(In pathological narcissism
) A confabulated persona presented to the outer world in order to secure admiration, adulation, and attention. The False Self is omniscient, omnipotent, brilliant, and perfect. It has many psychological functions.
The two most important are:
1. It serves as a decoy, it "attracts the fire". It is a proxy for the True Self. It is tough as nails and can absorb any amount of pain, hurt and negative emotions. By inventing it, the child develops immunity to the indifference, manipulation, sadism, smothering, or exploitation – in short: to the abuse – inflicted on him by his parents (or by other Primary Objects in his life). It is a cloak, protecting him, rendering him invisible and omnipotent at the same time.
2. The False Self is misrepresented by the narcissist as his True Self. The narcissist is saying, in effect: "I am not who you think I am. I am someone else. I am this (False) Self. Therefore, I deserve a better, painless, more considerate treatment." The False Self, thus, is a contraption intended to alter other people's behaviour and attitude towards the narcissist.
- This guy creeps me out. He is so vain, artificial, and a know-it-all!
- It's merely his False Self. Deep inside he is even worse!