Cause of Narcissistic Personality Disorder
The exact cause of true narcissism has yet to be fully proven. Psychodynamic theories suggest the
root cause is experiences in early life which cause the narcissist to create a flawless “false self”, which must
then be “defended” throughout the individual’s lifetime.
However advances in technology such as brain imaging have proven that the brains of those with
Borderline Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder, both of which are in the same cluster of
disorders as NPD, are not functioning properly.
The activity levels in the brains of those with BPD and APD are abnormal, and the brain
itself is malfunctioning.
Additional research conducted on BPD has detected this personality disorder in the offspring of
parents at a rate of roughly 68%. In other words, approximately two thirds of the children of those
diagnosed with BPD have BPD themselves.
As scientific research expands and better informs us, it seems that we are headed toward realizing
the likelihood of a more genetic basis for clinical narcissism.
However, even in the event that more research suggests there is a solid genetic predisposition, some questions
would still remain. Could clinical narcissism be the result of a genetic predisposition which does not actually
manifest unless the disorder is psychologically or physically triggered by childhood trauma? Could the disorder be
purely genetic, passed down genetically to a certain percentage of offspring and requiring no triggering events or
experiences at all?
Regardless of the unanswered hows and whys, one thing is certain - research involving the nature of cluster B
personality disorders such as NPD has now confirmed significant physiological brain dysfunction in two of the four
cluster B disorders. Just what has caused the brain to function improperly is not completely understood; however,
it is now known without a doubt that it is in fact brain malfunction that is occurring in some cluster B PDs.
Unfortunately for those struggling with narcissistic abuse, researchers have chosen to focus far more attention
on Antisocial PD and Borderline PD than on Narcissistic PD. However, due to the high rate of co-morbidity and some
similarities among cluster B PDs, more research involving the other cluster B disorders is likely to yield at least
a fair amount of insight into the nature of NPD.
Currently, there is still no cure for NPD. The most common advice therapists give their clients who are involved
with a true narcissist remains the same: discontinue contact, or at least limit contact with narcissists as much as
you possibly can, because people with NPD cannot change their behavior, and everything must be done on their
emotionally abusive terms. Contact with a narcissist always results in emotional abuse.
To arm yourself against this emotional abuse, and to understand narcissists better, I invite you to check out
the Narcissistic Parent Survival Kit.
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