The False Self, once constituted and operating, stifles and paralyzes the True Self. The True Self is now almost non-existent and plays no active or passive part in the narcissist’s conscious existence. Even psychotherapy can’t “revive” it.
This replacement is not only alienation. Frustration and self-hatred deepen when the narcissist’s Idealized (False) Self sets unrealistic ambitions, she says. Regardless of the presence or functioning of a False Self, the narcissist’s idealised, cruel Superego is always judging, self-berating, and contemplating suicide.
The True Self and the False Self are not at odds.
First, the True Self is too weak to fight the oppressive False. Second, the False Self adapts (though maladaptive). It helps the True Self face the world. The True Self would dissolve if not for the False Self. When narcissists go through a crisis, their False Ego becomes defective, and they feel annulled.
The False Self has several roles. The two main ones are:
It “attracts the flames” as a decoy. It represents the True Self. It’s tough as nails and can take a lot of pain, hurt, and anger. By creating it, the youngster develops immunity to his parents’ apathy, manipulation, sadism, smothering, or exploitation – in short, abuse (or by other Primary Objects in his life). It’s a cloak, shielding him while making him invisible and omnipotent. The narcissist presents his False Self as his True Self. In essence, the narcissist says: “You misunderstand me. I am not myself. (False) Self is myself. So I need better, painless, compassionate care.” The False Self is therefore a device to influence others’ behavior and attitudes towards the narcissist. These responsibilities are vital to the narcissist’s survival and psychological well-being. The narcissist’s False Self is significantly more essential than his deteriorating True Self.
The two selves are not linked, as the neo-Freudians proposed. Healthy persons do not have a False Self that is more realistic and closer to the True Self than the diseased counterpart.
Even healthy individuals have a mask or persona that they portray to the world. Yet, the False Self is mostly subliminal, dependent on external cues, and obsessive.
The False Self is a pathological adaptation. But its dynamics prey on the mind and the True Self. Thus, it hinders the personality’s overall efficiency and flexibility.
It’s well-known that narcissists have a visible False Self and a repressed and decayed True Self. But how inextricably linked are these two? Do they talk? How do they interact? What actions are clearly ascribed to one of these protagonists? Also, does the False Self impersonate the True Self to mislead the world?
Let’s start with a frequently asked question:
Why don’t narcissists suicid?
The short answer is they perished long ago. True zombies are narcissists.
Many researchers and therapists have sought to understand the narcissist’s vacuum. The popular belief is that the True Self is defective and worthless because it has been ossified, shredded, cowed into submission, and suppressed. In treating narcissists, therapists frequently try to create and nurture a new healthy self, rather than build on the narcissist’s skewed wreckage.
But what about the narcissist’s infrequent glimpses of True Self?
Pathological narcissism is commonly comorbid. The narcissistic spectrum includes gradations and hues. Narcissistic features, style, or attitude often accompany other diseases (co-morbidity). A person may look to be a full-blown narcissist, with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), but is not in the strictest clinical sense. The True Self is still there and may be seen in such persons.
The False Self has several roles, including acting as a decoy and shielding the narcissist while making him invisible and omnipotent. It’s tough as nails and can take pain, hurt and anger. Narcissists have a visible False Self and a repressed and decayed True Self. The two selves are not linked, as the neo-Freudians proposed. Healthy persons do not have a False Self that is more realistic and closer to the True Self than the diseased counterpart.