Guest Author Sam Vaknin, PhD
“I can’t seem to be able to protect my child from the other parent’s narcissistic bad influence.”

"Prism" by Mimi Stuart ©
Live the Life you Desire

Your child is likely to come across all kinds of people in his future. Some of them will be abusive, narcissistic, or even antisocial (psychopaths.) In a way, early exposure to a dysfunctional “bad” parent will render your child better prepared to cope with them, more alert to their existence and chicanery and more desensitized to their abuse.

For this you should be grateful.

There is nothing much you can do, otherwise. Stop wasting your money, time, energy and emotional resources on this intractable “problem” of how to insulate your son from the other parent’s influence. It is a lost war, though a just cause. Instead, make yourself available to your son.

The only thing you can do to prevent your son from emulating the other parent is to present to him another role model of a functioning NON-narcissist, NON-abuser, NON-psychopath – YOU. Hopefully, when he grows up, he will prefer your role model to the other parent’s. But there is only that much that you can do. You cannot control the developmental path of your child. Exerting unlimited control over your progeny is what narcissism is all about – and is exactly what you should avoid at all costs, however worried you might be.

Parental narcissism, abuse, and psychopathy do tend to breed narcissism, abusive conduct, and antisocial traits and behaviors – but not inevitably.

Consider the narcissistic parent, for instance:

Not all the off-spring of a narcissist inexorably become narcissists.

The true, narcissistic parent does tend to produce another narcissist in his or her child. But this outcome can be effectively countered by loving, empathic, predictable, just, and positive upbringing, which encourages a sense of autonomy and responsibility. Provide your child with an alternative to his other parent’s venomous and exploitative existence. Trust your son to choose life over death, love over narcissism, human relations over narcissistic supply.


by Sam Vaknin, PhD, the author of “Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited” — a far-reaching book about Narcissistic Personality Disorder and abusive behavior — and other books about personality disorders.

Read “Triangulation: ‘My ex can’t stop complaining about me to my child. I feel like doing the same right back.’”

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