Narcissistic parents and their children’s relationships


Narcissistic parents will interfere with all of their children’s relationships.  Those will include:

  • Relationships between siblings (triangulation) and setting one off spring against another.
  • Friendships must be with people that the narcissist does not feel threatened by in any way, so they will disallow friendships that they do not feel that they can completely control. With young children, they will simply refuse to let certain friends of their children over to play.  This could be because the friend of their child is too confident and “sets a bad example” for their own child.  Or because the narcissistic parent is threatened by the parents of the other child. They could be too rich, too popular, too poor, too intellectual or accomplished in some field.
  • As the child gets older they will control friendships by making their own child feel like they make “bad” friendship choices if they do not feel completely in control of the relationship. They will do this by sneering, belittling and overtly mocking their friendship choices.  They will also make that friend feel unwelcome in the family home by ignoring the friend or by being overtly rude to that person.
  • When their teenage children start to have romantic interests they will go into over drive. A narcissistic mother will be overly invested in the sex life of her daughter (especially the scapegoat), repeatedly yelling at them about the perils of getting pregnant and the dire consequences for them if they do, or they can like the drama of teenage romance and want to know every single detail, demanding that their daughter or son over share with them.
  • Children (even adult children) are hard wired to want to belong to their family of origin, so usually they will try to select friends, lovers or partners that will be accepted into their family, as they know that this is the only way that they themselves will be accepted. So, in a way children of narcissistic parents do not choose their own friends/partners it often becomes “a family decision” which leaves that “child” wide open to abusive relationships because the narcissistic parent is not thinking about how that person will behave towards their child, they are only thinking about what that person can offer the narcissist.  Even if they see that the person is being abusive to their child it will not matter to the narcissist so long as that person is charming to them, brings status, celebrity or money or anything that they perceive will make the “look good”.  The narcissistic parent will very often try to be more “important” in their children’s relationships than the child itself.  Or in the case of opposite sex parents will try to be more important to their child than their husband or wife, marginalising the influence that the wife or husband has on their own family decisions.  This can be done by bullying, ignoring the needs and wants of the spouse or by threatening to withhold financial support.  Frequently favouritising more compliant siblings to show how beneficial it is to do the parent’s bidding.