8 Ways a Narcissistic Parent Can Harm Children
Whether or not their parents’ divorce, narcissistic parents harm their children. When a narcissist is divorced, he or she becomes vindictive, suffers a narcissistic injury, and goes full-force vindictive.
It’s almost as if they’re hell-bent on making their ex and children pay for the pain and suffering caused by the narcissistic injury.
Because they lack insight into their behavior, narcissists are either unable to see the damage they cause or, due to a lack of empathy, do not care about the damage they cause. If you’re the other parent, I’m going to share insights into their behavior as well as personal experiences from my daughter’s relationship with their narcissistic mother with you.
Children Not Be Heard Or Valued
The narcissist does not consider consequences before acting, and if she does not do something that harms your child, she does not consider his or her voice or opinion. She doesn’t care or consider how her actions affect her children. Only he deserves validation; everyone else will be shut down immediately.
Children Learn Being Authentic is Dangerous.
What is and isn’t real is defined by the narcissistic parent. If your daughter is nervous about meeting her new boyfriend, she will dismiss it as something she is making up because of what she has heard from her father. If your son writes a grammatically correct email with no spelling errors, she will accuse him of letting Dad write the email. What is real to your child is deflected onto what is real to him by the narcissistic parent.
Narcissists Tell Children Too Much
The narcissistic parent regards no information as sacred. The narcissistic parent is unconcerned about his or her child’s emotional state. If it is information that can cause you to reflect, it will be shared with their child, who will be told it is a secret. “Please don’t tell Mom.” This puts the child in the perilous position of having to carry around potentially harmful information while having no one to console them emotionally.
Children Receive No Emotional Nourishment.
Asking or expecting emotional nourishment from a narcissist is akin to asking a two-year-old to hold a conversation about quantum physics. They lack the emotional intelligence to provide emotional nourishment to others. And, if it is offered, it is only because the narcissist is trying to appear good in front of others.
Children Expected To Support Narcissistic Parents
The narcissistic parent will not be available to the child. My ex-wife goes 6 and 7 years without contacting or seeing her children. Why? Because she believes it is their responsibility to contact her. It is their responsibility, not hers, to be there for her. It’s a disease!
Children’s Needs Will Not Be Satisfied
The narcissistic parent is only concerned with their own needs. If it means meeting their own needs, they will plow right over their own children. They never gave any thought or effort to meet the needs of their children. This can cause your child to feel worthless, so it’s critical that you pick up the slack when it comes to meeting their needs.
Narcissistic Parents Humiliate and Shame Children
If it makes the narcissist feel better about themselves, they have no qualms about publicly shaming and humiliating their child. They will make disparaging remarks about how your child dresses or even look in comparison to others. This can lead to low self-esteem in your child, and I have no objection to you telling your child that their mother is sick and twisted and incapable of acting like an adult.
Children Mental Health Problems
Exposure to a narcissistic parent is very likely to cause PTSD symptoms, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues in your child. At the age of 17, my youngest was diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder. “That f*cking narcissist has nearly destroyed her son’s life,” the psychiatrist told me after my ex had a session with him.
Please take your child to therapy at the first sign of trouble.
Raising a Child with a Narcissistic Parent
Parenting with Compassion
Parents who lack empathy are narcissistic. They lack empathy, so it stands to reason that they would parent without it. You must do the inverse and parent with empathy and love.
To maintain a close relationship with your children, you must focus on being lovingly responsive in your interactions with them. You want to relate well to them, understand what they are feeling, assist them in putting their thoughts and feelings into words, and anticipate their reactions and needs.
Validate Their Emotions
Validating a child entails allowing them to express their feelings and thoughts without judging, criticizing, ridiculing, or abandoning them. You ensured that your child felt heard and understood. You communicate that you love and accept them regardless of how they feel or think.
Help Your Child Deal with Negative Emotions
Emotion coaching is the practice of talking with children about their feelings and providing them with concrete coping strategies in emotionally difficult situations.
Bring Them to Therapy
I advise parents to seek therapy for their children at the first sign of distress. If you’re certain you’re dealing with a narcissistic ex, you might not want to wait until they show signs of distress.
If you can do the four things listed above, you have a good chance of mitigating the negative effects of the narcissistic parent. You have the opportunity to counterbalance and fill the gaps in your child’s heart that the narcissistic parent will leave.