It Is Difficult for Children to Survive Narcissistic Parents

Walter Rhein

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Growing up with narcissistic parents is an extreme challenge. Narcissists are psychologically abusive and will give you false information to control you. The children of narcissists learn that selfish behavior is normal. This can lead to the child having difficulty forming healthy relationships later in life.

Children are very perceptive. They can learn how to survive in even an abusive situation. Some children of narcissistic parents learn how to manage their parents. If you shower a narcissist with praise they are often willing to listen to your suggestions.

Narcissists can also be managed by using their own words against them. You can never tell a narcissist what to do. However, you can trick a narcissist into making them think your suggestion was their idea.

Narcissists love to hear themselves speak, and they are put off guard by flattery. If you ask them a series of pointed questions, you can direct them to a revelation. Emphasize the parts of their answers that support the objective you want them to reach. Tell them their statements are very insightful so that they won’t recognize they’re being manipulated.

It is effective to get what you want out of a narcissist in this fashion. It is also devious. Learning how to manipulate people is not a good way to build valuable and lasting friendships.

When you grow up in a family of narcissists, it’s easy to adopt these behaviors without even thinking about them. If you want to break free of the tradition of abuse, you’re going to have to take a break from your friends, family, and community.

You should spend some time living in a place where nobody knows you. Going to a new place makes it easier to avoid personality ruts. You can try wearing a new hairstyle without being teased because nobody knew what you looked like before. You can also try wearing different clothing. Going to a new place is a chance to reinvent yourself.

Narcissistic families get into the habit of mocking people who show kindness or give compliments. If you distance yourself from rude people, you get to experience the effects of positive behavior.

The longer you spend away from your narcissistic family, the more you will be able to embrace a different version of yourself. However, if you return to visit your family you might discover that you instantly fall back into your old habits.

Escaping the abusive pattern of a narcissistic family is not easy. The first thing you have to accept is that the narcissist is not going to change. If you want to maintain a relationship with a narcissist, you have to learn how to manipulate them. If you don’t want to indulge in manipulation, you have to set boundaries.

Every individual has a right to establish boundaries of acceptable behavior. A narcissist perceives boundaries as an attack on their control. It’s very likely that if you set boundaries with a narcissist, the narcissist will choose not to remain in your life.

It’s important to remember that you have a right to your emotional well-being. If pursuing your happiness drives away the narcissists in your life, it’s not your fault. They are choosing to remove you from their lives. It’s not the other way around.

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Walter Rhein is an author with Perseid Press. He also does a weekly column for The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

Chippewa Falls, WI
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