The chances of narcissism developing are never guaranteed when it comes to a child’s environment. However, it’s important to understand why or how narcissistic traits may develop in some people. The exact cause is almost impossible to pinpoint, but it always is important to know what to look for in situations with narcissists – whether you’re dealing with their children, or them directly. Read on to see the third possible scenario which could lead towards narcissistic personalities.

Narcissism May Occur Due To Familial Competition

When narcissistic parent(s) have more than one child, a hierarchy falls into place. There’s strain between siblings and there is always a favorite. Children are usually labeled by the narcissistic parent as they deem fit – think of the parent as an author. This parent dictates the roles in the household for each child. It usually depends on the birth order, appearance, and personality of the child. The roles of the children can include any or all of the following:

  • The golden child: the chosen one, the star. This child is groomed by the narcissist to become the star of the family. This child usually displays the best appearance and the best performance in academics/sports.
  • The scapegoat: this child will most-likely be the target of any rage the narcissist feels. Generally, this will land on the second oldest, or the most outspoken. In many families, this child will also be the one to receive any rage or frustration from everyone else in the family.
  • The enabler: this role may either be placed on the other parent or a daughter. They are responsible to keep the narcissist happy and feed into any of their narcissistic delusions.
  • The surrogate parent: this child is landed with the responsibility of caring for the other siblings and must grow up quickly. Usually, this happens in families with more than two children.
  • The mascot: the youngest of the siblings, this “mascot role” entails comic relief to cover the true horrors and dysfunction within the family/household.

For more about the Narcissistic Family, see the article:

How Narcissism Is Developing Among Siblings

Jessica and Sarah are sisters – but they’re very different. Jessica is her narcissistic father’s golden girl, which means she is pampered, groomed, and lives for his praise. Although only nine, she often works late into the night to be sure she’ll ace her spelling test to stay in her father’s good graces.

Sarah, however, is the devalued daughter – the scapegoat. No matter what she does, nothing is good enough for her father, who often compares the two of them to belittle her even more. Sarah often endures her family’s rage – because Jessica sees her father blaming Jessica for his anger, she, too, turns on her sister.

Jessica often picks on Sarah in and out of the house. She believes that because she is considered “better” and more successful than her sister, that it must be true. Sarah feels devalued and is often exhausted from getting the bulk of her family’s anger and frustrations placed on her. She may have similar outcomes as Sheldon, mentioned in Part Two:

 


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Samantha Curreli
Samantha Curreli is a staff writer at Reach Out Recovery. Sam is also a graduate of Arcadia University's MFA in Creative Writing Program and a freelance journalist for New Jersey music magazine, The Aquarian Weekly. She has had multiple pieces of fiction published in literary magazines and short story anthologies.

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