Need to write a psychoanalytic approach essay, but your head is empty of ideas? In the following text you may find information about the narcissistic wound and the ways it can be healed. Narcissism is a person’s state when he or she doesn’t feel self-worth and constantly seeks for confirmation from other people, while not considering the feelings of others. Sigmund Freud was the first who introduced this term, while Heinz Kohut and Nancy McWilliams had made a detailed description of the narcissistic state. Our realities only increase the narcissistic injury: societal tendencies, pressure from social networks with photoshopped photos, and publications in magazines – all of these create an unrealistic picture of life that only aggravates the injury.
What Is a Narcissistic Wound? How Can it Be Healed?
In an individual’s early life, one experiences rejection, denial of need, respect, and understanding. According to Miller, these circumstances create a “psychological damage” (qtd. in Zamostny, Slyter and Rios 501) known as the narcissistic wound. Growing up with an unhealed narcissistic wound creates anxiety, sadness, depression and a feeling of self-insufficiency towards certain life situations. As noted by Grunberger, “depression is classified primarily as narcissistic personality disorder” (225). Frosch said that “healing narcissistic wound is possible when the patient undergoes psychotherapy and psychoanalysis” (qtd. in Treichel par. 7). Recognizing the narcissistic wounds and healing it helps individuals cope up with life stresses.
An example of a narcissistic wound given by Freud is “the feeling of faithlessness towards an unwelcome birth of a new sibling” (188). This example commonly happens to an elder child who gets all the attention of his or her parents. The first child is threatened not receiving the same love, care, and affection from the parents. When the child fails to cope-up with the situation, he or she develops insecurity and narcissistic wound that will carry on to his or her adulthood. Another example is the fear of failing by a family member or a close friend. Frosch said, “the early life realization that a person is a separate individual gives the idea that other people may not satisfy his or her needs and wishes” (qtd. in Treichel par. 3). This narcissistic wound creates an untrusting feeling towards other people.
Healing a narcissistic wound is essential to the psychological well-being of individuals. Taking the last example above, Frosch suggested that “a therapist must help the patient understand that some wishes will not be fulfilled even if they are reasonable and legitimate, hence, has to be relinquished” (qtd. in Treichel par. 11). He further added that this process leads to grieving and mourning which ends to tolerance.
Going through psychotherapy and psychoanalysis helps individuals understand themselves, and realize that psychological injury exists in them. The therapy helps the patients grieve and mourne as part of the acceptance. After this, patients develop a higher tolerance to failures and imperfections, thus able them to heal the narcissistic wound.
Freud, Sigmund. “’A Child Is Being Beaten’: A Contribution to the Study of the Origin of Sexual Perversions (1919). Part VI.” International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 1919, doi:10.1037/e417472005-412.
Grunberger, Bela. Narcissism: Psychoanalytic Essays. New York: International Universities Press, 1979.
Treichel, Joan Arehart. “Accepting Loss Said to Be Key to Overcoming Narcissistic Injury.”
Psychiatric News: The Newspaper of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), American Psychiatric Association, 4 Mar. 2011, psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/.
Zamostny, Kathy P., et al. “Narcissistic Injury and Its Relationship to Early Trauma, Early Resources, and Adjustment to College.” Journal of Counseling Psychology, vol. 40, no. 4, 1993, pp. 501–510., doi:10.1037//0022-018.104.22.1681.
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