Do We Create Narcissists Out Of Our Children?
We want our children to think highly of themselves. Encouragingly, we share sentiments urging them to believe in themselves, never doubt themselves, know their worth, and not let anyone tell them differently. When children bully or pester our children, we tell them it’s due to jealousy. Children today are given participation awards, certificates, and other marks of achievement to help keep their self-esteem above the water. We are afraid of our children feeling poorly about themselves so we do everything we can to keep their ego inflated as healthily as possible.
Family systems can create a narcissist out of their child. Narcissistic personality disorder is built out of childhood experiences that contribute to feelings of low self-esteem, intense self-doubt, and a deep feeling of needing to prove oneself for love and attention. Though narcissism is known for grandiosity, arrogance, and ego, at the core is a deep and broken insecurity. Insecurity of the caliber which drives a narcissist to their harmful behaviors is what can drive them toward substance abuse. Self-destruction and substance abuse go hand in hand when a child feels like there is nothing they can do to rove themselves good enough for their own recognition or the recognition of others.
Parents are supposed to give unconditional love to their child. Even when they break the rules, scare us, frustrate us, and flat out disobey us- we still love them. We show them boundaries, reprimand, and consequence, but we still love them. Despite our anger and our behaviors, we remind our children that we love them. Parents who cut off love to their child, do not tell them they are loved, and display behaviors that are not affectionate, provide conditional love. Conditional love tells a child that their love has to be earned and deserved, which inherently tells a child that they are not deserving of love.
Children may feel as though their parents of high expectations which are unattainable. The level of excellence parents demand might be too much for the child. Feeling as though they are unworthy and will never “earn” their parent’s love they look for love in the ubiquitous wrong places. Finding all of the praise and attention they can, children might seek approval from peers who are abusing substances, “earning” their love and attention through harmful behaviors.
Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center offers residential treatment programs for adolescent and teenage boys. Our programs of care are clinically driven, providing proven therapies for building a foundation of recovery while cleansing the life in mind, body, and spirit. Call us today for more information on our Mississippi campus: 662-598-4214