Dealing with narcissistic family members is exceedingly difficult. After all, these are our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, grandparents. We grew up with these individuals. In many instances we share a common gene pool. Even if we don’t, they are part of our family constellation. This thinking is ingrained in most of us, particularly when we were are very young. It is like breathing—father, mother, sister, brother—kin. We are told directly and indirectly to trust our family members. These are the people we can always count on. This is society’s message. But this is not always the truth about our closest relatives, especially if they are narcissists.
If we have narcissistic family members, we can count on this: they are narcissists first and family members, second, third, fourth–often last. This is a difficult and painful truth for those who suffer at their mercy and keep blaming themselves that their narcissistic brother or sister or parent(s) label them–defective, stupid, inept, worthless, naive, even evil.
The narcissist is a master of projection.We all have character deficits but when we are constantly berated with every step and move by the narcissist, we can be sure it is his/her projection. A projection is an unconscious defense mechanism in which the narcissist psychologically ejects his own self-hatred and self-loathing on to someone else. Speaking of self-loathing, for some people, this can be quite a tough place to get out of, especially if this is targeted towards themselves. But it could be as simple as checking out sites like https://www.knowledgeformen.com/i-hate-my-life/, in the hopes of finding a way to manage loneliness and self-loathing. Or other people may find that speaking to someone about how they are feeling could be a way to get through this time in their life.
The highly charged, toxic unconscious feelings the narcissist has about himself are projected on to the sibling, parent, child or other victims who receive and internalize the venom.
Don’t take the bait or ingest the venom. Learning how to specifically identify narcissistic family members will open your eyes wide. Protect and distance yourself from them. Narcissists have neither psychological limits nor boundaries. Be clear about your own boundaries and do not allow yourself to be overrun by the narcissist. Build up your psychological immune system with your knowledge of narcissists, understanding and respect for your unique autonomy and developing strategies for quieting your mind and body as well as increasing your self assertion skills. Visit my website: www.thenarcissistinyourlife.com
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.