A particularly potent combination of psychological traits is the borderline narcissistic parent. There isn’t much material out there on how to deal with a mother or father with both conditions, which is why I thought it was important to explain how to overcame borderline narcissistic parents —
When your parent is a borderline narcissist, they have transit of borderline personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder which make them brutal, selfish, emotionally unavailable, and manipulative. Counter borderline narcissistic manipulation through targeted response tactics and self-deference practices.
In the rest of this article, I’ll explain in details how to spot and overcome a borderline narcissist parent.
Signs of a Borderline Narcissistic Parent
Narcissistic borderline parents are the melding of two different personality types.
Narcissistic parents are primarily concerned with propping themselves up and boosting their own ego, often at the expense of the child. As the child of a narcissist, you are likely to experience various forms of manipulation like gaslighting, scapegoating, and triangulation.
Borderline parents suffer from an extreme fear of loss, and often grow psychologically dependent on their children. They too will manipulate children in order to induce dependency and stifle the child’s urge to separate from their parents and live their own lives in a natural way. To this end, borderline parents often resort to guilt trips and scare tactics to keep their children close.
Both of these traits combined producing unique and sumwhat contradictory behavior. Some of the things you will see from a narcissist borderline parent include —
- Have unexpected emotional outbursts
- Make themselves the victim
- Feel like their children owe them for life
- Use fear, guilt, or threats to manipulate children
- Are threatened by their children’s success
In some cases, borderline narcissist parents are actually just narcissists. I have written extensively about narcissists and narcissistic parents in the past. If you have more questions about narcissism or narcissist parents, take a look at these three articles —-
- Signs of a Narcissist | 21 Behaviors of the Classical Narcissist
- Uncovering Abusive Narcissists | Signs & Symptoms of Toxic Love
- How to Deal with a Narcissistic Parent | Healing When There Is No love
What Children of Narcissistic Borderline Parents Feel and Experience
As a child of borderline narcissistic parent (or parents) you are almost guaranteed to have been manipulated by your parents to feel —
- Inferior to other people
- Indebted to your parents
- Not good enough
- Self-centered or narcissistic
- The root of all problems with your parents and family
Children of parents with extreme personality disorders including both narcissism and borderline personality disorder very often have difficult childhoods that can lead to unresolved psychological issues later in life.
The expert book How to be an Adult in Relationships describes this as a deficiency in the five A’s — attention, Acceptance, appreciation, affection, and allowing — which every child needs to grow up happy and healthy. If you have had a difficult childhood, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of How to be an Adult in Relationships.
How to Overcome Abuse from Narcissistic Borderline Parents
The first step when dealing with a narcissistic borderline parent is to be vigilant for and take note of what exactly constitutes abuse.
As a child of a narcissist or borderline individual, it can be difficult to know what exactly is normal in a parent child relationship and what behaviors are unhealthy side effects of your parent’s psychological condition. Especially because the hallmark of both of these conditions is an attempt to control your frame of reference and fabricate an alternate and untrue reality that soothes your parent’s insecurities.
Some form of manipulation you might experience from a borderline narcissist parent are —
Narcissistic and borderline parents like to find someone in their family and make them the cause of all problems. With borderline parents, more often than not this one or more of their children.
Parent’s may try to pass this off as normal discipline or parental feedback. How you know if you are being scapegoated by your parents —
- Errors or misbehavior are exaggerated and amplified over time (like a fish story)
- Your parents constantly remind your of your mistakes longer after they are no longer relevant
- There is always somebody on the naughty list, and if it is your turn they will not let up until another target presents itself
Scapegoating is not a normal or healthy part of raising a child.
Golden Child and Rotten Child
If you have siblings, your narcissistic borderline parent is likely to choose one or few of you as the golden children, and the rest labeled as rotten children who are not good enough.
Golden children can do no wrong. They are the best at everything and bring great pride to their parents what love to talk about their accomplishments non-stop.
The rotten children can do nothing right. Narcissistic borderline parents will constantly compare them negatively to their golden child siblings. And, when they talk about the rotten children in public, they will emphasis just how good of parents they are and how much they sacrifice to tolerate such a rotten child.
No matter if you are the golden child or rotten child, this is bad for you. Golden children are constantly trying to live up to their parent’s inflated and ultimately false characterization. While, rotten children are kept under the thumb of their parent’s disapproval.
Usually, strong willed and independent children will be labeled rotten, while the more compliant child will be labeled the golden children.
Hot and Cold Behavior
Narcissistic borderline parents are prone to hot and cold behavior. Fawning over and loving you one moment, then ignoring or criticizing you the next.
Parents with these personality disorders will type to make you dependent on their affection by suddenly and forcefully switching between the carrot and the stick. This is very damaging and confusing to children, who have no way to know this behavior is a symptom of their parent’s psychosis rather than a justified consequence of their actions.
Both narcissistic and borderlines love to apply guilt trips on their children, although borderline more so than others.
A borderline guilt trip could take the form of something like this —
“You never come see me. Don’t you love me? Why are you leaving me to die alone?”
You may also experience demands for financial assistance and insistence that you owe them for raising you —
“I am accustomed to a particular lifestyle. I gave everything to bring you in to the world. How could you leave me with nothing?”
Being grateful to your parents is one thing, and being on the hook to fulfill their every request is another. With narcissist borderline parents, the guilt trips will never end, no matter what you do for them, and will only increase in frequency and severity if your parent sees that they are working.
Gaslighting means that your narcissistic borderline parent is using lies, deception, and selective forgetfulness to make you feel crazy, and question your own perception of reality.
This a widely used technique by a wide variety of toxic people. For more detailed info on dealing with gaslighting, see this article, which is applicable to parents as well as bosses —
The second step is to take steps to build up appropriate boundaries and heal from your own trauma.
At this point, I caution you from attempting to help or confront your narcissistic parents about their behavior. Such actions rarely make things better and usually make things worse. Narcissism and borderline personality disorder are very difficult to treat.
- Separate yourself from the situation as much as possible.
- Seek out coaching or counseling from a individual you trust with experience dealing with narcissists and or borderline parents
- With their help, devise and work a plan of personal healing and psychological development
- Develop appropriate boundaries and specific tactics to neutralize abuse
The ultimate method for overcoming narcissistic borderline abuse hold your own reference frame and grip on reality extremely firmly in the face of their lies and manipulation.
But, as a child raised by narcissistic borderline parents, this is extremely difficult to get right by yourself, since you have never experienced a sane world, untainted by personality disorder generated madness.
Recommended reading material
- How to be an Adult in Relationships — Everyone needs to buy and read this book
Where to get help
See our resources section for opportunities for coaching and counseling, as well as additional books and courses to overcome narcissistic borderline parents.
Can a borderline be a good parent?
Borderline parents frequently cause psychological damage in their children due to their emotional outbursts and excessive dependence stemming from a fear of abandonment. It is rare if not impossible for a borderline to be a good parent in the sense that they raise a completely healthy and well adjusted child.
What is a borderline parent?
A borderline parent suffers from borderline personality disorder, which makes them prone to emotional outbursts, experience a deep fear of loss and abandonment, and leads them to emotionally manipulate their children through guilt trips, shame, and gaslighting.