Does a true narcissist have children?
Your question implies everyone who has kids actually gives a damn about them.
Okay, it's not actually funny when you think about it, but seriously plenty of people have children that they don't care about. Here's some examples:
- Having children to generate income then neglecting them
- Having children to be your personal servants
- Having children to be your personal punching bags
- Having children because you're irresponsible but didn't want to look bad so you didn't have an abortion
Now some people who do this ironically love their children. That doesn't make them at all selfless, in fact they are as selfish as can be.
Here's the thing, in life you actually don't owe anyone anything. People can call you selfish all they want but if you ask nothing of them, they really shouldn't expect anything from you. This is where children come in, YOU brought them into this world you are responsible for THEM and they owe you nothing.
Who would purposely bring someone in this world who is dependent on them and neglect them? Only someone OUTRAGEOUSLY SELFISH that's who.
So this brings us to a narcissist, many of those things I mentioned narcissistic parents are known to do. Additionally:
- They will have children only to try to live through them, and be a path to whatever goals or things they are entitled to.
- Or worse. They purposely sabotage their children, because no way is someone who's only meant to be an extension/mirror of me, going to become better than me. How dare they?
Look every narcissist is a person, and therefore different, every narcissists personality traits will vary, while having some core similarities. Many are great parents and love their children, but in no way does becoming a parent change that you're a narcissist.
It most definitely isn't okay to say a true narcissist doesn't procreate, in fact it may be the number one worst thing they actually can do and do strictly because of their narcissistic traits.
Interesting hypothesis, but, though I'm not a professional, I can tell you from personal experience that narcissists surely can and do. In fact, the narcissist can become quite beloved by his/her offspring.
First, it's important to recognize that narcissism exists on a sliding scale, like most other personality issues. Just like, say denial. At one end, these mental tendencies are weak and examples rare.
At the other end, they are continuous and delusional so that the shared reality can not even be recognized by the narcissist; everything in the consensus reality is seen only in terms of how it can serve the narcissist. This results in distorted perceptions and poor choices.
Narcissism is complex and it is not surprising that this label is slapped on situationally and sloppily when one observes, for instance, selfishness. I speak from experience. It takes a lot of work and a degree of intelligence to wean one off the nipple of labels and binary thinking. Narcissists aren't even aware they are doing this.
That is not to say recognizing qualities of narcissistic thinking (more accurately non-thinking) in people isn't useful. And it could even be sensible to slap the narcissist label when one exhibits ‘X' number of symptoms. A few more symptoms or behaviors and it's fair to call them a delusional narcissist. Go far enough and this label can accurately be said to move from personality disorder to insanity.
I'm sure psychologists have finer gradations and technical terms, but all I'm saying is narcissism is subject to levels of seriousness. Many mental states are defined in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) according to the number of symptoms observed. Depression is diagnosed this way.
Narcissism and Parenting
My brother and father had narcissistic tendencies and yet turned out to be pretty good parents. How so?
First, having kids has a lot of self-serving benefits: companionship, loyalty, amusement, social approval, and caretakers for your old age, to name a few. Narcissists are so self-absorbed and thin-skinned that intimacy is risky and not attempted outside the family. So there are narcissistic benefits to having kids. Of course there are downsides, which, which is really the nub of your question.
What about the costs, distractions, energy drain, time drain, constraints on what you can do?
Both people I am referring to managed their narcissism with an obedient mother who was self-less to a fault and took on strictly defined mother roles of nurturing, healing, cooking, cleaning, etc.
In other words , parenting was her designated job, while my father was in charge of the manly things like building/adding onto our house, keeping it repaired, earning income, shooting our dog when it became cancerous, etc. Despite my mother's omnipresence, it was a very paternal household with my dad setting his own agenda. I think most people nowadays would consider him a narcissist, but left of center.
My late younger brother adopted a similar strategy in his family, which demanded he be the unquestioned master of his world and delegated child-rearing responsibilities to his wife.
Narcissists and Charism
It's surprising to me how powerful narcissistic personalities are in relationships. My dad's cocksure over-confidence was instrumental in destroying my older brother's self-confidence, the results of which then rippled through his life. My younger brother also suffered. He inherited or adopted our father's worldview and replicated it with his family.
So, although I've bogged you down with TMI, I hope this helps you understand how narcissism is not counter-intuitive to parenting. Parenting has many emotionally intimate benefits, some of which are hard for a serious narcissist to safely access outside his family.
Oh yes, they definitely want children. Unconditional love and total control over a person for at least 18 years? Sign me up, I would say if I were suffering from NPD. I give you as proof my last conversation with my NPD girlfriend. Enjoy and be educated:
She was out of town looking for a job and staying at a former boyfriend. She claimed there is nothing between them, that they are staying in different rooms, but she needs help with job hunting and he doesn't charge her rent for the 2 weeks she'll be there. She started complaining about the guy:
Her: "He was so rude to me and made me cry. He thinks that if he lives in a big city and has a big salary he is also a gentleman? No, money do not mask your redneck behavior. Oh, I would like a baby so much, but I don't want a man..."
Me: "I'm sorry beautiful. I'll wait for you to come home."
Her: "I'll come in a closed casket, it's better for everyone".
Me: "Don't be silly, I told you, life is beautiful, you just have to see the positive things in it."
Her: "I hate life, I've always hated it. I'm not going to do anything stupid though, my father couldn't take it, he has heart problems."
Me: "Tell me what do you need so you don't feel so sad..."
Her: "I don't need anything, I don't want anyone, I want peace and quiet, some people, like me, will never find their half. I just want a dog and a baby, that's all...I just want to be alone"
Me: "Ok love, be alone then..."
I'm not sure that is necessarily true. One of the narcissists in my life had children just so she could get the automatic respect that comes with being a mother. She's from a background where college and career are largely unattainable but motherhood is a golden ticket. In cultural circles where motherhood is the quickest route to being looked up to, narcissists love to jump on that bandwagon. That said, when they realize parenting actually comes with hard work and responsibility, they often get frustrated by it.
Having worked with many orphans, I've also known a few narcissists to adopt just so they could be seen as the selfless angelic heroes that adoptive parents so often are seen as in our culture. This isn't to say that all adoptive parents are narcissists, but adoption definitely attracts them in larger numbers I believe. Narcissists will do anything that gets them social brownie points, especially if they don't realize how much effort is in involved, or if they are able to pawn the real work onto someone else (e.g. hired help, and most people who can afford to adopt can afford hired help) while soaking up the glory.
Caring for a child is a selfless endeavor, having one isn't necessarily. There are people out there who will have children because they re lonely, because they can get benefits or attention from other people.
I've heard of people who had children to bind another person to them financially, to make them pay for them and the child, or to lock them down with the work of rising a child.
Making a child is having sex, waiting a bit, then giving birth. Painful, yes, but not necessarily selfless. It's how you treat the child afterwards and the sacrifices you make for them that can be called actions of a kind, good and selfless individual.
Because one's children make the best victims.
I'm assuming you mean NPD, and not just people with high self-esteem.
You are assuming they're organised and self-aware enough to avoid having a "burden". A good chunk of people don't manage, NPD doesn't give special intelligence to people.
In reality though, they get a defenceless person, legally bound to them, which will have a lot of difficulty to get society to defend herself from this NPD parent.
What best victim?