Narcissism FAQ: Am I Interacting With the Image or the Real Person?

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When interacting with a Narcissist, how could one ever tell, at any given moment, whether one was interacting with the IMAGE, or with the REAL PERSON? Or is it ALWAYS the image that one interacts with, and NEVER the real person?


The short and the long of it is that one always interacts with the False Self (=the Image, in your question) and not with the True Self or (luckily) with the Superego (=the Real Man, to use your coinage).

The latter emerge and become observable and discernible only in times of severe stress induced by life crises. The maintenance of the False self is so demanding and takes up so much energy that it crumbles when that energy is used up by another situation.

A much more detailed description can be found in: “Malignant Self Love – Narcissism Revisited”.

Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love, and runs the website Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited.Sam has served as the author of the Personality Disorders topic, Narcissistic Personality Disorder topic, the Verbal and Emotional Abuse topic, and the Spousal Abuse and Domestic Violence topic, Suite101.

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