As children of narcissistic parents, we tend to see narcissism everywhere. Any display of pride or show of self-love reeks to us of narcissistic personality disorder’s stench.
But there is such a thing as healthy narcissism. Well-adjusted adults have a good supply of healthy narcissism within them. It’s important to know the difference from unhealthy narcissism so that you allow this trait to exist within you. Doing so is part of developing a healthy sense of self.
Why We Lack Healthy Narcissism
Think of your children or other little children you’ve known. Remember how they hungered for your attention and your words of praise? Such wonder is captured in their calls to you of “Look at me!” and “See what I did?” Continue reading
One of the crippling states of having been raised by a narcissistic parent is your belief that your needs don’t matter. Not only do you needs not get met, you don’t even express your needs. In fact many adult children of narcissists don’t acknowledge they have needs. Why?
“Adult children of narcissists are well-practiced in the art of pretending they have no needs, believe that they must present as demand-less in order to gain others’ acceptance, and that if they show their true wants and needs to others, they will be rejected.” Source
By the time you reached adulthood, you became highly skilled at pretending you possessed no wants of needs. That’s because you spent your entire life pretending to not have needs. Since you were a young child, your narcissistic parent raised you to be demand-less. You learned to fear your parent’s rejection should you voice your needs. Continue reading
There’s something I have to say right here at the start of this post. Why I’m saying it will become apparent as you read on.
Let me address something. I know I’m not a narcissist. Believe me when I say this because I have checked and rechecked with therapists and my psychiatrist. I’ve asked my wife a hundred times if I’m like my mother and my father.
And I’ve read the DSM V (the manual used by mental health professionals to make a diagnosis of a mental health problem in an individual) description for narcissistic personality disorder so many time that I nearly have it memorized. Every source I consult confirms my lack of narcissistic personality disorder. Continue reading
Do you know who you are? I don’t mean in a name, rank, and serial number way of knowing. Do you have a solid, healthy identity? Are you blessed with a strong sense of self with solid boundaries between you and others? Or are you filled with self-doubt about who you truly are?
Think about how you see yourself. Is the first thought that you are the son or daughter of your narcissistic parent? Or do you think “I’m a loser” or some other derogatory description?
I was driven to ask myself these questions when my son appeared in the kitchen in the middle of a school day. A high school junior, he left during the middle of the lunch period because he didn’t feel right. He asked me about family history. He said he was trying to figure out who he is.
I told my son that family history can tell you where you came from. But it doesn’t define who you are. I think that this is an important lesson for adult children of narcissistic parents. Continue reading
You never know what to expect from a narcissist. I thought I had purged my father’s ability to have any control over my feelings and actions from my being. In my last post I related how I came to the realization—tearfully—that my father is never going to love me and be the father I want him to be. I also shared how I came to know that I have been his tool all my life
.My mistake was to assume that I was in control now when I faced my father. Just like the young monk who thinks he has gained enlightenment after a single moment of realization, I got slapped down like the Zen master would strike the monk. And, for a few days, I was more mentally fucked up than I have ever been. Continue reading
There will come a time when your aging narcissistic parent will no longer be able to live on her own. This is a hazardous time for you. She may try to make you feel guilty for not moving her in with you. You have to be firm in setting your boundaries. No matter what, you can expect your parent to ply all her narcissistic devices to avoid placement. This will not be an easy time for you as she infects you with guilt for abandoning her.
But you can use this situation to your benefit if you examine your feelings and reactions to those feelings and trace them to their source. It is a time when you can work on some of your issues. You can work on seeing the narcissistic games.
This is an opportunity to work on your guilt. Your mother or father cannot care for themselves any more. You are ensuring they get the care they need. Why then should you feel any guilt? Continue reading