10 signs of a narcissistic parent – Narcissistic parents negatively impact a child’s mental health and overall quality of life. Lisa Goodpaster is a parental alienation survivor, childhood trauma educator, and author of the newly launched book Alienated: When Parents Won’t Parent. Discover what Lisa has said about narcissistic parents and ten important signs of a narcissistic parent.

Lisa, tell us a bit about your background.

My favorite title is mom. While I’ve worn many hats from wife to mom and stepmom to divorcee, I am also the author of “Alienated: When Parents Won’t  Parent” and Founder of the Stephood Project, that is bringing awareness to the dangers of not Co-parenting and the link to childhood trauma.

My hope is to help all parents understand the dangers of not Co-parenting while inspiring a parental shift forward for the next generation of parents.  

Can you define narcissism for our audience and what it means to be a narcissistic parent? 

Narcissism is characterized by an inflated self-image and addiction to fantasy, with an unusual coolness and composure shaken when the narcissistic confidence is threatened. They tend to take others for granted and/or to exploit them.

Typically, narcissistic parents are possessive and close to their children, but then threatened by their children’s growing independence. This results in a pattern of narcissistic attachment, with the parent considering that the child exists solely to fulfill the parent’s needs and wishes.

What are some signs that you have had a narcissistic parent?

Narcissistic parents can be the kind person who is the PTA president or the quiet Dad in a corner. It is all perception. Here are the top signs from Lisa that you may know or have a narcissistic parent:

They need to be the center of attention

  Narcissistic parents thrive on attention. They will ensure that every situation revolves around them, even when their kids are involved.

They Are Immature & Selfish

  A narcissistic parent may react selfishly if they feel embarrassed or are emotionally wounded.

They Blame Others for Their Own Behaviors

Narcissistic parents have an aversion to personal accountability. Rather than own up to their mistakes, narcissistic parents may avoid responsibility by having their children take the fall.

Their Love Is Conditional

Narcissistic parents view love as another exploitation tool. They may withhold affection from a child if the child questions or goes against their wishes.

They Put You Down & Lower Your Confidence

A clear sign of narcissistic parents is constant criticism. They will insult their children to feel better about themselves and maintain authority.

They Are Extremely Jealous & Possessive of Others

Narcissistic parents crave control over their children. They will become jealous and possessive if they sense any threat to this control. For example, they may react with rage when a child moves out, leaves for college, or starts a new relationship.

They Are Neglectful & Never Present

A narcissistic parent expects children to be present when needed but will not provide support to children in return. They often seek instant gratification, leaving their kids to fend for themselves.

They Become Annoyed When Asked for Attention

Children need parental attention to feel safe, validated, and appreciated. However, narcissistic parents are often unable to meet this need. They are too focused on themselves and do not know how to be present for others–unless being attentive presents an opportunity for personal gain.

They Have Poor Boundaries & Overstep Yours

Narcissistic parents will habitually cross boundaries. They have no problem bending the rules because they believe these do not apply to them–they are above ‘the law.’

They View their kids As a Source of Validation

Narcissistic parents focus on raising their children to continue supporting and validating them. They will rely on children to make them feel good and to boost their self-worth.

What are some of the common traits of children who have narcissistic parents?

  • People-pleasing tendencies
  • Feeling guilty when considering their own needs
  • Persistent self-doubt and indecision
  • Chronic self-blame
  • Believing they’re unlovable and “not good enough”
  • Difficulty with trust and emotional intimacy
  • Insecure attachment styles
  • Co-dependent relationships and/or abusive relationships
  • Poor emotional regulation
  • Anxiety and depression, and physical illness

Do these traits last into adulthood?

Yes, Growing up with a narcissistic parent can have profound and lasting effects on a child’s emotional, psychological and physiological well-being.

How do grown-up children of narcissistic parents parent their children?

In my case, I didn’t want to be anything like my parents or my narcissistic stepmother. I rebelled from everything I hated about my childhood and vowed to give my son a better life.

In my book “Alienated” “When Parents Won’t Parent” I go into detail on the term Negative love patterns, which is a term coined by Bob Hoffman. Negative love patterns, though unconsciously motivated by a deep need for love, produce alienation and rejection.  We unconsciously adopt our parents’ patterns out of a need for love. Since no parent is perfect, how children react to such negative patterns out of survival is by adopting them or rebelling against them.

How can parents protect their children from narcissistic grandparents?

Offer your children sincere emotional support and unconditional love. Demonstrate how to create safe, healthy relationships and boundaries with trusted friends and family. Make a conscious choice to live free from the realities of narcissistic abuse.

Can you tell us more about your newly launched book, Alienated: When Parents Won’t Parent? Where can our readers buy this book?

My book is a guide for all parents on what never to do when raising kids, especially when parents make the choice to divorce. I share what happened to me to help both young adults and parents understand the consequences of having a mentally ill parent or parents who may lack the awareness as mine did. It’s never too late to restore and to leave a legacy of love for your children and I hope my book inspires all parents to rethink parenting.

My book is available on Amazon.

Lisa Goodpaster is the founder of The Stephood Project – a social awareness campaign addressing parental alienation and the danger of not co-parenting our kids