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Inside the Mind of a Narcissist: Interview with Jacob Skidmore – The Nameless Narcissist

Jacob Skidmore, a.k.a The Nameless Narcissist, was officially diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and was aware that something was off since early childhood. Since realising that narcissistic behaviour has damaged his own life as well as harmed others, Jacob has set out on a path of revelation and discovery, looking for a way to live that is more beneficial to both himself and others.

In this fascinating and honest interview, Jacob shares what it’s like to be a narcissist, what goes on in his mind, what motivates him and drives him, and what he’s hoping to achieve through sharing his struggle with the world.


Listen on Soundcloud here:

 


Check out Jacob’s YouTube channel here: www.YouTube.com/@thenamelessnarcissist

And his other links, including options for supporting his work, can be found here: https://linktr.ee/thenamelessnarcissist


Full Transcript (unedited)

Dan Munro 

Welcome back to bridge online. I do something really special for you today. I had a podcast interview with a guy named Jacob Skidmore. He goes by the handle the nameless narcissist on YouTube. Jacob is a man who’s been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder. He’s what you would call a self aware narcissist. Now the word narcissists gets thrown around all the time these days and very few people actually know what it means they just use it to describe anyone they disagree with, or anyone who treats them poorly. Or Jacob is doing is putting it out there what it really means to be a narcissist what you need to know when dealing with a narcissist. And in today’s conversation, we dig into what it is like to be a narcissistic personality, what it’s like on the inside. And what it is Jacob’s hoping to achieve in his life now that he’s aware and working on this so called disorder. This is a fascinating conversation, one of the most interesting conversations I’ve ever had. And I’m really excited to share with you guys today.

Or I’m in so tell me, tell me about NPD. Tell me about its relationship with you. And we want to share with people about their

 

Jacob Skidmore 

Okay, so let me think when I was I was that Well, see, it’s always hard when I talk about my when I was diagnosed because it was first floated when I was around 15 years old, because I had, I had like very serious anger issues. And I was made to go into therapy because of a particularly violent occurrence. I’m not gonna get into that right off the bat. But I kind of ignored it at the time. If anything, I thought it made me better other people. Ironically, right. And eventually, I had a relationship that went sour when I was around one ish or so. And I ended up I did end up cheating on her. And I asked myself, Why did I do that? It’s a question I’ve asked myself basically my entire life. Why? Why am I doing these things that obviously are detrimental to my own well being. And that seems to be at odds with almost what everybody else does. So I ended up going into therapy to impress another girl if I’m being honest. But in that I stayed for that reason. Eventually, I ended up like after like, because like I was there I when you’re a narcissist, and you like your cast mark. And I like think of myself as kind of smart. You kind of learned that in order to get the validation and stuff that you need, that acting narcissistic, typically doesn’t get that reaction. So I like him my grandiosity, which is like the telltale sign for, like, a year, maybe two. And I remember one day, I was complaining about some of my friends or something because I felt misunderstood by them. And I just kind of sat back and chuckled. And my therapist was like, what and I was like, Well, it’s, I was really, I said something along the lines of like, well, I mean, it’s, it’s, I don’t blame them, though, because they’re also fucking stupid. And she was like, wait, what? And I went on like this grandiose tirade being like, well, they all complain, like, I’m better than them. But I mean, look at them and look at me see how smart I am. Stuff like that. And I remember just laughing out loud as I’m about to leave being like, Oh, that felt good. And that’s around the time I was diagnosed, like officially because I just kind of let all that crap out. At first, and at first, I was kinda like confused, because I was like, I hate myself. How could I be a narcissist, if I lack any of that self love, right? I think I’m better than people but also I hate myself. And I come to learn eventually as I because I want to understand myself. So I deep dove into all the information out there. And effectively what narcissistic personality disorder is and what people miss is that it’s not about the grandiosity it’s not about thinking you’re better than people. It’s not about abuse. It’s about that because of the self loathing that we have. We’re constantly going out trying to seek outside affirmation, just so we can kind of prop that up. And so we’re going to act like very like above people very grandiose and you’re domineering. So people will give us that feedback of yes, you’re powerful you’re worth something you’re above people even. It just in that desperate bid to try to not feel like crap all the time. I can go from between being super grandiose and like thinking I’m better than everybody to, like these intense vulnerable states where I feel like I like that self hatred just is boiling in me and I’m like very paranoid, and Kyle lashing out. And I just am like super depressed and stuff like that. And that can even drive people with my disorder when they get into those states to like things like suicide. But yeah, that’s kind of what how I would describe how I got diagnosed. And what narcissism really is as a disorder.

 

Dan Munro 

One of the reasons I love these kinds of conversations is because whenever you dig into anybody’s unique, rare diagnosis, all you hear is just normal human traits just dialed up maybe, or perhaps skewed towards a certain, I don’t know, a single person who, you know that I’ve dived in deep with whose self identity is not grandiose. But if they say I’m a loser, there’s a kind of heroism and there

 

 

is yeah, that’s I actually say a lot. Because it’s like, there’s a grandiose there is a, like, let’s say, somebody, like I’ve seen a lot of people describe themselves as like, oh, a monster, let’s say, take that word, monster, there’s power, that there’s a lot of power in that word. And obviously, they’re being self deprecating. But that in itself is still grandiose.

 

Dan Munro 

Absolutely. And this is what I think this might be. One of the reasons that the term narcissist gets thrown around so much is because so many people can actually, at least in moments, live by those traits and enact on those traits. I certainly have. It that’s also interesting, you know, the pie, you’re talking about kind of noticing that you sabotage the relationship and go, Why the fuck would I do that? Not in my best interest. Every single person I know does things that are not in their best interest. Exactly. You know,

 

 

everyone has so much self reflecting to do to really understand themselves. So that level, and maybe narcissists have more work to do in that, but it’s a struggle everybody has.

 

Dan Munro 

Absolutely. So that’s, I just find that really fascinating. I wasn’t really expecting you to portray any traits or views that are totally alien to humanity or anything like that. I even think somebody I used to work with. So schizophrenics, they hear voices and doesn’t hear voices, they just hear them louder, you know, and they think it’s somebody else.

 

 

That’s a really good way to describe it. I mean, now I have a friend who’s schizophrenic, and she, you would never even know if it weren’t for the fact that like she’ll talk about it sometimes or get sometimes she’ll have really bad paranoid ideation. But like, or like she’ll, like be startled by something. But at the end of the day, it’s not like these depictions that you see of the mentally ill where it’s like, oh, they’re basically they’re unfathomable unfathomably, like different from people.

 

Dan Munro 

Yeah, look, I’ve been to forensic mental health, like, criminally insane. And I’m still yet to find people that are somehow not human in their traits. They’re just extreme, perhaps, or consistent and consistent is a lot of suits. So it’s, it’s almost a kind of irony for someone with NPD, to be so forthright and transparent. Because apparently, you’re not supposed to do that. Right, right. Totally Machiavellian and manipulated, manipulative all the time. And it’s slightly possible that even the honesty is that but then, of course, everybody could be doing that, to some extent.

 

 

And it’s interesting, because like, a big part of narcissism is the hiding of the self, right? We’re trying to portray ourselves, we’re like hiding everything we really think about ourselves, because we find it shameful. And basically, and that’s where you hear like mirroring, and stuff like that, because we’re going to be trying to match people’s personalities to get them to like us. Gosh, what, where was I going with that? But um, oh, yeah. But, and I’m, and I never lie about this. But part of my motivation, and doing what I do is for attention, and for people praising me for my honesty, so I guess you could say, it’s funny to me to do that. But it’s also not my only motivation. And also, even if it was, I find it to be a much better way to get that than some of the other avenues that I couldn’t take.

 

Dan Munro 

You know, I often get into discussions with people about what qualifies as kind of negative manipulation, considering we’re all all the time. And I think you just demonstrated, one of the ways to get out of that question is to make sure that whatever strategy you do have is revealed. Yes, so even if you’re doing it for selfish reasons, which really I think we all are all the time, at least if you say that’s why I’m doing it. Now, as neutralizer can do harm.

 

 

And that’s getting what you want. Somebody I say all the time is that manipulation doesn’t have to be intrinsically bad. It can be used for ways that are pro social, so to speak. I can knew I can manipulate people into. And I try not to nowadays because I feel like it’s taking I recognize that’s like taking away from somebody’s agency. And I personally, am personally, I can see why that would be a quote unquote bad thing. But that being said, I have never left the view that manipulation has to be bad.

 

Dan Munro 

Right? Yeah. Cool. Well, let’s, let’s keep diving in and get a little deeper on this. I mean, one of the first things I really like I said, I’m curious about is how you wind up going from, obviously quite painful experiences and self sabotage through to therapy kind of by accident, right? by somebody else that is actually helpful. Through to, yeah, like you said, What, what’s the inspiration for you going online? And, you know, living, everyone’s

 

 

exposing myself, so everyone has

 

Dan Munro 

a diagnosis for that matter.

 

 

Um, it’s so. So like, there was two things that really played into that decision. Were the first one was, I was in a very bad point in my life, and I just needed somewhere to vent. And, you know, again, attention about this point wasn’t motivation to, but I was like, so frustrated by the fact that I felt like nobody really understood me because of the differences in my cognition and some other people’s. And so I was just kind of desperate for a place to do that. And at the same time, as I was kind of researching my disorder, and finding other people that do struggle with it, and are trying to better themselves, how, like, we, like many people in my communities will come under a law harassment, even though they’re trying to work on their themselves. And it would frustrate me so much, because I’m like, These people don’t have an accurate view of what we go through, or what this disorder is. And so I really went in, I did one of my limitations going into it is I want to de stigmatize I want to show people, this isn’t what they think it is, yes, we can hurt people. Like I’m never gonna deny that. And I think it’s important for people with my disorder to recognize that we can be hurtful to because we need to avoid that. But at the same time, it’s not like we’re these evil mustache twirling villains going around being like, I’m going to take advantage of all these people, and I’m going to ruin their lives or whatever people think that we do. It’s that we’re desperately trying to get our needs met. And we kind of trample on people to those ends without most of the time without even realizing

 

Dan Munro 

that I can, there’s nothing you’re saying that doesn’t apply to pretty much everyone in some way. You know, it’s quite my sort of target market, I guess, with coaching as I call nice guys and people pleasers. A lot of the times they would be behavior wise, on the opposite end of the spectrum, they do the opposite of trampling people, they allow themselves to be trampled if anything, self sacrifice and stuff. And yet, it’s all done the self serving manipulation as a motive acts, and quite often quite deliberately, like you measure so many people pleasers, their way into a relationship that lasts for 10 years. 10 years from someone by being fake. I mean, how’s that? Not?

 

 

Now, honestly, I think that’s almost more messed up than what I do.

 

Dan Munro 

But you just kind of short and sharp, right? And you know, the person who’s more kind on the front end, does more damage in the bank, I don’t know. But the idea that you’re somehow doing something that’s alien, or unusual, or other people can relate to it, and they can isolate your group and say they’re evil, or that just doesn’t quite line up with truth.

 

 

We’re practicing a lack of empathy there.

 

Dan Munro 

Right? Well, let’s let’s I mean, let’s touch on your views on some of the kinds of ideas that come up for most people around narcissism. Words like evil words, like psychopath words, like you know, totally unconscious or whatever. No, no feelings, no empathy to us on that ship.

 

 

It Well, I want to start off by saying, for people that don’t have accurate views, mind disorder, I don’t really blame them move for people that even people that like throw around the term because you on the internet, you’re gonna find all sorts of bullcrap. Like you’re not going to find reliable information and unless you go really deep, and I can’t blame people for not going that deep into it, because I mean, like, at the end of the day, who really cares, they have their own mind. But I think the most damaging thing that I really say that I really hate is like the inherent pathologizing of abuse. It’s like because they’re mentally ill, they’re abusing a bunch of people, and they are inevitably going to be As people, I do think that at certain severe and disordered, you could make the argument that it’s more inherent. And I would argue that because of our emotional dysregulation, we when we’re not actively working on those, and I don’t even think you have to be aware narcissist to start working on these things. But you will end up hurting people, but so does everybody. And the issue becomes when we refuse to take accountability, in terms of the non feeling stuff there, it’s, it’s so much more nuanced than just, I don’t feel emotions, obviously, like, I feel anger, obviously, that’s an emotion. There are ones that I lack though. I don’t feel guilt, I’m not but like, and I’m not sure how many if this is universal narcissism, I feel a lot of shame, but I don’t feel guilt. And I think that comes from the preoccupation with myself, I can’t really consider and because like, I can’t feel that I am my actions. It’s that’s a whole thing that I’m empathy. I don’t necessarily understand the idea that you can feel somebody’s emotions by just like witnessing them like I can. I would say I can sympathize with people to a certain degree, I can’t I don’t really understand empathy without remorse, I’m not sure that I feel so like there are. So there are some truths to this, right, these traits do sometimes make it easier to hurt people. But it’s more. Again, it’s more due to our own preoccupation, our focus on ourselves and our own needs, making sure that we get our needs met, because you know, we are in a lot of pain all the time. Rather than any sort of malicious act. They’re more of just byproducts of the fact that I’m not that like, I’m not happy, I guess you could say.

 

Dan Munro 

Would it be fair to sum up then that like, whatever harm you do to others is a byproduct of a different goal, like you’re trying to, as you might say, getting your own needs met, but primarily harming others is not the goal.

 

 

No, not at all. Like, I can, like one of the symptoms is interpersonal exploitation. It’s never like, I’m trying to get money from them. It’s never like I’m trying to steal from them. It’s like for a good example of this is I date somebody for status, which is exploitative, right? But it’s the it’s not because I’m trying to like abuse and use this person. It’s because I feel like I need to date somebody who has status in order to feel better about myself.

 

Dan Munro 

Right. So if you got your needs met, and and didn’t harm the other person, you wouldn’t need to add to that to make sure they also got harmed sort of thing.

 

 

Exactly. I mean, what would be the point of harming the person?

 

Dan Munro 

Right? So it has to serve the goal. It can’t be just a pleasure of it itself. I mean, I’ve worked with, you know, which was some of the worst of the worst in terms of violent and sexual criminal offenders. And there is a category that say is some sort of object of evil and it’s a very small slice, but these are people whose primary motive is they get their pleasure, equal suffering.

 

 

And I am sure there are some narcissists that are like, Yeah, but it’s not a staple disorder. There’s sadism isn’t sadism isn’t even a something you can find the DSM. You like sadism is just this, like whole other thing. Because if this person’s only problem is that they enjoy earning other people, well, since they’re not suffering, that’s not mental condition. That’s just they’re pieces of shit.

 

Dan Munro 

But I actually wonder how much you can enjoy someone else’s suffering. If you don’t have empathy. You can’t like feel its mood as well. If you’re just watching this movie, then what are you going to? I don’t know, I don’t know. But it’s good to make this distinction. Because a lot of people will assume, you know, the hostile attribution bias, they’re assuming that you’re actually trying to cause harm as a primary motive. Actually, it’s kind of like a bull in a china shop kind of thing. How are we done to get what you need? It’s interesting. I want to hear your distinction on shame versus guilt, may wish to sell some clinicians because this is pretty important stuff. Yes. So shame, but not guilt. What do you mean?

 

 

Um, so I want to point out that this is going to be different. I’m pretty good at articulating it nowadays, but I narcissists have alexithymia we can’t recognize our emotions, it’s very hard for us to be able to discern them. So maybe maybe a narcissist isn’t the best person to ask. And usually, from what people describe is guilt is an emphasis on the action. It’s like, Oh, I did a bad thing. While shame is I’m a bad person because I’m a bad person. Like it’s more focused on self more self loathing. ironic that I’m not sure if this is appropriate to talk about but I did feel guilt once but I was tripping on rooms. It was it because I wasn’t able to tell a difference up until that well, or I was doubtful about that there was a difference until that happened. And I was like, Whoa, I’ve never felt an emotion. So other focused, I guess you could say. Because shame, it’s just, I’m a bad, terrible person, because I did this thing or something like that.

 

Dan Munro 

Cool. I mean, that’s my understanding of the difference between those terms as well. But there’s they actually quite gray line in between, because quite often people are chained because of they feel guilty.

 

 

I mean, they, and they can serve the same function, I would argue, and a lot of cases.

 

Dan Munro 

Yeah, well, I, I wonder how many people are actually confident enough to feel bad about what they did without feeling bad as a person? And yeah, there’ll be interesting to explore. But it’s, I’ve always, I mean, I’ve worked with a lot of people high on the psychopathic spectrum. And watching them as they, as you say, struggle to describe an emotion they can’t feel against us. While essentially observation based isn’t that you kind of guessing what a must feel like, based on what you see.

 

 

Yeah, and it’s, and like, back when I was unaware, especially It was especially hard because I would it’s, I guess it’s projection to some degree of, I would assume they’d feel the same thing I would in those situations. So let’s say they, let’s say felt guilty, but I would feel shame in that situation. I’m like, Oh, this must be guilt, because of how they would be acting stuff like that. But since I’m feeling different emotions in the moment, and because I can’t discern the emotions on my own. I was completely wrong in a lot of cases.

 

Dan Munro 

interest interesting you know, as really fascinating stuff for me personally isn’t so much that it’s more numbness so it took me a while to buy the feelings I had a very slight there but like a little look for them, nowadays, for them, but for a while, they I felt was just apathetic 90% of the day as apathetic. So like my two states. Interesting, because I think a lot of people would assume that somebody who’s narcissistic, is completely alien to the concept of shame, that is a form of confidence. It sounds like you’re more saying that the grandiosity is more like perhaps arrogance, like superiority, but without high self worth. Yes.

 

 

I always say that. I can be grandiose but grandiosity is not the same as self compassion or self love. Um, narcissists view the world in terms of like better and worse than, like everything, I’m always comparing to other things just to basically make sense event. And people are no exception. I view everybody on this hierarchy of better than or worse than me, I think the almost the most, almost the most intolerable thing would be seeing somebody as equal, but I can’t even comprehend the idea of people being equal, if that makes sense. Like that. There’s like that, because in my mind, it’s like everybody has their own sets of values that can be basically categorized, and then those values can be weighted, and then there’s always going to be somebody on top of the other. And when you’re grandiose, you think that you’re on top of everybody. When you’re vulnerable. You think you’re worse than everybody that when it comes to flipping between grandiose vulnerable states and narcissism. But the but there’s no self compassion there when even when I’m grandiose my inner dialogue, if like let’s say I mess up at something is you’re so stupid. Why did you do that? You’re better than all these people. How can you allow yourself to do that you’re stupid and stuff like that. It’s still the self hate still there. It’s just doesn’t come off as self hate because I’m also acting better than everybody.

 

Dan Munro 

That’s pretty interesting, because it almost sounds like the grandiosity becomes something that you work yourself with like the way you said, you should be better than because you’re better than everyone becomes a punishment on yourself. A standard like a high standard.

 

 

It’s never good enough.

 

Dan Munro 

Right? So everyone who’s watching watching this knows we’re not feeling good enough, is all about. So the idea that you’re so different everyone is

 

 

not so. Data ridiculous. Yeah.

 

Dan Munro 

Yeah, like I said, there’s still nothing you’ve said that is completely alien. But perhaps the extremities or maybe it’s more than not once, not there. So like I would,

 

 

I would say it’s a combination of what’s not there and also the The links I’m going to go to, to get these needs met. And the fact that, like, other people, everybody has narcissistic traits, obviously, they can be narcissistic in certain situations, like let’s say, I don’t know, they won the law, they got a promotion at work, and they’re gonna be rather grandiose about that they’re gonna be very confident, right? But for narcissists, we only have our narcissism to work with. I once heard it described as you have a, you have a shed with a bunch of tools, right? You have a hammer, you have a wrench, etc, etc. But then narcissist only have like half those tools, because we’re so confined to like our narcissistic drives and urges.

 

Dan Munro 

Interesting. So yeah, so it’s like what’s lacking? Then you got to double down on what is there, in a sense, make the most of what you do have? Yeah. Yes, it’s really fascinating. And like I say, there’s some things I relate to, and other things are not so much. There. I guess this is where the empathy thing becomes interesting. Because, you know, a lot of this conversation are gonna transition into you know, where you’re at now and how you manage yourself now. I think reading between the lines are less harmful person than you were. So I want to figure out how, yes, that you actually kind of manage that practically. Because I’m assuming you still don’t have empathy right?

 

 

Now. Yeah. Now, I still don’t understand it to this day.

 

Dan Munro 

Which is kind of like missing a leg like it’s not going to grow back because the brains dark or something.

 

 

To my knowledge, like, I think the jury is still out how much I can develop it. I do want to point out though, like something interesting, all people don’t know, according to a study, called like, the prevalence instability of NPD over a two year treatment period or something like that. Only 44% of narcissists actually lack empathy, which I think is fascinating. I’m one of the unlucky ones. Or lucky, I’ll be honest, sometimes I think that my lack of empathy may be beneficial. But I have been able to kind of, despite not I learned very well how to fake it. You know, like, one of the things I do for attention and to be praised, is I act as a like therapists and quotes to my friends. It’s like, I give them this advice, that’s relatively speaking, pretty objective. And like, I would say, pretty good. And then they praise me and thanking me because they’re like, Oh, my God, you’re so wise, you’re so like, good at talking about this stuff, etc, etc. And so it’s like a transaction that really benefits everybody, despite the fact that I missing a component that most would associate with the interaction like that.

 

Dan Munro 

Well, like you’ve seen the benefits there. I mean, I have it and coaching is a kind of learned psychopathy, I have to apply in coaching and I had it when I was working on criminal offenders, surgeons, police, they can’t feel you know, who they’re working with as feeling like, I’m a surgeon, I can’t be concerned about the well being of my patient while I’m cutting them wrong. To get to start shaking like I need to see just meat on the table. Anything else and I’m just gonna fall to pieces. Exactly. You will see those people who who burn out and say the therapy trade are the ones who feel too much. They they’re not distancing, they can’t detach. And I do wonder, I’ll be interested to see where this goes in the future if there isn’t a kind of a workaround. We are acting as if not faking acting as if an empathetic person would act would actually generate a system of genuine empathy and some kind of like cobbled together way I don’t know. But I thought of an example somebody was Louie CK the comedian was talking about how the internet has made us all a lot more narcissistic because you can’t see the pain on the other end. Right so yeah, I bully someone online and as feel good for being this nastiness in the darkness out of it is everybody’s got it. And I don’t see any pain. I don’t see anything. It’s just a screen in front of there’s no feedback loop. Whereas if I go to a real person and call them a nasty name see they’re like face crumple up and go oh, God, I know that feeling what the fuck I don’t like make you feel free like that. That’s a horrible feeling. I know they’re feeling and then I almost well, really against my will. It’ll be very hard for me to repeat behavior like that. If I feel that empathy, empathy becomes essentially a leash. Because I can’t do that to people without going through what they’re going to go through. So it’s like if I stabbed someone feels like I’m being stabbed. I’m going to stop stabbing people, right? As the same results or bullying or manipulation, so a lot of people with empathy, that’s how they’re managed, they have a leash of, I can’t do that to them because I’ll feel bad. Surprisingly, self centered. You know, there’s very few people say you feel bad. And that will stop me even though I don’t care about it. So talk us through a little bit, how is it that you manage your behavior to be less harmful than you were without that leash?

 

 

While my leashes needing to be affirmed in light, and also shame, I can’t go round. I mean, and also there’s no, like, there’s no benefit to hurting people in my mind, right? At least just unprovoked. It’s like why like, but the lack of empathy does play into when I’m desperately trying to get those needs met. And then it’s like, oh, well, I don’t have that leash. So I might trample over people a lot of times, either knowing. Or like, assuming that they would react like I would, which usually isn’t the case. But I do, but like, let’s say I’m confronted on bad behavior, I’ll feel like very intense shame because of the judgments and the, what is being said about my character and stuff like that. So out does act as a leash per se, I guess. And for me, it’s like, it can be a very, and it may be it’s an unhealthy degree of shame, because it can be debilitating. I want Scott Kritis criticized for something at work. And it wasn’t even like, it wasn’t even a big deal I don’t want to get into because I hate thinking about it. But I was so ashamed, I really drove home and hid in my room for the rest of the day. So that shame avoidance becomes, I would say, becomes an even stronger leash and a lot of instances, a leash that can at least that’s kind of strangling you every now. Because because I do question it. Sometimes it’s like, what would be a more effective leash, this something that inspires self hate or something that inspires an equal amount of emotional reactions, who whoever you hurt and stuff like that?

 

Dan Munro 

Yo, I think we’re looking at two leashes that, you know, the empathy leashes actually kind of a fragile one itself. They can easily easily lead, for example, people might start being dishonest because their honesty offends other people. And the empathy hurts and you’re actually being honest with everybody involved, you’re going to like blast through that fragile reaction. So that leash, the empathy leash, I mean, I work with people who are absolutely imprisoned, like pinned to the ground by their leash, they can’t move. They can’t hurt anybody, they can’t even risk it. No matter whether it’s they’ve done something objectively harmful, the other person is just too sensitive or whatever. So they’re absolutely tied down by it sounds like your current work around us. either. It’s just impractical, like the result of harming people just doesn’t serve your interests anyway. It’s doesn’t help in terms of a transaction. It’s a poor way to transact.

 

 

Again, yeah, I mean, what’s the point? Why would I go out of my way to hurt people when all I want is to be liked and to be admired? Or to? Or to avoid shame and stuff like that? Those are ologists, who like I want to avoid hurting will just because, again, like I can’t see a reason that somebody would, unless you’re, like, actively sadistic for whatever reason. I can’t see a any sort of real Machiavellian purpose in hurting someone unless it’s like as a well, I guess, I guess, I guess when I think about it, would you consider vengeance, a sort of sadism?

 

Dan Munro 

I guess if there’s pleasure in the pain of the other person, then certainly

 

 

drop out because I always describe it more as like a satisfaction, it feels unjust. And that can be problematic. I’ve had to really learn to rein in myself in that way. Ask myself like, Okay, what could they’re like, not everybody works for the same reasons I do. What could they have possibly been trying to achieve? By this hurt? Was it purposeful, which maybe the purposefulness is irrelevant whether vengeance should be saw i i would argue vengeance should never be sought. But there is a pleasure in what I perceive as what I and I avoided nowadays, obviously. But in lashing back, it’s like, look how, look how you made me feel. You made me feel like this, which is obviously a flawed way to think but that is the logic that goes through our heads long time.

 

Dan Munro 

Again, very know what I mean. The modern justice system is vengeance based. It’s you heard so to imprison is a painful place to Go to find a painful to pay so as punitive and this is what I find this really fascinating. So we’re you’re wrestling with the years, the ethics or vengeance, who wasn’t right however, you may take satisfaction in the perpetrator being harmed and return and we are in the realms of sadism in some sense. Because justice and vengeance are not the same thing of justice as balancing the scales, for example, we see in the criminal justice system, that rehabilitation, reintegrating people into society, surrounding them with support is the best way to balance the scale to lower crime. That’s actually pleasurable experience for the criminal offender and wants them to have a pleasurable experience. So the actual the statistical best thing to do in response to crime, the just thing to do, has nothing to do with vengeance. I’m kind of digressing here. But what I’m trying to point out, as you know, your trade is all to human, the human the, I guess you could say there’s the worldwide absolutely accepted form of justice system is quite narcissistic. How do we get satisfaction by harming those who harmed us? That’s interesting. So you’ve got this kind of shame leash, knowing that if you find out you’ve harmed others, you’ll feel bad for yourself? Is that about the just?

 

 

I would say so. Yeah, I would say particularly being exposed for harming others, because there’s been

 

Dan Munro 

Asian kind of thing. So with that, like your reputation will be harmed by it and start. Yeah,

 

 

that’s and because, and because it’s like intolerable for me to how do I put it it’s so intolerable for knowing, knowing that people had that opinion of me. Even if that passes, like, let me like, let’s I actually have a personal example there. I interviewed a woman on my YouTube channel. Her name is Wendy T. Berry, and she wrote a very influential book on called disarming the narcissist, highly recommend it for anybody who needs help in that area. Um, but an interview with her, and I will, I flagged a bunch of YouTube videos for copyright. I didn’t notice I flagged hers of our interview. And she emailed me basically being like, oh, like, sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you. And the idea that in that moment, that she viewed me like that, that I can be that self centered and stuff like that was so intolerable, that like it bothered, like I couldn’t sleep that night, even though I immediately emailed her back being like, that was completely an accident, like, how do I fix this? And I did. But just knowing that in that moment, she had that feeling about me, it just crushed me for the rest of the day.

 

Dan Munro 

Are you really kind of throwing off the idea that you’re just as evil impro just enjoying the pain of others without suffering itself, which is the common view of narcissism. And quite an incorrect view. I know from my own studies, that’s nowhere close to that even at the highest end of the spectrum, there’s generally a lot of suffering on the side of the narcissist, probably almost equivalent to suffering their cause. And also, as we sort of identify like, do you really cause more suffering than others? That’s debatable. It also is out in the open and obvious

 

 

motors sometimes.

 

Dan Munro 

Why? What I was interested in is the naivety. So I get the sense and correct me if I’m sort of, not steal, meaning what you’re saying here. But the idea that a lot of the time you cause harm. And it seems like in relation to not having empathy, because either you don’t see that people have been harmed, and I’m guessing you just keep going, or you assume they think like you and you wouldn’t be harmed in that situation, you would accept whatever it was, and so you assume other people would tolerate it as well. And not imagine that differently. So sounds like what you’re saying is a lot of your harm is really unintentional. And I’m aware,

 

 

I would say there’s, there has been times in my life where it hasn’t. Again, it’s over for the purpose of hurting. There has been times in my life, where which had been comparatively very rare that I knew that I was going to be hurting somebody, but for whatever reason, I thought it was justified or, like worth it. Or it’s like there is like always this mindset of like, well, this is for the greater good. Like, I’ll help them out later or whatever like that. That’s definitely in the minority of times, but yeah, generally it’s because I don’t think they’re going to be affected by it. Or I just don’t even think about it. Just because it doesn’t even occur to me in that moment. How it I’m going to impact the people around me.

 

Dan Munro 

Again, very human. You know, my own similarities with you one of them as soon emotions, I really don’t feel and one that I really don’t feel as offended. Like I get it as maybe a couple of times I’ve been assaulted or something in my life, but so I will say something offensive. In the same reason as I would assume everybody listening is going to be fine with it, because I’m fine with it. And I’d be fine with anyone speaking like this, I disagreed with them. And I’ve been reminded time and again, and that’s not the case. Other people feel this thing called offended, and they really hurts. They really don’t like it. I’m not really sure exactly what that feels like. I think I’ve had glimpses of it, like

 

 

a anger. And that’s a really good analogy.

 

Dan Munro 

Yeah, I’m sure there’s a lot of people have this like, one of the things I wanted to ask you about, now a couple of things, floating in my head, completely different topics. One is, what the strengths are, that you see from having this, not even calling it a disorder of where to just look at it as a different cognition. Or, and I’m keen to hear a bit more about that. But also, you know, you’re talking like, you spent a lot of your time feeling grandiosity or shame but not self love. I’m really clear, I’m really keen to hear if there’s been any exceptions, there are any things that consistently give you a sense of confidence and self love, or you’re basically just floating between being better than people or hating yourself?

 

 

I mean, at the end of the day, that’s I. So we have the saying, like, I am pretty involved in a lot of communities based around pathological narcissism. And like recovery, we have this peep, we kind of get very annoyed at people who are like, Oh, practice self love, because we just don’t understand it. We have this joke, actually, of like, when people say, Oh, you have to heal your inner child, we say, we don’t have an inner child, we have a dead one. Because we genuinely don’t understand the concept of being able to love ourselves without somebody else telling us how great we are. And even then, I wouldn’t even call it self love, I would call it I would call it like, again, just being better than other people.

 

Dan Munro 

So I got to dig down on this one, because this is quite fascinating. And also from my own information in terms of working with clients who feature on the, on the spectrum of narcissism. I mean, the understand the concept of being proud of yourself, even without outside approval or validation. So you did something you know, it’s the right thing to do. Nobody else even noticed. And you feel some sort of rewarding sensation in relation to like reflecting on it.

 

 

Only when I’m in that, only when I’m imagining telling somebody else about it.

 

Dan Munro 

Okay, so you still have wow, that’s interesting. See, imagine you’re having like a virtual approval.

 

 

It’s interesting because I, my inner monologue, I don’t even know if I’m, like, sometimes I’ll try to like, I don’t even really speak in my head in first person. It’s always imagining it’s either like, it feels like everything’s so performative. I feel very, like, that’s a big thing with narcissism. Everything feels fake, and it’s terrible. But it’s, it’s either I’m imagining telling somebody about this, or that there’s like a narrative or like, I’m in a movie, like there’s a narration going on about the things I’m doing. Or like a television show or whatever. It’s always so myself, perception is so outwardly based. My I have a friend who is also a narcissist, and she put it perfectly where she said, the Do you understand, like, do you find it hard to understand how other people know who they are without somebody telling them? And I was like, Oh, my god, somebody gets it? Yes, yes, yes. Because I don’t know who I am. If somebody isn’t telling me.

 

Dan Munro 

I saw an interview on YouTube was, I’m not I think she had antisocial personality disorder, of course, NPD. There’s a lot of overlap there. She said, she feels like a guest that fills the space. So whatever the space is, she’ll fill it and take that shape, but she doesn’t actually have any substance itself. So she was talking about like, if she’s socializing, she’ll be whatever that person needs to be. When the person goes away, she’s dissolves into kind of nothing, because that

 

 

will be very similar. Very, very similar. I describe it as that Imagine that like gaseous stuff, but instead of, I feel like a husk, almost like that stuff is like, inside my skin, and the skin is trying to stay together and match the end. Like, I need other people to kind of keep that in place to keep myself together, or that gap or that craps gonna come out of me.

 

Dan Munro 

Wow, this is really interesting. Because on one hand, you say shame is essentially you feel bad about yourself. And the other hand, you don’t have a self.

 

 

Yes, I know. It’s contradictory. It’s wild. Yeah, who

 

Dan Munro 

isn’t contradictory, right. But when you say, I feel bad about myself, who’s the self you’re referring to?

 

 

I don’t know why this is my big. This is one of the biggest questions I get, and one that I am still trying to wrap my mind around, it might just be a limitation of, you know, language. But I don’t know. It’s like, I don’t feel like I’m a real person. But at the same time, I feel like, inherent.

 

 

Like, I, I just I’ve heard it described, and I’ve, or I’ve described it as well, of like, I’m, like, I feel like I’m like almost a broken mess of little pieces of people of like, who I used to be when I have a kid mainly, like just kind of floating around and myself, and those parts are bad. And maybe that’s kind of what I’m trying maybe that’s what I’m trying to describe. But this might just be a limitation how much I’m able to say about my inner world in that way. Because it’s like, how do I? How do I describe it in a way that does it justice, especially when I don’t understand what other people are their internal experiences is like, I don’t understand what it feels like to not feel empty. That’s something that like, I am, like, I assume, for other people who don’t feel empty, that it’s very difficult for them to be able to comprehend, like, what does emptiness feel like? Right?

 

Dan Munro 

Well, I do wonder, you know, I’m always keeping on the forefront of neuroscience and so on. And one of the more horrible things coming out of that field is the idea of itself being a complete illusion. And the idea of consciousness being anything other than the kind of very early beta version of what it should be, and so on. Long story short, I think there are people who do identify as a self as a solid unit, as a oneness, deluding themselves, because and I’ve been through this, you interview such people and like, what what do you mean, who are you? Who is the you you are talking? And they just come up with pieces, that some piece? Somebody might even say something like, I’m a smoker. It’s like, well, what about when you’re not smoking? Yeah. Is it like I’m an accountant? Or what about when you’re home with your family? I’m a nice guy. What about when you’re being mean?

 

 

What Perseid trait is truly consistent,

 

Dan Munro 

right? There’s nothing that lasts 100% of the time, there’s nothing that’s always present. So I do wonder if, in some way, NPD is just an absence of ability to form that illusion, in that you’re actually seeing a more realistic view of the self.

 

 

You can it’s funny when I was younger, I That’s why you said because like I had done I was a narcissist, but I mean, it was always it was kind of in the back of my head, but I just didn’t really pay much mine of that was just smarter and more self reflective. And people try to rationalize that I told myself, No, this is how everybody is they just don’t have the, like, we see I see the world more realistically, and everybody else is just deluding themselves or doesn’t understand what their motivations are. I go back and forth on that nowadays. And even if it is an illusion, it sounds like a much more pleasant one to reality.

 

Dan Munro 

Yeah, it doesn’t sound like you’re enjoying your version of it overly, but I do have optimism that should you continue on the path you’re on you might be able to find something that works for you. I’m really curious if it is possible for you to experience what I think for lack of a better word is pride. You know, if I think of an example is self love, self love, perhaps. But even even if self love is the opposite of shame. Yeah, pride would be the opposite of guilt. Pride is about an activity a single piece of behavior. So for example, let’s say I don’t feel like doing a workout today and I fucking just push myself and I do the workout. The sensation I get At the end of that run like Bucky, I did it. That’s the thing I’m talking about that you don’t seem to be able to experience at least not yet. Like now not imagine somebody else going vegan or working out or whatever, play a movie. That isn’t a self reward, though, some people would have to do that say I’m a good person or like I’m so discipline, something that I had to like give them or devotee of trait or something. Whereas prior to scan, I fucking nailed, that’s what I’m supposed to do. Just now, now this this time, so I do wonder if it’s possible for you just set up a system like that we forced, you just kind of

 

 

tick, you know, that was alright. It’s interesting, um, like you were mentioning, like the neuroscience behind it recently. And there’s actually a study that came out, relatively speaking very recently about pathological narcissism. And I forget what the areas of the brain were. But there was there was two parts of the brain one that was related to pleasure, and the other that was related to positive self regard and stuff like that. And that the interactions between those two would basically make like high self esteem. And that people with NPD actually have less of a connection there. So that we’re forced to seek it from outside validation.

 

Dan Munro 

It’s almost like a physical disability really?

 

 

Yeah, I mean, I am there’s a couple other studies that support that there’s abnormalities in the brains of narcissists and other people with personality disorders. But yeah, I would. So that’s that’s kind of what worries me about Will I ever be able to truly get to that point, I don’t know, I don’t know any thing really about how much the brain can change in adulthood and stuff like that. But that is a factor that I always kind of keep in mind of trying to limit my expectations.

 

Dan Munro 

Fair enough. The optimism I have is, especially because I’ve seen people with a lot of brain damage or stroke damage and stuff, I did the brain work arounds, where it has kind of like a beta system that does almost the same job, almost as well, are using completely different parts of the brain, it’s almost like a sort of brain graft, or just steals another part and goes up, you control the hand now, even though you used to have nothing to do with the hand that can be trained. And I do wonder if there was some sort of behavioral way to train yourself into a self rewarding system that doesn’t require those units. I don’t know. I’m just speaking. But as soon as ironic, I actually feel a lot of empathy for you. Because, I mean, my backstory is somebody who also sought recognition and approval from others and lived or died on that. Basically, it was positive, I got to feel good about myself. And if it was negative, I didn’t, regardless of my actual behavior, how well principles or anything. But the system to replace there was, I guess, always available to me, I was able to divine develop a system of self reward through what I call core values, living by principles that I believe are right, and nobody has to agree with me. But approval from others is like next best thing if you just don’t have that system available. But put your your confidence in the hands of other people’s reactions, right. Like in the case, you mentioned, the person say, being worried that you know, you’ve blocked the YouTube video. They might have had another reaction, and I said, Oh, you know, it looks like you made a mistake there. And in which case, you wouldn’t have felt shame. So it really depends on them, you know, and that’s

 

 

when you taking an owl the positive affirmation from people, you also have taken the bat that people give you. You can’t have just, you can’t like I always say that like on my social medias, I can get 1000 Good comments, but just the one bad one is going to stick with me and feel true, honestly.

 

Dan Munro 

So the weightings different so you give much more weight to the negative and positive there’s a Fiebig

 

 

the negative last is what I what I would say on the positive can evaporate very quickly.

 

Dan Munro 

Okay, yeah. Again, I don’t know anyone for whom that’s not true. Like, that’s social media, you want to destroy someone, give them one dislike on the otherwise loved post and you know, you’re going to be in their thoughts for the rest of the week, you know? So again, you know, I guess what would be impossible to answer for you would be trying to figure out what’s the difference between you and non narcissistic people. We see almost everything you’re talking about. I can find some no diagnosis who has the same problems, maybe just to stay in. Guess the final thing I want to touch on is As we both aware, there are people with MPD go right, I’m going to do something about this. They get therapy, they do their research. They go, how do I live as harm lessly as possible, and so on? And then of course, they are the others who don’t? What are your top tips for the people who fall into the orbit of, shall we say, the unaware and much more harmful narcissist, people who aren’t in terms of relationships or work connections and so on? How do people deal with someone like you when you’re at your worst?

 

 

I worse to I wouldn’t advise anybody worse not. Now, that’s a good question. Because, yeah, like I would say, especially nowadays, because you know, who’s going to go online who’s gonna think they’re a narcissist, because looking at that, it’s gonna prevent a lot of people from getting the therapy. I would say my biggest advice for anybody is strong and very clear boundaries. A lot of people with personality disorders struggle with recognizing where boundaries begin and ends, right, you can kind of see that in my own cognition of like, the boundaries between myself and other people’s opinions on that are blurred. And they can these people can be very domineering people would have told me all the time, that they would lose themselves on me so to speak, which I still I don’t understand that at all, if I’m being honest. And you have to be able to be as unlike narcissists will respect you for this for being a strong person. If you’re an I say, strong and not domineering, right, if you if you’re like a little bit, if you are able to hold your ground, but it’s like, okay, I can respect that. If you’re, I don’t respect people who just bow out everything I say. But I also don’t respect people who are attacking back. I despise people who are attacking back. So it’s the only the only real advice I have is strong boundaries, and being confident in yourself. And like, honestly, just sticking up for yourself. And I think these links can apply to most relationships that they will have.

 

Dan Munro 

Yeah, and, again, fine, nothing bizarre alien coming out there. That’s interesting. Yeah. I guess you’re saying that if somebody was really self respecting, and held it laundry strongly and stuff that you would actually respect those boundaries, or you’re going to keep trying to pick away at it and work your way through.

 

 

It depends how I, so here’s a good example is my my close friend who’s also a content creator, she, she is also a narcissist. Because of our critical thinking, we have to view each other in our own separate hierarchies, and somewhat equal in terms what those hierarchies are. So if you can establish yourself as somebody who is like, the more equal, the better, you can’t be above because then we’re going to envy and resent you, you can’t be below or we won’t respect you. So you have to be kind of on this middling ground.

 

Dan Munro 

Interesting. So somebody’s like, provocative if someone’s like, I’ve lost signal over there. So it’s, like provocative if someone’s above or below you, I guess.

 

 

It’s, and like, It is intolerable for somebody be equal to me if we’re on the same hierarchy. And I know that probably doesn’t make that much sense. But it’s like if I can do as a respectful person in kind of your own realm, more or less, where I would be able to relate to that structure that you have going on, is by far what I’m going to respect you the most.

 

Dan Munro 

Interest again, that sort of sounds like you can see the signs that the person respects themselves and will hold their own ground, and is doing what they do that kind of thing.

 

 

Interestingly enough, people with Cluster B personality disorders, which is the grouping that narcissistic personality disorder is and we can actually see emotions in the eyes better than normal people can. So we’re going to be very sensitive to one how your how your, how you will, especially with narcissists, how you perceive us were very like in tune to that, but also where you are on like the totem pole, so to speak. So we’re going to be analyzing, like all the time, in terms of like, oh, like, where, what is the pecking order and stuff like that?

 

Dan Munro 

Right. So if you can see that somebody’s feeling nervous about the company they’re in, you’re gonna see them as lower on the back, that kind of thing. Again, dominated by you personally and so on. Yes, that’s, and then once you see that it’s kind of

 

 

it’s like, well, I know where you are, you’re beneath.

 

Dan Munro 

So what would you need to? You know, that’s one of the things I don’t quite understand. I’m sure you get it fully you and your friend, this idea of an equal on the hierarchy. So what do you need to see in somebody else that gives that status to them? So there’s

 

 

so it gets complicated, because there’s so many types of hierarchies. And it’s whatever what I’m viewing as the most important at the time, right? But there’s a hierarchy of intelligence, of attractiveness of social connectedness of who’s the most charming, gregarious, whatever. And whichever one I find most central, to my personality to whatever I’m doing at the time is the one where I am most focused on. And I completely forgot the question. I’m sorry, what do you have ADHD to?

 

Dan Munro 

You know, bag of tricks? I know, this is good. This is basically what I’m asking is, how do you decide what the hierarchy is? So you have a preference at the time, that’s just arbitrary. It just depends.

 

 

It’s basically like when I’m interacting with people who like let’s say, like, influencers and quotes or content creators and stuff like that, I’m going to be viewing it like, maybe in terms of followers, or there where I view them like in relation to their specific niche and stuff like that, if I’m at a party, and when we’re looking for the guy who is like talking to everybody being super friendly and super popular. Or if I’m in a work setting, it’s going and the the social connectedness also plays into from there, but also performance. If it’s in I don’t know, those are the only two examples that like actively come to mind, like social situations and work situations. I bet there’s some for family situations too. But my you don’t get personalized order by having a pleasant family. So I don’t really have a good reference point there.

 

Dan Munro 

Yeah, so much more, I gotta ask you, I think we’ll have to have another conversation at some point.

 

 

I’d be happy to.

 

Dan Munro 

Yeah, but now this is a good this is a good intro. I imagine like the person listening to this, as someone who’s heard that word narcissists thrown around, they have all the classic kind of misleading connotations with their word, and not once in their lives have they heard somebody who actually fits the label, talk about what that actually means as an experience. And what stands out to me mostly is just how relatable your experiences and not just because I’m somewhere on that spectrum myself. Because I work with people who would consider themselves to be completely on the other side of that spectrum. And yet, I’m just hearing the same shit that they do just different strategy, different method, same goals, same problems, you’re definitely not the only person or you and the NPD is desperately, definitely not the only people to feel empty or to be terrified that that is the feeling underneath the self. Now, very few people, a lot of people who give themselves a very strong identity, I think are fighting against the void. They just want to put themselves between themselves and the emptiness. Whereas you, for better or worse, don’t have the ability to close their gate, you have to look into the void. I don’t want to get to

 

 

unfortunately.

 

Dan Munro 

Well, like I said, maybe in our next conversation, we can focus more on the strengths and potential as well like you somebody you can face the void because you have no choice. I mean, is there some good that can come of that? But we’ll start we’ll wrap it up there. And it’s just ended by you telling us a bit more about what you do and where people can find your work and it’s not

 

 

great. So my name is Jacob Skidmore and I run a lot of social media platforms called the nameless narcissist which never gets will never feels quite right given that people know my name nowadays. But I my main thing is I do videos on my YouTube I try to talk about some research that I read and also my personal experience, and just my journey in general of trying to recover from narcissistic personality disorder. I am also on Tik Tok and technically Twitter, but nobody follows me there, and Instagram, so just type in the nameless narcissists. I’ve also spoken at conferences ended on a couple of news articles. So just type in an aimless narcissist and you will find everything related to make.

 

Dan Munro 

I’ll be sure to include links to all that stuff as well wherever this is posted. Or Jacob I’m very sure that I want to talk to you more. And I feel like we’ve only just started. But it’s a lot to process. And yeah, it’s one of those conversations I have where I learn a lot, which is really cool.

 

 

Right? Yeah, what I do? Yeah.

 

Dan Munro 

And you know, one of the things that I trusted myself as my radar for honesty, and I got a lot of honesty from you today. And I know that that’s actually an effort you have to put in. Maybe more so than others or something you’ve had to learn and go against your previous programming methodology, for sure. But I, you know, my whole thing is honesty. And I’m sure that it will benefit you if even if we looked at as transactional benefit. Having a reputation as an honest guy and being trustworthy generally gets better rewards than the opposite.

 

 

Took a long time to learn that.

 

Dan Munro 

Yeah, me tell you too much more. So thank you so much for your time and for sharing with us and I’m sure we’ll hear more from you soon. Thank you so much.

 

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