Are you a covert narcissist parent, using a sympathetic guise on your child? A covert narcissist sympathizes with their child’s hurt feelings in order to appear caring. The truth is, they are targeting the child with negative, self-serving attention. In reality, it is a passive aggressive strategy to gaslighting an innocent child.
I saw this behavior first-hand with a child from the time he was very young and well into his teens. Covert narcissists in favor of this scheme will often privately target the child with an invalidating look, smug smile, comment, moods, or ignoring. Many times, the ‘silent act’ can be the most harmful of all. When the mood dies down, and others are present, the covert narcissist parent will sympathize and act bewildered when their kid becomes upset.
What’s worse, if the child calls out the parent’s narcissistic behavior, the covert narcissist will operate with smooth-talking, and persuasive downplaying as an attempt to pivot away from parental responsibility. Sadly, it is common for children of divorcees, with a covert narcissistic parent to go decades without recognition or fully comprehending the abusive manipulation they were raised in.
Common Covert Narcissist Phrases Used by Parents
- You need to relax yourself
- You need to lighten up
- Why don’t you think of someone other than yourself for once?
- You are an idiot
- Stop acting like a loser
- This is the thanks I get?
- If it weren’t for me you would be nothing.
- No one loves you like I do.
- You’re my hero.
- You’re my whole world.
Here’s Why You Should Stop the Abusive Manipulation
- You are the parent and are supposed to be the living embodiment of balance, love, and stability. When you lack these three attributes in yourself, it becomes an adverse reflection of how you parent. That said, without balance there is discord. When you do not speak the truth in love, abuse enters. Without stability there is no peace. Therefore, when you have no peace as a parent, your child will not experience peace.
- Your covert narcissist ways as a parent will adversely affect your child well into adult years. There are multiple effects that will go unrecognized, therefore, mimicking the covert narcissistic behavior they learned as a child can play out as a young adult. A common adverse effect on a grown child is poor communication skills. One of the key signs to this is when they shut you down in mere conversation. The hidden reason behind it, however, is that they have been programmed to fear disagreeing, and have become sensitive to feeling judged about their own thoughts.
- According to the NCADC , children of abuse will often survive with long-lasting and sometimes permanent effects to their mental and physical health; relationships with friends, family, and children; their career; and their economic well-being. That said, if you genuinely care about your child and want the best life for them, you will acknowledge your covert operation as a narcissist parent and become accountable. If you believe you have been expressing covert narcissist behavior you can get help. It may be beneficial to confidentially work with a life coach (like myself) who specializes in domestic violence, relationship health, and effective parenting/ co-parenting, or talk to a therapist with experience helping individuals of narcissist behaviors.
Why The Change Must Start With You As The Parent
Balanced against your current covert narcissistic behavior, I believe that you do love your child and want the best for him or her. The problem being, you have suppressed your own past pain and fears that have gone unaddressed. If this is true, it suggests that the time is now to unlock your own healing, and get the skill sets needed for sustainable success as a parent. After all, how you parent your child today, will effect your child for decades. To summarize, relationship health is the single most important thing to experience, and it is in the early years that massively impact your child’s adult life.
In my mission to help break the mold for generational blessings, I trust you will read this with an open heart and a willing brain. Because the unhealthy patterns you break today as a parent, can be life-altering for tomorrow in generations to come.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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