If you have been raised by a narcissistic parent, you know how it feels to exist solely to fulfill someone else’s needs and desires. Your parent might have said something along the lines of “If you don’t grow up to be a doctor or a lawyer like your cousin, I will disown you!” You always felt like they were embarrassed by who you truly are. They want you to be someone else. They have a vision for you. They want you to exist as a pawn to serve their needs and they want to shape you as they please. If you don’t live up to their very high standards, you feel rejected by them. When you succeed they want to show you off and show the whole world how proud they are, otherwise, they will show resentment and distain. It can be a very confusing for a little child going through all of this. They will always question if their parents truly love them or not.
Narcissistic parents can be very possessive of their children. They want to control every aspect of their kids’ lives. They often freak out when they find their kids have become autonomous and independent. They want their offspring to always be dependent on them. They want to feel needed all the time. They want to feel worthy, but at what cost?! Children of narcissistic parents grow up with a lot of trauma from all the abuse they went through.
So, Do Narcissists Love Their Children?
The short answer is no. They don’t truly love anyone other than themselves. Their love is always conditional and limited. They don’t have the capacity for true, genuine love like healthy people do. The narcissistic parent will try really hard to make it look like that they love their children in public. But behind closed doors, the story is very different. It’s all fake like everything the narcissist does.
Narcissists are too focused on their wellbeing and prospering they have no room left in their hearts to love anyone else including their own children.
Narcissists Are Possessive and Jealous
Narcissists can’t stand it when their children become more mature and independent. They want to feel needed. Narcissists might be so possessive of their children that they feel threatened by romantic relationships of their offspring. They may try to sabotage these types of relationships. They will criticize the partner in a miserable attempt to get their son/daughter back. It’s like living in a jail where the offspring is being controlled and manipulated and they are not allowed to go outside to walk their own path.
“I Made You, So I Own You!”
Narcissists view people as objects. They also view a child as merely an extension of themselves so they want them to perfect just like them. The child can’t exist independently from the parent. Narcissists think that because they brought a child into this world, then they own them and they can do with them as they please. Just like any other object they own, the child doesn’t get a say in how they live their life. The child ends being a pawn or a slave into the narcissistic parent’s games. They use their children as they please with total disregard for the child’s own needs and dreams. A narcissistic parent might humiliate a child in public when he does something wrong. They might punish them severely for not living up to their high standards. A child might be grounded for weeks or have his favorite toy taken.
Narcissistic Parents Try To Put Their Children Down
Instead of nurturing their children’s dreams and aspirations, a narcissistic parent may make an effort to make their children fail because they don’t want their children to be better than them. They are competing with their own children! They feel threatened by their children’s success and achievements. They may end up destroying a career or two to feel good about themselves.
Narcissistic parents are judgmental and critical
A narcissist might be nit-picking and critical of their children. An example of this is when a child comes home from school and they show their grades to the parent. The narcissist might focus too much on the bad grades like “you must have worked harder” “you are not good enough”
Narcissists also tend to compare their children to others like “Why can’t you be successful like your friend” they may keep bringing a friend’s achievement up until the child feels worthless in comparison. This kind of constant comparisons can shatter the children’s self-esteem as they feel they are not enough.
Narcissists Lack Empathy
Empathy is what makes people connect to each other. It’s what makes us put ourselves in other people’s shoes and feel their pain. This is called emotional empathy, which narcissists lack. Narcissists have cognitive empathy which means they can understand what people feel on a cognitive level. They know what you must be feeling but they don’t care! Without caring, they can’t truly love and connect with other human beings.
Narcissistic parents often neglect their children’s needs
A narcissist might be always absent emotionally or physically. They might not care about their child’s wellbeing and instead focus on themselves. They will be focusing more on their career achievements, their materialistic gains like money and property or climbing the social ladder and maintaining social relationships. This would leave the child feeling neglected instead of being a top priority.
Narcissistic parents make their children walk on egg shells
Narcissists can be very moody and emotionally unpredictable which makes the child walk on egg shells and be on alert all the time. They never know when the narcissistic parent will throw a fit and punish them. It might not even be the child’s fault. The narcissist might come home from work feeling stressed so they would unload their stress on their poor kids. Parents can be easily triggered into rage where they might act passive-aggressive or escalate into physical violence and beat their children up.
Narcissistic parents might have a favorite Golden child
Other children will be treated so badly for the sole reason that they are not perfect or special. Narcissists lack whole-object relations so if a child have some faults, normal faults because they are human beings, the narcissist would view them as all bad. This splitting black and white thinking can make the child feel very worthless, unloved and neglected.
All of these factors mean that narcissists are heartless when it comes to their children. They never truly love the people they brought into this world. The children are always left with a void in their emotional lives where they try to please people who will never be content with a relationship with them. No wonder these children grow up deeply broken and low in self-esteem.