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Understanding narcissism

February 10, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Underlying Dynamics of narcissism by Bruce Narramore

  1. Inability to internally regulate one’s positive and negative emotions
  2. Shame, emptiness, inadequacy or fears of abandonment
  3. Grandiose (idealized) self-image
  4. Use of achievement and people to reinforce the idealized self
  5. If challenged, goes immediately to depression and anger

Causes of narcissism by Bruce Narramore

  1. Failure to develop separate sense of self
  2. Living for the parent
  3. Not allowed to have own feelings and desires
  4. Imbalance of parental frustration (limit setting) and soothing

Narcissism is not necessarily bad.  Here is what Hotchkiss says about unhealthy and healthy narcissism.

Healthy narcissism:

  • the investment of energy in one’s genuine Self, has primitive roots in infancy and early childhood and blossoms in an emotionally rich, productive and satisfying adult life.
  • allows us to laugh at ourselves and our imperfections
  • capacity to feel a full range of emotions and share in the emotional life of others
  • ability to assertively pursue and enjoy our own accomplishment without crippling self-doubt
  • depends on real self-esteem

Unhealthy narcissism

  • No matter what age, “has not developed emotionally or morally”
  • Lacks a realistic sense of Self and an internalized sense of values . . . that guides behavior
  • Exaggerated posture of importance unrelated to an real accomplishments
  • When faced with shortcomings, an overwhelming and utterly intolerable sense of shame
  • No ability to value or recognize the separate existence or feelings of others
  • Often goes undiagnosed because of their shame intolerance
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