December 10th, 2007
Posted By:
Categories: Depression

Children who have been adopted at an age older than newborn frequently struggle with self-esteem issues. They may come across as if they are superior to everyone they encounter including family members. Is that really a mask for a fragile self-esteem that is vulnerable to even the slightest criticism? People who suffer from a mental disorder called Narcissistic personality disorder have a deep need for admiration and an inflated sense of their own importance. While initially, you may think that the older adopted child suffering from a narcissistic personality disorder has healthy self-confidence and self-esteem it may soon become obvious that your child has crossed a fine line. People who have healthy self-esteem tend to value other people and their relationships as much as they value themselves. Those with a narcissistic personality disorder seem to put themselves on a pedestal.


Having a personality disorders tends to limit a persons ability to function in relationships, work, or school. Those who suffer from a narcissistic personality disorder tend to display dramatic and emotional behavior. They tend to come across to others as conceited, boastful, or pretentious. They may monopolize conversations even the ones in which they were not initially included. They may think that they should have the very best of everything and receive special treatment. They may become angry when they don’t receive what they feel they are entitled to receive. Some complications of an untreated narcissistic personality disorder may include substance abuse, alcohol abuse, depression, suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, particularly anorexia nervosa, relationship difficulties, problems at work or school.

Narcissistic personality disorder symptoms may include:
 Believing that you’re better than others
 Fantasizing about power, success and attractiveness
 Exaggerating your achievements or talents
 Expecting constant praise and admiration
 Believing that you’re special
 Failing to recognize other people’s emotions and feelings
 Expecting others to go along with your ideas and plans
 Taking advantage of others
 Expressing disdain for those you feel are inferior
 Being jealous of others
 Believing that others are jealous of you
 Trouble keeping healthy relationships
 Setting unrealistic goals
 Being easily hurt and rejected
 Having a fragile self-esteem
 Appearing as tough-minded or unemotional

Underneath the grandiose behavior often lies a fragile self-esteem. Anything that seems like criticism may be difficult to handle and the person may have a secret sense of shame or humiliation. Reacting with rage or contempt may make a person with narcissistic personality disorder feel better. Most mental disorders have complex causes and that is likely true with narcissistic disorder as well although the exact cause is not known. Perhaps a dysfunctional childhood causes the disorder. Some suggested causes include overindulgence, overvaluation, expectations that are too high, abuse, neglect, or genetics.

To be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, you must meet criteria spelled out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This manual is published by the American Psychiatric Association and is used by mental health providers to diagnose mental conditions and by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment.
Criteria for narcissistic personality disorder to be diagnosed include:
 Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
 Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power or beauty
 Believing that you are special and can associate only with equally special people
 Requiring constant admiration
 Having a sense of entitlement
 Taking advantage of others
 Inability to recognize needs and feelings of others
 Being envious of others
 Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner

3 Responses to “Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Older Adopted Children”

  1. John says:

    Isn’t it interesting to note the similarity with the affect of a person in the manic mode. John

  2. phil7 says:

    The age of the child is important. A very young child is still impressionable (although there could still be issues later regarding separation from the biological family). With a child pre-teens or coming into its teens any damage has already been done. People should consider very seriously before taking on such a child that they know has already suffered from wrong parenting in their biological family. While you mean well in thinking you can help them out, unintentionally you could well make them worse, besides the risk of causing serious damage within your own family.

    Prospective adopters should be well informed about the child’s family background (relevant issues like divorce, domestic violence, etc) and parentage to present, and consider how their own parental style relates to this. It should be kept in mind that mollycoddling is as bad as aggressive parenting in engendering Narcissistic Disorder. I suggest that firm but fair is the way, with the emphasis on firmness of the assertive kind. I expect it’s only a family of well balanced members with a pedigree of effective parenting that would have any chance of diverting narcissist tendency from an older child. And a narcissist is not just for Christmas but for life.

  3. Inlyte Ecig says:

    Inlyte Ecig…

    Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Older Adopted Children -…

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