Healthy parent vs. NPD parent

What does a Narcissistic family look like compared to a healthy family? Single parent families included! See also what a real-life example of an NPD parent looks like.


Today I’m going to talk about something that’s out of the “Will I ever be Good Enough: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers” book.  Okay, great book here. I’ll put a link to that down below in the notes. What she talks about is the configuration of a healthy family and a narcissistic family. I’m going to put little graphics of a healthy family. 

Healthy Family vs. Narcissistic Parent with Dr. Liz

You can see, whether you’re coupled or you’re single, it’s like there’s a boundary here around the parent and the parents. Then the kids are here and they’re pretty much at an equal level. They function as the parent has their own life, and they’re also available to the children. The couple goes out together and they’re also available to the children, but it’s very clear there’s a boundary between mom and dad. 


In an unhealthy family, then what happens is… [She talks about moms, so we’re going to put moms there.] The mom is at the center, the dad floats around her, and then the kids float around that configuration, but they float around the mom mainly. 

Healthy Family vs. Narcissistic Parent

Everything ends up revolving around the Narcissistic Parent.


What happens is that everything ends up being centered around the mom. If the mom wants something, everybody scrambles to get it. If the mom wants to do something, then everybody does it. If the mom doesn’t want to do something, nobody does it. There’s no responsiveness to the needs of the children. There’s often no responsiveness to the needs of the partner. It will also often go into abuse even. I really think you’re looking at emotional neglect any time you’re talking about a narcissistic parent or a narcissistic partner where the other partner is either neglected, or the children are neglected. It often will go into abuse as well, emotional abuse where the other partner’s needs are not recognized at all and are often stepped upon all the time.


Let’s say you have a mom with a baby and she needs a break. She just is tired, she needs a break to go get a hair appointment or go get her nails done or go get a massage or just go to the store, go to a park, whatever it is. If she’s married to a narcissistic partner, she won’t get that break. The narcissistic partner will take tons of breaks, so maybe they’ll go out and play golf for four hours while she’s at home with the baby. Four hours, that would be great four hours, right, to go out and play golf all day while she’s home with the baby. There’s always some excuse of something they have to do and then she’ll get her time and that time hardly ever comes, or if it does come it’s only after she has insisted and fought for it. There often has to be an argument that happens for her to even get that time. That’s just one example of how a partner’s needs just gets squashed when they’re married to someone narcissistic.

That happens between children and adults too. Perhaps a child wants to do something, and the narcissistic parent doesn’t want to take them, they’ll make up some excuse. Often it’s “No, I have to work” or “I have to do this, or I have to do that”. The child never gets to do anything. They end up like hold up in their room, set up with a TV so that they’re entertained or something and never coming out of there. It’s that kind of configuration that I see as emotional abuse and not really listening to the needs of the kids.

The child wants to do something but the NPD parent will make up an excuse. This is very frustrating for the child. As they get older, profound disappointment sets in.

You can see more about toxic parents, [often what I call them, even though I know not everybody feels that way about their narcissistic parent]. There’s also a lot of love that goes on in between there, particularly child to parent, but if you want to see more about that configuration let’s say, then you can also visit my website,, and look at some articles there. I have more. I’d be happy to see you too if you’re in Broward County, and you want to come into my practice. I am well versed in narcissistic parents and treating their adult children.

Healthy Parent VS NPD Parent Pin

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Dr. Liz