Saturday, October 28, 2017

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

The question asked on Quora was "What goes wrong in early childhood development that could cause narcissistic personality disorder"? Answer: "There are 3 common childhood scenarios that I hear about frequently from my Narcissistic clients: Scenario 1- Parental Values In this situation the child is raised in a family that is very competitive and only rewards high achievement. The family motto was: if you can't be the best, why bother? Love was conditional: When you came in first in the race, won the science fair, or starred in the school show, you were showered with praise and attention. When you didn't, you were a disappointment. Children in these families do not feel stably loved. It is hard for them to enjoy anything for its own sake, if it does not confer status. They only feel secure and worthwhile when they are successful and recognized as the "best". This sets in motion a lifelong pattern of chasing success and confusing it with happiness. Scenario 2- Devaluing Narcissistic Parent In the scenario there is a very domineering and devaluing parent who is always putting down the child. The parent is generally irritable, easily angered and has unrealistically high expectations. If there are two or more children, the parent will praise one and devalue the others. The "good one" can quickly become the "bad one" and suddenly a different sibling is elevated. Nobody in the family feels secure and everyone spends their time trying to pacify the explosive Narcissistic parent. The other parent is often treated exactly like the children and belittled as well. When he or she disagrees with the Narcissistic parent, they too are devalued. Children who grow up in these households feel humiliated and inadequate. In later life, they often try to prove to themselves, the world and the devaluing parent that they are special and their parent was wrong. Proving they are special becomes a lifelong mission, while underneath there is always a harsh voice criticizing their every mistake- no matter how minor. Scenario 3- "The Golden Child" These parents are usually closet Narcissistic who are uncomfortable in the spotlight. Instead, they brag about their extremely talented child. Often the child is talented and deserves praise, but these parents sometimes take it to ridiculous lengths. Occasionally the child becomes embarrassed by the excessive praise and feels burdened by this role. As one mother told me: "My son is the flagship of the family who will lead us all to greatness". Punchline: The commonest routes to developing Narcissistic personality traits involve a focus on winning at all costs, the continual threat of devaluation or parents who put you on a pedestal and insist you stay there." Answered by Elinor Greenberg, Psychologist, Author, Lecturer and Consultant on Narcissistic Disorders

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