**Long Exasperating Sigh** Sssooo… this is going to be a very awkward entry for me. I came up with this topic months ago and was planning to discuss this during the summer. However, due to my surgery, it had to be pushed back. In the mist of my pause, I will have to admit, I did change my mind to “talk” about this. Because I love my parents. I respect and appreciate everything they have done for me. Unfortunately, they weren’t the best of parents when it comes to mental and emotional support. Therefore, they have dropped the ball in that aspect as for raising their children.
Since this entry is more about my experience of dealing with narcissistic parents, I will tell my perspective on it. I can not speak for my siblings and their encounters. Each child manages and perceives things differently. Also, full disclosure, I am not a psychologist, psychiatrist, or any mental health specialist. All the information I have provided have came from books, articles, and videos I’ve done my research on. This entry, like all my other entries, is to give insight on various mental health issues to bring awareness and to create a safe online community. It’s to encourage people to seek out the help they may need while at the same time, feel like they are not alone in their struggles. With that being said, let’s travel down the rabbit hood of NPD parents.
I have written about narcissistic personality disorder not too long ago. Please CLICK HERE to read the post before proceeding on. It will give a better insight on this entry. However, to sum it up in a nice small package, NPD is a personality disorder characterized by a long-term pattern of exaggerated feelings of self-importance. It’s also an excessive need for admiration and a lack of empathy toward other people. Now imagine having a parent like that. Yikes!
But what are the signs of a NPD parent? One, they are self centered and make you part of their show. It’s okay for people to care about what others may be feeling. It’s part of human nature. NPD parents take it to a new level. In front of people they are very much about material things and status; especially your status. For example, how you’re doing in school and your skill set. But as soon as you come home they are completely different people. They are not nice and humble anymore. The nice act is over. They stop paying attention to their child and start criticizing the child and/or people around them.
My parents did this all the time. In front of teachers, other parents, and even a few strangers, they will talk about their success. They will talk about me excelling my skill set. But as soon as we get home, the niceness disappear. They went from bragging about my piano skills to others to not wanting to hear me play the piano at home. I felt like their prop in their game. Just something to use to justify that life was great, but really wasn’t.
There always strings attach when given gifts. Gifts should be a selfless act. However, NPD parents makes it as a guilt trip. When giving NPD parents gifts, they have a demanding list. They emphasize that the gift has to meet their requirements. They get upset when boundaries are placed. NPD parents love control. Giving freedom will mean they’re equals and they want to feel superior. If the child stands up for themselves, the parent will manipulate by saying they were doing it for the best of the child well being.
NPD parents makes a child feel like a puppet more than just their child. The child is just a toy to flaunt. The parent becomes very controlling that the child feel like he/she lost their identity. NPD parents are hurt when they are not included in the child decision. Because they are so controlling they want to pick every choice for the child. When the child actually becomes his/her own individual and makes choices for themselves, the NPD parents gets feels upset or aggressively angry.
Because NPD parents are so controlling, the child feels like they can’t make good choices without them. To be honest, that’s what the parent want. They want the child to feel helpless so the child can continue needing the parent. If they continue to need the parent it will make the parent feel superior. Even if the child catches on what the parent is doing, the parent knows how to twist the situation to play the victim.
How can this affect a child? The child will develop self blame in almost every scenario. The child will develop insecure attachment. They can also develop extreme emotional independence; telling themselves they don’t need anybody. Sometimes it’s the complete opposite. The child becomes extremely nurturing. Just to feel the sense of love they have been wanting all along. NPD parenting in severe cases (physical abuse), can progress into PTSD (CLICK HERE for my entry about PTSD). Last but not least, the child can become narcissistic themselves. It’s almost like, “can’t beat them, join them” mentality. Remember, part of the reasons why someone has NPD is due to insecurities. These incurities can be from the way the person was brought up. So if the parent failed to provide mental and emotional support because of their NPD, then the child will obtain the same insecurities and have NPD. It can be a never ending cycle for generations.
How to heal? Get a trauma specialist. Not saying going to a therapist wouldn’t help; it will. However a trauma specialist really tap into the experience and really work on self realization and taking steps on moving on. Some people see both therapist and trauma specialist. Writing your feelings out is a great outlet. But if you’re still at home with a NPD parent, get out. To quote Scar from The Lion King, “Run away Simba, run away and never return” With all jokes aside, get out of there as soon as possible. Another way to heal is for the child to become the mother/father to themselves. All the emotional and mental support that was neglected from the father/mother will now have to pass down to the child. The child will have to parent themselves.
Now… I will have to place my 2 cents on this topic. Which I will admit, it is very challenging. In previous entries I have discussed about my parents being one of my main sources for developing depression. I know they did the best they could with the knowledge and resource they had on hand. However, should it excuse their action? No. It’s a constant tug-of-war that I battle with the relationship between my parents and I. I don’t want a negative image toward my parents, but it’s hard not to with all that have been done.
I did feel like a prop. When it came to my dad it was more materialistic this. He needed to live in the nicest places and to be known that his child is going to a expensive private school. And I better display that all the money he have spent on me was worth every penny. My grades had to be perfect. Piano lessons? He demanded the piano teacher to teach me nothing but the classics. Why? So when visitors comes by he can have his daughter play them a beautiful classic song. I played soccer because my dad didn’t want me to play basketball. I had to bargain with him. Telling him I will play soccer if only he let me do basketball. He surprisingly agreed. But he only had me learn soccer to, again, use me as a prop for get together/parties. He was very controlling in regards to high school and college choices. Even came down to my major. My high school teachers were surprise I was going for Nursing since I was a very creative, artistic, and musically talented person.
My mother didn’t help the situation. I was a prop to her in a different way compare to my dad. My dad see me almost like a circus animal. “Do that triple flip!” kind of thing. Well, the only time my mom is materialistic is when it comes to giving her gifts. If you have not fulfilled her standard then you’re a terrible child. But my mom was more about my appearance. I was a tomboy and my mom was not thrilled. She would make me wear dresses and style my hair a certain way like I am her doll. Any time I dispute I was being defiant and a horrible child. Especially during my middle school years when I was a chubby girl. “Fat girls never get nice things. Fat girls never get cute boys” she would say as I struggle wearing a dress in the fitting room of the junior section at JC Penny. She was very controlling on what I should wear. Any time I bought goth and punk clothes in high school, she would grab it and toss it the garbage. She would shout, “be normal” To me, being normal was to be myself, but I couldn’t be myself around them. There were times I was losing my identity. It mad me sad and angry. What sucked more, is that couldn’t verbally expressed my feelings.
Sure, sports and getting involved in the arts helped. But there were still a little piece of me that wanted to cry it out. Unfortunately, I couldn’t at the time. Also, I didn’t think anybody would have believed me. My parents had done such a terrific job at creating such an illusion of a “normal” if not perfect family, that anybody else from the outside would be in disbelief if they showed their true color.
They worked on me to be independent to a certain extent. Teaching me skills so so I can do stuff for myself, but mainly for themselves. Other that that, they wanted me to be “disabled” so I won’t be my own person and venture off. Also, to make them feel superior. If I don’t know that much, then they can make me look and feel inferior, which will cause a confident booster about themselves.
I can go on and on about the countless of nights I have cried in my bed because of my parents. I can continue about the painful verbal insults and emotional neglect. The physical abuse I have endure for not being the child they wanted me to be. But I will end it right here, because to this day it is still painful. What I can say is, it’s not impossible to get through this. Just like the pain wasn’t over night, the healing process will not be so. I believe you and remember you’re not alone. We can get through this by adulting one day at a time. xoxo
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