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Narcissism and causes

(4 Posts)
herakles Tue 21-Jan-14 12:25:22

I found out about Narcissism only a few days ago, reading some MN thread. I have read up about it on the internet and in the library, and it explains so much of my sister's behaviour! I know I am not qualified to make a diagnosys, but her behaviour, subtly nasty comments, lack of long term friendships, phone calls just to criticise family members, lying, being controlling, bossy, and manipulative... it all makes sense.

Of course I can be wrong, but I am trying to understand why she would turn out like this. I have a brother, and neither myself nor my brother are like that. My sister (who is now almost 50 and is the oldest) has always felt that she was born in a family that did not "do her justice", and that she could have done so much more if my parents had invested more in her (BTW, all of us three have a university degree (our parents paid for all three of us to go to university, we didn't have to get a loan or anything) and good jobs, and the most successful one is definetely my sister, who earns lots of money, travels around the world, and is the bread winner in her family).

My sister has always complained that my mother favoured either me or my brother. I really cannot see that, neither can my brother. If anything, my mum has always been very careful to ask my sister everything before she (my mum) went ahead with important decision (such as investing her own money), or with not so important ones (for ex., if I invited my mum out for dinner, my mum would say "We have to let your sister know, in case she wants to join us, or she will feel left out")

So... my question is. Do Narcissists always have traumatic experiences during childhood, or experienced bad parenting, or something that might trigger their Narcissism?

My mum always feels so guilty because of the things my sister says (usually low level stuff, but it is constant!) and I am trying to remember if there was any form of abuse toward my sister, but I really cannot think of anything (she was always very bright in school, and the teacher praised her a lot, but I guess my mum was level-headed and never stressed how great my sister was, but still supported her and praised her in a normal amount).

Any helpful comments? Thanks!

WithanAnotE Tue 21-Jan-14 17:45:48

I guess it depends on what each individual classes as a traumatic experience, which is a bit of a rhetorical question.
I think though at the heart of it that low self esteem appears to be quite common, I guess caused by some adverse experience or exposure.
A key feature of NPD is the inability to empathize with others - it not calculated, they just don't get it.
My mother is NPD and she totally doesn't genuinely get why she pisses people off with her coldness, aloofness, snobbishness and unrealistic sense of entitlement (think Queen of Sheba!).
Based on your snapshot description of your sister's behavior it seems more deliberate and calculated.
I wonder if she is more predisposed toward Borderline Personality rather than NPD???

selfdestructivelady Tue 21-Jan-14 17:53:19

There is evidence to suggest a genetic link with pds so she may be predisposed to develope it.

WithanAnotE Wed 22-Jan-14 19:00:14

Herackles TBH only a MH professional can diagnose, us lot on MN - is just our best guess.
It would be perfectly ok for you to talk to your own GP about your concerns.
Whilst they cannot specifically diagnose your sister, they can help with a general perspective.
Importantly, for anyone interacting with a NPD or BPD there is help available so that any destructive impact on you can be explored, which is to the benefit of everyone.
As I said, my Mum is NPD. She is also 72yrs, but its been a massive learning curve for me to learn how to deal with her 'destructive' elements.

I wonder if, rather us focusing on your sister's potential diagnosis, we miss how to address your feelings and the impact it has on you.

My view is focus on you first.
Speak to your GP for options on options for siblings of those with (potentially) personality disorders.

Therapy for you might allow you to expose and explore your frustrations, maybe provide possible options to manage your sister, and let you know your not alone.

Best wishes smile

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