You’re not alone if you grew up in a narcissistic family. In fact, many families like this think they’re normal.
I really hate the subject of dysfunctional families because it makes me think of all the damage passed down to the children. I lived in a dysfunctional family, maybe not the worst, and maybe not a narcissistic family, but it wasn’t normal, I can tell you that.
At times, I do believe my father had narcissistic tendencies, but he’s been gone for so long, and I’ve tried so hard to forget, that I cant remember…
What is a narcissistic family?
Living in a narcissistic family means one or more of your family members has a narcissistic personality disorder. Sometimes the entire family is like this. There are moments of abuse, moments of neglect, and then times when you swear you’re experiencing both at the same time.
There are comparisons, insults, and lies. Most children sit and dream about how great it will be when they manage to get out of the home by graduation or some other opportunity. The sad news is that living with a narcissistic family sometimes means life lasting effects.
Sometimes the bad things follow
1. Low self-esteem
Can you imagine just how low self-esteem can get when being raised by a family stricken with narcissism? Well, if you have low self-esteem, think back on your childhood and try to remember how you were treated. Did you get enough attention, were you protected and cared for in both the public eye and in private?
Was the abuse in many forms, including emotional and verbal? Well, if so, and you have low self-esteem, then you’ve made your connection. Unless corrected and you realize your worth, you could endure a lifetime of feeling bad about yourself.
2. Repeat narcissistic behavior
Many adult children of narcissistic parents grow up to have families that function in the same way. If not the whole family, then the adult child of the narcissist will exhibit quite a few of the same characteristics. You see, abuse patterns are real.
You can either learn and turn away from what was done to you, or you can fall into the same pattern and commit the same crimes against your family and friends. It all depends on whether you get help and learn to heal, or you just assume that narcissistic behavior is normal.
I’ve talked about echoism before, and it wasn’t an easy subject. Mainly because it was the first time I’ve ever heard of the word. But when someone is shadowed by another person, say a narcissistic abuser, they become more or less an echoist.
They are quiet, usually, have low self-worth, give too much of themselves, and refuse help in return. In some families of narcissists, echoists come from scapegoats. A scapegoat is a member of the family who gets all the blame for the things that go wrong. As they grow up, they take on traits of echoism because it just makes sense to them.
Military combat is horrific sometimes, causing many soldiers to come home with nightmares and erratic behavior. I honor their sacrifices in the losses they endure. They often suffer from PTSD. There are others who also suffer from PTSD.
No, they may not leave the country and go fight in a war, but the war goes on within their families and their minds. You can suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome in many ways, especially in the aftermath of being raised by a narcissistic based family.
You see, the abuse you endured, because it lasted for many years, will often remain with you for many more years to come, making you scared of some things that other people may feel is ordinary. These are called triggers. They can startle and send some people into panic mode.
5. Insecure attachment
Narcissism in families tends to trickle down into children who grow up to have insecure attachments. These adults who endured toxic treatment as a child will be unable to have a normal dependent/independent balance. They will either be too clingy or will avoid everyone.
They’re confused because they really don’t know if they are accepted, wanted or loved. Rejection is their worst fear, mainly because many of them were rejected as children.
6. Unhealthy relationships
Adult children of narcissistic families, especially older adults, will find themselves dealing with unhealthy relationships. This doesn’t only apply to intimate relationships, oh no. Sometimes this can mean bad relations with brothers, sisters, cousins or friends.
I personally know someone who hasn’t spoken to one of her loved ones because of a disagreement years ago. This type of action shows a repeating narcissistic personality and an inability to have healthy relationships. With adults like this, any disagreement brings a spirit of vengeance.
They usually cannot take any responsibility for actions and are terrible at communication.
Substance abuse runs rampant among adults who had narcissistic upbringing. The pain they endured just won’t go away, and the only way they can stop the pain is by numbing the pain. At least this is what they think. They either drink, do drugs, or become addicted to some other obsession.
This addiction can last a long time and even the rest of their lives. I think addiction is one of the saddest states in the world because of its control over its victims. I’ve watched addicts cry for mercy, wanting to be rid of their disease.
The narcissistic family is so toxic and unhealthy that it has to have someone to look down on, like the scapegoat example. There is abuse. There are neglect and so many other inconsistencies that it’s hard to find a way to survive in such an environment. Once a child grows up and moves away, it’s hard for them to clean the tainted feelings of narcissist behavior from their mindset.
This can often lead to self-sabotage. If something bad isn’t happening to them, they find ways to get into trouble or place themselves in locations much like their home environments. It’s sad, but sometimes your childhood can destroy your life.
Can we break these cycles?
You know what, we can break these patterns of negative behavior. It will probably be one of the most difficult things you’ve ever done. You see, I don’t like lying and saying everything is going to be okay, because sometimes it’s just not, okay.
However, everyone deserves a good life. Think about that for a long time. There are steps like thinking on positive things, surrounding yourself with positive people, practicing spirituality, staying busy, staying away from toxic people and family members, but the most important aspect of this change and improvement is you…your mindset.
You literally have to become a new version of yourself and start over. Then you can add all those positive things I just said. The darkness of your past will keep knocking, it will, but don’t get it confused with the whispers of good friends.
You have to use a bit of intuition to weed out the ones who are good for you and ones who want to lead you back to the dirt of your past.
I do wish you luck, and so much love. It’s hard out there, and more than that…*points toward head* It’s even harder in here.