What are the root causes of narcissism?

This article will discuss what are the known root causes of narcissism. The article will also show what it means to be a narcissist and the treatments that are possible.

What are the root causes of narcissism?

Although there is still a lot of research going on on that matter, it is believed that a person can develop a Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) due to some matters. It is understood that genetics play a role in it. 

So there are some traits that a person can inherit from their family members that can make it easier for them to develop the disorder. 

But there also seems to be a neurobiological relationship to developing the disorder. This means that a connection between the person’s thoughts and behaviors can lead to it. And the most discussed root cause of the Narcissistic Personality Disorder seems to be connected to the environment the person was raised in.

It seems that the person is most likely to develop the disorder if they come from parents that have praised them too much or even parents that were abusive or neglectful. This seems to create in the narcissist the need for perfection.

It seems that from then on they will always have to show people how grand they are. But this is not the main root of narcissism. Its main root lies in the resistance of the person to feel vulnerability. A narcissist will wear a mask, some might say, that will prevent people from seeing who they are, a vulnerable person like the rest of us.

And because they can’t ever be vulnerable, they will never trust anyone. Making it impossible for anyone to come as close to them to the point of not seeing them without this mask. 

And to prevent that from happening, the narcissist will be constantly guarding themselves, which makes them extremely anxious, and hypervigilant.

A narcissist has this sense of grandiosity around themselves because they can’t handle the idea that they are flawed like the rest of us. As if at any point they let their guard down, they become terrified that people will take advantage of them. 

So to prevent that they will always make people think that they are these strong, assertive people.

So it seems that the personality of the person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is mainly formed by this fear of vulnerability, which leads them to this inflated sense of self.

What does being a narcissist mean? 

Being a narcissist means that the person has some narcissistic traits, or that they have been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). In both, it can be that the person will have a sense of entitlement, have grandiose thoughts about themselves, and can often assume they are special.

Narcissists are people that are constantly concerned about what other people think of them, and how they perceive them. Because of that, they will always try to look their best, have the perfect job, and so on.

The belief that narcissists have that they are special will often lead them to think that others should treat them differently. A narcissist will only connect with people that they believe are in the same status as they are, or higher, so they can feed on the perks that powerful people can offer them.

With that said, it is important to know that a narcissist doesn’t form emotional connections with people, they will be close to a person based on what they can give them, be it power, money, admiration, or success.

What are the root causes of narcissism?

Narcissists are unable to feel empathy, and this causes them to not be able to understand what other people are saying and to discover how their actions can hurt others. Because of that, they see their needs as the top priority and can disregard the needs of people around them, making it difficult to be in a relationship with them.

A narcissistic person will often have trouble accepting criticism, and when it happens, they can become defensive, and sometimes even paranoid. It can get to the point in which the narcissist can even try to change reality, and say that people are criticizing them because they are envious.

Aside from that, narcissists can be overly sensitive and can become hurt easily, and when they feel like that, they can overreact, and may even become aggressive. They will also have trouble owning up to their mistakes, and instead of doing that, they will easily blame other people.

In doing so, the narcissist will often be extremely manipulative and use some techniques such as gaslighting, and silent treatment, to make the other person feel bad and even question their sanity.

Is there treatment for being a narcissist?

Although there is no cure for narcissism, they can get treatment. But one should keep in mind that for a narcissist to look for treatment is not a simple thing. Doing that implies that they have recognized that there is something in themselves that they need to work on.

But if at any moment they realize that their narcissistic traits may be putting them in trouble, they can go to therapy. In it, they may work on building their self-esteem, since, behind that grandiose exterior, there is an extremely insecure person.

Therapy may also help them to create a more realistic view of themselves, and of the people around them, so they can move from that pattern of expecting perfection. Aside from that, therapy will help the narcissist set more realistic goals for themselves, instead of those unattainable ones.

It is also possible for therapy to help a narcissist to develop healthier relationships, in which they can accept criticism, and even fail a little easier. Because of how they see the world, and themselves, narcissists tend to develop anxiety and depression.

They can also abuse the use of alcohol and drugs. And because of that, they may also need psychiatric help to deal with those conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): What are the root causes of narcissism? 

How do narcissists age?

As narcissists get older, their narcissistic traits can become worse, and they can become even more self-centered. As it happens to everyone, as we get old, there is a sense of invisibility. When that happens, instead of dealing with it, or making their peace, they will likely just direct even more energy towards themselves. 

They can also become more rigid, and close-minded. And if they have people close, they will become needier, and may even become more immature. But even though that is the case, the older narcissist can begin to burn bridges with people around them.

An aging narcissist will also be angrier, and paranoid. And because of that, they can be even more abusive, and manipulative towards others, and will often play the victim. 

What makes a narcissist feel bad?

A narcissist will often feel bad if, at any moment they realize they don’t have any control over you. So if you are close to a narcissist, and you want to make them feel bad, you can begin to act in ways they wouldn’t like, or in spontaneous ways, that they won’t be able to control.

Standing up for yourself firmly, and not adjusting to their opinions can also have the same effect on them. It is also possible to make them feel bad if you sustain, during an argument, facts that won’t allow them to change your perception of reality, so they won’t be able to manipulate you.

Aside from that, narcissists can often feel bad when they come to terms with the fact that they are not perfect. So if at any time a narcissist goes through something that reminds them of that, be it losing a job promotion to a colleague, or going through a financial problem, they can feel bad.

What is the narcissist’s biggest fear?

The biggest fear of the narcissist is to be left alone. They often feed on people’s attention, it can be argued, or by being praised, what they can’t leave without is people’s attention.

That is why narcissists will usually have a lot of people around them. They will keep people close because if, at any moment someone decided to walk away, they would still have a lot of people around them to fill their needs.

What kind of people are narcissists attracted to?

Since narcissists will connect to people based on what they can give them, the narcissist will often look for powerful people, and often be self-assured. They are constantly hoping those traits will rub off on them.

But what happens is that, at some point, the self-assured person won’t be able, or willing to give the narcissist all that time and attention, because they prioritize themselves. And this is a problem for the narcissist that needs people to put them in the center of their world.

That will cause, in time, for this relationship to end. And after that, the narcissist will probably look for a person that has shaky self-esteem, and that is willing to put them in the center of their world. The person with lower self-esteem will do exactly that while praising, and putting the narcissist on a pedestal, just as they would want to be.

Will a narcissist apologize?

Yes, a narcissist may apologize, but you should keep in mind that the narcissist doesn’t work the same way as other people, and when they decide to apologize, it is usually not because they have understood they have done something wrong.

Narcissists will never believe that they could have done that. Aside from that, because they lack empathy, the narcissist will never grasp the idea that their behavior may have hurt other people, so even if they apologize it is not because they understand that they have hurt you.

A narcissist will often apologize because they need to gain points with you, and if they believe that apologizing will put them back on your good side, they will waste no time doing that. They can also apologize if they understand that the apology will make them look good.

If they have done something to you that caused other people to see them in a bad way, apologizing may come as a way to show people how good they are. So they regain the favor of people around the two of you.


This article showed what are the known root causes of narcissism. It also explained what it means to have a narcissist personality disorder, and how it is possible to treat it.

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