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How does NPD develop?


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And--can it be prevented/reversed if addressed early?

 

I've heard that personality disorders are often thought to develop partly in response to problematic childhoods, but then I've known people with personality disorders who came out of supportive and functional (not perfect of course) families.

 

All of these people in the various NPD threads were children once--surely their development into adults who recognize only their own needs and manipulate others to fill those needs was not inevitable?

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I think sometimes it arises out of depression.

Someone gets desperate to control everything, and they start doing self-care in an OTT way that becomes utterly selfish once they are past the depression.

Plus they want to assign blame for feeling bad, and they notice that they feel more "ok" around one specific person, and this gets amplified into the One True Golden Child and the Scapegoat.

At least, that is more or less what I have observed as correlative.

 

I don't know of any studies to support this, it's just an observation.

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I did a lot of research on this. My oldest's birth mother is BPD. Usually what makes a person BPD/ NPD is that when they were infants, before they even thought in words, they learned that the world would not meet their needs. So they take up manipulation. I have a good friend with a WONDERFUL family. A large Catholic Italian family. One of her sisters is NPD. This happened when her mother got very sick after giving birth to her sister and needed to stay in the hospital for three months. Many different caretakers helped take care of the family, but evidently it wasn't enough. There is more to it than that, but this is what I have distilled from what I have read.

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BPD isnt NPD.

 

That's true, but all cluster B personality disorders have similarities and can be somewhat difficult to differentiate, depending on how they present at any given time.

 

NPD is also different from what people mean when they refer to someone as a narcissist.  Perhaps not clinically, but the common use of the word that is frequently used to describe politicians or entertainers may not have anything to do with NPD.

 

This isn't dissimilar to the common use of, "Psycho," when people are referring to odd behavior more than Sociopathy or Psychopathy.

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Not the same disorder, not the same treatment, not the same prognosis. 

 

It may or may not share similar causes; given theories of BPD are only just emerging from the 'invalidating mother' hypothesis, aka the psychiatric dark ages, I wouldn't like to comment on shared causes.

 

- please enlighten us, and expound upon the differences so we can more easily differentiate between them.  

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It may or may not share similar causes; given theories of BPD are only just emerging from the 'invalidating mother' hypothesis

This is why I am hesitant to accept "dysfunctional family/abuse/neglect" as necessarily the source of NPD. If you go looking for trauma in someone's past, you can pretty much always find something.

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This is why I am hesitant to accept "dysfunctional family/abuse/neglect" as necessarily the source of NPD. If you go looking for trauma in someone's past, you can pretty much always find something.

 

The examples I have in my life suggest insufficient attachment as kids plus the character flaw of selfishness.

 

From what I've read, people with NPD start off seeming normal enough, but a bit selfish, and it gets worse in later life. That pattern has held in my examples. In one case, the mother was emotionally abusive and the NPD person grew up with a "get them before they get me" attitude to women. In the other, the child had disabilities and even though the mother jumped through all the hoops necessary to remediate them, the child spent her first couple of years very, very frustrated. With an absent father, the mother became the target of the rage and so there was no one to attach to.

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I knew of a case where one woman was diagnosed with NPD (but was diagnosed after her own bio child was grown). She gave up baby for adoption, actually, more like rejected baby at birth, there was no plan to adopt. She simply declared she hated the baby and wouldn't look at baby. Years later, baby grows up in great family and does great. Now that baby has children of her own. One of the children ends up exactly like the grandma she never knew. That child ends up diagnosed with bipolar and NPD. Adopted adult child knew birth family (I think it was a relationship

Adoption or something). The adult child finds out her birth mother had bipolar and NPD also, but only found out after her own child was college aged. There was no trauma in either the grandmothers life or the grand daughter. They didn't know each other. It was purely genetic. I think it would difficult to gain any information on cause by interviewing people with NPD because of the compulsive lying, lack of empathy, and lack of conscience.

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In the case of a relative, I think it stemmed from a whacked-out mother. This mom didn't want her daughter out of sight as she couldn't control her. So, she made up an illness and actually put the child to bed for THREE YEARS! This relative spent much of her adult life going from doctor to doctor, hooked on pain pills, having surgery after surgery, and finally died of a non-existent disease. 

 

that sounds like munchausen by proxy. or started out that way.

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In the instance I know of, the child had extreme domestic violence and when mom ran with the kid, he was essentially ferel while she was figuring everything out. There was no need to rely on another (stealing food due to hunger, no supervision at all, house was seriously disgusting for lack of cleaning) so he did not develop any sense of attachment or community. Now, though he will be pained at times for wanting community and feeling isolated, will quickly just exploit others or use addiction to either gain what he wants or avoid the emotion. It is not remorse for his actions, but more witnessing true connection between others. You cannot exploit that from someone, so I do not think he has ever felt it. Niether his mother or his father ever really loved him.

 

Perhaps extensive therapy could have helped, but without someone to stand in as a surrogate parent and provide attachment, I do not know now helpful it would have been.

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I'm not at all an expert on either NPD or BPD.  (I know the OP was only about NPD.)  I do have a deep interest in both though, seeing as how they both have touched my extended families.  I've done a little research and talked to some psychologists, but I'm sure others here are far more knowledgable.

 

From what I gather from talking with different psychologists, these personality disorders have rather loose borders, and often overlap.  A couple of psychologists I've spoken with talk about how more and more, psychologists do not want to commit to a specific diagnosis.  Of course human nature (and insurance!) wants to be able to label and categorize everything, but the psychologists I've spoken with have voiced their pretty strong concerns in doing this with personality disorders.  These disorders often aren't actually so cut and dry, and don't necessarily fit into nice little cubicles of conditions.  It is an evolving understanding.

 

The young NPD woman I know and have spent time with (not officially diagnosed, but has the standard symptoms) is from a small family whose mother is nearly exactly like her, but worse.  She has no other siblings, and her father (who I only met twice before his death) was very meek and quiet.  The woman and her mother have a relationship more like two sisters -- two evil sisters, at that.  Very strange.  But it gets even worse, in that the young woman has three aunts (all her mother's sisters), and there are no other children/cousins in the family or even grandparents.  So it is this young woman and her mother and her aunts who all seem very similar in nature and disorder, all in their own exclusive club, but with the young woman's mother clearly being the leader.  

 

So, in that case, it seems like the young woman simply grew up in that atmosphere and became part of it due to her upbringing.  I'm more curious about how her mother and three aunts all came to be that way.  I wonder if there was some abuse when they were children and this was their coping mechanism, or what.  

 

The young woman now has a young son and her own meek and quiet husband who does anything she tells him to do.  Their one son is treated like a prince.  The young woman will net let her husband's mother spend time with their son (even though she is the sane one!); she only lets her own mother and aunts spend time with him.  

 

Borderline Personality Disorder hits closer to home, because I think there are certain obvious brain characteristics that run in my husband's family that lend themselves to this disorder.  They are not specifically BPD characteristics per se, but characteristics that can lend themselves to heading in the direction of BPD, such as anxiety, dichotomous thinking, perfectionism, very brilliant, slightly OCD, highly sensitive.  A couple members of his family have actually been diagnosed with BPD, and another who I suspect has it, has not yet been diagnosed.  They were all raised in very loving, supportive families.  In their case, it seems more like a very strong genetic disposition.  

 

Based purely on my own observations, it does make me wonder if some of these personality disorders stem from very different sources,  some mostly genetic, some mostly upbringing, and they will eventually not be listed under the same general category of personality disorders at all.

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One of the things that strikes me as I read this thread about the idea of genetics versus trauma is that it is very similar to my friends who have non heteronormative sexuality. Let me direct: I do not think of alternative sexuality as a disorder, negative, or in anyway something *wrong* with someone. The stories are just very similar.

 

To explain....I have five very close friends who vary between pan sexual and homosexual. They very in ages, genders, and socio economic class. They are just random people I have become close with over the course of my life. Anyway, three have had traumatic experiences in their early sexual lives (and in one instance WAY too early). These three attribute much of their sexual preference to this trauma. The other two say they have known since they were extremely small they were gay. Nothing happened. Both "attempted" (their words) to be normal and had partners in their early teens of the opposite gender, but it was simply not right for them. No one in the group is less gay, or somehow not really gay, or needs fixing, of whatever. It is just that they came to the place of their sexuality by very different routes.

 

Obviously there are children who experience sexual trauma who do not change their orientation. Obviously sexual orientation is not a blight due to being tainted or mistreated. None of the individuals has ever expressed disgust at their orientation or that it is somehow anything other than just who they are. This is nothing more than an anecdote which struck me as interesting.

Our brains are so squishy when we are young. It just makes me wonder how much of who I am is from various painful childhood experiences, stacked at just the right moments in my development, and how much is genetic.

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I think it is 100% genetic when it is a real personality disorder. When someone is just very self centered and others want to call her a narcissist, that is not the same as actually having NPD.

 

This is not what the research supports.  Some are but many are not.  NPD and BPD are not, at least according to all I have read on it.  If you have something that supports it being genetic, I would be interested in reading it.

Edited by DawnM
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I know of 3 clear cases of NPD.  My dad's 2nd wife was adopted at 2 years old by an older couple who had been unable to have children.  they were wonderful, caring people who gave her everything.  Her bio-mother had several children and a drug habit as well as being of mixed races in a time and area that being non-white made you a second class citizen so the adoptive parents tried to make up for it. EXSM (Ex-stepmom) thought the world was there for her.  If she wanted it then she did every underhanded manipulative thing she could to get it.  She and my dad split up after about 4 years. When he went to file for divorce she had already divorced him the year before (when the trouble first started).  She filed false paperwork, signed his name etc.... (In my state you don't have to notarize divorce papers or show up in court).  Even after he left her she continued to stalk him for years because she "couldn't understand why he didn't want her any more".  She was jealous of any time he spent with his kids, to the point that if you called the house to talk to him she would insist he wasn't there even if you could hear him talking in the background.  She couldn't fathom why we didn't want to continue to be her friend (she only ever asked about my dad and who he was seeing).

 

Dh's mother is the type that wants total control over everyone and everything.  If you refuse to allow her to control you through things (money usually) then she will cut you out of her life and force every one who is still under her control to also cut you out.  We haven't spoken to her in 14 years.  We just started speaking to DH's dad after she divorced him.  We had still been in communication with his dad years ago until she told him he could no longer speak to us.  DH has only talked to his sister a couple times because she's also not allowed to talk to him (she's 35).  The woman has lot's of $$$ and uses it to keep people in line, including her own parents. MIL was raised with extremely busy parents who worked at their business 80 hours a week.  Her mother was exacting and her father was/is likely bipolar with severe bouts of depression.  Now that they're older they're worried that if they tick her off she won't help care for them in these last few years and will instead stick them in a nursing home.  Not the exact words used but that was the gist when DH's dad tried to continue to have a friendship with them.

 

DSD's mother was diagnosed as having a personality disorder (whatever they call Multiple Personality now) when she was a teen.  The woman is a cross between MIL, wanting to control everything, and EXSM acting as if she's the only person in the world and we should all bow at her feet (then going on a screaming tear the house down rage when people don't, then the next day refuses to believe she broke all those things).  Her bio dad is not in her life (allegations of abuse) and her mom, while a nice woman, didn't have time to spend with her daughter, she was too busy being a child advocate in the Foster care system.  Her step dad lavished her with things instead of time then left them for a more exciting life when she was in her teens while stealing $1000's of dollars from a trust set up for her by a grandparent.  She is going absolutely crazy right now (calling daily screaming at DH and DSD) because we won't cancel the court date for custody.  She wants us to keep DSD long term but continue to pay child support and she gets to keep custody, so she can threaten to take DSD back if she does something she doesn't like.  She's physically abusive to DSD but treats her older son like he's perfect (he barely graduated HS, smokes pot, and is a part time pizza maker).  She scams the government (gets food stamps but doesn't report income) and thinks it's okay for her to cheat, lie, steal, but not for anyone else.

 

So while there might be a nature/genetic link, I've not seen it in my limited experience, but nurture sure has done a number on these people.

 

 

 

 

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Our brains are so squishy when we are young. It just makes me wonder how much of who I am is from various painful childhood experiences, stacked at just the right moments in my development, and how much is genetic.

 

Or maybe not even painful experiences;  could be just very impressionable experiences, for whatever reason!  Experiences that are more impressionable for a particular individual given that individual's nature.  So fascinating, isn't it?

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There is also epigenetics. 

 

There used to be a theory about schizophrenia (I read about, not sure if anyone entertains that idea anymore) where you had the genetic potential and environmental factors could essentially flick a switch.  That idea came about based on the fact identical twins don't always both get schizophrenia.  Environmental factors could also include things that aren't behavioral (so we aren't talking mom is mean or dad drinks too much, but rather some outside chemical factor.)

 

I think what also makes this complicated is the fact these terms are based on a set of fuzzy symptoms and diagnosis is therefore always problematic.  There is no blood test or brain scan.  Maybe it's in fact just a variation in personality that happens to be problematic to the person and the people around them.  Look up psychopath, for example.  Some cause a great deal of problems (you find many in prison), but you find many who are not in prison.  Some are in control of major corporations.  They have the personality that actually pretty suited for that (except they definitely need someone to balance out the fact they don't care about anyone and cannot empathize).  There might be one running a country as we type....  But despite what people assume, there isn't much evidence that suggests it's because they had a rough childhood. 

 

 

Edited by SparklyUnicorn
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I've had several in my life.  A few I'm not so clear on the childhoods, but in one case this person had a FANTASTIC family and an idyllic childhood, but there are definite genetic factors at play. A couple people in the extended family have schizophrenia, bipolar, or (I'm sorry, I'm forgetting the clinical word for it) the sort of depression where you're more or less catatonic.  This person also seemed to have a strange fascination with mental illness and after watching a movie about a psychiatric hospital, got themself admitted the next day.

 

One person was born a difficult child and both parents rejected them when they got divorced around age 4.  This person was raised by a grandparent who was loving, but strict, and strict isn't really the best route for attachment issues.

 

Yet another person had an abusive mother, both physically and mentally.  Said mother had been adopted as a toddler and probably had attachment issues of her own.  Among this person's siblings, only one person appears to be somewhat normal.  In this instance I don't think you could separate nature from nurture.

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There is also epigenetics.

 

There used to be a theory about schizophrenia (I read about, not sure if anyone entertains that idea anymore) where you had the genetic potential and environmental factors could essentially flick a switch. That idea came about based on the fact identical twins don't always both get schizophrenia. Environmental factors could also include things that aren't behavioral (so we aren't talking mom is mean or dad drinks too much, but rather some outside chemical factor.)

 

I think what also makes this complicated is the fact these terms are based on a set of fuzzy symptoms and diagnosis is therefore always problematic. There is no blood test or brain scan. Maybe it's in fact just a variation in personality that happens to be problematic to the person and the people around them. Look up psychopath, for example. Some cause a great deal of problems (you find many in prison), but you find many who are not in prison. Some are in control of major corporations. They have the personality that actually pretty suited for that (except they definitely need someone to balance out the fact they don't care about anyone and cannot empathize). There might be one running a country as we type.... But despite what people assume, there isn't much evidence that suggests it's because they had a rough childhood.

 

My feeling is that we all have the propensity to develope a personality disorder........like you say, even a single event can trigger it. I think it is pretty complicated.

Edited by Scarlett
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I think the human tendency to seek patterns whether they exist or not is at play both in casual conversations about mental unhealth like this one, and in the actual professional field of psychology.

 

If I say I'm some kind of way, and list a reason, there's no way to in good conscience reject my reason, unless you think I'm lying.

 

To a lesser extent, that's true of the ppl closest to me too. But as we move further away from me, intimacy-wise, my reasoning gets less and less relevant.

 

For all intents and purposes, most people milling around on the planet with NPD are just a**holes that I have to avoid or otherwise protect myself from. The NPd people closer in on the intimacy wheel...Even if I think I know the cause, it's not like I personally can address and rectify it.

 

If I'm worrying about my own kid developing NPD....There's still nothing to be done. I'm already doing my square best to raise them as well as possible. It's just like suspecting add..."square best" then involves seeking btdt peers, trustworthy experts, and doubling down on inculcating a peaceful home life.

 

What else is there?

 

Iow, unless I'm in the field studying the genisis of NPD, my opinion on its causes don't matter, though, to be sure, I have some in mind.

Edited by OKBud
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There is also epigenetics. 

 

There used to be a theory about schizophrenia (I read about, not sure if anyone entertains that idea anymore) where you had the genetic potential and environmental factors could essentially flick a switch.  That idea came about based on the fact identical twins don't always both get schizophrenia.  Environmental factors could also include things that aren't behavioral (so we aren't talking mom is mean or dad drinks too much, but rather some outside chemical factor.)

 

I think what also makes this complicated is the fact these terms are based on a set of fuzzy symptoms and diagnosis is therefore always problematic.  There is no blood test or brain scan.  Maybe it's in fact just a variation in personality that happens to be problematic to the person and the people around them.  Look up psychopath, for example.  Some cause a great deal of problems (you find many in prison), but you find many who are not in prison.  Some are in control of major corporations.  They have the personality that actually pretty suited for that (except they definitely need someone to balance out the fact they don't care about anyone and cannot empathize).  There might be one running a country as we type....  But despite what people assume, there isn't much evidence that suggests it's because they had a rough childhood. 

 

I recall reading an interview with a set of identical twins.  one sister developed schizophrenia in her teens - the other went into medicine to study it and try to understand it becasue she wanted to help.  one of the things that was interesting was how physically different they appeared.

 

I think there maybe a genetic predisposition - but I also think it's not that simple.  environmental factors may or may not be at play.  I see potential environmental factors in my npds lives - but I also see their own choices.   

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In the case of a relative, I think it stemmed from a whacked-out mother. This mom didn't want her daughter out of sight as she couldn't control her. So, she made up an illness and actually put the child to bed for THREE YEARS! This relative spent much of her adult life going from doctor to doctor, hooked on pain pills, having surgery after surgery, and finally died of a non-existent disease. 

 

But is that "NPD started because mom nuts" or "The mother also had narcissistic traits, and the daughter inherited them"?

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Another thing is this idea of which came first...the chicken or the egg.  My mother's mother was in my opinion an abusive parent.  She did stuff that today would probably land her in jail or lead to her children being taken away.  I don't mean she constantly beat her kids or said mean things to them, but she did stuff like drug my mother to sedate her.  She would drop her off at a park when very young and say she'll come back later to get her (no food..no nothing...all day for several days on end).  BUT I believe my mother's mother was not only dealing with mental health issues of her own, but my mother had a severe mental illness and was hard to deal with.  She had very off the wall behaviors that made her difficult.  And this was before much knowledge about this stuff in children.  So I don't think my grandmother made my mother ill, I think my mother was ill and my grandmother reacted in a less than ideal way.  So if you say well the kid had difficult parents and that's the problem.  How do we know it wasn't that the child was difficult and the parent wasn't equipped to respond in the best possible way?

 

 

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With murderous psychopaths, there are brain differences/  But also a great majority of them had peculiar upbringing with only mothers raising them or in some cases grandparents raising and mother is hidden as sister.    However peculiar upbringing is not the cause of psychopathy because there are definitely examples of people with the same types of backgrounds who are not psychopaths.

 

I don't actually personally know any NPD or BPD people.  But have they actually come up with any treatments?  The last time I looked into this, there didn't seem to be effective treatments for personality disorders unlike the somewhat effective treatments for schizophrenia, bipolar, depression, and anxiety.  

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Yes. For BPD there is very effective treatment. Dialectical behaviour therapy, both individual and group, has good results. Often combined with CBT. People do recover from BPD.

 

The idea that it isn't treatable is part of the stigma BPD sufferers are faced with.

 

I don't know, but I would suspect, that getting NPD sufferers into treatment is a far harder task. I believe standard psychotherapies are used; not sure how effective they are.

Yep, I know a young person who was diagnosed with BPD; it was a difficult path and things were pretty dicey for a few years but she received intensive therapy both inpatient and outpatient and no longer meets criteria for a BPD diagnosis.

 

She may always struggle to some extent with anxiety and other diffuculties, but she is healthy and functioning well in life and in relationships.

 

NPD is different in a number of ways, including the fact that individuals with NPD do not typically exhibit the self harm and suicidal tendencies that are common with BPD and are therefor much less likely to come in contact with mental health professionals for diagnosis and treatment. They are also not likely to seek treatment on there own but that particular trait is hardly a unique characteristic of NPD; not seeking treatment is a huge part of the mental health challenge we face as a population overall.

Edited by maize
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I wonder whether the genetic component has to do with being highly sensitive or having a tendency toward resistant sensory integration problems.

Because there are experiences that in and of themselves might not always be considered traumatic that turn out to be highly traumatic for people with those issues. 

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I wonder whether the genetic component has to do with being highly sensitive or having a tendency toward resistant sensory integration problems.

Because there are experiences that in and of themselves might not always be considered traumatic that turn out to be highly traumatic for people with those issues. 

 

I don't know.  But what is definitively traumatic verses not?  That's hard to nail down I think.

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http://www.els.net/WileyCDA/ElsArticle/refId-a0022415.html

 

https://psychcentral.com/news/2012/09/25/twin-study-finds-heavy-hand-of-genetics-in-personality-disorders/45085.html

 

And largely, every thing I have read on the actual personality disorder and not just someone who is self centered, admit that they do not really know what causes it, but always says it is thought to have a genetic component. 

 

All through time, psychiatry tries to blame the mom. And really, that is what it is. Not that long ago, moms were blamed for a child having Autism Spectrum Disorder. And any number of mental health problems. And people with NPD are often liars and like to play the victim to deflect any sort of blame on them or admitting they have a problem. NPD is rarely diagnosed unless someone is ordered in to therapy by the courts. Ultimately, in the end, when all is said and done, genetic components are always found for everything from personality to IQ to even taste preferences. I will never ever believe that having NPD is not genetic. I will believe that there are a lot of very self centered people that a lot of others will just call "narcissist." And I am sure the DSM will change to include every spoiled self centered brat out there. 

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I don't know.  But what is definitively traumatic verses not?  That's hard to nail down I think.

Well, let's try some examples.

 

A kid has to clean out the toilets weekly, which includes cleaning under the rim with a rag.  Unpleasant?  Sure.  Traumatic?  Not to most, but, absolutely, to someone who is very sensitive.

 

Another kid turns his back on the ocean while wading in shin deep water.  A big wave knocks him down and starts to drag him out to sea.  An alert parent lifts him out of the water just in time.  Adventure or horror?  Depends.

 

A kid gets hit with a paddle in front of his classmates 8 times for failing to do his homework.  Traumatic or not? 

 

None of this stuff is good, but the lasting effects are going to be different for different people depending on how common or uncommon the experience is, and on how sensitive the kid is. 

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I have two people with NPD in my extended family. They are on different sides of my family, but had very similar childhood traumas. 

 

Person 1 had an alcoholic mother who was somewhat narcissistic herself. Dad was also an alcoholic, and he was a workaholic and very emotionally distant. Traumatic event was mom attempting suicide when Person 1 was a child and then being institutionalized for 6+ months. This would have been in the mid-1960's so mom suffered through terrible things, including shock therapy, and emerged stable but traumatized. It's all a big family secret so details have always been fuzzy, but my understanding is that family friends filled the gap to care for Person 1 and his sister during that time. The sister is also narcissistic, though not extreme enough to be considered NPD.

 

Person 2 had a mother who was very overwhelmed and anxious. Dad was a warm and loving presence, but a workaholic who expected his wife to handle everything. Traumatic event was mom having a nervous breakdown when Person 2 was a young child and then being institutionalized for 6+ months (again - this was a 60's era hospitalization and mom emerged fairly traumatized). The oldest teen daughter cared for the younger siblings during that time. All 6 of the siblings are narcissistic to some degree and have struggled to maintain marriages and personal relationships. The least narcissistic and most stable of the siblings is the oldest sister who cared for all of the younger ones. The youngest sister was the one most affected by the trauma & she is the one with NPD.

 

I don't know how those stories shake out in terms of nature versus nurture. In both situations, all the kids wound up narcissistic to some degree which could point to the childhood trauma or to a genetic component. So I would say it's some interplay of both genetics and childhood experiences.

 

Interestingly, both of these NPD relatives were without question the favorite child/golden child in their family-of-origin. My whole life, I have heard family members openly acknowledge the NPD sibling's status as the favorite child. So I've often wondered whether the trauma of mom's absence was most traumatic for the golden child. Or whether being the golden child in an emotionally unhealthy family might have contributed to developing NPD.

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I've been through this with three relatives. Each was formally diagnosed by a professional psychologist using the DSM criteria. In each case, there were significant risk factors. In two cases, unresolved trauma seems to be the root. In the other, it was a child raised in a very codependent situation with an NPD parent.

 

I know people who went through horrific trauma and became caring, balanced adults. And others who were raised in a home with NPD who rejected that. I don't believe that either of those situations is an absolute path to NPD.

 

Psychologists who I've talked to about this say that genetics isn't the whole picture. Maybe a factor.

 

Personality disorders are notoriously hard to unwind anyway. And NPD can be combined with other issues like paranoia and delusional thinking.

 

The sad thing, is that is largely untreatable if full-blown. If someone being affected by an NPD individual goes for counselling, they are usually told not to try to bring in the NPD person for co-counselling. It often blows up, making things even harder for the person who originally sought help. The counsellor typically focuses on helping the individual either break contact with or cope with the NPD person.

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http://www.els.net/WileyCDA/ElsArticle/refId-a0022415.html

 

https://psychcentral.com/news/2012/09/25/twin-study-finds-heavy-hand-of-genetics-in-personality-disorders/45085.html

 

And largely, every thing I have read on the actual personality disorder and not just someone who is self centered, admit that they do not really know what causes it, but always says it is thought to have a genetic component. 

 

All through time, psychiatry tries to blame the mom. And really, that is what it is. Not that long ago, moms were blamed for a child having Autism Spectrum Disorder. And any number of mental health problems. And people with NPD are often liars and like to play the victim to deflect any sort of blame on them or admitting they have a problem. NPD is rarely diagnosed unless someone is ordered in to therapy by the courts. Ultimately, in the end, when all is said and done, genetic components are always found for everything from personality to IQ to even taste preferences. I will never ever believe that having NPD is not genetic. I will believe that there are a lot of very self centered people that a lot of others will just call "narcissist." And I am sure the DSM will change to include every spoiled self centered brat out there. 

 

mom's of asd kids still are blamed.  (or else they completely deny it even exists, or only recognize the most extreme forms.). I had one woman tell me to my face at least twice - I was the source of all of dudeling's problems.  I remember the look of shocked horror of realization of reality on her dh's face when I flat out said he had been formally diagnosed by a child dev team as on the spectrum.  (and before we'd gotten him in, a newly graduated pt, and slp came running up to me one day after watching him and asked if he had asd.  they'd worked with asd kids in their training and were excited to be able to recognize it without one of their profs telling them.)

 

I have two npd's on my side.  one was a middle child of a very large family, alcoholic father.  other siblings definitely had issues.  I can believe in a genetic component- but I don't believe that's the only component as that takes away any ability to choose.  she chose to act on those impulses - granted as time goes on it does become more difficult to change, but there is still choice (especially in the beginning).  very into manipulative and exploitative control of others so she got all the glory.  took pleasure in demeaning people.

the other was the golden child - and still thinks everyone should treat him that way.  has complete disregard for other people's opinions, because he is always right and knows best - about every subject.  (I'm so sorry I wasn't there when he started lecturing my sister's math major sil on the joys of math.   wanna know what a math nerd does when someone starts talking math to him?  he starts talking about math.  really really high level math. higher math than an engineer study's.  so sorry I missed that. )  reality has bitten as there is no family left alive that is willing to treat him that way.  I watched him micromanage a child to the point I was sure she'd grow into a neurotic mess. I have little contact, at least one of his kids is no contact.  

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i don't know anyone formally diagnosed, but there is someone I used to be close to that checks all the boxes for NPD, and my therapist actually told me he most likely has it.

 

He was raised in an abusive alcoholic father and what presents to me as an NPD mother. I think it's both nature and nurture.

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About moms being blamed for autism, this actually relates back to what I said upthread.

 

When Kanner was first studying autism, he made the simple observation that the parents of the kids he was working with also showed many of the same traits as their kids. His conclusion was that the condition was somewhat inherited. (This is now the predominant explanation of this fact, and genetics backs it up.)

 

However, heritability was not in fashion as an explanation, so that same information was used to come up with a new conclusion - bad, distant parenting ("refrigerator mothers") made autistic kids. This is, of course, patently ridiculous.

It's taken a lot of time for research to recover from that era.

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I wonder whether the genetic component has to do with being highly sensitive or having a tendency toward resistant sensory integration problems.

Because there are experiences that in and of themselves might not always be considered traumatic that turn out to be highly traumatic for people with those issues. 

 

I've wondered this too. The people I know with personality disorders all seem to be highly sensitive in many ways.

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Well, let's try some examples.

 

A kid has to clean out the toilets weekly, which includes cleaning under the rim with a rag.  Unpleasant?  Sure.  Traumatic?  Not to most, but, absolutely, to someone who is very sensitive.

 

Another kid turns his back on the ocean while wading in shin deep water.  A big wave knocks him down and starts to drag him out to sea.  An alert parent lifts him out of the water just in time.  Adventure or horror?  Depends.

 

A kid gets hit with a paddle in front of his classmates 8 times for failing to do his homework.  Traumatic or not? 

 

None of this stuff is good, but the lasting effects are going to be different for different people depending on how common or uncommon the experience is, and on how sensitive the kid is. 

 

These examples feel too vague to me.  I think there are other factors that are going to put a very different spin on each one of them. 

 

I don't think most things are about a single event (barring something very very extreme).

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I wonder whether the genetic component has to do with being highly sensitive or having a tendency toward resistant sensory integration problems.

Because there are experiences that in and of themselves might not always be considered traumatic that turn out to be highly traumatic for people with those issues.

Hmmm, my n of one was a very sensory child who was paralyzed by loud noises and would only wear certain clothes/socks. I cut her hair in a pixie cut to avoid that struggle. She went, however, from mildly " blue" to full on psychotic with the addition of ssri meds. Possibly the " switch" can be anything and people who would have bumbled along on the low end of the bell curve get bumped into more serious problems by some event, emotional or physical.

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