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Narcissistic Injury? ( 07:19:30 SunMar 14 2004 )

Is the term: Narcissistic Injury a valid concept? I am asking because I came familiarized with it by reading from N-Victims groups and Sam Vís site. If it is valid, can an N view infidelity as such an injury and still stay in the relationship, numbing his/her feelings by pretending that it is acceptance of the cheating partner?

Thank you for your healing help

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Re: Narcissistic Injury? ( 12:24:58 MonMar 15 2004 )

The term is valid, but like any other psychological concept, it can be misused. In "Humanizing the Narcissistic Style", Johnson defines it well:

"The injury is a deep wound to the experience of the real self. In the more extreme cases of narcissistic disorder, the injury is so deep and the compensations so tight that the person has no residual experience or comprehension of the real self. In the less extreme variations of this disorder, which are endemic to the culture, there is often a veiled awareness of the real self but a concomitant rejection of it. Even though narcissism comes from the Greek myth superficially understood to represent self-love, exactly the opposite is true in the narcissistic personality disorder or narcissistic style. The narcissist has buried his true self-expression in response to early injuries and replaced it with a highly developed, compensatory false self.

"Narcissistic injury can take an infinite number of specific forms, but essentially it occurs when the environment needs the individual to be something substantially different from what he or she really is. Essentially, the message to the emerging person is, 'Don't be who you are, be who I need you to be. Who you are disappoints me, threatens me, angers me, overstimulates me. Be what I want and I will love you."

There is this type of narcissistic injury in all disorders of the self, but one can be said to have a narcissistic disorder when most of the injury occurs within a certain point of the child's development, known as the rapprochment with reality. In this phase, there is an attempt to reconcile the polarities of symbiosis vs. separateness and grandiosity vs. limitation, and injuries sustained at this critical time can result in a developmental arrest. The child becomes stuck at the stage of grandiosity/symbiosis.

The false self compensates for the lack of development at this stage. A narcissistic person will experience both fear and hurt when life's experiences threaten the false self, because a breakdown of that defense always takes him or her back to the original injury.

Your question is an interesting one, and I can only give my opinion. That would be yes, I think someone could defend against narcissistic reinjury by holding up a good front, and numbing their feelings. It's the underlying feelings that are real, while the false self is not, no matter how good it is made to appear.


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Re: Narcissistic Injury? ( 12:15:35 TueMar 16 2004 )

The idea of Narcissistic injuries is very real Its important to remember though that such an injury does not always result in NPD. A narcissistic injury is a wounding of our true self and different people will respond differently. Such an experience can lead to any number of disorders or illnesses. This is one of the many misunderstandings spread across the net largely through the idea that you can lump everything in one generic label of narcissism.

The primary objective of an NPD defense system is to protect against painful emotions, or the kind of numbing you are suggesting. Most people who are truly NPD engage in the kind of thing you are describing in their relationships.

You do not need to be loved, not at the cost of yourself. The single relationship that is truly central and crucial in a life is the relationship to the self . .. Of all the people you will know in a lifetime , you are the only one you will never lose.

~ Jo Courdt

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