My principle of the dual mothership in the Narcissist shared fantasy says that the narcissist and his intimate partner or friend or colleague doesn't matter.
The narcissist and the partner in the shared fantasy convert each other into maternal figures in the search for unconditional love and acceptance.
It's like having a second childhood, a chance at getting things right, finally having failed in the original childhood.
But wait a minute, many of you asked me, where is daddy in all this? Where's the father? What is the father's role?
Well, fathers, of course, are very important in personal development and growth, but at a much later stage after age three years.
Mothers are the critical figures between zero and three years old.
When I say mother, let it be clear. It's anyone in the child's life, in the infant's life, anyone who fulfills a maternal role, anyone who is the primary caregiver, the primary object could be a grandfather, grandmother could be a neighbor in the absence of a mother of a functioning mother.
When the mother is what is called in psychology, a dead mother, absent, selfish, sick, instrumentalizing, abusive, whatever, when the mother is not there, there's always another person, very often another person, who takes over the maternal role.
And that person is the mother I'm referring to.
The narcissist and his intimate partner try to find in each other this maternal figure in order to resolve conflicts of early childhood that remain open.
And this is known as repetition compulsion.
Father comes into the picture much later. Father is what is known as a socialization agent. Father brings into the picture society, its edicts, its expectations, its scripts, its beliefs, its values and its injunctions.
Now, everyone can have daddy issues, men and women alike, people with mental health disorders such as borderline personality disorder and people who are completely healthy. Anyone and everyone can have daddy issues.
When a woman has daddy issues, when she has unresolved conflicts or problems with her father, she is later in life when she becomes an adult, she seeks care, protection, approval, acceptance, understanding, support, validation, adoration, attention, worship. She seeks someone to tell her what reality is known as reality testing and unconditional love.
Now, we all are looking for these things, but women with daddy issues are looking for these things in a man who is much older and resembles a father figure.
Men with daddy issues are looking for, believe it or not, pampering, safety, guidance, instruction, discipline, regulation of sense of self worth, grandiosity and unconditional love. These are dispersants and tenets of daddy issues.
In both gender, a father who is dysfunctional, who is remote, who is cold, who is distant, who is rejecting, a dead father, so to speak, affects the process of socialization, acculturation and the regulation of anxiety. A dead mother, on the other hand, does not allow the child to separate from her and to become an individual.
So these are two distinct classes of problems.
When the mother is problematic, dysfunctional, instrumentalizes the child, treats the child as an extension, there's a problem with separation, individuation.
The child has never become a person and the child would go through life seeking to recreate and reenact the relationship with his mother so as to allow himself to separate and to individuate.
Hence, the repetitive patterns in relationships with narcissists, idealization, devaluation, discard.
Now, when the father is the problem, there will be an attempt to recreate a father figure who would stand in for society, would bring the world into the person.
So, in both cases, we are talking about situations where the father or the mother, the original ones, the biological ones, have failed to act as fathers or mothers.
And the opposite is also true when the child is pedestalized, idolized, pampered, smothered.
When the child experiences emotional incest, when the relationship is disproportionately and inappropriately closed with father or with mother, all this induces the same outcomes.
Now, people with daddy issues can simultaneously have mommy issues. Narcissists, for example, they have mommy issues, so they are looking to convert their intimate partners into mothers and then separate from these mothers, newly found mothers.
But many narcissists also have daddy issues and they would tend to be fawning and people pleasing to a figure who is authoritative and father-like, avuncular, if you wish.
So, they would go through life looking for both a maternal figure and a paternal figure, a substitute mother and a substitute father.
Do not conflate and confuse these issues. They are not the same.