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A Case Analysis
Rivka A Edery*
Private Pracce in Psychotherapy and Counseling, USA
*Corresponding author: Rivka A Edery, MSW, LCSW, Private Pracce in Psychotherapy and Counseling, USA, Tel: (361) 704-4051; E-mail:
Received date: 01 January 2019; Accepted date: 10 January 2019; Published date: 17 January 2019
Copyright: © 2019 Edery RA. This is an open-access arcle distributed under the terms of the creave commons aribuon license, which
permits unrestricted use, distribuon and reproducon in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Citaon: Edery RA (2019) The Traumac Eects of Narcissisc Parenng on a Sensive Child:
The discipline of psychology and its sub-disciplines of
social, cognive, and industrial psychology undertake to
idenfy taxonomies that help to idenfy, understand, and
explain human behavior. In consideraon of the traumac
eects of narcissisc parenng, this paper will discuss a
single case analysis of paent A. In light of this paent’s
upbringing, I will discuss two main personality theorists,
Freud and Jung, to describe paent A’s self-reported
personal identy, as he understands himself. I will
describe the milestones that helped to formulate his
beliefs, values and behaviors, familial and interpersonal
relaonships. The goal I will accomplish is to formulate a
developmental assessment to support my theorecal
perspecves of paent A.
Keywords: Psychology; Self-assessment in psychotherapy;
Narcissisc parenng; Personality development;
Over the past one hundred years or so, the subelds of
psychology; social, cognive, and industrial psychology, have
made great strides in helping us understand that
notwithstanding our similaries, each person is unique. This
uniqueness is not just a aery or cliche, but based on
personality development, heredity, milestones, family, culture
and society in which people are raised and inuenced by.
Seeking to understand Paent A and the scope on his
personality (his unique psychological forces) including his
historical paerns of interpersonal interacons, is best
understood in a social context. The rst, primive social
context is childhood, specically the rst ve years of
development. Paent A described himself as being a friendly,
agreeable, playful and conscienous child. He also stated that
because of the intense cold and fearful childhood
environment, he defended himself by being overly responsive,
tolerant of abusive language and behavior, accommodang
and highly fearful [1-3].
From speech, percepon, and interpersonal interacons
with his primary caregivers, he had to protect himself and
cope with early childhood trauma. Given the narcissisc and
personality disorders of his primary caregivers, his main
objecve was to survive being a used child. Instead of having
his basic needs met, his parents used him to sasfy their needs
and every whim. Oen met with frightening, intense, sudden
rage, overt sexual, physical, emoonal and mental abuse, he
developed a coping orientaon, to include cognive processes,
both conscious and non-conscious.
Freud is heralded as the most inuenal personality
theorist. He envisioned and devised an intriguing model of
developmental stages, drives and psychic structures. As a
highly gied observer of human behavior, the unconscious
aspect of his complicated explanaons of personality have
helped many people understand human behavior.
According to Freud, the child develops a superego around
the age of ve years old. This superego is responsible for
providing the person with an understanding of what is
acceptable in society and urges the person to value moral and
ethical decisions. The ego mediates between the id and the
superego and indeed protects the conscious mind from 'baser'
sexual and aggressive urges through defense mechanisms and
repression. Thus, a healthy ego enables a person to be raonal
and logical as well as establish boundaries for the id and
In his introducing the unconscious, a hidden, buried,
mysterious underground, where everything seems to take
place, Freud made the study of human beings and personality,
truly fascinang. His work helps the clinician to see how some
trauma experiences and memories become repressed and
buried, as part of the whole system of defenses, as a survivor’s
toolbox. Specically, and because of the terrible physical,
emoonal abuse and neglect, Paent A became very well-
defended, resistant and fearful in order to protect himself. He
was faced with limitaons due to the ongoing trauma. Ulizing
Health Science Journal
ISSN 1791-809X Vol.13 No.1:626
© Copyright iMedPub | This article is available from: www.hsj.gr 1
The Traumac Eects of Narcissisc Parenng on a Sensive Child:
A Case Analysis. Health Sci J Vol.13.No.1:626.
Freud’s explanaon of unconscious principles and concepts,
allowed him to explore what he had repressed: how he
originally formulated beliefs, values, behaviors, familial and
interpersonal relaonships, with a negave, frightening spin.
In the context of Paent A’s traumac history, his own
anxiees and defenses were a safeguard against srring up the
pot of emoons inside of himself. He sought to have conscious
contact with his unconscious and with consistent follow
through with the process, was slowly able to integrate his
thoughts and feelings. This began an internal change from
avoiding himself, to responding and simply be with those
Paent A came to see me at the age of 35 years old. He
stated that he became more skilled and willing to turn inward
and to face those fears and anxiees he had once been so
defended against. In listening to the voice of his unconscious,
he saw the power of how it revealed his personal blockages.
This connecon to his un-conscious, was very necessary to his
process of trauma recovery. One’s stability is parcularly
challenged when the traumac event has been done
deliberately. Parcularly severe is the sexual, physical, or
psychological abuse by caregivers, including harmful forms of
neglect. Surviving such trauma is not an arena which one can,
or should, handle alone. It calls for the knowledgeable and
compassionate pracce by a trained professional who, through
a developed relaonship with the client, will be able to
skillfully take him/her back through the painful experience, for
Our natural inclinaon is to shield ourselves from pain, and
therefore psychological damage limits the expression of life
and depression can become chronic. Paent A described not
having any support during his upbringing and was le feeling
very alone. One aspect of his personality that helped him
cope, was to be very agreeable, or what some people call a
“people-pleaser”. A tenet of Freud is that healing from trauma
will not happen unl the person has worked through the
experience. Repressed traumac experiences oen cause
problems later and in varying forms. The frightening part of
processing traumac events is the re-opening of doors to
terrible places, to facilitate recovery from the original event(s).
Within the context of a holding relaonship that is safe,
compassionate and gentle, a survivor can acknowledge what
happened, that he survived and that he is able to live a
In summaon of his total personality as conceived by Freud,
the paent described his three major systems of his mind, the
id, the ego and the superego, as being at odds with each other.
The purpose of the transacons between these three major
systems, is to fulll his basic needs and desires. Due to the
severe early childhood he endured and survived, the three
systems of personality were at odds. He felt frightened,
defended, dissased, and lonely. This strongly movated him
to increase self-ecacy, as he single-handedly pursued his
educaon, career and built a healthy, solid, very producve
life. At this point in his life, these three systems form a unied
and harmonious organizaon, fueling co-operave, ecient
and sasfying transacons with his environment.
As part of his personal growth process, we co-created an
intervenon plan which included these components: 1) A
sucient and healthy support network; 2) A wide range of
eecve recovery tools; 3) An understanding that recovery
calls for a signicant amount of paence, compassion for self,
me and energy; 4) A willingness to approach oneself with
great sensivity and honesty concerning the realies of the
traumac events. In order to protect oneself from being
overwhelmed, one must be willing to consult and learn from
safe, trusted people .
Jung asserted that there was so much more to Freud’s
theory, to include many myscal elements. For example, the
collecve unconscious common by people across generaons,
archetypes of unconscious symbols and a personality typology
based on four funcons of the mind-thinking, feeling,
sensaon and intuion. Carl Jung’s view of personality was
based on his general idea about the structure and
development of the human mind, categorized into the
conscious or unconscious mind. To Jung, the conscious mind
was one, supercial layer. Beneath this layer exists the more
archaic layers, parallel to the dierent developmental stages of
the human mind. Jung understood the archaic layers as the
collecve unconscious, the container for what he termed
“archetypes”. He dened archetypes as saved traces of archaic
ways of represenng the world, world representaons
preserved from our human predecessors .
In addion to consciousness and the collecve unconscious,
Jung claimed that a third layer of the mind, the personal
unconscious, was in between the conscious and collecve
unconscious layers. He posited that the personal unconscious
characterizes a structural eld of mind, containing unconscious
content, formed from the individual’s personal life process.
The signicance of Jung’s theorecal model is the relaonship
between the conscious and unconscious, both personally and
collecvely, as a unity of opposites. Jung determined the
unconscious as execung a compensatory funcon in relaon
to consciousness .
Man’s real life consists of a complex of inexorable opposites-
day and night, birth and death, happiness and misery, good
and evil. We are not even sure that one will prevail against the
other, that good will overcome evil, or joy defeat pain. Life is a
baleground. It always has been and always will be; and if it
were not so, existence would come to an end.
Paent A described himself as a highly sensive, intuive,
introverted, and deep thinker, with a fervent passion for the
spiritual element in life. A vibrant internal world, heightened
creavity, and intrigue with the collecve unconscious, are the
foundaon of his personality. His process over his adult life,
has been to carefully consider the concepts presented by Jung,
integrang them with his own experiences, beliefs, cultural
background, and personality. These ancient, me-tested
principles have become part of his personal spiritual pracce
Health Science Journal
ISSN 1791-809X Vol.13 No.1:626
2This article is available from: www.hsj.gr
Elsewhere, Jung typied this fundamental atude of human
life, by wring: “everything human is relave, because
everything rests on an inner polarity; for everything is a
phenomenon of energy. Energy necessarily depends on a pre-
exisng polarity, without which there could be no energy.
There must always be high and low, hot and cold, etc., so that
the equilibrang process-which is energy-can take place.”
Paent A has taken into account these characteriscs of
human life, living in accordance with his true nature, which
means reecng the inevitability of having both polaries
simultaneously present in his life. While his core personality
was originally shaped by terrible emoonal events, the Jungian
approach to personality, has allowed him to acknowledge his
internal losses and gains, via a spiritual perspecve [7-11].
A common theme in exploring his personality, in
understanding its development, and in thoughully seeking
personality growth, was to re-experience the past as the
helpless, terried person he was at the me. Along with this, is
the urge to slam the door on the event and with it, the
trapped memories and buried emoons. In honoring his
intuive, spiritual self, it took him beyond an identy of
trauma survivor simply coping in life, to developing a
personality that is authenc to him. What Paent A
discovered, is that by exploring and honoring an internal
spiritual systemic process (the realm of the unconscious), he
had begun to discover his personal roadblocks, and over me,
to either remove them completely, or serenely walk around
them, accepng his limitaons. He also uncovered his
strengths, gis and talents, all of which were once buried
along with his long-forgoen history of trauma. Buried
“secrets”, wounds, and gis all keep a person blocked
emoonally and creavely .
In this paper, I have shown the key factors that shaped
Paent A’s personality, involving early childhood trauma,
which included great diculty with parent-child problems in
his family of origin. With parents who exhibited mulple and
serious psychological problems, his rst ve years were shaped
by coping mechanisms, in order to survive the cold, rejecng,
narcissisc abusive environment. With parents’ personalies
that were abnormal, he idened through a so-called
existenal criterion that was a reecon of their parenng
styles: authoritarian, rejecng, and traumac to him as a child.
These parenng styles directly inuenced the formaon of his
personality type, to include introversion, kindness,
agreeableness and profound empathy for the mentally ill.
Unfortunately, high anxiety, marked by periods of intense
loneliness and depression, has been a part of his personality
development. These aspects of his personality, the “night and
day” of Jung’s approach, is what Paent A connues to
idenfy through existenal criteria. The professional help he
successfully received, helped to orient him to receiving outside
help, and in “borrowing” his therapist’s ego, he strengthened
his own. As a personality type oriented to be strictly in
compliance with other’s needs, moods, behaviors and
requirements, Paent A reports that he learned a great deal
about both the eect of personality, and the ability to heal,
grow and change.
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