Childhood origins of narcissism.
As a narcissist is all about themselves. They feel entitled to use others to better themselves.
Humans sense of self-worth develops in early childhood, and the relationship they have with those around them.
So if lack self-worth is one of the reasons why a person ends up on the narcissist personality disorder spectrum, and self-esteem is developed in early childhood hood, it seems that something possibly went very wrong in the narcissists’ early childhood.
This could be down to the attachment in early childhood to the narcissists, primarily caregivers.
The attachment system is a natural biological wired need to drive us to form a secure bond with our primary caregivers in childhood. Our brains are social organs, brain development and social development interact within themselves.
Basic human needs for the body is a good varied diet of food and water. For the mind, it needs comfort, hugs, play, certainty, love and connection, growth, communication, a need to feel understood, a need to grow and develop a sense of self, interaction with others, if this is missing in early childhood. People can have profound deficits in brain functioning.
Good parenting in early childhood is, unconditional love, a sense of wonder, a sense of amazement, a sense of responsibility, with the parent not being able to wait to see them, to watch them grow, develop and learn, to watch their children learn the things they love for themselves and help them achieve these, proud of the child for who they are. To support and love unconditionally, while imposing appropriate boundaries, values, what’s right, what’s wrong, how to treat others, respect, manners. While at the same time positivity and praise for who they are.
For the narcissist personality disorder to develop, there has been something greatly missing from childhood.
Often narcissistic parents either raise a scapegoat or a golden child or the forgotten child, some children will grow up with greater empathy towards others, some will grow up narcissistic. Which is why it’s vital children have limited contact and lots of positivity and boundaries with the healthy parent.
As a narcissist parent relates to the children as an extension of themselves. So the child is never seen for who they are, but for what they can provide for the parent. Often the child is made to feel more of a friend as they grow, then taking over the parental role as the child has to comfort the parent, regulating the parent’s emotions, so the child’s self-development is slowed as they have to meet the narcissistic parent’s needs.
This happens either by the parent, making the child the scapegoat, repeatedly putting the child down and not allowing the child to express their true sense of self. If they are crushed and criticised at every turn, they will become vulnerable, so the child grows to believe they are not important. They then start to hide these feelings burying them deep within themselves to protect themselves from feeling hurt. Through being ignored and receiving constant criticism and humiliation, or they are ignored because they don’t conform. They may develop narcissist personality disorder to cope and feel better within themselves, or they may turn into a greater empathetic person knowing how much it hurts, wanting to protect others, often becoming a people pleaser for fear of rejection.
Or making the child the golden child, idealising them, making them believe they are better than all others, so the narcissist forces them into hobbies that the narcissist enjoys, not allowing the child to develop the sense of what the child enjoys, with excessive praise for achieving and beating all others, and the excessive criticism when they fail to hit the top mark. They also often ignore the child when the child is unable to reach the narcissist expectations. They may grow with great empathy towards others as they know how others feel, or with the narcissistic personality disorder.
Or the forgotten child, often given no encouragement, no support, ignored completely and left to do as they please, neglected in many ways. Again they may grow with greater empathy towards others, or with more narcissistic traits towards others.
In any of the cases, the child may learn they have to act a false way to who they indeed are in order to feel loved, appreciated and respected. So they have to develop fake quality’s to protect themselves from their parents and also to get approval from their parents. To cope, they bury their vulnerabilities, creating a false self to please others.
The parent may burden the child with all the parent’s problems, so the child almost becomes a counsellor to the parent. Or continuously put down the other parent to the child, all messing with the child’s true sense of reality.
They become aware of the parent’s moods. How they need to act around the parent to protect themselves, as they learn from a young as if they don’t comply to the narcissistic parent’s demands, the parent may, tantrum, give criticism withdrawal affection from the child. So the child ends up creating a false outer self to protect themselves. That false outer self takes over their mindset to create a false inner self, as they don’t often get to experience, reality, they accept this as reality often believing that’s just how all humans are to survive.
Most toddlers sulk and lie to protect themselves, instinct and human nature, they usually grow out of this, teenagers with hormones can appear to be narcissistic again they do grow out of this, people who are not on the spectrum can lie if they believe it’ll hurt another if they know the truth, the guilt from that lie will usually hurt them, and they’ll come clean. Some adults who aren’t narcissistic can seem sulky if there feeling misunderstood.
Those children raised by narcissistic parents, who grow up to be narcissistic themselves, as a child they disconnected themselves from their Vulnerability, disappointment, self-awareness, in order to protect themselves.
Click the links below to join, Elizabeth Shaw – Life Coach on social media, for more information on Overcoming Narcissistic Abuse.