This is excellent…thanks for this great piece.
Narcissists are typically damaged people, as you express. But there is another form of narcissist that is created by extreme privileging, often in the form of a mother-son relationship. This relationship has also been shown to create high-grade narcissists constantly looking to replicate that sense of superiority that their mothers gave them from day one. Typically, when this exalted perception of themselves — given to them as ‘reality’ by their mothers such that it is ingrained — comes in conflict with reality that doesn’t support their superiority, they become full of rage.
This is not so much a shaming by the parent as it is a disconnect between one’s given perception, which is skewed, and the eventual conflict with a reality which often shows they are not as great as their mother portrayed them. Then, the shame becomes a social reality; that is, the society is perceived as ‘shaming’ him relative to his mother’s (parent’s) exalted (false) perception/elevation of him. This can be either/any gender parent/child depending on the psychology but in studies is often mother-son, and often a result of a poor or nonexistent relationship between the mother and her husband/partner.
The mother then turns to the son for this appreciation, which she garners by elevating him in his eyes so that she is the place he can consistently receive this ‘superiority.’ He keeps returning because he hears this ‘superior’ stuff from her (and likely her only, after people realize how narcissistic he is); as a result, he becomes enmeshed with her and she treats him like her ‘primary’ relationship, receiving appreciation from him she isn’t getting from her partner.
Thank you for doing the hard work of dealing with the narcissism you’ve been subjected to and then writing it for others. I appreciate the references you’ve included. I really appreciate the writing of Alice Miller, a Swiss psychologist, who makes no bones about the deleterious and harmful effects to children of narcissistic parents and often goes into detail about the damage from the victim’s standpoint.