Spheres of control – the power of discipline
The normal person is likely to welcome a moderate amount of attention – verbal and non-verbal – in the form of affirmation, approval, or admiration. Too much attention, though, is perceived as onerous and is avoided. Destructive and negative criticism is avoided altogether.
The narcissist, in contrast, is the mental equivalent of an alcoholic. He is insatiable. He directs his whole behavior, in fact his life, to obtain these pleasurable titbits of attention. He embeds them in a coherent, completely biased, picture of himself. He uses them to regulate his labile sense of self-worth and self-esteem.
To elicit constant interest, he projects to others a confabulated, fictitious version of himself, known as the false self. The false self is everything the narcissist is not: omniscient, omnipotent, charming, intelligent, rich, or well-connected. Does this require discipline? You betcha. A blue-million pounds of discipline.