I’ve learned so many don’t know what a narcissist is and therefore cannot identify the characteristics of one. I find this common, especially in older generations. Being a narcissist is different than having narcissism. According to my shrink, we all have a little narcissism in us. Selfies are a great example. Showing new houses, cars, purchases or trips is a form but that does not mean you are a narcissist. The Mayo Clinic’s definition of a narcissist is as follows:
Narcissistic personality disorder — one of several types of personality disorders — is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of extreme confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.
It is a personality disorder that happens according to Professor Sam Vaknin between the ages of 6 months to 7 years old. Nobody is born a narcissist, the brain has zero abnormalities. The NPD occurs due to a caretaker that is usually a narcissist not letting the child find their individuality. The caretaker does not allow the child to take the steps needed to become their person. The caretaker pulls the child back from what they want to explore. Holding a child back from exploring and becoming an individual of their own does not give them the love they need. They are never loved as needed until they are adored for their looks, talents, good grades, or an accomplishment. Once the child is recognized for an accomplishment then is when they are considered being loved as needed. This is their supply. They crave love through admiration. Often the accomplishment is what they will usually become great at doing. If it looks they will be image perfect whenever they are out in public.
There’s a much deeper dive to learn how one becomes a narcissist but for now, I think it’s important to know if your narcissist was a golden child, if their caretaker was a narcissist, if they were known for their appearance or their accomplishments. If they were only validated or felt loved for their image or accomplishments. This alone does not make one a narcissist. However, there is a checklist and this is part of the checklist. More to come!