Was my mother/father/parent a narcissist?

The term narcissist has been used more more and recent times and is starting to gain increasing awareness among the general population. If you’ve heard of the term narcissist and heard a little bit about what a narcissist is, you may be wondering if your parent was a narcissist.

Merriam Webster define narcissism in general terms as “an extremely self-centered person who has an exaggerated sense of self-importance.”

The Mayo Clinic defines narcissistic personality disorder as “is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of extreme confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.”

All of these definitions can help in a greater understanding of what narcissism is but it’s still tough to come to terms with whether or not your parent was a true narcissist.

As a trauma specialist and as someone who had a narcissistic parent, I have listed five signs below that will help point you towards whether your parent was a narcissist.

1. Growing up did your parent often or almost always project their desires or unlived dreams onto you? For a narcissistic parent, it is hard to see you, their child, as your own person and not just a projection of them. For this reason, it’s also really difficult to see that you have your own desires, interest and dreams outside of what they want for you.

2. Growing up, did your parents have a marriage that was healthy and supportive? If your parent was truly a narcissist, these traits are not only going to come out towards you but also to their intimate partner/coparent. The parent that may be a narcissist would also treat your other caregiver as a projection of themselves and the relationship would not be healthy. The narcissistic parent may have even been emotionally/physically/verbally abusive or cheated on your other parent.

3. Growing up, did you feel like you were always trying to gain the acceptance of your parent but never felt like you were quite good enough in their eyes? Narcissistic parents will have extremely high expectations of their child but will never give their full approval and acceptance. This will leave their child never feeling truly seen, accepted or loved.

4. Growing up did your parent isolate you in some way? It is a common tactic used by narcissistic parents to try to separate you from friends, family and loved ones. The reason for this is because the more you rely on solely them to meet all your needs, the more power and control that they have over every area of your life.

5. Growing up, did your parent gaslight you and make you believe that your emotions/thoughts and memories were not valid or real? If your parent is a narcissist they won’t be able to see your needs, reality or feelings as valid. They may be charming to others or you if you continue perfectly in their projection of you. But as soon as you start to have your own opinions, this threatens their power/control over you.

If any of these five signs of a narcissistic parent are true for you, I’m so sorry dear one. You deserved unconditional love – not conditional transactional love associated with toxic attachment.

If you’ve been through narcissistic parenting, I’d encourage you to reach out for help. Reach back out to friends and family in your life that you used to trust. Reach out to a mental health specialist. Start to prioritize your needs (and not just the needs of others.)

If you have any more questions about narcissistic parents or trauma therapy please reach out via the Metta Holistic Therapy contact page or email me directly at reneeminxtherapy@gmail.com – if you’re in crisis or an emergency please call 911.

Published by reneeminx

Somatic EMDR Holistic Female Therapist

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