Excerpt About Narcissistic Transference

A Way of Exposing the Emptiness of One's Sense of Self

The narcissistic transferences are present for everyone all the time, but are usually in the background. In our work they come into the foreground, and become the focus of the work when the emptiness of the normal self-identity becomes increasingly obvious. Working with the narcissistic transferences is the primary psychodynamic work on the narcissistic sector of the self. Working with these transferences is a way of exposing the emptiness of one’s sense of self, especially for students with significant narcissistic personality components. Awareness of narcissistic transference as transference again will bring out the sense of meaninglessness. Three factors elicit narcissistic emptiness and meaninglessness: first, the normal process of maturation in which one outgrows defensive aspects of the identity; second, the pressure of doing spiritual work and experiencing essential presence, which tends to expose the relative unreality of the level of personality identifications; and third, working with the narcissistic transferences, that is, bringing to consciousness the object relations that have been supporting the more superficial sense of self and helping one to avoid the sense of emptiness. These narcissistic transferences are very powerful; they are not easy to work through. However, it is necessary to work through them in order to expose the support for the superficial identity, as well as to deal with the defenses against emptiness, helplessness, and aloneness. These defenses prevent our openness to the realization of our true essential nature.

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