Although Freud (1900) did not use the term narcissism to represent an important observation he noted in his investigation of dreams he reports the following as a likely basis for the personality traits of these individuals:
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“I have found that people who know that they are preferred or are favored by their mother give evidence in their lives of a peculiar self – reliance and an unshakeable optimism which often seem like heroic attributes and bring actual success to their possessors.” (p, 398)
Millon (1969/1981, 1987); and Sperry (2003) hold that narcissism is not a response to parental devaluation but rather a consequence of parental over-valuation. The child is treated as a special person with a lot of attention, and led by parents’ believe that he/she is lovable and perfect. Such an unrealistic over-valuation will lead to self-illusions that cannot be sustained in the outer world.
Kernberg (1975) describes this psychodynamic approach as object-relations approach to the understanding of the causes of narcissistic personality disorders. In support of this approach, researcher has found that abused children, children of divorced mother father or children whose mother / father died or who have been given up for adoption are at greater risk for the development of narcissistic personality disorders. He further explains the pathological mother-child relationship as the base of narcissism. A cold and un-empathetic mother leads the child to feel himself unloved. The child, in turn, projects his rage onto parents while defensively investing in some aspect of the self that his parents value. The grandiose self reflects a fusion of the parently valued of the child with a fantasized loving mother.
According to Kernberg, the negative aspects of self are “split off” from the main self. In short narcissistic self is pathological. One aspect of narcissism is intensely ambitious, self-aborbed and overly dependent on acclaim. Another aspect of the narcissist is characterized by a lack of empathy, emptiness and uncertainty about identity.
In other words, Kernberg (1975) characterizes narcissistics as possessing an “unusual degree of self-reference in their interactions” (p.655), as well as a great need to be admired a shallow emotional life and an exploitative and some time parasitic relationship with others.
Kohut (1977, 1984) came to view narcissism as underlying a distinct and separate line of psychological development. At one and of the dimension, there are in fantasies about the self and others, which tend to reflect grandiose and idealized fantasies of the omnipotence of the self or the other as fantasists of extreme helplessness and powerlessness.
At the other end, developmentally advanced and psychologically healthier narcissism prevails, allowing for interdependent attachment to others, stable self-esteem and confidence and investment in relationships, work and personal convictions,
According to Kohut, individuals exist to within the psychological context of a “self-object matrix”, the intrapsychic representation of the self-sustaining functions of the environment.
Importantly, his approach is developmental. The evolution and the development of the personality is determined in large part by the nature of the surrounding environment.
Million (1969, 1981) holds that the narcissistic personality is found in excessive unconditional parental valuation of the child. This could account for the unjustified sense of self worth, disdain for rules of social conduct and expansive sense of self-importance. Similarly, parental overindulgence and failure to set limits could account for the lack of a sense of respect for others and the absence of self control.
After a long gap, Million (1990) and Million and Everly (1985) repeated his unchanged conviction that narcissism is the product of home environment. Within Million’s social learning frame world a lack of parental enforcement of discipline, does, indeed seem to be a plausible factor in promoting narcissistic symptoms which include self-grandiosity, fantasies of personal perfection of sense of specialness ness and entitlement, demand for excessive admiration, envy, interpersonal exploitativeness, a lack of empathy and arrogance (APA, 1994).
Miller (1984) holds that an abusive and essentially authoritarian style of parenting fosters narcissism.
Lerner (1986) holds that narcissistic personality is the product of family environment that fasters lowered self-esteem, disintegration anxiety and feelings of depletion (p.335)â€¦. feelings of deadness and nonexistence and a self-perception of emptiness weakness and hopelessness. (p.336)
Siomopoulos (1988) follows the proposition that disorder may arise when cold and rejecting parents interact with their children with the result that children feel rejected and unworthy in the world. Since all children are not alike, individual differences among them lead some of them live their lives defending against the reality by believing that they are desirable. As such, they turn to others for admiration. Those who place emphasis on early emotional life experience further propose that early negative parental perception spoils the healthy relationship if there is any promotes grandiose self-image in children which helps them maintain illusions of self-sufficiency and freedom from dependence.
Wolf (1988) holds anxiety and depression foster complaints of narcissistic patients.
Beck and Freeman (1990) are of the opinion that narcissism is the product of parental overindulgence and overvaluation by significant others during childhood.
Shengold (1991) believes that parents of narcissistic patients had failed to be forceful and firm and they were unable to refuse their children’s demand and to impose any kind of discipline.
Curtis and Cowell (1993) believe that narcissism is the result of children’s’ feelings that parents often take them special, talented and above the average.
Vaillant (1994) hold interactions with cold and rejecting parents produces a feeling of self unworthiness in children with the result that children defend themselves by projecting that they are good and wanted, they look at others with the expectations that they will get praise for the worth and value they have.
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Siomopoulos (1988) followed the proposition that disorder may arise when cold and rejecting parents interact with their children, with the result that children feel rejected and unworthy in the world. Since all children are not alike, individual differences among them lead some of them to live their lives defending against the reality by believing that they are desirable.
As such, they turn to others for admiration. Those who place emphasis on early emotional life experience further propose that early negative parental perception spoils the healthy relationship if there is any promotes grandiose self-image in children which helps them maintain illusions of self sufficiency and freedom from dependence.
If we put all these theories together and squeezed them fully well we will find faulty parenting at the base of narcissism. As such, a little devotion to the understanding of “parenting” seems to be relevant here.
Parenting: Almost in all Western countries many children spend a great deal of time in a child-care centers away from the home, parents are still the main caregivers for the vast majority of the world’s children. And parents have always wondered what is the best way — to rear their children. “Spare the rod and spoil the child.” “Children are to be seen and not heard.” There was a time when parents took those adages seriously. But our attitudes toward children – and parenting techniques–have changed.
Parenting Styles: To become good parents, it is important for parents to be sensitive to the children’s individuality (Samson & Kothbart, 1995), characteristic way of responding. Baumrind (1971, 1991) believes that parents interact with their children in one of the four basic ways. She classifies parenting styles as authoritarian, authoritative, neglectful, and indulgent.
Authoritarian parenting is a restrictive, punitive style in which the parent ‘exhorts the child to follow the parent’s directions and to respect work and effort. The authoritarian parent firmly limits and controls the child with little verbal exchange. Authoritarian parenting is associated with children’s social incompetence. In a difference of opinion about how to be something, for example, the authoritarian parent might say, “You do it my way or elseâ€¦.There will be no discussion!” Children of authoritarian parents are often anxious about social comparison, fail to initiate activity, and have poor communication skills
Authoritative parenting encourages children to be independent but still places limits and controls on their behavior. Extensive verbal give-and-take is allowed and parents are warm and nuturant toward the child. Authoritative parenting is authoritative parent might put his arm around the child in a comforting way and say, “You know you should not have done that; let’s talk about how you can handle the situation better next time.” Children whose parents are authoritative tend to be socially competent, self-reliant, and socially responsible.
Neglectful parenting is a style is which parents are uninvolved in their child’s life. This style is associated with the child’s social incompetence, especially a lack of self-control. This type of parent cannot give an affirmative answer to the question, “It’s 10 P.M. Do you know where your child is?” Children have a strong need for their parents to care about them. Children whose parents are neglectful might develop a sense that other aspects of the parents’ lives are more important than they are. Children whose parents are neglectful tend to show poor self-control and do not handle independence well.
Indulgent parenting is a style in which parents are involved with their children but place few demands on them. Indulgent parenting is associated with children’s social incompetence, especially a lack of self-control. Such parents let their children do what they want, and the result is the children never learn to control their own behavior and always expect to be get their way. Some parents deliberately rear their children in this way because they believe the combinations of warm involvement with few restraints will duce pro a creative, confident child. One boy whose parents deliberately reared him in an indulgent manner moved his parents out of their bedroom suite and took it over for himself. He is almost 18 years old and still has not learned to control his behavior; when he can’t get something he wants, he throws temper tantrums with the result he is not very popular with his peers. Children whose parents are indulgent never learn respect for others and have difficulty controlling their behavior.
The Mother’s and Father’s Roles _ – What do you think of when you hear the world “motherhood”? If you are like most people, you associate motherhood with a number of positive imaged, such as warmth, selflessness, dutifulness and tolerance (Matline, 1993). And while most women expect that motherhood will be happy a fulfilling, the reality is that motherhood has been accorded relatively low prestige in our society (Hoffnung, 1984). When stacked up against money, power, and achievement, motherhood unfortunately doesn’t fare too well, and mother rarely receive the appreciation they warrant. When children don’t succeed or they develop problems our society has had a tendency to attribute the lack of success or the development of problems to a single source “mother”. One of psychology’s most important lessons is that behavior is multi determined. So it is with children’s development—when development goes awry, mother are not the single cause of the problems, even though our society stereotypes them in this way.
A special concern of many contemporary mothers is whether working full-time in a career will harm their children’s development. There is no evidence that this is the case (Parke & Buriel, 1998). Nonetheless, when working-mothers place their children in child care (nonmaternal care), they worry about whether it will harm their children. This is a legitimate concern.
Children’s socio-emotional development can significantly benefit from interaction with a caring, accessible and dependable father who fosters a sense of trust and confidence (Lamb, 1998; Snarey, 1998). The father’s children’s social competence, because he is often the only male the child encounters on a regular day-to-day basis.
Father-mother cooperation and mutual respect help the child develop positive attitude toward both parents and him / her self also (Biller, 1993). It is much easier for working-parents to cope with changing family circumstances and day-care issues when father and mother equitable share child-rearing responsibilities. Mothers feel less stress and have more positive attitudes toward their husbands when they are supportive-partners.