Liv­ing with the last­ing dam­age wrought by nar­cis­sis­tic par­ents

The Sun (Malaysia) - - FAMILY TIES -

OUR PAR­ENTS should of­fer us di­rec­tion, build our con­fi­dence and be our most ded­i­cated fans. But the re­al­ity is not al­ways so sim­ple.

At the ex­treme end of the spec­trum, par­ents are self-ab­sorbed and nar­cis­sis­tic. They try to thwart their chil­dren’s suc­cesses, pile their lives with un­rea­son­able ex­pec­ta­tions and are in­flex­i­ble. Others are self­ab­sorbed and su­per­fi­cial.

As their chil­dren grow up, they re­alise that their par­ents never be­haved quite like their friends’.

And the Red­dit page, Raised by Nar­cis­sists, acts as an anony­mous sup­port group for those raised by par­ents with toxic and abu­sive per­son­al­ity traits.

Many spec­u­late that their par­ents have clus­ter B per­son­al­ity traits, which are linked with an­ti­so­cial, bor­der­line, nar­cis­sis­tic and histri­onic per­son­al­ity dis­or­ders.

“My mum did the ab­so­lute bare min­i­mum to keep us alive,” said Oodle­sof­poo­dles92.

“We had head­lice con­stantly from the ages of eight to 14, were never bathed or had our clothes cleaned, and we were com­pletely ig­nored un­less it was to scream and shout at some­thing we did ‘wrong’.

“When­ever I con­front her, she says: ‘You were fed and bathed and we never hit you’,” wrote the user, adding it is “ridicu­lous” to ex­pect praise for min­i­mal par­ent­ing.

Others de­tailed ex­pe­ri­ences of emo­tional abuse.

“My mother com­pletely ig­nored us ex­cept to crit­i­cise, ridicule us and rage,” wrote Atomic­daisy777.

“She saw ev­ery ac­tion as an at­tempt to gain at­ten­tion and it sent her into a rage. Good grades meant you were show­ing off, bad grades meant you were stupid.

“No Christ­mas trees, no birth­day par­ties, just ab­so­lutely noth­ing from her, although to others, she pre­sented her­self as a meek and lov­ing mum.”

Anx­iousMeat­ball wrote: “I re­mem­ber my dad fi­nally giv­ing in to teach­ing me how to tie my shoe when I was 12.

“He showed me twice and when I couldn’t do it right, he screamed at me and told me to go to my room. That’s the only time ei­ther of my par­ents ever at­tempted to teach me any­thing.

“They tell me I can’t move out be­cause it’ll be too hard for me and I don’t un­der­stand how bills work, so I’d be kicked out in the first few months.

“They al­ways get mad at me for not know­ing things I can only learn from ex­pe­ri­ence, all the while, pre­vent­ing me from hav­ing those ex­pe­ri­ences.”

As well as a space to off­load emo­tions, users also of­fer each other prac­ti­cal ad­vice, from num­bers for the emer­gency ser­vices to point­ers on how to fill the void their par­ents left.

In a thread en­ti­tled: ‘If not your par­ents, where do you go for sources of con­fi­dence? How do you be­lieve in your­self?’, user Pey­bot had this to say: “Mo­ti­va­tional speeches on YouTube, work­ing out, and eat­ing a nice meal when I wake up, think­ing about all the things I’ll ac­com­plish with­out them.” – The In­de­pen­dent

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