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 The Narcissistic Parent

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Narcissists make deplorably bad parents. They are too focused on themselves to find children anything but an annoyance or a way to increase admiration and power. Many narcissists become parents either by accident or for some ill-thought out self-serving purpose.

Narcissists have two faces -- the one they wear in public, and the one they wear at home. Only those close to the narcissist have any idea there is more than one face. And the narcissist's children know best of all, because children - those who have the least power - are the ones the narcissist allows him or herself to be the least guarded around. A frequent frustration of children of narcissists is that everyone else thinks their mother or father is the most wonderful person ever, while at home their children suffer in silence with their parent's tantrums, disinterest and put-downs -- this is clearly NOT the most wonderful person if you truly know them -- not even close.

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.)  

 

Because narcissists' families are centered around the whims and wishes of a truly self-centered parent, they are highly dysfunctional and do not allow children to question the parent or express their needs. Most narcissists treat their children badly in a few key ways -- emotional abuse, excessive parental control and parental neglect are all typical of narcissistic parents.

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.
 
Narcissists typically treat their children as if they're not good enough, and yet when the child does do well, the parent will either ignore and deny the event or take all the credit for it. (A common exception to the general rule of being treated as inferior is the treatment of the family "golden child", whom the narcissistic parent will treat as exceptional, superior and entitled.)

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.
 
Narcissists don't like to be questioned and don't want to deal with children who can stand up for themselves. It's common for some narcissistic parents to become more abusive toward their children when the children reach the age of reason (about 7 years old) or when the children enter into puberty, which many of these parents find very psychologically threatening. 

Adult children of narcissists typically describe their parents as mean, phony, self-absorbed, judgmental, dishonest, immature and manipulative. Click here for more...

 

 

   

 


 

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