The disappointment in object love led to the withdrawal of interest (libido)from the world and reinvested into the self and self-esteem; normal self-love stays at primary narcissism and exists alongside object love. Secondary narcissism– psychotic withdrawal from the world and delusions at and of the word reflects the reality of withdrawal from the world of objects into an impoverished, isolated self. The regressed fusion of self and object looks like

  • Undifferentiated matrix
  • Good/bad objects
  • Good/bad self, good/bad object representations
  • Good/bad integration with separated self and objects established

Narcissism (NPD)–depicts a pathological self-structure (fusion, condensation) between representations of the ideal self, real self and ideal object. They relate to others inwardly as extensions of themselves, don’t experience others as others, and are just projections of their grandiose self–self relations only. Dependence on another human being is experienced as separate and autonomous. They may unload a torrent of rage towards the person they depended upon, as the fragile, envious ego has been triggered and needs to control the source of their supply. They move from a fragmenting stage into a cohesive archaic form (Nuclear self) and then a mature form. The grandiose self is experienced as normal, not pathological, and fused with the idealised parental imago (IPI), creating a nuclear self at a primary NPD stage.

Typical characteristics are poor differentiation of self, a high sense of entitlement and arrogance a deficit in regulating the ego’s capacities, fear of annihilation and an empty depression—merger with the mother (lack of differentiation) who uses the child for her needs and gratification.

The False Self is insulated from the influence of the reality ego by a vertical split in the self. Reality ego is impoverished by repression of archaic unfulfilled narc needs with a horizontal split (regression barrier) in the self—a major injury to the self, the capacity to love ourselves, and the ability to identify with others.

Our mothers/parents’ injuries become our injury as well.

The shadow of the object falls on the ego embossed by shame. We were treated as worthless and felt threatened by guilt (intrapsychic – indulge in the forbidden) and derision from a position of threatening exposure and humiliation.

  • Moral–compulsive, shame-based and irrational driven by reaction formation, savage, primitive superego
  • Ethical- rational judgement by the ego.

The first self-love object (normally the mother) starts by idealising as part of the whole and mirroring where the object is experienced as under the omnipotent control of the self. Idealisation is a way to control others. If you are wonderful, you will do wonderful things for me and love me unconditionally—fixation at the first stage of development results in psychosis, where libidinal and aggressive drives are fused. One’s mother needs to experience as one whole object and not as two separate objects as in good and bad, creating a borderline pathology with poor impulse control, acting out, chaos and poor interpersonal relationships. Arrest at the second stage of development results in splitting as a defence of the borderline structure, just before integration and the depressive position. The child learns to Sacrifice reality for the sake of psychic pain and the preservation of the good object. The libido for self-love is diverted into the investment of libido for others. If narc needs are not met, one is met with narc rage, a desire for revenge, and the idealisation of demonic for humiliation and damage to the self.

Repressed unconscious drives, instincts and impulses determine our lives and consciousness, creating civilisation and immorality. The NPD defends their Injury with denial, mockery, repression, co-opting and sometimes persecution.

The experiences of anxiety represent the unconscious conflict between desire and conscience (id and Superego), the conflict between forbidden wishes and free sexual expression. Once one has dealt with neurotic guilt, one can find meaning and purpose in their life.

  1. Idealising transference– experiences the other as a part of some larger whole, be it a person, belief system or group. An ideology provides self-cohesion and continuity of raised self-esteem and NPD sustenance. If the idealising transference is used for control, this needs confronting; if it’s for securing an object to stabilise the self, one should use listening and interpretation.
  2. Mirror transference– the object is seen as an extension of the self and approving of our uniqueness and glory—an ideal object to fuse via idealising transference. Infantile grandiosity transferred from self to the group where it found socially acceptable expression. Friends may be perceived as intrapsychic and not interpersonal, seen as internalised objects/images and not real people.
  3. Twinship is a higher level of relating with some separation but seen as the same, the identical twin to facilitate bonding.
  4. Neurotic anxiety– the unconscious conflict between desire and conscience.
  5. Antilogical anxiety– for being human -is the anxiety of meaningless, condemnation (disapproval, censorship) and finitude (limits or boundaries).
  • Mortality based on vulnerability and limitations
  • No grounding, subject to doubt and no purpose
  • Reality and inescapable truth are normally quenched by engaging in struggle and conflict.
  • Immature idealisation has no awareness or perception, which should lead when matured to the disillusionment and gradual destruction of the ideal object and replaced with real and differentiated objects.

Moving the essence of an NPD injury can’t commence until the injury is acknowledged and experienced, which is normally denied, avoided and repressed. The therapist and client must make the injury as alive as possible, vivid and real; only then is a loss possible. Anal and oral sadistic rage materialises when the NPD experiences vulnerability; the more vulnerable, the more hurt. The NPD`s Shame leads to isolation and denial of the self and others and how one has been treated, where rage alternates with despair and is too dangerous to deal with alone. The NPD injured seek the destruction of those who have or who they imagined have injured them. To lessen vulnerability, they need to raise self-esteem and strengthen the ego via continuity and cohesion of their own goals and ambitions. By not mirroring the client and reinforcing narcissistic demands for admiration, they are more capable of internalisation, better at modulating anxiety self-soothing, and less vulnerable to slings and arrows.

  • Extension of them – mirroring
  • Extension of you – idealisation

Lack of omnipotent control of the therapist leads to NPD rage., which may instigate a falling apart, leading to terror, panic, the dread of annihilation and dissolution of the self.

Shame and exposure create two forms of vulnerability

  1. Child syndrome (Alice Miller)
  2. Overtly depressed, crushed and angry.

Being treated shamefully where a child would rather block their feelings than acknowledge their parents are incapable of love—an effective method and process in preventing the loss of an object or love of an object. The NPD goes through the following sequence of events when facing or experiencing any form of vulnerability or reinjury and it is significant to notice when in therapy to highlight the stage of disintegration.

  1. Fear of annihilation
  2. Fear of loss of the object
  3. Fear of loss of the love of the object
  4. Castration anxiety
  5. Fear of superego
  6. Fear of social anxiety

They Change the irrational into the rational as it reduces anxiety, lowering self-esteem where one is without power and keeps up the illusion and idea that if you can’t have the object’s love become the object.  A learned addiction to people-pleasing and perfectionism is an unconscious admission to powerlessness. Extreme anxiety brings forth ego defences and panic due to the loss of self. The enactment of evocative, emotional memory is a prerequisite before object constancy, and then they can get in touch with object representations of the memory.

Any deflated illusion of love by the object is followed by great hurt and the real feeling of not being loved, where the transference dyad is met with resistance and avoidance of reexperiencing the past.

  1. Id (Biological drives) resistance– adherence to the libido and conservation of the instincts
  2. Ego (I) resistance induced by regression and ego defences. Reluctance to give up secondary gains to transference, reworking the strangulation effect
  3. Super Ego (Ego ideal, conscience, internalise parent ) resistance– guilt, does not deserve to get well. Feeling worse as you get better.

Hate is love made angry, where their self-esteem hostage to wheels of fortune, verbalising rage to raise self-esteem.

The rage against oneself results in addiction, self-mutilation and sometimes suicide. Only by transmuting internalisation of the external objects can they strengthen the ego, where optimal frustrations lead to internalisation. Defensive use of rage to avoid feelings of guilt and shame. Shame involves other people, and guilt involves internal objects.

  • Shame – someone else will expose our inadequacies, humiliation by others and pleasure in the forbidden.
  • Guilt – loss of the love of the superego and its savage punishment and must submit to regain its love. Egotistical sacrifice to social conformity
  • Moral – irrational, compulsive and archaic superego. Rigid, relentless and savage and resentment against the self
  • Ethical – rational and product of empathy

Aggression against a good object manifests as envy, greed, and hate towards the bad object. Envy of good breasts was too much and must be destroyed as one can’t emulate or internalise a good mother. They hold the mother/breast in contempt for it and reject it as I can’t have it, and it is too dangerous to own. The depressive position, which was previously split into all good/bad object representations, is integrated. This also helps them make reparations for deep guilt/envy feelings; developing gratitude makes regeneration possible, striving for selfhood and paired opposites with creative self-integration and self-fulfilment.

Miller, A., 2008. The Drama Of Being A Child. 1st ed. London: Virago.
Levin, J., 1995. Slings And Arrows. 1st ed. Lanham: Jason Aronson, Inc.