5. They never respected your boundaries.
There wasn’t any “private” space to call your own growing up. Your parent/s would go through your room and private belongings, without a thought, sometimes even using what they found against you.
6. They competed with you.
If you ever got something nice, they took it from you, or got something nicer to “out-do” you.
7. They “owned” your accomplishments.
Whenever someone complimented your achievements, your parent/s would instantly jump in and shift the attention to themselves. For example, if someone congratulated you for winning a soccer trophy, your parent/s would butt in and say something along the lines of, “Yes, she gets it from me. I was always athletic as a child.” They love the spotlight and frequently stole it from you.
8. They constantly lied to you.
Your parent/s lied to manipulate, control and take advantage of you in some way, shape or form. You never knew what you could trust was “real” or truthful around them, or whether they were setting up a hidden trap for you to fall into.
9. They never listened to (or cared) about your feelings.
You felt that you could never share your feelings with your parent/s because they would either make fun of you, or talk about themselves instead. Somehow, whatever issue you faced as a child was spun into a pity party for them, not you.
10. They constantly insulted you.
Your parent/s berated, demeaned and harassed you on a constant basis. They may have even latched onto an insecurity of yours and used it to humiliate you.
11. They exerted explicit control over you.
In other words, when you didn’t obey them, they would punish you. The message was very clear, “Obey me, or I’ll punish you.” You were punished through emotional or physical abuse including emotional blackmail, hitting or beating.
12. They gaslighted you.
In order to control you, they used a psychological manipulation tactic known as gaslighting. What this means is that they would deliberately make you feel crazy, or cause you to doubt your sanity, in order to gain the upper hand. This led to the development of constant self-doubt during your childhood, adolescence and present life. Read more about gaslighting.
13. They “parentified” you.
As a child, you were expected to “parent” your parent, or behave as a surrogate parent to cater for their needs, instead of them catering to yours.
14. They had a “favorite” or “golden” child.
In your family there was the “golden” child and the “scapegoat” child. In other words, one child was seen as perfect and capable of doing no harm. The other child was seen as the black sheep, and the cause of all issues (this is also known as an identified patient). These roles could have also switched frequently.
15. They reacted intensely to any form of criticism.
Did you ever criticize your mother or father? What was their general reaction? If your mother and/or father was a narcissist, they likely reacted in an extreme way. They would scream at you and likely physically hurt you through smacking, or some other method.
16. They projected their bad behavior onto you.
For example, if you were in an argument, they would hysterically scream at you, “ How dare you talk to your mother that way. Go to your room. We’ll talk after you stop screaming at me.”
17. They never displayed any empathy.
They never asked about your feelings, sympathised with you, or cared. They seemed to be solely interested in their own feelings.
18. They were infallibly correct and never wrong.
Even when they made a mistake or treated you in an unfair, or unjust way, they never apologised for their mistake. When you confronted them about it, they denied all accusations and tried to spin the blame onto you.
19. They liked to present a perfect family image to outsiders.
Your parent/s went to great lengths to ensure that others perceived you as a loving/successful/enviable family. Likely, you were very aware of this ploy, but kept silent for fear of wrath from your parent/s.
How to Confirm That You’re the Child of a Narcissist
After reading through this list of symptoms you might still be unsure of how to define your parent/s. That’s normal. Your narcissistic mother and/or father wouldn’t have exhibited all of the signs above (but if they did, pay attention).
If you’re the child of a narcissist, you will likely struggle with these problems: