How Do Children Become Narcissists?

The Angry Child: These children grow up furious at the devaluing parent.  Anyone who reminds them of their parent in any way becomes the target of their anger.  They sometimes become Toxic or Malignant Narcissists themselves.  It is not enough for them to achieve, they must destroy as well.

Example: The Movie “Pretty Woman”

In this movie the actor Richard Gere portrays a wealthy businessman who buys and breaks up companies.  He enjoys destroying the life’s work of the former owners of these companies because all of them are symbolic substitutes for his hated father.  The movie turns into a Cinderella story after he hires a prostitute (played by Julia Roberts) with whom he eventually falls in love.  Even his choice of a love object is typically Narcissistic.  I have met many wealthy Narcissistic men who can only show love to women that they “save” who are safely below them in status.

Scenario 3: ”The Golden Child”

These parents are usually closet Narcissists who are uncomfortable in the spotlight. Instead, they brag about their extremely talented child. Often the child is very talented and deserves praise, but these parents sometimes take it to ridiculous lengths. This type of excessive idealization of a child as flawless and special can lead to the child having a Narcissistic adaptation in later life.

  • The Effects of Conditional vs. Unconditional Love

Everyone wants to be seen realistically and loved unconditionally. If children believe that their parents only value them because they are special, this can contribute to an underlying insecurity. No one wins all the time. No one is better than everyone else in every way.

Children who are idealized by a parent can begin to believe that they are only lovable when they are perfect and worthy of idealization.

  • The Perception of Flaws & Shame

When parents idealize their children, the children may become ashamed when they see any flaws in themselves. This can lead them to keep striving for perfection and proof that they are flawless and worth idealizing.

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