Criticism of Wikipedia is all the rage now, after a number of damaging scandals involving political staffers and other vested interests editing articles. Wikipedia has taken a number of steps to fix these problems, but some people still like to ride the wave.

Sam Vaknin is one of those people. Imagine my surprise when I saw his latest article picked up by the unprestigious American Chronicle. What does Vaknin have to say?

It is a question of time before the Wikipedia self-destructs and implodes. It poses such low barriers to entry (anyone can edit any number of its articles) that it is already attracting masses of teenagers as “contributors” and “editors”, not to mention the less savory flotsam and jetsam of cyber-life. People who are regularly excluded or at least moderated in every other Internet community are welcomed, no questions asked, by this wannabe self-styled “encyclopedia”

Six cardinal (and, in the long-term, deadly) sins plague this online venture. What unites and underlies all its deficiencies is simple: Wikipedia dissembles about what it is and how it operates. It is a self-righteous confabulation and its success in deceiving the many attests not only to the gullibility of the vast majority of Netizens but to the PR savvy of its sleek and slick operators.

Go ahead and read the whole thing: I can’t in good legal standing blockquote the whole thing, but it’s all deliciously insipid and ridiculous like that. This is the same sort of argument that opponents of open-source software make: “You can’t just let anyone make contributions to your code! Why, that’s ridiculous! It’ll never be any good!”

But of course it’s not that simple. As I said, Wikipedia has taken a number of steps to insure that content is messed with as little as possible—they always have, but it’s gotten even more strict as of late.

But don’t take my word for it: why don’t you watch a Wikipedia user destroy his arguments?

In conclusion…

Almost all of Sam’s comments are invalid, badly thought through or flatly wrong. Wikipedia is not opaque and does not encourage recklessness. Wikipedia is not an anarchy. Wikipedia does not lack quality control by design. Sam provides us with no evidence to back up his assertion that Wikipedia rewards quantity over quality, and he is unable to show how we are not an open source effort. Wikipedia, despite what Sam says, is an encyclopedia and this is backed up by the definitions contained in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, Microsoft’s Encarta and the 6th edition of Columbia Encyclopedia. Further, Wikipedia does not make anyone use Wikipedia as their exclusive mode of research, and in fact encourages them to look elsewhere when doing research for university or school. Finally, Wikipedia deals with libel through the Wikimedia Foundation and Office Actions; it also has a designated agent who can deal with copyright issues, along with a mechanism for the community to catch copyright violations before it gets to that point.

But that’s not all there is. A little bit of research into Sam Vaknin reveals a pretty funny story in and of itself. You see, Sam Vaknin is so wonderfully ironic that I can hardly communicate it. He’s got an awful little website, you see, in which he hawks the book he wrote called Malignant Self Love – Narcissism Revisited about a personality disorder called “Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)” Yes, you’re probably thinking the same thing: a man clearly in love with himself proffers his “expertise” on Narcissism. It’s just as awesome as it sounds. In fact, Vaknin was diagnosed with NPD in 1996, while serving a prison sentence in Israel.

“Just what is Sam Vaknin’s expertise in psychology?” you might ask. Well, it just so happens that Sam himself answers this question in the following manner (helpfully blockquoted for emphasis):

I am NOT a mental health professional – read the DISCLAIMER

Aye, there’s the rub. According to Vaknin’s own biography, his education goes something like this:

“Graduated a few semesters in the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa”
Technion appears to be an accredited institution. I wonder, however, about Vaknin’s wording. Did he mean that he graduated in a few semesters? Or did he mean that he completed only a few semesters? He certainly doesn’t say what in.
Ph.D. in Philosophy (major: Philosophy of Physics) – Pacific Western University, California, USA.
Pacific Western University is a “distance-learning” university that is not accredited. Vaknin apparently earned a doctorate, although they don’t even appear to offer a doctoral program anymore. I don’t even want to think what kind of academic rigor they must have applied. Note, too, that his field is philosophy and not international business or psychology.
“Graduate of numerous courses in Finance Theory and International Trading”
This appears to answer my earlier question: Vaknin uses “pass” and “graduate” interchangeably, which means that he likely never completed any undergraduate program at Technion, and makes me further wonder how much his “doctorate” is worth. Apparently, having taken “numerous courses” in business, he considers himself an expert—indeed, pimps his role as economic advisor to Macedonia (this is oft-cited, but I’ve been unable to discover in just what capacity he served).

And that’s it. Oh, but wait, I forgot that he’s

Now, when Sam Vaknin uses the word “certified,” he means it in the same way that he “graduated courses.” Brainbench doesn’t offer certification of any sort. It’s a website with online tests that strive to offer a prediction of employee success. Saying that BrainBench “certifies” you is like saying that Quizilla can “diagnose” you. Vaknin isn’t actually certified in anything—at most, he’s reasonably well-informed in these particular issues.

Thus, it’s no surprise that an admitted narcissist and meagre-but-prolific journalist would take such a stance against Wikipedia: his stereotype of the “anonymous Wikipedian (statistically, an obese and schizod [sic] teenager with no life and grandiose compensatory fantasies)” routinely outdoes Vaknin’s own efforts, and he’s mad this his own contributions to Wikipedia were undone by an astute editor, despite Vaknin’s claims that he has never edited any articles. He claims there’s “no proof,” though my guess is he is unaware of such things as IP addresses and other such footprints. Banning abusive users is old hat at Wikipedia, Vaknin: you’re hardly the first undereducated troll that’s been kicked.

§1239 · July 3, 2006 · Tags: , , , , ·

88 Comments to “Sam Vaknin’s Self Love”

  1. rob says:

    This is the same sort of argument that opponents of open-source software make: “You can’t just let anyone make contributions to your code! Why, that’s ridiculous! It’ll never be any good!”

    It’s not really comparable; if the same applied, why don’t all open-source projects hand out public CVS/SVN commit access?

    I agree with your general sentiment, though.

  2. Ben says:

    No, it’s not a 1:1 comparison, but certainly similar complaints have been levied against open-source: the ability of more than a small group of developers to contribute code has been decried as heresy by those who don’t know any better.

  3. Ellen says:

    I’m with you on the phrasings used in touting his own horn – maybe “matriculate” at Technion is the closest 50 cent word he can use. It seems his phrasings wouldn’t pass a typical employment/resume check at a firm that might do such things. Clearly his misuse of “graduate”, “certified” paints him as a fool, a fraud or some combination of the two.

    I tend to use wikipedia alot and for the low-level curiosity seeking type stuff I use it for (most of the time for me), it’s phenominal – and when I need a second opinion (which is a time I’d use a second for any other type source), they are in concordance. I see why you suspect maybe he had entries refused and would not be surprised if it was re: his book or other similar, self-promotioning topics.

  4. Named removed at commenter's request says:

    As a survivor of narcissistic abuse, I would like to say that while it’s true that Vaknin’s “credentials” are flimsy at best, his information regarding the day-to-day manifestation of pathological narcissism jibes 100% with my experience of how these individuals go about their lives and go about systematically destroying the sanity and goodwill of everyone around them.
    There is no question the man is unspeakably grandiose, but he’s RIGHT. I would not have survived what happened to me, let alone found the resources to tell the truth and thrive post-abuse had it not been for his honesty; these people are monsters in the truest sense, a spiritual blight. I am mortified at how long it took me to GET that five years of my life, and everyone in it was a lie. I am still working on forgiving myself for my stupidity, and the pain I caused others by dealing with what was done to me in a public way.
    No-one believed me. I guess it’s easier for a cult of losers to calumnate and shun one person than to address its own irrelevance, mediocrity, libidinous hatred and overwhelming bigotry. Go figure.

    Without confirmation of what I knew in my heart to be true and did not, as a loving WANT to believe, my temporary insanity would have likely become permanent, and these monsters would have claimed another victim.
    In a strange way I thank God for him. The way malevolent, pathologically immature people go about harming and destroying decent people with their lies and “putting their disorder into the brains and bodies of others” is indefensible, and survivors are blessed to have the opportunity to forgive themselves the mistakes they made believing they were dealing with “normal” human beings with functioning consciences and alerting others to the danger all around them. We are surrounded by malignant narcissists. The more intelligent, forgiving and SANE people that recover from what was done to them, the better…and if Dr. (!) Vaknin’s information helps others the way it helped me, who gives a toss whether or not he’s accredited? He’s telling the truth, as I lived it.

  5. Ben says:

    I’ve no doubt that Dr. [sic] Vaknin knows what NPD is all about—he supposedly had it, so who better than a narcissist to tell people about narcissism? No, what irritates me is that Vaknin apparently hasn’t gotten over his narcissism, because his desperate attempts to pass himself off as a scholar make him look like a nincompoop.

  6. [Name removed] says:

    My comment is: (ahem)
    …oh, absolutely! I agree with your nincompoop assessment completely. What makes your jaw drop and your head cock to one side and the drool come out of your frikkin’ EARS you’re so frustrated with these…how do I say it democratically…ASS-CLOWNS is that classic NPDs attempt to pass themselves off as experts on everything. And I mean everything. Including what YOU think about something.
    If they weren’t so destructive, their pomposity and ridiculousness would be funny. They’re like two year olds, playing pretend all the time.
    Great blog, btw!

  7. Christopher Climber says:

    I am not sure what I can add to what already has been stated. The unfortunate thing is that Vaknin continues to lure in many people who are hurting. And he only hurts them more. I can only post what I have posted many times…. often deleted by Sam himeslf…


    One possible reason that “Dr.” Sam Vaknin has attacked Wikipedia is that many have attempted to expose the truth about him there. It is ironic that “Dr.” Vaknin would attack Wikipedia as it really is the epitome of free information. As a biologist and teacher, I find it to be, for the most part, an accurate resource.

    “Dr.” Vaknin is a self professed narcissist who has been convicted of crimes in Israel Many consider “Dr.” Vaknin” a fraud. His doctorate is supposedly in physics (a field that has little or anything to do with the psychology of personality disorders) and it comes from a “Pacific Western University,” which is a non-accredited institution that has the reputation of being a “diploma mill.”

    See and references therein. An expert on nontraditional education stated that, “a degree from PWU holds no merit in the academic world….PWU is a school that in the academic world has no respect. Less than 1 percent of college administration offices and registrars would consider accepting that degree. In the academic world it’s just about as useless as it can be.” Hence his writings, although they appear accurate and make sense, are coming from a person with absolutely no formal academic training in psychology. Vaknin’s assertion that he is certified in counseling by the BrainBench web site are also dubious as this service carries little credibility in the professional community. Vaknin has a well documented history of deleting posts that challenge his views, which are often misguided and at times damaging. In addition, it has been documented that he alters the title of threads and deletes certain posts in the thread in order to manipulate the discussion. He has even made public the names and contact information of people who have challenged him. This is vindictive and dangerous

    This has been publicized in many places, including Wikipedia. At one point there was a page on Vaknin on Wikipedia, but this is no longer there. In addition, there were references to his book on the Narcissism page on Wikipedia ( but these have been removed. This could be due to the fact that experts do not recognize Vaknin as reputable authority on the subject.

    Given these observations it is obvious what Vaknin’s motive are with this article about Wikipedia.

    I only hope that people continue to voice their opinion about Vaknin and shut him down. My mom, God rest her soul, use to say “what goes around comes around.” Stated another way…do unto others. A priori, things will catch up with Sam. There are few places he can run.

    Chistopher Climber

  8. Bobby Bee says:

    The problem with Vaknins self assumed position as an authority of Narcissism is dangerous for quite simple reasons. Though his “from the inside” perspective on the situation may seem to suggest a certain validity, you’ve still got to take into account that it’s a highly distorted perspective. This is why we NEED acreditied mental health proffesionals, who can offer a objectivley derived perspective on someones condition. A lot of complaints have centered around Sam Vaknins habit of trying to suggest that NPD is the foundation to all personality disorders. His subjective “museings” on the/his condition often reflect this position; he doesn’t know what aspects of his condition are of the truly malignant variety, and what aspects are quite healthy. Hence anyone reading his naval gazeing misanthropy may well come away thining “Yes, X is just like that!”, or “Oh my god! I’M GOING TO HELL!!”. There’s no doubt that subjectivley derived writings by those that suffer from mental health issues can provide an interesting an often helpfull supplement to psycho-analytical ones, but the way Mr. Vaknin monopolises the web with his labourious and verbose “articles” almost drowns out any, actual, profesional sources. This guy is a menace. I realy hope that NPD victims, in there vulnerability, don’t become further damaged by his insidious style.

    • Craig says:

      Bobby Bee, you would do the community a favor if you’d proofread before posting. It’s laced with typos and misspellings which jumped off the page at my eye. There are at least 14 errors; here’s just a small example:

      >I realy hope that NPD victims, in there vulnerability

      should be: I REALLY hope that NPD victims, in THEIR vulnerability

      If it’s worth posting for others to read, it’s worth spending enough time to post correctly.

  9. Tex Mex says:

    What Sam Vaknin writes on pathological narcissism is generally lifted from real authorities on the subject, particularly doctors Kernberg, Kohut and Klein. As such, the information he presents in his relentlessly plugged book may actually help those seeking answers to a narcissist’s bewildering behavior. But Vaknin, a self-identified narcissist, can’t resist enhancing his wannabe image by adding conjectures of his own — for example, the nonsense about “inverted narcissists.” A far better primer on the subject, written by an expert and not a poseur, is “Why is it Always About You?” by Sandy Hotchkiss (2002).

  10. Zed says:

    Though Chris Climber summed up, pretty accurately, the day to day workings of Sam Vaknin and his online NPD show, I think Bobby Bee has really nailed the empirical problem here.

    Every word Sam writes on the topic of NPD and Narcissism is subjective. He claims to base his conclusions on “correspondence with hundreds (or is it thousands?) of people”, but that is almost impossible, because the man is utterly incapable of sustaining a dialogue with anyone who does not agree with him. At the slightest challenge he cuts off his challenger, whether by deleting public posts or just plain, old fashioned sulking. So what could he ever learn from dialogue or correspondance with anyone?

    His subjectivity is destructive enough to himself, even before you look at the extent to which he has co-opted a personality disorder to serve his own subjectively perceived needs and systematically drowned out all objective, academic information and opinion for the rest of the world.

    It just one long, ongoing “act out” that’s heading for the record books.

    The first step in dealing with any mental disorder or condition is to seek a detached, objective opinion to put it in perspective. To try and set yourself up as the world’s formost authority on it instead, is just about the most self-destructive thing anybody could do.

    The trouble is this doesn’t end with being self-destructive, it harms other people too, lots of other people, and that harm makes no distinction between the guilty and the innocent, the disordered and the injured, the abuser and the vulnerable. For whatever reason they may reach out over the internet to understand, and perhaps change, the effects that any one of several disorders (Narcissism, NPD, Psychopathy, AsPD, and he has recently begun to “colonise” BPD, Schizoid PD and Asperger Syndrome as well, who knows, one day he’ll take it all the way to measles and the common cold?) has on their life, or the lives of those close to them or they are likely to grasp is a fistful of one man’s acting out, instead of the real, valid information they need.

    On the plus side, at least Sam Vaknin is never likely to find himself confronted by his own reality, let alone have to consider dealing with it, any time soon.

    Though it seems he had a small taste of it on Wikipedia, to which he responded with a world class tantrum, a behavior unlikely to reinforce his claims to scholarship, expertise or even adulthood.

    Seems one hell of a price for the rest of the world to pay so that one man can avoid his own issues though, doesn’t it?

  11. cricket says:

    I’d like to respond to the woman who thanks God for Sam Vaknin. What you fail to realize is that there is a great deal of information about narcissism on the internet. Information you would have, without question, found, had it not been buried under a sea of self-promotion by a confessed narcissist whose motivation is *not* to help, *or* to heal, but the garner narcissistic supply and to quite literally *abuse* anyone who is, in his mind, dumb enough to be grateful.

    If it were only about self-promotion then he could just knock himself out, but he abuses — reinjures — people who are already compromised by abuse.

    Here’s an analogy for you. Say you’re dying of thirst and you pull up to a 7/11 and as you’re heading toward the door, this gangly waif of a man, who looks like that one kid everyone had in class in the third grade who tortured bugs and thought there was nothing funnier in the whole world than the word “fart”, intercepts you and says “Hey, you want water? I’ve got water. I’ve got a LOT of water. And he takes you over to his water truck (He tells you it’s pure rainwater, straight from the source — the best water in the world, but he fills it up with a hose in his back yard) and hands you an empty bottle and while you’re filling it up, he sneaks over to your car and lets the air out of the tires, because he knows that will give him more time to tell you about himself, time to sell you more water. And after you’ve taken a few swigs, and you say “Hmmm…this tastes like hose water,” he takes the bottle from your hand and hits you over the head with it and tells you you can’t have any more of his water, you wouldn’t know good water if it, well, hit you over the head. During the odd time when too many people have figured out the scam, and business is slow, he occupies himself with pressing balls of putty onto his water rig, in neat little rows, one on top of another, to increase its size, in hopes that one day it will be so big that you can’t see the 7/11 at all.

    That, M’Dear, is Sam Vaknin. (But I prefer to call him Sam Vankin, because it makes him very upset.)

    Deviants, lacking a conscience, who decide to profit from their own disorder, and who secure that profit via deceptive self-promotion, do not deserve our thanks — be they gangsters, or pedophiles — or narissists. If he helped you, you can be sure it was unintentional, and you can be equally sure that for every person he helps, he kicks a few others in the shins. Your gratitude feeds the very beast that wounded you in the first place.

    I wish you well.

  12. Shinzuru says:

    There’s at least one enormous forum for NPD victims. Sam has been integrated as a major authority on it. I posted a critical message of him but I was banned instantly, along with a huge tantrum from someone called "Lukky".

    I think it’s absolutely crazy and godawful what is going on. These victims are just getting even more victimized.

  13. Haidie says:

    Thanks for insinuating that victims are ‘stupid’. I dont think it was the forum to go to to air your concerns about Vaknin. Most of his posts are not responded to anyway if you cared to look further. A lot of so called experts post material in this forum. I take it you are not a victim of an N yourself but just joined to further your own Vaknin bashing. You said, these victims not we victims. Now who was victimising the victims? What is awful is that there are so many sociopaths running around the place ruining the lives of many. Any discussion, by anyone, on the subject is welcome. Like most information we take what we need and move on. You will also find that this forum encourages two things of victims – to get professional help and immediately remove yourself from a toxic relationship. And no, I have never read Vaknin’s book but I do read various articles he has written and believe them to have been very positive in my healing. And dont fret, I have seen a qualified psychologist too who thankfully knew something about narcissists. Seems to me that giving a narcissist any feedback good or bad is supply. But then again I guess you already know that.

  14. Rachel says:

    I used to post on that Narcissistic Personality Disorder message board and had posts deleted that Vaknin disagreed with. My sister confronted him and was dis-membered from the website.

    Many people believe he masquerades under various names as people who are the "managers" at the website.

    If narcissists are liars and mentally ill, who would ever take advice from this self-proclaimed narcissist?

    I agree with Shinzuru…terrible sham going on!!

  15. Lilly says:

    You know what I think? You are giving Vaknin all the supply that Narcissists so desperately need.

    You are also assuming that ‘victims’ are stupid. Sorry, but what do you actually fear he is doing to people who read his work?? He is selling a book like millions of other authors and marketing it everywhere and at ever turn. Its the fact he isnt qualified as a psychologist right?

    We may be vulnerable but I think you will find that the majority read information from many, many sources. I do not care if he was a garbologist. What he has to say resonates with my experience. Yes it was that bad. Many psychologists DO NOT get it at all!

    As for him masquerading as a Manager at the NDP Froum, please…..the forum is about a place of healing so any offensive comments or argumentative conversations will alsways be deleted. Thats the rules of the forum. Its not meant to be a place where the credentials or otherwsie fo Dr Vaknin is debated.

    And to the poster that said that we would have found other information about Narcissists easily. I say this. The NDP forum was the one that saves a lot of people’s sanity, not necessarily Vaknin. I found out about him via this forum. Its sharing your experience which has been the critical thing.

    You dont want to play Vaknin’s game then ignore him. There are myriads of people on the net selling lots of things – as adults we just have to weigh it up. We are all vulnerable. Alternatively you can go out there and do something better yourself.

    I was interviewed for a film they are making about Vaknin – a film which is trying to expose him as a fraud. Is an Australian/Canadian production. Maybe that will satisfy you.

    And one last thing. Unless you have been in a relaitonship with a full blown NARCISSIST you do not have a clue what you are talking about. And I mean that ever so politely.

  16. Rachel says:

    I was narcissistically RAPED by my husband, father, and best friend. I know only too well what narcissism entails!

    The MSN Narcissistic Personality Disorder website is NOT a place for healing…that is only a pretense. It is a perverted shrine to showcase this self-proclaimed Narcissist who makes money selling a book about his perversions.

    Does Vaknin donate any or all of the money from his book to organizations that help the victims of NPD abuse? Since he is a self-confessed Narcissistic predator and has caused pain and suffering for people in his life, it would seem only fitting that he make restitution by giving the profits of his book to help victims of NPD abuse.

    Vaknin is fully aware of his behavior, but refuses to change!! And the MSN NPD website places him on a pedestal as the guru of disordered wisdom! Anyone who dares to question the god-like Vaknin is censored and promptly dis-membered!

    If a convicted and self-confessed murderer wrote a book detailing the gore of murderous intent and consequent killings, would any so-called healing website for survivors of murdered loved ones applaud such a book as a valuable tool for better coping with the horrendous effects of murder? Would it be sane to allow the insights of the deranged murderer to enlighten the survivors?

    OF COURSE NOT!! Then why does this MSN NPD website encourage a disordered dude to pollute the hearts and minds of hurting people with his insidious slop? It’s uttter insanity!!

    Many self-professed Christians post messages on those NPD boards and do they know that Vaknin has blasphemed the Lord Jesus Christ by calling him a Narcissist? It is in one of Vaknin’s own writings.

    Evil flourishes when good men and women do NOTHING!! It’s time to stop with the pussy-footing crap about giving Vaknin NS (Narcissistic Supply) by talking about him and actively expose and eradicate his evil intentions and erroneous information.

  17. Lilly says:

    I think you have missed the whole point of the disorder Rachel if you assume people with NPD can change. They cannot. Only their victims can.

    And as far as the NPD Forum that you speak of goes. That is your opinion. If I had not found that and connected with other people who had gone through the whole Narcissistic cookie cutter experience then I would not be here. Fullstop.

    I did not need it for long but made some excellent friendships with people I have met and who have gone through very similar issues. I read his work and accepted him for what he is and never bothered to go to his own site or respond to his post. No-one really does on that forum if you look.

    Rather than trying to rid the world of Vaknin we would be better off to focus on how we get the word out about this horrific disorder. PLUS how we stop this from happening.

    If you are a child in a family of Narcissists it is very difficult. I appreciate that.

    Interestingly EVERY thing you read about this disorder they say NO CONTACT is the way to go. If Vaknin has ‘abused’ you in some way through the fact he is what he says he is and acts accordingly then do not mess with the devil. The disorder is evil not the person.

    But what would I know I just lived with a sociopath who stole my home and tried to kill me and left me for dead. Just another victim story and there are so many others.

    Personally I think you protest too much. Why is everyone so shocked a person who says he has NDP follows through and acts accordingly. He himself says the disorder cannot be cured.

    He is like every other person with NDP they will fly beneath the radar, pissing lots of people off on the way.

    And no-one has come out with why he is EVIL other than he claims to have qualifications that are meaningless. Why is he evil exactly? Evil intentions and erroneous information. What do you mean exactly. Oh don’t tell me he is a con artist like every other sociopath out there. Fancy that!

  18. Rachel says:

    Lilly, I think you defend him too much. You are missing the point because you refuse to be reasonable.

    What if that sociopath you say stole from you and almost killed you wrote a book about the incident and became a spokesman for sociopath behavior and a website, designed to help people like yourself recover, instead became his platform for intellectual boasting about his "disorder?" And then when someone took issue with his ridiculous assertions, they were censored because he couldn’t take the truth?

    What if your sociopath alluded to the fact that you were the problem and not him? And what if people in high places honored the person who almost killed you and promoted his book to help explain his problem?

    And how do you know personality disordered people can’t change? Do you have a degree in psychology? Anything is possible.

    Vaknin could change if he wanted to. He enjoys his intellectual bullying. And what proof is there that he is a Narcissist? It could be a gimmick to sell his book.

  19. Lilly says:


    I think we will have to agree to disagree. I have a different opinion to you and its unfortunate that you see that as being ‘unreasonable’.

    1. Yes, I do have a major in psychology as it happens and NOTHING I ever studied or the profesional EXPERIENCES I had could have ever prepared me for what happened in my own relationship. Strangely I prefer to practice another profession these days. Let’s just say that no amount of acedemic study taught me what a first hand ‘real life’ experience did. Never will I judge anyone again. Including you. Including Vaknin.

    2. I have read widely on the subject and I learnt some things from Vaknin’s writing. I make no apologies for that. I also was supported by the MSN disussion forum as well in a way that had NOTHING to do with Vaknin. If he happens to be or not to be a Narcissist I could honestly care less. If he stole others’ work I could care less. That is their battle. I never went to him as a psychologist. I read his writings. Period.

    3. The way I look at it is this. If he suffers from NPD he is a conman. If he doesnt suffer from NPD he is still a conman. And I will guarantee from his behaviour he most definitely is personality disordered. Thats what Narcissists do, they do not ant to hear anyone else’s opinion or a difference in opinion. They cut you off, try and stop you from speaking. They try and control everything. Its classic. But when you know about the disorder its not a surprise.

    4. There is NOTHING stopping any person writing a book and professing to be an authority. It happens everyday. There are lots of victims of disordered people who have done it.

    5. He is not the poster boy for NPD but he does give a better and more realistic insight into the condition than others. I lived it and thousands more agree with me. I never had to argue with him because I never would ever entertained the idea of communicating with someone who says they are a Narcissist after what I went through. His communiation style fits that of the Narcissist, sociopath or psychopath.

    6. If the sociopath who was in my life wrote a book, I would be more than happy because then he would be admitting he had a problem and in some way it might allow to get closure and a better understanding of his side of the story. It would authenticate what I went through in some bizarre way. If he went out there and said it like it was and was advising victims to steer clear of people like himself then he would be doing the world a favor.. Provided he did it from gaol. But would he? Hardly even if he thought he thought he could con other people. He will never admit what happened and he sees himself the victim.

    7. There are charletons, bad people, evil people, conmen all out there trying to make a buck. Vaknin seems to have the happy knack of being a good marketing man as so many NPD’s do. People are trusting and fall for these types every day. I did and many with me did. Unless they are breaking the law they have the right to say and do what they please. And he is not alone.

    8. We should be trying to educate women and men, trying to increase children’s self esteem and really trying to work to counteract the damage these people cause.

    9. I think thats all I can say on the matter. Anyone who argues with this man is arguing with a mental illness. It never works but will drive you insane. And dont everyone of us know this after dealing with a disordered person.

    He will fall on his sword eventually.


    PS Vaknin taught me many of the things that helped me better understand the Sociopath but a psychologist helped me better understand why I got entangled with one in the first place (which I realise you were not in the same position) and this is what allowed me to be able to keep moving forward without losing my mind. Vaknin is not that relevant in the overall scheme of the healing process, really.

  20. Rachel says:

    For an educated woman, you are so obtuse. By the way, it’s incorrect to say you "could care less." That means there is still room for you to care even less. Correct version is to say, "couldn’t care less."

    Enough with the grammar lesson. Vaknin is a HUGE obstacle to the healing process. He is a self-confessed LIAR, as are all Narcisssists! Plus he causes confusion by being revered instead of reviled.

    To read and believe his words is to re-infect your soul with more of the same abuse. He is no more an authority on NPD than Satan is a man of God; just because Satan can and does quote scripture in an exquisite and masterful way.

    The danger with Vaknin is the support he receives from people like you and the managers on the MSN NPD message boards! You give him your seal of approval, instead of exposing him for the debased maggot that he is.

    You can’t have it both ways, Lilly! Educate women, men, and children with a primer on NPD from the predator? That’s like the fox guarding the henhouse. Vaknin’s "truth" is twisted and deliberately meant to convey a sense of "insider’s information," as though the reader is being granted access to the workings of a lunatic’s mind. In reality, anyone who partakes of his writings and endorses such writings is a contributor to the ongoing abuse from the personality disordered. And it is the ultimate Narcissistic Supply!!

    What you "learned" from Vaknin could have been obtained from any number of legitimate sources. And according to a number of genuine psychiatric experts, it is most unwise to be advised from a self-diagnosed amateur.

  21. Lilly says:

    You know something Rachel? You protest too much. Why is that?

    Are you using Vaknin to direct your anger towards instead of the real perpetrators of your abuse?

    Have you sought the correct help from qualified psychologists and not relied on Vaknin or the MSN forum as the only sources of your healing ?

    Sorry, but I cannot read between the lines as to what may or may not have happened between yourself and this man or in this forum.

    All the anger in the world is not going to affect him one little bit. If he is doing something criminal, report him to the relevant authorities.

    You know who are ‘silent’ when it comes to this man? Pscychologists themselves.

    Instead of all this anger and negativity, the best thing to do would be to never mention his name. Its not wise to torment the mentally ill.

    And quite frankly being condescending and sarcastic is just making you look like the problem . You have been down that path before why do so again. Thanks for trying to tell me what to do, how to think and that that my opinon is wrong but quite frankly my dear after a lot of work, I am happy with who I am and where I am going. I had one evil force in my life that tried to do the same thing. Never again.

    If you do not understand mental illness then I suggest you learn all you can. And as we know, those who suffer from NPD love to create chaos around them so let’s stop it in its tracks. I believe he has a mental illness but believe him to be highly functioning and you believe he is in full control of his actions, he is evil and should be stopped.

    Good luck with your healing because there may be some more you need to know about this disorder. It really is not that simple but the unfortunate thing is we are only falling into the same type of behaviours that Narcissists display. Sad.

    All the best to you.

  22. beneficii says:


    "What he has to say resonates with my experience."

    Hold on, if you are the victim of a narcissist, then why do the words of a narcissist resonate with you?

  23. francisscott says:

    Glad to see that someone else recognized this nut job for what he is…. perhaps the only honest thing he has written is the fact that he is a narcissist. Pacific Western University was an old diploma mill.. One sent them a check and they issued a diploma. Brainbench quizzes offer no type of valid certification.

    NPD’s are typically con-artists.

  24. Derek says:

    There is one more side to the story which nobody seems to address. I have been struggling and still am struggling with my own narcissistic personality. God knows this is not easy. My therapist had enough empathy and compassion to work with me for 3 years and she had enough faith that narcissists can be helped.
    When I tried to learn more about the NPD on the internet, the first resources that I stumbled upon were a myriad of Vaknin’s poisonous websites. Claiming that all narcissists are pure evil is just plain abuse of those who are trying to cope with their own psychological disorder.
    For example just getting through all the fake Vaknins Google hits made me feel like loosing my mind.
    After I realised that Vaknin is a fake expert, using Google became less painful :)
    Now I can read his crap with some dose of humor.

    just found out that Vaknin has diagnosed Barack Obama with NPD. :)

  25. Thomas says:

    It seems to me as though one must take the matter in a nuanced light. Vaknin is no doubt sick. Obviously this is easily evinced. Does that than mean his writings are wholly worthless? I would not say so. Does that mean his writings deserve to be put on a pedestal as the sole authority on the matter of NPD? Hardly. Something to be kept in mind is that one can still gather some measure of wheat from the tares so long as one is mindful of the tares.

    I think that Vaknin does indeed offer a unique perspective, and his confession of NPD is a sign I think of some admirable frankness, let’s grant him that at least. Nonetheless, a thing to be kept in mind is that this is likely a deranged individual who in all probability may never come to deal honestly and effectively with his real problem. This is I think the real tragedy of NPD. I can easily imagine nearly all genuinely narcissistic people to be so fated. So, wether one takes Vaknin’s advice with a grain of salt or no, one has to be especially mindful of that fact. Indeed I think it may be called the crux of the matter itself.

  26. Hawkfeather says:

    Sam, who is probably a chubby balding fellow living in mummy’s basement and who never saw the inside of a police cruiser much less a prison, has nonetheless described succinctly the fellow I just ran screaming away from after a few months of dating. He may have picked up all his information from other Web sites, but his nutshell regugitations are straightforward and easy to digest.
    I would have to add that there appears to be a spectrum of narcissistic pathology, which manifests as a blighted ability to process emotions.
    Little lads get seriously messed up by seriously messed up mommies. Their wiring is clearly of the unfortunate and entrenched variety, but one can also see certain of them struggle to relate like humans do, whether through mimicry or desparate attempts to feel.
    My father probably had some mild form, combined with depression, which can do a number on daughters, to be sure.
    And the aforementioned man who’s company I will never again keep tried very hard, in a way sometimes very touching, and sometimes very childlike, to contribute. He just went nuts when he was refused something, sometimes as simple as conversation.
    I want no part of such a relationship, but I can’t help feeling sorry for such empty human beings. How lonely and frightening their lives must be; how massive their own emptiness that they must fill it with the life force of those around them.
    Let Sam be. It’s empathy. It’s what makes us not narcissists.

  27. Mike Smith says:

    The most salient point about Sam Vaknin is he’s not at all who he portrays himself to be. So many say his writings click with them, so they must be true. Managers of forums idolize him. But isn’t that the nature of the con man? A con man seeks weakness, they hone in, they groom. A lover of a person with NPD may feel loved like they’ve never been loved. They may feel they’ve found their soulmate. It’s a con, a sales jobs, a manipulation. They say, it feels so right, this is the answer they’ve been seeking, no doubt about it. They say, Sam is revealing his N experience, they can put it in perspective. But is he really? Or is it an extreme caricature, a combo of literature he’s read, exaggerations of his own experiences, mixed in with what those betrayed by NPDers want to hear? That those sad people with NPD are incorrigible, extreme, unfeeling monsters? I have no reason to believe anything Sam says is sincere. And yes, what he says may sound attractive and feel right, because that’s the nature of the public face presented by those con men with NPD. If he disappeared from the internet we’d all be better off. Sam Vaknin isn’t who he presents himself to be. That in itself is enough to discount and then ignore his internet presence. So then who is he, really? Don’t know, don’t care. He’s just not as he portrays himself. He paints himself as an extreme joke. It’s not credible. It’s fiction. It’s not bad fiction. He wrote a short story, the fictional "The Con Man Cometh". An excerpt:

    The signs are here, the gestures, the infinitesimal movements that you cannot control. I lurk. I know that definite look, that imperceptible twitch, the inevitability of your surrender.

    I am a con man and you are my victim. The swindle is unfolding here and now, in this very atrium, amid all the extravagance. I am selling your soul and collecting the change. I am sharpened, like a raw nerve firing impulses to you, receiving yours, an electrical-chemical dialog, consisting of your smelly sweat, my scented exudation. I permeate your cracks. I broker an alliance with your fears, your pains, defense compensatory mechanisms.

    I know you.

    I’ve got to meld us into one. As dusk gives way to night, you trust me as you do yourself, for now I am nothing less than you. Having adopted your particular gesticulation, I nod approvingly with every mention of your family. You do not like me. You sense the danger. Your nostrils flare. Your eyes amok. Your hands so restless. You know me for a bilker, you realize I’ll break your heart. I know you comprehend we both are choiceless.

    It’s not about money. Emotions are at stake. I share your depths of loneliness and pain. Sitting opposed, I see the child in you, the adolescent. I discern the pleading sparkle in your eyes, your shoulders stooping in the very second you’ve decided to succumb. I am hurting for what I do to you. My only consolation is the inexorability of nature – mine and yours, this world’s (in which we find ourselves and not of our choice). Still, we are here, you know.

    I empathize with you without speech or motion. Your solitary sadness, the anguish, and your fears. I am your only friend, monopolist of your invisible cries, your inner hemorrhage of salty tears, the tissued scar that has become your being. Like me, the product of uncounted blows (which you sometimes crave).

    That’s as true to his life as any of his supposed non-fiction writing. The two largest internet NPD help forums each have a section called "Ask Dr. [sic] Vaknin". He’s not a doctor. He answers questions posted there with one or two short, cruel, impersonal sentences, followed by interminable links to internet articles headed by offers to buy his rather overpriced book. That this person is portrayed by others as some kind of Dr. or authority on helping those in emotional pain is about the sickest thing you’ll find on the internet.

    edited by admin on 11/22/08 (added blockquote)

  28. Big Joe says:

    Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

  29. RA says:

    his writings, although they appear accurate and make sense, are coming from a person with absolutely no formal academic training in psychology.

    There you have it, folks. Vaknin appears accurate and makes sense, but we musn’t let little things like truth and rationality blind us to what is of ultimate importance: the man is not properly credentialed!

  30. Zed says:

    Most conmen appear to be accurate and make sense (often more so than sincere people, who, after all, only have the inflexibility of hard fact to work with)…otherwise they wouldn’t con anyone…would they?

  31. Ben says:

    The key word is “appear.” Vaknin spouts folk wisdom—but, as he said himself, he’s neither particularly educated, nor does he have training in this field. Therefore, he shouldn’t be taken seriously as an authority. Clearer now, RA?

  32. Michael D. Callahan says:

    I can’t make an argument either way on Sam Vankin. I just received an e-mail from my Mom with his evaluation of President Obama, which I believe, by the way, is accurate, however sometime ago I was researching Josef Mengele on Wikipedia only to find glowing and positive words on the "Angel of Death" at Auschwicz. Stuff like how heroic he was, and how he had gotten the Iron Cross, and he couldn’t have possibly been responsible for so many atrocities there. I love history, and absolutely refuse to use Wikipedia for any serious information, but for shits and giggles it’s a blast. Michael D. Callahan

  33. Douglas Fahnlander says:

    After reading many of these posts I’ve come to the conclusion that most of it appears to be an orchestrated campaign to smear the name of Sam Vankin; no doubt orchestrated by Obama supporters fearing the exposure of their messiah.

    Concerning your praises for Wikipedia – it contains volumes of information, not all of it accurate, posted by those wishing to explain their version of events.

  34. c says:

    Narcissist or not, Vaknin has Obama pegged!

    • Ben says:

      What makes you think this is so?

      No, don’t bother answering that; I already know. You dislike Obama, and will therefore have entirely too much credulity when it comes to fatuous criticism of the man.

      If you’re going to criticize, then criticize the pork bill or the other six thousand things about which you might legitimately disagree; don’t nod your head at innuendo and pop psychology like a gibbering Gladys Kravitz.

      • Zed says:

        I don’t know why people ALWAYS fall for that one…

        All any conman ever has to do is agree with them about something, and particularly something contested and controversial, and they decide he is an honest man…if he then takes it a little further for them they decide he is a wise one…

  35. c says:

    Wow! I’m lost in the big words! How do I count the ways…..yep, you’re right…..six thousand is close!

  36. L F Clark says:

    Regardless of the validity of Sam Vaknin’s credentials or for that matter the existence of any phobias from which he may suffer, his little write-up on B. H. Obama hits the nail on the head. The USA has elected a president who (left unchecked) will bring this country to certain ruin. The similarities to Adolph Hitler are obvious and cause for major concern. He has conned over 50% of the population with his chatter and rhetoric, but he does not fool Dr. Vaknin.

  37. brian madsen says:

    We can’t talk bad about the fuerher now? Wow, a man simply states his opinion and you people want to start breaking glass. Ask yourself what motivatates you to so blindly defend Barack Obama after he has laid out his plans for America.

  38. L F Clark says:

    Why do the American people not question Mr. Obama’s meteoric rise to fame, his lack of experience, the disdain of America by many who have surrounded him in the past and other unusual & worrisome characteristics? Hugo Chavez’s suggestion that Mr. Obama turn the USA into a socialist (read communist) state is really bizarre, unless you analyze some of Mr. Obama’s positions on wealth distribution.

  39. Ben says:

    Further comments in this thread about Obama will be deleted. If you want to talk about Obama, go to the entry about Obama.

  40. Craig says:

    I don’t understand this quote from the article putting Vaknin down:

    "and he’s mad this his own contributions to Wikipedia were undone by an astute editor"

    The person who wrote that lengthy Wikipedia article is not clearly identified, but he should proofread his own text before posting.

  41. […] In my opinion he is NOT. This is not an opinion that is held by only myself. If you visit you will see that Dr. Sam Vaknin is not only unqualified, he is a FRAUD as well. For those who […]

  42. 2HellAndBack says:

    I have to add to this discussion (and no, I’m not affiliated with Vaknin, and don’t condone any of his wrong doing.).

    Vaknin’s site was practically a bible to me while rescuing myself from a nightmare relationship. Having learned all these negative things about him today doesn’t change the help he provided.

    If you thoroughly read the site, he claims to be a Narcissist upfront. He also desribes how Narcissists want the glory, without getting the professional credentials. So he broadcast what he was capable of, then fulfilled it. So I’m not shocked. It just confirms what he says.

    I like Vaknin because he shares the motivations of his dark mind. Think of him like Hannibal Lecter in The Silence Of The Lambs. A man capable of doing horrible things. But one of the few criminals articulate enough to learn from.

    A professional therapist gave me warm support during my escape from my Narcissist ex (which was like escaping a mind-control cult.) But when I tossed and turned in bed at night, rehashing all the horrible things my ex said and did to me, the only thing that gave me comfort was reading Vaknin’s site. He described my ex’s behavior perfectly. Which confirmed that my ex was the sick one, not me. And even if Vaknin’s a fraud, I’m thankful his words were there for me.

    I have the highest respect for professionals. And those who get their degrees by going to legitimate colleges (not through mail-order like Vaknin.) But they need to go out in the field and tangle with the real subjects. And if they’re expecting a tidy controlled situation while learning about a Narcissist, it just won’t happen. (I read something today about how Vaknin played mind games with the filmmaker who made the Psychopath documentary about him.) You have to learn about these people at your own risk. Even if you have credentials. Your university degree is not a protective charm that will shield you from a Narcissist’s manipulation.

    Life is not tidy. And we think we can put everything in a box. And stamp it with a PhD approval. And everything will make sense. But it won’t. And after being controlled, manipulated, lied to, and abused by a Narcissist, the last thing we need is more attacks. So if Vaknin’s site helps someone heal, let it. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. And please, be kinder. We’re not enemies here. I’m sure we’re all exhausted from the constant conflict we’ve endured from Narcissists. I’m tired of being attacked.

    • Lilly says:

      Now that was a great post. I totally get it because my ex is a sociopath. At least Vaknin comes out and said he is a Narcissist so….he is up front. Yep qualifications are one thing and field experience is everything where these twisted individuals are concerned.

      I am not sure anyone who has actually read Vaknin’s site will be at all suprised he is a psychopath. And the big deal is exactly?

      Also the film producer should have known better. Perhaps he learnt soemthing in he process himself because I think he (his research staff) played mindgames when interviewing victims about Vaknin too. Perhaps both individuals were tanished with the N brush in different ways.

  43. francis says:

    You should watch the documentary “I M A PSYCOPATH” produced in deutschland about Vaknin’s life

    He’s not a doctor (he bought his degree on the internet)

    He’s not much narcissic. He is diagnosed psychopath

    He’s a fraud. Just another saddistic con artist

  44. Primo says:

    Dr Vaknin may be a sociopath and yes a narcissist. The point he is trying to illustrate is to BEWARE! The contribution he has provided to the field of mental health and behavioral science is quite profound. Yes, he has stood on the backs of other, better credentialed social scientists, to provide society with this book. The cogent way he has analyzed and presented this material is what is so striking. In crystal clear summation he defines and conceptualizes this personality disorder for all to understand. His writing style is full of sophistry, yet it is because he writes so eloquently that his book is found to be so fascinating and compelling. The fact he graduated from Pacific Western University is used by others to impugn and discredit his academic pedigree. How sad. Jean Piaget, one of the greatest developmental psychologists of the last hundred years never possessed an earned degree in psychology. He received a Ph.D. in zoology, as he studied freshwater mollusks and invertebrates, while at University in Switzerland. He kind of chanced into the study of human behavior especially children, because he needed to make some money while looking for a curatorial position in France.For a few francs, he baby sat small children and chronicled there behavior for a number of psycologists who were professors at the Sorbonne. As time went on he became enthralled with the developmental aspects of the children and decided to pursue this endeavor full time. The rest we shall say is history. Should we now discredit the scholarly, erudite work of Piaget because he didn’t even possess an undergraduate certificate in the field of psycology? Coincidentally, PWU is a state approved school in California. The school continues to provide education to students in California and abroad. One man’s diploma mill is another man’s outstanding education. Nobody said PWU was Stanford, yet they are and always have been a legal,valid degree granting instituion. If you don’t like Dr. Vaknin’s presentation don’t buy his literature and stop cruising his web-site. Coincidentally, John Grey graduated from Columbia Pacific University, a true DIPLOMA MILL! that is no longer in existence. He has written “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus”. Why don’t you hack on him for awhile and leave give Dr. Vaknin a rest….

  45. Zed says:


    You are either Sam Vaknin or a complete idiot…or…conceivably both…

    Sam Vaknin is a conman by trade and a diagnosed psychopth by nature.

    Pacific Western is a mail order degree mill by his own, on camera, admission.

    He has spent the past 12 years using the internet to play as many seriously twisted games, with as many people as possible.

    Psychopathy is a sickness. Consciously allowing a psychopath define your perception of any part of the world around you is another sickness again.

    The only thing Sam Vaknin ever has, ever intends, or ever will “contribute” to the world is damage.

    Live with it.

  46. Primo says:

    Zed (?) You are the fool. Just because he is an admitted narcissist does not mean that he is unable to define or articulate the disorder in a way that is not only entertaining but informative. No! I am not Sam Vaknin. How many PH.D.’s in Psychology have the personality disorder of narcissism and/or sociopathy? You are the deluded one my friend. Many, yes many learned behavioral scientists are as fucked up as Dr. Vaknin, so please spare me the mumbo-jumbo that he is a sociopath and a graduate from a diploma mill. You sound like a deluded blowhard and pompous ass. I would like to see how you score on Dr. Hare’s Psychopathy check-list. Coincidentally, how do you know that Dr. Vaknin has a clinical diagnosis of sociopathy/psychopathy? Me thinks you protest to strongly. Sounds to me like a primitive defense mechanism is at work in your presentation. You seem to be suffering from some serious anger and probable envy over the good doctor’s ability to market his literature and himself. Coincidentally, you should see how many graduate programs in psychology are using his monograph on NPD, to educate tomorrow’s social and behavioral scientists. Deal with it Zed!

  47. Zed says:

    Considering Vaknin actually admitted, on camera, that his degree is from a “degree mill”, and was diagnosed as a Psychopath (PCL-R SV), again, on camera, by a qualified Professional…which was confirmed by a seperate MRI scan…

    I don’t think you have a leg to stand on there my friend…

    Don’t worry, the world is full of gullable people.

  48. Primo says:

    Zed, The fantasyland you live in must be marvelous to behold. I would love to see the “professional”, that made a diagnosis of sociopathy based on an MRI scan. You are pretty sure of the nonsense you sling. I am not saying he is not a sociopath/psychopath, he may be. The point I am trying to illustrate is that based on an organic study while alive it is impossible for someone to be diagnosed as a sociopath. Also, it would be impossible to actually diagnose a person with alzheimer’s definitively until they are dead. An autopsy would need to be performed on the actual gray matter, as well as for sociopathy. The fact that Vaknin claims he graduated from a diploma mill is irrelevant. The Bureau of Private Posrsecondary education in the state of California has licensed and approved this school, going back to the 70’s. Many would disagree with his admitted statement that he attended a “diploma mill”. Also, many people consider Capella and Thomas Edison diploma mill’s also, and they have regional accreditation. Granted, the school he graduated from is not great, amybe not even good, but they are still around and conferring legal, valid degrees. You are not only gullible, but remain misinformed about this school and the ability to diagnose sociopathy based on an MRI scan. If Vaknin contends that this is how he was diagnosed as a sociopath, he is using this to market himself and his books. Who is really the gullible one, Zed?

    • Ben says:

      What’s your definition of a “legal, valid” degree? I can give “legal” degrees out of my backyard, but that doesn’t mean they carry any sort of weight. Being “licensed” and/or “approved” by the BPPE (if indeed that’s the case) still doesn’t have anything to do with the worth of a degree from PWU.

    • Zed says:

      The diagnosis was made by award winning Prof. Niels Birbaumer, Professor of Medical Psychology and Behavioral Neurobiology at the University of Tübingen, Germany using the PCL-R-SV (the universally accepted diagnostic tool for psychopathy)…the MRI scan with a real time neural feedback loop to observe brain reactions and emotional regulation to stimulus was only used for further confirmation.

      As a matter of fact, it would be considerably more challenging to perform an MRI scan of brain activity on a dead person…owing to the fact that there doesn’t tend to be any…brain activity that is…

      Pacific Western has permission to operate from the Bureau of Private Postsecondary education in the state of California (kinda like a restaurant licence for schools) but no accreditation whatsoever…in addition, they never offered a PHD in “Philosophy of Physics” that Vaknin claims to have, and there is, thus, the possibility of a double bluff.

      …and even without all that, you only have to look at the mischievous, amateur rubbish the man purveys…it’s just a nasty little game he is playing with the world…for kicks and, exceptionally modest profit…and it shows…and only a veritable fool would try to claim otherwise.

  49. Primo says:

    Ben, legal and valid means that the school has oversight. The oversight is from the BPPE. If you produce diplomas’s out of your garage there is no oversight. They are not legal and certainly not VALID! In the state of California, many licensed clinical therapists are graduates of state approved schools, just like PWU. I am not saying they are accredited, just legal and valid. In fact, one of my very best friends is a graduate of this school and is a supervisor and has a very prominent state government job. She is just one of many who possess degrees from small state approved proprietary schools. Just because they are far cheaper than RA schools does not mean they are not solid schools. If they were as deplorable and “less than wonderful” as you and Jed believe, I wonder why they have not been shut down in the state of California. In fact, they remain a state approved and licensed school, and are legally authorized to confer diplomas upon students who complete their degree programs. Hacking on PWU at this point seems meaningless, irrelevant and so PLAYED! If you don’t believe they are state approved call Sacramento and find out, you will be so surprised. Ben, you need to wipe,flush and move on …….

    • Zed says:

      The schools are state approved as fit for the purpose, the qualifications they hand out are, however, not accredited…

      People buy these degrees to try and improve their resumes, that is how they make their money, sometimes nobody is any the wiser and they get the job, but plenty of people have been disciplined and even dismissed when the truth came out.

  50. Primo says:

    Jed, try to control your satisfaction at this wonderful piece of fluff you claim to support. I can find innumerable therapists in the field of psychology, psychiatry and neurobiology who would not support this procedure or it’s alleged outcome! No empirical proof is there to support the claim that a diagnosis of sociopathy can be made on a living person, through an MRI! You are in fantasyland. It would be more easy to diagnose based upon the behavior and personality traits that the individual displays throughout there childhood adolescence and adulthood. Please provide me with the link that states that sociopathy(a non-organic disorder), can be diagnosed based upon an MRI, while the client is living. The good German doctor may believe this, I can find many who would challenge this. Please provide me with the link to view this German doctor’s treatment modality and diagnostic procedures. Once I view it, I am certain I will find it more than amusing. Almost as amusing as Dr. Vaknin getting everyone’s goat on these blogs……….

  51. Primo says:

    Jed, just as an aside I found a few websites that describe much of the work and clinical outcomes of Dr. Neils to be nothing more than advanced quackery. By the way, was Dr. Vaknin the patient who underwent the MRI by the “good doctor”? If so, please let me know where I can find this Dr. Frankenstein procedure, performed by the adroit hand of Dr. Birnbaumer, on the internet. I do so love the “carnival”…………

  52. Zed says:

    In terms of getting hold of a copy you are on your own. For the THIRD time:

    *He was diagnosed as a psychopath only using the PCL-R-SV – a standard diagnostic technique for psychopathy
    *The MRI scan with a real time neural feedback loop just showed additional conformation of brain activity similar to that usually observed in psychopaths
    *An MRI scan of a dead person would show no brain activity to diagnose at all
    *He was also found to be something of a “looney otherwise unspecified” using the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory

    All of this was on camera, and has now been broadcast in several countries.

    Please provide links that show Prof Niels Birbaumer’s work to be “noting more than advanced quackery”, because all I can find are sites stating that he has won the Albert Einstein World Award for Science and a singularly impressive Resume:

  53. Primo says:

    Jed, if he is a sociopath, he is a sociopath. I am not trying to defend his NPD or probable sociopathy. Because he is a sociopath does not mean he is unable to contribute to the discipline of behavioral science. If you are looking for data on the quackery of Dr. Neils, type in the good doctors name and “quackery” and voila! My desire to share in this blog was twofold. One-whether or not Sam Vaknin is a conman is somewhat irrelevant. He is a published author and based upon peer review his monograpf is SOLID! So what if he graduated from PWU! Jean Piaget never graduated with an earned degree or certificate in psychology yet he is regarded as one of the greatest developmental psychologist’s in the history of this fascinating, yet somewhat inexact science. I have an MA in Management anf Psychology, and in no way impugn or pooh-pooh the book that Dr. Vaknin has written, because he went to PWU. I wonder if he actually even attended this school, as he alleges. He is clearly an intelligent man, probably brilliant. He unfortunately has a kind of destructive brilliance, which makes sense in light of his NPD and sociopathy. Are you a book editor or a student of Psychology? I am sure DR. Birbaumer has as many detractors as he has supporters. Most cutting edge, brilliant scientists due. In his case the proof is in the pudding. Root around on the internet, I have found a few web pages that blast the “good doctors” avant garde approach to diagnosing this personality disorder. I feel the jury is still out and probably will be for awhile. sorry if I hacked on you a little harshly.

    • Ben says:

      He is a published author and based upon peer review his monograpf is SOLID!

      Wrong! Prove it. To my knowledge, there is zero literature that confirms Vaknin’s “published” work.

  54. Primo says:

    Coincidenatally Jed, Dr. Birbaumer has been cited in “Quackwatch” and a few other websites. do your own investigation, I had to……..

  55. Primo says:

    Ben, you really dislike this Sam Vaknin boy- oh- boy! Dr. Mengele emeritus of the University of Paraguay ,my alma mater, found his work to be compelling and fascinating. Substantively it is a little shallow, but it presents the disorder in a way that strikes a visceral chord in most readers. Many websites post a number of peer reviews and citations attesting to the validity and authoritative quality of the monograph. Check it out Ben.

    • Ben says:

      Wrong. It’s basic college-level writing, Primo. Provide me with a References section—APA, MLA, &c…. you pick—instead of vague promises of the multitude of smart people who support your viewpoint. This is not complicated debate; it’s basic, secondary-school rhetoric. If you can’t so much as offer that, you probably shouldn’t bother to comment.

    • Zed says:

      “Strikes a visceral chord” is just another way of saying “aims for a *knee-jerk* reaction”.

      Vaknin just aims to manipulate his readers, and, unfortunately, succeeds with a few of the more vulnerable or gullable ones.

      He has spent the past 12 years using the internet to play as many seriously twisted games, with as many people as possible.

      Psychopathy is a sickness. Consciously allowing a psychopath define your perception of any part of the world around you, let alone psychology or abuse, is another sickness again.

      The only thing Sam Vaknin ever has, ever intends, or ever will “contribute” to the world is damage.

  56. Primo says:

    Ben and Zed, Please refer to Dr. Anthony Benis M.D. of Mount Sinai Hospital. He is a board certified Psychotherapist as well. He states the book is credible, worthy of analysis and will become the ‘tome’, for years to come regarding the insidious disorder of NPD. Dr. Nili Raam, and I’m paraphrasing-“vast, serious and thorough. “It gives a first hand account of the disorder of NPD”. Dr. Lerner and Dr. Honeycutt state”This is a profound and moving read”. Should be in the reference library of all mental health workers and therapists”. I can go on and on. Why don’t you do some of this homework. maybe you have……….

  57. Primo says:

    Zed, Get onto “Qwackwatch”, and read it yourself, also I have found two links supporting the possibility that Dr. Neils is a freaking quack! You can use the internet, I am sure you have read what I have. Don’t play the prove it to me game! I have proven it, you can’t handle the truth. Coincidentally, when you get published and write a multimillion dollar best-seller you can talk. You need a hobby sport!

  58. Primo says:

    Zed, My girlfriend who recently received her M.S. in Psychology from the UC System , told me that her professor urged her to purchase this book prior to her graduation, in fact while she was still a student. Her primary interests are treatment modalities of personality disorders. She is most fond of CBT and some Gestalt, she thanked her professor on the “Malignant Self Love” book and has found it to be very insightful. Many, many professors and psychotherapists have a copy of this book, I am a behavioral scientist as well and find much of Dr. Vaknin’s writing to be engrossing. I don’t think anyone is going to assign him to the ranks of Albert Ellis or Rollo May, yet his contribution is noted by many. By the way, what is your hangup with this guy Vaknin? He seems to press your hot button. You and Ben seem to have a lot of rancor toward this “sensationalist”. Me thinks he likes to press your buttons…………..

  59. Primo says:

    Zed, just as an aside Dr. Frankenstein a.k.a., Dr. Birnbaumer(?), didn’t need to perform an MRI or the frontal lobe analysis to confirm the fact that Vaknin is a dangerous and deluded individual. The fact that he is an admitted thief, who is a convicted felon establishes the fact he has ASPD. His entire behavioral and cogntive presentation proves this without equivocation. Sam Vaknin is a “white collar” psychopath, nothing more. Somewhere along the way he put his adroit literary skills to use and produced a “nifty” little book that has sold many copies. Love him or loathe him, Sam Vaknin is a shrewd marketer of himself.

  60. Primo says:

    Zed and Ben, I am curious. Is this blog devoted to the slamming of Sam vaknin. Your efforts would be better served in trying to disprove the fact that PWU is a diploma mill. If you believe that a school is a diploma mill because it is not regionally accredited, than it might fit the bill. By definition it does not fit the criteria as a diploma mill. It has oversight, is state approved and has many thousands of graduates worldwide according to its literature. In fact, I think they are seeking accreditation as we speak. What you mean by a diploma mill is a web site that sells diplomas of any kind for a price, with little or no course work. These schools jump from state to state, one step ahead of the authorities, with new web pages popping up all the time. PWU has been inexistence for over thirty years and they ain’t going anywhere!

  61. Primo says:

    Ben and Zed, Are you sure that Sam Vaknin is actually a graduate of this school? Based upon the fact he is a narcissist and sociopath, it is certainly not above him to lie about his academic credentials. I have had a chance to research this man a little more fully on the internet. He has little if any academic credentials to speak of. I am uncertain what he means by “graduated a few semesters in the technion of Isaraeli University”. I am still willing to listen to his “prattling”, and have found his book most interesting, as I perused it at my girlfriends home. Much of what he has provided looks as if it was gleaned and restructured from other source material. Still, I will not impugn the man because he has less than wonderful academic credentials. Abe Lincoln never graduated from college and Harry Truman didn’t either. Sam Vaknin graduated “a couple semesters at technion”. You’re right he is good for a laugh!

  62. Primo says:

    Zed, I can tell you what an MRI is, but we would only be playing childish games, know need to indulge you. I believe you interpret my disagreement with your assesment of Sam Vaknin and PWU as a personal attack against you. Maybe you feel challenged by my willingness to engage as a “narcissistic injury”. I did ask you earlier what your connection to Sam Vaknin and his book was. Are you in fact a social scientist, a book critic or editor, or maybe just a hack used book peddler. Which one of the these vocations do you ply? Don’t let hubris rule the day, remember it’s one of those “seven deadlies”.

    • Zed says:

      No, I just realised that you are probably so, unaccountably adverse to an MRI scan being performed on a living person because you don’t actually know what an MRI scan is.

      Why would I need a particular *connection* or *vocation* to be able to see Sam Vaknin’s product for the mischievous rubbish it is?

      His lack of intellectual or ethical integrity is blatantly obvious to anyone except the most vulnerable or gullable…and somehow I doubt if your problem is vulnerability.

  63. Primo says:

    Zed, you should refer to the works of Dr. Hare. He is one of the most reputable sources on sociopathy /psychopathy. He wrote a brilliant book which is in my overstuffed library, and I refer to it again and again. His book “Without Conscience”, is one of the best contemporary books dealing with this personality disorder. I would also refer you to a much older book “The People of the Lie”, by M. Scott Peck, M.D. It was published back in the early eighties, but it has some chilling case studies within its pages. Dr. Peck is an evangelical Christian, and this is disclosed in many of his books. He makes know apologies for his beliefs and I think it helps to give a unique and fresh perspective on this very beguiling personality trait. Sociopathy I believe is an outgrowth of evil, evil that is very ancient and insidious. This would of course be an altogether different discussion, but one I feel willing to undertake. I am also a very devout Roman Catholic and have colleagues who are therapists and counselors, who are employed by the Church. They integrate the secular with the spiritual, in the hopes of providing a more grounded and holistic approach to serving the “total client”.

  64. Primo says:

    I am not adverse to a person receiving an MRI. I don’t feel it would be necessary for a clinical psychologist or board certified psychiatrist to use one in order to make a clinical diagnosis that a client may be a sociopath. Lack of a strong maternal attachment, paternal deprivation and extreme poverty can all be triggers that form the etiology of this personality disorder. In boys it manifests at about the age of 4-5. In females at the onset of puberty. In young adults below the age of 18, it would be defined as “conduct disorder”. Once the person is of age this personality disorder is assigned to being antisocial personality disorder. With females the disorder is usually manifested by skipping school, smoking cigarettes and frequent adolescent sexual experimentation. In boys, it takes a more dramatic and deadly turn. Young males who are diagnosed with this disorder have a past history of cruelty and torture to animals. Animals of higher form such as mammals and not insects or mollusks, that are killed by young boys are seen as a clear red flag that determines whether or not this child is a sociopath/psychopath. Many children have less than wonderful family upbringings, but not all become sociapathic in nature. The cruelty and tortue of an organism with a highly developed nervous system is a clear and visible barometer in determining psychopathy in the young. Dr. Hare contends that sociopaths are made, but psychopaths are born……..

  65. Primo says:

    Also, ASPD is more prevalent in males than females. The ratio is approximately three to one.

  66. Primo says:

    Zed, please indulge my curiosity. Are you and your fellow bloggers a united front in the character assassination of this man Sam Vaknin. If so, why? Do you have a genuine interest in psychology and personality disorders, or are you merely interested in trying to prove what a worthless fraud the good Dr. is?

  67. Primo says:

    By the by, I to believe that wikkpedia is reckless and often times very biased in the information it provides. sometimes they get it right, other times they really, really miss the bullseye, in fact the whole archery ring!

  68. Primo says:

    Well, I have yet to view and read some more blogs blasting Sam Vaknin. Long live Pacific Western University!

    • Ben says:

      That’s mostly because he remains an unknown figure, much to his considerable dismay (for which refer to the introduction of this article).