The narcissistic parent

narcissistic parents

Narcissistic Parents

In my study of mental child abuse I’ve noticed how prevalent it is that the child abuser is highly narcissistic.

What’s a narcissistic parent? It’s someone who is self-absorbed, authoritarian (watch out for their outbursts), negative, a know-it-all, never culpable or blameworthy for anything, highly critical of others, secretive, cunning and conniving, manipulative, exploitive, stingy with others (but not themselves), ungrateful, a pathological liar (twists the truth with incredible ease), envious and competitive, deaf to other’s opinions, has zero empathy, doesn’t listen, doesn’t seek agreement (not a single ounce of agreeableness), brags and exaggerates, plays favorites (and it’s a rotating favorite list at that), has no boundaries, never asks you any questions, inept at basic manners, lacks a sense of humor (especially at themselves), and excels at making others feel guilty… He or she is one unhappy person who can successfully convince their targets that they are needed, and that without them their targets would be nothing.

Looking at these traits, how many of them apply to your parent or ex? A narcissist will have most of the traits listed.

There’s a simple reason why the more a parent brainwashes his or her own children (or dishes out any other form of abuse), the more narcissistic tendencies they have:

It takes an extremely selfish and sick parent to inflict such harm onto their own child.

Any mature parent can set aside anger or hurt from a divorce and keep their child on neutral ground by refusing to enroll them in the middle of the conflict. But a narcissistic parent will be hell-bent on minimizing or even outright destroying the child’s relationship with the ex and unable to place their child out of the emotional turmoil. They can’t do it. In fact, they will actively bring pain to their own kids. That’s how mentally ill they are.

So how do you counter these parents, and is there hope for changing them? A sobering quote:

“Trying to reform narcissists by reasoning with them or by appealing to their better nature is about as effective as spitting in the ocean.”

That has been one of my biggest frustrations with my ex, thinking that reasoning with her and letting her eventually calm down and see for herself that I’m a good Dad would temper her behavior towards our son. But it never happened, and her actions even got worse over time. The sad reality is that you can’t change the narcissist. They don’t have the self-awareness or humility to see that they’re out of control and need help. They’re incapable of introspection. It’s deeply unfortunate, especially if your ex is the custodial parent and has ample amounts of time to transfer these narcissistic  traits onto your child.

The only recourse for you is to be a normal parent, providing needed contrast for your child. It’s very important to insist that any behaviors in him or her that mimic your narcissistic ex are stomped out immediately. So if your child is flippant, rude, and lacking manners– and they will on many levels when they’ve been living with a narcissist– don’t tolerate it.

“The narcissist is governed by his or her feelings, the decent person is governed by his or her obligations” – Dennis Prager

Since a narcissistic parent is governed by his or her feelings, they don’t have the ability to own up to their obligations to shield their child from emotional heartache, adult issues, stories of how bad Mommy or Daddy is, etc. They will actively get the children involved in the conflict.

These parents are a vortex of negative energy, and will suck the life out of those around them. Children of narcissists suffer, and they come in two camps: those that are aware of this parent’s bizarre, completely irrational behavior “Yeah, there my Mom/Dad goes again…”, or they’re not and are mentally and physically smothered by the parent. Sadly, lots of these children end up inheriting the narcissist’s traits, supporting the findings that many children of narcissistic parents become narcissists themselves.

The reality is this. Once the children become adults, the only way for them to not further suffer under the tyranny of a severely narcissistic parent is to move away from them. Creating physical separation, and thus limiting contact, from a parent might seem like a bad solution. But the alternative is living a life of suffering. Remember, the narcissist will never change. After all, he or she isn’t the wrongdoer or person with flaws. Everyone else is.

Finally, here is a quote I would like to share that was left in the comment section, below, from a reader:

“The narcissist has no conscience and no feelings for others, especially their own children. The only thing that matters is their own selfish ego– coercing, manipulating, causing chaos, and damaging lives everywhere they go.”

Have a question for me about narcissistic parents? I’ll answer on future podcasts and posts. Thanks! – John


Thank you, Dr. Craig Childress!

Thank you, Dr. Craig Childress!
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Spreading divorce drama to children is wrong

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The 5 steps to begin reversing alienation


Tip for alienated parents: Find the joys that you can


Find the joys that you can. Because this takes years in most cases to recover from a severe alienated state from your son or daughter or children; you can’t be fixated on the alienation and let the poison that’s being dripped over your kid or kids and yourself infect and drown out and poison all the other areas of your life.

There are six specific things I really want you to concentrate on because you can’t let they alienator win, so to speak, by allowing this to make you depressed or to crowd out all the other good things in your life.

Here are the six: friends, family, job, hobbies, religion, and passions, and obviously, not in that order.

Go for each one of those and write out a list of what you have that’s joyous in your life, what you have that’s amazing, that makes you really happy, and you’re going to have lots of things in all of these. If you feel like you’re short, especially on passions, start something new. Be creative. Say ‘you know what, I’m going to use this time of alienation to do something I normally would never do.’ It’s taking a negative thing and creating something positive out of that. That’s going to be another video I’ll be doing.

Start a new hobby, start something new. Do something that you could look back one day and go, ‘you know what, without the alienation I would have never learned Italian, with the alienation I would have never reconnected with Joey in New York.’ Find one thing or many that you can start now so that there’s some seeds that you’ve planted even though you’ve planted these seeds in some rotten, disgusting, ugly soil, can’t think of a better word. What you’re essentially doing here is compartmentalizing in a healthy respect.

We all have pains in our life, but instead of taking those pain compartments and blowing them up and making them bigger, especially making them bigger than they actually are, it’s taking those pain compartments and shrinking them down. If you’ve heard of neurolinguistic programming (NLP), that’s exactly what it talks about, it’s almost like you have these balloons up here and shrinking in your head that represent the different areas of your life and taking the painful balloons, in this case the alienation of your son Johnny, and shrinking it down and blowing those other ones bigger.

You blow up the family one in your head to where you’re actually looking at a balloon and go, “Hey, I’ve got all these good, positive balloons in my head,” and taking the alienation one, instead of making it bigger and crowding everything out, you’re actually making it smaller and shrinking it down to size, it really works. It’s what helped me immensely during those years. I don’t know how I would’ve stayed sane otherwise because sometimes I just thought about him all the time.

Try to do that, I know it’s easier said than done, especially early on, but really try that. I hope these six can help you!


Parental alienation: Grieving the loss of a child who’s still alive


Parental alienation is a vicious form of child abuse.

If you think about the parents that have been turned against their own child or children, many of them are essentially grieving over the loss of a child who’s still alive.

Let’s be honest, many of these alienators wish you were dead. That’s the reality. By removing you from the child’s life, the children’s life, what difference is it– there’s no funeral, but you are away from them and if it was up to them there would be no father or mother for this child or children.

It’s really sick.

Let’s be honest, the parents that go full bore in a campaign of alienation, are mentally ill. Let’s call it for what it is. There’s something wrong with them, morally speaking. Their moral compass is broken. What parent, even in the midst of a break-up, wants to see that child suffer?

The alienator does.

It’s a real sick and twisted form of child abuse.


Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy: a severe and sick form of child abuse


What is Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy? Very briefly, it’s a rare form of child abuse where a caretaker, usually a mother (statistically speaking), takes a child into the medical system, doctor’s offices and clinics, and fakes or feigns or makes up symptoms. The child is not sick or just has a small symptom and they drum it up, they outright make up lies to say the child has this, the child has that. Overtime, one of the symptoms of this type of abuse is a child is in the hospital all the time, and lots of different doctors. This parent goes doctor surfing. I’ve seen this all by the way, firsthand, and I’m speaking from experience and from what I’ve also learned with books and on the internet and on Youtube.

It’s a really, really sick form of child abuse because it flies in the face of everything a parent with a conscience is supposed to do. You are supposed to want to help your child. You don’t want them in the hospital. That’s what so twisted about this form of child abuse is the Munchausen parent wants the child in the hospital, and when the child is suffering, guess what? They are okay with that. Does that sound like a normal type of parent to you? No, it’s a really decrepit form of child abuse. Fortunately it’s rare but I’m talking about it because a lot of people in the child protective care system, the guardians, ad litems, judges, lawyers, doctors, they don’t understand this form of child abuse.

Here is why though, in their defense, the reason they don’t understand it is because their thought is, “Why would a parent bring a child in and make up things that aren’t true? Nobody wants their child in a hospital.” That’s how these Munchausen parents are able to dupe the system, is because they take advantage of that. By the way, a little side note, but it’s an important one, why do these parents do this? One reason, attention. It’s a really evil form of, it’s an evil act on the child. The payoff for the parent is getting attention. They get attention from the doctors. They get attention from nurses who go, “You are such a caring parent. Look at you. I can’t believe you are going through that.”

You and I can’t understand this but it exists. It’s out there more than what the literature that I read about says. It’s much more common than the books I read, and the literature I’ve read on it talk about. I’ve seen it, I have a friend that saw it, my sister is very intimately acquainted with this from things she’s seen as a nurse. It’s out there but sadly the professionals just don’t know about it. Let me give a couple of telltale signs. These are signs that happened to me, this can help you in your situation, if you are thinking this might be happening to your son or daughter or lover. First of all, these parents like to doctor shop, they don’t just go to one doctor over the course of three five years, with a little Johnny or a little Suzie.

No, they go a lot. In my case it was well over a dozen doctors by the time my son was twelve. Also your son or daughter, this kid that we are talking about has lots and lots of medications. My son at one point had over nineteen prescriptions that fell over eighteen months. It’s insane, yet when my son was with me, guess what? During extended periods of time, he was healthy. There is nothing wrong with them, yet when he went back to mother, guess what? He’s back in the hospital again. One quick example, during summer, I got him weaned off of miralax, which is a constipation medicine to help with constipation. I weaned him off of it with good, basically good eating. Fibrous foods, lots of foods with roughage and I weaned him off it, and I was proud of that I let mom know that.

She was not happy with that, guess what? The very next week, my son was back at the doctor’s office. Guess who suggested that he get put back on miralax? This doctor. Again, I don’t think this doctor, this doctor was just duped, he didn’t know better, the other thing is, what doctor wants to stand up to a mother or father who is saying, “Hey, little Johnny or little Suzie has X, Y or Z.” Here is probably the biggest tip off to Munchausen parents, it’s the fact that they are not happy when the child is healed or when the child is recovering or fixed. Most parents would be like, “Yes, finally, we don’t have to come back to this stupid hospital.” They are the opposite, they’ll bring a child back for more. In fact, very frequently they will dial it up.

They will actually take exaggerated symptoms and say, “No, this is not what the child needs, they need this, this and this.” How would they know? That’s because they are frequently nurses themselves. Munchausen  parents are frequently coming out of the medical profession themselves. That’s all upside, this form of child abuse really if you think about it, it’s all upside down. Everything that looks like X, there is no way it could be anything as actually Y or Z, it’s really strange. I just wish more people knew about this form of child abuse.

Here is another interesting thing is, Munchausen parents know details, they know about medicines, they know about detailed medical procedures. They will stand up and say, “No, my son, my daughter needs this. My son, my daughter needs that.” They take an active role in basically taking over the medical care and suggesting that these are the meds that he needs, here is the procedure that he needs or that she needs. Again, that’s one of the reasons they go doctor shopping because a lot of doctors will say, “You know what? No, I don’t see it that way.” Munchausen parents can get very upset and that’s why they go and doctor shop.

The age of the children, this is important, usually in the vast majority of cases that I’ve studied, and this kind of makes sense, is this happens to children under the ages of eight approximately. In other words, this is not done very often to sixteen year olds. Why is that? It’s because a sixteen year old knows his or her body enough to go, “No, what are you talking about? I’m not sick, I don’t have the symptoms that you are claiming that I have. What are you talking about? No I’m not going to a doctor, I’m definitely not going to take these meds. Really, do you think I need this type of invasive procedure?”

It’s usually done on younger kids under the age of six. That is the pattern, and let me sum up real quickly, the pattern of the Munchausen parent. The parent is not happy when the child is fixed, the doctor shops. It’s not uncommon for a dozen different doctors over a dozen different years that the parent has gone to. They are very frequently in the medical profession themselves, the most common profession for a Munchausen parent is a nurse. Details, they know a lot of details about medicine and especially about drugs.

The last one that I haven’t talked about yet is the child misses a lot of school. In my case, my son missed fifty days full or partial in one particular school year that this all was going on. That’s another telltale sign. If you add up all this together, it points towards a parent that’s got Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. What are the solutions? You know what? I’m not a doctor, I’m not in the legal profession, but the best solution is really is to remove that child from that home. How? I don’t know, please give me your thoughts and feedback in the comments below in this video.

I don’t know, as short of removing that, clearly this is, I think we’ll all agree, this is an abusive home where this happens. We’ve got to remove the children from that home. How to do it, short of putting video cameras in every single clinic and every single doctor’s office around America? I really don’t know. That’s in a nutshell this form of abuse. It needs, the awareness needs to get out there that this exists. Right now, sadly, a lot of people that are supposed, that are tasked with protecting children whose parent fail them don’t know about it. That’s what I’m doing with this video. I’m hoping to spread awareness of it, and please share in the comments sections, please, please, please.

Share in the comment section your experiences, if you’ve been this child who’s had to deal with this stuff. Please add onto what I’m talking about here today and tell us what are the symptoms, what are the kind of things that they did to you and how did you recover, and what are some of tips you can give us to help teach other people? Once I get, once those fall in, I would love to do another video sharing insight and maybe some really effective tips or strategies to try to counter this really wicked form of child abuse. Thanks for watching.

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