Psychoanalysis.  2010 Apr;21(1):27-31.

Object Relations Theories on Narcissistic Personality Disorder

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


Patients with narcissistic personality disorders have difficulties in developing emotional relationships with their analysts due to narcissistic withdrawal. The patients devalue and depreciate their analysts as an independent object in an attempt to protect themselves from reactivation of their underlying oral rage and envy, and for fear of retaliation by analysts. Their primitive but significant internalized object relations, which underlie their narcissistic resistance, are activated in transference and could be identified during a psychoanalytic process. The narcissistic transference could be fully activated, when both positive and negative aspects of narcissistic patients' grandiose self are systematically analyzed from a neutral point of view. Narcissistic patients require systematic interpretation also for their primitive idealization of and omnipotent control over analysts. Only when their resistance are fully probed and systematically interpreted, their transference neurosis can be developed. Therefore, the analysis of narcissistic patients can be very helpful, even when the results are incomplete.


Narcissistic personality disorder; Object relations theory; Narcissistic resistance; Grandiose self
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