Sometimes you say that the narcissist’s True Self has relegated its functions to the outside world – and sometimes you say that it is not in touch with the outside world (or that only the False Self is in touch with it). How do you settle this apparent contradiction?
The narcissist’s True Self is introverted and dysfunctional. In healthy people, Ego functions are generated from the inside, from the Ego. In narcissists, the Ego is dormant, comatose. The narcissist needs the input of the outside world to perform the most basic Ego functions (e.g., “recognition” of the world, setting boundaries, differentiation, self-esteem and regulation of a sense of self-worth). Only the False Self gets in touch with the world. The True Self is isolated, repressed, unconscious, a shadow of its former self.
Forcing the narcissist’s False Self to acknowledge and interact with his True Self is not only difficult but may also be counterproductive and dangerously destabilising. The narcissist’s disorder is adaptive and functional, though rigid. The alternative to this (mal)adaptation would have been self-destructive (suicidal). This bottled up, self-directed venom is bound to resurface if the narcissist’s various personality structures are coerced into making contact.
That a personality structure (such as the True Self) is in the unconscious does not automatically mean that it is conflict-generating, or that it is involved in conflict, or that it has the potential to provoke conflict. As long as the True Self and the False Self remain out of touch, conflict is excluded.
The False Self pretends to be the only self and denies the existence of a True Self. It is also extremely useful (adaptive). Rather than risking constant conflict, the narcissist opts for a solution of “disengagement”.