How to Recover Successfully from being Raised by Narcissists
Narcissism is a destructive condition and can leave a child raised in it struggling to avoid the same habits and behaviors. If you were raised in a narcissistic environment, you probably got blamed for your parents’ problems, and your self-esteem has likely suffered because of it. Along with poor self-esteem, being raised by narcissists can have other effects, so we’re going to take a closer look at how you can recover from such an environment.
What is Narcissism?
It’s important to define narcissism before we move forward, so we can clarify what we’re discussing here. NPD, or narcissistic personality disorder, is a rare condition (fewer than 200,000 documented cases per year) that makes a person feel an inflated sense of self-importance. Nothing they do is their fault, everything they do is amazing and perfect, and everyone else is out to get them (in their own mind).
When you’re raised in an environment like this, you’ll often shoulder the blame for financial issues, fights between parents, and other problems that occur within the household. After all, in your parents’ minds, they do nothing wrong, so it must be your fault, right?
Where to Start
The road to recovery can be long, especially if you’ve spent the majority of your life in your parents’ home(s). The first thing to do is to recognize there’s a problem. There’s a good chance you may have developed some narcissistic behaviors yourself, simply from the example that your parents set when you were a child. These behaviors aren’t uncontrollable, especially once you’ve identified them.
Here are some indicators of narcissistic behavior:
A constant need for attention and recognition
You think you’re the most important thing in anyone’s lives
Lack of empathy for others’ feelings
Troubled relationships and connections
Fantasies of extreme success or recognition
Exploiting others for personal gain
These are just a few common behaviors, but it’s important to be completely honest with yourself about them. If you can’t seem to recognize any behaviors, ask your friends if they’ve noticed them.
You’re going to feel hurt at first, but know the truth is coming from a place of love, and they’re not trying to hurt you in any way. You need to know these things in order to move forward.
Seek Professional Help
A good place to find closure and start your road to recovery is in therapy. Therapists can help you identify the behaviors associated with NPD, and also help you explore some of the emotions you felt in your childhood home. You’ll likely discover things you didn’t even know you were feeling, which can grant incredible clarity and closure for the situation.
It’s always best to go to therapy sooner rather than later, so you can address these behaviors before they become destructive habits. Narcissistic habits are a great way to scare off friends and family, and this can have a dual effect. You’ll end up blaming them for abandoning you (adding to your narcissism), and you’ll be lacking a support group.
Move on From Your Parents
The truth is, some people never change, and we make far too many excuses for the people in our lives based on blood ties, romantic relationships, and other bonds. While it’s important to honor blood ties if you find value in them, if your parents continue their cycle of narcissistic behavior into your adult life, you might want to consider leaving them behind altogether.
This will undoubtedly be a painful process, but it’s important that you focus on your own mental health and don’t have people in your life adding to the problem. Parent or not, a toxic person is a toxic person, and with a narcissist, in particular, there’s a good chance they’ll never see things from your point of view.
They’ll likely make excuses or give ridiculous reasons as to why their behavior was acceptable, and how you’re actually the problem. How can you ever grow like that? You can’t.
Make Self-Care Your Number One Priority
For some reason, we seem to have stigmatized self-care as “selfish”, and while it may be to a point, it’s a necessary part of your growth and recovery. Self-care should be everyone’s number one priority because if you don’t take care of yourself and your mental health, everything and everyone around you can suffer.
You should always make your mental and physical health number one on your list; everything else is secondary.
Toxic parents can make your life a living hell well into adulthood, and the effects of their mistreatment can impede your daily life. Focus on getting help for yourself, and don’t be afraid to take a break or even cut toxic parents out of your life altogether. Your mental health will be better off for it, and you can focus on undoing all of the toxic programmings that’s been put into your head.