Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Narcissists: Troubled Cases of Arrested Child Development

The simplest way to view narcissists is as troubled cases of arrested child development.

Children haven't the emotional baggage older kids and adults have acquired, but the delightful effect of this freedom on them isn't what it us usually equated to - innocence and lovingness.

Children don't take the needs, feelings, and rights of others into account. What they want is all that matters. Children can be very cruel. Improperly raised, they become terrors.

Childishness is appropriate in children, who have not yet acquired the experience to grow. So, we cut them slack and see the humor in their behavior, finding their childishness amusing, remembering that we were their age once and just like them.

It's easy to be so generous with children, because they can't hurt us. They are totally dependent on us, and they know that.

But when this same childishness persists in an adult, we don't readily see the humor in it. It is always viewed with contempt.

So, it isn't exactly a virtue in children then, either.

Ask a teacher: the main difference between an adult and a child is that a child isn't responsible for his own behavior and an adult is.

Now, when you get a grown-up child, with the power of an adult, or perhaps with great power as a high-ranking official, you have great power coupled with no responsibility. The recipe for a reign of terror.

Like Hitler or Saddam Hussein. Narcissists. Children with all power and no accountability. Like this little fellow, Anthony Fremont, whom Joanna Ashumn tells us about.

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At 9:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went back and forth for awhile as to whether I believed the narcissist was truly formed as a child or whether this problem really is rooted in adolescence. Reason being, all three that I know experienced emotional upheaval as adulthood loomed. What you just wrote really helped me figure this: The notion of pending adulthood causes a huge crisis for the child frozen in time. The narcissist realizes it's impossible to 'grow up' and thus reaches an apex of trauma of the soul sometime in adolescence. One N I know did drugs nonstop for most of his high school years. Another swears she cannot remember certain school years. Another male N I know had a horrid crisis in high school...
Have you also noticed this? Has anybody else?

At 8:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This makes more sense to me than always pointing toward abuse by parents. Alchohol and drug abuse are both known to cripple emotional development. My son's psychologist says that it actually freezes phychological development at the point where the abuse began. My son was diagnosed with depression, put on antidepressants as a teen which is now known to be very dangerous. When the antidepressant made him manic, he was diagnosed as bipolor and put on more high powered drugs, which are also now known to be a no, no for kids. He also began to abuse other drugs with these drugs (we didn't know this at the time). I really feel that these drugs along with the trauma they were initially intended to treat, destroyed my son and I'm lucky to have him alive today. He is getting better but the progress is slow and he still drinks more than he should. My dad also started drinking at a very young age and as a teenager was not allowed to enter the military because of a deformed arm. His friends were all away fighting the war and I know this made his drinking worse. My dad has always been very immature and dependent. As substance abuse so often accompanies this disorder, I wonder how many doctors would say that in large part the abuse creates it.



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