If you deal with a narcissistic ex, then you know how frustrating and painful this can be. You understand the challenges and have done all you can to keep the peace and practice parallel parenting.
While you may have that situation under control, the narcissist’s negative nature is still going to have an affect on your children.
It’s unfortunate and there’s not a whole lot you can do to change your ex’s behavior. However, you can compensate for their shortcomings as a parent to ensure that your little one’s development and happiness is not affected by their narcissistic parent.
What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?
Narcissistic Personality Disorder, also known as NPD, is a deep and destructive disorder that is very difficult (if not impossible) to treat.
NPD is characterized by a lack of empathy and the inability to understand how personal actions affect other people.
Those with NPD possess a desperate need to feel superior, gain attention and have control. They don’t care who they hurt to achieve these.
How Do Narcissists Parent Their Children?
The basis of narcissistic parenting is the narcissist’s total self-focus.
Narcissistic parents often use their child to gain attention or envy from others. They present their child almost as a trophy and take credit for their child’s achievements.
However, they are likely to not praise their child for these accomplishments and instead insults and puts down the child in order to maintain their sense of superiority.
Narcissistic parents may also use guilt and manipulation to keep their child dependent on them in order to maintain control.
How Does Narcissistic Parenting Affect Children?
These are a few ways that narcissistic parenting can affect a child. By no means does this mean your child is going to experience everything on this list.
These are simply affects you should be aware of, especially to recognize any detrimental effects their narcissistic parenting is having on them.
- The child develops poor self-esteem.
- The child is at risk of PTSD, depression and anxiety.
- The child never feels “good enough”.
- The child feels valued for what they do instead of who they are.
- The child doesn’t feel seen or heard.
- The child develops self-doubt.
- The child experiences stunted emotional development.
- The child is taught to place more importance on appearance than authenticity.
- The child feels used and manipulated.
- The child has difficulty developing independence.
- The child feels like an accessory instead of a human being.
Should you notice that your child is being negatively affected by their narcissistic parent’s behavior, do not hesitate to contact your child’s health care provider or a professional child psychologist.
Although there are ways you can help your child, sometimes they need that bit of extra support.
How Can You Help Your Child?
The most important thing you can do to help your child who is experiencing the negative effects of narcissistic parenting is to parent with empathy.
Provide for your child what they are not receiving from their narcissistic parent.
Be loving and understanding and validate their feelings and accomplishments.
You want to also create a relationship with your child based on honesty and communication. You should be a safe place for your child to discuss their concerns and their pain.
Unless there is proof that the narcissistic parent is dangerous for the child, there is very little you can do as far as limiting their presence in your child’s life.
However, by being the warm and loving parent your child needs, you can help diminish these negative effects.
Have you ever dealt with narcissism, either as a parent or when you were a child? Let us know in the comments.