Narcissism within the family.
If you had narcissistic parents, you’d know or be learning about how they like to Triangulate their children against each. Often unwittingly, children then take on the role of the Scapegoat or Golden child.
Narcissists are all about control, and one way they do this is to drive a wedge between anyone and everyone, including their children. Growing up, most of us don’t realise we’re being played off against each other; we might know there is conflict but will be confused as to why. As the narcissistic parent often never directly does things, it’s all calculated and manipulation through triangulation, blame-shifting, and gaslighting. The narcissist just wants everyone around them against each other and all for the narcissist.
It’s a case of Abuse by proxy when narcissistic parents 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. When they fail to conform to the narcissist’s standards, they will be ridiculed￼; there will be criticism and punishment to intimidate the child into performing. 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—trying to get the attention from the narcissist’s friendly admiration face and walking on eggshells to avoid the envious face of the narcissistic parent. 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 a lack of self-worth. The narcissist will say things like, “how dare you to be proud you only got an A? It should have been an A*.”
The scapegoat is usually 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. Often the scapegoat usually works it out first because they don’t get any of the love bombings. The narcissist will say things like, “ how can you be proud? Are you rubbish at everything? You need to work harder.”
When the children have constant scrutiny, lack of privacy, been continuously played off against each other, been continuously provoked, with the narcissist causing arguments that the children don’t even know what it was about and end up feeling confused. They unwittingly play into the narcissist’s hand as they’ll deflect onto the sibling because they’re hoping they’re not going to get all the harsh words themselves. That’s the whole game the narcissist is playing, as they just want everyone to please them.
It’s no better or worse if the child is the scapegoat or the golden child, and the narcissist can assign them both roles. Depending on which child they want to exploit at that moment, both the scapegoat and the golden can feel anxious. They both develop self-doubt from constant criticism. They are getting psychologically confused. They don’t know if today’s going to be good or bad. Both children can be going along having a great day, then all of a sudden boom, the narcissist goes on one for no reason giving them no reason, and the children end up in emotional distress.
Whatever the children do is never enough for the narcissist. Whatever anyone does is never enough for a narcissist; narcissists are always looking for more.
The narcissist will pit everyone against each other. The overt narcissist will say to children, “Why can you not be more like them? They’re so much better than you” the covert will do it in more subtle ways. “Don’t you wish you could be more like your sibling?” The narcissist’s goal is divided and conquer, dividing everyone around them so everyone looks to them. They’ll create problems out of nowhere and then have their own solutions, which is what the narcissist wanted in the first place. They don’t want people to unite as then they’ll know that they are, and a narcissist can not stand exposure. Narcissists want to keep their toxic behaviour hidden.
They will go to any lengths to keep the divide going. They will happily set people up without them even knowing.
Some siblings can get through this together. We can learn to support each other, help each other through, and talk about the things we’ve been through. Often many children of Narcissistic parents do remember things differently as adults about their childhood.
Unfortunately, sometimes in these family dynamics, and even without a narcissistic parent, some children can and do grow to develop the narcissistic personality disorder, or you might look back and notice signs from childhood. It’s just as difficult dealing with narcissistic siblings as it is any other narcissist within your life.
Signs of a narcissistic sibling.
They are incredibly self-centred and want everything their own way, and have a belief that they are entitled to have everything their own way.
They could be extremely Envious of you as they are so empty on the inside. Narcissists are often jealous of those around them. They can project these feelings onto you, with things like if you have elderly parents. ”You should take care of dad more.” because they can not be bothered, and they want to pass responsibility rather than take care of others, and they doing want to acknowledge within themselves that they’re not willing to.
They will put their siblings and others down to boost themselves because of their lack of self-esteem, often through invalidating your feelings, or projection claiming you’re Jealous of them etc., followed with some form of underhand insult of them having a better figure, looks, family, job, car, home etc. They can do this in front of their parents. Those who are narcissistic parents often they will side with and agree if it’s the golden child. If your parents are not narcissistic, they might try to keep the peace, not to hurt intentionally, but when they say things like. ”Can you two just not get along.” at family gatherings, this can crush your feelings and left understandably feeling hurt or angry that no one else can see.
Everyone is entitled to see it their way. Why, in so many situations, do people end up going no contact with the entire family and become the scapegoat of the family, Often most try to grey rock it, especially if other family members are not narcissistic, or the cousins play together etc.
They will only be interested in you if they feel they have something to gain, they are extremely envious of you and believe they are entitled to whatever you have, as narcissists will exploit others to meet a need of their own.
They have no conscience￼, and if they want something that’s yours, they feel entitled just to have it, as they have a lack of empathy, so they have no regard for your feelings.
They will plan and plot against you. No matter what the age gap, often when it is a close age gap, it’s extremely difficult to go no contact or grey rock, as this was your first friend. You can remember times you might have got on, times they stood up for you if it meant they got one over on someone else, or if you tried to shield them from your narcissistic patents.
It’s all about what they want when they want it, and they usually get precisely what they do want through endless manipulation tactics.
Some have an extremely aggressive personalities, some children are born aggressive, and some are sensitive. Yet, parental input usually helps them develop empathy to treat others with respect. If you had a narcissistic parent, your parents might have encouraged your sibling’s to be aggressive towards you, or to ignore you, or to put you down and invalidate and criticise you.
They do not care for who you are, how you feel, or what you think, and it is merely all about them.
You may not fully remember as a young child just how badly they treated you, yet you’ll recognise the abuse the older you get.
If they were the golden child, your parents would have placed no boundaries on their behaviour and often given them what they wanted whenever they wanted it. The parents will want to use the golden child as a reward for their own achievements.
If the golden child was good-looking and intelligent, be it academically, in sport, musical, or creative, your parents will have played close attention to these achievements, pushing them for more and better.
You may remember growing up that your narcissistic sibling bullied you, Intimidated you, stole from you and downright terrorised you. If you spoke out, your narcissistic parents might have them blame you, or none narcissistic parents might come out with. ” have patience. You know what they’re like.” or ”Could you just try getting along.”
They may have threatened you not to tell others, and you’ll have been that terrified you wouldn’t have done it.
Now and again, when they wanted something from you, or they wanted to use you for something, they would play nice, as all narcissists do, just to confuse you even more.
They will plot and plan with great detail, to claim any and all inheritance, to make sure you get little to nothing, and they’ll Smear your name and project with things like.” You’re just greedy.” because, indeed, your narcissistic sibling is greedy.
If you were not protected from your narcissistic parents or at least one of your parents, you would probably suffer from childhood trauma yourself as you grew up, often not trusting in others.
Narcissist parents will play the golden child, scapegoat child and non-existent child off against each other. They will usually, manipulatively, help with any bullying, and they will triangulate siblings to divide and conquer for themselves. The narcissistic sibling will also triangulate their parents, their siblings and their friends.
There is no low a narcissist will not stoop to if they feel they have something to gain.
As they often feel jealous of others, they can also feel threatened within themselves, their low self-worth, which many who are not narcissistic with low self-worth often people please, those who don’t can and do abuse others mentally, physically, financially, spiritually, emotionally and many more, they will pick out your flaws (we all have them.) your weaknesses (we all have those too.) they will Invalidate, they will call you names, put you down, lie, to make themselves feel better. They’ll play the victim to the rest of the family to gain attention and feel superior. The rest of the family might believe the narcissist’s twisted lies, which invalidates you all the more if family members don’t want to see leave them to it.
While you’re taking all the blame, family members see it as you; when you step away from the narcissist games, the narcissist will choose another family member, who most often will slowly but surely see for themselves as everything the narcissist did to you, they will now be doing to them.
Dealing with narcissistic siblings.
A toxic sibling can cause havoc in the family dynamics and needs to be kept at arm’s length for your own sanity.
The narcissist personality disorder is on a spectrum. There are lots of different types, overt, covets, grandiose, vulnerable, cerebral, classic, malignant, all lack empathy, all feel self-entitled, and they all exploit people. Some are potentially dangerous, although some are more extreme and more dangerous than others.
Some are very easy to spot once you know the traits of a narcissistic person, others are not so easy, some you can grey rock and disarm, others no contact, and then those you just have to move miles away from.
The narcissist, in general, is determined to harm you emotionally, mentally, physically and financially. It’s extremely difficult to come to terms with the fact that the sibling you grew up with is a toxic person.
Whoever the narcissist was in your life, you can heal from the trauma and move on to a much happier life. It is a long, tough road, but it is possible to remove these people from your life and move onwards and upwards to greater inner peace.
Realising you have free will and you don’t have to stay trapped in the dynamics of a toxic family, surrounded yourself with people who understand you, so you can lose any self-doubt or inner conflict within yourself, validating your feelings from those who’ve lived it, you’re far from alone in how you feel.
Know your opinions are yours. Your reality is yours. Theirs is theirs, don’t try to alter theirs or embark on a conversation so they can see your point of view, as they’re not interested, and they’ll often turn it into an account, find a way to blame you, or provoke you for a reaction.
Narcissistic people do like to complain a lot. When at a family gathering, if they start complaining, let them know they can make their own choices in life, things like. “That’s tough; what could you do about that?” Or when they’re coming at you. “That’s your opinion. I can see your point of view. However, I disagree. You have a choice; if you don’t want to be around them, don’t go to the family gathering. Or focus on how you want the gathering to go, and stick with family members that don’t put you down.
Boundaries, creating boundaries around toxic family members, saying no and sticking to your no, whatever your boundaries are to you. Set your standards and limits of behaviour you will and will not accept from them and things you will and will not do for them. When they’re putting you down, or just being rude, trying to provoke that argument, or gain attention. “I think we should end this conversation.” Then leave them to it when they’re asking endless favours. “Sorry, I can not help with that; you’ll need to find someone more suitable who can.”
You only need to explain yourself once. What they do with that is up to them, and how you handle their reactions is up to you. The more we play their games, the more we feel angry, upset, hurt and frustrated, the more we realise they are responsible for themselves, take a step back and focus on our life, the easier our lives become, not easy to start. However, it’s possible.
Limiting contact with toxic family members or going no contact.
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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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