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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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 My Bestselling Book: You're Not Crazy

You're Not Crazy - It's Your Mother

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