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No child, even an adult child, wants to constantly be at war with a parent, so most often the easiest thing to do is to work hard to please the parent.
If there is more than one child in the family the narcissist parent will often have a favourite who can do no wrong in their eyes.
For young children, the parent is the main influence in their lives; the child trusts their parent and will not realise until later years, if at all, that their parent’s behaviour was abusive.
The child will often feel fearful to rock the boat with their parent, as at any moment the narcissist can unleash a torrent of aggression and anger on them, and then, within moments appear to be the most loving and caring person possible.
Again, the narcissist will pick and choose who sees particular sides of them depending on what it is they have to gain.
When the child seeks help or support from others it can be likely that no one else sees what is really going on.
The most important thing to remember is that although it may seem as though a narcissist’s actions are cold, callous and intentional, often a narcissist is not operating from a conscious level, and these things are delivered without the narcissist realising the pain and trauma they are causing.
Narcissists are usually deeply wounded and have little clue as to how their behaviour affects and destroys other people.
I aim to provide guidance and understanding for both someone who has a narcissist parent, and someone who is co-parenting with a narcissist.Narcissists may use children to reinforce their low self-esteem.They not only struggle to have compassion and see how other people’s emotions work, they will also find it impossible to empathise when someone else is hurt and in pain.If the child behaves and falls into line with what their parent wants, all will go smoothly, so the child keeps themselves firmly aligned with their parent through fear rather than love.Sadly, that means that the child will grow up to be confused about what love looks like and will view love as something that has conditions placed on it.