Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a very complex personality disorder that is not only misunderstood but difficult to treat unless caught early. And while it may be hard to diagnose in children- the sooner a person receives therapy, the better their prognosis will be.
Children with a narcissistic personality disorder will find it hard to understand that they are capable of doing anything wrong. Instead, they may place the blame on everyone else. Extreme narcissism happens when a person becomes extremely self-centered and seeks admiration and feelings of importance on a very extreme level.
Symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder include:
Feelings of self-importance or superiority
Frequent thoughts of being good-looking, powerful, or successful
Tendencies to take advantage of others or exploit them
A need for admiration
Feeling envious towards others
Lack of empathy
Lack of impulse control
In turn, they may have a very unhealthy ego, which will lead them to become quite difficult to deal with when anyone challenges them. Scientists believe that narcissistic personalities are more likely to develop through nurture (environment) rather than nature (genetics.)
As children adapt to their environments, some situations and events can lead them to develop narcissistic traits. The following are the most notable causes, according to psychologists.
1. Parenting styles
There is a very real link between how a child is raised and whether or not they will develop narcissism, according to research. However, there isn’t a particular style of parenting that can cause this more than others, but here are the most common that psychologists link to narcissistic traits:
– Overprotective parents
– Parents who give too much praise, or make their child the center of the universe.
– Overly critical parents
– Cold parents (those who are emotionally unavailable)
– Abusive parents
2. Narcissistic parents.
Children unintentionally mirror their parent’s behaviors and traits. Because of this, parents who have narcissistic tendencies are likely to have a child that has narcissistic tendencies as well.
If you only reward your child for being perfect., they will begin to feel insecure. They will try to live up to those expectations and do anything they can to show they are without flaws. This can set up a bad storm for children, and in turn, cause them to develop narcissistic traits and behaviors. They will only be content if they are the center of attention, and therefore perfect (in their mind.)
Children who are neglected may pull back emotionally and develop survival mechanisms that are narcissistic in nature. They will likely build a wall between them and the rest of the world, with that wall being narcissism.
In a study carried out in 2014, researchers did find a link between narcissist personality and genetics. They studied 304 twins and looked at the traits of grandiosity and entitlement. Grandiosity was found to be 23% likely to be passed down through genetics and entitlement was at around 35% likely to be passed down genetically.
6. Parental inconsistency.
Psychologists believe parental inconsistency to be a leading factor or cause behind extreme narcissism. When parents say one thing, and then do another, it can cause the child’s psyche to become confused. This is also because when your parents act erratic and unpredictable- you will likely pull back and mentally retreat.