Excerpt About Oedipal Narcissism

Disturbances of Oedipal Narcissism

Recognizing and appreciating the nature of the oedipal self and its narcissistic disturbances brings us a powerful understanding of the phenomenon of falling in love. The characteristics of this form of self, both the sweetness of love and the ecstasy of passion, are exactly what the individual in love enjoys. To be in love is to be swept by an ecstatic love, in which the sweetness of appreciation and affection cannot be separated from a passionate desire to be one with the beloved. We feel full, alive, sexually stimulated, and vigorous; we behold the beloved as beautiful, luscious, sexy, and extremely desirable. We feel tender and selflessly loving, but also turned on, excited and full of life. We need intensely for this love to be seen, appreciated and reciprocated. Unrequited love causes us extreme frustration, also deep narcissistic hurt and
disappointment. It exposes the disturbances of oedipal narcissism. A common narcissistic element of being in love is exclusive preoccupation with the beloved at the expense of other areas of one’s life. The lover has extreme hopes for a level of fulfillment that goes beyond merely the reciprocation of love; he deeply entertains the hope for complete narcissistic gratification, which will enable him to spontaneously be himself with deep, orgiastic abandon. In other words, the lover’s desire is not only the reciprocation of his passionate love, but the realization—through the support and mirroring in this reciprocation—of his oedipal self.

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