We all know that humans and other animals have evolved to love, protect and care for their children. This is a natural instinct that every human is born with. This is simply because parental love is crucial for the child’s survival. So if this is the case why do narcissists abuse their children? Does this mean narcissists don’t love their children? Does it mean that they lack the natural instinct?
Before I answer these questions let me make an important remark on how people can lose important instincts such as the instinct to love their children.
How a narcissist’s childhood affects their ability to love their children
All humans are born with no experience, no thoughts, and no goals. But as they grow up, they learn to adapt to their environment by developing important subconscious goals and emotional needs. If you have more than one child then you probably know how sometimes children can become jealous of each other and compete for your attention. A child can even develop a strange behavior such as excessive crying just to earn their parent’s attention.
You might be thinking that the attention seeking behavior is just a childish thing that stops when they grow up but that’s not true. In fact, the subconscious goals and needs we develop in childhood never change, we only charge the methods we use to reach them. While a child may try to catch your attention by climbing a tree, an adult will seek people’s attention by becoming a dancer, an actor or anything that makes them the center of attention.
When a child is raised in an environment where they try to reach their goals without considering others, they usually develop less empathy and this affects their ability to love other people and even their own children. This usually happens to children who were raised in an environment where there was strong sibling rivalry, children who were always the center of attention, and children who were emotionally abused and neglected.
For example children who were always the center of attention usually grow up feeling entitled and feeling that others should bow to them and this prevents them from having empathy for other people. Although, this does not mean that all children who were raised in such an environment must lack empathy and love for other people.
This is why some narcissists don’t love their children
Of course it’s wrong to overgeneralize by saying that all narcissists don’t love their children since all narcissists are different but some narcissists seem to have no love for some or all of their children. From the outside, narcissists may seem to not care about anyone but on the inside they are usually very needy. Some need constant attention, others need constant love while others are hungry for power and superiority.
When a narcissist is not getting his emotional needs fulfilled and their goals achieved, they usually become so self-absorbed, selfish, and so inconsiderate of others. This means that if the narcissist feels that life is not taking them in the right direction and when they are facing life problems they usually become so preoccupied with themselves that they have no capacity to show love to their own children or other people.
So in short, narcissists love their children but unless their needs are met first unless they also feel loved, they are incapable of showing love to their children. In other words, the more miserable a narcissist feels the less they are capable of loving their children. It’s not uncommon for narcissists to become jealous of their children or even sabotage their children’s success. In my article, why are narcissists so mean, I explained how emotional turmoil makes a narcissist so mean towards their loved ones.
Why it’s useless for narcissists to love their children without expressing it
If you were to ask a narcissist whether they love their children or not, no narcissist would say that they don’t love their children, and they wouldn’t be lying actually. As I said, in the inside narcissists love their children but sometimes their weaknesses prevent them from bringing that love to the surface.
Unfortunately, children can’t read the narcissist’s mind and know that they are loved. For this reason children with a narcissistic parent grow up feeling unloved, neglected, and this greatly affects their self-esteem and mental health.
It doesn’t matter whether narcissists actually love their children or not, as long as children can’t see that love through the narcissist’s actions, behavior, and attitude they will grow up feeling unloved.
Narcissists use their children to achieve their selfish psychological needs
In my previous articles I said that all narcissists dream about becoming superior in one way or another. While some of them try to achieve this dream of superiority the right way by doing something great such as becoming popular, others try to achieve superiority by dominating their children and spouse.
Some narcissists demand constant nonreciprocal attention from their children, others belittle and put down their children to keep them in control, while others project their own insecurities and flaws onto their children. This kind of parenting usually leaves a child with a lot of psychological problems that follow them in adulthood See: how to raise mentally healthy children if your spouse is a narcissist.