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Raising a Narcissist

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Raising a Narcissist

Postby bja999 » Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:42 am

When I read this article I saw my sister.... seeing that how my parents raised us, giving positive reinforcement, if you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all, encouragement, praise, cheering when we did good, not much said when we did bad, etc.... All of us kids thrived in it, except my oldest sister, she became a psychotic narcissist...


The Problems with Raising a Narcissist


By Jan Knight

Published: Friday, May 29, 2009 10:23 PM CDT


One of the worst things parents can do to a child is to create a narcissist.

“Webster's Dictionary” describes a narcissist as an egoist, and says the origin comes from Greek legend about a very handsome young man who was so in love with his image in water, that he was changed into a flower — the narcissus.

Many of us have been in contact with people who are disgustingly narcissistic. Some of their traits are as follows: they are too impressed with themselves, too self-centered to see the needs of others, too in love with themselves to really love anyone else, too sure that everything they do is correct and right and irrefutable, too sure that if something goes wrong in his life that is must be the fault of someone else, and so on and so on.

We have seen these people in politics, in business, in schools, in churches, in families. It is almost always true that this type of person comes to a bad end and their lives of self-gratification lead to unhappiness.

It is really unfair for parents to tell their children how much more special they are than other children or that they are so smart that they are bound to greatness. Let me give an example by Beth Moore: In a thought-provoking article entitled “My So-Called Genius,” author Laura Fraser recounts her remarkable journey from being a whiz-kid to a fairly-ordinary adulthood of unmet expectations. By age 5 she was well acquainted with the word “precocious” and told repeatedly how special she was. The next years did not disappoint. She was brilliant and darling and surpassed her peers, drawing the attention of adults who said she was destined for greatness. Then came college where she entered an academic world of peers who had been told the same thing.

By her late 40s, Fraser had accomplished many good things but the expectation of greatness and the sense that she'd never quite achieved it haunted her with feelings of failure. All the well-meaning forecasts had done nothing but cast a pall of perfectionism upon her and, as was pointed out, “Perfectionists always lose.”

She also makes this excellent comment: “As parents, teachers, relatives, leaders, or observers, we are wise to be careful about telling gifted children how great they are destined to be. It is a trap and a forecast (of future unhappiness). There is a difference “between talent and having a clue what to do with it, and how genius rarely exempts people from having to work hard just like everybody else who wants to make it.”

Most of the narcissists I know have been told by their parents how brilliant, talented, special, and wonderful they are, but they have failed to tell them how to treat others. As a rule, they are anxious to “reach the top” no matter how many people they have to use to get there. They are unable to realize how their words and attitudes alienate the very people they are trying so hard to impress. They have the opinion that they are above criticism and that those who might be critical are probably jealous or are just wrong.

I am always uncomfortable talking to a parent who praises his child excessively in front of him and who blames everyone for not doing for him as has been done at home (usually too much pampering and praising). Children love to hear how terrific they are and we should give praise when it is deserved or earned. However, praise for a God-given talent or aptitude is not necessary unless he uses it in some way to deserve the praise.

Parents, don't raise a narcissist. They cannot find their way in life without inordinate praise, recognition, and glory. When it doesn't come, you may have caused him to be a very unhappy adult.


Jan Knight, MAE, NCC, NSCS, is a long-time counselor/educator in the Desoto County area
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Re: Raising a Narcissist

Postby seanetal » Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:40 am

I wonder if it's possible that the time your oldest sister spent as the only child led to her Narcissism. Just a thought but having all the praise heaped on one child as opposed to being split amongst several children could have meant that praise had more impact.
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Re: Raising a Narcissist

Postby bja999 » Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:53 pm

She was never the only child... a boy and then her then boy then girl ..... she was the first GIRL, she was treated like a little princess... my parents raised us all the same, very positive, praising us when we did good and not saying much when we'd do bad. The rest of us enjoyed seeing each other do well, but she was a jealous mean self centered little girl wanting to take attention away from the rest of us. I believe this article.... my parents ruined her by their parenting style... where the rest of us grew and learned, she somehow fell into getting praise at any cost and blowing up if anyone told her a new or different way to do anything.

In high school she ran away from home, told her friend's parents that my parents were mean and had abused her, and when asked what they did she said "they told me to act nice, and I am not going to act like anything, I am myself and I'm not going to act like something I'm not"... those parents called my Mom and said Come get her....
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Re: Raising a Narcissist

Postby bja999 » Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:33 pm

Seanetal... I was talking to my brother and he said that with Jill being the first daughter, she may have gotten all the "girl" attention and then when I was born 2 years later she was still the only daughter... it would have been after my younger sister was born when Jill was 5 that she'd have snapped and started her campaign to keep my Mom's attention on herself ....

My brother sent me this article in an e-mail... and wow, it sure made since to me too....

From The Wall Street Journal:


Bringing Up Princess: Turning Girls Into Narcissists


By MEGAN BASHAM


The princess industry has been booming in the past few years -- not just the Disney dolls and scratchy toy-store ball gowns that are a rite of passage in most American girlhoods, but a brazen new breed of princess products that target a far wider age range and tap into less seemly attitudes. The hot-pink, leopard-print princess backpacks, T-shirts, purses and bedspreads that girls are now buying (or, rather, their parents are buying for them) have little to do with indulging sweet princess fantasies and everything to do with catering to over-indulged princess egos.

Take the popular tween retailer Justice. At malls nationwide, it carries multiple "Princess" tops and accessories that look a lot more like Paris Hilton's attire than Snow White's. No surprise that part of its marketing slogan is "Love yourself."

For only $44 at Nordstrom, you can dress your toddler in a tank top that declares her to be a "Juicy Couture Princess" -- that is, someone whose parents can afford to buy designer shirts that will end up stained with ketchup or jelly. And until recently, numerous Saks stores maintained Club Libby Lu, a spa for 5- to 13-year-old girls offering princess makeovers with tube tops and miniskirts that left girls looking more like Real Housewives than Cinderella. The ailing retailer closed the tween operation in May, but it grossed $60 million in 2008.

Call it trickle-down narcissism. Today, even as the economic crisis continues, many middle-class parents aspire to give their daughters the best of everything, "the best" meaning the most expensive. A quick tour around suburbia will show princess-themed bedrooms (the rhinestoned-and-feathered kind, not the cartoon-character kind) and ostentatious birthday parties, as well as pedigreed dogs being toted in designer bags by 10-year-olds. Maintaining a diva daughter has become one more way to one-up the Joneses.

Sadly, even believing Christians are participating in the princess push. Christian retail outlets like A Different Direction carry "God's Girlz," glamour dolls dressed in princess shirts and spandex with sparkling tiaras on their heads. St. Paul may have exhorted women to be modest in their dress, but many church-going girls proudly wear Christian-marketed clothing imprinted with messages like "Yes, I am a Princess." The small print underneath -- "I'm a daughter of the King" -- is supposed to differentiate the sentiment from secular princess gear (never mind that the King's firstborn declared himself not a prince but a servant of all.)

Of course, it's natural for kids to try to assert their status over others, but it used to be the role of parents to rein in these impulses and teach their daughters that while playing princess is fun, no one enjoys being around someone who acts like a princess in real life. Now researchers are finding that parents are promoting attitudes of superiority in their daughters. Jean Twenge, associate professor of psychology at San Diego State University, tracks the rising egotism on college campuses in her new book, "The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement." She has found that college-age women are developing narcissistic traits at four times the rate of college-age men. She attributes the startling discrepancy in part to parents who put their girls on a pedestal.

Ms. Twenge describes moms and dads who lavish their daughters with unrealistic praise. Parents not only tell girls they are the prettiest and smartest but also train them to see themselves as the center of their worlds through clothes and accessories. "You could label that kind of parenting 'princess parenting,' " she told the Associated Press recently. Ms. Twenge notes wryly that when shopping for her own 2-year-old daughter, about "a fourth of clothing available to her says 'Little Princess' on it."

While there's unlikely to be much harm in indulging in one or two princess products, Ms. Twenge and other experts find that girls immersed in princess culture are embracing the notion of privilege that goes along with it. While parents may hope that princess-pushing will give their daughters confidence in the future, research shows that such girls later have trouble adjusting to professors, bosses and potential mates who don't automatically treat them as royalty.
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Re: Raising a Narcissist

Postby undenied » Sat Jan 29, 2011 12:03 am

Once again, I think you guys are confusing regular narcissism with NPD.

For example, we get a lot of college kids around here. A lot of them are rich Daddy's girl snots. But if they were put in a place where they could learn the consequences of their actions, they could probably realize what they're doing. A person with NPD has a Disorder - they are unable to learn from consequences.
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Re: Raising a Narcissist

Postby LifeSong » Sat Jan 29, 2011 4:14 am

undenied wrote:Once again, I think you guys are confusing regular narcissism with NPD.
For example, we get a lot of college kids around here. A lot of them are rich Daddy's girl snots. But if they were put in a place where they could learn the consequences of their actions, they could probably realize what they're doing. A person with NPD has a Disorder - they are unable to learn from consequences.


undenied,
I agree with you about the distinction you're making between NPD and narcissism. I've said the same things many times on the board (until some told me to just give it a rest as I'd probably said it too much at that point :lol: but I got tired of the "I just met a person and he's NPD for sure!" posts. Anyway... I read both articles and neither claim that NPD label, so not sure why you're bringing that up here.

bja,
I've read some things you're written about your sister. She certainly is narcissistic, isn't she? I agee with these articles that these are one way to potentially raise a narcissistic child. I've seen it many times. But narcissists are also bred and fostered in other types of family cultures as well. These articles points to one way, the adoration beyond accomplishment way. Thanks for sharing.

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Re: Raising a Narcissist

Postby Euler » Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:28 am

I'm not convinced. For sure, the above mentioned articles will lead to a child evolving into a narcissistic little snot but something's missing.

To develop NPD you have to be raised by a parent that's narcissistic to the point that you, the child, are a mere decoration to their "perfect life". In short, you aren't free to develop as you should. Instead you exist to work, and your job is to make your parent(s) look good. If you do everything as you should (serve as supply or even better make opportunities for your parent to gain supply) than you're praised and told how special you are. If you fail at this, which you do because you're not a mindreader, than the parent humiliates and shames you. If you dare to express yourself emotionally than you've caused an N-injury to your parent because you're expressing the fact that you exist outside of your parent since you have independent needs...this is met by extreme shame.

Since this is the case, you learn very early in life to be what I call "context oriented". Meaning you don't learn interpersonal relations but you learn how to read social contexts with accuracy since you have to be a mindreader to your parent.

In some cases with this type of abuse, where a child is subjected to playing along a parent's Narcissistic phase, the kid develops NPD.

What bja is talking about is the growing rate of narcissism within today's society. It also points to the complete confusion have regarding narcissism and NPD.

Being told how special you are will make you an arrogant prick but it will not keep a person in the Narcissistic phase.
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Re: Raising a Narcissist

Postby LifeSong » Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:10 am

Euler wrote:I'm not convinced. For sure, the above mentioned articles will lead to a child evolving into a narcissistic little snot but something's missing. To develop NPD...


Euler,
My comment was directed to what I understood the question to be.. and to the title of the thread... "raising a narcissist." I think the article does point to some factors that will raise a narcissistic little brat, as you say. The article doesn't mention NPD; bja doesn't mention NPD. My comment wasn't geared towards NPD. I see NPD and narcissism being distinct from one another, and not equivocal. I think you agree with that. Am I missing something?
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Re: Raising a Narcissist

Postby Euler » Wed Feb 02, 2011 8:06 am

Sure and exactly. However, it seems that the only person not getting the message is bja.

All of us kids thrived in it, except my oldest sister, she became a psychotic narcissist.


At this rate this kind of thinking just amuses me now.
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