I am often asked “What type of parenting leads children to grow up with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder?” Or “Are the children of Narcissistic parents at risk of becoming Narcissists themselves?” Today’s post may shed some light on this issue.
Narcissistic Personality Disorders are a byproduct of certain childhood family environments. All children want their parents’ approval and attention. Children adapt to their homes, and often the most productive and reasonable adaptation to some home situations is to become a Narcissist. Below are some common scenarios that can contribute to children becoming Narcissistic.
Scenario 1—Narcissistic Parental Values
In this situation the child is raised in a family that is very competitive and only rewards high achievement. One or both of the parents are Exhibitionist Narcissists. The family motto is: If you can’t be the best, why bother? Love is conditional: When you come in first in the race, win the science fair, or star in the school show, you are showered with praise and attention. When you do not, you are a disappointment.
Everyone in the family is supposed to be special and prove it over and over again. No matter how much you achieve, the pressure is never off. As one woman said: “When I came home with a report card with all A’s, my father asked me if anyone got an A+.” Children in these families do not feel stably loved.
It is hard for them to enjoy anything for its own sake, if it does not confer status. Instead of being supported by their parents to explore what they like and want to do more of, they only receive support for high achievement.