'narcissistic injury' and transference to group members
Date: November 10, 2006 08:30PM

Would anyone be aware of any articles/books discussing narcissistic injury and specificially the phenomena of cult group members adopting and expressing similar injury, when someone critical of the leader expresses their dissaproval, in front of a group member.

I have come across this, occasionally when hearing/reading discussions between a cult member and someone outside the group, who expresses a negative thought about the leader.

I am aware that a transference of the cult leader's persona can occur onto group individuals in varying degrees, but it is this narcissistic reaction in the member, upon hearing a critical (negative) thought of the leader, which interests me.[/i]

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'narcissistic injury' and transference to group members
Posted by: Joe K ()
Date: November 15, 2006 04:33AM

What is "narcissistic injury"?

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Re: 'narcissistic injury' and transference to group members
Posted by: Sallie ()
Date: November 16, 2007 11:35PM

'Malignant Self-Love'. I did a google search and came up with that. But that is just to explain the theory of narcissistic injury. I found nothing about the cult members adopting the narcissistic views of their leader but...it's a no-brainer..that IS what happens. You should write the book.
You could call it ''The Wounded Sadist''. Something like that. All cult leaders are like the heads of a severely disfunctional family.
I like the definition of narcissist as 'infantile in their self-centeredness'. They are individuals who see 'good' as that which pleases them and 'bad' as that which displeases them. (If only Eve hadn't chomped down on that 'knowing of good and evil').....just kidding...sort of. So you know these narcissists BECOME god. They are the determiners of good and bad.
In a disfunctional home some floozy mom may convince the kiddies that ''vodka is bad but I like beer so....beer is healthy). Junior will accept, ingest and defend that ridiculous viewpoint. Mom could of course, change her view when she sees it is harming the young ones but of course then...Mom would have to care about someone other than Mom. Not possible with the narcissist.
I also believe that every narcissist is a sadist.
I've never found any literature on that but it stands to reason. Narcissists know that their selfishness causes pain. They know it. Pretending they don't is part of the fascade. That is what I believe anyway.
Fast forward to the New Testament in the Bible. Jesus gives gifts and is loved. Jesus suffers and billions of people who hear the story feel compassion...but billions more say things like ''hey...the dude got hurt and people respond emotionally...hey...man...I can harnass those emotions and make a fortune''. Fact. You have to be sadistic to think that way. Cult leaders .... they laugh when the exploitation of their followers naiivite causes pain...
Anyway you should write the book.

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Re: 'narcissistic injury' and transference to group members
Posted by: Sallie ()
Date: November 17, 2007 06:40AM

The following is an excerpt from the book "Captive Hearts, Captive Minds" by Madeleine Landau
Tobias and Janja Lalich. See other "Resources and Links" for ordering information.

The Master Manipulator

Let us look for a moment at how some of this manifests in the cult leader. Cult leaders have an
outstanding ability to charm and win over followers. They beguile and seduce. They enter a room and garner all the attention. They command the utmost respect and obedience. These are "individuals whose narcissism is so extreme and grandiose that they exist in a kind of splendid isolation in which the creation of the grandiose self takes precedence over legal, moral or interpersonal commitments."(l8) Paranoia may be evident in simple or elaborate delusions of persecution. Highly suspicious, they may feel conspired against, spied upon or cheated

OK this one looks like a really good resource.

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A library of reading matter
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: November 19, 2007 07:29AM

"transference of the cult leader's persona can occur onto group individuals in varying degrees"

One person has termed this injection of false self into the targeted person.

There are some items worth checking out.

A long and excellent article by psychoanalyst Daniel Shaw describing the precise nature of traumatic abuse in cult settings.


Since the article was published, Shaw has published a full length book Traumatic Narcissism: Systems of Subjugation 2013

Discussion - Integral Options blog


Google results for Traumatic Narcissism, Systems of Subjugation


The following article by psychoanalyst Stanley Rosenman describes in greater detail how this injection of false self can take place.

Grim reading, highly informative.

Rosenman focuses onsituations in which persons are suddenly assaulted, rather than those situations in which, prior to assault, victims are selected, then their boundaries slowly eroded a process of grooming, gradual seduction (as in the romance phase of what will later become a battering relationship) or the sort of cultic seduction termed love bombing, in some cases supplemented by use of trance--or by recruitment by a trusted friend.

But once someone's boundary has been ruptured, whether violently or through a more gradual and patient process of seduction and uses of bliss technology, it is through this rupture that a perpetrator can then inject his or her alien material and subvert the core identity of the subject.

Rosenman briefly mentioned something worth our further attention--that perpetrators often con their traumatized victims into parenting them---often a powerful and violent perpetrator may confuse hell out of us by suddenly turning pitiful and pathetic---inviting the confused powerless victim to get a false sense of empowerment by reassuring and nuturing the wounded child within the perpetrator.

It is interesting how very often survivors of abusive persons report how their abusers alternate between contempt and then sudden bouts of self pity--which confuses their battered victims...and often lead the victims to stay longer in the relationship than they otherwise would have.


"(2003). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 31:521-540

Assaultive Projective Identification and the Plundering of the Victim's Identity

Stanley Rosenman

A destructive mode of projective identification is delineated: a predator's catastrophic attack calculated to cause the victim a stress disorder marked by a disarrayed identity. This discomposure enables the perpetrator to aggrandize a manifold inroad upon the victim's identity to imprint, intrude, mingle and/or lodge his representation into it; to ravage, steal from, impoverish, and/or corrupt it; finally to have his representation emerge as an internal regulator of the traumatized prey's functioning. The victim's debased integrity is manifest in the symptoms of his ensuing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)."

Finally, Lorin Roche, a counselor who has a collection of articles that can be read for free, wrote this:

"The blood-sucking nature of vampires is not their most dangerous trait. When feeding, they mostly want to steal your extra vitality and your money. Secondarily they want to wield power over you. You can recover from being drained, and make more money.

The truly dangerous aspect of "predators who use fangs" is their venom – it's what they inject into you.

Venom is of several types: to paralyze, as in a neurotoxin, so that you are immobilized; to predigest you, so they can devour you, and toxic waste.

'People who are oriented to feeding off others also shit into them. Gurus and spiritual leaders and others in the position of teacher build up toxic shame and guilt, which they have to get rid of by excreting into their followers or students.

'They select people to take a dump on, and they make this process look like "busting the person's ego," or "teaching them a lesson." At worst, it can take up to a year to recover from being drained, if the vampire drinks deeply. You can recover, and the worst thing is all the time you wasted.

'But if you are one of the people the vampire/guru/teacher has selected to excrete her waste products into, it can be a seven-to-ten year process to recover. For the past 30 years, I have worked with a lot of meditators who are "leaving their guru," or have just left an ashram.

'The people who have gotten dumped on have a much harder road to recovery than the people who were just drained of vitality and money. "


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/08/2017 10:35PM by corboy.

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Re: 'narcissistic injury' and transference to group members
Date: November 23, 2007 10:49PM

Thanks for that article above.

I have read the book, "Captive Hearts, Captive Minds". Excellent.

Also obtained a copy of Malignant Self-Love. Many of the FAQ's in the book describe the person I have looked into to a tee.

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