|Born||Shmuel Ben David Vaknin
April 1961 (age 52)
Qiryat-Yam, Haifa, Israel
|Residence||Skopje, Macedonia|
|Known for||Self-help material on narcissistic personality disorder|
Shmuel Ben David "Sam" Vaknin (born April 1961) is an Israeli writer. He is the author and publisher of Malignant Self Love: Narcissism Revisited (2001), editor-in-chief of the website Global Politician, and runs a website about narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).
Vaknin was born in Qiryat-Yam, Haifa, the eldest of five children, to a Turkish mother whom Vaknin believes may have been a narcissist and a father who was a construction worker from Morocco. He describes a difficult childhood, in which he writes that his parents "were ill-equipped to deal with normal children, let alone the gifted," Vaknin reports that he has an IQ of 180.
He left home to serve in the Israel Defense Forces from 1979 to 1982. Between 1980 and 1983 he founded a chain of computerized information kiosks in Tel-Aviv, and in 1982 worked for the Nessim D. Gaon Group in Geneva, Paris, and New York. From 1986 to 1987 he was the general manager of IPE Ltd. in London. It was in the mid-1980s that he became aware of difficulties in his relationship with his fiancée, and that he had mood swings. In 1985 he sought help from a psychiatrist, who diagnosed him with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). Vaknin did not accept the diagnosis at the time. He moved back to Israel, where he became director of an Israeli investment firm, Mikbatz Teshua. He was also president of the Israeli chapter of the Unification Church's Professors for World Peace Academy.
In Israel in 1995 he was found guilty on three counts of stock fraud, along with two other men. He was sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment and fined 50,000 shekels (about $14,000), while the company was fined 100,000 shekels. In 1996, as a condition of parole, he agreed to a mental health evaluation, which noted various personality disorders. According to Vaknin, "I was borderline schizoid, but the most dominant was NPD," and on this occasion he accepted the diagnosis, because, he wrote, "it was a relief to know what I had."
Vaknin moved to Skopje, Macedonia, where he married Macedonian Lidija Rangelovska. They set up Narcissus Publications in 1997, which publishes Vaknin's work. Between 2001 and 2003, Vaknin was a Senior Business Correspondent for United Press International. He has also written for Central Europe Review about political issues in the Balkans, as well as for the Middle East Times. Until a few weeks before the September 2002 Macedonian election, he served as an adviser to Macedonia's Ministry of Finance. In addition to his position as editor-in-chief of the Global Politician website, he writes regularly for other publications, such as the International Analyst Network, and the online American Chronicle.
Writing and interviews
Views on narcissism
In his view, narcissists have lost their "true self", the core of their personality, which has been replaced by delusions of grandeur, a "false self". Therefore, he believes, they cannot be healed, because they do not exist as real persons, only as reflections: "The False Self replaces the narcissist's True Self and is intended to shield him from hurt and narcissistic injury by self-imputing omnipotence ... The narcissist pretends that his False Self is real and demands that others affirm this confabulation," meanwhile keeping his real-life imperfect true self under wraps. Vaknin extends the concept of narcissistic supply, and introduces concepts such as primary and secondary narcissistic supply. He distinguishes between cerebral and somatic narcissists; the former generate their narcissistic supply by applying their minds, the latter their bodies. He considers himself a cerebral narcissist. He calls narcissistic co-dependents "inverted narcissists." "[They] provide the narcissist with an obsequious, unthreatening audience...the perfect backdrop." He believes that disproportionate numbers of pathological narcissists are at work in the most influential reaches of society, such as medicine, finance and politics.
He acknowledges that some of his theories on narcissism are not accepted by academics in the field, for instance his theory that narcissism is akin to a form of artificial intelligence.
In 2007 Vaknin appeared in the episode "Egomania" of the British Channel 4 documentary series Mania. In 2009 he was the subject of an Australian documentary film, I, Psychopath, directed by Ian Walker. In a psychological evaluation administered in I, Psychopath, Vaknin met the criteria for psychopathy according to the Hare Psychopathy Checklist, but did not meet the criteria for narcissism.
- Macedonian Economy on a Crossroads. Skopje, NIP Noval Literatura, 1998. ISBN 9989-610-01-0
- Malignant Self Love: Narcissism Revisited. Narcissus Publications, Prague, 1999. ISBN 978-80-238-3384-3
- After the Rain: How the West Lost the East. Narcissus Publications, in association with Central Europe Review/CEENMI, 2000. ISBN 80-238-5173-X
- Vaknin, Sam. "Interview with a Narcissist", samvak.tripod.com, accessed October 30, 2010.
- "Sam Vaknin—in his own words", CBC, accessed October 30, 2010.
- Race, Tim. "New Economy; Like Narcissus, executives are smitten, and undone, by their own images", The New York Times, July 29, 2002, p. 2.
- Roberts, Yvonne. "The monster in the mirror", The Sunday Times, September 16, 2007.
- Rosenfeld, Jose. "Business Briefs", The Jerusalem Post, July 27, 1995.
- Gordon, Evelyn. "Supreme Court rejects appeal of three stock manipulators", The Jerusalem Post, June 14, 1996.
- Tempany, Adrian. "When narcissism becomes pathological", Financial Times, September 4, 2010.
- Vaknin, Sam. "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited", samvak.tripod.com, accessed October 30, 2010.
- Vaknin, Sam UPI: Commentary: The morality of Child labor, Accessed October 30, 2010
- Central Europe Review. Author Archive: Sam Vaknin. Accessed October 30, 2010
- Vaknin, Sam, Middle East Times: The axis of oil, Accessed October 30, 2010.
- International Analyst Network
- American Chronicle
- Sam Vaknin website
- Lisa Respers France (February 2, 2011). "Reality bites after the lights go out". CNN. Retrieved 6 February 2011.
- Vaknin S The Dual Role of the Narcissist's False Self
- Vaknin, Sam Narcissists, Narcissistic Supply and Sources of Supply
- Vaknin, Sam The Cerebral vs. the Somatic Narcissist
- Vaknin, Sam The Inverted Narcissist
- Crompton, Simon. All About Me: Loving a Narcissist. HarperCollins, 2007) p. 31.
- Woolaston, Sam "Last night's TV", The Guardian, February 6, 2007.
- "I, Psychopath", CBC, May 25, 2009.
- Walters, Conrad (March 25, 2010). "Brain scan". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
- Project Gutenberg - books by Sam Vaknin
- Central Europe Review Accessed October 30, 2010