I have a 16 year old brother who’s showing narcissistic tendencies, or so I think, and I’m trying to help him not to become one.
This is the backstory: Our father is a very impulsive narcissist with failed aspirations. He always dreamt of being this rich and well-respected businessman his whole life when in reality, he was just a lower class electrician working on construction sites. He fathered 4 children in total and, to say that finances were and still are a problem, would be an understatement. As a narcissist, he is highly envious of other people, because most any other man has accomplished more in each regard of life than him, so he started to blame the rest of the family for the financial and accomplishments issues. We children were still in our formative years and we couldn’t do anything about this but take this verbal and seldom even physical abuse day after day after day for years. The best we could do is do to extremely well at school so that he doesn’t have another venue to criticize and berate us. I and my sisters are old enough not to be reliant on him and our mother (they’re still together, no divorce), but our youngest brother does not seem as fortunate. Though we didn’t survive a highly narcissistic father and a kind, albeit passive, mother unscathed, we still managed to remain human. However, my brother’s behavioral patterns in recent times are quite disoncerting.
My father isn’t the only narcissist in his family. His sister and two brothers are highly narcissistic as well. They verbally abused my mother from her first day of marriage, so she had no self-assertiveness and courage left once she gave birth to me and my siblings. It just so happens that my younger brother is imitating my older uncle’s boastful, pseudo-self-confident manners, a man who literally cries behind closed doors because he thinks his wife enchanted him and forced him to marry him that way. As a kid, my brother doesn’t know that this false confidence is nothing to admire but he thinks that’s how real men act. My father is more of a coward in public, pretending to be this super-nice husband who’s only worried about his family and does everything for them, so my brother thinks that it’s more masculine to imitate my uncle, who’s an even bigger narcissist. My uncle basically annihalted his own son, who’s now under constant psychiatric care after years of heavy drug abuse since the age of 13.
Back to my brother: On top of that, he stole my mother’s credit card recently and spent around 2000 Euros over the last couple of weeks. We came to find out that he failed his first apprenticeship year at a prestigeous firm and his way of coping with it was probably going out with the wrong kind of people and drinking, smoking, partying and other such activities to drown the pain of failure. After spending the initial 2000, my mother confronted him about it in a non-accusatory way and he started to throw a temper tantrum, screaming, yelling and throwing glasses against the wall etc. Not once has he apologized, and after the temper tantrum, he switched back to his cool, boastful uncle-based persona (leave my room, don’t talk to me etc.). A month later, he stole the new credit card and got another 1000 out of it. That’s on top of his apprenticeship salary, which is quite good compared to other apprentices. This leads me to believe that this is another narcissistc trait, this propensity to addiction, immoderate spending habits and calculated remorselesness.
As a kid, the whole situation affected him much more than the rest of us children, who were in our later teens. He had to watch his father undergo heart surgery at 7 years old, his mother brain surgery at 9 and, last year, another heart surgery that my father had to undergo due to stress related arteriosclerosis. At school, his only “friends” started to backstab him, they made him do stuff for which he got into trouble, just so he can belong to their group. In the end, he had to move to a different school due to these demons. Coming in late to school and not doing most of the homework has also put him into a disfavorable position with regards to the teachers. It was a miracle that he found as good an apprenticeship as he did, but we as sibling helped him out massively with his CV, cover letters, tests etc. It seemed like things were taking a turn for the better with this new apprenticeship, but a year has passed since the start, and he’s already getting demoted. He didn’t lose his place at the company, he just isn’t able to attend the same level of apprenticeship school as he did before. I think his instinct was that if he isn’t performing well at school, he won’t be loved or be worth anything. My father harshly scolded him once early on, when he was maybe 10, for something that he wasn’t even to blame for. His so-called friends played a trick on him and his teacher made my brother responsible for it. After the teacher-parent meeting had ended, my father told my brother to kill himself, that he’s worthless and stupid. I think this was a pivotal moment in his psychological developement.
My mother is sorry for all this, and she knows that she’s married to a monster, but she’s the ultra-sweet type of person that forgives everything and anything, isn’t able to stand up for or against anything and is all around a rather passive mother, sunken in her own thoughts and depressions. She was never able to defend us children, against our father or the other narcissistic family members and “friends” who were constantly envious of us and were trying to smear us and abuse us verbally whenever the chance presents itself. She didn’t talk much to us and neither did our father, so we had to become our own parents in a way.
My only wish now is that my brother makes it out of this hellhole as a human and not a narcissist, but I’m starting to doubt this possibility. Is he already a narcissist in your opinion or is he a typical abuse victim who still has a chance of not becoming a narcisst? What should I do as a brother in this situation? I know that part of this is genetic, which is why I think that my father might’ve activated his narcissistic genes already due to brutal mental abuse.
If you need extra information to gauge this situation, I’ll gladly provide it to you.