Smoking With Sam Vaknin

Read the Story June 15, 2005

A truly original flash. Where’d it come from?

Sorry to be pedestrian—but it is a true story. Those were the hallucinatory days that preceded my incarceration. Everything around me was disintegrating at warp speed: my finances, my marriage, my reputation. In the midst of this surrealistic mayhem, we had our pet snail. In hindsight, it was our last, doomed, attempt to re-connect, to hold on to a semblance of sanity and order and caring. But then the world intruded.

Love the snail. How important is it in flash to have such a central image?

The snail is a metaphor. It is us, Nomi and I. It is our life, crumbling around us. It is our helplessness in the face of a crushing and merciless reality. It encapsulates our dwindling trust in each other and our foreknowledge of the end of our relationship. Metaphors are economic ways of communication and, therefore, an invaluable literary tool.

It’s his fault. Of course. All of it. What chance for redemption does such a guy have in this world?

It is all his fault. Nomi uses the snail to tell me how bitterly disillusioned she is. The aftermath of a shared psychosis and the pursuit of closure are, inevitably, never free of recriminations. Nomi believed in me, in my potential, in the invincibility of my intellect, in my ability to fulfill the promise of a better future for both of us. Instead, I ruined both her life and mine. Instead, I made her crush the snail.

I’d love to hear more about your editorial role in the field of mental health.

I am the author of Malignant Self Love: Narcissism Revisited (number 1 bestseller in its category in Barnes and Noble).
The Web site: “Malignant Self Love – Narcissism Revisited” is an Open Directory Cool Site and a Psych-UK recommended Site. I am not a mental health professional though I am certified in psychological counseling techniques by Brainbench.

I served as the editor of Mental Health Disorders categories in the Open Directory Project and on Mentalhelp.net; I have my own websites about the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and about relationships with abusive narcissists here and in HealthyPlace.

I am also the editor of the Narcissistic Personality Disorder topic, the Verbal and Emotional Abuse topic, and the Spousal Abuse and Domestic Violence topic, all three on Suite101, as well as the moderator of the Narcissistic Abuse List and other mailing lists (c. 5000 members). I wrote a column for Bellaonline on Narcissism and Abusive Relationships.

What’s going on at http://samvak.tripod.com?

I wish I knew (laughing). My Web site contains well over 1000 articles and essays organized into disciplines: the study of pathological narcissism, philosophy, international affairs, economics, short fiction, and poetry. I write constantly. It is a form of therapy I guess. So, the site is expanding all the time. Talk about Frankenstein … (laughing again).

About the Author:

Sam Vaknin (http://samvak.tripod.com) is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, eBookWeb, and Bellaonline, and as a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent. He is the the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101.

About the Artist:

A native of Ohio, Marty D. Ison lives with his wife transplanted in the sands of the Gulf of Mexico. He studied fine arts at Saint Petersburg College. In addition to the visual arts, he writes poetry, short stories, and novels. See more of Ison's work here.