Growing up with a narcissistic mother and/or narcissistic father is one of the most difficult and painful life experiences of all. You were treated dismissively without love and in its place was cruelty, criticism and humiliation. In some instances you were always compared with the golden child in the family who became a narcissist right before your eyes. This brother or sister taunted you and scared you. Mother or father always came to the defense of their “dear” special son or daughter. You were left with a back of the hand and any psychological crumbs you could scrape off the floor.
Children of narcissists are often highly intuitive. They know when something secret is going in their family. They may not be able to put their finger exactly on it and it usually takes time for the exact truth to form but by keen observation, eventually they know the truth. Children of narcissists are often truth seekers. They are among the most empathic of individuals.
Narcissists have secret lives. They lie effortlessly. They are two faced–appearing with a perfect public image that most people believe. In the shadows, when no one is looking, they do tremendous damage to family members, including their children.
The narcissistic parent shows favoritism to one child and extreme cruelty to another. He/she dismisses one as non-existent and raises the other to a state of royalty. The narcissist is always out for psychological supply that will keep his/her ego inflated and uses his golden child in this way.
There are narcissistic parents who perpetrate crimes on their children. I am talking about incest. (There are non-narcissistic parents who commit these crimes as well.) Incest is still a subject that is not approached openly in our society. It remains a taboo subject to this day. There are children who remember what happened to them. They were incested by their mother or father. This could have been one incident, several or a pattern of incest that ran through their entire young lives. Incest affects a child psychologically in a very deleterious way.
In many instances the child “forgets” what happened at the time because the experience was psychologically intolerable. At some point in their lives, some children remember and are horrified and haunted and overwhelmed. These experiences can reawaken to the surface at any time but often they occur when a person is under extreme stress, psychological trauma, a tragic incident or during psychotherapy.
The child may go to the narcissistic parent and confront them with this dreadful memory of what was perpetrated on them. The parent skillfully denies what he or she has done. Narcissistic parents are so cunning and clever that they lead the child to believe that this never happened. So much pressure is put on the accuser and victim that the victim becomes the target of psychological abuse. There are brothers or sisters who were not the victim of incest in the family but knew bits and pieces of the crimes that were occurring but were too scared to say anything.
The narcissistic parent adroitly has his/her story cleverly composed. “She/he has made up this accusation to get attention.” “She/he has this confused with something else that happened.” “She has always been highly dramatic and over the top; you can’t believe anything she says.” ” Her/his therapist implanted this incest memory during psychotherapy. It is absolutely untrue.”
The victim becomes the “crazy one”, the “liar”, the “histrionic”, etc. The narcissist’s lies usually “work” with other family members. No one wants to think or believe that this mother or father did the unthinkable. Well, this is not unthinkable. It happens more frequently than most people want to believe. Because the thought or the deed of incest makes people feel uncomfortable does not mean that it never happened or shouldn’t be discussed with candor and as often as necessary to bring these crimes into the light.
There are no words that are adequate to tell those who have been affected by incest how sad and horrified I feel for you. I wish you continued healing.
Those who discover the narcissist’s horrid secret should not be surprised that the rest of the family either is in total denial or if you reveal it, will turn against you for discovering it and revealing it.
You know the truth. Take strength and comfort in this, now and for the rest of your life. Most people do not want to know the truth about anything. They remain in denial and delusion and keep it that way for the rest of their lives.
There are rare individuals who seek and live the truth. That is a gift that they give to all of us.