Paranoid phenomena and pathological narcissism

Paranoid phenomena can be seen to arise from pathological narcissism. As a result of certain kinds of trauma to the ego-ideal and/or losses of important self-object relationships, the self becomes dislodged from internal agencies and representations. Narcissistic cathexis of the self to these internal psychic structures loosens and hope, aspiration, affection and will become markedly diminished. Meaningful goals and choices become impossible to adopt and make. The paranoid patient is internally at “loose ends”; he is lost. Tragically, being gripped by the paranoid condition and its manifest delusional system is the only kind of security that the paranoid patient knows. No wonder it is so hard to give up. The vulnerability to paranoid phenomena may be seen to be a result of past experiences of subversion of “selfhood.” In significant ways, the patient vulnerable to paranoid phenomena has not been adequately attended nor adequately “left alone.” The self can be seen as arising out of crucial mother-infant exchanges that are paralleled by interactions between developing internal psychic structures. Out of these “reflections,” the self is born. The narcisstic cathexis of self to the ego, superego and ego-ideal is the result of self-expression. If full self-ownership has not been possible then self-expression is vulnerable. Given these understandings of the relationship between paranoid phenomena and pathological narcissism, treatment will focus on reducing the threats to selfhood, refinding the self, and reestablishing ties to internal sources of affection, initiative and aspiration.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2069198/

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