How does one become a narcissist? Are they born that way? Can I become one without knowing? Are they curable?- Benjamin Zulu

Narcissism can be incubated in childhood through unhealthy upbringing or it can be adopted independently by an individual by their own unhealthy attitudes. Parents who over spoil their children instil in them a huge sense of entitlement and the idea that they don’t have to humble themselves or cooperate with others to get what they want in life. That child can grow to be a monster of insensitivity and selfishness. A perfect narcissist.

Those parents who punish their children excessively instil a deep sense of insecurity and a desire to preemptively defend themselves before they’re attacked. They grow to believe that this world is not safe and they must not trust anyone. They become manipulative and exploitative as a means of self defense.

The healthy solution for those who were brought up this way would be to seek healing rather than adopting the pain in their lifestyle.

As for people who become narcissists by their own choice it starts as an attitude of not caring about how you make others feel. It’s all about achieving your ends, they say. There’s whole Machiavellian attitude of ‘the end justifies the meathat promotes tramping down other people just to get what you want, and they call it ‘the game of life.’ Niccolo Machiavelli promoted unscrupulous dealings and being dishonest to achieve one’s goals. He saw deception as a ‘normal thing’ in human relations. Those who buy into such philosophy can turn out very narcissistic.

Lastly, you can become a narcissist by being too self absorbed and thinking you’re somehow special and superior. This is different from self love. Self absorption means being preoccupied with yourself and looking down upon everyone else. It’s egotism and pride. A healthy self image means you appreciate yourself but also you be aware of your weaknesses and the need to keep learning and improving. It means you get outside your head and appreciate other people and the value they carry.

The solution for those already on this destructive path? Change your attitude. Ask for feedback from friends or a therapist about your worldview and how you can change it. Learn to be honest and empathetic. It will be very painful but worthy all the work. Come down from the pedestal you had put yourself and learn to be humble and compassionate. Accept your humanness and your limitations. Acknowledge that you need other people and God. Learn to say sorry and to apologise in earnest. Resuscitate your hardened heart. And the ultimate reward? You’ll start to experience true peace and genuine connection with people.

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