Learning how to understand and make peace with your childhood is one of the most healing and empowering experiences you could ever go through. As the son of a drug-addicted narcissistic mother and totally absent father, I know how important it is to come to terms with things narcissistic mothers say or their mental illness.
When we were children, we looked up to our parents for support, encouragement, nurturing and love. But when we were denied these things, we developed a variety of beliefs, behavioral patterns, and coping mechanisms to help us survive in such a difficult environment. As adults, we often play out these same coping mechanisms, often to our own detriment.
The thing about being the child of a narcissistic mother and/or father is that it often contributes to something known in shamanic terminology as soul loss. Soul loss is the inability to contact or experience our souls due to the unresolved wounds, traumas, and fears we’ve accumulated over the years.
The first step in healing this soul loss is to be willing to explore what you went through as a child. This process of exploring the narcissistic actions of your parent isn’t done to condemn them or to victimize yourself. Instead, this process is done to help you understand the root cause of any pain you’re still experiencing, to learn how to release it, and to move on with your life. This becomes a strengthening and rejuvenating process.
19 Signs You Had a Narcissistic Mother and/or Father
The thing about having a narcissistic mother and/or father is that you have been taught to believe that you are the crazy and imbalanced one, instead of them. This causes you to constantly doubt yourself and any feelings you have about them.
Another major sign of being raised by a narcissist is the constant guilt you struggle with. In other words, while you might suspect that there is something “off” with your parents, you feel ashamed to think about them in such a way, and you tend to start beating yourself up instead.
But there is a very good reason why you’ve come to this article. And while you may still have lingering doubts, I hope the following information can clear your mind.
Firstly, you should know that there are two main kinds of narcissists:
- Engulfing Narcissists — these are parents who see their children as extensions of themselves. In other words, engulfing narcissistic parents become obsessively involved in your life to an extreme extent. They don’t respect your boundaries or acknowledge you as a separate person.
- Ignoring Narcissists — these are parents who have very little interest in their children. Ignoring narcissists clearly see the boundary between themselves and their children. As a result, they neglect to take care of their children or show an active interest in their lives.
Depending on what type of narcissistic parent you have, you’ll struggle with slightly different (but similar) issues.
How does a narcissistic mother or father behave?
Here are some of the main signs:
- They tried to control you through codependency
- They laid on the guilt thick
- They only loved you when you did what THEY wanted
- They liked to “get even” with you
- They never respected your boundaries
- They competed with you
- They “owned” your accomplishments
- They constantly lied to you
- They never listened to (or cared) about your feelings
- They constantly insulted you
- They exerted explicit control over you
- They gaslighted you
- They “parentified” you
- They had a “favorite” or “golden” child
- They reacted intensely to any form of criticism
- They projected their bad behavior onto you
- They never displayed any empathy
- They were infallibly correct and never wrong
- They liked to present a perfect family image to outsiders
Keep in mind that there’s a difference between narcissistic behavior (which only comes out every now and then) and narcissism. We all have a tendency to be narcissistic given the right circumstances (such as high stress). But narcissism is ongoing, chronic, and pathological.