How I survived being raised by a narcissistic parent

November 7, 2018

I have a narcissist parent.  

With everything in me, I pray this is not your truth. But, if it is I want you to know that you are not alone. What you have endured is not as uncommon as you would think. Many of us share this truth and I would personally like to share my experience with you.

Ultimately, my hope is that you will feel some comfort in the fact that there are ways to overcome this hardship. I also hope that after reading this you will take some steps toward healing. It's no walk in the park, but it can be done. There is hope.

Let's get started... 

I had no idea what a narcissist parent was let alone the damaging effects associated with the relationship. All I knew is that something wasn't right. Everyone else seemed to have an amazing relationship with their parent... why didn't I? It was weird to me.

I tried to talk to my family and friends, but they just did not understand. Honestly, I didn't understand it either. It was frustrating. All I wanted to do was "fix" the relationship. Unfortunately, I had no idea what I was up against.  

My moment of enlightenment

One afternoon, I stumbled upon an article about narcissism. To my surprise, it mirrored my situation almost 100%. Wow… I wasn't loosing my mind. I did feel some comfort in identifying my situation, but it was definitely a hard pill to swallow.  

“This could not be happening to me,” I thought. My parent loves me. This is insane. There has to be another alternative. But, there wasn't. This was my truth.

side note:

There are many websites that address the signs and symptoms of narcissist parents. I've listed them below... But for the sake of time, I'm going to focus this post on surviving narcissism instead of identifying it. Let's grow. 

Here are 3 things that helped me survive being raised by a narcissist parent.  

1. Education | Learning about narcissism

Narcissistic parenting has many damaging affects ranging from chronic self-blame to PTSD. I’ve personally struggled with an aspect referred to as Fierce Independence. In simple terms, I had an extremely difficult time trusting or relying on others. I would not open up emotionally. I would not share my problems. I would not ask for help…. even if I really needed it. I simply didn’t want to be a burden on anyone.

Through education, I learned that this steamed from me being the scapegoat in my narcissistic relationship. I was always the one who received the blame for problems. I was the burden. I was the reason my parent was stressed, depressed, ill or having a bad day. I felt bad about it. I tried my whole life to be exactly what my parent wanted me to be, but I was still the problem. It was inevitable because I was the scapegoat.

While this is just one example, there are many more damaging psychological affects. I encourage you to educate yourself. Find out what is true for you and your personal experience. If you want to go more in-depth, I recommend starting with these articles published in Psychology Today and Lonerwolf:

2. Acceptance | The narcissist parent won't change

For me, this was the most challenging aspect of dealing with my narcissistic parent. I love my parent and I would have given anything to "fix" the relationship. But, after learning about narcissism I had to accept the fact that the circumstances would not change. 

Narcissism is very complex. In my perfect world we could just talk it out, go to counseling and commit to maintaining a healthy relationship. But, the truth is... that fairy tale ending is simply unattainable in narcissistic situations. 

Why? Well, that's where education comes into play. The more you know about narcissism, the easier it will be to understand this concept. That is why it was extremely important for me to educate myself. Also, it became easier to move forward once I entered a space of acceptance.

3. Boundaries | Protect yourself

After learning about narcissism and accepting the grim reality associated with it, I had to assert boundaries. While there are many ways to achieve this, I decided to cease any and all contact. It was my personal decision based on the dynamics of our situation. 

To make a long story short, I knew that I was easily manipulated by my parent. I wanted the relationship so much that I would come running back after every broken promise or false declaration of love. It hurt and I was confused and angry at the same time. I still do not completely understand “why” this happened. However, I do know one thing… I have to protect myself.

So, I left.

What do you all think? Does any of this sound familiar to you? Were you able to take away anything from this post? I would love to know your thoughts and opinions on this sensitive subject. Please leave a comment below!

Thanks for spending this time with me.


Neisha Serene