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.
Social learning theory holds that children are likely to grow up to be narcissistic when their parents overvalue them: when their parents see them as more special and more entitled than other children (9).
Narcissistic personality disorder may be linked to: Environment — parent-child relationships with either too much adoration or too much criticism that don't match the child's actual experiences and achievements. Genetics — inherited characteristics, such as certain personality traits.
Narcissism tends to emerge as a psychological defence in response to excessive levels of parental criticism, abuse or neglect in early life. Narcissistic personalities tend to be formed by emotional injury as a result of overwhelming shame, loss or deprivation during childhood.
Sometimes, people become narcissistic that has nothing to do with the parents at all. For example, if a child was ruthlessly bullied at school, or if someone else in their lives caused trauma in any way for them.
Signs that a child may be a narcissist include a lack of empathy; unrealistic sense of self-importance; lack of recognition of attention and admiration; and an overall struggle in social and family relationships.
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.
A narcissistic mother may feel entitled or self-important, seek admiration from others, believe she is above others, lack empathy, exploit her children, put others down, experience hypersensitivity to criticism, believe she deserves special treatment, and worst of all, maybe naïve to the damage she is causing.
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.
The emergence and development of narcissistic traits, such as seeking excessive admiration from others, feelings of grandiosity and interpersonal competitiveness, have mostly been related to traumatic experiences in childhood [12,13,14].
Often, NPD will begin in the teenage years or early adulthood. Personality disorders are typically diagnosed at 18 years or older, according to Hallett.
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder characterized by a life-long pattern of exaggerated feelings of self-importance, an excessive need for admiration, a diminished ability or unwillingness to empathize with others' feelings, and interpersonally exploitative behavior.
Narcissism is driven by insecurity, and not an inflated sense of self, finds a new study by a team of psychology researchers. Its research, which offers a more detailed understanding of this long-examined phenomenon, may also explain what motivates the self-focused nature of social media activity.
“Narcissistic parents beget kids with a whole host of psychological problems,” Durvasula says. These problems include higher than average rates of depression and anxiety, lack of self-regulation, eating disorders, low self-esteem, an impaired sense of self, substance abuse and perfectionism.
For example, according to a study by Livesley et al, as well as several other studies, narcissism is an inheritable trait, with a continuum existing with a normal and pathological personality at either end of the scale.
Cramer (2011) showed that children raised by authoritative and permissive parents (high responsiveness) exhibited more adaptive narcissistic tendencies, such as superiority and grandiosity, whereas children raised by authoritarian parents (low responsiveness) were less likely to exhibit such traits.
Low self-esteem, substance abuse and perfectionism are also common issues faced by those raised by a narcissistic parent. Those raised in a household with a narcissistic parent may also have difficulty connecting with their siblings.
Finally, it is important to understand and come to accept that your narcissistic parent won't change. As much as you might want to confront them, or as much as you do confront them, it is very unlikely that the parent will change their ways.
Narcissistic parenting creates huge problems for the growing child. Daughters of narcissistic mothers often become enmeshed with their parent, losing contact with their true self and growing up without boundaries and without the ability to recognise or nurture healthy relationships.
Feeling valued for how you're perceived (not who you are)
A mother with narcissistic tendencies is typically overly concerned with her daughter's appearance and achievements and how they reflect back on her, says Lis. As a result, the daughter doesn't learn to be her authentic self.
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.
Typically, the narcissistic parent perceives the independence of a child (including adult children) as a threat, and coerces the offspring to exist in the parent's shadow, with unreasonable expectations. In a narcissistic parenting relationship, the child is rarely loved just for being herself or himself.