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Narcissistic Vulnerability

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

Excerpts about Narcissistic Vulnerability

Distortion of the Natural Need for Mirroring

Narcissistic vulnerability distorts the natural need for mirroring, changing it from the need to be seen for who one really is to the need for mirroring of what he believes to be him. This makes the need for mirroring problematic, and thus, being seen is not always what is actually needed. For example, a person might be identified with a kind of hiddenness, and experience conflict when the need for mirroring manifests. The arising of the past hurt about not having been seen adds to the student’s sensitivity. Also, the fear of unempathic mirroring can cause a student to defend against awareness of his need to be seen.

Loss of Support and Lack of Identity

Thus there are two aspects of the experience of narcissistic vulnerability: The first involves a sense of lack or loss of support; the other, loss, weakness, or lack of identity. The student experiences the loss of external support as a weakness of a certain kind. He may feel as if his bones are getting soft and losing strength and solidity, and hence cannot support him. He may feel spineless or that his backbone is soft or brittle. He may feel that his legs are weak and unable to support his weight, or they feel small and skinny, or soft and mushy. He may feel small, helpless and unable to support himself, or structureless and amorphous like a jellyfish.

The Vulnerability is Always there Because of the Fundamental Weakness of the Normal Identity

Narcissistic vulnerability: Another issue that arises when the narcissistic constellation begins to be dealt with is sensitivity to narcissistic hurt. This is what we call narcissistic vulnerability. It manifests as the tendency to feel hurt, slighted or humiliated at the slightest indication of lack of empathy, understanding, approval, value, admiration or recognition. Some defend strongly against this vulnerability, but even if we defend against it we feel disturbed about the absence of narcissistic supplies. The student might act as if he does not care, but how he feels inside is a different story. The vulnerability is always there because of the fundamental weakness of the normal identity. Vulnerability is usually not in the foreground and is defended against in many ways, but becomes more conscious as the narcissistic constellation approaches consciousness. This sensitivity might readily present itself in the student’s experience, or the defenses against it might come to the fore first, and will need to be worked through before he can feel the sensitivity directly and fully.

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