Real Talk

10 Signs You Were Raised By A Narcissistic Parent

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Being raised by a narcissistic parent affects everything, including the way one acts and functions as a parent.

Despite a fine line differentiating love and control, many traditional parenting tactics blur these lines. Because of the existing premise that “there’s no such thing as a bad child, only a bad parent”, parents suffered a lot of pressure and self-esteem issues. Society often linked the child’s ability to perform, achieve, and do things to their own. But at the same time, they didn’t emotionally validate their children thus, creating the concept of Narcissistic Parenting.

What then happened to the children of those who lived with Narcissistic Parenting? Here are some signs.

1. Repress and Suppress Over Express

Modern Parenting focuses on letting children express their emotions in the healthiest way possible because of the awareness that they have their own feelings. Those who grew up with narcissistic parents often resort to suppressing and repressing their emotions as their first response. The narcissistic parent’s need to maintain what studies call the “Stepford-like life” forces the child to repress their emotions instead of expressing them.

2. Suffer from Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria

Many of those who grew up with narcissistic parents found themselves in situations where they need to constantly please the narcissistic parent. When expectations are not met, the parent engages in gaslighting and other demeaning behaviors which are emotionally traumatic to children. Growing up, many of these children then suffer a form of rejection-sensitive dysphoria (RSD). It usually manifests in the form of anxiety, meltdowns, and at times, self-isolation.

3. Internalized Gaslighting

Sometimes, the narcissistic parent doesn’t have to do it. Long-term gaslighting and the abusive levels of control can cause a child to internally gaslight themselves. In an effort to suppress and repress those feelings, children of narcissistic parents will gaslight themselves in hopes of soothing their anxiety and depression. Children of narcissistic parents question their reality frequently, wondering if they’re deluding themselves or not.

4. Analysis Paralysis (Indecisiveness)

Because children of narcissistic parents don’t have control over their decisions, any form of decision-making could be paralyzing. Known also as Analysis Paralysis, children from narcissistic parents grow up to fear accountability. Not only because the narcissistic parent refused accountability but also because they never had a chance to make a decision on their own.

5. Chronic Self-Blame

With the narcissistic parent being too absorbed with maintaining their own image or finding a new source of self-esteem, the child will retreat and instead blame themselves for everything. Even if the situation did not have them directly involved. They will constantly pound into their heads many “what-ifs” and “I-should-have-done-this” statements. They will hold themselves responsible for everyone around them to the point of making themselves the proverbial “sacrificial lamb”.

6. Anxiety in the Form of Extreme Emotional Vigilance

Many children who grew up with narcissistic parents often become extremely empathetic, because they put their parent’s feelings before theirs. They analyze from the slightest twitch all the way to words used. To them, 90% of the statements they hear may be double-edged. There will always be that reaction to analyze deeper into the statement, even if there’s nothing.

7. Has a Plan for Everything

If the narcissistic parent is the vulnerable narcissist, the child will always have to play the hero. The vulnerable narcissist gains more self-esteem the more they play the victim role. It makes them feel that they are “worth saving” which is what a narcissistic parent projects onto their child. Thus, growing up, the child will always have a plan A to Z in order to answer each and every one of the narcissist’s problems.

8. Micromanaging Other People’s Emotions

In order to soothe the anxiety — or another manifestation of extreme emotional vigilance — many of these children from narcissistic parents end up micromanaging people’s emotions. For many years they’ve been micromanaging their parents’ emotions and their own at the same time that they end up doing the same to other people. Most especially when they get into romantic relationships of their own.

9. Prioritizing Other People’s Happiness Over Their Own

Unable to discover or chase their happiness as a child, narcissistic parents force the same upon their children. Children from these parents, unless mindful enough, find it difficult to break away from the cycle of prioritizing other people’s happiness. To them, prioritizing their well-being and happiness is the most selfish thing ever done. It’s very difficult for them to say, “I choose me.”

10. Extremely Independent to a Fault

Narcissistic parents often produce children with insecure attachment styles. Due to the lack of emotional safety, they then develop a fiercely independent personality and trust issues. They find it difficult to entrust their feelings to someone because their parent often neglected theirs. The reason often being for the sake of “keeping the family peace”, when these children grow up, they also prevent themselves from being too emotionally invested in people to easily face the inevitability of being abandoned.

There’s still a way to heal from narcissistic parenting.

Narcissistic parenting creates a complex form of trauma because of the emotional and psychological aspects involved in the abuse. It may sometimes be hard to break from the cycle because there was no sample of something better and emotionally healthier. However, the journey isn’t impossible. Healing from a narcissistic parent can start anytime so long as there’s the willingness to take the steps to do so.

More about Narcissistic Parenting:

How To Break and Heal from Generational Trauma
Maxene Magalona Gets Real About Childhood Trauma and Its Effects on Adulthood
Sneak Peek: Jennette McCurdy’s Book Reveals The Horrors of Having A Stage Mother