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Smoking With Sam Vaknin

A truly original flash. Where'd it come from?
Sorry to be pedestrianóbut 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; 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
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).

Read Pet Snail.
Issue Nine (June 15, 2005): Irvin Hammers a Cat House by Mike Young «» In the Dust by Joseph Young «» Pet Snail by Sam Vaknin «» Living in Sin by Stephen Ausherman «» China by Michelle Garren Flye «» In Too Deep by Kay Sexton «» How We Can Be Saved by Max Ruback «» Eros by Henry Stanton «» Saft by Jai Clare «» The Woman Who Sold Her Flute to Buy a Cabbage by Maggie Shearon «» Bird Tree by Lesley C. Weston «» Pornography by Steve Almond «» Brisket by Stuart Dybek «» A Deep Desire for Blue by Alexandra Fox «» The Names of Things by Cami Park «» Interviews: Mike Young «» Joseph Young «» Sam Vaknin «» Stephen Ausherman «» Michelle Garren Flye «» Kay Sexton «» Max Ruback «» Henry Stanton «» Jai Clare «» Maggie Shearon «» Lesley C. Weston «» Steve Almond «» Stuart Dybek «» Alexandra Fox «» Cami Park «» Cover Art "Groom Left Waiting at the Altar" by Marty D. Ison «» Letter From the Editor
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