The narcissistic personality is the result of many years of family relationships between parents and children. The scary thing is that parents themselves, without noticing it, cripple the psyche of their children, thinking that they are doing it for their good.
The order of the formation of narcissistic relationships in the family
So, as we have already figured out, the root of the problem of the appearance of a narcissistic personality in our society lies in the relationship of parents to children. This is practiced in those families in which not only don’t take into account the feelings, desires, and needs of the child but also don’t perceive this little baby as an equal member. And all because the parents came up with what their child should be. A real, living child with dreams and desires doesn’t exist for them. The child’s needs are not taken into account, they are not deciphered. It turns out to be easier for them to have a phantom child than a real little baby who has its own opinion that needs to be taken into account.
All this is not so noticeable when a baby is growing up in a family. After all, it’s only required to sleep, eat, walk at a certain time; but when the baby grows up, they already begin to demand much more from them – they must know this, do this, love this, etc. There is a continuous stream of endless “must” and it does not give the child a chance to become what they are. A program has already been put in the head of the little baby that they must correspond to the phantom image that has stuck in the heads of their parents.
Parents, as it were, send a mental message to their child: “You exist as long as you correspond to the image that we have created for you.” And this message, accordingly, is supported by love. That is why a child, who, of course, feels the need for parental love, thinks that they will not be able to receive it in another way. And they try their best to match the image that their parents came up with. The substitution of concepts is in full swing, when instead of unconditional love for the child just because they are, it is that they love the image invented by themselves, to which the baby must correspond.
Years of playing a part
Years go by, during which the child plays the role invented by their parents. And they, in turn, constantly write a script reminding that they will love them if … with a huge list of this “if”, not giving them unconditional and disinterested parental love. In other words, the baby grows up in an unhealthy environment that categorically refuses to perceive their own “I” and themselves as a person.
This attitude, according to which parental love depends on multiple “ifs …”, involves a large number of conditions that the child must comply with. And they have no choice but to accept them, adapting to live in the environment that their parents created for them. And most of the grown children are pretty good at adapting to it. They look successful and quite happy. But only all this happens at the cost of losing your own “I” and yourself as a person. And, worst of all, this attitude launches the process of forming a personality dependent on the opinion of others, who expects universal adoration and recognition and, if they don’t receive this, falls into a deep depression. It will be very difficult for such a person in adulthood.
A similar situation in the family creates a false identity and false independence in the child. As a result, they once and for all renounce their real self, building for themselves a certain image that fully corresponds to the wishes of their parents. Their own “I” turns out to be completely empty and completely devoid of life experience.
Reasons for the formation of narcissistic relationships in the family
The main reason for the formation of narcissistic relationships in the family is the increased anxiety of parents and their rejection of themselves. They are driven by the fear of showing their own imperfection, and therefore they try in every way to order and systematize reality, and then control it.
Most often this happens when the parents themselves in childhood were not accepted as they are. Because of this, they have grown into people prone to idealization, that is, wishful thinking. They live, as it were, outside the real world, dwelling on images and dreams invented by themselves.
Image vs reality
In the same way, they came up with the image of their child, which may well turn out to be far from reality. After all, they have created their own reality for themselves, their family, and loved ones. It can be characterized as a narcissistic world waiting to be replenished with new narcissistic members. And since such situations are not uncommon, our modern world turns out to be aimed at narcissistic personalities. They seem to demand their appearance.
Unfortunately, our society does not accept the manifestation of natural feelings, undisguised passion, and one’s own individuality, the world needs robotic people. After all, every living person is an individual, which means that they are non-standard and their actions are difficult to predict. It is uncontrollable, and therefore inconvenient since it requires that they adjust to it and reckon with it.
Narcissists in our society
The mechanism of the formation of a narcissistic personality in our society, described in the article, is called the phenomenon of “narcissistic expansion”. It is based on the fact that narcissistic parents see in their own child not a separate person with their own feelings, desires, and needs, but an extension of themselves. Therefore, a child, regardless of their age, is never asked what they want. They think that they themselves know this very well because they are an extension of themselves. This means that their feelings, desires, and needs are the same as theirs.
However, outwardly this does not manifest itself in any way. Narcissistic parents look loving, caring, and they try to give their children the best they can. The best clothes, the best food, the best bike, a prestigious university, etc. They really invest a lot in their child. But for this, they demand from them complete obedience and immense gratitude.
Such love can be called functional and the child is also a kind of function for them. With their help, parents solve their problems, prove their importance to the world, and assert themselves. But they demand of them to be extraordinary. After all, this will be a good way to prove to the whole world your main achievement – a child you can be proud of.
The main manifestations of a narcissistic personality
Outwardly, narcissistic people are quite successful and prosperous, but somewhere deep inside they are unhappy. After all, they do not know how to love, because they do not know what love is. They replace that feeling with their own success and great achievements in a particular field. They try to earn love by giving up their “I” to please her. However, all this can in no way replace pure and selfless love. Its absence forms an inner emptiness and hopelessness.
Throughout their lives, narcissists build up their if-identity, trying to reach unprecedented social heights, which they often succeed in, but do not bring the desired satisfaction. After all, an unloved child continues to live in them, trying with all their might to gain recognition and success, because they think that all this can replace love and fill their own, already completely lost “I”.
Their life is focused on success, recognition, honor, and glory. But the further they strive towards these false goals, the sooner they lose their “I”. A narcissist lives like a person whose compass is broken and they have no one to check the correct direction of their life path. And over time they completely lose the need to feel their own “I” and themselves as a person.
Life of a narcissist
The life of a narcissist is devoid of genuine joy and true pure love. They replace these feelings with self-admiration and self-admiration. And they replace love for one’s neighbor with envy, and this, as we know, is a rather destructive feeling. They experience joy only at the moment when they receive the emotions they need from another person. They habitually absorb them and gives nothing in return. As a result, having achieved recognition and success, the narcissist is still unhappy. And this is not surprising. After all, the main thing is missing in their life – joy, closeness, and love.
The narcissist personality can be compared to a well-oiled machine that works through recognition and success. But any failure can break their flawless performance. Lack of attention or lack of success can lead them to depression. And these people are incredibly prone to so-called “narcissistic crises” when it becomes difficult for them to conform to the way in which they live. This is the best time to start therapy.
Principles of therapy
Therapy for narcissistic personality is always difficult and time-consuming. The first thing that a narcissistic personality person experiences on the way are fear and shame. They are ashamed to live outside the image invented for themselves; scared to be themselves. They are afraid that society will reject them and that their parents and close people will cease to love them.
Based on my experience and psychotherapy practice, it can be said for sure that someone with a narcissistic personality is hard to work with. After all, even at the reception, they try to impose a functional relationship on the specialist. And they can even be difficult to resist.
The essence of therapy is to switch the narcissistic personality to other types of feelings; besides the feeling of self-recognition, success, and significance. The therapist needs to open other experiences. Try to translate the functional relationships that are familiar to them to the unfamiliar human ones. The narcissist needs to be “infected” with the life of an ordinary person who has their own “I”. To do this, the therapist needs to apply maximum emotions and personal experiences. He should make it clear to the client that they don’t need to be ashamed of their own feelings; even such as doubt, embarrassment, shame, or curiosity. During therapy, the narcissist needs to fill their own “I” as much as possible; in order to feel who they really are.
Working with narcissistic personality clients requires tremendous internal stress from the psychologist. Success can only be achieved by a specialist who has a high level of their own stability; certain skills, many years of experience, and a high assessment of themselves as a professional.
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