People who have narcissistic personalities are something like opponents who constantly undermine others in an effort to feel more in control of themselves and more superior to those around them.
Even when they are trying to make someone look like the perfect version of themselves, they are engaging in a sort of manipulation known as flattery and praise, which can (and will) shift on a dime into malice.
As a child or teen, this can be hard to recognize, especially when it is within your own family.
Devalue Your Hobbies/Skills
Unless their children’s hobbies and skills represent their own ideals or provide them bragging rights, narcissistic parents ignore or actively criticize their children’s interests and talents. If they do reflect their values, however, they may take pride in their children’s accomplishments.
A narcissistic parent will provide just enough attention while you are enthralled in your hobbies and skills to see where it leads and praise you when it proves fruitful; this is similar to giving you the bare minimum or breadcrumbs.
The overall goal is to chip away at your confidence and ability to actualize your potential.
Creating a Favorite and Scapegoat
A person that is made to take the blame for something else is known as a scapegoat.
A narcissist’s inner self is fragile and humiliated, but their public appearance is cocky and superior. This basic contradiction is at the heart of the narcissistic mentality. Typically, the inside self is kept hidden from conscious awareness, which is usually superior and entitled.
This toxic inner contradiction is usually displayed in how they interact with their children. The favorite is a representation of the shadow side, and the scapegoat is usually a representation of the idealized version of themselves. Instead of consistently elevating the potential of the scapegoat child, the scapegoat child receives a constant cycle of abuse because of their known potential.
This type of dynamic gives the parent the ability to manipulate, project their anger, ignore their impact of their words, play the two children against each other (through triangulation), and place blame on someone without taking accountability for their actions.
Making You Question Your Reality
Gaslighting is a form of psychological emotional manipulation.
Narcissists use gaslighting to maintain control and make you question your reality. For example, you will be told that you are exaggerating a situation, that you can’t take joke, or that what you recall from a situation or experience is not true. It makes it easier for them to control the narrative the exists outside of the home and to absolve themselves of accountability.
This gaslighting behavior leads to anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, loss of sense of self and self-worth, inability to forgive yourself.
Not Teaching Critical Life Skills
Teaching children important skills for life is a commitment that will pay off throughout their lives. The ability to make decisions, to solve problems, to practice good personal hygiene, to prepare meals, and to communicate effectively are all essential life skills that children need to learn.
Narcissistic parents overlook their children’s need to learn life skills that will strengthen their growth, confidence, and independence because they believe that educating their children will help them to actualize their potential.
However, until teaching their children makes them feel important. Again, more breadcrumbs.
Forcing You to Grow Up or Holding You Back
It is typical for narcissistic parents to push their children into adult responsibilities where they have to grow up early and fend for themselves. In some dynamics, children who have been exploited may serve in a variety of roles, including that of therapists, problem solvers, nurses, best friends, and the list goes on.
On the other hand, some narcissistic parents urge their children to be dependent and helpless so that they can maintain control of the situation, feel needed and superior, and garner sympathy from people.
Narcissistic parents sometimes hold you back for their own gain. They may hold you back from taking certain opportunities because it could impact the finances that they receive from you being in their household.
How It Impacts You
Narcissistic parents may not be openly abusive, but the effects of being emotionally unavailable are all the same. Because a child cannot just walk out the door and pick another home, emotionally sensitive children often give up their sense of self-worth in order to make it through their daily lives.
Statements like, “It is my fault because if I were (insert adjective) then they wouldn’t criticize me” become a regular occurrence. And in turn, the child feels there is something wrong with them that needs constant fixing as if they are broken before they have had the chance to experience life.
I mentioned on another platform the triangulation that I would experience between my mother and sister. I often felt the betrayal of how my sister would instigate between us by telling me what my mother would say to her about me and vice versa. My sister felt comfortable doing this because this was the dynamic that was created. It was a way for them to bond with each other.
A narcissistic parent teaches you how to play small because they can feel the magnanimity of your light; your potential; all that is you. In doing this, they successfully hold you back, which sabotages your potential.
I learned how to thrive in chaos. My mother’s sister taught me how to have tunnel vision even when you feel the odds and those around you are against you. However, this can leave you in a perpetual state of survival mode, which is why I talk a great deal about shadow work. I am grateful for the knowledge that I have because healing has always been just as important as material success.
Let’s be clear, I see the human in her. I am aware of the pain that she carried from her mother wound into her own motherhood., which is why we talked about a lot of this when I became a mother. However, this does not negate the severity of the impact from her actions.
I know this is a lot of information, but awareness is always the first step.
Now that you are aware and can see it more clearly now, you can make decisions in the moment and know that their behavior is not about you.
It never was.
That is not your burden to carry. Put it down, create the tunnel and run towards your light at the end of it.
If you would love to speak with me, someone who has been through the same and understands what you are experiencing at this time, I am available here: SCHEDULE HERE.
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