The Negative Impact of Growing Up with a Narcissistic Parent

Growing up with a narcissistic parent can have serious and long-lasting emotional and psychological consequences for a child. Narcissistic parents demand admiration and attention, while failing to reciprocate these feelings to their children. This type of parenting creates an environment where the child is deprived of proper emotional support, which can lead to low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression.

Let’s take a closer look at the effects of growing up with a narcissistic parent.

The most common characteristics of narcissistic parents

Narcissism is an excessive interest in one’s self and one’s physical appearance or public image. It can be difficult for anyone to live with a narcissistic individual, but it’s especially hard for children who grow up in such an environment.

Narcissists tend to demand admiration, attention, and control from those around them while giving nothing in return. They often lack empathy and may try to manipulate or guilt-trip their children into getting what they want. These are just some of the traits that characterize narcissistic parenting styles, which can have far-reaching consequences for children growing up in such an environment.

It is important to recognize the most common characteristics of narcissistic parents in order to better understand how they affect those around them.

Growing up with a narcissistic parent – Lack of empathy

One of the most common characteristics of narcissistic parents is a lack of empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. Narcissistic parents are often unable to see things from their child’s perspective and may be dismissive of their child’s feelings.

Growing up with a narcissistic parent – Excessive need for admiration

Narcissistic parents also have an excessive need for admiration. They often require constant praise and attention from their children and may become angry or withdraw if they feel that they are not being given enough attention.

Growing up with a narcissistic parent – Sense of entitlement

Narcissistic parents often have a sense of entitlement, feeling that they are owed special treatment and expecting others to cater to their needs. They may take advantage of their children, expecting them to do things for them that they are unwilling or unable to do for themselves.

Growing up with a narcissistic parent – Lack of boundaries

Another common characteristic of narcissistic parents is a lack of boundaries. They may intrude on their children’s privacy or be overly involved in their lives, without respecting their need for independence. Narcissistic parents may also expect their children to meet their emotional needs, regardless of what the children are going through in their own lives.

Growing up with a narcissistic parent – Manipulative behavior

Narcissistic parents often engage in manipulative behavior in order to get what they want from their children. They may use guilt or emotional blackmail to get their children to do things for them or give them attention. Narcissistic parents may also use their children as pawns in their own personal dramas, expecting them to take sides or choose between them.

Growing up with a narcissistic parent – Jealousy

Another common trait of narcissistic parents is jealousy. They may be jealous of their children’s success or attention from others, and may try to undermine them or take credit for their accomplishments. Narcissistic parents may also be jealous of the time and attention that their children give to others, such as friends or grandparents.

Growing up with a narcissistic parent – Lack of remorse

Narcissistic parents often lack remorse for their hurtful words or actions. They may deny responsibility for their behaviour or blame others for the way they feel. Narcissistic parents may also refuse to apologize for hurtful things that they have said or done, even when it is clear that they were in the wrong.

The Effects of Growing Up with a Narcissistic Parent

Growing up with a narcissistic parent can have far-reaching consequences that can last well into adulthood. It is not uncommon for adults who experienced this type of parenting to suffer from low self-esteem, poor interpersonal relationships, and difficulty managing emotions. These issues can manifest in many ways such as difficulty trusting others or extreme anxiety when faced with criticism or failure.

Unhealthy coping mechanisms

In some cases, the child may develop unhealthy coping mechanisms such as substance abuse or risky behavior in order to cope with the stress caused by living in an environment where their emotional needs are not met. There is also a greater risk for depression due to feeling neglected or invisible due to their parent’s inability to provide proper emotional support.

An inability to self-validate

Because narcissists are unable to empathize or give validation, children may struggle with self-validation and even internalized shame if they believe they did something wrong or were somehow responsible for their parent’s behavior. As adults, these feelings can lead them to engage in behaviors such as overworking themselves or taking on too many responsibilities as a way of seeking approval from those around them.

Effects on Mental Health

Living with a narcissist can cause children to feel insecure about themselves and their place in the world. They might develop feelings of low self-esteem due to being constantly criticized or compared unfavorably by the narcissistic parent. This results in feelings of inferiority and insecurity that can last into adulthood. Furthermore, children of narcissistic parents may also display signs of anxiety and depression as they struggle to cope with the emotional abuse they experience at home.

As adults, these individuals may find it difficult to form meaningful relationships due to their lack of trust in people around them. They may also have difficulty expressing their emotions and understanding other people’s feelings due to their negative experiences while growing up. These challenges make it difficult for them to establish healthy relationships later in life, which can further add to their mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

Lack of Empathy

Children raised by narcissistic parents are often not taught how to empathize or understand other people’s perspectives since the narcissist is so focused on themselves and how others perceive them. This means that these children learn unhealthy coping mechanisms that could persist into adulthood if not addressed properly through therapy or counseling services. As adults, those raised by narcissistic parents are likely to find it difficult to form meaningful relationships since they do not always understand how other people think or feel about certain situations.


Living with a narcissistic parent can leave lasting effects on both your mental health as well as your ability to relate to other people—effects that can be seen well into adulthood if not addressed properly through therapy or counseling services.

If you are struggling with the consequences of growing up in an environment where your emotional needs were not met it is important to seek help from a professional therapist who can help you work through these issues so that you can move forward in your life free from anxiety and depression caused by narcissism in your childhood. With the right help, it is possible to heal from this experience and create healthier relationships both within yourself and with those around you.

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