Posted by: Judy | September 14, 2015

Grace For My Heart shared a book blurb

Fascinating. The comments were worth the read, too.

I never considered narcissism to be learned as opposed to a mental illness. I was surprised to learn that the experts generally agree on this.

What this means to me is that those of us who grew up with Ns and learned some of the behaviors are able to unlearn them. What a joyous relief.

Yes, I knew I could change. However, I can’t count the number of times I fretted being like NM, fearing the mental illness was passed down through genetics.

Odd memory: NM would always quote the funny, “Insanity is inherited, I got it from my children.” How often did a part of me fear it truly was my fault?

I may have inherited some other flaws, and I learned some narcissistic behaviors. Children are narcissistic by nature, but they grow out of it. I am capable of unlearning the behaviors I cultivated in order to survive. I’m not a child, and I’m not a narcissist. I am making different choices and learning healthier behaviors.




  1. Thank you for sharing the link, it was a very interesting read. I love the photograph, such a beautiful sky 🙂

    • Thanks, Kara. I was tickled to catch that last glimpse as the sun set.

  2. Judy, I never thought about the hope that might give those raised by narcissists. Thank you for bringing this out. Yes! There is hope! No one is doomed to repeat the cruel behavior of parents or significant others, even if some of those behaviors were picked up along the way. Sometimes, when narcissism is the norm, those behaviors are a way of survival. But, when narcissism is not normal, those survival tools are no longer needed. Yes, I believe they can be unlearned.

    • I appreciate your insights and how you interact with the commenters on your blog. I’ve learned a lot from you. Thanks, again, Dave.

  3. Interesting perspective. I do think narcissism is mostly learned, but I also know that most therapists believe that narcissists are almost impossible to change, and that does imply some sort of irreversible status. The only reason a narcissist would change narcissistic behaviors is to somehow exploit another narcissistic need. Regardless, the narcissist will never be trustworthy.

    I think the biggest difficulty I personally have with the “learned” vs “born” narcissist is that I am hard pressed to see how my grandparents somehow were to blame for how my mother turned out. Looking at their relationship it is very perplexing. My mother was ashamed of her parents to a certain degree (they were poor), and that I can see as part of her need to elevate her sense of self, but it’s not like everyone who is born into a poor family turns into a malignant narcissist.

    It’s best for me to just back away from the narcissist. They suck too much life away and give nothing in return.

    • Stream of thought: I think it comes down to a matter of choice. Ns make the decision over and over that their behavior gives them more of what they want until it becomes a habit, a way of life. It includes deciding that they are right in their choice. I don’t think it’s a matter of being rich or poor. Somewhere along the way, they decide their way is higher than any moral code. They’ll adopt an outward moral code, in the form of religion, but they have no trouble lying. Somewhere along the way, they decide to create their own world and twist and mold everything to fit their vision of their world. Woe to whoever causes even a bobble in their world. Others are merely actors on their stage to be used as needed and tossed aside when no longer of use. They are the directer, the puppet master, the creator of their world. They write and direct the show, even if they have to rewrite history to have it run the way they want it. Perhaps it’s a way of dealing with a sense of no control. An unhealthy way, but still a way they find that works for them. They convince themselves they are right, so there’s no need to change.

      It’s impossible to have a healthy relationship with someone whose world is based in lies.

      • I agree with everything you wrote.

        • I’m posting it tomorrow so I remember to read it again, see if it still makes sense and if it inspires anything else. 🙂

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