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Gray, S.H. (1990). Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. LII. 1988: Adolescence, Sense of Self, and Narcissistic Vulnerability. Efrain Bleiberg. Pp. 211-228.. Psychoanal Q., 59:336.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. LII. 1988: Adolescence, Sense of Self, and Narcissistic Vulnerability. Efrain Bleiberg. Pp. 211-228.

(1990). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 59:336

Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. LII. 1988: Adolescence, Sense of Self, and Narcissistic Vulnerability. Efrain Bleiberg. Pp. 211-228.

Sheila Hafter Gray

Psychoanalytic theorists have usually characterized regression and turmoil in adolescence as phase-appropriate and fundamental to successful adulthood. This opinion is contradicted by empirical findings which show that turmoil in adolescence is associated with significant adult maladjustment, while healthy adults have made a smooth transition from an earlier developmental phase to the next one. Bleiberg suggests that both positions reflect the notion that normal adolescence is a time of narcissistic vulnerability. The evolution of narcissism in adolescence echoes the progression from omnipotence to autonomy during the second and third years of life, and it is influenced by it. Biological, cognitive, and dynamic intrapsychic changes destabilize the young person's core self-image and exert pressure for the development of autonomous self-regarding and self-regulating functions. This achievement both depends upon and facilitates the resolution of the oedipus complex. A healthy adolescent serenely narrows the gap between ideal and actual self through affirmative expressions of new cognitive, adaptive, and social skills. Tumultuous behavior indicates that the adolescent is dealing with narcissistic vulnerability through regressive grandiosity or transitional activities that provide an illusion of self-regulation.

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Article Citation

Gray, S.H. (1990). Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. LII. 1988. Psychoanal. Q., 59:336

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