The childhood of the narcissist
So what makes people become narcissists?
The child who later becomes a narcissist usually gets something superficial reinforced instead of getting his/her emotional needs fulfilled. So instead of hearing that you are good and loved the way you are, you get high standards for example regarding shoolwork, a sport, beauty etc. So for example a small girl with good looks can hear that she is beautiful and her mother will make her compete in beauty contests. The problem is that the mother of the small future narcissist will not make her daughter feel loved the way she is, she will only give the daugther attention when it comes to looks. So the daughter will learn that she is worthy of love only when others think she is beautiful.
I want point out that genes are also important in developing different kinds of problems. So not everyone with the above described environment will become a narcissist. Usually in a problematic environment you either become a person thinkning low of yourself less or more, or you become a person with more or less narcissistic features.
Now back to the development of narcissism.
You either become a narcissist to compensate for feeling deprived and defective or for becomeing spoiled.
The most common case though is that meanwhile you get spoiled your caregivers don´t make you feel loved and competent the way you are, instead they try to change you.
I think a very important thing to remember here if you have children is that there is a big probability that you won´t get a child exactly the way you want him/her to be. But istead of forcing him/her to change in order to fit you picture of the perfect child, try to analyze what your child likes and push her/him in that direction.
For example, your son is not good at sports which is important for you, instead he loves reading and likes learning things. So instead of critisizing him for not being good at things you like, reinforce his reading and studying. So if you have thoughts that he is too weak and clumsy, keep that to yourself and reinforce his strong sides. In the long run your new behavior will make you happier too even though you can´t feel that at the moment.
To be continued…
Cognitive Behavior Psychologist Monica Emanell