2 thoughts on “Can Children Become Narcissists?

  • October 23, 2018 at 12:07 am

    …And some children drown in the gene pool, no matter what the environment. I found your article terribly blaming purely of environmental causes. The hardest thing for me, as a mom, to deal with has been my guilt at how I might have “caused” one of my 3 children to “become” a hideous, cruel Narcissist. It has taken me years to realize: Sometimes you can’t fight genetics.

    My children’s father, granted, was a poor role model: An opiate addict, whose parents and two siblings were all clinically diagnosed Narcissists, his mother an institutionalized “narcissistic sociopath.” (I did not know any of this before I married him.) I kept him and his behavior more or less in check; he held down a decent job, we lived in a good neighborhood, I was active as a school volunteer, scout leader, etc. Our children interacted extensively with my large, fairly ordinary, loving family, rather than his clearly dysfunctional one. The first two kids have turned out to be bright, kind, thoughtful adults with happy childhood memories of good schools, family dinners, summer camp. Their baby sister however walked out of the house and into her personality disorder at the age of 14, having become progressively crueler, more envious, more self-centered and blaming and at last finding a “new family” of like-minded horrors with whom she now lives. Now age 21, she uses people until she has no use for them (or they run out of resources), and dwells on superficial pleasures: cosmetics (and even some unneeded alterations), money, clothes, etc. I used to ask her what she wanted to be when she grew up: “Married to a really rich guy.” Her way of complimenting attractive or successful people? “I hate her/him/them.” I didn’t realize it was literally true! By high school, the only way she described other people was in hateful, envious terms. They were stupid. Or too successful or attractive and therefore to be hated. She had zero friends. I blamed adolescence until her cruelty became legally and emotionally destructive to our family. If she didn’t get what she wanted for dinner, she threatened to call Children’s Services. Chores became passive-aggressive sabotage. Where as a child she wrote utterly sweet letters home from camp, now I got nasty hate mail in the form of notes slipped under my bedroom door about my “bad behavior” (anything that annoyed her). She made up lies about abuse and abandonment and convinced friends to call Children’s Services on her behalf. She began stealing from all of us at an early age, and lying about it, which is crazy-making and continued that behavior till the day I signed legal papers giving up guardianship.

    When we finally realized she was never coming back it was both devastating and a relief. She had been destroying all of us. Yes, I finally divorced her addict dad and sadly he supported her evil efforts as a form of revenge on me. But that came later. And when she had no use for him, either, she walked out on him too. (Apparently he asked her to start helping out around the house but all she had wanted was free rent and a big allowance. Oh, well.)

    By the way, she has a first cousin on her dad’s side who is identical, a frowning, insulting witch of a woman who loathes her family and envies everybody, while literally bankrupting her family by demanding the best of everything beyond their means, a princess of an only child. After the bankruptcy she had no use for her parents although later when she had children her mother provided free childcare–and withstood scathing insults and abuse from her Narc daughter the whole time. Absolute ingratitude and blaming are the hallmarks of this disorder–and this family.

    I think that my child did not stand a chance against the power of DNA. I have spent years wondering what I did wrong. But my two older kids (who both majored in psychology and social work) assure me they watched their kid sister go this route early on and it wasn’t me who made it happen. Yes, Dad was a bit of a screw-up but they coped. But their sister was already showing signs of the paternal side’s massive disorder.

    This has been a family tragedy. I lost a child. A beloved baby, a beautiful little girl–with a ticking genetic clock inside her.

    The older kids tell me the lesson they learned is: Be careful who you choose to have children with. DNA is powerful stuff. So I guess it is my fault, after all.

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  • October 24, 2018 at 9:21 am

    The ten personality disorders defined in the APA’s DSM all have something important in common: They are expressed through behaviors that would be perfectly normal for a much younger person. All infants are narcissistic. They are self-centered beings who throw screaming fits if their needs are not met immediately. They can get away with it because they are cute. As they grow, they become less cute, and we expect them to start behaving better: to wait their turn, to share their toys, and to control their temper. The people who do not learn to respect other people, as they would like to be respected, are called narcissists.

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