Personality Disorders- Children Growing Up with Narcissistic Parents  

February 09, 2017

Have you ever wondered how growing up with narcissistic parents has affected your childhood and how personality disorders impact you now as an adult?

To any person outside of the family, mom appears to be a social butterfly, a loving parent, and secure with herself. Dad appears quiet and reserved. However behind closed doors, mom is the atypical narcissist ordering everyone in the family and she has placed dad in the submissive role. Only their children really face the idolization then devaluation, and the perfectionism to criticism. Intimate relationships between narcissistic parents and children do not exist because any connection is superficial and lacks empathy. Parents only care about how their children will make them be reflected in others’ perceptions.

Whether you are struggling with a narcissistic parent or you know someone else who has narcissistic parents, these identifiers will help any adult child better understand behaviors of the parent as well as have answers how to handle the dynamics of the relationship with their mental ill parent. narcissistic parents

  1. Submissive Role– The narcissist will put their own desires in front of the needs of their children leading the children to grow up believing that their own needs do not matter. Children are manipulated into thinking that they must fulfill the needs of the narcissistic parent.

What should be done to address this? Educate yourself about Narcissistic Personality Disorder to identify how past dysfunctional messages have impacted you and be prepared for future dysfunctional messages.

  1. Competitiveness– Narcissists view other people as reflections of themselves. When narcissist parents have more than one child, they use this dynamic without boundaries to benefit their own needs. One child is the “chosen child” to idolize because it reflects the best qualities of the narcissist. When the narcissist creates a target to blame for his/her own wrong behaviors, one child will be designated as the “scapegoat.”

What can be done to address this? The children should never be faulted for this dynamic. Siblings should join together to break down that stigma to compete against each other. Whether a child is the scapegoat that never felt accepted or the chosen child that always felt pressured, both children are simply trying to survive their youth.

  1. Parental Role– Rather than being seen as the child, the narcissistic parent creates this partnership expecting the child to take on responsibilities as another parent. Children usually convert into the peacemaker role when their narcissistic parents get themselves into trouble. Therefore children miss the chance to enjoy their childhood.

What can be done to address this? As adolescents or adults getting away from their narcissistic parent, it is important to begin the healing process. Existence of the child within never goes away and is always inside the mind even throughout adulthood. As people get older, they must acknowledge that they are no longer helpless children, but rather now adults that can protect themselves from their parents. Once a person recognizes he or she is no longer helpless, then speaking out and expressing feelings toward the narcissistic parent becomes easier.

  1. Identity Loss– Children begin to loose their sense of self, life goals, and ambitions. Narcissistic parents take on the identity of their children if it elevates their appearance to higher self-worth. The façade of caring what their children achieve really comes down to feeding their grandiosity. Children are expected to ignore their own desires and fulfill the destiny created by the narcissistic parent.

What can be done to address this? Ending the toxic relationship must be considered once any signs of abuse or manipulation occurs with the narcissistic parent. Adult survivors with narcissistic parents must establish boundaries for themselves. Narcissists are always in denial and never develop remorse as a way of rationalizing that nothing is ever their fault. Children should not feel guilty when creating distance with their narcissistic parents because they lack empathy and a conscience to ever makes decisions that are best for their children.

If you or loved one is suffering from a Personality Disorder, be sure to share this information on how to manage family relationships.

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For more information on receiving help for managing a Personality Disorder, specifically Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or other related topics, check out the Resources Page.