The Narcissistic Son Or Daughter

The Narcissistic Son Or Daughter


One topic in the field of Narcissistic Personality Disorder that I have found is not written about often is the narcissistic adult son or daughter.  Many people have written to me over the months asking how they should deal with their toxic children who have shown them time and time again that they have no respect for their parents.  Nothing the parent does is ever good enough.  Some believe the world owes them a living.  They threaten to withhold  contact with grandchildren unless their ever increasing demands are met.  How do you deal with this type of toxicity when this young person is someone who you have brought into this world?
Many parents blame themselves, thinking that it must be their fault that their offspring has grown into such an evil and toxic human being.  However, this may or may not be the case.  Remember that the cause of NPD is uncertain.

There are many theories which include:

1.  Over valuing as a childWon't stop with you
2.  A learned behaviour
3.  Genetics
4.  Abuse in childhood

The cause is most likely complex with the possibility of more than one factor being at the root of this disorder.

No matter how well meaning your intentions are, your kindness, attention, compassion, forgiving nature, none of it is ever going to be good enough.  They have an endless list of people who they believe have done them wrong, treated them unfairly, not loved them enough and sadly you are probably at the top of that list.

They hold within themselves, a fragile self esteem and a profound fear of abandonment.  They won’t acknowledge their fears and their subsequent rages will remind you of their childhood temper tantrums.  Do you give in to this childish behaviour and give them what they want?
To give into their demands will simply invite more of the same.  They will blame you for their behaviour.  It’s a result of what you did or didn’t do when they were a child.  You will start to believe them and think that your parenting skills were somewhat lacking.  Don’t be blackmailed or held to ransom by their behaviour.  They are adults now and need to learn accountability.  They are no longer your responsibility.
By ignoring their behaviour and giving in to their constant demands, you are acting as an enabler.  Don’t let them mistake your kindness and compassion for weakness.  To do so will result in them pushing you to your limit forever and a day.  You cannot cure them with your love no matter how strong that love may be.  I have seen parents who cut contact for short periods of time only for a return of the same disrespect and toxic behaviour as soon as there is some sort of reconciliation.  Some parents want a peaceful life and think that they will achieve it by giving in to the demands of these ‘adult kids.’  They won’t.
 I’ve  heard parents say:
“I’m used to it.”
“He’s done it all his life.”
“She’s always treated me like that.”
“That’s just the way he is.”
It’s time to stop giving in and giving them what they want.  Let them know that you are not going to put up with their toxic behaviour any longer.  It’s ok to demand respect.  It’s your right.  Stop breaking your own heart by giving in to them.  You are not doing them any favours in the long run because their obnoxious behaviour, overstepping boundaries, tantrums and rages are not going to stop with you.  They will spill over into every relationship they encounter in the future.
Cutting off contact with a son or daughter is probably one of the most heart-breaking decisions any parent will face but sometimes this is your only option to restore your own sanity and bring some semblance of peace into your life.  You are justified and entitled to demand civility and respect.
Written by Anne McCrea

Narcissistic and Emotional Abuse, Shattering the Illusion, now available on Amazon

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22 thoughts on “The Narcissistic Son Or Daughter

  1. This article is well written but doesn’t even come close to the true heartbreak that an adult child can inflict. My daughter married a man with Asbergers, and together they center on one tactic, one offense at a time. They are relentless and antagonistic and we are always walking on eggshells, not sure what’s going to set them off next. We tried everything and finally had to go no contact. Of course, they turned it all around and made it about them and how they were forced to cut us out of their lives. The worst part is our grandson, who we helped raise for the first 5 years of his life and we’ve been completely cut off from him for over a year now. No answers, no reconciliation seems possible. ever.

  2. I am pretty convinced that I have NPD. Is there any cure or even therapy to treat this disorder?

    1. Treatment for NPD is centred around psychotherapy. As personality traits are difficult to change, treatment may take years.

      1. Be encouraged. I believe people that want to change can. Knowledge and compassion offer a path to freedom. It may take years, but each day gets you further from where you begin your journey and closer to your goal.

    2. If you are genuinely committed to doing the work, I would hope change would be possible for you.

      It’s a commitment to yourself. Just be certain to do research and work with knowledgeable professionals. You’re worth it.

      Best wishes.

  3. What do u do when your child has no one else but u? I’ve kicked her out 3 times she has destroyed all her relationships my son and I give in as we cannot stand the fights. My son just thinks that her she will never change. I think it’s me and over compensate living with her is a nightmare help!!!!!!

  4. My daughter whips on me something fierce. She’s 28 now. I hd to go to no contact for a while with her. Re-connecting has been and is a slow and gentle process ( for me ) even a hint of poor behavior from her with me is unacceptable. But I worry about my own behavior with that. Just about everything out there seems to categorize me as being abusive by being silent – my purpose is not to punish, teach, gain control or hurt in any way – I’m protecting myself at this point. I hope she doesn’t have kids. She will destroy them. I love my daughter. But I own’t accept her cruel and disrespectful behaviors towards me anymore. It is time for her to start “adulting”…. and it is now her choice – to either be kind and loving or do without my kindness and love ( although I will always love her )

  5. I am dealing with a narcissist teenager, well really he has been that way since birth. Yes i think a learned patterns from his father.. its sad..

    1. I am dealing with a narcissistic teen from a trauma background (adopted) she spend formative years with both her malignant narc grandmother then two years from 9-12 with her narc mother and she’s been playing us all and I have two years left of this abuse! We need more articles about this because when I have reached out on support groups I have been accused of being the narcissist because a “child” is incapable of being a narcissist while
      Not knowing her background and how calculated and smart she is about this! We are abused by these children we have given our all for and then we are accused not just by them but by everyone of being the villain and it’s a truly heart breaking way to live!

  6. My husband and I went to couceling to learn how to deal with our adult child. It helped alot. Doesn’t mean the episodes stop. Just means I try to have more controlled boundaries. I see my child losing friends one after another. Of course it’s never Thier fault. It’s a tough life, just keep your guard up and don’t take what they say is always true, they live in a world other than reality.

  7. My son n daughter in law, have treated me so awful, they stopped me seeing my Grandchildren 6 years ago, it’s been a total nightmare, they were 9 n 13, now they really don’t know me, neither do they want too, they are hostile,
    cruel, the nastiest people
    I know, I had never seen or heard anything like it,
    it was after my Husband died I was threatened the most, screaming obscenities, in front of their children, in a hospital private room, on end life, beyond comprehension, my mother must have heard
    this dreadful behaviour n
    obscene behaviour,

    1. I to have a daughter in law that has made my life miserable for the last 2 years. I have 2 GRANDDAUGHTERS that she has brainwashed them that I don’t want to be a family anymore. Long story but I very seldom see or hear from them or my son. He has also been brainwashed by her. I have pretty much walked away but it hurts that my son has turned against his own mother. We used to have a good relationship.

  8. Not knowing what you’ve done to your child to make them stop talking to you is the worst.We spent less than 12 hours with his wife before they married & haven’t seen him since the wedding.I have tried everything to get past this & nothing is working.Sounds terrible but I really just can’t wait until the pain is gone.Me not existing would be the greatest thing that could happen.If it wasn’t a sin to kill yourself the pain would have stopped years ago.

    1. Sometimes you don’t have to do ANYTHING at all to make them stop talking to you! They get absorbed in themselves and their own lives. Sometimes if their spouse isn’t close to their family, then they don’t feel like they are ALLOWED to be close to their family. I have thought many times that my children would be happier if I was just gone from this world but then I wondered if they would even notice that I was gone because they are so absorbed in themselves! Then I thought, why don’t I deserve a happy life? I did the hardest thing ever…I pulled back from trying to talk to them. Once they realized I wasn’t begging them to talk to me anymore, they sent ME a message! Just a small one, but it was something! The hardest time was WAITING for that to happen. It took a while and every day I thought it would never happen…it seemed to take FOREVER! I waited months and months and just this past Christmas, I got a message that said Merry Christmas. I started crying right away but it was the breakthrough I had been waiting for. We still don’t talk a lot but every once in a while I’ll get a little message that makes me smile. 🙂

  9. My son turned our world upside down with his behavior and cruelty. Whether he has Narcissistic personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, psychopathy, sociopathy, who knows…. the behavior and cluster B type traits are obvious. I went No Contact after he did something unforgivable and had no remorse over it. I have spoken/text him only a few times in three years. When I bring up the incident, it is obvious remorse does not exist in him. It has been the hardest, most awful experience. I have shed so many tears and had to sift through all types of my own emotions- guilt, regret, bewilderment, shame, sadness, sense of loss, confusion, anxiety, fear, and many more. It feels good to remove the lies and manipulation from my life. He doesn’t have a true bond to me or anyone. It all goes back to what he can get from someone. I had to look deeper than my maternal instinct to find answers, which turn out to be very backward in our general thinking. We usually have to support till the end, love unconditionally, give of ourselves. But this is different, this is a different animal. It’s heartbreaking but necessary to go No Contact sometimes.

  10. Good article . . . . worth the read. I do however (as a 63 year old Mom) totally disagree with your final statement. “You are justified and entitled to DEMAND civility and respect.” I agree that every person is entitled to be spoke to with civility, hat is good manners however, “RESPECT” is EARNED – it is NOT a given and nor can you DEMAND it!! My narc, sadistically abusive alcoholic “dad” (and I use THAT term loosely) DEMAND respect my entire life. He didn’t earn it nor did he deserve it!! Thanks

  11. To even broach the subject with someone who hasnt gone through this is tantamount to parental social suicide. Something I feared most until I decided to invest in my own healing. Thank you!

  12. I am a grandmother of 78 and have 5 children.. The eldest is 58 and has given me such pain even from her teenage yrs. She is now an incredibly wealthy woman and sees her as the person to control the whole family. Ive not been able to see my 3 grandaughters…. the eldest being 30 has to run the fam. business and are being abused daily. This is an incredibly painful road. Ive finally cut contact…Thank you for your info for now I wont have to feel quilty all the time. The basic reason for this behaviour is partly genetic and due to a Metabolic Mitochondrial dysfunction and shortfall in the human cell…its part of a spectrum of disorders.

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