Narcissists have huge egos, think of themselves as gods, and use every opportunity to make their self-importance stand out to others. They need the admiration of others at all times. When we talk about narcissists we think of them as elderly people, forgetting that they were formed as such back in. A big "credit" for this goes to the parents who, through the mistakes made in the upbringing, are actually raising narcissists.
Narcissistic personality disorders are considered a pathology by psychologists. In order to realize them, we must be aware of child development and how parental models influence the child's psyche, formation of behavioral models, self-respect, self-esteem, way of communicating with others.
Eleanor Greenberg, a psychologist, author, speaker and consultant on narcissistic disorders, explains to yourtango.com that certain parent-child relationships in childhood can cause narcissistic personality disorder in adulthood. She shares three scenarios that dive deep into the mechanisms by which the disorder originates and develops, then carries over into one's behavior as an adult.
First Scenario: Parental Values
In this situation, the child is raised by parents who reward only high achievement. Everything in the family for such people is a matter of competition. The family motto is that if you're not the best, it doesn't count if you tried at all. Parents' love is also conditional, not unconditional as it should be. That is, the child is praised and supported only if he participates in a school team and achieves success if he performs in a school play and gets a standing ovation. Only in these cases do the parents shower the child with praise. If it fails in an endeavor it is defined as complete disappointment.
Children in such families do not feel stable and loved. They are under pressure to always earn their parents' approval, so they learn that they can achieve their goals at any cost, no matter who they hurt or whether their methods are honest, as long as they get the coveted thumbs up. Such narcissistic children feel like the best. They think of themselves as successful and superior to others. Often in reality this is not the case and other children avoid contact with them because they are offended.
Scenario Two: Devaluing a Narcissistic Parent
In this scenario, there is a very domineering and devaluing parent who always puts off everything related to the child. Such type of parents are irritable, easily angered, have unrealistically high expectations of the child.
If there are two or more children, the parent always praises one while disparaging the others. A "good" sibling can very quickly become a "bad" sibling. No one in the family feels sure of themselves and their qualities in such an environment. Children compete with each other to please and appease the narcissistic parent.
The other parent in such a family is very often treated as one of the children. He has no say in anything, is criticized publicly and is devalued. Proving that they are special and extremely talented becomes a mission for the children. This manifests itself throughout their lives as a harsh inner voice whispers and criticizes their every mistake.
Scenario Three: The Golden Child
Usually these parents are covert narcissists who don't like being in the limelight. Instead, they shine all the light on their child, constantly praising him for how talented he is. Often the child is really talented and deserves praise, but these parents praise him as the world's most phenomenal child of all.
The child is embarrassed by excessive praise and burdens himself with the role of the perfect person in every way. Over time, he grew up with a narcissistic personality disorder that distorted his self-esteem and prevented him from building normal social relationships.