What is HEALTHY NARCISSISM?

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The Audiopedia

Published on Jun 12, 2017

 

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What is HEALTHY NARCISSISM?

What does HEALTHY NARCISSISM mean? HEALTHY NARCISSISM meaning – HEALTHY NARCISSISM definition – HEALTHY NARCISSISM explanation. Source: Wikipedia.org article, adapted under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/… license. Healthy narcissism is the characteristic of possessing realistic self-esteem without being cut off from a shared emotional life, as the unhealthy narcissist tends to be. The concept of healthy narcissism developed slowly out of the psychoanalytic tradition, and became popular in the late twentieth century. Freud considered narcissism a natural part of the human makeup that, taken to extremes, prevents people from having meaningful relationships. While he recognised the allure of the narcissist for more normal people, he didn’t have a concept of healthy narcissism as such.:105 It was in the 1930s that Paul Federn introduced the concept to cover an adequate sense of self-love, but not until the 1970s in the work of Otto Kernberg and Heinz Kohut did the idea come to the fore. and Kohut spoke of a child’s “normal narcissism” and of normal narcissistic entitlement; and considered that if early narcissistic needs could be adequately met, the individual would move on to what he called a “mature form of positive self-esteem; self-confidence:” healthy narcissism. Neville Symington challenged Kohut’s belief in positive narcissism, arguing that “we do not get positive narcissism without self-hatred”, or negative narcissism. While one could talk of healthy self-confidence and positive self-esteem or self-confidence, he considered that “it is meaningless to talk about healthy self-centredness” – that being the core of narcissism. Nevertheless, pop psychology has taken up the idea of healthy narcissism as an aid to self-assertion and success. It has indeed been suggested that it is useful to think of a continuum of narcissism, from the healthy to the pathological, with stable narcissism and destructive narcissism as stopping-points in between. Ronnie Solan uses the metaphor of narcissism as an emotional-immune system for safeguarding the familiarity and the well-being of the individual against invasion by foreign sensations (1998) and small differences (Freud 1929–1930) was possible. The innate immunization vacillates between well-being, in the presence of the familiar, and alertness as well as vulnerability, facing the stranger. From childhood, the familiar is tempting and the strangeness is intolerable from within (illness) or from outside (otherness). Hence, narcissistic immunization might be compared to the activity of the biological immunological system that identifies the familiar protein of the cell and rejects the foreign protein (bacteria, virus). Thus, from infancy to adulthood, getting hurt emotionally is inevitable because the other, even if he or she is a familiar person and dear to us, is still a separate individual that asserts his otherness. The healthy narcissist succeeds in updating narcissistic data (such as acquaintance with the unfamiliar) and in enabling the recovery of self-familiarity from injury and psychic pains. Healthy narcissism activates immunologic process of restoring the stabilization of cohesiveness, integrity and vigorousness of the self and the restoration of the relationship with the other, despite its otherness. Impaired functioning of narcissism fails to activate these narcissistic processes and arouses destructive reactions. Thus, the individual steadfastly maintains his anger toward the other that offended him, and might sever contact with him, even to the extent of exacting violent revenge, although this other might be dear to him, possibly leading through impaired narcissism to fragility and vulnerability of the self, to immature individuation, narcissistic disorders and pathological phenomena. The healthy narcissism contributes to improving emotional intelligence as part of the process of adapting to changes; to intensifying curiosity and investigating the environment; to relating to otherness, and for enhancing joie de vivre.

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Ronnie Solan

Thanks so much for presenting so clearly my new conceptualization of the Healthy Narcissism elaborated in my book The Enigma of Childhood. The Healthy Narcissism might be defined as an Emotional Immune System which enable us to love ourselves as we are, as we are familiar with, and be more tolerable toward the otherness of our dearests.

The immunization of our True Self strengthen the Self-Esteem while resisting  against any strangeness (very similar to the Biological Immune System).

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