I have known and know a few Narcissists in my life. They are also called Jezebels in the Church Arena. I have married more than one. I have worked for Narcissists. I have been led astray by a Narcissistic Pastor. The hardest part is seeing how the Narcissist has hurt my children. Their self image is torn down again and again. (See: Sweetie, It’s Not You, Your Father is a Narcissist). I have also shared some of my experiences here. (See: Stop Tolerating the Jezebel Spirit)
Hence the question, “Is narcissism a choice?” I read an amazing article this morning that finally helps me understand the why. Thank you Helena Kvam. Here is what she posted on Quora
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“Narcissism is not at all a choice. Narcissism is developed in the first years of life, when personality is formed. NPD is created because of severe and long term neglect and hurtful and abusing upbringing. The long-term neglect of the child is severe enough for the child to develop an alter ego. With this alter ego, the damages from neglect, indoctrination, enforcements and other forms of abuse, is severely diminished, since the NPD works well as a self-protection. This new self, is emotionally under developed.
Conveniently, to be able to manipulate and take very good care of the alter ego, the ability to feel empathy is gone too.
Feelings that will protect the new self, is enhanced in the narcissist. To manifest the narcissism, deep in his/hers personality, feelings of grandiosity, entitlement and of being best or smartest (or the most beautiful) are greatly enhanced.
This new façade is paper thin. This façade will if removed, revile a weak and scared person that is guilt and shame ridden. The person behind the alter ego is weak and feels not worthy of a relationship with a person, based on real love, friendship and respect.
The NPD (Narcissistic personality disorder) is considered one of the personality disorders, impossible to treat. This is because the narcissist`s total existence is based on the alter ego. The narcissist needs to truly believe whole heartedly that they are the person, the NPD created. The narcissist has no knowledge of and can`t remember turning into a narcissist. To the narcissist, the narcissism is everything. They will never accept going back to what they were, before the NPD. Without the NPD, their destiny`s would have been bleak. The narcissist has been rescued from the awful feeling of neglect and abuse, and traded in with being wonderful and winning instead, in their own eyes.
To be a narcissist is not a choice, but a self-protection that is built in the unconsciousness of the narcissist mind. The NPD has forced its way forward and out in the person to protect against the horrible truth of this persons living conditions and imperfections. It`s this child’s rescue, because this child is not resilient enough to survive mentally without its alter ego – the narcissism. The lack of sympathetic emotions ensures the narcissist ability to focus on their own needs uninterrupted.”
Wow, that makes sense. I always thought it was me. But that was exactly what the Narcissist in my life wanted me to believe…ok, that’s a little frightening. Best option for me – Get Out!
Wisdom from a Fellow Survivor:
“The only way to completely shut down a narcissist is to cut them out of your life in every way, shape, and form. You can’t respond with understanding and kindness. You can’t move across the country and continue to text them. You can’t “take a break” and see what happens in a few weeks or months.
They need to go.
This might sound harsh – especially if you’ve built a family or close relationship with them – but it’s the only way. You need to acknowledge that this is an abusive situation with a person who will never understand that their behavior is wrong.”– Kim Saeed