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Having a narcissistic parent

Updated on October 28, 2016

Narcissism is a toxic and harmful personality. A narcissist is usually difficult to distinguish because they play the role so well. To them, this is a well-rehearsed trait. They value their skill of being able to control and manipulate people. A narcissist will persuade someone to believe that they are this ideal person of how they want people to perceive them. Although, it’s not who they are. All my life, till I was in my early 20’s, I was led to believe that I was incompetent, unworthy of being a person, and just overall full of self-doubt because of my mother. I was unaware of her toxic trait at first until my sister sought therapy. We both realized after all the heartache and pain, that our mother has traits of a narcissist.

How narcissism affects children

A narcissistic parent will try to manipulate their children and it’s possible that it will be a continuing issue in the child’s life until he/she realizes that they have a narcissistic parent. The child will grow with anxiety, stress, sometimes anti-social, and doubtful in their future. This is because a narcissistic parent will try to bribe and manipulate their child to believing that they need to do what the parent ask for to show affection towards them or even to make themselves look good. The child will grow to believe that this is normal. Normal to do everything that they ask for to get a result from their parent. In most cases, there is no positive result, but repetitive manipulation.

It will be more difficult for a child if the parents are co-parenting. The narcissistic parent may try to bribe the child to do things for him/her so they could hold something against the other parent. Sometimes, the narcissistic parent will tell the child of what the other parent did and get the child to believe that the other parent is the bad cop. This becomes confusing and harmful to the child and the child’s relationship with the other parent. As the child grows, he/she won’t realize the manipulation and control the narcissistic parent put them through until the child is already damaged. It’s like a disease that he/she must fight off now for the rest of their life. Children grow up with self-doubt in their lives, that they are incapable of pleasing their parents or even doing good in life. Sometimes they’re led to believe that all that they will ever do is fail.

They're Self-centered

On a recent trip to Seattle, WA for a family business engagement, my sister and I subjected ourselves to our mother for an entire weekend. We realized shortly after our arrival to Seattle, being self-centered is common to a narcissist. They will talk about themselves and make every issue about themselves if it isn’t about them. At one point during our trip, our mother told a story about herself for an entire hour. Just as much as you live your own success, a narcissistic parent will also make your success, their success. They live off of it. They’ll tell all their friends about how great of a kid you are but no one will ever know the amount of hurt and pain you’ve been having to go through. Having to take your shine away from you from your own parent. It’s damaging even as an adult.

They’re controlling & manipulative

When you’re young, you don’t realize that what your narcissistic parent is doing is abusive. You’re just doing what your parent asked you to do and hoping to get rewarded for all the great things you’ve done to show them that you’re a good child. A narcissist can get low and ugly, especially their child. If you don’t do something that they want or like they can make you feel lower than the core of the earth. They can get their child to believe that they’re “bad” for not listening to them because as children we don’t know any better. We seek that guidance from our parents. A narcissistic parent will try to persuade their child into doing extremely well in school and with good behavior, the narcissistic parent will tell them that they will do certain things for them as a reward. In most cases, It is unlikely for a narcissist to stick to their word. When this happens, it produces a barricade towards the child’s ego and emotions in result of the child growing a narcissist themselves.

How to not subject yourself to a narcissists emotions

A narcissist knows how to play the role well into making those around them believe that they are the victim. People tend to fall for the narcissists act often, that they are this make-believe person that they want you to believe. As a child to a narcissist, you will feel uncertainty because you’re made to believe that you are to listen to your parents when they tell you to do things. For years, I would listen to my mother bicker and fight with me about how incompetent I was compared to my straight A cousins. Most times, I would fight back with her and constantly try to explain to her why I was falling behind in school, or why I actually didn’t even want to be at the school. It was pointless. My mother fought with me about anything and everything and she was always “right”. It was always her way or no way. The best way to win a game with a toxic person is to not play at all. Remind yourself the positive energy and just keep moving. Tell them “OK” and move on. If they keep instigating, just ignore them. It may sound easier said than done, but it will help you mentally.

Try not to subject your own emotions, because a narcissist knows how to dig deep into your skin and find your trigger points. My ex knew all of my trigger points. I was like a rag doll to him. He could throw me around, pick me up, stomp on me, and did not have a care in the world about how I felt. The more I fought back the more he slammed me up against the wall and the worse I felt about myself. I slowly learned that just simply ignoring his profound words helped me get through the night. Simply by not responding all together to him. It drew him anxiety. No matter how hard they slam you up against the wall, don’t fall into it. A narcissist looks for your reaction, especially a narcissistic parent.

All in favor

After realizing a narcissistic trait in a parent, it becomes a reality to why you are the way you are. It’s almost heartbreaking to know that you have been secretly abused all your life and had absolutely no idea about it. You look for a certain kind of love from your parents and all your life you’ve been receiving the complete opposite. If you think you may have a narcissistic parent or even question it, speak to someone; a sibling, a therapist, a counselor, or a third-party that has no recollection to your relationship with the narcissist. It will be hard, but the support system is where you’ll find yourself able to get on the right path.


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