Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents - Deepstash
Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents

Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents

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  • Narcissistic parents try to fill their emotional void through their children.
  • Being raised by a narcissist can lead to a variety of negative feelings and a compromised sense of self in adulthood.
  • Adult children of narcissists must grieve the loss of the "good enough" parenting that they never had.
  • Ambiguous losses are notable for the conflicting emotions they fuel.


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Bowlby and Parke developed a four-stage model of grief that focused on the aspect of attachment to the person who is gone. The stages include shock and numbness, yearning and searching, despair and disorganization, and reorganization and recovery. Bowlby’s research into attachment focused on the ways in which children form attachments from infancy. Looking at attachment as a means for survival, Bowlby’s perspective suggests that separation anxiety is driven by the abject terror of being abandoned by one’s parents.


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Carving Out Identity in Adulthood

While narcissistic traits are the kind that drives away most people, children are bound to the narcissist by birth, and as they grow into adolescence and adulthood, they may remain entangled in their narcissistic parent’s web. Bound by guilt and obligation, it can be difficult to move on and disengage. To do so, a clean break may be needed; limiting contact with parents and learning to ignore their calls and texts. Most of us receive a message to honor our parents and show them obedience, but narcissistic parents fail to earn their children’s respect due to the emotional disruption they trigger. Individuating from your parent and building your own sense of self may require you to consciously set aside any hopes that your parent will change and acknowledge that they can never be, nor have they ever been, the “good enough” parent that every child deserves. Accepting the loss of what you never had can free you to become the person you know you were meant to be.


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Letting Go of a Narcissistic Parent: Shock and Numbness

Letting Go of a Narcissistic Parent: Shock and Numbness

According to Bowlby and Parkes, grief commences with shock and numbness. Children of narcissists may be so numbed to the world around them due to the pressures that are put on them by their parents, they may not realize that their parents and their relationships are not like those of peers at first. Children of narcissists may already be emotionally shut down due to the parent’s controlling and demanding behavior.


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My Name is LaNa' I'm a Child of God, Mother of four, A beautiful single outgoing woman, Survivor of Domestic Violence, On the rise to my greatness, building Surviving with Hope. Transforming the lives of oth others.


I'm a survivor of Abuse

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