Excerpt About Oral Narcissism

Narcissism is Primarily a Matter of Connection to the Self

This phenomenon clarifies in a very striking manner why narcissism is primarily a matter of connection to the self, and only secondarily a question of object relations. Why is it that when the self feels hungry and empty, due to oral deprivation, it resorts to narcissistic supplies to assuage this hunger? Why does the self try to fill its oral emptiness with supplies that are intended to shore up and enhance the sense of self? It would seem that if the emptiness is due to inadequacy of nourishment or love, it should seek these. But it does not; instead, it seeks tirelessly for feedback that will help it to feel a stable and cohesive sense of self, for interactions and situations that support its feeling like a whole and integrated self. Clearly, the emptiness is not the absence of nourishment, love or warmth, although the absence of these might be important in the genesis of this emptiness. The obvious conclusion is that deprivation and conflictual object relations in the oral stage affected the child in such a way that he lost his inner core. Early experiences of frustration and abandonment, lack of attunement and adequate support, or intrusiveness and hostility, disrupt the integrity of the child’s self in such a way that he loses his connection to his core. This loss of core is the specific narcissistic disruption. It is what accounts for the character of narcissistic strategies to regain connection to it.

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