What is a Selfobject?

Nancy McWilliams (2011) writes, “A self object is someone in our life who supports our self-esteem by their affirmation, admiration, and approval. The term reflects the fact that individuals in that role function as objects outside the self and also as part of one’s self-definition. By helping to modulate self-esteem, they augment what most of us also do internally. We all have selfobjects, and we need them. If we lose them we feel diminished, as if some vital piece of us has died. Yet reality and morality require that others be more than self objects, that we recognize them in terms of who they are and what they need, not just in terms of what they do for us.

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