Confronting The "Self-Confessed" Narcissist / Sociopath / Psychopath & Other Common Misperceptions - Personality Traits
Recently, whilst doing some research for the writing of my new eBook, Know Your Enemy: Reflections Of NPD, I stumbled upon an online forum where someone had started a thread about the author of the book Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited and "self-confessed narcissist" Sam Vaknin.
Anyone who has ever performed a Google search for "malignant narcissism" or "narcissistic personality disorder" will most likely have also stumbled upon Vaknin's work which currently largely dominates the internet in this area.
Many people participating in the thread were quick to point out that narcissists do not usually know that they are narcissists and that Vaknin's level of self-awareness and knowledge on the topic were highly suspect considering that he is supposed to be, or at least believes himself to be, a narcissist.
Although I have previously read a large chunk of Vaknin's material, including some of Vaknin's book Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited, I have never been a follower of Vaknin's work as such and so, in comparison to the vast amount of information he has disseminated on this topic over the years, I have only viewed a very small percentage of his material. What I have seen of Vaknin's work, I found to be massively insightful, incredibly detailed and some of the most comprehensive information I have ever seen on the topic of psychopathy in general.
Sam Vaknin is considered by many people to be the world's leading expert in the field of malignant narcissism/NPD. Additionally, Vaknin was the first ever author to publish information about NPD on the internet (in 1997) and he was the very man who coined the term narcissistic supply (primary/secondary).
However, despite what I have written above, many people participating in the thread had carried out much more research into Vaknin's work and the man himself than I ever have. A lot of these people had noticed, or believed they had noticed, many inconsistencies in Vaknin's material over the years and a lot of them came to the conclusion that he had been insidiously obscuring the truth about malignant narcissism.
Many of them also claimed that Vaknin's Ph.D. came from a diploma mill called Pacific Western University located in Honolulu, Hawaii and that he was not even qualified to diagnose himself with NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) or to speak with such authority on the subject.
It was also pointed out that, despite claiming to be a "self-confessed" narcissist, Vaknin had also featured in a documentary called I, Psychopath whereby him and his wife went on an expedition to get him diagnosed with Anti-Social Personality Disorder (as a psychopath) - a very odd move indeed. It was concluded that Vaknin is a psychopath (or anti-social personality) but is not a narcissist.
Many people had claimed that Vaknin seems to be more of a psychopath than a narcissist and suggested that he may be insidiously obscuring the truth about NPD to suit his own agenda and for this reason many people have grown weary of him.
Many people also raised major concerns over the fact that no other writers on the topic of NPD/malignant narcissism had addressed Vaknin's work in any way, which is the reason for this hub.
Vaknin responded to many of the issues raised on his very own website where he asserts that he studied in ENCINO, California in 1982/1983. He claims that at the time there was a university there called Pacific which later added the moniker "Western" in order to distinguish itself from other Pacific universities.
He claims it is now called California Miramar University and is fully accredited. Vaknin claims that he has never even been to Hawaii and he also posted a photograph of his doctoral dissertation on his website here as evidence (which is available from the Library of Congress and UMI).
He claims that many of the issues raised were the result of people maliciously posting false information on Wikipedia (and I quote "which anyone can edit").
But hang on a minute... what's this?
A closer look at the photograph shows that the doctoral dissertation is for a degree in philosophy with a major in physics - nothing to do with psychology. Did Vaknin actually claim to have a Ph.D. in psychology?
Or did he just claim to have a Ph.D.?
There's a difference. As we know, narcissists mix truth with lies in order to carry out their deception - claiming that you have a Ph.D. whilst talking professionally about a subject which that Ph.D. does not even relate to does seem like the sort of deceptive tactic that a narcissist would use and technically, if he did not specifically claim that the Ph.D. was in psychology, then he didn't even lie about it.
Vaknin's diploma is signed and dated 1982. However, this Wikipedia page for the university that Vaknin refers to shows that the university didn't receive official accreditation until 2005.
In addition, the page also documents the results of an eight-month long study carried out by the US Government Accountability Office entitled "Diploma Mills: Federal Employees Have Obtained Degrees from Diploma Mills and Other Unaccredited Schools, Some at Government Expense". Sam Vaknin is also listed lower down on the Wikipedia entry in the Alumni section.
Hang on a minute... he's done it again!
He carried out deception by subtly obscuring the truth without even lying about it!
He told the truth; the university is accredited just as he claims... he just didn't tell us that it hadn't yet received accreditation at the time that he studied there - another classic narcissistic technique perhaps?
When I found the forum thread I made a post documenting my beliefs at the time. Narcissists do not usually consciously know that they are narcissists and so I find it extremely difficult to understand how anybody can actually be a "self-confessed narcissist" - the statement is in itself a contradiction... a gimmick (or mimic?) for publicity perhaps?
Just a few days before making the forum post I had self-published my new eBook and the following week proved to be quite a bizarre experience.
After leaving the comment on the forum, suddenly somebody called Adrijan started repeatedly posting lengthy comments on my article about covert narcissists (as you can see). Without wanting to point the finger, strangely enough, these comments were from another supposedly "self-confessed" narcissist who clearly had a lot to say.
Even more coincidentally, the name Adrijan, which was used to leave the comments, is actually Macedonian in origin and Sam Vaknin had, once again rather coincidentally, moved to Skopje, Macedonia where he married his wife, Lidija and set up Narcissus Productions in 1997.
As (new) fellow hubber Goldenprince13 pointed out, there was a sly little dig in the comments at the author of the article (me... me me me haha!) which was masked amongst a lot of other information. Whoever Adrijan is, it started to become clear (and was pointed out) that Adrijan may have their own agenda.
The comments were being made compulsively and obsessively and were full of confusing information possibly designed to mislead away from the truth or to obscure the information in the article. I received as many of seven comments from Adrijan within the space of an hour or two (five of which were denied and were nearly 1200 words each in length).
I kindly notified "Adrijan" that to maintain the quality of the hub I could not allow the conversation to continue and he then apologized for hi-jacking the hub and stopped posting. Within ten hours another article I had written entitled The Sociopath Next Door had been unpublished for an alleged violation of Hubpage's term and the following comment had been left by someone who used the name "Candace":
"You are so completely wrong and obviously you have personal motives behind your lies. You have insulted victims all over the world with your lies and fallacies. Get your facts straight and stop misleading people.
Oh and you delete my comment when I point it out. Really? I am going to report you to hub pages."
Wow! Another coincidence! That's the exact same thing that Sam Vaknin had been accused of in the forum thread I posted in. As we know, projection is another classic tactic of the narcissist. I notified "Candace" that I had not deleted the first comment at all but that it was simply awaiting moderation.
I also contacted Hubpages directly about the matter who then re-published the hub. One of the issues raised in the forum thread was that writers who are themselves, or have been, victims of narcissistic abuse are the ones who should be taken seriously, not writers who claim to be "self-confessed" narcissists.
After all, if you had been genuinely victimized by a narcissist would you turn to another narcissist for information, help and advice? The question doesn't need an answer.
Could it be that a certain person is out to sabotage my work?
Without wanting to blow my own trumpet, I have become one of the main writers on the internet on this subject, particularly covert (malignant) narcissism, who has actually been a victim of narcissistic abuse directly, and when it comes down to it there are not many of us.
I decided to do some searching to see if there were any links from Sam Vaknin to myself. I didn't find much but I did find a page at Helium before it closed down where there were two articles on the subject of parapsychology - one by myself and the other written by... yep, you guessed it, Sam Vaknin!
Vaknin's article took the number one spot (and was a whopping eight pages long!). At the time I submitted that article I had never heard of Sam Vaknin and had no idea who he was!
Isn't synchronicity amazing?!
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More by this Author
Find out the answers to the most commonly asked questions about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (Malignant Narcissism/Self-Love) here. Can narcissists ever love? Do they have a conscience? etc.
How to recognize a narcissist - recognizing if someone has Narcissistic Personality Disorder/Malignant Self-Love (Narcissism) can be extremely tricky and can only be done in the long-term.
How covert narcissists, also known as stealth or closet narcissists, get away with being a mental and emotional abuser and a criminal master-mind manipulator - covert (malignant) narcissism.