If you have grown up with one or more narcissistic parents, the consequences for your self-esteem and emotional health are damaging and long-lasting.
Perhaps you recognize some of these tell-tale signs:
A feeling of never being good enough
Finding it difficult to trust yourself
Questioning your feelings, values and often even your perception of reality (often experienced by those who have been subjected to 'gas-lighting')
You have a pattern of falling in love with people who are toxic and perhaps even violent
You believe that Love Hurts
The children of narcissistic parents learn conditional love only. Hence, they are loved for their performances, good looks or anything else that makes the narcissist look good, but not for who they are in and of themselves.
Whilst the narcissistic parent may applaud every achievement of the child and support them full-heartedly in achieving something that will shine positively on themselves ('my child just won a medal/ got a prize/ is the most beautiful of her class/ is the lead actor of the play...), they will be completely absent when the child needs understanding, affection or any other type of emotional support that does not benefit the parent directly.
A narcissist has no empathy and will not understand or care if the people close to him or her are suffering due to their actions or lack of actions.
The narcissist views his or her child as an extension of him or herself only – and the most important aspect of this relationship, is that the child makes the narcissist look good in some way.
If the child doesn't achieve some kind of 'greatness', it will very likely be ignored, disregarded or even punished. It is therefore not unusual for them to either become high achievers when they grow into adulthood, or the complete opposite. Children of narcissist may also learn that getting your needs met, is impossible and having lost faith other people and life in general, they may give up on even trying to create a good stable life for themselves. They been brought up with the belief that they are simply 'not good enough' to deserve any kind of happiness.
Either way a child raised this way will have difficulty in creating healthy relationships in later life.
If you learned early on that 'love hurts', you will continue to suffer in your most important relationships.
My conviction is that “if it hurts, it isn't love” - in fact if it hurts and you still want to stay in that painful relationship, I will encourage you to seek support and start the process of loving yourself out of emotional abuse and into someone who knows for sure that you deserve loving, honest and caring relationships in your life.
Wishing you well
Brigitte Escobar Copenhagentherapy.com