Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Self-Inflicted Illness?
The research of Dr. Robert Hare and others finds loads of evidence that psychopaths often come from "wonderful homes." This has forced me to rethink some things.
I used to think that the conventional notion is true - that narcissists are the products of narcissistic abuse in childhood, usually by one or more narcissistic parents.
The scenario does often happen to be the case, but does that mean that the narcissistic parent(s) CAUSED the child's NPD? Maybe not. Maybe the parent(s) just set a bad example that the child saw the advantage in and chose to follow.
And if that's the only effect of a narcissistic parent, we have to rethink the general consensus. A child can get a bad example from other places too - from a teacher at school, from a neighbor or relative. Even from other, older, children.
So we should expect to see narcissists coming from good homes as well as bad ones. True, more of them will have had at least one narcissistic parent, but not all of them by any means.
I do question Hare's finding though too. Why? Because I know that a home infected with a narcissist usually appears "wonderful" to those on the outside. Narcissists are expert at creating this illusion and devote a tremendous amount of energy to doing so. That idyllic little green house on Maple Street - that "wonderful home" - is seen for what it is, Hell, only from within.
The inmates themselves rarely admit the truth about it. In fact, they often are denial of it. They survive by living in a house divided, putting the narcissist at a distance where he can make them feel wretched and like just dying only occasionally, with a semblance of normalcy prevailing only when he isn't around. That home - the one with the narcissist not around - is the one they own. But it ain't exactly happy either, not with the footsteps of that ghost in the attic.
So, I wonder if Hare's research might have failed to uncover the truth.
A little ambivalent about the question, aren't I?
Yet, I am haunted by the feeling he's probably right. Maybe we are too quick to seek explanations for the inexplicable. Maybe we trump up things that happened in that narcissist's childhood into the "cause" when they really only showed the child a way to cheat your way through life.
The more I think about this, the more I think this may be the case. At least sometimes. We naturally try to come up with rational explanations for how narcissists got the irrational way they are. Moreover, those most in the know are most tempted to find these "explanations" = excuses.
They are the brothers and sisters of narcissists. Also the non-narcissistic parent of a narcissist.
The last thing these people wish to believe is that their beloved sibling or child just chose "the road less travelled" through life = to be evil.
In fact, no one wants to believe that. Everyone will ask, "But why would anyone do that?" Yet, think twice: We should turn that question around and ask, "Why wouldn't anyone do that?"
If you think about it, you are an idiot not to choose the evil way of life. Why play by the rules when you can cheat with impunity? At the expense of all the rest of us saps who play by the rules? Yes, why play on a level playing field, when you can can have this enormous unfair advantage?
Why BE good, when you can just LOOK good instead? Then you can look good without the effort and adverse consequences of being good. Something for nothing.
Then you can win every contest for superiority by cheating. Without having to earn it. That is, don't bother making the effort to BE superior in any way, just SEEM superior by treating others like dirt. Something for nothing.
By chosing the cheater's way of life, you can aggrandize yourself to no end, just by stealing the credit and respect that rightly belongs to others. Something for nothing.
So, what idiot wouldn't choose the evil way of life? It gets you a whole lot of something for nothing.
Answer: only people who are honest with themselves and therefore derive no satisfaction out of the hollow vanities gotten through cheating.
This choice is made by a child, or a still childish youth, who doesn't think ahead very well. By the time that kid realizes that the evil way of life follows you as a past that you must forever flee from, there's that demon at the door, discouraging any choice to turn their life around.
That isn't the inability to turn their life around: it's a virtually certain choice to stay on that runaway freight-train ride, because, like Macbeth, they are so steeped in blood already that it would be very unpleasant to change course. They'd have to admit some things they don't want to know. And they know how to blithely keep unknowing them.
At bottom, that's what a narcissist is, an inveterate cheater in the game of life. She just obdurately refuses to grow up and know that.
She is a Peter Pan, refusing to leave Never Never Land = the Land of Pretend. She clings to a child's mentality: withhold that toy from your little brother or sister to pretend that he doesn't deserve to share anything with you; throw a temper tantrum to make Mommy give you that candy bar; cross your arms and stick your nose up in the air refusing to look at that other child to pretend you're too grand to notice her. That's a narcissist for you - forever a spoiled 3-to-6 year old pretending that she's grand and that you are here to serve her needs.
Because little children often get overlooked and have delicate egos, they have an excuse for acting this way - to some extent and until they reach the age when they should grow out of it. But I see no excuse whatsoever for a 40-year-old narcissist to be acting this way.
She deliberately lies to herself, living in fantasy, never having reached the Age of Reason to accept reality and logic. She just unknows that she sucks. She just unknows that what she does doesn't make her grand - to the contrary, it makes her a lowdown and dirty, rotten snake.
There's but one way to be that mixed up - to the point that you don't know up from down. Yes, if you view lowdown, contemptible, mean and callous bevahior that DEBASES you as doing the very opposite - as AGGANDIZING you - you don't know up from down, my dear. Come on, a smart monkey is smarter than that.
So, the only way to get things that upside-down and backwards is to force your thinking into torturous twists of logic. In other words, you must do it deliberately.
To view everything backwards, the narcissist deliberately and willfully twists her thinking. She deliberately adulterates everything. If it were an accident, she wouldn't be so unfailingly and perfectly ironic. In other words, her thinking isn't just off course logically: it's always exactly 180 degrees off course.
She obdurately flies in the face of logic and reality to remain in denial of the true character of what she's doing.
In short, she f-s her own mind. How does she then expect it to work right?
So, should we be surprised and sympathize with her now that she finds it difficult to stop what she's doing? I say, no.
For example, if you smoke cigarettes, you abuse your lungs and may get lung cancer and it's YOUR OWN FAULT. Yes, it is very hard to quit such an addiction, but you are responsible for it. Not the Fates.
If you break into someone's home, you may get shot. That's a consequence of your own actions. I don't feel sorry for you. Your wound is YOUR FAULT.
By the same token, if you abuse your mind for 20, 30, 40 years and then find it all but impossible stop thinking backwards, you made your mind what it is; you made yourself crazy; and it's YOUR OWN FAULT.
Sorry, I don't feel sorry for you. You have treated your precious mind like a garbage dump and are suffering the consequences.
And, besides, this idiotic notion that narcissists can't control themselves is manifestly false: they control themselves marvellously whenever there are witnesses present.
Mentally ill people who really can't control themselves and aren't to blame for their condition DON'T DO THAT.
It's amazing how dense some people can be in failing to realize what that means.
narcissistic personality disorder