Narcissistic parents view and treat their children only as extensions or reflections of themselves. They see their children the way an advertiser sees a sign by the side of the road - as something to put their name on and use to build themselves up, or as something someone else is responsible for that they can ignore if they aren't interested.
Some narcissistic parents are controlling and engulf their children. Others simply ignore their children and wish they would go away. However, all narcissistic parents fail to treat their children as authentic individuals who have their own unique characteristics and needs. Narcissists treat their children as mere blank screens for projecting their own internal "movies" onto.
There are narcissistic parents who deny their children's existence by insisting their children be and do what THEY want, and there are those who deny their children's existence by simply ignoring their children altogether. (Many narcissistic parents do both alternately, depending on which circumstances serve them best.)
Narcissists cannot see their actual children and do not accept their needs. The narcissistic father who looks at his son and sees not an active, athletic little boy who is brilliantly gifted in sports and outdoor activities who needs more playtime, but an inanimate lump of clay he will shape into a doctor to brag about is just one of many examples of narcissistic parenting. (The reverse is often true as well; whatever the parent values takes priority.) The narcissistic mother who criticizes and hides behind a veneer of martyrdom when her child needs her support is another common manifestation of a narcissistic parent.
It's not uncommon for narcissists to be somewhat more agreeable as parents when their children are younger and easier to control. Many children of narcissistic parents report that their parents weren't as emotionally abusive when the children were young preschoolers - or were pre-adolescents. Some narcissists pay plenty of attention to small children, who make excellent captive audiences that narcissists find fun to impress and manipulate, only to completely turn away from (or turn against) those same children in later years. However, some narcissists dislike all children on the whole and have no interest in them at any age. To these narcissists, all children are viewed as nothing but an annoyance.
Adult children of narcissists typically describe their parents as mean, phony, self-absorbed, judgmental, dishonest, immature and manipulative. Click here for more...
The Narcissistic Parent