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Fundamental Narcissism

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Fundamental Narcissism?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Fundamental Narcissism

Characteristics of Fundamental Narcissism

At all times, however, the characteristics of fundamental narcissism, the alienation from the core of the self, can be seen to underlie all these manifestations. The need for idealized and mirroring self-objects, exaggerated self-reference and entitlement, grandiosity, propensity towards slights and hurts, superficiality and fakeness, and the tendency towards narcissistic rage and devaluation, will always be discernable whenever she is dealing with narcissism.

Perpetuation of Narcissism

Our discussion and critique of the views of the self and narcissism in the theories of Kohut and other psychologists has established the following:

1. Viewing the depth of the self as primarily emotional fixates the self on a partial manifestation of its nature, and hence, perpetuates narcissism.

2. Identifying the self with the body also fixates the self on a partial manifestation of it, which both causes and is the outcome of fundamental narcissism.

3. Ego activity, which is the dynamic property of the center of the ego-self, perpetuates the disconnection of the self from the deeper truth of its Being, and hence, both causes and is caused by fundamental narcissism.

4. Identification with mental representations, or a psychic structure patterned by such representations, is the most fundamental cause of narcissistic disturbance.

5. Fundamental narcissism, the specific and most central manifestation of the disconnection from the essential core of the self, the presence of Being, underlies all other forms of narcissism.

6. Pathological narcissism is a distortion or an exaggeration of fundamental narcissism.

7. Fundamental narcissism is an intrinsic property of the ego-self, which is the self as experienced in the dimension of conventional experience.

Relationship Between Central and Fundamental Narcissism

The characteristics of fundamental narcissism are most clearly and specifically seen when central narcissism dominates the student’s experience. Central narcissism indicates the alienation from the Essential Identity. Since this aspect of Essence functions as the true identity, it is what gives the self the capacity for being its essential presence. Since the disturbance of this capacity is what underlies the fundamental narcissistic characteristics, it is clear that these characteristics will be most clearly manifest when central narcissism dominates experience. More specifically, the alienation from the Essential Identity disturbs the capacity of the self, in general, to be its essential core. Therefore, it is paramount to work on central narcissism to accomplish any deep transformation in fundamental narcissism. This is why central narcissism is our primary focus in this study. In reality, the work on central narcissism is the most fundamental and necessary work needed to be done on narcissism.

Requirement for the Resolution of Fundamental Narcissism

The issues of basic trust and the surrender that it engenders are not specific to the work on narcissism. However, some resolution of these issues is necessary for the surrender involved in slowing down and ceasing ego activity. The realization of this quality of love, which we call Living Daylight or Loving Light, resolves these issues. The presence of the Living Daylight helps us to let go of the empty shell, to allow the narcissistic wound and accept the narcissistic emptiness. This boundless, loving presence makes it easier for the self to relax and cease activity. One also comes to understand that it is this love which actually acts, and not the self. It is the melting action of this love that finally dissolves the ego activity. Our discussion of the quality of Living Daylight is necessarily short, but it illuminates the deep dynamics underlying the activity which perpetuates the identity structure. We can see why the resolution of fundamental narcissism can come about only with a deep spiritual orientation. Realization requires a fundamental surrender of the self.

When "Normal" Traits are Narcissistic Phenomena

Everyone knows that he has some measure of selfishness, self-reference, a need to be seen and appreciated, a deep wish for esteem and admiration from others, and some distortion in his self-concepts. Although we are accustomed to thinking of these traits as normal, they are in fact narcissistic phenomena. They are universal to all non-realized individuals, reflecting the fundamental narcissism that is the result of not knowing oneself at a deep level. This is what we call the “narcissism of every day life” or “fundamental narcissism.”

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