Self-Identifying as an Adult Child of Narcissistic Parents

Self Identifying Adult Child Narcissistic Parents

Were you raised by a narcissistic parent? If you’re not sure take a look at the signs you’re an adult child of narcissistic parents.

Did you grow up feeling like you didn’t matter, or like you weren’t good enough? Did one of your parents teach you that you weren’t as important as they were, or did they control every move you made? Or maybe your parent was more of a lazy, hands-off type who didn’t seem to care what you did – or who only paid attention to you when it was convenient for them.

If any of that sounds familiar to you, have you ever wondered if you might be the adult child of a narcissistic parent? If you are, chances are you don’t have the best memories about at least certain parts of your childhood. But the good news is that you don’t have to allow the effects of your abusive, gaslighting parents to control your life anymore. Even better, there is plenty of help and support available for adult children of narcissistic parents.

Signs You Were Raised by a Narcissistic Parents

Were you raised by a narcissistic parent? If you were, then you might already know how significantly it can impact your adult life and your relationships. If you’re not sure it can help to take a look at the signs you were raised by a toxic parent.

Signs of a Narcissistic Parent in Infancy and Early Childhood

In early childhood, narcissistic parents can be more difficult to detect, as the children won’t have as much of their own, separate opinions yet.  Even more confusing, narcissistic parents tend to go to one extreme or the other – either they are highly engaged and controlling, or not. For example, Narcissistic parents are often extremely possessive of their kids. If not possessive, then they are completely dismissive of children.

There are things narcissistic mothers say when you’re upset or crying about something and they are annoyed by your emotions, which they feel are not real or relevant. For example – “These are the choices that you have made,” “Get over it,” “You’re so dramatic,” and so on.

  • They see kids as extensions of themselves, and they use the kids as accessories when they’re small. Or, they see them as extensions of themselves which means they don’t matter as they’re not as “real” or “important” as other people. They are often not even able to imagine that their child might be a “whole person” in any given moment.
  • They act like taking care of their babies is above and beyond their responsibility as a parent. They may have wanted or expected praise for completing basic parental responsibilities.  Alternatively, they ignored their responsibilities and pushed them off on to the other parent or even a grandparent, babysitter, or, in some cases, a sibling.
  • They may have been fans of the helicopter parenting style. If not helicopter parents, they’d have been very hands-off.

Read Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome: 10 Signs You’ve Experienced Narcissistic Abuse

Signs of a Narcissistic Parent in the Tween and Teen Years

Of course, since we know that narcissists rarely change, we know that going into the tween and teen years, the toxic parent will want to retain control, if that is their weapon of choice, or they will increasingly ignore and neglect their kids if they’re a “hands-off” type.

And the older a child gets, the more separate they naturally become from their parents. It is a healthy and normal part of a child’s development and journey into adulthood. They form their own opinions, thoughts, feelings, and styles. They may see the world differently than their parents, and they may talk back or openly rebel against even the most easy-going parent. But when it comes to kids being raised by a narcissist, this time will look a little different.

1 thought on “Self-Identifying as an Adult Child of Narcissistic Parents”

  1. Avatar of Patrick

    My experiences, since very early childhood, raised by a highly unstable narcissist mother and defined as the black sheep since birth (golden child elder brother 3 yrs older than I), have led to much of what you’ve described. As a young boy in the 70’s growing up in Canada I was fortunate to have made it through unscathed having left home at a ridiculously early age, because my need to leave my toxic family overrode any feelings of fear or worry, let alone the need to have any money. Now, at 57 I can say I made the right choice when I was 15 to get as far away from my family as possible, where ultimately another country worked perfectly. I’ve lived an extremely adventurous and satisfying life, at-home-dad with 2 awesome boys (now young men), a great marriage for 15 years, then one of the greatest divorces one could ask for and a fantastic relationship with my ex for over 12 years now. We vowed to have a very child-centered divorce which has led to our family being as loving and close as we’ve always been, despite our marriage not working out. I’ve studied the science of happiness and childhood emotional development for over 20 years ,wrote an emotional literacy book for young kids and even coached parents around the world. So, bottom line is I love what you do and your insight has shed light on many things for me and for that I thank you! You clearly know exactly what you’re talking about!

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