October 3, 2012

The needy self-absorbed parent

The needy self-absorbed parent can come across to others as very caring and concerned. This parent is usually attentive, tries to anticipate every need, and is very anxious about getting recognition for her efforts. This need for recognition, specifically, is very suggestive of self-absorption. This parent has to receive attention, appreciation, and approval for almost every parental act, both from the child and from others. The child is not cared for altruistically~the child is expected to "pay" for the care with emotional coin. Any suggestion that the parent's efforts are not wanted or appreciated, such as a toddler exerting her burgeoning independence, can result in the parent's displeasure or in her taking control and managing the child; for example, by overprotecting. This parent makes sure others know how hard she works, sacrifices, and cares, to the extent that no one can ever overlook or forget about it.

Behaviors and Attitudes

  • Clingy 
  • Over nurturing 
  • Overprotective 
  • Makes a big deal out of perceived personal sacrifices 
  • Complaining 
  • Gets anxious when alone 
  • Wants to know your every thought, feeling, and so on
  • Feelings are easily hurt 
  • Never forgets an offense, such as a slight or a critical remark 
  • Never empathic but can seem very sympathetic
  • Uses soothing behavior to keep you from experiencing your feelings 


H/T: Children of the Self-Absorbed by Nina Brown, Ed.D., LPC

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