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James F. Masterson (1926-03-25) was born in Philadelphia, Pa. He is one of the pioneers of Object relations theory. He received his undergraduate degree from University of Notre Dame and his MD in 1950 from Thomas Jefferson University.


Masterson on narcissism

Masterson in 1993[1] proposes two categories for pathological narcissism, exhibitionist and closet. Both fail to adequately develop an age- and phase- appropriate self because of defects in the quality of psychological nurturing provided, usually by the mother. The exhibitionist narcissist is the one described in DSM-IV and differs from the closet narcissist in several important ways.

The closet narcissist is more likely to be described as having a deflated, inadequate self perception and greater awareness of emptiness within. The exhibitionist narcissist would be described as having an inflated, grandiose self perception with little or no conscious awareness of the emptiness within. Such a person would assume that this condition was normal and that others were just like them.

The closet narcissist seeks constant approval from others and appears similar to the borderline in the need to please others. The exhibitionist narcissist seeks perfect admiration all the time from others.


  • Psychotherapy of the borderline adult: a developmental approach. Brunner/Mazel 1976, ISBN 0-87630-127-8
  • The search for the real self: unmasking the personality disorders of our age. Collier Macmillan 1988, ISBN 0-02920-291-4
  • The emerging self: a developmental self & object relations approach to the treatment of the closet narcissistic disorder of the self. 1993


  1. ^ Masterson, James F. The Emerging Self: A Developmental Self & Object Relations Approach to the Treatment of the Closet Narcissistic Disorder of the Self, 1993

See also

External links



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