Why Your Children Don’t Owe You Anything: Narcissism at its Finest

“After everything I’ve done for you” “I carried you for 9 months and this is how you repay me”

A lot of parents tend to hold the belief that because they raised you that you are indebted to them for life. They have their child’s life predetermined for them and when the child decides to pursue their own dreams and goals the parent oftentimes becomes resistant and angry at the child. This leverage is used to manipulate children of all ages into meeting the demands of their parents for years, and the older I get, the more I am convinced that is complete and utter bullsh*t. 

Typically NARCISSISTIC PARENTS are exclusively and possessively close to their children and may be especially envious of, and threatened by, their child’s growing independence.

My daughter doesn’t owe me anything. She deserves a life of freedom and choice, and while that’s sometimes a challenge, I owe it to her to do my part to facilitate that. Parents oftentimes forget that their child is not a clone of them or their emotions. I’ve watched and heard parents guilt trip their child my whole life. They say things like “After all I’ve sacrificed for you, this is how you repay me”, “Are you really going to choose your wife/husband over me”, “You don’t come visit me enough”, etc. Dealing with a narcissistic parent will definitely take it toll on the child. They are a force to be reckoned with, the relationship will often end in a great debacle when it’s all said and done. They try to escape their own life and live vicariously through the lives of their children. I have a few compelling views in this article that I want to share with you. It’s a sad situation when you have to curtail the relationship with your parents/parent because their narcissism.

It is paradoxical for a parent to provide a list of demands while also giving someone the gift of life. I honestly can’t believe this needs to be stated outright, but a person should not ever be created to be of specific service to any one other person. That’s not how humans work. This article is not debating the merits of teaching kids personal responsibility. I strongly believe in structure and discipline to the highest degree. My point here is we desperately need to dismantle the belief that children owe parents anything.

Children do not automatically owe their parents phone calls or grandchildren, or even long-term or financial success. They don’t owe their parents happiness just because these parents opted to bring them into the world. Period. To argue otherwise is to endorse the indentured servitude of those we claim to love and value the most. We can never own people, even-and especially if they biologically came from us. No matter how much a parent may want to control the thoughts and life of his or her child, that child is still a person and deserves autonomy.

I remember telling my mom that, “I don’t have to take care of you when your older just because she is my mom.” She looked shocked and deeply hurt, and even fired back at me until i explained, “I will take care of you forever because I love you and you have always did right by me, but those weren’t favors, so I don’t feel the need to repay you for anything.” Anytime I show love by carving for my parents, it is an expression of how I feel toward them. The difference is a small nuance, but it is imperative to understand when dealing with people. No matter their relationship to you, if you treat people with love and respect, they will be compelled to mirror that. If you raise a child with resentment and selfish expectations for their life, you will only breed more resentment in return.

It’s disgusting to see so many parents of grown children continue to use manipulation to coerce their offspring into tending to their needs. The inherent lack of respect is overwhelming, particularly when I’ve heard about parents using possessions or wealth as leverage to guilt other adults into action.

I have seen parents threaten to not help their 20-year-old child out of a jam because the child isn’t living the life the parents want. To me that is a horrible parent. Yeah I know that if the child is a crackhead I understand. I’m speaking on the young children who are just trying to make it in this world and just lacks the knowledge that they should have gotten at home on how to function in this cold world. If it sounds like I’m super judgmental of terrible parents, I absolutely am. Whether hyper-controlling behavior comes from a mother or father, Im enraged by the lack of respect in addition to the outright refusal for the parents to accept that this sort of manipulation is destructive to their children in ways that affect them their entire lives.

It is infuriating to watch adults wine to their friends that their children are “rebelling” just because they’re expressing desires for lives that divert from the agenda the parents have in mind, and even more irritating when those children become angry, anxious, distant, or depressed while the parent insist it isn’t their fault. No matter how common this dynamic, I will never stop being bewildered by any parents’ seemingly endless confusion as to why micromanaging their children’s lives tends to backfire.

I gave my daughter life and I’m raising her the best way I know how, but I have no expectations as to how our relationship should be when she is old enough to make her own choices, and I think it would be cruel of me to start. I wouldn’t dare attempt to place an agenda on her life, even by planting seeds that one day I should become her responsibility. I’m an adult I’m my own responsibility. The best gift I can give my daughter is to never burden her with trying to manage my care when I have plenty of forewarning that time in my life is approaching. She does not owe me companionship, emotional support, grandchildren, or a marriage under that antiquated lie that “settling down” mean she’s “taken care of” for the rest of her life.

My daughter doesn’t owe me any of those things. She deserves a life of freedom and choice, and while that’s sometimes a challenge, I owe it to her to do my part to facilitate that.

Of course I have hopes for my daughter’s future. I hope she is happy with the life she has and I hope that, when she is an adult, she and I can be friends unlike we are able to be in this current parent-child dynamic. If I nurture her through her youth with love and respect, I believe that, not only will we have a better shot at a real friendship, but she’ll become a stronger, more self-realized woman than if I spend her life attempting to coerce her into meeting my arbitrary list of standards. I have my own life to work on, I don’t need to hijack anyone else’s. Just because I facilitated another person’s existence on this plane doesn’t mean I own any part of her, even though I’m responsible for her well-being until she’s old enough to maintain it independently. That’s the whole point of being a parent, by the way; taking care of a person until he/she is old enough to do it themselves.

If you’re not prepared to grant another human being a life or self-assertion and autonomy, you should consider puppetry-not parenting. 

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