Daniel Shaw presents a way of understanding the traumatic impact of narcissism as it is engendered developmentally, and as it is enacted relationally. Focusing on the dynamics of narcissism in interpersonal relations, Shaw describes the relational system of what he terms the 'traumatizing narcissist' as a system of subjugation – the objectification of one person in a relationship as the means of enforcing the dominance of the subjectivity of the other.
Shaw illustrates the workings of this relational system of subjugation in a variety of clinical vignettes, theorizing traumatic narcissism as an intergenerationally transmitted relational/developmental trauma; and exploring the clinician's experience working with the adult children of traumatizing narcissists.
Bringing together theories of trauma and attachment, intersubjectivity and complementarity, and the rich clinical sensibility of the Relational Psychoanalysis tradition, Shaw demonstrates how narcissism can best be understood not merely as character, but as the result of the specific trauma of subjugation, in which one person is required to become the object for a significant other who demands hegemonic subjectivity.
Daniel Shaw, LCSW, is a psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City and in Nyack, New York; and Faculty and Supervisor at The National Institute for the Psychotherapies in New York. His papers have appeared in Psychoanalytic Inquiry, Contemporary Psychoanalysis, and Psychoanalytic Dialogues, and most recently, his book,Traumatic Narcissism: Relational Systems of Subjugation, was published by Routledge for the Relational Perspectives Series.