Young children of a mother or father who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder are genuine victims of their parent and the disorder—as much as any child who lives through life with an addicted parent, or one guilty of physical or sexual abuse. The narcissistic parent abuses in an intensely subtle and devious fashion: they are guilty of severe emotional and mental abuse, and no one outside of the family would ever suspect anything wrong. These child victims quite often go unnoticed, untreated, and unassisted by other adults outside of the immediate family. This is due to the nature of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).
The overriding behavioral sign of a NPD parent is their almost total lack of concern for their child. On the surface, and in public, the NPD parent is often unnoticeable as an abusive person. Inside the family, there is no doubt for the child that there is something very, very wrong. In some cases, this parent will begin to ‘heat up’ and make mistakes that bring negative attention to them and shine a light on their NPD, but in most cases, the abuse continues for years unabated.
One might consider NPD a kind of ‘spectrum’ with varying degrees of disorder and behavioral inconsistency. While some NPD adults express their disorder in a fairly mild fashion (think the beauty pageant mom or the dad who pushes his child to do a sport they do not want to do), others are experts at hiding their abuse and are able to manipulate others at will (including teachers, ministers, police, lawyers, and even judges).