Is Narcissism Genetic?

Can you inherit narcissism? Is it genetically-based? These are questions that have some scientists, geneticists and researchers searching for answers. The exact cause of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is not known. However, most researchers and mental health professionals believe it results from a combination of factors. These factors include biological vulnerability, social interactions with early caregivers, and psychological factors that involve temperament. There are studies that suggest that a gene (or genes) for narcissism can be inherited but that a person also needs the “right” environment for narcissism to be manifested. There are scant studies that look specifically at whether narcissism is genetic, although many theories as to the cause including trauma or abuse in early childhood, overindulgent parenting, genetic predilection toward NPD and narcissistic parenting.

What are some of the studies?

Researchers can study the genetics of personality through two different means: identical twin studies and examination of the human genome. Twin studies typically examine identical twins that were separated at birth and raised in different households. Identical twins share identical genes, and therefore, any similarities in personality traits may be attributed to genetics. Research has suggested that identical twins raised separately share more personality traits than fraternal twins, who do not have identical genes.

Scientists have begun to correlate the existence of certain gene variations with personality disorders. According to a study in a 2007 issue of the “International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology”, a specific gene called tryptophan hydroxylase-2 may be implicated in the development of certain personality disorders, including narcissistic personality disorder. Tryptophan hydroxylase-2 helps regulate the production of serotonin, an important brain chemical involved in mood regulation.

Livesley et al. concluded, in agreement with other studies, that narcissism as measured by a standardized test was a common inherited trait. The study subjects were 175 volunteer twin pairs (ninety identical, eighty-five fraternal) drawn from the general population. Each twin completed a questionnaire that assessed eighteen characteristics of personality disorder. The authors estimated the heritability of each characteristic by standard methods, thus providing estimates of the relative contributions of genetic and environmental causation.

Of the eighteen personality characteristics, narcissism was found to have the highest heritability (0.64), indicating that this trait in the identical twins was significantly influenced by genetics. Of the other seventeen characteristics, only four were found to be statistically significant: callousness, identity problems, oppositionality and social avoidance.

Advances in technology such as brain imaging have proven that the brains of those with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD), both of which are in the same cluster of personality disorders as NPD, are not functioning properly. The activity levels in the brains of those with BPD and APD are abnormal. Research studies involving the “cluster B” personality disorders have 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.
Very little research can be done with NPD, specifically, as most narcissists don’t admit to having any problems and don’t go to a therapist unless forced to by family or work.

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. A review of the literature suggests narcissism runs in families and that many narcissists have had a narcissistic parent themselves. But once again, does that prove it is genetic or learned behavior?

As scientific research on narcissism and the other cluster B disorders expands and results in better information, it seems that there will be a greater likelihood that genetics may play a role to some degree.


There is considerable speculation and many theories about the causes of narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Some scientists believe narcissism is primarily genetic, but many mental health professionals strongly believe narcissism is rooted in childhood. Few studies have been done to date on the causes of narcissism, but some geneticists have implicated a high-frequency recessive gene as a genetic explanation for the personality trait and for the more severe NPD. Interestingly, the authors who discount the genetic explanation and believe parenting is the cause of narcissism are evenly split on the details of the parenting theory. Some believe over-critical and demanding parenting methods result in the development of NPD, while others believe the opposite is true, and that permissive parenting styles are to blame.

Currently, there is no cure for NPD and generally narcissists are highly resistant to therapy or change. The most common advice therapists give their clients who are involved with a narcissist remains the same: discontinue contact or at least limit contact with narcissists as much as you possibly can; people with NPD cannot or will not change their behavior and everything must be done on their emotionally abusive terms.

In the event that more research suggests that there is indeed a genetic predisposition, some questions will still remain. Is narcissism the result of a genetic predisposition which does not manifest unless the disorder is psychologically or physically triggered by childhood experience? Is the disorder purely genetic, passed down to a certain percentage of offspring and requiring no triggering events or experiences at all? Considerably more work is needed before the causes of narcissism can be fully understood.


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About Alexander Burgemeester

38 Responses to “Is Narcissism Genetic?”

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  1. Ann says:

    Thank you for your interesting article. I have been doing some research trying to make sense of the disorder. I have experience of a narcissist in my life. But as someone pointed out this person had a particularly hard upbringing, which is certainly the case and I can see it would cause low self esteem. But I don’t think this is the only factor. As from what I have seen one of her sisters at least seems to have the same traits. The other sister wanted nothing to do with the family at all. I wonder if it has anything to do with close communities in the past, not direct inbreeding but a weakening of the gene pool through the ages. It closely resembles psychopathic disorders which have a lot to do with inbreeding. Though if that were a factor you would think this disorder would appear in ethnic minorities, who marry cousins, or does it?

    No expert on this but my views from what I have experienced would pint to this
    Passed down to a certain percentage of offspring and requiring no triggering events or experiences at all?

  2. Thankyou, Alexander, for your clear article. Narcissism seems to run deep in the men of my family, and last night I was the recipient of an older brother’s narcissistic rage. Since I am newly divorced from a narcissist husband and am reading up on the subject, I am able to clearly spot the disorder like never before. Because of last night, I am once again reminded that, because of the the narcissists stunning lack of empathy unequally weighted with the heaviness of the cold, must-win mentality, one must always simply walk away and stay away and never stop watching.

    • Barbara Dean says:

      Cynthia you are so right in saying one must walk away and stay away. I have two younger sisters, and our father most definitely had NPD, and more recently, one of my sisters and I have finally realized that our youngest sister has NPD. She is impossible, and lives in her own alternate reality, where she is always the victim, despite the fact that she has abused and victimized others to an amazing degree. My other sister and I are so sad that we finally had to cut off relations with her, after years of cycling behavior, where there would be horrible fights based on her accusatory and abusive behavior, followed by periods where she seemed to be better and more pleasant to be with. These “good” periods never lasted, and we know that we have no choice but to sever all ties. She has two children, one in college and one in high school, and the older child, a girl, seems to be exhibiting NPD traits as well. Very very sad.

  3. Sally says:

    I unknowingly at the time married a man 35 years ago who also drank too much.. He had a hard luck “story” that as a virgin (he was 13 years my senior)
    At the age of 24 !/2 with a 3 and a 1 year old, I told him he had to get help for his drinking or leave…I was not going to raise my children in an environment where Dad comes home whenever he feels like it etc….Fast forward to today..BOTH my beautiful, talented adult children are imo Narcissist/Sociopath or Borderline…I KNOW this Pathology in inherited… My children were loved and raised solo by me, and had great family incl my parents etc…The story is too sad to elaborate on..But there is no doubt in my mind, it’s ALL Nature…the roll of the genetic dice…

    • Gale says:

      Hello Sally,
      You and I have figured out, by our own family experiences, what the Professionals continue to argue about among themselves.

      For generations the Professionals have blamed family upbringing for many mental disorders AKA “it’s the mother’s fault”.

      I have two daughters in their Mid 40’s. One is Narcissist/Bi-polar and the other is Narcissist/Borderline.
      Their father is Narcissistic, his mother is Borderline. My daughters have rarely seen or talked to their father or grandmother since they were 3 and 5 years of age and yet they have these disorders.
      To make things even worse, three of my 4 siblings, my father, grandmother and huge numbers of my aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews and their children have Bi-Polar Disorder.
      Apparently it is very common for people who have mental illnesses in their families to marry and have children with mates that also have mental illnesses in their families.
      If I had known 47 years ago what I know now I would never have had biological children.

  4. Cindy says:

    I had the misfortune of marrying an extremely narcissistic man. Both his mother and father and mother had severe personality disorders. I found all this out only after I married him.

    His lack of sympathy, constant lying, deceitfulness, stealing, and carrying on with other women led to divorce. I had one child with him and he physcally and financially abandoned both of us.

    I raised my child with love, boundaries, and a solid moral core – I thought. The lying began when she was very young; being sneeky and deception followed, stealing began shortly after. Of course, she was disiplined for any moral infraction. Why she was being punished was explained. The problem was – she punished me back. For example: Taking away TV for a week for lying, resulted in all my winter coats disappearing in the middle of winter. Any amount of trying to get her to tell me where the coats where resulted in her denying any knowlege of what I was talking about. My coats reappeared in the spring, dumped on a street corner.
    Not allowing her to attend a party because she did not do her homework project, as promised, resulted in a horendous smear campaign of me at her school. Supposedly, according to her, I locked her out of the house so she couldn’t do her project. Being caught drinking ( yes, drinking) in school was blamed on someone else. Manipulating me to give her money for something, that didn’t cost what she said it did, resulted in calling me foul names and physcial abuse. Money, disappearing out of my purse, or anywhere for that matter, was another of my punishments for setting boundries.
    From the beginning of her life, I felt she wasn’t bonding with me. Strange that I would feel that. She wouldn’t let me hold her, hug her, put my arm around her. It’s as if I was there for one thing and one thing only – provide for her. I never felt any love coming back. If I was sick, there was no compassion and she became more demanding. If I was (rarely) down about something, it’s as if she smelled blood in the water and would berate me. I rarely, if ever, showed any weakness after that.

    I took her to therapy when she was a teenager and she charmed the pants off them. I could she how smug she was coming out of the office, knowing she fooled a professional.

    Long story short : After I put her through college, I put a roof over her head for one year, I helped her move to another state to do her grad work. She got a job, ( I was very proud of her) took out a loan, and I never heard from her again. She used me for what I could do for her, and after that was used up, she had no use for me anymore. It’s been 5 years.

    I know she took up with a man 15 years her senior, and transferred everything her father did on to me – Neglect, abuse, abandonment. I was not allowed to meet or have any contact with this man – ever. Why? Because her house of cards and the “poor me” stories she told would tumble in ruins at her feet.

    She is exactly like her father and his family. I knew what they were like and did my best to raise her in a loving, caring, nurturing enviornment – and she was! But, I couldn’t fight what was already inside her. It was there, it developed, I knew it and tried in intervene quickly, but, therapy did nothing.

    • Faith says:

      Our stories are pretty much the same. It helps to know other parents did the best they could also. They just seem to not have a conscience, soul, or heart. I also knew something was not right with her, I tried so hard then she found a rich mans son, and off she went, I had served my purpose. At least I have peace now. Best of luck to you.

    • Kea is says:

      My daughter is the same. When she was just a baby her nickname was touch me not. The name isn’t exactly accurate, I could carry her all day and she was happy but she would cringe at a hug or cuddle. I see her struggle with adult life and know she believes everything in the world is my fault. She has also started drinking and there is nothing I can do. When I was sick or her brother she always thought we were faking it and just wanted to make her pay attention to us. So sad and sick. I know it will only get worse and I keep reminding myself of the little girl she use to be.

      • Debby says:

        I’m stunned right now. I could have written this paragraph. My daughters nickname was my little touch me not. Everything is my fault and her brother was never sick. She went through an eating disorder and is emotionally unstable most of the time. She has moved and has a good job. She can barely have a conversation with me. When she was little we had a great relationship. Around 11 she started acting strange. Around 21 things really went down hill. I miss a mother daughter relationship in my heart I know will alwas be the one to pick up the pieces and the one to be blamed. I wish we could talk.

    • Pam Broomhall says:

      I am so relieved to find I am not alone. I divorced my probably NPD husband when my daughter was 4 and she had a good stable and supportive upbringing. Now aged 34 she is at least as bad as him if not worse. I am very strongly of the opinion that NPD is hereditary, the research hasn’t been done yet.

      • JusticeMe says:

        That’s astounding, isn’t it? One would think that this research would have been done years ago. (The ADHD gene was identified years ago.)

        Since NPDs are notorious for not seeking help (since “There is no problem!”), I also am of the opinion that the “1%” estimate (NPDs in the population) is way too low so not even a close representative of the actual percentage.

    • JIll Harper says:

      Your story sank in to my soul! My sister is a narcissist and my mother was her victim when we were growing up, I turned in to her victim as we became adults. My mother also had some major issues too, but I do believe she did what she did because of the gaslighting, the punishments from my sister. It’s all so clear to me now. Reading your story, I FEEL for you. Oh man. Hugs.

    • joanne says:

      Incredible story!!! I will definitely keep it close when trying to figure out if narcissism is a genetic issue or not. Thanks for sharing!

    • Catherine says:

      Oh how I can relate to your story. I’m not allowed to see my grandchildren. Only for a short time did I have the ability to love them until she stopped me from any contact. My daughter collectively over the years made horrible accusations about me and to allow anyone to actually meet me would cause her facade to be known so I wasn’t allowed to participate in any functions. It wasn’t until a friend of hers text me, I had met her once, wanting to talk. After five hours on the phone with her friend all of my suspicious were validated. Yet it was turned around on me because I “entertained the conversation “. Shortly after the friend blocked me and reestablished the friendship with my daughter. So I became the person of fault for listening, while never disparaging my daughter, to someone who really told it like it was and she was exonerated. Go figure.Ky

  5. Camryn says:

    My mom is seemingly narcissistic. She shows all too many of the signs. She has four children, including me. None of us are adults yet; the oldest is 17. She picks fights with everyone and refers to the family as herself. She sets ridiculous rules up for us and expects us to follow them, although she doesn’t follow them herself, and these rules are not to set up character or teach us right from wrong. It’s just to see how much power she has, and how far she can go. She won’t let us brush our teeth after breakfast. AFTER breakfast! None of us res

    • Camryn says:

      Sorry, my message got cut off. Here:
      None of us respect her for what she’s done, and believe me, there is much more that has happened. And the worst part is my dad has been manipulated to think that the children need to change rather than his wife, who married him for his money. He says that he’s on our side, and that he will do what he can. But he NEVER comes through. My mom smokes inside the house, even after I politely ask her to go outside. I don’t want to have the consequences of second-hand smoking. Even more so, I don’t want my siblings and I to become narcissistic.

  6. elle says:

    Well, I am newly discovered narcissist. I am 17 years old. There is different types and I am the covert/closet narcissist. I make people believe that I am sweet and loving, and that I could not hurt a fly. But, meantime I,m cruel and don’t care for anybody but myself. I am good into making people sorry for me. I constantly think about myself and my needs, I feel special in some sort of way and if I must tell every point of my traits it will never end. But what I am getting at here is, I have an covert narcisstic father. My mother usually tells me I never cried and I was different from most normal pre-schoolers. I was not loving at all. The narcissism runs hectic in my family, from both grandmothers, to uncles and ant’s to nieces and nephews. BUT I want to be helped and cured although I know my narcissism will not disappear but I can learn empathy and learn to connect, I can build my relationship stronger with God. There is help, I am not cured yet, but I feel I will get there, fight my awfull genes, and believe.

    • John says:


      Your story affected me, and I wanted to wish you good luck with your life. You mention your father as a closet narcissist, but you don’t say much about your mother. If she has genuine sympathetic feelings you may be able to learn something from her. I think we all learn from our parents or carers how to think of others as well as ourselves. I can remember when as a young boy my selfish ideas would come out and my mum would gently point out that the other people have feelings too, and I learnt so much from her in that way. So you have made the biggest breakthrough yourself in seeing yourself, and wanting to change some things. We all learn about being together with others and being kind, from watching how others behave, so I believe there must be hope, now you have had insight into your makeup.

    • Theresa McClear says:

      Hi Elle,

      Good for you that you are taking steps in the right direction. Recognition is the first step. First of all no one is perfect. We all have good and bad traits. We all are narcissist to some degree. So do not bet yourself up too bad. That being said, try to find ways to help others. This Christmas I worked with a league to raise money for children and adults with disabilities. I also helped collect 90 gifts for children and adults with disabilities who do not have parents. Helping others helps me take my mind off of my problems and makes me feel good. I have a daughter, 15 with autism. She does not have the ability to feel empathy. That part of the brain is wired differently. I could be really hurt laying on the ground with blood spilling out and she would want me to make her something to eat.
      But it is not her fault. I still love her. I believe my husband has narcissistic traits. However, he is a wonderful father. loyal, does not lie, cheat and is very smart and a good provider. However, he can be very selfish, picks fights and can be mean. He most likely will not have a gift for me under the tree this year. However, I can decide to hate him for his bad traits or love him for his good traits. No one is perfect. Learning our strengths and weaknesses and building on strengths is important. Pursue a career based on what you enjoy and are naturally good at and you will be successful. Understanding your limitations and other are important. Forgiving others and ourselves when we make mistakes is extremely important. Surrond yourself with mentors and people who are healthy and inspire you. Take time to do something nice for someone. Find a professional to talk to. I have been in therapy for two years and it is helping me a lot. Therapy has been a godsend. It has opened my eyes, lifted my depression and helps me make better decisions. Good luck!

  7. dee says:

    Wow what a revelation this article and the comments below Are For me. My two adult children both inherited this from father a brutally cruel man Who fooled me And still fools people daily. I left Him when the children were babies but the poison was passed on.
    I have spent a lifetime giving my children every opportunity. mostly to little appreciation. last year finally I realised it was me or them they had sucked me dry. I built a wall around my delicate feelings and said no more, I continue to love and encourage them, but I tell them the truth about what they are doing and wont tolerate disrespect.
    watching my 30 year old son with his wife fills me with fear because they are having a baby and the older my son gets the more. I see hes a copy of his dad in temprament although the other side I see hes a lovely boy and tries hard.
    I feel like by my choice of husband made all those years ago when I was 20. I have cursed my children. I wish I could change that. I cant. They have both achieved well but I know the emmotional state is a snake hiding in the grass waiting to strike.

  8. Mrs M says:

    My husband has NPD. I have been better able to cope since learning about the condition.

    Interestingly my 12 year old daughter seems to have the same traits. I have two grown up children from a previous marriage and although not perfect, they could show empathy, love and care. I suffer with IBS (unsurprisingly) but when I am ill my 12yr old is ambivolent (not sure I spelt that right but it is the perfect describer). As soon as you do
    not do what she wants she becomes ackward, argumentative and naughty.

    My husband hasn’t completely changed. But it is interesting watching him cope. Sometimes gets angry. She is more fearful of his anger and somehow he gains more respect from her because of this. If I get angry I get told off in front of her. He is more tolerant of her behaviour when it comes to being disprespectful of me. He is far more willing to let her off saying its not worth
    the fight.

    Truthfully, I always thought she’d care for me more as I had always cared for her and protected her from his wrath. This has not been the case at all. Its like a mutual admiration with me as the imperfect one on the outside.

  9. Stacy says:

    Hi. My mother is a narcissist. I didn’t want to believe this and for many years attempted to maintain a relationship with her and my dominated father, only to learn she truly had no empathy and could only relate to anything outside of her as being about her. I have two older sisters and I had always hoped we would end up closer because of the mental and physical abuse we witnessed and suffered. Instead, I honestly believe at least one of them is narcissistic herself and the other possibly borderline as well as narcissistic.
    I have been terrified to have children of my own so the traits are not passed on. I myself do not feel I have these traits, but I do sometimes feel disconnected and reactive when I feel displaced. My therapist assured me I am not a narcissist in any way but it’s little solace.
    I disconnected from my family about 5 years ago. Though it was a difficult thing to do, I felt I was on an emotionally abusive merry go round that left me exhausted and terrified as to what might be coming next from them in terms of judgements and lies. It’s hard to explain to people why I have n o family and they often seem to think I did something or am a terrible person for not just putting up with my family. Still, I can say I feel some peace from being completely apart and can only hope to never cross paths with them again.

  10. Jane says:

    I have just discovered my daughter who’s 28 this. It al started from when she was a baby and hsf to go into hospital for a few days. She can’t home a totally different baby, different personality, different mood. I thought she would settle back down after a week or so, but no. I took her to doctor sheet doctor who said the was nothing wrong with her, but there was. It’s like living in a nightmare and she causes so many problems and speaks to us like we are the dregs of the earth. There have been times when it’s got so bad I have really lost my temper, which I only do with her, abs told her if she didn’t back off and get out of my sight I would put my fist down her throat! And then I go off and cry to think I would even say such a thing let alone think about doing it. Looking back, my grandmother, aunt and cousin had this condition. My sister could quite easily fit in this bracket, but she’s not as bad now but still gets her moments. At least now I know what it is and can understand it a little more. Pity it doesn’t help the situation I find myself in. I look forward to the day she moves out so I can see her and talk to her when I want to. I feel sad I can’t have a good relationship with her

  11. Nick Dees says:

    Interesting article. I was wondering if anybody could have the answer to my question. If I believe that my significant other suffers from NPD would it be possible to obtain custody of my children in family court.

    Just curious is anyone has any experience with this.

    Thank you in advance.

    • Yvonne says:

      I lost custody of my kids from the lies of my narc. The family courts take here say as the truth and believe the lies until they can’t be proven at the end. Judges don’t know anything about narcissism. Family courts are far the worst at being fair in my opinion

      • Rhonda says:

        I am an attorney. You are wise not to fight a narcissist in court. Since narcissists are rather charming and extremely good at lying, you will end up spending tens of thousands on attorneys fees for nothing. I am heavily critical of the family court system for failing to recognize the traits of personality disorders in the people they have coming in front of them. Courts allow high conflict family disputes to drag on for years because of this ignorance. The taxpayers fund this and the only ones who make out are the lawyers. It is a racket.

        • Renee says:

          I recommend visiting This woman battled her NPD husband in court, and she wrote a book about how to divorce a narcissist to help the rest of us. In addition to working to educate the family court system on NPD, she also coaches people through the process of divorcing a narcissist, including best strategies in court. Apparently, there are many of us out there trying to escape the hell. Best of luck to each of you!

          It’s true… charming can be dangerous, and, since NPDs live in their own world of fantasy, they will have no problem putting on a show for the judge. Note: be sure to hide your paperwork and notes well. My NPD husband would search my files and make copies of things thinking I wouldn’t know, but I could tell. Be careful of what he could try to use against you! You would be amazed. It’s all a game to them, and all they care about is WINNING.

    • Catherine says:

      Your best bet is probably first contact a lawyer. Document everything and never let them know what you are planning. You can only present the factual evidence that proves them to be a detrimental aspect in their lives. How or what you can come up with is another thing. Just remember that if you are to have any chance at all you must make decisions with their manipulative underhanded personality in mind. Play them like they do other’s. Tends to throw them off. Be careful though, because an angry NPD is dangerous. I did win my kids. But it was one of the scariest times of my life. Good luck.

  12. Wendy says:

    I believe narcissism does run in families. My mother is an extreme case and after years of abuse and wondering why she was always so hateful towards me, I see she treats everyone that way. My two younger siblings and I have all independently cut communication with her. I believe most my mothers siblings avoid each for the same reason (they are all too much alike).

  13. another mother says:

    What a sad comfort it is to read everyone’s experience. I’ve been wondering if NPD is genetic or learned or a combination of everything. I was married for 15 years to a brilliant terrifying man & had 2 children. Our oldest child took the brunt of her father’s narcissistic physical & mental abuse when he couldn’t control me. Our son was the “golden child” however, he still was emotionally abused by his dad. Truely, I was brainwashed, groomed, programmed and I fought my way out of that marriage. Unfortunately, my ex husband used the courts to get what he believed he deserved: his children. He fooled so many people & he got physical custody when our kids were 11 & 14. He apparently loved his children but behind closed doors he was very jealous of them. It was pathetic. He got physical custody & I got joint legal custody. I paid him child support even though I had never had a career. He always came first. After 15 years of being a devoted military wife, following him around the world, I was nothing but a tissue he’d blown his nose on & discarded. He wanted to destroy me, he couldn’t kill me thank God, so he did the next best thing. He used the police every chance he could to fight his battles & parent his children. Both of those children are adults now, both heroin addicts battling their Inner demons. However, the oldest, I am having to face, is a Narcissist and I’m trying to wrap my brain around the reality that I am nothing more than a “host” that feeds her narcissistic needs. My son on the other hand is very feeling, loving, remorseful. I must sever my relationship with my daughter to save myself. It breaks my heart but I know that a relationship with a narcissist is not a real relationship. I don’t know how to break up with my own daughter but she only wants me when she needs me. I have tried her whole life to love her enough, show her empathy, teach her empathy, etc. I know I can’t love her into being well & it kills me. She had the abusive Narcissistic dad, the over compensating mom and she’s a narcissist. My son had the same but he is not a narcissist. Genetics must play a big role in this equation. Can anybody who has had to sever their relationship with their child/children offer me guidance, support, encouragement. It’s only been recently that I’m facing this reality. And Elle, you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge so kudos to you for seeing. Please get help, you will destroy yourself and others and end up a very sad lonely soul.
    Thank you everybody for sharing.
    I now know I’m not the only one.

    • Catherine says:

      My daughter is 30 now. Her father is a narcissist and so is my daughter. I have a 25 year old son who has always been a very empathetic loving child until recently. He is still loving however, I am seeing certain traits that are worrisome. My daughter has two children, now 8 and 5. I called protective services when my first grandchild was born, almost 3 months old, because he was not thriving and even though the pediatrician told her to supplement she not only refused she fired the doctor. My grandchild at almost 3 months old weighed less than 10 lbs. He was 7 at birth. They lived on one coast and I on the other. So after their visit and storming out to go to her father’s, three days early, I left some voice mails stating that if she didn’t do something I would. I made the call and didn’t see my grandson for the next 4 years.

      When I found out that she and her husband had moved back to my area I contacted her. My mother who definitely has NPD came to where we live and did her usual underhanded thing and made it even worse. When my daughter had her second child I only found out two weeks later when I asked my mother if my daughter had the baby. She told me to call her and ask.

      It’s been 5 years now and I have tried my best to make certain that my grandchildren know that I love them very much. But she has told them to never trust me and that I tried to steal my grandson when he was a baby. I have not been allowed to see or talk to them in over a year and a half. They live five minutes from me.

      So I have no words of wisdom for you. It hurts like hell. Even more so when there are grandchildren involved. Especially when you think about what they are living with. No one can EVER get a true narcissistic person to change. They see nothing wrong with how they are and will destroy a codependent in a heartbeat. In fact, I believe that my son in law is codependent, his mother is another piece of work, and my daughter has reduced him to self loathing and complete allegiance to her. Even though she fooled around and left him. I wish I knew how to wake him up without making it worse. Good luck.

  14. Anna says:

    Great article I hope to god it’s not genetic. I have 3 little children I pray to God my husband is emotionally sbusive narcissist who has ruined my life if he ruined there’s too. It’s not possible it’s too cruel I will protect them.

  15. Pat Ferguson says:

    My brother and I [female] are fraternal twins. We were raised the same, however my brother had asthma when young and mum always worried about his health and virtually wrapped him in ‘cotton-wool’. He became dependent on her, with her doing everything for him. Even later as teenagers he expected her do, and even ‘fight his battles’ for him, which she did – Otherwise, he would either continually ‘play’ the ‘poor-me’ guilt trip, or go into a complete rage – until he got his way! Things only got worse from there. With him terrorizing mum, dad and me over the next 30 years, and later, when dad died[12 years ago], his terror and cruelty became solely directed at me. [not mum, because he lives with her, and still needs her to do for him, even though she is now 82 and not well.] We are both nearly sixty, and it still continues, only now I don’t see mum so often, since he wanted/tried to kill me 6 months ago, whilst in an insane rage [over a bowl of soup]. He has always wanted dad and me ‘out of the picture’. I have NEVER been able to talk to him, because anything I say, he ‘perceives’ it as a slight, and goes insane. Plus he has literally ALL of the narcisstic traits – too many to list. I could go on forever about all the years of this madness, but it would fill a book! So, in my case I believe it was NURTURE [overindulgence] from childhood. I feel very sad, having never had a ‘real’ brother, only a monsterous ‘stranger’, and a very frightening life. Walking on egg-shells, never knowing when he will go off-his-head, or what cruel intimidation/abuse etc. I will receive. Funny, I’m the one seeing therapist, on antidepressants and for anxiety, and now not physically well either. I know this will never end until one of us dies, because I still want to be in mum’s life. And I’m thinking lately I might die before mum. I would just like to have had some part of my life free from horror and fear. Sorry for raving on. ♥ P

  16. Pat says:

    My brother and I [female] are fraternal twins. We were raised the same, however my brother had asthma when young and mum always worried about his health and virtually wrapped him in ‘cotton-wool’. He became dependent on her, with her doing everything for him. Even later as teenagers he expected her do, and even ‘fight his battles’ for him, which she did – Otherwise, he would either continually ‘play’ the ‘poor-me’ guilt trip, or go into a complete rage – until he got his way! Things only got worse from there. With him terrorizing mum, dad and me over the next 30 years, and later, when dad died[12 years ago], his terror and cruelty became solely directed at me. [not mum, because he lives with her, and still needs her to do for him, even though she is now 82 and not well.] We are both nearly sixty, and it still continues, only now I don’t see mum so often, since he wanted/tried to kill me 6 months ago, whilst in an insane rage [over a bowl of soup]. He has always wanted dad and me ‘out of the picture’. I have NEVER been able to talk to him, because anything I say, he ‘perceives’ it as a slight, and goes insane. Plus he has literally ALL of the narcissistic traits – too many to list. I could go on forever about all the years of this madness, but it would fill a book! So, in my case I believe it was NURTURE [overindulgence] from childhood. I feel very sad, having never had a ‘real’ brother, only a monsterous ‘stranger’, and a very frightening life. Walking on egg-shells, never knowing when he will go off-his-head, or what cruel intimidation/abuse etc. I will receive. Funny, I’m the one seeing therapist, on antidepressants and for anxiety, and now not physically well either. I know this will never end until one of us dies, because I still want to be in mum’s life. And I’m thinking lately I might die before mum. I would just like to have had some part of my life free from horror and fear. Sorry for raving on. ♥ P

    • Renee says:

      P – thank you for sharing your experience. It is very telling, and very unfortunate. I feel for you. It’s sad to think that an innocent mother who was trying to protect her child could unknowingly end up hurting him (and you) so severely. This is why parenting should require training!!! People need to know these things. As a mother, I don’t want to make this kind of mistake, and I worry that I am too passive sometimes because I don’t want to hurt them in the moment. It seems that there are times when it is more important to sacrifice the present moment for the sake of the future. Thanks for bringing this point home for me. I can see that my daughter has the “NPD gene” from her father and his mother, so it is SO important that I parent her in the right way to diminish the traits, rather than feed them. Interestingly, her father is very coddling of her (as if he sees himself in her), and he is much harder on our son who does not exhibit narcissistic traits. I watch her when he coddles her, and it is as if I can see the narcissism puffing up, expanding in her. He identifies with her, so she can do no wrong in his eyes. It’s unnerving.

      I believe that there is a gift in every experience (good or bad). Have you thought about what the gift could be for you in your lifetime experience with your brother? BTW, you deserve to enjoy your life! Take it back, and keep your power. One thing I notice with my NPD husband is that when I’m in my power (truly from the inside out), and I don’t care what he does, he can’t shake a stick at me.

  17. Jenny says:

    Getting back to the genetics, I have an older sibling who has severe narcissistic pd. I suffered from belittling, put downs, being the object of rages, etc. all of my life. Fast forward and I have a child who at 22 years of age is diagnosed with borderline pd (probably moderate severity) and while researching, I come to realize that I myself have borderline traits (I probably wouldn’t meet the full criteria for a diagnosis). I firmly believe that the development of these disorders is definitely genetic, and that they present in different ways and severities and depending on many factors such as upbringing, life experience, etc., but that the causing gene is one and the same.

  18. tracey says:

    Are all Ned’s abusive to their kids and family? My mom and sister both have npd and have been abusing parents, husbands, siblings and kids for their entire lives. My brother and I thought my mom had killed my step dad for his money. Can’t prove it but I so believed it after a life time of abuse at her hands I told a police office friend of mine. Well he didn’t beleive me, thought I was grief stricken or something. When my mom found out we thought this, she stole the trust fund our step dad set up and we couldn’t stop it because she was the co-trustee. She diverted all the funds she could and left the rest to my sister who is now doing a happy rub it in your face dance just like she did when we were kids. It’s just not right to be raped, tourchered , beat, worked like a slave and have them take away such a fine person and his gift of love to us. Getting away from the mental and physical abuse after 50 years probably worth losing all 5 he money right?

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