As children of narcissistic parents, we often learn the following from a very young age:
1) Your worth is always dependent on conditional circumstances. As the child of a narcissistic parent or parents, you were taught that you were not inherently worthy, but rather that your worth depended on what you could do for the narcissistic parent and how compliant you were. The emphasis on appearance, status, reputation is at an all-time high in households with a narcissistic parent. Due to the narcissistic parent’s grandiosity, false mask and need to be the best, you were probably part of a family that was ‘presented’ in the best possible light, with abuse taking place behind closed doors.
Within the home was a different story than the one presented to the public: you may have witnessed the horrific dynamics of seeing one parent verbally or even physically abuse the other, been subjected to the abuse yourself, and/or experienced both parents working together to undercut you and your siblings. If you ever dared to threaten the perfect false image or did anything to speak out about the abuse, you were most likely punished. The emotional and psychological battery children of narcissistic parents endure when going against the expectations and beliefs of the family can be incredibly damaging and have life-long effects on their self-image, their agency and their faith in themselves. They are taught that they are not independent agents, but rather objects that are here to serve the narcissistic parent’s ego and selfish agendas.