For Psychology Today I wrote a post called Caring the the Parent Who Doesn’t Care for You.
As I am in the middle of writing the third of my ebooks about narcissism and coping with its effects—this one about narcissistic parents—I find myself thinking of the years I worked with older adults and their adult children. As I wrote in that piece I’ve linked above, this remains true:
“A parent’s illness signals a reminder that we are not children anymore—that the wounds we got as kids—inflicted by parents, sometimes intentionally, oftentimes not—are still with us and feel like they define us without our even realizing it.”
I’m working on a third book about narcissism, this one about narcissistic parents.
But recently, a friend shared this article with me: How to Not Raise a Narcissist. It’s from PBS NewsHour, written by Rebecca Jacobson. It’s about little kids and what parents do to make them narcissists. And it got me thinking about the environmental factors that contribute to creating children with pronounced narcissistic traits. How does overindulgence play a role? How about wounding? The article addresses these juxtaposed causes:
“But why do kids grow up to be narcissists? There are two prevailing — and contradictory — theories, Twenge [prominent researcher/author in the field of study] from said. Some say parents who overpraise and emphasize a child’s specialness raise narcissists. Others say it stems from the opposite: kids who are undervalued and treated harshly.”
It’s a fascinating read from the perspective of understanding what can contribute to creating a individual with pronounced narcissism. It also makes me think about what happens as these children grow up and have children of their own. Will they become the parent who wounds their child emotionally, thus creating narcissism of a different etiology from which their own was created?
The end of the article also answers the question: So how do you raise kids with high self-esteem who aren’t narcissists?