Living in the shadow of a narcissistic parent can stunt the development of our personality in many ways. To be raised by a narcissistic parent can make any child feel that they are not good enough.
Here are eight common effects of narcissistic parenting:
1. Chronic self-blame
Narcissistic parents are self-absorbed, so they don’t care about the pains of their children. Therefore emotionally sensitive kids who yearn for love nurture hope through sacrificing their self-esteem. The children end up blaming themselves for what is missing in their lives to hold on to even the tiniest shred of hope.
Echoists fail to have a voice of their own because they see having expectations as an act of selfishness. They tend to get entangled with extremely narcissistic partners. Sensitive and empathetic children are prone to echoism.
3. Insecure attachment
The emotional abuse and neglect of a narcissistic parent can lead a child to develop insecure attachments with people. It can be in the form of an avoidant attachment (managing people by shutting them out) or an anxious attachment (chasing after love and loved ones).
It is among the traits of narcissistic parents to make their children fear their own needs. This leads to children becoming compulsive caretakers or ending mute. These children have to pretend as if they need nothing from their parents, partners, and friends.
5. Fierce independence
Outgoing children deal with narcissistic parents through abandoning emotional intimacy. They believe that they shouldn’t trust anyone or depend on anyone. Sensitive children end up as selfless caretakers that care for others, despite being deprived of the care they never got to experience.
6. The parentified child
These children plan their lives around the happiness of others. They focus on uplifting their parent’s spirits and preventing them from breaking down. This responsible child acts like an adult, overthinking that they are selfish and viewing their own needs as a burden to others.
7. Extreme narcissism
Aggressive children deal with narcissistic parents by being extra narcissistic people themselves. They believe that if you can’t beat your parents in this narcissism game, you better join them. These children become extreme narcissists.
8. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD)
Abusive parents are capable of traumatizing their children. These children suffer from fear and are prone to PTSD and other long-lasting effects. They also have a foreshortened sense of the future in which they can’t imagine life beyond the present.
A typical example of narcissistic parents:
Narcissists have trouble handling anything perceived as a criticism or penetrating this image that they have cultivated of themselves.
Can you imagine having a mother who seems like the perfect parent when you out in public yet rants and screams at her children, including her husband, when they do something to upset her or maybe a father who intentionally makes his children confused by telling them some things did not happen when they objectively did? The children then begin to distrust themselves.
Most people may fall somewhere along the middle of the spectrum, while only a few reach the extremes.
People who have Narcissistic Personality Disorder will likely;
- Have an inflated sense of self-importance
- Have a sense of entitlement and want constant admiration
- Expect to be recognized as superior.
- Exaggerate their achievements and talents.
- Be preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, success, beauty.
- Monopolise conversations.
- Belittle or looking down on people they perceive as inferior.
- Expect special treatment.
- Take advantage of others.
- Have an incapacity or unwillingness to recognize the feelings and needs of others.
When any of the above happens, they can become angry, have difficulty controlling their emotions. Should you wish to understand more about narcissist language behavior click here.
If your one parent is a narcissist, then the other may be an enabler. Confronting a narcissistic parent can cause arguments in the family as the narcissist will become defensive and angry. Yet, by not confronting them and protecting the children, the enablers become complicit even if they themselves are victimized by it. Then the narcissist’s abusive behaviour becomes part of the norm and feels like the enabler is supporting it.