UPDATE: Colleen contributed to the article Signs of a Narcissistic Parent by Jessa Claira for UpJourney.
Living with a narcissistic parent can be incredibly challenging! Here are five signs to look for when determining whether someone is a narcissist or not. These characteristics DO NOT necessarily indicate a person is a narcissist, but they could; these traits may even be present in people who aren’t narcissists. If we note them, we can tell how much their behavior matches those of true narcissists.
Narcissistic parents put their own needs before their children’s needs.
At first glance, it may seem like they are just being nice by giving their child what they need and gifts, but these are not about the child’s needs and wants. The narcissistic parent meets the condition of the child to gain attention from them. It’s important to remember that the parent doesn’t care if the child likes what they give them. What matters most is that the child loves them.
Narcissistic parents tend to be highly intrusive.
Narcissistic parents are often very controlling and demanding, getting into the personal business of their children. They want to know where their children go, whom they talk to, how much time they spend with friends, etc. Information is gathered and often used against the child later if the parent feels threatened by the child. This behavior leads to an unhealthy amount of parental involvement in their children’s lives. Intense feelings of guilt and resentment towards the parent create feelings that they’ve done something wrong and resentment because the child feels the parent is trying to control them.
Narcissistic parents don’t allow their children to think for themselves.
Narcissistic parents’ behavior is unhealthy and disruptive to the development growth of a child. Parents don’t take the time to teach their children to make decisions for themselves. Instead, they try to force their values onto their child. Children who make mistakes are often punished instead of taught. The result is that the child learns to avoid making mistakes in the future which leads to poor decision-making skills.
Narcissistic parents play favorites.
Narcissistic parents are masters of triangulation — maintaining control over their kids by playing one against the other. They may constantly praise their favorite child while speaking poorly about another child in the household. Children feel like they must choose sides; when they do, they’re likely to pick the side that gets more attention.
Narcissistic parents are emotionally unavailable.
Narcissistic parents are unable to show empathy toward their children. They don’t understand why they should care about the feelings of others and believe that they are better than everyone else. This emotional detachment from the children causes them to become distant and cold. Children learn to view the world through the lens of their narcissistic parents and expect rejection from other people.
Get Support From A New Heights Mental Health Counselor
Whether you live with a narcissistic parent or are dealing with the aftermath of one, it is important to seek help. If your parents are narcissists, they may be able to provide some insight into their behavior and how it affects you. However, if your parents have passed away, there may not be anyone else who can advise you on what to do next. In both cases, seeking professional counseling from a mental health counselor can be helpful.
New Heights therapists want you to live life to its fullest. They believe that everyone deserves to feel happy, healthy, and fulfilled. They aim to help you achieve this by providing compassionate care in a safe environment. To learn more about what New Heights counselors can do for you, call today at (850) 757-1552.
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- Signs of a Narcissistic Parent and How to Cope, Michelle Pugle for VeryWellHealth
- The Problem with Narcissistic Parents, PsychAlive
- Welcome Video New Heights Counseling Founder & Clinical Director Colleen Wenner
About the Author:
Colleen Wenner is the founder and clinical director of New Heights Counseling, where she provides counseling services for individuals struggling with mental health issues. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Master Certified Addiction Professional. Colleen is a certified supervisor in Florida and an EMDR trauma-certified practitioner and consultant in training. Colleen is committed to providing excellent client care and services the Fort Walton Beach, Crestview, Niceville, Destin, and surrounding communities.
Colleen has consistently advocated for mental health wellness and has dedicated her entire life to promoting awareness among the public. She has been featured on various podcasts such as Practice of the Practice (The #1 Podcast for counselors in private practice), Shrink Think Podcast, and The Salty Christan Podcast, to name a few. She has also contributed to several Yahoo Best Life, Unfinished Man, UpJourney, and WebMD articles. Colleen uses compassionate and authentic communication to help clients understand themselves better and feel more confident about their ability to improve their lives.