Raising a Narcissist?

It’s Narcissist Friday!  


The past weeks have been full of hospitals, surgeries, and doctors for our family once again.  The best I can do for today is refer you to an article a friend sent on from the NY Post.  It should make for interesting discussion.  The world is trying to figure out the “narcissism epidemic” they are seeing.  I think the following article is simplistic and misses some of the more hidden and painful reasons children become narcissists, but it would still be great for parents to follow these suggestions.  We have talked before about the idea that all narcissists were pampered and adored as children.  That simply is not the case.  Some were and some grew up to expect that in life, but most (in my opinion) were far more damaged by the manipulative and inconsistent acceptance from parents.

Well, read the article and let us know what you think.  (And if anyone has access to the study this article refers to and is based on, send me a link or a pdf.  I would love to read the whole study.)



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24 responses to “Raising a Narcissist?

  1. JPK100

    I will be keeping you and your family in prayer, Pastor!

  2. JPK100

    I’ve long thought that one ritual symbolizes how parents encourage narcissism: The kindergarten graduation ceremony. A celebration for completing a level of education that virtually everyone in the U.S. has to complete tells the child, “You don’t have to do anything special for us to celebrate you.” No wonder the child starts to think, “Hey, I woke up today! Where’s my party?”

  3. jodi

    Great article!! My narcissist friend was raised by a mother who never told her she was good enough and would not talk to her AT ALL if she was upset ( for a week at times). On one hand I feel sorry for my narcissist friend on the other I can no longer make excuses for her terrible and downright mean behavior with me.

    • joy

      My narcissist ex husband was raised by a woman like that too. LIke you I made allowances for him and gave him the benefit of the doubt for years, because I knew the emotional abuse he grew up with…loving him no matter what…but eventually I had to leave because I was dying inside.

  4. Melinda

    There are more than one type of narcissist. This article provides very good advice for how to raise children who are not self centered, BUT in the case of my ex-husband this didn’t apply. I believe there was a genetic component, made worse by cold critical child rearing. His father was an outrageous narcissist and his father before him dumped his family and stole his son’s college money. My ex has a particularly malignant strain which is more than simply self absorbed. The article is way too simplistic.

  5. Cora

    Parenting is a mixed bag from wisdom to utter stupidity … I would call this article “how to raise a self actualized person” … based on my experience with them, as well as my own N tendancies, I think narcissisism, is possibly fed not just by neglecting the common sense parenting in this article, but exacerbated by lots of other kinds of neglect … don’t treat your kid like the king/queen of the universe as they grow out of the needs of an infant, but don’t go to the other extreme either and treat them like an object … children are not pets, they are people …

  6. Sunflower

    I was reading some of the comments after the article. Why is it that we feel we need to swing in one extreme direction or the other? Either parents tell their children that they are the best, or that they are worthless. Why not, “You are special to God and to me, You are amazing”, yet still let them know that everyone is amazing and special. Isn’t it the ‘better than’ that is the killer?
    Reading and listening to Lundy Bancroft, people have tried to find so many ‘reasons’ for this behavior and guess what? They do it because they want to and because they can.
    Last summer I was praying about this and it was an almost audible voice that said, “No more excuses” and I asked God to bring to my attention what He meant by that. I am still amazed at how many excuses people make for bad behavior, and how many excuses we make for them. “He has a personality disorder’, ‘she was drunk’, ‘he had a bad day’, ‘she had a rough childhood’, he has mother-son issues’……….No, they want to and they get away with it. I stopped accepting and making excuses, set up consequences, accepted that I might have to leave, and everything changed. For the worse at first but I stuck to it and things started changing for the better (not a guarantee, if the person finds another who will accept the excuses). If targets would have the backing of family, friends, and church, many more would change, I believe.
    We can do a lot in raising our children, including accepting, no even welcoming failure, and rising up and learning from them, giving thanks in all things……….but more than anything, respect. Respect for all. The only common denominator in abusive husbands is that they’ve learned disrespect for women. Usually their dad did not respect the mom, but porn and ‘guy jokes’ and society in general teaches disrespect for women.

  7. Jane Costagliola


    Here is the link to the study.

    I’m divorced from a narcissist and think this study is very important. Our world seems to creating narcissists by the hundreds. What can you do for me? Instead of what can I do for you. I really feel this attitude started in the 60’s and 70’s, the do what makes you feel good attitude.
    Thank you so much for your insight on narcissism.

    • Thanks, Jane! Unfortunately, the link in the article is only to the abstract. To get the whole study document, you have to subscribe to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Maybe someone among our readers will be able to get it for us. Legally, please. 🙂

    • Cat

      I don’t know if the world is creating more narcissists, Jane. I think that those have always been around, but those of us who know about narcissism are seeing them more and more because we’re more aware of the signs. If you read the books of authors like Dickens and Twain, you can see the narcissists there, even if it’s in a fictionalized context. It’s a kind of logical fallacy, the same as the type where people who want to believe that autism is caused by vaccines, GMOs etc. are saying that there are more kids with autism than there were in the past.

  8. This article is good however I think the steps would prevent a self-centered person rather than a true narcissistic. And a narcissistic would never think they would need to read this article. From my own experience with a narcissistic steps their upbringings were far from special snowflake and leaned far over into you-are-only-as-good-as-how-you-look-and-what-you-achieve-and-how-it-makes-me-look. The step sibling is 50 now, divorced with kids and it is repeating, however those young adults have 2 generations bearing down on them. They don’t stand a chance. This side of the family is truly difficult as all holidays and family events revolve around their needs only and if they don’t get what they want they go to their parent and cry and it all changes. I would recommend all parents read the article and apply the advice as it is good. But true narcissistics aren’t raised by thoughtful people, they are raised in homes where they never live up to expectations, the rules don’t apply to them and everyone else is a jerk. At least in my experience…..

  9. Penny

    Praying for you & your family, Dave.

    I like the very first one: “say no”.

    There are some people who say that saying “no” can actually be a very good & simple “test”to see if someone in your life is a narc. Most narcs bristle at the word “no”, and they won’t accept being denied. They will hammer away, needling, whining, complaining, demanding, provoking, irritating, pouting….whatever it takes to change “no” to a “yes”. Most Narcs have the emotional maturity of a 6 year old, and as we know, 6 year olds don’t like “no”.
    It certainly works to reveal the narcs in my own life. Simple.
    Blessings on you, Dave and your family as well!

  10. unofficialnarcissist

    I wrote about this very thing here: http://theindigorabbit.blogspot.com/2015/03/raising-narcissist.html
    The studies these days often use college students to define narcissism, which completely narrows their scope and does not give a full picture of the damage these personalities can do.

  11. kjcrayton65

    Hello! I hope all is well after hearing about the doctor visits and such! Here is the link to the study on “Origins of narcissism…” Thank you for sharing! Kimberly

    Date: Fri, 10 Apr 2015 15:29:07 +0000 To: iamiams65@hotmail.com

  12. kjcrayton65

    Sorry, I forgot to attach link…http://www.pnas.org/content/112/12/3659.abstract Kimberly

    From: iamiams65@hotmail.com To: comment+ed-o4nw7vntdzdiq-5h46an@comment.wordpress.com Subject: RE: [New post] Raising a Narcissist? Date: Fri, 10 Apr 2015 21:06:23 -0500

    Hello! I hope all is well after hearing about the doctor visits and such! Here is the link to the study on “Origins of narcissism…” Thank you for sharing! Kimberly

    Date: Fri, 10 Apr 2015 15:29:07 +0000 To: iamiams65@hotmail.com

  13. My N husband was taught as a child that he was a member of one of the very few “important” families in town, far above than the humble factory workers. (He listed the important families for me the first time he took me to his hometown.) As one of nine children, I think he felt an intense need to stand out in some additional way even from his family. I may understand the origins, but that doesn’t make living with him any easier.

    Praying for your family, Dave.

  14. I’m sorry you’ve had such a challenging week, Pastor Dave. God bless!

  15. Many commenters saw what I did that this article is about teaching children to not be self-centered. I know plenty of people who are self-aborbed but that doesn’t make them narcissists.

    Sunflower, above, caught what I did: They didn’t mention teaching respect of self and others. Nor did they mention teaching personal responsibility or healthy boundaries. They also didn’t mention teaching children the importance of the truth; something that isn’t popular because we’ve become a society where the truth is relative. It’s whatever “your truth” is. Society is teaching the little darlings that what’s important is living “their truth,” and then society is surprised when the little darlings don’t choose “the truth” society dictates.

    Adding my prayers for you and your family.

  16. Cat

    I’ll keep you and your family in my thoughts. And thank you for thinking of us, even in this difficult time. I’m sure I’m not the only one who clicks on your blog every Friday morning.

  17. LM

    6 Months ago, while trying to figure out how to “fix” things between my mom and me (over and over) I came across NPD articles. It has been amazing how many similarities to various list I have read. And finding this blog has been the best as I try to balance what I am learning and understanding and moving forward. In this proccess, I also realized that my grandmother was most likely NPD, as well as one of my mom’s sister’s. My aunt is the NPDgolden child, while my mom is the NPD black sheep. My mom was not doted on. The stories of hurt she shared did not make sense to me then, but once you put it in perspective with NPD, bingo. But it also means there is more than one way to create/ develop Narcissistic tendencies, other than what the article shared. I have another relative that the red carpet was rolled out for FOR everything. And she expects everyone to be amazed by her. Her childhood lines up perfectly with the article.

  18. Kathy

    I will def’ly be praying for you and your family. Do what you need to do for them and try to find some time for yourself. God bless.

  19. Wallace

    Great work on such an important topic. Enmeshment (poor boundries) is at the core of developing yet another N child. The N parent projects their Grandiose Self, their Self- Idealizing self onto the blank slate of the innocent child. Through extension, they are able to get back from the child – mirror effect – N fuel to support their own Grandiose Self (False Self) they had before the child was born. The most tragic figure in the Narcissus myth is not Narcissus who dies from his self- absorption but Echo who dies from never being loved by Narcissus. Both never found true Love. These children of N are simply being enslaved to “echo” the grandiosity of the N parents. A relationship with the Devine is the only way to break free from enmeshment with either a close N parent, N family system or within a cult-like N larger social group. Some have said that Satan is always after our Identity. Great work … so glad I discovered your blog. God bless. Your Family is in our prayers Pastor

  20. Kitkat

    Hope all is going well with you and your family, healing prayers for all concerned. Bless you Pastor Dave and stay well!

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