The Making of a Monster: Causes of NPD
Why don’t you love me? After everything I’ve done – how could you not love me?
At some point, everyone that has been involved with a Narcissist has wondered these same thoughts. That someone, promised you the moon and the stars and delivered nothing, and then discarded you like a bad habit, is so hard to come to terms with. A Narcissist’s behavior defies reason. It doesn’t make sense, because it’s not logical. Instead, it’s cruel, harmful and unnecessary. It causes us so much turmoil, because we never saw it coming (at least not the first time). It wasn’t even on our radar, because that kind of thinking and behavior is so foreign to the rest of us.
There are thousands and thousands of stories from victims of Narcissistic abuse that are absolutely horrific and heart wrenching and it leaves us shaking our heads, wondering, ‘How could somebody do that?’ Many, when they discover that their partner has a problem, become expert detectives and scientists to try and learn all they can about it. They want to keep their mate so badly that they will go to any lengths to do so.
We know that deep at the heart of every Narcissist is an insatiable need for attention and admiration. Feeding it, is a Narcissist’s main objective, all other things are secondary. From a detached, clinical perspective, a Narcissists behavior makes perfect sense. When a Narcissist sees what they want, they will move heaven and earth to get it, once they have taken all they can, they discard it. And because it is necessary to their survival, they have become incredibly efficient at learning all the right moves, to get what they need, and in the shortest amount of time.
Why Are They Like This?
Their behavior hits us hard, because we know that we would never do that to someone. We know that behavior isn’t normal, that it’s unnecessarily cruel and lacking in compassion and it can seem downright evil. And for most of the kind hearted, altruistic victims they acquire, the question of – Where does this come from? Why do they behave like this and how can we fix it? – becomes exceedingly significant.
The answer isn’t so simple. There is no consensus among researches as to the cause of NPD. Some are firmly on the camp of Nature and some, on the side of Nurture. I contend that in some cases, it is nature (a biological component) and in some cases, it’s nurture (neglect, abuse) and in other cases, it’s both. I don’t think there has to be a one size fits all recipe, for how and why the impairment comes to exist. The story of my former long-term cerebral Narcissist is a good example.
He described a childhood filled with abuse. At the age of 7 he knew there was something seriously wrong with his father and tried to convince his mother to leave her husband. His father was a Narcissist and demeaned and belittled his wife and sons cruelly and at every opportunity. His father was angry and a rage lived inside of him, that his family tip toed around and feared. As a young teenager, my ex became defiant, and a hatred between father and son climaxed to the point, where the father claimed, he slept with one eye open, fearing his son would murder him in his sleep. Conversely, he had a mother that over compensated and overly praised her son’s minutest accomplishments.
There were two sons. One son became a people pleaser, sensitive and emotionally fragile, the other, a Narcissist, with OCD, filled with feelings of entitlement, hatred and rage. Why did one son become a gentle, overly-caring soul and the other a cruel self-centered ego-maniac?
In this example we see two children with similar DNA, similar childhood – yet different outcomes. Was my ex the unlucky brother who won the Narcissist DNA contest, or did perhaps birth order play a roll (my Narcissist was the youngest). Did perhaps the older child get more nurturing, because he was the first and the younger child experienced more neglect?
We know that children of abuse and neglect have 3 possible outcomes 1. They will have severely low-self-esteem, become emotionally fragile, people pleasers, door mats, unstable…take your pick. 2. There is the small possibility that they will suffer no effects and will turn out emotionally normal and 3. They will become abuser’s themselves. Why one of these three things happens in a particular case and not the other is a mystery.
There have also been findings that point to the possibility that inappropriate praise can also play a role, where one parent is highly abusive, and the other tries to over compensate with improper amounts of praise for insignificant and minor tasks. Thus, creating a confused, emotional template within the child’s psyche, of self and ability.
Another theory that has been bantered around is that of Attachment Disorder. One emotional element that all Narcissists have in common is an inability to form normal, healthy attachment bonds to others. They are largely disconnected from their emotions and from others and many believe that Narcissism and Psychopathy comes about, through a break in the bonding between a child and its primary caregiver, usually the mother.
In a normal bond, a baby cries and its mother picks it up and tends to its needs. In a broken bond, a baby cries and is either seldomly attended to, or sporadically tended to. In either case, the child’s ability to trust and to form normal attachment bonds never develops.
There have also been cases, where infants are completely indifferent, right from birth, to any attempts, by the parents, to form an attachment bond. Which would definitely point to a biological component.
The type of bonding you experience as an infant sets the standard for all future adult relationships. It is the blue print for how one will connect and relate to others in adulthood. Children who don’t develop this early bond, will become adults that are disconnected from their emotions, have difficulty communicating in their relationships, have difficulty relating to, or being empathetic towards others and they will have great difficulty sustaining a healthy relationship.
The why’s and the how’s of NPD are varied and complex and not fully understood. If you are involved with a Narcissist, the how’s and why’s really are irrelevant, despite your need to understand and fix the problem. No amount of your suffering is going to change things. No amount of your giving is going to change things and no amount of your love and endless devotion is going to change things.
Trying to fix someone is a futile endeavor, no matter how much you may want to. When it comes to relationships and people, you really only have two choices, you can accept them as they are, or you leave.
Being involved with a Narcissist is painful and damaging to your well-being. Don’t try to be a martyr and stay because you believe you can help, or that they need you. All people are deserving of our understanding and compassion, but when it comes to a Narcissist, do it from afar. Because while you may feel a strong connection and attachment, know that they do not share the same feelings, at least not in the same way.
Although they are very good at saying the right words and feigning a connection, when it suits them, anyone who is involved with a Narcissist knows that something is off. Normal healthy relationships develop into a trust and evolve into intimacy, where there is respect and reciprocity. A relationship with a Narcissist will never grow, will never evolve – there will never be trust – there will never be respect – and it will always be all about them.
You deserve better. Stop looking for answers to solve their problems and look inside of you instead. Heal your own hurts, and give up the need to build somebody else up. Know that these emotional Vampires walk among us. They can blend in and act like us, but they’re not like us. Learn how to spot them and get away before the life gets sucked out of you and you are the one left walking around like a zombie. Always remember what they are. I know that the need to understand and fix is extremely high in many of us, but know that your efforts to bring life to these monsters is wasted, unless of course you’re Dr Frankenstein, but then again, it didn’t work out so well for him either.
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