The Kind of Parent You Are (TKOPYA) sat down with a narcissistic parent (NP) for a quick chat, which we hope you will find entertaining and informative. The transcript is below.
TKOPYA: Tell us what your family life is like.
NP: It is picture perfect, I would say. I have three kids, all grown. The oldest and youngest are moved out, and the middle one is still here with me. They always listen, even when I’m telling them something they don’t like.
TKOPYA: How do you get your kids to listen?
NP: Tactics like mocking and sarcasm frequently. Sure it contributes to all sorts of psychological abnormalities and maladaptive behaviors in the long term. Take my oldest—she is in her twenties. Has a hard time holding down a job, tends to lose motivation fast. But that can’t really be my fault because she’s grown—that’s on her. She blames depression but I know it’s not that because if I called her up and asked her to clean her room right now because her house is a pigsty, of course I would do this in a humorous way, I guarantee she would still do it. A truly depressed person wouldn’t be able to. She can be motivated when she needs to be. Same goes for her sister still living with me. The house stays clean and organized because I tell him that’s how it needs to be. And that makes it all worth it.
TKOPYA: Does it always work?
NP: That worked for the first two kids. The third was different. Not as pliant. But I found that for him, screaming does wonders. All kids are different, you know. I learned you have to adjust your style for each kid. That’s what good parents do. He acted all scared and cried and carried on when I got loud, but a tersely worded threat or raised voice really got him moving. It just worked. He’s been very busy with his job lately. Too busy to answer the phone even. But he’s climbing that corporate ladder. So I guess you could say we did something right.
TKOPYA: Did you make any mistakes?
NP: I don’t think so. One of my kids’ psychiatrists says I used too much control, but I don’t buy that. They call it an introject. Like a piece of me that is inside them pulling the strings. That means that they do what I want even when I’m not around. If anything, that must be a sign of good parenting. The doctor talks about it like it’s some kind of psychological parasite, but it’s more like a handy remote control if you ask me. Only I don’t even have to push the buttons. That work is already done, over years of training. And I get to implant these introjects lots of different ways. Sometimes I am only nice to the kids when I get good behavior. For bad behavior, sometimes I just stop acknowledging them completely. Sometimes I give long lectures that get louder and more aggressive as they progress. I make up harsh rules, sometimes right there on the spot, and I’ll have different punishments that I use for infractions, depending on my mood. These are all good ways to keep them in line. If you want to do it right, you just have to be creative.
TKOPYA: Are you sure this is effective?
NP: Yes, I’m sure it works. Take my middle child, for example. I focused hard on school and chores, which she was always good at. Still very smart, and still working hard in school. But I must have been too lax at the dinner table. Now she has an eating disorder. If I would have known, I could have used the same techniques even more at mealtimes. But I was very busy, and you can’t do everything. I still say, by and large, I did all the right things. Anybody can look at those kids and see that they were raised right.
TKOPYA: Thank you for your time.
NP: Thank you for having me.
How to Cite this Article: Brian Vondruska, “Ask a Narcissistic Parent”, The Kind of Parent You Are, accessed [date], https://www.thekindofparentyouare.com/articles/interview.