How parental messages of specialness can create narcissists

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How parental messages of specialness can create narcissists

Some experts actually believe that there’s a burgeoning new crop of narcissists now, given this message of specialness that is being handed over by parents and others in the social media world. In my own practice, in this community that is fairly affluent, parents can afford to give their children tutors for just about everything, and I make the joke with my colleagues that I think they have tutors to help them wipe their nose. And I believe tutoring is a wonderful thing for the child, but I think that the message that you’re so special that you shouldn’t have to do anything on your own, things should be done for you, it should be easy, there should be a smooth and quick pathway to the Ivy League colleges, whatever you need to get there, that’s the goal, is a dangerous message. There’s nothing wrong with wanting your child to be the best they can be and having a good education, but if all of the emphasis is on their performance and not on their innate lovable self, you end up with a child who can only focus on what they can produce and not who they are.

View Wendy T. Behary, LCSW's video on How parental messages of specialness can create narcissists...


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Wendy T. Behary, LCSW

Psychotherapist & Author

With 25 years post-graduate training and advanced level certifications, Wendy Behary is the founder and director of The Cognitive Therapy Center of New Jersey and The New Jersey Institute for Schema Therapy. She has been treating clients, training professionals and supervising psychotherapists for more than 20 years. Wendy is also on the faculty of the Cognitive Therapy Center and Schema Therapy Institute of New York, where she has trained and worked with Dr. Jeffrey Young since 1989. She is a founding fellow of The Academy of Cognitive Therapy (Dr. Aaron T. Beck). Wendy is also the President of the Executive Board of the International Society of Schema Therapy (ISST).

Wendy Behary has co-authored several chapters and articles on schema therapy and cognitive therapy. She is the author of the New Harbinger Publication (1st and upcoming 2nd edition) Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed. Wendy has a specialty in treating narcissists and the people who live with and deal with them. As an author and an expert on the subject of narcissism, she is a contributing chapter author of several chapters on schema therapy for narcissism. She lectures both nationally and internationally to professional and general audiences on schema therapy, and the subject of narcissism, relationships, and dealing with difficult people. Her work with industry has included speaking engagements focused on interpersonal conflict resolution. Her private practice is primarily devoted to treating narcissists, partners/people dealing with them, and couples experiencing relationship problems. She is also an expert in coaching individuals in interviewing, public speaking, and interpersonal skills enhancement.

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