It’s almost impossible to pinpoint how narcissism develops – the age-old debate of “nature versus nurture” is nothing new here, either. Does narcissism sprout from something in a person’s genes, or do they learn their toxic behaviors during their formative years from their parents/guardians? Read on for the second scenario of three installments which may lead a child to develop narcissism.
*Click HERE in case you missed Part 1: How Narcissism Can Develop In Childhood
Narcissism Develops Due To Devaluing The Child
In this case, Sheldon is trying his best to impress his mother through his academics and sports. Through elementary school, he strived for perfection, but never earned one compliment from his mother.
Now that he’s in middle school, every accomplishment he mentions to her is mocked. She devalues his achievements by laughing at him, pointing out his flaws, questioning his skills. She says things like, “You couldn’t have gotten straight-As – you’re too stupid for that” or “You ran how far? With those chubby legs?”
Why This Reaction Develops Narcissism
There are a few outcomes the Sheldon may suffer. The first, Sheldon may eventually believe his mother. While he sees that he is capable of achieving so much, the constant belittlement can become to be too much. As his confidence dwindles, his performance does as well. This can lead to self-loathing, depression, and deep despair. It’s likely that later in life, he may turn to substance and alcohol abuse to numb and escape his new reality.
Sheldon may also become angry and resentful towards his mother, pushing him to work even harder. This can be unhealthy physically, emotionally, and mentally. But his rage can push him to want to do anything in his power to prove his mother wrong. Resentment will build towards his mother, which can lead him to becoming abusive towards anyone who may remind him of her.
What Does This Mean For Sheldon?
If Sheldon were to fall into the rabbit hole of despair, he will most likely find himself following a rapid path towards addiction. Should Sheldon act out of resentment towards his mother, this can cause his relationships to become abusive – romantic or otherwise.