Don’t Blame Yourself for Your Narcissistic Parents

Some victims of narcissistic parents–mother or father or both, blame themselves for not being perfect. They live the guilt of not meeting their parents’ expectations. These demands on the part of narcissistic parents are delusional. Even if you had reached perfection by their standards it would never have satisfied them. As the child of a narcissistic mother or father you remember that making your greatest efforts to satisfy their expectations of your perfection was never enough. You were criticized, demeaned and humiliated. Even when you had straight A’s in school they chided you for not participating in enough extracurricular activities or being a loner. You were not social and popular–another failure from their deluded perspective. The invented ways of pulling you down when you needed acceptance and support. This was the result of your parent(s) psychopathology as a narcissist personality. It had and does not represent your true nature.

Many victims of narcissistic parents are haunted by feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness as a result of innumerable verbal assaults on them as children and adults. Some of these adult children make the decision to sever their relationship from the narcissistic parent. They cannot and will no longer tolerate this level of verbal abuse and the collusion of their parent(s) with other relatives to ruin your reputation.

You have a unique individual life that belongs to you–many talents and gifts that you can use to enrich your life. You have opportunities for loving relationships with those who will care deeply about you and love you for yourself. Think about this; you can be free. You are not defined by your family of origin but by your unique true self. Learn to appreciate your true nature and to calm the young child’s heart inside by doing a practice of some form of quieting the mind through guided meditation, simple yoga with emphasis on breathing through the nose to activate the calming part of the nervous system. Get your creativity going with music that you love, art in any form, dance, singing, spontaneous writing, finding ways to be with Nature in so small way each day.

8 thoughts on “Don’t Blame Yourself for Your Narcissistic Parents”

  1. Thank you for this.

    My mother and stepfather didn’t care about my grades and they didn’t help me with school work. They tried once when I was about 7 or 8 but they just got mad and made me cry. They were grown-ups and couldn’t even help me with math for 7 or 8 year-olds. I had to do everything myself. School, choir, sports. No one drove me anywhere or picked me up. Now and then my mom came to see me sing with my choir.

    The only pressure I had from them was to be a help for them, especially for my mom. Help my mom with everything from household tasks to take care of siblings to listen to my mom talking about her problems (even problems children shouldn’t have to listen to).

    Sure my mom was proud when the outside world saw that I was best in my class in college (my classmates didn’t study that much so it was easy for me to be best) and when I did other good things but it often felt fake and since she treated me so badly otherwise it was confusing to me.

  2. Oh how true this is. I am so successful at home and business but my NF can always find something to be disappointed about. I am learning to laugh about it; that’s the only way you can survive! Humor and distance. 🙂

  3. When I was 3 ad 4 I was in Junior Kindergarten there was a talent show that a friend and I danced in, it was a big deal. I had a tutu and we were going to dance like ballerinas. Parents were invited and my mother was there. After the show, my mom bent down to talk to me and I was thinking she would say how good I was. I had a feeling of excitement because she bent down to my level, she never did that. She growled quietly to me “why did you watch her feet ” then she stood up and left. I kept thinking “why did I watch her feet” over and over with extreme shame. When I was 18 I layed in bed and made myself relive this over and over until I didn’t have panic and the torture of shame, I just couldn’t take it any more. I’t took allot of courage to do this. I am 61 yrs. old, am working with a therapist on the damage of having a mother like this. I feel panicky writing this. I think it is impossible that I can heal and love myself but I told my therapist that I am open to trying. My mother was like this about everything, even the things I did best when I was growing up, and still is like this. She got extremely worse. I day dreamed about being able to stay in the local mental hospital so they could figure out what was wrong with me. I’m thankful for this forum, I now know I’m not alone.

  4. It is hard to believe these people exist. They are criminals…as much as any gun-toting thieving crimester out there. They themselves may have a ‘good’ life, insofar as they are able to control their family members like a master puppeteer.

    I still shake and tremble as a 64-year-old woman. I cannot hold a job. People shun me and I am a social pariah, thanks to clueless and toxic parents. If I cannot ‘get this out’ in any other way, at least I can here…in computerized type.

    My life as a child was very, very hard in spite of unlimited resources and things…things…things. Plenty of food and material ‘things’. No joy or love. Lies…daily lies…unlimited. ‘They’ just kept dumping it on…their ‘circle of Hell’ life was invisible to them, but they could not/did not fool me.

    It is unforgivable that we do not have the resources to address these issues. We are only just now, in this past decade, ‘coming out’ to tell our stories of emotional and psychological battering. And the politicians, priests, teachers, ‘workplace’ people…everyone out there…does not ‘get it’ nor understand why we are the way we are. I can count maybe two people who at least knew ‘something was wrong…something had happened to me’ but it ended there. One of them I bumped into fairly recently told me she always thought I was ‘suicidal’. She literally said, “You were way too quiet, and I knew you had suffered some kind of trauma.” She got that right.

  5. Wow what I great blog!

    I can’t give details, its too much to write. My parents always put me down in private and they put on a show for family and friends to show how great I was…in to my adualt life I struggled trying to succeed and I had some success, but hit the wall emotionally. I found the solution was to totally cut off my parents for a while and yet also give them the chance to come to me to patch things up… maenwhile I learned self respect and I accepted who I am. I grieved the loss of my parents, they coulnd’t admit anything or to contact me. I accepted that they were gone. I don’t need them in my life. …however, in this process I learned to love people more than I ever have and I recognized through a new perspective how to incorporate them back in my life. I told them why I was struggling…not expecting change, it was just to vent my own past…to see their reaction, which was self serving., so I realized I have to work within their game.. so…here we are, now I respect them for who they are…they have issues, I don’t let their issues dictate to me…but I also give some slack to them…I tell them how great they are etc… I dont argue with them, I just respond with empathy to relect their feelings to them. For example, they say ‘you need to do ‘ and I will respond with ‘I know you are going through a tough time with this…thanks for your concern’ and move on… you have to avoid getting pulled in to their arguements by reframing it enough that they loose focus….you want them to feel good after talking to you and you want to feel good too. You need to be genuine too and if you hate interacting with them they will pick up on it. You also need to remember to never let your guard down…they will take advantage, be smart and expect it, plan for it…make preemptive moves to protect yourself.

  6. I don’t know where to start with the abuse I endured my whole life at the hands of my parents. My father is a full blown N . He ruined my mother with his long abuse from marrying her at a young age. She was his source to destroy and he did it totally by sending her into breakdowns and mental institutions for months on end, leaving me alone as a child. He is now 82 and with another woman that he is making mentally ill also. He is trying to destroy her to take her real estate. I know what he does because I can read him like a book now. I can’t stand this man and I am hoping he meets his justice in his old age being he spent his life destroying people, lying, stealing, harming, being sadistic and cruel. In his old age that would be the perfect time for him to have to face natural justice to pay back the dept of innocent peoples emotional blood on his hands. People that loved him and all he would do is soul murder these people. I will just sit back and watch him get everything he deserves through poetic justice.

  7. Instead of what Hanna had said, my father helped me with school, that was because I have a disease that my short-time-memory was bad. For the homework I got from school, my father tripled it and when I was not finist it, he’ve beat me with a stick, later he use a basebal batt.

    My father was not a narcissist, my mother is, she will become next month 89 years old, but I left her in april 2014. In the year before church kicked me out the door, with blackmail and lies. I found out that there are a lot more narcissists being in church and they have all their mind on me and I was running away from them.. so that is that more than 400 brothers and sister rather belief the narcissists, and thanks by the narcissist stalker I’ve being kicked of many clubs and choirs.

    I have many ways to try to kill myself, but God always stop me on many different, almost onbelievable ways, but I hate life. I’ve got two friends who live more as 100km from my home, but one of them is now to Germany and the other have troubles with his wife. Because of I am a christian.. I have no family, not even family of my fathers of mothers family because mum had destroys that… and now I have to find out what I do with my f*cking life. I wish I can go to sleep and never would wake up!

  8. Great article. As the only child of perfectionistic, diagnosed narcissistic parents, I was chided and put down for just about anything and everything.My parents were both successful professionals, with elite friends, everything was about status. They looked down on me, mom bullied and made me do lots of chores, and was/is like a child. I was more like the mother and she was more like the (spoiled, tantrum throwing) toddler. I was sent to camp to get out of their hair every year, they didn’t like being parents so they liked it when I wasn’t around. I hid at the horse barn as much as possible, too. They liked to gang up on me in anger over nothing. It was insane. I have spent my life recovering from CPTSD, clinical anxiety and depression. I am 52 now, still see a therapist weekly and have my own business and house. I am safe, and choose to be single because I just cannot trust men, but my life is peaceful, home is safe. Recovery from abuse is possible. I spent my young years crying buckets, reading self help books, in group therapy, DBT helped a lot. Things aren’t perfect in my life, but it’s ok. It’s mine. I fought hard for my own life, and to learn boundaries. It gets easier with practise. I’m my own parent, and am much kinder to myself as time goes by. Never give up..recovery feels better and better every day.

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