Is Narcissism in the Genes?


Is Narcissism in the Genes?
A study reveals that niceness - and narcissism - might be in the genes. (

Could we be expecting too much from people who might not be pre-disposed to "niceness"? A study reveals that niceness - and narcissism - might be in the genes. ( There is DNA associated with traits that relate to being giving, caring, and responsible. This discovery is affiliated with what Dr. Bonnie talks about in Make Up Don't Break Up, where a person who's loving and caring often has two specific hormones in their genes. Oxytocin - the cuddle hormone - and vasopressin - the risk-taking hormone.

Should we be more patient with people who are not so nice? asks Dr. Bonnie. She says that this discovery cannot be a cop out. It's not ok to give a narcissist a free pass, but it does help to understand where they may be coming from, she says. "It's possible narcissism isn't as much the person's fault, directly, as we may have thought," Dr. Bonnie suggests.


When someone is dealing with a person they suspect is a narcissist, Dr. Bonnie suggests asking these questions:

Do they turn the activities or conversations back to themselves?

Do they feel entitled?

Are they looking to receive great gifts but don't put as much thought into what to give other people?

Do they shut down and ignore other people?

For people with a narcissist in their life, Dr. Bonnie suggests skills that she teaches for empathy but also firmness and decisiveness. She typically prescribes the Brush with Death for patients who are dealing with a narcissist who needs to be snapped out of taking the other person for granted. "It's the only thing that will bring a narcissist to their knees - they will start missing the other person and stop taking them for granted. It alerts the narcissist if it's a viable relationship; don't feel sorry for them, stay the course - it often takes a person like this four to six weeks to snap out of it! Unless there is movement or change - remember, it's important not to waver when the person pleads their case. Don't listen to words, look at the movement" cautions Dr. Bonnie.

"Don't engage in a power struggle," advises Dr. Bonnie. And do lower expectations. "Don't attempt to discuss the issue with them, because you don't want to talk a relationship to death. Just don't give them too much attention and don't expect too much."

For more tips from on how to handle a narcissist, click here:

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Dr. Bonnie Weil


Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil
Relationship and Family Therapist

Location: New York, NY
Credentials: PhD
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