Is My Parent a Narcissist?

There are different types of narcissists.Adult children of a narcissist have parents that may have the all-encompassing parent or they had a parent that ignored your needs.

Is My Parent a Narcissist?

There are different types of narcissists; I thought I would start by providing a basic definition. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary a narcissist is a personality disorder characterized by self-preoccupation, need for admiration, lack of empathy, and unconscious deficits in self-esteem.

Adult children of a narcissist have parents that may have the all-encompassing parent or they had a parent that ignored your needs.

When I am asked if my parent is a narcissist, I try to determine if this has been a lifelong pattern of behavior or has your family member showing narcissism traits. This may be occurring because of a medical or mental health concern.

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Is My Parent A Narcissist
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Types of Narcissism

I’d like to address these different types of narcissist.

The all encompassing narcissistic parent is overly involved in your life. This type of narcissism sees their children as an extension of themselves. They are controlling and have no sense of boundaries. They have no respect for you as a person. This type of narcissistic parent tries to mold their children into what they want them to be, instead of considering what the child’s needs or wants are.

In my previous lessons I shared about Star and her Mother Edith. Edith was a malignant narcissist. She was very pathological. Star grew up with low self-esteem, she constantly was trying to seek her mothers approval. Edith had no sense of boundaries, often showing up at Star’s place of employment, making scenes, resulting in Star being fired from her job.

The narcissistic parent that ignores their children is the total opposite of the all encompassing parent. They are the parent that ignores everything. They show no interest in the child’s life. They do not acknowledge accomplishments, and make the child feel as if they have fallen short and disappointed them. This type of narcissistic parent for their child, unless it benefits them because they are self-absorbed. They want the recognition for anything the child accomplishes, no matter how insignificant it is.

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    My client, Tiffany’s mother Terri, was this type of narcissist. Terri thought the world revolved around her. Tiffany was always an afterthought.

    These types of parents have a lifelong pattern of narcissism. Its ingrained in their personality. Most have never been given an official diagnosis of this personality disorder.

    Adult Children of a Narcissistic Parent Have Emotional Scars

    There are many adult children that have survived the narcissistic parent. And they have the emotional scars to prove it.

    I’m going to address the question is my parent a narcissist? Is it possible that may parent has become a narcissist in their old age? Many adult children have serious concerns as they try to provide care for an aging parent. It is important to note that a person can develop narcissistic tendencies, or traits. They cannot become pathologically narcissistic as they age.

    There are many adult children of narcissists that were not aware their parent was a narcissist. Many are challenged to see the signs. After all, they have no point of reference on what a so-called normal parent is.

    Tiffany and her mom Terri, lived with their grandmother. Terri used to tell people that she was taking care of Tiffs grandmother. The first time I met Terri, it was at the home she shared with her mother and her daughter.

    The first thing that I observed when I entered the house, was a very large oil painting of a much younger Terri. I mean BIG. It was the first indication that Terri was a narcissist. I did not know what type of narcissism or the degree of Terri disorder. I was about to find out. Ill discuss more on this later.

    Most Adult Children May Not Recognize Narcissistic Traits

    Most children of a narcissist may not recognize the narcissist traits or see it as abuse. They do however, have a sense that something is not right.

    Many feel uncomfortable when they are in the same room as their parent. They have anxiety and feel they cant be themselves around their parent. They feel as if they are always working to get love or even acknowledgement from their parent. I watched the interaction between Tiffany and Terri. Tiffany was always anxious around her mother. She sought her mothers approval and was painfully unsuccessful every time.

    I used to tell Tiffany that living with her grandmother was her saving grace. Tiffs grandmother was the one that made sure Tiff dressed weather appropriate when she went off to school. Tiffs grandmother made sure Tiff had breakfast and had a lunch to take to school. I have many more stories to share.

    Signs You Have a Narcissistic Parent

    The first one that easily comes to mind is they think the world revolves around them.

    A narcissistic parent may have a fleeting moment of happiness for you. Ultimately they turn the attention back to them. Remember, It always has to be about them.

    They crave the spotlight and will lie about being ill or over dramatize a situation to get attention of others. The narcissist does not take time to listen, and are often absent in important events in the child or adult child’s life.

    The narcissist parent has no ability to be empathetic. They show no interest in your feelings or thoughts. They show no interest in what’s going on in your life. Most children of narcissists do not feel as if they can share important things happening in their life. They know they will be dismissed and discounted.

    The narcissistic parent expects their children to take care of them. Even if hey don’t require time in the moment. They expect to be supported emotionally, physically and even financially. They have dependency issues and will manipulate individuals to do things for them. As master manipulators, they will get individual to do things they do not want to do or shouldn’t’ do.

    When I first met Terri and her daughter Tiffany, Terri was recovering from a foot surgery. I’m an old rehab nurse and know the best thing for recovery is to get up and move. I found Terri still in a wheelchair far beyond the recovery time. Terri should have been using crutches and working towards functioning independently again. She was only in her 40’s and basically healthy. Of course, according to Terri, Tiffany was responsible to take care of her. And Terri was demanding, unrealistic and used emotional blackmail to manipulate Tiff to get her to do what she wanted.

    They will not take your needs into consideration, but, expect you to always be considerate of their needs. They expect you to be available at all times to meet their needs.

    Have You Experienced Emotional Blackmail?

    Star lost her jobs and her mom used to call the police and report that Star had abandoned her. Edith wanted Star to be there to meet her every whim.

    The narcissist will use emotional blackmail , using guilt to get you to feel bad. They want to control you and are threatened of you show any independence from them.

    Some narcissistic parents will enable their irresponsible behaviors…like drinking or doing drugs. They will never encourage a child to achieve anything. They want to hold you back from having your own life. Their goal is to keep you from building relationships and want to have you remain under their influence. They are extremely jealous of you growing independent.

    Oh, let talk more about the guilt trips. They will use a variety of different guilt trip tactics , such as blaming and manipulation to control you and get what they want from you.

    The narcissist will use emotional blackmail when they feel you have wronged them in some way. You may simply disagree with them. They perceive that you are against them and will go to great lengths to punish you.

    When You Cross a Narcissist

    I have had encounter with all types of narcissists. When you cross them, or if they perceive you slighted them, they will make it their life’s mission to make your life miserable.

    The narcissistic parent has no sense of boundaries. In their minds, they believe that they come first no matter what you are doing.

    They have no respect for your space and believe that is yours also belongs to them.

    They will lie, deny and contradict to make you feel as if you are crazy. They often play the victim and blame you for everything that is wrong in their life. They cause you to second-guess yourself, in an effort to control you.

    They are constantly trying to pull you into their web of drama and deceit.

    Terri is a perfect example of this. She moved into her mother's house, under the guise of becoming her mother's caregiver. It was discovered that Terri was struggling financially. When she moved into her mother's home, she used her mother's funds for her own personal use. Yep, Terri thought her mother's savings were hers too.

    Adult Children of Narcissists Often Parent Their Parents

    Children of narcissists have always felt as if they are expected to be the parent. They are immature, insecure individuals that expect so much of others and never give anything in return. In their eyes, they do so much for you and want credit for those false beliefs.

    The narcissistic parent is inflexible and believes they are never wrong. It's impossible to have an honest conversation with them. If you ever criticize they will overreact, and turn things around and make you to blame for their behaviors. You made then do it. To them it is always someone elses fault or is the problem. Remember, they are incapable of changing their behaviors.

    The narcissistic parent is great at manipulating to get others to feel sorry for them. They often feel sorry for themselves. They will never make an attempt to better their life.

    My step mother was a narcissist. She sought attention through her illnesses. No one in the world ever had the pain and suffering she did. If there was an activity or event, Arlene used to make it all about her.

    Narcissists Insult Like No One Else Can

    Narcissists have the ability to insult like no one else can. They can spew subtle insults to lower your self esteem and make you second guess yourself. They will use criticism to tear you down. It will be a cold day in hell before they would validate or acknowledge any accomplishments you have made. They are incapable of loving someone else.

    The narcissistic parent expects their children to display total admiration and obedience.

    The child of a narcissist is always being negatively compared to others. That constant feedback affects the child's self esteem and self worth. The narcissist sees this as a way to motivate their child to do better. In most cases, the constant demeaning and demoralizing behaviors has the opposite impact.

    The narcissistic parent is verbally abusive. They have spent your lifetime grooming you. They know what buttons to push to get a response out of you.

    They are individuals that are all about how they perceived by others. They want everyone to have a good opinion about them. There are two sides to every narcissist. The side they show in public and then the side they show at home. In public they wear a mask to come across as caring and concerned. In private they are cruel and uncaring.

    This is evident when they are loving and concerned in public then come home they will turn on a dime being critical and cruel.

    Have You Experienced the "Silent Treatment?

    Emotional Rollercoasters

    The silent treatment is often used to punish and is a form of emotional abuse. The silent treatment is called “mental murder”. The message they give you is that nothing you say or do matters. They try to make you feel as if you do not exist anymore. This can go one for a very long time. It is expected that you will apologies and make amends for disagreeing with them.

    Because they are insufferable attention seekers with delusions of grandeur, they take everything personally. They have very fragile egos making them hypersensitive to criticism.

    If they perceive that you have slighted them in some way, they will still manage to be offended.

    The narcissist always has their favorites and their scapegoats. They have one child that is they deem as the “golden child”. This child is the narcissits version of their perfect self.

    The scapegoat represents the imperfect, rejected and negative aspects of their fragile ego. Of course, the narcissistic parent will change their minds at any time. Children are not real, only an extension of themselves.

    Narcissistic Parents are Parasites

    Narcissistic parents are parasites, feeding off their children emotionally, financially and even physically. They are totally oblivious to the pain they cause. While they are master manipulators they are also master deniers. Even when they have concrete evidence against them, they will refuse accountability and still maintain their innocence.

    I have covered a lot about the traits of a narcissistic parent. It's never easy to accept that you may have been raised by a narcissist. This can cause you anxiety and discomfort as you come to terms with this. You may be feeling torn, because you have a sense of guilt and a sense of responsibility to take care of them.

    I hope you will take time to listen to my lesson on how to deal with a narcissistic parent.


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