Addicted to Perfection: Navigating the Narcissistic Territory
With Gillian Downie and Melanie Beer
Gestalt Centre Wales, Chepstow
14th October 2016 10am – 4pm
Trapped in the mirror, I am insufficient, inadequate. I need to improve. Toxic. I rage. Envy. I need someone to blame. Status. I need admiration. Shame. I do not have the right to exist. I’m frightened of being found out.
Defensive narcissism uses a façade of arrogance and superiority to cover up an underlying sense of worthlessness and inadequacy. When this façade is disrupted, one falls into shame and self hating depression. To avoid this happening, narcissists usually resort to grandiose assertions about their specialness, or their closeness to a person they perceive to be special. Alternatively, they attack another’s self worth, and thus put others down to make themselves feel superior. This can feel very toxic to be on the receiving end. (Paraphrase of Elinor Greenberg 2013)
This workshop will encourage compassion for our own narcissistic wounds and how we work with defensive narcissism in the therapeutic relationship. We will offer a felt sense of navigating the narcissistic territory through experiential learning, including a story enactment. We will reflect verbally on this experience to inform our self development and our role as therapists in this area.
The child “comes to believe that even if she does succeed she is merely gold over shit, the façade of beauty over true ugliness. The ‘successful’ child of a narcissist feels like a fake, since the true self is identified with failure” (Golomb 1992:28).
Gillian Downie is a gestalt psychotherapist and dramatherapist. She has a particular interest in the narcissistic wound and the impact systemic and cultural narcissism has on us and our relationships. Gillian works in private practice and for the NHS with individuals and groups.
Melanie Beer is a dramatherapist, She works in adult mental health and with children and young people. She is interested in the transformative power of play and how this can facilitate growth.