Excerpt About Grandiose Self

The Grandiose Stance Seen as Reflecting Authentic Childhood Feelings

These similarities and differences between our view of the grandiose self and those of Kohut and Kernberg have important implications for our approach to the process of working through narcissism. We must address the defensiveness of the grandiose self, while taking into consideration that it is a fixation on non-defensive feelings the individual actually felt as a young child. The defensiveness of the grandiose self needs to be allowed to unfold in the working relationship with the teacher, as Kohut recommends, while interpreting and understanding its defensive nature. The student needs empathic understanding of the truth within the grandiose self, not rejection of it as completely groundless. In fact, she needs to arrive at the understanding, or even the memory, of the grandiose stance as reflecting authentic feelings, which she came to use for defensive purposes. Not interpreting the feelings of omnipotence as delusional, although they are by now defensive, may give her the opportunity to see that these feelings represent an authentic childhood state. When she can see their delusional element, she might then appreciate their real source, the Essential Identity. This latter insight often precipitates the experience of the Essential Identity.

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