We’ve now seen that the unconscious need for punishment shows up in two ways. In the first group, the death of the client is a punishment to uncaring parents, on one hand. On the other, it is an introjection of the absence of parental care or love-- an economics of apathy. It’s as if it’s easier for them to treat themselves with indifference than to recognize the parental apathy. In the second group, the loss of a good life and children is a punishment the client feels they deserve because they tried to do this to a boyfriend who himself represented the earlier relationship with their mother. At the same time, there is a noticeable longing for a strong parental figure who would in turn show them how to be strong or give them power.
I think this pattern is best understood in the binary of passive-aggression and what I call active-affection. We are all familiar with passive-aggression. In the examples, causing one’s death to make one’s parent feel remorse is surely an example. Also some echoistic patients forget to do things in a passive-aggressive way, but one that, is unconscious. In contrast, the passive-aggressive mother who tells her kids to go out and have fun while she sits at home all alone, is often a more self-conscious version that I see with (object) egoists.
A more general example of this trend in the personality is in misanthropic echoists. They defend against wanting approval or to depend on others and will come into groups and tell others that people are rotten and untrustworthy. I would call this passive-egoism. There are many narcissists who don’t trust others either, but they are much more covert about it and don’t have to convince others about it, in order to believe it themselves.
In contrast, active-affection is seen in the personality when you have narcissists who are generous to people in their family (and sometimes someone outside of it) in order to keep the beneficiaries in their power. If they act against the narcissist’s desire, they can be quickly cut off, or become recipients of his or her vindictiveness. However, there are (object) echoists who can be vivacious, charming, and fun with someone so long as they think the person is popular, cool, or has some prestige. But they can quickly lose this affection when the person isn’t deemed as important or special. Again, the first group isn't conscious of their active-affection and will say they love their children.
In a more general example, there are active-altruists who identify with certain bosses, educators, leaders, or ideologies which they can do work for, above their own self-interest. However, in distinction from echoistic devotion, these egoists often are bothered by people having other leaders or ideologies that they don’t have. Their way of doing things or understanding things is “the way” and they may sacrifice and serve, but it is as much a No to other ways, as it is a yes to their way.
Just as passive-aggression must be indirect because the idealized parent can’t be directly confronted, active-affection as we see in one of the examples above, means that idealized self in the narcissist must be longed for and thus the parental-substitute is indirectly longed for as a source of greater strength.