Narcissistic parenting adversely affects the psychological development of children, affecting their reasoning and their emotional, ethical, and societal behaviors and attitudes. Personal boundaries are often disregarded with the goal of molding and manipulating the child to satisfy the parent's expectations.
Children who grow up with a narcissistic parent tend to suffer from at least some of the following as children and as adults: anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, self-doubt, self-blame, indecision, people-pleasing tendencies, difficulties with emotional intimacy, and codependent relationships.
Recent studies confirm that narcissistic parents are incapable of truly loving others, even their own children.
The tragic reality is that narcissists don't (and can't) love their children in the way that ordinary people do. They will tell you that they do (and most likely they will believe that they do), but their love can only be of the transactional, conditional type, even with their children.
Very often, adult children of narcissistic parents display a great ability to show compassion and love for others, are able to form loving relationships, and to learn to love and care for themselves. It is possible to recover from growing up with a narcissistic parent, and this will be discussed later in this article.
At the end of a relationship, narcissists may become combative, passive-aggressive, hostile, and even more controlling. People with NPD often fail to understand other people's needs and values. They are hyper focused on their egos, but do not account for how their actions affect others.
A golden child's sense of self and their personal boundaries are erased, as their own sense of identity is replaced with the need to live up to their role. Their behaviors and beliefs reflect what their parent expects of them, and they may feel incapable of individuation even in adulthood.
A good parent is available, responsive, and consistent with their child. A good parent helps their child develop a realistic sense of self by mirroring their thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs. Narcissists can't be a good parent because they are incapable of having emotional closeness that good parenting requires.
To the narcissistic mother, appearances are everything. She may construct the false image of being a sweet, loving and charitable person to others all while gossiping about others, engaging in petty one-upping and abusing her children emotionally, physically or even sexually.
Through PAS, narcissists use their children as pawns to get back at their ex in an effort to prove their dominance. To protect you and your child's best interests, it is crucial to understand what PAS is and what you can do if you believe your ex-spouse is using this as a tactic with your children.
Jealousy and Possessiveness
Since a narcissistic mother or father often hopes that the child will permanently dwell under the parent's influence, she or he may become extremely jealous at any signs of the child's growing maturity and independence.
A narcissistic parent will often abuse the normal parental role of guiding their children and being the primary decision maker in the child's life, becoming overly possessive and controlling. This possessiveness and excessive control disempowers the child; the parent sees the child simply as an extension of themselves.
The obsession or focus a narcissistic parent has on a child often has to do with the parent's own emotional needs. Narcissistic parents support children's “greatness” and encourage their talents, with the excuse that they love their child and are sacrificing themselves for the child's future.
In the stories of adult children of narcissists, its very common to find accounts of rage attacks and of unpredictable, emotionally volatile behavior by their abusive parents.
Narcissistic parental brainwashing occurs when a parent with narcissistic tendencies psychologically manipulates the child into thinking false narratives about the other parent. This could entail painting the other parent as dangerous, unloving, unintelligent, or somehow not good for the child.
According to Julie L. Hall, author of “The Narcissist in Your Life: Recognizing the Patterns and Learning to Break Free,” narcissists become more extreme versions of their worst selves as they age, which includes becoming more desperate, deluded, paranoid, angry, abusive, and isolated.
Take a deep breath, for you are about to plunge into the murky depths of a complex psychiatric condition known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or NPD.
Narcissists don't treat their families with kindness & respect. From the Narcissist's point of view, you are lowly compared to them. Therefore, expect rude, combative, and blaming behavior. Their ego is most threatened by those closest to them because you all know their secrets.
A narcissistic father will often cross your boundaries simply to prove that he can. He may show up uninvited to your home or events. He may defy your family rules to spite you. He may intentionally give presents only to the person he prefers, just to play mind games.
Those who have had a narcissistic parent can testify how damaging it can be to ones psyche. Narcissistic parents lack empathy, show a severe sense of entitlement to micromanage the lives of their children, and may even subject their children to neglect, as well as emotional and/or physical abuse.
We demonstrate that narcissism in children is cultivated by parental overvaluation: parents believing their child to be more special and more entitled than others. In contrast, high self-esteem in children is cultivated by parental warmth: parents expressing affection and appreciation toward their child.
Children of narcissists often end up in relationships with people who have narcissistic traits. These children feel like they can never be good enough for their partner or themselves, so they become codependent on the other person to make them happy and validate their self-worth.
Scapegoated children who become narcissistic have typically been trained to submit to the dominance of a more overtly narcissistic parent (and perhaps sibling) and as a result learn to cloak their rage, superiority, and desire for control into passive aggression.
Do Narcissists Discard Their Children? Yes, narcissist parents can discard their children as part of their abuse cycle. They may do this when they find their children are no longer useful as a source of narcissistic supply, usually when their children are adults and begin asserting their own needs and boundaries.
According to Thomaes & Brummelman, the development of narcissism begins at around the ages of 7 or 8. This is the time when children begin to evaluate themselves according to how they perceive others.