The Narcissistic Parent

”Adult children of narcissists experience love that’s conditional only “- Kathy Caprino

By Definition


According to Mayo Clinic : “Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. Behind this mask of ultra confidence, however lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.
A narcissistic personality disorder causes problems in many areas of life, such as relationships, work, school or financial affairs.”

Young children admire parents for support, love and guidance. When children are denied these things, in order to survive their environment, they develop a variety of beliefs, behavioral patterns, and coping mechanism. As they become older, adult children of narcissists use these same coping mechanisms, to their own ruin. Unfortunately, narcissistic parents often beget narcissistic children.

Ego and Achievements of Children

Narcissism runs on a spectrum and ranges from healthy narcissism to malignant narcissism. Many people may have narcissistic traits without being narcissists. Narcissism is not always absolute; It shows up sometimes, under the pretense of  “trying to do what’s best” for the child. Narcissistic parents feed their own ego through the achievements of their children. When raising children, creating an empathetic environment is crucial for proper development, acceptance and understanding of self. Children should know that they are heard, understood and loved.

The Signs of A Narcissistic Parent

Narcissistic attachment often occurs when the child believes that he or she exists only for the parent’s benefit. The parent is often very possessive and sees the child as a way to fulfill the constant need for attention, praise, and devoted attention.

Often, adult children of Narcissists :

  • Have a fear of speaking up and stating their opinion
  • Are hyper sensitive to what others feel
  • Are very uncertain of themselves and their place in the world
  • Are often in toxic or deeply unsatisfying relationships
  • Are Codependent in  relationships
  • Have Low Self Esteem
  • Are unable to say “no” and establish boundaries
  • Are Self-loathing

The Lasting Effects

More often than not, the children of narcissistic parents tend to be very insecure, overly-sensitive, and cannot see themselves as good enough. If these issues are not handled early,  later in life, adult children of narcissists unconsciously attract other narcissists through their adult relationships, and in their careers.

If any of the listed signs seem familiar, take steps to gain greater awareness. It will take solid therapeutic support to help you heal.
For more information, contact me at (470) 296-3090.  I’ll help you become one again.

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