Psychopaths can be flattered nervously embarrassed

Chapter 4 THE MAIN NARCISSUS PATHOLOGIES Traditionally, narcissistic pathologies have been divided into two main categories: grandiose (megalomaniac) narcissism arising from an excess of self-love and vulnerable narcissism arising from a lack of self-love. As we shall see, both pathologies have their origin in one and the same problem: they conceal a great degree of fragility, a lack of self-confidence, doubts about one's own competencies and one's own kindness. The grandiose or megalomaniac narcissists In the first chapter we used the criteria of the DSM-5, which define the grandiose type narcissistic personality disorder, to assess Donald Trump's personality. This most easily detectable form of narcissism is actually the one that is measured in the DSM-5. We have also seen that it is difficult to distinguish it from "subclinical narcissism" using a simple clinical description. The picture of pathological narcissists that I'm about to draw here seems to resemble that of 98 people with simple narcissistic personality traits. But the pathological narcissists differ fundamentally from them by their inability to love and respect others for who they are, rather than the benefits they can bring them, as well as their inability to break away from themselves, to open up to others. While mental illness is usually defined in terms of the suffering the patient is experiencing, in the case of narcissistic personality disorders, it is measured by the negative effects it has on other people. This is why it is so important to understand the psychological mechanisms of super narcissists like Donald Trump. Being heavily narcissistic leads to an infernal spiral: the grandiose narcissist believes that he is superior to the others and that he therefore deserves certain perks. At work or at parties, he puts himself in the foreground and enhances himself at the expense of others. In the first moment it is also worthwhile: He is valued, gets a good position and gets to know interesting partners. But, as we shall see, this story does not generally end well. Above all, these narcissists keep an eye on themselves: in a group, they absolutely want to be the center of attention, they talk extensively about their achievements and their “extraordinary” projects. They are always at the forefront of conversation, usurp the word, know everything better than anyone, and whatever they say emphatically seems extraordinary. Since everything revolves around you, you tend to start every sentence with “I”: “I did this, I said that. I'm in pain here, I'm going now, I've made it… ”It can seem so disproportionate or unreal that you are immediately seen as braggart and braggart, but it can also fascinate those around you. It used to be taught to young people that it was impolite to start a letter with "I". But in November 2007 the linguist Alain Rey stated in Le Monde magazine that the newly elected President Nicolas Sarkozy had used the word "I" 126 times in his address to MPs in June 2007 and in his speech to the French employers' association MEDEF in August I used 134 times and 55 times the phrase “I want”. Alain Rey concluded his article with the reminder that once the king himself had said «we will». The grandiose narcissists are really convinced of their superiority. They believe that they have more qualities than the others, that they are more beautiful, more intelligent, more important than all the men and women around them. Their lack of modesty can go as far as the arrogance that Alain Delon displayed when he assured in an interview on RTL in 2011: “I am one of the rare living legends of the 21st century”; 1 or Marlene Dietrich, who like Alain Delon spoke of himself in the third person.2 It is enough to read the interviews with Zlatan Ibrahimović to understand that we are not far from megalomania with these types of personalities: «I don't need to look at others to know that I'm the best. My own look is enough for me. Sure, because I am so much the best that I am also the best expert on football, the best expert and the only one able to judge who is the best. So if I choose to be the best, then that's right. »3 Because such people are convinced that they deserve the exceptional place they occupy, they can allow themselves anything, believe that everything is theirs, and measure themselves a lot of everyday privileges. For example, they allow themselves to park their car where it suits them, 100 even if that hinders other drivers or pedestrians. They find it normal to take advantage of small perks like skipping a queue, and they don't understand if their file is not given priority. And because they appear very convincing, they often succeed in gaining such privileges. They think so highly of themselves that they believe mere mortals are unable to understand them. So they choose the best lawyers, doctors or star hairdressers for themselves, with whom they try to establish a certain familiarity as quickly as possible. They try to make friends with famous or relatively prominent people, because in this way their self-worth grows mirror-inverted by the value they attach to these people. Jennifer enjoys being in the center of everyone's attention, and she never goes unnoticed either, as her performances are always theatrical. She dresses neatly, but always with a touch of eccentricity. She speaks loudly when she mentions famous people she met at an evening party, and regardless of the topic of conversation, she always manages to put herself in the limelight as a star. Even when she is heavily in debt, she has to show that she has money and rushes into unreasonable spending on expensive gifts for people she seeks to seduce. She talks about her projects to set up a foundation or open a business, she boasts of having had dinner with a politician (when she was only in the same restaurant as him). Little touched by the worries of her friends and relatives, she cuts off a friend who has cancer to describe all of her little personal problems in an overabundance of detail. In order to make an appointment with her doctor, she succeeds - because she refuses the normal way - to get his cell phone number so that she can contact him directly; and she shows herself to be particularly familiar with him, addressing him by his first name or "dear friend". She doesn't understand that certain people, unnerved by her ubiquity, try to keep her at bay, and then complains of the ingratitude of those she supposedly considers her friends. The seduction or flattering strategies of these narcissists are often profitable and can lead to rapid social advancement. Of course, the majority of narcissists are found in areas with great influence or in professions that promise prestige and attention: They work as politicians, lawyers, executives, financiers or artists, but also in other areas where one would suspect more rigor. According to the immunologist Bruno Lemaitre, the fierce competition that exists in the field of scientific research leads to the selection of scientists who make a brilliant impression at first glance, but who in fact have based their articles on inconclusive data or even adopted them from others4 - we will come back to this in Chapter 8. Their self-confidence undoubtedly helps narcissists to assert themselves in careers where real competence is not expected so much, but rather that they give the impression that they know their way around better than the others or have solutions ready. This applies to politics as well as lobbying. In their quest to be successful and different from others, narcissists can develop a special talent that gives them real social and professional success. Examples are artists like Salvador 102 Dalí and Picasso, actors or fashion designers like Alain Delon and Karl Lagerfeld or visionary scientists. Their social advancement and professional success will then further strengthen their high opinion of themselves. But their performance can also be diminished by their intolerance to criticism and their own failure or by wrong judgments due to an overestimation of their competencies and abilities. Other narcissists, who are more fragile, exhaust themselves in their work to the point of complete exhaustion in order to meet the demands of their exaggerated ego, and risk burnout in the process. Sonia is a pretty woman in her fifties who takes great care of her appearance. Everything about her is flawless, she chooses her hairstyle, her make-up, her clothes with taste. She says she takes great care to be if not the most beautiful then the most elegant. So she goes to great lengths to be equal to what she considers essential to be accepted. She keeps herself physically fit, jogging for half an hour every day and doing Pilates three hours a week. She regularly goes to the hairdresser, manicure, and beautician and bluntly explains that she has already been to a cosmetic surgeon. She says she takes great satisfaction in looking at herself in the mirror every morning: always slim, muscular, tanned, but just as much as necessary. All her life she tried to improve herself, to gain more power and more notoriety. In her job she has always shown herself to be ambitious, set high demands on herself, demanded more and more responsibility and rose level by level to the position of General Director, which aroused a lot of envy. But as she got older, competitors threatened to overtake her. This triggered aggressive reactions from her. 103 She is extremely tough not only against herself, but also against others, which has brought her to a complaint of bullying. At first, the sparkling spirit and chutzpah of narcissists, including the fact that they're not afraid to show themselves off, can inspire more reserved people to lead with. They tempt and even fascinate those who let themselves be dazzled by their self-confidence and the narration of their deeds. In fact, narcissists know how to enhance their contributions, credit collective successes to themselves, network and ally with other narcissists. Seeking to please and be recognized, they flatter their superiors, present themselves as brilliant, charming and, if necessary, weird too. The positive image of themselves that is thrown back gives them great satisfaction, which in turn strengthens their narcissism. Alexandre is a senior executive. When he comes into a circle of new acquaintances, he immediately shows off his superiority, and you soon know that he is an ENA graduate, that he has held high positions, but that he was stopped in the middle of his career by the intrigues of a rival has been. Behind his back his colleagues say he is an intriguer, a bold tactician who always knows how to play himself in the foreground, even at the risk of being ridiculous. He knows how to flatter and assert himself, but since he spends a lot of time lobbying, he is accused of not working through his files sufficiently, which often puts him in a difficult position. He also has a penchant for the glamorous life, goes to all "must" events, to all vernissages, 104 and since he is always there, it becomes a habit for others to invite him. For him, not being sent an invitation for a media event is like a public insult that collapses everything in him and depresses him for days. He knows all celebrities, artists and journalists and doesn’t miss an opportunity to make this known in conversation. He also takes part in many charitable evening events, goes to the places where something is going on, and enjoys being photographed there with the most beautiful women, and then posting the photos on Instagram and other social networks. But he is dissatisfied because he feels stuck in his career and finds it unfair that the others are moving faster than him. And so he meets more and more often with his contacts for lunch and shows up even more often at glamorous evening parties. The grandiose narcissists tend to be jealous and jealous of those who are wealthier or more successful than them. Their perception of others is dichotomous: either they admire them, sometimes to the point of idealization, or they despise them, unless they expect some benefit from them. For them, this mechanism corresponds to a split between good and bad objects. It also happens that they idealize a person at first and then despise and reject a person if the person maintains too much distance or is of no use to them. Narcissists' lack of sensitivity to the needs and desires of those around them can lead them to consciously or unconsciously exploit others and demean those who appear inferior to them. 105 Solange, who works on an intellectual and freelance basis, has surrounded himself with a group of assistants who are extremely hard-working. But she often forgets to reward them because she believes "they should feel flattered to work for them". She maintains intimate relationships with them, which does not prevent her from being relentlessly strict at the slightest delay or breach of duty. If her employees start to grumble about this situation, she poses as a victim and tries to arouse their pity by talking about their exhaustion and loneliness. In private, too, narcissists' gaze at others pursues the goal of enhancing themselves, but while they get along very well with superficial acquaintances, it is difficult for them to enter into closer relationships. The beginning of a love affair with a grandiose narcissist is often idyllic: he indulges himself in beautiful words, makes incredible promises, gives the other person the illusion of being unique and makes them believe in an absolute love. Unfortunately, this is not a mutual seduction, where both pay attention to each other, but a narcissistic seduction that is supposed to fascinate and at the same time paralyze the other. Soon the partner gives up his illusions, because the narcissist is not very loving and does not get very involved in the relationship, which one of my patients summed up very wittily: “To seduce me, the frog disguised himself as a prince charming, but very he quickly became a frog again. " Narcissus is incapable of tenderness and affection, because above all he wants to be cared for and appreciated. A narcissist's partner is only there to admire, support, or feel sorry for him, but he receives no respect or attention in return: "What I said to him had no effect, it was like trying to to hold on to a glass wall. " When the partner demands more respect, the narcissist begins to complain and appreciate himself by increasingly seeking extramarital adventures. These relationships don't last long because, at bottom, the narcissist knows that their charms are fleeting. When he has children, he expects them to be an extension of himself and contribute to the enhancement of his own image. Martin is beautiful, intelligent, cultured and comes from a wealthy entrepreneurial family. He is the youngest of three children, was classified as gifted at a very early age and absorbed the full attention of his parents, who could not hide their admiration for the little prodigy. After a brilliant but lonely school career, he went to a prestigious business school, where he says he got bored. He then founded his first start-up with a friend. Driven by his need for recognition, he takes risks to lure investors, and because he is very convincing, he manages to raise funds. Success is not long in coming, and to keep up with the accelerated rhythm, Martin turns to drugs. He begins to neglect his family - he is married to a childhood friend with whom he has three children - in order to devote himself entirely to the development of his start-up. When there is nothing left to invent and the start-up has become a normal company, he accepts a particularly interesting takeover offer and is now in possession of a huge fortune. He then separated from the mother of his children, settled down with a young Brazilian model and from now on spends his time between Paris and Brazil. When divorced, he transfers a sizeable sum of money to his wife, but with the greatest of naturalness he demands that his children be with him only when it suits him, without worrying about his ex-wife's scheduling and the children's well-being . Although these are still small, he takes them to hip locations and then forgets to bring them back to the babysitter so that they can get to bed at a reasonable time. Since narcissists only like what feeds their self-love, they use the other to show themselves off. Men go out with rich women or “trophy women” who are naturally young and beautiful and who they flaunt as an outward sign of wealth. Women, on the other hand, upgrade themselves by dating a celebrity. Marc attaches great importance to the appearance of his companions, they always have to be sexy and please other men. He likes to show photos of his wife: "Don't you think she is beautiful?" Although she would actually prefer simpler clothes, he takes her to luxury stores to give her clothes by famous fashion designers. The more the others admire his wife, the more important he becomes in their eyes. For him it is even an argument for professional credibility. During an evening party among colleagues, to which the spouses are invited, Marc feels flattered because several men at his management level are seduced by the charm and beauty of his wife: “That raised my reputation in their eyes, because even my boss had an envious look! " 108 Because narcissists have a very utility-oriented view of others, they are unable to love and respect a person for who they are. When they make friends or enter into romantic relationships, they only do so insofar as it enables them to achieve their goals or to increase their self-worth. Steffen, who introduces himself as an international expert and speaker, was a scientific advisor at large companies. But since he felt that his outstanding intelligence was not valued enough, he wanted to start his own company. At this point he met Jenny, who fell madly in love with him and gave up her job as press attaché to become his assistant. He promises her success and a great fortune. On Steffen's advice, Jenny invests almost all of her savings in his company to buy a commercial space together. She introduces Steffen to her friends and acquaintances, and soon the couple, thanks to Jenny's contacts, are invited everywhere. At evening parties, Steffen has the big say and presents "his" extraordinary project in every detail. Nevertheless, success does not materialize, as Steffen claims, because Jenny did not do what was necessary. From then on, the relationship deteriorates. He makes her humiliating, blames her for anything that doesn't work, and has frequent tantrums. Every time he gets upset, he yells that he's going to kick her out for incompetence, forgetting that she's his business partner who has put almost all of her savings into the company. While the narcissist in a romantic relationship generally does everything possible to make the other dependent, at the same time he avoids any obligation that would in turn entail a certain dependence and, consequently, a feeling of weakness. He is so caught up in his self-love that it is impossible for him to love the other. In the Metamorphoses Ovid says of Narcissus: "but with his delicate beauty he possessed such a brittle pride: he was touched by no youth and none of the girls." Applied to the present day, this would roughly correspond to the statement of the writer and polemicist Yann Moix in an interview of May 29, 2015 in the magazine Gala: Having a child would be “the worst that could happen to [him]”, because : «I already have myself. It happened to me that I couldn't live with certain young women because they had children. Certainly made by others, but also by them. I prefer that there is no connection whatsoever. " If grandiose narcissists, be it private or professional, are confronted with reality, their charm loses its effect at some point, and in the end they spoil themselves with their surroundings. Their arrogance quickly becomes unbearable because they always want to be right and do not tolerate any objections. The slightest criticism - as we have already seen with Donald Trump - is experienced as an injury or a rejection, as if the whole person had been degraded and discredited. Since these people overestimate their abilities, upgrade themselves at the expense of others and acquire their success, they fail in the end. But instead of questioning themselves in this case, they deny everything, provide a version of the facts that is favorable to them, and blame the others anyway. Successful narcissists become “addicted” to power and fame, which helps to explain that politicians or journalists often find it so difficult at the end of their careers to give up their posts and, above all, the associated notoriety. In order to maintain a high level of prestige and size, they must continue to bait new contacts, hide their weaknesses or deficiencies through diversionary maneuvers and lie in order to put themselves in the foreground. This can lead them to rashly take risks, slip into violent or other criminal behavior. It is as if your grandiose selves were built on sand and constantly need to be repaired and strengthened through strategies of upgrading. Boris Boillon, former “Sarko Boy” and former ambassador to Iraq and Tunisia, annoyed many with his flamboyant manner, his arrogance and his faux pas. He even posed on the cover of a tabloid in a black suit and white shirt entitled "The James Bond of Diplomacy". After being on leave and then suspended from diplomatic service, he turned into a bold businessman in sensitive areas of the Middle East. On July 31, 2013, he was temporarily arrested in Paris with 350,000 euros and 40,000 dollars in cash when he was about to take a train to Brussels. In his defense, he explains: "According to Bergson, I define myself as someone who acts as a thinking person and thinks as an acting person." Nevertheless, as we have seen in connection with Donald Trump, no success can take narcissists' uncertainty about themselves. They live in the constant fear of not being up to the image they want to project of themselves, they are always afraid of falling and losing face. In contrast to the simple narcissistic personality traits, which weaken with age, one cannot recover from a narcissistic personality disorder; at best the disease can stabilize. In the most severe cases, the patient's character traits worsen while at the same time they lose their shine - unless at some point they were confronted with painful trials that forced them to look at themselves more critically. Some fall into depression and isolate themselves, others complain more and more often about psychosomatic consequences, still others end in bitterness. The Vulnerable Narcissists While all psychiatrists agree that there are two different forms of narcissistic personality disorder, the grandiose and the vulnerable, not everyone agrees on exactly how these two diseases differ. This probably explains why modern psychiatry has passed over that negative pole of narcissism, which was not included in DSM-5, although Otto Kernberg and Heinz Kohut created excellent clinical descriptions of both forms (see above, Chapter 2). Certainly, vulnerable narcissism is far less specific in its clinical picture than its grandiose form and therefore not easily distinguishable from other clinical diagnoses, especially borderline, schizotypic and paranoid personality disorders. Meanwhile, the weak and vulnerable narcissism is far more common than the grandiose pole, and it is also the narcissism most faced by clinicians. Some clinicians even consider this form of narcissism to be the most severe, as it can occasionally lead to suicide.5 Vulnerable narcissists share dreams of success or victory with grandiose narcissists. And like them, they show no consideration for others, but believe that everything has to be directed by them. They also attach undue importance to recognition and are consequently extremely dependent on the other's gaze. Since they are completely self-fixated, they experience their problems in a particularly negative way, are often frightened, jealous and sometimes depressed. In fact, they want to be in the foreground, but they are more or less aware that their skills are insufficient and that their goals are set too high. In general, they are rather unobtrusive and reserved, can hide their “grandiosity” behind a false modesty and seek the respect and affection of others by winning them over through whining, self-accusations or manipulation. Some psychiatrists see grandiose and vulnerable narcissism as two aspects of the same problem within the basic structure of narcissism. Others believe that they are two different diseases. Some psychiatrists, including Kernberg, believe that one and the same person can oscillate between phases of "grandiosity" and those of vulnerability.6 There is nothing surprising about this, because behind the megalomania and arrogance of a grandiose or vulnerable narcissist There is always a great fragility hidden, which indicates an inadequacy in the structure of narcissism. If narcissists attach so much importance to what others think of them it is because they constantly need to look at others to reassure themselves that they are lovable. By claiming to be superior to others, they try to compensate for their low self-esteem, in the case of the grandiose narcissists at the expense of others, in the case of the vulnerable narcissists at the expense of themselves. 113 The DSM-5's focus on the grandiose part the narcissistic pathology explains the weak prevalence of the vulnerable version in scientific studies. In order to better analyze this personality profile, American scientists have developed value scales such as the Narcissistic Vulnerability Scale (NVS), which measure vulnerable narcissism with the help of two characteristics from the register of delusions of grandeur (delusions of grandeur and the desire to exploit others) and one characteristic from the register of vulnerability (poor regulation of self-esteem ).7 For my part, based on my clinical experience, I distinguish two profiles of vulnerable narcissism. The first profile corresponds to individuals who have low self-worth, a feeling of devaluation or illegitimacy and at the same time a great need for recognition and external confirmation. These individuals avoid conflict with others because they fear anything that threatens their self-worth. They are hypersensitive and even the slightest criticism will not let go of them. In doing so, they feel that they are not recognized enough for who they are. In order to adapt to the image that the others have of them, they put on a mask and develop a false self that makes them appear as particularly conformist individuals. Thus, their excessive narcissism would be an unconscious response to feelings of shame and doubt about their abilities. While with the grandiose narcissists shame is suppressed by a splitting mechanism, the vulnerable narcissists are ashamed of not being what they think they should be. This shows the contrast between the unconscious idea of ​​a grandiose self and an unconscious system of inferiority and inner emptiness. 114 Frédéric, currently unemployed, consults me on the advice of the employment office. After changing subjects several times, he worked in the marketing department of an insurance company, then at a bank. Every time he felt unsuitable, the work didn't appeal to him. He then decided to become a sole trader, but that too failed. In interviews, he is arrogant, negative and gives the impression that he would only accept the position in the absence of better offers. That's why these conversations never work, but he doesn't seem to understand why. When he went to his family doctor, crumpled, exhausted and suffering from numerous psychosomatic disorders, he prescribed antidepressants, which he no longer took because, as he said, he could not tolerate their side effects. Frédéric feels in no way responsible for any of his failures: it's the fault of the others - "all idiots" - or: "I'm not lucky." If those around him or his friends offer him help, he refuses, because he doesn't want to owe anyone anything and he insists on getting by on his own. His family worries about him, but they discover with astonishment that he presents himself in the social networks very differently, as a misunderstood poet, as a victim of a society that is unable to recognize the best. Psychiatrists often encounter narcissists who feel completely right when they come to the consultation - not to question themselves, but because they primarily want a doctor's certificate "for their files". Julie works for a major government agency, even though she feels that her career is not advanced enough given her skills. She comes to my office hours because she thinks she is a victim of bullying by her superior who is supposed to be blocking her promotion out of jealousy. Julie pretends to be a shy woman, a gray mouse who speaks in a pitiful tone. The situation she describes to me is more like a conflict than a case of bullying, and I tell her that too. Then she comes out of herself and tells me that I didn't understand anything. She describes to me a number of behaviors from her manager that she classifies as aggressive. When I ask her about her private life, she starts a long diatribe against her husband who does not live up to her expectations, and here too she lists all of his shortcomings. In no moment does she talk about her feelings, but only about what does not suit her. Everything she says, both about work and about her relationship as a couple, is pervaded by phrases like “I have the right…” and “That's not normal, he owes me that”. One day she comes to me and complains again about her job, which she no longer likes. She asks me for a certificate of incapacity for work, explaining that she has no choice but to pressure her manager for not considering her request for transfer. When I tell her that I cannot issue this certificate because she is not sick, she replies: "That's right, I am not sick, but if I don't stop working, I will get sick." The second profile of vulnerable narcissists corresponds to individuals with high self-esteem, but who are unstable and, because of their mistrust, resemble people with a sensitively paranoid personality disorder. Behind a facade of gentleness, restraint and vulnerability, the sensitive narcissists are conscientious, ambitious, but also extremely sensitive people who constantly fear not being respected: they have the impression that they are the subject of sharp and critical remarks or that they are not sufficiently taken into account which makes them feel devalued or degraded. The sensitive are easily injured, hypersensitive to the reactions of others and shy away from contact. Affective has the upper hand with them, but their reactions are more depressive than aggressive, and it is not uncommon for them to try to kill themselves. Without really feeling persecuted, these subjects have the impression that you care excessively but not benevolently in them.Due to their difficulties in their relationships with others, they are characterized by a mixture of pride and humility, they feel out of place in their social environment and not up to the situation. Even if they resemble sensitively paranoid personalities, the sensitive narcissists do not have all the elements of the paranoid structure, especially not so-called psychorigidity. While the paranoid structure is characterized by intransigence in feelings and relationships, which is expressed in a stiffness that keeps the other person at a distance, a narcissist, even a sensitive one, seeks to make himself clearly visible in order to win over the other so that he can benefit from him Can throw back the image that enhances it. But like the paranoid, the sensitive narcissists, whether women or men, are too sensitive, too susceptible to the real or suspected hostility of others. Since the 1990s, more and more of these sensitive narcissists have been to be found in the world of work, where they react particularly violently to anything that they experience as an attack on their self-worth: Men and women complain, sometimes abusively, of victims from being bullied. In any case, one can say - and we will come back to this - that this pathology is experiencing such an increase in our societies because the world of work has hardened and the people who work in it are less and less respected for their particularities. This refers us to the writings of the German psychiatrist Ernst Kretschmer (1888-1964), who in his book Der sensitive Relationswahn (1918) asked about the connections between a personality and its affective response to a lived experience. According to him, an external, more or less strong aggression touches an individual in a sensitive point and leads to an abreaction. One then speaks of a reactive pathology or a psychogenic reaction. It is also the vulnerable narcissists who, after experiencing a humiliation situation, may take revenge through cyberbullying or go rampant in schools. The Narcissistic Perverts or Psychopaths To the two main types of pathological narcissists, the grandiose and the vulnerable, it is necessary to add the narcissistic perverts. This is an extreme and dangerous personality disorder because it shows a trait of moral perversion. The term “narcissistic pervert” became increasingly common in everyday language and on social networks, especially after my book Le Harcèlement moral. La violence perverse au quotidien (dt: the masks of wickedness) had received a great response. Unfortunately, as the term became more popular, it became more and more hollow, and it is now quite easy to call a somewhat difficult spouse or colleague a “narcissistic pervert”. In the social media one finds the same effort to denounce these toxic personalities, which in US-American networks as “narcs” (for “narcissists”), in French and German-speaking networks as “PN” or as “NP” (for “narcissistic Perverse »). In fact, the “narcissistic pervert” is very similar to the narcissistic psychopath or psychopathic narcissist, as the US psychiatrists call him, who thereby bring him close to psychopathy, or also to the malignant narcissisme8 (the malicious or “malignant” narcissism). Indeed, as soon as these individuals begin to show malicious behavior, they belong to the realm of psychopathy for Anglo-Saxon psychiatrists. Let's revisit the story of the concept of narcissism, which we glimpsed earlier. We saw that psychoanalysts pointed out the destructive side of certain narcissists very early on, without agreeing on their place in the classifications. Erich Fromm formulated the diagnosis of malignant narcissism to explain Hitler's personality. According to him, this is the worst pathology ever, as it has the roots of destructiveness and inhumanity. Otto Kernberg took the view that malignant narcissism was a subgroup of the narcissistic personality, because "it shows the same characteristics and in addition a severe pathology of the superego". He recognizes four components in it: a narcissistic personality disorder, antisocial behavior, paranoid tendencies and sadism. In 1941, the American psychiatrist Hervey Milton Cleckley of the Medical College of Georgia described the most important psychopathic personality traits in his book 119 The Mask of Sanity.9 He painted the picture of men who are personable, charming, intelligent, and trustworthy who achieved great success in women but are very coldly affective and have an extraordinary ability to manipulate others, which, as we shall see, is very similar to narcissistic perversion. As a result of Cleckley's work, the stigmatizing term "psychopath" was deleted from the official psychiatric terminology, finally removed from the DSM in 1952 and replaced by "antisocial personality disorder". This change focused on the social aspects of the disease, which unfortunately pushed a nuanced individual understanding into the background and made a different concept out of it. According to the DSM-5, antisocial personality disorder is defined by the presence of at least three of the following seven symptoms: 1) Individuals fail to obey the law, which manifests itself by repetitively committing acts that are grounds for arrest. 2) You are cheating, as evidenced by repetitively lying, using aliases, or betraying others for their personal gain or pleasure. 3) You act impulsively or do not plan ahead. 4) They are easily provoked or aggressive, characterized by constant involvement in brawls or assaults on others. 5) They are reckless without considering their safety or the safety of others. 6) You consistently act irresponsibly, indicated by quitting a job with no plans for another, or failing to pay bills. 7) You have no remorse, as evidenced by indifference to or rationalization of hurting or mistreating others. The term "narcissistic perversion" was first described in 1986 by the French psychoanalyst Paul-Claude Racamier.10 This concept does not appear in international classifications because it is a term of psychoanalytic origin and because US psychiatrists are reluctant to refer to it , but that doesn’t take away any of its informative value. In addition, the American classification, which is purely descriptive, contains no formulations that could be interpreted as a moral judgment, and therefore limits the term “perverse” to sexual perversions. We will see that the psychological profile of the narcissistic perverts does not coincide with that of the grandiose narcissists 121 or that of the "anti-social personalities" because it only fulfills two of the seven conditions from the DSM-5 rating table. Narcissistic perverts are undoubtedly narcissistic, but they hide this behind a facade of charm and social conformity. Since they do not flaunt their megalomania, they do not immediately arouse suspicion. They seek to paint a good image of themselves, can even adopt a moralizing tone and act as role models, while they have no moral scruples whatsoever. Basically, they are like decoys that shine and sparkle in order to cast a spell over their future victims. Like the grandiose narcissists, the narcissistic perverts do not have any empathy towards others, but while the former are so fixated on themselves that they are unaware of their negative effect on others, the narcissistic perverts do realize that they are causing others to suffer, which but leaves them indifferent or even gives them joy. They are narcissists, but in addition to their megalomania, there is also a perverse mechanism, which consists in appreciating oneself with pleasure at the expense of others. Racamier puts it this way: “The narcissistic pervert is a narcissist in the sense that he believes he owes nothing to anyone; and he is a pervert in the sense that he actively lets others pay the high price for the narcissistic pomposity and conflict immunity he strives for. ”11 To put it more simply: a narcissistic pervert is narcissistic, so he needs an audience, but he is also perverse so needs a prey. Such people are empty shells trying to deceive, but since they have no substance to inflate their narcissism, they invade someone else's psychological territory to assimilate his qualities or vitality.12 They attack self-esteem and the confidence of others in favor of their own narcissism. They are driven by envy, but when they envy the success or the qualities of the other, that confronts them with their own imperfections, which are unbearable to them. Since they cannot keep up with the envied person, they seek to humiliate and humiliate them. The most amazing thing about them is their power of persuasion, their ability to get others to act: they instinctively understand how to manipulate the other into accepting compromises at the expense of their own narcissism. They never attack head-on, but in the form of allusions, intimidation, pressure or blame. They can induce their prey to misbehave in order to be more effective in criticizing or disqualifying them. Francis, executive officer, is married to Cécile, whom he met at business school. They have twins who are now six years old. The verbal violence began early on in their relationship, but Cécile excused her by saying that Francis had just lost his father. There was never a real argument, but cold, hurtful remarks by Francis: "You are stupid, you deserve no respect" or: "I do not despise you, I just put you on the level that comes your way." After a few months of relationship, Cécile intended to leave Francis, but that's when she discovered that she was pregnant with twins. Because it was a pathological pregnancy that forced her to stay in bed, Francis urged her to abandon her long course of study in order to switch to a course that would be more compatible with the upbringing of the children. And so she became a primary school teacher. Even when he twisted her arm and then locked her in a room without her cell phone, she didn't dare sue him, but left it with a simple police report, because "he pays for everything, I have no savings whatsoever." . After that, Francis has an extramarital relationship and leaves behind clues that enrage Cécile. Since he denies the obvious facts every time she asks him, she loses her nerve and creates scenes for him that leave him completely indifferent: "My poor darling, look how you look, you do everything to make me feel like it to deceive you! " The atmosphere at home is now constantly tense, and Cécile is exhausted, which annoys Francis: "I don't understand, you finish early and don't work on Wednesdays, what's the point!" He makes fun of her in front of the children, criticizes her "shitty work" and makes everything she says ridiculous. When Francis is particularly spiteful one day, Cécile tries to fight back. Then he says to her in a hypocritical tone that he doesn't understand what she is talking about, Cécile freaks out and begins to scream. Francis makes a sound recording of this: "Thank you, that will look wonderful in my divorce file, you won't get custody of the children with it, so I can prove that you are crazy!" Narcissistic perverts cause great damage in their families, because due to their split personality they cannot endure family harmony and incite individuals against each other. They have an excellent instinct, which helps them to uncover the weak points of their counterparts and to adapt their behavior accordingly. A patient who was confronted with a narcissistically perverted father once said to me: "At first you don't even notice the problem, but you perish because of it, you are like a gradually wilting flower." Barbara's mother was never able to love her children at the same time. When she got close to a child, it was only to criticize and belittle another child all the more. Barbara was idolized as a child, ignored as an adult and then cast out. She was not invited to family celebrations, nor were her children. When the grandmother is invited to her granddaughter's wedding, she cancels at the last moment under a flimsy pretext and does not even send a congratulatory message. When Barbara's father dies, neither she nor her younger sister is notified; they find out by chance from distant relatives. The other siblings have already taken their place. Narcissistic perverts never admit their mistakes and blame others for all their failures. They defend themselves with the help of projection mechanisms and impose on others everything that they do not want to see in themselves, everything negative and suffering that they do not feel, or their lack of self-worth. If they threaten to be exposed, they pose as victims. Gérard, who behaved particularly hostile towards his eldest son and also abused him while he showed normal paternal behavior towards the children who followed, said to me in a rare lucid moment: «I cannot stand him because he looks too much like me . " Passing the "bad" on this child enabled him to otherwise be a good father or appear outwardly like that. While grandiose narcissists and sociopaths are extremely impulsive, the former out of moodiness, the latter without considering the consequences of their behavior for themselves and for others, which often leads them to arguments and aggression, the narcissistic perverts are strategists who know exactly what they are doing , and who master everything down to the smallest detail. They do not actually commit antisocial acts because they are smart enough to stay this side of the line of what could be punished by law. They are calculating and that is why they are so numerous in centers of power. Their ability to lie, combined with their unscrupulousness and their ability to socialize, ensure quick social and material success. They lie, but in a plausible way, because they are content with distorting reality. They cheat or land spectacular coups, like the millionaire fraudster Bernard Madoff, whereby all of their art consists in not getting caught. In the business world, unlike the grandiose narcissists who are above the rules, the narcissistic perverts break them willfully and with great pleasure. In the US they are often called white collar psychopaths or successful psychopaths. While Donald Trump, as we've seen, is undoubtedly a terrific narcissist, Frank Underwood from the House of Cards series is a narcissistic pervert. But in a narcissistic society, whether in business, in politics or in social relationships in general, the criteria that characterize narcissistic perverts have become qualities that are necessary to be "successful".