Monday, 6 January 2014
Lack of Self-esteem is the same thing as Lack of Self
I have written elsewhere about aspects of what James F Masterton called "closet narcissistic personality disorder", which he posed as related to, but differing from, "overt" or "exhibitionist" kinds of the same disorder. Notwithstanding controversies over the term "self", I am satisfied that "disorder of self" does describe something. I think of a "narcissistic disturbance" as that way of adapting to the home environment that an individual takes when his or her innate or spontaneous needs and expressions meet null or un-empathic or hostile responses. It has been learned that love is only forthcoming with the meeting of others' needs. The individual exists to be either the validation of, or foil for, his parents' un-adapted "narcissistic" needs. The parents' un-adapted "narcissistic" needs are the left-overs from their own neglected childhood: for them too there is the diversion of mental, imaginative and material resources to uphold some inflated ("grandiose") self-image that compensated for the actual rejection and diminution and abuse they suffered. EVERYBODY has "narcissistic" needs. EVERYBODY needs to be recognised. For some, abusive neglectful home-life has required them to have the world validate some idea of themselves, a special self, in order to deny the emptiness that neglect actually induces. Their way of being is such that all information about the world and themselves is made to fit this (secret) self image, or else is denied. That way of being is there for life, unless some horrible life-crisis breaks over them, and the facts contradict their idea if themselves. Depression may come to their aid. Help may then be sought. I say, do not put up with "narcissistic" abuse! Leave abusive relationships! Get help! Help yourself! But vilification of those trapped in this way of being is not right. After all the pain and hurt and shocking emptiness, compassion is called for!