Updated on February 6, 2024
7 min read

King Baby Syndrome and Relationship Challenges

What Is King Baby Syndrome? 9 Signs to Watch Out For

King Baby Syndrome, or Queen Baby Syndrome, is a condition that causes someone to believe the world revolves around them. It’s a sense of entitlement that makes it difficult to manage their emotions, similar to a baby’s response.

It’s common with people that develop substance dependence but can occur separately from any other condition. It often arises in someone who has suffered childhood abuse or trauma.

The goal of a King Baby is to maintain control they never felt when they were a child. This often leads to behaviors that lead to emotional manipulation and strained relationships.

9 Characteristics of King Baby Syndrome

King Babies are “Kings” in their sense of self-entitlement and “Babies” in their demand for instant gratification. Although it’s not an official psychological diagnosis, the King Baby Syndrome has a set of common characteristics recognized by therapists.

Below are nine common characteristics or personality traits a person with King Baby Syndrome may have.

1. False Humility

People with King Baby Syndrome tend to present themselves as humble. In reality, they only act humble to appear likable and manipulate friends, family members, and other people they encounter.

2. Ego-Tripping

Most people with King Baby Syndrome have big egos or an inflated sense of self-importance. They exaggerate their abilities to seek approval from other people.

3. Demanding Nature

People with King Baby Syndrome have a heavy sense of entitlement. Their expectations of other people far exceed anything they’re willing to give in relationships.

4. Judgmental Nature

Most people with King Baby Syndrome are quick to judge other people. They have strong, unwarranted opinions and lack tolerance.

5. Dislike of Authority

People with King Baby Syndrome don’t think rules apply to them. They often do things to upset or annoy others, especially authority figures.

6. Hypersensitivity

Hypersensitive people take things personally. They might think people are out to get them and overreact at the slightest inconvenience or criticism.

7. Difficult Partners

Being in a relationship with someone with King Baby Syndrome is difficult. They are selfish and demand much from people without giving back the same amount. Because of these expectations, they cause strain in their relationships.

8. Black-and-White Thinking

Black-and-white or all-or-nothing thinking is common among those with King Baby Syndrome. People with this polarized approach to life cannot see a middle ground in conflicts.

9. Prone to Angry Outbursts and/or Passive Aggressive Behavior

It’s difficult for people with King Baby Syndrome to understand and/or manage their emotions. Many lose control of their emotions and express themselves through violent outbursts. Others manipulate people by behaving passive-aggressively.


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King Baby Syndrome and Relationship Challenges

Relationships with King or Queen Babies are difficult and, in some cases, impossible without proper help. This is partly due to the demands these people place on others.

These demands include:

  • Expecting others to be available to them at all times
  • Unwilling to return this availability when you need them
  • Relying on others to support them financially
  • Expecting commitment but being unable to reciprocate (emotionally and financially unavailable)
  • Feeling entitled to have others’ support
  • Expecting others to take care of them

How to Develop a Healthy Relationship with a King Baby

Despite the challenges, having a healthy relationship with a King Baby is possible. If you want to make things work, do your best to:

  • Free yourself from blame⁠—their behavior is not your fault or responsibility
  • Don’t take their actions or words personally
  • Know when to step back and distance yourself from the relationship
  • Stop taking care of their actions and allow consequences
  • Consider individual and couple counseling
  • Set and maintain boundaries

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Treatment and Recovery Options for Narcissistic Alcoholics

To treat Narcissistic Alcoholics for NPD, any co-occurring mental health disorders must be addressed simultaneously. This includes a diagnosis of NPD.

Psychotherapy or talk therapy is the most common and effective treatment for NPD. It is part of most alcohol addiction treatment programs. In psychotherapy, a person with NPD:

  • Learns to relate better to others
  • Develops closer, more rewarding relationships
  • Determines the root cause of their distrust of others
  • Works on healing and learning to love themselves
  • Learns to accept and maintain personal and professional relationships
  • Recognizes their realistic abilities and potential
  • Increases their ability to manage their emotions
  • Learns to set and pursue realistic goals

Additionally, participants of these programs might also be prescribed medications to treat additional issues, such as anxiety or depression.

Narcissistic Alcoholism of King Babies

Taking a drug or addictive substance without regard is typically childish behavior. It gives a person instant gratification to hide feelings of lack of self-esteem or control. These needs and responses can manifest in the different behaviors listed above.

Many people with King Baby Syndrome turn to alcohol or other substances to allow them to avoid their feelings. This is a potential realization for someone with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

Can Alcohol Cause Narcissism?

Medical experts believe there is a link between narcissism and alcoholism since many people with NPD also have alcohol use disorder (AUD). However, researchers have not determined if one condition causes the other.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about a quarter of people with personality disorders also have substance use disorder (SUD), including alcoholism. Researchers speculate that people with narcissistic tendencies are more likely to abuse alcohol.

It’s common to encounter someone with SUD and also notice other signs of mental illnesses, such as a narcissistic personality disorder. Although they might not have NPD, their SUD causes them to display narcissistic tendencies, such as:

  • Manipulating or exploiting others to support their addiction
  • Depending on alcohol to function
  • Prioritizing alcohol over relationships
  • Reacting poorly to criticism, especially when it involves drinking
  • Lack of self-awareness
  • Avoiding responsibilities and consequences of their actions
  • Acting entitled, especially when demanding alcohol

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Why Are So Many Narcissists Alcoholics?

It’s common for alcoholics to receive a diagnosis of NPD too. Co-occurring mental health conditions are common among those with AUD. These mental health conditions can include NPD.

These two conditions go hand-in-hand because they share many traits, such as:

  • Self-absorption
  • An exaggerated sense of entitlement
  • Lack of empathy
  • Lack of shame
  • Manipulative tendencies

Both alcoholics and people with NPD lack self-awareness. They also struggle to recognize when they need help.

They might be causing conflict with the people around them but have no idea they have a problem. This is true even when confronted about their behavior.

In the case of AUD, their behaviors support their drinking habit. With NPD, their behaviors serve as protection from emotional responsibility. Sometimes, people with NPD self-medicate with alcohol to avoid dealing with their lack of self-esteem.

Although Narcissist Alcoholics seem to have a grandiose view of themselves, deep down, they lack self-esteem. Their NPD prevents them from dealing with the true problem.

Commonly Asked Questions on Narcissist Alcoholics

Can a Narcissist Be Cured?

There is no cure for NPD. However, a narcissist can learn to manage emotions and behaviors with psychotherapy.

Someone with NPD can heal by developing self-awareness and learning to feel and express empathy. This can be learned through regular counseling and self-care.

What Does an Alcoholic Narcissist Look Like?

An alcoholic narcissist is:

  • Willing to manipulate or exploit others to drink because they feel entitled
  • Unempathetic and prioritizes their drinking over everything else
  • Intolerant of criticism
  • Arrogant
  • Not self-aware, especially when drinking
  • Unwilling to seek help and don’t have self-awareness of their problem with alcohol

Not everyone with AUD has NPD, and vice versa. Many people display narcissistic traits and don’t drink at all. However, it’s more common for someone with alcoholism to display several narcissistic qualities. 

Can Alcoholism be Mistaken for Narcissism?

In some cases, if someone is good at hiding their drinking, they might receive a diagnosis of narcissism. Additionally, someone can have these two disorders simultaneously.

Narcissism may lead to alcoholism in some people. On the other hand, alcohol use can cause people to develop narcissistic tendencies. Both tend to become defensive about their substance use and whether they have an addiction.

Determining which of these two or if both conditions are an issue is an important part of treatment. However, even if an alcoholic does not have an official diagnosis of NPD, they could benefit from psychotherapy.


Additionally, participants of these programs might also be prescribed medications to treat additional issues, such as anxiety or depression.

Alcohol can worsen King Baby syndrome, exacerbating their worst traits while also developing a growing addiction. Since there’s no direct cure for being a King Baby, they must want help and accept help to unlearn their harmful behavior. This can be achieved by seeking psychotherapy and other recovery programs.

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Updated on February 6, 2024

Related Articles

6 sources cited
Updated on February 6, 2024
  1. Welker et al. “Grandiose and Vulnerable Narcissism: Associations with Alcohol Use, Alcohol Problems and Problem Recognition.” Journal of American College Health, 2018.

  2. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “Alcohol Use Disorder and Personality Disorders.” niaaa.nih.gov, 2020.

  3. National Institute of Mental Health. “Substance Use and Co-Occurring Mental Disorders.” National Institute of Mental Health, 2021.

  4. Tragesser et al. “Personality Disorder Symptoms, Drinking Motives, and Alcohol Use and Consequences: Cross-Sectional and Prospective Mediation.” Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 2007.

  5. Mathews, Andrea LPC, NCC. “King (or Queen) Baby.” Psychology Today, 2011.

  6. Helle, A., “Alcohol Use Disorder and Antisocial and Borderline Personality Disorders.” Alcohol Research: Current Reviews, 2019.