Many adult children of narcissistic parents report their biggest fear or nightmare is discovering that they too may have some narcissistic traits. If a narcissistic parent raised you, have you wondered that as well? Just being responsible mature adults and working our own recovery...we should be asking this question. If we are raising children, it is even more important. One of our goals for recovery is to parent in different ways and certainly with empathy.
Remember that the trademark for maternal narcissism is lack of empathy and the inability to give unconditional love. If you can do these things....breathe deeply! You are not a narcissist. Now, given that narcissism is a spectrum disorder, we all have some traits along that continuum and having some narcissistic traits at the lower end of that spectrum is considered normal and healthy. The more traits along the spectrum that one has, the more difficulties they will encounter in the world of personal relationships i.e., giving empathy and tuning into the emotional needs of their children.
If you have fears and wonder about yourself, take this checklist and journal about it in the dark where no one can see you! Just kidding of course! It is our job to be accountable. The following is adapted from the nine narcissistic traits listed in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.)
Am I Narcissistically Impaired?
Do I exaggerate my accomplishments and say I have done things I have not done? Do I act more important than others?
Am I unrealistic about my thoughts and desires regarding love, beauty, success, and intelligence? Do I seek power in these things?
Do I believe that I am so special and unique that only the best institutions and the highest academic professionals could possibly understand me?
Do I need to be admired all the time to the point of excess?
Do I have a sense of entitlement and expect to be treated differently and with more status than others?
Do I exploit others to get what I want or need?
Do I lack empathy and therefore never see what others are feeling or needing? Can I put myself in other people's shoes? Can I show empathy?
Am I jealous and competitive with others or unreasonably, without logic, think that others are jealous of me?
Am I a haughty person who acts arrogant and "better than" with my friends, colleagues, and family?
And I add one more to this list:
Am I capable of authentic love, meaning I can give unconditional love to my children?
One interesting factor is this: If you are taking this test, worrying about your own parenting and asking accountability questions...you are not likely a narcissist! Breathe deeply again! Go to Yoga, pass Go, Collect a bunch of hugs!