A person that is narcissistic might have certain characteristics that makes life very difficult for their child. This type of parent can be very self-centered. While narcissistic parents cannot be generalized to say that all will behave the same way, there are abusive narcissistic parents.
For example, a narcissistic father might turn their child down when asked to race, since the parent believes that they alone will win the race. The father might tell the child he won’t race because he will win anyway. This parent might also be very angry should they lose the race; thus, placing blame on their child.
Another example is that of the narcissistic mother. When her child wants to help her in the kitchen or with other chores, the mother might continuously belittle the child and tell them that they can’t do anything right.
How then, does narcissism affect the child? While I have been made aware that not all narcissistic parents are the same, I do believe the child can suffer a great deal with this type of parent, especially if they are not seeking help for the narcissism. The child might feel as though they can do nothing right. They may feel that they continually fail their parent, since that is the message that might be sent by their narcissistic parent. The child might also withdraw inwardly, so that they cannot be barraged with negative comments and statements by their abusive parent.
Children of narcissistic parents that are abusive, must be on guard constantly. They must strive to do their very best in school, for fear of being told how successful their parent was in comparison. A child that struggles with their schoolwork has it hard at home, since the narcissistic parent might go on and on about their own successes, creating a sense of shame for the child.
Another way that narcissism affects the child is that of the emotions. For example, a child that is being bullied at school has a variety of strong emotions they feel. Sadly, the narcissistic parent might not know how to show sympathy or empathy towards their child, since they can be so self-absorbed. Their child is then left to defend themselves and to not show any emotion, since the narcissistic parent might not acknowledge the child’s emotions. This can have huge effects on the child. It is as though their narcissistic parent expects them to not feel. When they do feel strong emotions, they are not accepted by the parent.
The child of narcissistic parents might find themselves feeling as though they want to quit, since they can’t measure up. They might feel as though they are nothing but a failure, since they can’t do as good as their parents supposedly did in school. Some children, as they grow older in this environment, may turn to self-injury.
If you are involved in the life of a child that has narcissistic parents that are abusive, please do all that you can to offer them constant praise and acceptance. Help them to know that they are not the problem in this relationship.
Lastly, report the verbal and emotional abuse to the authorities. There is no form of abuse that is worse than another. Abuse is abuse and the child deserves to receive help.