Narcissus, the handsome son of the river god Cephissus and the nymph Liriope, in Ovid’s tale, rejects the love of Echo, who after withdrawing into a lonely place leaves behind only a trace or echo of her voice. The goddess Nemesis, however, hears her pleas for vengeance and Narcissus is forced to fall in love with his own reflection, a fate he cannot endure. He is condemned to sit by a pool of water, watching his reflection until he dies and is transformed into the narcissus flower. The term ‘narcissism’, thus, refers to self-love. For Freud the ego has an original cathexis, a primary narcissism; as the infant gradually redirects a portion of libido to the object world, according to Freud there is a developing tension between ego-libido and object-libido. Moreover, Freud described (1914) primary and secondary stages and forms of narcissism. The infant’s own ego, in primary narcissism, becomes the first object of libidinal love; Freud saw this primary, basic, sexually charged desire directed at the self as normal. Primary narcissism is objectless and precedes the recognition by the infant of a separate object (Freud, 1914). Primary narcissism describes the condition of all infants: an exclusive focus on their own bodies and needs.
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