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Is narcissism nature or nurture?

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Is narcissism nature or nurture?

Postby Daniel » Sun Nov 15, 2009 10:47 pm

Which factor plays a more significant role in the development of Narcissistic Personality Disorder? Genetics or environment?
For those of you who are Ns, what is you opinion on this? What factor is more relevant to your personal situation?

(P.S. How have you all been? I've been away for a long time. But I'm back now. :twisted: )

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Re: Is narcissism nature or nurture?

Postby jenalexion » Tue Nov 17, 2009 7:43 pm

In my experience with an ex-compensatory narcissist bf, it was definitely nurture. His mother, a very sweet woman really, was an enabler. Throughout the whole relationship, I saw signs, but I really thought that she cared and worried about her son. She even enlisted me and asked me to help him quit some of his more troubling compulsive habits which were eroding his health and self esteem. However, I later found out after speaking with her regarding a bad narcissistic episode he had, she got very defensive and didn't want to hear anything negative about his behavior. Turns out that she overindulged her son all his life and had him believing he was perfect, talented, special, better than anyone, and could do no wrong. No wonder he developed this disorder that feeds a low self esteem through a fake self image. The sad thing about it is, he doesn't even realize that anything is wrong with him even though he's so miserable with the state of his life and is depressed most of the time. Maybe deep down, he realizes that something is wrong, but he'd rather blame that on outside sources than his unnatural dependence on his mother and praise from anyone.
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Re: Is narcissism nature or nurture?

Postby sfguy » Thu Nov 19, 2009 1:34 am

This question has been discussed a lot if you search through some old threads. It's probably both. Narcissism, specifically is nurture, because it's a psychological compensation for lack a fully developed self. Narcissism and other PDs are each linked to a specific stage of childhood emotional development where the sufferer gets "stuck" in a sense. However there is an underlying genetic component of emotional instability that makes a person more likely to develop some sort of personality disorder, because kids with perfect genetics can usually cope with whatever crap life throws at them.

Read Theodore Millon for lots of info on the subject.
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Re: Is narcissism nature or nurture?

Postby NotMyUsualUserName » Thu Nov 19, 2009 11:58 pm

Um, i beg to differ. I may be a molecular biologist, and therefore be bias, but everyone is defined by their ACTG code.
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Re: Is narcissism nature or nurture?

Postby Serendipity » Mon Nov 23, 2009 4:33 am

I used to believe that the underlying predisposition was biological (nature) with the nurture part being a factor in whether the disorder was expressed or not. That was before I actually (unintentionally) married a N. I don't truly know enough about his childhood to determine for sure if nurture was a factor or not. But oddly enough, my ex-N is adopted, and I believe his sister is also NPD. They have no biological communality, so this circumstance confused me. It might be a coincidence, but statiscally it's not that probable.

I would imagine that this might point to nurture being a lot more important in the development of NPD, than genetics.
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Re: Is narcissism nature or nurture?

Postby Katt1 » Mon Feb 01, 2016 6:03 pm

I married a narcissist and spent 22 years waiting for him to finish growing up. Emotionally he is stuck in preadolescence. His deep need to please his mother was often played out at the expense of the family he created. His mother would thank him for his efforts, but was never a person that expressed herself warmly. His mother does not deal with anything she doesn't want to, she just shrugs her shoulders and/or walks away. His father would grab his grandchildren by the arm and draw them face to face and yell at them when they mildly misbehaved - behaved like children. They were clearly not seen as young people, but objects not worthy of being calmly spoken to. Most of the time the children were left to entertain themselves. I imagine his childhood was played out in much the same way, the children were not considered to be important. (His sister's son would rock endlessly on the couch, banging his head into the cushion in an effort to self-sooth, much like babies in orphanages do that have not been given sufficient affection.) After all the research I did on the behavioral differences that I was unable to comprehend, I concluded that he was still craving that sort of approval/acceptance from his mother who is unable to fully give it. He is also unable to accept responsibility when he harms others due to his high need for control and high sense of entitlement. He is very self-referencing, openly so, which greatly hindered his ability to empathize. Everything points to a halt in the growth of some functions in his brain that was triggered by his own survival mechanism. Intellectually he’s very bright, but emotionally he is stuck in early childhood.
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Re: Is narcissism nature or nurture?

Postby MeAgain » Tue Feb 02, 2016 9:11 pm

I can remember my personal development stalling when I was a kid. I could compare myself to others around me. It wasn't my fault. It was what other people were doing to me. Let's please knock this Nature verses nurture nonsense on the head. The longer it goes on the longer the suffering goes on. It is not bad genes.

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Re: Is narcissism nature or nurture?

Postby Courtier » Tue Feb 02, 2016 9:44 pm

What kind of narcissism? It depends.
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Re: Is narcissism nature or nurture?

Postby NimplyDinply » Tue Feb 02, 2016 11:47 pm

Probably with just about any disorder, there is a predisposition (nature) plus a trigger (nurture). JMO.
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Re: Is narcissism nature or nurture?

Postby covertunsure » Wed Feb 03, 2016 12:02 am

Agree with NimplyDimply, definitely both. Narcissism runs in my dad's side of the family. But I seem to have the most dysfunctional, vulnerable form. I was born extremely sensitive and I think I couldn't handle the constant feelings of differentness and rejection. This interacted with my narcissistic predispositions/traits to create a completely ###$ up beast. If I hadn't been born temperamentally sensitive, I probably would have just turned into your vanilla oblivious highly successful overt narcissist, but I'm stuck in a mental purgatory for life.
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