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By Ralf-Peter Behrendt (auth.)

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Additional info for Narcissism and the Self: Dynamics of Self-Preservation in Social Interaction, Personality Structure, Subjective Experience, and Psychopathology

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157), that is, the opposite of feelings that may arise in consequence of failed care-seeking behaviour, failures that are often predicated on parental or wider social attitudes towards inappropriate ‘drive’ satisfaction, including inappropriate exhibitionistic displays and inappropriate attention-seeking behaviours. It is the maintenance of this feeling state of wellbeing or safety with which the ego is ultimately concerned and for which it enlists the help of the superego (JOFFE & SANDLER, 1965).

50) We help to enforce social and cultural norms by displaying anger (offensive aggression) and ‘punishing’ those who deviate from theses norms. Normality, as recognized by BURROW (1949), “is the measure by which we judge all behaviour and indict as subversive or pathological whatever behaviour deviates from this popularly cherished ‘norm’” (p. 50). Others’ socially deviant behaviour automatically induces anger within ourselves and disposes us to display offensively aggressive signals towards them.

Familiarity and appeasement gestures counteract the aversiveness of conspecifics and inhibit their inherent aggressiveness. The smile is an effective appeasement gesture. Smiling powerfully inhibits others’ aggressive potential or dissolves their anger (‘smile disarms’) (EIBL-EIBESFELDT, 1970). We depend for our safety on others’ friendly expressions (which we induce by our own friendly expressions) as well as on their adherence to common norms (which we foster by our own compliance). It is because of our thorough dependence on others’ friendliness that narcissism (the attitudes and behaviours that regulate others’ friendliness towards us) plays such a central role in social behaviour and psychopathology.

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