Saturday, August 13, 2011

Don't Let Your Children Grow Up to be Narcissists

From all of the clinical research---there is no narcissistic personality gene. Narcissists are created not born. We receive a hereditary endowment of temperament and disposition. Metabolism, fast twitch muscles, the ability to use both hemispheres of the brain are all part of our endowment. But narcissist is molded from babyhood. Quite often one of the parents is a narcissist. If the non-narcissist parent is not psychologically strong enough to neutralize the powerful impact of the NPD parent, these dynamics can lead to the creation of a narcissistic child. The earlier the intervention, the less chance of raising a child who becomes a full-fledged narcissistic personality disorder.

We are born with the capacity for empathy. This quality is what most distinguishes those who are narcissists from those who are not. Children learn to develop their capacity for empathy most often from their parents. I have come across children of narcissistic parents who were highly empathic but had other familial influences that helped them to develop their capacity for empathy. These individuals who have been treated so abominably by their dreadful parents are often highly compassionate human beings. 

I don't care how adorable, beautiful, brilliant, strong and magnetic your children are---they are not little gods who can do no wrong. They are your children and you love them. But it is up to you to teach your child through your example and your interaction with them every day to take the needs of others into account, to recognize the needs of others, to learn how to feel how another person is suffering. This is learned or not learned very early and develops as the child grows.

Basic respect for each person and a sense of psychological boundaries is taught by the parent. It doesn't matter what kind of education a person has, how they look, what they wear, what they own or don't have----the bottom line is respect for all human beings. No one should be judged, public image, level of education, success in the world. Parents teach children every day especially when they are very young
that no one person is more important or valuable than another. Each child is unique in his or her own way. When we have more than one child, it is particularly important that the parent show no favoriticism between one or the other. Each child has unique gifts, strengths, vulnerabilities and sensibilities. The parent takes each child's individuality into account.  D.W. Winnicott, the brilliant British psychoanalyst, speaks about the necessity of the parent to acknowledge the spontaneous gesture of his child rather than imposing what the mother or father insists his child should become. This forcefulness sets up the psychological climate for the formation of the false grandiose self  who is at the root the of  narcissistic personality disorder.

In extreme cases, it may be necessary to sever the relationship with the narcissistic spouse to keep these severe personality disorders from having a profound negative influence on your child. I understand that this can be very complex and difficult. To avoid such life situations, research the narcissistic personality disorder in depth and do your best not to marry one of these individuals. This is not always possible since they are so clever at disguising themselves as genuine, particularly if they are high level narcissists. Remember that your parental input is crucial. You are the loving empathic parent. Pay attention to your intuition. It will tell you if you are dealing with a narcissist. Don't  override these true messages. Listen carefully. Intuition is a function of the higher consciousness within you. It is a gift we are all given. The more you exercise intuition, the more it becomes part of our life decisions and are ability to make very fine discernments of other human beings. Study the narcissistic personality disorder in-depth. It is well worth your effort and research. Visit my website:

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Telephone Consultation: United States and International
Book: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life
Buy the book:, Barnes and Noble, Barnes and Noble online, well distributed worldwide

1 comment:

  1. I often find my step kids to be very unsympathetic esp to their Stepsister (not mine; their Step Father's daughter). I try to teach them but they keep repeating what others Ns have poisoned their minds with.
    They do this with a lot of people in general, criticize but not within reason.

    My husband and I try to be more of an empathetic influence.