Award Banner
Award Banner

5 ways a narcissistic parent can negatively affect a child's personality

5 ways a narcissistic parent can negatively affect a child's personality
PHOTO: Pexels

Having great self-esteem is really important and crucial for your own progress. But when you cross the line, you can enter the zone of narcissism. It’s not only toxic, but has the potential to damage any relationship. 

When it comes to children raised by narcissistic parents, it can be extremely destructive and affect them when they grow up into adults.

For instance, a narcissistic father can be very possessive of his children. This means, he may feel threatened by the child developing any independence. As a result, the children generally experience humiliation and shame and grow up having poor self-esteem.

Children of narcissistic father can develop these five negative traits

Narcissistic parents mostly teach their children how to submit and conform, causing them to lose touch with themselves as individuals.

Here are some negative traits of children born to narcissistic fathers. 

Suffer from low self-esteem

They are always under the pressure to prove themselves. However, they don’t have the confidence to do so. Considering that their parents have set high standards and are always critical, they often grow up to have low self-esteem. 

Always trying to please others

Children born to narcissistic parents are always trying to please others. They can go to any extent to stay in people’s good books. They are always hungry for validation, which can create opportunities for exploitation in the wrong hands.

ALSO READ: Want to teach your child independence? Even little kids can start learning these life skills


Those born to narcissist parents can’t manage things on their own. They are too dependent on their parents. You will find that they ask their parent’s for everything.

Due to this extreme dependency, their decisions are always overshadowed by their parents and they end up losing their individuality along the way. 

Good at manipulation

One of the character traits that children of narcissistic parents may pick up is manipulation. You will find that they are good with words and may lie with efficiency as well. It’s also another way they want to be liked. 

Aim for perfection

Narcissistic parents are always critical of their children’s efforts and achievements. You will find them always over-exaggerating about their own struggles, thus making their children feel petty most of the time in front of them.

Children born to narcissistic parents are thus, always striving to be perfect in everything. 

Of course, this may seem like parents are communicating with their children, but in the case of a narcissistic parent, it becomes about belittling the child and struggles in favour of their own. 

9 signs of having a narcissistic parent

Identifying the signs of narcissistic abuse can be difficult but here are some common signs of a narcissistic parent.

  • Showing immature and extremely selfish behaviour
  • Always trying to divert the conversation towards themselves
  • Bragging about their own achievements in front of others, but rarely acknowledging you
  • Trying to make you feel bad for not doing what they want immediately
  • Making you feel guilty by boasting about how much they’ve done for you
  • Always being absent from your major life events
  • Showing sudden mood changes and volatile anger
  • Harshly opinionated at home but managing to put up a front for other people

Confronting a narcissistic parent face to face is nothing less than a battle. If you try to point out their negative traits, they are not going to accept and this will result in feelings of shame and vulnerability. So how do you do this? 

3 tips to deal with narcissist parent

1. Getting a grip of the situation

You need to realise that you will never win with a narcissist. If you have a narcissistic parent at home, you would have seen that they thrive on their sense of control, and you will pay a heavy price if you do not bend to their will.

Slowly, you will start to accept that because for them getting their needs met is more important than having a functional family structure. 

2. Accept and let go

If you are trying to change a narcissist, know that it is almost an impossible task unless they want to change themselves. The sooner you accept their reality, it will reduce your anxiety.

Keep in mind that all the negative words aimed at you are projections of how they feel about themselves. 

ALSO READ: My 4-year-old daughter is a destructive and diabolical maniac. Is this normal?

3. Set clear boundaries

While this may be a difficult task, you need to assert your boundaries. A narcissistic parent will always try to test and cross your boundaries just to prove to you that they can.

They may know that there are certain things that might upset you, but they will still do it. Hence, it’s important that you set firm boundaries and enforce consequences if they don’t follow up on them.

There can be times when you just have to put your foot down and make it clear to your over dominating parent that this is not how it will work with you. Don’t let their behaviour affect your mental health.

There’s a high possibility that if you had a narcissistic parent, you may have had a troubled childhood. If you have been the children of a narcissistic father or mother, don’t hesitate to seek counselling as an adult.

Speaking to the right person will liberate you in many ways and certainly help you start afresh. 

This article was first published in theAsianparent.

This website is best viewed using the latest versions of web browsers.