I grew up in a family of secrets. Initially I didn't know this. But as time went on I realized my family wasn't like everyone else's. When I say "my family" I really mean in the male sense, the head of the family… because he, the patriarch, a stunted child in the body of a grown man was the orchestrator of the crazy behind closed doors. As a child it was bit by little bit over a period of time I realized my family wasn't like everyone else's. How did I realize this? School. School was the only outlet I had to the outside world and the only glimpse I had into how my family operated differently from the other children's I shared class with each day. If I'd been home schooled I likely would have been kept in the dark far longer than I was… but because I had that outlet, light occasionally peeked in and with that light came hope… that there was different. That there was normal. That there was better. That there was healthy. And hope means maybe… just maybe one day I could have those things too… and the dark would melt away indefinitely.
The fine art… the jade tree… the image of superiority … the carved frames special ordered from New York… the family tree…. the name dropping… the antique furniture… the stuff… my God, the stuff… it never ended… the stuff. It would make anyone cut shopping cold turkey. It would cure anyone of collecting. It would drive anyone to a life of minimalism and serenity… because serene was not our life. Our life was busy, crowded, overflowing, excess… our life was every corner filled, every shelf covered, every table surface piled… our life was buy, spend, buy… our life was "Man, that was too good a deal to pass up!"….
Our life was:
"Don't touch that!"
"Don't sit there!"
"Find something to do!"
"Stop it! You're embarrassing me!"….
Our life was "Ohhh, that isn't worth much… I tell you what I'll do… I'll give you fifty dollars for it…." and then later after the customer left… "People are so stupid… you see this painting? I can sell this for a few hundred dollars." <insert triumphant smug smile> or even better, "I can sell this for a few thousand dollars."
It was a facade of an art gallery because reality was much of what came in was kept for personal gain, for victory, for a high, to feed the addiction within. It was a first hand lesson in screwing people, in tricking people, in what to do to feed the hungry selfish devil within. It was narcissistic to the core and just because I was a child didn't mean for a second I didn't know what was happening. Children are typically keenly aware of their parents ill character… (unless they are being successfully alienated by a sociopath from a healthy parent) because to believe otherwise it's acting as though children are inept idiots, quite frankly. Most children know if their parent's character is reflective of being a slime ball if it fits the bill. Most children are painfully and honestly aware that yes, unfortunately they got jipped and somehow managed to get in the line of having a criminally prone parent. And yes, the child at the cusp of adulthood has every individual right to discard the parent upon fully digesting and realizing the fact(s) a parent is not a healthy figure in their life or at the very least keep them at arm's length.
5 Signs You Are The Child Of A Narcissistic Parent:
1. Everything is about one parent and one parent only:
A family's entire life revolves around this one parents wants, needs, hobby, career and dreams, etc. There is a lot done by the healthy parent in tempering the narc's bad moods, anger, outbursts, need for sex, etc that there may be little time or energy left for the children i.e.; family life… each situation is different in terms of the scale of "crazy" taking place and some may certainly cope better than others.
2. The golden child versus the black sheep:
The narcissistic parent always chooses a golden child who he/she favors and gains narcissistic supply from to build himself/herself up, as the child is an extension of their ego. The child is seen as a possession not a little person (individual) with thoughts, feelings and dreams of his or her own. The black sheep is used also; the one who is the cause of any problems in the family, the parent projects their own negative feelings of worthlessness onto that child. Any other children may be viewed as unnecessary, as just "extras" as they serve no purpose and may be viewed with detachment. Who is chosen as the golden child and who is chosen as the black sheep can change over time depending on how it suits the narc parent. Regardless, these siblings typically grow up with division… because triangulation (and gas lighting) is often used by the narcissistic parent to create mini wars where siblings and even their other parent are pitted against one another… there is a lot of "She told me this… or he told me that…" and then when the sibling doesn't verify the facts from the other sibling or parent a division has craftily been created by the narc parent… depending on how it would serve him/her. These siblings may grow up having difficulties maintaing healthy close sibling relationships and find themselves often at odds with one another or even emotionally detached to one another as a result.
3. Narcissists are not in touch with their feelings:
They don't express themselves, they don't share their thoughts and feelings. They are not nurturers, nor affectionate. Instead they are bottled up, stuffers and exploders. They have not learned the necessary skills to share their feelings in a healthy manner because they don't believe feelings even matter… to them that is trivial and not needed. Some communication is done in a "in your face manner" with screaming, cussing and fits. Typically most communication is done via messenger… something is told to one family member and instructed to be passed by them to another… information of how someone is angry, hurt, or been wronged in some fashion is done passive aggressively versus face to face in a civilized calm manner with tact, grace and understanding. That scenario doesn't exist in a narcissistic family dynamic.
4. Narcissistic parents don't love their kids:
They don't feel love or empathy. They don't have a connection with their child. The child may be "bought" by toys, outings, gifts, clothing, newly decorated bedrooms, trips, iPhones, etc… but in determining whether a parent is healthy for a child it's imperative to closely look at the connection the child has with the parent. If all those material items, all those glorious incentives were stripped away would there be anything there? Would the child feel loved? Would the child feel closeness? Would the child feel a bond? More than likely the sad answer is… no. Because the child is being bought. They aren't being listened to. They aren't being heard. They aren't being valued. They aren't being encouraged to be authentic. There may glaring neglect for the children. Instead the child is valued for what they can do for the narcissistic parent not who they are as a person. Instead they are being taught to not love others, to not value people but to instead use them to suit themselves. These children are being taught about everything but good…. the complete opposite of honesty and love… they are being taught that to look out for yourself is number one in life and this thinking leads to the criminal mindset… where customers are unknowingly grossly overcharged based on the vehicle they drive and the brand of sunglasses they wear… where children like myself are told throughout their childhood "No, you can't go to that birthday party. It's unnecessary.", "No, you can't take swimming lessons. I can't afford it." and in the same week he then buys a twenty thousand dollar painting or a Civil War artifact. Where children are continually told "No, you can't get a bike. I don't have health insurance on you."… the same week that parent buys an original bronze statue for five thousand dollars… and yet… his wife suffers without a dishwasher for her growing family and diligently clips coupons as the narcissist buys buys buys his little empty heart away.
5. Perfect On The Outside, Ugly Behind Closed Doors:
In the beginning of this post I talked about secrets and how they make up a large part of a family that includes a narcissistic parent. The secret is… This is the Narc's thinking: "Don't tell anyone were different. Yes, you may think we are… you may know we are, but don't tell… it's an unspoken thing, okay? Because denial is sweeter than reality. So don't ever tell because really… were perfect. You see, it's "those other people" who have the problems, the defects, the issues, the dysfunction in their families. It's really others that aren't "keeping it together", that aren't refined like us… I mean, look AT WHO WE ARE… and WHAT WE OWN… and WHO WE KNOW… and who are you to potentially cross me and discard all of that wonderfulness wrapped with a shiny red bow… because you are here to continue MY LEGACY, my name, to serve my needs. And if you can't do that? If you can't uphold your end of the unspoken "deal"… of the facade I've so carefully crafted for years, maybe even decades, maybe even that my parents have built before me… if you can't adhere to the outward image of perfection as I do… of status…. then I have no use for you. My love is conditional like that. If you can't or won't uphold your end I will be done with you. But that won't be the end of it… I'll stand on my soapbox and slowly play my violin for anyone who will listen… it's song being that you wronged me… you betrayed me… you hurt me… you, you, you… and with each note I will slip further and further… deeper and deeper into that dark ugly pool of wretched denial… that you so as luck would have it… escaped".
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2014
No child deserves abuse and
although emotional abuse
is rarely spoken of it's just as
harmful and toxic as physical abuse.
If you are the child of a narcissistic parent:
You didn't do anything wrong.
You didn't cause this.
You can't change them.
But you can create a new life…
a life of peace, healing and light.