How Narcissists Affect Parenting
Narcissism is a pathological condition in which the affected person becomes overly possessive and tends to have a dual personality. These people house feelings of grandeur that cause them to believe that there is no one like them and that they should be obeyed under all circumstances. Relationships with narcissists tend to be abusive in one form or another; in the most severe cases, they might resort to physical harm, but that is quite rare as any blemish on their victim might reveal their true intentions and persona, a thing they are very keen to avoid. Therefore, most narcissists are emotionally and mentally abusive. They gaslight their victim and torture them till they have no other choice except to surrender and give in to their narcissistic abusers’ unfair demands.
When people with this peculiar personality disorder become parents, their poor offspring becomes their favorite target. Since children are gullible and would do anything that is asked of them without rebelling, narcissists exercise their abuse as freely as they can without holding back. It starts from a very young age, as less as a few months when these parents start showing extremely possessive behavior.
Such patterns are commonly found in parents, but the narcissistic sense of ownership is unhealthy and they may go as far as socially isolating their children from the other parent, caregiver and family members. They inculcate a fear of people in the hearts of their toddlers so that they view their abusive parent as their sole guardian and a safe haven, even when the reality is quite different.
Adult children of narcissistic parents are afraid to go out into the world to live their life because their parents always made sure that they felt inadequate without their support and advice. They would obey every order issued by their narcissistic parents and most of these adults end up in therapy for all the abuse they have suffered at the hands of their caregivers.
15 Signs That You Were Raised by Narcissists
1. The continual need to repeat yourself because you feel unheard most of the times
Since narcissistic parents have been overpowering and dominant over every aspect of your life from the very beginning, you would have either been accustomed to repeating yourself often to get your point across or be more receptive than other people in your group to being ignored during a conversation as it has been a way of abuse at the hands of your parent.
2. Low self-esteem
Narcissistic parents guarantee to destroy every ounce of self-confidence you have in life to eliminate any future rebellion that becomes imminent with their undue controlling. They make you dwell in a state of doubt for a considerable period until you accept yourself as someone who lags behind the rest.
3. Feeling wrong about your emotions
As a child, whenever you expressed any sort of emotion that was appropriate given the time and conditions, your narcissistic parent with their vile tactics would ensure to invalidate it. This might have led you to either stop feeling or to suppress all kinds of emotion because you were taught to be wrong about how you feel.
4. Viewing relationships as business deals
With narcissistic parents, the shared bond is only about to give and take. You are not allowed to receive any necessity in life or any kind of affection until you do something in return. Even presents from them feel like a debt that you would need to repay sooner or later. This led you to make sure that you let no gesture go unreturned in every relationship that you form because you are afraid to lose people unless you are giving something to them constantly.
5. Having a defeatist attitude in life
Before initiating any new task in life, you would always look at the worst outcome and believe it to be true. Fear of failure instead of love for success drives you to do things. This too can be attributed to the avid narcissism of your parents.
6. Never feeling comfortable in your own skin
Narcissistic parents make you feel bad about how you look and for any outfit you might have chosen to wear for yourself when you were young. Some of these parents are so crazy about wanting their poor children to be noticed by the media or to be introduced into the glamorous but wretched world of Hollywood that they would control their diet to the point where the children become malnourished. This is carried on into their later stages of life where they might develop unresolvable issues about their image.
7. Needing external help to make important life decisions
Narcissistic parents portray themselves as godly and get angry when their children decide for themselves. These children become dependent on even the most nominal of their issues on their abusers and feel uncomfortable whenever they feel like they are taking matters into their own hands.
8. The urge to please people to make a place for yourself
Emotional and mental abuse that stemmed from younger years of your life when the only time that your narcissistic parent would be happy with you when you did something exclusively for them without looking after your own happiness led you to do the same for everyone else you ever met. In the long run, doing this over and over again will make you internally unhappy and exhaust you mentally.
9. Inability to process emotions normally
Your emotional regulatory mechanism is severely out of order. Whenever you are overwhelmed, you cannot process it like a normal person and end up overreacting in one form or another. This lack of control has resulted from years of emotional abuse by your narcissistic parents who impaired your perception about anything you felt. This can cost you your career and personal life.
10. Lack of friends
The desire to be ahead of everyone, to please your parents and to do only and only what they asked of you meant that you were never able to lead a normal social life. Your parent’s constant control over your life would have kept you from acquiring the basic social skills acquired through various activities you were probably kept away from. Consequently, you are unable to relate to people who have lifelong reliable friendships and have a best friend who they can rely on.
11. Not being able to trust anyone
Being betrayed by a narcissistic parent who would put on an entirely different face to show to the world made you lose any trust in people you met later on in your life. Even if at some point, you wanted to come out about the abuse that your narcissistic parents put you through; their sudden change of tone and mood would have made everyone dismiss your claims. Hence, your reluctance to grant peoples the benefit of the doubt.
12. Failing relationships
Your personality has been atoned to the abuse of narcissistic parents so much that you are unable to have a lifelong relationship as your childhood’s emotional trauma keeps coming in the way. You try to act unlike your parents, but end up being possessive and controlling like them. The lack of trust, constant fights and your inability to express yourself may not be acceptable to most partners that you might have had.
13. The need to be a perfectionist
To please your narcissistic parents, you would become obsessed with being perfect and ahead of your game. This would later prove to be counterproductive and take a negative toll on your mental health.
14. Having trouble doing anything for yourself without parents’ approval or opinion
You need them to say yes or be OKAY with whatever you do in your life, otherwise, everything you might have made for yourself will look futile and you might notice the urge to do it all over again as their satisfaction becomes pivotal to your own.
15. Detesting having a family
In some cases, children of narcissists might be able to get away from their abuse and turn over a new leaf, but they will inherently become loners and people who believe that it is abuse to bring kids into this world. You may feel abnormally repulsive towards the idea of a commitment or having children as you are afraid of birthing someone who might be living the same life as you did with your narcissistic parents.
Overcoming the Mental Barriers Created
- Believe in yourself. When you start recognizing that bad that has been done to you, you should be able to realize your true potential and work on getting rid of any negative traits that you might have acquired as a survival mechanism.
- Seek professional help so that you are equipped with the right kind of ways to overcome the mental abuse.
- Talk about your troubles and insecurities with your friends and/or partner so that they are better able to understand where you are coming from.
- Once you have left your narcissistic parent, make sure that you unload the emotional baggage they would have thrust on to you. You do not need to carry it everywhere with you. It ends with the break-up. You are your own person and you deserve to live as such.
Books to Get to Your True Self
As the child grows up, the narcissistic parent would take away from them their sense of uniqueness and start to make decisions for them instead. From a very raw age, when a child would usually need nurturing of mental faculties and creativity, such parents would stomp right on the budding distinctiveness and capabilities of their child and mold them to their own wishes. A failed prospect of their own life will push these mentally sick parents to punish their young ones into pursuing a career in the very same line so that they can reap the satisfaction of accomplishment. Other times, they will start preparing their children for a career they may or may not have an interest in only because it will bring fame, grace, and money to their parents.
During their teenage, children with narcissistic parents will start showing an abnormal amount of competition and the persistent need to stay ahead of everyone else to score their parents' hard-to-acquire pleasure. This results in these children never being able to have a normal social life. They take their peers as their arch enemies and rivals in all walks of life, hence, they never form friendships. The sole purpose of whatever they do in life becomes making their narcissistic parents proud.
To slowly rid yourself of the scars this flawed parenting has left, reading the right books can go a long way. Here are three books that you can read to help yourself overcome the abuse:
1. Boundaries Updated and Expanded Edition
2. Power — Surviving and Thriving After Narcissistic Abuse
3. Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself by Melody Beattie
Being born to narcissistic parents can be the greatest misfortune in one’s life, but overcoming that abuse can also be the most cherished victory. While you cannot control how they react and treat you, you can definitely head out when the time arrives and heal from the torture.
Take control of your life and make it better. Ask for help when the need be and never dwell on the past. Good luck.