Tag Archives: Narcissism

Narcissism : The Roles Of Nature, Nurture And Culture

narcissism nature and nurture

To what degree are narcissists created by their genetic inheritance (nature) and to what degree by the environment in which they grow up (nurture)?

The Role Of Nature :

According to a leading expert in the field of the study of narcissism, Dr Craig Malkin (Harvard Medical School), author of the fascinating book The Narcissist Test, some individuals may be born with an innate, or, in other words, genetic, predisposition towards developing narcissism in later life (which is, of course, a very different thing from asserting that there exists a gene for narcissism).

Indeed, he states that some young children start to display a temperament with narcissistic-like elements even before the age of three years, such as an abnormally intense need for attention. Furthermore, according to Dr Malkin, those children who display a deficit of empathy and compassion in relation to others’ feelings are more likely to go on to develop full-blown narcissistic personality disorder in adulthood. Also, importantly, says Dr Malikn, it is those with an extravert personality who are at particular risk of becoming narcissists.

The Role Of Nurture :

However. inborn temperament and predispositions are not enough per se to determine whether a person will go on to develop narcissistic personality disorder. Instead, it is how the child’s upbringing interacts with his/her particular temperament that is crucial.

It is when a child is brought up without receiving ‘secure love‘ that the s/he will feel driven to try to compensate for this deficit by desperately attempting to gain attention, but in ways that are ultimately dysfunctional or ‘unhealthy’.

Types Of Parenting That May Put The Child At Risk Of Developing Narcissism In Later Life :

Dr Malkin states that certain parenting styles may put the child at risk of developing narcissistic personality disorder later on in life ; I summarize these below :

  • parents who only show their children admiration and approval when they (their children) achieve tangible successes (for example, in the realm of sport or academia). This can, ultimately, addict children to the desperate pursuit of similar admiration and approval in later life by constantly feeling compelled to achieve further successes (such as the accumulation of large sums of money and the gaining of high social status) because their fundamental sense of self-worth becomes inextricably linked to, and dependent upon, publicly/socially acknowledged achievements.

 

  • parents who excessively intrude’ and ‘interfere’ with their children;s lives, ignore their need for privacy’ and place their own needs for ‘control and attention’ over their children’s needs for autonomy’. (Dr Malkin also points out that parents who behave in this ways are, themselves, narcissistic) Children exposed to such treatment at the hands of their parents may develop into adults who therefore have an intense need to prevent the desires of others impinging upon their own in order to preserve their identities (that were so threatened by their parents’ overbearing behavior during their childhoods).

The Role Of Culture :

Finally, Dr Malkin stresses the importance of the influence of particular cultures on the development of narcissism in individuals.

He suggests that :


Resources (Self-hypnosis downloads).

Dealing With Narcissistic Behavior : Click HERE for further details.

Escape Emotional Abuse : Click HERE for further details.


David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

Characteristics Of Narcissistic Parents

effects of narcissistic parents on child

Typically, the narcissistic parent views his/her child as a kind of possession whose sole purpose is to continuously fulfill his/her (i.e. the narcissistic parent’s) emotional needs.

In order to keep the child in this role (i.e. the role of existing solely to meet the parent’s emotional needs), the narcissistic parent may exert power over the child in highly manipulative and controlling ways.

Because such parents are so possessive of the child, as the child grows older and starts to become more independent (especially during early adolescence), the narcissistic parent may feel threatened that his/her hitherto exclusive relationship with the child is becoming increasingly precarious. Indeed, if the child begins to show signs of no longer fulfilling the role that the narcissistic parent has assigned to him/her, such parents may become deeply resentful of the child and start to punish him/her through emotional abuse (including directing intense rage toward the child).

The narcissistic parent essentially EXPLOITS their child, capitalizing on the fact that the child is biologically programmed to be dependent upon him/her (but especially the mother); as already alluded to, this enables such parents to exert enormous power and control over the child, a power which they ruthlessly abuse. Such parents feel little or no empathy for their child and are have scant regard for the child’s personal boundaries.

narcissistic parents

Narcissistic abuse tends to be covert in the sense that it takes place in the privacy of the family home ; in public, the narcissistic parent tends to be extremely careful to present as good an image as possible (in an attempt to maintain the illusion of being superior to others), perhaps trying to act ‘the perfect parent’ to keep up appearances (as already implied, narcissists are exceptionally concerned about how others perceive them)’

The child of the narcissistic parent is doomed to failure in as far that whatever s/he does in order attempt to meet the parent’s emotional needs, it will never be enough as, in this regard, the narcissist is impossible to satisfy.

Unfortunately, when growing up with a narcissistic parent, the child is highly unlikely to realize that the parent is suffering from a serious disorder that results in highly dysfunctional parenting. This is because most children just accept their family circumstances as ‘normal’ given that they have no point of comparison (in most cases).

Even more sadly, if and when they do realize how dysfunctional their family environment was whilst they were growing up, perhaps in early to mid-adulthood, they may have already suffered a great deal of psychological damage which may well require extensive therapy to alleviate.

in order to minimize the psychological harm caused to children by narcissistic parents, EARLY, EFFECTIVE, THERAPEUTIC INTERVENTION IS OF FUNDAMENTAL IMPORTANCE.

 


Resources (Self-hypnosis downloads).

Dealing With Narcissistic Behavior : Click HERE for further details.

Escape Emotional Abuse : Click HERE for further details.


David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

 

Narcissism : The Sub-types.

 

 narcissism-subtypes

Narcissism :

I have already written several articles on the possible adverse effects of having been brought up by a narcissistic parent, including the fact that this may lead us ourselves to develop narcissistic tendencies. In this article, I want to look at narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) in rather more detail by examining its subtypes.

1) ACQUIRED SITUATIONAL NARCISSISM – this type of narcissism can develop as a result of an individual acquiring great wealth , celebrity and/or status.

In the case of celebrities, for example, their narcissistic tendencies may be encouraged due to the adoring, sometimes worshipful, behaviour of fans, attention from the media, the sycophantic manner in which they are treated by deferential and submissive assistants, and the obsequiousness of general hangers- on and ‘Yes-men.’

If the person had incipient narcissistic traits prior to achieving celebrity status, these may become exacerbated by his/her new station in life leading to the development of full- blown narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

2) AGGRESSIVE NARCISSISM – a person with this type of narcissism has a grandiose view of him/herself, is prone to pathological lying, lacks empathy, lacks the ability to feel remorse, is cunning and manipulative and, not uncommonly, will display a superficial charm (it overlaps – ie. has features in common with – antisocial personality disorder.

3) CODEPENDENT/INVERTED NARCISSISM – the individual who suffers from this psychological condition is drawn towards/attracted to classical narcissists, feeding their emotional needs and becoming codependent upon them

4) COLLECTIVE/GROUP NARCISSISM – this syndrome entails an individual developing a grandiose, highly superior and elevated view of both him/herself and the group to which s/he belongs.

When all group members view themselves and their group in this elitist manner the group itself may morph into a narcissistic entity.

Ethnocentrism is an example of this; it involves a whole culture or ethnic group regarding itself as far superior to others, rather like many of those who oversaw the building of the British Empire.

5) CONVERSATIONAL NARCISSISM – in the case of this form of narcissism the individual has a great need to talk about him/herself and, if the conversation diverts from this topic, s/he is likely to make efforts to revert it back to being about him/herself.

6) CORPORATE NARCISSISM – this refers to an individual who runs a corporation and is obsessed with profits to the extent of being prepared to act morally unscrupulously and even criminally.  S/he is not adverse to exploiting those who can help him/her achieve this goal (eg. employees).

Whilst such a strategy can be effective in the short-term, in the long term it tends to alienate employees and the general public.

 

7) CROSS-CULTURAL NARCISSISM – this refers to individuals who are immigrants but are also fiercely and aggressively of the view that the original culture from which they came is vastly superior to the new culture which imbues his/her new geographically location.

8) MALIGNANT NARCISSISM – the malignant narcissist can be regarded as a hybrid of a classical narcissist and someone suffering from antisocial personality disorder. Additionally, s/he frequently displays paranoid traits.

Such individuals often go to extreme lengths to gain, and hold onto, power over, and control of, others.

They are likely, too, to despise, ridicule and display general contempt and disdain for anyone who has authority over them.

If it comes to the choice between another person liking them or being afraid of them, they will tend to prefer the latter scenario.

Their lust for power and success leads them to becoming trapped on a treadmill, forever chasing more of these things and never being satisfied with the extent to which they already have them.

Because of the obsessive nature of the condition, and the individual’s inability to ever feel satisfied, it often leads to psychological breakdown and illness, hence its name: malignant narcissism.

9) MEDICAL NARCISSISM – this refers to people in the medical profession, such as surgeons, who have an unhealthy, powerful drive to appear utterly competent and infallible at all times; it is unhealthy as it can lead such individuals to hide and cover up their errors so that their patients and colleagues are not made aware of them. This is a form of negligence which may, of course, lead to suboptimal treatment of patients, or, in extreme cases, serious harm to them.

Those who suffer from this syndrome are sometimes referred to as having a ‘god-complex’.

10) PHALLIC NARCISSISM – those who suffer from this hold themselves in extremely high regard, tend to have great social aspirations (a desperate desire to ascend the ‘social ladder’), are desperate to obtain the admiration of others, are self-promoting, prone to boastfulness, vain and highly sensitive in relation to how they are perceived by others. They are, too, often reckless.

Whilst determined to achieve their goals and outwardly self-assured, their condition arises from a drive to overcompensate for inner feelings of deep, personal inadequacy.

11) SEXUAL NARCISSISM – individuals with this condition perceive themselves as having great sexual prowess and also have a strong sense of entitlement regarding having sex with others, as if it were their natural right and due. This can lead to sexually predatory behaviour.

Again, this type of narcissism is a form of overcompensation for having low self-esteem and those afflicted by it usually have problems with experiencing emotional and psychological closeness/intimacy with others.

12) SPIRITUAL NARCISSISM – people with this condition are of the view that their religious/spiritual beliefs make them superior (especially morally) to others. Essentially, their religious beliefs feed their ego (and, again, this is likely to be a compensatory measure caused by an inner sense of inadequacy).

13) UNPRINCIPLED NARCISSISM – people with this condition have very little or no conscience, are unempathetic and uninterested in the feelings and needs of others, are duplicitous, devious, dishonest, unscrupulous, amoral, interpersonally exploitative and regard life as a game that must be won at almost any cost. Highly competitive, the quote ( I forget from whom):

‘It is not enough for me to succeed, my friends must fail’

is, perhaps, a not altogether inaccurate summation of their attitude to life.

14) AMOUROUS NARCISSIST – individuals with this type of narcissism view themselves as highly sexually desirable and use their sexuality to manipulate and control others. Seduction, for them, is a game and they need to make sexual conquests to give themselves a sense of self-worth.

They tend to exploit their partners and can often be what are colloquially referred to as ‘heartbreakers’.

15) FANATIC NARCISSISM – individuals of this type have low self-esteem which is usually due to having experienced significant childhood trauma. They compensate for lack of success in their lives through living a rich fantasy life in which they may imagine achieving great things and gaining unlimited social admiration. They also tend to have paranoid traits.

16) COMPENSATORY NARCISSISM – this type overlaps with/underpins many of the above types of narcissism. Those suffering from the condition have feelings of inadequacy stemming from traumatic childhood experiences and retreat into a fantasy world in which they can compensate for their failure in real life by being a great success in their internal, imaginative worlds.

They are often passive a aggressive and, because they are very concerned about what others think ofthem, are prone to experiencing high levels of social anxiety.

17) CEREBRAL NARCISSISM – with this type, the person holds themselves in excessively high regard, and views him/herself as superior to others, for the intellectual abilities of which s/he perceives him/herself to be in possession.

18) SOMATIC NARCISSISM – a person with this condition is besotted by his/her own body/body image and highly physically self-admiring. S/he regards his/her deeply attractive body ( according to his/her own estimations) as bestowing upon him/herself superior status compared to those cruelly devoid of similar physical attributes.

Resources:

Hypnotherapy MP3/Instant download. DEALING WITH NARCISSISTS : click here.

 

 

 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).