Excerpt About Central Narcissism

The True Self from which the Soul is Alienated is the Essential Identity
Central narcissism, which results from disturbances in both the differentiation and practicing subphases of the separation-individuation process, spanning the period roughly from seven months to eighteen months, but particularly in the practicing period, and probably extending to the beginning of the rapprochement subphase, up to two years of age. This is the period that most researchers believe to be the specific developmental phase for the narcissistic disorders, which is one reason we call it “central” narcissism. In central narcissism the true self from which the soul is alienated is the Essential Identity. This form is the narcissism that Heinz Kohut emphasizes, again probably reflecting the population of patients he treats. It can be severe and intense, but is not as primitive as oral narcissism. It is characterized by fewer borderline features than in the oral type, greater functional capacity, and an intense need to be special, unique, and constantly mirrored. The idealization of “special” others is a specific trait of central narcissism, as is grandiosity. In contrast, in oral narcissism these characteristics tend to be vague and mixed with various borderline defenses, such as splitting and projective identification.

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