Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents

Low self esteem.

Lack of being able to self generate feelings of self worth.

Fear of doing things that make other people upset, angry or disappointed.

Difficulty prioritizing oneself.

Trouble feeling motivated to get ahead in life. 

These are some of the symptoms of C-PTSD from growing up with a narcissistic parent. Your subconscious brain is programmed very early about your identity, and  your role in the family and your place in the world. 

Associations are deep in the subconscious.

If you do not comply with the other person, there will be consequences to pay. If you cause someone to become upset , you will pay dearly. 

People from more health families learn to look out for themselves. You learned that in order to protect yourself, you have to look out for others. 

People from functional families were taught to be in touch with their own feelings and to love themselves.

 If you were the child of a narcissist, you were taught to defend against the wrath f the narcissist by not expressing your own feelings. Eventually you began to have trouble identifying what you want at all. 

As an adult this wiring in your brain keeps you from taking care of yourself properly.

You still have that hyper-vigilance that there is a threat of danger when someone near you is not getting their way. 

You may have a fear of being abandoned by the people you love, if you consider your own needs to be equal to theirs. The longer you cater to the desires of other people, in a relationship, the more they come to expect that treatment from you. 

People around you can become conditioned to expect you to always agree, always go along with them, and never challenge them. 

One of the many problems of this “people pleaser” behavior is that it attracts narcissists and predators. Narcissists and psychopaths want easy prey or at least a victim that had obvious emotional wounds that they can use to use against you. 

If you have never practiced standing up for yourself, then you have no idea how to do this, and you fear the consequences of doing so. What would happen to your relationships if you said “no” to someone? 

What would happen to your world of you began to prioritize your own needs? What consequences would follow if you believed that your needs and ideas were just as valuable as those of the people in your life?

Well, you can see the people in the world who are not afraid to say “no.” You interact with them all the time. They say “no” to you all the time. These people are not all in the same category. 

There are people who do what they want all the time. They never let people cross their boundaries. In fact, they cross over into your world and stomp all over your rights and invade your boundaries all the time. 

These are the narcissists. You may have a fear of becoming like that. You do not want to become the parent that emotionally abused you. The very person that caused much of your difficulty in getting what you want out of life. 

But there is another category of people who stand up for themselves. These are people that have healthy boundaries but still respect the rights of other people. They do not exploit and manipulate others. 

They express their feelings and let people know what they want. They go after the things they want out of life and they consider their personal dreams, desires and emotions to be a high priority. 

 These are not narcissists. They do not use aggressive, emotionally manipulative communication. They do not covertly try to get emotional reactions from you, in order to exploit and control you. 

There is a line between assertive and aggressive. You are being assertive when you express what you do and do not want.

You are being aggressive when you make it clear that you do not care what the other person wants. You undermine, lie to, and gaslight people to get your way. 

Being assertive and having healthy boundaries does not have to injure other people.

You are not a bad person for looking out for yourself.

You are not a narcissist if you care about your own feelings and needs. You are a normal human being. 

I will write about this topic again in the future. Please leave comments below about a specific question or particular problem that you have.

Give me some ideas about problems of having C-PTSD  (complex PTSD) that you are dealing with. 

I want to hear from adult children of narcissistic parents. Also from anyone that grew up under the heavy cloud of a narcissist in some capacity. It is not always a parent. 

Also, if you feel that your ability to move forward and get momentum in life has been affected by narcissistic abuse, either during childhood or as an adult, please leave me any ideas about questions I can address in a future post. 

 

 

 

Dealing with Manipulative People

There are many of us who asked to be loved by a parent who either refused to love us, or was incapable of loving us. This can carry over into adulthood as a disorder called codependence. People who have codependent tendencies also have People Pleaser Syndrome.

The traits of People Pleaser Syndrome include:  difficulty saying no, a phobia of upsetting people and being around negative emotions, and a tendency to do what others want even if it causes you discomfort or even harm.

This need for approval and love was not gratified as a child, and there is still a longing for approval from others. There can be a confusion between people loving you and people approving of you.

People can approve of your actions because your actions meet their own agenda. This does not necessarily mean that they love you, or even like you.

There can be a tendency to waste energy attempting to attain approval from the wrong people.

There are people who will take advantage of people pleasers because they notice that you need approval. They will manipulate you be using your emotional needs against you.

They also realize that you are kind and want to make people happy.

This good nature is also something that manipulative people will notice and take advantage of.

So, what can be done for people who still want to fill their love tank from childhood? Are there any safe places for the unloved children when they become adults. ( note I got the term Love Tank from the book called the Five Love Languages which I recommend)

There are safe people and safe situations, but people pleasers often have trouble identifying who is taking advantage of them and who is not.

One of the main things that was broken or not fully formed during childhood is the ability to create personal boundaries.

You must have reasonable boundaries for yourself, and be unwilling to violate those boundaries just to attain approval or affection. People that truly care about you will not constantly cross your boundaries.

When another adult is constantly taking too much and asking unreasonable things from you, then you need to take a look at the overall relationship.

When people insist on crossing your reasonable boundaries, then it is time to tell them “No” …even if they act upset or disappointed with you. Sometimes people will be upset with when you tell them “No”. This is okay. 

People will be upset with you when you refuse to allow them to have their way. If they are used to being able to manipulate you by provoking an emotional response, then they will try to resist your new stand about your boundaries. That is okay.

It is okay for other people to feel upset when you refuse to allow them to take advantage of you.

Everyone does not need to have their way all the time. No one needs to have their way all the time. They are just used to   ignoring your feelings.

If someone is always demanding their way, in spite of you telling them how you feel , then experiment with holding your ground with them.

You do not have to give them reasons that they will just reject and minimize. You can give them a simple form of No, such as “No I am not able to help you with that this time,” 

If there are no reasons for them to counter and guilt you about then they have no material to work with. You want to stay away from a debate with them because they are used to finding your buttons and knowing how to guilt an shame you. Just do not allow it.

You will never get your love and approval needs met from people that only care about their own agenda.

Not only that, the people that would be caring to you may be getting ignored by you because your energy is being taken up by manipulative people.

The squeaky wheels tend to get the oil. They drain all of your time and energy, just because they are demanding.

In the mean time, there may be other people in your life that are feeling starved of your love and attention. You may not mean to do this, but it happens to people pleasers sometimes.

Pay attention to the ones that respect your boundaries and the people who are loving towards you. Do not confuse someone telling you that they care about you, with people that actually care about you. Love is not in the words.

There are manipulative people that will enter into relationships with codependent people. When this happens the narcissistic person might tell you that they are looking out for your own good. Just because someone says that they are controlling you for your own good does not make this true.

People that respect you and your boundaries will allow you to make your own choices. They may guide you to be able to think about what you want, but they will not try to force their agenda onto you. They will not project their beliefs and force them onto you.

If someone has to announce to you or to others that they are good to you, then that should make you wonder.

Some abusers use this tactic to confuse their victim. They will tell you that they are good to you and even tell others how good they are to you.

Look at how people treat you, not how they say they treat you.

See if the relationship is really balanced. If you are always doing things for them and they complain about having to do one thing for you, then you may want to evaluate how fair the relationship is to you.

The need to be approved of and loved is strong with adult children of alcoholics and other abusive parents. But that need cannot be met by abusive people.

Once you practice drawing simple basic boundaries, then you will be able to attract people that respect those boundaries. Notice what boundaries other people have. They should respect the same boundaries with you that they expect you to respect for them.

Here are a few examples of ways a manipulative person crosses boundaries while holding their own boundaries

1. They do not allow you to call them at work. But they call and interrupt you at work all the time.

2. They do not do favors for you that will interfere with things they need to get done. But they insist on you doing favors for them, even when you tell them that you have other things that you need to do.

3. They are clear with you about not interfering with their sleep schedule, work schedule and other time frames. But they keep you up late when you have to work the next day and make you run late for work by keeping you on the phone.

4. They insist that you answer the phone when they call, even if you are busy. But they ignore your calls and call you back hours later if at all, even when you leave a message that it is important.

5. They are clear that they have other relationships that need their time and attention. But they get upset or angry when you spend time with other people or do things to maintain other relationships, rather than giving them all of your time and attention.

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