The profound bond between a parent and a child is universally cherished, isn’t it? However, with narcissistic parents, the fabric of this relationship is tainted by motives beyond affection. Narcissists are driven by image; they are driven by how they’re seen in public, so the need to look good to uphold a favorable public image leads to a complex and damaging relationship with their children. They use their children like trophies, accessories, and objects, but never truly connect with them. They do not see their children as individuals with separate personalities who have the right to grow, expand, and explore the world on their terms. Absolutely not; they see their children as possessions that they are allowed to own and use in whatever way they think they can.
1 Narcissistic parents show affection for public approval.
Narcissistic parents shower their children with affection when in public. That’s what they do. This display, however, is primarily aimed at garnering admiration and approval from others. My mother used to do that all the time. In private, she would be completely disconnected and uninvolved, but when in public, when others were watching, she would be the nicest, kindest, and sweetest mother. And I would be taken aback, like, what has changed? Have I done something miraculous for her to become this godly mother, or is she pleased with me for reasons I do not know about? That is how it feels to be with a narcissistic parent who has this Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde side, and that is the core origin of the trauma bond that a child develops with their parents. The underlying motive of this parent is to present themselves as caring parents rather than genuinely cherishing their child’s happiness and well-being. They are not interested in any of that; it’s all about the show.
2 Idealization of the toddler stage.
Narcissists favor the toddler stage in their children’s lives, as this is when they receive abundant attention and compliments from others regarding their child. The focus on the parent’s role at this stage rather than the child’s development results in an affection that is shallow and self-serving. When you are a toddler, you can’t talk. Narcissists love silence. You do what they want you to do; you comply; you’re totally obedient, and that compliance is seen as the grade-A form of supply. There is no child-mother relationship; it’s all about owning this thing they have in their hands. This child is always looking for them, always crying for their attention, always wanting them to be around, and dependent on them for every single need. This form of validation is the highest form of drug for the narcissist, which is why they’re really nice to you when you’re very young. It’s only when you start individualizing and developing a separate personality that they show their true colors.
Continue reading on the next page
Sharing is caring!