If you had to guess whether the challenge of dealing with narcissists in modern western society is getting better or worse which would you guess? I’d say the problem is getting worse at a faster rate than ever before. The narcissist operates out of control, fear and avoidance. I personally believe based on my research and personal life experience that narcissism is more closely tied with mental illness than you’d think. Dealing with a narcissist is difficult and if you were raised by one it could be even more difficult because your sense of normalcy is not normal, at all.
Narcissistic parents create a false sense of reality for their children. They distort reality by putting their unrealistic expectations and pressure on their children. Their children have certain traits that they feel they have to live into in order to be seen or loved by their parents, which is saddening. This doesn’t allow the child to grow and develop naturally and organically but rather in a frame that pleases their parents.
Being raised by narcissistic parents can lead to issues with self-worth, self-love, and even effecting your confidence well into adulthood. Many parents are narcissistic and raise children under this unhealthy mental construct. This can cause children to become people pleasers which can be carried with them for life. This can also lead to children of narcissistic parents becoming narcissistic themselves, or codependent, or both! Some people can become both and this is the most difficult situation to be in. When you are both narcissistic and codependent you attract people in your life who use you from ABOVE and Below, and this is not a good spot to be in.
Narcissism can be passed down from generation to generation without being recognized. Your parent can be a narcissist and because you grow up in this environment you can develop these traits even unconsciously do not know it. You can then grow into a narcissistic parent who passes these same traits onto your children. It can become an unhealthy and vicious pattern and cycle that repeats itself.
Today we’re going to be exploring the signs of a narcissistic parent. It is important to recognize if you were raised in a narcissistic home from a narcissistic parent or guardian you want to be mindful that these patterns could have been adopted by you and there are ways to reverse those patterns in your own emotions and psychology, which we will talk about after we cover the five main signs.
5 Signs Of Narcissistic Parents
You Think “I May Be a Narcissist” Too:
This is actually one of the signs that you may have been raised by a narcissistic parent. You may think that you are too. It’s okay to be open and honest with yourself. Maybe you are. If you are, are you a victim of your mentality? Do you have to carry that with you for life? Do you wish to sacrifice being in a happy, healthy relationship due to how you were raised? The brain is malleable. The brain can change. Emotions too. Children of narcissistic parents become deeply insecure because their parents do not have the ability to put their Childs needs above their own. The parent should not come first ALL the time.
This is unhealthy and it leads to an insecure, fragile person as a result. Maybe this is you. Some say that developing into a narcissist by living with a narcissistic parent is actually a coping mechanism to deal with it. The problem is that it is not healthy and it is not something that you have to carry for life, it’s not a life sentence. There are plenty of people who were narcissistic who are now healthy, balanced individuals. The choice is yours, but it takes a mindset shift, an emotional shift and action to not be stuck in the same detrimental patterns.
You Have No Sense Of Self
This is an important thing to develop as an adult. A sense of self allows you to value your self worth, have self love and to know who you are truly deep down inside. Having a narcissist as a parent causes your sense of self to get lost because you were constantly put in the unfair position to please your parent in order to receive recognition, love and acceptance.
If you find yourself feeling lost and not having a sense of self, this can be a strong sign. If you are now a parent and are raising a child and find yourself asking your son or daughter to do things that please you and then you give them love, affection or acceptance you may want to take a step back and ask yourself if that is healthy behavior. Narcissists put their children in positions to be a token of theirs. Narcissistic parents will use their children to make themselves right! They’ll even put their child into the middle of a fight or argument in order to be right. Using their child as a shield when that child has no business being in the middle of a grown, adult conversation.
Narcissistic children experienced conditional love from their parents and because of this they only perform for love, and even then it’s conditional still. This use of control from the guardian or parent to the child causes the child to not have a self-exploration experience. This leads them to identify a sense of self very similar to their parents. If your parent felt depressed and watched tv all night, you may be the same. Children raised by narcissistic parents do not realize this until later in life. They look at their parents who they said they’d be nothing like and live very similar to them.
Your Achievements Are Your Only Sense Of Self Worth
If your achievements are your only sense of self worth this is a sign that you were raised by a narcissistic parent that held this over your head your entire life, and that is not fair to you. A narcissistic parent will show you affection, acceptance, love and attention by achieving. If you do not achieve the love and attention is simply not there. This conditional sense of love is broken because it relies only on DOING and BEING something that you may not even be. If you have to play into expectations that do not matter deep down in your heart to receive love as a child, is that fair to you? Probably not.
If you only feel good when you’ve achieved something or stood out then you may still be living into these old patterns and cycles as an adult. Know that your sense of self worth comes from within you, not from outside of you. You are one of God’s children, and you are nothing but pure love. Always remember that.
You Had To “Parent Your Parent”
Narcissists are very needy people and they put their children in unfair positions, whether they realize it consciously or not. Narcissists will put themselves into positions to receive from their children (who are ultimately empty already) to emotionally satiate them. When they feel down, off or sad they use this as a tool to feel superior to their children and to rope them into emotional entanglement. The more I look back on my life and the people that I know closely who have had parents that have acted in this manner the more obvious it becomes. I know someone who was raised by a narcissistic mother and it angers her when she see how her younger sister is treated by her narcissistic mom.
She was raised under these unfair terms and can see it more clearly as an adult, how her younger sister is being treated, how she was raised when she was young. Her younger sister has to ‘parent her parent’ by tending to her mom’s emotional needs often times more than her own. This is unfair and cruel to the child that goes through this and it trains them to be codependent in relationships to other narcissists as adults. They can once again develop into a narcissist themselves or a codependent person, or both, which is the ultimate trap. Recognize that if you were raised by a narcissist you most likely picked up some of these traits and are or will put them on your children so it is important to understand emotional regulation and to not become emotionally entangled or manipulated easily.
You Live In The Narcissist/Codependent World
Children of narcissist parents live in the narcissist and codependent world. In other words they can develop into a strong narcissist, a strong codependent or both. A narcissist has traits of control, manipulation and more. A codependent is more on the receiving end of a narcissist. They are emotionally confused and entangled in the web. Either way it is not healthy. You don’t want to be on either end of this extreme spectrum. You can also be both of them at the same time. These people tend to attract relationships with narcissists and codependent people also. I have been in a relationship with a narcissist who I believe was both narcissistic and codependent, the combination that has truly dealt with the most trauma and hardship.
I was a codependent in this relationship and was reliant on her for affection, love, support and many things which I now know were not healthy because everything was conditional and had contingencies. There were many red flags that I would now recognize that I simply didn’t at the time. If you find yourself in a relationship with a narcissistic or codependent person the probability of you having a narcissistic parent is high. People that go through relationships like butter also tend to be caught up in this world. Mothers who are ‘single mothers’ in society but have children by multiple men tend to be narcissists. They get a lot of sympathy and empathy by society but being single takes two to tango. It is not always the poor, helpless, victimized single mother that is the challenge. It can be the father or man in the scenario also. Often it’s both as they are in that narcissist-codependent spectrum.
How To Be Free Of Narcissism
It is important to recognize that if you were raised by a narcissistic parent, or parents, that you can easily live into this and pass it onto your children. If you do not desire to pass this behavior down to your children you must do the work to heal.
Healing doesn’t happen in the jungle with a shaman. Healing doesn’t happen with a pill or psychedelic. Healing doens’t happen because you affirm you are healed in the mirror. Healing doesn’t happen by simply wishing or wanting it into existence.
Healing happens when you do the work. The most challenging bridge or hurdle you will face in order to bring true everlasting healing into your life is to forgive unconditionally. It’s the most powerful medicine you can conjure up and the deeper you can forgive the deeper the healing will go. I don’t see narcissism as something that cannot be healed. I believe everything can be healed. I believe that unconditional forgiveness is the medicine that removes the poison, the bitterness, the anger, the hurt, what was unfairly and wrongly done to you out of your life. If we can learn to unconditionally forgive we can heal.
Healing is not a destination. It’s a state of being, a way of living. Choosing to adopt and embrace unconditional forgiveness will set you free in many ways. Choose unconditional forgiveness and unconditional love today.