People with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) are only able to focus on their own needs. They see the other people in their life as extensions of their own identity. Therefore, they believe they should also be focused on the narcissist’s needs. Narcissists have no empathy for how their actions affect other people. The combination of these two traits means that narcissists can be very demanding and cruel.
A narcissistic child grabs all the attention in the family. They place the most demands on their mother. They see her as someone who should focus solely on her most important child. Even as adults, they make unreasonable demands on their mom and will often abuse her to get what they want.
It’s common for narcissistic children to break family rules, manipulate family members, and insult even their loving mother. For the parents of a narcissistic child, it’s crucial to understand how they behave and what you can do to curtail their emotional abuse. Read on to discover more about how narcissistic children disrupt the family dynamic and how to stop enabling that behavior.
How Do Narcissistic Children Treat Their Mother?
Most children are somewhat narcissistic because their whole world is dependent on getting people to give them what they need when they are young. As they get older, they begin to learn that there are other people who have needs as well.
For the narcissistic child, however, they continue to feel as though they should be the sole focus of the family’s attention. That’s particularly true for their mother. She’s the one with whom they have likely had the most interaction in their life, and so, she becomes the focus of their constant demands.
As a minor, if this behavior is tolerated, the child will virtually take over the family. They will be insulting to both parents and siblings, and they will put themselves in the spotlight at all times. They will manipulate their siblings and parents alike to create the drama they crave and love to watch play out.
What Specifically Will a Narcissistic Child Do to the Family Dynamic?
They will use triangulation to pit one family member against the other, lie without compunction, and begin learning the finer art of gaslighting to get their way. It can be a nightmare for the family.
When their behavior is not curtailed, a narcissist can completely disrupt the family dynamic. Their siblings will come to resent their selfish behavior, and because of their willingness to violate the family’s rules, the parents will have little choice but to focus on them.
It’s often difficult for a mother to see that her child is causing these kinds of problems. Many moms will make excuses or even enable their narcissistic child. It’s also easy for a mother to become codependent because she is accustomed to focusing on her children’s needs.
When parents are not able to take the necessary steps to stop their narcissistic child from engaging in such abusive behavior, the abuse will continue even after they are adults.
How Does the Adult Narcissist Treat Their Mom?
Once the narcissistic child grows up, the emotional abuse often intensifies toward their mother. As retired psychologist Edward Tierney states, “The selfishness is always there, even with aging parents.”
As adults, the narcissist often makes adult demands on their parents. They are constantly asking for money, they want their mother’s undivided attention, and they don’t make any kind of concession as their parents age.
Remember, in the narcissist’s mind, their parents are nothing more than part of their own identity. They particularly expect their mother to be ready to listen with unconditional and undying love any time and every time they need someone to talk to or when they need something. They also expect that she will continue to attend to their every need.
A narcissist believes their mother should be there to provide whatever they need. For many mothers, no matter how draining this is, particularly as they get older, they still feel a need to do that for their children.
Unless parents set strong boundaries early in a narcissist’s life, they can expect the narcissistic child to continue being demanding of them until the day they die. Narcissists lack empathy, and because of that, they don’t see how they are affecting their elderly parents. They just keep on taking everything they can get from them as long as they can get away with it.
It’s not that the narcissist treats their parents any differently than anyone else. They act the same way to spouses, friends, and other family members. The problem is that many mothers just keep giving because that is what they believe they should do for their children. It’s really the perfect setup for the narcissist.
Can a Parent Stop a Young Child from Developing Narcissism?
It’s normal for young children to be a little narcissistic. As an infant, a good mother focuses on their child and provides everything they need. As they get older, the child naturally expects this to continue.
Normal children begin to learn that other people have needs, and they start to rely on themselves more. A child that is developing pathological narcissism, however, has somehow learned that they are not capable of taking care of their own needs.
These children fail to develop a strong sense of self, and they construct a false self-image to replace their damaged true self. They begin to need that flow of adoration known as narcissistic supply, and they start learning how to manipulate people to get it.
This often starts with their mother. If you see that your child is making unreasonable demands, failing to learn to care for themselves, attempting to manipulate you and other family members, and is lacking in empathy, these are the signs of pathological narcissism.
Parents can help to curtail a child’s narcissistic tendencies. They can work with them to help them accomplish small goals and praise them extensively when they do. They can help them develop empathy by discussing the feelings of others and how the child would feel if they were in the situation other people are in.
They can also set strong boundaries about appropriate behavior, but they need to enforce those boundaries every time there is a violation. They also need to monitor the child’s behavior toward siblings, other family members, and friends. A mother needs to be particularly aware of a narcissist’s propensity to use triangulation to disrupt family relations.
Finally, consistency in how you respond to the narcissistic child is vital. If one parent enables their behavior, it won’t stop.
How Should You Respond to the Narcissistic Child?
Narcissists will engage in the manipulative behavior that you allow them to get away with, and that’s why the key to stopping their behavior lies in developing strong boundaries. You have to decide what is acceptable and what you will not tolerate.
Once you’ve done that, you have to determine what the consequences will be for violations of boundaries. Then comes the hard part. You’ll need to communicate those boundaries with your narcissistic child.
They should know exactly what will happen when they act a certain way, and you should be sure to act that way every time their behavior violates a boundary. Without consistency, it won’t work. The narcissist will see that you don’t always do what you said you would do, and they will take advantage of that.
One of the most effective ways to respond to their bad behavior is simply to walk away from the conversation and go someplace else. When the narcissist understands you won’t continue to pay attention to them, they will begin to modify their behavior. It doesn’t mean they are getting better; they are still a narcissist. But at least they will be treating you how you expect to be treated.
It’s often difficult for the mother of a narcissist to put limits on their behavior. Good mothers are used to providing everything their child needs, and because they love them so much, it’s hard to ignore them. That’s pretty much what you have to do, however, with a narcissistic child. It’s not easy, but enabling their behavior isn’t doing them any favors.
If you have a narcissistic child, it’s natural to wonder if they really love you. You need to read this post to learn more about the complexities of how a narcissist experiences love.
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