„Perfecting the Self Act“– The Development of the two later Power Defences in Narcissism from the Bodynamic perspective, Part 2
Live Online Zoom Workshop
October 9 & 10, 2021
10am – 6pm EDT (NYC, USA Time Zone)
Cost: $400 CAD
What actually draws our attention to a typical Narcissistic performance or act? There seems to be something irresistible to their show of professionality, of knowledge and assured competence, their “air of perfection”.
And pondering over this we might realize that we too strife to perfect our act and that we believe that if we could only reach this idealized state we would be admired and loved too. It is this typical Narcissistic tendency that in fact makes us more concerned about how we appear to others then what we really sense and feel in ourselves. It is in these moments that we actually “choose” an idealized self-image over our own embodied reality. One might ask oneself, how did this come about?
At the foundation of this lies the early loss of our physical centre, the core of our Body Ego due to insecure attachment and deprivation in infancy. As we have experienced in the first workshop, the loss of physical connectedness to ourselves will inevitable impact the relating to others outside. And how this deep wound (the Narcissistic “core”) of not having been met in one`s attachment needs leads to a lack of intrinsic self-value, to feelings of emptiness and meaninglessness. We have also seen how the child later employs the “late position” in the phase of Autonomy to avoid others by object focused exploration of the outside world and how this engenders an inflated sense of an independent and expanded (grandiose) self. Lastly, we gained first-hand experience of how these psychological dispositions are actually sensed and perpetuated by specific positions, muscular tensions and movement patterns in the body.
Already at this point in a child`s development the way back to meaningful contact and deeper emotional attachment would be difficult and painful and so it starts to consolidate its fragile sense of self with two more powerful defences.
The first of the two is basically about putting other people continuously in the wrong, judging them and thus finding them inferior. This simple but powerful strategy of devaluing other people increases the value of the Narcissistic position fortifying it simultaneously. But to uphold their superiority and enhanced self-value they will need to be “right” always and at all costs.
This inner position is supported by a permanently tightened diaphragm that “splits” the body in two. As part of the “belly press” the diaphragm suppresses any emotion below that is “not right” and thus creates a hierarchy of “right” and “wrong” feelings inside that reflect the establishment of relational superiority and inferiority outside. The “inside feeling” is one of permanently having to upholding pressure and control – a sense that many of us are probably familiar with….
The last and final “power defence”, perfecting the “self-act”, is about performing perfectly before a group according to an idealized self-image. This finalizes the Narcissistic development in that the projected self-image, the performance becomes more important and more “beautiful” than the actual deeper embodied sense of self. In this “performance play” other people are reduced to mere spectators that applause the Narcissist for his self-act. The Narcissist “has fallen in love with his own act/reflection” and other people around have become expandable. At the same time, deep inside, the Narcissist still hungers and starves for real, meaningful contact and all the outside success can never really compensate for the inner emptiness and meaninglessness he experiences…..
This last defence is upheld by big powerful surface muscles that become active during the “group phase” of the child`s development, roughly from 5 to 12 years, such as the big pectoralis muscle, the powerful lateral parts of the erector spinae, the lower latissimus and the gluteus maximus. These big, powerful muscles are all employed to achieve the primary goal, the perfect self-act based on the self-ideal of the person (and here the question beckons: “Who’s ideal is it really originally ???).
Consequently, these muscles are extremely tense and form a kind of hard and rigid armor or shell around the person. A protection and at the same time a hardened case that imprisons the person, making impossible any real, deeper contact with others. We often sense this position as “hard, goal oriented, driven and powerful, but out of touch”.
In this workshop we will deepen our understanding of the later Narcissistic defences and explore individually with specific exercises how they sense and operate from “the inside”. And in this process we will gently relax and loosen these powerful defences in our bodies.
Most exercises will be done with a partner to support our spontaneous, alive and emotional self-expression giving us back a fundamental sense of mutual connectedness as well as a deeper sense of our natural dignity.
About the instructor
Michael Rupp is a licensed psychotherapist (Psychotherapeut HPG) working in private practice in Munich, Germany, since 2006. He is a Bodynamic educational therapist and supervisor.
He is part of the international trainer team of Bodynamic (Foundation) and has been teaching in Germany, Brasil and Portugal.
Before he has been working as a social pedagogue and therapist for many years, notably as facilitator for 2 pedagogic Healing Centers for children with developmental disturbances (eg. ADHS) and special needs.
Additionally he has been trained in different humanistic and transpersonal approaches like Bioenergetics, Gestalt, Inner Child Work and Diamond Approach (Logos) with Faisal Muqqadam.
He is a member of the dgk (Gesellschaft für Körperpsychotherapie) and EABP (European Association of Bodypsychotherapie).
Prior recording of Part 1 of this workshop available for purchase at $80 CAD for temporary access upon registration for Part 2.
Purchasing Part 1 is optional but strongly suggested if you had not participated.
Contact email@example.com, 780-709-3091