Narcissists Cause Siblings Psychological Pain

Narcissists are masterful actors. If they are high level and are particularly gifted at playing the part of a decent if not superior human being, they fool the best of us, even psychotherapists. Often they flatter mental health professionals in the most clever ways and sway their judgment. That’s how clever they can be. This is all image, the outward posturing, the role of a lifetime that the narcissist plays in the public arena. In the privacy of home and especially from those who grew up with narcissistic family members the story is totally different.

The sibling of a narcissistic brother or sister has a very painful experience throughout his/her growing years. In some instances this child is surrounded by a narcissistic parent(s) and more than one narcissistic brother or sister. Living with a narcissistic siblings can be an ongoing nightmare for a young child. Some narcissistic parents pick favorites and always take the side of the chosen one whether he is right or wrong. Some parents join the budding narcissist in taunting, bullying and terrorizing the scapegoated child. These children are always in a state of apprehension and anxiety. Many of them spend long periods of time hiding in their rooms or staying with friends whenever possible. The scapegoated child in these families feels that he has no allies in those who are supposed to protect and love him. Children react differently to this level of abuse Some are super survivors and find creative ways to use their gifts, maintain their sense of self, make friends despite their families. Other children, those who are very sensitive in particular, are dispirited by their family circumstances and think of themselves as prisoners within their own homes. Some siblings band together to protect themselves from the narcissistic sibling.

After everyone is grown within these pathological families, the cruelty and treachery does not stop. Grownup narcissistic siblings continue to demean, criticize and humiliate their siblings. Now as adults they still pick away at every opportunity at their siblings. They use every opportunity to display their superiority and the sibling’s inferiority.

The sibling of a narcissist can make the decision to do the best he or she can do in dealing with this cruel human being whom he calls brother or sister. He can learn to detach himself emotionally from the narcissist, not overreact to all of the narcissist’s projections and know that this family member is highly disturbed. In other instances, the non-narcissistic sibling decides to sever the relationship (which never existed) to protect himself/herself from ongoing abuse and torrents of cruelties. In some instances some siblings find that quality psychotherapy helps them to deal with this process. Many turn to trusted friends and other family members and learn that they can recreate their lives with individuals who deeply care about them and accept and appreciate their authenticity. To learn about every facet of the narcissistic personality disorder, visit my website:

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
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