Narcissistic parents have great difficulty adequately loving their children. They are self-absorbed, critical, lack genuine empathy, and often feel threatened by or jealous of their own children. In essence, they care much more about themselves than they do their child and therefore send the message through both words and actions that their child “isn’t good enough”.
The emotional (and sometimes physical) scars that are left behind can be devastating. Many children who grow up in these households suffer from chronic feelings of emptiness and inadequacy and struggle in their own relationships. Quite frequently it’s not until adulthood that they begin to realize that their parent’s behavior wasn’t “normal”, and they begin to make the connection that it significantly hindered their healthy emotional growth and development. Narcissistic parents can be very adept at hiding their insidious and abusive behaviors, and often work very hard to appear to the world as the “perfect” parent.
Dr. Karyl McBride is an expert in the study of parental narcissism. She has developed a 5- step recovery model designed to help adult children of narcissistic parents learn how to overcome the aftermath of distorted parental love and move on in their lives. Below is a link to a checklist designed to help you determine whether or not your parent may suffer from narcissism. It’s designed to describe mothers, but applies to fathers as well. If you are struggling with these issues please know that you are not alone and that counseling can help you.