The Millstone Times January 2021

♥ HEALTH  &  WELLNESS Confirming you were raised by a Narcissist parent By, Lauren Kowlacki

As children, we look up to our parents for support, nurturing and love. But when we were denied these things, we can develop a variety of internal beliefs, behaviors and coping mechanisms to help us survive in such a difficult environment. As adults, we often emulate these same coping mechanisms which hurt us. Being raised by a narcissistic mother and/or father often contributes to the problems and struggles as an adult. The first thing needed is to understand the signs and recognize the diagnosis. When you have had a narcissistic mother and/or father you have been taught to believe that you are the crazy and imbalanced one, instead of them. This causes you to constantly doubt yourself and any feelings you have about them. Is this feeling familiar? Another major sign of being raised by narcissists is the constant guilt you struggle with. In other words, while you might suspect that there is something “off ” with your parents, you feel ashamed to think about them in such a way, and you tend to start beating yourself up instead. It important to know that there are two main kinds of narcissists: 1. Engulfing Narcissists — these are parents who see their children as extensions of themselves. In other words, engulfing narcissistic parents become obsessively involved in your life to an extreme extent. They don’t respect your boundaries or acknowledge you as a separate person.

2. Ignoring Narcissists — these are parents who have very little interest in their children. Ignoring narcissists clearly see the boundary between themselves and their children. As a result, they neglect to take care of their children or show an active interest in their lives. The next step is to know the signs. If any of these signs are familiar to you in your upbringing, you were in fact raised by a narcissist parent. 1. They tried to control you through codependency In other words, you were told by your parent/s things such as, “Don’t leave me. I need you. I can’t live without you.” This made it impossible for you to live an autonomous life or establish independent priorities other than catering to the needs of your parent/s. 2. They laid on the guilt thick Another method of controlling you was to constantly guilt trip you into doing what they wanted. They may have told you, “I’ve done so much for you, I’ve sacrificed everything for you.” As a result, you felt indebted to them and as though you “owed” them complete obedience. 3. They only loved you when you did what THEY wanted Your parent/s withdrew love very easily. If you failed to do what they wanted, they would either punish you severely, or give you the silent treatment. You had the impression that they only loved you when you PROVED your worth to them and did things as they want and when they want. 4. They liked to “get even” with you When you did something “wrong” or against their will — even in the smallest way — they made sure they punished you. This petty and childish way of “getting even” may have been subtle or very obvious. For instance, they may have deliberately sabotaged something you cared about, broke something of yours, or hid something to get back at you. 5. They never respected your boundaries There wasn’t any “private” space to call your own growing up. Your parent/s would go through your room and private belongings, without a thought, sometimes even using what they found against you. 6. They competed with you If you ever got something nice, they took it from you, or got something nicer to “out-do” you. 7. They “owned” your accomplishments Whenever someone complimented your achievements, your parent/s would instantly jump in and shift the attention to themselves. For example, if someone congratulated you for winning a soccer trophy, your parent/s would butt in and say something along the lines of, “Yes, she gets it fromme. I was always athletic as a child.” They love the spotlight and frequently stole it from you. 8. They constantly lied to you Your parent/s lied to manipulate, control and take advantage of you in some way, shape or form. You never knew what you could trust was “real” or truthful around them, or whether they were setting up a hidden trap for you to fall into. ...continued on page 20

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