But he uses your accomplishment for his own glorification. He finds a way to take credit for what you did. Or if he doesn’t take credit directly, he lets your accomplishment shine on him as you are his son or daughter.
When you were a child, if your parent supported you in activities where you could produce accomplishments or victories, it wasn’t because he wanted to support your personal growth.
No. Your parent did it for what he got out of it. He basked in your accomplishment as if he had achieved what you did. Your victory gave him a chance to take credit for the skills you developed, even though they were not his.
This is an example of a narcissistic parent using you to reinforce his own self-image. Remember the narcissist’s false self continually needs reinforcing. He’ll take any chance he can to access narcissistic supply—the lifeblood of his self-image—and strengthen his false self.
Your accomplishments as a child fueled the maintenance of his false image. But that was your parent’s public self.
A Narcissistic Parent’s Displeasure over Your Accomplishments
Did this ever happen to you? You accomplished something in public. Your parent seemed pleased with you—a rare event. Then as soon as you entered the realm of your home, your parent turned on you.
He belittled your accomplishment. He told you not to think you’re a big deal, cause your not. “Don’t expect to be the little queen at home,” he said. “Because you’re not.”
Your accomplishment threatened the false image that your father presented to the world. You are up staging him in his mind. However, he’ll greedily drink in the narcissistic supply he gets by being the parent of such an accomplished child.
But in private, he’ll let you know the real deal. And that is he will not tolerate you upstaging him. He certainly will not abide you getting all that praise that he feels rightfully belongs to him as he sees himself as the force behind all your glory.
My Narcissistic Mother Revels in My Defeat
When I was recently laid off from a relatively high position in the corporation I worked for, my narcissistic mother said, “Oh, that’s terrible Chase.” I might have possessed more confidence in how she felt, had she not sounded like I just announced I was promoted.
Mom obviously did not feel upset over me losing my job. In fact, she immediately went on to tell me how well my sister—the golden child—was doing at her job. No further condolences. No offering to tap her network for me. No “Do you need anything?”
Mom was basking in the fires of my defeat. In her eyes, I had gotten uppity. I surpassed her in both education and career, my golden child sister doing neither.
Most parents are happy when a child surpasses them in terms of education, career, or financial achievement. Not the narcissist. Though your accomplishments provide a way to collect narcissistic supply by telling others about them, your parent takes them as attacks on themselves.
So Mom was glad to see me fall. She had never been laid off. So it was with extra glee that she celebrated my defeat. But she will not spread this knowledge around; it would reflect badly on her.
“Oh? Your son couldn’t hold his job?”
When Mom returned to the issue of my unemployment, she suggested I pursue a career as an artist. One thing I have in common with Mom is we both dabble in art, though different forms of art.
This exhibits the tendency of the narcissistic parent to have no use for the child unless the child is meeting their needs or achieving in some way that reflects positively on their false image. If I were to succeed in selling art or having a gallery showing, she would slurp narcissistic supply out of the event like a spider sucking the blood from a dying fly.
If things go wrong in your life, don’t expect your narcissistic parent to be an emotional resource. Your parent is invested in you failing to achieve more than him in every area of life.
And, should you lose your job or another crisis arise, don’t ask your narcissistic parent for a favor if you can help it. Narcissists loved to be owed a favor. First he’ll make you feel guilty for receiving his help. Then you’ll end up paying that favor back again and again and again.
Develop healthy relationships. Make friends with people you can turn to in a crisis. Friends that will happily help you with no thought of repayment.
You are lovable and capable of attracting such friendships into your life. Feelings of being unworthy or unlovable are the stains of narcissistic abuse left on your soul by your narcissistic parent. Wipe your soul clean by finding those who will love and support you.
Remember. You did nothing wrong but something wrong was done to you. Let yourself heal.
How did your narcissistic parent revel in your defeat? Tell us in the comments below.