Narcissistic Siblings: What Traits Do They Present?

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Joe Dispenza
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Narcissistic Siblings: What Traits Do They Present?

The narcissistic brother or sister was the "beloved child" in childhood, to which the parents gave priority. The attentions of the parents have gradually favored narcissistic and even tyrannical behaviors.

Last update: July 06, 2022

There often comes a time in life when we become aware that we have been victims of a dysfunctional family in which parents prioritized one child over others. The preferences expressed by the parents shape the figure of those over time narcissistic brothers with whom one is almost always at war.



Quarrels, selfish and abusive conduct, excessive demands, reproaches ... If having a brother is, on average, a gift of life and a constant ally even at a distance, there are situations in which this formula fails. Sometimes we grow up with a clearly harmful presence, deliberately shaped by parents with equally narcissistic traits.

Almost without knowing how, we find ourselves involved in grueling dynamics that mark our childhood and even our adult life. On the one hand, there is a father or a mother who places all her attention, hopes and affections only on one child.

On the other hand, you have to deal with a tyrannical, spoiled, competitive and sometimes even verbally or physically aggressive brother. They are silent and very complex realities that are worth talking about.

Selective upbringing and an impartial distribution of love and care for children always have serious consequences.

Narcissism is largely a consequence of the parenting style.

Narcissistic brothers, the result of a selective upbringing

“Shaping” a narcissist is easier than we think. It is enough to strengthen the child's self-centeredness and deactivate his empathy.


It is enough to educate on the basis of an inflated and disproportionate view of oneself, with messages such as: "you are the most beautiful, the most intelligent, your mother loves you more than anything else in the world, etc".


Narcissistic siblings are the result of an unequal and discriminatory upbringing that has led them to build a distorted identity. This identity was fueled by the internalization of the parents' narratives which allowed them to assume, from an early age, that they and they alone were worthy of all forms of love and attention.

Gradually it stood up a harmful personality that over the years becomes more pronounced and harmful. A research study from the University of Amsterdam emphasizes this aspect. Narcissism is partly rooted in early socialization experiences. Education, therefore, is the first factor capable of shaping this personality profile.

Narcissistic children soon become convinced that they are much more important than other siblings. Their successes, and not ours, deserve to be recognized by the family.

What traits and behaviors do they show?

Those who grow up with a narcissistic brother or sister have many childhood memories that are not always pleasant. Over the years, the relationship becomes more tense, harmful and complex.

To the point that in adulthood it is common to keep one's distance or consent to occasional meetings for mere family commitment. Let's now look at some traits that define narcissistic siblings:

  • From an early age they needed excessive attention and recognition.
  • They only take into account their own needs.
  • Even as children they often resorted to lies and blackmail.
  • They have always shown an obsessive need to compete for almost anything.
  • They blame us for any family disagreements or problems.
  • They love to show their successes to the family.
  • They always project a clear antagonism towards their brothers.
  • They are responsive, argumentative, non-empathic and barely listen.
  • They rarely show interest in their siblings' lives.
  • When we defend ourselves or scold them for their attitude, they tell us that they are too sensitive.
  • They convince parents to always take sides in their favor.


When parents prioritize one child over others and foster the development of a narcissistic personality, it is extremely difficult to maintain a healthy bond.


Narcissistic siblings sometimes distance us from family

The narcissistic brothers are a bone of contention, the disruptive element, the trigger of any discussion and that figure who always carries with him a battle that we do not want to start.

Such a situation, as we can well assume, has a cost. It is common to drift away from the dysfunctional family.

If the origin of everything is the attitude of parents who have deliberately created division and preferences, it is common to choose to avoid contact as much as possible. When family love is not unconditional, each interaction exacerbates the suffering.


We must learn to set limits on narcissistic siblings and stop expecting a positive change in their way of being.

How to treat a brother or sister with narcissistic traits?

Having one or more narcissistic siblings means having to deal with a family hierarchy in which we are at the base, while the favorite son is at the top.

However, sometimes it is impossible for us to distance ourselves. In such cases, the following should be taken into account:

  • Don't expect anything from them. We must accept the reality, which is that siblings and parents do not appreciate us and do not take into account our needs. So let's avoid depending on them in any respect, and stop hoping for a miraculous change.
  • Establish precise limits. If we are forced to maintain contact with narcissistic siblings, we clarify what they can expect of us or not. Not everything is legal and it is necessary to clarify it as soon as possible.
  • Heal past wounds. We grew up in a dysfunctional family that focused only on one child. We probably have many memories and experiences to deal with. Therefore, we do not hesitate to ask for the help of an expert.

Last but not least, we focus on the figures who truly offer us affection, approval and understanding in daily life. That and no other is our real family; the one we have chosen and formed.


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