I used to think that by the time I’m 30, I would be married with 2 kids, a beautiful home, amazing friends and, of course, have everything I’v ever wanted. But the reality of my life is far from the dream I once had. Just 2 months to go before I turn 37. Thirty-Seven!!! How did I get to 37 so quickly? What have I been doing over the past 2 decades? I am nowhere close to what I envisioned for myself. I have no close friendships, lost countless of so-called friends over the years, no close family ties and my love life has been nothing short of tempestuous. My life has been an endless struggle. Absorbed in fear and total lack of self-control. With a warped sense of the world, I have gone through life with only courage to carry me through. My confidence dwindling daily as my bucket list remains unchecked.
Taking a long hard look at my life, I start to analyse my upbringing and the impact it has had on my life choices. I grew up in a strict and abusive environment. I was not allowed to voice my opinion, spend time with friends, go out even if it was with family members and I could never participate in any extra activities. I was threatened to perform well in school, which worked for a number of years, otherwise I would have to leave. Just the thought of not going to school terrified me. My choices in life were mainly based out of fear and trying to run away from the pain of my childhood.
This is what it’s like to live with a narcissist. Narcissists exert complete and utter control over you with their own set of unwritten rules, secrets, and nuanced behavioral patterns. They take complete advantage of their family as if it’s at their disposal.
Here are some signs of Narcissistic Behavior:
- Self-centered and vain: An inflated sense of self-importance that leads them to believe that they are superior.
- Use people for their own benefit: Taking advantage of others and exploiting them for their own personal gain. They use you to make themselves look great in front of other people.
- Grand imagination: Grandiose sense of self with an exaggerated view of achievements and talents.
- Criticism: Easy to criticize others, but can never handle any criticism from others.
- Blinding rage: Physically hurting others with their blinding rage on a consistent basis, the whole while enjoying inflicting pain (physical and emotional) on others.
- Unsympathetic and aloof: They do not feel empathy and they often disregard and invalidate how others feel. Unable to provide love for self and for family.
Narcissistic parents can damage their children. They can disregard boundaries, manipulate their family members to meet their own needs and demand perfection. A narcissistic parent can have adverse effects on their children.
Daughters: often have feelings of being “unsatisfied”. Trying hard to please their parents by doing well in school so that their parents can provide them with attention. Trying to be perfect in order to gain acceptance and adoration. The long term effects is that daughters find it difficult to find a suitable partner. It’s even harder to trust that partner if they are able to find them. They would constantly challenge their partner in which their partner can never be measure up to their expectations. Daughters are vulnerable and can never truly commit to a relationship, even if they truly need to have a partner that constantly adores them. They may choose easy relationships with a feeling of instant gratification.
Sons: never feel like they can measure up and so they continue the trend to exploit others, remain self-centered and may even inflict pain on others in order to feel better about themselves. The vicious circle of abuse can continue as sons also need attention and love from parents in order feel validated and worthy.
How to survive:
- Acceptance: accepting the situation as it was. There is nothing you can do to change the past and there is nothing you can do to change people who don’t want to change. And most all forgive yourself for what has happened. Move on with a positive outlook.
- Understanding: learning about narcissism and more so learning about oneself. By gaining a deeper sense of self-awareness, you will be able to recognize your traits and behavior and make the necessary changes.
- Realignment: realign your expectations for yourself. Set realistic goals all the while treating yourself and others with love and respect. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you are unable to reach certain goals. Failure is not a life sentence.
- Get help: if your symptoms are too severe and you are unable to correct your life path, then get help. Consult a professional who will provide the best advise and therapy for you and can assist you in making better life choices going forward.
Embrace all that life has to offer you now. See the positive side that your childhood has brought you and use that to improve your life going forward. You already have the resilience to break through adversity, now it’s your time to shine in life and build the life you always wanted.