A sense of entitlement, need for attention, absence of empathy, lack of remorse, arrogance, and volatility can make co-parenting with a narcissist extremely difficult.
People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder see emotional vulnerability as weakness. Attempts by their partner to convince them to put their children's needs before their own are typically met with resistance, defiance, or ridicule.
But there is more to this scenario than the impact on the narcissist's co-parent. Children can be profoundly affected by the lack of attuned parenting they receive.
Below are some characteristics of adults who grew up with a narcissistic parent:
- Choosing partners who are critical, withholding, or emotionally unavailable
- Extreme sensitivity to the needs and moods of others
- A core feeling of unlovability and unworthiness
- Drawn toward dramatic, roller-coaster romantic relationships
Even if ones partner is highly self-absorbed, there is much that a parent can do to mitigate the impact on children. Read more about narcissistic parenting here.
My hope is that these articles and my upcoming online series will contribute to an important conversation about this challenging aspect of mental health.
Susan Stiffelman is the author of Parenting Without Power Struggles: Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids While Staying Cool, Calm and Connected and Parenting with Presence: Practices for Raising Conscious, Confident, Caring Kids (An Eckhart Tolle Edition). She is a family therapist, parent coach and internationally recognized speaker on all subjects related to children, teens and parenting.