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
- 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.
- 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