Narcissistic Grandparents Signs
Narcissistic Grandparents Signs

In most cases, relationships within families can be a source of immense joy and support. Grandparents, with their wisdom and experience, often play a pivotal role in a child’s life. They can be a source of love, stability, and cherished memories. However, there are times when grandparents may exhibit certain behaviors that raise concerns. One of those behaviors is narcissism.

And so, understanding narcissism in grandparents is crucial for identifying and addressing the root cause of potential problems that can affect a family. In this comprehensive article, we will delve into the 15 top signs of a narcissistic grandparent, shedding light on behaviors and traits that may be harmful to both grandchildren and their parents.

Understanding Narcissism in Grandparents

Before we dive into the most common signs of a narcissistic grandparent, let’s first have a clear understanding of narcissism itself and how it can manifest in grandparents. Narcissism is a personality trait characterized by an excessive focus on oneself, a lack of empathy for others, and an inflated sense of self-importance. While some level of self-esteem is healthy, narcissism takes self-centeredness to an extreme.

When we apply this concept to grandparents, we see that narcissistic grandparents display behaviors and attitudes that revolve around their own needs and desires, often at the expense of their grandchildren’s well-being and emotional health. These behaviors can manifest in various ways, from manipulative tactics to emotional distance.

In the next section, we will explore 15 distinct signs that may indicate a grandparent is narcissistic. By recognizing these signs, you can better navigate the challenges that may arise in your relationship with the narcissistic grandparent and work towards fostering a healthier family environment.

15 Top Signs of a Narcissistic Grandparent

Sign #1: Constant Need for Attention

Narcissistic grandparents often demand constant attention and validation. They may monopolize conversations, making every topic about themselves. For example, during family gatherings, they might dominate discussions with stories of their achievements or experiences, leaving little room for others to share their thoughts or feelings.

Example: The narcissistic grandparent frequently interrupts conversations to redirect the focus back to themselves. They may frequently share stories of their accomplishments, even when they are unrelated to the current topic.

Sign #2: An Inflated Sense of Self-Importance

Grandparents with narcissistic tendencies tend to exaggerate their own importance. They may believe they are the wisest or most accomplished person in the room, dismissing the perspectives of others. This can lead to a lack of respect for differing opinions within the family.

Example: The narcissistic grandparent consistently belittles the accomplishments or opinions of others while emphasizing their own achievements. They may refer to themselves as the “smartest” or “most successful” family member.

Sign #3: Lack of Empathy

Empathy is a fundamental component of healthy relationships. Narcissistic grandparents often struggle to empathize with the emotions and needs of their grandchildren. They may be dismissive of your feelings or fail to offer support during challenging times.

Example: The narcissistic grandparent seems indifferent or unresponsive when you share your feelings or concerns. They may respond with comments like, “You’re overreacting” or “Stop being so sensitive.”

Sign #4: Manipulative Behavior

Manipulation is a common tactic for narcissistic grandparents. They may use guilt, emotional blackmail, or other forms of manipulation to get what they want. For instance, they might guilt-trip you into spending more time with them or complying with their wishes.

Examples The narcissistic grandparent often uses phrases like, “If you loved me, you would do this for me” to manipulate you into meeting their demands. They may threaten to withdraw affection or support if you don’t comply.

Sign #5: Competitiveness

Narcissistic grandparents may view their relationship with their grandchildren as a competition. They want to be the best or the favorite grandparent and may become jealous or resentful if they perceive that another grandparent is receiving more attention.

Example: The narcissistic grandparent frequently compares themselves to other grandparents and becomes visibly upset if they feel they are not getting as much attention or admiration.

Sign #6: Boundary Violations

Respecting boundaries is essential in any relationship, but narcissistic grandparents often have a disregard for personal boundaries. They may intrude on your privacy, make decisions for you without your consent, or meddle in your personal affairs.

Example: The narcissistic grandparent frequently invades your personal space, such as going through your belongings without permission. They may make decisions for you without consulting you, assuming they know what’s best for you.

Sign #7: Critical and Judgmental

Narcissistic grandparents tend to be highly critical and judgmental, frequently pointing out flaws or mistakes. They may offer unsolicited advice or criticism, which can erode your self-esteem and confidence.

Example: The narcissistic grandparent consistently criticizes your choices or decisions, even when they are minor. They may use harsh language when expressing their disapproval.

Sign #8: Display Favoritism

Some narcissistic grandparents may play favorites among their grandchildren. They may show preferential treatment to one grandchild over others, causing feelings of resentment and division within the family.

Example: The narcissistic grandparent clearly favors one grandchild, giving them special privileges or gifts while neglecting or belittling the others.

Sign #9: Have Unrealistic Expectations

Narcissistic grandparents often have unrealistic expectations for their grandchildren’s achievements and behavior. They may push you to excel in areas that align with their own desires and interests, rather than considering your individual goals and passions.

Example: The narcissistic grandparent sets unattainable standards for your academic or extracurricular achievements, expecting you to fulfill their unmet dreams.

Sign #10: Difficulty Accepting Criticism

Constructive criticism is a healthy part of any relationship, but narcissistic grandparents struggle to accept feedback. They may become defensive or dismissive when confronted with their behavior, making it challenging to address issues within the relationship.

Example: The narcissistic grandparent becomes defensive or angry when you express your concerns or offer feedback on their behavior. They may deflect blame onto others.

Sign #11: Attention-Seeking Behavior

Grandparents with narcissistic traits may engage in attention-seeking behaviors, even resorting to dramatic or disruptive actions to divert attention back to themselves.

Example: The narcissistic grandparent may feign illness or create unnecessary drama during family gatherings to ensure that the focus remains on them.

Sign #12: Lack of Accountability

Narcissistic individuals often avoid taking responsibility for their actions. Your grandparent may refuse to acknowledge their mistakes or wrongdoings, making it challenging to resolve conflicts or move forward.

Example: The narcissistic grandparent consistently shifts blame onto others or denies any wrongdoing, even when presented with clear evidence.

Sign #13: Emotional Manipulation

Emotional manipulation is a hallmark of narcissism. Your grandparent may use emotional tactics to control or influence your decisions and feelings, leaving you feeling emotionally drained.

Example: The narcissistic grandparent uses guilt, passive-aggressive comments, or emotional outbursts to manipulate your behavior or emotions.

Sign #14: Exaggerate Accomplishments or Experiences

Narcissistic grandparents may exaggerate their achievements or experiences to garner admiration and praise. They may fabricate stories or accomplishments to appear more impressive than they truly are.

Example: The narcissistic grandparent frequently embellishes their past accomplishments or tells stories that are clearly exaggerated for attention and admiration.

Sign #15: Difficulty in Maintaining Healthy Relationships

Lastly, narcissistic grandparents often struggle to maintain healthy and meaningful relationships with their family members. Their self-centeredness and manipulative behaviors can strain relationships, causing emotional distance and discord within the family.

Example: The narcissistic grandparent has a history of strained or broken relationships with other family members due to their narcissistic behavior.

Recognizing these narcissistic grandparents signs is the first step in addressing potential issues with a narcissistic grandparent.

Once you learn to recognize these signs, you will begin to understand narcissistic grandparents tactics and learn how to deal with them.


Navigating a relationship with a narcissistic grandparent can be challenging, but it’s essential to remember that understanding a narcissistic grandparents signs is the first step towards improving family dynamics. The presence of narcissistic traits doesn’t negate the love and connection you share with your grandparent, but it does call for patience, empathy, and boundaries.

Remember, compassion is key. By recognizing the signs and behaviors of narcissism and implementing strategies to address them, you can work towards healthier and more fulfilling relationships with your grandparents.