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Narcissist: No Custody, No Children!


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Narcissist: No Custody, No Children!

By Sam Vaknin
Author of "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited"

To drive a motorcycle, let alone a truck one needs a license. To sell liquor, one better have a permit. But anyone can bring children to this world and raise them - narcissists and psychopaths included. Parenting requires no screening, no testing, no exams, and no licensing.


A parent diagnosed with full-fledged Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) should be denied custody and be granted only restricted rights of visitation under supervision.


Narcissists accord the same treatment to children and adults. They regard both as sources of narcissistic supply, mere instruments of gratification - idealize them at first and then devalue them in favour of alternative, safer and more subservient, sources. Such treatment is traumatic and can have long-lasting emotional effects.


The narcissist's inability to acknowledge and abide by the personal boundaries set by others puts the child at heightened risk of abuse - verbal, emotional, physical, and, often, sexual. His possessiveness and panoply of indiscriminate negative emotions - transformations of aggression, such as rage and envy - hinder his ability to act as a "good enough" parent. His propensities for reckless behaviour, substance abuse, and sexual deviance endanger the child's welfare, or even his or her life.


At the risk of over-simplification: narcissism tends to breed narcissism - but only a minority of the children of narcissistic parents become narcissists. This may be due to a genetic predisposition or to different life circumstances (like not being the firstborn). But MOST narcissists have one or more narcissistic parents or caregivers.


The narcissistic parent regards his or her child as a multi-faceted Source of Narcissistic Supply. The child is considered and treated as an extension of the narcissist. It is through the child that the narcissist seeks to settle "open scores" with the world. The child is supposed to realise the unfulfilled dreams, wishes, and fantasies of the narcissistic parent.
This "life by proxy" can develop in two ways: the narcissist can either merge with his child or be ambivalent about him. The ambivalence is the result of a conflict between the narcissist's wish to attain his narcissistic goals through the child and his pathological (destructive) envy of the child and his accomplishments.


To ameliorate the unease bred by this emotional ambivalence, the narcissistic parent resorts to a myriad of control mechanisms. These can be grouped into: guilt-driven ("I sacrificed my life for you"), codependent ("I need you, I cannot cope without you"), goal-driven ("We have a common goal which we can and must achieve"), shared psychosis or emotional incest ("You and I are united against the whole world, or at least against your monstrous, no-good father ...", "You are my one and only true love and passion") and explicit ("If you do not adhere to my principles, beliefs, ideology, religion, values, if you do not obey my instructions, I will punish you").


This exercise of control helps to sustain the illusion that the child is a part of the narcissist. But maintaining the illusion calls for extraordinary levels of control (on the part of the parent) and obedience (on the part of the child). The relationship is typically symbiotic and emotionally turbulent.


The child fulfils another important narcissistic function – the provision of Narcissistic Supply. There is no denying the implied (though imaginary) immortality in having a child. The early (natural) dependence of the child on his caregivers, serves to assuage their fear of abandonment.


The narcissist tries to perpetuate this dependence, using the aforementioned control mechanisms. The child is the ultimate Secondary Narcissistic Source of Supply. He is always present, he admires the narcissist, he witnesses the narcissist's moments of triumph and grandeur.


Owing to his wish to be loved he can be extorted into constant giving. To the narcissist, a child is a dream come true, but only in the most egotistical sense. When the child is perceived as "reneging" on his main obligation (to provide his narcissistic parent with a constant supply of attention) – the parent's emotional reaction is harsh and revealing.


It is when the narcissistic parent is disenchanted with his child that we see the true nature of this pathological relationship. The child is totally objectified. The narcissist reacts to a breach in this unwritten contract with wells of aggression and aggressive transformations: contempt, rage, emotional and psychological abuse, and even physical violence. He tries to annihilate the real "disobedient" child and substitute it with the subservient, edifying, former version.



---
Encyclopedia of Narcissism and Psychopathy

http://samvak.tripod.com/siteindex.html

Buy 16 books and video lectures on 3 DVDs about narcissists, psychopaths, and abusive relationships

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Sep/19/2012, 10:37 am Link to this post  
 


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