What Is A Narcissistic Parent?

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June 6, 2023 by Marjorie R. Rogers, MA (English), Certified Consultant

A narcissistic parent is someone who constantly seeks attention and admiration, while disregarding their child’s emotional needs. Children of narcissistic parents often experience emotional neglect and abuse, and struggle with low self-esteem and boundary issues.

Growing up with a narcissistic parent can have long-lasting effects on a person’s mental health and relationships. It can be difficult to recognize the negative impact of a narcissistic parent, as they often present themselves as charming and charismatic to the outside world.

However, behind closed doors, they may display manipulative and controlling behavior towards their children. In order to heal from the effects of a narcissistic parent, it’s important to seek therapy and establish healthy boundaries. It’s also important to remember that the behavior of a narcissistic parent is not the fault of the child, and that everyone deserves to feel valued and loved.

What Is A Narcissistic Parent?

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What Is A Narcissistic Parent?

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental health condition that affects individuals who demonstrate excessive love and admiration towards themselves. When this disorder is exhibited by parents, it is referred to as narcissistic parenting. Narcissistic parents tend to view their children as an extension of themselves and may make unreasonable demands of them.

This article aims to explore the traits of a narcissistic parent and define narcissistic personality disorder.

Defining Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissistic personality disorder (npd) is a mental health disorder characterized by an excessive need for admiration, lack of empathy for others, and a grandiose sense of self-importance. Individuals with npd may have an inflated sense of self-worth and may believe they are better than everyone else.

Some of the key features of npd include:

  • A preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  • An exaggerated sense of self-importance and entitlement
  • A belief that they are unique and special and can only be understood by other special people
  • A constant need for attention and admiration from others
  • A lack of empathy towards others and a tendency to exploit others for their own benefit

Common Traits Of A Narcissistic Parent

Here are some of the common traits of a narcissistic parent:

  • They lack empathy and may fail to meet their child’s emotional needs.
  • They may see their child as an extension of themselves, rather than as an individual.
  • They might feel threatened by the success of their child.
  • They may use their child to validate their own worth and success; if the child does not perform well, the parent may feel shame and humiliation.
  • They will often ignore or downplay their child’s achievements and instead focus on their own accomplishments.
  • They may make unreasonable demands of their child and expect them to meet high standards that are impossible to achieve.
  • They may alternate between idealizing and devaluing their child, leading to confusion and anxiety for the child.

A narcissistic parent is someone who exhibits behavior consistent with narcissistic personality disorder. Narcissistic parents often treat their children as an extension of themselves and may demand perfection from them. It is important to identify these traits in order to break the negative cycle and establish a healthy parent-child relationship.

How Does Narcissistic Parenting Affect Children?

Narcissistic parenting can have significant implications for a child’s development, both in the short and long term. Narcissistic parents tend to prioritize their own needs and desires over their children’s, which can lead to a variety of challenges throughout the child’s life.

Effects Of Narcissistic Parenting On Childhood Development

  • Children with narcissistic parents may struggle with low self-esteem, as their parent’s focus on themselves can leave them feeling neglected or unimportant.
  • These children may also have difficulty with emotional regulation, as they may not have received appropriate emotional support or guidance from their parents.
  • Narcissistic parents may also fail to set appropriate boundaries with their children, leading to a lack of structure and routine in the child’s life.
  • Children of narcissistic parents may develop a sense of perfectionism, as their parent’s expectations for them may be extremely high and unrealistic.
  • In extreme cases, children of narcissistic parents may experience emotional abuse or neglect.

Impact Of Narcissistic Parenting On Adult Relationships

  • Individuals with narcissistic parents may have difficulty with forming healthy relationships, as they may not have learned the necessary skills to do so from their parents.
  • They may struggle with boundaries, as they may be used to their parent’s lack of boundaries and may not know how to establish their own.
  • Individuals with narcissistic parents may also tend to attract narcissistic partners, as they may be more comfortable with that type of dynamic due to their upbringing.
  • These individuals may also struggle with feelings of inadequacy or low self-esteem in relationships, due to their upbringing with a narcissistic parent.

Narcissistic parenting can have significant impacts on a child’s development and future relationships. It is essential to recognize the signs of narcissistic parenting and seek the necessary support and resources to address any resulting challenges.

Signs Of Narcissistic Behavior In Parents

What Is A Narcissistic Parent?

Growing up with a narcissistic parent can be challenging. Narcissistic parents are often obsessed with themselves and put their needs before anything else. This can lead to a lack of emotional support and a difficult childhood. In this post, we will explore the signs of narcissistic behavior in parents and how it can impact their children’s lives.

Self-Centered Attitudes And Actions

Narcissistic parents tend to have self-centered attitudes and actions. Some of the key signs of this include:

  • They always talk about themselves and their achievements.
  • They believe they are special and superior to others.
  • They ignore their children’s emotional needs and prioritize their own.
  • They often take credit for their children’s successes.

Manipulation Tactics Used By Narcissistic Parents

Narcissistic parents often use manipulation tactics to control their children. Here are some of the common manipulation tactics used by narcissistic parents:

  • They project their own negative traits onto their children and make them feel guilty for their own shortcomings.
  • They use emotional blackmail, such as threatening to withdraw their love or affection if their children do not comply.
  • They gaslight their children by denying their own negative behavior or pretending not to remember events.
  • They triangulate their children by creating conflicts and pitting them against each other.

Whether you have a narcissistic parent or know someone who does, it’s essential to understand the signs and tactics of narcissistic behavior. By being aware of these issues, you can seek the necessary help and support to overcome the challenges faced in such a situation.

Remember, you are not alone, and you can break free from the cycle of abuse.

How To Identify A Narcissistic Parent

Narcissistic parenting is a personality disorder that can cause lifelong damage to children and their relationships. Children with narcissistic parents often feel unloved, ignored, or abused, leading to low self-esteem and difficulty in developing healthy relationships. Identifying narcissistic parenting can be challenging, but with the right information and skills, it is possible to recognize the patterns of behavior that indicate a narcissistic parent.

We will discuss how to identify narcissistic parenting in your own life and recognize it in others.

Identifying Narcissistic Parenting In Your Own Life

If you grew up with a narcissistic parent, you may find it challenging to recognize their behavior as problematic. Here are some key points to help you identify narcissistic parenting in your own life:

  • Narcissistic parents often see their children as an extension of themselves rather than individuals with their own needs and desires. They may pressure their child to follow in their footsteps or achieve the goals they were unable to accomplish themselves.
  • Narcissistic parents may be more focused on their own needs and desires than their children’s. They may prioritize their own sense of success or fulfillment over their child’s emotional or physical well-being.
  • Children of narcissistic parents often feel criticized, belittled, or ignored. Because narcissistic parents have a difficult time empathizing with their children’s emotions, they may dismiss or invalidate their child’s feelings.
  • Narcissistic parents often have a difficult time taking responsibility for their actions. They may blame their children or others for their mistakes, refuse to acknowledge their errors, or try to manipulate situations to make themselves look better.

Recognizing Narcissistic Parenting In Others

While it can be tough to recognize narcissistic parenting in others, especially if you haven’t experienced it yourself, here are some key points to help you identify this behavior:

  • Narcissistic parents may often brag about their child’s achievements, seeing their child’s accomplishments as a reflection of their own success.
  • They may have high or unrealistic expectations for their child, pushing them to excel in areas they may not be interested in or capable of.
  • Narcissistic parents may be dismissive of their child’s emotions, seeing them as a sign of weakness or immaturity. This can cause children to feel ignored or invalidated.
  • Narcissistic parents may exhibit controlling behavior, such as dictating their child’s schedule, social circle, or hobbies. They may try to mold their child into their ideal image rather than allowing them to develop their own sense of self.

Identifying and recognizing narcissistic parenting can be challenging, but by knowing the key points and patterns of behavior to look for, you can start to build healthier relationships and establish boundaries that protect your emotional wellbeing.

Overcoming The Effects Of Narcissistic Parenting

Narcissistic parenting can have a destructive impact on a child’s emotional well-being, leading to a plethora of issues that can persist into adulthood. It can be challenging to overcome an upbringing with a narcissistic parent. However, it is possible to recover and establish healthy, loving relationships with yourself and others.

Strategies For Building Self-Esteem And Self-Worth

Building self-esteem and self-worth is essential for individuals who have experienced narcissistic parenting. Some strategies to cultivate self-confidence are as follows:

  • Acknowledge and validate your emotions without judgment. Accepting your emotions and realizing that it is okay to feel and express them can help you build a better relationship with yourself.
  • Learn to practice self-compassion, speak to yourself the same way you would talk to a friend who is in distress. Be gentle and kind with your words.
  • Celebrate your wins in life, including the small ones. Pat yourself on the back and acknowledge your progress and accomplishments.
  • Focus on your strengths and talents. Develop new skills and hobbies to improve your self-efficacy.

Establishing Healthy Boundaries

Maintaining healthy boundaries is crucial in overcoming the effects of narcissistic parenting. Setting boundaries can be challenging, but it’s necessary to protect yourself mentally and emotionally. Some tips to create healthy boundaries are:

  • Identify your limits. Understand what you are willing to accept and what you will not tolerate.
  • Be assertive. Practice saying “no” and standing up for yourself. Remember, you have the right to protect your mental health.
  • Develop self-awareness. Recognize when your boundaries are being violated and take action to protect yourself.
  • Establish consequences. Communicate the consequences for violating your boundaries. It can help deter others from crossing them in the future.

Overcoming the effects of narcissistic parenting will look different for each individual. It is essential to seek therapy and cultivate a support system to aid in the healing process. By practicing self-compassion, building self-esteem, and establishing healthy boundaries, individuals can reclaim their lives from the negative effects of narcissistic parenting.

Tools And Techniques For Coping With Narcissistic Parents

Narcissistic parenting is a term used to describe a specific type of parenting where the parent is excessively preoccupied with themselves rather than their child. Such parents tend to put their needs before their children’s needs, which can make for a challenging and tumultuous upbringing.

If you’ve experienced this type of parenting, you may be struggling to cope. Fortunately, there are tools and techniques that can help you to deal with your narcissistic parents. In this section, we’ll explore some of these strategies in detail.

Strategies For Limiting Contact With Narcissistic Parents

If you’ve decided that you need to limit your contact with your narcissistic parents, here are some strategies that you can use:

  • Set clear boundaries: One of the most important things is to set firm boundaries with your parents. Let them know what is acceptable and what is not, and stick to your boundaries.
  • Reduce face-to-face contact: If your parents’ presence is triggering for you, try to reduce face-to-face contact. You can opt to communicate through social media, email, or phone.
  • Avoid disclosure: Narcissistic parents can be manipulative and use anything you tell them against you. Therefore, avoid disclosing personal information to them.
  • Take control of communication: Don’t let your parents dictate how and when you communicate with them. You can choose to respond or not, and at your convenience.

Therapeutic Interventions For Healing From Narcissistic Parenting

If you’re dealing with the aftermath of narcissistic parenting, therapeutic interventions can help you heal. Here are some therapies to consider:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (cbt): This type of therapy can help you challenge negative thought patterns and replace them with healthier beliefs.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (dbt): Dbt can help you regulate your emotions and improve your relationships.
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy (act): Act can help you accept and manage negative emotions and experiences effectively.
  • Group therapy: Being in a group of people who have gone through similar experiences can provide you with a sense of community and validation.

Living with a narcissistic parent can be challenging, but it’s possible to cope with the right tools and techniques. Consider limiting contact with your parents, setting clear boundaries, and taking control of communication. Additionally, therapeutic interventions such as cbt, dbt, act, and group therapy can help you heal from the trauma of narcissistic parenting.

Remember that healing takes time, but with the right support and resources, it’s possible.

Frequently Asked Questions For What Is A Narcissistic Parent?

What Is A Narcissistic Parent?

A narcissistic parent is someone who constantly puts their own needs before their child’s, causing emotional harm.

How Do Narcissistic Parents Behave?

Narcissistic parents often exhibit controlling behavior, gaslighting, emotional abuse, and lack of empathy towards their child.

What Are The Effects Of Having A Narcissistic Parent?

The effects of having a narcissistic parent can include low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, codependency, and attachment issues.

Can A Narcissistic Parent Change?

While it’s possible for a narcissistic parent to change through therapy, it requires a strong willingness to accept responsibility for their behavior.

How Can You Cope With A Narcissistic Parent?

Coping with a narcissistic parent involves setting boundaries, seeking support, and prioritizing self-care. It’s also important to seek professional help.


To sum it up, having a narcissistic parent can have lifelong effects on an individual’s mental health, relationships, and overall well-being. The constant invalidation, criticism, and lack of empathy can lead to low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. It is important for individuals who have grown up with a narcissistic parent to seek therapy and support to heal from the trauma they experienced.

Breaking the cycle of narcissistic parenting is crucial to ensure a healthier future for generations to come. Remember, you are not alone and you deserve to receive the love and validation you deserve. Educating oneself and seeking help is the first step towards healing and moving forward from this challenging experience.

By acknowledging the problem and taking the necessary steps to address it, a person can build a brighter and more fulfilling future.

About Author (Marjorie R. Rogers)

The inspiring mum of 6 who dedicates her time to supporting others. While battling with her own demons she continues to be the voice for others unable to speak out. Mental illness almost destroyed her, yet here she is fighting back and teaching you all the things she has learned along the way. Get Started To Read …