7 Signs Of Toxic Narcissistic Parenting

narcissistic parents

Narcissistic parents are incredibly possessive, critical, and controlling of their children. The main fear narcissistic parents have is that their children can become independent, therefore, they will do everything possible to prevent them from doing so. Children of narcissistic parents experience constant humiliation and shame, which leads to low self-esteem, overachievement, or self-sabotage in adulthood.


Narcissistic parenting is self-centered parenting that involves destructive behavior that can leave lasting psychological scars on children. Narcissistic parents feel entitled, superior, and great and they prevent them to develop their own identities and meet their own needs. Children of narcissistic parents often have low self-esteem and feel inadequate due to emotional and physical abuse.

In this article, we will explore the seven common signs of toxic narcissistic parenting, its impact on children, and strategies for changing these harmful tendencies. By understanding the behaviors and attitudes that characterize narcissistic parenting, we can better recognize and mitigate its effects, and work towards healthier relationships between parents and children.

Common Characteristics

The common characteristics of narcissistic parenting include grandiosity, superiority, entitlement, and a lack of consideration for their children`s needs, resulting in emotionally abusive and manipulative behavior that can cause psychological harm.
Narcissistic parents often view their children as extensions of themselves, seeking recognition and admiration through their success and accomplishments. This can lead to the child feeling like they are never good enough and constantly striving for their parent’s approval.

In addition, narcissistic parents struggle to recognize their children as individuals with their own needs and desires. They prioritize their needs and wants over their child neglecting his/her emotional and physical well-being. This can lead the child to feel neglected, unseen, and unimportant.

7 Signs Of Toxic Narcissistic Parenting

Focusing all the family`s time and attention on themselves

Narcissists often need continuous validation to make up for low self-esteem. They also tend to focus more on their feelings than those of their children. With a narcissistic parent, this may manifest as always wanting to be the focus of the family’s attention. Not showing concern or compassion for their children or other family members
Because narcissistic people often focus on themselves and think about their needs over the needs of others, narcissistic parent shows little concern or compassion for their own children.

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Not responsible if things go wrong

Narcissists may be quick to blame others if their plans fail, even through their fault. Admitting your mistakes or flaws can destroy an already unstable self-image.

Interdependence or control

Narcissistic parents can be overly controlling to make sure everything goes right. . They may also have a constant fear of abandonment, which leads them to compensate with relationship co-dependency.

The ruling by domination, fear, or manipulation.

Because their main concern is themselves, narcissistic parents will use these tactics to keep you behaving in a way that suits them.


Will tease, mock, bully, or gaslight

A narcissistic parent may try to bring you down through teasing, mocking, bullying, or gaslighting so that they can always seem superior to you. In this way, they can exert control over you.

Only be able to show conditional love

A narcissistic parent may make you feel like you will not love them if they do or say certain things. Withdrawing love is a way of instilling fear to control you even more.

Impact on Children

Children who grow up with a parent who exhibits narcissistic tendencies may experience emotional abuse and manipulation, leading to psychological harm. The impact of narcissistic parenting on children can be long-lasting and profound.
Narcissistic parents often prioritize their own needs and desires over their children’s, failing to provide emotional support or meet their children’s basic needs. This can leave children feeling neglected, unimportant, and unworthy of love and attention.

Children of narcissistic parents can struggle with low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and difficulty building healthy relationships. They may also struggle to establish their own identities and become independent adults, as narcissistic parents often do not allow their children to have their own needs or opinions.

Narcissistic parents may also use manipulation tactics such as gaslighting and blame-shifting to maintain control over their children and prevent them from breaking away. Seeking therapy and support from trusted individuals can help children of narcissistic parents heal from the psychological harm caused by their upbringing.

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Strategies for Change

Strategies for addressing narcissistic tendencies in parenting may involve seeking professional therapy, avoiding manipulative tactics, and fostering healthy boundaries. Seeking therapy can help parents understand how their behavior affects their children and learn healthier ways to interact with them. This can involve learning to validate their children’s emotions, listening to their needs, and putting their children’s needs before their own. Therapy can also help parents develop healthy boundaries, such as respecting their children’s privacy and allowing them to make their own decisions.

In addition to therapy, parents can also work on avoiding manipulative tactics. This includes avoiding gaslighting, which involves invalidating their children’s experiences and emotions, and forcing forgiveness, which can invalidate their children’s feelings and minimize their experiences. Instead, parents can work on acknowledging their children’s feelings and experiences, apologizing when necessary, and taking responsibility for their actions. By fostering healthy boundaries and avoiding manipulative tactics, parents can work towards creating a healthier relationship with their children and reducing the impact of their narcissistic tendencies.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How can a child identify if their parent is a narcissist?
Identifying a narcissistic parent can be challenging for a child as they may not clearly understand what narcissism entails. However, some signs that a child can look out for include:

  • Their parent see them only as a source of validation
  • Being emotionally reactive but shaming the child’s emotions
  • Always putting their own needs first
  • Having poor boundaries
  • Playing favorites
  • Shifting blame onto their children
  • Expecting the child to be the caregiver

These behaviors can be emotionally abusive and manipulative, causing psychological harm to the child. If a child suspects that their parent may have narcissistic tendencies, seeking therapy and avoiding gaslighting and forced forgiveness can be helpful strategies for coping and healing.

Can narcissistic parenting be inherited from one generation to another?
There is currently no evidence to suggest that narcissistic parenting can be inherited from one generation to another.
While certain traits and behaviors may be learned or modeled within families, narcissism is a personality disorder that is believed to be primarily influenced by genetic and environmental factors. Also, narcissistic parenting is not a universal or inevitable form of parenting, and people can break the cycle of narcissistic abuse in their families through therapy, self-reflection, and personal growth.

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Are there physical signs of the psychological toll of a narcissistic upbringing?
There are no physical signs of psychological damage from narcissistic parenting. Abuse from narcissistic parents usually manifests as anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.
Narcissistic parenting is often associated with emotional abuse and manipulation, which prevents children from developing healthy self-esteem and self-esteem. This can have long-term effects on your child’s emotional and mental well-being, leading to relationship difficulties and trust in their future.
Seeking psychotherapy, avoiding gaslighting, and forcing forgiveness are some of the strategies that can help reverse narcissistic parenting tendencies.

How can a child deal with emotional abuse from a narcissistic parent?
Children who have experienced emotional abuse from narcissistic parents may struggle with the negative effects of these toxic parenting styles. Coping strategies may include seeking therapy or support from a trusted friend or family member. It can also be helpful for your child to set healthy boundaries and prioritize their own needs and well-being. Children should accept that the emotional abuse they experience is not their fault and seek professional help if needed.

Additionally, it may be helpful for the child to establish healthy boundaries and prioritize their own needs and well-being. The child needs to recognize that the emotional abuse they have experienced is not their fault and seek professional help if necessary.

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