Narcissism falls across a broad spectrum. We can detect some narcissists quickly, while others take more time. One way to tell for certain, everything is all about them. All narcissistic behavior falls under the umbrella of holding others responsible for their personal behaviors and life struggles. This requires controlling others around them.
Some traits that narcissists use to control are:
- bullying and threatening
- trivializing your experiences
- punishing you with the silent treatment
- projecting their bad behaviors onto you
- mind manipulation and other forms of lying
In other words, a narcissist is a person who stopped maturing once they reached the age of two.
Both my parents had these and other narcissistic traits too numerous to mention.
Wow! How could this NOT have affected me? Better yet, in how many ways has this affected me?
As a child, I didn’t understand what was going on. This was my norm. All my needs were met, except my emotional needs. However, even at five years old, certain things scared me. Why did my mother threaten and yell at me as I cried? Why were my parents ganging up on me when I hadn’t done anything wrong? Why did my mother give me the silent treatment for days and just glare in disapproval? Why did she make me feel guilty for things she did?
Much later in life I found out why all these things happened. I made her feel uncomfortable and she didn’t like that. She did whatever was necessary to make herself happy with no regard for my feelings. Her feelings took precedence over those of her own children.
As I grew, I felt an emptiness when I was with them. Neither had a clue as to when I was sad, mad, or even happy! They gave me blank stares. And yet, when I explained how I felt, they became judgmental, critical, and arrogant.
In family gatherings, the women would talk about people who weren’t there. No one was ever good enough. They made themselves feel good by putting everyone else down. That was the spirit of the women in my family.
This is what I learned to take me through life. Boy, have I ever struggled. I looked through the same filter for so many years and still struggle with it to this day. Falling into negativity, arrogance, and criticism comes naturally for me.
Fortunately, I’ve learned through my relationship with God and therapy. I am not better than anyone else and no one else is better than me. This life is not all about me and how I feel. I don’t have to put others down to make myself feel better. I’ve always been worthy of unconditional love even if I didn’t get it from my parents and family.
I have struggled throughout my life since I left my parents’ home. I’ve had to learn just about everything on my own…the hard way. Even the simple things. My parents failed to teach me life skills. They did not prepare me to be independent.
Dr. Phil’s definition of parenting is, “preparing your child for the next stage in life and become independent.” Narcissism does not allow for this to occur.