There really is no accepted consensus on what ‘makes’ someone NPD.
By Sabine Fourneaux
It could be they were treated too well or too poorly — but we all have those histories on some scale and we don’t all become Narcissists. Conventional wisdom infers that something bad must have happened to a psyche for such a dysfunctional coping style and disorder to take root, but science is proving that the NPD brain is different, from the way the specific areas are shaped to how those differences impact the neurochemical workings which creates different connections of the mental and emotional process. Evolved understanding now is that there is an aspect of both Nature and Nurture involved. To test that conclusively, there has to be much more study done to ascertain if the brains that are shaped as those with NPD exist within those who do not go on to develop the disorder. It could be eventually proven that it is all Nature and the Nurture is of marginal influence — if any at all.
We are at the beginnings of understanding and most of psychiatry is inferred opinion at this point still. As time goes on, conventional wisdom will shift as more is concretely understood.
Narcissists absolutely portray themselves as victims, and this may go toward influencing this thinking that there had to be a core trauma which caused the arresting of their ego state. But, the obvious problem that arises from this acceptance of personal narratives is that the histories shared that shape this thinking is being relayed by those with NPD, and that is absolutely unreliable because NPDs not only manipulate others as a key characteristic of their disorder but also have deep-seated denial of their true self due to their inability to cope with their core shame. They lie and they believe what they believe in order to make sense of themselves too.
It’s hard to get full transparency or honest self-disclosure from someone with this disorder. So, when many of those who work with and study NPDs come to those conclusions they are doing so with faulty data — garbage in, garbage out. This is why there is no one accepted cause of NPD, they just know it happens and work backward to understand when and why — without the folding in of the physiological foundation of the NPDs having different brains from neurotypicals to begin with. NPDs are a specific subset of human beings when it comes to how their internal operating system works. They will always have a core trauma — even if that event is, on the face of it, so relatively benign that it would not impact most in a longterm or negative way.
So, this is society’s way of understanding something so broken — something bad had to happen for people to behave this way. It gives us comfort to be able to explain things in these simplistic terms, we can then feel then that there is the power to do something about it. But there isn’t, the NPD brain is simply different.