I’m thinking through and working through the full impact of having grown up with a narcissistic parent. As part of that process I want to communicate the things that are different for a child raised by a narcissist.
Imagine with me that at some point in your life, suddenly you realize that everything you know about yourself and others is upside down, off-kilter, or has huge holes in it. When this happens will depend on how isolated your parent has kept you, and how healthy your outside exposures were as examples. What exactly does this mean? It means that suddenly you have to figure out who you are, who your parents really are, how the world actually works, and what is truth.
In short, you cannot trust anyone or anything.
You start to recognize that the “truths” your parents taught you were, at best, missing pieces. These truths involved their history and accomplishments, your own abilities and skills, your identity, perceptions of others’ actions and speech. They may have taught you to think poorly of others...racism, elitism, cynicism, and rampant negativity may have formed the foundation of your childhood.
As the actual truth of what you were taught begins to dawn on you, you may struggle to figure out who you are.
Looking further, you may realize that everything you believe about yourself is somehow a product of what your parent has brainwashed into your head. Even if you remember times when you had thoughts about yourself, your future, who you are, what you liked, etc., now every one of those has been skewed.
At some point in my teen years, I started to recognize that my homelife was not normal or happy. I recognized the overt physical abuse, but it took me MANY more years to see the psychological abuse, and I am still processing the full impact of these things.
I was diagnosed in my early 40s with PTSD, which was amended to Complex PTSD as that diagnosis became a thing...this was a DIRECT result of how I was raised.
Today, I am happy to say, I rarely have the nightmares associated with PTSD, nor am I as "on-guard" as I once was. Much healing has happened, but the aftermath of the abuse is still present. I still have a LOT of questions about myself, who I am, what I might have been able to do, and what to believe about what I was told as a child.