Healthy “narcissism”?

Healthy “narcissism”?
Sunday October 25, 2009

Dear Alice Miller,

I owe you a debt of gratitude for your writings which started me down a road of liberation from my relationship with my mother. I have never felt so alive and things have never been better or more exciting in my life. Since waking up from the spell of the narcissistic relationship with my mother, I have noticed other relationships in my life that follow the same pattern. As I have extricated myself from these relationships, people have mentioned the idea of “healthy” narcissism, which they equate with self-esteem. I think this is the slipperiest of slopes and sounds more like justification for their own pathology. Do you believe that any amount of narcissism is healthy? Do you think that narcissism is inherent to the human condition?

I hope you are well and thanks so much for all you have done, A R

It is fine if you would like to publish this letter.

AM: I think that it is a problem of definition. If you feel well with yourself because you can feel your emotions and understand them you can call yourself a healthy person. But this is usually not called narcissism. However, if you need others to admire you and be the source of your self esteeem you are not “healthy”. This is the main issue of my book “The Drama of the Gifted Child”. Read it if you want to know more about my opinion.