“I want the world. I want the whole world.
I want to lock it all up in my pocket.
It’s my bar of chocolate. Give it to me now.”
Veruca Salt, from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, 1971
Narcissists are the product of childhood abuse. These abuses take on many forms. One of the most insidious but nonetheless damaging is over-indulgence. Like the Veruca Salt character in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Narcissists are groomed from an early age. In this case, Salt’s damage wasn’t due to overt abuse or neglect. Salt was being groomed to become a Narcissist by being given everything she wanted – not as a reward for good behavior, but as bribery for not throwing tantrums. Veruca Salt was a spoiled brat.
Healthy parents realize that what their children want and what they need are often juxtaposed. For instance, your child may want to eat cotton candy for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But what she needs is healthy food so that she gets the nutrition her body needs and to prevent her teeth from rotting out. Healthy parents love their children enough to tell them “no”.
Over-indulgent parents parent their children out of fear, laziness and ego. They fear that if they enforce boundaries, their child won’t like them, or they fear the ensuing tantrum.
The over-indulgent parent is too lazy to use the consistency and tenacity required to enforce boundaries. For instance, the over-indulgent parent may not care enough to potty train their child, sending them to bed in Depends well past toddler years, instead of helping them by forcing the child to use the toilet or limiting beverages prior to bedtime. As the child gets older, the over-indulgent parent will buy their child toys, electronics and vehicles that the child is too immature to care for, setting them up for failure, and creating a sense of entitlement, whereby the child grows up believing she is owed things, rather than having to earn them, and feeling no obligation or responsibility for the things she has.
It’s likely that the over-indulgent parent is also a Narcissist, who views their little darling as an extension of his/herself, and raises them to be a Prince(ss). And the Narcissism is handed down from generation to generation.
With a similar outcome to the Helicopter Parent, who over-parents their child, the over-indulgent parent also infantalizes their child, by failing to teach them self-reliance, responsibility, and accountability. In other words, the over-indulged child grows up to be an over-indulged child and never matures.
Pam McCoy is a writer, author and co-host of Crazybusters.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
What do you do when your kid is a brat?
Pampered and spoiled like a Siamese Cat.
Blaming the kids is a lie and a shame.
You know who’s exactly to blame,
the Mother and the Father!
Oompa loompa doopity do!
This is going to be playing in my head for the rest of the day. Good article!
Who needs therapy when we learn everything we need to know from movies?
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Willy Wonka rules. The Gene Wilder Willy. Johnny Depp Willy was creeptastic.
I love this article ..I bought my son a cell phone and added him to my plan (he’s 15) the deal was he pay $15 a month and I pay $15 but his mother ( my ex) has told him he doesn’t have to pay because I make tons of money .. I tried to explain to her it’s not about the money it’s about teaching him responsibility ..she won’t let him pay she is narcissist slash bordline slash social path ..I’m thinking of shutting off the phone but will cause a shit storm if I do .. I say shut it off and explain to him why ..any advice ??
Yep. I didn’t mention it in the article, but many Children of Divorce (COD’s) end up being over-indulged, by proxy, as a result of one parent attempting to compensate for (or culminate) the alienation by purchasing the child’s affections. So the child ends up the prize in a bidding war.
I think your son is old enough that you can sit him down and explain to him why you think it’s important that he starts learning the value of being responsible – that you are trying to prepare him for some day going off into the world on his own and being able to survive, and that his mother isn’t on the same page.
In the meantime, program his phone so that calls to and from his mother are blocked. She doesn’t get to eat her cake and have it, too.
Interesting point .. I will evaluate my actions regarding my kids .. I am a divorced kid who was stuck between personality disorder parents just trying to not make the mistakes with my kids
I think men / women would benefit much from learning from a article regarding patience when dealing with a PD partner let them go requires patience Men /women need to make a plan and be patient when dealing with PD ..healing is about seeing the disfunction then than letting go ..
I’m not certain what you mean by patience. I don’t think anyone should ever take abuse and turn the other cheek. Healing will come from enforcing boundaries and not feeling guilty or cowardly for having them. In fact, it’s a brave thing to put up a boundary against a disordered person. They act extra crazy when you do that.
Dr. T wrote two articles (2 parts) recently about Boundaries. I think more important than patience to your healing, is convincing yourself that you are entitled to have boundaries.
I agree the patience was regarding after you leave .. Then patience is required to allow yourself to heal and auto correct your life as to never get trapped into that type of relationship again
Gotcha. Patience with one’s self is a difficult thing to come by.
I am not sure I would shut the phone off if I were you Chad. I think that just may play into his mother’s storyline of you being ‘bad’.
Is there any way you can talk to your son, and tie the ownership of the phone in with something like chores he can do at your house to ‘earn’ it? That takes his mother right out of the equation. Do you think something like that would work?