Narcissism personality disorder (NPD) is when a person feels an overt sense of importance about themselves. 

Symptoms often become apparent in everyday behavior, like selfishness, lack of empathy, and even manipulation — which, when children are involved, can lead to parental alienation. 

Unfortunately, experts say that up to 5% of the U.S. population has NPD, so it’s essential to recognize the signs in your current or ex-partner and how it might affect your children. 

How Narcissistic Parents Affect Children

As humbling as parenthood is, narcissism doesn’t just go away when a person becomes a parent. In some cases, NPD symptoms are actually heightened because all of the sudden, this person is forced to share the “spotlight” with their kids and put their needs first. 

With that said, there are many narcissistic parents in the world — and they may purposely or inadvertently negatively affect their children’s health. Psychology experts say that children may suffer in several ways when growing up with a narcissistic parent: 

  • Low self-esteem
  • Chronic self-blame 
  • Insecure attachment style
  • Fierce independence or unhealthy codependency
  • Indecision and doubt
  • Can’t focus on own needs
  • Narcissism

What many psychologists and even lawyers don’t mention is that a narcissistic parent can manipulate their children to think the way they do — which can result in parental alienation against the other parent. 

How Narcissism Plays a Role in Parental Alienation

Narcissistic parental syndrome is almost always considered the same as parental alienation syndrome (PAS). 

And this is not by coincidence. PAS occurs when one parent actively tries to alienate their child from the other parent without a valid reason. Many theorize the main root of PAS is narcissism. 

Let’s break it down: Narcissistic behavior occurs when a person has high values on their importance and beliefs, which often cancels out anybody else’s thoughts or feelings. Parental alienation happens when one parent attempts to turn their child against the other parent that is due to negative personal beliefs. 

In short, PAS is almost always driven by narcissism. Some tell-tale behaviors of a child that is a victim of parental alienation include: 

  • Unexplainable anger by the child 
  • Constant refusal to visit 
  • Reacts with hostility and hatred
  • Borrowed language that may belong to the alienating parent
  • Refusal and rejection of your side of the family 
  • Justifies and supports the alienating parent

If your child exhibits any of these behaviors, then there’s a chance they’re a victim of parental alienation syndrome, as illustrated by a manipulative, narcissistic parent. 

This is an unhealthy atmosphere for your child to grow in — because, as we covered earlier, living with an NPD parent can have long-term emotional and mental effects. So what can you do? 

It May Be Time to Seek Legal Help 

When you’re actively dealing with disagreements on how to raise your child with your ex-partner, it can feel pretty frustrating. And then when legal help is mentioned, it suddenly all feels trivial and silly.

Does this sound like you? 

If so, just know that legal help — especially from those who are experienced in family law — doesn’t need to be a be-all-end-all. Instead, it can be as simple as receiving advice, participating in mediation, and restructuring your parenting plan. 

It’s also essential to leave a sort of “paper trail” when you suspect your child is the victim of emotional abuse like manipulation or parental alienation. Your legal team can help you document any instances of abuse and bring them to the courts so that you can protect your child. 

Contact Hickey & Hull Law Partners Today

There’s no true boundary for ensuring that your child is happy and healthy. And with years of expertise in family law and parental alienation, the team at Hickey & Hull Law Partners can help you if your child is a victim of a parent with NPD. 

Call us today or fill out our online form if you have any questions or want to get started immediately. Our River Valley office number is 479.434.2414, and our Northwest Arkansas number is 479.802.6560.

We’re here to help you.

In the River Valley:
502 Garrison Avenue
Fort Smith, AR 72901
Phone: (479) ‍434-2414
Fax: (479) ‍434-2415

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In Little Rock:
124 W. Capitol Avenue Suite 870
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone: (479) ‍434-2414
Fax: (479) ‍434-2415

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In Russellville: 

127 East 3rd Street
Russellville, Arkansas 72801

Phone: (479) ‍434-‍2414
Fax: (479) ‍434-‍2415



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In Northwest Arkansas:
409 W. Poplar Street
Rogers, AR 72756
Phone: (479) ‍802-6560
Fax: (479) ‍802-6561

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