Narcissistic Parent: Effects On The Child And Preventive Measures

Written by MomJunction • 

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Once you are a parent, your priorities in life go through a massive change. Earlier you would be concerned with things related to you but after having a baby, the focus will most likely shift to him.

What if you do not experience that change in you after childbirth? What if you are still more worried about you than your newborn? It is still possible that you look after your children well, but it is not above your interests. If any of this sounds familiar, it is possible you are a narcissistic parent. Before you get too worried, there’s a lot you can do to balance the situation, so read on.

What Is Narcissism:

The term narcissism means a behavioral condition in which you have an excessive interest in yourself but there is a low self-esteem underneath. You always admire yourself, and are obsessed with that. To make it simpler, you are your biggest fan.

The medical world has termed narcissism as a mental disorder where you will have a higher than the real sense of your importance. Also, you do not anybody around you, including your children, to behave in such a way that it affects your image. Though you may think very high if yourself, you are extremely vulnerable to the slightest criticism. [1]

8 Signs That You Are Narcissistic Parent:

Here are a few signs and symptoms for you know if you are narcissistic: [2]

1. Pre-Occupied With Self:

One of the first signs that you suffer from narcissistic personality disorder is when all you are worried about is yourself. One of your main occupations through the day, whether you are busy or are relaxing, will be about the way you look. How you look, what you have to wear, how you speak and project yourself in front of others are the main concerns you will have.

2. Have Grandiose Self-Opinion:

When you have narcissistic tendencies, you not only feel superior but also have a strong belief that you are the best than anyone around. You will be so sure of your greatness that you cannot recognize or accept a person with superior capabilities.

3. Interpersonal Rigidity:

The feeling that you are better than everyone else around you, including your children, is a constant feeling you carry. As a result, you cannot communicate or mingle with people around you. You cannot talk or ask about others’ well-being as you are pre-occupied with your own.

4. Always Need Admiration And Attention:

You are always yearning for admiration and constant attention of others, including your children and family. Their constant praise of how wonderful you are will help to strengthen your belief that you are the best.

5. Feel Entitled:

You believe that you are entitled to certain things. Instead of working hard for what you want, you expect them to come to you as a right. You are depressed when they don’t.

6. Perceived To Be Manipulative:

Your family, friends, and acquaintances might take your behavior to be manipulative. Whether you are actually manipulative or not is not known as your real self is camouflaged by your narcissist self. You could be manipulative, rude and selfish without realizing that you are.

7. Impose Ideas On Children:

You are on a constant mission to impose your ideas and ambitions on them. You fail to understand how your family is affected by your behavior. As you believe in your superiority and worth, you will want your children to listen to you and look up to you. You will alienate them and disrupt their emotional growth, without realizing you are doing so.

8. Envious:

Since you believe that you are the best, you are envious of those who get more attention and admiration than you.

7 Effects Of Narcissistic Parenting On Children:

Your narcissistic behavior will have long-term psychological effects on your children. As they tend to live your dream, they get attuned to your behavior, resulting in the following behavioral issues: [4]

1. Low self-esteem:

This is a natural outcome as your child has never received appreciation from you for his achievements. He will not realize that he was good in life. He would not know his strengths and could be under the constant impression that he is a failure.

2. Pleasing Others Is Important:

Your child will try hard to impress others, as this was what he has been doing while he was growing up. Pleasing you has been his primary mission all his life, and after growing up it will be just difficult for him to come out of that habit.

3. Cannot Say No:

He will lack the ability to defer with others and strength to say no. This will put him in difficult situations as people will take advantage of his shortcoming.

4. Lacks Independent Opinion:

Your child is not used to think independently as you have always been there to impose your views on him. He will grow up to become a person who would nod to everything others say, but cannot share his idea when the need comes.

5. Anxiety:

The pressure to perform and achieve since his childhood will make him grow into an anxious individual. Every time he attends an examination or an interview, he is anxious about the result. He is depressed if he fails to perform.

6. Lacks Confidence:

The child lacks self-confidence as he will not be sure if he is doing the things right. He will expect somebody (that is you) to be with him, as you never told him the right words to boost his confidence.

7. A Punching Bag:

He will be ready to take blame for anything that goes wrong at home, at work, or in a relationship. He will not be able to stand up for himself due to that constant but false guilt feeling in him.

5 Questions To Know If You Are Narcissist:

If answers to most of these questions are ‘yes’, it could be an alert for you to change your behavior towards your child:

  1. Have you been ignoring your child’s feelings most of the time?
  2. Have you been frequently undermining your kid’s abilities, blaming or criticizing him?
  3. Have you been venting out your frustrations and displeasure on him, though he is not responsible for that?
  4. Has your child always been trying to please you but you were never happy?
  5. Do you demand your child to take care of your feelings, your aspirations, and your opinions?

Causes Of Narcissistic Personality Disorder:

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) affects one percent of the population and men are most likely to have it.

There is no specific cause behind what could lead to narcissistic mental disorder. However, medical experts believe that the reasons behind this could be certain circumstances that you may have faced yourself as a child.

If you suffered any of the following at the hands of your parents or immediate caregiver, you might have a risk of developing a narcissistic mental disorder as an adult.

  • Neglect
  • Constant criticism
  • Extremely high expectations
  • Over-indulgence or any form of abuse

Experts also opine that your genetic makeup could lead to narcissistic mental disorder though there is no direct proof or research data to back it.

How To Reduce The Impact Of Your Narcissism On Your Children:

Once you realize that you suffer from NPD, there are certain steps you can take to minimize the harmful effects on your children. Here are a few things you can do:

1. Get Professional Help:

The first step to making sure you reduce the effects of your condition on your child is to identify the symptoms and seek professional help. Your medical consultant will evaluate your condition. Do not hesitate to discuss the matter openly.

2. Follow Medical Advice:

Follow your doctor’s instructions. Keep up with the follow-up appointments and take the medications on time.

3. Seek Your Partner’s Help:

Your partner can help you identify and control your narcissistic tendencies, so make sure you form a connection. Ask your partner to alert you each time you display a sign. Try to correct yourself. Take a break, and divert your thoughts.

4. Practice Calming Exercises:

Your narcissistic behavior could have been triggered by stress or anger. Practice some calming exercises to help your mind relax and reduce the stress. Practice yoga and meditation, as well as various deep breathing exercises.

Addressing Narcissism:

Here are a few ways in which your doctor will help you to diagnose and treat your narcissistic mental disorder:

  • Your doctor will go through your medical history and will also conduct a physical exam to check for the current signs and symptoms.
  • There are no specific tests yet that will help to diagnose NPD. To be absolutely sure that you are indeed suffering from narcissism, your doctor will first rule out possibilities of any other health conditions.
  • As there is no effective or known cure for narcissism, your doctor will most likely recommend you to try psychotherapy.
  • Psychotherapy will help you to understand the problems you are facing and understand the emotional needs of others.
  • Your psychotherapy session could involve a mix of cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy or even family therapy, which will also include your children. Cognitive behavioral therapy will help you to identify your negative behavior towards others as well as your wrongly placed ideas about yourself.
  • The counseling session will also help you to become more self-confident and will give you a realistic image of yourself. In extreme cases, your doctor will suggest medication, such as anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication.

As a narcissist parent, there is a lot that is at stake when it comes to the relationship you will share with your child. Not only your relationship but also your child’s future is at stake. Identify and rectify your disorder to have a healthy environment at home. Have you ever come across a narcissist parent? How was their behavior? Share your experiences and views in the comments section.

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