It is uncertain about the precise origin of the term “narcissism”. Scholars speculate that the most logical origin would be Greek mythology. There are many versions of the Greek myth about Narcissus but the most accepted version is by Ovid. According to the myth a young handsome Greek lad by the name of Narcissus is walking through the woods. He is spotted by a wood nymph called Echo. She immediately is attracted by his good looks and falls madly in love with him. She follows him through the woods and finally works up the courage to approach him. He rejects her advances. She is so devastated due to his rejection that she wanders through the woods until only an echo is left. The spirit of revenge, Nemesis, puts a spell on Narcissus and draws him to a body of water where he sees his reflection for the first time in his life. He immediately falls in love with himself, not knowing that he is just seeing a reflection. He becomes so distraught because he cannot possess the object of his passion that he commits suicide. He is transformed into a flower called a Narcissus (more commonly known as a Daffodil). Even though the origin of the term narcissism might be mythical, an understanding of the myth may promote better analysis of how a narcissist might look today.
Today the American Psychiatric Association considers Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) a well-defined personality disorder diagnosis. The cause of narcissism is not known, according to the Mayo Clinic. As with so many psychiatric diagnoses the reason or cause may be very complicated. The prevailing theory is a mismatch between the parent and child. Either extreme of parenting: too pampering or too critical, may be the catalyst for creating a narcissistic personality. The narcissist fluctuates between these two extremes of parenting. If this is true, it is easy to see how this disorder would have the potential to perpetuate through the generations.
Narcissistic Personality disorders, like other personality disorders, display traits that cause distress in social situations and limit a person’s ability to have normal and meaningful relationships. People with this disorder come across as conceited, boastful and pretentious. They feel that they have achieved great things, and in some cases may even make up things that they have never actually accomplished. This type of person tends to monopolize conversations and look down at most people like they are inferior. Special treatment is expected at all times because of a feeling of entitlement, and if the special treatment is not given, the narcissist may become angry. Criticism is not well received. If criticized, the narcissist, even though they may have feelings of low self-esteem, will strike out at the person in an attempt to belittle them.
If you are a parent who is in the middle of a divorce or (planning on divorcing a narcissist) and see these personality traits in your spouse, it is time to file for sole custody of your children. Locate a law firm such as Desai Family Law that specializes in child custody with experience fighting for the parent’s right to have sole custody. The law firm can inform you of your rights and give you an idea of what to expect while fighting for the custody of your children. The law firm can counsel you on whether or not to divulge your suspicions or knowledge that the father or mother of your children has a personality disorder. Obviously it will be impossible for a parent with narcissism to form meaningful or honest relationships with your children. They will be either too pampering or too critical. Imagine how detrimental it would be for your children to grow up with such mixed messages. The narcissist will expect to be admired at all times and will become angry if they do not get total admiration. This will be very confusing to your children because they will not be able to understand what they are doing wrong. Your children, if left in such care, may either be driven away (like Echo) or promote the perpetuation of the disorder by creating another Narcissus. This is because being raised with criticism leads to low self-esteem which may cause them to become critical of people that they interact with. Do not create an Echo or another Narcissus. Stand up for your children. This may be the best thing you can ever do!