Narcissist, Beware the Children

By: Dr. Sam Vaknin

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"... I should be unhappy ... having to put up indefinitely with the company of other children, their noise, their nastiness, their boasting, their back-answers, their cruelty, their silliness ... The realization that it was not people I disliked but children was for me one of those celebrated moments of revelation ..."

(Philip Larkin, Required Writing: Miscellaneous Pieces 1955-1982, Faber, 1983, p. 111)

“Anybody who hates children and dogs can’t be all bad.” (Leo Rosten, introducing W.C. Fields at a dinner)

I see in children feigned innocence, relentless and ruthless manipulation, the cunning of the weak. They are ageless. Their
narcissism is disarming in its directness, in its cruel and absolute lack of empathy. They demand with insistence, punish absent-mindedly, idealize and devalue capriciously. They have no loyalty. They do not love, they cling. Their dependence is a mighty weapon and their neediness - a drug. They have no time, neither before, nor after. To them, existence is a play, they are the actors, and we all - are but the props. They raise and drop the curtain of their mock emotions at will. The bells of their laughter often tintinnabulate. They are the fresh abode of good and evil pure and pure they are.

Children, to me, are both mirrors and competitors. They reflect authentically my constant need for adulation and attention. Their grandiose fantasies of omnipotence and omniscience are crass caricatures of my internal world. The way they abuse others and mistreat them hits close to home. Their innocuous charm, their endless curiosity, their fount of energy, their sulking, nagging, boasting, bragging, lying, and manipulating are mutations of my own behaviour. I recognize my thwarted self in them. When they make their entrance, all attention is diverted. Their fantasies endear them to their listeners. Their vainglorious swagger often causes smiles. Their trite stupidities are invariably treated as pearls of wisdom. Their nagging is yielded to, their threats provoke to action, their needs accommodated urgently. I stand aside, an abandoned centre of attention, the dormant eye of an intellectual storm, all but ignored and neglected. I watch the child with envy, with rage, with wrath. I hate its effortless ability to defeat me.

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Children are loved by mothers, as I was not. They are bundled emotions, and happiness and hope. I am jealous of them, I am infuriated by my deprivation, I am fearful of the sadness and hopelessness that they provoke in me. Like music, they reify a threat to the precariously balanced emotional black hole that is myself. They are my past, my dilapidated and petrified True Self, my wasted potentials, my self-loathing and my defences. They are my pathology projected. I revel in my Orwellian narcissistic newspeak. Love is weakness, happiness is a psychosis, hope is malignant optimism. Children defy all this. They are proof positive of how different it could all have been.

But what I consciously experience is disbelief. I cannot understand how anyone can love these thuggish brats, their dripping noses, gelatinous fat bodies, whitish sweat, and bad breath. How can anyone stand their cruelty and vanity, their sadistic insistence and blackmail, their prevarication and deceit? In truth, no one except their parents can.

Children are always derided by everyone except their parents. There is something sick and sickening in a mother's affections. There is a maddening blindness involved, an addiction, a psychotic episode, it's sick, this bond, it's nauseous. I hate children. I hate them for being me.


Also read

Narcissistic Parents

Leveraging the Children

Tell Your Children the Truth

The Roots of Pedophilia

The Incest Taboo

What is Abuse (series)

Abuse in the Family (series)

Parenthood - The Irrational Vocation

The Genetic Underpinnings of Narcissism


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