Thursday, January 13, 2005

A Precariously Balanced Personality

from a reader:

There is a wealth of good literature about the Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or NPD.

Reading your posts concerning the exchange with Don Beck, it brought to mind one quote from the work of Dr. Sam Vaknin (

I find it quite interesting to peer into the personalities of leaders like Cohen and Beck, and congratulate your blog on its reporting of this issue.

"The narcissist's personality is so precariously balanced that he cannot tolerate even a hint of criticism and disagreement. Most narcissists are paranoid and suffer from ideas of reference (the delusion that they are being mocked or discussed when they are not). Thus, narcissists often regard themselves as "victims of persecution".

When (the narcissists) flimsy attempts to patch a tattered personal mythology fail - the narcissist is injured. Narcissistic injury inevitably leads to narcissistic rage and to a terrifying display of unbridled aggression.

This primitive defense mechanism is called "splitting". To the narcissist, things and people are either entirely bad (evil) or entirely good. He projects onto others his own shortcomings and negative emotions, thus becoming a totally good object."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having been around Andrew for a long time, I know how accurately this comment reflects AC. He has often litteraly expressed that he felt persecuted. By individuals as well as by particular groups of students. Groups of male studens, groups of female students, the collective of editors of his magazine etc.

He used to say he felt like an Indian dog who's constantly being kicked (by those not behaving the way he deemed appropriate)

At one point in his community of formal students there was a deep investigation into the nature of "group-ego". AC was very emphatic that this "women-or-men-student-group-ego" was actively trying to destroy him and his teaching. And although there seemed to be much value to the discovery of this group mentality, the incredible personalization and demonization of this phenomenon was at least unhelpful!

Friday, 14 January, 2005  

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