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12 Tell Tale Signs of King Baby

woman has eyes shut back to the man with hand up saying no enough is enough

What is King Baby syndrome?

King (or Queen) Baby was coined by Sigmund Freud in the 1930s. It comes from a mental condition where the person believes the world literally revolves around them. This condition is common with alcoholics and addicts, and it usually requires a period of intensive addiction treatment, then ongoing support, to overcome.

At Help Me Stop, our Online Rehab for addiction is available to people aged 18 and over, worldwide. In our six-week online treatment programme (morning and evening streams), we help our clients to start addressing the thought patterns and behaviours that feed into their addiction. This includes looking at how people behave in relationship to others, and where faulty thinking is contributing to difficult relationships, and ultimately using substances. Our approach is non-judgmental and inclusive, because most of our team at Help Me Stop are in long term recovery from addiction. For alcohol treatment or drug treatment enquiries, please call +44 (0)208 191 9191, message us on Live Chat, or email

Many people in recovery, including those who attend Alcoholics Anonymous or other 12 step fellowships (NA, CA, Al-Anon, CoDA, etc.), are familiar with the concept of King Baby. Here at Help Me Stop, we believe an integrative psycho-therapeutic and 12 step approach is the best way to treat the disease of addiction. In active addiction, the person affected often sees nothing but their own needs and desires, and literally has the inability to see how their addictive behaviours are affecting their family and friends. Treatment for drug addiction or alcohol addiction begins when people first admit they have a problem.

King Baby: Tell Tale Signs/ Personality Traits

Adult Baby: As this role is not gender specific we will call it the Adult Baby. Adult Babies require you to be there for them all the time, and want to be left alone when time comes for them to be responsible. Many loved ones will do this for those they care about without realising they are actually ‘enabling’ this behaviour. Often family and friends support them, enabling them not to take any personal responsibility.

Some other characteristics include:

  • Being drawn to care takers
  • Closed mindedness
  • Approval seeking or dishonest/people pleasing behaviour
  • Catastrophic thinking
  • Judgmental, critical of others
  • Fear or rebellion to authority
  • Pleasant as long as their needs are met
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Charming at first but having a vindictive nature
  • Difficulty maintaining long term relationships
  • Abandonment of friendships
  • Strained family relationships
  • Living on past merits
  • Black and white thinking (All or nothing mentality)
  • Belief that rules don’t apply to them
  • Prone to outbursts of anger and passive aggression

The history of King Baby stems from the story of Narcissus who famously drowned in a pool of water when becoming obsessed with his own reflection. He falls in love with himself and is unable to tear himself away from it, finally dying of self-obsession. In child development being narcissistic is a natural and healthy progression which helps the baby to survive. However, some of us never grow out of this, which is where the problem begins. Through a natural process of maturity the infant grows out of this phase of demanding food, attention, and care. As the child grows from childhood to adulthood most of this thinking is discarded and replaced with appropriate life skills and the understanding of interdependence. When the child’s needs are not met as they grow their development is affected. Often as a result of needs not being met an inner struggle begins and a core wound is created.

Does King Baby Syndrome Come from a Lack of Needs Being Met?

Narcissism is the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s idealised self-image and attributes. The term originated from Greek mythology, where a young man named Narcissus fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water.

Our core beliefs can be our deepest seated pains in life, when these are painful beliefs they create core wounds. They are our oldest and most miserable friends. For most of us, these core wounds within us are ruled by two mistaken beliefs; I am a flawed person and therefore bad, or, I must change myself to become acceptable as a person.

Symptoms of a wounded narcissist can range from active aggression such as a disapproving look or tripping someone over, to passive aggression, such as the silent treatment or back biting or sarcasm.

There is so much more than is covered in this blog, a simple google search of narcissistic or king baby will turn up more search results that you can shake a stick at. However, the main thing to take away from this is that someone exhibiting narcissistic or Adult Baby traits will often do so as a result of childhood trauma or PTSD and when combined with the self-centred nature of the alcoholic or addict, it makes it a recipe for misery and pain. If you or someone you know, or you recognise any of these within yourself please contact us for more advice on what to do next.

It might also be time to ask yourself some honest questions like:

Am I an Addict or Alcoholic?

If you have a problem with alcohol or drugs, or know someone who does, contact our Admissions Team on +44 (0)208 191 9191 to discuss how our international Online Rehab or Dayhabs in London or Hampshire can help.

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