Introduction | What is a personality disorder? | Narcissistic Personality Disorder
How to recognize a narcissist | Traits discussed | "Now We Are Six" | "It's a Good Life"
What's normal? | Further reading | Attachment | Narcissus in art | Aftermath | Beyond | Music
NPD as described in DSM-IV is defined less by grandiosity than by severely disturbed interpersonal relations. All narcissists have attachment problems, and narcissists make lousy parents, so many of their children also have attachment problems. I hear from narcissists from time to time, but most correspondents are either coping with/recovering from narcissistic parents or are co-parenting with narcissists -- sometimes both, heaven help them -- so they are intensely interested in attachment issues.

Warning: Much of this attachment disorder material is very disturbing. It deals with the personal problems and social impact of severely damaged children, in particular children adopted from eastern Europe and others who've spent a lot of time in institutional or foster care. Some people in the field estimate that as many as 20% of children in the United States have attachment problems serious enough to interfere with school. For the history of attachment research and attachment issues in normal environments and adult relationships, Robert Karen's Becoming Attached is highly recommended.

  "Brain Trust" by Debra Viadero. This is mostly about education -- e.g., languages and music -- but has some bits about emotions. See also the accompanying article "Parenting on the Brain" about the neuroscience of being a parent. (The first paragraph of this is worth the price of admission.)
 "Symptoms of Attachment Disorder". There are several different places on the Web with lists of symptoms; this one is the most concise, but it struck me as hostile and controlling, especially that "on parents' terms" stuff.
 "The Long Term Effects of Institutionalization on the Behavior of Children From Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union: Research, Diagnoses, and Therapy Options" by Teri Doolittle and others for The Parent Network for Post-Institutionalized Children. A long article with lots of references, summaries of research, and a bibliography.
 "Forces in Human Development" by Dr. Jerome Kagan. Kagan, a prominent researcher and scholar in the study of children's cognitive, social, and emotional development, is a critic of attachment theory, arguing that inherited temperaments influence us more than early attachment experiences. Two groups that have been studied extensively are shy, timid, cautious children and bold, sociable, outgoing children. According to Dr. Kagan, both tendencies have a "modest genetic basis," and his work explores the interplay between children's inborn characteristics and the ways in which culture influences development.
 "Moral Development and Attachment: Disruptions that Create Cycles of Criminal Behavior" by Ann Adalist-Estrin. This is about why people in prison should be allowed to keep in touch with their kids, and it has interesting stuff about the development of empathy and remorse. (Intro in French; it's in English after that.)
 "The Origins of Virtue", a very long review of a book approaching virtue from the sociobiological perspective. "[The author] casts moral sentiments in the practical light of reciprocal exchange and ... the deep role detecting cheating has in maintaining commitment and transactional 'trust' in social groups. The great sensitivity of humans to this type of test tends to emphasize how sophisticated our social sense of long-term commitment in the shifting interplay of human liaisons is." (Interesting and entertaining, though the file is marred by batches of HTML errors every so often.)
 "The Origins of Love & Violence and the Developing Human Brain", a paper by James W. Prescott, Ph.D. Report on research about abnormal brain development in mother-deprived children.
 "Isolation - The Ultimate Poison", an excerpt from The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into The Forces of History by Howard Bloom.
 "When children don't bond with parents", by Tori DeAngelis, an article about the controversial "holding" therapy sometimes used with kids with RAD. From the APA Monitor.
 "The Attachment Cycle" by Barbara Nicholson. This short article discusses how early attachments affect later life, such as marriage and parenthood.
 "Reactive Attachment Disorder and Ramona Christina Fox" by Doug Fox. A good short article about attachment disorder, focusing on the author's daughter, a child adopted from a Romanian orphanage.
 "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not: God, Spiritual Development and Recovery from Childhood Trauma" by Melissa Beacham, in "The Mind's Eye," an online journal of transpersonal therapy.
  "Long known to cause low self-esteem and suicidal behavior, sexual abuse may also be linked to negative physiological changes" by Tori DeAngelis. "New studies reveal that sexually abused girls may face an insidious hardship beyond behavioral and psychological ills: abnormal hormonal, pubertal and neuroendocrine changes." From APA Monitor.
 "The Body Keeps the Score: Memory and the evolving psychobiology of post traumatic stress" by Bessel van der Kolk.

Introduction | What is a personality disorder? | Narcissistic Personality Disorder
How to recognize a narcissist | Traits discussed | "Now We Are Six" | "It's a Good Life"
What's normal? | Further reading | Attachment | Narcissus in art | Aftermath | Beyond | Music
Feel free to drop me a note with questions or comments.
©1998-2001 by Joanna M. Ashmun.