Narcissists often act like ordinary, respectful people. Eventually, they reveal themselves to be selfish and devoid of empathy. It can be difficult to recognise it, especially if narcissistic parents raised you. This can lead to significant harm.
Parents with narcissistic personality disorder dream of power, think they’re the most important people, are entitled, and react poorly to criticism. Thusly, they struggle to maintain healthy attachments. Conversely, they’re also deeply insecure and likely have chronically low self-esteem.
Children of narcissistic parents need to identify various signs that their parents could have NPD. This will help heal them and deviate them from the path set forth by ill-equipped parents to raise kids.
Signs narcissistic parents raised you
1. You feel like a victim all the time
In the subreddit, Raised by Narcissists, users often share their experiences of abuse at the hands of narcissistic parents. Abusive families gaslight the child into believing there’s a conspiracy against the family if they don’t get their way. Children then grow up unable to discern safe and unsafe environments.
Narcissistic parents also gravitate towards other narcissistic caregivers, such as doctors or nurses, to further victimise the child. It creates a cycle of neglect where children think it’s their own doing that leads to malpractice—that they don’t deserve care, respect, or love.
2. You end up with low self-worth
As mentioned above, having narcissistic parents can make you feel at fault for poor care. It reduces your value in your eyes and leaves you unable to make demands for yourself. You feel guilty for wanting or needing better than you’ve always known. Narcissistic parents make you feel like you should be grateful for whatever scraps they provide, and demanding more is selfish.
3. Increased risk of self-sabotage
Narcissistic parents put a lot of pressure on their kids. Some project their dreams onto them too. This can make you choose a career that wasn’t your original choice and they still expect you to overperform. Even though it can drive you to success, it can make you more prone to self-sabotage as a way to rebel against the expectations put on you. Low self-esteem can also make you ruin your jobs or relationships because you never feel like you’re good enough.
Being raised by narcissists can make you unable to process your emotions. This is because you grew up being berated for showing any vulnerability or weakness. Studies show that people exposed to extensive trauma struggle to deal with their emotions because they have to regulate them. Being unable to process emotions makes narcissistic parents’ children more prone to anxiety and depression.
5. Lack of interpersonal skills
When finding friends and partners, you may end up with people who are narcissists like your parents. If you have an emotionally mature partner, you may be unable to process kindness and understanding, wondering if they’re manipulating you. Unfortunately, maintaining these relationships can also be difficult because you lack the emotional maturity to have empathy.
Children of narcissistic parents place disproportional value on their wealth, achievements, and skill. A well-rounded person cares about more than their career. Narcissistic parents are likelier to infuse superficial values like top grades and perfect looks. It can also lead to harmful behaviours like sabotaging other people’s work to come out on top or eating disorders to preserve a certain weight.
They can also hold other people to unrealistic standards and even be cruel to people who don’t meet them. This creates a cycle of abusive behaviours if left unchecked. Children of parents with NPD also live for praise and compliments, wondering if they did something wrong when they don’t receive any.
7. Displaying narcissistic behaviours
When raised by narcissists, you can carry on your parents’ toxic traits. Studies show that children learn from copying their parents. Growing up around parents with NPD traits can lead you to display similar behaviour. Children of narcissistic parents can be envious, uncaring, entitled, controlling, or demanding.
What should you do if narcissistic parents raised you?
1. Establish boundaries
It’s a hard truth to learn that your parents are narcissists. This is easier to recognise among teens and adults. You may need to find a firm and healthy way to establish boundaries and ensure they can no longer control your life. This may be easier said than done because narcissistic parents can easily burst into tears or anger to guilt trip you. At that point, you need to care more for your well-being than their feelings.
2. See a therapist
Talk therapy can help you avoid relationship pitfalls. If you can’t cope with the trauma or exhibit narcissism traits, talk therapy can help you identify triggers and woke through them. In addition, your therapist can give you actionable tips on maintaining boundaries and help you avoid isolating yourself. It can also help you manage anxiety and depression resulting from the trauma.
Cognitive behavioural therapy is a form of talk therapy that can help you recognise the damage your parents caused. It also helps you identify how your parents’ values affect your life.
If your narcissistic parent has enough self-awareness to recognise that they’re the problem, interpersonal family therapy can help you fix your relationship.
Read also: 6 Benefits Of Having Good Emotional Intelligence
3. Develop a network of emotionally supportive people
This can be a spouse, friends, or siblings. Together, they can help you create a new support system outside of your parents. As a result, this helps you avoid false promises, and identify manipulative tactics. Sharing your emotional state with them can help you better navigate your healing and adjustment without your parents.
Growing up with narcissists can be difficult to deal with. However, when you’re ready to go on the healing journey, setting possible health goals is important. Narcissistic parents are unlikely to change, but this isn’t a life sentence. You can leave your parents’ toxicity behind and thrive despite the trauma they have caused.
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