My books have helped thousands to step back, and away, from the damaging effects of a narcissistic person, whether it’s a present-day relationship or one that has haunted them from the past. Now, they may help you, too.

Narcissist ruining your life?

Maybe you love one. Or work for one. Maybe you’re related to one. Or were raised by one. Whatever the relationship, you’ve likely been hurt by the narcissist in your life.

At any age, the parent-child relationship can be fraught with emotion. We all grow up, but when it comes to certain patterns with a parent, it can be hard to let go even when we say we want to—or need to. Whether you hate or love your parent, the fact is these original relationships are a body of work you’ve studied and turned over and examined with all your heart and soul. You’re attached and invested, even though it’s toxic.

And something else—the you in those parent-child relationships.

Who is (and was) that person?

From When Your Parent Is a Narcissist 

As the child of a narcissist, you may feel like you’ve spent a lifetime trying to understand how your parent feels. You may have learned to tilt your world to track them as though they are the satellite and you need their signal to survive.

However, your “survival” depended upon their satisfaction with you. When you track (in other words, feed their ideal self) to their satisfaction, you might be rewarded with a compliment, a gift, or the slightest feeling that maybe, just maybe, you two were starting to connect.

Then again, maybe you weren’t rewarded. Even though you thought you were tracking the right satellite, it’s possible that your parent threw away that particular satellite (in other words, persona) without telling you. Turns out, you were reading the wrong the signal the entire time. And sadly, you were probably the one who felt a bit foolish.

Adapted from When Your Parent Is A Narcissist

In a project at Arizona State University, researchers analyzed data and conducted studies determining how parent-child and caregiver relationships and attachment styles impact a child’s self-regulation skills. Kimberlee D’Ardenne quotes Nancy Eisenberg, Regents’ Professor of psychology who says:

“Although differences in children’s self-regulation are partially due to biological factors, including genetics, the environment also plays a big role. Self-regulation can also be affected by the caregiving relationship, and the security of a caregiving relationship can be improved through interventions that train parents to be more responsive and sensitive to their children.”

Read the findings here

“If you are the child of a narcissist, you may have grown accustomed to a parasitic relationship. A toxic parent-child dynamic creates a blueprint from which you unconsciously build other relationships… Once you understand how you replay these patterns, you can begin to reexamine your self-view, and change it. This is a key to healing.”

Adapted from When Your Parent Is a Narcissist

In a post on Psychology Today titled “Why Do Narcissists Need to Outdo Everyone Else?” Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D. cites new research explaining the differences between high self-esteem, the need to be liked by others, and true narcissism.

“In distinguishing between self-esteem and narcissism…researchers note that both refer to a form of self-regard. Self-esteem is defined as a positive or negative attitude toward the self. People high in self-esteem feel that they have worth, but don’t need to see themselves as better than others. People high in narcissism, though, have a more grandiose set of needs that include a sense of entitlement, a tendency to exploit others, and unusual sensitivity to criticism. “

Read the entire post including the outcome of the studies here

The parent-child relationship is inherently rich with emotion, but when the parent is a narcissist the child is often fraught with confusion and filled with inexplicable desperation as the parent says:

What is wrong with you?

 

This is one of the reasons the child of a narcissist slips into anxiety quicker than anger.

Becoming aware of one’s own anger is intimidating. It tends to causes shame for those who have been taught that anger is their flaw. It may manifest as low-grade anxiety or vague worry that something bad is going to happen.

Sometimes the child’s anger or anxiety is the parent’s displaced anger or anxiety. When a parent berates, “What is wrong with you?” the parent is actually calling their own anger or anxiety flawed. However, now ascribed to the child, the parent’s feelings are handily projected, disowned, and criticized as separate from them.  The adult child who must work through it appropriately.

Adapted from When Your Parent Is a Narcissist

An article from the New York Times by Benedict Carey examines how abusive relationships often begin, underscoring the self-doubt and shame victims frequently feel.

The article quotes psychologist Patricia Pape who offers:

“It often starts in a very insidious way,”… “He says, ‘Don’t put Sweet-and-Low in your coffee, it’s poisonous.’

“Then, ‘When you wear that nail polish, it makes you look like a fallen woman,’ and ‘That skirt is too short, it’s too revealing.’ Or, ‘I don’t think you should see her, she’s not good for you.’

“You wind up in a situation where he’s telling you what to wear, what to eat, who you can see, how to behave.”

Each small adjustment made by the victim reinforces this control.”

Read “How Abusive Relationships Take Root” here

“Healing is not always what I expect. Sometimes it feels revitalizing, other times it seems to bring more hurt. I trust that if I surrender to the process of healing, I will reach a place of neutrality, where my focus is no longer on the pain or even on the healing, but on living my life. The moment I turn my attention inward, relief comes. This process becomes more natural every time I make the effort.”

Adapted from Surviving the Narcissist- 30 Days of Recovery

“It’s human nature for a child to crave their parent’s affection and to want to be seen as special and valuable in their parent’s eyes. For acts of caring and uniqueness and sincerity to be noticed. But from the very beginning, the narcissist parent lacks the ability to do this. Narcissism, as a disease, carries with it the feeling that the individual is himself a black hole, a nothing. This is the place that the narcissist parent parents from.”

From When Your Parent Is a Narcissist 

1 2 3 4 14 15