MDJunction - People Helping People
 
Ask a Question
01/01/2010 03:36 PM

How being raised by a narcissist can affect us

ConnieinColorado
ConnieinColorado  
Posts: 2217
Senior Member

Happy New Year to all PTSD members. I wanted to share this article in the hopes that it may be a tool for recovery. I know it really speaks to me at this time, as I am talking and writing about the narcissism that further made my father alcoholic and totally abusive. I wish much healing in 2010 for the group! The article begins with a fantastic quote...

"Having children makes you no more a parent than having a piano makes you a pianist."

Michael Levine

CDC Adult Health Problems Linked to Traumatic Childhood Experiences

A woman raised by a narcissist parent told me something that probably reveals how narcissists work. She told me she wanted to be "taken care of" by her husband, like a child. "Don't put me in a cage!" This comes from her childhood experiences. A narcissistic mother or father reverses rolls. Because mothers take the major role in child care, N mothers can do major damage to their children, if they are narcissists. A N mother is emotionally immature, the child has to take care of her. The needs of the narcissist mother come first and are like the needs of a hungry baby bird. "Feed me, feed me" the narcissist mother cries to its child, instead of caring for its child's needs, the mother is like a vampire feeding on the child. I have seen a narcissistic mother playing this game with daughters - the daughters would mimic a feeding bird - very childish actions for women over 20! One narcissistic mother wrote that her daughter and her were the same person! The N mother told her daughter she loved her so much that one day the daughter would not be there, because the N mother would have eaten her during the night? Scary!

From the outside, looking in, the narcissist family does not appear dysfunctional. Notice that the N family history - filled with unquestionable mythology - is replayed over and over till it sounds like the truth. No one questions present actions or past history of the narcissist. Guilt plays a big role in the family. Head games are the norm; little routines and pet names are used to brain wash children into thinking they are loved. Nothing is ever given to the child permanently.

A narcissistic woman I knew had a pet dog to keep her company, and one day some one told her that her dog had worms and he gave my mother medicine to give to the dog. An easy procedure. The next time he asked about her dog, and she told him it had died. She had not given the dog the medicine and his heart had been eaten up by the worms. Mothers and fathers who are narcissists treat their children much in the same way. If the children jump to the narcissists beck and call, mirror them, agree with them, then the narcissist parent will take care of them.

Once, my father came to visit at the same time. My mother in law called him and she spent an hour in a cafe crying, convincing him that we had to move back to where she lived. I told him that she was like his wife -another narcissist. I was furious, but my wife, still under her mother's influence, said nothing, just ignored it as if it had not happened. When my mother would visit it was no better. She would go into one of her "moods" and I would take her aside and give her a piece of my mind; I refused to be treated like a child. It was even worse when my brother was around, the same family dynamics would repeat themselves and I would end up feeling physically sick and leave.

N train people to cater to their wishes and whims, like spoiled children. If you want to remain sane you have to be an adult with them - a child of a narcissist has a difficult time with this, because they have been trained not to act like an adult with their narcissist parent.

The way N parents operate is that they assign their children roles, a bit like birth order, and they have to fulfill whatever that position entails. No matter how hard you try, you cannot compete with the golden child, the chosen one, who represents the narcissists mother or father's image. As a child, you fill as if you disappoint the narcissist if you do something other than what they want - that holds true for your role in the family. One woman I knew used to say that only her and her son had extraordinary feelings and were sensitive. Just the opposite was true, they were the most self centered and heartless members of that family. A young child has few defenses against such monsters. Adult children of narcissists end up at the shrinks, wondering what happened. A few figure it out, others just keep suffering and falling into the same trap over and over.

The sequels of being raised by a narcissistic parent are many and varied. If you happen to be the golden boy or girl, the chosen one, then you think your mother or father is great, because they think you are great, the spitting image of them. They gloss over your failings, the divorces, the bad business deals (the other people's fault), and they are your fan club, deflecting criticism from you, bolstering your ego, always complimenting you and your wife and children. They think you are a god, or goddess. You probably know that you have feet of clay, and are imperfect, yet you want your wife or husband to treat you as the apple of your family's eye. It might dawn on you that you have problems, but blame it on someone else, never yourself. You might even think that you suffer from some mental disorder, but dismiss the idea as ridiculous, other people are crazy - not you.

On the other hand you might be the unlucky one, the one in the family who always gets the short end of the stick. No matter what you do, your parents, or one of them, never likes it. They are cold, distant, but when company drops by, they will put you on display and you have to perform, you have to make nice. God forbid you say the wrong thing. You will pay for it.

You may have a sibling who gets all the attention - no matter what they do - and no matter how hard you try, you will not admired like them. Instead you will be criticized, because is for you own good (sot the favorite one will not get jealous). You may start to turn inward, not let your inner feelings show, because they like to see you cringe, cry, and so you deny them that pleasure.

You may have trouble showing your true emotions later on in life, because you are afraid. But of what? When you were young, your emotions got you in trouble, for reasons you still don't understand. You feel incomplete, half alive, and your ego seems to be either at full blast or gone to sleep. You are shy, or the opposite. Not knowing how real people act, you are suspicious of strangers. Only your N mother or N father understands you, they say, so you are constantly going home, trying to recreate a childhood that never existed. Maybe you dream a lot, never grounded in reality, and miss things. If you are given a surprise party, you collapse into yourself, not wanting to be the center of attention, because someone else should get all the attention, not you. Deep down you hate your mother or father, and feel ashamed for the sentiment because everyone else thinks they are great.

Read Alice Miller's books for help

Reply

01/02/2010 12:07 PM
Destiny1105
 
Posts: 172
Member

Sounds just like my mother. I've been told all my life that something is wrong with me. Never ever can anyone talk about how my moms actions has effected me. My mom is the boss of the whole family and everyone caters to her at all times. Whenever I mention what I need from her she cries and says "why are you doing this to me". It has nothing to do with her it has to do with me and the need to know she loves me. I'll never get her love because I refuse to allow any kind of abuse to myself or my children.

I use to think that my mom just didn't know how to show feelings or help someone feel better about themselves - and then I noticed that she can be a great support system for other people. I saw her be actually caring. She just never has with me.


01/02/2010 02:00 PM
HiddenButterfly
HiddenButterfly  
Posts: 4909
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate

Destiny, I get you there. My mother actually told meonce, that my only reason for existing was to get her out of her parents' house. I knhow she knows how to care about someone and how to love them, as she did a wonderful job with my sister. My sister is her mirror image and I refuse to be bound to that attitude. I want the freedom that I have found in going my own way.

Brenda


01/02/2010 05:20 PM
ConnieinColorado
ConnieinColorado  
Posts: 2217
Senior Member

My father was the narcissist. Everything revolved around him. Everyone was supposed to be there to make HIM feel good. If they didn't, he'd get on his 'pity pot'. I had no respect for him from a pretty early age. Even after he kicked me out of the house with no resources only 3 1/2 months after Mom died, he would tell my aunt he felt bad that I was depressed. Geez! That alcoholic denial runs very deep. I am dealing with all the hurt he caused me right now in therapy and my therapist said my agoraphobia may be gone after the healing. I can't say how happy that made me.

01/02/2010 05:31 PM
1magicman
1magicman  
Posts: 3370
Group Leader
I'm an Advocate

Im sorry your father kicked you out. To me that's not a father. That just someone else that need help. Your therapist is correct. Keep up these feelings you have because you want the help. Don't give up hope.

Scott


01/02/2010 05:35 PM
ConnieinColorado
ConnieinColorado  
Posts: 2217
Senior Member

Thanks, Scott. I had always put my hurt feelings for my father to the side because I knew I had my mother's love. But as I said in therapy, there are two sides to a coin. It's just tough to talk about someone who totally disgusted you. I appreciate your support.

01/02/2010 07:06 PM
EternalNight
EternalNightPosts: 112
Member

I wrote out a long reply to this at first. I dunno. I think I'll just stick, instead, with saying that this really fits my mom. It hurts me and scares me. People accuse me of being like her in bad ways, to push my buttons; they know I'm terrified of being like her. God, the day I become that woman is the day I hope to god I die in some tragic accident and put everyone around me out of the misery I would spread if I was like that...

01/02/2010 07:15 PM
1magicman
1magicman  
Posts: 3370
Group Leader
I'm an Advocate

My god Eternal. Don't even think that. You are not your mother you are you all that you are. You are loved by many. You are you in charge of you own destiny. A destiny of hope. You must never give up hope and never let hope go.

Scott


01/02/2010 07:48 PM
HiddenButterfly
HiddenButterfly  
Posts: 4909
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate

Eternal, you are nothing like your mother. As you said, they do it to push your buttons. In other words, they are saying so because they know that is the one way to get you to do as they want. They can have control over you by saying such things, as they know it works. It is kind of like my children. When they do certian things, it is not because they are acting up, but because they know those things get to their father. THey think it is neatr and fun that they can control his behavior and therefore do those things just to have that momentary control, even if it does mean that they are going to get into troublee. To them having the ability to control their father for that breif time is worth the risk of getting in trouble. As I tell my hubby, do not give in to them. Do not give them the pleasure of having that control. Do not even give that behavior the time of day. If they do not get the reaction they want, then they will stop the behavior.

Brenda


01/03/2010 07:12 AM
Irishangel88
Irishangel88  
Posts: 4941
VIP Member

Eternal, I so get being there. See, i'm a lot like my mom too...have passion for teaching little kids, same body type, and at times, the same quicktempered mouth. The last thing I want is to live her life. But, if we don't choose that we are strong enough to be different, we are condemming ourselves to repeat the cycle of abuse and narcissm and sickness. And I think we both know we are stronger than that. Smile
Reply

Share this discussion with your friends:
<< Start < Prev 1 Next > End >>


Disclaimer: The information provided in MDJunction is not a replacement for medical diagnosis, treatment, or professional medical advice.
In case of EMERGENCY call 911 or 1.800.273.TALK (8255) to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Read more.
Contact Us | About Us
Copyright (c) 2006-2014 MDJunction.com All Rights Reserved