Narcissism & Codependence – Part 2


by Anne Dranitsaris, Ph.D.

A few of the most common issues that stop children’s development are:

(1) Deciding it’s time for your child to be “independent” rather than letting them follow their own path to independence. This includes forcing them to stop doing things parents consider not age appropriate. Also dismissing the child’s fears or telling them they are being a “baby” when they cry.

(2) Comparing your child’s development to those of other children and deciding they need to be pushed somehow to be better or precocious at something. The child becomes an object for their parents, something to be used to give them status or meet a competitive drive.

(3) Interfering with your child’s need for emergent time by overscheduling them. Making playdates and enrolling them in activities because that’s what everyone is doing, or making them believe they are lazy and unmotivated because they aren’t interested overpowers their own needs.

(4) Letting them stop activities you have paid for because they don’t like it. Supporting the notion that the child is special and should have special treatment, over empathizing with perceived slights, or not letting the child struggle with their feelings gives them the idea they are special and omnipotent.

(5) Inserting yourself in your child’s life and not allowing your child to have separate experiences. This includes remaining at playdates, going to every sports practice and children’s party and not letting your child exercise any mastery over their neighbourhood. Children know when their parents are anxious about letting them do things alone and come to believe they are unable to do things on their own.

6) Shutting down curiosity by not being curious themselves. Parents who are judgmental about behavior rather than curious shut down curiosity in their children. They are very clear about what is right and wrong and don’t entertain “why” questions from their children.

These are only a few……

Whether the developmental delay is narcissistic or co-dependent has to do with how the child’s brain is organized and how they ultimately get their emotional needs met. Misatunement, trauma, frustrated needs leave a child with an impaired self which sees itself as either all powerful or having no power. This leads to dominant narcissistic behavior and submissive codependent behavior.

For more information on how you can get help for narcissistic or codependent behavior or relationship issues, contact me at

Our next blog provides more information on the period of development a child goes through that lead to self-protective patterns of behavior.

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