Narcissism, Parenting, Complex Trauma: The Emotional Consequences Created for Children by Narcissistic Parents
The purpose of this paper is to examine the developmental and clinical implications related to the traumatic impact narcissistic parents have on their children’s emerging identity and relational functioning. Complex trauma, or developmental trauma as it is often termed, will then be linked to traumatic narcissism, as it is assumed that traumatic narcissism itself is a particular form of attachment-related trauma. Psychoanalytic theory, and particularly self psychological theory, was chosen due to its emphasis on narcissism, and its usefulness in relation to restoring regulation (particularly of shame) and repairing early developmental disruptions. Following this section, the researchers outline the main findings of relevant classical and contemporary research. A clinical case is then presented to highlight the traumatic impact of narcissism and to demonstrate that self-psychological theory, and intersubjectivity theory in particular, can be applied to expand our understanding of traumatic narcissism.
Keywords: complex trauma, narcissistic parents, complementarity, self psychology, intersubjective systems theory, traumatic narcissism.
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