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grandiose self


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In self-psychology, a term introduced by the Austrian-born US psychoanalyst Heinz Kohut (1913–81) to denote a protective and inflated self-image that a child develops when its natural narcissism is inevitably undermined by the mother's occasional failure to respond adequately. This grandiose self normally moderates as the child grows older and its parents' responses change; but it is liable to remain unaltered if the normal developmental sequence is disrupted, especially if the mother never responds adequately or responds unpredictably or unrealistically, and in such cases the child may develop narcissistic personality disorder. Also called the grandiose-exhibitionist self. See also grandiose ideas or actions, self-psychology.

Subjects: Psychology.


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