By Dr. Perry, PhD
“Having a narcissistic parent is like living life as a human doormat.” ~ Anonymous
Children come into the world much like new-born ducklings ready to imprint on their caretakers. They are innocent blank slates waiting to learn the ways of the world. Like a bud on the vine, with proper care, children blossom and grow to be mentally and physically healthy adults. Unfortunately, we don’t get to choose our parents. While some of us end up with loving and nurturing parents, others will end up born to individuals who are incapable of loving and properly taking care of a child. It is estimated that up to 6 percent of the US population has narcissistic personality disorder and many of these individuals are parents.
Narcissistic personality disorder is a cluster B personality disorder recognized by the DSM-5 and is characterized by a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration and a lack of empathy. The narcissistic parent projects an idealized version of themselves to the outside world. They are the perfect father or mother. They are forever doting on their child and basking in the glow of their achievements. Behind closed doors the facade implodes, revealing a parent or parents who subject their child to unreasonable demands. The household is one that is full of emotional and physical landmines. It is far from a normal childhood.