Sunday, December 19, 2010

Narcissists-Incapable of Emotional Intimacy

Emotional intimacy occurs when we are capable of sharing ourselves deeply with another human being. There is a requirement of mutual trust in order to feel completely secure with another person. Narcissists do not have this capacity. Some narcissists are gifted at pretending that they are emotionally invested in you. They are often very attentive in the beginning, idealizing you, offering to meet all of your needs and then some. It is easy to take this kind of bait. Narcissists can appear to be exceedingly sincere.

We learn to be emotionally intimate when we are very young. It begins with a steady, loving attachment to a parent(s). The child who feels securely attached is free is express his/her feelings openly without shame or fear. The parent is receptive and tuned into the small child, able to comfort him when he is frightened, confused or angry. The child learns that he is solid inside as a result of consistent positive psychological needs being met by a "good enough" parent. D.W.Winnicott, the brilliant psychoanalyst  spoke about the child's need for a "good enough" mother. This is a person is allows her child to be genuine from the beginning and supports his uniqueness and at the same time provides a secure emotional environment for her infant and small child. Mothers of narcissists are not "good enough." They reward the child whom they perceive as special and superior as long as he or she is molded in the parental image. These children are highly praised and prized in the narcissistic family not for who they genuinely are but for their fulfillment of the wishes and dreams of the narcissistic parent. As a result the narcissist from early childhood never learns to become emotionally intimate. As much as he is considered superior and has no rules or boundaries, he/she is not treated with warmth and affection. He is not loved for being his genuine self. As a result the narcissist never learns to relate to himself/herself on a deep emotional level nor can he reciprocate any real affection or love for another.

Children of narcissists experience great emotional and psychological pain, recognizing that their mother couldn't be a real parent to them--the one they could go to with their fears, worries, dreams and all of the feelings closes to their hearts. Many children of narcissists benefit from good psychotherapy that helps them to heal and reconstitute their sense of self. Those married to narcissists suffer in a different. Often they remain married to a narcissistic spouse for many years, hoping that he or she will change or that they are the ones who are confused and even "crazy". Many of these spouses hold on to these highly dysfunctional marriages at a great price to themselves. Others finally recognize that they most step out of the bonds of the narcissist's psychopathology, that he will never be capable of emotional intimacy and that they are entitled to move forward, seeking those with whom they can find emotional intimacy, respect, affection, and  the freedom to use their many gifts and talents as they were born to do.  Visit my website:

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Telephone Consultation: United States and International
Book: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life
Buy the book: amazon. com and amazon kindle edition

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