Narcissistic Parenting: Its Harmful & Long-Term Side Effects On Children

By Olivia Reese, Parent Herald October 30, 03:22 am
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Parents have a huge hand in their kids' development and personalities. Moms and dads' traits can influence their kids in ways that they will carry up to adulthood. This is why it's no surprise that narcissistic parenting can negatively impact children.

Narcissistic personality disorder is defined by PsychCentral as "a long-standing pattern of grandiosity (either in fantasy or actual behavior), an overwhelming need for admiration, and usually a complete lack of empathy toward others." Narcissists believe that "they are of primary importance in everybody's life or to anyone they meet."

Children with parents who have narcissistic personality disorder display side effects, with chronic self-blame among them. According to a The Huffington Post report penned by clinical psychologist Dr. Craig Malkin, narcissistic parents are emotionally tone deaf and they are too absorbed in themselves to focus on their child's pleas or pains.

Children with narcissistic parents often sacrifice their self-esteem and see themselves as the problem. They think that if they are quieter or happier their parent wouldn't ignore or criticize them. These kids believe that if they fix themselves, their narcissistic mother or father would finally love them.

The chronic self-blame of children with narcissistic parents often result to echoism, which makes these kids unable to find their own voices. Echoism makes these children -- especially those with sensitive or empathic natures -- believe that having any expectations from their narcissistic parent is a form of selfishness.

Narcissistic parenting can also result to children with insecure attachment, which could either go in two ways: avoidant attachment or anxious attachment. The former involves shutting people out and the latter is angrily or aggressively pursuing connections that a person longs for from loved ones.

Outgoing and adventurous children who grew up under narcissistic parenting often abandon emotional intimacy and their capability to trust or rely on others. They become fiercely independent. Others with more sensitive personalities, meanwhile, tend to be compulsively selfless people and shower their partners with warmth and affection that they never got from their parents.

Narcissistic parents can also make their children develop need-panic. This makes them afraid of their needs and voicing them but ultimately ends up ceaselessly seeking constant reassurances to quickly quell the need.

Some kids of narcissistic parenting can also adopt an "if you can't beat them, join them" approach, where they make sure that they are the loudest or prettiest person in the room so he/she won't feel insignificant again. Narcissistic parenting can give kids post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to children as well.

PTSD often leads to chronic anxiety, emotional numbing, suddenly remembering abusive memories, and the inability to imagine life beyond the present. The latter makes a person unable to plan the next stages of his/her life.

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