Narcissistic Parents Defined
by: Todd Doyle, International Author of Healing the Shattered: Surviving Narcissistic Abuse
Narcissistic parents are individuals who have narcissistic personality traits and use their parenting style to meet their own emotional and egoistic needs, rather than the needs of their children. Narcissistic personality traits include an exaggerated sense of self-importance, a lack of empathy, and a need for admiration and validation.
Narcissistic parents may prioritize their own needs and desires over those of their children and may use their children to meet their own emotional and egoistic needs. They may also engage in behaviors such as:
Overvaluing their children: They may place unrealistic expectations on their children and may expect them to achieve certain goals or milestones to fulfill their own needs for admiration and validation.
Undervaluing their children: They may criticize, belittle, or dismiss their children’s feelings, thoughts, and accomplishments, leading to low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy.
Manipulating their children: They may use emotional manipulation and psychological manipulation to control and influence their children’s behavior and decisions.
Gaslighting their children: They may manipulate the truth or reality to make their children doubt their own perceptions and beliefs.
Triangulating their children: They may sow seeds of doubt and mistrust among their children’s friends and family members, leading to feelings of isolation and mistrust.
Narcissistic parents may also exhibit a lack of empathy and may be emotionally unavailable or uninvolved in their children’s lives. This can lead to feelings of emotional neglect and can have a significant impact on the child’s emotional and psychological well-being.
Children of narcissistic parents may struggle with a range of negative emotions, including fear, anxiety, depression, and self-doubt. They may also struggle with feelings of inadequacy, worthlessness, and a lack of self-confidence. These negative emotions can be compounded by the constant criticism and manipulation of the narcissistic parent, leading to a cycle of self-blame and self-doubt.
It is important to recognize the signs of narcissistic parenting and to seek help if you or someone you know is experiencing it. Some common signs of narcissistic parenting include:
A lack of emotional availability or involvement from the parent
An overvaluation or undervaluation of the child’s abilities and accomplishments
A constant need for approval and validation from the parent
Difficulty setting boundaries or asserting oneself
A sense of being controlled or manipulated by the parent
Difficulty trusting one’s own perceptions and thoughts
If you suspect that you or someone you know is experiencing narcissistic parenting, it is important to seek support from a trusted friend or family member, a mental health professional, or a domestic violence resource center. It is also important to develop a safety plan to protect yourself and to consider seeking legal recourse if necessary.
It is important to remember that narcissistic parenting is not your fault and that you deserve to be treated with respect and kindness. Recovery from narcissistic parenting can be a difficult process, but it is possible with the right support and resources. It may be helpful to seek therapy to process your experiences and to work on rebuilding your self-worth and self-esteem. It is also important to surround yourself with supportive and understanding people who can help you heal and move forward.