Being raised by a narcissist is a rollercoaster of emotions for the child. They never know what to expect and are always left longing for something the narc cannot give them. This can lead to anxious and disorganised attachments in later life.
Narcissist parents fall into two main categories:
- Engulfing parents
- Ignoring parents
The engulfing parent will make their child the centre of their world and see them as an extension of themselves. On the surface this sounds wonderful but actually what is means is that the child is not an individual and cannot ever be separated from the narcissist. Even when the child is of an age when they need independence, the narcissist will thwart their attempts to “fly the nest” by limiting their opportunities to stay over at a friends house or going everywhere with them. They also are quite happy to invade their privacy, given that the narcissist sees them as one and the same, so the child of the engulfing parent never feels able to freely express themselves, even in their own diary.
The ignoring parent is neglectful and will push their child away as they have no use for them. Unless the child can give them something in return for their time, the parent is not interested. They will constantly put this child down, ensuring that they know how much of a burden they are to the narcissist and how they have ruined their lives. The child is the scapegoat for anything that goes wrong, no matter how hard they try it is never good enough.
You can see that being raised by a narcissist is not a happy place to be for a child, despite the fact the narcissist probably acts like the perfect parent to everyone outside the home.
Here are five further signs you were raised by a narcissist:
- you are codependent – the narcissist will put a lot of emotional guilt onto you and be very needy of your attention. They will be annoyed and disapproving of any relationship which may take you away from them.
- you struggle to implement boundaries – the narcissist parent will walk all over every aspect of your life and you may find that you allow others to do the same because you are seeking their approval
- you are unsure of your own feelings – you were never allowed to express your feelings and if you did you were either not listened to or punished
- you struggle to make decisions – the narcissist controlled every aspect of your life and you had to run everything past them otherwise your decisions would be criticised and mocked, and on some occasions sabotaged
- anger scares you – narcissists either give you the silent treatment or rage at you when they are angry and so you did everything you can to ensure that they were happy
Children raised by a narcissists find relationships difficult, understandably, and so can often feel lonely and have mental health problems in adult life. If this is you, please do get in touch. I have a Facebook support group and also offer one:one support.