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adult narcissistic children

How to Deal with Adult Narcissistic Children

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Narcissism is one of the most insidious personality disorders in existence.

It’s often difficult to recognize, especially in your own children. You might feel as if there’s something just a little off about their behavior but finding that you’ve raised a narcissist is difficult to accept.

It raises all sorts of feelings for you as the parent. Where did you go wrong? What could you have done better?

It’s vital to remember that there is no definitive science which points to you as the cause of your child’s narcissistic tendencies or Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

There are several theories which may explain how these traits develop, and one maintains that having a parent who is narcissistic can lead to some children developing the disorder themselves. But, due to there being such a divide amongst the psychological community, it may be a while before this theory gains more momentum.

But until then, what could be the cause? How do you recognize it, and more importantly, how can you deal with it?

How to Know if You’re the Parent of Adult Narcissistic Children

Children learn how the world works through the almighty lenses of their caretakers, and research rooted in attachment theories shows that. When a caretaker attunes appropriately to the child’s feelings and needs, the child subsequently experiences safety and security.

However, in narcissistic families, children experience repeated incidents of their parent misattuning, misaligning, or downright ignoring their feelings. The parent does not validate the child’s emotions; the parent validates whatever is in the parent’s best interest.

The narcissistic parent may punish children for crying, shame them for experiencing fear, and even quell them when expressing ‘too much’ happiness. In other words? Children learn that their feelings are erratic and unsafe. They learn that they are a source of problems.

For this reason, many children grow up believing that feelings must be suppressed. To achieve this suppression, we see many children of narcissists struggle with substance use, eating disorders, self-harm, and other impulsive or compulsive lifestyles.

After all, if they’ve experienced compounded years of condemnation for having feelings, why should they feel safe within their own emotional selves?  In many cases, this can cause a child to form the narcissism defense mechanism.  (In other cases, children will form the codependent defense mechanism).

There are a few signs of narcissistic behavior that parents should watch out for:

  • Inflated ego: The narcissist has a huge ego.  Narcissistic adult children demand that you do what they want, try to control you, and push every boundary. Every time you give them what they want, they demand something else.  They say your job is to make them happy.
  • Need for validation: A narcissist needs constant admiration. Often, they need praise for simple tasks, like making an appearance at your birthday party. You may find yourself giving your narcissistic adult child an inordinate amount of praise over something that’s a normal and expected part of family life.
  • A sense of entitlement: The narcissist feels entitled to things they should have to work for. For example, they may demand ridiculous things like financial support well into adulthood. Or, tasks they should be doing themselves, but you find yourself performing…such as doing their laundry and folding their clothes, filling out their job applications, calling into work sick for them, or fixing their breakfast or lunch to take to work.
  • Exploitation: A narcissist acts without conscience, thinking only of themselves. They lie, trick and steal to get what they want. This exploitation can be glaringly obvious or very subtle, so be on the lookout if you feel used. This may manifest as their throwing temper tantrums, blackmailing you by withholding their love or your grandchildren, trying to entice you with sweetness and affection when they want something, and blaming their behavior on you.
  • Distorted thinking: A narcissist occupies a fantastical world where he or she is the greatest and most important person in the universe. In order to maintain the fantasy, narcissists lie. They often deny things that are obvious. They may make up fantastical tales to support the fantasy.
  • Unpleasant personality: Contempt and belittlement are the narcissists’ tools of choice. When they feel threatened by success, they get mean. Watch out for those who are constantly putting down other peoples’ accomplishments. You may find your narcissistic adult child talking badly about their friends behind their backs, but pretending to care for them when these same friends come around.

How Normal Toddlers Grow to Become Adult Narcissistic Children

Narcissism is a condition that forms early on and manifests more clearly in adults. However, doctors are reluctant to diagnose and treat the disorder in people under 18. That’s because it can be tricky to discern whether the behaviors listed above are the result of narcissism or normal childhood selfishness.

So how did this happen? There are a number of probable causes for narcissistic behavior:

  • Genetics: Inherited genetics are believed in some cases to be the reason for the development of narcissism, which oftentimes forms in childhood. That’s why it’s so important not to have children with anybody who shows signs of narcissism in the first place. They could pass this disorder on to the kids.
  • Neurobiology: There have been some studies on patients with diagnosed NPD which show that neurobiology may play a role in narcissism. A narcissist’s brain simply may not work the same way as yours. They process others’ feelings, yet feel no empathy.
  • Environment: Certain familial environments seem to nurture this disorder. They include living with a narcissistic parent in an absence of love and affection, or in a highly competitive environment. Neglect, abuse and even excessive idolization of a child can contribute.  Most children who grow up with a narcissistic parent in the household typically either become narcissists or codependents as adults.

How to Manage Your Relationship with Adult Narcissistic Children

Dealing with a narcissistic adult child is a lose-lose situation.

When you face off with your adult child, you only want to help them. But you can’t. Narcissism develops during childhood. Once your child is no longer a child, it’s often too late to treat the disorder.

The narcissism grows to be a part of their personality. It’s an extension of themselves. Therapists say that some people with narcissism don’t even know they have it. These people have no desire to get “better”. They don’t see that there’s anything wrong with them in the first place.

Changing Your Point of View

Narcissists have managed to delude themselves into thinking that they are perfect, and so have no real desire to change. You won’t help them become better people. You’ll only be able to help them reach selfish goals, often at your own expense. That’s not really helping anyone.

So how do you get out of this lose-lose situation and make it a win-win?

By taking away the hyphen. It is not a double-sided situation, with your outcome on one hand and the outcome for your child on another. The outcome for you is what you must think of. Your adult child’s outcome is his or her own responsibility now, not yours.

Stop seeing things from your adult child’s point of view, because your child’s point of view is selfish and irrational.

Acceptance

As hard as it is, stop fighting. Acceptance of your child’s behavior doesn’t mean that you go along with it, giving in to their demands. Quite the opposite. It means accepting that your child will never change while standing up to their exploitative behavior.

Recognize that you love them dearly. Accept that they do not and cannot love you back. Realize that no matter what you do for them, it will never be enough. This will save you a lifetime of heartache and is the only way to protect yourself.

If you keep trying to change the relationship, your child will keep fighting you. Likewise, if you continue giving in to their demands and allowing them to use you, you’ll never find happiness.  

Let them know that this is the way you feel. Don’t listen to their arguments, and don’t believe their proclamations about changing.

Isolation

Oftentimes, the only surefire method in dealing with a narcissistic adult child is cutting off contact. It’s incredibly difficult to do this, especially when it comes to your children.

Delete and block your child’s phone number. Be prepared for them to contact you anyway and be ready to walk away. You must steel yourself against their reaction. When you decide enough is enough, make sure you have a support system of loving family and friends around you.

You can also join a support group that caters to other victims of narcissistic behavior. It can help exponentially to talk about your feelings and find strength within a group.

Eventually, your child will get the message and stop fighting you.

Dealing with Your Adult Narcissistic Children Means Taking Control of Your Life

Dealing with an adult narcissistic child is painful and difficult. However, confronting the problem is something you have to do to improve your own life and stop the cycle of abuse. The only path with hope is to stop giving them anything, to demand civil behavior or to cut off contact. 

To learn more about narcissistic behavior and how to break free from it, check out our online courses.

In the Break Free Bootcamp, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with other parents who have discovered that their adult children have become narcissists.  Many of the same approaches and boundaries used with other types of narcissists are largely the same ones used with narcissistic children.  

Remember, you have the power to change your life.

Your healed life starts with one step...

Join thousands of others who have signed up for the free Email Recovery Course and Healing Roadmap. Includes expert advice and tips for encouragement and support. * Seating in my masterclass: 7 Proven Steps to Defeat Narcissistic Abuse PLUS +* How to Ease Anxiety * 16 Empowering Beliefs to Live By + more!

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36 comments
Anonymous says October 6, 2019

Agreed Teena!

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Anonymous says October 6, 2019

I just want to say thank you for 99 percent of the comments and stories I have read on this blog. I also have a 29 year old narcissist daughter. She had showed signs of this disorder since around the age of 2. I have been around alot of children and babies in my life because I am the youngest of 6 siblings. I also have babysat for several children. I have never witnessed the non emotion or bonding quality that my daughter possesed. She litterally made me feel like I was no better or closer to her than a stranger on the street. I will admit I wasn’t the perfect parent but I tried my best to be. It just seemed like at a very young age she fought me on everything. From putting bows in her hair to the shoes I chose for an outfit I put on her. Nothing I did made her happy ever. When I gave birth to her brother she had mixed emotions about him but as an adult she claimed she raised him. She has portrayed me to her friends as a horrible mother! she is accusing me of treating her growing up like she is doing to her own 5 children. She thinks she is doing a great job as a mom but in reality her house is disgusting she had 4 boys in 5 yrs and pretty much locked them all in one room of her house with a tv and access to thier bedrooms. None of which I never have done with her! Also she married a man that is nothing short of a monster from a horror movie and very abusive to her and my grandchildren. CPS has been called on her numerous times! I have never had them called on me not once! They did nothing! She still is living exactly the same with the same monster of a husband. And has a hoarding issue with animals whom most wind up abused and neglected or dead! She has called me several nasty names through her years growing up and laughed at me when I cried from her mental abuse towards me. I had birthday parties for her every year none of which were appreciated and on her 16 the birthday I did a Paris theme and bought her a pug puppy that she wanted as a surprise. However she didn’t like him because he was older than what she wanted. He was only 3 months old! But older than she wanted. She ignored that dog and one time he escaped from my car when I got out to go to the store. I was by a busy street and he was running straight for it. My daughter was with me and wouldn’t help me catch him. She said let him get hit!! No emotion at all. I have to stop writing because there’s way more to my story than what I can possibly reveal in a post. To sum it up.. I now have no contact with her However I miss my grandchildren dearly. And hope to one day see them again when they are old enough to visit me on thier own.

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Tanja says October 5, 2019

One of my adult son is a narcissist. He really didn’t show his true colors until 2 years ago. He said some pretty awful things to me that really hurted my heart as his mother but learning about Narcissistic people made the no contact a little easier for me to let go of him. I haven’t spoken to him in 2 years and haven’t seen my grandkids either but that’s the price I had to pay in order for me to go on with my life. He thought I was going to reach out to him after he gave me the silent treatment and he realized that I wasn’t going to contact him. He tried once after a year of his silent treatment but I didn’t answer nor contact him to see what he wanted and I never heard from him again. It probably was to ease his mind but I wasn’t buying it. I love my son but he is grown and that the choice that he made and I had to accept it as much as it hurted me but after awhile the hurt does go away and I have continued to live my life without him in it. My son already knows that he has broken our relationship and I hope and pray that he finds his happiness but as his mother I can no longer be around him because I don’t trust him, I don’t believe him and I am fine with how things are. I guess my son was shock when he learned from his siblings that I haven’t spoken about or wanting to know about him in 2 years. That is his cross that he have bear.

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Tanja says October 5, 2019

One of my adult son is a narcissist. He really didn’t show his true colors until 2 years ago. He said some pretty awful things to me that really hurted my heart as his mother but learning about Narcissistic people made the no contact a little easier for me to let go of him. I haven’t spoken to him in 2 years and haven’t seen my grandkids either but that’s the price I had to pay in order for me to go on with my life. He thought I was going to reach out to him after he gave me the silent treatment and he realized that I wasn’t going to contact him. He tried once after a year of his silent treatment but I didn’t answer nor contact him to see what he wanted and I never heard from him again. It probably was to ease his mind but I wasn’t buying it. I love my son but he is grown and that the choice that he made and I had to accept it as much as it hurted me but after awhile the hurt does go away and I have continued to live my life without him in it. My son already knows that he has broken our relationship and I hope and pray that he finds his happiness but as his mother I can no longer be around him because I don’t trust him, I don’t believe him and I am fine with how things are. I guess my son was shock when he learned from his siblings that I haven’t spoken about or wanting to know how him in 2 years.

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Janet says October 4, 2019

Thank you for this post! It’s just what I needed…..

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Rosa Symeonidis says October 3, 2019

Thanks

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Terry Olsson says September 30, 2019

I was separated from my alcoholic husband when my daughter was 3yrs. She showed signs of NBD by the time she hit grade 1. All hell broke out for the next few yrs …..tried many options to help her….she then turned her back on me at 15 and went out west. I have been a broken woman, almost going mad with pain and sorrow about this abandonment. She is now 31 with 3 young sons. I moved out west to be near my grandkids but her abuse continues. I never connected her selfishness, disregard, unaccountability and lack of any understanding or empathy to NARSSISSIM. God help me. Now i have left everything i loved behind and live in British Columbia with nothing except hopefully a relationship with my grandkids. I am 68 and would kill myself quite easily if it weren’t for my grandkids.

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Roger says September 20, 2019

I have a narcissistic daughter who is recovering from a drug addiction. She is constantly seeking validation online, and she’s always posting selfies with ‘duck face.’ Everything is me, me, me. She has a habit of coming into my life when she needs something, usually money, and walking out of it whenever she feels like it. This is the third time I’ve allowed her to walk back into my life, and, even though it took a while, she goaded her mother into asking me to send her money for a wedding dress, so she can marry a guy she met a month ago. She’s already living with the dude. Of course, I said I just don’t have the money, even though I do. I just don’t see the sense in sending money for a marriage to someone you just met a month ago. Besides, my daughter just came back into my life a little over 2 months ago. After I said no to the dress, my daughter has lost interest in talking to me. She has texted me once, feigning concern over not hearing from me. I responded that I’m fine, and I asked how she has been doing. I haven’t heard from her since. I’m ready to just cut her out of my life for good. She is 26, and she has no direction in life. I’ve tried to get her to go to college, but she isn’t motivated. Her social media accounts are all filled up with pictures of her and her boyfriend, and sexually explicit comments that they make back and forth. Even their friends complain about it. It’s strange. She’s a total narcissist, but she has no self respect. Honestly, I was at peace before she contacted me, and I don’t think it’s healthy to remain in contact with her. It’s obvious she’s just here to use me for money, and to impress her boyfriend, who pushed her to contact me again. The other times, she was the one who pulled the plug on the relationship. This time, I’m ready to pull the plug.

Sorry if this is meandering, but I’m just typing what comes to mind.

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    Jo says October 3, 2019

    Hi
    My daughter is now 40 and sounds exactly like you have described your daughter.
    She has come in and out of my life usually in when she is down and become unstuck by her lies and actions that have caused her problems.
    I now have decided to stop the revolving door with her.
    Ofcourse it is all my fault !!!!
    I have cut all contact means with her. I know it will be hard as it means not seeing my grandchildren but it’s something I have to do for me.
    Take strength that you are not alone with your situation.

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Hazel says September 16, 2019

I was a co- dependent wife and mother, my daughter. Very early on would throw temper tantrums and embarrass me in front of cashiers, wherever we went. I believe she wanted people to not like me, because she saw me as weak. This went on as a teenager she began bullying me, to make me seem weaker and her more powerful, she had the same dominating personality as her father. Now she wants to control all of my other children by bringing up past mistakes and laughing about them to make me feel I’m an inferior parent. She used to hit me and beat me as a teen, and I allowed this because I felt sorry for her after my divorce from her father and couldn’t give her the things she wanted .i look back now and realize how I should’ve taken control , what is the best way now that she is in her 40’s and I’m 70?

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    julie says October 6, 2019

    From what I’ve read, it’s too late. And I myself, will probably in your shoes before too long as my 17 yr old daughter has zero empathy for me and views me as weak because I suffer from Complex PTSD and have not been able return to my normal productive self yet. She has so much promise. It’s so sad to think it will all be wasted if she is in fact a narcissist. My heart will be crushed. I will never forgive my narc ex for all the damage he caused us.

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Leanne Schwantz says August 28, 2019

I am at my breaking point I need to stop the abuse from my daughter and ready to cut off contact but I have a 4 year old granddaughter that would be involved with too I’m so scared

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Dorie LaRue says August 1, 2019

My son is a narc. His father was and his aunt. I am trapped in paying his rent. He does not work. If that were the only problems I could gladly cut him off. But at fifteen he was diagnosed as Schizophrenic. I have no doubt this is true. Totally illogical thinking. Cannot hold a job. He is living in my rent house free. He had a roommate who kept the place up and paid the utilities and provided some regulation. But my son is an addict and he is getting worse. So his roommate is moving out and I am worried.

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Kathy says July 22, 2019

I have a narcissistic son in law. I married his Dad 8 yrs ago. The yr prior to our marriage. I seen the relationship between the 2 of them. After a little time past. I noticed his son being very disrespectful. As this point I asked my hushand why does he treat you so badly. He really never gave me an answer that particular day. I didnt have much conversation with my son in law. But when I did he was quite charming. Im still confused of course. So on day I just asked. What is going on? It was very long discussion about his son. He told me to be aware of him. He has a severe anger problem. Mind his son is a grown man. After the long conversation we had. I had discovered that his son had totally control of him before our married. Giving him anything weather he could afford it or not. Going debit. He stopped doing for him that after we got married. Told his to get a job. Start taking care of himself. He went to jail. Doing drugs. Told us he was homeless and hungry. Made our life a living hell. Phone calls all hours of the nite. Cuss calling us name. I could go on and on. We finally came to realize we had to break all ties with him blocking phone social media even losing friends. This is a terrible thing. We love him. But we feel we didnt have a choice.

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cynthia hinds says July 6, 2019

im not sure this is the right place but could use some direction. My adult daughter claims I am a narcissist. This couldnt be further from the truth. She has now cut me out of her life and I cant stop mourning. please help guide me to support if you can.

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    Zuleika says October 6, 2019

    Dear Cynthia,

    I feel your pain. I have three children, two of whom have a mental disability. My so-called “normal” one actually is much worse off than the other two. Long, long story short, she wrote a 30-page diatribe about how I am the narcissist and faxed it to my husband’s workplace. Fortunately, my husband have been married for decades and are the best of friends. She was living 5 states away when this happened, and by New Year’s almost three years ago, she had said she would never let me see her get married, or have children, there would be no vacations, no coming to my funeral. So far, she cut me out of seeing her graduate from college, and this July, got married without inviting us or her siblings. It hurts like hell, and I thought I would never get over it. To me, cutting off your family completely (her whole extended family as well) is just so not done. It is so unadult. Hey,, family is family, in my book. But I started thinking eventually, and realized that this did not really happen overnight. I have not been happy with her behavior for years. I had hoped it would get better once she moved to college and would finally start apreciating us. It only got worse. She can be very cruel to myself and even to her friends. I think they are sincere, but she is not. I have told her (hoping it would help snap her to awareness) that, while I love her, I don’t like what she stands for. I have finally accepted that, when it all boils down to it, it is very simple. If I met her as a non-family member, I would never want to be her friend. We went out of our way, though, to make sure that it was SHE who dumped us, because she has such an abandonment issue. But once she did it, our family became a lot happier. No more drama. No more being treated like dirt. No more mean and nasty comments. Sure, I would love if things had not turned out this way. Family was everything to me, even as a child. But when someone doesn’t want you that badly, it is just not worth it. I wouldn’t put up with her nonsense for two seconds with anyone else. So I see that I, too, am only interested in holding on because she is my daughter. I missed her wedding, but she was always secretive about her boyfriends before. She never really wanted my opinion about clothing styles or china or houseware patterns anyway. She really didn’t act like a daughter to begin with. Maybe this sounds cold, I don’t feel cold. I am just sharing how things really were. Were they that great before for you? I will certainly miss any grandkids. I never had any grandparents and I worked really hard to make sure that my kids had a relationship with theirs while they were alive. But she wants me out of the picture. Well, God has been good to me, and I have tried to share all that goodness with her. If she doesn’t want it, she doesn’t have to have it. I need to share with the two other kids I have and anyone else who needs what we have to offer. That is all we can do in life. I hope she has whatever experiences she needs to turn herself around and have a genuinely wonderful life, but she has built her so-called dream life on sand. I wish both of us well.

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Cheyenne says May 5, 2019

I stood up for myself today with my narcissistic daughter and am experiencing a nasty lashing out from her on her fb page. I refuse to let her live with me again after 2 failed attempts – she is 29 – and I had her blocked until today when she emailed me that she needed to talk to me. I unblocked her on fb and saw a comment about her wanting to find her siblings in Germany and accused me of standing in the way of her reconciling with them which is not the case. I do not know where they are. She has pulled my half sister into this drama. My half-sister hates me because I found her dad who is my dad as well 20 years ago (I was adopted) as she does not want a sibling (I am 57, she is 50). Now they my sister is making up the story that 15 years ago, I had left my daughter with my dad and stepmom in Georgia to run off to CA to reconcile with my then husband, that she had to search for my daughter’s paternal grandmother in AZ, that she paid for my daughter’s flight ticket to AZ and that I had left my daughter for my then husband. In reality, my then husband and I lived in Georgia with my daughter at that time, my daughter’s behaviors were out of hand, her teacher suggested I get her to a group home for girls, I said no I do not want her in the system so I called her paternal grandmother in AZ, I paid for the flight ticket and I got my daughter to Savannah to the airport and waited until the plane took off. My sister has the nerve to gaslight our parents by telling them they do not remember the events correctly, that her version of the events are correct and I had persuaded our parents that it happened the way I just described (the way it really happened not my sister’s version). I don’t understand how people can do this kind of thing, My sister does not care that I had crappy adopted parents, that I had cancer, am struggling with Meniere’s and balance dysfunction, am almost deaf – she wants to destroy my good relationship with my dad and stepmom, the only parents I have and am close to. My bio mother rejects me to this day. I think my sister is a narcissist as well (my parents have described her as incredibly selfish and that they are paying for their mistakes in how they raised her now). I decided today that this is it, that I will not be in touch with my narcissistic daughter ever again. She is also disinherited and she told my sister this. I am heartbroken. My peace of mind is more valuable however than being in touch with her and being continuously abused.

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Sasha says April 28, 2019

I have a narcissistic son and daughter in law. I have never seen two more controlling people. They feed from each other and she knows when to push his buttons to make him come and involve me by bringing up something I didn’t do for them years ago. She finally got hat she wanted, a wedge between my son and me. I didn’t realize just how narcissistic He was until he blew up at me. I am almost 70 and feel like I am at the age where I shouldn’t have to deal with this. I am done and can’t…don’t want to deal with the whole situation anymore. Oh and there are two grandchildren that I know they will keep away. It’s sad, because I am sure our relationship has now been destroyed. I don’t want to go through all of this again.

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Thea says April 26, 2019

This is such a painful process to go through, my mother is narcissistic and I was the scapegoated child, my sister the golden child. I grew up confused and feeling worthless and having no idea of boundaries. I went on to marry a sociopath unknowingly of course, and had a daughtera few years later.
From about the age of four I think she developed narcissistic traits took advantage of her friends viewed herself as always right (others always wrong) and became very selfish and demanding. While she was growing up I gave her plenty of love and support and tried to make her feel valued, because I didn’t want her to go through what I did as a child, despite everything she has rejected me with empty promises and devaluing comments even stating when she was 18 years old that she was like her father and not like me! felt like a stab in the heart.
Over the years she witnessed her fathers abusive behaviour both physically and psychologically towards me. I try to have very minimal contact with her and and always come away feeling a complete emptiness inside.

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    johnny says June 3, 2019

    My wife and her mother are both narcissists and I am glad you aren’t one and realize their problem. All my children are one now too. Its very easy for a mother to raise a narcissist while destroying a father’s role. God is the only cure.

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      Ann says October 6, 2019

      I’m glad you know the only real help

      Reply
Holly C says June 4, 2018

I don’t miss the bullying, I miss the the lost potential. I really miss my grandchildren. Toward the end, knowing they would be his ultimate weapon. It is.

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Sarah A Negus says May 23, 2018

Teena,

Very odd post. I was a very naive 20 year old when I met my now deceased (killed himself) ex husband. Raised in a normal Loving family. My gut told me something was not quite right…..but my hormones, and insecurities around my looks etc, aka low self esteem (at least in the attractability Dept), at the time overruled…….I ended up, two children later left alone as I called him out on his lack of ability to be #1 a father and 2 to be a loving decent person….Well after the fact, his Mother (a saint) told me to leave him..My children were loved, nurtured and cared for as well if not better than any child….I have encountered more than one couple, who adopted….who, despite providing amazing love, care and example of good….. nevertheless whose child did not in turn take and emulate those qualities and behavior. I mean NO disrespect or judgement when I say Teena, somehow you may either be NPD yourself……or were raised by 2 people who were of that ilk….That said, and from my experience and extensive research……you may in fact be one of the offspring of two “cluster B’s”…..that took from two grandparents the healthier non disordered genetics…..For that if the case, I’m happy for you…..But make NO mistake. Loving, good parents CAN and do give birth to a “bad” seed……through no fault of their own,

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Teena says May 22, 2018

It’s extremely unlikely that a narcissist would emerge a family environment that isn’t saturated with narcissistic thinking. Narcissists’ parents have rigid hierarchical world-views, worship excellence and success (however they define it) and teach their children that those who don’t measure up deserve maltreatment. Love is highly conditional. Children come to see the world through their parents’ eyes develop defenses against parental withholding and devaluation. Good parents don’t produce narcissists. Good enough parents don’t either. I’m sorry, but if you have a narcissistic child you don’t get to feel sorry for yourself.

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    Cheyenne says May 5, 2019

    As I was raised by narcissistic adopted parents who were rigid, inflexible, judgmental etc, I have become the opposite. This made me easy prey to narcissists. I didn’t even know that my adopted “parents” had been narcissists until I was 45 years old and learned that it had not been a normal environment. Thus, I was with a narcissistic husband for 13 years, most of her formative years (4-14 years old), she learned it from him. She has the same lifestyle he had (not working, then changing jobs all the time, living off people, feeling entitled, demanding and if her demands are not fulfilled, temper tantrums and threats – she threatened to beat me up today – living in peoples homes, things falling apart there, she blames her roommates, goes to the next friend, friendships fall apart, she is an addict). I am almost deaf, she used my deafness by sneaking around at night whenever we were alone. It has been a very difficult many years. So, it is usually one parent or stepparent who contributes to it. There are also children who are narcissistic because their brains are differently wired. I have a masters in forensic psych with focus on personality disorders. Your response is harsh. It is not always both parents, it is sufficient when one parent (or in this case stepparent) has NPD. Children raised by narcissistic parents often become empaths and thus easy targets for narcissistic partners.

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      Ayi says May 26, 2019

      Thank you Cheyenne. As mother 2 children with an NPDfather, I came here seeking support. That comment stung, and so reading you reply was balm to my soul. Thank you.

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    Lois Goodman says June 5, 2019

    Good parents can and do produce narcissists. i totally disagree with Teena. We made a monumental mistake with our eldest. when she was 2 yrs old she threw her first tantrum. we attended parenting courses and the educator told us to praise praise and praise. try to ignore the bad… yeah right. it created the monster. im telling you that too much praise and trying to make sure she had a high self esteem did the damage. 3 more children all brought up the same and only one narcissist. our life has been hell as now she has withdrawn contact with our grandchildren as some grandiose punishment for us.

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      Devastated Mom says September 17, 2019

      This is our situation EXACTLY. Catered to her and created a monster. 3 children, but she is the only one who turned out this way. We are very close to cutting off all contact. She is only 18, but has been exhibiting this behavior since toddlerhood. Just a heartbreaking situation all the way around. Sorry you are going through it, too. 🙁

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    Sunny says August 23, 2019

    We dont have to get nasty with each other. I have read extensively on the subject,(literally over 100 books, endless articles, and anything online I can find). There does seem to be a genetic component called “trait genes” scientists have identified according to articles I’ve read, now in addition to that, it can be made worse on the spectrum based on their early childhood experiences etc… That being said, some children are raised by narcissists and DO NOT become narcissists themselves and vice versa. I think part of the problem is the DX of NPD cannot be made before 18 but it is crucial to make the DX earlier if a difference is to be made in the persons life. I go back over my son’s life and there was always something different. In preschool the teachers told me he pushed a little girl off a big wheel and then drove off with it not looking back. The teachers said there was something wrong with him. I remember how upset they were, I was crying, what is wrong with him? My husband convinced me they were over reacting and pulled him out of the school. He was 3 years old. I remember using this book called teaching your children values and each month we would practice thing like”truth” etc… I brought him to church, went to CCD and taught classes. I am willing to look at myself but I am telling you honestly, I did my very best to love, be patient, treat kindly, set a good example, went to parenting classes, read books on parenting and discipline, was supportive went to all the activities, said the rosary with him in morning before school. I loved/love him. I still do. My husband had a father who died in his 30s-who we suspect was a narcissist based on information from the family. I think we are still understanding the brain, personality disorders, genes etc… I believe that NPD is likely like Autism with emotions, processing etc… But people who have it seem to be very high functioning in many areas of their lives. But imagine being incapable of true connection with another person, love, empathy, compassion. The vindictiveness and ability to inflict pain on others without a second thought to meet one’s own needs. To watch it as a mother is horrible and then to have some blame you as if you dont feel bad enough.Unlike the NPD person, I am capable of shame, remorse and guilt. It is as though we are doubly victimized. I wont go into the horrors of have a child for the last 25 years with this. I think due to good parenting and love my son has never been involved with the law, been in prison, or drink alcohol. But he doesnt feel like you and me.No matter how much I love him he will not and cannot ever love me back.

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      CC says October 4, 2019

      That was my thinking too. Is it autism or narcissism? Both have similar traits. My son worries me that he has no love to give. Or else can’t express it. Or else is just a boy who’s not matured yet and his anxiety levels overpower any depth of feeling he may have. He has to be prompted to hug, he doesn’t think of others, he is obsessed with trains, planes and timetables. He only cries of he doesn’t get his way.
      His dad is either a covert narcissist or has aspergers… I can’t decided but I don’t care anymore since he abandoned us, had two affairs simultaneously and hasn’t seen his kids for nearly 3 years. Doesn’t ask about them. I’ve to strong arm him but his girlfriend email address to pay child maintenance and embarrass him into doing it. I don’t understand why he doesn’t care. I also suspect him of harming my daughter when she was a baby as after the last day he seen her he had a supposed breakdown and she howled every time her nappy was changed. I reported it but I had no energy to put my kids through more trauma and investigations. He fled after this. My gut tells me he harmed her. I despise him. Yet was with him for 20 years, since teenagers so my evolving relationship with him meant I didn’t pick up on the clues. I just thought he was a man child and shit a providing. He had over 30 jobs in 30 years. I’ve had 1. He never asked about bills yet would buy himself loads of Nike trainers. He didn’t adult. Now I see it as he felt entitled to do what he liked with no concern for others. He pretended. Then he couldn’t anymore…. He told me I was collateral damage. Enough said!

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        julie says October 6, 2019

        CC, your ex husband is a narcissist. He sounds just like mine. I’ve been around people with both Asperger’s and covert narcissism. Covert narcs are evil, malicious and have an agenda to make you suffer once you know what they are and are no longer a source of fuel for them. Asperger’s have all the emotions including empathy. They just struggle to process them and display them in normal ways, often displaying with balled up fists and agitation, etc; but not intentionally aimed to hurt someone.

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      Janet says October 4, 2019

      Wow Sunny! Thank you for your post! I agree with you and see many words of wisdom in what you say. …..Makes me feel better, unlike some of the other posts here that blame the parents. My husband and I are empaths who raised one empath daughter and a narcissistic son. I spent the last 35 years of his life trying to figure him out and looking for answers as to why he was so different. I finally stopped blaming myself and am going through self healing now while focusing on the love in the rest of the family. The hardest thing I’ve had to do is realize that my son may never love me as I have loved him. It hurts so bad. But the time for blaming is over…..

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    Anonymous says October 6, 2019

    Its more complicated than that. Each situation is different. Not every parent causes this. Some work hard to do well and still have a narcissist child. I am a good person and a loving parent. My narcissistic and/or psychopathic mother,grandmother and other siblings she influenced did alot of group manipulation to destroy me and my children. I didn’t understand what happened until years later. I was not raised to call the police on my mom. But I should have twice on her and once on my grandmother and a few times on siblings. The police would have corrected them in these situations for a FACT. I was confused,passive and did not understand the serious danger of my own family that I was raised to love and trust. Don’t judge. It can happen.

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Pamela Leach says April 4, 2018

My granddaughter is being bullied by her father. My daughter is trying to get custody BK. She is 16 not allowed to have a cell phone she might call her mom.the court said he has to allow her to call her mom 3 notes a WK he won’t let her. She was molested at 5years old by dad’s friend he did nothing She has to baby sit for all her younger siblings. She isn’t allowed to have a boy friend. They try to break her passwds to Snoop and they have cameras in every room and outside. She looks just like her mom beautiful and it scares me. Is this normal?

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    Kim Saeed says April 16, 2018

    Heck no it’s not normal. Sounds like someone may want to call CPS on her behalf, or at the very least, contact a DV center and seek guidance from them.

    Kim

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Sally says April 3, 2018

Soooo so happy to finally read a post about this…..I have lived with and through this reality. My TWo adult children, unfortunately have imo AND experienceinherited the genética that set then Up for one, with Bordrrline pd and my second child with anti-social pd…..Its ime 100% in the genes…….Thank you

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