Surviving Narcissism

  • Photographer
    Valentina Ricci
  • Prize
    Honorable Mention
  • Date of Photograph
  • Technical Info
    ISO 100, f.4-f.8, t 1/50-5", full frame

This project is part of my research on "narcissistic personality disorder". My intention is that my images can serve as a megaphone for dissemination, in the hope that as many people as possible will learn to see and distinguish these covert mechanisms. And, above all, that the victims who suffer the abuse of a narcissistic personality will realise and learn a lesson for ever: They are not to blame for anything, they simply let themselves be seduced by an empty character.


"Here I am, I am a pigeon in a cardboard box. I press the lever to get food in return and out comes my grain of corn. Sometimes it doesn't come out and I go crazy and I keep pressing and pressing in the hope that my reward will come back, meanwhile, I get more and more addicted to him...".
A few years ago when I ended a relationship I felt extremely empty, short of breath and had a real withdrawal syndrome. I had lost my sense of identity. Everything hurt too much. In an endless search of random adjectives I could think of, I stumbled upon the definition of "narcissistic personality disorder". I was in shock. Until that moment I thought I had experienced something special with a charismatic personality, I could not imagine that my whole story day by day, discussion after discussion, everything was already written in essays and books of experts, in hours of lectures of psychological clinics and videos of victims of narcissistic abuse. That is what it is all about, to know and to recognise, because knowledge sets us free and being able to give a name to every day of my story and to every mechanism that developed in it saved my life.
The series is a journey through the stages of the process that creates emotional addiction (seduction, triangulation, abuse and discarding), leading to the recovery of identity. I use the portrait, the self-portrait and the symbols that most represent what I have lived through. I represent the masks of the narcissist, his chameleon-like being and his adapting to the other and copying him like a mirror. I represent the bond of fusion of two in one and how the integrated psychopath tries to create a parasitic life and his strategy of manipulation. The use of the strobe and the real contact of the bodies generates a catharsis to live this unity.

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