I, Psychopath: Watch the documentary online

Three years ago, on November 30, 2006, I received an e-mail from Sam Vaknin, Ph.D.

Perhaps you’ve seen Vaknin’s name on the Internet. He wrote and self-published a book called Malignant Self-Love—Narcissism Revisited. He promotes the book heavily online, so if you Google “narcissism,” his website on narcissistic personality disorder comes up on the first page of search results.

Here’s what Vaknin said in his e-mail:

You haven’t responded to my last two e-mails to you. Have I done anything to offend you?


Take care.

Sam Vaknin

Now, I didn’t remember seeing any e-mails from Sam Vaknin. So I wrote:


What emails? I haven’t received anything.


His reply:

Dear Donna,

I much appreciate your response, thank you.

My e-mail messages to you are probably relegated by your e-mail program to your spam or trash folders.

I wrote to offer to collaborate with you in any way you deem fit. For instance, I can respond to questions about narcissism, or write a short monthly column about the intersection between narcissism and psychopathy.

Here is a list of links which you, the visitors to your Website, and the readers of your (great!) newsletter may find of interest.

His e-mail included 17 links for articles on his website, articles he’s written on other websites, and articles in which he was quoted. The guy seemed to know what he was talking about, so I invited him to send me an article to explain the difference between narcissists and psychopaths. He immediately sent another link to another one of his pages. I read the information and determined that it was poorly written and explained nothing.

So I looked into his background. Right on his homepage was a link to his disclaimer:

The author is NOT A MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL. The author is certified in Psychological Counseling Techniques by Brainbench.

Brainbench was an organization that offers online business training and assessments. And his Ph.D., according to his own website, was in philosophy. Delving further into his website, I read his page about Narcissists and Women. Here’s what Vaknin wrote about himself:

I am atrabilious, infinitely pessimistic, bad-tempered, paranoid and sadistic in an absent-minded and indifferent manner. My daily routine is a rigmarole of threats, complaints, hurts, eruptions, moodiness and rage. I rail against slights true and imagined. I alienate people. I humiliate them because this is my only weapon against the humiliation of their indifference to me.

Sam Vaknin, it turned out, readily admitted that he was a narcissist. I decided not to publish any of his articles.

Sam, the movie

Now, Sam Vaknin is star of a documentary called I, Psychopath. The documentary followed Sam Vaknin and his wife, Lidija, as Vaknin was examined and tested by experts to determine if he is, indeed, a psychopath.

It is a world first. As we all know, psychopaths don’t think anything is wrong with them and so are unlikely to seek evaluation or treatment. The only ones who are examined are in prison. But Vaknin voluntarily submitted to the process, and it was captured on film.

We see Vaknin take a personality test and be interviewed for the PCL-R (SV) diagnostic tool. Then we see other experts examine his brain in an MRI machine.

Along the way, Vaknin offered some chilling insights. “Most psychopaths are more like poison than a knife,” he said. “And they are more like slow-working poison than cyanide.”

He also explained proper bullying technique—verbally attack, then back off. Attack, then back off. Eventually, he explained, the victim is done in by his or her own stress reactions.

The documentary also addresses Vaknin’s academic “credentials,” which are, not surprisingly, highly exaggerated. (For Vaknin’s response to questions about his qualifications, see his rant about “malicious gossip.”)

Attacking the filmmaker

The film was written and directed by Ian Walker of the Magic Real Picture Company in Australia. Walker offered a first-person narrative through much of the film, describing his observations of Vaknin’s behavior. “Making a movie with a psychopath,” Walker stated, “Is a little like poking a snake with a stick.”

Slowly, Vaknin turned his verbal abuse on Walker. According to the I, Psychopath web page, “By the end, Walker almost calls it quits on his own film rather than spend another day with its main subject.”

I can understand that. Looking back at my e-mail correspondence with Vaknin, I suspect that he never sent two initial e-mails that he claimed I failed to answer. The “have I done anything to offend you?” language was probably contrived to put me on the defensive right away. Classic psychopathic strategy.

If you want a good look at the behavior of a psychopath, and at research about the disorder, watch this documentary.

I, Psychopath on Top Documentary Films.

Thanks to a Lovefraud reader for sending the link for online viewing.

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150 Comments on "I, Psychopath: Watch the documentary online"

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I wouldn’t put much stock in the so called testing. From what I understand from talking to people who actually do them what we saw in the film was not a proper or valid way to do it.

The funny thing is that the challenge to his diploma has been ongoing for years and the “rebuttal” Donna posted was way before the film ever came out. It is amusing that he spent so much energy trying to prove through clever word use that his Phd was legit and then to turn around and admit it wasn’t on tape.

I think he could admit to the fake PhD because it is a long time ago to him and it does not matter any more to him. He has it spread over on the Internet, and how many people are watching this film at all?

My father said to me that his PhD was also “substandard”, but he just did it, and so what! No big deal. That prompted me to set my own standards sky high, so I am still struggling with it, maybe my procrastination stems from there?

When I was in internship one of our surgeons once did an operation and put an anus praeter and led out the wrong part of the bowel, and the poor man died some day later, he was very ill anyway, but he could have been living some more time. I was present at the operation and wanted to ask the surgeon whether he could tell me why he was so sure of cutting the bowel in half and closing the one part and stitch the other part to the belly (it was the wrong part he closed so the man died of bowel obstruction). The surgeon was so ill tempered during the operation I just kept my mouth shot. In hindsight my question would have been very useful. From then on I kept asking and still keep asking, and I am not very much liked for it.

Fast forward some years: I am at a dinner table with said surgeon. He tells “funny stories about his wonderful life as a gifted physician”, and HE TELLS THIS VERY STORY as a fun thing!!! I really felt sick and had to leave early.

So twisted, we just can’t grasp their audacity, and I am glad I lack THIS hypertrophy of the part of the brain responsible for it.

As for the woman of Sam Vanking: I just felt pity for her. Specially when she said she gave up on love. She knows! But the same time this part of Europe where she comes from is one of the poorest in Europe, and there are lots and lots of beautiful young women trying to go “Gold digging”, and after all he is famous, has a video done on him, maybe he is also rich, he is AMERICAN, and she is not so young any more, and leaving him would mean falling back into poverty. I found this part of the film really cruel towards her, confronting her with his ugly statements towards her.

The neurologists in our hospital think not too well about this fMRI either! And it is not validated in repeated series, and we have to wait until it becomes a standard. Maybe our guts are more reliable in this perspective!?

Dear Libelle and blogger,

Libelle I agree with your story about the surgeon and what he did. I’ve seen the same thing in hospitals where incompetent practioners where responsible for the death of patients and yet because they were physicians nothing was ever done to them because of teh status of the people who were “whistle blowers” was lower than the physicians so the administration always took the part of defending the physician. The deaths were “covered up” as “natural causes” not from the wrong medication or an obvious but missed diagnosis because the physician was an “idiot.”

There is an old nurse’s joke “What do you call the physician who finished LAST IN HIS CLASS”—the answer is DOCTOR of course. As a lowly intern there was nothing you could have done, I suspect. There have been few times I was successful in confronting (even tactfully) a physican who was responsible for the deaths of patients by pure stupidity and poor skills, though I did get one jerked up to the ethics committee of the hospital because the medical director over my unit was also chairman of that committee and I could freely go to him with the truth. It didn’t happen often though.

This woman Lydia has been with Sam for 10 years!
She does not seem beaten or traumatised. She is very clear, appears fit, strong and content to be with him TO THE CAMERA

On leaving the film maker she showed no sign of emotion on saying goodbye, no embarrassment at the antics of Sam to the film maker who really appears to be the one who is traumatised and impacted on….

The film maker tried to tell her what he was saying about her to camera, and she showed no shock, didn’t seem upset.

The only thing I can think of is betrayal bond. He has her in his grip and she dares not leave him.

the crumbs he dishes out are sufficient for her to stay? she said he shares with her and shows her intimacy, he allows her be very intimate with him? or he allows her think that he is very intimate with her, he knows how important that would be in keeping her….why would he want to keep her? he is fond of her? loves her in his psychopathic way? he actually said it
He said if you bully somone in tiny doses, they only need a tiny amount and they do the rest themselves….it’s so creepy.

I have my own copy of this documentary. I keep it to remind myself that they are not human so that I don’t ever fall back into feeling sorry for them again.

Watching it makes my stomach feel cold and my palms sweat.


Watching it once was enough for me. I’m with the producer of the film, I am not sure I could have stayed to finish it, he has my admiration for completing the film, but it leaves you feeling somehow slimed or dirty just by association with these people.

Sam V is particularly noxious to me, reminds me too much of my P-sperm donor with his attitude I think.

His self promotion as an expert (“his own lab rat!” I like that!) is laughable really! But while laughable, it is NOT funny. Yukkkkk! I need to take a shower after even thinking about him!

After reading these posts I watched the movie, I Psychopath. What struck me as nausiating was how Sam V. turned the conversation around and used truth with lies to get his way. He said some of the exact same things that h-spath says when making a point. It’s not what they say but how they say it. Word salad.

Now that I see through all the bs I can’t believe that I was a victim for so long. What was wrong with me that I allowed someone to warp my reality. They have an eerie pull, a magnetism that can be exciting and draw you in. And mine is so intelligent that I would automatically think there was something deficient in me. Why could I not trust him? Why was I jealous and did not want him to play in a band in bars?

He used all this against me, to make me into the bad guy. I was insecure and he used that to pound me into the ground. He is evil and has no conscience. Finally, when I step back and look at his range of emotion, it is stunted and not there. He copies other peoples emotions. He likes to laugh and have a good time but there is no true emotion.

He would question if I really loved him, said he couldn’t feel it. Me trying to prove that I really do love him so often but he will never feel it. This is proof to me of what he is, he knows there is something wrong with him but can’t fix it. I wonder how I got myself into this situation and will I ever trust anyone again.

They are absolute crap, every molecule in their fake bodies is made up of crap. Like Aussie girl said, we dig ourselves out of that pile of rocks but it is tedious work. I’m looking ahead when I see myself standing far from the pile of rocks just thankful to be out and safe.


I found Sam to be unattractive also. I think that is good though, If he were more attractive he would have been (and still be) more dangerous. He would have been more successful at staying out of jail. I mention this because my brother ( the tox ) is not as unattractive as Sam, but shares Sam’s skill at the disorienting behavior. The segment in the last part (part 5 of 5 on you tube) about him describing the bullying technique of using your own adrenline to mess you up, like a spider injecting a disabling, but not lethal poison in it’s victim. My tox brother does that. I saw what my brother did to me for four years in that moment of his description. It was those sessions that prompted me to my grand search for answers that lead me to the documentary. Let’s be glad for Vaknin’s unattractiveness that lead him to his current path and provide good insights to so many. And let’s be glad that we are smart enough not to put our selves in harms way with him. I have not bought or read his book. He is a little to proud of his book based on the price being so much more expensive than all the others on the subject (or most subjects for that matter). I tried to find it in the library, but some tox had stolen it!


hopeforjoy – you said:’He would question if I really loved him, said he couldn’t feel it. ‘

bwahaaaha….of course he couldn’t: no receptors!

it’s good to hear the boundary-making anger in your posts. i hope you are in the home stretch of a spath free home. it’s going to get weirder, but you can handle it. just as he has pulled back on the love bomb and has gone to nasty, expect it to change again when he sees that he really IS leaving….

happy towanda and a spath free new year!


Vaknin enjoys causing others distress. He has made up diagnoses for those who get involved with disordered types that basically blame the victim. Fortunately, people are waking up to just how sick he is.

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