Are You Born With Narcissism Or Do You Develop It? - Answer Here

Last updated by Katie M.

There you have it, the nature vs nurture debate is back, only this time I want to focus it on those deviously manipulative personalities we refer to as narcissists. Now, evidently these folks get bad press and rightly so because they are often at the root of plenty of harm, but is it really their fault? Can they really be blamed for their terrifying and perhaps inherent traits, or are they simply just products and in this case victims of their environments? Let’s settle this debate once and for all and figure out how and when this disorder becomes apparent. So, are you born a narcissist or is it developed?

Are You Born With Narcissism Or Do You Develop It? - Answer Here

Are narcissists born or made? - Answer: They are in fact MADE and not born as such

Although for the most part psychoanalyst experts agree that the narcissistic personality disorder appears in most sufferers at around the age of 18, they do also believe that the groundwork for these traits is laid in early childhood. Early childhood experiences are known to have huge influences on our personalities and the types of people we go on to become in later life.

As toddlers, our developmental stage is crucial and when children grow up with a lack of supervision, rules and guidance, they tend to believe that they are completely alone and in charge. When children between the ages of 2-4 experience this feeling, the brain becomes convinced that they are the center of the world and don’t need to take other people into consideration. Indeed, here their sense of self falls into overdrive, which leads to disastrous consequences afterwards.

>>> Read; Can a narcissist love you?

How are narcissists created?

Toxicity can be a bit of a mystery, however, there are certain triggers which unfortunately are often responsible for developing this kind of behavior.

Parents are responsible for instilling an unjustified winner’s attitude

As parents, we’re probably all guilty of telling our children how smart and amazing they are. After all, we’d probably do anything to see them smile, to the point when they finish last in a race, we constantly rack our brains to come up with reasons as to why in fact they are the true winners. On the surface, trying to build our children’s confidence doesn’t exactly sound problematic, but when it’s taken to the extreme, it can be completely detrimental to their development and can lead to a superiority complex. Instilling in children that they are fabulous doesn’t teach them to recognize their errors and can even give them God-like complexes, turning them into the perfect narcissists.

Narcissism originates from a lack of boundaries

Let’s focus on childhood again because it is one of the most important stages of our lives in terms of character development and formation. When little to no boundaries are imposed upon us, we tend to think we are the boss and can do what we want, without having to face any sort of consequences. Boundaries are essential for learning the respect necessary to build healthy relationships in the future, and are much harder to learn as an adult.

Children imitate their parents’ behavior

Studies have shown that narcissistic parents often go on to have narcissistic children too. Indeed, parents with this profile lack the empathy necessary to nourish their children and give them the love and guidance they need to grow into respectable members of society. The sad part is that they often see their kids more as a possession or a convenience than anything else, which creates an environment propitious to toxicity.

>>> Read; Can an empath date a narcissist?

💡FAQ💡 What kind of upbringing creates a narcissist?

Many people think that you become narcissistic because you suffered as a child. But it is not as simple as that... Far from it! As with all other psychological problems and personality disorders, childhood also plays an important role in narcissism. Although genetic factors can also influence it, a person's family dynamics and upbringing form the basis of narcissism. So, how does the childhood of the narcissistic pervert explain his or her profile as an emotional manipulator? Although family dynamics cannot be the only reason, it is believed that certain parental behaviors make the child more vulnerable to this disorder.

Some researchers on the subject also put forward the thesis that parental neglect leads to narcissistic perversion in adulthood. Others point to toxic parents who also have narcissistic tendencies. The manipulative parent creates an environment that is so distressing for his or her child that the child uses mechanisms to protect him or herself. More often than not, the child reproduces the same behaviors as the parent in adulthood. Even more serious, the birth of the narcissist can also result from abuse by a parent, physical violence, but also psychological. In short, the origins of narcissistic perversion are often to be found in a dysfunctional family.

Did I cause my child to be a narcissist? 

Whilst you may be blaming yourself for bad parenting if your child displays narcissistic tendencies, you must shake the guilt immediately. Now, whilst our childhood experiences help to form our characters, this is only in part. Childhood experiences aren’t everything and once we are adults, we must realize that we are capable of making our own decisions. Indeed, when we become adults, we become the captains of our own ships, meaning our parents are no longer responsible for our poor actions or bad behavior. If you have a narcissistic parent, know that you are not totally at fault for their controlling and manipulative actions.

>>> Discover; How does narcissism affect friendships?

Can a narcissist be cured?

The question whether a narcissistic person can heal is complex and depends on a number of factors. In some cases, with awareness, a willingness to change and thorough therapeutic work, a narcissistic person can make significant progress and develop healthier behaviors. However, it's important to note that narcissism is a deeply rooted personality trait that can be difficult to change.

Narcissism is often associated with rigid thought patterns, powerful defense mechanisms and problems with self-perception. Narcissistic people generally have difficulty recognizing their own shortcomings, empathizing with others and maintaining healthy, balanced relationships. Change therefore requires a sincere commitment to challenging these patterns of thinking and developing new emotional and relational skills.

Therapy can play an essential role in the healing process of a narcissistic person. Therapy can help the person explore the origins of their narcissism, develop greater self-awareness, work on emotional regulation and cultivate healthy empathy and relationship skills. However, the narcissistic person must be motivated and willing to actively engage in the therapeutic process to achieve lasting results.

>>> Read; What's the difference between being self-centered and narcissistic?

What’s the typical childhood of a narcissist, what kind of trauma do they experience? 

The typical childhood of a narcissist is characterized by an incestuous climate that damages psycho-affective development and self-esteem. This climate can be diametrically opposed. Here, we’re talking about a climate linked to psychological and sexual abuse, and physical maltreatment .... which destroys all balanced and stable development. It’s a climate in which the future narcissist is seen as a prince or princess. During their childhood, they’ll be pampered, loved, and adulated by their parents. This future narcissist believes that they are the center of the world, where the incestuous climate is omnipresent, where the difference between generations is erased, and the child imposes themselves by developing a feeling of power.

The formation of a narcissistic personality in a child is often the result of a complex combination of factors, of which the family environment plays a crucial role. Early experiences, such as excessively indulgent or excessively critical parents, can contribute to the formation of narcissistic traits. Children who have received constant over-valorization without clear boundaries may develop a sense of grandiosity and excessive importance, while those who have been constantly criticized or ignored may develop an insatiable need for external validation. Trauma, such as neglect or abuse, can also influence the development of narcissistic behavior as a defense mechanism. In short, the genesis of narcissism in children is multifactorial and can be linked to complex interactions with their family and social environment, as well as to specific life experiences that can influence their personality development.

Can someone become a narcissist later in life?

While narcissistic personality traits often develop during adolescence or early adulthood, it is possible for someone to exhibit increased narcissistic behaviors later in life due to various factors. However, developing full-blown Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) later in life is less common. Here are some reasons why narcissistic traits might emerge or intensify:

  • 1) Life changes and success: Significant changes in a person's life, such as sudden success, wealth, or fame, can contribute to the development of narcissistic behaviors. The newfound status can lead to an inflated sense of self-importance and entitlement.
  • 2) Traumatic experiences: Traumatic or highly stressful experiences can sometimes trigger narcissistic tendencies as a defense mechanism. For example, someone who has been deeply hurt or humiliated might adopt narcissistic behaviors to protect their ego and self-esteem.
  • 3) Aging and insecurity: As people age, they might face physical decline, retirement, or loss of relevance, leading to increased insecurity. To compensate, they might adopt narcissistic traits, seeking admiration and validation to boost their self-worth.
  • 4) Changes in social dynamics: Shifts in social relationships, such as divorce, loss of close relationships, or changes in social circles, can lead some individuals to adopt narcissistic behaviors to regain a sense of control and significance.
  • 5) Cultural and environmental factors: Living in an environment that highly values individualism, competition, and external success can foster narcissistic traits. If societal or cultural norms change, it might influence individuals to adopt these behaviors to fit in or succeed.

Editor’s opinion - No one is born bad

We hear a lot of outlandish theories related to people we regard as evil; be it serial killers or narcissists, however, the conclusion is always the same; these people were forced to become this way. If we look at ‘evil people’s’ pasts, we often notice a common trend of neglect, mistreatment and often bullying, which they go on to replicate as adults, after all, we often repeat what we experience and this makes for a vicious circle in most cases. As babies, we are pure and all have good souls, yet as we mature, the traumas we are subjected to often change us and skew our personalities into becoming dangerous and harmful when it comes to mental health.

🤗 Understand yourself, accept yourself, be happy... Let’s do it here and now!


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I disagree. If some children are not born with Narcissism/ADHD/Autism, then they are being impacted by something given to them in the 1st year of life that's changing the wiring in their brain, mainly causing a lack of empathy. I've watched young children (birth - 4 years) long enough to have observed that some of these kids (as early as the first two years of life) possess a personality of extreme selfishness, lack of empathy, manipulative, sneaky, and many times mean/dark spirited far beyond just a typical child or even typical high energy child. It appears as though attempting to teach them right from wrong makes little improvement. They cry, but only for themselves, many times it's fake and they're right back doing the same things (taking toys from others, hitting without being provoked, some very impulsive). It's a very unattractive personality that even their own parents have a hard time with. I've come to the conclusion that you cannot be a nice person when you lack empathy -- that's what needs to be addressed.

Anonyme a year ago

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