Excerpt About True Self

Being Cut Off from the True Self by Identification with an Image

The final outcome of ego development is a unified self-image. This is experienced as a sense of self and a separate individuality; or one could say there is an individual with a sense of self. The Essential Self is replaced gradually by the ego sense of self, as the latter becomes increasingly established. By the time the ego development is capable of selective identification, the ego sense of self has become dominant. The process of loss of contact with the Essential Self is also exacerbated by the usual narcissistic difficulties and traumas in early childhood. The self is no longer an ontologic presence. One is now cut off from the true Self by identification with an image. One’s sense of self is now determined by a memory-image constructed from past object relations and structured by the development of internalized object relations, just as object relations theory contends. But as is clear according to our present analysis, that is not the whole story. The feeling of identity in the self-image is a vague memory of the true feeling of identity.

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