Excerpt About Central Narcissism
Self Esteem and Essential ValueWhen the narcissistic constellation approaches consciousness, the way it manifests depends on how resolved our narcissistic issues are. Here, we will discuss general characteristics that indicate the presence of these issues. Self-esteem and essential value: A major concern is the question of value, which manifests as preoccupation with self-esteem, and various maneuvers meant to gain more of it or avoid losing it. The student becomes sensitive about his sense of worth, obsessively evaluating himself and his actions, and is unusually sensitive to the evaluations of others. He becomes more interested in making a good impression on others, insecure about whether he is, and generally unable to be objective about how others perceive and value him. He cannot help but try to gain value from others through his actions, expressions, utterances, appearance, accomplishments, and so on. He may tend to compulsively praise and congratulate himself. These developments express the student’s growing awareness of a deep sense of low self-esteem. When he explores and understands these manifestations, he sees that the state underlying them is a sense of being deficient and worthless. Often this sense of worthlessness simply alternates with the inflated state. Some individuals tend to identify with the defenses against this painful sense of deficiency, attempting to shore up their self-esteem. Others (“closet narcissists”) tend to feel these affects more directly and identify with them. The underlying difficulty is the same; both types of individuals share the preoccupation with the question of value. The issue of self-esteem reflects the loss of contact with our intrinsic value. This sense of value is lost when we are alienated from the true self. Self-esteem is a certain affect that relates to investing the self-identity with positive energy, libido, or value.