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Narcissist Parenting Signs

By Emma Davies


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There are many classic signs of a narcissistic parent that may get those red lights going in your head and make you think hold up, this is a narcissistic parent. We’ve got you covered on all things selfish parents as well as recognizing the narcissistic parent traits like immaturity, the need to be the center of attention, and manipulation. You may be asking yourself questions like “am i a narcissistic parent”, “is my parent a narcissist” and questions of the sort but we’ve got you covered today.

Narcissist Parenting Signs

What is a Narcissistic Parent?

Narcissistic personality disorder in parents often leads to narcissistic parenting and it’s never a good sign. But, what is a narcissistic parent?

These parents are self centered and are completely interested in themselves which also leads to them thinking that they’re better than everyone else – never a good sign. You may find that they often ignore other people’s concerns, especially their own children, meaning that their kids may be that much more insecure and anxious in the grand scheme of things. They’re also super possessive and it may feel like they’re constantly competing with their children to show them who’s boss – this isn’t healthy and isn’t something we’d recommend in the slightest.

Examples of Narcissistic Parenting

Unfortunately, narcissistic personality disorder parenting is something we see a lot more often than we’d like and it’s heartbreaking when a child and a family have to go through that. Yes it’s totally okay to mess up sometimes and there is no guidebook to parenting (we wish there was), but if you find yourself or your parent following any of these examples then it may be time to check it out.

  • Seeing your child as a place of validation – This one is very common amongst selfish parents and so is a good example of the behavior of a narcissistic parent. Of course, you’re going to be proud of your child if they get picked for the soccer team or pass their music exam. But always talking about your child’s achievements and only tuning into their lives when they achieve something is not a healthy way to parent. Your kid always wants you there, don’t just involve yourself in their lives when they do something good.
  • Playing favorites – This could be anything like having a clear favorite child and always boasting about their achievements or making a point by speaking badly about their other kids. To put it in a nutshell, your children won’t feel safe and they’ll feel uncomfortable. Every child wants to make their parents proud and there’s no doubt about that but living in fear of a parent’s anger just because they didn’t do as well in something is never a good sign.
  • Expecting your kid to be the caregiver – That just totally defeats the point of parenting. Narcissistic parents will always make their kids feel as if it’s their role to look after the parent from an early age too. You may even find this when the child is an adult too and it can have quite manipulative tendencies. You may find a narcissistic parent saying something along the lines of “I kept a roof over your head so you owe me” or “I clothed and fed you, now it’s your turn”.
  • Putting their own needs first – At the end of the day, you have to be selfish and some problems in the world could seem unavoidable like a shift at work but a selfish parent will always expect their child to make lots of sacrifices just so the parent can do what they want rather than what needs to be done. In a nutshell, they may miss key events of their child’s life just so they can do what they want to do.

The highlighted behaviors that we’ve just put together are a few examples of what it’s like to have a narcissistic parent but there are also other examples and narcissistic parents signs that could be visible and could affect parenting as well as your child themselves which isn’t something we want.

Signs of a Narcissistic Parent

There are loads of different parenting styles out there and some may consider some to be harmful and others good. There’s no doubt that parenting a new child is tough but the list of signs we’ve put together may be signs of a narcissistic parent. So what are they?

  • Big sense of self importance.
  • No empathy.
  • Being arrogant.
  • Having a sense of entitlement.
  • Associating with high status people.
  • Needing to be the center of attention constantly.
  • Blaming others for the way they behave.
  • Obsessed with keeping the family image.
  • Guilt tripping.
  • Conditional love.
  • Limiting time together.
  • Getting annoyed when a child needs attention.
  • Codependent.
  • No Boundaries.
  • Overstep their kid’s boundaries.
  • Gaslighting.

So, these are some signs your parent is narcissistic or even yourself so keep an eye out as this could affect your child severely in the future but we’ll touch on that in a second.

Effects of Narcissistic Parenting

Being a narcissistic parent can actually be way harder on your child than you may think and it can have some pretty big effects on their lives. What are they, you ask? Here’s a list we’ve put together for you to see.

  • Anxiety and depression – These two things are most likely the more common effects of narcissistic parenting and it’s devastating that any child has to go through it. Depressed or anxious people may experience panic attacks, low mood, and a feeling of constant hopelessness and guilt to name a few.
  • People pleaser – This is due to the fact that narcissistic parents are constantly expecting things from their kids and so in adulthood, they’re extremely self sacrificing and often won’t have their own opinions or dreams.
  • Low self esteem – Low self esteem is another big effect of narcissistic parenting and that feeling of never being good enough and always being a disappointment and incompetent. Remember, these feelings aren’t something you may be fully aware of but they can always be running in the back of your mind, slowly creeping in and affecting small aspects of your life.
  • Extreme narcissism – Believe it or not, children with narcissistic parents can also be narcissistic parents themselves or suffer from extreme narcissism because that’s the only role model they ever had which is completely understandable so keep an eye out for this.
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD – In very extreme and severe circumstances, children of narcissistic parents can suffer from PTSD which is very serious. This will result in a lot of therapy and getting help and so you have to ask yourself if this is what you want your kid to endure or if you’re going to do something about it.

How to Deal With a Narcissistic Parent

Dealing with narcissistic parents is no way easy if you’re a child suffering or perhaps a teacher observing. We’ve got a few tips that may help deal with a narcissistic parent a little bit easier.

  • Realizing what’s happening – This is the first step to any problem and you’re stronger than you think by just realizing what is going on.
  • Resist gaslighting attempts – This is definitely easier said than done but it helps a lot and shows them that you’re stronger than them and won’t fall to their manipulation.
  • Prioritise self care – We see lots about self care written around the internet but the truth is it’s actually really important, especially when you’re going through a tough time. Check in with your emotions frequently and look after yourself – try some mindfulness, meditation or even a simple face mask that could do the trick. Prioritize what you enjoy like your hobbies and really take time to enjoy those things whether it’s going for a run or reading a good book.
  • Choosing therapy is also a good option for the parent themselves.

Am I a Narcissistic Parent?

The truth is, we can’t provide you with a yes or no answer to this question and we can’t answer the question “is my parent a narcissist” either because we don’t know what you’re going through and what your parenting style is like.

But, if you tick off most of the list of signs and examples then chances are, you may be one. If this is the case then therapy is a brilliant option and can help you get your parenting back on track – you’ve got this.

About Emma Davies

Emma Davies is a freelance writer that specializes parenting and animal topics. With over 20 years experience as a parent there are very few topics that faze her.

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