6 Surprising Effects of Narcissistic Parenting – Were You Ever Affected?

narcissistic parenting sad woman sitting black and white

Narcissistic parenting, may be more common than we think. There are as many parenting styles as there are people, but there are some broad categories into which these styles can be divided such as narcissistic, authoritative and authoritarian. In this article we will discuss some of the effects a narcissistic parenting style can have on children.

What is a narcissistic parenting style?

Narcissistic parenting is characterised by the parent being very possessive over their children, and this parenting style is sometimes also referred to as helicopter parenting. Narcissistic parents often feel threatened by, or even envious of, their child’s growing independence. Consciously or unconsciously, these parents believe that the child is there to fulfil the parents’ wishes and needs. You might think of a certain pushy kind of soccer-parent or pageant parent. This parental behavior can have far-reaching effects on the child.

  1. Self-blame

Children of narcissistic parents often think they are the problem. Because the parent only had attention for their child’s mistakes and their own problems, the children start blaming themselves. This can also function as a self-preserving mechanism to hold out hope. “If I fix myself, the situation will get better. If I do well, my parents/carers are nicer to me.” Children that have been raised with a narcissistic style are often less good at dealing with their emotions. They can get very emotional over minor occurrences.

  1. Insecure Attachment

You might have heard of Attachment theory, which is a theory that attempts to describe the dynamics of interpersonal relationships between humans. A large part of attachment style is determined by the relationship children develop with their caretakers. There are three main styles of attachment, secure, anxious (insecure), and disorganized. Narcissistic parenting often results in insecure attachment, of which there are two subtype. The Insecure-avoidant style is characterized by an avoiding nature. (“I’ll never risk letting myself get hurt again!”). The other subtype is insecure-anxious attachment. This is characterized by an attitude that ‘chases’ after the secure connection. (“Why don’t they like me! Why won’t anyone pay attention to me?”).

  1. Extreme Emotional Independence

Some children might react to narcissistic parenting by abandoning emotional attachment altogether. They grow into solitary, distrusting adults. Adding to that, they might have difficulty forming close personal connections.

  1. Extreme nurturing

Some children might even go the complete opposite way. They turn into extremely nurturing individuals. It’s possibly caused by an unconscious desire to experience the care and warmth they didn’t receive themselves.

  1. PTSD

Children that have experienced an extreme form of narcissistic parenting can often struggle with these results for life. Sometimes even in the form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Furthermore, they might have invasive thoughts of the emotional abuse or experience severe emotional numbness, or other symptoms of PTSD. This effect is particularly prevalent among groups that also experienced physical abuse.

  1. Becoming Narcissistic

This is an extreme case of ‘if you cannot beat them, join them’. Some children raised by narcissistic parents react to this in a way of “I’ll make sure I’ll become so good at everything. Nobody can ever make me feel unimportant again!” People who do this go to extremes in focusing on themselves and their own achievements. In that way they become narcissistic themselves.


Watson, P. J., Tracy Little, and Michael D. Biderman. “Narcissism and parenting styles.” Psychoanalytic Psychology 9.2 (1992): 231.

Kernberg, Paulina F. “Narcissistic personality disorder in childhood.” Psychiatric Clinics of North America (1989).

Horton, Robert S., Geoff Bleau, and Brian Drwecki. “Parenting narcissus: What are the links between parenting and narcissism?.” Journal of personality 74.2 (2006): 345-376.

We’re releasing a new article on how to deal with narcissistic parents. Stay tune!

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  1. This was really intriguing.
    My results were accurate for the most part, up until I reached the flower section of the results. I don’t like children, I never want them, but I had a fair-sized ring of flowers around my cube. Is it possible the flowers could have also referred to family members and those I want involved in my family, as opposed to offspring specifically?
    I loved the level of detail involved in this, which really activated my imagination (which always makes things interesting).

  2. Okay ,so……my cube was huge and glowing red sitting in the middle of the desert . My horse was a normal brown horse stuck inside the cube, doing nothing lol. My lagger was normal color and width but stretched to the sky where it just dissapears into sky. My flowers were vibrant colours piping up in mid air flashing on and off . ……I can’t make sense of most of it haha

  3. large desert giant stone cube on its side a ladder is going up to the top of the cube so i can see out over far distance. A painted Appaloosa brownish red spots black mane red tail running to the cube & field of yellow and white daisies full lush green grass with a stream to keep them healthy that’s behind the cube running from a dark angry storm sitting off in the distance.

  4. From age 16-27 I was not allowed out of my mother’s sight. No drivers license, no job, no rock concerts, you name it. Sure I was allowed to have friends, dates, the prom, but as far as financial or emotional independence, forget it.

    My mother never admitted guilt. She never showed remorse.

  5. Ok what i imagined was my hourse a black stalion coming up to me so it was closer than the cube and ladder, it was scared of the storm that was stationary in the distance, it was a thunderhead and the flowers were four tiger lilies at my feet and the cube and ladder were behind the hourse which werent that faraway. I didnt get resolution from the meanings can any one help to explain please


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