What Are the Different Causes of Narcissism?

Article Details
  • Written By: Amanda R. Bell
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 22 January 2020
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
Arguably the world’s first “cat video,” a short film from 1894 shows cats "boxing" in Thomas Edison's studio.  more...

February 17 ,  1820 :  The Missouri Compromise was passed.  more...

There is no definitive cause of narcissism, a personality disorder in which a person has a significantly above normal love and view of himself or herself, often to the detriment of others, and completely lacks empathy. In many cases, this disorder may be caused by parents or caregivers who either excessively pamper or routinely ignore a young child. It can also be caused by routine exposure to extreme criticism during childhood. Some researchers believe that certain cases of narcissism are hereditary, either citing genes as the direct cause or believing that certain individuals are naturally more prone to developing this disorder given the proper circumstances.

Extremes in parenting are often believed to be one of the causes of this disorder. Children who are constantly pampered, coddled, or overly praised may develop this personality disorder later in childhood or early adulthood. These issues, which may be one of the causes of narcissism, are considered outside of the normal realm of parenting, even when compared to what many in society would view as over-protectiveness or excessive indulgence, and tend to foster unhealthy relationships between a child and his or her parent or caregiver.


At the other end of the spectrum is extreme emotional and physical neglect. Some psychologists believe that a child who constantly has to fend for himself or herself, despite having adults in his or her life who are supposed to be responsible for him or her, is more likely to become narcissistic. Typically, it is believed that an individual develops this over-the-top view of himself or herself as a coping mechanism for the lack of encouragement and genuine love in childhood. As children typically learn empathy from the adults in their lives, a child who is not exposed to compassion may not be able to develop this ability later in life, also resulting in narcissism.

A constant expectation to perform above average and criticism for any minor flaws or faults may also be one of the causes of narcissism. This unrelenting critique can result in a child constantly seeking out praise and admiration from others, one of the most common symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder. It can also cause an individual to overstate his or her accomplishments in an attempt to receive praise and admiration, another symptom of narcissism.

Outside of environmental causes of narcissism, many researchers and psychologists believe that genes are possibly one of the causes of narcissism, although it is not known as of 2011 what traits are potentially passed down. In general, a child with a narcissistic parent is more likely to develop narcissism himself or herself, although it is not known whether this is due to genetics or how the child is raised. While it is believed that certain traits commonly associated with this personality disorder are hereditary, some researchers believe that an individual may be naturally more inclined to develop narcissism if his or her childhood allows for it, even if neither parent is narcissistic.


You might also Like


Discuss this Article

Post 2

@anon333995: I don't think you need to make any kinds of decisions while you're still addicted to speed. It impairs your judgment, whether you realize it or not, and changes your brain chemistry.

I recommend you check out Narcotics Anonymous. It is a free 12-step group. You can look them up online and see what they have to say about addiction.

I'm willing to bet your boyfriend wouldn't surprise your parents if he told them you were addicted to speed. They know something is wrong, whether they will admit to themselves you're doing drugs or not.

People can overcome CFS. I have a friend who did just that. He completely changed his diet, started exercising and he is much better


Getting clean from the speed is your first step. Then, you can look at other things in your life and can see them clearly. I guarantee you can't tell anyone in NA anything they haven't already heard -- or done -- themselves, which really helps with the shame factor, which is what keeps so many addicts imprisoned by their disease. Good luck.

Post 1

I realized about a year ago that all my partners have been narcissists and worse still, all my kids are and so are my parents and brothers and sisters!

I got chronic fatigue about six years ago after having glandular fever. Because of this, I had to move back in with my parents, who basically raised my kids because I was always asleep. If they didn't bring food in to me, I wouldn't eat!

As a last resort, I tried speed, which woke me up and I was able to get up and have a shower and function normally. I never felt high or tainted in any way while on it. I was just so refreshed and excited because I

could think, feel and breathe, shower, put on makeup, blow-dry my hair, go shopping. Anyway, here I am sitting up in bed, still living with my elderly parents. I can't afford speed and I'm hooked on it now. I only have the minimum amount you can buy.

I had a fling four years ago with a fifo worker and got pregnant. We shacked up together and I fell in love with his portrayal of a soft hearted, gentle soul. But the lack of love and the weeks of silent treatment would just break my heart, not to mention his constant need for sex with other women! I would say he is a high level narcissist and am too fearful to break up with him because I know he will expose me to my folks about the speed! They just think I have good days and bad days! I'd rather be dead than be bedridden.

Back to the subject at hand. I am totally surrounded by narcissists and possibly narcissists/sociopaths and never knew they even existed! My narcissistic partner moved up north full time with his dad once we were evicted and had nowhere to go, and my three kids (two are grown up) and I moved back in with my folks.

I feel suicidal at times and my life has no meaning, I'm over sensitive, extremely merciful and have always had the need for lots of love. But I've yet to experience real, true love. I'm still with my narcissistic boyfriend, but its only because he flies down every now and then and he's very hands on as a dad, and it just takes some pressure off, and yeah, I still forget and start believing he is normal and start planning for the future.

I'm so insignificant against them all. My mother has always taken my boyfriend's side. It kills me! Does anyone have any advice for me? I don't have any friends and co one to talk to. Please help, I'm desperate! Please, no narcissists.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?