Narcissistic parents can have a really negative impact on their children.
As children are growing into adulthood, our parents are there to provide role models to enable us to develop into well-functioning human beings.
The problem occurs when these very parents have problems of their own.
Being a child of a narcissistic mother or father often means that the love and support you expect from your parents is absent. Narcissists have little interest or empathy in anyone but themselves, and for a child, this can be extremely damaging.
We look to our parents for our sense of identity, our self-esteem, our very self-worth. Our parents build our confidence and allow us to go out into the world as a well-balanced person. If we have routinely been ignored, put down or insulted by narcissistic parents during the most important developing period of our lives, the long-lasting damage can be traumatic.
It is important to recognise the signs that you had narcissistic parents and then begin to unravel what this meant to you growing up.
This is difficult in the first place, as your parents would long ago have instilled a sense of doubt and insecurity about yourself. But you will know that you have had these feelings about your parents for a long time, and this is probably not the first article you have read about the subject.
Before you read about the tell-tale signs that you were raised by narcissistic parents, you should understand that there are two kinds of narcissists:
- Engulfing Narcissists
Engulfing narcissists see you as extensions of themselves, so any achievements you attain will automatically be theirs by default.
- Ignoring Narcissists
Ignoring narcissists have no interest in their children’s lives and take little care of them growing up, focusing on themselves instead.
Here are ten signs that you were raised by narcissistic parents:
1. They emotionally blackmail you
Narcissistic parents frequently play the guilt card which makes it hard for you to live an independent life. They will often fall back on ‘I can’t cope without you’, ‘If you go I won’t be here when you get back’ and other forms of emotional blackmail.
2. They ‘guilt-trip’ you
Narcissists want complete control and they do this by a number of behavioural traits. One is to use guilt-tripping, for example, they will often tell you how much they have given up for you, it may be a promising career, a partner, another child etc.
3. They withdraw love if you don’t do what they say
Love from parents is unconditional, right? Wrong if they are narcissistic parents. If you don’t do what your parents want they will immediately withdraw all love and support. Instead, they’ll give you the silent treatment or punish you.
4. You are constantly in competition with them
Anything you have done, your parents have done it better, got the tee-shirts, seen the movie. If you ever attained something special they will endeavour to take it from you, whether this is a person, an achievement or an object.
5. Your accomplishments are owned by your parents
If you accomplish anything your parents will jump on them and own them. It will be their success, not yours. They will say that you get it from them, whether it be athletic prowess, writing ability, whatever. The centre of attention will never be yours.
6. You were lied to constantly as a child
Growing up you never knew what was real and what was made up as your parents lied to control and manipulate you, even as a small child. You were there for their entertainment, their pleasure, and their goals.
7. They showed no empathy as parents
Ever sit down and have a really good heart to heart with your parents? Most of us have at some point, but not the children of narcissists. Talking to them about feelings was like chatting to a blank canvas or brick wall, they just were not interested unless the topic was about them.
8. You were constantly insulted
If your parents were the types to berate and insult you on a constant basis, it is highly likely that they were narcissists. This is a textbook trick to control and manipulate you.
9. They gaslighted you
Another textbook trick by narcissists is gaslighting, which takes its name from an old Hollywood film in which the husband tries to drive his wife crazy by turning down the gas lights in their house, without her knowledge. The term is now used to describe any behaviour that is deliberately used to make you doubt your sanity.
10. They blow up out of proportion to any criticism
Narcissists are at their most dangerous when confronted with the truth. It is at this moment that they can turn into ‘killers’. If your parents turn from a mild-mannered mom or dad one minute, then a bug-eyed raving lunatic the next, run for cover.
Do you think that you might have been raised by narcissistic parents? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.