10 Things Narcissists Fear Most

Narcissists like to pretend that they’re all-powerful, all-knowing beings that can never be harmed. But regardless of how they act, there are actually quite a few things that strike fear deep into their hearts. Narcissists are known to be extremely vain and care only about themselves. The world itself revolves around them (or so they think). But just what is a narcissist? In psychology, there is something called “narcissistic personality disorder.” The definition of this disorder is  “A mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultraconfidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.” It’s that last part of the definition that is the most telling. Deep down, these people are very fragile, with extremely low self-esteem. It seems obvious then, that there are many things that really scare them. Here are just ten of those things:

Relationship Commitment
Narcissists are often characterized by a failure or inability to pursue lasting, meaningful relationships. The reasons for this are pretty clear. To be in a relationship, you have to let your guard down, and this is something that narcissists are really afraid of. Being in a relationship means that your partner will get to know you, including all of your faults and embarrassments. For narcissists, letting people see these imperfections in their character can seem unthinkable, and even frightening. There is also a phenomenon known as “sexual narcissism” where people (usually men) create this fake idea in their heads that they’re much better at sex than they actually are. Being in a long-term relationship runs the risk of exposing them for not being as great in bed as they think they are, and this can also cause fear.

Looking Deep Into Their Own Soul
One of the biggest things about narcissists is that they refuse to examine their own inadequacies and imperfections. Because of this, one of the things that scares them most is something right under their noses – themselves. They like to create this false idea of themselves as superior beings, but some part of them, subconscious or otherwise, knows that this is all a lie. That part of their mind is shielded away from them, but it’s always there. To look into this area of their mind would be to confront everything that is wrong with their personality, and it’s something that narcissists dread more than almost anything else. To be fair, this is something that a lot of people fear, not just narcissists. Really looking at yourself critically can be one of the hardest things to do, and not many people are truly capable of it. But while most people merely find this uncomfortable and unsettling, narcissists find it horrifying and life-shattering.

Another thing narcissists really fear is being insulted. Narcissists are characterized by a hypersensitivity to insults, and the mere thought of being verbally abused can be a source of great fear for them. Hypersensitivity means that they experience the “sting” of being insulted much more than the average person. While a normal person might be hurt and saddened by an insult, they’ll probably get over it in a matter of days or even hours. Narcissists on the other hand will feel insults as a crushing blow to their already fragile self-esteem, and they’ll brood and sulk over it for weeks on end. They might even never get over it (depending on the insult), or even plot some kind of revenge to get back at the person who insulted them. Another phenomenon that happens with narcissists is that they sometimes imagine insults where there are none. These people are so insecure and paranoid that their minds will actually create insults when someone might just be making innocent comments about them. This level of paranoia shows how much narcissists truly fear being insulted.

Another thing that narcissists really fear is shame. They really value their place in society, and they like to think that people hold them in high regard. But it’s an interesting point to make that narcissists fear shame, not guilt. Guilt would imply that they feel bad about hurting someone’s feelings, or doing the wrong thing. It’s widely accepted that true narcissists are incapable of feeling these emotions, because they find it impossible to put themselves in other people’s shoes. Shame is much more daunting to narcissists, because this implies them being singled out by their community or friends and given a lower status. People who are shamed are sometimes shunned or even exiled from a society. Since narcissists value their pride and their standing in society so dearly, tasting the bitter feeling of shame and a wounded ego can be one of the most dreaded experiences for them.

Lack Of Admiration From Others
Narcissists feed heavily on the admiration of others. Without other people, they are nothing. That’s why one of the biggest fears for narcissists is the complete lack of admiration from others. This is not quite as feared as being shamed by others, but it’s very close. Some people don’t mind feeling like they’re invisible. They’re totally okay with walking down the hallways or the street with no one paying them any attention. But for narcissists, even the thought of this happening is like a nightmare to them. It’s that feeling of total irrelevance and unimportance that frightens narcissists so much. Because of this, they will often try very hard to put themselves in important roles (imagined or otherwise) in society, in order to avoid this much-feared fate. Admiration from others is the source of a narcissist’s power in their mind, and without it they are nothing. It’s this lack of power that frightens narcissists so much.

Getting Called Out On Their Lies
Narcissists are famous for lying or exaggerating certain things to make themselves appear more important or impressive. They also do this to make themselves feel better about their own standing in society. So it’s only logical that one of narcissists’ greatest fears is having those lies and exaggerations exposed. It’s not just that getting called out would bring them shame, or show them as less than what they are – it’s the fact that it reveals to the world how weak and insecure they really are. It brings their whole fake world crashing down around them, and as already stated, narcissists think the world revolves around them. And while they are spinning their lies and exaggerations about their own accomplishments, part of them knows deep down that they’re stretching the truth. And from the minute they start telling these lies, they become incredibly paranoid about the fact that someone might one day uncover them.

Not Being In Important Positions
Another major fear of narcissists is that they aren’t important. One of the key characteristics of narcissists is that they relentlessly pursue positions of power and influence. That’s why so many tyrants and leaders were (and are) narcissists. But you can see these characteristics all the way down to the high school level, where narcissists can be seen coldly pursuing an election campaign for class president. But it’s more than just a popularity contest for narcissists. It’s a power contest. And power is incredibly important for these people. Narcissists are also famous for being incredibly competitive. They want to win and be the best, and being the leader or the boss is their ultimate victory. Another interesting characteristic of narcissists is the fact that they seem to want recognition or admiration without any actual accomplishments or achievements. They seem to think they deserve power because they were destined for it. Interestingly, this is very similar to what ancient kings and pharaohs believed; that they were given the right to rule by god, not by personal accomplishment.

Feeling Remorse
Another key characteristic of narcissism is the incapacity to feel remorse. It’s not just that they can’t feel remorse, it’s that they actively refuse to show remorse. This fierce rejection of the very notion of feeling bad about hurting others is indicative of a very deep fear. It’s a total denial of remorse. And why do they fear remorse so much? It’s simple. To them, remorse is a characteristic of weakness. Remorse, to them, shows vulnerability and emotional frailty. And to feel remorse is to open yourself up to that weakness. Remorse is also in its basest form the acceptance that you have made a mistake. And for proud and haughty individuals such as narcissists, this can be unthinkable. More than that – it can be a major source of fear. Remorse is also a way of apologizing, and this is also unthinkable for self-aggrandizing people with narcissistic traits.

Feeling Gratitude
Another feeling that these people reject and fear is gratitude. Gratitude, like remorse, is another emotion that is perceived as a sign of weakness by people who are narcissistic. To these people, gratitude is in a sense giving other people power over yourself. It’s the acceptance that you owe something to someone. It also forces you to come to terms with the fact that you might have needed someone else’s help. To narcissistic people, they think of themselves as these all-powerful beings that rise far above others in superiority. The acceptance that someone else did something valuable for them brings them crashing back down to earth. The notion that someone else gave them something they needed not only puts them on the same level as others, it also makes them feel like they’re weaker, or lower down on the social ladder. And this is one of narcissistic people’s greatest fears.

Death is something that a lot of people don’t want to address or confront, not just narcissistic personalities. But for narcissists, death can be a huge source of fear. Think about it. Narcissists think of themselves as these all-powerful, all-knowing superior beings. And death is the ultimate destroyer of the even the most powerful people. There is no getting around it. You’re going to die. And this puts narcissists on exactly the same playing field as everyone else. We are all equal, because we’re all mortal. This can be a difficult pill for narcissists to swallow. It means that for all their lies and exaggerations, pursuit of important positions, and general haughty behavior, all will be reduced to nothing when their death finally comes. This means that all of this narcissistic behavior was pointless. Death is a major fear for narcissists, and it’s something they often refuse to even accept.

This Article Was Originally Published In psych2go

Gaslighting: 5 Signs Of Emotional Abuse And Manipulation

Gaslighting is a psychological phenomenon where a gaslighter manipulates their victim to the point that they question their own sanity. Gaslighting at its core is a form of emotional abuse that slowly cracks down their victim’s ability to make sound judgment. In a sense, gaslighting warps a victim’s reality by bending their memory and perception of events.

“Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over, but had me believing it was always something that I’d done”- Gotye. Somebody that I Used to Know

Anyone can be a victim of gaslighting. It is commonly observed in abusive family relationships, romantic relationship, toxic friendship and even professional relationship. Abuse isn’t just limited to physical, that is why it is important to determine the type of relationship you have to avoid future problems. Because even though the relationship is over the after effects of trauma will still persist.

Here are 5 signs of Gaslighting:

  1. 1. They blatantly lie
    Gaslighters are charming individuals. They exude confidence and assertiveness, and they speak with compassion that makes everything they say believable. However, when you confront them with a truth and have evidence to back it up, they will blatantly lie to your face to disprove your claim. They will do anything to make you believe that they are right and you are not. Gaslighters are not above using your own fears and insecurities against you just to make a point.

  1. 2. They make you feel doubtful about yourself
    Masters of twisting words and ideas, gaslighters feed on the inner doubt of their victims. Gaslighters will claim to know you better than yourself. They will take every opportunity to know more about your likes, dislikes, fears and aspirations. And once they have enough to hold over your head, they will use the information they know about you to make sure that they have control over you including your fears and things that you consider important.

  1. 3. They will question your sanity
    It may seem that gaslighters have selective amnesia. In fact, this is a common technique used by gaslighters to make you question your own memory and perception. Gaslighters will often make promises and then claim there were never any promises made to begin with. In arguments, they will counter and deflect valid points and assert that they are right all the time. They will attack your idea in a way that makes you question your own argument. They will tell you that you are overreacting, being too sensitive or you’re being hormonal when you’re anything but. Overtime, this will shift your mindset and you will begin to accept that they are right even if they are not.

  1. 4. They will blame you and make you do things you don’t want to
    They often have vices including drugs and infidelity. However, they will deny having them and in turn, they will accuse you of doing them. They may come out as paranoid and protective but at its core, gaslighters are projecting their wrong doings to you so that you will be distracted from seeing their behavior. Furthermore, they will make you do things you don’t normally do such as lying to your friends. For some, the brainwashing is already too great that they fail to see the wrongness of their actions because all they want is to please their abuser.

  1. 5. They will silence and isolate you
    The gaslighters will do everything they can to hold on to the power they have over you. Consequently, they will go out of their way to make sure that everyone thinks that you’re crazy to discredit your please of help and think of you as a liar. Gaslighters will also aligning everyone against you while gaslighters making you believe that everyone else cannot be trusted. As a result, this makes the gaslighter the center of your reality where they can do no wrong and their word is law.

Just like any psychological abuse, the scars from the trauma after leaving an abusive relationship is oftentimes long lasting. This is the reason why some people have trust issues. Some people will have difficulties adjusting to the environment and will be distrustful of people around them. That is why if you think that you are a victim of gaslighting or any abuse in general, seek help immediately.

This Article Was Originally Published In psych2go

Toxic Mothers Don't Deserve Your Time On Mother's Day

Who doesn't want to be close to their mother, especially on Mother's Day? But for thousands, it's just not possible. Being with Mom hurts too much. Her "love" is toxic. It causes too much emotional pain. No time is this more controversial and guilt-inducing than on Mother's Day.

Does she fake heart attacks and cancers to bend you to her will?

How Do I Know if Mom is Toxic?
Does your stomach clench when her number pops up on your caller ID? Do you grimace and roll your eyes when her voice whines from your voicemail?

Does her impending visit fill you with dread? Do you clean like a fiend before her "white glove" test? Do you pick stupid fights with your spouse as a passive/aggressive way to relieve the stress of being obliged to visit Mom? Do you put on a smiley act around her, but heave a sigh of relief when she leaves? Do you need time alone to recover from spending time with her?

Do you teach your children to "play dumb" or lie when she asks them intrusive questions? Do you interrogate them after a visit to see what private information Grandma tricked them into revealing?
Do you find yourself screaming in the privacy of your car or basement when she visits but not know why? Do you get headaches when she's around, but blame it on her perfume?

Do you pretend you're not home when she knocks on your door? Has she summoned the sheriff to do a "welfare check" when you ignored her knock?

Does she fake heart attacks and cancers to bend you to her will? Does she create dramas to steal the attention during weddings, parties and family get-togethers?

Those are clues!

The Mother/Child Bond
There's somethin' so special about that mother/child bond. It's like no other. William Thackeray said, "Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children."

Ain't that the truth!

If you had that special relationship with your mom, it's precious to you. If you didn't, you miss it and wish you'd had it.

But sometimes, something goes wrong with that bond.

Motherly Love?
Unfortunately, sometimes love turns toxic. Just think about Mrs. Wolowitz on The Big Bang Theory. Does she love Howard, her little bubbala?

Yeah, she does!

But her "love" nearly squashed his dreams, ruined his life and has made his new marriage to Bernadette so much more difficult than it needed to be.

That's what I mean by a toxic love!

A woman with a selfish agenda can exploit her motherhood to get away with anything. Motherly love is the perfect smokescreen for abuse.

No Excuse!
For some reason, motherhood has attained a sacred status in our collective psyche. Mothers can do no wrong. Mothers can get away with anything. A woman with a selfish agenda can exploit her motherhood to get away with anything.


Motherly love is the perfect smokescreen for abuse. She can pretty much do anything to her kids, as long as she brainwashes them to believe that she's doing it from love for their own good. And if the lovey-dovey brainwashing doesn't bend them to her will, turning on the tears and giving them the silent treatment works, too. It's called "false guilt."

Sibling Conundrum
Just because your siblings think Mom is wonderful doesn't mean you had the same "wonderful" mothering they experienced. Ever heard the terms "golden child" and "scapegoat?" For some reason, in some families, the parents assign these roles to their kids. I said assigned. These roles aren't necessarily earned.

So, yeah, if you're the scapegoat, Mom wasn't an angel to you. But she may have been angelic to your "golden child" sibling(s). And now, they're on her side and she sics them on you every time you defy her iron will. It's a dynamic called "flying monkeys."

Face It!
Just because a woman may have come from a dysfunctional family doesn't give her the right to perpetuate the abuse. Just because a woman gave birth to you and raised you doesn't mean she's has the right to ruin the rest of your life. She may simper and coo, hug and kiss, but she doesn't own you!

Face it! The woman has almost single-handedly ruined your life. She's behind much of the conflict in your marriage. And now, she's trying to get her claws into your kids.

Are you gonna stand for that!?

Kick False Guilt in the Balls
What've you got to feel guilty about!?! She worked hard at alienating you. Let her rally the flying monkeys against you. Let her sob into her decaf and, like Mrs. Wolowitz, tell everyone "what a horrible son [or daughter] you are."

She deserves to be alone for Mother's Day, 'cause motherhood doesn't sanctify abuse.

This Article Was Originally Published In huffingtonpost

10 Signs Of A Narcissistic Parent

“If my son doesn’t grow up to be a professional baseball player, I’ll shoot ‘em!”
― Anonymous narcissist father

“Aren’t you beautiful? Aren’t you beautiful? You’re going to be just as pretty as mommy!”
― Anonymous narcissist mother

“My father’s favorite responses to my views were: ‘but…,’ ‘actually…,’ and ‘there’s more to it than this…’ He always has to feel like he knows better.”
― Anonymous

A narcissistic parent can be defined as someone who lives through, is possessive of, and/or engages in marginalizing competition with the offspring. Typically, the narcissistic parent perceives the independence of a child (including adult children) as a threat, and coerces the offspring to exist in the parent’s shadow, with unreasonable expectations. In a narcissistic parenting relationship, the child is rarely loved just for being herself or himself.

Numerous studies have been conducted on the subject of narcissistic parenting and its impact on offspring.(1)(2)(3)(4)(5)(6) It's important to distinguish certain parent-centric tendencies from chronic narcissistic parenting. Many parents want to show off their children, have high expectations, may be firm at times (such as when a child is behaving destructively), and desire their offspring to make them proud. None of these traits alone constitute pathological narcissism. What distinguishes the narcissistic parent is a pervasive tendency to deny the offspring, even as an adult, a sense of independent self-hood. The offspring exists merely to serve the selfish needs and machinations of the parent(s).

How do you know when a parent may be narcissistic? The following are ten telltale signs, with references to my book (click on title): “How to Successfully Handle Narcissists”. While some parents may exhibit a few of the following traits at one time or another, which might not be a major issue, a pathologically narcissistic parent tends to dwell habitually in several of the following personas, while remaining largely unaware of (or unconcerned with) how these behaviors affect one’s offspring.*

1.  Uses/Lives Through One’s Child 
Most parents want their children to succeed. Some narcissistic parents, however, set expectations not for the benefit of the child, but for the fulfillment of their own selfish needs and dreams. Instead of raising a child whose own thoughts, emotions, and goals are nurtured and valued, the offspring becomes a mere extension of the parent’s personal wishes, with the child’s individuality diminished.

“My mom used to love dolling me up in cute dresses, even though I was a tomboy by nature. I think she felt that when I received compliments for my appearance, she looked good in reflection. It boosted her self-worth.”  
― Anonymous

“You have opportunities I’ve never had…After you become a doctor you can do as you please. Until then you do as I say!” 
― Father to son in “Dead Poets Society”

2.  Marginalization
Some narcissistic parents are threatened by their offspring’s potential, promise, and success, as they challenge the parent’s self-esteem. Consequently, a narcissistic mother or father might make a concerted effort to put the child down, so the parent remains superior. Examples of this type of competitive marginalization includes nit-picking, unreasonable judgment and criticisms, unfavorable comparisons, invalidation of positive attitudes and emotions, and rejection of success and accomplishments.

The common themes through these put downs are: “There’s always something wrong with you,” and “You’ll never be good enough.” By lowering the offspring’s confidence, the narcissistic parent gets to boost her or his own insecure self-worth.

“I pleaded with my mother on the phone for the lab fee of my college science class. She finally agreed to pay, but only after saying that it was a waste of money on me.”
― Anonymous

3.  Grandiosity & Superiority
Many narcissistic parents have a falsely inflated self-image, with a conceited sense about who they are and what they do. Often, individuals around the narcissist are not treated as human beings, but merely tools (objects) to be used for personal gain. Some children of narcissistic parents are objectified in the same manner, while others are taught to possess the same, forged superiority complex: “We’re better than they are.” This sense of grandiose entitlement, however, is almost exclusively based on superficial, egotistical, and material trappings, attained at the expense of one’s humanity, conscientiousness, and relatedness. One becomes more “superior” by being less human.

4.  Superficial Image
Closely related to grandiosity, many narcissistic parents love to show others how “special” they are. They enjoy publically parading what they consider their superior dispositions, be it material possessions, physical appearance, projects and accomplishments, background and membership, contacts in high places, and/or trophy spouse and offspring. They go out of their way to seek ego-boosting attention and flattery. 

For some narcissistic parents, social networking is a wonderland where they regularly advertise how wonderful and envy-worthy their lives are. The underlying messages may be: “I am/my life is so special and interesting,” and “Look at ME – I have what you don’t have!”

“What my mother displays in public and how she really is are very different.”
― Anonymous

5.  Manipulation
Common examples of narcissistic parenting manipulation include:

Guilt trip: “I’ve done everything for you and you’re so ungrateful.”
Blaming: “It’s your fault that I’m not happy.”
Shaming: “Your poor performance is an embarrassment to the family.”
Negative comparison: “Why can’t you be as good as your brother?”
Unreasonable pressure: “You WILL perform at your best to make me proud.”
Manipulative reward and punishment: “If you don’t pursue the college major I chose for you, I will cut off my support.”
Emotional coercion: “You’re not a good daughter/son unless you measure up to my expectations.”

A common theme running through these forms of manipulation is that love is given as a conditional reward, rather than the natural expression of healthy parenting. On the other hand, the withholding of love is used as threat and punishment.

6.  Inflexible and Touchy
Certain narcissistic parents are highly rigid when it comes to the expected behaviors of their children. They regulate their offspring on minor details, and can become upset when there’s deviation. Some narcissistic parents are also touchy and easily triggered. Reasons for irritation towards an offspring can vary greatly, from the child’s lack of attention and obedience, to perceived faults and shortcomings, to being in the presence of the parent at the wrong time, et cetera.

One reason for the parent’s inflexibility and touchiness is the desire to control the child. The narcissist responds negatively and disproportionally when she or he sees that the offspring will not always be pulled by the strings.

“I hate it when you put groceries on the checkout counter that way. I told you before I HATE it!”
― Mother to daughter at supermarket

7.  Lack of Empathy
One of the most common manifestations of a narcissistic father or mother is the inability to be mindful of the child’s own thoughts and feelings, and validate them as real and important. Only what the parent thinks and feels matters.

Children under this type of parental influence over time may respond with one of three survival instincts: They may Fight back and stand-up for themselves. They may Flight and distance from their parent(s). Some may begin to Freeze and substitute their invalidated real self with a false persona (playing a role), thus adopting traits of narcissism themselves.

8.  Dependency/Codependency
Some narcissistic parents expect their children to take care of them for the rest of their lives. This type of dependency can be emotional, physical, and/or financial. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with taking care of older parents – it’s an admirable trait – the narcissistic parent typically manipulates an offspring into making unreasonable sacrifices, with little regard for the offspring’s own priorities and needs.

“My mom (a single parent in her late 30’s) expects me to support her financially on an on-going basis. She says that she can’t live without me.”
― Anonymous college student

Some narcissistic parents may also maneuver their adult children into codependency. Psychology professor Shawn Burn defines a codependent relationship as one where “one person’s help supports (enables) the other’s underachievement, irresponsibility, immaturity, addiction, procrastination, or poor mental or physical health.”

9.  Jealousy & Possessiveness
Since a narcissistic mother or father often hopes that the child will permanently dwell under the parent’s influence, she or he may become extremely jealous at any signs of the child’s growing maturity and independence. Any perceived act of individuation and separation, from choosing one’s own academic and career path, to making friends not approved by the parent, to spending time on one’s own priorities, are interpreted negatively and personally (“Why are you doing this to ME?”).

In particular, the appearance of a romantic partner in the adult offspring’s life may be viewed as a major threat, and frequently responded to with rejection, criticism, and/or competition. In the eyes of some narcissistic parents, no romantic partner is ever good enough for their offspring, and no interloper can ever challenge them for dominance of their child.

“How dare that woman take my son away from me. Who does she think she is?”
― Anonymous

10.  Neglect
In some situations, a narcissistic parent may choose to focus primarily on her or his self-absorbing interests, which to the narcissist are more exciting than child-raising. These activities may provide the narcissist the stimulation, validation, and self-importance she or he craves, be it career obsession, social flamboyance, or personal adventures and hobbies. The child is left either to the other parent, or on his or her own.  

“My husband’s an absent father. He’s always off doing something fun for himself, which he prefers to spending time with our child. He’s an extremely selfish person.”
― Anonymous

This Article Was Originally Published In psychologytoday

5 Damaging Lies We Learn From Narcissistic Parents

The effects of childhood trauma, including emotional neglect or abuse in childhood, can have alarmingly potent effects on our psyche as we enter adulthood, even to the extent of rewiring the brain (van der Kolk, 2016). The children of narcissistic parents, those who meet the diagnostic criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder, know this all too well, having been raised by someone with a limited capacity for empathy and an excessive sense of grandiosity, false superiority and entitlement (Ni, 2016). Children of narcissistic parents are programmed at an early age to seek validation where there is none, to believe their worthiness is tied to the reputation of their families, and to internalize the message that they can only sustain their value by how well they can ‘serve’ the needs of their parents. They have lived an existence where love was rarely ever unconditional, if given at all.

This is not to say that childhood survivors of narcissistic abuse cannot rise above their childhood conditioning; in fact, they can be stronger survivors and thrivers as a result of the resilience they are capable of developing and the ways in which they channel their traumas into transformation (Bussey and Wise, 2007). It takes real inner work and bravery to unravel the traumas that we’ve had to endure as children as well as address any retraumatization as adults. Being able to understand our relationship and behavioral patterns, as well as any negative self-talk that has arisen as a result of the abuse, can be revolutionary in challenging the myths and falsehoods we’ve been fed about our worth and capabilities.

As children of narcissistic parents, we often learn the following from a very young age:

1) Your worth is always dependent on conditional circumstances. As the child of a narcissistic parent or parents, you were taught that you were not inherently worthy, but rather that your worth depended on what you could do for the narcissistic parent and how compliant you were. The emphasis on appearance, status, reputation is at an all-time high in households with a narcissistic parent. Due to the narcissistic parent’s grandiosity, false mask and need to be the best, you were probably part of a family that was ‘presented’ in the best possible light, with abuse taking place behind closed doors.

Within the home was a different story than the one presented to the public: you may have witnessed the horrific dynamics of seeing one parent verbally or even physically abuse the other, been subjected to the abuse yourself, and/or experienced both parents working together to undercut you and your siblings. If you ever dared to threaten the perfect false image or did anything to speak out about the abuse, you were most likely punished. The emotional and psychological battery children of narcissistic parents endure when going against the expectations and beliefs of the family can be incredibly damaging and have life-long effects on their self-image, their agency and their faith in themselves. They are taught that they are not independent agents, but rather objects that are here to serve the narcissistic parent’s ego and selfish agendas.

2) You need to be perfect and successful, but you should never be rewarded for it or feel ‘enough.’ Narcissists are masters of moving the goal posts so that nothing their victims do is ever enough. As childhood abuse survivors, we are no exception to that rule. Our accomplishments are rarely acknowledged unless they meet an arbitrary criteria for “what looks best to society,” or confirms the narcissistic parent’s own grandiose fantasies. Our abusive parent is never genuinely proud of us unless he or she can claim credit for that particular success. Some narcissistic parents can even envy or look down upon the success of their children, especially if that success enables that child to become independent of their parents, outside of their realm of power and control.

It is not uncommon for these types of parents to attempt to sabotage the success and happiness of their children if that success interferes at all with their grandiose self-image, their own ideas of what ‘happiness’ should entail (usually whatever makes them look good rather than what makes their children feel good) or their compulsion to micromanage and control every facet of their children’s lives.

In the sick mind of the narcissistic parent, it would be better if their children did not exist, rather than unable to do their bidding and ‘perform’ the identity that the parent wishes their children to embody or achieves the exact goals they want their children to achieve. Even if they were the perfect daughters or sons, the goal posts would again shift and their level of perfection would still never be good enough in the eyes of the narcissistic parent.

3) There is always someone better, and you must beat them – starting with your own siblings. Children of narcissistic parents are often turned against their siblings in a competition to vie for the affection and love they always craved but never received. Narcissistic parents are well-known for ‘triangulating’ children against one another as an attempt to unnecessarily compare them, demean them and feed their own sense of power and control over their children.

Usually there is a golden child and a scapegoat, and sometimes the roles are reversed depending on what the narcissistic parent needs to meet their agenda (McBride, 2011). Scapegoated rebel children are often truth-seekers who desire an authentic connection with their family members, but fail to remain silent about the abuse that occurs when they do not meet the absurd expectations of their parents. The golden child, on the other hand, is usually lauded as the ‘standard,’ but this too can quickly take a turn should the golden child ever exercise his or her agency and do something outside of the parent’s control. We are taught at a very young age that we will never be good enough, that we must always compare ourselves to others, and fail to acknowledge our inherent worthiness and value.

As adults, we learn that we do not have to compete with anyone in order to be worthy or valuable, nor do we have to necessarily be the best at everything. Cultivating a sense of unconditional self-love, as well as an appreciation of our unique skills and abilities, can go a long way in combating these harmful internalizations from abuse and replacing them with a healthy level of pride and self-sufficiency.

4) Contempt is a part of love and ‘normal’ in a relationship. Narcissistic parents can subject their children to periods of idealization when they need them, quickly followed by contempt and terrifying narcissistic rage when they ‘disobey’ and threaten their excessive sense of entitlement (Goulston, 2012). The condescension, contempt and hatred with which a narcissistic parent uses to berate their children is not only immensely hurtful, it retrains the mind into accepting abuse as a new normal (Streep, 2016).

This pattern of idealization and devaluation teaches us that love is unstable, frightening, and ultimately unpredictable. It causes us to walk on eggshells, fearful that we may displease others. It also desensitizes us and makes us tone-deaf to verbal abuse later on in adulthood (Streep, 2016). Although we may learn to identify emotional and verbal abuse, we will be less likely than someone who had a healthy upbringing to recognize how damaging it can be or how unacceptable it truly is, because it unfortunately is ‘familiar’ to us as the only version of love we’ve been shown. We may become ‘trauma bonded’ to our abusive parents and more prone to bonding with abusive partners in adulthood as a result (Carnes, 1997). We may even go to the other end of the spectrum and shut out anyone who resembles our parents in tone or attitude – some of this may be hypervigilance, but much of it is self-protection and intuition about the behaviors that have traumatized us in the past.

Children of narcissistic parents can re-sensitize themselves to the fact that abuse is not a normal or healthy part of any relationship by addressing their people-pleasing habits, doing important boundary work, and replacing old narratives of unworthiness with empowering ones about the type of love and respect they truly deserve. They can essentially ‘reparent’ themselves in a safe, protective space (Walker, 2013).

5) Your emotions are not valid. Narcissistic parents, much like narcissistic abusers in relationships, pathologize and invalidate our emotions to the point where we are left voiceless. We are not allowed to feel, so we end up going to extremes: we either become repressed and numb or we become rebel children who ‘feel’ too much, too soon. Our emotions become overwhelming either way, because our grief is not processed in a healthy way, starting from childhood. In adulthood, we gain the opportunity to validate our own emotions and recognize that what we feel, and have felt all along, is entirely valid. We learn how to process our emotions, our trauma, and the grief of being unloved as children and adolescents. We learn that we have opportunities to detach from our abusive parents, whether it be through Low Contact (minimum contact only when necessary) or No Contact at all. We experiment with using our agency to separate ourselves from the identity erosion that has occurred in our childhoods. We learn to separate the narcissistic parent’s harmful beliefs about us and our own burgeoning faith. Most of all, we learn that it is okay to believe in ourselves and to welcome good things into our lives. We learn that we are deserving of all that is good.

It is important to remember that as children of narcissistic parents, we carry the legacy of our wounds, but that these wounds can become portals to deeper and richer healing. We do not have to burden the next generation with our wounding, but rather use it as a way to nurture and validate future generations. We have options as to how we can channel this trauma for our own growth, rather than our destruction. These wounds cannot heal if they are not addressed or if we refuse to be awake; at the same time, our timeline for healing will be unique and our journey cannot be compared to that of others. Self-awareness and self-compassion is needed more than ever.

As children of narcissistic parents, we have to learn to protect ourselves from further abuse and set up a plan to better engage in self-care. Falsehoods about parents always being loving and having our best interests at heart simply do not cut it when it comes to manipulative, toxic and abusive parents. These parents are incapable of empathy and are likely to ‘hoover’ you back only when they need to use you as a source of narcissistic supply (Schneider, 2015). We must allow ourselves to grieve for the loss of our childhood and embrace the truth that our parents may have never loved us, or wanted the best for us, but that we can ‘reparent’ ourselves the best ways we know how – through empathy, compassion, self-acceptance and self-love. Make no mistake: when you are the child of a narcissistic parent, the idea that you never deserved this love, is perhaps the biggest lie of all.

This Article Was Originally Published In huffingtonpost

22 Stages of Relationship Between An Empath and A Narcissist…

1. The empath gets attracted to a narcissist. Their relationship starts. Empath loves deeply and unconditionally. They feel emotionally fulfilled even though the narcissist plays no role to develop a stronger bond. The empath feels satisfied and thinks their love is reciprocated just by being around the narcissist.

2. The empath gets the false notion that they have finally met the kind of love that people don’t find even once. Narcissist affirms this by creating an illusion that leads the empath to believe that what they have is special. The empath feels a deep bond that is almost impossible to break free.

3. Sometimes it appears that the narcissist wants this relationship as much as the empath. Actually, what they want is someone who invests their time, energy and love and is in their complete control.

4. As the time will pass, the narcissist will make the empath feel weak, unconfident, and bereft of the abilities to do even the simple things. The narcissist will never launch an open attack, but use statements like “don’t want to hurt you but…” to point out some shortcoming. They will try to take over anything which symbolizes control such as handling bills or making decisions about purchases. The empathy will be looked down upon for their interests and many such things that form their identity. Gradually, the empath starts to believe that they are less capable and they “need” someone like the person in their life. They get the notion no one would want them.

5. For an empath, this relationship will be everything as they are the ones who are in love. Out of love, they would always want to soothe and cheer the narcissist, talk to them, help them and do whatever it makes them feel good. The narcissists project themselves as the victim of their past, their relationships, and the circumstances. The empaths are givers; they try to make up for all the unfortunate things that have ever happened to the narcissist.

6. The empath has a good and a clear heart and cannot imagine the deep and unresolved wounds of the narcissist are not the same as their own. Healing those wounds is different from their own.

7. The relationship is all about the narcissist. The empath realizes this slowly, and a time comes when they feel afraid to talk or fight for their needs and desires. In their attempt to please they don’t want to voice their true needs. They would rather be likable than give any reason to be disliked. But, secretly they are not too happy.

8. The more devotion, love, care, affection, and effort the empath puts into the relationship, the narcissist feels completely in control over the relationship. The empath literally dances to the tune of the narcissist. As long as the empath continues to appease the narcissist, it’s impossible to detect any problem in the relationship. The problem occurs when the empath finally reaches the breaking point.

9. Finally, the empath raises a voice because they can no longer keep up with the suppressing ways of the narcissist. Day after day their emotional needs remain unfulfilled. This happens because from the beginning of the relationship they have believed their partner’s emotional needs are all that matters. When they finally understand their well-being also matters, and speak out, they seem selfish. The narcissist does not like it. 

10. The narcissist is an attention seeker. They get satisfaction when people fuss around them. Their needs can never be met, they can never be satisfied. They may move to other partners, open a new business, travel around the world, get involved in new creative pursuits, and so on and so forth, but they will never be happy. The empath isn’t aware of this fact.

11. When the empath finally bursts out something like “My feelings also matter,” the narcissist is quick to call the empath “crazy”. They call them over-dramatic and their concerns unfounded. This kind of dismissive behavior is the tactics used by them to gain control over the empath’s mind.

12. The empath gets confused. Why they have meted out such behavior, is beyond their understanding. They start blaming themselves and wonder if they are at all worthy of being loved by anyone at all. mesothelioma  attorney and Asbestos Attorney

13. At this point, the empath is not able to understand that they are just being manipulated. Their partner has bent everything around them to create a twisted view of the circumstances. There can be anything around them to let them know the truth that they are the one who is “right” and it’s their partner who is tremendously “wrong” and wicked.

14. The empath will try to communicate with the narcissist in all truthfulness. The narcissist will, however, justify their behavior and pass the blame.

15. It is normal to feel lost, confused and hurt. But despite all the heart-break, the empath will need to be calm and do some self-evaluation to figure out how they became so defenseless. This is how they will start transforming.

16. The empath will know that they are by nature healers. They have the inner strength to help others in the right ways, sometimes as a duty and sometimes when life brings them to such situations. mesothelioma  attorney and Asbestos Attorney

17. The empath has to realize the bitter truth that not everyone deserves their love, care, and affection. Not everyone who seems distressed and unhappy is revealing their true self. There are some people who have sinister motives and have a very different outlook towards relationships and people than they do. Not everyone they fall in love with can be trusted so quickly.

18. In this situation, the empath must realize that they too are in a very bad situation something of which the narcissist in their life always spoke of. But, in their case, it would be different. They would make positive efforts and heal themselves. The narcissist will not.

19. For empath this will be a painful awakening. They will learn from the experience to move ahead.

20. The narcissist will continue as if nothing happened and they are completely innocent. They won’t remember for a moment that someone loved them so deeply and intensely. They won’t remember the powerful bond they once had with someone and just move on to find it somewhere else. A time will come when they will know they can neither connect with themselves nor with other people.

21. The narcissist will move on. In time they will find another victim.

22. The empath will be stronger, wiser and be more cautious about who they time, affection and love. 

This Article Was Originally Published In dailysecrets