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What Is The Cause Of A Narcissist?

Author: Florida Women's Law Group
Date: Jan 24 2022

What is the Cause of a Narcissist?

Narcissism is a term that is often thrown around to describe a self-absorbed person.  In this age of selfies and social media it seems as if there is an entire generation of narcissists being created!  Narcissism is so much more than being self-centered and at the center is usually someone who is the complete opposite and has low self-esteem.

What causes narcissism, are people just born that way?  It is hard to pinpoint exactly what causes it, but scientists and researchers agree that childhood trauma, environmental factors and genetics all play a role in developing a narcissistic personality.

The Developing Brain as a Child

Research has shown that childhood trauma such as physical, mental, emotional and sexual abuse can be directly linked to a child developing into a narcissist.  In childhood, the brain is developing and learning interpersonal skills.  When a child is neglected or there are interruptions in healthy and uncompromised development, they learn to mentally adapt to self-preservation.  Their childhood is usually full of extremes, either too much or too little from one parent or both.  It can be neglect or excessive praise and attention.  While two extremes, both home environments can lead a child to narcissistic tendencies.

Childhood Trauma

The number one cause for narcissism is experiencing childhood trauma such as severe abuse or neglect.  When a child is ignored or doesn’t have their needs met by one or both parents, they develop feelings that they are not good enough or that no one cares about them.  They may have had inconsistent or unpredictable parenting in an emotionally volatile home with constant criticism.  If one parent was the abuser and the other one did not intervene it is also emotionally confusing to the child.

The child’s response to this sort of neglect is to not let anyone in emotionally to prevent being hurt.  They learned to take care of themselves and not need anyone because  they felt as if no one was there for them or loved them in childhood.  Thus, developing a lack of empathy and self-preservation.

The Spoiled Child

At the opposite end of the spectrum is the child that was over-indulged, never told no and constantly told they were the most attractive, smartest and best at everything.  Their parents likely put a high value on looks, accomplishments and abilities.  These children who were pampered and excessively praised learned to expect that behavior and believe that they are superior to everyone else.  When someone tells them no or doesn’t treat them as special it leads them to full out tantrums.  Everything has always gone their way and their needs and desires are never denied.

These two extremes in upbringing lead to emotionally stunted adults who have low self-esteem and seek admiration and praise from others to feel worthy.  It is contradictory because what the show to the world is confidence, arrogance and disdain for others but inside they are fearful of being exposed.

As with any personality disorder, narcissism lives on a spectrum and can range from mild to severe.  The problem is that most narcissists do not see that there is a problem with their behavior, the problem is you not them.  Because they lack accountability and awareness of their actions, they are not likely to change.  Their manipulation, lies and controlling nature usually gets them what they want so why change.  They have zero regard for the hurt and damage they inflict on others, all that matters is themselves.

There is a way to successfully get out of a marriage to a narcissist.  The most important step is to have a plan.  It is not easy to divorce a narcissist but with proper planning it can be done.  At Florida Women’s Law Group, we have experience dealing with narcissists and know how to beat them at their own game.  We can help you successfully get out of this relationship and start a healthier and happier life.

Florida Women’s Law Group