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Presentation Paper at the 11th Annual and First International Battered Mothers Custody Conference
The narcissist regards his children as extensions of himself, mere avatars of his inner constructs, pawns in the grand chess game that is his Life, props in the theatre of his False Self (sources of narcissistic supply), potential competitors, and bargaining chips in the inevitable showdown with a hostile world as reified by his reneging, traitorous spouse. In a custody battle, all these figments of his psychodynamics need to be adroitly addressed to achieve a favourable outcome as far as the children involved are concerned.
A parent diagnosed with full-fledged Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) should be denied custody and be granted only restricted rights of visitation under supervision.
Narcissists accord the same treatment to children and adults. They regard both as sources of narcissistic supply, mere instruments of gratification – idealize them at first and then devalue them in favour of alternative, safer and more subservient, sources. Such treatment is traumatic and can have long-lasting emotional effects.
The narcissist’s inability to acknowledge and abide by the personal boundaries set by others puts the child at heightened risk of abuse – verbal, emotional, physical, and, often, sexual. His possessiveness and panoply of indiscriminate negative emotions – transformations of aggression, such as rage and envy – hinder his ability to act as a “good enough” parent. His propensities for reckless behaviour, substance abuse, and sexual deviance endanger the child’s welfare, or even his or her life.