In this day and age, we hear the word “narcissist” being thrown around a great deal. Many of us think we can identify the characteristics as they appear in others, but it’s harder to spot in ourselves. We all have some areas of life where we show extreme selfishness, and the right circumstances will usually flush those areas out. Behaviors don’t flow out of a vacuum; adults don’t get up one morning and decide that they are the only ones who can love themselves with a true love, or that other people are mere objects or instruments used to satisfy their own selfish needs. These adults started out as children too, and because they had no defense against their wounds, it took time for them to develop coping skills.
Narcissists have experienced the most extreme wounds, as a result of the adults in their lives denying them love. When adults only accept and show love to a child if that child meets their expectations, and they punish normal childhood emotions and behaviors in a negative way, children learn that they cannot be themselves without fearing punishment.
Poorly-treated children feel safest when they can escape into a world of their own making, where they squash emotions to lessen the hurt that they feel. Imagine if you had to escape into a world of your own making. Of course you would create a world over which you have total control, a world where you make the rules, a world where you are larger than life—surrounded by all the things you lack in your real life. Thus, your grandiose ideals are born, and you are established as the absolute ruler in a world where everything goes exactly as you choose, for that is the only way you can be safe.
In reality, though, living in a world where everything must go as you deem it can be exhausting, as you try to control everything and everyone. May God give you the courage to seek out healing and walk away from your painful past.