CHILDREN OF THE SELF-ABSORBED, A Grown-Up’s Guide to Getting Over Narcissistic Parents.


A Grownup’s Guide to Getting Over Narcissistic Parents


By Nina W. Brown, Ed.D., L.P.C.

New Harbinger Publications



            This book describes Destructive Narcissistic Parents (DNPs), describes how being raised by them affected you, and gives very unique techniques for diffusing their ability to hurt you.  It subscribes to the theory that confrontation will not work because a narcissist will never change and does not believe he is doing anything wrong, but rather thinks that everyone else exists for his use and benefit; therefore other techniques for dealing with him are suggested, including  avoidance, humor, or  body language designed to subconsciously confuse the narcissist.



          Does your parent have attention needs, admiration needs, the need to be considered unique and special, lack of empathy, feel other are extensions of herself, grandiosity, shallow emotions, a sense of entitlement, emotionally abusive traits, or exploit others?  These characteristics identify a DNP, and specific examples of each trait are given. 

            As an adult, you can have two possible responses to being raised by a DNP.  You may have a Siege Response- some traits of which include becoming defiant when given orders or demands, rebelling against restrictions or rules, being wary or fearful of intimacy, feeling anxious or panicky when others want to be nurtured, guilty feelings, personalizing others’ behavior, being easily offended, etc. You may also exhibit the Compliant Response, including needing to be liked or approved of, feeling responsible for others’ well-being, feeling that others are taking advantage of you, sacrificing personal needs for others, being overemotional, being overly critical of yourself and others, etc.

            We are taught coping strategies which include developing emotional insulation, avoiding trying to empathize, giving up unrealistic fantasies, and meeting our emotional needs instead of putting them second to everyone else’s.

            The empowering strategies which are suggested are very interesting.  For instance, becoming contrary when a DNP is trying to manipulate us- without explaining or announcing what we are doing, simply doing the opposite of or something entirely different from whatever is wanted or ordered.  Other examples include becoming indifferent, avoiding interactions, setting guidelines your parent must follow in order to obtain your cooperation, practicing a blank facial expression and no response when being criticized, acting bored and “drifting” to another subject, asking a series of questions that will point out the absurdity of what they are saying, and declaring independence. It is important not to let them get a rise out of you or appear hurt, angry or defensive.

            This book is especially valuable for those with self-centered parents who exploit them, and have probably done so since childhood.  Many of us will recognize the narcissist in our own parents.