The Effects of Being Raised By a Narcissist

Libby Shively McAvoy
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The relationships we form with our parents or caregivers in early childhood influence us. Our attachment styles, levels of trust, and feelings of worth later in our lives. If you were not consistently seen or valued for who you were growing up, you might feel triggered as an adult when you feel misunderstood or unheard. Likewise, if your parent ridiculed you in childhood, you may have difficulty making decisions.

Signs You Were Raised By a Narcissist

  • They encouraged you to trust but repeatedly disappointed you.
  • They dominate the conversation.
  • They gave gifts with strings attached.
  • They criticized you.
  • They are or were highly competitive.
  • They create drama.
  • They have an all-or-nothing mindset.
  • They project.

Many people are raised by toxic parents who are neglectful, narcissistic, abusive or have substance abuse problems. The problem is that if a toxic parent raises you, you may have inner child wounds that you are not even aware of because they have been buried so deep in your subconscious as a way of survival but may carry over into your relationships and cause patterns of betrayal, rejection, and abandonment.

Unhealed Trauma Looks Like:

  • People pleasing
  • Trying to fix others
  • Needing external validation
  • Living in survival mode
  • Fear of abandonment
  • Difficulty setting boundaries

A difficult childhood does not have to lead to difficult adulthood. 

Narcissistic parents, for example, put a lot of shame and blame on their children as adults, which was a projection of how they felt about themselves. You are no longer under the control of your parents. Awareness is the catalyst for change. It is never too late to recreate the life you love, add and delete characters, try new things, and create new and improved habits. You and you alone are accountable for what you do from this day forward with your life. Finding a way to love and honor yourself and forgive the pain of your childhood is vital to make space for new growth and expansion. 

Ways To Improve Self-Esteem

  • Start your day with gratitude.
  • Be your own advocate. Stand up for yourself, trust your intuition, and celebrate every small win.
  • Practice self-care.
  • Eat well and move often.
  • Become an expert. Choose something you are passionate about and enjoy and do it often. 

Let go of the need to please others and adopt the need to please yourself. You were likely programmed to feel guilty growing up and wanted to do things to please your parents because you so desperately wanted their attention and approval. You may even struggle to express your emotions now because it was uncomfortable to do so in front of your parents. It is essential in the healing journey that you now remind yourself that your inner child is safe and it is ok to feel every emotion as it rises to the surface. Feel it to heal it and know that each emotion is temporary. If it is incredibly unpleasant, consider shifting into a more joyful place by putting music on you enjoy, lighting a candle, going outside, or calling a loved one.

In addition to improving your self-esteem, you will want to create other positive habits to ensure you do not repeat the toxic cycle and take the subconscious wounds into your relationships, which could self-sabotage your own happiness.

How to Re-Invent Yourself After Being Raised by a Narcissist

  • Create boundaries
  • Say loving affirmations to yourself in the mirror each day, like, “I am worthy of love”
  • Write loving journal notes to yourself, practicing full acceptance
  • Connect with a group of supportive people
  • Learn to trust yourself, and a professional therapist may be beneficial with this.
  • Rise above. You are worthy of joy, love, and happiness
  • Re-parent yourself by telling your inner child you are now in charge. Consider writing your inner child a letter


Narcissistic parent is abusive to their children; most of the time, they do not even realize it. Never blame yourself for the way you were treated as a child. You are not responsible for what happened in your formative years, but you are responsible for taking control of your adult life. 

Childhood trauma affects adult relationships. Go within. Heal the parts that need attending to just as we pull weeds out of the garden. A few weeds do not mean you are not growing into the best version of yourself.

Peace & Light,



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Libby is a Personal Development and Relationship coach specializing in emotional intelligence. By blending motivational speaking, leading yoga and wellness retreats, and writing, she has mastered the art of living her best life while helping others.

Cincinnati, OH

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