Raised by a Narcissistic Mother - does that make me one too?
No, of course not. I was raised by a narcissistic mother, and I have neither a Narcissitic Personality or any other character or personality disorder. I am not a psychiatrist only a psychology student, but I have first hand experience of what it is like to be raised by a seriously narcissistic individual. I have read a great deal on NPD, some of which I agree with and some I see as just a theory (a theory developed from treating NPD individuals or from the NPD individual themselves - the very nature of narcissism will make this a skewed perspective and should be judged with knowledge of its source). I believe narcissists are born. Through childhood this innate defect is nurtured (not intentionally) by parents, siblings and the wider world. Parents giving the child what they want, siblings being told not to rock the boat etc. - those type of excuses to avoid a serious, uncontrollable tantrum. It's not necessarily about an easier life (though in some cases it may be), it is because this little narcissitic child is uncontrollable, their mood shifts, withdrawing and violent outbursts do not make any sense - it is impossible to know what to do. So, over time the best thing to do is try and placate, to try and meet demands. In a normal child, they would probably become a spoilt brat and perhaps grow into a spoil adult too. With a narcissist, I believe the constant, unintentional reinforcement of their behaviour does nothing to promote how they really should behave. They have no sense of how to behave thorugh empathising with peoples feeings and needs, gauging what's appropriate in certain circumstances - the type of things you gradually learn over time from observation, experience and gradual understanding about feelings, both your own and how others may feel. I believe thay learn what the social norms for given situations - and mimic or act out what they believe is the right response (providing the attention isn't drawn away from them of course!) So, as the result of my little theory, just because your mother is narcissitic, does not by default mean you will be. Yes, at times you may show narcissistic traits - everyone does sometimes. You may also have certain behaviours that you don't quite understand and you are frightened because they remind you of your mother - don't panic, they could be learned behaviours from a bent socialisation from your mother. And never forget, you always have a choice on how to behave. Yes, feelings my be automatic and instinctual - but you and only you control your reactions and behaviour.