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Info on Sam Vaknin

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Info on Sam Vaknin

Postby LifeSong » Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:43 pm

Since the issue of Sam Vaknin has come up again recently, I decided to start a thread in which to post info on Mr. Vaknin. Might be useful to those of us in this forum now, but my hope is that it might be useful to those who come to this board later and do a search for "Sam Vaknin". It will be a good centralized place to gather our info and opinions re Mr. Vaknin, who has set himself up to be the ubiquitous 'expert' of all things NPD.

I am reposting my post on his credentials as a way to start us off. Feel free to add to this thread for posterity!

The truth about Sam Vaknin's 'credentials' :

A little bit of research into Sam Vaknin reveals a story behind the man worth being aware of, before one assumes that Mr Vaknin has any academic credentials that would warrant the way that he touts himself as "Sam Vaknin, PhD". His trading on his alleged degree is personally offensive to me since I have personal experience in how much work it is to earn that particular degree, legitimately.

Everyone reading Mr. Vaknin should be aware that he is a self-proclaimed narcissist who makes his living by, well, being a narcissist. How narcissistic.

Mr. Vaknin has no credentials or licensure in psychology. His alleged PhD (keep reading) is supposedly in Philosophy. He has been forced, legally, to put this disclaimer on his website and other materials so that his rear doesn't get sued: " I am NOT a mental health professional - read the DISCLAIMER". Yet, he does all that he can to give the impression that he is a mental health professional of some kind.

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. But what 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, and probably has reason to leave the wording vague. Again, impressions are more important than factual truth.

"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. It is an on-line school. Vaknin claims to have earned a doctorate, although they don’t even offer a doctoral program. Academic rigor? Please! It is very well known that this 'institute' is nothing more than a diploma mill. For very little work, and a whole lot of money, nearly anyone can be awarded the degree of their choice.

“Graduate of numerous courses in Finance Theory and International Trading”
Mr. Vaknin uses “pass” and “graduate” interchangeably, which means that he likely never completed any undergraduate program at Technion, and again makes the worth of his supposed 'doctorate' highly questionable. Apparently, having taken “numerous courses” in business, he considers himself an expert— claims to be an economic advisor to Macedonia. I would like to see any kind of proof of that, as well. If his doctorate was purchased from a diploma mill online 'university', is his 'economic advising' just as contrived?

Certified E-Commerce Concepts Analyst by Brainbench.
Certified in Psychological Counselling Techniques by Brainbench.
Certified Financial Analyst by Brainbench.
When Mr. 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. Mr. Vaknin isn’t actually certified in anything—at most, he’s reasonably well-informed in these particular issues, as are so many on this forum.


Sam Vaknin... PhD? Please! Well-respected? Pleeeaaaaze!

I found reading his writings useful only if I reminded myself continually that I was reading the writings of a self-proclaimed narcissist, who manufactured his credentials, and who now earns his living by being a narcissist.

Enough said.
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Re: Info on Sam Vaknin

Postby LifeSong » Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:47 pm

To watch the documentary, I Psychopath, follow this link: http://www.blip.tv/file/2268740.

Sam’s illness is self-evident here and should put to rest the idea that it is useful or wise to seek his advice on how to manage the effects of narcissism (either from the narcissist’s perspective or from the ‘victims’ perspective), or to follow the advice that he has schooled the moderators of his several forums to insist upon (I started to type 'offer' but they don't really 'offer' leaving the freedom of choice to follow or not up to the questioner, now do they?).

Do you really want a psychopath telling you that there is no help for narcissism, if you have narcissistic traits?

Do you really want a psychopath telling you how to heal from narcissistic abuse if you are someone reeling from the effects of a narcissistic relationship?
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Re: Info on Sam Vaknin

Postby LifeSong » Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:53 pm

A ‘review’ of I, Psychopath from another website:

I was watching a documentary last night, "I, Psychopath" where a purported psychopath allows himself to be filmed as he travels in search of a diagnosis. It turned out to be Sam Vaknin. What the...? He has always proclaimed himself a narcissist, spamming the web with declarations of extra special knowledge, with particular insight into the victims of narcissists.

I was blown away. This little gem of a documentary follows him and his wife of 11 years, as they are tested and interviewed by various researchers, SV for psychopathy, Lydja as victim. There is now solid, empirical proof that he is a psychopath.

Outcomes:
In England, SV was given the MMPI. He began to throw a tantrum when the researcher, a psychologist, probed about his so-called Ph.D., which we know for fact, is from a diploma mill. Can't touch Sammy's ego, expose him, even though in a sequence later, he casually had admitted to the film-maker, Ian Walker, that he, indeed, purchased it from a diploma-mill and that it's worthless. Which throws the filmmaker for a loop. SV simply moved the goalposts when it was to his advantage. What we see here is the psychopath playing whatever angle suits him at the moment. For him, all "truths' are equal. He is not invested in any of them, or, as it turns out, in anything.

His MMPI profile was illustrated by a graph showing several personality disorders; this, as I understand, represented a 'trend' which is compared with similar graphic trends from different populations: successful corporate psychopaths, criminal psychopaths, and the psychiatric population. SV boasts that he made and lost millions and that is borne out in the research. But, surprisingly, SV did not match the trend of successful corporate psychopaths- he matched the psychiatric population! In other words, he's nothing special.

Afterwards, the researcher mused about the implications: what does someone do, how does someone manage, if they lose that identity? Walker took it a step further: was SV putting on this persona and he really wasn't a psychopath? Was he conning everyone about being a con? Yet conning suggests a psychopath!

Secondly, SV's wife of 11 years, Lidja, was interviewed by another researcher who studies victims of psychopaths. She was tested, and then asked to answer the psychopathy checklist for SV. She scored similarly to other victims of psychopaths in that she was highly empathic, highly emotional and generous. Yet, her scores for SV on the psychopathy checklist were very low, which the researcher said was unusual. Asked about her perception of SV afterwards, Lidja asserted that he was not abusive and was an honest man.

Yet late in the film, we hear her being callously and coldly evaluated, 'clinically' trashed by SV in a separate interview. He 'dispassionately' asserts that there is no love and no sex and she wants a baby but there will be no baby and yet she stays. It's an intensely humiliating moment for Lydja, as she watches the tape and has no obvious reaction though there is a light veil of frozen pain suffusing her face. Much later on she says she had given up on love so then she met SV. In my estimation her reactions and thoughts were classically those of someone completely held in thrall, brainwashed. SV is no slouch in that department and very thorough.

The third set of researchers in Germany revealed some truly hard evidence. SV and Lydja were subjected to MRIs to watch for changes in the insula, an area of the brain which has a role in basic emotions. They were each given a visual challenge to control their emotions; emotions were quantified visually by a bar graph for the subject who must then think of things to raise the bar or lower it. His wife was the control subject and showed normal emotional response. His flatlined. SV is only capable of "cold emotion".

SV was also given a battery of tests and a series of interviews over several days, and the researchers secretly obtained reports from his family in Israel. He was also given an abbreviated version of the Hare Psychopathy Checklist .

On the European scale SV scored a 13 which suggests he is not a psychopath. He immediately adapted to that idea by saying he always thought he was a narcissist anyway. On the American scale, he scored an 18, which Hare, in the film, said represents less than 1% of the general population. In relation to psychopathy, it is in the stratosphere.

Sam Vaknin is a psychopath (I believe him to be a sadistic psychopath), not just a garden variety narcissist. He has adopted this persona of narcissist because it suits his purposes and allows him to victimise a world full of vulnerable people while aggrandising and amusing himself. He purportedly has an IQ of 185; that's a lot of potential damage.

The most telling aspect of this film for me is the effect of hanging with SV on the film-maker, Walker. There are secret camera-phone videos of SV raging at him. Over time, SV affects Walker's ability to think straight, raises doubts about his perceptions and reality. It's a perfect case study of what happens when you come into contact with a mental rapist. You can see the mind ###$ unfolding and if you're really well-versed in their strategies, you can see how the psychopath operates. And of course, the most important aspect to the mind ###$ is that the victim listens to the content.

And therein lies the crux and the warning, in my estimation: if you listen to the content, you will be destabilised and lose your mental and emotional footing, you will be subtly undermined, mind ###$ and start to fragment and disintegrate bit by slow bit. It concerns me because SV's essays on the victims of narcissists is a psychopath's unreal, distorted assessment of human beings. As a psychopath, he is not capable of seeing human beings as a whole; he is only capable of seeing them through a damaged and twisted lense. Anyone who listens to his perceptions and especially his advice, no matter how convincing it seems, is being revictimised and damaged further. The psychopath does only damage. SV is the (also psychopathic) L Ron Hubbard of the psychobabble movement.

The psychopath lives from moment to moment, changes his story at will, and is not invested in anything. The only true emotions he knows are paranoia, rage and contempt. The thin veneer of civilisation and civility lies in his moments as a 'master assessor' of the human condition. Psych speak is his nuclear arsenal. That is all. He has no insight into himself or anyone else. Just jargon. His entire world is created of psychiatrese. There is nothing real about it, or understandable. He is merely a technician who is incapable of fixing anything. His pyrotechnical con is just more elaborate than most. Epic fail.

The final moments of the film are spent with the reactions of the filmmaker, Ian Walker, as SV (via secret camera) rages on and on at him, not bothering with charm any longer. Unleashing on him an unrelieved arsenal of criticism and scorn, I wonder why... I think it's because the filming was coming to an end and the filmmaker was no longer useful... Or it amused the psychopath to do it... It's about control... Whatever. I realise I am getting seduced by the content. 'Why' doesn't really matter when it comes to dealing with a psychopath.

Walker admits to doubting his own reality over time, that he is starting to wonder if he is to blame for everything, wonders if he is being manipulated to make the film that SV wants. He cancels the last day of filming, there is a cold parting. In his hotel room, while scraping off a scruffy, days old beard, he takes a long, hot, cleansing shower.
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Re: Info on Sam Vaknin

Postby LifeSong » Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:55 pm

Dr Robert Hare reacts to the film by sending a letter to the filmmaker (below)

Ian,

Just watched the CBC broadcast of I, Psychopath.
You did a brilliant job, arguably the first documentary to capture the complex, fascinating, and destructive interplay between psychopath and victim.

Perhaps most remarkable was your insightful and amazing documentation of the manner in which you became an integral part of the action. You experienced first-hand what it is like to be caught in the psychopath’s web of deceit, manipulation, domination and control, and to be subjected to psychological and emotional abuse that can be every bit as debilitating and demeaning as their physical counterparts.
Fortunately your exposure was time-limited, and you were able to extricate yourself from the situation. The other victim in the documentary clearly is not so fortunate. Like many victims she is trapped in a macabre dance with an unfeeling, controlling partner.

Awards for this documentary should follow if there is any justice in the media world.

Robert Hare, PhD
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Re: Info on Sam Vaknin

Postby Myers » Wed Apr 14, 2010 9:11 pm

LifeSong, you really hate ol' Sam. Can't say I blame you, but why give him recognition? He wants the badge of psychopath and for us to acknowledge that he's a frightening monster that is capable of much psychological damage. When, really, he's just an arse.
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Re: Info on Sam Vaknin

Postby LifeSong » Wed Apr 14, 2010 9:18 pm

Myers wrote:LifeSong, you really hate ol' Sam. Can't say I blame you, but why give him recognition? He wants the badge of psychopath and for us to acknowledge that he's a frightening monster that is capable of much psychological damage. When, really, he's just an arse.


Nope, I don't hate Sam. I don't hate anyone. I don't like him, but I sure don't hate him. Don't even know him.

This isn't giving him recognition beyond what's already available to be known.. it just compiles it here.

I already stated the purpose of this thread, Myers, and it's nothing more or less than I've already said - it's an attempt to pull together a bit of info on this board re the truth of SV so that others, in the future, can do a search and find this info.
He may very well be an ass but people won't know that unless the curtain is pulled aside to expose the wizard.

Knowledge is power, Myers. Just sharin' the knowledge...
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Re: Info on Sam Vaknin

Postby TerryP117 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 9:39 pm

Hello, everyone! I'm new on here -- 61 y.o. woman with an 84 y.o. mother with NPD. It took me 61 long years, but I cut all ties today and found this group through a google search.

Just want everyone to know about a book that I read nearly 20 years ago that helped me TREMENDOUSLY -- "Toxic Parents" by Susan Forwood. I haven't read Sam Vaknin's works, but I can definitely recommend Toxic Parents. I read the book twice and plan on reading it again this week. Terry
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Re: Info on Sam Vaknin

Postby Myers » Wed Apr 14, 2010 9:44 pm

LifeSong wrote:
Myers wrote:Knowledge is power, Myers. Just sharin' the knowledge...


Hehe... I think it's pretty evident that Vaknin's an arse. The director of I, Psychopath stated at the end of the documentary that "asking for advice [from Sam] on how to live one's life is another kind of madness" ... or something along those lines. Apparently Sam's followers didn't pick that up?

Anyway, maybe a Sam hate thread should be made a sticky since newcomers ask about him so much.
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Re: Info on Sam Vaknin

Postby littlewing » Wed Apr 14, 2010 10:27 pm

It would be helpful to have this thread as a permanent post at the top of the board so folks can find it easily. It is a common question for newbies since they are often Sam refugees - some might not even realize they were part of a forum run by him.

I plan to watch the documentary as soon as I can. I don't have the patience to read his books - his writing style drives me nuts.
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Re: Info on Sam Vaknin

Postby dolfin80 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 11:05 pm

I had no idea who Sam was until i looked into this forum a few days ok. The general public do not know. All i knew was that i was emotionally abused over at N "support" forum for having an opinion, then abused for apologising for having an opinion. Then blocked from the site. Rejection is a form of emotional abuse. I only went there for support not to be emotionally abused even more. Then i read the thread here about others being band from that same site. Thats how i discovered Sam. I had watched "I psycopath" just a few weeks ago on ABC because my Domestic Violence counsellor encouraged me to watch it, but never knew that Sam was the star of it until finding this forum and i certainly did not know that this criminal has a "support" forum for abused women. How is this legal people? I have learnt that the internet is a dangerous place. I'm glad i found this forum to validate my experiences.
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