20 Comments to
13 Ways Being Raised by a Narcissist Can Affect You

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  1. A handful of these ring true for me.

    Number 12 is what I am dealing with right now and have done so in previous work places, with it usually being a woman, like my mother was. Occasionally, it has been a man. And she always gets sympathy as well as being viewed as a strong woman. Meanwhile, if I speak up I am a seen as a troublemaker.

    It makes the workplace miserable. So, I am wondering how me, an introvert who doesn’t like confrontation, can get past the dread of going to work in these environments.

    • Hi Jen,

      Your dilemma of feeling extra sensitive around bossy or entitled people in the workplace is shared by many. If a workplace situation triggers our own sensitivities, there is always an opportunity to look at that, own our part, and make changes as needed. At the same time, abusive behavior from others or an unhealthy management style or workplace environment have real costs. You have the option to report such behaviors, protect yourself legally, or choose to continue to working there if unhealthy actions occur.


  2. Yes this is my story almost to a T
    Got 10/10 on ACE scores as well
    Still dealing with the parent too….she just
    Cant seem to help herself; shes a selfish jerk
    Who plays the hard done by martyr and she will
    never own het own awful behaviour then or now
    I just feel sick when I have to deal with those
    behaviours. It never ends.
    I actually ran away at 13 to get away from the
    violence & verbal and emotionsl abuse
    I honestly dont know what to do about it
    I stand up to her but then I am now the abuser if I do…
    And she is once more the poor soul that is suffering
    Its a horrible situation to be subjected tocontinually

    • Thank you for sharing your story. Your post captured some of the painful dilemmas inherent in relating to a destructive narcissist.


  3. Thank you for the positive messages in this blog … I do not have to feel powerless, even with these very controlling, fear-based people who call themselves my parents (more like employees at the orphanage). What I know for certain is I feel so much better when I’m not around them and I dread seeing them. That basic Truth will always be my guide for self-care and healing because it’s just too big to ignore.

    • June,

      Thanks for adding your comment. Using your own feelings and intuition as a litmus test on whether it is healthy to be around hurtful narcissistic people is a good guideline we can all learn from.


  4. Unravelling this web of deceit foisted upon the child we were can be very frightening, because in a sense we are so vulnerable and in the trust of they who brought us into the world and raised us, and narcs will tell you how lucky you are, though as in my case being told not to get involved, not to feel , and don’t be sensitive ,clashed with what was actually going on inside me.
    As I grew older this schism got bigger and the final denouement came when a whole carefully contracted pack of lies came crashing down exposing my mother as what she was, a manipulative liar with a case hardened emotional carapace.
    The truth lay in a scenario not unlike Mike Leigh’s film Secrets and Lies…and left me with no means of finding or contacting the Irish side of my family.
    Then came the hard life lesson of shedding those nurture cloaking role model narcissistic traits which clashed with my own innate qualities, which actually gave me a rather schitzy nature.
    Very confused and confusing in those days before I realised I needed to take a dive into psychology.
    I actually don’t swim well, and the journey to selfhood also contained several near drawing moments in this subliminal sea,
    However, given time, anti depressants, and access to both one to one therapy , and the ever more accessible information on sites like these, I was able to raise a different inner child and not one of a lesser god.
    And, (The hell with correct English usage ..lol) I am happy.

    • This was beautiful to read!

    • Well said. I can relate with you.

    • Bodach,

      Thank you for sharing your journey of healing with this community.


  5. I didn’t feel these things before since I’m doing well as a person but this is quite a good read though. I didn’t know that these complications can really affect a person’s life.

  6. my daughter read this and said she refrains from being happy and wants to know why she finds her self stopping herself from laughing. It is almost as if she feels she doesnt deserve to be happy.

    • Hi Jennifer,

      For some people who have been wounded or traumatized opening up to laughter may feel too vulnerable. That may change in time for your daughter. Perhaps she can gradually feel more open to allow a bit more lightness into her life, trusting that doing so won’t cause past traumas to recur, and trusting that she can handle, perhaps with the support of a trusted professional, any grief that may arise as she opens up to the lighter side.


  7. Each of the 13 deeply resonates with me. As does the rest of the post.
    In fact, every post I’ve read (so far) that pertains to parental narcissism has been a solid blow to the gut.

    I brought along a printed copy to a therapy session to help the therapist better understand some things I haven’t been able to put into words.

    The reaction I get to these insights is a sort of “Now you know these things. But, why are you still stuck? If you know these things, you shouldn’t be stuck.”

    I understand his response since he’s primarily a CBT type therapist. And I’d love to reply, “Hey, you’re right! Time to go and turn my life around, right now!” But it doesn’t work that way – at least for me. Granted, I don’t know what *will work*, but that isn’t it.

    Anyway, thanks for the article.

    *Side note: When I first clicked this article, I stared at that picture of the parent using a magnet to take a part of her own child’s identity – the tear on the child’s face. I couldn’t stop staring at it. And crying.

    • Hi Michael,

      Thank you for your poignant post. Understanding the problems and consequences inherent in narcissistic parenting is important in healing. Yet for many people raised in such families, understanding is only the first step. It may take time, work, grieving, self-discovery and growth to move on and let go of the hurtful legacy of being raised by a narcissist.

      Healing has its own timetable. Trying to rush it is like yelling at a broken bone to heal quicker. There are many paths to healing. It helps to honor whatever path and timetable that works best for you, and to give yourself the vote of confidence that you will get there.


  8. Narcissism is within us all, I think we can refer to the narcissistic behaviour in others and ourselves without absolute labels. People experience narcissism in themselves and others during personal interactions, those instances need to be understood and decoded.

  9. Thanks to the author for this valuable article. It is helpful for all humans emotionally intelligent enough to explore who they are and the catalysts which influenced why they do what they do. This article offers insights from which we can all benefit. As the author wrote, “Human behaviour is complex and it would be a simplification to say that if your parent did X, you will automatically do Y. But narcissistic parenting is a powerful influence on children and it is important to take stock of your past.” Whether parenting or reflecting why you do what you do, here are insightful identifiers upon which to reflect. The Buddha said that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear; this may be one of those golden opportunities for those who are ready.

    • Joseph,
      Thank you for pointing out that there can be opportunities, not just angst, in dealing with narcissists.


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