If You Were Raised by Narcissistic Parents, You’ll Be Able to Relate to These 18 Things

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By Darryl Henderson

Many children growing up with narcissistic parents don’t often realize how this can impact both their childhood and adulthood. Narcissistic parents can negatively affect your self-esteem and relationships, and if you know this all too well, here are the 18 things you’ll be able to relate to.

Always Walking on Eggshells

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If you were raised by narcissistic parents, you’d definitely remember having to walk on eggshells on a daily basis. You would have been in constant fear of triggering your parents and suffering from overall anxiety about what conflict you’d run into next. It wasn’t nice.

No Personal Space

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If there’s one thing narcissistic parents don’t like, it’s their children setting boundaries. Your parents might have often intruded on your personal space or ignored any limits you set within the household, resulting in you feeling guilty for even trying. This may have even continued into your adulthood, unfortunately.

Having to Take on Parental Responsibilities

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Another thing people who were raised by narcissistic parents can relate to is having to be the parent figure themselves. Your parents likely dumped responsibilities on you, and at the time, you may not have realized how bad this was, but as Psychology Today writes, it now feels like a void in your childhood.  

Never Feeling Like You Were Good Enough

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Narcissistic parents will often instill high expectations in their children, which means you likely never felt good enough – and perhaps still don’t. You might have always felt the need to prove yourself to your parents or perhaps felt that they unfairly compared you to others.

Finding it Difficult to Trust Others

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Narcissistic parents can also leave their children with a lack of trust towards other people due to their experience of being manipulated or used. It can be hard for a child in that situation to believe other people mean well, leading to difficulty in forming relationships.

Feeling Responsibility for How Others Feel

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Thinking that you’re responsible for other people’s happiness can also be a trait of children raised by narcissistic parents due to the amount of pressure put on them to keep their parents happy. You might even be overcompensating as an adult because you want to avoid conflict as much as possible.

You’re a People Pleaser

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It’s no surprise that those raised by narcissistic parents can also turn out to be people pleasers because of their constant battle to make their parents proud. In adulthood, you’ll always go out of your way to please others, even at the cost of your own wants and boundaries – it’s a familiar pattern!

The Overwhelming Fear of Failure

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Children who had narcissistic parents were also made to feel like failures at every turn; therefore, they developed a fear of failure in everyday life. You might even think the tiniest mistakes are the biggest problems as an adult, impeding your ability to try new things.

Low Self-Esteem

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CNBC reports that constantly expecting perfection from your child can be one of the most damaging things for their self-esteem, yet it’s something those with narcissistic parents can most certainly relate to. Their constant doubt in your abilities would have inevitably resulted in you losing confidence in yourself over time.

Seeking External Validation

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Narcissistic parents would have left you constantly seeking validation from others around you, which often comes from never getting validation from them. This can turn into desperately needing to be reassured by people in your life, such as teachers, friends, and adult partners, never being able to find validation inwardly.

Strained Relationships with Siblings

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Of course, some children are raised by narcissistic parents with their siblings, and this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have their support! Strained sibling relationships are common with narcissistic parents, as you can often feel a sense of rivalry for parental approval.

You’re a Perfectionist

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Verywell Mind defines a perfectionist as having “excessively high personal standards and overly critical self-evaluations,” which can be another trait of someone who was raised by narcissistic parents. Thanks to their overbearing nature, you’ll always set unrealistically high standards for yourself, something which is tough to grow out of.

Suppressing Your Emotions

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Hiding your true feelings will be something many children raised by narcissists are used to due to your need to avoid conflict or difficulty expressing your feelings to your parents. This can then result in feeling disconnected from yourself because of the way your parents avoided expression.

Your Inner Voice is Overly Critical

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If you were raised by narcissists, it’s highly likely you also have a critical inner voice – and it likely sounds like everything your parents have ever said, too! Negative self-talk is a common trait because you’re so used to being judged harshly by your parents that you adopt the same judgments yourself.

Setting Boundaries is Difficult

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You might also relate to finding setting boundaries near impossible thanks to your narcissistic parents’ disrespect for them, resulting in constant struggles to protect your own space and energy. After failing to set boundaries with parents and having them disrespected, this will, unfortunately, continue in later life.

Issues with Hypervigilance

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Hypervigilance is also a common trait in those raised by narcissists due to them always being on guard against critique. Overreacting to potential dangers can be a result of this kind of difficult childhood; it’s not easy, with living with hypervigilance taking away from your quality of life, says Psych Central.

Your Parents are Enmeshed in Your Life

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One or both narcissistic parents will often enmesh themselves in their child’s life, which means wanting to be overly involved to the point the child feels no longer in control. This can often result in the child feeling confused about separating their own thoughts or emotions, and it certainly won’t stop during adulthood.

Fear of Abandonment

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Ultimately, one of the biggest things a child raised by narcissistic parents can relate to is the all-encompassing fear of abandonment. Feeling anxiety about being rejected or staying in difficult relationships out of fear can all be a result of the way in which your parents raised you, even if they’re still in the picture. It’s sad, but true.

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