Parental Gaslighting: How Parents Gaslight Their Children And Break Their Hearts

Parental Gaslighting

3. They suffer from a victim complex.

One of the biggest signs of having gaslighting parents is that they suffer from a massive victim complex, and they know exactly how to use it to get their selfish needs met. They are incapable of changing their mindset or acknowledging just how much they have hurt their children and broken their hearts. They have this perception that they can never do anything wrong, it’s always you who misunderstands them and accuses them of vile things.

Narcissistic parents who gaslight their children always see themselves as victims who have always got the rough end of the deal. Even if they do admit to their faults on some rare occasions, they will simply expect you to forgive them because they are your parents and have “raised you” and “taken care of you” their whole lives. Because they lack a sense of self-responsibility and accountability, it’s very easy for them to see themselves as the victim and you, as the insensitive and ungrateful child.

4. They believe they know what’s best for you, more than you.

It’s a natural thing for parents to guide their children on the right path and make them understand what is best for them, and what is not. However, gaslighting parents exploit this sentiment to control their children and their lives. They are never there to love and support you, but when it comes to making decisions about your life and judging your choices, then they are always ready with an ‘open mind’.

For example, if you want to be a veterinarian surgeon because you have always been an ardent animal lover, they will put you down for choosing a less ‘prestigious’ and ‘lucrative’ line of work, and force you to be a ‘real doctor’. If you want to go to therapy because you want to take better care of your mental health, they might discourage you by saying things like “You don’t need therapy. You are fine. People will think you are mad and that’s embarrassing!”.

What you want to do with your life and what will make you happy doesn’t matter to them; the only thing that matters to narcissistic parents is controlling you as much as they can.

Toxic and narcissistic parents
Parental Gaslighting: How Parents Gaslight Their Children And Break Their Hearts

5. They never acknowledge or appreciate your efforts.

They are always very quick to judge you and put you down, but appreciating you for your achievements and hard work? Never in a million years. No matter how much you may achieve in your life, they won’t even crack a smile on their faces, nor will you ever see a hint of pride and happiness in their eyes.

Rather they will try to downplay your accomplishments, by making statements like “You got lucky”, “It’s not that big of a deal, anybody could have done this!”, “You could have done more” and on and on it goes.

You feel emotionally and mentally depleted and completely heartbroken because all you expected from them were a few kind words, and instead got insults and more pain. No matter how hard you try, and how much you accomplish, it will never be good enough in their eyes.

Related: Self-Identifying as an Adult Child of Narcissistic Parents

What Happens When Narcissistic Parents Gaslight Their Children?

When instead of love, parents offer gaslighting, indifference, and abuse to their children, their children grow up believing that they are unlovable. It destroys you emotionally, and you find it hard to recover from it even when you are an adult. It’s not always possible for a child to understand the difference between genuine love and toxic love, so when they get gaslighting from their parents, they internalize it and see it as their truth.

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Alexandra Hall

Hi there! I am someone who is trying to navigate through life, one day at a time. Writing is my passion and my job, and I am happiest when I am writing. I love reading comic books, watching drama movies, playing with my dogs and generally lazing around. An introvert by nature, you can find me in the farthest corner of the room in every party, playing with the dog and having my own party.View Author posts