Why Children of Narcissists Become Control Freaks

Three reasons and two solutions to tackle this problem

Alen M. Vukelić
8 min readJan 21, 2021


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Waking up in a narcissist-controlled environment means never knowing what’s going to happen next. Maybe they decide to move, quit their job, or get into a senseless argument with their neighbor just before breakfast is ready.

Children of narcissists never experience stability, all they do is maneuver their way from one situation to another in order to escape the next major havoc.

Indian mystic Osho once said that humanity begins when basic needs are met. What he meant is that as long as one faces existential threats, all higher virtues are on the back burner. Living with narcissists is just that: a constant existential threat which inhibits all possibility for growth and prosperity.

If good parenting consists of providing support, showing love, setting limits, and teaching responsibility — then narcissistic parenting provides none of that. Not only do their children need to figure out these cornerstone structures for themselves, they often end up in a reversed role, trying to set boundaries for their parents’ out of control behavior.

Children of narcissists live in an inverted reality

Driven by a true wish to find common ground with their parents, their children turn to every imaginable way to communicate their frustration — but to no avail. Of course, what their children don’t know is that they are not dealing with a “lack of understanding” but with a serious personality disorder which at its core encompasses all good parenting traits — only mirror-inverted.

Providing support turns into ➜ Demanding attention

Showing love turns into ➜ Requiring constant admiration

Setting limits turns into ➜ Grandiose fantasies and entitlement

Teaching responsibility turns into ➜ Reckless, impulsive, and risky behavior

The narcissist’s complete lack of self-reflection and denial of shortcomings completely oppose what their children want to achieve. Conversely, narcissists deliberately sow instability every step of the way to maintain influence over their children, or any other…



Alen M. Vukelić

I write about the resistance to change, the unwillingness to take risks, and paralysis of indecision — only the good stuff.