The Split Narcissist: The Grandiose Self Versus the Inferior Self

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This article deals with the phenomenon of split personality and, specifically, with the split between the grandiose self and the inferior self, which is typical of pathological narcissism. While grandiosity is widely regarded as the dominant trait of the narcissist’s personality and the diagnostic hallmark of narcissistic personality disorder, it is suggested that the 2 dissociated self-states—the grandiose self and the inferior self—are alternately dominant in, and equally characteristic of, the narcissistic personality. It is further noted that this view of the narcissistic personality directly affects the therapeutic approach to treating narcissistic patients. This article reviews the literature on the subject and, with reference to theoretical observations and clinical practice, suggests that the integrative approach, that is, the integration of the 2 dissociated states of the self, plays a key role in the treatment of narcissistic personality disorders and provides a basis for the continuation and deepening of the therapeutic process.

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