Excerpt About Primal Self
Actually, the Essential Identity is an element of the primal self in the stage of primary narcissism, but in the experience of the primal self (the unstructured soul), it is not differentiated. The primal self does not distinguish between surface and core, between self and identity, or between self and object. This discrimination has to wait until the differentiation subphase of the separation-individuation process makes it possible for the self to tolerate the presence of the Essential Identity in a sustained manner. The Essential Identity has characteristics similar to those of the primal self, but it is a much more differentiated and definite sense of identity. So it is possible for us to accept Kohut’s first version of the origins of the grandiose self of childhood if we remember that it is a real presence and not an image in the child’s imagination.