Updated date:

How Narcissists Are Created

The Little Shaman is a spiritual coach & specialist in cluster B personality disorders, with a popular YouTube show and clients worldwide.

how-narcissists-are-created

We've heard a lot about the abuse and destruction that pathological narcissists are capable of, but what it is less-often discussed is how narcissists are created in the first place. This is something people ask all the time, so let's get right into it.

The Why

The article "Are Psychopaths Actually Narcissists?" goes into a lot of detail about the narcissistic wound and how important that is to the creation of the pathological narcissist, so we will just summarize that briefly here. The narcissistic wound is basically the trauma or series of traumas that happened to the person which made them into a narcissist. It is the defining psychological injury which occurred during the narcissist's development. This is usually at a very, very young age. For the narcissist, the trauma or traumas occurred after the emotions developed but before regulation of these emotions or empathy was learned. This would be around the time they were a toddler. The closer down the scale the narcissist is to a psychopath, the earlier in development we can assume the trauma happened or began.

Things like empathy and self-control do have to be learned. They are not innate. If a person is never taught these skills, they will never have them. Therefore, we could say that many narcissists suffer from "too much" emotion, rather than not enough - even though they may seem to have none. The emotions they do possess are out of control and unregulated because they are unable to control the emotions in a normal way, much the same way a very young child is unable. The narcissist's emotions are all self-focused however - again like a very young child - and if they have any empathy at all, it is generally dysfunctional. The few emotions they do have are simply too important; they are the focus of the narcissist's entire being. To the narcissist, feelings are facts. Feelings are everything. It is for this reason that they are unable to empathize with other people when their own emotions are involved in the situation. Other people just don't matter as much as how they feel.

The How: Neglect & Abandonment

So what could have caused the narcissistic wound? It could be many things but often, it is abuse of some kind. There may be sexual or physical abuse in the narcissist's past. One of the key elements we often see with narcissists is neglect - either emotional or physical. We find that the narcissist's parents were often unavailable, either emotionally or physically. One of the parents may also be a narcissist of some kind; this is not uncommon and would certainly fall into the category of an emotionally unavailable parent. Because the child's needs are ignored by the parents, the child begins to hyperfocus on their own needs in self-defense.

All children are narcissistic in nature, but with the narcissist, at the time during development when the child's parents should be guiding the child's attention outside of themselves to learn empathy and concern for the world around them, the soon-to-be-narcissist only becomes more focused inside, on themselves. There often is no guide for the narcissist. They are ignored and left alone to teach themselves. They have only themselves to rely on and this becomes a pathological situation where, though they grow older and gain adult intelligence and experience, the emotions and ego never mature beyond this point.

The problem becomes compounded as they grow older and continue to reach out to the parent for guidance, love, validation or approval only to be ignored and rejected. They are often only noticed when they act out, or when they achieve something extra-special. This is especially true in situations where there is a narcissistic parent and the child is used by the parent to make the parent look good, or where the child is only treated nicely in front of others. This creates a reward cycle where the child continues these behaviors to get attention the only way they've been taught they can.

The result of all these things is that they create a person who believes nobody loves them, that nobody can be trusted because everybody is fake. Their brain screams these things at them 24 hours a day, even as adults. Narcissists have a brutal superego that spits abuse at them nonstop. Nobody loves you, nobody likes you, you're stupid, you're fat, you're ugly, you're worthless, you're garbage... on and on and on. This happens because if a child's parents reject them, the child begins to believe something must be very wrong with them. Children are narcissistic, remember. If something happens in their lives, they believe it is because of them. If you notice, this is the same way adult narcissists behave. Many narcissists were also actually told these things by their parents, and it just plays over and over in their mind 24 hours a day. In the article "Why Narcissists Abuse," this was covered at length. They have been neglected and rejected by their parents and it creates a situation where they believe they are worthless and defective. That in turn creates a person who believes that everyone in the world is just out for themselves and therefore no one will look out for them if they don't. It creates a person who believes that you only give in order to get something in return. In fact, many narcissists will straight tell you that if you ask them. They insist that everyone acts like that, that everyone uses people and only gives when they want something in return. This is of course a justification for their own behavior, but in a very real way, they believe that. It's what they've been taught: other people only matter what they can do something for you - and you only matter when you can do something for them.

The How: Indulgence & Entitlement

Neglect alone can be enough to create a narcissist but we also usually find another key element in the development of a narcissist, and that is indulgence. You might think that neglecting a child and spoiling a child cannot occur together, but they certainlycan.

Example I: Little Jane's parents are never home. They work all the time. Jane cries and begs for her parents' time but they are too tired and too frazzled to give her. When they are not at work, they are sleeping or trying to relax because they are so exhausted, they don't want to be bothered. When Jane complains that she never sees them or feels like they don't care about her, she is told she is wrong or that her parents' jobs are very important. This both invalidates her feelings and tells her that she is less important than the other things her parents are doing. Jane plays by herself all the time and waits for her parents to come spend time with her. She is a very sad, lonely little girl.

Jane's parents feel guilty that they are always pushing her aside for work or because they are so tired. Instead of actually spending time with her, which would take real effort, they try to make up for it by always giving Jane whatever she wants whenever they are with her, regardless of how she behaves. They are too tired to deal with tantrums and they feel guilty, so they give in. This does not stop Jane from feeling abandoned (a KEY feature in narcissism, especially Borderline Personality Disorder) and it does not teach her to turn her focus outward instead of inward, but it DOES teach her that she can have whatever she wants. She begins to equate being given things with love and so it creates a situation where whenever someone tells her she cannot have something, this feels to her as if they are telling her they don't love her. This hurts her very badly. It also angers her furiously because she has been taught that she deserves whatever she wants just because she wants it. She explodes and rages in grief and anger every time she is told "no." She is never encouraged or helped to mature and learn to take care of herself. Jane's parents have created a narcissist with their neglect and indulgence.

Example II: Little Johnny's mother is a narcissist. He is ignored almost all of the time because his mother is too caught up in her own problems, and his father locks himself in a bedroom whenever he is at home because he cannot deal with Johnny's mother's behavior. Johnny does not understand why his mother is angry all the time, but he learns to avoid her and take care of himself. She seems to be angry at him, and he receives a lot of verbal and emotional abuse from her and from his father. When he comes to them with problems, he is ignored, dismissed or even laughed at. The only time they is nice to him or notice him is when other people are around. His mother is given to fits of hysteria; she cries a lot and is often overtly suicidal. When Johnny talks about these things later, he is told he is imagining things or that he is lying or crazy.

Johnny's mother's constant denial and his father's endorsement of it, along with his support of everything the mother does - even when it is blatantly wrong - invalidate Johnny's feelings to the point that he learns not trust his own feelings or perception. Johnny's parents never tell him they love him or validate him emotionally in any way, but they do give him whatever he wants. The father does it because he feels guilty and the mother does it because she wants other people to see the things her son has. In her mind, this is proof she is a good mother. As with Jane, Johnny begins to equate being given things with love. It also teaches him that he deserves whatever he wants. He has never been able to mature out of a toddler's way of looking at things. His parents have simply reinforced it, rather than enabling him to grow out of it. He is never encouraged or helped to mature and learn to take care of himself. Johnny's parents have created a narcissist with their neglect, abuse and indulgence.

Neither Johnny or Jane have a guide through their development. They are on their own, wandering and trying to figure things out for themselves. Because of this, they are never taught the things people need to know to mature and as a consequence, they don't mature. They are simply stuck, with no way to bridge the gap between their age and their emotional development. As they get older, this gap becomes more and more noticeable, and more and more of a problem. They don't realize they are the problem because they have always been that way. It is difficult to notice a problem when something has always been the same. The disorder was "created" by their brain to protect them from the trauma of abuse and neglect, but what protects the child impedes the adult. Behavior that is acceptable in children is not acceptable in adults, but narcissists have not matured enough to be able to change it. And by the time they are adults, they don't see any reason to. The disordered thinking is so entrenched in their mind that they believe they are right, even when they know they are wrong. You can show a narcissist all the logical, tangible evidence in the world and if it contradicts how they feel, it won't matter. They either can't or won't recognize the problems in their own behavior. If they ever do see these problems, there is always a reason why it is someone else's fault.

This "helplessness" is also very childish. Children are not the masters of their own destiny and adult narcissists do not seem to feel they are, either. They seem to view themselves as helpless children in a world of domineering, oppressive adults - or, conversely, as needing to become the most domineering, most oppressive person around in order to protect themselves, like a schoolyard bully. Even the manipulations they employ against people and the lies they tell are often very childish; they are the types of things children would do to each other, or use on a parent to try to get their way. Narcissists can easily be thought of as 2 year olds in adult bodies, because that is what you are dealing with: a person with adult intelligence and experience who has the emotional capability and control of a toddler. There is a huge disconnect here in their minds and this creates some very specific problems in their thinking and with their reasoning. These things are very hard to overcome. If the person is also unwilling to try or unable to even see it, overcoming them then becomes impossible.

The Conclusion: A Recipe For Disaster

So, there you have it. The recipe to create a narcissist is neglect and indulgence. If you alternately ignore, invalidate and spoil a child, you will likely create a dysfunctional, empty, angry person who is not only unable to see or care about anything except for their own feelings, but who also believes they are entitled to absolutely anything they want and is unable to deal with the frustration that results from not getting it. Narcissists are lost, sad, crippled, empty children walking around the world with nowhere to be and no one to care about. Prisons and psych wards are full of them. It's a terrible, crushing disorder that completely ruins lives.

The best way to combat this disorder is to be a good mother or a good father. Spend time with your kids. Listen to them. Validate them. Don't try to talk them out of their feelings. The world is in the midst of an epidemic of narcissism right now. We have to try to reverse it before it's too late.

Comments

Muskan Verma from new delhi on November 09, 2020:

I am into psychology. I have too came across this term many times but still lacks a clear understanding of it which is now clear after reading this article. Well done!

SO Whit on November 04, 2020:

As I read this, my mind flipped onto Donald Trump. A child in an adults body who spouts the most appalling lies and gets away with it because he believes them. And now wants to change the rules of the (election) game because he’s losing. School yard bully? Tick.

Cathy Sanders on October 30, 2020:

4 daugters, 3 are great. Eldest is a varbon copy of my mother. Botn that way.

Lydia Gage on October 20, 2020:

Elbert Jones, I think you're wrong there. He has demostrated a lot of charity for years and openly respects the people of this country, veterans and people of faith. Conceited, perhaps only by his own success.

Elbert Jones on October 17, 2020:

Has anyone noticed that our President is a classic example of this condition?

Sumit lamba on August 16, 2020:

They should not be blamed it's the parents who are to be blamed for an act of how a child behaves

The real Narcissistics are the Parents of a child be it a Father or a Mother .

It's the parents who should be punished and not the child,if the child is behaving in that manner is cause the parents are behaving in that manner.

Get a Life Humans ,humans who have voted 50% that the child should be punished are the real culprits of ruining a child's life.

Carol morris on August 02, 2020:

My son was loved.. Looked after...spoilt...i adored him.. I think that was the problem.. Now as an adult... Still wants that adoration... He fits perfectly in the above description of a narcissist... All about him and pushes everyone who does not bow down to him away... I never rejected him..

D.r. on July 27, 2020:

Your wrong I’m married to one. He was overly spoiled as a child ,no one was better than him. He was never taught to think of others. He was made to believe that no one mattered as much as him . He was special.

Missie on July 24, 2020:

I think Im loosing my mind. Im beginning to wonder if im the narcissist? i have seriously lost my faith my hope everything. I am trying to get divoriced he has my kids whom i greatly worried about. He definitely did a great job with his plan to destroy me. He stratigically planned all this where i am the one who looks insain and needs help. i didnt used to be like this. i dont know what to do im trying to cut all ties hes got all the money our kids and here i am just being tortured hopeless stuck questioning myself.

ive been thru a lot in life but i seriously do not thibk im going to make it thru this.

Mary on June 28, 2020:

You have made all the why's and how's perfectly clear - I am in the midst of a divorce after 25 years of this abuse from a skilled manipulator narcissist. All the information out there has been enlightening but your very clear explanation of their thinking has opened up so much more understanding than I thought possible. Basically - he will never change at 78 and deciding to divorce him with no contact except through my attorney may have saved my sanity. I was the last to know he was a narcissist and hindsight clearly showed the red flags from day 1 of meeting him. Whatever the root cause - absentee parent - fending for himself at a young age - his own makeup - at this stage I have no sense of I need to help him any longer - he has made my life a living nightmare for many, many years - may the Good Lord protect others from him in the future. Thank you and Blessings for giving me a framework of understanding going forward. Divorcing a narcissist is WAR.

Jason on June 22, 2020:

Very true to word good article.

Alexander on May 15, 2020:

Your example 2 above sounds like a synopsis of my marriage. Coming to understand the circumstances of how Tonya became a BPD/Narcissist has helped me deal with the breakup (full of revelations of infidelity) and subsequent divorce but it gave me a framework that provided answers and understanding. This has been helpful in terms of moving me slowly towards compassion, if not quite yet at forgiveness. But my concern is really for our daughter who is now fully programmed as you describe. She understands her mother’s issues because of independent counseling. But she does not see the path she is on and i have no idea how to help her.

Jo on March 02, 2020:

Thankyou...every time I feel myself weaken i listen or read your advice. I forgive my husband but I wont forget.

Corinne Taylor on February 10, 2020:

While I don't believe that narcissists are to blame for their actions, I do believe that they are answerable for their actions. Blame resolves nothing, truely taking responsibility resolves most things. Despite evidence to the contrary I believe we can all grow, heal, improve, recover, limit the damage we inflict on others. I dont believe narcissists are powerless victims of their chilhood abuse and neglect.

I believe they can heal but are not motivated to do so because they can't see beyond their narcissistic injury and as thus don't enough to.

Doneta Wrate from Michigan on February 09, 2020:

I think their God given conscience and personal decisions are involved in there somewhere. Heredity and life experiemce is only part of it.

Jane on February 08, 2020:

Born ADHD teens years BPD (usually after abuse ) one family member treats as golden child Narc for life .

Jane on February 02, 2020:

Very simple. ALL people with NSD are born ADHD-e . In teenagers years usually after trauma or abuse become BPD and if one member of family treats them as golden child it's Narc for life. That's all philosophy.

Tyjuslysmom on January 26, 2020:

I have a 29 year old son that fits the narcissist description to a tee. Looking bacl I can see that his biologal father had some of these tendencies as well, but not as bad. My son was witness to a very unstable home life until he was 18 months old when I finally left and moved cross country to be with my family. He was adopted by my husband when he was 3 and had a near perfect life since. Are you telling me that those 18 months destroyed my beautiful little boy and there is no way to change the monster he has become????

Deborah on January 19, 2020:

My mother was definitely this person!!

Very helpful information and helped me to understand why she was the way she was. I feel if anyone is living in this environment should Read!!!

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on December 23, 2019:

Thanks for this informative, sensitive article about Narcissism. Such good and helpful examples.

Johann on December 13, 2019:

My ex wife are showing signs of a narc. She was spoiled as a Child, had a Sister, 7 years older, who were spoiled even more. I can't say she was neglegted a whole lot, but here Mother and Father were both working as she grew up, Father were an alcoholic and the Mother wearing the pants, controled the house hold, never giving love, but gifts and food instead. She don't know what love is or how to give love, she thinks giving material things is love. When I told her, its over, I want a divorce, she freaked out and went total psycho. Thretend to kill me and burn my things and told me, she will make our kids (we got 3 kids) hate me

NiB77 on November 01, 2019:

I can see that I have started my son of 10 on the narcissistic path by my use of devices after I get off of work. His behavior is becoming serious and I see what started it. I can stop device usage ect to spend more quality time with him nowthat I have identified part of it. But how can I help my son heal his behavior health? Or have I completely failed him? Is it too late?

RmR on October 29, 2019:

At church befriended a person who spent 30yrs in prison. I felt sorry for him as he spoke of his abusive childhood. Within 5yrs he has been abusive verbally and gains attention spreading lies to mutual acquaintances. He can cry at the drop of a hat, is always the victim, never does wrong and seeks attention, sympathy and compassion in order to gain a tangible/material need or empathy. Tantrums are a way of life for him. He never listens, cuts off conversations to divert and talk about himself, always off topic. I'm at the point of severing this friendship. It is out of my league and more than I care to handle. He won't seek professional help and doesn't see or feel nothing is wrong...let alone normal.

The more drama he displays and I 'was' reacting to it seemed as if he relished it. That's when I awakened and started ignoring him. At first he reacted negatively but I find spending less time in his presence gives me peace.

Somehow while I believe he had it rough by the stories he told I question how the past and prison drives him now.

He can be conniving, charming, manipulative and in character when he wants something not just with me but his family or acquaintances.

I just don't trust him. He's one day present(charming and believable) and the next minute a demon on wheels.

I'm attempting a break away. But he has caused many disturbances outside my home seeking to come in. I don't want to call police but I feel it nay have to happen.

Your comments PLEASE.

The Little Shaman (author) from Macon, GA on September 26, 2019:

@Dee: Anything is possible. Usually, we see neglect, abuse or spoiling in someone's history, though. It's also not uncommon for people to lie about these things. But to answer your question, sure. Anything is possible.

Dee on September 23, 2019:

What if he was never neglected and never mistreated neither parent has any of theses traits but still becomes a narcissist . Is that possible?

The Little Shaman (author) from Macon, GA on August 23, 2019:

@Lucy,

Absolutely. The question to me is, are they born that way or have abuse, neglect or any number of other environmental factors actually changed their brains as we now know can happen? It's such an interesting question.

Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on August 08, 2019:

A comprehensive and easily understood explanation of how narcissists are created. Great article!

Doneta Wrate from Michigan on August 07, 2019:

Veeda, when you ask God for help in such situations, he answers by giving wisdom and helping you figure out things. He leads you to people who can help and sources of informations. He guides your thoughts to help you understand. James 1:5 is a Bible promise for wisdom. But you have to ask for help before he can give it. God is much more than a magic wand.

Donxld on August 07, 2019:

@pat...... You dont take anyone elses hard earned resources as a revenge tactic! Rely on your own, so much for the strong independant woman narrative

Pat on August 02, 2019:

Gloria, i hope you can get your exhusband SSI divorce spouse benefits. You should be able too. At least try. Hang in there. That's what my ex did to me too. Doris, Ive said this before, Narcissism isnt always made up of the same disorders all of the time. Its a disorder that can be made up of many of different disorders or legions. Different disorders with different people depending on their parents genetic backgrounds. Understand? And Veenda, I hate to say this, but Narcissist need God in their lives. It helps them be better people. Thats just the way it is.

Good article, I'm glad more articles are being written concerning Narcissist, i feel they are helping people understand what Narcissist are more thank you.

Lucy from Leeds, UK on July 10, 2019:

You are looking at this through a psychological lens, which is very interesting and refreshing to me. As a neuroscientist, I am well aware that (although controversial) true narcissists are typically born with differently-wired brains to the rest of us.

There is a clear biological basis underlying a lack of empathy, desire to manipulate and an analytically-inclined mind. Neurotransmitter levels are different, as is the morphology of the brain itself (seen more extremely in psychopaths, who are just further up the spectrum for apathy, lack of empathy etc. than people with NPD!).

However, you are correct that environment (nurture) can be the difference between a). a person who is pleasant but shows some NPD traits and b). a disarmingly charismatic but cruel-to-the-core narcissist who believes that he/she is entitled to everything. Erratic and unstable treatment of a child by their parents is a major contributor to the generation of a problematic narcissist.

I always see it as ironic that NPD individuals submit people to intermittent reinforcement cycles, yet were probably treated this way as a child. Anyone who is unstable enough to 'lovebomb' and then to turn ice-cold has not had a stable upbringing.

Patty Gurley on July 10, 2019:

Im in my golden years and my boyfriend is a nar

Judith on June 17, 2019:

This was very interesting reading. I believe my mother to be a narcissist. Growing up I believed that she hated me was cruel to me and my siblings, both physically and emotionally. She destroyed our father and has over the years totally destroyed our family,as a result my siblings and I are very dysfunctional, which is sad. I suspect a couple of my siblings are also narcissistic which makes getting together as a family impossible. I am the 2nd eldest and have tried over the years to hold it all together, but concluded that I’m beating my head against a brick wall. I have my own beautiful family whom I love and protect and they love me in return. That has to be enough.

Veeda Reyall on June 17, 2019:

Great article, as a stressed out parent l can see how my emotional absence could create this. My kid is showing narc traits. An only child and a teen with separated parents. Not an ideal situation. I do believe she has choices she fails to make. Wish people would stop with the God factor. That is a cop out. You can't pray away the pain, you have to actively figure it out. There is no magic wand or fairy godmother.

Doneta Wrate from Michigan on May 06, 2019:

We always have the freedom to choose who we want to be once we become mature enough to make own own decisions.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on May 06, 2019:

I read the article and agree with some of the makings of a narcissist, but I think the child has to be born with some innate defect to respond that way. I've seen kids from the best of parents become narcissists and some from the worst parents become loving substitute parents to their younger siblings.

But I do have a question. Are there any studies linking autism with narcissism? I have a family member who is a moderate narcissist, but one day it dawned on me that he was a perfect description of someone with Asperger's also. I was working with a man Asperger's at the time, but he would not qualify as a narcissist. I noticed my relative seemed to be a combination with the classic symptoms of both.

Gloria Martens on April 25, 2019:

There’s a difference between narcissism or narcissistic behavior and disfunctioal. Children and adults are exposed to the same upbringings and have different results. As we become aware and see different celebrities, because we’re exposed to their life’s on a daily basis through social media and TV shows. Being selfish, needy, spoiled, aggressive and or neglected doesn’t make you a narcissist. It makes you someone who’s lived through a whole lot of dysfunctional living and there’s a whole lot of aftermath from living. Sometimes you end up being the most successful people in the world. Isn’t that what Most leaders are teferrred to and almost all politicians. The picture we paint here makes almost every orphan a narcissist and that’s not true. Our children love to have something to blame their parents for and this works well. As for me, I’m trying to figure out just what it is that allows or triggers certain people to treat the people closest to them, the people that truly live them as being their extension. They pretend to love them one day and the next day become someone total the opposite like the Jekyll and Hyde scenario. They speak so beautifully to you, they say all that is loving and gentle, all persons crave to hear and be excepted. Be so loving and kind, gracious, gentle and tender, the love is enormous. The next day becomes cruel and deliberately evil. Self serving, you owe me, name calling and your body, mind and soul is mentally and physically ill. You begin to believe something is wrong with you and you’re doing something wrong. You feel crazy and start questioning yourself but you can not understand what’s happening. You become depleted and try fixing yourself to keep all that beautiful everyone so desperately wants in their life. The exceptance instead of rejection we all crave and desire. We see relationships and wonder why? I’m a firm believer it definitely is so hateful and the mind who constantly thinks they are so perfect and above others is deliberate in seeing their own perfection. You must follow behind, portray that perfect! First that perfect spouse, then family, their life and the outings, gatherings and surroundings always must fall

In line. If you say anything about your day not being perfect, or the words coming out of their mouths, such as simple as “what’d you do all day?” Isn’t said in a concerned way, but a demeaning way when you add the attitude to it, “what the fuck did you do all day?” And the respons is totally different. I wanted to keep peace. My response would be “it was great, took the kids to school...” Oh no that wasn’t the right answer, you couldn’t say you had a good day and you’d get blasted “well if you had to do what I do it wouldn’t be so great” or “if you had to work like me” the to “ you don’t do anything that’s why it so great” to soon defending yourself. Then to change the response to “what can I get you, would you like some lemon aid etc etc.” or “please don’t be upset, or put your feet up, to relax and what can I do” to where you are almost offering up yourself, while your still taking care of the babies, making dinner, helping with home work. To where you hear “you don’t give me that kind of attention” “what about me”. Then you find yourself trying to fix the situation and to keep them happy. Then it turns into “Oh please don’t be upset”, “Smile, be happy” and I’m sorry you had a bad day” All to sudden it’s become everything you can do to keep everyone happy. To I’m fine it’s you that thinks theirs something wrong with me” what? Yeh there’s nothing wrong with me, just because I’m tired when I come home doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with me. You go out and get a job, your the one with the problem, do your job, get off your Ass and everything escalates to another level...what the hell I work my ass off all day and you ask me what the f’s wrong. Nothings wrong with me, I’m perfect. If you have a problem because I work my ass off, its you with the problem. I don’t have any problems. You do. It became a vicious cycle. And you’d do everything to keep peace and calm in the home. I was always one that had a constant smile on my face and he found fault with that. Would ask me “why the f are you so happy” or “what the f do you have a smile on your face for” it was exhausting. Eventually dehumanizing but I didn’t get it?? I’d keep focused on what he labeled as “my job” taking care of the children, all meals, groceries, laundry, he house, school, doctors, bills, etc, Never went to a grocery store with me. Never bought a gift, those were my jobs, He didn’t allow me to have friends and I was alienated from family being 1,700 miles from them. If a neighbor, kids friends parent or someone was over he’d tell me I needed permission. Even though he was off doing whatever and I’d have no idea or when at home he was always hold up in “his room” the bedroom in front of the TV waiting to be served dinner in his room. It was a rare meal he ate with the family or myself. Or did he ever take care of his babies or make time for them. That was my job. His golden rule... HE WHO MAKES THE GOLD MAKES THE RULES. He soon became physical so I did everything in my power to please. It was my job to keep the kids quiet. Since I wasn’t allowed to work out of the home I took in and cared more children. Even if it was quiet, he’d have a problem and I’d be the reason or excuse for it. So keeping a pleasing distance and staying busy with the kids was a way to keep the peace. The kids got a bit older. Every job I tried to get he’d jeopardize it. Cause extreme behaviors at my jobs... they never last. He’d never pick up the girls from the sitter, that wasn’t his job. Or ever watch them for me, not even to take classes or church. I’d be told to get a sitter, he wasn’t babysitting.

I could go on and on...

I’m now 64, he plotted and left as he decided to retire early due to the company he’d worked 20 years for and had checked the laws in AZ to be in his favor. He wouldn’t have to pay me if he was working all the while he knew I hadn’t worked (and not because I didn’t want to!!) and had not accumulated any SS.

I’m all for knowledge and understanding. Counceling always benefits. I don’t want to be a victim!! What is a victim? Why?? How?? What happen?? I would love to study, discuss, learn anything possible. Therapy, speakers, interest to a need for understanding. Anything. I’m writing all the time, notes memories and my story here and there. Trying to figure it out. Trying to understand. It’s been an unbelievable journey that there’s not understanding?? There’s questions. So many!!! What the heck just happen??? If there’s any studies, Mayo Clinic etc. I’m saying I’d be all in to figure it out. Even myself. What am I? Who am I? Why? The heartache the pain and all the aftermath.. the children, Gaslighting? Flying Monkeys? I raised my grand babies to kindergarten and was the parent that was always there. I’m now no one. I’m told I’m not their mother, I ask myself am I the narc? I haven’t seen my children and grandkids for almost 2 years. They are now under the same, whatever it is... that I stayed in??? The disrespect, the blame game... on and on. I’m truly trying to move past all this. I awake in the most hellish night terrors. Demons haunting. Dying inside and trying to breath my way out of this!

I’d love to

Understand the abuse, the hateful anguish some thrive off, laugh about and punish others for??

Any suggestions?

Doneta Wrate from Michigan on April 24, 2019:

A person has to have the desire to change before they can over come a lousy childhood.

Cheryl on April 24, 2019:

What a bunch of BS. I was raised by a possibly the worse parents anyone ever had and I raised myself to be a loving, compassionate person. I have always shown empathy and concern for my fellow humans and animals. So your article does not hold water for the many people I have been in group therapy with that overcame their lousy childhood to be good people.

The Little Shaman (author) from Macon, GA on April 21, 2019:

I agree, Rita. But we are also commanded to turn away from these people if they are abusive. Remember that you can love somebody from a distance.

Rita D on April 20, 2019:

I agree with Cheryl Meril. Only God can change a heart and soul (your mind, will and emotions.) I came from a very tramatic past. I could be a narrcissists if it we'ret fo Christ Jesus!!!! So, this gives me the ability to live with someone who is a narcissists. You have to have God and Christ in your life to be able to live with one. Can they change, Yes, they can. But it has to be their choice.

Loving people who are unloveable, is what Jesus said to do. Praying for those who have it, and those living with it. God Bless.

Doneta Wrate from Michigan on April 12, 2019:

Very interesting. Very well explained. However I think it would be more easily read if the paragraphs were broken up more.

Hacicu Bogdan from Cluj-Napoca, Romania on March 04, 2019:

Really loved this! Never thought what is behind the scenes of a narcissists lifestyle.

Kim on February 24, 2019:

Wow, Morghanna-1, you are the “overt” as you think you walk on water and ALL Trump supporters are narcissistic people. How narrow minded. So progressive.

JAK on February 19, 2019:

I don't think this is an accurate explanation of how narcissists are "created" at all. The article sounds very made up out of thin air.

Naomi Rivera on February 17, 2019:

So what can you do if your spouse is like this ? Can they be helped?

Marsha on February 13, 2019:

Sorry, your explanation is way off. You can love your child and give them as much attention as they need and still they turn out self centered and narcissistic. It’s genetic. Stop blaming parents.

Juliet on February 10, 2019:

Very interesting read on how a narcissistic is developed!

The Little Shaman (author) from Macon, GA on February 08, 2019:

Hi Cheryl! Narcissism has never been listed as a mental disorder. Are you referring to Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Cheryl Meril from San Francisco, CA USA on February 08, 2019:

Actually God can help quite nicely. Just surrender asking forgiveness, a new heart He offers through His Son. Redeem your soul (mind) by studying Gods Word. The choice to heal is yours!

By the way, a narcissist hive at the American Psychiatric Association formed removing narssisism as a mental disorder. It’s in a subcategory under another name.

glenda lafont on January 24, 2019:

My daughter is a narcissist. I was a stay home mom. I drove her to

school everyday and picked her up. She is an only child and was an

only grandchild on my side of the family. She was doted on, loved and

never lacked for anything...went to the best schools. Never had

trauma of any kind. Clearly she does not love me. Has never said

thank you or I'm sorry... never. Once she told her father to pick

it was her or me. He picked me. We placated her by giving her what

she wanted, always. My husband you can't buy her love, he was

right. He is deceased now and I spend holidays alone. Frankly, I

don't miss her. Everything was always a turmoil. What did we do

wrong.

Morghana-1 on January 15, 2019:

I don't believe that narcissists are made. I think it is innate in them just as it is innate in me that I am an HSP. I was born to a covert narcissist father and a very co-dependent mother who allowed her anger at my father to turn her into a minor narcissist who scapegoated me. My brother is a narcissist, and I have four sisters (one who has passed who was co-dependent with a lot of anger in childhood and adulthood, married a physically abusive narcissist at 15), another sister who is married to a narcissist since age 15, a minor narc sister who also married at 15,and another sister who married straight from home at 18 to a very abusive narc. I was different, I worked every summer since I was 15, left home to go to college, had to drop out because of lack of funds, spent a year working and fully supporting myself. Married an overt narc, never loved him, divorced him after 5 yrs. remarried to a covert narc, divorced after 10 yrs when he met his "ideal". Had a son by each marriage. Oldest is an overt narc, my younger son is like me, an HSP and we are close but not too. I am a Progressive Liberal and all my siblings are Trump supporters. My son is also a Progressive but his father's family are all Trump supporters. I believe that who a person is innately comes out in how they handle their narc upbringing. I am the only one who has sought therapy to deal with narc upbringing. I seem to be the only one in my birth family who is self reflective. I truly believe that it is more nature than nurture that determines a narcissist.

Harp on January 14, 2019:

I have a whole family of crazies no kidding they have destroyed our fence on there side..They started 3 days after we moved in always blaming the people behind us till we let them know we know it is them they even took our mail we seen their boy almost every day get into our mail box so we got a post box.. Finaly one day we called reported it he admitted to police he did it his father tried to say he was confused ya right he get off 5the bus get their mail then look in our mail box sometime taking mail some times not..I tried to get it before he got home from school. When we first moved in the grandmother told us when garbage is picked up and they always put it out the night before so we did that first time and next morning it was all over the yard had to clean it up..The bags were NOT ripped open like a animal would do someone untied them and went through them.. Then in 2016 the whole Summer the boy came outside by the fence teasing our Yorkie every single time I took him out if he was not out there his father yell for him and he show up..Now he is older has cell phone so guess he texts him now..Anyways we got a I Border Collie 4 1/2 months old and they stop teasing the Yorkie and for 2 weeks no trouble then they started on him.. And still bothers him from time to time..Oh there is tons more icould tell you but here is the worst 29th Oct. I took the 2 dogs out saw the mother on the other side of the car thinking she just got home from work I ignored her took the dogs out in the yard to potty as I was coming back up to let the Yorkie in he always go's back in he does not stay out much not after that Summer of teasing him anyways as I went back out with the Collie I saw she was still out and walking around the front of the car then saw she had there little dog on a leash I new what was coming so I started to record her she stared to say stuff but i have a hearing problem can;t hear that good she said bunch junk Iand I said a bunch junk back to her she said I did everything destroyed the fence pounded on our housein middle of the night LOL.. Well I HAD ENOUGH OF HER CRAP SO I bent over mooned her BUT DID NOT PULL PANTS DOWN and said kiss my ass..My mother called police I had video proof they are ones who start to bother me I am just sticking up for my self gee ignoring them for over 2 years did not work infact it was getting worst. cops who always said get proof record them..Well they got to police when they got her first told them I mooned em with my bare butt a lie but cop believed them and he said he saw a video of it I SAID THAT A LIE AND I can prove it he threaten me ya cop threaten me..We went to chief police he lied also and would not even show us the body cam cops had on..He showed us a old one from another time we called I told him so he said no that uis it nope it was sunny everything was green it was 29th oct. the grass was not bright green any more and most leaves off the trees and they were brown and oranfg leaves I told him I had video but he just kept lying I was scared to DEATH I seen on TV and online how cips shoot and kill people for no reason so I lied said ok and said I liked him he is a nice guy to my mom I just wanted out of there..When we giot in the car told my mom and dad they wanted to go back but I said no I was to scared.Had bad dreans for long time still have troubles sometimes..Tmom said chief police covering it up because they are scared we will sue them.. .My dad said they will never stop picking on me he worked at a mental hospital for many years he knows psychos.. He said he was sorry but I need to always keep my eyes open and be aware of everything why outside..He said they will never stop bothering me.. On Christmas Eve I saw the boy who is now 13 by camper I ignored him hoping there be no trouble the Yorkie was at the fence peeing I then saw the mother coming so grabed the Colle had him sit and stayed there till the Yorkie was done and when he was we started to follow him..The mother said something I did not hear then said very very LOUD YOU BITCH.. I said F U back to her for the first 2 1/2 years I never said a word not even when they tesed the little dog..I decied when we got the Border Collie I would not let them do to him what they did to my Yorkie..So I started to fight back with words and singing about what they have done to us..Well why my little dog was going potty at te fence I saw the mother coming I grabbed the collie and ignored her when the little dog was done we started to follow him then the mother said something I did not hear and then looked right at me saying YOU BITCH I HAD IT I said F U to her cops will not help so I have to stand up for my self..I ignore them but when they bother us I will fight back with words only way I know how..Kids came out few days ago they never come outside playing only once in the 4 years we lived here it was in front yard the girl is like 18 boy 13..They came out in theor back yard trying everything to get my collie to run to the fence he did few times..I say stuff to my dog BNOT THEM I say ignore them they are mentally ill or psychos..Anyways we stayed outside playing till it started to rain..I don't know what else tyo do because ignoring them does not work tried it for over 2 years..I know the father behind most of it..But that whole family is really crazy creepy people..

Ali Raza Haider on December 29, 2018:

Good article

Demetria Powell from Berkeley, CA on November 24, 2018:

This article was very insightful and spot on! Wish I had this knowledge 3 years ago.

gyanendra mocktan on November 18, 2018:

The Little Shaman, Yout article on the subject was timely for me. I knew the term and its meaning well. But your article awakens me and has helped me to handle my adult student who has been disturbed by her roommate who I think may be going through narcissism. Thank you.

Lorna Lamon on November 17, 2018:

This is a very informative article on what I believe to be a very complicated personality disorder. I agree that trauma in childhood would seem to be the root cause, and unfortunately there is no cure. Thank you for sharing.

Hawkeye on October 31, 2018:

Interesting articles!

Lee on September 25, 2018:

I dont agree with thus article, my Mother was never neglected as a child, she grew up with nirmal loving parents that were over protective. To me its a simple case of, raising a child to believe she/he is the centre of attention and it is what they become, self absorbed.

Jennifer Hosteen on September 19, 2018:

I found out that my husband cheated on me for seven years. It all happened when my son and I were in accident last year in February. The accident was minor one. We got home l ask my husband to say a prayer. When he said, why should I when you don't love me. That really made me wonder why did he say that. So I started looking at his Facebook page that is when I found out that he was cheating on me with women that I didn't know. I ask him why are you cheated on me with these women. He said, it's social media. Then I said you don't say hi beautiful when you don't say that to me. Also I found phone number that I didn't recognize so I call but the phone just rang, and a few minutes later my husband call and said why are you harrasing my friends. He told me I was never there. I work nights. To this day he doesn't think he did anything wrong.

Rita delossantos on September 08, 2018:

Ive been married for 40 yrs to one .i knew nothing , until i found out he was cheating. What i have found about him is unbelievable .its been over a year and im hurting as bad or worse then the. Begining.im trying to defend my truth , because he blames me , and not many believe me because of what a great man he seems to be ive lost everything including my family .i filed for devorce now its about me wanting all his money .im so devestated i cant take much more.

Bshelia709@gmail.com on September 07, 2018:

This article deserves 100 stars. This is an awesome article. It hits a narcassistic person head on. I've lived with one and life was miserable. Everything was my fault or the kids fault. You begin to wonder is something is really wrong with you after all. They truly believe their own lies. They are very mulnipulatively. Abuse is real and affect a lot of lives. The effect is not good at all. Thanks for this article. Assurance that we are okay after all.

Crystal coy from Radcliff Kentucky on August 18, 2018:

This article was amazing. I belive my currant boyfriend is a narcissist, and this article describes his childhood excately. But i also had a simliar childhood and i may be selfish or not think about others i am not a narcissisit. I do have bi-polar and ptsd, i alsi belive i hace bpd. I am very empathic to others. I can feel what they feel. My boyfriend on the other never thinks of anyone. Unless it benifits him someway. Screw how it effects me or his daughter. I also have lupus, so i hurt and he never seems to understand how bad it can be for me because he can not see past his own pain. He comes off like he is confused when i am really tried, like he does't understand how much just going to someones house can be sometimes. On the ither hand though he does help get my medicine, and that i get to all my doctors appointments. But it keeps me well enough that i am able to take care of him. I am co-dependant so i do everything for him. If i'm not feeling well i can't mother him basiclly. I have studied alot on phycology because i want to understand whats wrong with me. So i see these problems with him and i see him struggle. He sees how his actions hurt me and he at leasts acts like it bothers him. Sometimes i think he is just trying to minipulate me. I catch him doing it alot, trying to minipulate. With my mental issues he is alot to handle. After reading this artice i understand him better now.

Rachel Leigh from North Carolina on August 02, 2018:

Interesting read. Thanks for sharing!

Hammad Hussain from Sargodha on July 14, 2018:

nice

Jeff Zod from Nairobi on July 04, 2018:

Neglected and abused children will grow up to become narcissistic adults.

dashingscorpio from Chicago on May 23, 2018:

“The recipe to create a narcissist is neglect and indulgence. If you alternately ignore, invalidate and spoil a child, you will likely create a dysfunctional, empty, angry person who is not only unable to see or care about anything except for their own feelings”

The part I agree with is the (spoiled child). It creates a sense of “entitlement” and self-indulgence.

I also agree narcissists are created by society.

If enough people kiss your ass eventually you’ll start acting like an ass.

Truth be told lots of people are actually {attracted to narcissists}.

They admire the appearance of their self-confidence, their not giving a damn about what other people think, and the courage to live life on their terms. Whether it’s Steve Jobs, Muhammad Ali, or even Kim Kardashian millions of people love narcissistic bold behavior and are drawn towards it.

Arrogance and “swagger” in athletes, entertainers, and successful entrepreneurs is actually revered!

Ever hear anyone talk about the lonely; “bad boy”, “diva”, “player”, “jerk/a-hole”, “gangster/thug”? No!

Oftentimes the narcissist was praised early and often about some skill, talent, or even good looks they possessed. Over the years people would bend over backwards to know them or associate with them because they too hoped to bask in “his/her limelight”. They wanted the world to know that (he or she) is with (me)! Deep down everyone wants to either “be somebody special” or “have somebody special” and by “special” I mean the kind of person others dream about or covet. However once they discover there really is no room for a “co-star” in the narcissist’s life that’s when the frustration and pain sets in.

The dream of being someone "special" to "someone special" dies.

It would take the mightiest of persons to remain grounded and maintain humility when so many people are praising you for being “great” at something. Everyone wants a girl/guy who looks like a “10” but has the personality of a “5 or 6”. In other words, she/he’s “hot” {but doesn’t know it} or (act) like they’re “all that”.

Odds are that’s an unrealistic fantasy which will most likely never materialize.

Society creates narcissists and until we stop rewarding narcissistic behavior or stop being attracted to it we’re going to see more and more people cultivate and emulate the traits average people worship.

The first step is to ask yourself why you are attracted to someone or desire to be in their presence.

The second step is to determine if the traits you admire in him or her are narcissistic.

Each of us (chooses) our own friends, lovers, and spouse. Choose wisely!

Mike on May 23, 2018:

I agree Lehna. I used to believe reality tv was the problem. I now realize it was a symptom and byproduct.

Lhena on May 22, 2018:

In my opinion I also think the problem is partly in the culture. And it is much more complicated than just not being good parents. The whole (western) system is based on it. Narcissistic behavior is encouraged everywhere in the rather western extraverted capitalistic lineair system. It's exhausing and change on all levels is needed for sure

Jimmy on March 24, 2018:

Our problem is in our culture. Parents aren’t home and both work a lot of hours. Society has to change things so this epidemic can be fought. Parents used to have time and families spent time together. Now we work so we can give material things to our kids instead of ourselves. Just an out loud thought.

SM on March 23, 2018:

How to care an adult narcissist who would not agree he/she has a problem.

Michael Casillas on March 14, 2018:

I just got out of an abusive relationship with a narcissist and possibly psychopath. And I really needed to know how these people are created. This article really helped sum that up for me. I look back at 4 narcissist that I’ve had in my life and they all seemed to have most of the key factors here. I’m not sure why I keep attracting these folks in my life but I can say that I will start asking more family history questions as I meet people and weeding them out based on that assessment of their childhood to see if they match the parameters of the ideas expressed in this article. Cause I can’t keep going through this anymore.