5 Damaging Lies We Learn From Narcissistic Parents
"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."
This can be a great challenge for a scapegoat in the early years of escaping toxic parents. This world view they have imposed on you where life is all about appearances, status and success. One scary thing is as I have talked to people on this blog, even "successful" scapegoats are treated the same as those who end up disabled or in the lowest socio-economic groups. You will always be labeled as "wrong" by this type of parent. I remember how status counted for everything in my family where they saw and labeled people on a chart almost, who has "moved up" and who has "moved down".
Every aunt, uncle, cousin, co-worker, neighbor and community person was judged on a money, occupation, possessions and conformity scale. It is kind of a sick sad way to view life. The constant competition and backstabbing destroys any real companionship, love or connection. I have realized in my early years of no contact, that this was not a world view I ever liked or subscribed to, and it was okay to break out of it and denounce it and also as well not judge myself by it anymore too.
"2) You need to be perfect and successful, but you should never be rewarded for it or feel ‘enough.’ Narcissists are masters of moving the goal posts so that nothing their victims do is ever enough. As childhood abuse survivors, we are no exception to that rule. Our accomplishments are rarely acknowledged unless they meet an arbitrary criteria for “what looks best to society,” or confirms the narcissistic parent’s own grandiose fantasies. Our abusive parent is never genuinely proud of us unless he or she can claim credit for that particular success. Some narcissistic parents can even envy or look down upon the success of their children, especially if that success enables that child to become independent of their parents, outside of their realm of power and control."
The article goes into how many of these narcissistic parents will sabotage their children's success. This happened to me. They want you kept dependent. Even my "wealthier" sister is on an allowance and has never made her own money or had any degree of financial independence. My brother was dependent often on my mother's money. Here too gifts and "generosity" given with resentment and judgment will keep narcissistic victims on tetherhooks.
One thing all narcissists in my life from Mrs. Curses to others, is how they were always moving the goal posts. If any of you have watched the Leah Remini Scientology shows, its like "going up the ladder" to be "clear", there's always one more "lesson" or thing you have not fulfilled. Instead of money narcissists charge pieces of your souls for your constant "auditing" sessions. Narcissists can never be satisfied. In fact one of the quickest ways to know you are dealing with a narcissist is to see if you are in walking on eggshell's land and if you are always made to feel like you are not enough.
Scapegoats must avoid the "walk on eggshells with" and "Fix-it" people who demand that we change, and improve to be "acceptable" to them. If you start feeling that way among anyone, know ahead of time the relationship is doomed. I was even able to rewrite the script of my life going no contact. I was more "successful" outside the realm of the narcissists and their false judgments. Nothing is good enough for narcissists, even the golden children learn that lesson quit clearly, as they mold themselves into the boxes the narcissists has laid out. Many golden children are trapped living lives the narcissist have laid out for them. It becomes a "gilded" cage. Us Scapegoats sometimes can take years to clear our heads out of the internal nagging, demands and more that fill our head. Letting loose of this stuff can pave the way for life enjoyment.
"3) There is always someone better, and you must beat them – starting with your own siblings. Children of narcissistic parents are often turned against their siblings in a competition to vie for the affection and love they always craved but never received. Narcissistic parents are well-known for ‘triangulating’ children against one another as an attempt to unnecessarily compare them, demean them and feed their own sense of power and control over their children."
In hard core narcissistic families, everything is about competition. This is why family gatherings become put-down fests, and brag-fests as all vie for position especially if there is a narcissist lording over it all or several. There is no relaxation or feeling of home or comfort. Everything is a comparison. Also unlike bowling or golf no "handicaps are allowed, everything is "bootstrap" land and the mythical "even playing field". If a sibling wins the Lotto, you're supposed to afford the Jacuzzi and Mercedes too, and will be found lacking.
Some of these thing can be internalized in scapegoats who fight entering a permanent state of feeling like they will never measure up. Ask yourself who you are trying to measure up to? A sick society? Narcissists? or yourself and God? This is one lie, I had to break out of to feel any sense of peace. When one "quits" the contest it can be extreme freedom. This is freedom I will never regret.
"4) Contempt is a part of love and ‘normal’ in a relationship. Narcissistic parents can subject their children to periods of idealization when they need them, quickly followed by contempt and terrifying narcissistic rage when they ‘disobey’ and threaten their excessive sense of entitlement (Goulston, 2012). The condescension, contempt and hatred with which a narcissistic parent uses to berate their children is not only immensely hurtful, it retrains the mind into accepting abuse as a new normal (Streep, 2016)."
This pattern of idealization and devaluation teaches us that love is unstable, frightening, and ultimately unpredictable. It causes us to walk on eggshells, fearful that we may displease others. It also desensitizes us and makes us tone-deaf to verbal abuse later on in adulthood (Streep, 2016).
Decent relationships do not require that you perform night and day and worry about earning derision or contempt. In my early years of no contact, I walked from many people that demanded "performance" and "conformity" for acceptance. Even this far in, I am assessing what is a "decent" relationship and realizing what qualities those hold. Such types are never pleased and if you earn a smile from them, it just sets up a precedent where they are trying to take charge of you. One rule to remember outside legal limits, all adults make their own decisions how to live life, clean their house and how to spend their time, narcissists often cross these boundaries.
"5) Your emotions are not valid. Narcissistic parents, much like narcissistic abusers in relationships, pathologize and invalidate our emotions to the point where we are left voiceless. We are not allowed to feel, so we end up going to extremes: we either become repressed and numb or we become rebel children who ‘feel’ too much, too soon. Our emotions become overwhelming either way, because our grief is not processed in a healthy way, starting from childhood. In adulthood, we gain the opportunity to validate our own emotions and recognize that what we feel, and have felt all along, is entirely valid. We learn how to process our emotions, our trauma, and the grief of being unloved as children and adolescents. We learn that we have opportunities to detach from our abusive parents, whether it be through Low Contact (minimum contact only when necessary) or No Contact at all. "
Many of us even a few years into no contact will realize what it truly meant to have all emotions invalidated. As I wrote about with my cousin, he was taught that my emotions were invalid and were "wrong". Many narcissistic families will decry any showing of emotions at all. They will call stone cold narcissists, "strong" while telling those with emotions they are "wrong", "bad", or "weak" to cry. Even the people of conscience who have been programmed by narcissists will conform. Relationships within the family ebb away as years pass because there is no real sharing or caring with so much emotional restraint.
I have noted even narcissist trolls who show up to this blog attempt to shame me with telling me to "count my blessings" and trying to censor what I write and talk about. Real emotions to narcissists [even the good ones] are a threat to them and why they seek to close them down. Scapegoats who escape toxic families will recall even positive emotions like laughter, joy and excitement were not allowed either. Many can struggle with repression and feeling safe in expressing their emotions. The decision to go no contact here, has helped many of us realize our world view, emotions and how we interpreted our experiences were all valid. As time passes in no contact, the feelings of safety to express emotions is one important aspect of healing.
I strongly suggest reading this article in whole at the link, it made many good points.