Making a Narcissist: Brain Damage & Religious Fundamentalism

I just read a really fascinating article about how scientists have discovered a link between trauma to a certain area of the brain and fundamental religious ideologies.

The article and research seem to indicate that the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex may be crucial in helping people remain open minded about new ideas, especially those that challenge our own deeply held beliefs. The research is not stating that a specific part of the brain is responsible for religion or that any head trauma will result in fundamentalism, but they are saying that damage to that particular part of the brain may make it more difficult for a person to evaluate their own deeply held beliefs when presented with new evidence.

In my experience, The Narcissist was very fundamental yet not in a particular religion that he experienced, it was almost that he was creating his own ideal of a religion and could not see any options outside of the norms he had established. He was absolutely closed-minded to anything outside of his own belief system and he would not believe facts or research or opinions often unless he did scrupulous research on the topic himself and finally came to a point where he believed it because he found the evidence of it. He even got all conspiracy theory on many things that did not align with his own personal set of beliefs.

The further I get away from the pain and suffering that I endured at the hands of The Narcissist, the more I become almost fascinated and curious about how exactly he came to be. I think about him now the way that I do when I watch a show like “Making a Murderer” or “The Jinx” or an intriguing episode of “Forensic Files.” I’m curious to understand just how he evolved to be so freaky crazy.

I know where it started. It started in his childhood when his mother and his father separated. He felt abandoned by his birth dad. It continued with his mom (who I think also has some narcissistic tendencies) and the way that she spent her mothering years focused on dating and marrying someone new, having more kids with said new person, and then pouring herself into owning her own business and travelling and working. She left The Narcissist at the hands of his step father who from the Narcissist’s accounts was verbally and physically abusive to him and always treated him differently than his birth children. His issues intensified by the trauma he experienced in his 8-year military career. His Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) and his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) resulted in new and bizarre behavior as well as intensifying his narcissistic tendencies.

It was unique to be able to see through The Narcissist’s disguise of confidence and bravado and see a sad little boy who just wanted his mom to love him and tell him he is special underneath it all. I think it is one of the things that kept me hanging on for so long… I thought I could fix his problems… I thought I could give him enough love to make up for all of the bad he had experienced. I thought I could help him find a new normal.

I still ponder how much of his issues he was actually aware of. I still can’t really decide if he knew the things he was doing… if he was conniving and planning the manipulation and control… or if he just genuinely with all of his being believed in his own crazy enough to think that he was doing the right thing, that he was being a good person.

I think there is SO MUCH that we still do not understand about this personality disorder, about traumatic brain injuries, about the ways that the brain impact personality. I hope research like this continues to peel away the mysteries of it all because I am fascinated!

Neurologists Have Identified Brain Lesions That Could Be Linked to Religious Fundamentalism

Neurobiology of Spirituality 

4 thoughts on “Making a Narcissist: Brain Damage & Religious Fundamentalism

  1. I am so happy that I have found your blog. I recently ended a seven year relationship with an abusive, and I believe, narcissistic man. I am struggling to make sense of it, and though I feel a need to write about, I get overwhelmed the minute i sit down at my keyboard. I am safe now and far away from him and have been for several months, but I still do not feel like myself and I cannot make sense of those years. I seem to vacillate between emotionally flat and bat-shit crazy anxious. Reading your blog, I see so many similarities and it’s been very helpful. Anyway, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I found this very helpful. I recently ended a nearly 20 year marriage with my own narcissist, and because we have three school age children together, I am continuing to struggle. Co-parenting with a narcissist is equally taxing, as our children are often used as pawns or stepping stones to get what he wants. But, referencing this particular blog post, religion very much has played into the difficulties of our marriage (and subsequent) divorce. Belonging to a “cult” kept me rooted in the marriage much longer than I should have been. But I am thankful that God gave me the strength to find myself, and to find a way out for myself and our children.

    Liked by 1 person

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