Is Having Children Narcissistic?

For me, I always knew that I would one day have a family. I have been extremely blessed to be the mother to two, almost three children. I sometimes look at them and marvel at the fact that I am the mother of these little beings that walk and talk, and have very different personalities. As a psychology major, I often think about family dynamics. I think about my own family and how I was raised, and I also think about my children and how they are being raised. I am also fascinated by birth order, and how that affects … Continue reading

Aging Narcissistic Mothers: Elinor’s Last Stand

We have looked at Elinor’s story in two separate articles as she fought to regain control of her life against her narcissistic mother. Today’s article is about what happened when Elinor gave her mother the greatest gift of all and was rejected in a cruel and vindictive way. As we read earlier (see articles below) Elinor spent decades of her life devoting herself to trying to please her mother. She didn’t realize her mother suffered from Narcissistic Personality Disorder and so kept trying to win her love and approval, hoping that one day her mother would literally “wake up to … Continue reading

Having a Sibling with Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Although nowhere near as emotionally harmful as having a parent with this disorder, growing up with a sibling with narcissistic personality disorder can be an extremely painful experience, particularly if that sibling is older than you are. Let’s look at the case of Lisa and Margo. Margo was 12 years Lisa’s senior and therefore was in a position to almost be a second mother to her baby sister. But Margo was so overcome by jealousy at the birth of the cute new interloper that she never really recovered from that trauma. Any motherly attributes that Margo may have possessed were … Continue reading

The Relative Effects of Family Members with Narcissistic Personality Disorder

In addition to looking at what is narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and the diagnostic criteria required for a diagnosis of the condition (see links below), today we are going to look at the damage caused by different family members who suffer from the disorder and the relative effects on the rest of the family. The most devastating situation exists when the mother suffers from NPD. This makes sense because, despite changes in our society over recent decades, it is still the mother who is, and is expected to be, the primary source of love, caring and attention. This situation in … Continue reading

Why Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder So Little Known? (1)

This is a question that clients often ask me. Having suffered for decades under the regime of a narcissistic parent, they discover, sometimes almost halfway through their lifetime, that their parent has had narcissist personality disorder (NPD) all along. With the realization that the parent has NPD comes relief, shock, rage and sorrow. It is never easy to learn that one’s mother or father has the condition. This is especially true when the parent is the mother, as the mother is characteristically seen as the principal source of love and nurturance. Of course, there is no true love and nurturance … Continue reading

Book Review: The Mistress’ Daughter

A.M. Homes remembers waking as a young child sobbing for her “other mother”. Although she was adopted as an infant, some part of her yearned for the parents from whom she came. Many adoptees do the same. But what if, when you find these long dreamed-of parents, they have feet very much made of clay? Novelist and short-story writer Homes, whose fiction works include The Safety of Objects and Music for Torching, writes her own story in The Mistress’ Daughter. It’s a not-often-told story that will be of interest to many adoptees. Certainly many birthparents, such as those profiled in … Continue reading

The Aging Narcissistic Parent (1)

In previous articles I have talked about many aspects of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). See the links below for further insights into this puzzling yet extremely damaging condition. In this series of articles, we will look further into the mind of a narcissist and will also address ways for the adult child of a narcissist to deal with the challenges before them. To survive in an environment dominated and controlled by a narcissist, you need to be aware of your own weaknesses, i.e. the way your narcissistic parent manipulates you. I have called this characteristic a “weakness,” but under normal … Continue reading

Escaping the Trap of the Narcissistic Mother

In Dealing with a Narcissistic Mother, we looked at how 39-year-old Elinor was still caught up in a desperate game of trying to win the love and approval of her mother, who suffered from Narcissistic Personality Disorder. When Elinor came in for therapy she was sad, slightly depressed and full of rage for a mother who just could not give her the love and approval that Elinor wanted. Although Elinor had a loving husband, and two wonderful children, she was not happy. This is not unusual when basic childhood needs such as love and approval have not been delivered to … Continue reading

Social Networking and Mental Health

During a recent session at the American Psychological Associations’ annual convention a presentation focused on the impact of social networking on kids and had some interesting results. Not long ago I wrote about some research regarding depression and Facebook among teens. This presentation focused on broader psychological issues such as antisocial behaviors and empathy, along with depression and anxiety. The presenter, Dr. Larry Rosen, presented his research findings and gave advice to parents. Some of the concerning data he presented in regards to teens who were regular Facebook users was: that teens who use Facebook often showed more narcissistic tendencies, … Continue reading