PREVIOUS: Growth goals for Ns, #1c
REVIEW: A retreat into narcissism is an ineffective strategy for coping with trauma. The lack of self-confidence, & damaged self-image that are fundamental to narcissism – remain repressed & denied. This creates an internal split between conscious beliefs & unconscious motivations, causing the suffering & dysfunction to continue.
The CAUSAL hypothesis is that N is based on difficult, damaging early life experiences, either specific traumatic events or the more common “traumas of omission” – where a child is repeatedly denied its needs for attachment & nurturing.
Negative PARENTING include:
🔻being overly authoritarian & perfectionist. This damages a child’s self-esteem, being under constant pressure to meet unrealistic standards for performance. The child may eventually retreat into narcissism, supporting their fragile ego by wrapping it in infallibility & superiority.
🔻inconsistent responses – swinging between neglect or criticism, and then being over-indulgence. Immersed in such an unpredictable environment will cause confusion & insecurity in a child. To bring clarity, they may put on the cloak of narcissism to create a grand & important self-image.
🔻any type of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse in childhood. This can include actions by parents or other adult caregivers, or excessive bullying or teasing by peers. If no therapeutic intervention is provided to deal with the abuse, the victim may adopt narcissistic attitudes to counteract their devastating effects, by helping to suppress the traumatic memories
🧍🏽👬 👩👦 👨👩👦
To counter the results of such traumatic upbringing, evidence-based psychotherapy works to provide N-clients the opportunity to absorb the therapist’s positive, caring attitude into themselves.
This interaction can lessen the effects of the ‘bad voice’/ Introject, & add some healthier internal psychic structures (UNIT = Healthy Adult + Loving Parent).
10 STAGES of Therapy for Narcissistic Disorder
From: Elinor Greenberg Ph.D. “Understanding Narcissism” = This outline is based on treating people with NPD for over 40 years.
“This is a condensed look at the process. Recovery therapy will never be this neat or linear. Different forms of therapy for NPD exist (Part 3), & each client will find some work better than others.”
1: Symptom Relief or Appeasement
Most NPD clients do not enter therapy in order to reflect or change. They usually come to get relief from unpleasant feelings & symptoms, or to please someone important to them. Most Ns leave as soon as they feel better or the other person is appeased
2: Avoid Future Pain
Some NPD clients find therapy more interesting than they expected. If they’re at all capable of self-reflection, they may continue long enough to understand their triggers, & develop a plan that will help them avoid future pain. At this stage it’s still all about them, without any desire to understand or change their impact on other people. It’s only about understanding other people’s impact on them.
3: Identify their Coping Mechanisms
In this stage the client is being helped to understand & identify their primary defense patterns. It may involve looking at their childhood experiences, & how they learned to cope. This is still fairly easy because, in many cases, it can be explored without the N feeling judged.
4: Create New Coping Mechanisms
Even though the client knows what they do & why, the old narcissistic strategies do not simply disappear. If you’re holding on to the edge of a cliff with both hands so you don’t fall, you don’t just let go because your climbing technique is inefficient or painful.
So the client needs to look for more constructive ways to meet their needs. With help, they’ll find some that work & which they can handle.
5: Form New Habits
Most N coping mechanisms can be viewed as habits which have become encoded in the brain through neuronal connections. The basic goal is to
(1) Inhibit the old, automatic narcissistic habits
(2) Substitute new, more desirable behaviors.
If this is done hundreds of times, the more useful strategies eventually get encoded into new pathways. The older neuronal connections weaken through lack of use, & the new coping mechanisms become the automatic default.
(MORE in “Neural Darwinism” 1987 ∼ Dr.Gerald Edelman, biologist, 1929-2014)
NEXT : Growth goals for Ns, #2b