They have insecure or anxious attachment styles and often end up in abusive relationships as adults. Adult children of narcissists carry a pervasive sense of worthlessness and toxic shame, as well as subconscious programming, which causes them to become more easily attached to emotional predators in adulthood.
Effects of Being Raised by Narcissists
Dr. Brunell says, “The child typically suffers from low psychological well-being, such as low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety. They tend to try to please others and have poor ability to set boundaries or to say no to people's requests.
The children of a narcissist are often children who grow up to be codependent, people-pleasers, and have low self-esteem. They may never feel good enough for their parents or themselves. This blog post will explore the effects of growing up with a narcissistic parent on children into adulthood.
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.
Narcissistic parental alienation syndrome refers to the psychological manipulation of a child by an alienating parent (the narcissistic parent). The manipulation typically results in the child's rejection, disdain, and lack of empathy toward the other, targeted parent.
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.
Daughters of narcissistic fathers may seek out narcissistic partners and accept partners who invalidate them, criticize them, and punish them through mind games. Until a woman recognizes that she is engaging in self-sabotage, she may be unable to find a “happily ever after” romantic relationship.
Narcissistic parents maintain their power by triangulating, or playing favorites. They may have a golden child who they compliment excessively, for example, while speaking badly about another child in the family. This can make children feel uncomfortable, disloyal and psychologically unsafe.
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.
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.
Narcissistic personality disorder affects more males than females, and it often begins in the teens or early adulthood. Some children may show traits of narcissism, but this is often typical for their age and doesn't mean they'll go on to develop narcissistic personality disorder.
But children who were extremely melodramatic, and who also had parents that ignored or neglected them, spoiled them constantly, or insisted on perfection, were more likely to become narcissists in adulthood.
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.
Adult children of narcissists go through a lifetime's worth of abuse. Narcissistic parents lack empathy, exploit their children for their own agendas, and are unlikely to seek treatment or change their destructive behaviors long-term (Kacel, Ennis, & Pereira, 2017).
Narcissists often cultivate the idea that they are “perfect” parents, but neglect is common in narcissistic families. Narcissistic parents may neglect kids' emotional, physical, safety, medical, and/or educational needs. Neglected children pay a high price in their physical, emotional, and psychological development.
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.
Summary: For most people, narcissism wanes as they age. A new study reports the magnitude of the decline of narcissistic traits is tied to specific career and personal relationship choices. However, this is not true for everyone.
The narcissist often engages in self-defeating and self-destructive behaviours.
In narcissists' efforts to avoid blame, they often combine several fake apologies at once, such as, “I am sorry if I said anything to offend you, but I have strong opinions. Maybe you're too sensitive,” or, “I guess I should tell you I am sorry. But you know I would never deliberately hurt you.
To summarize, overparenting, lack of warmth, leniency, overvaluation and childhood maltreatment have all been associated with higher levels of narcissism. However, these parenting behaviours have often been examined in isolation or in different combinations, with mixed findings.
Narcissistic parents often cannot cope with complex relationships and may "replace" the child as they enter adolescence and early adulthood. Being rejected and replaced can cause deep-rooted insecurities, as well as lifelong relationship and self-esteem issues.
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.
Signs of a father being a narcissist include if he is self-centered, vain, does not take criticism well, demands perfection, and goes into rages. Daughters of narcissistic fathers may feel they never get enough attention. Sons of narcissistic dads may feel they can never measure up.