What defines a narcissist?
It’s vital to make clear that narcissism—extreme curiosity and preoccupation with oneself—exists on a spectrum of severity and that each one of us as people are narcissistic to a point.
Generally narcissism is developmentally applicable (assume toddlers who nonetheless haven’t found out the world doesn’t revolve round them). However for adults who fall on the extra extreme finish of the narcissism spectrum or who possess the complete criterion of narcissistic persona dysfunction (NPD), this is able to not be thought of developmentally applicable.
So there’s narcissism as a trait (with variance falling throughout a large spectrum), after which there’s a narcissist or, for the sake of this text, somebody who meets the standards of narcissistic persona dysfunction (NPD) within the Diagnostic and Statistical Handbook of Psychological Problems, fifth Version (DSM).
The scientific standards of somebody with NPD embody:
“A pervasive sample of grandiosity (in fantasy or conduct), want for admiration, and lack of empathy, starting by early maturity and current in quite a lot of contexts, as indicated by 5 (or extra) of the next:
1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates accomplishments and skills, expects to be acknowledged as superior with out commensurate accomplishments).
2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of limitless success, energy, brilliance, magnificence, or perfect love.
3. Believes that she or he is “particular” and distinctive and may solely be understood by, or ought to affiliate with, different particular or high-status individuals (or establishments).
4. Requires extreme admiration.
5. Has a way of entitlement (i.e., unreasonable expectations of particularly favorable remedy or computerized compliance along with his or her expectations.
6. Is interpersonally exploitative (i.e., takes benefit of others to realize his or her personal ends).
7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to acknowledge or determine with the emotions and desires of others.
8. Is commonly envious of others or believes that others are envious of her or him.
9. Reveals conceited, haughty behaviors or attitudes.”
In keeping with the DSM, prevalence charges for NPD vary from 0 p.c to six.2 p.c of the inhabitants, and of these identified with NPD, round 50-70 p.c are male.
Official standards and statistics apart, I’ll add that in my skilled expertise, there is no such thing as a one single, common profile of a narcissist.
A narcissist generally is a chief of the free world, a mediocre small enterprise proprietor, a washed-up, outdated con man, a homebody recluse, a superb and achieved tutorial, or a stay-at-home mother. Narcissists might be male or feminine and located indiscriminately throughout work sectors, races, and socioeconomic strata.
Finally, although, no matter this profile variance, narcissists are outlined by an nearly unique, self-serving deal with themselves and firmly entrenched psychological defenses that guard in opposition to nearly insupportable emotions of disgrace stemming from a deeply wounded psyche.
Merely put, deep down, narcissists really feel horrible about themselves and do no matter they will to make themselves really feel higher.
This leads the narcissist to manage in quite a lot of methods, in the end looking for to make themselves look and feel extra vital and particular than, at their core, they really really feel.
Sadly, within the pursuit of making an attempt to seem extra particular and vital, they typically relationally wound these round them, significantly their spouses and their kids.
What could make being raised by a narcissistic father or mother so damaging?
The psychological results of childhood neglect and emotional abuse are, thankfully, and sadly, effectively documented.
We all know kids have core developmental wants that embody constant attachment, mirroring, attunement, and optimistic regard from their main caregiver(s) so as to assist them set up a secure, cohesive, and optimistic sense of self and to assist them study safe relational attachment.
We additionally know that when kids don’t persistently obtain this, or once they as a substitute obtain constant invalidation, frequent insecure attachment experiences, an absence of empathy, or outright hostility from their caregiver(s), this may influence them in myriad methods.
Sadly, dad and mom with NPD possess character traits which might be nearly antithetical to having the ability to present their kids with what they should emotionally and mentally develop and thrive.
Narcissism Important Reads
- Narcissists can wrestle with having the ability to focus their consideration and orient in the direction of another person as a substitute of in the direction of themselves (refocusing parenting begs of us).
- Youngsters’s regular and pure childhood wants generally is a “trouble” to a narcissist.
- The moods of a narcissist could also be extremely variable and explosive in nature if their fragile emotional regulation abilities are challenged (which is inevitable with kids).
- Narcissists can typically search to place their kids all the way down to make themselves really feel higher and/or play favorites amongst their kids, looking for to stabilize themselves by means of manipulation of the household dynamics.
- Seeing the kid as an extension of themselves, a narcissist might try to manage the looks, pursuits, and trajectory of the kid in order that they align with the picture the narcissist is personally making an attempt to show to the world.
- Narcissists might solely present like to a toddler once they carry out or act in methods which might be pleasing to the narcissist, disallowing a toddler’s genuine experiences and individuality to return forth.
- As an alternative of displaying and offering constant help for his or her kids, a narcissist might invert the dynamic and count on validation, help, and esteem stabilization from their kids, due to this fact parentifying them.
- When confronted with a toddler who is especially strong-willed, defiant, or unbiased, a narcissistic father or mother might rage, abuse, and even disown the confrontational, scapegoated little one.
And these examples are simply the tip of the iceberg. There are myriad methods during which narcissistic parenting can manifest.
Nevertheless, regardless of how the person actions of the narcissist present up, and whether or not the kid was raised by a single narcissistic father or mother or in a blended or married household that colluded with the narcissist, it’s secure to imagine that any little one—whether or not this little one was the favourite or the household scapegoat—doesn’t escape the in poor health impacts of being parented by a narcissist.