I came across this post over at Forbes written by contributor Rob Asghar called All Work and No Play Makes Your Child…A Narcissist .
In the piece he cites another article from a post in Psychology Today by Peter Gray, PhD, called Why Is Narcissism Rising Among Young Americans?
Dr. Gray’s piece can be summed up in the subhead: “Play deprivation may underlie the increase in narcissism and decline in empathy.” This deprivation is being linked to parenting styles, namely the hovering and controlling, over-parenting parents.
It’s fascinating. And it got me thinking about the why’s – why and how and to whom this might happen – from a decidedly unscientific standpoint (see Dr. Gray’s article for the footnotes and references to the scientific data both quantitative and qualitative). Could it be that lack of play, of expression, of satisfying one’s own curiosity might, in part, for some, lead to the development of a kind of altered form of what being a child is meant to be? In other words, lead to becoming a shell of a child? In other words, a kind of false self? An angry self? A narcissistic child that grows into a narcissistic adult?
Often we don’t think of the narcissist as they might have been as a child, as the recipient of someone else’s manipulations and neglect.
It helps to think about this to gain perspective of why the person is this way – lacking empathy, manipulative, etc – today. Why? Because it can help us to remember that narcissism is a longstanding and serious issue that has deep roots that a winding and complex, and completely out of our control.