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The term Healthy narcissism represents, in accordance with Ronnie Solan's assumption, a new understanding of the functioning of narcissism as an emotional-immune system for safeguarding the familiarity and the well-being of the individual against invasion by foreign sensations (1998) and small differences (Freud 1929-1930).

The innate immunization vacillates between well-being, in the presence of the familiar, and alertness as well as vulnerability, facing the stranger. From childhood, the familiar is tempting and the strangeness is intolerable from within (illness) or from outside (otherness). Hence, narcissistic immunization might be compared to the activity of the biological immunological system that identifies the familiar protein of the cell and rejects the foreign protein (bacteria, virus).

Thus, from infancy to adulthood, getting hurt emotionally is inevitable because the other, even if he or she is a familiar person and dear to us, is still a separate individual that asserts his otherness.

The healthy narcissism succeeds in updating narcissistic data (such as acquaintance with the unfamiliar) and in enabling the recovery of self-familiarity from injury and psychic pains.

Healthy narcissism activates immunologic process of restoring the stabilization of cohesiveness, integrity and vigorousness of the self and the restoration of the relationship with the other, despite its otherness.

Impaired functioning of narcissism fails to activate these narcissistic processes and arouses destructive reactions. Thus, the individual steadfastly maintains his anger toward the other that offended him, and might sever contact with him, even to the extent of exacting violent revenge, although this other might be dear to him. Impaired narcissism may be converted into a pathological narcissism that leads to fragility and vulnerability of the self, to immature individuation, narcissistic disorders and pathological phenomena.

The healthy narcissism contributes to improving emotional intelligence as part of the process of adapting to changes; to intensifying curiosity and investigating the environment; to relating to otherness, and for enhancing 'joie de vivre'.

Papers and Articles

  • Solan, Ronnie (1991). Jointness as integration of merging and separateness in object relations and narcissism.. Psychoanal. Study of the Child, 46: 337-352..  http://www.pep-web.org/
  • Solan, Ronnie (1998) Narcissistic Fragility in the Process of Befriending the Unfamiliar. Psychoanal. Amer. J. Psycho-Anal., Vol. 58:(2)163-186. http://www.springerlink.com
  • Solan, Ronnie (1998b). The Narcissitic Vulnerability to Change in Object Relation. In Psychoan. In Israel (Theoriebildung und therapeutische Praxis). BlatteR Band 9. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht Gottingen.
  • Solan, Ronnie (1999). The Interaction Between Self and Other: A Different Perspective on Narcissism. Psychoanal. Study of the Child, 54: 193-215.
  • Solan, Ronnie (2007). Enigma of Childhood (in Hebrew). Modan Publishing House.

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