Narcissistic Pursuit of Perfection

Narcissistic Pursuit of Perfection

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by Arnold Rothstein
     
 

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This book views the role of narcissism in analytic theory beginning with the writings of Freud and examines the conceptual changes that occurred with the development of ego psychology and object relations theory.

With this revised edition Dr. Rothstein expands his discussion of patients considered to be narcissistic personality disordered in order to discuss the

Overview

This book views the role of narcissism in analytic theory beginning with the writings of Freud and examines the conceptual changes that occurred with the development of ego psychology and object relations theory.

With this revised edition Dr. Rothstein expands his discussion of patients considered to be narcissistic personality disordered in order to discuss the issue of clinical limits. This is illustrated by case material from two attempts at the analysis of patients with latent psychosis. Discussions of countertransference and humiliation have also been added.

Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Edward A. Wolpert, MD, PhD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: The author attempts to expand, delineate, and describe narcissism in both its normal and abnormal development. Drawing upon the work of Freud, Wilhelm Reich, Annie Reich, Kohut, and Kernberg, among others, he uses literary descriptions by Tolstoy and Fowles as well as his own clinical material to make his theoretical points come to life for the reader.
Purpose: His purpose, to clarify the theory of narcissism, is of great importance as we approach the millennium, and he succeeds admirably in presenting his thesis.
Audience: While the author's primary audience is the psychoanalytic practitioner, any therapist attempting to deal psychologically with narcissistic patients would do well to become familiar with the his argument.
Features: Based on his discussion of narcissism, the author suggests the need to consider both a narcissistic personality disorder, in which the predominant investment of narcissism is in self representation, as well as a suppliant personality disorder, in which the predominant mode of narcisstic investment is in object representation. These two types of investments can range from psychotic to neurotic to normal.
Assessment: The author's theoretical position deserves a wide dissemination, and should stand on the clinician's shelf next to the works of Kernberg and Kohut.
4 Stars! from Doody
Edward A. Wolpert
The author attempts to expand, delineate, and describe narcissism in both its normal and abnormal development. Drawing upon the work of Freud, Wilhelm Reich, Annie Reich, Kohut, and Kernberg, among others, he uses literary descriptions by Tolstoy and Fowles as well as his own clinical material to make his theoretical points come to life for the reader. His purpose, to clarify the theory of narcissism, is of great importance as we approach the millennium, and he succeeds admirably in presenting his thesis. While the author's primary audience is the psychoanalytic practitioner, any therapist attempting to deal psychologically with narcissistic patients would do well to become familiar with the his argument. Based on his discussion of narcissism, the author suggests the need to consider both a narcissistic personality disorder, in which the predominant investment of narcissism is in self representation, as well as a suppliant personality disorder, in which the predominant mode of narcisstic investment is in object representation. These two types of investments can range from psychotic to neurotic to normal. The author's theoretical position deserves a wide dissemination, and should stand on the clinician's shelf next to the works of Kernberg and Kohut.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780823681570
Publisher:
International Universities Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
12/28/1999
Edition description:
REVISED
Pages:
327
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

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Narcissistic Pursuit of Perfection 2.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book straddles the divide between textbook and a self-help tome. It does it no good. It is full with analyses of cases - from the literary to the real and will, probably, be of value mostly to therapists - at least those unfortunate enough to deal with narcissists. Its main subject is the narcissist's self-destruction in its attempt at perfection. But there are a few types of narcissistic self-destructive and self defeating behaviours. The Self-Punishing, Guilt-Purging Behaviours are intended to inflict punishment and to provide the punished party with a feeling of instant relief. This is very reminiscent of a compulsive-ritualistic behavior. The person harbors guilt. It could be an 'ancient' guilt, a 'sexual' guilt (Freud), or a 'social' guilt. He internalized and introjected voices of meaningful others that consistently and convincingly and from positions of authority informed him that he is no good, guilty, deserving of punishment or retaliation, corrupt. His life is thus transformed into an on-going trial. The constancy of this trial, the never adjourning tribunal IS the punishment. It is Kafka's 'trial': meaningless, undecipherable, never-ending, leading to no verdict, subject to mysterious and fluid laws and presided by capricious judges. Then there are the Extracting Behaviours. People with Personality Disorders (PDs) are very afraid of real, mature, intimacy. Intimacy is formed not only within a couple, but also in a workplace, in a neighbourhood, with friends, while collaborating on a project. Intimacy is another word for emotional involvement, which is the result of interactions in constant and predictable (safe) proximity. PDs interpret intimacy (not DEPENDENCE, but intimacy) as strangulation, the snuffing of freedom, death in installments. They are terrorized by it. The self-destructive and self-defeating acts are intended to dismantle the very foundation of a successful relationship, a career, a project, or a friendship. NPDs (narcissists), for instance, feel elated and relieved after they unshackle these 'chains'. They feel they broke a siege, that they are liberated, free at last. Last, but not rare, there are the Default Behaviours. We are all afraid of new situations, new possibilities, new challenges, new circumstances and new demands. Being healthy, being successful, getting married, becoming a mother, or someone's boss ¿ are often abrupt breaks with the past. Some self-defeating behaviors are intended to preserve the past, to restore it, to protect it from the winds of change, to inertially avoid opportunities. The book fails to make the subtle distinctions between these types of behaviours which are essential to a real understanding of this alien, the narcissist. Sam Vaknin, author of 'Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited'.