Why Do People Become Narcissistic? What Causes Narcissism?
There are two main reasons
The first one suggests that the child has been overindulged, idealized, and not held responsible for his actions. Specifically, this school of thought implies extreme behaviour wherein the “…parents come to view their child as ‘God’s gift to mankind.’ …
The other camp of thought … emphasizes that … Narcissism often also occurs as a defensive reaction to abuse or neglect … which creates trauma in the area of attachment and disables the growth of a healthy sense of self.
In our clinical experience, we have seen narcissistic character traits created from both scenarios—with some clients having been way overindulged and some having experienced abuse and or neglect.”
Another way to think about it…
caused by a gap between the ideal self (standards set by others, for example, parents) and the real self. This results in threatening situations (real or perceived), which lead to anxiety, which in turn lead to the development of defense mechanisms to defend the individual’s ego.
The hallmark of a narcissist is the development of a superiority complex as a response to feeling inferior. This involves exaggerating his own achievements and putting down anyone that he perceives as a threat.
It’s interesting this idea of a gap between idealized self and actual self can stem from both loving parents and unkind parents. In the case of loving parents, it’s :
Permissive parents who give excessive praise to the child, thus fostering an unrealistic view of themselves Overindulgence and spoiling by parents Failing to impose adequate discipline Idealization of the child
This gap is really the issue
Narcissists are concerned with their image rather than their selves. They often act to promote their image at the expense of their self.
Narcissism has strong genetic components
Of the eighteen personality dimensions, narcissism was found to have the highest heritability (0.64), indicating that the concordance of this trait in the identical twins was significantly influenced by genetics. Of the other dimensions of personality, only four were found to have heritability coefficients of greater than 0.5: callousness, identity problems, oppositionality and social avoidance.
It’s tied to other personality traits - namely perfectionism and aggression.