Opinion: Narcissistic Parents Use Money to Control Their Children

Walter Rhein

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If you don't have control over your own money, then you don't have control over your life. Narcissists want to control the people around them. Their lack of empathy means that they need to make people dependent on them. This desire for control extends to their children.

Narcissistic parents will teach their children inaccurate information about money. They do not want their children to be financially literate because that would make them less dependent on their parents.

The first step is teaching children that money is impossible to get. Narcissists might make children beg for money. They might also make children work long hours for almost no payment.

Narcissistic parents will prohibit their children from working outside of the house. Narcissists don’t want their children to have access to any perspectives that differ from their own. The narcissist controls the narrative by censoring sources.

When a child works outside the house, she discovers her self-worth. Narcissists don’t want their children to trust any outside sources of information. The more information the narcissist can control, the more power they retain.

Not allowing children to have jobs outside the house prevents children from exploring other opportunities. Money is indeed difficult to get, but learning how to be independent is vital for personal development.

Once the child’s financial dependence on the parent is established, the narcissistic parent will appear to become more generous. Narcissists might offer to pay for education on the condition that the child studies what the narcissist selects.

When a parent pays for college, it gives him something he can lord over the child for the rest of his life. The narcissist might even insist that the child turn down scholarships and take the parent’s money instead. This is not a sound financial decision, but the opportunity for control is of greater value to the narcissist than the money.

Narcissistic parents often make unreasonable demands on their children. Sometimes these demands work against the interest of the narcissist. For example, a parent might demand that a student get perfect grades. This allows the parent to demean the child for anything less than a perfect grade point average.

Even though it’s impossible to ever please the high expectations of a narcissist, good students often find they have many opportunities.

Later in life, narcissists will try to control their children with the promise of an inheritance. However, narcissists focus more on appearances than reality. When the narcissistic parent finally passes away, the child might be surprised to find that all they inherit is a mound of debt.

Children of narcissistic parents need to assess their financial literacy. Lessons learned during childhood can be very difficult to erase.

The sooner you learn how to support yourself and make plans for your retirement, the greater control you have over your own life. Children of narcissistic parents must first reject the inaccurate information they were taught, and then take complete control over their financial future.

It can seem intimidating to try to learn about financial literacy late in life. However, once you begin you'll find great satisfaction in discovering your true worth.

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Walter Rhein is an author with Perseid Press. He also does a weekly column for The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

Chippewa Falls, WI

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