Narcissists, especially those who are very successful in the social and business worlds, wear many masks that are highly appealing to most people. Often they are bright and attractive and have tremendous charisma and fine social skills. They learn how to “act the part of the Charmer” when they are very young. Often they are chosen by the mother or father as the exalted one in the family. The other siblings are secondary to this special child.
Early on the narcissistic child grows in the fertile atmosphere of extreme self entitlement. There are no rules for him or her. He is given the run of the house. In some cases the mother and father usurp their authority to this little tyrant to whom they bow. I have seen this happen in some family constellations. In other cases the mother molds the budding narcissist as her possession as if she has given birth to a godlike living being. The mother is psychologically fused with this “perfect” child. She gives all of her attention to this one and not the others. They are unimportant to her and must fend for themselves.
During childhood the little narcissist learns to put on a number of masks that eventually become the false grandiose self. The child knows that h can do anything he wants and will not be corrected or contained. When he doesn’t get what he must have, he throws royal tantrums and then is rewarded for this obnoxious behavior. Some mothers reinforce their golden child’s cruelties to siblings. This is exceedingly hurtful and damaging to siblings who have not been picked for special positive attention and adulation.
Throughout the years the narcissist develops a false self that is put in place of the real self. The real self resides in the unconscious of the narcissist and is revealed through primitive cruel projections that are pushed on to those who get in his way or try to deflate his enormous ego. These unconscious projections are exhibited and ejected on to others through the narcissist’s life. If you find yourself being the target of this venom it is essential that you find ways to deflect and avoid this toxicity. Often the only way to do this is through going no contact with the offending person. This is difficult if it is a family member but often necessary. These outrageous behaviors on the part of the narcissist are very painful and psychologically corrosive to those on the receiving end of this cruel treatment.
Study the narcissistic personality so that you understand how they operate and why.Take time to appreciate your unique individuality, especially if you grew up with a narcissistic mother, father, or sibling or if you are married to a narcissistic spouse. Begin your self healing now and carry this through each day. Put yourself first. This is not selfish but an essential part of the healing process that will lead you to inner peace and deep grounding in your own authenticity and appreciation of yourself.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.