Recovering from the Narcissistic Parent and C-PTSD
Guest Post by Christian Van Linda Title: Talking Loud, (they’re) Hearing Nothing This week’s guest author is Christian Van Linda, whose writing I first came across on social media. I was taken by Christian’s elegant, poignant writing…
I’m really interested in exploring the ways in which Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) and my experiences with parental narcissism and dysfunction have shaped my internal and external behavioral patterns.
I want to understand it all. The good, the bad, the ugly and the sad. I think that’s probably close to the proper ratio, three awful things for one good.
They are all lessons. For positives, I need to know them in minute detail to celebrate them. They have been denied to me. Obscured intentionally to keep me in a mental prison. I need to embrace them to utilize them.
I want to know the negatives too.
I was raised by a narcissist. There are unquestionably unwanted qualities my parent passed down to me that I need to identify and work to surgically remove from my consciousness.
There are products of abuse that I need to understand to heal and connect. It’s exciting. I’m excited. Let’s get started.
Broken Trust as Psycho-Emotional Abuse
A primary way a psychologically abusive family system betrays the fundamental roles of parenthood lies in trust. The child has none. Literally none. Quite the opposite, in fact.
The child expects things to go wrong. Early trauma has made the child see threats everywhere. Instead of being conditioned for safety and healthy connection to safe ‘others’ and the world around them at an early age, the child is taught to view everything as a threat.
I’m not sure people who haven’t personally experienced this type of dysfunction have the context or ability to understand this. Even really well-meaning and compassionate people.
When I say the child sees threats that are existing on a subconscious level, I do not mean they are walking around saying, “Mommy, there’s a threat. Mommy, there’s a threat.” It is not so obvious as that.
What I mean is that the child has arranged the way he sees and interacts with the world in a manner that will not be compatible with a “successful” life until it is corrected.
They (the child) cannot grow properly because they have not been conditioned to see opportunity; they have been conditioned to see only threats. Specifically: Their inner life is one of survival, not cultivation of success.
The first step in gaining awareness around this process is proper identification. The ways that this type of dysfunction will morph and evolve to manifest later in life is unpredictable. There’s a scope of predictable responses but very little about the nuance of each experience will be identical.
Cultivating Awareness Takes Patience and Time
I am sure there are clues but again it’s so far from most people’s internal experience that words are incapable of providing an accurate description. It takes a level of self awareness and a courage to look at ourselves that takes time to cultivate. Patience is very important.
This brings me to one of the more insidious effects of this complete absence of trust: The child most of all doesn’t trust themselves. This is at the root of their personal hell. This is a crucial point of healing that is not always adequately understood.
Through this journey I have been unpleasantly surprised by the ignorance of my entire family. My dad is hopeless. I’m not talking about him. All he gets is raw anger. It’s his. I don’t want it anymore. I’m speaking about the ones who were capable of seeing the truth but didn’t listen to me or try to look beneath the surface.
A child can’t be expected to be their own parents. Someone is supposed to be watching them and knowing them. A child who grows up not trusting anything around or inside him always thinks he is wrong and that no one likes him.