Unfortunately, narcissistic parents can cause a serious level of emotional damage to their children.
Although they may believe everything they do is out of love, some of their parental approaches might be detrimental to a child’s fragile mind.
Usually, parents high on narcissism consider their children as extensions of themselves.
They are convinced that every single accomplishment their sons and daughters achieve is only because of their grandiose influence. Their obsession with control severely affects their kids to the point where the young ones might need years of healing. Sadly, this is only one of the many dangerous behaviors narcissistic parents practice while raising their kids.
Here are 5 toxic traits of narcissistic parents:
1. They manipulate their children’s sense of self.
Narcissistic parents often push their children on paths they believe are right, regardless of what the younglings are truly passionate about. In case the kids disobey, their egocentric moms and dads, who are by default convinced that their own opinion is the only one that matters, would try to use various manipulative tactics, such as gaslighting, lying, or exaggerating. They would do whatever it takes to make their children do exactly as they say, including controlling their sense of self. In other words, they would instill false beliefs inside their kids’ minds only because they suppose it’s right and, of course, it would benefit their personal interests.
2. They neglect boundaries.
As already mentioned, narcissists consider their children as extensions of themselves. They cannot comprehend that their own creation might be a separate individual with their own unique mindset. Therefore, even if their kids manage to set boundaries, they would violate them without hesitation. That’s because narcissistic parents believe they are entitled to do whatever they want with their children. Meanwhile, the young ones are not allowed to have an individuality different from the one their moms and dads approve of.
3. They disconnect their children from other family members.
Whenever a narcissistic parent feels their manipulative schemes are at risk of being exposed by someone from their family, they do everything in their power to isolate their children from this person. In most cases, the threat turns out to be no other but their spouse. To protect their own ego, they alienate their kids from their non-narcissistic parent. This form of emotional abuse inevitably destroys the balance in the household, as it affects the whole family. Sometimes the narcissist would even go to extremes, such as throwing dirt on the other parent and accusing them of being the abusive one instead.
4. They detach their kids from the world.
Apart from viewing their children as extensions of themselves, some narcissistic parents also see them as trophies. The young ones become praised possessions that the narcissist wants to protect from the whole world. Therefore, they begin a process of isolating their kids from everyone and everything they think might take them away. As they tend to be highly possessive, these toxic moms and dads make sure they have control over every step their youngsters take and every choice they make. Just like “Joey doesn’t share food!”, narcissistic parents are unwilling to share their children with anyone else. And if the young ones try to distance themselves, they start hoovering over them to gain back the control they have lost.
5. They project their positive traits to feel better about themselves.
Narcissists are convinced they are the most beautiful, intelligent, brilliant human beings on Earth. In their minds, they are absolutely impeccable and definitely superior to others. They are the center of the world. To boost their egos, they often project the positive traits they believe they have onto their children. They tell others how talented, creative, and gorgeous their kids are only to feel a little better about themselves. Sadly, they also project negative traits and insecurities, blaming their children for their own failures. This undoubtedly leaves a mark on a child’s mental health.
Healing from a narcissistic parent’s toxic influence.
As an adult, the first thing you need to do is take responsibility for your own life. While being raised by a narcissist is undeniably damaging, you have the power to stop associating yourself with victimhood. You are now a grown-up, so you should be capable of making important choices and control your own fate. No one else, even your parents, gets to decide your life path.
While learning how to take responsibility for your reactions and perceptions, you should also work on creating boundaries and actually protecting them this time. If your narcissistic parent tries to cross them, be clear that you will not tolerate their behavior.
Moreover, you finally have the chance to reconnect with those your narcissistic mother or father alienated you from. You can rebuild bonds that were broken without your consent. Some of these people might give you the perfect example of a healthy relationship you were deprived of as a child.
When it comes to romantic relationships, you must know that prioritizing your own needs is not necessarily selfish.
However, if you want your connection to thrive, you should be willing to compromise and invest in establishing a proper communication process, in which you and your partner feel free to express your concerns without fearing judgment.
Last but not least, don’t forget that you are not the reason for your narcissistic parent’s toxicity. You are not to blame for their egocentric behavior. You are not obligated to do certain things only because you will make them happy while sacrificing your own contentment. It is not your job to boost their self-esteem.
You are not an extension of your parents. You are an individual with your own hopes and dreams, striving for a future that will make YOU happy. And that’s the way it should be.