The pathological self-centeredness of individuals with narcissistic personality disorder is different from the normal narcissism
of childhood. In normal narcissism, childrens’ need for dependence and admiration is fulfilled by the age-appropriate attention they receive, and they are able to acknowledge nurturing with reciprocity and gratitude. Children with a narcissistic pathology deny their dependence. They receive nurturance with a sense of entitlement and do not reciprocate or experience any sense of gratitude (Kernberg et al., 2000).
The devaluation of self and others is a relevant issue in the field of trauma and dissociation but therapy usually focuses on a victim-abuser perspective where we tend to pay attention to victims and their symptoms. From this perspective, victims are described as depressed, submissive, vulnerable and usually trapped in learned helplessness.
Although this picture describes some situations related to maltreatment and abuse, it can be simplistic and minimize or overlook internalization of some abuser features by victims (e.g., the presence of perpetrator-imitator parts in DID).
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