Vol. 59 No. 2 (2011)
Research Article

Names and Narcissism: A Clinical Perspective on How Parents Choose Names for Their Newborn

Published 2011-06-01


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Parents express themselves through the names they give to their children. This article, based on clinical background and practice, looks at the names parents give their children in order to examine the emotional and psychological processes motivating these parents. Specifically, we will look at narcissism, since patients with narcissistic deprivation, in particular, tend to give their children names which often reflect their own deprivations.

After a short presentation of healthy and pathological narcissism, and an onomastic-linguistic description of Hebrew given names as the semantic and morphological product of condensation and displacement, we merge the two presentations. We analyze authentic clinical cases to illustrate the interplay within this framework between early self, self-object experiences, and conflicts that emerge in the process of providing names and vice versa.

The data for this paper is drawn from psychotherapeutic encounters with Israeli — Jewish patients.


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