How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. Mark Your Own Question
Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5334
Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Dr. Mark is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Does narcissistic disorder occur in families?

This answer was rated:

Does narcissistic disorder occur in families?

Hi! I believe I can be of help with this issue.

Our current understanding of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is that it forms between infancy and childhood, inclusive. It is understood to be a defect in healthy relationship with the primary caretaker, usually the mother. This is most often considered to mean either too overbearing and over-caring a mother or a too distant and detached mother. However, there are many other considerations involved besides just the relationship with mother. As such, our understanding is that NPD is not a heritable disorder, it is not transmitted genetically, and thus doesn't run in families.

There are many different levels of severity of NPD. And each person is different from the next. So not every person who is narcissistic will be identical, though the disorder has common traits, as I'm sure you've come to recognize.

It is very difficult for people to imagine how pervasive NPD is. They tend to keep doing things with the narcissist as if he or she's normal. Then they get burned and they are very hurt. The person with NPD will alternate charm and invective.

Let's use a parable of a house. You understand personality as being an open plan. There is the main big room where everything in the personality is and there are some smaller rooms off the main room, but they all have open doorways so that there is a unity there. If a person reacts from one of those smaller areas in his personality, it is coherent with the rest of the house, it fits into the decorating scheme of the main room, etc. It's all unified.

Someone with NPD isn't like that. He has different closed rooms. When he says something to you, it responds to some need and "truth" of a certain room. When he wants something else, it responds to a different room that contains that "truth". They don't have to agree for him to feel he is being okay and truthful. Because they are responding to different needs in him. Like different closed rooms.

Okay, I wish you the very best!

My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, ***** *****

Dr. Mark and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you