How narcissistic parenting affects their children

  • The child will not feel like they are seen or heard because they will only be permitted to do what the parent(s) want to do.They never take the child’s wants or preferences into consideration.  This can be anything from taking a family of under tens on a wine tasting “family holiday” or expecting the child to sit quietly in their parent’s office for a whole day without anything to do or following a parent around a golf course for hours on end.  The narcissistic parent will not think of finding alternatives for their child because they simply do not think of their child.
  • The child’s feelings will never be acknowledged, that child will learn from an early age that their feelings do not matter and will be ridiculed, met with anger or punished in a cold blooded way so, they will learn to hide their feelings from their parent, either by physically hiding or stifling tears.
  • The child will never be able to please or impress their parent no matter what they do, which creates self-doubt because nothing the child does will ever be enough. The parent is more interested in how the child makes them look rather than what the child feels or wants.  This makes the child feel invalid, a burden and empty inside, in reality the narcissist is projecting their own sense of emptiness on to the child.  They don’t want to boost the confidence of their child because confident, happy children are much harder to control than self-doubting fearful ones.  The narcissist always has to “win” and they do not want their child to do “better than” them.
  • If the child goes to their narcissistic parent for support the parent will emotionally push them away and will possibly give them a “thing”, “object” rather than listen to their child’s needs. They will also physically push them away to literally keep them at arms- length. What the child needs is to be seen and heard by their parent but their parent will categorically refuse to acknowledge the feelings or their child.
  • Children are hardwired to “love” their primary care givers, especially when they are very young and will try very hard to please them. However, they will see that their friend’s parents love them, dogs show more affection and concern for their puppies, total strangers will show take care of them if they see potential danger where their parents won’t, so they take it personally and begin to think that it is their fault and that they are fundamentally unlovable.
  • If the child tries to show any form of independence, the parent will immediately crush their child by sneering, ridicule, rage or just ignoring them/talking over them. This is done to kill any concept of “self” in the child and to remind the child that there is only one way of thinking or doing and that is the parent’s way, the parent’s way is a movable feast and can change within the space of a day or even an hour.  This creates confusion for the child because there is no stability or connection to their parent(s).
  • Because the child’s opinions, observations and feelings are never acknowledged they will not learn to identify or trust their gut feelings or intuition and will constantly second guess themselves and look for validation from others. This is a very dangerous situation to create because it leaves the child wide open to abuse.
  • The child will be taught that how they make their parent’s look is much more important than how they feel. They will also be taught not to look “better than” their parents and if the parents feel threatened by a child they will set them up to fail saying “I just want what is best for you” or “I know best you are just a child”.
  • The child will become hyper vigilant to the moods and expectations of their parents and will act accordingly putting any genuine feelings or emotions aside to accommodate their parents.
  • Parents will constantly compete with their children, especially their same sex child. A mother can be jealous of her daughter merely because the daughter is younger and more attractive than she is.  Compliments to her daughter will be seen as a threat as it should have been for the mother, the daughter “stole” it from her and this will breed contempt, which in turn causes feelings of shame and confusion in the daughter.
  • Narcissistic parents will interfere in all of their children’s relationships from family of origin, extended family, boyfriends and girlfriends, husbands and wives and basically everyone. They know no boundaries what so ever and will frequently try to insert themselves into the middle of their children’s relationships so that they can control the narrative.
  • The children will be expected to keep up the family image through secrets and lies and the family will be referred to as “we” a closed unit rather be encouraged to develop their own sense of self. They will be told “we like/dislike …”, if the child disagrees (and the “we like” can be something as mundane as bananas) they are simply told “yes you do!”.
  • The child will see by example of the narcissistic parent to take advantage of and manipulate others.
  • They will see that cheating, lying and stealing from others to get what you want “is how the world works” and will learn that these are acceptable core values. They will applaud sneaky behaviour in their children (at least the golden child) by saying “s/he will go far in the world” and patting them on the back.
  • The child will learn not to trust others because they cannot trust their parent(s), the thing is that if a child has two narcissistic parents they will only select one as being untrustworthy because having two narcissistic parents would make that child feel extremely unsafe and insecure and they need to believe that they have one safe place to go (even if all the evidence tells them that they don’t).
  • The child will learn to take on far too much responsibility from a very young age, they are parentified in that they are expected to take care of the parent rather than the other way around.
  • Because the child is not permitted to have a “normal” childhood their emotional development will be stunted unless they can find a support outside their family of origin. This could be a teacher, neighbour or a member of their extended family, if they do not find someone outside their family they will feel invalidated and empty inside.
  • Narcissistic parents are extremely critical and judgmental.However, they are highly sensitive to criticism themselves and any criticism will be met with rage or punishment.
  • Children are hardwired to attach to their primary care givers, all animals are, so when they see other people or animals have loving relationships with their parents and their parents don’t love them, they turn it in on themselves and form the belief that they are unlovable.
  • The child will become very passive in the family context because they are made to believe that if they don’t to exactly as they are told they will be severely punished. They are not allowed to say “no” to parental directives (which makes them very obedient and vulnerable to strangers/predators) and this in turn makes them very passive because they feel like they don’t have a voice.  They feel threatened when they express themselves and this is not only expressing needs/wants or opinions it can also stifle their desire to sing/dance or laugh out loud for fear of the repercussions.
  • The narcissistic parent will have ridiculous notions of their potential for fame and success and will frequently blame the children for preventing them from realizing their fantasies “if you hadn’t been born I could have been” (!).
  • For a child to survive in this highly toxic family they have to believe in the rhetoric or at least pretend to.
  • The child will have a seriously distorted view of what love is and this can (and probably will) set them up for very unhealthy relationships in adulthood. This family model will teach them to perceive other people’s dysfunctional ways as normal and will not have learnt appropriate boundaries for other relationships.
  • They will learn that they have to earn “love” and that just being them is not good enough. Since they will not have a strong sense of self it is very common for them to fall into other abusive relationships because they don’t know what they want, will not have learnt self-care and will be at risk of taking care of others and neglect their own needs.
  • The child will be taught that enjoying their own achievements (however small) is selfish and self-indulgent.
  • The child will need to do a lot of emotional work to heal from this extremely toxic “home” environment, right into adulthood.They will literally have to reboot their hard drive to get through all of the lies and manipulation they have been subjected too and re-parent themselves.  They will also have to learn that unless they are talking to someone who understands narcissistic abuse they will be thought to be self-pitying and told to “just get over it”.


Do narcissists have a heart?

The answer to “do narcissists have a heart?” is tragically a resounding NO.  They are what we would call skin deep.  They can charm, be pleasant, wear nice clothes, compliment and be witty but this is all an act, underneath the image there is a void, they are not real and not who they pretend to be.  Narcissists tend to see life as a game or a film, where they are always the protagonist and everyone else is orbiting around them (ranging from fellow actors, directors, producers and the wardrobe and make-up people) not to mentions the entranced audience that is full of praise and adulation.  Everyone they encounter is graded in terms of their usefulness to them what counts as useful is admiration, attention, status, fame and money etc.  If you cannot provide them with an attribute that they see as enhancing their world, well then you are of no use to them and they will just dismiss you.  A classic example of this is mistaken identity, they might have been told that someone was really important and they were fawning all over that person maybe for weeks, then they realise that that person is not narcissist’s level of important they just drop them without a word of explanation (what could they say?), leaving the other person, who thought that they had just met a soul mate (narcissists are very good a mirroring what they think the other person wants to hear) reeling from shock and wondering what went wrong?  Was it something I said or did?

Narcissists just love the word “love”, if you start a romantic liaison with a narcissist they will tell you that they love you after a very short period of time.  This is because they see you as a potentially good source of supply for them and they think that if you think that they love you, you will drop your guard and be less analytical of some of their behaviours (which are quirky at best). You will be flattered and blinded by the determination and seriousness that they push the “I love you, you are my soul mate” message home.  You think it must be true since they are saying it with such fervor and conviction. They do love you but only for what you can do/provide for them.  Stop serving their egos and you will see exactly how deeply they loved and were committed to you.  They will cut you from their lives in a heartbeat and will consider you to be an idiot for believing them.  Remember nothing is ever the narcissists fault, so it has to be your fault for seeing them as being authentic.

Narcissists wear the mask of their false self all of the time, except when they are abusing someone.  Abusive people do not abuse everyone, there might only be one person that they abuse and that usually their most intimate relationship because the more you see a narcissist the more you can see the glitter drop off bit by bit. To a narcissist this sort of revelation is like a character assassination (on their false self) and so they would rather be extremely abusive instead of letting their mask drop , they will go on the offensive and everything will be your or someone else’s fault. The lengths that a narcissist will go to protect their image are astonishing because they invest so much time, energy and money into an illusion, an illusion that only matters to them because beneath it all they feel that if their authentic self was seen, they would dissolve like a fizzy tablet and become pedestrian, flat and they would have to face their true self and all of the pain and anger that that person has held at bay with this lifelong performance/dillusion.  The reality is that a narcissist cannot process their emotions because they have got stuck at a very early stage of emotional development.  Therefore, any “feeling” that they don’t know what to call or what to do with they simply project it out on to someone else.  They feel envious of someone therefore, that person is envious of them.  They only really understand the “big” emotions, they are completely unaware of the more subtle emotions and their emotional language is very limited and very black and white.

So narcissists go through life without every truly loving anyone and never being able to feel love from others because in a sense they don’t have anywhere for that love to land.  It is a sad reality for them and those who have to navigate around them – but just because it is sad it doesn’t stop them from being dangerous and ruthless. You could offer them all of the love in the world, but that wouldn’t change a thing, they wouldn’t appreciate it because they are empty inside and when they are not the centre of attention or playing tricks/games on someone all that they can do is look into the abyss.

Narcissists have practically little or no self-awareness, they never question themselves, their beliefs or their lies, so they are who they need to be in the moment.  It is only when one gets to know them in various different settings that you can see the discrepancies in their behaviour, values and so called interests. If they notice that you have noticed because you are giving them a “that is not what you said the last time” look, they will cut you out of their lives unless you try to redeem them and help to reinstate the mask.  They live in a parallel world, they are always right, they always have the answer to everything no matter what, if something is less than “perfect” it is never their fault and they will always tell you who they are, they cannot just be and let you work it out for yourself, because that would be relinquishing control and risk you not seeing the image that they want to portray.  They genuinely believe that they are more talented, clever, beautiful and popular.  There is no point in even attempting to have an argument with a person who believes their own lies.  Never get into an argument with someone who is not emotionally and intellectually mature enough to make it worth your while.  They are still infants and have a Peter Pan complex that never goes away.

Female narcissists

Female narcissists are dangerous because their manipulation is frequently not recognised for what it is.  Manipulation can come in many forms but what is always present in any narcissist is their absolute lack of empathy, their tendency to manipulate for their own gain, total self-obsession, emotionally unevolved and a complete disregard for the rights and feelings of others.

Morality for a narcissist is how they expect others to behave towards them, they are exempt from any moral restraints in their dealings with others (or so they think).  Frequently after they have been destructive towards someone else, they will blame the person they abused rather show any remorse.  They are frequently sadistic and take pleasure in the pain that they can inflict on others, it makes them feel powerful, they experience positive feelings when seeing sad faces.

Because society in general shuns aggression in females, narcissistic females tend to be covert in their abuse of others usually in the form of passive aggression.  So they will be socially abusive by sabotaging someone’s reputation or by destroying relationships through triangulation and deceit.  They will start rumours, make up blatant lies and couch them in faux concern  “I am so worried about Mary she is taking too many drugs/is an alcoholic/is mentally very unstable”  It doesn’t matter what Mary is being accused of the comment is made exclusively to damage her reputation while maintaining the look of a concerned “friend”.

When a female narcissist first meets you she will harvest as much information about you as possible, she will pretend to have the same experiences as you, the same interests, she will be friendly and inviting on the outside but on the inside she is as cold as ice, vindictive and ruthless she is merely scanning you to see how useful you could be to her and how easy you would be to dupe.  All the information that she has gained about you will be used against you at a further date.

Once you have completely let down your guard she will start to use you for whatever you have to offer exclusively for her own gain it could be money, contacts, a place to live (no one falls in love faster than a narcissist who needs a place to live), status, fame or just for the pleasure of scoring points against you, everything to do with a narcissist female or male is all about power and control.

The female narcissist is constantly on the prowl for prey so when she looks at you she is not connecting she is assessing what is in you for her.  She has a cold stare she can gesticulate, do funny accents but it will never feel authentic. Sometimes you will see signs of envy, jealousy, anger or greed when she is caught off guard.  What will expose her is that she thinks that being condescending and disrespectful if used in a jokey manner is humour, it is not, it is just abusive and rude.  In society we do not see women as being violent like males, which is why so much of the destructive behaviour of these narcissists goes undetected but they are every bit as dangerous and cruel.  Possibly more so because we do not expect it from the “fairer sex” plus they use sexual intercourse as a tool to get what they want which can be extremely confusing for the person being targeted.The female narcissist is extremely aggressive and that aggression is frequently driven by envy.  They can appear to be affable and can change colour according to the social situation they are in.  In short they will change according to what they think will serve them best. However, if they do not deem you worthy of their attention, they will not bother with the show and you will see a truer version of them.  The female narcissist will never let her mask drop entirely just in case circumstances change and she needs to use you in the future.

Most of a female narcissist’s destructive behaviour comes in the form of relational aggression which means that they go in for character assassination and destroying relationships between people. They will constantly try to make others (and in particular other females) subordinate to them so that they are queen bee in as many situation as they can muster.  This includes family, work and social situations.

All female narcissists are bullies and like all bullies they are cowards as well, so they will be very underhanded in the way that they bully.  Such as excluding their victim from social situations (by not inviting them, giving misinformation, down-playing the importance of a meeting, “forgetting” to inform and so forth), they can also spread rumours and gossip and will try to pit people against each other, breaking bonds of trust through pathological lying.

Anyone who gets in the way of a female narcissist is fair game.  They think that they are entitled to everything and are threatened by other women (in particular but not exclusively) who have qualities and things that they cannot have.  They inherently despise other women as an internalized misogyny.  She will declare other women are stupid, she will sneer at their dress sense, partners job and anything at all that belittles the woman/women who pose a threat to this narcissist and their sense of grandiosity and entitlement. With a female narcissist absolutely everything is about her, to the point of being ridiculous.  For example, she could consider that someone bought a piece of nice piece of clothing just to make her look bad, or celebrate a promotion at work with friends just to belittle the narcissist.  What the female narcissist doesn’t realise is that people live their own lives without thinking about what they do might affect the narcissist. If a female narcissist cannot make a situation about them, she will ruin the occasion for the person who is celebrating, usually through drama, by sometimes feigning illness or some other form of attention seeking.  If she cannot bring the focus on to her, she might leave in a massive sulk leaving everyone wondering what was wrong with her.  This is still attention for the narcissist because people are still thinking/talking about her.

They love to see people feel uncomfortable, they renege on promises so that they can see someone’s disappointment or invite someone to something and not follow through.  Female narcissists are not beyond pretending that they are friends with the rich and famous, even though they might never have met any of them. The implication being “aren’t you lucky that I am spending time with little boring old you when I know people who are so much more important”.  They will praise a third party in a way that it implies that the person that they are belittling is in some way defective by comparison.

A female narcissist will always be in competition with other women for the attention of the men around (if that is their sexual inclination).  They have no qualms about using their bodies to get what they want no matter what the situation, so long as it suits their wants in the moment, they will do it. Their appetite for new conquests is endless as well as keeping exes in the picture while being in a “steady” relationship.  They keep all of these relationships going concurrently through deceit and by lying constantly.  Nothing about a female narcissist is authentic or honest, they are very dangerous people to be around because they do not operate like “normal” people. They are essentially dead inside so they have no idea what it means or feels like to be a human.  Just remember if a narcissist has abused you it is not your fault.  You took them in good faith.  They betrayed your trust, but that is because they are very disordered people with no moral compass and no scruples.  That is not you it is them.



What winning means to a narcissist


As I have mentioned in previous articles narcissists always “play” to win, there is no such thing as playing a game with a narcissist just for fun.  They are there to beat you and show you who is “better”, they don’t mind if they have to cheat, trip you up or hurt you either physically or emotionally by insulting remarks, sneering or belittling their opponent.


However, winning to a narcissist is so petty that it can manifest itself in ways that would never occur to most of us, which is why some of their behaviour is so baffling. It can come in the form of:

  • Gaslighting, moving your things around and feeding you misinformation.
  • Stealing your property even if they have no use for it – they can give it to a third party as a present and seem very “generous”. It is easy to be generous when you are giving other people’s things away.  This is a double win for a narcissist because they have duped you and looked good to the third party.
  • Telling lies about what other people said about you or think of you, which are always negative even if they are couched in positive language.So they can say things like “Suzie said some really nasty things about you the other day when I pumped into her on the street.  I thought that she was a friend of yours!  I would stay away from her if I were you, I only told you because I don’t want you to get hurt”.  This is another double win because you start to second guess you friendship and if it works it will isolate you from possible support giving them further control.
  • They will deliberately break or destroy something of yours that they know is of value to you, especially something of sentimental value that has nothing to do with them.
  • Financial abuse is another favourite of theirs, they could be millionaires but stealing money from someone who could ill afford to lose it gives them immense pleasure.
  • Shutting down a discussion between you and another person that does not include them is a win (by interrupting, talking too loud, feigning illness or just turning up the music so loud that you cannot hear each other).
  • Grinding you down by nagging or bullying. Narcissists have the emotional development of a small child, so imagine a small child in a supermarket asking their mother for sweets, the mother says ”no” and the child continues to ask, goes into whine mode, then starts to cry and tells their mother that she is mean and that they hate her and eventually throws themselves down on the ground in a full temper. This is what the narcissist does only slightly modified for their adult body. Even if they don’t get what they want any embarrassment that they caused you is still considered a win because they know they have ground you down into being more aware of the public humiliation if you do not let them have their way.
  • Conversely, like a child they can give up easily, they have no grit.When something doesn’t come easily to them they can give up putting in the hard graft or practice and they will try to attain a result by dishonest means.  They see this as a win because they think that they are being clever and someone who does attain their goal honestly I dare say they think them stupid. Winning to a narcissist is paramount, but they don’t want to do the work themselves.  So they are masters in the art of manipulation, they make false promises, play the victim etc.  An honest win doesn’t give them as much satisfaction as a deceitful one.  They do not care who they hurt or dupe to get what they want, the only thing that matters to them is to be seen to be a winner and they will frequently refer to people who they have treated in a dishonest way as a looser, trust in other people is for losers and a sign of weakness as is kindness and generosity.  For them to feel that they have won someone else has to be a loser (this is all part of their binary pre-pubescent black and white thinking).
  • They see the success of others as a slight on themselves this can be from someone else receiving a compliment (that compliment was stolen from me) to some career or academic success (they must have slept their way to the top or it was nepotism). When something good is happening for someone else it is seen as deprivation/theft from them. That is why when someone else fails at something it brings them pleasure, the things they see as failure are just as petty as the wins.  So, someone not being invited to a party can be seen as a failure, someone coming second in a competition, not passing an exam, getting a promotion even missing a plane. They will automatically label them as complete failures/losers, which is why they have to win all the time because one slip up would damage their extremely fragile ego/self-esteem.
  • They really despise people who are kind and authentic and because it causes them to be envious as kind and authentic people are liked by others which means that they have a support network and therefore are harder to control plus they are stealing the narcissists popularity quotient.
  • They don’t understand connectivity or what well-earned achievements mean and the satisfaction that that comes with that. They loath the idea of intimacy and hard work is a fools game.
  • Narcissists hate to lose, but even if they win the satisfaction is momentary and they are constantly looking around to see where they can score their next point.







Traits that some parents have that helps to create narcissists/sociopaths:

The traits that are listed below are just some of the influencing factors, each child in a family will have different experiences in life that will shape their development. Such as whether or not they were bullied and if they made a connection with a caring person in or outside their family of origin.  Each child in a family is treated differently by their parents so their experiences can vary wildly on how they see themselves and view the world around them. For example it is common for mothers to indulge their sons more than they would their daughters and fathers to favour their daughters.  Considering that children get their self-esteem from their same sex parent, this favouritisation is very dysfunctional (for the sake of argument I am just looking at the one mother one father model, there are many other different parenting combinations).

  • Being too permissive teaches the child that everything that they do is absolutely fine and enables the child to be selfish, self-absorbed, entitled, greedy, a thief, cruel and insensitive to the needs and wants of others (other children, adults and animals). Being completely self-absorbed is a normal part of a child’s early development, but it is up to the parent to guide them to think of the feelings of others, the impact that their behaviour has and to teach them empathy, the concept of sharing and showing compassion for those around them.
  • When bad behaviour goes unchecked they will not develop a sense of right and wrong, at least not for themselves because they have been taught that all of their behaviour is acceptable. They will however, see how other children’s behaviour is checked and this creates a sense that morality, rules, kindness and empathy are how other people should behave towards them but that they are exempt from these traits, above the rules and ethics of healthy human interaction.  They will lack core beliefs and values, the notion of reciprocity will be totally alien to them and they will grow into adults who think that they are entitled to take, steal and con other people for their own means without any concept that it is morally wrong.  They will see others as being there to serve them. (I saw a cartoon once that depicted the difference between cats and dogs, the dog thinks my owner loves, feeds and protects me s/he must be a god(ess), the cat thinks my owner loves, feeds and protects me, I MUST be a god(ess), no prizes for guessing which one the narcissist is.
  • Sometimes parents see bad/cruel behaviour as funny and will have a “s/he will go far in life” attitude and defend their child when they are rude/insulting, hurtful and are being destructive or thoughtless.  This will only exacerbate their behaviour because it is being rewarded and positively reinforced.  So when a child steals, bullies or hurts people or animals they will think “didn’t I do well that will/would have made the adults laugh.”
  • Being over indulgent with a child when they behave badly is in a sense neglecting that child because a parent/primary carer is not guiding the child how to be a mature and considerate adult, the consequence of this will have a huge impact on all of their relationships for the rest of their lives (including with themselves).
  • The child will grow up thinking that they are special/better than, deserve the best of everything (gained by any means including theft, lying, conning and criminal activities) and will create a “god complex”. At some conscious or sub-conscious level they know that their notion of who they are and what they are entitled to is not true because life knocks everyone around in some way. To maintain their superior notion of themselves means that they tend to avoid intimacy in case their “true self” is revealed.  They will have no true sense of who they are and will be extremely defensive and reactive to any actual or perceived criticism or even to someone who has a different point of view to them.  Because they are so fragile and insecure they always have to be right and the other person (unless they are on “their side”) will always be wrong and/or stupid.  They cannot listen to other points of view and are basically totally disinterested and disconnected to the well-being of those around them.  In adulthood this disconnection will include their spouses and their children.  They will have learnt that abuse is absolutely fine, even laudable and morality and ethics are for how others should treat them but they consider it a weakness to be taken advantage of.  In other words, they will emerge out of childhood as cold, detached, predatory monsters.



“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”

One of the hardest things to come to terms with when you have been abused by a narcissist is how did you let someone who is clearly a bully, volatile and unstable manage to get so much control over you.  All narcissists are abusive, purely because they only see others in terms of what they can do for them.  The more useful the narcissist perceives another the less abusive they are to them. They themselves have been brought up by parents or guardians who have dominated and controlled them through shame. This shaming can start at a very young age a child can be shamed for being “a bad baby” who kept the parents awake all night to being a bad child for being too demanding/a burden and taking the caregiver for granted.  The parent(s) will guilt their children for all of the “sacrifices” that they made for their children – like putting food on the table or a roof over their heads. The child will be taught that having emotional needs makes them weak and that they must put the needs and wants of everyone else first (as a show of strength).  The narcissistic parent(s) have to be the most important person in the family, which can lead to an endless power struggle if both parents are narcissists.

Their sense of their superiority, entitlement, perfection and omnipotence invariably means that the child has to be silenced, “corrected”, ridiculed or verbally abused if they do not agree with everything they say (as show of independence) or even have the audacity to criticise them in anyway.  This model person that they have in their mind is a false self, it is psychotic and makes them extremely unstable because they keep shape shifting to appear in the best possible light, depending on who is in front of them. They project their own sense of shame onto others to conceal their own deep insecurity and low self-esteem.

To keep people in orbit around them they instil fear and will constantly be on the attack. They will get very aggressive over the slightest thing (narcissistic rage), this might not be something that they feel strongly about because narcissists do not have any core beliefs or values instead it is to keep the other person quiet and reluctant to express opinions due to the massive over reaction they get from the narcissist. In other words it is to depress the other person, push them down and keep them down.  This is coercive manipulation and it generally starts as “jokes” and will gradually get more vicious, psychotic and evil.

Most empathetic people don’t believe that the narcissist knows what they are doing or the effect that they are having on others.  They make excuses for their behaviour and rationalise it from their back story.  The reality is that they don’t care, if it isn’t about them it doesn’t matter.  They will see kindness as a weakness to be taken advantage of and if the other person is stupid enough to be kind then they deserve it. A lot of people will tell themselves “it is not that bad”, “it is not the best worst abuse”, “s/he isn’t physically violent”, but it is, it is death by a thousand cuts, it is intentional and consistent albeit sometimes in cycles, a push you pull you situation. Shame derives from judgement, silence and secrecy and if this combination of attributes were started in childhood it is very likely that as an adult that person will have to do a lot of psychological homework to undo the damage.  Self-love is hard to learn if a child has been brought up being treated like their feelings don’t matter, they are a burden if they make any demands, not to express any independent thoughts/feelings (a narcissist will tell you what you should think and feel – which incidentally can change on a daily or even hourly basis). They constantly violate boundaries, interrupting, talking in a very loud voice, assuming that they know why you behaved in a particular way or said a particular thing and will attack when you try to correct them, because they are always right and you are always wrong and they will project their negative mind-set on to those around them.