Narcissists carry much unfinished psychological pain, as evidenced by their exaggerated need for admiration, their illogical attitude of entitlement, their insistence upon controlling others, their pathological defensiveness, and by their penchant for arguing over minutia. They are troubled souls.
If you grew up with a narcissist, their pain was inevitably placed upon you. You were unable at the time to articulate it, but you were needing them to deal with their inner pain so they could offer messages of hope and affirmation.
Instead of offering such messages, though, narcissistic parents are so captivated by their own pain that it defines them and their parenting style. Ignoring logic or common sense, they transfer onto their children the tensions they have never resolved within.
There are a multitude of signs indicating this trend:
Usually narcissistic parents follow one of two patterns: (1) being highly authoritarian or (2) being neglectful, disregarding the child at crucial moments. Often, they are a combination of those patterns. Either way, their influence upon children can last a lifetime. In their later years, those children can predictably struggle with exaggerated defensiveness, trust issues, ineffective anger, rebellion, or strains against another's control.
But here is the good news. If you had a narcissistic parent, you can adjust. It will require much introspection and determination on your part, and you might find it beneficial to seek therapy, but it can happen. You are not required to carry your parents' pain.
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