Adoptive Parents with Narcissistic Behavior Engage in Idealization and Devaluation of the Adoptive Child
In mentally healthy children attempting to achieve primary narcissistic supply from the parents, in attempts to obtain the parents' love the child comes to do what he thinks the parents value. In Internalizing these values the child forms an ego ideal. This ego ideal contains rules for good behavior and standards of excellence toward which the ego has to strive. When the child cannot bear ambivalence (simultaneous attraction toward and repulsion from the parent) between the real self and the ego ideal and defenses are used too often, it is called pathologic. Freud called this situation secondary narcissism, because the ego itself is idealized. Explanations of the idealization of others besides the self are sought in drive theory as well as in object-relation theory. From the viewpoint of libidinal drives, idealization of other people is a "flowing-over" of narcissistic libido onto the object; from the viewpoint of self-object relations, the object representations (like that of the caregivers) were made more beautiful than they really were.