Friday, April 30, 2021

Recognizing NPD

Do you have any tips for recognizing NPD quickly?

 You can only know what you know, therefore, learning what to look for and recognizing patterns of behavior quickly can help you protect yourself and/or get help if you recognize the symptoms in yourself. Self-esteem is compromised in NPD, so in order to feel adequate these brains need to find others as incompetent and put them down (e.g., complain, criticize, gossip, show contempt). There is a lack compassion for others because they don’t recognize their own mistakes. In fact, to be okay they often try to believe they do not make mistakes. Typically they do everything in their power to avoid being held accountable. It is so much easier to blame, trying to displace some of their discomfort onto someone else. They often do try to put themselves in the spotlight, regardless of whether or not they have honed skills to warrant that type of recognition. They can be encouraged to continue to hone their skills without being told they are better than everyone else and more important and special than everyone else.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Parenting Style & NPD, 3

The Brummelman study reportedly identified that greater child-rated parental warmth, predicted higher self-esteem six months later, but not greater narcissism. This was measured by comments such as “I know my parents love me. My mother (or father) tells me she (or he) loves me.” By comparison, parental overvaluation predicted greater narcissism six months later, but not higher self-esteem. This was measured by comments indicating the child felt more special than others and comments by the parent(s) that indicated their child was more special than other children. On the other hand, I’ve heard parents say, “You are very special to me,” and “I am so glad you are my child,” or “I am happy to spend time with you.” This falls in the healthier emotional warmth category in my opinion. At a kids picnic not long ago, I heard a child say to an adult, “I’m special. I hit that ball really good.” The adult response was, “Yes, you did hit the ball well. Remember, every child is special is his or her own way, you included.” That grouped the child with others rather than singling the child out above the others.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Parenting Style and NPD, 2

A child who may be developing narcissistic characteristics not only may want to be in the spotlight all the time but may care about being admired and thought special more than developing genuine friendships. As they brag and demand attention and admiration, they may seem oblivious to how that may make other children around them feel. And, as with adults, these children often have very fragile self-esteem. At quite a young age they may become aggressive, angry, and lash out at parents or others if anything happens that makes them feel humiliated, criticized, teased, not special, or rejected in any way. Parents need to develop rhetoric that works for them, the idea being to let children know that the parents love and cherish them and enjoy seeing them do well, without overtly comparing the children to others by telling them continually how special they are. I heard one father tell his son not long ago, “I enjoyed watching you play the game. You are gaining skills and improving. I’m glad you are my son.” 

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Parenting Style & NPD

It is important to understand that most people do the best they can at the time with what they know. If a parent grew up being told he or she was special, that parent may replicate that style with their own child(ren)—or go 180 degrees opposite. And, as I so often point out, 180 degrees from dysfunctional is simply a different type of dysfunction. It’s cute when a child of three or four tells his parents: “Watch me do this!” As one teacher explained, this likely represents an age-appropriate desire for the child to obtain parental approval for having learned a new skill. By the time a child is around age seven (give or take a year or two), the child is beginning to compare his/her competence and skill levels with that of other children. Acknowledge and rewarding a child’s skill level is one thing; teaching the child he is “more special” than anyone else is quite another thing. Continual pleas to "Watch me, watch me," is no longer cute in a seven-year-old who always wants to hold center stage and be in the spotlight. Some counselors point out that a child is not ‘bad’ or ‘good,’ although behaviors can be positive or negative. A child needs to feel loved and accepted by his/her parents, period; and assisted to develop behaviors that give them positive outcomes, but that do not lead them to believe they are ‘more special’ than anyone else.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Coaching Parents in Preventing NPD

Does the NPD study “Origins of Narcissism in Children” suggest any prevention strategies?

According to Eddie Brummelman, the study conclusions do suggest a practical way of helping parents. Parents can be coached on how to express affection and appreciation toward children without telling them that they are superior to others or entitled to special privileges. An earlier study by the same authors reported something I found especially interesting. The researchers asked the parents whether their children knew about “Queen Alberta” and “The Tale of Benson Bunny.” Both of these were concocted by the researchers. Some of the parents in the study claimed their children knew all about “Queen Alberta” and “The Tale of Benson Bunny.” Brummelman, study pointed out that parents who tended to overvalue their child(ren) also tended to claim that their child had knowledge of many different topics, including even these nonexistent ones that had been made up by the researchers. 

Friday, April 23, 2021

Other Contributors to NPD

Are there other things that can contribute to a child developing a Narcissistic Personality Disorder or NPD?

 Contributors to the development of NPD are complex. Overvaluing children appears to be one of the causes but there are also genetic and other environmental factors at play that also need more study. Some children appear to be are more vulnerable to overvaluing parenting styles. Professor Brad Bushman, one of the study’s authors, indicated that the study had changed his parenting style. Before he began this research in the 1990s, he used to think his children should be treated like they were extra-special. He is careful to avoid doing that now because children believe it when their parents tell them that they are more special than others, which may not be good for them or for society. Rather than overvaluing the child, concentrating on being emotionally warm towards children was linked with better levels of self-esteem, not narcissism. It is important to express emotional warmth to your children because that may promote self-esteem— but overvaluing them may promote higher narcissism. 

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Good News from the NPD Study

The good news about the study is that their findings uncovered early socialization experiences that cultivate narcissism and, therefore, suggest interventions at an early age that may prevent or curtail narcissistic development. This could be very helpful in assisting parents to provide balanced, effective parenting strategies—because in adulthood, dealing with Narcissistic Personality Disorders can be challenging. If NPD is not dealt with appropriately and treated, complications may include: depression, drug or alcohol abuse, and suicidal thoughts or behavior. The brain’s subconscious Reptilian and Mammalian layers seem to be involved with NPD. Individuals with NPD seem surface friendly but no one really knows them—although they primarily talk about self and want the emphasis on themselves. They are often charismatic but very secretive. They aim to be successful at whatever the cost (e.g., may lie, exhibit addictive behaviors, throw you “under the bus”).

http://www.pnas.org/content/112/12/3659

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

NPD Study, 3


In pointing out the significance of the study, the researchers commented that narcissistic individuals feel superior to others, fantasize about personal successes, and believe they deserve special treatment. When they feel humiliated, they often lash out aggressively or even violently. Knowledge about the origins of narcissism is important for designing interventions to curtail narcissistic development. They believe this study demonstrated that narcissism in children is cultivated by parental overvaluation as the parents believe their child to be more special and more entitled than others. In contrast, high levels of self-esteem in children is cultivated by parental warmth, as parents express their affection and appreciation toward their child. These findings show that narcissism is partly rooted in early socialization experiences, and suggest that parent-training interventions can help curtail narcissistic development and reduce its costs for society.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

NPD Study, 2


Results of the NPD study “Origins of Narcissism in Children” support social learning theory and contradict psychoanalytic theory:

  •  Narcissism was predicted by parental overvaluation
  • Narcissism was not predicted by lack of parental warmth.

 The children seemed to acquire narcissism, in part, by internalizing their parents’ inflated views of them (e.g., “I am superior to others” and “I am entitled to privileges”).

 Attesting to the specificity of this finding:

      ·       Self-esteem was predicted by parental warmth

·       Self-esteem was not predicted by parental overvaluation.

These findings identified early socialization experiences that cultivate narcissism. More tomorrow. 

Friday, April 16, 2021

NPD Criteria, Cont’d

  • Expecting to receive special favors and unquestioning compliance with those expectations
  • Taking advantage of others to get what you want
  • Showing an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
  • Being envious of others and believing others envy you
  • Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner
  • Coming across as exceedingly confident or over-confident

Note, this persona of confidence or projection of over-confidence likely does not reflect genuine competency confidence. Rather it appears to reflect thinking so highly of oneself that the person puts him or herself on such a high level that the person values the self much more than he or she values others. More tomorrow.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

NPD Criteria

What are some of the characteristics of someone with a NPD?

 The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) is published by the American Psychiatric Association. Its criteria are used to diagnose mental conditions as well as used by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment. Criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder include (somewhat abridged and paraphrased):

An exaggerated sense of self-importance

An expectation to be recognized as superior even with
out achievements that warrant that

A tendency to exaggerate achievements and talents

A preoccupation with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate

Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people

Needing constant admiration

The list continues tomorrow.


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Teenage Brain and NPD

Someone said recently that “a teenage brain is a narcissistic brain.” Can that really be true?

 As mentioned in an earlier post, the still-in-process teenage brain is rather narcissistic in its approach to life and living. The process of maturing the teenage brain is designed to move it away from narcissistic behavior to more balanced behaviors. This involves a learning process and the teenage brain either learns it or not. If the teenagers fail to mature and move to more balanced behaviors, they tend to become narcissistic adults. While narcissists are able to feel most emotions as strongly as do others, they seem to lack the essential ability to perceive or understand the feelings of others. As Martha Stout PhD has put it, narcissism is a failure not of conscience but of empathy. Emotionally speaking, narcissists don’t seem to see past their own nose, sometimes flying into narcissistic rages and then lacking the skills to get back on the good side of people they love. That’s exactly what had happened in the interactions between parents and their ‘adult’ son. He had flown into a narcissistic rage when things has not turned out exactly as he expected or wanted on his visit, which had fractured their relationship, yet again. More tomorrow. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Sites Related to Early TV Viewing

Here are a few URLs for those who are interested in the studies related to early Television viewing.

 Early childhood television viewing and kindergarten entry readiness | Pediatric Research (nature.com)

 The Immediate Impact of Different Types of Television on Young Children's Executive Function | American Academy of Pediatrics (aappublications.org)

 Associations Between Content Types of Early Media Exposure and Subsequent Attentional Problems | American Academy of Pediatrics (aappublications.org)

 Early childhood television viewing and kindergarten entry readiness | Pediatric Research (nature.com)

Origins of Narcissism

 

Are there any studies on the origins of narcissism?

 The report of a study entitled “Origins of Narcissism in Children,” was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2015). It was conducted though the Research Institute of Child Development and Education, Department of Educational Sciences, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam 1001 NG, The Netherlands. According to researchers led by Eddie Brummelman, narcissism levels have been increasing among Western youth. This personality disorder contributes to societal problems such as aggression and violence. The origins of narcissism have not been well understood. To their knowledge, this was the first prospective longitudinal study to provide evidence on the origins of narcissism in children. Researchers compared two perspectives:

      Social learning theory (positing that narcissism is cultivated by parental overvaluation)

     Psychoanalytic theory (positing that narcissism is cultivated by lack of parental warmth).

 Their goal was to discover whether parenting styles could be linked with the development of narcissism in biologically vulnerable children. More tomorrow.

Age-Related NPD

 


Does age have anything to do with narcissism?

 Brains mature more slowly than the bodies that house the brain. Consequently, immature brains are definitely not ‘done’ yet and are innately rather narcissistic, “It’s all about me.” The process of maturing is designed to move these brain to more balanced behaviors. It is believed less of a genetic process and more of a learning process that is either learned or not. If the brain does not learn and mature and move to more balanced behaviors, the brain may become narcissistic. The bad news in terms of relationships is that an antisocial narcissistic adult (whose brain did not learn and move toward more balanced behaviors) may eventually exhibit sociopathic behaviors. What else might you observe? These individuals may have serial sexual affairs saying, “If you’d paid me more attention I wouldn’t have had to go looking for it.” (Blaming) They want to avoid accountability saying, “I’ve made mistakes but I don’t want to talk about any of them, I just want to start from here.” A big question is whether narcissism is treatable. I have heard psychiatrist say, “Yes, some narcissism is treatable,” especially if the individual recognizes their behaviors and wants to become more balanced. If they are in the habit of exhibiting angry narcissistic rages, however, and are unwilling to seek help to view themselves and their behaviors more objectively, there may be no recovery. More tomorrow.

Monday, April 12, 2021

NPD prevalence


What about the prevalence of
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)?

Prevalence is the estimated population of people who are managing Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) at any given time in a given general population group. Jean M. Twenge PhD and W. Keith Campbell PhD, authors of the 2009 book The Narcissism Epidemic, estimated the prevalence of NPD in the United States at 6.2% in the general population: 7.7% for males and 4.8% for females. Reportedly, NPD is more prevalent among separated, divorced, widowed, and never married adults. Hispanic females and African Americans may be at higher risk. It comes as no surprise NPD can cause problems in many areas of life including home, school, work, and in all types of relationships and collaborative efforts. This personality disorder is also characterized by a belief that they deserve admiration and special favors in all environments. When they do not receive this at the level expected, they can become disappointed and unhappy. Naturally, they tend to find relationships rather unfulfilling and cannot seem to understand why others to not seek them out and want to be around them. More tomorrow.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Parenting and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)

Does a parenting style have anything to do with someone developing a NPD?


A Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is one of several types of personality disorders, which are mental conditions characterized by traits that cause them to feel and behave in socially distressing ways (a Mayo Clinic puts it). No surprise, this limits their ability to function effectively and successfully in relationships both personally and professionally. These individuals tend to have an inflated sense of their own importance, which includes a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. Their exhibited persona is that of ultra-confident behavior, but at its core it contains an extremely fragile sense of self-worth or self-esteem, which makes them vulnerable to the slightest perceived criticismreal or imagined—no matter how mild or deserving. More tomorrow.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)

What can you tell me about the type of behavior I recently experienced from my adult son?

 
A parent contacted me and described his emotional pain related to a visit from his adult son. On the surface at least, what the father described fell into the category of a Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and the reported behaviors were pretty ugly. The son stated, among other things, "I do not have a happy life and it is all your fault. After all, you had me and I did not ask to be born, period. Certainly not born into this family!" NPD can be difficult to deal with period. All the more if the narcissist you know is a member of your own family or, for that matter, yourself. In the latter case, you do have the choice to course correct. The goal, of course, is to recognize undesirable behaviors quickly. If it involves your own behaviors, you can choose to course correct. If it involve the behaviors of others, you can self-select strategies to protect yourself from at least some of the negative consequences. More tomorrow.


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Narcissism and Bigotry


I’ve heard more about narcissism lately and wonder if it is related in any way to bigotry?

 More and more questions are being raised about narcissism: the types, recovery issues, correlation with other personality disorders. Perhaps the questions are due to recent incidents of public record, especially in relationship to bigotry. George Simon Jr., PhD is said to be one of the foremost authorities on manipulative personalities and other problem characters. Reportedly he has specialized in disturbances of personality and character for over 30 years. Dr. Simon has spoken about the relationship with a person’s character, “specifically, the inherently malignantly narcissistic character of the bigot.” It is one thing to be very self-centered and dismissive of others. It’s another to view others with disdain or even contempt because they are different from you and then treat them differently. He is reported as saying that a pathological degree of grandiosity (i.e., malignant narcissism) is always at the root of bigotry.  More tomorrow. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Older Adults and Cognitive or “Thinking” Functions, 5

There is good news. Lead study author, Eileen Graham, said, “These findings provide evidence that it is possible for older adults to live with the neuropathology associated with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias while maintaining relatively healthy levels of cognitive function.” Study authors also pointed out that since it is possible for personality to change, both volitionally and through interventions, it’s possible that personality could be used to identify those who are at risk and implement early interventions to help optimize function throughout old age. Personality and other factors that promote cognitive resilience may be particularly important in the context of stress (like the COVID-19 pandemic) and this is an important area of future research,” according to Graham. It behooves individuals to evaluate their level of anxiety, worry, and moodiness, and take steps—obtaining help as needed—to reduce these “energy eaters.” Of course, “sooner” is better than “later” as “prevention always beats cure.” Start now to develop the type of personality that is linked with a higher risk of maintaining good cognitive function. Dump anxiety/worry and moodiness!

Monday, April 5, 2021

Older Adults and Cognitive or “Thinking” Functions, 4Study results showed that older people who have higher levels of neuroticism—a greater tendency towards anxiety, worry, moodiness, and impulsivity are more likely to have worse cognitive function than those with other personality traits. Older adults who show more cognitive resilience—defined as an ability to live more effectively with the neuropathology in the brain that causes dementia—tend to be those who experience less anxiety and worry and who are less moody. Some positive personality traits were associated with cognitive resilience. What were those personality traits? Individuals with a greater tendency toward self-discipline, organization, diligence, high achievement, and motivation—a trait that is referred to as higher conscientiousness—were found to be associated with a with greater resilience as the brain aged. (Some of you may recall the “Nun Study” and the book “Aging with Grace” by David Snowdon, Ps.D., that reported related data.) Study results showed that older people who have higher levels of neuroticism—a greater tendency towards anxiety, worry, moodiness, and impulsivity are more likely to have worse cognitive function than those with other personality traits. Older adults who show more cognitive resilience—defined as an ability to live more effectively with the neuropathology in the brain that causes dementia—tend to be those who experience less anxiety and worry and who are less moody. Some positive personality traits were associated with cognitive resilience. What were those personality traits? Individuals with a greater tendency toward self-discipline, organization, diligence, high achievement, and motivation—a trait that is referred to as higher conscientiousness—were found to be associated with a with greater resilience as the brain aged. (Some of you may recall the “Nun Study” and the book “Aging with Grace” by David Snowdon, Ps.D., that reported related data.)

Study results showed that older people who have higher levels of neuroticism—defined as a greater tendency towards anxiety, worry, moodiness, and impulsivityare more likely to have worse cognitive function than those with different personality traits. Older adults who show more cognitive resilience—defined as an ability to live more effectively with the neuropathology in the brain that causes dementia—tend to be those who experience less anxiety  and worry and who are less moody. Some positive personality traits were associated with cognitive resilience. What were those personality traits? Individuals with a greater tendency toward self-discipline, organization, diligence, high achievement, and motivation—a trait that is referred to as higher conscientiousness—were found to be associated with a with greater resilience as the brain aged. (Some of you may recall the “Nun Study” and the book “Aging with Grace” by David Snowdon, Ps.D., that reported related data.)

Friday, April 2, 2021

Older Adults and Cognitive or “Thinking” Functions, 3

Researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, have released results of a study they believe shows that personality traits are related to how well people are able to maintain their cognitive function in spite of developing neuropathology related to the aging process. It is thought to be one of the first studies showing a linkage between an individual’s personality traits and how well they are able to sustain their cognitive function as they age. Lead study author Eileen Graham reported that the “study shows personality traits are related to how well people are able to maintain their cognitive function in spite of developing neuropathology.” As the brain ages, it does collect tangles and sticky plaques that can interfere with cognition and memory. Some older adults, however, show more cognitive resilience than others. More tomorrow.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Older Adults and Cognitive or “Thinking” Functions, 2

Third, anxiety disorders—worry is a synonym for anxiety—are said to be the most common mental disorders on Planet Earth, affecting 1 in every 13 persons worldwide. Just think, if there are 7 billion people living on planet earth, 538,461,538 will experience an anxiety disorder each year. That number represents the combined total of individuals who live in the United States of America, United Mexican States, Canada, and Iraq combined. Anxiety and worry are typically linked with the emotion of fear. Feeling scared or frightened is in some way part of each anxiety disorder. Anxiety and worry keep people awake at night, allowing them to lose sleep. Loss of sleep is a risk factor not only for a shorted lifespan but for decreased memory and thinking functions. Moodiness is also linked with eventual thinking and memory problems.
More tomorrow.