Category: Books

Destructive Narcissists

Have you had experience of a Destructive Narcissist? You probably have, and probably more than one. Recommended reading: Nina Brown “The Destructive Narcissistic Pattern”. I experienced a relationship recently with someone I believe to have many of the traits suggested in this book, through projective identification she tried to unload all her negativity, fears, anger and undesirable elements on to me. As an empathic person I was very susceptible to identifying with this persons negative personality traits and ended up taking a lot of it on. I spent a lot of time researching to try and understand what had happened, why I was feeling things that I either had never felt before, or at least not felt in a long time, and why I went from “perfect” to contemptible in her eyes, in the space of a few weeks. Although I feel there is too often an element of giving a name to something and thus putting it in a place that is black and white to simplify it (a common human flaw which narrows human awareness) This book was an eye opener to me in seeing the unconscious motives and techniques she used on me in order to avoid authorship of her fears, violent feelings, anger and other intolerable feelings.
Some excerpts:
Fear, dread and terror are terms used to describe reactions to an expectation of anticipation of destruction or abandonment. The anticipated destruction or abandonment can either be physical or psychological, or both. Fear is a basic emotion that gets transformed and altered in many ways throughout life.

Fear of psychological destruction is the sole motivation for attacking others.

Children have these basic fears of being destroyed and of being abandoned, and the themes in many fairy tales address these fears by showing that it is possible to overcome them (Bettelheim, 1989).


Kohut (1977) and others propose that these fears are basic and remain mostly unmodified in adults who have not fully developed healthy narcissism (we are now coming to understand that the crucial factor here is that some stressful event, early in the development of the areas of the brain attributed to regulating emotions, primitive instincts and defences may have weakened pathways and systems of brain communication allowing an unregulated primitive fear response to impact upon behaviour, perception, interpretation and personality and that narcissistic behaviour is an outpouring of an unregulated non-conscious fear response reacting to a perceived or imagined threat. And that in fact nearly all behavioural and mental disorders share this core breakdown in pathways attributed to regulating primitive instictual impulses due to some form of trauma in early development). They remain in their archaic form as experienced in childhood and provide some of the basis for the exhibited behaviour. Further, there may also be competing fears. The adult may fear psychological destruction will result from intimacy and exhibit behaviours designed to prevent intimate relations from developing. On the other hand, the same person may also fear abandonment, so he or she is jealous. The target of these fears receive conflicting messages and are constantly kept off balance, not knowing what to expect, and left confused by the messages. On some days they are expected to get close and reassure that they will not leave, and at other times they are pushed away or frozen out. Little wonder, then, that these are not usually lasting relationships.

It may be helpful to remember that the destructive narcissist has ready access to their fears of being destroyed and abandoned, which continue to exist in the archaic form experienced in childhood. These fears underlie much of their behaviour, attitudes and feelings and, more important, destructive narcissists usually are not conscious of their fears. For example, these fears can be applied and illustrated to the four categories of narcissists proposed by Burnstein (1986): craving, paranoid, manipulative and phallic.

Narcissists who fall in to the craving category can be described as fearing psychological destruction in their incessant demands. They consider themselves incapable of fulfilling their needs, that is, they are helpless, and they face destruction if their needs aren’t met. The fear of abandonment is seen in their clinging behaviour; they fear they will not be able to continue to exist if the other person abandons them.

Narcissists who fall in to the paranoid category not only are very fearful of their own destructive capabilities but fear that others have the intent of destroying them. Thus, they perceive attacks where none was intended and seek to prevent attacks from others by attacking first or being suspicious and by criticising or blaming others. Fear of abandonment is displayed by jealousy, insistence on knowing everything about the other person, and hypersensitivity to perceived rejection.

Narcissists who fall into the manipulative category fear that if their mask were ever breached or seen through the other person would be so enraged at the impostor that they would then be destroyed, rejected and abandoned. Their lies and deceit are calculated to keep others off guard and at a distance so that they cannot discern the emptiness within.


An updated view of Narcissism can be found here;



Time for a new entry

This is taken from Jung’s The four archetypes

Phenomenology of the spirit in fairy tales


When we consider the spirit in it’s archetypal form as it appears to us in fairytales and dreams, it presents a picture that differs strangely from the conscious idea of spirit, which is split up in to so many meanings. Spirit was originally a spirit in human or animal form, a daimonion that came upon man from without. But our material already shows traces of an expansion of consciousness which has gradually begun to occupy that originally unconscious territory and to transform those daimonia, at least partially, into voluntary acts. Man conquers not only nature, but spirit also, without realising what he is doing. To the man of enlightened intellect it seems like the correction of a fallacy when he recognises that what he took to be spirits is simply the human spirit and ultimately his own spirit. All the superhuman things, whether good or bad, that former ages predicated of the daimonia, are reduced to reasonable proportions as though they were pure exaggeration, and everything seems to be in the best possible order. But were the unanimous convictions of the past really and truly only exaggerations? If they were not, then the integration of the spirit means nothing less than its demonization, since the superhuman spiritual agencies that were formerly tied up in nature are introjected into human nature, thus endowing it with a power which extends the bounds of the personality ad infinitum, in the most perilous way. I put it to the enlightened rationalist; has his rational reduction led to the beneficial control of matter and spirit? He will point proudly to the advances in physics and medicine, to the freeing of the mind from medieval stupidity and … as a well meaning christian .. to our deliverance from the fear of demons. But, we continue to ask; what have all the other cultural achievements led to? The fearful answer is there before our eyes, man has been delivered from no fear, a hideous nightmare lies upon the world. So far reason has failed lamentably, and the very thing that everybody wanted to avoid rolls on in ghastly progression. Man has achieved a wealth of useful gadgets, but, to offset that, he has torn open the abyss, and what will become of him now .. Where can he make a halt? After the last World War we hoped for reason; we go on hoping. But already we are fascinated by the possibilities of atomic fission and promise ourselves a golden age .. the surest guarantee that the abomination of desolation will grow limitless dimensions. And who or what is it that causes all this? It is none other than that harmless, ingenious, inventive, and sweetly reasonable human spirit who unfortunately is abysmally unconscious of the demonism that still clings to him. Worse, this spirit does everything to avoid looking himself in the face, and we all help him like mad. Only, heaven preserve us from psychology .. that depravity might lead to self-knowledge! Rather let us have wars, for which somebody else is always to blame, nobody seeing that all the world is driven to do just what all the world flees from in terror.

C. G. Jung