When the dynamic is operative, both the narcissistic parent and their child believe it is they who are internally, irreparably flawed. But it is the child, having become the depository of the parent’s disowned traits, who may consciously ask, “What is wrong with me?”
The parent may say, “I don’t know what’s wrong with you, but something is wrong with you.” The child is carrying something they are unable to control, and the parent is fearful that the child will stop carrying it. What must be understood, however, is that the child cannot heal this “thing” himself because…this “thing” does not belong to them.
Adapted from When Your Parent Is a Narcissist
Photo by Kat Jayne