To say that parents are the soil in which children grow is a good metaphor for looking at the parent-child relationship.
With a healthy parent-child relationship, the baby feeds, internalizes and synthesizes the parent’s nutrients, and neutralizes the toxins and contaminants. However, the baby with a narcissistic parent accommodates the toxins and contaminants and toxicity becomes the norm. This sets the child up to repeat the pattern that has wounded them, to unconsciously seek partners and friends who hurt them all over again.
People are like plants in that we are living entities. People, however, can and do attach meaning to the soil from which they grew. Prolonged exposure to a narcissistic parent before verbal skills develop means synthesis of the destructive dynamic—without the child’s ability to reason their way out of it.
Once you understand how you replay these patterns and unconsciously build your relationships around them, 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