistry for gain or pleasure.
Psychopaths are irresponsible and unreliable. They do not honor contracts, undertakings, and obligations. They are unstable and unpredictable and rarely hold a job for long, repay their debts, or maintain long-term intimate relationships.
Psychopaths are vindictive and hold grudges. They never regret or forget a thing. They are driven, and dangerous.
I wrote this in the Open Site Encyclopedia:
"Always in conflict with authority and frequently on the run, psychopaths possess a limited time horizon and seldom make medium or long term plans. They are impulsive and reckless, aggressive, violent, irritable, and, sometimes, the captives of magical thinking, believing themselves to be immune to the consequences of their own actions.
Thus, psychopaths often end up in jail, having repeatedly flouted social norms and codified laws. Partly to avoid this fate and evade the law and partly to extract material benefits from unsuspecting victims, psychopaths habitually lie, steal others' identities, deceive, use aliases, and con for "personal profit or pleasure" as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual puts it."
The Anxious Psychopath
Psychopaths are said to be fearless and sang-froid. Their pain tolerance is very high. Still, contrary to popular perceptions and psychiatric orthodoxy, some psychopaths are actually anxious and fearful. Their psychopathy is a defense against an underlying and all-pervasive anxiety, either hereditary, or brought on by early childhood abuse.
Encyclopedia of Narcissism and Psychopathy
Buy 16 books and video lectures on 3 DVDs about narcissists, psychopaths, and abusive relationships