Narcissism is a state and experience in which the person, their body, needs, feelings, and thoughts only pertain to them and are fully real, and everything not forming part of the person is fantasy and unreal. Only what pertains to them is significant and has meaning; the rest is weightless ad colourless. This creates severe defects in judgement and lacks any capacity for objectivity. They achieve a sense of security via a subjective conviction of their perfection, superiority over others, and sense of uniqueness with no real substance or effort. They need to hold onto a grandiose self-image, superficial self-worth and n identity based on it. They will never forgive anyone who has wounded their narcissism and feel a deep desire for revenge and vengeance.
Western society feels this interaction between narcissism, celebrity and the needs of the infantile public. Conflicts within groups narcissism create intense hostility, devaluation and reinflating images of opposing forces. Devilish qualities are assigned to the opposing groups, bad, cruel, and amoral, while their own group is angelic, moral and just.
If a therapist starts to touch on any repressed material, the client will be unwilling to make the unconscious conscious, regardless of how dishonest, damaging or immoral; the material may be. Due to childhood conditioning, the client may expect to be punished, rejected or abandoned if these repressed impulses surface and are exposed to others. The child deeply desires to remain in contact with their mother and desires separate and severe ties. Finding a new pattern and identity comes with risks and losing one’s security, protection and fantasy of the maternal womb and paradise. The child may choose to regress these strivings and yearnings to remain close to their mother, sacrificing independence and autonomy. They may choose to progress and find roots in a world of their own efforts and values, experiencing the brotherhood of man, and freeing themselves from the power and bonds of the past. The narcissistic child chooses to relate symbiotically by controlling others or being controlled by them. They will choose self-love, which negates further wounds or injury by loving themself and avoiding relating to others. If no one exists outside me, I don’t need to relate to them.
By destroying the world, I am saved from being crushed by it.
Man`s awareness of himself can lead to overwhelm and a strange experience of disorientation, as a sense of impotence, with a passive will and identity. To compensate, he needs to do something, move somebody, and make an impact. He may choose to inflict pain and suffering onto others, demanding obedience from his victims (Sadism ). He may reverse the process and want to be abused or hurt in a perverse justification. (masochism) . Sadism is related to oral-genital contact, as it only serves sexual pleasure, where the ether becomes the object of contempt with a wish to hurt and control. They pervert a life-creating impulse into a life-strangling one. He admires love, submits to those who possess power, and despises those who are powerless and can’t fight back. They are afraid of uncertainty and the unknown. Life frightens them and scares their fragile sense of self.
Aggression may manifest as hoarding, Ocd, rigidity and stubbornness where they believe they possess a fixed quantity of strength and energy, never able to relinquish or restock the energy. We live in a society based on exploitative control, weakening independence, integrity and critical thinking. The cultural food does not offer a stimulus but promotes passivity and sloth, with the bread of circuses with no depth and joy. Joy requires freedom and loosening of the reigns of control, which the sadist cant do. The sadist feels empty and impotent without such external stimulation, left in their emotional numbness and joylessness.
They cant make a dent, nobody listens to them, and they feel powerless and isolated.
A need for a strong father as he remains a little boy, longing for a mother to love him, protect him and demand nothing from him; he feels like a child, weak, with no self-assertion, will or initiative. He will look for a strong leader to submit to, gives a feeling of strength and substitutes the masculine quality he lacks. Control, cruelty and power become substitutes for strength. The oedipal defeat where the boy remains a child is left castrated and defeated. He identifies with his father, values, beliefs and prohibitions, where the father’s norms are internalised into the superego. He cannot fall in love with a mature woman and expects his partner to be a mothering figure, offering unconditional love, protection, admiration and availability. They may never experience their mother as a love object due to lack of separation, as loneliness is intolerable in lives in a world with inanimate objects.
A combination of realistic and fantastical, often highly distorted part object relations and defences against them, under the affects of instinctual drives. Affect is integrated into these unconscious drives, libido and aggression, enacted in each internalised object relation. States if intense rage implies an experience of fusion between self and object in a narcissistic bubble. Rage is a secondary function to frustration and pain and eliminates the obstacle to a fantasised or real gratification source. The bad object stands between the self and gratification of needs. Removing the source leads to a sense of despair and emptiness and all awareness of affect. The narcissist’s infantile morality demands perfection and prohibition, where self-directed aggression succeeds libidinal investment in the self. Low self-esteem is due to a lack of gratification of instinctual needs, which have been relocated into sexual and aggressive strivings. There are two types of pathological narcissism.
- Regression to infantile self-esteem regulation where infantile aspirations, values and prohibitions control the ego ideal.
- Self-identification with an idealised object and the grandiose self projected onto the object
Pathological self-love is expressed via excessive self-referencing. Grandiosity manifests as exhibitionism, a sense of superiority and infantile goals and ambitions. The insatiable pursuit of power, wealth, beauty and intellect powers. Tend to attack and devalue others to protect against feelings of inferiority and envy. They are incapable of experiencing any differentiation, any forms of critique or mild depression, which would instigate separation and weakness. Their dependence on external validation and admiration leads to immature superego functions, stimulus hunger and inner emptiness. Parental lack of mirroring and violations lead to an idealised self-object, the ego ideal, which provides an idealising function to the superego. This helps preserve self-esteem’s internal regulation, with the continual search for an idealised object to complete structure formation.
The ideal self/object that normally becomes part of the superego is incorporated into the grandiose self. The superego contains the aggressively determined components often projected onto imaginary persecutory objects. This leads to the loss of normal self-esteem regulation, such as monitoring and self-approving.
Kernberg, O. (2004) Aggressivity, Narcissism, and Self-Destructiveness in the Psychotherapeutic Relationship. Yale University Press