What Is It Like to Be Raised by a Narcissist



Growing up in a family with a narcissistic parent can be an incredibly challenging experience. Narcissists often prioritize their own needs and desires, leaving their children feeling neglected and emotionally scarred. In this article, we will explore the emotional and psychological impact of being raised by a narcissist and provide insights into coping and healing.

Understanding Narcissistic Parenting

Narcissistic parents exhibit a range of behaviors that can be deeply damaging to their children. They often lack empathy, have an inflated sense of self-importance, and expect their children to cater to their emotional needs. Here’s a closer look at what it’s like to be raised by a narcissist:

1. Emotional Neglect

Narcissistic parents frequently prioritize their own emotions and desires, leaving little room for their children’s emotional needs. As a result, children often feel emotionally neglected and may struggle with low self-esteem.

2. Manipulation and Gaslighting

Narcissistic parents may manipulate their children to meet their needs, using tactics like guilt-tripping, emotional manipulation, and gaslighting. Children raised in such an environment often have difficulty trusting their perceptions and reality.

3. Unrealistic Expectations

Narcissistic parents may place unrealistic expectations on their children, expecting them to excel in various areas to reflect positively on the parent’s image. This can lead to immense pressure and anxiety for the child.

4. Lack of Boundaries

Narcissistic parents often disregard personal boundaries, invading their children’s privacy and individuality. This can result in a sense of being controlled and smothered.

5. Constant Need for Validation

Children of narcissistic parents may find themselves constantly seeking validation and approval from their parents, as the narcissist’s praise is often conditional and unpredictable.

Coping and Healing

1. Seek Therapy

Therapy can be immensely beneficial for individuals who were raised by narcissistic parents. A trained therapist can provide tools and strategies for coping with the emotional scars and building healthier relationships.

2. Set Boundaries

Establishing clear boundaries with the narcissistic parent is crucial. While it may be challenging, it’s essential for your well-being.

3. Self-Care

Prioritize self-care to heal from the emotional wounds. Engage in activities that bring you joy, surround yourself with supportive individuals, and practice self-compassion.

4. Build Healthy Relationships

Learn to identify healthy and unhealthy relationship patterns. Seek out and nurture relationships that are built on trust, mutual respect, and empathy.

5. Break the Cycle

If you are a parent yourself, be mindful of breaking the cycle of narcissistic parenting. Seek guidance to ensure that you provide a loving and nurturing environment for your children.


Being raised by a narcissistic parent can leave deep emotional scars, but healing and personal growth are possible. By seeking therapy, setting boundaries, practicing self-care, and building healthy relationships, individuals can break free from the legacy of narcissistic parenting and create a brighter future.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can narcissistic parents change their behavior?

Narcissistic parents may find it challenging to change their behavior, as it requires self-awareness and a desire to change. However, some may benefit from therapy.

2. Can the effects of being raised by a narcissist be overcome?

Yes, with therapy and personal growth, individuals can overcome the emotional scars of being raised by a narcissist and lead fulfilling lives.

3. What are some common traits of narcissistic parents?

Common traits include a lack of empathy, emotional manipulation, a constant need for admiration, and disregard for their children’s boundaries.

4. How can therapy help individuals raised by narcissistic parents?

Therapy can provide tools for healing, coping with emotional scars, and building healthier relationships. It also offers a safe space to explore and understand one’s experiences.

5. Is it advisable to confront a narcissistic parent about their behavior?

Confronting a narcissistic parent can be challenging and may not lead to the desired change. It’s essential to prioritize your well-being and seek professional guidance on how to navigate such interactions.