Narcissistic Confinement


Do narcissists have friends?


Not in the usual sense of the word and not that they know of. The narcissist is one track minded. He is interested in securing the provision of Narcissistic Supply emanating from Narcissistic Supply Sources. His world is as narrow as an ant's, to borrow a poetic turn of phrase (from the Hebrew lyrical poetess, Rachel). This narrowness also characterises the narcissist's human and interpersonal relationships. The narcissist is not interested in people as such. Incapable of empathising, he is a solipsist, recognising only himself as human. All others are to him three dimensional cartoons, tools and instruments in the tedious and Sisyphean task of generating and consuming Narcissistic Supply. He over-values them (when they are judged to be potential sources of such supply), uses them, devalues them (when no longer able to supply him) and discards them nonchalantly. This behaviour pattern tends to alienate and to distance people from him. Gradually, the social circle of the narcissist dwindles (and ultimately vanishes). People around him who were not estranged by the ugly succession of his acts and attitudes are rendered desperate and fatigued by the turbulent nature of the narcissist's life. The few figures still loyal to him, gradually abandon him because they can no longer withstand and tolerate the ups and downs of his career, his moods, his confrontations and conflicts with authority, his financial state and the state of his emotional affairs. The narcissist is a human roller coaster while fun for a limited time, he is impossible to be with in the long run.

This is one example of the process of narcissistic confinement.

Another example:

Ever sensitive to outside opinion, the narcissist's behaviour, choices, acts, attitudes, beliefs, interests, in short: his very life is curtailed by it. The narcissist derives his Ego functions from observing his reflection in other people's eyes. Gradually, he homes in on the right mixture of texts and actions, which elicit Narcissistic Supply from his environment. Anything which might however remotely endanger the availability, or the quantity of this supply is censored. The narcissist avoids certain situations (for instance: where he is likely to encounter opposition, or criticism, or competition). He refrains from certain activities and actions (which are incompatible with his projected False Self). He employs a host ofEmotional Involvement Prevention Measures (EIPMs). He become rigid, repetitive, predictable, boring, confined to "safe subjects" (such as, endlessly, himself) and to "safe conduct", hysterical, and raging (when confronted with unexpected situations or with the slightest objection to his preconceived course of action). The narcissistic rage is not so much a reaction to offended grandiosity as it is a panic reaction. The narcissist maintains a precarious balance, a mental house of cards, poised on a precipice. His equilibrium is so delicate that anything can upset it: a casual remark, a disagreement, a slight criticism, a hint, or a fear. The narcissist magnifies it all into monstrous, ominous, proportions. To avoid these (not so imagined) threats the narcissist prefers to "stay at home". He limits his social intercourse. He abstains from daring, trying, venturing. He is crippled. This, indeed, is the very essence of the malignancy that is at the heart of narcissism: the fear of flying.


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APA Reference
Vaknin, S. (2008, November 17). Narcissistic Confinement, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 22 from

Last Updated: July 4, 2018

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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