Sociopathic Narcissists Harm Their Children

The sociopathic narcissist appears in innumerable disguises. Since childhood they are been refining a persona that is magnetic, charming and irresistible to others. They study human nature, understand emotional vulnerabilities and know precisely whom and when to attract those individuals who will fulfill their wishes and desires. Early on this child learned directly from the parent, that life was all about winning in all of its forms–money, prestige, praise, fame, material acquisitions, competing and winning at the top tiers of power. There are parents who program their small children to become successful, compete and defeat others who are in their way and teach them to be ruthless and uncaring as long as they reach their goals. Children are taught to take a “no prisoners” attitude about other human beings. If someone cannot perform for you and get you directly to your goal, discard them. If they are in your way, make their life so miserable that they can no longer compete with you. If they persist, find cunning methods to destroy their reputations, financial security and emotional well being. These lessons are taught early and they resonate deeply in the child.

Some children of sociopathic narcissists have access to an inner part of themselves who intuitively knows that what the parent is demanding of them is wrong and inconsistent with their own nature. I have heard many stories of grown children who bucked the narcissistic parent and suffered the consequences. They were quickly discarded psychologically and cut permanently out of the family circle.

The spouse of the sociopathic narcissist is often complicit through her psychological weakness, her addiction to a certain lifestyle and her fear of being cast out of paradise. She is so distressed and feels incapable of leading an independent life, that she colludes with the sociopathic narcissist who controls the family.

Some children in these families become sociopathic narcissists like mom or dad. After all, this is the family tradition and heritage. They often learn to outdo the parent and become even more ruthless, unethical and conniving than their original teacher. Children in these families who do not follow the “winning at any cost” rules are left on their own without support of any kind. Mother or father won’t pay for their educations, demeans them constantly and undermine their individuality and creativity. The pain that these discarded children suffer is extreme. Many of them leave home early in their midteens to look for ways to survive. They are estranged from the siblings that went along with the narcissistic parent, These siblings despise the ones who were cast out and do everything they can to make their lives miserable. There is no opportunity for a “prodigal son or daughter” reunion with the narcissistic parent. The familial doors have been locked and the compound is sealed off.

Those who survive the sociopathic narcissistic parent have a long hard scrabble road ahead of them. I have communicated with these adult children. They endured many psychological and monetary harsh winters of striving to just get the bare necessities. For many, the wounds of childhood are still raw and painful. Others persevere through arduous work and schooling (every cent paid by them alone) to achieve their professional goals. As adults many of these individuals have difficulty finding partners who are supportive and empathic. Some fall in love with narcissists and sociopathic narcissists. They end up repeating the torments of childhood. This demonstrates the depth of pain the child of such parents experienced. They were never protected or cherished or felt special and valued. It is not surprising that they would find partners who would treat them with disrespect, cruelty and contempt.

Some of these adult children break the cycle of self harm and sever their relationship with the sociopathic narcissist. They redefine themselves, develop a sense of self entitlement and renew themselves as individuals who have moved beyond the pain of their family of origin and into a life that they deserve where there is hope, self initiative, inner peace and psychological and emotional freedom. Visit my website:

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Telephone Consultation: United States and International
Book: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life
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7 thoughts on “Sociopathic Narcissists Harm Their Children”

  1. You imply that Narcissistic /Sociopaths are created by bad parenting. This is not generally the case. Many of these creatures spring from loving and nurturing environments! Research has proven that this is an untreatable condition that many people are born with?

  2. I agree with the comment that Narcissists/Sociopaths are not created by bad parenting alone. Many do come from perfectly pleasant family backgrounds. I would suggest that Narcissism/Sociopathy is the way the person is born – the way they are made. It describes their whole modus operandi. Somebody simply IS a Sociopath or Narcissist – by choice, and by design. These people are mentally ill, but at the same time not. They are not like Schizophrenics, or Depressives, who may respond to some form of treatment. No, it is their fundamental personality that is so disordered, so skewed, as to be untreatable. The Narcissist/Sociopath sees Narcissism or Sociopathy as completely “normal” – and it IS “normal”, for THEM!
    Having been brought up by one of these sick monstrosities, and his complicit partner, I know the damage they cause, and the way they operate. These disgusting scumbags are NOT human – they are as alien to proper, functioning, healthy humanity as is E.T., or some other similarly fantastical creation. Only, these creatures are NOT fantasy – Sociopaths and Narcissists are REAL. These hideous beings exist in our world, and come into contact with healthy individuals. Like vampires or parasites, they seek to live off other individuals… they bleed people dry… They live off other people by robbing them of individuality, of self-confidence, of love, of hope, of trust, of support, of truth, of honesty…
    To have a Narcissist/Sociopath in your life is to have somebody (or rather, something) in your life that constantly undermines you. Constantly criticizes you. Lies to you (pretty much pathologically). Bullies you. Teases you. Says one thing, but does another. Belittles your talents, abilities and achievements. Spreads false rumours and nasty gossip behind your back. Steals from you (both physically, and intellectually). Stalks you. Manipulates and controls you. Threatens you…
    To have one of these monsters in your life is to be put down; lied to; cheated; coerced; bullied; taunted; dominated; harassed; stalked; abused; criticized; ridiculed; told you are stupid or worthless; told you are a liar; told you are mental; told you are ugly; told you are wrong…
    Narcissists/Sociopaths do this ON PURPOSE. It is how they operate. They have NO EMPATHY and do not understand, or care about other people. They only care about themselves – and this is beyond selfishness. It is the sort of self-absorbtion that makes them a “God” in their own eyes. These disgusting low-lifes cannot acknowledge others for who they are; instead they see other people as things to manipulate for their own gain.
    Look at it like this… Narcissists and Sociopaths want always to be “top of the pile”. They are vain, conceited and arrogant; they will do ANYTHING (literally anything) to be “top”. They have no remorse, no shame, no guilt and no empathy.
    I reckon Narcissists and Sociopaths see people only in 2 ways – either as fools who they can manipulate, or as threats that they must eradicate. The former are people whom they identify as weak, gullible and as people whom they can easily fool. These people become the Narcissist/Sociopath’s “fake friends”. The Narcissist/Sociopath will pretend to be a really pleasant person in front of these fooled individuals, because they are an “alibi”. They are the people who fail to see just what a bad person the Narcissist/Sociopath really is – they believe he or she is “great”, “lovely”, “fun”, “charismatic”… or whatever other false persona they have been presented with. The Narcissist/Sociopath likes having these fools around him or her, because it makes it look like they are popular and have friends. A person with “friends” is a “nice” person… right! Also, these gullible hangers-on are useful. They can gain information on threats. They can act on the Narcissist/Sociopath’s behalf, “doing the dirty work”. They can provide excuses. They are a cloak to hide behind.
    Some people are seen as threats. These individuals recognize the Narcissist/Sociopath for just what he or she truly is. Thus, they cannot be fooled. But, the Narcissist/Sociopath will still seek to manipulate them – this time in order to lessen the threat. I would suspect that Narcissists/Sociopaths are often jealous of, or even frightened of, people seen as threats. These people have qualities or possessions that the Narcissist/Sociopath wants. However, this cannot be openly admitted. The Narcissist/Sociopath has to operate covertly to stop the target, and to prevent them from having what the Narcissist/Sociopath wants.
    So… if a target is clever, academic, intelligent… the Narcissist/Sociopath will do everything possible to undermine this. They may call the person names like “stupid” or “thicko”. They may spread false rumours that the person cheats in exams, or that the person is vain and boasts about achievements. They may try to sabotage the person’s career, or academic success in any way they can. This is all to prevent the target from being what the Narcissist/Sociopath envies and feels threatened by.
    If a target is attractive… the Narcissist/Sociopath will want to destroy this. They will perhaps accuse the person of being vain or self-obsessed. They may accuse the person of being “all looks and no brain or personality”. They may criticize the person’s looks, saying they are too tall, or too thin. They may ridicule the way the person dresses, or does their hair. This is all to make the Narcissist/Sociopath feel falsely “superior”, and to rob the target of their beauty and good looks (if not physically, then psychologically and allegorically).
    Narcissists/Sociopaths seek to degrade targets in the eyes of others, and in their own eyes. They want other people to see the targets as bad, or worthless, or stupid, or useless, or incompetent, or wrong… or any other thing that reduces the target to nothing. They also hope that this will make the target feel isolated and lacking support, and that eventually the target will come to believe what is said. Then, the threat is gone! The Narcissist/Sociopath can feel falsely “superior”… And that is all these creatures want.
    They want to feel smug, superior. They want to boast, to show off. They want to win. Narcissists/Sociopaths are hollow, pathetic individuals with no substance… no reality. They are a sham. They exist only to dominate and manipulate others in order to make themselves feel better. They can do NOTHING else, for they do NOT understand, or appreciate, what it is to be truly HUMAN. They CANNOT. They are NOT human. They are the hollow shells of something that looks like it might be human… but, try as they might, Narcissists/Sociopaths CANNOT be human. They do NOT know how!

  3. Wow…It all becomes incredibly real when you hear/read it from someone else. Do you ever worry about being a sociopath? Both of my parents are sociopaths. I was raised by my mother and spent time with my father a couple of years ago. It didn’t end well!! I’m aware of my traits, I like to think of them as survival mechanisms. I’m in my early 40’s and still have trouble being ‘normal’. I even go out of my way to ‘help’ my mother find peace, knowing full well that she truly believes that she does nothing wrong. She is in her 60’s and still hurts people. I just do not understand it. Thanks for sharing, no one understands how much damage these people do in plain sight. I’m in a great place mentally now, but scars are scars and much effort is put in not to see them. Thanks again.

  4. My sociopathic Mom is in her 60s. Did you think, as I did years ago, that time would slow them down? LOL. I did. What a joke. Sure, age is catching up to my Mom, but she is perfectly healthy, has her senses about her, and shows no signs of slowing down her abuse. I don’t mean to laugh at the physical, verbal, and spiritual abuse she heaped upon me and my brother, nor do I mean to laugh at her lifetime of lying, cheating, and God-knows what else, which is just now revealing itself to me (my unconscious always knew she was lying, but I blocked it out.) I only laugh at my own eternal optimism directed at a person who is simply incapable of having a normal relationship (with). In a way, she got pretty lucky with me. I never questioned her, even though she rarely made sense, even to my child’s mind. And I did everything I could possibly think of to try to win her love. Sad. But anyway …
    As for worrying about being a sociopath? I worry about EVERYTHING. Every little sniffle, every little belly ache, every little bizarre thought that floats through my head, every little innocuous comment I make to another human being, etc. I grew up being a full-blown hypochondriac with next-to-zero self esteem, so there’s that. I think some of it has everything to do with the psychological concept of conversion, whereby unconscious mental pain manifests itself into physical symptoms of no known origin. For example, I’ve had a painful bladder syndrome that started about two years ago. Looking back, I realized it started after a very awful fight with my mother. I also realized that one of my most painful memories of physical abuse at the hands of my mother had to do with my needing to urinate at a time that was inconvenient for her and the ensuing pain that followed her abuse. … But anyway, I’ve had years of therapy to work on this stuff, and I made great strides; in fact, if it hadn’t been for my counselor (the good one I finally found after several duds), I may not be here today, and I certainly wouldn’t be in the process of going No Contact with my mother. But still, the scars do run very, very deep. But if I have to spend the rest of my life, I will fight back at the wrong messages my mother’s abuse and torment left in my psyche. Good luck to everyone out there dealing with this madness in their lives.

  5. Couldn’t of put it better myself. How sad we only realise in middle age what they are. Breaks my heart to think of kids living with Narc Sociopaths, thinking its all their fault. Only way forward is No contact. Liberating, you find out who you really are, and you.aint the bad person they’ve told you you are (& everyone else) once they cant control you, they go on to control what other people think of you. Be prepared, but do it anyway,bits bloody worth it.

  6. My mother has send me mail by court to prove my schizophrenia.
    I am 40 years old and homeless.
    I suffered 40 years torture although I know she is a psychopath since me being 35 years old.
    Bu,t she found out I know I am not wrong,but she is,and she started full blown rage campange.
    Since the last five years she visited me regularly with state psychaters in the middle of the nights-telling them I said her I wanna make suicide.
    It happenden bout 45 times-and I have to use valium to go to bed-because I live in constant fear that police breaks again in my home and wkes me up and taking me to hospital for 24 hours….
    That made me sick and nervous.
    I am homeless an sleep in a freinds house-and she gave 50 DOllars to buy food and train tickets.
    My mother has destroyed everything in my life – she is highly obssessed with my cannot let me go.
    She destroyed my school education-my partnerships-my jobs my birthday parties -my familie vivits and my bigest dreams.
    I am 40 years of age and never was dancing or had prober clothes.
    I never saw my favourite movie-I never had an own cd.
    And she is still after me teeling her cheap firneds I am one without dreams and goals !

    Court does not want to see me -because mother is a GlaxoSmith Kline Super Duper working girl – same as are her cheap friends.
    I once overheard their conservations on phone:It was all about my faults and about how stupid neighbour x is-and how silly mate y is,and how bad friend x is and how stupid
    daughter of y is.
    They never had a hobbies- theme or other desires – all about: Did you hear about Susie x ?
    She lost her husband,hah she deserves it,she was such a slut,I told you she thaught she was someone with her four children and her big mercedes-and now she has no husband.
    She will see how hard the world is.
    Megan made a mistake yesterday the boss gave her a warning.
    I think she deserved it because she always behaves son selfassure-she needed a damper….

    The whole two hours telephone call was this style !!!!!

    Strange thing making me wondering:
    They are paid well-live very good.
    But are always complaining and lying and taking bad things like liqourice and beer and winegums and pills and painkillers and fine wine……and they all phone in bed and phone and phone andphone….I never saw one visit the other in the living room !!!
    And they act so charming when a nicens innocent 17 year-old neighbour girl crosses theri pahths in the hallways…..they loove to play rich adn attractive older woman who show the young 17 year old how the world is. But, of course they never ever do !
    They want to be adored for being generous and giving and carind and being beautiful-but they are none of it. And they still try to give me big diificulties in the camp for the homeless-while wearing fur and eating the big christmas turkey.
    The hell-what is wrong with them !?!?!?!?!?
    To me they seem to be doulbe sick.
    I mean it is one thing to be sick-you can go to therapie and tell everone you are not very healthy and you often need alone time.
    It woud be okay !
    But they, and all around realize they are sick -and they take the choice I love my sickness and I enjoy it and need you as my victims-but I want not to be blamed for this choice. I wanna do live out my sickness with the guearantie not to take resposibility for it !
    Smokers think the same way !
    I hate smokers and schizos for that esspecial issue !

    And both are that dangerous-both close the windows at night !
    And their partners cannot breath and do die !
    Lets get hard with them !!!!They have not to live among healthy people ,they need specila homes with working hours to take their contribution to the costs.

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