Excerpt About Practicing Period

The Normal Grandiose Self of the Practicing Period is Not the Grandiose Self of the Narcissistic Adult

What Kohut and others call the grandiose self is actually the Essential Identity, or more accurately, the condition of the soul as it is patterned by the Essential Identity in the practicing period. We hasten to clarify that this normal grandiose self of the practicing period is not the same as the grandiose self of the narcissistic adult. The latter is a psychic structure, not an essential presence. So where does the narcissistic grandiose self come from? It is an imitation of the Essential Identity, a fake “shell” which develops around the end of the practicing period and the beginning of the rapprochement sub-phase. In the development of narcissism, the child does not let go of the sense of omnipotence at the end of the practicing sub-phase and the beginning of the rapprochement phase, but holds on to it as her primary identification. More accurately, her self-representations include the sense of omnipotence and specialness of the Essential Identity. For the normal person, the self-representations regarding the capacity of the body-mind become more realistic as the child’s increasing awareness of limitation and identification with the body and mind develop. However, when the sense of vulnerability that arises from the perception of separateness and limitation is too difficult to tolerate, the child resorts to various defensive maneuvers such as retaining the sense of omnipotence as part of the central self-representation. She denies its falsehood with respect to her mind and body and ends up believing that the omnipotence is truly characteristic of her bodily-mental self.

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