Webster defines Narcissism as:
a. excessive interest in oneself and one’s physical appearance.
b. extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration, as characterizing a personality type.
My experience suggests that most narcissists don’t know they are narcissistic. Narcissism can even creep into your parenting style if you are not careful. In case you are wondering how you can become a narcissistic parent, I wrote down a quick list of indicators.
You can be a narcissistic parent if you think…
My children’s primary responsibility is to serve me.
It makes sense actually. It’s the reason some parents have kids. Not only should your kids serve you now, this will help them know they have to take care of you when you are old one day.
My children should help meet my emotional needs.
Why not load your kids down with your personal baggage and issues? Shouldn’t they be the key to resolving your problems? Dump whatever is bothering you on your kids as often as possible. Maybe dealing with your mess is the best way for them to become healthy adults one day.
My children’s behavior should prove to others I’m a good parent and person.
Make sure your children know that how they act is a reflection on what people think about you. Always discipline them quickly if they embarrass you so they will understand your image is at stake.
My children need to know how talented and gifted I am.
Brag often about yourself. It may also help inspire the best in your children if you compare them to yourself. When you spotlight how smart and talented you are to them, it should push them to try a little harder.
My children should never see me lose an argument with my spouse.
Never appear weak to your children. Always make sure they see you stand strong and firm when your spouse challenges you. Sometimes you need to demand respect in front of your children so they will respect you.
My children’s dreams should reflect what I want for them.
Remember this could be your last chance. So make your dreams come true through your children. Besides, aren’t you the one who has paid for their education? They should become whoever you need them to become to fulfill your life goals.
My children exist to be a positive extension of me.
Isn’t that the point of parenting? Aren’t you creating a little “you”? Isn’t the goal of parenting to put someone else on the planet for people to look at and be reminded of you? Tell your kids everyday that they represent you to the world.
My children’s approval can give me an advantage over my spouse.
It’s an important principle to demonstrate. Remember as long as you have the kids on your side, you tend to win. So manipulate them if necessary. It’s so important for your kids to be forced to take a side, or they could grow up and never learn how to use others.
My children’s happiness is dependent on my happiness.
It’s simple, if you are not happy, they should not be happy. You should establish this precedent early in their life. It’s up to you to train them to be sensitive to what you need and want. Don’t let them get away with enjoying anything if you are not getting your way.
My children’s problems are never as critical as mine.
Make sure you trump whatever problem they have with one of yours that is obviously worse. They need to know that what they face as a child is trivial to what you face as an adult.
My children should listen to me more than I should listen to them.
Enforce the attitude in your home that “Children should be seen and not heard.” You paid your dues as a child, now you are the parent. Make it clear that you are in charge. Your opinions are far more important. And you have the right to make sure you are not challenged in anyway.