Most often, once people come away from one form of a toxic relationship and discover all about the narcissist personality disorder, they realise they’ve been around a few within their lives, and one of these could well have been one or both of your parents.
Whoever the narcissist is within your life, that narcissist to you, to another is their friend, boss, child, parent, partner etc.
Narcissists are incredibly damaging to those around them, often leaving the narcissists targets with mental health problems, emotional problems, physical challenges, financial difficulties narcissists over time, place, self-doubt, low self-esteem, depression, fear, anxieties, illnesses, CPTSD, OCD, and many other issues within their target.
Through the gaslighting, which is an insidious form of mental abuse, causes the victim to doubt their own sanity. To the blame-shifting, where the narcissist will downplay or outright deny any of their toxic behaviours and exaggerate or make up any of yours. That with their ability to invalidate and intimidate those around them, leaving people questioning everything about their own behaviour, blaming themselves, and making endless excuses for the narcissist behaviour.
People are getting so many health issues, most often due to the stress and other implications of a narcissistic relationship. Once people are away from the narcissist, gain knowledge of what happened to them, work on overcoming the past, their lives and health start to improve massively, as their stress levels lower.
This often takes time, especially if you had a narcissistic parent.
Although statistics claim there is a much higher percentage of narcissist fathers than mothers, as mothers are often primary caregivers, they usually have more impact on children, which is often why narcissistic mothers are spoken about more.
The narcissistic personality disorder is a disorder, and they do need to have at least five characteristics to have the disorder these are.
1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance. Exaggerating achievements and talents.
2. Preoccupied with ultimate success. Lives in a fantasy world of power, control, dominance, brilliance.
3. Superiority. Believing they are special and above all others.
4. Entitled. Feels entitled to have all their own needs met, demanding, manipulative and controlling.
5. Excessive admiration. A constant need for excessive admiration.
6. Exploits others. Takes advantage and manipulates others to get their own needs met.
7. Lack of empathy. Can not truly connect with how others are feeling.
8. Envious and jealous. Hate people who have something they want, also believing others are envious of them.
9. Arrogant. An exaggerated sense of their own abilities and behaviours.
Red flags of a narcissistic parent.
Did you think your parents weren’t there for you, challenging, strict, selfish, mean, hurtful, unfeeling towards you, disrespectful, didn’t understand you neglected your needs? Narcissistic or not, these behaviours can be extremely damaging to young children and cause those mental and physical health problems in children. If not healed, we can carry those wounds into adulthood.
Signs of a narcissistic parent.
- Control. Pushing all their dreams into you. “If only you would.”
- Invalidation. Never feeling like you could measure up to their demands.
- Triangulation. “Your mum/dad doesn’t love you as I do.” “It’s your mum/dad/brother/sister’s fault.”
- Guilt trip. ”All I do for you, and your so ungrateful.”
- Shaming. ”You’re an embarrassment to this family.”
- Triangulation. ” Why can you not be more like your sibling.”
- Pressure. ”Do your best to make ME proud.”
- Blame-shifting. ”If only you’d.”
- Invalidation. “You can not.”
- Threats to instil fear. “If you don’t, I will.” followed with some threat of punishment.
- Flattering others for attention. Always parading you in public and in the home (The golden child.) or shaming you in public, also in the house. ( The scapegoat child.)
- Was the image outside the family home always perfect, yet inside was completely different?
- When friends or family came over, your narcissistic parent would either be the life and soul of the home putting on a grand show, not like their usual behaviour, gaining all attention, and your friends thought you had the most fantastic parent ever?
- Nobody was allowed to your home, you visited other family and not very often, or if people came over, your parent would sit staring at the T.V, be extremely rude, and not talk to people, so people scarcely came to visit?
- Was either every single aspect of your childhood controlled by your parent? Or were you wholly ignored like you didn’t even exist? Or they might have tried and lived through you by pushing their hobbies onto you and not allowing you to learn your own goals.
- Were special occasions ruined?
- Did you never or rarely receive hugs?
- Did they deny your love and affection unless you achieved something they wanted, then you might have received hugs?
- Where they never wrong?
- Were you never allowed to speak against them?
- Would they twist everything to blame you?
- Did they never apologise?
- Did they never seem to take your thoughts, feelings or opinions on board?
- Did they always criticise you and put you down?
- Were you gaslighted and controlled by your parent?
- Were you insulted by your parent?
- Told you were ”Selfish.” If you didn’t do as they pleased or wanted to do something for yourself?
- Always spoke of their problems with you but never listened to yours?
- If you said anything to them about them they didn’t like, and your parent would punish you with the silent treatment, smack you, send you to your room or scream at you?
- Were you always ignored, the forgotten child?
- The golden child that always had to perform for your parent or the scapegoat always being blamed?
- Felt like you could never share your thoughts or feelings, as they would be used against you?
- Did your parents always exaggerate, lie, manipulate and try to control you?
- Did they always take the credit for your achievements?
- Did you feel like your parent was always competing with you?
- Did your parent just regularly come into your bedroom, over anything and everything, never giving you any privacy?
- Did they hurt you to rescue you?
- Did your parent deliberately break things you owned?
- Did your parents sabotage you?
- Did they always guilt trip you?
- Did you feel like you had to parent your own parent, take care of them, comfort them, not just because they were under the weather but most of the time?
- Did the stories they told others not to match the reality you lived?
- Did they always seem envious of neighbours and other family members? ”They’ve only got that because of an inheritance.”
- Did they always play the victim about their own childhood?
- Always pitted off against your siblings, either. ”look how good your sibling is, why can you not do that.” or ” I don’t know what’s wrong with your sibling, I’ll treat you to this, as you know how to behave.
- After they put you down or ignored you, would they take you out and spoil you.?
What effects do narcissist parents have on their children? The scapegoat and the golden child.
Children adapt to fit the narcissist’s needs. The child adapts to the narcissist to get love. The child will either try to fill the role of whatever the narcissist wants from the child, at any given moment to get CONDITIONAL love the golden child, or a child will go against the narcissist, the scapegoat child—the narcissist classes the scapegoat child as a ‘bad child’ within the family.
If the narcissist has more than one child, they will assign them roles: the scapegoat child and the golden child.
There are no rules. Some narcissists will give them clear roles. Sometimes they can cross over to which gets the position on a day to day basis depending on which one pleases the narcissist at that moment. If a child speaks up against the parent, they’ll idealise the other child and make the one that spoke up the scapegoat.
They do like to triangulate the children against each other without the children knowing, gaining attention from the children.
They drive a wedge between anyone and everyone, including their own children. The children will not know they’ve been played off against each other, and they’ll know there is conflict but will be confused as to why. As the narcissist usually never directly does things, it’s all calculated and manipulated. The narcissist just wants everyone around them against each other and all for them. It’s a case of Abuse by proxy.
They will get the golden child to gang up with them against the scapegoat.
The narcissist will get the golden child to help with the abuse towards the scapegoat child.
The narcissist will try and get the scapegoat and golden child to dislike each other. They will do all they can to drive a wedge.
The golden child will be pushed to perform and achieve, and when they don’t achieve to the narcissist standards, there will be ridicule, criticism and punishment. They use these same tactics also to push them to do what they want them to do. The children lose their sense of self as they’re too busy trying to be what the parent wants them to be. The golden child gets treated so well when they achieve that they don’t always grow to see what’s happening. The golden child aims to please as they don’t want the harsh words, silent treatment or punishment. They end up with no self-worth.
The golden child is often left with feelings of guilt.
The narcissist usually classes the scapegoat as the rebel child that will not conform to the narcissist’s manipulation. They will get constant criticism over anything and everything, although they typically grow to achieve a better sense of self. Self-esteem, self-awareness and clarity. They will often call the narcissist out on what they’ve said or done/ not done. The scapegoat usually works it out first because they don’t get many of the love bombings.
When the children have constant scrutiny, lack of privacy, been continuously played off against each other, been continually provoked, the narcissist causing arguments that the children don’t even know what it was about, and the children end up feeling confused. They unknowingly play into the narcissist’s hand as they can deflect onto the sibling because they’re hoping they’re not going to get all the harsh actions of the narcissist themselves. That’s the whole game the narcissist is playing. They just want everyone to please them.
It’s no better or worse if the child is the scapegoat or the golden child; they can both feel anxious. They both develop self-doubt from constant criticism. They are getting phycological abused, and they don’t know what mood the parent will be in the moment to moment. Both children can be going along having a great day, then all of a sudden, their parents go on one for what seems to be no reason giving the children emotional and physiological pain.
Whatever the children do is never enough for the narcissist.
Both the scapegoat and golden child receive manipulation, and both can experience attachment trauma.
The narcissist will not care for the golden child, yet they will treat the child better than the scapegoat, the child that makes the narcissist look good by conforming to the narcissist’s demands. That child who often obeys also feels responsible for making their parents happy. They will learn tricks of the parent to keep their parent looking happy, and they will never take the spotlight away from the parent. A child of a narcissist can be used as the Golden Child, the scapegoat child or the forgotten child. Depending on the narcissist’s needs at any given time, a narcissist can also cycle around all three with one child.
Narcissist parents’ traits can cause attachment trauma within the child.
Narcissistic parents’ traits leave trauma within the child.
The grandiose parents can leave you feeling that you just cannot do anything right, this starts as a young child, and then we often carry it into adulthood.
The entitlement of the parent can leave you to feel unimportant. Then in adulthood, often put your needs at the bottom of the list.
The Vanity in the parent can leave you feeling like you are just a trophy; this can be carried into adulthood, always feeling like you have to be perfect at something to be liked by others.
The Selfishness in the parent can leave you feeling that your needs are always ignored, often than in adulthood, playing down your needs, and taking care of all others, so they don’t feel how you do.
No empathy in the parent can leave you always feeling misunderstood, then in adulthood, not wanting to speak of your feelings with others, as they often were dismissed or invalidated as a child.
The Competition, the parent, create can leave you always feeling that you were never enough, then in adulthood, either doing very little as you don’t feel enough or overextending yourself to feel good enough.
The manipulation from the parent can leave you walking on eggshells.
Being raised by a narcissist can lead you to struggle with setting healthy boundaries.
Neglect your own wants and needs becoming fearful of speaking up for yourself.
Being unable to trust in others fully.
Struggling with addictions.
Some people raised by narcissists do become narcissists themselves.
What can you do?
Level up, if you still see your narcissist parent, get mentally prepared beforehand, know what they do, understand who they are, learn and remember the patterns behind their behaviour, focus on the outcome you want, don’t play into their games, watch what they do, don’t engage with, if they are nice, compliment them, if they are being hurtful don’t react, instead, see what they are trying to do to your emotions and don’t let them. On the whole, give them positive attention when they are nice, provide them with nothing when they invalidate you.
If you can, no contact.
- You are educating yourself not only about the disorder but also the effects it has on you, working through recovery.
- Grieve the pain of the past.
- Work through the trauma and triggers, having a safe place or person to do so.
- Seek therapy with someone who understands and someone you feel comfortable with.
- Learn your values, and your beliefs, and discover the things you enjoy.
- Start setting healthy boundaries.
Develop your mindset.
Teach your brain, consciously throw out those negative thoughts and find the positive each and every day, learn to know things and give yourself new knowledge and wisdom, new skills. When it gets hard to keep going, think creative, think constructive, think big, dream big, then take those small steps to learn and go for it. Work on your mindset, work on your knowledge, and use your brain the right way to benefit you.
The critical factor to your happiness is you.
If your mind has been programmed over time to think or feel certain ways, about life, about others and about yourself, it’s your subconscious talking to you, and it’s been trained to speak to you negatively, filling your life full of disappointment and negativity, it’s time to learn to change how you think.
The great things about your mindset are you can change it to think precisely what you want to believe, and it’s a skill set of your very own.
At the start, it feels strange and extremely uncomfortable, as you are basically fighting with yourself, your own beliefs and your own thoughts, but you’ve probably been arguing against your instincts for years.
Once you take action to stop those thoughts consciously and change them for positive ones, it gets easier and easier until you one day just realise you’re no longer fighting those negative thoughts. You’ve just got a positive mindset.
“I’m not good enough.” It needs to be “I am good enough.”
“I’ll never be happy.” It needs to be. “ I’m going to find my happiness and live it.”
So when that negative talk appears within your mind, stitch it and work on it.
”Why is this happening to me.” needs to become. ” what is this teaching me? Can I do something about it? Yes? ” then do it. ”No.” then leave it.
”I’m not enough.” needs to stop there before your mind escalates and you bring yourself down, and it needs to become. ”I’m working on knowing I’m enough. Why am I doing this? To find my happiness, what will make me happy? What do I want in my future? I’ve achieved a goal I had before; When accomplishing this one. How will that achievement make me feel? What steps can I take?
You are finding the reasons why? You can do something that makes you far happier than looking for excuses for not doing it.
Then when you’ve been following your instincts, even though at times you didn’t know what they were saying to you, life becomes so much more peaceful.
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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.
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Video for more information on the scapegoat child.