Narcissists have neither limits of decency nor respect for other human beings, including family members. One narcissist allowed to bully himself freely over decades can psychologically decimate many members of one family. One of the worst constellations is the mother/father narcissistic duo. Children of these unions have it very tough. Even as small children life is not centered on them. It is all about their selfish, self absorbed, cold and often enraged parents. Children from these families learn survival skills the hard way. It is very painful when they come to the realization that their parents were incapable of genuinely loving them. Those who are more fortunate often turn to an older brother or sister who substitutes as a surrogate parent.These children feel loved and protected by the older sibling and grow knowing there is at least one person they can trust and count on.
In some cases the narcissist is a golden child boy or girl, selected by mother and/or father as superior to all the other family members. He is treated like a member of royalty. All talk and adulation by the parents is about him or her. If this child has talents, is bright or gifted in other ways, he is the center of attention and given everything he wants. Narcissistic parents allow these blooming narcissists to treat their siblings cruelly. They ignore the extreme bullying that chronically occurs and can cause severe psychological damage to the brothers and sisters who are frequent victims of this abuse. The narcissistic parents are oblivious of these dreadful patterns of cruelty. In some cases they join in and belittle the children who are imperfect, taunting them, punishing them unjustly and making their lives absolutely miserable.
Many of the victims of growing up in a narcissistic family spend years in the healing process. Some find that psychotherapy with a skilled empathic clinician helps them to recognize the war zone they have navigated all of their lives. They learn to recognize and appreciate their identities that are separate from the narcissist. In many cases they end any contact with their narcissistic relatives. There are no authentic relationships with narcissists, even if they are your relatives. Discovering and learning to lead their lives on their own terms, opens them to the full use of their gifts and talents and the awareness that they are fully capable of loving others on a deep level. Other modalities of healing can involve various forms of meditation that work for the individual, hatha yoga with emphasis on relaxation and concentration, many forms of exercise that free the mind and strengthen the body. Those who thrive after the narcissistic family wars deserve our congratulations. They have prevailed. To learn about every facet of the narcissistic personality, visit my website:thenarcissistinyourlife.com
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Telephone Consultation: United States and International
Book: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life