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What It’s Like To Be Raised by a Narcissistic Parent

What It’s Like To Be Raised by a Narcissistic Parent

Have you ever felt the irrational anger of someone who felt you came short of their expectations or just misunderstood you? Or someone who just want to take the glory for your successes without considering you at all or just see your achievements as a threat to their value or respect? This is exactly what we will be looking at as we go further.

Anyone can be a narcissist but that could be more tolerable than having a parent who is one, let alone being raised by such parent. This context is not about blaming but simply exposing the hidden things about some parents you may not have known.

Generally, people define a narcissist as someone with a high sense of value for him or herself alone and care less about others or their feelings.

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However, experts define narcissism as a high sense of self-importance, a deep need for self-admiration and complete lack of empathy for others.

Children who are raised by narcissistic parents may not be aware of the fact that their parents are narcissistic.

Every child wants to hear these words;

  • I love you.
  • I’m proud of you.
  • I’m sorry.
  • I forgive you.
  • I’m listening to you,
  • This is your responsibility so, go for what it takes.

But with Narcissistic Parents, this is just a nightmare and the fun of it is, they often appear so loving and concerned about their children and could manipulate them to believe what they are doing is actually a show of love or just a display of parental authority over their children.

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Here’re some ways to tell if a parent is narcissistic.

Well, most NP behaviors may often seem like normal difficult personalities but only a closer look and observation will reveal it’s entirely an abnormal behavior or simply a psychological problem. There are many ways you can tell if someone is a narcissistic parent.

1. They’re always right.

How parent reacts to criticism is simply a trait that they are a narcissist too. Because they possess a delicate self-esteem, a slight criticism gets them off the hook and that could make their children their worst enemy. Whatever they say or do is the best and their children aren’t just thinking right . Their children could become a subject to total domestic violence and abuse. All their children’s life choices are wrong except those they have approved; friends, school, career, finance or anything else.

2. They hardly have time for their children.

My child, it’s late already, can we talk tomorrow? But he just came in late. And by tomorrow, there would be another tomorrow and that tomorrow never came. Most of the time it’s either I’m going out with friends let’s talk when I’m back or I’m just so tired from work and can’t talk now. A narcissistic parent will always have one or more excuses to avoid a conversation because they don’t want to listen to what you have to say.

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3. They may see their children’s achievements as threats.

Because narcissists adore themselves and simply put their self-value ahead of everything else, they either take the glory of your accomplishments or see you as a competitor. If they can’t take the glory of their children’s achievements, they would rather leave them alone.

Growing up with a narcissistic parent affects their children in many ways.

  • The children may lose their self-esteem and have difficulty measuring up with friends. Their friends may not understand their situations and leave them helpless.
  • Narcissistic parents may take away their children’s rights as part of the family and leave them feeling invalidated.
  • The children will be clouded with feelings of vulnerability and worries in their future relationship life.
  • Because narcissistic parents often use emotional blackmail to get what they want, their children may find it very difficult to trust anyone around them even with other people’s sincere intentions.
  • Since they’re always right and ahead of their children, the children will hardly appreciate themselves enough for anything they do. They may become a perfectionist.

Living with a narcissistic parent is not easy, but there’re ways to maintain a better family relationship.

There’s one fact you can’t take away from this and that’s you’ll always remain a family. However, you must deal with this fact. So, a good counseling session is required to handle this situation.

  • Always think about “what you want to happen” instead of being worried about “what will happen”. This helps you make better plans to stand or avoid anything that may come after.
  • Think about the times the narcissist behaviors already happened and how you let them roll by. This will give you a little strength to overcome and move on.
  • If you keep no contact with your narcissistic parent, always try to be in the company of friends who understand your current situation and are ready to help you.

Decide for yourself whether it’s best to remain in contact or stay away from a narcissistic parent.

This is totally your answer depending on the circumstances surrounding you and your parent. For instance, if you see yourself go no contact for a while after a tough argument and not too long you feel like going back again after the rage comes down. Going no contact may be impossible for you.

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But decide for yourself to go no contact if the rage never come down. Don’t forget that narcissistic parents are simply suffering from psychological problems and this could really make the whole situation difficult for you. So, you should know when your options are exhausted and all your efforts fruitless. This is the time to cut ties and move on.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

Narcissistic Personality: What Is It and How to Deal with a Narcissist?

Narcissistic Personality: What Is It and How to Deal with a Narcissist?

He asks you for your opinion, but only follows his own advice regardless of what you say.She loves to talk about herself, everything about her is just better than you.  When you try to share anything happy about yourself, she seriously doubts it.

If you know someone who acts like these examples, there’s a chance they might be a narcissist.

What is a narcissistic personality?

Narcissism is a spectrum personality disorder which most of us have.

In popular culture, narcissism is interpreted as a person who’s in love with themselves, more accurately, their idealized selves. Narcissists believe that they are too unique to be understood and that they are so good that they demand for admiration from others.

Psychologist Stephen Johnson writes that,[1]

the narcissist is someone who has buried his true self-expression in response to early injuries and replaced it with a highly developed, compensatory false self.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) describes narcissistic personality as a personality disorder. It is a spectrum disorder, which means it exists on a continuum ranging from some narcissistic traits to the full-blown personality disorder.[2]

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is not very common, but the truth is, we all have some of the narcissistic traits.

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Traits of a narcissist:

  • They have a deep need for admiration and validation. They think they’re special and too unique to be understood.
  • They feel they are superior to other. They achieve more and know a lot more than you.
  • They do not show their vulnerabilities. They fear what others think of them and they want to remain superior in all situations.
  • They are unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others. They want to be the centre of attention and believe that showing emotions is a sign of weakness.
  • They are skilled manipulators and are emotionally abusive. They know how to make use of their charm to take advantage of others to get what they want.

How are narcissists different from others?

Narcissism expert and the author of Narcissism in a Nutshell, Zari Ballard, tried to answer some common questions asked by non-narcissists about what a narcissist thinks and feels from a narcissist’s perspective.[3]

Do narcissists know they are narcissists and are they happy?

We could really care less about how others feel. We enjoy our so called cold existence. True narcissists don’t want to change. We feel in total control of our lives using this method.

Do narcissists know or understand right from wrong?

Narcissists know the difference between right and wrong because they understand cause and effect. There is no “guilty conscience” giving them a clue and they are displaying the symptom of being “indifferent to social norms” while most likely presenting as ‘cold-hearted.’

Narcissists have a very different thinking mechanism. They see things from a different perspective. Unlike non-narcissists and empaths, they don’t have much sympathy and are reluctant to show emotions to others.

Why do people become narcissists?

1. Narcissism is vulnerability taken to an extreme.

The root of a narcissistic personality is a strong resistance to feeling vulnerable with anyone.[4]

Narcissists refuse to put themselves in a position where they feel vulnerable. They fear that others will take advantage of their weaknesses, so they learn to camouflage their weaknesses by acting strong and powerful. The think showing emotions to others is a sign of weakness, so they learn to hide their emotions and act cold-hearted most of the times.

Narcissists live in a state of anxiety because they are highly aware of their emotions and how others think of them.

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Vulnerability aversion, is the root of a narcissistic personality.

2. A narcissistic personality could be a result of a wounded past.

Narcissists are desperate to seek validation constantly because they either didn’t feel worthwhile and valued in the past, or were being paid too much attention as the most precious and unique one in the world.

Faulty or inadequate parenting, for example a lack of limit setting, is believed to be a major cause, and both permissive and authoritarian styles of parenting have been found to promote narcissistic symptoms.[5]

Both parents who fail to see the worth in a child, and parents who spoil and give excessive praise to the child promote narcissism as the child grows. While the former ones make the child feel inferior of others and want to get more attention, the latter ones encourage an idealized-self in the child.

How to deal with a narcissist?

1. If someone close to you is a narcissist, embrace the differences.

There’re different personality types and not everyone will think and act the same as you do. Instead of trying to change others, learn to accept the differences and strike a balance when you really have to communicate with them.

2. Don’t try to change them, focus on your own needs.

Try to understand that narcissists are resistant to change, it’s more important for you to see who they really are, instead of who you want them to be. Focus on how you feel, and what you want yourself to be.

Embrace the fact that there’re different types of personality and the only thing you can control is your attitude and your own actions.

3. Recognize what they do only comes from their insecurity.

Narcissists are quite vulnerable deep inside, they question others because that’s how they can make themselves feel better.

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When you learn that what a narcissist does to you is nothing personal, but something that comes from their insecurity, you know that sometimes they just need a certain amount of reassurance.

This is especially important if the narcissist is someone you have to closely work with, or if they’re your family member. The right amount of reassurance can calm them down and get the tasks on hand completed.

4. Ask them what would others think instead of what’d others feel.[6]

Narcissists don’t feel guilty, but they care about how others think of them deep in their heart.

Clinical psychologist Al Bernstein explains:

There are just things, like other people’s feelings, that narcissists rarely consider. If you have their ear, don’t tell them how people might react; instead, ask probing questions. Narcissists are much more likely to act on ideas that they think they thought up themselves.

If you have to work with a narcissist closely, focus on the facts and ideas, not the emotions.

5. Let go of the need of getting a narcissist’s approval.

You’re not who a narcissist says you are. Don’t let their blame game undermine your self-esteem, and don’t argue with them just to defend what you believe is right.

There is no point arguing with a narcissist just to prove them wrong because they will not give in proving themselves right. It’s more likely that you’ll get more upset when they disagree with you in an unpleasant way.

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Know your own worth and detach from a narcissist’s opinion on you.

6. If a narcissist is hurting you, stay away from them.

Remember, a healthy relationship is two-sided. It’s about mutual respect and it’s based on give and take. But any kind of relationship with a narcissist is likely to be the contrary, it’s about making the narcissist happy and constantly supporting them. A relationship like this will only weigh you down and is unhealthy for your growth.

7. Set a boundary and always keep it.

If you’re setting a boundary, you have to be willing to keep it. When a narcissist sees that you’re trying to take back control of your life, they will try to test your limits, it’s just their instinct to do it.

Be prepared that your boundary will be challenged. Make your boundary clear, have all the actions needed to be taken in your mind.

For example, if you have decided to stop communicating with them, they will likely to show up in front of you just to talk to you. Be brave enough to keep your boundary, don’t back down and get close to them again; or else they will not take your boundary seriously any more.

8. Learn when to walk away.

When a narcissist starts to make you feel uncomfortable and doubt about yourself, it’s time to pick yourself up and give yourself enough respect to just walk away from them.

If you’re in love with a narcissist, you should seriously think about ending the relationship and move on for a better life. If the narcissist is your family member, you don’t have to be cruel to them, but it’s better to keep distance from them.

Reference

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