Friday, January 12, 2007

Projective Identification

Most of a narcissist's weird behavior - what makes him or her so impossible - is due to the fact that they are committing projective identification against you all the time.

Very weird. Here's a new, short article explaining it on the Main Site.

Projective identification is the result of an interplay between two psychological devices narcissists use.

One is identifying with their reflected image as their self. The fancy name for this mental trick is "introjection." Introjection literally means "throwing inward," which is the opposite of projection, "throwing outward." Introjection is defined as relating to something that comes from the outside as though coming from the inside.

That's precisely what Narcissus is doing in relating to his reflected image as though it's his inner self.

Read the rest here.
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At 8:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read the rest of the article and the link. Frankly, I'm having a hard time getting my head around this one.;-/


At 7:32 AM, Blogger Louise said...

Me too, Pam, but it does make sense. Normal coversation and interaction is between 2 'facing each other'. With an N, they are 'facing you facing themselves', within layers and layers of lies and manipulations.

Almost like multiple layers of static interference on a phone line. You can ALMOST hear each individual conversation, but can't filter it out.

Their minds are working SO HARD on the outcome that they really don't hear what's being said. They're just trying to get what they want for the response.

Am I on the right track, Kathy? It IS confusing as all get out...

At 11:11 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

Yes, Louise. It's akin to what we went through during our "hunting days" in high school and college when we met someone we deemed a real catch. He was cool, handsome, nice, etc. and we were so preoccupied with making a good impression on him that we said and did stupid things.

The same thing can easily happen in your first job interview if you get nervous or when meeting some very important person.

You're too busy listening to how you SOUND to think about what you're saying. Too busy studying the EXPRESSION on his face (and other clues) for feedback on the impression you're making to pay attention to HIM and to what he's saying. Too busy thinking up what clever thing to say next to pay attention to what he's saying right now.

Like you said, the mind is working so hard on the outcome that you don't hear what's being said. You're just trying to get what you want for the response.

In normal people this is rare. Maybe if you were introduced to the Queen or something you could get so nervous about "making the right impression" that you'd go into this mode. It happens to teenagers quite frequently though. During those awkward years.

A narcissist is like this all the time and to the extreme.

I think it's one of the most telltale signs of a narcissist. because of this, they just don't see and hear you when you are talking to them. They miss an astonishing amount of what you say. Even when they try to listen to you, they can't.

As for projective identification, I left out the third step, the identification part. It doesn't contribute to the point I was making and is very complex. It's easy to see that he identifies with his projected image in your behavior. But it's not so easy to see how he identifies with his projected emotions in them. Those are things he wants to get rid of, and the psychobabble on this gets well nigh unintelligible. Some seem to think the identification is in the victim identifying with what is projected on her. But, like I said, that was extraneous to the article.

Ns project 2 things on you: a (false) image of themselves and their negative feelings (anger, rage, fear, envy). Then they manipulate you to make you act out these fantasies - namely that you see them as a god and that YOU are the one who's mad.

It's diabolical. For, normal people do get mad when they are trying to pacify and reason some maniac...who now adds insult to injury by accusing them of being the one who "flew into one of your rages."

Who wouldn't get mad at such a boldfaced mockery? But that plays into the N's hands, because that's what he wants to see. It acts out his fantasy for him that YOU are the one who's mad.

At 12:54 PM, Anonymous gh said...

I would add that the difficulty we are all having wrapping our minds around this is maybe not so much because it's so terribly complex an idea but because it's so contrary to how "normal" people process information. We get caught up in trying to relate to the narcissist as if he were like everyone else and find ourselves feeling like we're going crazy because the interaction makes no sense. Add to that what Kathy's saying about the narcissist projecting his negative self-thoughts away from him and onto you -- no wonder we're all so bewildered by it. The narcissist knows (at some level) that he's crazy and embarks on a campaign to convince himself, you, and the world that it's not him, it's you.

At 1:14 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

GH, exactly.

At 9:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That explains why I always feel like a puppy chasing its tail when I try to work through things with the NPD's in my family...


At 5:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trying to relate in the usual way with an N is indeed very bewildering.

Even being aware of the superficiality of their manner isn't enough to escape it, because they are acting reflexively to your every cue.

I've found that it is easier to understand the mirroring while surreptitiously observing an N interacting with another person from afar.

At 8:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure it's the same thing but how about this:
My N momster just LOVES Eminem's song "Cleaning Out My Closet" and "just can't understand how a mother could be so horrible".
Right. From the woman who regularly forgot to buy her own daughter tampons, threatened to come to my school to beat up a boy because I'd borrowed his sweater, and who, when I was in the throes of a teenage crush, found me kissing my pillow and coldly suggested that I was going insane... that last one almost killed me.
Maybe if I become an ultra-vulgar rap star and write songs about raping my mother, she'd finally show me empathy!

At 7:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just got out of a relationship with a narcissists four months ago. What an emotional roller coaster ride it has been. Slowly, I'm starting to come around. Slowly I said.


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