THE MEANINGS AND ORIGINS OF NARCISSISTIC LOVE RELATIONSHIPS
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The purpose of this research was to understand more fully the meanings and origins of narcissistic love relationships. A review of the literature suggests that there are two major forms that narcissistic love relationships can take. These are a mirroring relationship, which involves the reflection of the self, as existing and positive, by the love object; and an idealizing relationship, which entails a psychic union with an idealized object and a taking on, by the self, of the other's qualities. Thirty women, ages 22 to 54, were interviewed for approximately one half hour about their love relationships. On the basis of this interview two women were selected to be studied in depth. One had strong mirroring features in her love relationship and the other had strong idealizing features. The women were interviewed about their life history and love relationship. They were also given the Rorschach, TAT, and House-Tree-Person tests. The material suggests that for both women the relationships affect their self-representation by reviving variations of old, important self-object constellations which were once needed for narcissistic homeostasis. The variations involve the repair of traumatic qualities of those relationships. The love relationships are seen to be related to the women's relationships with their fathers and mothers and the difficulties in primarily either the mirroring or idealizing aspects of those relationships.