July 26, 2006

Why is Narcissism Important?

Everyone has some Narcissistic traits, and a certain amount of Narcissism is a necessary and healthy thing. What’s different about the personality disorder is that the symptoms are prominent and persistent over time and pervade every aspect of the person’s existence. It can be very disabling in extreme cases; and in others those who have this personality can make the people around them thoroughly miserable, since some narcissists can be manipulative, predatory and completely lacking in empathy. Narcissists are notoriously spiteful and vicious and usually alienate anyone close to them.
All over the world, on a daily basis we see the horrible results of Narcissistic behavior. Individuals and groups; religions and nations act out their Narcissistic rage at various insults--real and imagined-- and people suffer and die for the purpose of the grandiosity of the tyrant, or the glory of the religion. It has been said that the 20th century was the “century of the Narcissist”, but the 21st is well on its way to outdoing the horrors of the past as a seeming epidemic of malignant Narcissism caused by a crushing of human nature and the human spirit--all for the purpose of serving the self-aggrandizing vision of the few...
Freud’s view of Narcissism can be summed up by saying that true psychic health requires a complete dissociation from the primary Narcissism inherent in the infant and child. The individual during his or her development tries to find and maintain a form of self love that is compatible with healthy relationships with other(this is called “object relations” in psychiatry).
The bottom line is that Freud considered Narcissism quite negatively. He saw it as only associated with severe pathology and considered it the antithesis of being able to achieve normal and healthy relationships. Some have referred to Kohut’s Psychology of the Self as "psychoanalysis without original sin"—i.e., the “original sin” that Freud considered Narcissism. One of Kohut’s breaks with Freudian tradition is that he considered Narcissism affirmatively, as an essential part of the Self; and described how it develops in the healthy individual. Diagnosed by Dr. Sanity @ 11:31 AM Comments (8)

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