Reason 1: Narcissistic parents show affection for public approval.
Narcissistic parents shower their children with affection when in public. That’s what they do. This display, however, is primarily aimed at garnering admiration and approval from others. My mother used to do that all the time. In private, she would be completely disconnected, and uninvolved. But when in public, when others are watching, she would be the nicest, the kindest, the sweetest mother, and I would be taken aback like, what has changed? Have I done something miraculous for her to become this godly mother, or is she pleased with me for reasons I do not know about?
That is how it feels to be with a narcissistic parent who has this Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde side. And that is the core origin of a trauma bond that a child develops with their parents. The underlying motive of this parent is to present themselves as caring parents rather than genuinely cherishing their child’s happiness and well-being. They are not interested in any of that. It’s all about the show.
Reason 2: The idealization of the toddler stage.
They Idealize you when you are very young. Narcissists favor the toddler stage in their children’s lives, as this is when they receive abundant attention and compliments from others regarding their child. The focus on the parent’s role at this stage, rather than the child’s development, results in an affection that is shallow and self-serving. When you are a toddler, you can’t talk. Narcissists love silence. You do what they want you to do. You comply. You’re totally obedient, and that compliance is seen as the grade-A form of supply.
There is no child-mother-child-parent relationship. It’s all about owning this thing they have in their hands, and this child is always looking for them, always crying for their attention, always wanting them to be around, dependent on them for every single need of theirs. This form of validation is the highest form of drug for the narcissist. That is why they’re really nice to you when you’re very young. It’s only when you start individualizing, that you start developing a separate personality, they show their true colors.
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