Your Feelings are Wrong! Growing Up with a Narcissistic Parent.
You grew up in family where your feelings didn’t matter. Where submission and complacency were essential to survival. Where, if you had a different opinion, belief, or outlook, you were wrong.
The above description is a common experience for individuals growing up in a home where one or more parent has narcissistic personality traits. Being raised by a narcissistic parent can be scary and have a long-lasting impact on all immediate family members. Family members have no choice but to conform to certain dynamics to avoid the narcissistic parent’s rage. This family system is sometimes referred to as The Narcissistic Family.
Dynamics of a Narcissistic Family
–Affection is conditional. A narcissistic parent will show affection and praise for a child’s accomplishments but criticism and cruelty for a child’s perceived failures or inadequacies. As a result, children learn to equate success and achievement with love. This can lead to the belief that they are never enough, no matter what they do.
–Sibling vs. Sibling. The narcissistic parent often forces family members to choose sides, with the “right” side being the narcissist’s side. A narcissistic parent may favor one child (Golden Child) over the other (Scapegoat), causing family rifts long into adulthood. Love is limited in this family dynamic and the narcissist can only show affection to one child at a time.
–Competition is Normal. The narcissistic parent will compare family members and encourage competitiveness among siblings. This leads to further mis-trust and discord among family members. One sibling may join the narcissistic parent in antagonizing another sibling to avoid the narcissist’s wrath.
–Manipulation. Gaslighting, lies, and manipulation are common in a narcissistic family, convincing family members that these dynamics are normal or are not actually happening.
–Rage is Expected. Family members are expected to absorb and accept the narcissistic parent’s rage. Children sometimes learn to adapt anger as a means for communicating needs or to feel heard.
–Your Feelings Don’t Matter. A narcissist will minimize and dismiss their children’s feelings. They label emotions as weak, dramatic, or false.
How Therapy Can Help
Therapy is a safe place to help you process and heal from the abuse of a narcissistic parent at your own pace. Through therapy you can:
-Learn to set appropriate boundaries with family members.
-Change negative beliefs developed in childhood such as “I’m not enough” or “I’m not worthy.”
-Relieve guilt for wanting to limit contact with family.
-Improve communication skills and strengthen romantic relationships.
Get Started with Therapy for Narcissistic Abuse
Contact me to learn more about how therapy can help you heal from Narcissistic Abuse. Offered online in Tennessee and Georgia.
Online Locations: Nashville, Tennessee – Brentwood, Tennessee – Atlanta, Georgia – Sandy Springs, Georgia – Greater Tennessee and Georgia Area