Sanctuary for the Abused

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Children Can be Damaged by Narcissistic Parents

Children of narcissistic parents pressured to meet adult's needs
by Neil Rosenthal

Did you have a parent who constantly criticized you? Did this parent expect you to admire them and give them constant attention? Or perhaps your parent insisted that everything be done their way, and your contributions were ignored or devalued. If these descriptions of one or both of your parents ring true, it is very likely that you have been shaped by a parent with destructive narcissism.
An adult with healthy narcissism has a good sense of self, has empathy for others, is able to delay gratification, assumes responsibility for him/herself and for others, has a capacity to develop and maintain meaningful and satisfying relationships and has clear and firm boundaries, says Nina Brown in her book Children of the Self-Absorbed (New Harbinger Publications).

An adult with destructive narcissism, on the other hand, cannot reliably respond to a child's needs, or nurture, or respond empathetically, or put a child's needs above his/her own — or tune into the emotional life of a child. Instead, the child is expected to meet the adult's needs.

The child constantly receives messages about what they are supposed to be or do for the parent. When the child becomes an adult, the expectations are so internalized that they now respond to other people in the same way they responded to their parents, says Brown.

As an adult, you will either cater to others (and then resent them) or you will ignore others — and they will be unhappy with you.  [this is what makes children of narcissists targets for pathological relationships - Barbara]

Here's a description of various components of how parents with destructive narcissism act, courtesy of Brown:
Needs attention: Becomes uncomfortable when the spotlight is turned to someone else. Will brag, throw a tantrum, sulk, act loud and boisterous, complain, act seductive and engage in one-upmanship.

Needs admiration: Fishes for compliments or approval, flaunts possessions, is vain, gloats over wins, tries to impress others and does everything — so others think they are “superman” or “superwoman.”

Feels what they have to say is more important than what others have to say, so they frequently interrupt others; does not wait their turn; becomes angry when ignored or overlooked; tries to find a way around rules or laws; expects to be taken care of first and to receive more service than others.

Has a lack of empathy. Is more interested in their concerns than in yours; ignores your feelings and fails to listen to you; diminishes the importance of your concerns, issues or feelings and calls you “touchy” “oversensitive” or that “you brought it on yourself” if you say you feel devalued or upset.

Wants to control what you do and say. Expects you to drop what you're doing and attend to them; uses your possessions without first asking permission; gets angry when you don't act as they tell you to; forces you to accept unwanted touching or kisses, and makes you feel inept when you don't rely on them to tell you what to do.

Considers others as inferior. Is easily offended by any hint that you think they are wrong or mistaken; is wounded when you disagree with their opinions or suggestions; is arrogant and acts as if they are control of everything.

Has shallow emotions, except for anger and fear.

Acts entitled. Expects to receive more attention, special consideration and deference. Assumes that their wants and needs take priority over yours, and that things be done in their way.

Exploits others by making misleading statements, being manipulative, lying, not reciprocating a gift or favor or by using emotional blackmail.

Is emotionally abusive. Makes demeaning comments about your appearance or abilities, is critical, devalues you and your accomplishments, suggests that whatever you do or say is never quite right, attacks without provocation and keeps you on the defensive.


Neil Rosenthal is a licensed therapist in Westminster and Boulder, Colorado


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shared by Barbara at 12:08 AM



As a child my mother told me how to behave, how to smile, when to smile and when not to, what to say and what not to say...She told me whom to sit beside in school and whom to avoid...She taught "always smile when you meet someone, even if that's fake because if you don't people will mind something"...
I used to come home from school and give her a minute by minute report of what happened in school all day.

To this day she tells me what my posture should be when I walk...that I walk like a crooked man and I should rather follow the walking style of one guy whom she likes...
sigh, I can go on an on...

3:25 PM  

These are all typical behaviors for those who have the brain functioning of a psychopath (which can be seen on an mri set up to check for it).

One psychopath mother I knew had a child, and when others asked her if she was gonna have anymore, she answered that she would when this one was old enough to take care of the next one.

When I was an adult and remembered that I had been sexually molested as a child by an old man that my mom would leave me with, and told then her this her answer was "At least you made a man happy in his old age!" Again, SOOOOOO TYPICAL!

Am I saying that this is okay or right behavior? HELL NO! But the thing is when we PRETEND that all people are the same, that they can all empathize or feel compassion THIS is the lie! Yet when do you discover this? Usually only after utter emotional rape and devastation.

Mri's checking for psychopathy FIRST rather than as a last resort and then eduaction for all of us. Help for the helpable and protection through education. You can't make informed decisions unless you are truly informed of ALL your options.

8:18 PM  

This was an excellent article. It answered alot of questions I always had about my own parents. Unfortunately they have both passed away. My father when I was 18. My mother when I was 50. I am 52 now. I just wanted to say Thank you for your blogg. I am glad that I come acrossed it. It was very helpful. Take care and Godbless.
Mr. Rick Clarke

3:50 PM  

Not having my real self, on the outside, not knowing my feelings - so well described by Victoria here. My MM and malignant NS didn't do volatile. Nm always discontent, put us down etc. My NS is one coolly controlled operator - rarely exploded but was Queen Bee nonetheless.Nightmare.

6:56 PM  

Wow - this list describes my mother exactly. Thank you.

I still struggle - I'm 58 years old. She passed away when I was 48. There was a sense of relief as she had both escalated against me and abandoned me as an adult. I finally felt safe although I had to let go of anyone believing me.

I don't know how to tend to my wounds and I'm in a 31 year marriage to a narcissistic husband. So I appreciate knowing these truths. Thank you.

8:08 PM  

I knew back in my 20's I didn't plan on having any kids for fear of being the same or worse to them if I did. I'm in my 40's now.I've also been in a violent relationship and after that never wanted to get married to someone for fear I'd be trapped in that and risking my kids in any situations again. Also b/c there's too many sex predators and abusers that get off way too easily and repeatedly b/c of some lame a** judges that should get debenched.... I just don't want to bring kids in a world that seems to be going to hell in a hand basket more than ever. I struggle with myself as is with PTSD and dual diagnosis issues. Kids don't ask to be born and I'm not taking the chance for them to be fu*ked in the head like my mom likes doing to me. I have to limit my presence around her and she still acts clueless why I don't want to be around her by choice. It's my way of breaking the cycle by not having any kids. More should consider this b/c NOT everyone is fit to have kids and few can admit that and be ok about it.

3:41 AM  

Recently I happen to stumble upon the word narcissism and realized that it is a complete detail description about my mom. I hated her with my entire being. This hatred consumed me and nearly took my life. I tried everything from confronting to submission. Searched everywhere for healing but it was futile. Finally I turned to bible for answers. And through different ministries, books, materials, etc, it took me a long time to have a conviction that God loves me as I am. I still get hurt witnessing her manipulate everyone in the house on a daily basis. But I'v accepted the sovereignty of God in everything and if we believe Him, He'll turn the bad experiences into something good. Believing on His promises and trying my best to focus on Him every minute helps me to do away with resentment. I'm still in the healing process and mom hasn't changed a bit but when I look back today I can say that I'm free now

12:26 AM  

I am in the same boat. I don't want kids either because I'm terrified that I would damage them like my own mother damaged me. Also, I spent most of my life putting hers or other's needs first and I want to spend the rest of it putting myself first for once.
To not have kids for fear of damaging them is one of the most unselfish things that people like us could do. I would love to have a little girl or boy, but I would be top afraid of hurting them emotionally.
You are a good person for being concerned enough to want to break the cycle ��

10:24 AM  

I'm honestly not sure if there is a classification or a term for my mother. So for now we shall call her monster. Oh were do I begin? Should I begin at the end? Let me say I am a survivor with many wounds. Wounds that are very ugly that are a direct result of my monster. Needless to say on Halloween of 2014 my monster attempted to scapegoat me for a crime I did not commit in order to fulfill a personal vengeance as well as gain access to an early refill on her prescription drugs. Had she been successful in her attempts it would have cost me my marriage, children, business, home etc. That was the end of the road. The road following that incident was much more difficult than I could have imagined. I had to grieve a mother who never existed. The mother I dreamt someday she might be. That mother was never come to rescue me. Now my reality set in and all I can see is my monster.

9:46 PM  

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