An increasing number of people are starting to become aware of narcissist and narcissistic abuse, but not many people appreciate the long-term effects of being raised by narcissistic parent.
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Here are six things that you’ll know if you’ve been raised by a narcissist:
1. Being raised by a narcissist often leads to low self-esteem.
Narcissistic parents don’t provide the consistent love, support, and guidance that children need to thrive.
You may have assumed that you weren’t good enough or worthy of love – after all, if you were, why would your parent have treated you so badly?
You may have felt that your interests and views were irrelevant or not interesting, and as an adult you might not even know who or what you really are.
Perhaps you spend a lot of time feeling empty, or maybe you are reluctant to talk to new people because you feel as though you have nothing to say.
2. If you are raised by a narcissist, you might settle for poor treatment in relationships.
Our parents are usually the first and most important role models we have when it comes to relationships.
If you were regularly on the receiving end of narcissistic abuse, you may have grown up assuming that ill-treatment is totally normal.
This means that you might stay with an abusive partner long after others would have left.
Narcissists often ignore their children’s boundaries.
For instance, they may insist on searching or checking through their teenager’s pockets or bags every day.
If you had this kind of experience growing up, you might think that it’s normal for your partner to act in a controlling way.
3. Narcissistic abuse forces you to develop a strong sense of intuition.
Life with a narcissist can be physically and mentally dangerous.
To survive, you probably had to monitor your parent’s every move.
By learning what upset or angered them, you may have been able to keep the peace – at least sometimes.
As an adult, you may notice that you have an unusually well-developed sense of intuition compared to your friends.
4. Being raised by a narcissist can leave you feeling unsure of your own history.
Narcissists often see their children as trophies, or people they can mould into their own image.
They tend to rewrite history and might even tell lies about your childhood if it suits their own ideas.
For instance, they might convince themselves that they were a great parent and tell you about the happy times you spent together as a family – except these events didn’t actually exist.
In extreme cases, you might not know what really happened to you as a child.
5. Being raised by a narcissist means you might not know how to resolve differences with someone else.
Narcissists do not engage in constructive conflict.
They rarely empathize with other people, and the concept of compromise is beyond them.
It’s likely that they either ignored you and imposed their will regardless of what you said, punished you for stating your point of view, or yelled during an argument until you gave up.
In other words, they failed to teach you how to fight fair.
As an adult, you might be at a loss when you need to talk about sensitive topics with others.
6. A childhood blighted by narcissism will leave you keenly aware that honesty and integrity are very important.
Victims of narcissistic abuse are sensitive to even low-level deceit and believe that honesty is an important character trait.
No-one would choose to be raised by a narcissistic parent, but the experience can at least make you a more sensitive, empathic person who hates the thought of hurting another person.
If you decide to have children of your own, you’ll probably make a special effort to avoid your parent’s mistakes.
This can make you a really compassionate, caring parent who always puts your child’s needs above your own.
On the other hand, you need to be careful not to swing too far in the opposite direction and act as a friend rather than a parent.
Simply being aware of how a narcissistic parent affects their child’s development can help you come to terms with your own experiences.
However, you may have realized that your childhood is having a significant impact on how you perceive yourself, others, and relationships as an adult.
If so, consider finding a therapist with the experience and training required to work with victims of narcissistic abuse.
They can help you come to terms with the past and understand how it is shaping your life in the present.