How Do Narcissists Treat Their Kids? - Horribly, As You Can Imagine

Last updated by Katie M.

Growing up with narcissistic parents is certainly no easy feat, because, let's face it, people with this disorder are unsympathetic, selfish, manipulative, egotistical, and dishonest, yes, that's right, these traits aren't exactly those showcased by the parents of the year. Realistically, these folks simply don't have the basic qualities required to become good parents, which is why, when they choose to have a family, things often spin out of control, and the narcissistic abuse undoubtedly crushes children's mental health.

How Do Narcissists Treat Their Kids? - Horribly, As You Can Imagine

A narcissist's inherent traits mean that they will inevitably treat their kids horribly, and no matter how hard they try to change their ways and put their children first, they'll never be able to overcome the darkness lingering in them. They say that narcissism breeds only two things, and they are further narcissism and unhappiness, and for me, this statement seems perfectly accurate.

How does a narcissist act towards their children?

10 Things they are guilty of doing, or not doing...

1) Narcissistic parents will never comfort their kids

There are no two ways about it, narcissists lack empathy for anyone but themselves, and can't even muster any up for their children. Now, most parents automatically feel awash of anxiety and sympathy for their kids whenever they hurt themselves or cry, but not these guys. Instead of comforting them and trying to make them feel better, these toxic parents will simply just ignore them, or in some cases yell at them until they wipe their tears away. Here, tough love definitely prevails.

2) They favor one child

With these people, they'll always treat their children differently and instill a notion of competition between them. Narcissistic mothers and fathers will always have one golden child who they will shower with love, gifts, and affection, whilst the others will be hung out to dry. Hmm, sounds a little bit like love bombing to me! After all, these abusive personalities will always want someone on their side, even if it means buying their affection.

3) They criticize their children

The truth is, these folks have truly wicked tongues, which often damage their children's mental health. In fact, their tendency to emotionally abuse their family members frequently means that they put their kids down about pretty much everything. They'll put them down about their appearance, their weight, their grades, their choice of partner, and even their career path. Basically, they'll find fault in absolutely anything, without especially realizing how much it will impact them in the long term.

4) They won't allow them to sign up for activities

Children of narcissists will never be given the opportunity to sign up for sports or theater classes, for example, and that's because their parents never want to sacrifice their own time for someone else's happiness. These selfish beings never want to commit to doing anything because they'd rather focus on themselves. Now, in the rare cases where they do allow their kids to sign up for activities, they'll become hugely flaky...

>>> Read; Is my mom a narcissist?

5) They are super strict

Punishments will be taken to the next level with these people and at points, sadly, they will border on child abuse. In reality, the child of a narcissistic parent will be exposed to drastic measures because these devious souls believe that a bit of roughness and tumble will keep them in check and prevent them from rebelling.

6) They lay the affection on thick

As anyone who has been raised by a narcissistic parent can testify, this parent/child relationship is very up and down, which explains why, at times, these emotional and physical abusers become seriously lovey-dovey. At certain points, they'll try to convince themselves that they are in fact good parents and will therefore completely change their behavior.

7) They make every decision for them

Those with narcissistic personality disorders can be huge busybodies, meaning they'll somehow force their way into the center of every milestone decision-making process, even when it doesn't exactly concern them. In reality, these personalities are control freaks and believe that they legitimately have the right to have an input in their children's lives, no matter how old they are, or how poorly they treated them during their childhood.

8) They pretend to feel guilt

Now, whilst we all know that narcissists never actually feel guilty or remorseful for their actions, that doesn't prevent them from acting as if they are torn up by them. In fact, these master manipulators will go to any length possible to get people, and in particular their victims, to feel sorry for them. Lying is second nature to them, which is why they spin tall tales pretty much everywhere they go.

9) They never support them

Narcissists love interfering in other people's business, however, if and when people don't take on board their advice, or essentially, do as they please, then they'll make it known that they no longer support them. Plus, they'll do everything in their power to ensure they fail too, just so that they can say those four magic words; 'I told you so'.

10) They blow hot and cold

This example is particularly true for older kids. Whilst these manipulative demons will at points hassle their kids to spend time with them, at others, they'll brutally cut all means of communication and leave their kids in the dark as to why. In short, they'll never be a stable, constant presence in anyone's life, because they simply don't care enough...

>>> Learn how to deal with a narcissistic mother-in-law

Does a narcissist love their child?

This is a very complex question and largely depends on the severity of the personality disorder. People with a less severe dose of the condition can eventually learn to love their children and may even project their selfish behavior and overinflated ego onto them, making them believe that they are superior to everyone else. They will evidently need time to adapt to having someone else in their lives, but that's not to say that they are incapable of adjusting, especially when they realize that they can mold their child into their idea of perfection. (Yikes!) 

As for the raging narcissists out there, who fully embrace their diabolic traits, they'll have a harder time loving their children. In fact, they are completely and utterly void of empathy and simply aren't cut out for loving their offspring. No matter how much time passes, they will never be able to consider their children as being as important as themselves and will consider them as hindrances to their vindictive ways. In short, children of narcissistic parents will never fully receive the love and care that they so deserve.

Will a narcissist hurt their children?

The narcissistic parent doesn't see their offspring as such, but as an object to be used, particularly against the other parent in the event of conflict. The child will be subjected to this toxicity and take it for granted. This can affect their self-confidence, making them fragile and susceptible to influence. Their ability to judge will be profoundly impaired, as will their autonomy and free will.

The narcissistic parent will take credit for their child's successes, even though they have done everything in their power to ensure their child's failure. With a sick need for admiration, they'll be jealous of their child, even competing with him or her. They will find it hard to see their child blossom as they inevitably grows older. The narcissistic parent will interfere in their child's relationships to maintain absolute control, and will love to create frustrations by making tempting proposals which they will then refuse. Ultimately, they will not hesitate to harm their children if it serves their interests.

Do narcissists care about their kids?

Narcissistic people may have different attitudes towards their children, depending on their degree of narcissism, their motivations and their ability to develop healthy emotional bonds. Here are some possible scenarios:

  • Using children as an extension of oneself: These folks may see their children as an extension of themselves, and use them to reinforce their own image and social status. They may seek to project their own aspirations and successes onto their children, pushing them to achieve goals that match their own desires rather than those of the child.

  • Lack of empathy and genuine caring: These personalities may have difficulty feeling and expressing genuine empathy for their children. They may be focused on their own needs and desires, paying only limited attention to their children's emotional needs. They may also struggle to provide emotional support and a stable affective presence.

  • Competition with children: These people may see their children as potential competitors, and feel jealous or envious if the children receive attention or achievements that could make them stand out. They may react competitively by downplaying children's achievements or putting them in competition with themselves.

  • Use of manipulation and control: Narcissistic people may use their children as a means of manipulation and control, using them to satisfy their emotional needs, to gain admiration and attention, or to maintain a hold on them. They may exert excessive influence over children's life choices, seeking to direct them according to their own wishes.

Can a narcissist be a good father?

Narcissistic parents take great care of themselves, so the needs and feelings of their children are neglected. In short, narcissists just aren’t cut out to be good fathers, or mothers for that matter. Moreover, the latter are largely ignored or even openly devalued. What is left are confused children who, at some point, often convince themselves that they are the problem. This phenomenon is also called "invalidation": the narcissistic father ignores or devalues the child's needs and feelings. Then, those involved can hardly learn to understand them as completely natural and justified, which can have a massive impact on later romantic relationships.

In families with toxic parents, children are often centerpieces for narcissistic parents - or at least they should be. They like to demand maximum performance from their children, for example at school, but also in sports and other areas. Ideally, they serve to increase their own self-esteem. Of course, their children should be as docile and obedient as possible and submit completely to their orders.

>>> Read up on the 10 signs you are dating a narcissist

How do narcissists treat their grown children?

Much like they do with young children, narcissists also treat their grown up kids like infants. In fact, they often belittle them and try to muscle their way into their lives in an attempt to take control. Whenever their grown children have any decisions to make, narcissistic parents will try to bulldoze through their own opinions and take on the subject. The truth is that these overbearing parents struggle to accept the idea that their kids are now full adults and can conduct their lives as they please. This explains why they are often guilty of trying to break down their confidence, so they become reliant on them. Letting their children fly the nest is a complex challenge for any over interfering parent, but it is made even tough when narcissistic tendencies are at large. In short, these parents have a hard time viewing their children as grown-ups who are capable of making their own decisions and following their own paths.

How do narcissists treat their siblings?

A narcissist feels only for themselves and can love only themselves. A narcissist is very attached to their childhood, and everything that was part of that childhood is important to them, like their friends and, of course, their brothers and sisters. So, when it comes to their siblings, they love them because they're their past, their life, and their memories, but they don't love them for what they have to offer. When a narcissist learns that one of their siblings is suffering from an illness, has had an accident, or is experiencing a serious problem, they have no reaction, feel no sadness or anger, don't try to help, and remain totally insensitive...

Editor's opinion - The scars will be brutal...

A parent suffering from such a pathology will negatively impact the psychological foundations of their child. The narcissistic parent does not consider their offspring as such, but instead as objects to be used, especially against the other parent in case of conflict. The child will suffer from this toxicity and will integrate it as being natural. This can affect their self-confidence, making them fragile and unstable. Their ability to judge will be profoundly altered, as will their autonomy and free will.

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Article presented by Katie M.

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Hi, Katie. Your article says it was last updated 11 days in the future. Hopefully you can sort out your website calendar. Good read though

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