Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents

How do narcissistic parents affect their children?

It depends. The Golden Child, the scapegoat, and the lost child, sons and daughters have different situations. It also depends on which parent is narcissistic because mothers and fathers have different roles for their children. Generally speaking, the golden child is the most exposed to become a pathological narcissist, while the lost child is more likely to develop addictions and end up in prison. The scapegoat likely becomes a victim of narcissistic partners in adulthood.

Adult children of narcissistic parents also have some common issues.

They often forget their needs and desires.
A narcissistic person always needs attention, is arrogant, and likes to manipulate others because they feel they deserve the best. Translating this into the family context, one of the effects of having narcissistic parents is that children grow up with the need to please them.

In this process, children do not perceive themselves as individuals who have their desires and needs. They become a reflection of what their parent wants and carry out all the activities that are expected of them. When they grow up, they have no awareness of their space and try to satisfy others rather than themselves.

They have low self-esteem.
Narcissistic parents give affection to their children only when they want something from them. It’s very difficult to meet all their expectations. As a result, the children feel like they are not good enough, they always feel incompetent, incapable, anxious, and have low self-esteem.

They can’t love themselves.
The narcissistic parent doesn’t allow children to love themselves and to accept who they are. Even if adult children reach big goals or get everything they set, it is never enough for them.

They became too helpful.
Because of the great attention that a narcissistic parent requires, their children’s lives revolve around them, their problems, their needs, and their happiness. For this reason, children turn into emotional support humans and get involved in situations they shouldn’t take part in. These children take on so many responsibilities that they forget they are children, to the point of becoming more like a partner.

Adult children of narcissists feel like they have spent a lifetime solving problems. Although this may be positive, because they have surely learned to resolve difficulties and be self-sufficient, they will carry a great burden within themselves and hardly trust others. 

They think negatively.
There is a mirror effect. They learn to see life as their parent did, and since they received negative messages, they turn to themselves in the same way.

They learn to hide their true essence.
Children learn to deny part of their essence to show what the narcissistic parent expects from them. Over time, this process of rejection becomes a habit. As adults, they may have trouble recognizing who they are, what their real desires are, and what they expect from life and others.

They self-sabotage.
Having a narcissistic parent always means getting the message that you are not good enough. It prepares children to expect the worst from every situation. Growing up, they avoid expressing their emotions to stay as safe as possible. For example, they avoid falling in love, so they don’t get abandoned. This generates a vicious circle that generates further anxiety and insecurity.

Excerpts from “Narcissistic Parents. The Complete Guide for Adult Children, Including 2 Manuscripts: Narcissistic Mothers & Narcissistic Fathers. How to Handle a Narcissistic Parent and Recover from CPTSD” 

Copyright@2019 Caroline Foster All Right Reserved

3 thoughts on “Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents”

  1. Everything is very open with a really clear explanation of the challenges. It was definitely informative. Your site is very useful. Many thanks for sharing! Mari Hunfredo Pease

  2. Everything is very open with a very clear description of the issues. It was really informative. Your site is extremely helpful. Thank you for sharing! Tildy Phineas Ulrikaumeko

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