11 Indicators You Were Raised by Narcissist Parents

Every child’s core traits are shaped by the parent’s behavior and treatment towards them. A loved child usually grows up to be a compassionate person. On the contrary, children of disturbed households are more prone to psychological issues. If the parents are narcissists, it can impact the child’s overall well-being and personality.

Narcissistic parents can leave lasting emotional scars with various problematic behaviors. In this discussion, we explore the key indicators of being raised by narcissistic parents. We collected insights from various online platforms specializing in psychological issues to formulate our research.

You Are Emotionally Distant or Too Reliant

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Narcissistic parents often struggle to empathize with their children’s emotions. They tend to focus on their own needs and desires instead. If you find yourself struggling to express your feelings, it could be a sign of being raised by narcissistic parents. Growing up in this environment can leave you feeling invalidated in your emotional experiences.

Even in later life, children of narcissistic abuse feel unheard, unseen, and misunderstood. They may develop coping mechanisms such as becoming overly self-reliant or emotionally distant to manage their feelings.

You Lack Confidence and Look For Validation

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Narcissistic parents tend to be overly critical of their children. They are constantly finding fault in everything the child does. This criticism can be subtle or overt, but it always leaves you feeling like you are never good enough. Children with such experiences can have a long-term lack of self-confidence. If you never received validation from your parents, you might seek it from others throughout your life.

You Always Doubt What You See or Feel

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Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic used by narcissistic parents to make you doubt your reality. They might damage your sense of reality by denying things they said or did. Sometimes, blame you for things that aren’t your fault. They can often twist events to make themselves look better.

Dr. Robin Stern, from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, notes in her book The Gaslight Effect that parental gaslighting can lead children to doubt their feelings and reality.

You’re A People Pleaser

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Narcissistic parents often use love as a bargaining chip. They choose to show affection only when the child meets their expectations. Their love is often a way to make the child fulfill their needs. This creates a sense of instability in the relationships. The child never knows when the love will be withdrawn. As a child of narcissistic parents, you may find yourself constantly striving to earn their approval. Even at the expense of your happiness, you might be fighting to gain their appreciation.

Not Able To Make A Decision

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Narcissistic parents often exert excessive control over their children’s lives. They like to decide everything about their children — from appearance to career choices. This control can manifest in dictating your friendships, activities, and lifestyle. Such overbearing behavior can leave you feeling suffocated and may hinder your ability to make independent decisions as an adult.

Understanding the long-term effects of this control is crucial, and seeking therapy or support groups can help in learning to make autonomous decisions without external validation.

Inability to Draw Boundaries With People

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Growing up with narcissistic parents often means having your boundaries constantly violated. They may intrude into your personal decisions, manipulate you into uncomfortable situations, and dismiss your need for personal space. This can lead to difficulties in setting boundaries as an adult.

Consider learning boundary-setting skills through books, workshops, or therapy to address this.

Finding Yourself Taking Care of Everyone Even When You Don’t Have To

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In families with narcissistic parents, roles are often reversed. The parents often remain busy satiating their preferences. So, the children often take on the responsibility of caring for their parents’ emotional needs. Sometimes, they are forced to play the role of therapist, mediator, or caretaker from a young age. If you had a narcissistic upbringing, you may have sacrificed your own needs in the process. This can result in resentment, guilt, and inadequacy in later life.

You Have Difficulty Trusting

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Narcissistic parents are masters of emotional manipulation. They often use guilt, shame, and fear to control their children. They can resort to emotional outbursts and silent treatment to get their way. Threats of abandonment is another disturbing technique of such parents. The American SPCC reports that over 7.5 million children in the country faced maltreatment by their parents in 2022. Growing up with such a maltreatment can make trusting others difficult. Even as an adult, you may have abandonment issues.

You Have A Need To Be Perfect

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Narcissistic parents often have unrealistic expectations of their children. They expect the children to fulfill their unmet dreams and live up to impossible standards. These expectations can range from academic excellence to financial earnings. They may push you to excel in academics, sports, or other areas to boost your ego. Sometimes, the over-expectations stem from their unachieved desires. This pressure to perform can lead to feelings of inadequacy and perfectionism.

You’re Always Dependant On Others

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Narcissistic parents may struggle to allow their children to become independent individuals. They fear loss of control or abandonment once the child is self-sufficient. They may sabotage their children’s efforts to gain independence. Their abuse may discourage the children from pursuing their interests. The lack of free exposure instill a fear of the outside world. If you have experienced such behaviors, it can leave you feeling trapped and dependent on your parents for validation and support.

You Have Low Self Worth

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In narcissistic families, one child is often scapegoated and blamed for all of the family’s problems. Surprisingly, another child may be idealized and placed on a pedestal. If you were the scapegoat in your family, you may have been unfairly criticized, punished, or ostracized. You may have experienced partial treatment and bias regardless of your actual behavior. This can create feelings of shame, resentment, and low self-worth in the future.

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