5 Causes of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

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Support for narcissism is often challenging for people with narcissistic personality disorder to receive.

A common belief is that people with this disorder are only selfish people to be avoided.

People can benefit from learning more about this disorder and the causes of narcissistic personality disorder.

People have a variety of genetic dispositions.

Traits inherited from the family contribute immensely to the likelihood of narcissistic personality disorder.

However, the manner of the upbringing of a child, personal choices, and other environmental factors also matter in narcissistic personality disorder.

The influence of parents is another crucial factor in a child's development.

Cases of parental overindulgence are one of the common causes of narcissistic personality disorder.

Parental overindulgence deprives a child of the opportunity to learn boundaries and develop a ground personality; overindulgence does the opposite of teaching a child no boundaries.

Trauma is also among the causes of narcissistic personality disorder.

In some cases, a narcissistic personality disorder is a defensive mechanism to protect against trauma, abuse, or neglect.

Adopting a persona with an inflated ego can lead to narcissistic traits.

Find out five causes of narcissistic personality disorder below.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder Therapists in Colorado

Shannon Matlock, LPC, NCC

Shannon Matlock, LPC, NCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 203-7021


One of the first things to address about narcissistic personality disorder is acknowledging it as a personality disorder.

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental health condition recognized by experts in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

This knowledge is vital to the general public and individuals diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder.

Beyond personal choices and other decisions, humans are predisposed to act in specific ways due to their genetic makeup.

Some studies reveal a correlation between kin and narcissistic personality disorder.

These studies confirm that genetics is among the causes of narcissistic personality disorder.

However, the extent to which genetics plays a role in diagnosing narcissistic personality disorder is still undetermined.

A study on 304 pairs of twins suggested that some traits of narcissistic personality disorder were hereditary.

People with narcissistic personality disorder have also been found to have a smaller amount of gray matter in the left anterior insula.

Although it might seem inevitable to succumb to genetics, environmental factors such as a child's upbringing contribute to the likelihood of having a personality disorder.

This means that the impact of genetics on narcissistic personality disorder is that it can be managed.

Parental Over-indulgence

The early years of a child are often the most critical parts of a child's life.

A parent's decisions here are likely to have long-lasting implications for the child.

One of the possible implications of parental overindulgence in a child is it could be one of the causes of narcissistic personality disorder.

When parents fail to create or enforce boundaries set for their children, it can develop into a narcissistic personality disorder.

The lack of rules in their household will create a lack of structure for the child.

In the case of failing to set boundaries and a lack of structure for a child, the child might fail to learn about boundaries.

Some parents struggle with being stern or enforcing boundaries with their children.

However, the long-term impact of parental overindulgence might harm the child in the long term.

Children typically look to their parents for support and guidance; an essential part of the structure is pointing out errors and mistakes from a child and demanding ownership of responsibility.

In adulthood, the child might become used to being exempt from facing responsibility for their actions.

It could create deflection for their actions.

It is also noteworthy that overindulgence can come from other relatives, peers, and family members; however, the duty to impose boundaries is on the primary caregivers.

Excessive Praise

A common trait of narcissistic personality disorder is an exaggerated sense of self.

Essentially a difference between a person's ability and the abilities they believe they possess.

Excessive praise can create a sense of the inflated idea of self, entitlement, and expectation of special treatment.

Feedback is a vital part of growth for most people.

However, the real benefit of the feedback only occurs when the feedback is honest.

In cases where the feedback is just an excuse to give praise, or every action a person performs is praised, it can create a false sense of self.

Excessive praise can be in the form of gift buying or praise.

This form of excessive praise usually comes from parents to their children.

This behavior can be motivated by trying to support their child or compensate for missing something.

Excessive praise could also occur at school, in sports, or in the office.

Receiving excessive praise or positive feedback and assessing one's skills as the level of praise is natural.

It can quickly inflate one's ego in a grand sense.

Excessive praise is one of the causes of narcissistic personality disorder. 

Narcissistic Personality Disorder Therapists in Colorado

Narcissistic Personality Disorder Therapists in Colorado

Shannon Matlock, LPC, NCC

Shannon Matlock, LPC, NCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 203-7021


In most cases of narcissistic personality disorder, people exhibit arrogance and boldness.

However, in some cases, there is hypersensitivity and defensiveness.

Trauma is one of the causes of narcissistic personality disorder in a defensive manner.

Some people diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder suffer from abuse or trauma.

The traits of narcissism are only compensations for the trauma received.

The inflated ego is only a defense mechanism to protect themselves.

The trauma or abuse received might create fear. In the hopes of avoiding similar pain, the individual with narcissistic disorder acts with an inflated sense of self—a sense of self seemingly immune from rejection or abuse.

For some people, narcissism is only a defense mechanism to avoid their fears.

Dealing with their past fears and history can go a long way to addressing their narcissistic personality disorder. 

Inconsistent Parenting

The traits associated with narcissistic personality disorder usually develop in a person's teenage years or early adulthood.

This means for most people with narcissistic personality disorder; their childhood is a crucial period.

During the early years of a child before adulthood, parents play a huge role in a child's life.

Parents' decisions and actions will go a long way in determining a child's personality.

These actions also factor in whether the child will have personality disorders.

Inconsistent parenting is correlated with a child having a narcissistic personality disorder.

Parental consistency is focused on how parents react to specific actions of their children.

This could be in the form of giving unclear expectations to the child or contradictions in instructions and habits.

Criticizing a child excessively for an action the child did not expect that manner of criticism or praise in circumstances it was not expected would be an example of parental inconsistency.

The long-term impact of the inconsistency is to create instability for a child.

A child growing up with inconsistent parents might suffer from anxiety and fear from being unable to predict their parents' reactions.

Inconsistent parenting is among the common causes of narcissistic personality disorder.


Although narcissistic personality disorder is recognized, it is often not treated as such.

A vital step to increasing awareness and support for narcissism is understanding the nature of the personality disorder.

You can start by learning the causes of narcissistic personality disorder, such as genetics, parental overindulgence, excessive praise, trauma, and inconsistent parenting.


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June 18th, 2024

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