Living a childhood of constantly being told what to do may sound harmless at first. Who hasn’t been down that road? Yet there is a glaring difference between parents who are overbearing versus those who are narcissistic.
According to Preston Ni, author of “How to Successfully Handle Narcissists” via Psychology Today, a narcissistic parent is one who is defined by “someone who lives through, is possessive of, and/or engages in marginalizing competition with the offspring.” In other words, the parent perceives the independence of their child as a threat to their power. Thus, they force them to exist in their shadow through unreasonable demands.
Being exposed to such manipulation at a ripe age has more detrimental effects on our blueprint than we may realize. Here are a few lasting effects that we may carry on to our adulthood.
Habitually self-defeating thoughts
Because you have heard such negating remarks from your parents year after year, these thoughts are likely to be internalized. Thoughts like, “If I were quieter, calmer, or happier, my mother wouldn’t yell at me, ignore me, or criticize me all the time” continue to spiral into feelings of inadequacy that are incredibly hard to shake.
Fear of taking up too much space
After repeatedly witnessing your parents explode after you express any hint of a request, expressing a need or desire as an adult woman can feel like an act of selfishness. This can also often lead to the dangerous habit of choosing romantic relationships with narcissistic partners.
It can be incredibly difficult as an adult to get over the constant criticism you hear inside your head–-the voice of your parent judging your every move. The narcissistic parent’s fragile sense of self causes them to use their children as scapegoats for their own insecurities. Sadly, we end up believing these negative messages from our upbringing to be true as we second-guess most decisions we make.
Our feelings toward intimacy can result in one of two ways–-we may either flee from emotional intimacy by shutting well-meaning people out of our lives (avoidant attachment) or we may become needy and chase after love, in efforts to pursue the connection we never received (anxious attachment).
Karyl, McBride. Will I Ever be Good Enough?: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers. Simon and Schuster, 2008. Print.