I find it shocking that there are so many narcissistic parents “raising” their children to be discourteous, cruel, self-absorbed brats. I see and hear them in markets, restaurants, libraries, shopping malls in public and private. .
Too many parents are so “busy” creating and maintaining their images of perfect selves and model families that they are incapable of going deeper within, of introspection, empathy, self psychological regulation and kindness to others. The narcissistic parent is always seizing opportunities to enhance his/her image, to be the winner—regardless of the ruthless manipulations he/she engages in to destroy the opportunities of others in the workplace or within the family. There is a crude greediness that drives so many of these individuals. They must have the best of every material possession that intrigues them. Their children are not given any real attention or nurturing. They are groomed to be as obnoxious and mindless as their parents. The concept of manners and courtesy and the general consideration that other people actually exist went out the window long ago. Children of these parents are taught to be so competitive that stepping over others to get what you want is perfectly acceptable. Being kind, considerate or empathic is weak, backward and foolish.
Some children of narcissists reject the programing of their narcissistic parents. They know there is something terribly wrong with their mother or father. These children are often the discarded ones, the scapegoats who don’t pass the narcissistic perfection test. They are horribly victimized and humiliated. They are forced to play the role of servant to the family golden child. Many of these abused children make themselves invisible. They hide whenever they can. They escape into the world of books, become very adept at computers, study their areas of interest and try to keep their lives as private from their parents as possible. They are often derided by the narcissistic parent and the golden child/children. These children are super survivors. They have suffered so horribly under the reign of terror of the narcissistic parent. They are scrappers and make it through with the use of their imaginations, special friends, discovering the mysteries of the world in which they live, immersing themselves in the magic of art and dance.
There are some exceptions to the current narcissistic child rearing trend. Some parents actually take time with their kids, listen to their problems, fears and nightmares, teach them to be considerate of other human beings who don’t point out the flaws of strangers, friends or relatives as many rude kids do today without one blink from the parent who is sitting right beside you. Maybe these people they meet aren’t beautiful or handsome or highly self confident.That is not what is important, their parents tell them. Value the individual for his essence, his true self–that is the message they are given.
When children are cruel or rude to others or to me and their parents don’t register or blink, I point it out succinctly in that moment. The parent sits there mentally absent like an inanimate object. I have repeated my comment to the child and had the parent actually mumble: “Things happen…” What does that mean? Absolutely nothing other than they will not teach their children to be considerate, civil or empathic. I find this lack of sensitivity outrageous and an essential feature of the narcissistic style.
So many of you have chosen to take the more difficult path. Your life has been tough from the beginning. I respect a human being who has been through the mill and returned to tell the tale. I love those who are transparent to themselves and others—They are Genuine.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Freeing Yourself From the Narcissist in Your Life will be published in a paperback edition on August 15, 2013.