How do people become Narcissists? It’s a huge question parents of minor children need to be asking and remind themselves of the answer on an everyday basis. In an article titled, “How Parents Turn Their Children Into Narcissists”, Spring.org.uk shared a discussion about emotional age and a new study about narcissistic personality formation. About the disorder, they write, “The study is the first of its kind to follow children over time to examine how narcissists evolve.”
If you are a parent whose children show signs that they are failing to develop empathy in the years following toddlerhood, don’t let profoundly uneducated people convince you that all children and teens behave in ways that are dishonest, criminal by nature, or show a massive lack of human rights respect for other people. While a baby or very young child might not care how their actions affect others — for example, an infant crying on an airplane because the pressure changes frighten them or hurt their ears is behaving egocentrically in such a way that is age appropriate — by the time they are entering the later years of grade school, any healthy and normal child who has been properly socialized understands the difference between right and wrong and chooses to do the right thing our of a sense of healthy self-respect with a fundamentally present sense of both dignity and propriety.
The source goes on to say,
“The researchers followed 565 children in the Netherlands who were between 7 and 11 when the study started. This is the critical age when narcissists emerge. The children were tested for typical personality traits of narcissists, like thinking you are better than other people. The children’s parents were also asked about their children. Professor Bushman explained that his research had changed his own parenting style: “When I first started doing this research in the 1990s, I used to think my children should be treated like they were extra-special. I’m careful not to do that now. It is important to express warmth to your children because that may promote self-esteem, but overvaluing them may promote higher narcissism.”
Kids who are raised in toxic or dysfunctional homes are more likely to display qualities of narcissism defined in the DSM5. The diagnostic manual is used as the common manual for all administration of therapy and other mental health services worldwide.
Understanding that in many cases, Narcissism (as Narcissistic Personality Disorder or NPD for short) is nurtured in children between the ages of birth and age four, it is not surprising to note that most Narcissists who are true Narcissists (meeting the preponderance of diagnostic criteria points required for diagnosis) including but not limited to having grandiose natures, a misguided sense of entitlement, and a profound lack of empathy for other sentient beings, seldom age much above the emotional age of 6. Hence, the 7 to 11-year-old children studied are likely to already be showing the same core nature characteristics that they will when and if they chronologically age to physical adult-level maturity.
Children who are considered at risk due to early childhood trauma or their parents being involved in a high conflict divorce tend to show a high degree of willingness to take on the dysfunctions of whichever parent they perceive to be more powerful or financially successful. Since most people who have narcissistic temperaments understand that from an evolutionary perspective, raising “mini-me” children is likely to increase the number of humans on the planet with Cluster B, they tend to focus almost all their time and attention on pervasively gaslighting even the youngest children into believing the world is a hostile, scary place and that banding together with a toxic family group to keep outside influences from intruding is the right way to “stay safe”.
Sadly, because narcy people tend to characteristically perceive every social interaction as a competition, once they sell the Brooklyn Bridge of Fear Mongering to youngsters and start rewarding them for competing, the child is likely to behave in a handful of predictable ways. If they are emotionally sensitive, they become the family target or scapegoat for elders and siblings to oppressively bully. Then, there are the runners — those who Enable by turning the other cheek and essentially saving themselves by staying silent about Narcissistic Abuse and running away. Then, there are the conformists — people who are more covert in their narcissistic behavior but relishing the position of favorite Enablers. Those tend to act like Flying Monkeys — bad mouthing the Alpha predator behind his or her back to anyone who will listen but still being actively willing to do their bidding (if only to avoid having to suffer a similar “targeted for pervasive abuse” fate or some other similarly dreadful pole position that effectively isolates, estranges, and shames). But truly, the ones to keep an eye on are those who tend to attention seek compulsively while striving to dominate.
Whether a narcissistic child is pitching a fit they know is wrong in a restaurant or they are an adult who drives recklessly and seems proud when bragging about their own road rage, entitlement based thinking is occurring. The adult Narcissist may have more experience in their lifetime, but over time while their IQ may be high their emotional intelligence quotient is not apt to change.
Further, if a person is narcissistic by nature, a physical limitation or deficiency may be functionally incapacitating their limit for personal growth. For instance, a person born with a thinning of the area of the brain where empathic behavior is thought to originate from may simply never be able to feel a wide range of emotions. Likewise, a child who falls out of a tree and suffers a severe concussion in childhood may be functionally impaired. Sports injuries — especially those that involve heavy contact between competitors or team players — are coming under intense scrutiny, as children [or adults] who suffer traumatic brain injuries (known as TBIs) are likely not only to suffer from more mood swings, less impulse control, more ADD or ADHD symptoms, develop a tendency to blurt (similar to Tourette’s without the strong language affectation) and/or irrationality tend to add up to head trauma victims suffering from intense personality change.
To that end, understanding both the complex medical history of all family members, peer group influences, and psychological history of all people who were primary caregivers for a child during their formative years is more crucial than ever (heading into the 21st century). Noting that Narcissism — as an epidemic that is culturally transmitted to innocents — is on the rise globally but that advancements in brain scanning technology is helping determine whether or not any human has the functional capacity to change is key.
If medical science and social psychologists can find a way to work together in the coming years and decades to both learn to spot the warning signs of a dangerous predator, all society will benefit. Terrorists who act like monsters have Cluster B personality disorders. It does not matter what country they are from or what religion they were raised in; only a human being with anti-social personality tendencies, a true sense of grandiosity, and a level of entitlement that allows them to abuse and terrorize other human beings (or sentient creatures) ruthlessly and without remorse are capable of doing terrible deeds like lying, manufacturing chaos, cheating, or actively physically intimidating while abusing.
For that reason alone, any child under the age of 12 should be carefully and lovingly encouraged to introspect and consider how their public (and private) behaviors affect others. Adding empathy to a personality may not rule out a tendency for a person raised in a narcissistic or toxic environment to behaving in ways that reflect selfishness, entitlement, and egocentrism but what it does do is establish a line in the sand to form of a litmus test to help friends, family members, and future love interests make headway reaching out to save the soul (the “Social Conscience”) of a person who — by no fault of their own — was born into a family of stupid people who were crass, callous, unloving, abusive by nature, obnoxious by nurture, and/or in essence mean.
People who have NPD or ASPD (Anti-Social Personality Disorder) are different from other human beings in that they are considered to be untreatable. Only those closest to them know the horrors of living with covert, sneaky, and pathologically dishonest people, noting that people who are Narcissists by nature (rather than narcissistic by nurture) are biologically inferior as a social organism due to their pervasive egocentrism and their limited to no capacity to improve, grow up, or emotionally change.
With sites like Spirit Science, Collective Evolution, Elephant Journal, and the Huffington Post having spent a great deal of time in the 2015 year teaching and promoting empathy, the 2016 year forward is likely to be one where talk about Narcissism (in general terms) as well as the social and emotional impact of people who dominate using “dirty pool” mind control, smear campaign, and covert brainwashing techniques are likely to come into play as viral topic trends.
Donald Trump is running for office, actively smear campaigning all he knows and perceives as political rivals. Ben Carson has come out claiming he was actively smear campaigned by folks over at the National Enquirer. United States President Barack Obama has been using gray rock techniques for at least the past 6 months, noting that his “Grumpy Cat” impression of impossible-to-please members of the Republican party was not only brilliant from a comedy perspective but based on his physical appearance was absolutely enlivening. Then there is former U.S. President Jimmy Carter — who formally announced his decision to part ways with the Baptist Church after 60 years of active involvement. Why did he do it? Because he basically indicated that they were duplicitous hypocrites thinking with self-entitlement rather than showcasing true Christian compassion and empathy.
[One cannot ignore the civil rights persecution the Christian church has done to gays and lesbians while striving to deny them civil rights, the toxic social undercurrent of smarm promoted by “love” promoting KKK members [check their recruitment document], faith-based entitlement issues, or the inherent misogyny promoted in Judaeo-Christian culture. Since most humans are likely to be narcissistic by nurture (rather than nature) from a mathematical standpoint, in stands to reason that stronger, more invincible Narcissists or Megalomaniacs will tend to assume positions of power within the workplace, religious organization, or home, followed by more covert or weaker “vulnerable” Narcissists pack rafting together to serve under the stronger personality type’s protection and tutelage.]
Heck, even Bloomberg Views talked on December 31 about Narcissists, Sociopaths, and the very real crazy-making harm ruthless and unempathetic social predators and politicians let loose in positions of fame grandstanding power can and seem to all actively do. They quite succinctly managed to point out to their readers the following highlight newsreel talking points to discuss related (in part) to the international publicity crisis being created by Trump and his GOP rivals, saying:
Consider the Republican chorus in this light. Donald Trump complains that we have “become so politically correct as a country that we can’t even walk. We can’t think properly. We can’t do anything.” Ted Cruz is more concise: “Political correctness is killing people.” Ben Carson insists that the biggest threat to free speech comes from what he calls the “Political Correctness police,” who have “created fear in a large portion of our population, causing them to remain silent.” Marco Rubio says the “radical left” is using a “politically correct way to advocate Israel’s destruction.”
Those philosophical minds, as well as anyone curious about religion or theology, are likely to find the next decade of scientific research related to personality, Forensic and Cognitive Psychology, Behavioral Analysis, and Neuroanatomy fascinating. With one in three women and one in six men suffering Narcissistic Abuse of a traumatizing sort in their lifetime, victim shaming or blame shifting responsibility off an antagonizing aggressor and onto their preferred targets and scapegoats seems not only foolhardy, it’s also morally likely to cause the eventual destruction of all the world’s children.
So hug your kids. Resist the urge to encourage competition at an unhealthy level psychologically and by all means do whatever it takes to prevent your children from developing huge, grossly handicapping forms of sibling rivalry. Set healthy boundaries about how children are expected to behave in public as well as private. And pay attention! Children who show signs of having Oppositional Defiant Disorder tend to grow up and behave in ways that are extremely narcissistic (or criminal) and youngsters who meet or exceed diagnostic criteria for having Childhood Conduct Disorder tend to turn out to by incredibly abusive and socially dangerous to both themselves as well as other people.