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Young children of narcissists learn early in life that everything they do is a reflection on the parent to the point that the child must fit into the personality and behavioral mold intended for them. These children bear tremendous anxiety from a young age as they must continually push aside their own personality in order to please the parent and provide the mirror image the parent so desperately needs. If these children fail to comply with the narcissist’s wishes or try to set their own goals for their life – God, forbid – the children will be overtly punished, frozen out or avoided for a period of time – hours, days or even weeks depending on the perceived transgression in the eyes of the narcissistic parent.
With young children, the narcissistic parent is experienced as unpredictable and confusing. After all, narcissists are The overall quality and strength of the bond between the narcissistic parent and young child are poor and weak. Deep down, the child doesn’t feel consistently loved, as the child is taught the metaphoric Narcissistic Parenting Program: You’re only as good as I say you are, and you’ll be loved only if you’re fully compliant with my wishes. Simply put, it’s truly heartbreaking for the child – although the narcissistic parent is sinfully oblivious.