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Individuation Narcissism

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Individuation Narcissism?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Individuation Narcissism

Individuation Narcissism is Associated with the Lack of Development of the Personal Essence

Individuation narcissism is associated with the lack of development of what we call the "Personal Essence." This is a manifestation of essential Presence in which -- like Essential Identity -- we experience "I am" but here, the emphasis in experience is more on the "am" than on the "I." It is a Presence of fullness, substantiality and well being. I am, as Personal Presence; I experience myself as a person, but this person is not patterned by self-representations. The Personal Essence is a Presence of the self as a person, a human individual with unique qualities and capacities. This person is an ontological Presence of pure consciousness.

Narcissistic Disturbance in Relation to Individuation

From the perspective of self-realization, the Personal Essence is the individuation of the soul. When the self is alienated from this form of Being, it is narcissistically disturbed in relation to individuation, rather than in relation to identity only, as in central narcissism. Thus, there are narcissistic disturbances in relation to the sense of being an autonomous individual, in the integration of the unique individual qualities of the self, and in the integration of its capacities, skills, and talents. The development of individuality, qualities, skills, and talents is not necessarily absent; rather, the integration of this development into one’s sense of identity is disturbed. Issues of self esteem related to this development are significant in individuation narcissism. This narcissism is an important element of the disturbances of individuation, but not identical to them. Individuation narcissism manifests as the need for support for individuation, and as the need for mirroring of one’s skills and capacities, and as grandiose ideas about one’s qualities, skills, talents, and accomplishments. One is narcissistic in relation to one’s competence and capacity, as well as in relation to one’s sense of being,

Precociousness is a Dynamic in the Development of Individuation Narcissism

Precocious development that alienates one's capacities from one's sense of self is another dynamic in the development of individuation narcissism... We find that in this form of narcissism, grandiosity is used as a defense against the sense of inadequacy and deficiency that underlies the precocious development.... The sense of inadequacy characterizes the emptiness connected with the absence of Personal Essence, while feeling adequate and mature characterizes its presence.

Transformation of Individuation Narcissism

The other reservation is our general one regarding psychological theories of narcissism, namely, that this view does not address the issue of alienation from Being as the cause of fundamental narcissism. The failures in meeting subphase developmental tasks which contribute to the development of individuation narcissism also contribute to this alienation. It is this alienation, specifically from the Personal Essence, which is at the root of this form of narcissism. This distinction is not simply a matter of theory. If the alienation from Being is not addressed, then this narcissism cannot be transformed; it can only be ameliorated. Its fundamental transformation is equivalent to the integration of the Personal Essence, to the degree of self-realization. Only when the student is able to experience himself as the Personal Essence can we say that individuation narcissism has been transformed. This is a resolution of a spiritual nature. It is not only a matter of developing a sense of individuation with a capacity for relating with others. It is not only a matter of establishing a stable sense of autonomy with realistic self-esteem. It is a matter of fundamentally knowing oneself as an authentic presence of Being, which feels personal and human, and whose self-esteem springs from the fact that this presence is its own value.

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