Biology vs. parenting style in creating a narcissist

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Biology vs. parenting style in creating a narcissist

One of the popular questions about the origins of narcissism is how much is nature, how much is nurture. And while we don't have any evidence that proves that narcissism evolves out of biology, we certainly have (in the clinical world), we make observations about this. So we have some anecdotal information. I personally think, from my experience, that narcissists - what differentiates one person from another, if they are siblings in a family where they are being raised pretty much the same - is sometimes just boils down to their temperament. And I think narcissists can come with either a highly aggressive temperament or they come with a very sensitive temperament where they have needs for perhaps a little more affection, attention, nurturing in a family that can't grant them, or care givers that can't grant them, those needs. Get those needs met. And so there's frustration as a result of that. But I think the majority of the evolution of narcissism is really through the nurture element, which is that which is missing or that which is perhaps excessively abundant in the life of the child.

View Wendy T. Behary, LCSW's video on Biology vs. parenting style in creating a narcissist...


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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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