Author Topic: How FDR stalled and obscured my self knowledge  (Read 9313 times)

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Anarchist

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How FDR stalled and obscured my self knowledge
« on: January 29, 2013, 09:58:14 AM »
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I discovered only after I left FDR that I have trouble with paranoia and narcissism, which FDR is almost designed to appeal to. I've known about the paranoia for a months now, but I came to the realization about narcissism only last night. This eventually led me to think about how these realizations were impossible at FDR.

At FDR, my paranoia wasn't paranoia. If I would have thought to call it that, Stefan or others would have said that I was continuing the abuse by conflating my rational adjustment to my parents' behavior with a problem with me.

While I was able to make minor progress by thinking that my fears were due to my parents and thus deciding to go against a few of them shortly after I left my parents, this sort of trying things out and discovering they're not so bad wasn't a consistent thing at all for me.

Instead, my paranoia was reinforced and worsened considerably by thinking that nearly everyone was in some unconscious false self conspiracy to aid and abet child abuse and thus an enemy to someone like me who wanted to stop it. And when everyone knows everything about everybody, as Stefan often claimed, you can imagine how unsafe the world appeared.

Also, because feeling your 'true' feelings is important at FDR and since I'd supposedly dimmed my feelings about my abuse in order to avoid going insane as a child, I spent lots of time dwelling on how horrible various things that happened to me were, trying to feel that even more strongly. This is the complete opposite of learning that some things aren't as bad as I thought!

Just take a minute and imagine spending months of your time telling some fairly-paranoid person that the world is filled with enemies and that things in the past were even more horrible than they thought. Then realize that Stefan Molyneux is living that dream multiple times over with his podcasts and listener conversations!

FDR people will tell you that Stefan recommends therapy, but if my therapists had done the right thing and started suggesting that my delusions weren't right, they would have also gone after the FDR-inspired delusions. This wouldn't have lasted very long, as several people on the FDR forums have confirmed personally. Therapy for FDRers is a sort of dance in which you must keep the therapist away from the landmines Stefan had set (in order to maim your other intimate relationships) so that you don't have to end the therapy with your therapists.

At FDR, my narcissism wasn't narcissism. The problem didn't even get to the level where, if I'd said I had that problem, it would have been a sin against myself. After all, when the idea is that we're doing so much to save the world, someone wholeheartedly going along with that doesn't really stick out as someone who needs some advice!

Though there's all this talk about examining history, no one really bothered to find out mine. I don't mean this sarcastically: it was probably because I wasn't a critic; after all, seeing 'clearly' is usually a proven sign of psychological health, not an automatically-proven indication of abuse. Prior to FDR, I thought I was going to be a renowned mathematician or programmer. When FDR came along, I replaced that aim with saving the world.

I'm glad that I'm able to start to understand and deal with these things, but I'm not glad that FDR helped to obscure and worsen them. I have the idea that FDR does this because Stefan is himself a paranoid narcissist. Check out Sam Vaknin's excellent article about what that entails.

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Re: How FDR stalled and obscured my self knowledge
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2013, 12:36:31 PM »
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I think Molyneux (maybe because of his delusional perception of reality / abusive personality / or, more cynically, his business plan) does tend to amplify feelings of paranoia and narcissism in others. Towards the end of my own stay I had become convinced that I was an out-of-control narcissist, but then I started to see narcissistic traits in others around me at the time. I couldn't decide who was the biggest narcissist! I listened to a lot of Sam Vaknin's stuff and it all seemed to make perfect sense, but latterly I have become more skeptical of that kind of approach. Vaknin himself is as mad as a bag of frogs (as you probably know if you have watched that long video series about him), and the whole field of psychology - at least at this end of the scale (I mean the opposite end to that of acute conditions like psychosis or major depression) - seems to be based on shaky science. I spent a lot of cash on psychoanalysis - money that I now wish I had spent doing something useful like surfing, mending clocks or banging my head against a wall. Don't you think there comes a point when we just have to recognize that people have different personalities? Some personality traits are more troublesome than others, but at the end of the cliché we just have to learn to live with ourselves and others and make the most of our lives. Just my amateur opinion after a lifetime of getting it all mainly wrong.

Anarchist

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Re: How FDR stalled and obscured my self knowledge
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2013, 03:40:36 PM »
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I think Molyneux (maybe because of his delusional perception of reality / abusive personality / or, more cynically, his business plan) does tend to amplify feelings of paranoia and narcissism in others. Towards the end of my own stay I had become convinced that I was an out-of-control narcissist, but then I started to see narcissistic traits in others around me at the time. I couldn't decide who was the biggest narcissist!
Though I'm pretty confident that my paranoia is there and has declined, it's possible that my current ideas about narcissism are like that. I watched a video yesterday by someone else that had a moralizing tone with confident proclamations of how things are, and that seemed to spark this chain of thought.
I listened to a lot of Sam Vaknin's stuff and it all seemed to make perfect sense, but latterly I have become more skeptical of that kind of approach. Vaknin himself is as mad as a bag of frogs (as you probably know if you have watched that long video series about him)...
Yeah, he seems to have become his label. He thinks that it's incurable and it appears he doesn't bother to try to even mitigate it. There are other things I don't like about his work, like when he switches from talking about behavior or obvious motives to psychoanalysis.

Stefan also seems to like to use labels. He'll label a whole class of people and then say that they have no chance. When this sort of random firing also hits unintended targets like his listeners, it can cause them a lot of problems.
...and the whole field of psychology - at least at this end of the scale (I mean the opposite end to that of acute conditions like psychosis or major depression) - seems to be based on shaky science.
Yeah, psychology seems to have been, from the beginning, filled with a lot of essentially wild guesses about how things work. Freudianism is one of them, yet there are many others. This is slowly changing, of course.
I spent a lot of cash on psychoanalysis - money that I now wish I had spent doing something useful like surfing, mending clocks or banging my head against a wall. Don't you think there comes a point when we just have to recognize that people have different personalities? Some personality traits are more troublesome than others, but at the end of the cliché we just have to learn to live with ourselves and others and make the most of our lives. Just my amateur opinion after a lifetime of getting it all mainly wrong.
That may be true. I'm certainly much closer to that than I used to be.

Kaz

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Re: How FDR stalled and obscured my self knowledge
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2013, 07:15:19 PM »
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Re Sam Vaknin:

I think that he is the Stefan Molyneux of Psychology.  They both have a lot in common.  He has also run abusively psychologising fora on the internet.

Sam Vaknin is not qualified.  He is a criminal who got caught in a pump and dump scheme and got sent to jail.  In jail, he claims that he was diagnosed with NPD.

He has no real qualifications or experience.  He bought his PhD on the internet. 

He has successfully passed himself off as an "expert" on NPD, which he is not.  To put his writing in context, it can be useful to read as a point of view of someone who supposedly has NPD.  His work is full of landmines and can be very misleading, even if they are insightful.  His work has none of the overall coherency of someone who has actually done the work or is original.  I get the impression that he has paraphrased other authors and mixed it in with his poisonous outlook on life.

Psychology has its uses and abuses, but it is unfair to judge it's value by it's charatans.  It is also unfair to give someone credit who has plagarised work others have done, sometimes disrespectfully so.

http://enpsychopedia.org/index.php/Sam_Vaknin

My opinion is that it is prudent to describe psychological concepts in english as much as possible.  A lot of people do not understand what you mean and there is a lot of confusion over what the concepts actually mean, not helped by self proclaimed experts (eg Molyneux, Vaknin) abusing them.  I think that dianostic summaries are a kind of shorthand only useful in certain specific contexts.  Also, it is possible that more than one or two clusters of personality traits can apply (comorbidity) to a person.

Edit: this website is dodgy.  The information is still valid in this case, please see post next page for clarification
« Last Edit: February 25, 2013, 05:47:36 AM by Kaz »
Just because you have left FDR, it doesn't mean that FDR has left you.

"Taking responsibility for something and self-blame are horses of two entirely different colors. The former is empowering; the latter is paralyzing." ~ John Rosemond, Ph.D

Lisa

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Re: How FDR stalled and obscured my self knowledge
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2013, 05:06:05 AM »
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I think people who get into psychology are generally not well mentally. They are subconsciously trying to find out what's wrong & how to fix themselves.

Anarchist

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Re: How FDR stalled and obscured my self knowledge
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2013, 06:36:05 AM »
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Re Sam Vaknin:

I think that he is the Stefan Molyneux of Psychology.  They both have a lot in common.  He has also run abusively psychologising fora on the internet.

Sam Vaknin is not qualified.  He is a criminal who got caught in a pump and dump scheme and got sent to jail.  In jail, he claims that he was diagnosed with NPD.

He has no real qualifications or experience.  He bought his PhD on the internet. 

He has successfully passed himself off as an "expert" on NPD, which he is not.

I knew some of that from what I found out and what other people said when his videos had been brought up at FDR. I didn't know he ran forums in the past, though.

I agree with a lot of your criticisms here. For instance, I don't think that a lot of what Sam Vaknin says applies to me. I think realizing that I have these problems will help me to understand what's going on a lot better and dealing with the problems over time is going to do a lot of good, which I've already started to see.

To put his writing in context, it can be useful to read as a point of view of someone who supposedly has NPD.

I agree with that, also. To be clear about it, I don't think I have NPD. I think Stefan fits a lot of what he describes, though, since it's such an extreme version of it.

His work is full of landmines and can be very misleading, even if they are insightful.

That's definitely a good thing to watch out for. I currently have quite a lot of difficulty with falling into a narrative if it seems largely plausible, and earlier I was noticing and having to consciously reject the idea that I was as bad as he describes in some of the sections there, because it's not realistic. I also found that I needed to remind myself that progress is quite likely.

His work has none of the overall coherency of someone who has actually done the work or is original.  I get the impression that he has paraphrased other authors and mixed it in with his poisonous outlook on life.

I was thinking about his views that he's incurable and his ideas that people with these problems do these things with conscious sadistic motives and so on, but I sometimes have a lot of difficulty coming up with ways of expressing things, and "poisonous outlook on life" is definitely a nice, succinct way of putting what I don't like about it!

Some of that is quite widespread amongst moralists. For example, there's the idea that people who have been abusive necessarily have the primary motive of abusing others. This is used to prove that they are incurable, since they want the opposite of getting better.

Psychology has its uses and abuses, but it is unfair to judge it's value by it's charatans.  It is also unfair to give someone credit who has plagarised work others have done, sometimes disrespectfully so.

I agree that it's unfair to judge by charlatans, but even if I look at the more respectable widely-publicized-as-psychology parts of psychology, there have been things like the long-lasting weird plausibility of Freudianism and all its derivatives, the problems with a lot of recovered memories in the 1980s, and so on.

It seems like whenever people come up with yet another idea about how things supposedly work in the mind, there's no widespread call for them to prove that the idea has anything to do with reality. For instance, Internal Family Systems might be quite dangerous to some people, since it essentially starts to give them multiple personalities and to have them regularly talk to these parts, yet there seems to be no label like "alternative medicine" in psychology that psychologists in general apply to it.

This doesn't ruin psychology, of course, but it just seems like it's nowhere near a well-defined, scientifically-based discipline just yet, not that it's not moving toward that.

http://enpsychopedia.org/index.php/Sam_Vaknin

My opinion is that it is prudent to describe psychological concepts in english as much as possible.  A lot of people do not understand what you mean and there is a lot of confusion over what the concepts actually mean, not helped by self proclaimed experts (eg Molyneux, Vaknin) abusing them.  I think that dianostic summaries are a kind of shorthand only useful in certain specific contexts.  Also, it is possible that more than one or two clusters of personality traits can apply (comorbidity) to a person.

Well, to be clear, I meant paranoia and narcissism in the normal senses: strong fears that are quite unjustified and overly-inflated ideas of how important you are.

Anarchist

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Re: How FDR stalled and obscured my self knowledge
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2013, 07:27:27 AM »
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I hope you are able to get back onto a happier path, Anarchist.  :)
Thanks :) I still have a way to go, but it's slowly getting better already.

BobPage

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Re: How FDR stalled and obscured my self knowledge
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2013, 11:30:50 PM »
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I'm really bothered by the psychiatric technique of labeling personalities.

Before I came to Stef, I had begun reading Thomas Szasz, who is known in the libertarian movement as leading opponent of mainstream psychiatry.

To sum his case in a few sentences, psychiatry is invalid because it defines metaphors as diseases. In medicine, a disease manifests itself in the form of an objective lesion upon the body that causes measurable dysfunction. Doctors 'define' psychiatric disorders in a subjective manner, based upon symptoms.

Stefanology shares the same issues of diagnoses via symptoms. The 'doctor' doesn't even need to inspect you or your life to diagnose what's wrong and what you need to do to repair your 'disease.'

Lisa

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Re: How FDR stalled and obscured my self knowledge
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2013, 11:42:53 PM »
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I'm really bothered by the psychiatric technique of labeling personalities.

Before I came to Stef, I had begun reading Thomas Szasz, who is known in the libertarian movement as leading opponent of mainstream psychiatry.

To sum his case in a few sentences, psychiatry is invalid because it defines metaphors as diseases. In medicine, a disease manifests itself in the form of an objective lesion upon the body that causes measurable dysfunction. Doctors 'define' psychiatric disorders in a subjective manner, based upon symptoms.

Stefanology shares the same issues of diagnoses via symptoms. The 'doctor' doesn't even need to inspect you or your life to diagnose what's wrong and what you need to do to repair your 'disease.'

There's a hippieish-looking guy on youtube that says there is no such thing as mental illness, as in, there is no detectable disease when someone is determined to be "mentally ill". I wonder if it the same guy.

BobPage

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Re: How FDR stalled and obscured my self knowledge
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2013, 03:07:36 AM »
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I'm really bothered by the psychiatric technique of labeling personalities.

Before I came to Stef, I had begun reading Thomas Szasz, who is known in the libertarian movement as leading opponent of mainstream psychiatry.

To sum his case in a few sentences, psychiatry is invalid because it defines metaphors as diseases. In medicine, a disease manifests itself in the form of an objective lesion upon the body that causes measurable dysfunction. Doctors 'define' psychiatric disorders in a subjective manner, based upon symptoms.

Stefanology shares the same issues of diagnoses via symptoms. The 'doctor' doesn't even need to inspect you or your life to diagnose what's wrong and what you need to do to repair your 'disease.'


There's a hippieish-looking guy on youtube that says there is no such thing as mental illness, as in, there is no detectable disease when someone is determined to be "mentally ill". I wonder if it the same guy.


No. This is Thomas Szasz's website: http://www.szasz.com/

These are some articles regarding from from Reason magazine: http://reason.com/blog/2012/09/11/thomas-s-szasz-relentless-freedom-fighte

http://reason.com/blog/2012/09/11/misunderstanding-thomas-szasz

He was instrumental in decriminalizing and declassifying homosexuality as a mental illness, for example. I'd say he's up there in significance with Rothbard.

Anarchist

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Re: How FDR stalled and obscured my self knowledge
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2013, 10:17:28 AM »
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Anarchist, maybe you are torturing yourself with all this psychological self analysis.  :-\
That may be the case. I know it certainly didn't help me while I was in FDR.

I'm really bothered by the psychiatric technique of labeling personalities.

Before I came to Stef, I had begun reading Thomas Szasz, who is known in the libertarian movement as leading opponent of mainstream psychiatry.

To sum his case in a few sentences, psychiatry is invalid because it defines metaphors as diseases. In medicine, a disease manifests itself in the form of an objective lesion upon the body that causes measurable dysfunction. Doctors 'define' psychiatric disorders in a subjective manner, based upon symptoms.

Stefanology shares the same issues of diagnoses via symptoms. The 'doctor' doesn't even need to inspect you or your life to diagnose what's wrong and what you need to do to repair your 'disease.'
Going along with that, the DSM and a lot of psychological tests seem to have this weird, very common thing of:
  • arbitrarily assigning characteristics an equal weight
  • scoring based on whether you get a large enough random subset of the characteristics
Both of these have given me the impression that they just sort of threw the thing together one day without a lot of research into whether it made sense and without any attempt to refine it.

And then people treat such tests as very important and official and all that. They confuse standardization with rigor.

BobPage

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Re: How FDR stalled and obscured my self knowledge
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2013, 02:44:47 PM »
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Anarchist, maybe you are torturing yourself with all this psychological self analysis.  :-\
That may be the case. I know it certainly didn't help me while I was in FDR.

I'm really bothered by the psychiatric technique of labeling personalities.

Before I came to Stef, I had begun reading Thomas Szasz, who is known in the libertarian movement as leading opponent of mainstream psychiatry.

To sum his case in a few sentences, psychiatry is invalid because it defines metaphors as diseases. In medicine, a disease manifests itself in the form of an objective lesion upon the body that causes measurable dysfunction. Doctors 'define' psychiatric disorders in a subjective manner, based upon symptoms.

Stefanology shares the same issues of diagnoses via symptoms. The 'doctor' doesn't even need to inspect you or your life to diagnose what's wrong and what you need to do to repair your 'disease.'
Going along with that, the DSM and a lot of psychological tests seem to have this weird, very common thing of:
  • arbitrarily assigning characteristics an equal weight
  • scoring based on whether you get a large enough random subset of the characteristics
Both of these have given me the impression that they just sort of threw the thing together one day without a lot of research into whether it made sense and without any attempt to refine it.

And then people treat such tests as very important and official and all that. They confuse standardization with rigor.

Yes. I guess people want answers to the unfathomable questions about the human condition. When you ask "why do I suffer?" these guys come up with pat answers.

Take this one quiz. Eat this pill. You have Bipolar Disorder Type 7, with a side of Autism, except there's no more Autism this year, so you have Attention Deficit Obsessive Repulsive Disorder.

Send me donations. Sounds like you had an overbearing mother, or a detached mother, or your father was too cruel, or he didn't toughen you enough, or you have a chemical imbalance in your brain, or such and such and so and so. No, no, no need to scan your brain (not that we could even do that), I can just tell about your imbalance. It's science. Yes, it's science. Here's the citation. Don't believe me? You're just acting out.

Why are you still suffering? It must be your fault, considering all this help I gave you!

Kaz

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Re: How FDR stalled and obscured my self knowledge
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2013, 01:46:26 AM »
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re this:

http://samvak.tripod.com/journal60.html

I really do not want to get into analysing Vaknin.  That would make my head hurt.

Vaknin's glib writing sounds very impressive but just what is the context of it?  Is he talking about paranoia or narcissism?  Is it everyday or does it refer to the Narcissistic catastrophe? Is it general or is he talking about himself?
 
It relies a lot on the reader's ability to fill in the blanks and make sense of things.  There is a lot of attribution to motives without any context and very little talk about actual behaviour. 

I actually own the 2004 edition of the book he references.  I went to look up his references to put them in proper context, but I could not find them.  This is not to say that the references are not there, just that Vaknin didn't specify exactly where to find it.

Talking of that book, Vaknin other writings have taken a lot from it (and others) without proper attribution and almost verbatim.  I know this because I recognised Vaknin as I read it! 

I came to this subject from a mythological perspective.  I read many psychology classics (not popular bestsellers) in my youth and I came across Vaknin over a decade ago.  At the time, I thought that it made sense of things, but later while reading other writers such as Millon, I discovered a few things.  First was the obvious plagiarism.  Perhaps it was a growing maturity with more life experience, but I realised how much I really didn't know about this.  I found that the only way I could proceed with my understanding was to unlearn a lot of what I had previously learnt from Vaknin and others and why I had to unlearn it.

I scanned a few excerpts from this book:

The first one is a mixture of Antisocial Personality Disorder with Narcissist Personality Disorder.  Anyone who has seen I-psychopath will note that Vaknin could be diagnosed with more than one personality disorder as well as psychopathy.  I realise that ASPD is not strictly psychopathy, (and neither is NPD) and this is no way a diagnosis of Sam Vaknin:

Quote
THE UNPRINCIPLED NARCISSIST
Unprincipled narcissists combine the self-confidence of the narcissist with the recurrent
aberrant behavior of antisocial personality patterns. Many of these individuals
achieve success in society by exploiting legal boundaries to the verge of unlawfulness.
Others may inhabit drug rehabilitation programs, centers for youth offenders, and jails
and prisons. Still others are opportunists and con men, who take advantage of others for
personal gain. Most people who demonstrate a pattern combining these styles are vindictive
and contemptuous of their victims. Whereas many narcissists have normal superego
development, unprincipled narcissists are skilled in the ways of social influence but
have few internalized moral prohibitions. They are experienced by others as unscrupulous,
amoral, and deceptive. More than merely disloyal and exploitive, these narcissists
show a flagrant indifference to the welfare of others, a willingness to risk harm, and fearlessness
in the face of threats and punitive action. Vengeful gratification is often obtained
by humiliating and dominating others. Joy is obtained by gaining the trust of
others and then outwitting or swindling them. Their attitude is that those who can be
taken advantage of deserve it.

Because they are focused on their own self-interest, unprincipled narcissists are indifferent
to the truth. If confronted, they are likely to display an attitude of justified innocence,
denying their behavior through a veneer of politeness and civility. If obviously
guilty, they are likely to display an attitude of nonchalance or cool strength, as if the victim
were to blame for not having caught on sooner. To them, achievement deficits and
social irresponsibility are justified by expansive fantasies and frank lies. Those who display
more antisocial traits may put up a tough, arrogant, and fearless front, acting out
their malicious tendencies and producing frequent family difficulties and occasional
legal entanglements. Relationships survive only as long as the narcissist has something to gain.
So strong is their basic self-centeredness and desire to exploit others that people may be dropped
from their lives with complete indifference to the anguish they might
experience or how their lives will be affected. In many ways, the unprincipled narcissist
is similar to the disingenuous histrionic (a combination of histrionic and antisocial patterns;
see Chapter 9). The unprincipled narcissist preys on the weak and vulnerable, enjoying
their dismay and anger. In contrast, the disingenuous histrionic seeks to hold the
respect and affection of those they dismiss in their pursuit of love and admiration.


From "Personality Disorders in Modern Life" 2nd Edition by Theodore Millon and Seth Grossman, Carrie Millon, Sarah Meagher and Rowena Ramnath - Wiley 2004 pages 337, 338
« Last Edit: February 01, 2013, 02:14:06 AM by Kaz »
Just because you have left FDR, it doesn't mean that FDR has left you.

"Taking responsibility for something and self-blame are horses of two entirely different colors. The former is empowering; the latter is paralyzing." ~ John Rosemond, Ph.D

Kaz

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Re: How FDR stalled and obscured my self knowledge
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2013, 02:10:26 AM »
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From "Personality Disorders in Modern Life" 2nd Edition by Theodore Millon and Seth Grossman, Carrie Millon, Sarah Meagher and Rowena Ramnath - Wiley 2004 page 443

Quote
THE FANATIC PARANOID
The fanatic paranoid pattern often resembles its less troubled cousin, the narcissistic
personality, as this variant is an interweaving of both paranoid and narcissistic traits.
Like the narcissist, the fanatic variant of the paranoid pattern comes across as arrogant,
pretentious, and expansive and maintains an air of contempt toward others. A major
difference is that narcissists often achieve some success, whereas fanatic paranoids
have run hard into reality, their narcissism profoundly wounded. Thus fallen from
grace, their self-image of perfection shattered, fanatic paranoids seek to reestablish
lost pride through extravagant claims and intricate fantasies. By endowing themselves
with illusory powers, they become superheroes or demigods, ready to prevail against
an evil universe.
Eventually, delusions of grandeur become their primary coping mechanism. By assuming
a grandiose identity, fanatic paranoids offset the collapse of self-esteem produced
by objective reality. They may present themselves as a holy saint, inspired
leader, or talented genius. Elaborate schemes may be devised by which to deliver the
world from sin, lead the planet to world peace, solve long-standing scientific problems,
or create utopian societies. Often, their plans are sufficiently detailed to draw at least
passing interest. When their ideas are eventually dismissed by others, they are likely to
attribute interference to intangible powers, perhaps secret government agencies that
have conspired to preserve the status quo. Projection, righteous indignation, and a
sense of omnipotence combine to create a defensive armor in this subtype.
Developmentally, fanatic paranoids are similar to compensating narcissists. Overindulged
and unrestrained by their parents, their imagination of what they might become
in life was given free reign and encouraged by caretakers, perhaps as a means of compensating
for poor family status. Once beyond the protective confines of the household,
however, their image of superiority was quickly and unmercifully destroyed by the outside
world. Completely defeated, saddled with a crushed sensed of self-worth, and unwilling
to face reality, they retreat deeper inside their private world of fantasy, creating a
compensatory universe in which they can assume their former station, fulfill previous
ambitions, and salvage their existence (see “Focus on Culture: Paranoid Conditions and
Cult Leaders”).
« Last Edit: February 01, 2013, 02:14:47 AM by Kaz »
Just because you have left FDR, it doesn't mean that FDR has left you.

"Taking responsibility for something and self-blame are horses of two entirely different colors. The former is empowering; the latter is paralyzing." ~ John Rosemond, Ph.D

Kaz

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Re: How FDR stalled and obscured my self knowledge
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2013, 04:52:48 AM »
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Re Sam Vaknin:

I think that he is the Stefan Molyneux of Psychology.  They both have a lot in common.  He has also run abusively psychologising fora on the internet.

Sam Vaknin is not qualified.  He is a criminal who got caught in a pump and dump scheme and got sent to jail.  In jail, he claims that he was diagnosed with NPD.

He has no real qualifications or experience.  He bought his PhD on the internet. 

He has successfully passed himself off as an "expert" on NPD, which he is not.

I knew some of that from what I found out and what other people said when his videos had been brought up at FDR. I didn't know he ran forums in the past, though.

I agree with a lot of your criticisms here. For instance, I don't think that a lot of what Sam Vaknin says applies to me. I think realizing that I have these problems will help me to understand what's going on a lot better and dealing with the problems over time is going to do a lot of good, which I've already started to see.


 "warning, predator in the 'hood!"

I posted because I felt the need to say something.  I had intended to respond to your original post, but I couldn't keep up with life and a flurry of very interesting posting at fdrliberated.

To put his writing in context, it can be useful to read as a point of view of someone who supposedly has NPD.

I agree with that, also. To be clear about it, I don't think I have NPD. I think Stefan fits a lot of what he describes, though, since it's such an extreme version of it.



To clarify, I was refering to Vaknin when I said, "point of view of someone who supposedly has NPD."

I don't think that you have NPD either.  If you did, you would not be reflecting on who you really are, both good and bad.

The problem is that we can relate to descriptions of personality disorders because they describe ordinary human behaviour that is carried to an exteme or inappropriately displayed.  Many people forget as they read on that the traits being described are prefaced by being inflexible and pervasive.

His work is full of landmines and can be very misleading, even if they are insightful.

That's definitely a good thing to watch out for. I currently have quite a lot of difficulty with falling into a narrative if it seems largely plausible, and earlier I was noticing and having to consciously reject the idea that I was as bad as he describes in some of the sections there, because it's not realistic. I also found that I needed to remind myself that progress is quite likely.



I have wondered whether reading psychology books has helped or hindered me.  Before I did, I had no trouble with understanding of myself and other people.  When I first started reading them, I did not have the context, maturity or life experience to really get it, so I found it confusing and it tripped me up a lot.  I have met some very insightful people without any formal knowledge of psychology who are very accurate in their evaluations of people.  Conversely, I have met some absolutely clueless people with psychological qualifications.

Another problem is that your perception of and interpretation of events can be overly influenced by what you read. 

Then there are malevolent people who love to mess with minds.  They may employ a very suble form of gaslighting in their writing. 

Consider what scrampi said about how you could be torturing yourself with psychological self analysis.  I am not saying that you are or are not, just that honest psychology can be confusing enough and you don't need it to know yourself.  You definitely don't need anyone like Vaknin, who by his own admission has distorted thinking, especially considering that you have just escaped from being unduly influence by another disturbed thinker.  Perhaps you may be a bit more impressionable than other people because of this?

His work has none of the overall coherency of someone who has actually done the work or is original.  I get the impression that he has paraphrased other authors and mixed it in with his poisonous outlook on life.

I was thinking about his views that he's incurable and his ideas that people with these problems do these things with conscious sadistic motives and so on, but I sometimes have a lot of difficulty coming up with ways of expressing things, and "poisonous outlook on life" is definitely a nice, succinct way of putting what I don't like about it!

Some of that is quite widespread amongst moralists. For example, there's the idea that people who have been abusive necessarily have the primary motive of abusing others. This is used to prove that they are incurable, since they want the opposite of getting better.



Trust your gut. 

Psychology has its uses and abuses, but it is unfair to judge it's value by it's charatans.  It is also unfair to give someone credit who has plagarised work others have done, sometimes disrespectfully so.

I agree that it's unfair to judge by charlatans, but even if I look at the more respectable widely-publicized-as-psychology parts of psychology, there have been things like the long-lasting weird plausibility of Freudianism and all its derivatives, the problems with a lot of recovered memories in the 1980s, and so on.

It seems like whenever people come up with yet another idea about how things supposedly work in the mind, there's no widespread call for them to prove that the idea has anything to do with reality. For instance, Internal Family Systems might be quite dangerous to some people, since it essentially starts to give them multiple personalities and to have them regularly talk to these parts, yet there seems to be no label like "alternative medicine" in psychology that psychologists in general apply to it.

This doesn't ruin psychology, of course, but it just seems like it's nowhere near a well-defined, scientifically-based discipline just yet, not that it's not moving toward that.


Essentially I agree with you. 

Trouble is that it does get abused.  Too many people use it for their own ends, eg they have an agenda(s) like the 80s recovered memories movement, or they manipulate it for their own profit or to suit their delusions.  There are therapists who are unable to help anyone.  Caveat emptor.

I don't see how it can by it's very nature be scientific.  That doesn't mean that it doesn't have value or standards can't be developed.  Professional associations are supposed to safeguard the practice, but it can only discipline its own members.

I believe that the DSM is based upon consensus, not science.  It is not supposed to be used to label people.  It is to be used by a professional to help identify certain behviour clusters so that he or she then knows the best way to proceed without making things worse.  It is one thing to read a book and then proceed to analyse strangers on the internet.  It is quite another to have worked to earn the qualifications to practice and then experience essentially the same predictable behaviours and reactions demonstrated hundreds of times, even though the individuals may appear totally different.  Therapy is an art, not a science, but imo it should be based on science.  I am hopeful that the growing subject of neuroscience will provide what is very badly needed.

http://enpsychopedia.org/index.php/Sam_Vaknin

My opinion is that it is prudent to describe psychological concepts in english as much as possible.  A lot of people do not understand what you mean and there is a lot of confusion over what the concepts actually mean, not helped by self proclaimed experts (eg Molyneux, Vaknin) abusing them.  I think that dianostic summaries are a kind of shorthand only useful in certain specific contexts.  Also, it is possible that more than one or two clusters of personality traits can apply (comorbidity) to a person.

Well, to be clear, I meant paranoia and narcissism in the normal senses: strong fears that are quite unjustified and overly-inflated ideas of how important you are.


I understood that.  I was not directing this comment at you or anyone in particular.  Don't be so paranoid! ;) ;D
Just because you have left FDR, it doesn't mean that FDR has left you.

"Taking responsibility for something and self-blame are horses of two entirely different colors. The former is empowering; the latter is paralyzing." ~ John Rosemond, Ph.D