When Your Child’s Grandparent is a Narcissist
By: Beth McHugh 2008
We have looked at many articles concerning what it is like to be the child of a narcissistic parent. But what happens when you, the child of a narcissist, goes on to have children of your own? How does having children influence your relationship with your narcissistic parent?
Having children of your own is probably the biggest wake-up call you will ever have in your life. This applies to members of most dysfunctional families, but children of a narcissistic parent are particularly susceptible to feelings of doubt and insecurity about their own skills as a parent. Not having ever felt really loved by that parent, many adult children of narcissists often feel uncomfortable with their own parenting practices since they do not have a healthy template to work off.
We will discuss parenting skills in a later article but today we will concentrate on the benefits that having children can have on parent who themselves had a narcissistic parent, particularly a narcissistic mother.
As the mother is traditionally the greatest source of a child’s sense of love and comfort, merely due to the relative amount of time spent with the mother plus societal views that it is the mother who actually does the “mothering,” the birth of a child can bring up a raft of emotions. Witnessing first hand just how vulnerable your child is can stir up powerful feelings about how vulnerable you were as a child and how easily hurt and manipulated a small child can be.
This can result in feelings of intense rage and sadness towards the
narcissistic parent. Often it can take the birth of your own child to
really bring to light the pain that you have suffered at the hands of
your parent. Having a child certainly speeds up the process. It is often
not till we reach our 30s that we begin to fully realize just how detrimental
our narcissistic parent’s behavior really was. Yet when that realization
occurs, it means that healing can also occur. With acknowledgment of
the pain brings potential to change—to change the way we feel
about our parent, and most importantly, to change the way we feel about