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4 Truths for ACONS (Adult Children of Narcissists)

When Michael and I were house hunting in 2013, I took it as a sign that we belonged in this cottage when the bathroom mirror was exactly the same one in my grandmother’s house. But conspicuous by their absence are Post-It notes with pithy affirmations stuck to our mirror (pictured before I got my OCD and Windex on it above). I’m not keen on affirmations personally.

Perhaps that’s a reaction to all the pithy (and perfectly useless) clichés my narcissists used to brainwash and sedate me when I was unhappy. So this article is not about more lovely affirmations which give you a boost today but leave your Bullshit Meter pegged tomorrow! No, these are four truths I keep coming back to again and again. Truths you can take to the bank and build your life upon.

1) You’re a Credit to Yourself.

This is something I say to my husband, friends, family, total strangers and my reflection in the mirror frequently.

Narcissistic parents may take a bow for us being good, nice, kind, intelligent, successful, hard working, moral people…but that’s not entirely fair to us. I’ve had diagnosed sociopaths write to me and say, well, what they say wouldn’t look at all nice in print. But they made it very clear that my parents’ and your parents’ style of child rearing should have resulted in us being raving sociopaths. Or worse.

But we aren’t.

That’s to our credit. We made a choice to be good people in spite of how we were raised…not because of it.

For example, from the tender age of six, I was expected to tattle on myself. Not just when asked either. To be proactive on confessing anything and everything wrong (including the stuff I now realize wasn’t wrong) I had done, said, felt, thought to my mother.

Then she lectured and/or punished me.

By any yardstick, that upbringing would be enough to turn anyone into a first class deceiver. A pathological liar.

But it didn’t. I’m still honest to a fault. That’s to my credit…not theirs.

That’s just one reason why I believe that all children of narcissists who are good people in spite of their upbringing are a credit to themselves. You are a credit to yourself. Take a bow! Pat yourself on the back! No one can take credit for your goodness, your morality, your virtues than yourself. So claim it! You did a good job of parenting yourself.

2) Your Parents Worked Hard to Drive You Away.

When I first met Michael, he was still in his parents’ life. By the time I’d built enough trust with him for him to reveal what actually happened in his childhood home, I was shaking my head, increduously, and asking, “Why do you still speak to people who did and said those wicked things!?!?! They deserve to be shunned by all of society for what they did!”

The truth is, Michael’s parents worked incredibly hard to drive Michael away. And even though he disappeared from their lives on walkabout many times, he always came back. “Mom can be nice,” he says, “when Dad isn’t around.”

It’s a credit to Michael that he ever came back to see his parents again. They didn’t deserve it. They worked incredibly hard to alienate him from the time he was a tiny child hiding his purple bruises from teachers, hiding from his drunken father, fearing for his life.

But when he finally went No Contact, he was punished for it. Punished…for merely following their unspoken direction. For doing the logical thing. They worked incredibly hard to drive him away…then punished him and me when he finally caught their drift and went.

If you too are No Contact, pat yourself on the back. Your narcissists worked incredibly hard to send you on your way. Then, undoubtedly, played the victim when you finally went.

Don’t pay them and their ridiculous victim playing any mind.

3) If People Didn’t Want to Be Written About, They Should Have Behaved Better.

This wonderful truism was given to me by a friend when I needed it most: when my parents directed their attorney to threaten me with a lawsuit for “demonstrably false” articles that were “not accurately representing actual events.”

I could only shake my head and think, “There are three options here. Either my father was so blacked out during his blackout rages that he honestly doesn’t remember what he said and did…but Mom still does. Or they’ve developed a terrible case of Couples Amnesia. Or they’re lying.” Because goodness knows, I don’t have to write bullshit to make my articles shockingly interesting. I just tell the simple truth.

If you don’t want to be written about, don’t be so dramatic that you can single-handedly provide all the drama for a book. Don’t play the villain if you don’t want to be immortalized in the written word.

Truth to tell, Parents, I’m still pulling my punches. Protecting you. Not telling the whole story. Slanting, disguising, keeping secrets to protect you from your just desserts.

You’re welcome.

Our narcissists worked hard to be imminently writable, then attack us when we write about them. I broke Rule #1 of all Abusive Families: Keep your mouth shut.

And I’m damn proud of it.

4) A Life Well Lived is the Best Revenge.

Everyone on social media creates a fake persona to some extent. It’s inevitable. Social media begs for it. Do you really want to see a photo of me with mascara running down my face or yelling at the cats?

As comedian Ron White says: “No. You. Do. Not. Because it is useless!

But there are an awful lot of people posing as devoted mothers and fathers or deeply in love with their spouse when the truth is, they hate each others guts. I’m not buying the forced smiles and “love of my life” comments. Please. Don’t insult my intelligence.

I’d be willing to bet you dollars-to-donuts that the happiest people post about it the least. We’ve nothing to prove. No False Persona and Fake Life to create for public consumption. But that doesn’t mean that we’re not enjoying our lives to the fullest extent possible.

And that eats at narcissists. Not content to wallow in their own misery, we must all join them in the Slough of Despair. They’ll use any means, fair or foul, to accomplish it.

Sucks to be them.

Wanna piss off a narcissist? Get their goat? Exact revenge for the misery they caused you?

Then ignore them. Leave them in the dust. Live as happily and healthily as humanly possible. They’ll grind their teeth and hate you for it. As they say on Star Trek, “bortaS bIr jablu’DI’, reH QaQqu’ nay’.”

“Revenge is a dish best served cold.”

Actually, the Klingons didn’t invent it. That saying dates back to before 1846 but I digress.

Now it’s your turn. What truths do you live by now that you’ve escaped the narcissists? What sayings are Post-It-Note-On-The-Bathroom-Mirror worthy? Please share in the comments section below.

As always, thanks for reading! I really appreciate it!:)

4 Truths for ACONS (Adult Children of Narcissists)

Lenora Thompson

Lenora Thompson is a syndicated Huffington Post freelance writer and food blogger. Her readers call her the "Edward Snowden" and "Wikileaks" of narcissism because of her no-holds-barred-take-no-prisoners approach to writing about narcissism. “Narcissism Meets Normalcy” is the real-life, ongoing story of her healing journey from being held “hostage” by a multi-generational, cult-like narcissistic family. It's gritty and real, bloody and bruised, humorous and sarcastic. Lenora Thompson considers herself a “whistleblower,” shining a spotlight on narcissistic abuse so others can also claim their freedom and experience healing. To learn more about Lenora, her husband Michael's heroic battle with Pulmonary Alveolar Proteinosis and to read her writings about food, please visit Thank you!

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APA Reference
Thompson, L. (2019). 4 Truths for ACONS (Adult Children of Narcissists). Psych Central. Retrieved on March 31, 2020, from


Last updated: 12 Sep 2019
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