We Are Survivors 

This blog is dedicated to the tens of millions of adult survivors of child abuse and neglect who get up every day and try to work and function in a world that seems to not care about us.

Narcissistic Parents Are Harmful To Children

Did you grow up with a narcissistic parent? Both my mother and father were and, unfortunately, I was the brunt of their angry and selfish behaviors. Narcissists have an inordinate fascination with themselves. They would rather risk the loss of true relationships than reveal a chink in their fragile egos.

To successfully negotiate conflicts within a relationship is healthy but almost impossible when living with a person who already has all the answers. This behavior too often crosses over into becoming cruel and abusive.

Described below is a contrast between narcissistic and secure parents.1

Narcissistic Parents

  • Turns every conversation to him/herself.
  • Expects you to meet his/her emotional needs.
  • Ignores the impact of his/her negative comments on you.
  • Constantly criticizes or berates you and knows what is best for you.
  • Focuses on blaming rather than taking responsibility for his/her own behavior.
  • Expects you to jump at his/her every need.
  • Is overly involved with his/her own hobbies, interests or addictions and ignores your needs.
  • Has a high need for attention.
  • Brags, sulks, complains, inappropriately teases, and is flamboyant, loud and boisterous.
  • Is close-minded about his/her own mistakes. Can’t handle criticism or gets angry to shut it off.
  • Becomes angry when his/her needs are not met and throws tantrums or intimidates.
  • Has an attitude of “anything you can do, I can do better.”
  • Engages in one-upmanship to seem important.
  • Acts in a seductive manner or is overly charming.
  • Is vain and fishes for compliments. Expects you to admire him/her.
  • Isn’t satisfied unless he/she has the “biggest” or the “best.”
  • Forgets what you have done for them yet keeps reminding you that you owe them today.
  • Threatens to abandon you if you don’t go along with what he/she wants.
  • Ignores your feelings and calls you overly sensitive or touchy if you express your feelings.
  • Tells you how you should feel or not feel.
  • Cannot listen to you and cannot allow your opinions.
  • Is more interested in his/her own concerns and interests than yours.
  • Wants to control what you do and say – tries to micromanage you.
  • Attempts to make you feel stupid, helpless and inept when you do things on your own.
  • Has shallow emotions and interests.
  • Uses emotional blackmail to get what he/she wants.
  • May engage in physical and/or sexual abuse of children.

Secure Parents

  • Meets the emotional and physical needs of their children.
  • Has healthy boundaries and can be assertive in stating them.
  • Respects their children’s boundaries and rights to be safe.
  • Resists intrusion and mind games by others.
  • Has strong, positive values and priorities for the family.
  • Allows their children to express their feelings.
  • Uses appropriate self-disclosure.
  • Has the ability to develop intimacy and happy relationships.
  • Does not physically and/or sexually abuse their children to get their selfish needs met.

 


1 “Children of the Self Absorbed: A Grownup’s Guide to Getting Over Narcissistic Parents,” Nina Brown, Oakland, CA 2001, New Harbinger Publications

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