Sam Vaknin: Setting the Record Straight (PDF version)


I.                The Sources of the Malicious Gossip against me


II.              My Academic Ph.D. Degree


III.            My Work on Pathological Narcissism and the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)


IV.            My work is quoted in more than 1000 scholarly publications and in over 5000 books


V.              In the Media


VI.            Documentary Films about Me and My Work


My curriculum vitae (biography) is available here.


Follow me on Twitter, Facebook (my page or the book’s), YouTube


The Sources of the Malicious Gossip against me


The rumour that I had obtained my degree from a diploma mill is maliciously (and libellously) false.

It is also very old hat. It is based on Wikipedia, the "encyclopaedia" that anyone can edit and which I nearly sued a few years ago (regarding an unrelated issue). In retaliation, Wikipedians (as members of this cult are known) started to disseminate (anonymously) libellous titbits about me:

Read “The Six Sins of Wikipedia”


Recently, fans of Barack Obama have joined them in spreading this canard as “revenge” for suggesting that their idol may be a narcissist:


Read “Barack Obama: Narcissist or Merely Narcissistic?” (July 2008)


And, more recently, the rabid supporters of Donald Trump are perpetuating these lies in an attempt to discredit my analysis of him.


My Academic Ph.D. Degree

I studied in 1982-3 in ENCINO, California. At that time, there was a university there called "Pacific" (yes, replete with a campus with very real students, faculty, exams, and all the paraphernalia of higher education.)

Later, to distinguish itself from other Pacific universities, it added the moniker "Western". It is now called California Miramar University and is fully accredited..

I have never been to Hawaii, let alone studied there. The diploma mill that used to call itself "Pacific Western University" (and then was litigated into changing its name) was based in Honolulu.

To obtain my Ph.D., I had to submit a dissertation and defend it. I am a Visiting Professor of Clinical Psychology in Southern Federal University in Rostov-on-Don, Russia and a Professor of Psychology as well as of Finance in SIAS-CIAPS (Centre for International Advanced and Professional Studies).

That I have a bona fide doctorate is very easy to prove: it is available from the Library of Congress (click here to view a scan of my diploma.)

To see a list of some of the books I had published in the English language (including my doctoral dissertation), please follow this procedure:

1. Go to the Library of Congress Catalog by clicking on this link:

2. Click on Basic Search

3. Select Author/Creator Browse from the Search Type pull-down menu

4. Type "Vaknin" in the Search Text dialog box.

My books (and doctoral dissertation) are listed under Vaknin, Sam; Vaknin, Sem; and Vaknin, Samuel.

To view my books click on "Vaknin, Samuel" and "Vaknin, Sem" and select the Full Record tabs.

To view my doctoral dissertation, click on "Vaknin, Sam".

You will be forwarded to a page titled:

Time Asymmetry Revisited

Select the Full Record tab.

My dissertation is also included in UMI's databases (University Microfilms International).

Click here to read some correspondence which may be of interest in this respect.


My Work on Pathological Narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)


History of the Book “Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited


In April 1997, I uploaded to the Web a free Internet edition of my book "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited", written in 1995. It is still available here: It was the first website ever about narcissism.


It generated an outpouring of anguish and relief from both narcissists and victims of abuse, who now could put a label to their misery and suffering. Thus, we followed up with the first print edition of the book in 1999.


At the time, with the exception of a handful of scholars, no one had even heard of pathological narcissism. I had to come up with a whole new vocabulary to describe the pernicious disorder and its insidious effects. I coined phrases such as somatic and cerebral narcissist, narcissistic abuse, no contact, devalued and discarded, cold empathy, and dozens of others. Sometimes, I had to imbue moribund phrases from the 1930s and 1970s with new meaning: Narcissistic Supply and False Self are two examples of many.


20 years later, narcissism is a cultural meme, a buzzword, and a leading topic of study in academe. Yet, it is precisely this popularity that threatens to obscure the true nature of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.


I was also the first to introduce pathological narcissism into the terms of the political debate with my July 2008 essay where I suggested that Obama may be a narcissist.


To reiterate:


My NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) Website and forums were the first ever on the Internet. My book was written in 1995-6 and the entire text was posted online in 1997.


I was the one who popularized the issue of narcissistic abuse (a term I coined) online and in print. I also established and moderated the first support groups online for victims and survivors in 1999. The very language used today to describe the experiences of victims of narcissists and psychopaths ("no contact", "narcissistic supply", “devalue and discard”, “somatic vs. cerebral narcissist”, “cold empathy”, and so on) was invented, infused with new meaning, or popularized by me in the mid-1990s.


My books are based on the latest research in the field and on scholarly works by the leading experts on personality disorders. Many of the chapters contain detailed bibliographies.

My book - Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited (now in its tenth, revised, impression) and the content of my Web site are based on correspondence since 1996 with hundreds of people suffering from the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (narcissists) and with thousands of their family members, friends, therapists, and colleagues.


I, myself, have been diagnosed with the disorder (twice) and spent time in therapy and almost a decade discussing it in depth (mainly through correspondence) with mental health professionals the world over.

My online mailing lists alone sport well over 26,000 members - of which 1000 are therapists, social workers, psychiatrists and psychologists - for example here:

Narcissistic Abuse List

Everything I write is backed by extensive bibliographies. You can download some of them here.

That NPD is incurable is the view of virtually all major scholars in the field - not only mine.


My Web site contains over 1400 pages of content - a total of 15,000 print pages, full text online, at no charge.

Out of 40 books I wrote, I offer 30 e-books here for download at no charge (hardly a commercial practice).

I never claimed to be a mental health professional. The disclaimer on my Web site is unequivocal and prominently displayed.


But I am certified by Brainbench in Counselling Techniques (with a very high mark).

Brainbench are an online certification agency. Anyone and everyone can access their Web site and take their tests. BUT, the tests are very difficult, time limited, and you still have to PASS the tests to get a certificate! And they have a very impressive roster of clients.

"By partnering with Brainbench, 6 million members have advanced their skills and their careers, and over 4,000 businesses have found better ways to screen and select candidates, track and develop employee skills, and differentiate employees to current and prospective clients.

Corporate clients include numerous members of the Fortune 500, various U.S. Government agencies, and several universities and colleges.

Brainbench is ISO 9001:2000 certified! We are the first online testing company to obtain this accomplishment for its test development process."

As I said, I am the author of "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited". The media and many mental health professionals seem to think that my work makes me an authority on narcissism.


See this random selection I Googled – click on these links:


What mental health professionals say about my work.


I am a member of the organizing committees of many international conferences and editor of various open access but peer-reviewed journals.


My work is quoted in more than 1000 scholarly publications and in over 3000 books, including: American Journal of Psychiatry, Psychology Today, American Journal of family Therapy, Google Scholar, Journal of Film and Video, Biomedical Ethics for Engineers, Philosophy, Psychology and Psychiatry, Journal of Counseling and Development, International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, Aggression and Violent Behavior, Journal of Religion and Health, Studies in Philosophy and Education, Currents, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Kybernets, and more, as well as in dozens of Dissertations and Theses


Search for "Sam Vaknin" on Amazon, Google, and on Google Scholar – or, Click on these links:


Citation of my work in scholarly journals (Google Scholar)


Citations via my Google Scholar page


My work cited in books about Narcissism (Amazon)


My work cited in well over 3000 books (Google Books)


My work cited in an additional 4000 books (Google Books)


My work on narcissism cited in the literature (Google Scholar) 


You can download some of the scholarly and media articles which cite my work here.

In the Press: CNN, Financial Times, Prague Post, Sunday Times, New-York Times, More Magazine, New-York Post, Washington Post, USA Today, UPI, NY Daily News,, Canadian TV, Metro Newspapers, Washington Times, Radio-Television Suisse (RTS), and much MORE!!!

WebMD Chat

The Infinite Mind radio program

Faultless Nation by Cal Thomas

More! Magazine: Has your man got a cheating disorder

Links to many additional radio and online guest appearances, chats, and interviews in my media kit.

Documentary Films about Me and My Work

How Narcissists Took Over the World

Narcissistic Abuse: An Unspoken Reality

Egomania” Channel 4 (United Kingdom) - on the Wikipedia - Watch It

I, Narcissist and Cruel” Radio-Television Suisse (RTS)

"I, Psychopath" Documentary (Arte, CBC) - on IMDB (Vaknin and "I, Psychopath")

Ian Walker, the hostile and envious director of “I, Psychopath” paid me to participate in the film. I understood from him that I had to act the part of a rabid, stereotypical psychopath, which I did.

I scored 18 in the PCL-R test administered in the film. This is a high score, but the cut-off point for psychopaths is 30. I definitely have antisocial tendencies – but I am not a psychopath.

The concluding scene in the film in which I “admit” that my doctorate hails from a diploma mill is the result of manipulative editing of the raw footage. View the segment carefully: I actually insist there that my doctorate is genuine, that I had to defend it and that it was granted to me by a bona fide university, replete with a campus and in situ classes. (Click here to view photo of my diploma.) In response to Walker’s prompting, I explained to him the differences between diploma mills and my university. My description of a typical diploma mill was taken out of context to imply that I have purchased my doctorate from one (which I emphatically did not!): hence the “incriminating” sentences in the film’s last three minutes.



What the Media have to say


“Few people can claim to have increased the public awareness of NPD to such a degree.”


Adrian Tampany, Financial Times Weekend Magazine, September 4-5, 2010


“Malignant Self-love (is a) ... magnum opus”


Yvonne Roberts, Sunday Times, September 16, 2007


"Sam Vaknin is the world’s leading expert on narcissism."


Tim Hall, New York Press, Volume 16, Issue 7 - February 12, 2003


Interviews (New-York Times, New-York Post, Washington Post and other major media)


 United Press International  Part I Part II


"Vaknin’s a respected expert on malignant narcissists ... He set about to know everything there is about the psychopathic narcissist."


Ian Walker, ABC Radio National Background Briefing, July 18, 2004


What Mental Health Professionals and Authors have to say


“Among many books published on the topic of pathological narcissism, this is by far the best.


It is highly recommended not only for the general public but also for professional therapists.”


(Akira Otani, Ed.D.,ABPH, University of Maryland)


“The book penetrates deeply into the narissist's mind and is filled with myriad gripping novel insights.


It gives the reader a great insight into the fears, desires, defenses, and motives of the narcissist, as well as those in relationship with the narcissist.”


(Alison Poulsen, Ph.D.)


"Sam is doing a great work on pathological narcissism. His book "Malignant self love" is our first guideline in handling malignant types of patients in the forensic setting."

(Dr. Sanja Radeljak, MD, PhD, psychiatrist and forensic expert, Neuropsychiatric hospital "Dr. Ivan Barbot" Popovaca, Croatia)


“Brilliant, insightful, extremely relevant, not only clinically, but practically, on a day to day basis.


This work can be immediately applied and be of assistance to our society at large.”


(Dr. Cyndie Spanier, Ph.D., Deputy Director at Pittsburgh Behavioral Medicine, LLC)


Sam is a genius his work most inspiring not only to myself but to my colleagues as well.”


(Joan Jutta Lachkar, Ph.D., Affiliate Member of the New Center for Psychoanalysis and Author of: How to Talk to a Narcissist; How to Talk to a Borderline; Narcissistic/Borderline Couples)


"Sam Vaknin's book is THE bible on Narcissism!"


(Mary Jo Fay, author of 'When Your Perfect Partner Goes Perfectly Wrong - Loving or Leaving the Narcissist in Your Life')

"I consider this book to be the compass for Narcissistic Personality Disorder education" (Jen Emmerich, LMSW, ACSW)

"There is no more important work than this one on the subject ... You may very well discover yourself."


(Heyward Bruce Ewart, III, Ph.D., author of 'Am I Bad')

"Read Malignant Self Love so you will understand that you are NOT crazy, you are just embedded in a crazy making relationship."


(Liane J. Leedom, M.D., author of 'Just Like His Father?')


"Sam is doing a great work on pathological narcissism. His book "Malignant self love" is our first guideline in handling malignant types of patients in the forensic setting."

(Dr. Sanja Radeljak, MD, PhD, psychiatrist and forensic expert, Neuropsychiatric hospital "Dr. Ivan Barbot" Popovaca, Croatia)

"Vaknin's depth and breadth are unmatched anywhere else and by anyone else.

He knows everything there is to know about narcissistic and psychopathic abusers and how to cope with them effectively."


(Yomtov Barak, family therapist)

"I was stimulated just as I was challenged and enlightened."


(Robert L. Mueller, author of 'Bullying Bosses')

"The only source of such vast, serious, elaborated and thorough first-hand information about Narcissism available.

Useful for victims as well as therapists."


(Dr. Nili Raam, author)

'Provides the partners, family and friends of NPD sufferers, and the sufferers themselves,

with deep insight into the numerous expressions of this devastating and often insidious disorder."


(Esther Veltheim, author of 'Beyond Concepts')

"One powerful healing tool in our therapy with these people is Dr. Vaknin's book.

The most accurate portrayal of the 'typical' cult leader we have ever seen."


(Robert Pardon, Director of MeadowHaven)

"A must read for psychologists, social workers, and all individuals who want to learn how to deal with the narcissists in their lives."


(Laurie Anthony, teacher and author)

"Required reading for any codependent - to understand how the other side works."


(Dr. Irene, psychologist and Webmistress of

"If you wish to get under the skin of a Narcissist, if you wish to get to know how he thinks and feels and why he behaves as he does, then this is the book for you."


(Dr. Anthony Benis, Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, and author "Towards Self and Sanity - On the Genetic Origins of the Human Character")


"Sam Vaknin is a leading authority on the topic of narcissism."


(Lisa Angelettie M.S.W., former editor of BellaOnline's Mental Health, "What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder")


"I cannot recommend this book enough to those of you who have this disorder, to families and friends who are trying to understand."


(Patty Pheil, MSW, Mental Health Today )


"(T)his book is a must read and will give you insight into the emotionally destructive people in your workplace, your family and among your friends.

Sam Vaknin clears up the questions, confusion, and effects of dealing with narcissists: the book is well written, informative, and therapeutic. “


(Carolyn Reilly, MSW San Jose, Costa Rica)


Other Testimonials

"...This book has an important purpose. I am sure it will be appreciated in a library, classroom or among the mental health profession."


(Katherine Theriault, Inscriptions Magazine, Vol. 2, Issue 20)


"Now, for the first time, a much-needed first hand account of what Narcissistic Personality Disorder is like. Offers insight and clarity."


(Howard Brown, 4Therapy )


“Sam Vaknin's study of narcissism is truly insightful. The author has done probably more than anyone else to educate others to this poorly understood condition.

In this, his twelfth book, he shares his considerable knowledge and experience of narcissism in a comprehensive yet easy to read style.”


(The late Tim Field, Bully Online )


Sam has plugged all the loopholes, exposed all the plots, and introduced a new language to confront the Narcissist.

A 'hands-on' tool that can immediately bring relief.

 If you want to breathe again, if you are at your wits end, if everything has been tried and failed,

 if you NEED a change, then Malignant Self Love can give you your life back. 

This book is a lifesaver!

(Kathy Stringer, ToddlerTime )


FIVE STAR rating at Barnes and Noble - Read what more than 200 readers have to say - Click HERE!


Sam Vaknin

Correspondence regarding Sam Vaknin's Doctoral Dissertation

----- Original Message -----
From: "Dawn Perri" <>
To: <>
Sent: Sunday, November 23, 1997 1:01 AM

 Here is the reply I received with respect to your dissertation

D Perri

From: "Connell, Bonnie" <>
To: "''" <>
Subject: RE: Vaknin
Date: Thu, 20 Nov 1997 15:08:21 -0500
X-Mailer:  Microsoft Exchange Server Internet Mail Connector Version

From: Liming, Lee
Sent: Thursday, November 20, 1997 1:31 PM
To: Sales Support
Subject: FW: Vaknin
From: Dawn Perri[]
Sent: Thursday, November 20, 1997 12:41 PM
To: Webmaster
Subject: Vaknin

I am looking for a dissertation that was registered with your service in
the early 1980's. The Author is Sam Vaknin, and the title of the
dissertation is "Time Asymmetry Re-Visited" , I did not have any luck
finding it with your search engine. I am reasonably sure that it is
registered with your service, as the author himself has directed me here
for a copy.

Thank you for your time,
Dawn Perri

Thank you for your recent inquiry.  The dissertation(s) or thesis(es) you
requested is/are available from UMI. To order by phone please call
1-800-521-3042. If you wish to pay by check or money order, please mail
your request to the address listed below. Copies can also be orderedover
the Internet at Please feel
free to contact a UMI representative if you require further assistance.

Best regards.

Pricing: Catalog #LD00714

Academic(students/faculty) Non-Academic
Paper - softcover:  $36.00 Paper - softcover: $57.50
Paper - hardcover:  $43.50 Paper - hardcover: $69.50
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Please allow 2-3 weeks delivery time.
A 5 to 6 day rush service is available for an additional $25 per copy.
Some restrictions may apply.

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Hart []
Sent: Sunday, May 06, 2007 9:05 AM
To: Book People
Cc: Michael S. Hart;;
Subject: [BP] Sam Vaknin's PhD Thesis

A bit of factual evidence on Sam Vaknin's doctorate that, perhaps,
takes us a little more out of the subjective realm:

While I am certainly no authority on "diploma mills" and the like,
but I have never heard of one that would have required or accepted
a 225 page Doctoral Thesis.  Even more suprising would be accepted
theses of such institutions by Uniersity Microfilms Interenational
of Ann Arbor, Michigan, pretty much the world thesis authority and
then accepted by the Library of Congress, whose entry follows:

Time asymmetry re-visited by Sam Vaknin.
       LC Control Number: 85133690
       Type of Material: Book (Print, Microform, Electronic, etc.)
       Personal Name: Vaknin, Sam.
       Main Title: Time asymmetry re-visited [microform] / by Sam Vaknin.
       Published/Created: 1982, c1984.
       Description: [225] leaves.
       Notes: Thesis (Ph. D.)--Pacific Western University, 1982.
       Microfilm. Ann Arbor, MI : University Microfilms International,
          1 microfilm reel ; 35 mm.
      LC Classification: Microfilm 85/871 (Q)