Narcissism has become a hot-button topic, as narcissism has been proven to be on the rise in recent years. One topic that has been the subject of various research and debate is how narcissists impact their children.
Narcissism or narcissistic personality disorder is a cluster B personality disorder. In the diagnostic and statistical manual for psychology and psychiatry, there are two types of disorders: mental disorders and personality disorders. While mental disorders are easily treated with medication, personality disorders are oftentimes more resilient to medication and treatment.
Narcissism, much like sociopathy, is a disorder characterized by a lack of empathy, and a troubling pattern of abusive behaviors in interpersonal relationships. Narcissists tend to hold a grandiose and superior sense of themselves, holding their own needs and desires above everything else. Other symptoms of narcissism include manipulative behaviors, a sense of entitlement, and a constant need for admiration.
For those who are tied to the narcissist, these traits can be very harmful. And unfortunately, when a narcissist has a child and raises them, these effects can be detrimental.
For a parent to be an effective and good parent, there is a need to be selfless and more importantly to have empathy for another. Without this, children are treated as an extension of the self. And sadly, because narcissists are inherently abusive by nature, their children are often emotionally and physically abused and neglected.
In turn, their children feel unacknowledged. Their feelings are invalidated, and they are valued by what they do for their parent, rather than given unconditional love. They are taught that their appearance is more important than their feelings and virtues. And they become fearful of their abuse and volatile parent.
In many cases, children raised in this way develop addiction problems, mental illnesses like post-traumatic stress disorder, and grow into repeating the same relational patterns they experienced as a children.
Because they grow so accustomed to constant drama and abuse, they subconsciously seek out these patterns in their future adult relationships.
And while may heal and escape the cycle of abuse and trauma, some, unfortunately, grow into who their parents were, and thus the cycle continues.
For those who end up taking care of the child, rescuing them from the narcissist, the main endeavor becomes empathy, which according to Psychology Today is the opposite of narcissism.
If you or someone you love has been raised or hurt by a narcissist, please understand that there is healing available for these children. If you are the child of a narcissist, and you recognize what has happened to you, you have taken the first step towards moving forward with your life.