Narcissism is a personality trait that fi rst emerges in late childhood. Narcissistic children feel superior to others, believe they are entitled to privileges, and crave admiration from others. When they cannot get the admiration they crave, they feel humiliated and may lash out angrily and aggressively. In its extreme form, narcissism may develop into Narcissistic Personality Disorder. This article describes the nature, consequences, development, and origins of narcissism in children, and it describes the emergence of brief, psychologically precise interventions to curtail narcissistic maladjustment.

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Narcistische kinderen voelen zich superieur aan anderen, vinden dat ze meer rechten hebben dan anderen, en hunkeren naar bewondering van anderen. Als het ze niet lukt de bewondering te krijgen die ze willen, dan voelen ze zich gekrenkt en kunnen ze reageren met boosheid en agressie. Eddie Brummelman beschrijft in dit artikel de aard, gevolgen, ontwikkeling en oorsprong van narcisme bij kinderen. Tevens bespreekt hij de opkomst van korte, psychologisch precieze interventies om narcistische problematiek te verhelpen.

In de Griekse mythe was Narcissus een knappe jongeman die smoorverliefd werd op zijn spiegelbeeld in het water. ‘Ik ben het zelf, dien ik min; ikzelf voed het vuur, dat mij blakert’ (Ovidius, trans. 1923, boek III)41, riep hij. Omdat hij zijn ogen niet van zichzelf af kon wenden, kwijnde hij weg aan de waterkant. Zelfs na zijn dood bleef hij zichzelf bewonderen in de Styx, de rivier die het schimmenrijk scheidde van de aarde. Psychologen kennen Narcissus’ persoonlijkheid tegenwoordig als narcisme – een persoonlijkheidstrek die verwijst naar gevoelens van superioriteit en hunkering naar bewondering van anderen. Narcissus werd in de mythe pas beschreven vanaf zestienjarige leeftijd, toen hij met evenveel recht ‘jongen’ als ‘man’ kon worden genoemd. Ondanks dat vaak wordt gedacht dat alleen volwassenen narcistisch kunnen zijn, kan narcisme al tot uiting komen in de kindertijd. Dit artikel beschrijft de aard, gevolgen, ontwikkeling en oorsprong van narcisme bij kinderen. Tevens bespreekt het de opkomst van korte, gerichte…

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