Some families are so narcissistically toxic, being a part of this highly disturbed family tableau is intolerable. You have been a psychological punching bag most of your life. When one or both parents are narcissists together with one or two golden children, you are crowded out by egos so inflated that there is no room for you. As a young child you are at the mercy of these people from hell. What are you going to do? Walk out of the house at the age of five after you have been screamed out and pushed around most of your young life? You can’t. You have to stay because you are too young and vulnerable. Young children who grow up under these dire conditions are always in a state of siege. Some of them learn to become invisible among their own family members. The hide in their rooms and when they are older spend many hours in the homes of their friends. Narcissistic mothers love to choose favorites–a son who is handsome, dynamic, talented, bright, cocksure of himself. He moves through the house, treating you like a slave. The scapegoated child is subject to varieties of cruelties by their parents and siblings. In some cases two siblings will get close so that they can make protect one another from constant verbal onslaughts, intimidations, jaw dropping humiliations that sear through the heart of a child.
As the abused child in a narcissistic family grows up it can be difficult to feel entitled to lead your own life, to stop blaming yourself for not fulfilling your parents’ delusional demands, for being imperfect. Even if you had been perfect—this is never enough for the narcissistic personality. If you don’t fit into their image that mirrors them and whom they have chosen, you can’t win. So stop trying. Seek your psychological and emotional freedom from your highly dysfunctional, abusive family.
Adult children who take this step are very courageous and deserve our respect. This is not easy but it is essential to separating out of your highly disturbed family of origin. Some find that excellent psychotherapy will help them. As you stop contact with your family from hell and grow away from them and recognize and appreciate your uniqueness and your creative gifts, you will begin to sense a stillness inside of yourself. You will learn to appreciate your uniqueness and discover there are others whom you meet that enjoy your company and your authenticity. This individuality of yours is delightful. You discover your humor, your joy, your capacity for loving others and receiving this in kind. Enjoy your freedom, your lovely heart, your great creative gifts, your growing evolving self.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.