Monday, September 15, 2014

Comments on Auerbach and Bach, Narcissicism and Shame (2)

1.       For Auerbach a narcissistic individual, in contrast, the self is experienced as cohesive and vital at the cost of the object's becoming fragmented and lifeless,and vice versa. That is why one who has capacity for self-love can love others,and why narcissistic individuals are profoundly invested in others but only insofar as others are mirroring them or are capable of being idealized. Terms like part object, selfobject, and transitional object express the narcissistic patient's representational and relational difficulties.

2.   Auerabach using a Piagetian framework according to Bach, states that narcissistic patients have difficulty in establishing equilibrium between subjective awareness (i.e., the immediate, nonreflective immersion in the experience of self as a center of thought, feeling, and action) and objective self-awareness (i.e., the awareness of self, including thoughts, experiences, feelings, actions, etc., as an object among other objects and a self among other selves).

3.  Auerbach states that shame is a core issue in the effort to understand narcissism. "that shame is an ineluctable consequence of objective self-awareness, and that objective self-awareness, the eye turned inward to discover in the midst of interest or enjoyment hidden faults and defects, is the core of shame.

4.  Shame emerges, in this second perspective, as the mediating term in the dialectic of subjective and objective self-awareness but at the same time is also at the core of the resistance to psychoanalytic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis by containing a desire not to be exposed.

5. Psychological health, adequate self-esteem, involves not an absence of shame but a capacity to tolerate the shame that inheres in individuality. In other words, shame ensures that selfhood, no matter how well established, always remains a locus of conflict.

6. Bach notes, provide alternative but illuminating developmental perspectives on this narcissistic dilemma, and suggest that narcissistic disturbance involves not so much a misallocation of libido as a problem in the representation of objects and object relations.

7. Subjective awareness, as I call it, is a state in which we are totally into ourselves and our feelings while the rest of the world is in the background—that is, a Romantic or Dionysian state of mind.

8. For Bach we are all both Dionysians and Apollonians, Romantics and Classicists, but one difference lies in our preferred mode of being and also in our abilities to make the transition or oscillate back and forth, flexibly and appropriately, between these two states.

9.  For Bach there are 2 types of narcissism: the inflated sadistic type who presents with open grandiosity and an unconscious sense of worthlessness and the deflated masochistic type who presents with open feelings of worthlessness and an unconscious sense of grandiosity. The inflated type with open grandiosity exists primarily in a state of subjectivity, concerned only with himself and unable to be objective about his aspirations, but unconsciously he feels worthless and self-critical. The deflated type with open feelings of worthlessness exists primarily in a state of objective self-
awareness, masochistically denigrating and criticizing himself as if he were some hostile outside observer, but unconsciously he may feel quite special or grandiose.

10. But, what occurs as the child matures is not just better regulated and more appropriate oscillations between subjectivity and objectivity or between self and other but rather a more complex synthesis, a blending and interpenetration of the two in the transitional area so that they are no longer simply dichotomous.

Dimtrios Tsiakos
Athens, Greece
Candidate, TBIPS

No comments: