Know a Narcissist? Blame their brain

I am fascinated by our newfound ability to study the brain in real-time.  For most of my life the only way the brain was studied was by  autopsy.  

For decades, I’ve explained to clients that “feelings” are not psychological constructs but a neurochemical phenomena. I had no proof – just  trickles of brain research I read. Now that I’m retired the evidence is mounting.  I’d love to be able to say “I told you so!”


In psychological “terms” the proportion of outward behavior is a measure of internal feelings.  Examples:  Do you know some one who is a “control freak”?  Of course you do.

The more someone tries to exert control over everyone and everything it is usually (read “always” – I’m trying to be “politically correct, ahem . . .)  a direct measure they internally/unconsciously feel out of control.  People who “feel” in control don’t have to prove they are in control – they can collaborate, give others credit etc.

Know someone who is a narcissist – the earth revolves around them, not the sun?  Of course you do.

The more a person needs to boast about themselves, point the finger of blame at others etc. . . . the more insecure they are.  Read about some interesting brain research that substantiates this that on a neurological level.

Read more:


8 comments on “Know a Narcissist? Blame their brain

  1. A good (if academic) read is Alcoholism, Narcissism & Psychopathology by Gary Forrest. If you lean toward psych diagnoses as having biospychosocial elements, it’s not surprising that narcissism has explanations that relate to all three components. However, many narcissists reject getting psychological help — a catch 22. How can you need help if it’s someone else’s fault?


    • Kathe,
      Thank you for taking your time to comment and for the book recommendation. In my 30 years of practice the narcissists that came into treatment were almost always dragging their partners behind to get fixed. It is always a fine line for therapists to walk with couples counseling as it is, but it’s razor sharp when one of the partners has narcissistic “tendencies”!

      P.S. Now that I’m retired my reading is fiction and neuroscience web-feeds! I’ve given away every single one of my academic and “self-help psych books. The only ones I am holding onto are by Viktor Frankl. I didn’t appreciate him when I was younger but in my “greying years” I embrace his spiritual perspective.


    • Rosemary,
      I find it helpful to not take those traits/behavior as a personal affront and to remember that underlying narcissism is insecurity and underlying controlling behavior is feeling out of control. It does take the sting out for me . . . AND I try to avoid them!


    • Jacqui,
      It’s also fascinating that research shows we actually “harmonize” electromagnetically with each other – not just women’s menstrual cycles!. When we are in the presence of others our heart beats, brain waves synchronize. I suspect that is a part of what we label “instinct/gut reactions/intuition”.

      I don’t know of any research to support MY thinking but I surmise that when we feel uneasy/uncomfortable around others our electromagnetic/biochemistry fields are very different and we “feel” the effects of our bodies-mind “struggling with the synchronizing.
      Conversely when we feel comfortable around others our body-mind doesn’t have to work harder to get in (or not) synchronicity.


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