The Narcissistic Adoptive Parent & Narcissistic Abuse
Children of narcissists
Kohut, Horney and Miller
- 21st century Trannsactional Analysis has highlighted clients who suffered some narcissistic abuse as children (that is, an injury to their developing selves), examining for instance the boy in an all-female household who only survived by developing powerful emotional antennae in order to respond to the emotional needs of his mother and sister.
- Post-Jungians have explored the after-effects of an intense narcissistic wound resulting from an oppressively unempathetic parent. In particular,Polly Young-Eisendrath emphasises how the narcissistic longings of mothers (or fathers) to amass reflected glory through their children...can bring disastrous results for mother and child if both lose their capacity for autonomous development.
- Object Relations Theory for its part stresses both that the most traumatizing experience of all is the absence of emotional giving from a mother or father, and that, in an intergenerational pattern, people who have been brought up by tyrannical authoritarian parents will often parent their children in the same way. Adam Phillips adds that the mother who colonizes her child and stifles gestures of autonomy and difference breeds in him or her an often unconscious craving for the dead-end justice of revenge.
- In another tradition, Julia Kristeva points out how a pairing of mothers and fathers, overprotective and uneasy, who have chosen the child as a narcissistic artificial limb and keep incorporating that child as a restoring element for the adult psyche intensifies the infant's tendency toward omnipotence.
- M. Scott Peck looked at milder but nonetheless destructive common forms of parental narcissism, as well as the depth of confusion produced by her mother's narcissism in a more serious instance.
- The term has also appeared in connection with parental alienation syndrome, in situations where by role reversal (parentification) the child, like a "living antidepressant" fills the alienating parent's emotional void': the result is that the parent clings to the child like a person who is drowning.