“For the most part people are not curious except about themselves.”
― John Steinbeck,
Teething Would Almost Come With Empathy.
LACK OF EMPATHY IS EASILY THE MOST IMPORTANT OF A LITTLE child’s traits that can later become one of the narcissist’s traits, and in many ways it is the hardest for little children to overcome. Not only does the mind of the infant not imagine the feelings of others; it doesn’t fully grasp that people or things continue to exist once they pass outside the baby’s sight or hearing.
A 6-month-old who drops a spoon from a high a chair will not look for it down on the floor because of the assumption that if it has pass out of view, it has passed out of this world. For the same reason, infants don’t experience seperation anxiety the same way toddlers do. Adults are perishable, interchangeable, flashing out of existence like subatomic particles the moment they leave the room.
When children do start to grasp the concept of object or person permanence, usually at about 6 months, it often shows in the first green shoots of empathy–understanding that someone else is sad or suffering. Even then, however, that little child would always behave egocentrically. “A small child will try to comfort his mother the same way he would also want to be comforted,” a favorite psychologist says. “that may mean giving her his teddy bear or some other toys he likes.”
Some scientists have observed empathic sparks in babies who are much younger. At 1 or 2 days old, Barnett says, babies react differently to the sound of a baby crying in a nearby crib than to a recording of a cry, even if the two sounds are indistinguishable to the adult ear. The brain may be hard-wired to tease apart the genuine and counterfeit and to respond more sensitively to one than the other. “There’s sort of emotional mimicry going on,” this favorite psychologist says “that isn’t true empathy but its a start”.
…and They Would Always Want What They Want
LACK OF IMPULSE CONTROL IS ANOTHER BIG PART OF BOTH THE baby’s and the narcisist’s temperament. The ability to want something and not take it–or at least to put off taking it–is something we struggle with our entire lives. Play must come second to work, indulgence must yield to restraint–lessons some of us never learn.
You get a clue of what I mean from the statement of a man in a supremely narcissistic moment; “The hearts wants what it wants,” he says this as he blithely explained his decision to ditch his longtime partner in favor of her 21-year-old daughter.
“well, that’s what I did” is how Ponzi King Bernie Madoff responded to a fellow inmate who offered the hard-to-argue with opinion that stealing money from old ladies was a “f-cked-up thing to do.”
“Mostly” They Grow Out Of It
THE NARCISSISM THAT BABIES EXHIBIT IS simpler, coarser kind than what shows up in adults, and in the majority of kids, its a phase that passes. By kindergarten, children are already learning that the world would indulge them only so much and there are limits to their behavior though it’s a lesson that must be learned straight up through the teen years.
What causes infantile narcissism to refine and sharpen itself into the dangerous adult form is not certain. There is certainly, a heritable component. A 2000 study of identical twins showed that when one member of the pair was narcissistic, there was a 77% chance the other would be too—something that was not true of fraternal twins, whose genes are no more similar than those of other siblings.
Other theories include what’s called the mask model of narcissism, the idea that the self-absorption and egotism of the narcissist are a pose to mask their opposite: a deep well of self-loathing and low self-esteem.
An opposing theory is that the grandiosity of the narcissist is just what it seems it is, but look a little deeper.
WRITTEN AND EDITED BY CHARLES OKPERE
…AND WATCH OUT FOR #THEDISSIDENT
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