20 Signs of Narcissistic Parents

If you think you always had a tough and traumatic childhood when you look back to those days, then there is a possibility that you may have narcissistic parents. They have had a great impact on your life.

Your search for such an article might have led you here, as with age and maturity you might have realized that you did not have the same childhood as other kids. Thus out of curiosity and an urge to attain an authentication about your parents’ true personalities, you might be here reading about this article. Here are a few signs of Narcissistic parents.

To have a deeper knowledge about the subject, let us know what narcissistic parents are and how you can know if you have narcissistic parents.

What is a Narcissistic Parent?

A narcissist is someone who suffers from a mental health disorder that affects their life so much that it may hinder them and the people around them too. Narcissism is a mental health disorder in which people have an inflated sense of self, a lack of empathy, a constant need for admiration, adoration, and validation, have deep-rooted insecurities and project them onto others to feel fulfilled, resist negatively to criticism and are emotionally dependent on others.

Not all parents who display similar traits are narcissistic, as it is a natural human tendency to display some of these traits. However a narcissistic mother or father may display these below-mentioned typical traits that include,

  • Narcissistic parents are manipulative
  • They are selfish and always think for themselves first
  • They may abuse their children emotionally
  • They are constantly running in the race for success and wish to be more successful than others
  • They would compare their kids with others and force them to be the best among all
  • They would exploit others for personal gains
  • They lack empathy
  • They have a desire to associate with people who have a higher status and are well off financially
  • They have a boosted sense of self-importance
  • They have a sense of entitlement
  • Are arrogant

Now that we know some basic traits that may help you acknowledge your narcissistic parents, here are 20 signs that may help you identify them better.

20 Signs of Narcissistic Parents

Narcissistic parents can be agonizing as they create their share of agony, problems, and suffering for their children. They can leave a deep impact on their children’s lives, especially during the childhood period. Here are a few signs to recognize narcissistic parents who may or may not be responsible for the traumatic childhood that you might have had.

Here are a few signs,

1. They are Exploitative and Manipulative

Even if you do not wish to do something your narcissistic parents are pestering you about doing you may have to still do it. They might try to guilt trip you or blackmail you emotionally just to make you do something and gain the upper hand in the situation using the power of the relation that they hold of being a parent.

2. They need to be the center of attention

Narcissistic parents seek attention, and they make sure that every situation revolves around them. Even with their kids around them, they would simply focus on themselves. Generally, parents like to celebrate and be happy when their children flourish and grow up to be better individuals, but narcissistic parents, would be happy only if their kid’s achievements are praise-worthy and bring them glory which boosts their ego.

3. They play favorites

Parents are the epitome of love, sympathy, care, selfless motives, and genuine affection. But this is not so the case with narcissistic parents. They have the desire to be the favorite parent among their children and always try to manipulate kids into believing that each one is better than the other. She would say statements like “Who is the best mom? “Who gives you what you desire?” or “Who would you choose between your parents?”. They would ask such questions just to seek favorable answers in the form of a narcissistic supply.

Narcissistic parents also have a favorite who is a golden child, and they focus only on this child because the child follows them blindly. The child is ready to do whatever the parents suggest, and thus narcissists like obedient children, this provide them narcissistic supply.

4. They blame others for their behaviors

Another classic sign to recognize a narcissistic parent is that they would never be held accountable for anything that goes wrong. They may behave the way they wish and would never acknowledge how their behavior may affect others. Whenever they face a conflict, they may deflect the blame onto their children.

Nobody is faultless, but accepting that fault and working to make things better requires humility, but narcissistic parents lack that. Rather than taking responsibility for their mistakes and owning them, narcissistic parents would deflect it on others and this may also include their children.

5. They are obsessed with maintaining the family’s image

Narcissistic parents have this mad obsession to showcase a perfect family at least in the eyes of society. They always wish to maintain their grandiose and perfect personas. They may demand certain behaviors from their family members while in public. They may often keep the family struggles and promote the idea of a healthy and fulfilled family by acting, dressing, and behaving in a certain way publically.

6. Their love is conditional

Love comes with conditions when you have narcissistic parents. Narcissistic parents do display love, but more often they use it as a tool to exploit their family members, especially their children to get things done. They may withdraw attention and affection whenever the child opposes their ideas and wishes.

7. Narcissistic parents devalue their children and lower their confidence

Narcissistic parents always fear that their children might bring them shame, so they never allow them to do anything freely without their consent. They would barely have any input for you when they have no interest in what you are saying and would degrade your ideas. Narcissistic parents constantly criticize their children and display rage to maintain their authority.

8. They are neglectful and would never be present for their children

A narcissistic parent would expect their children to be present for them in their need, but would never be there for their children in their need. Narcissistic parents are so self-absorbed with themselves and their lives that they neglect their children and their responsibilities towards them. They would always seek gratitude but never appreciate their child’s presence.

9. They may get annoyed when their children seek their attention

Children need their parent’s attention, adoration, and validation to feel safe and loved. However narcissistic parents would not provide their kids with what they require unless they are gaining something out of it. They do not know how to be present for others and thus they may get annoyed when their children demand attention, affection, and validation from them.

10. They embarrass you publically

A narcissistic parent holds the key to controlling their children in the form of their shortcomings, insecurities, and lack. They may not give it a second thought before insulting their children publically just to hide their insecurities and shortcomings. Their half-hearted parenting methods might have led their children to be what they may be, but just to hide that fact they may embarrass and criticize them publically.

11. They are jealous and possessive of others

Narcissistic parents desire absolute control over their children. They become jealous of their kids when they sense a threat to their control. A narcissistic parent become possessive of their children and also angry at them when they feel their children are focusing on others. For instance, a narcissistic parent would be angry when their child starts a new relationship, finds a new job at a new place, or gets married.

12. They expect their children to be caregivers

Narcissistic parents expect their children to be present for them all around the clock even if it means putting their personal needs and responsibilities aside because they helped their children be whatever they were and gave their everything to them. A narcissistic parent would expect their children to give them everything, do everything for their well-being, and leave everything aside just to cater to their needs so that they can feel worthy and their ego is boosted.

13. They are obsessed with money and success

Narcissistic parents would always equate their children’s success in terms of monetary basis and compare your accomplishments with their own. They view themselves as perfect and the most accomplished members of the family and would compare you to themselves more than enough to break your self-worth.

14. They are codependents

Narcissistic parents often depend on their children to receive gratitude to boost their self-worth. They constantly need someone to provide them with a narcissistic supply, and if they are alone how do they gain the narcissistic supply? Thus narcissistic parents are codependent on their children and other family members to boost their ego and self-importance.

15. They are immature and selfish

Narcissistic parents would behave indifferently when they are hurt emotionally due to their children’s behavior. If they feel embarrassed and shameful due to their child’s act, they would act immaturely and selfishly and never understand the child’s perspective.

16. They hardly show any interest or concern for their family

Usually, family members display care, concern, and understanding for each other. But when you have narcissistic parents, they can’t put their needs aside and care for others.

17. They use their children for personal gain

Narcissistic parents will use their children to boost their egos, flaunt their perfect children, seek revenge, or gain something from others. For instance, a narcissistic parent may try to seek sympathy from society when their kid does something wrong rather than accepting their fault and rebuking their child’s behavior.

18. They use guilt-tripping to get what they want

Guilt-tripping is an emotionally manipulative tactic used by narcissistic parents to feel superior and entitled. They also behave in a manner through which they can gain power and control. They may guilt trip you to fulfill their expectations and demands.

19. They limit your together time

Narcissistic parents usually do not spend time with their children as they are so busy focusing on themselves. They will only spend time together if it fulfills their interests too. They may never spend time with their kids unless it affects them too.

20. They have poor boundaries and also overstep yours

Narcissistic parents have no problem mending and bending the rules and boundaries when it comes to themselves, but when it concerns their control over their children, all boundaries and rules lose their meaning. Narcissists parents do not understand the meaning of personal boundaries and always try to overstep them just to secure their control over you.

Narcissistic parents can be abusive, so how should you save yourself if you have a narcissistic parent?

The first step to save yourself from narcissistic abuse is to acknowledge the fact that you are being bullied and abused. Once you confirm the fact that you are being abused and manipulated, you may proceed to the next step of protecting yourself which may include creating boundaries, practicing self-compassion, often having reality checks, and seeking help to heal yourself from the trauma.

Narcissistic parents are often characterized by their boosted sense of self-importance, self-pride, and self-needs. With narcissistic parents, everything is just about them. They thrive upon the attention, adoration, and validation that they receive from their children and what makes them distinguished from others is the way they think and the way they behave, which is selfish and mean.

Narcissists have huge egos to satisfy and when their children hurt their egos, they suffer narcissistic injury and may also punish their kids. They may also seek revenge and thus they are self-absorbed.

Final Thoughts

Parents play a pivotal role in their children’s life. Their behavior shapes their children’s adulthood and also affects their childhood. Thus having nurturing parents is a boon, but not all parents are supportive.

Having narcissistic parents can be challenging for children as their constant abuse, manipulation, and toxicity may hinder their child’s growth. But that being said, there are signs through which you can figure out the true personalities of your abusive parents, and find ways to deal and cope with them.

To look on the brighter side though you cannot choose your parents or how they treat you, you can always find ways to defend yourself and create healthy boundaries.

Ella Carrillo

Ella Carrillo

Hey Reader, I am Ella, an Online and Offline Therapist holding an experience of 6 years in this field. From Relationship, Depression, and Personality Disorder to Narcissistic problems, I have helped a lot of people find their solutions. Upon gathering a number of common problems that people face, I decided to put the information on this blog so that anyone can get their answers easily.

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