Most, if not all, severe narcissists were likely emotionally injured at a crucial time in their development. Specifically, they were injured when they were young children, a time when a child is highly impressionable, and when that child hasn’t yet figured out how to shore up psychological guards (defenses) to ward off things that make them feel bad. When the young boy or girl was emotionally injured, it probably took the following form: An authority figure or even bullying kids at school humiliated them, subjugated them, knowingly neglected them, or otherwise exploited them. To become severely narcissistic later in life, the emotional injury in childhood had to be severe enough that the individual arrived at the following (unconscious) conclusion: No one will ever hurt me like that again; I will never let my guard down. Later in life, this way of relating to people and the world has been practiced over and over for so many years that the personality becomes largely locked into place, and it is extremely challenging for the narcissist to let themselves be exposed emotionally for very long at all. If someone or something threatens the narcissist’s ego, the narcissist abruptly shifts into predator mode.