15 Signs You Were Raised by a Narcissistic Parent

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is something we’re fascinated by. In fact, our first post on According to Chren was: Think You’re Dating a Narcissist? Here’s How to Tell.

We decided to shift focus for this blog post and talk about narcissistic parents. Most people don’t realize that their parent or parents are narcissists until they reach adulthood, which is sad, because it leads to them dealing with trauma and PTSD for many years after moving out.

We co-wrote this post with Rocking Specter, who grew up with a narcissistic mother. The goal of this post is to help people recognize the personality traits of narcissistic parents so you can be aware of problematic behaviors. The worst thing you can do is normalize this type of behavior, leading you to expect to be treated badly in your life.

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments and either we or Rocking Specter will do our best to answer them.

This blog post is all about how to tell if you were raised by a narcissistic parent.

1. Everything is Always About Them

They have a talent for making everything about them. They think the world has it out for them and that every little thing comes back to how it affects them. Narcissistic parents care more about how the world perceives their parenting as opposed to how their parenting actually is. The perceptions they create become their reality.

2. They Try to Guilt You

Emotional abuse is accomplished through guilt, which a narcissistic parent has no trouble doing. Whether it is crocodile tears or feeling betrayed, narcissistic parents have a knack for making you feel like their emotional well-being is your responsibility. They even go so far as to make you feel inadequate by making their feelings dominate every aspect of your life. 

3. They Want to Control Every Aspect of Your Life

It’s their way…there is no other way. Because everything is about them, narcissistic parents like to control every aspect of their perceived reality. That includes your life. In their minds, you are an extension of them. For a pop culture reference, just look at Dan Scott from One Tree Hill. He tried to make every decision, even down to the person Nathan dated, in Nathan’s life. 

4. You Felt Isolated During Your Childhood

Narcissistic parents want to be your whole world. That mentality creates a sense of isolation. Nothing is ever good enough to meet the narcissistic parent’s vision for your life. To ensure that, the narcissistic parent chooses what you do, where you go, and how you interact with the outside world. To a degree, a narcissistic parent is like a cult leader. 

5. They Sabotage You

Sabotage can come in very different forms, but typically, narcissistic parents find ways to sabotage relationships, education opportunities and career advancement. To them, you cannot be better than them in any aspect of your own life.

You have a chance to go to a great high school or college, but the narcissistic parent tries everything in their power to ensure that does not happen. They do this by either not approving the decision or stressing how it is just not something you should do based on “where you come from.”

6. They Try to Take Credit for Your Accomplishments

If they do acknowledge your success, they are going to find a way to congratulate themselves. After all, you couldn’t have done it without them. Whether it is a Facebook post or a personal bragging with the people who recommended the award or credential, the narcissistic parent inserts themselves into the equation. They raised you, so they get to take the credit for everything you accomplished (even when they had nothing to do with the accomplishment in any way.)

7. They “Tell You So” When Something Does Not Work Out for You Initially

Obviously, they knew you couldn’t do it because they’re always right and you’re not as amazing as them. This “I told you so” comment comes from the narcissistic parent’s tendency to always be right about everything. Their doubts about your ambitions or goals are the baseline for reality. Your failures give them a chance to affirm what they thought all along: you couldn’t do it. 

8. They Disregard Everything You Say

The narcissistic parent always wants to be right. In their mind, they are the alpha and omega. Their words and thoughts are the only ones that matter. So, when you tell them something that does not mesh with their perceptions, they call you crazy, say you’ve changed, or blatantly disregard what you say. It is their world, and their words and thoughts control everything. What you have to say does not matter to them, so they disregard what you say (even if it is right.)

9. Their Love is Conditional

Their love is based on what you can do for them. Most narcissistic parents want you to view them as your whole world. If you are not constantly available for them, they start saying things like “I am not enough for you,” “You are just replacing me,” and even “You never loved me.” When you cannot offer interactions or gifts that shore up their egos, they rip away their love and affection almost instantly and force you to earn it back by playing their games.

10. Everything is a Silent Competition with Them

They always want to be the best and win, so they cannot fathom sharing the spotlight. When they are not taking credit for your accomplishments or trying to sabotage you, the narcissistic parent tries to show they are better than you.

They remind you of what they accomplished when they were your age. They try to one-up you by saying that they accomplished something you did not. They even make snide comments about how they would do just as well as you are doing if they had the opportunities you had.

11. Your Happiness Takes a Backseat to Their Pride

Sorry, but your happiness is not that important to them. They always have to dominate the room. They have to control everything even to your detriment. When you are happy, they feel uneasy since they did not cause it. When you are upset, but they are happy, it is completely okay for them. The narcissistic parent matters the most. When that does not happen for them, they start making your life harder and less happy.

12. They Make Their Emotional Well-Being Your Responsibility, Not Their Own

If they’re having a hard time, feel sad or need something, it’s your responsibility. You have to be the one to prop them up and make them feel better. While there is a “family looks after family” sentiment at work here, there is a line that the narcissistic parent draws for you. You must drop everything in your life to make them feel better. But there is often a fine line between a good, supportive child and being their therapist.

13. They Project Their Shortcomings on You

It doesn’t matter if they aren’t talented, ambitious, hardworking, etc. Everything is actually your fault. They are not independently wealthy because they had to make “practical” sacrifices for you. Your instant gratification comes at the expense of their finances. They make comments about your lifestyle because they feel jealous that they did not have it for themselves. Ultimately, everything bad going on in their life circles immediately back to you.

14. They Manipulate You

Narcissistic parents do whatever it takes to get their way and that means manipulating their children. Whether it is through guilt, sabotage, or even a little bit of brainwashing, the narcissistic parent will make you bend to their will. You are their child, a relationship that they typically exploit to get either a handout or a reaffirmation of their worldview. To them, you are just a means to their ends.

15. They Try to Convince You to Settle

They don’t want you to have more/accomplish more than they did. It seriously messes with their view of the world and their ego. At the end of the day, they have to prevail. To do that, you have to choose a path that does not make you more successful than them. A happy marriage, successful career, and even an exciting lifestyle are just not in the cards for you. You must always go for the low-hanging fruit. Anything else is too much of a blow to their ego.

11 thoughts on “15 Signs You Were Raised by a Narcissistic Parent”

  1. It is so sad to me that people grow up with parents who exhibit these traits and behaviours. It can cause so much trauma for those people growing up and in adulthood. I haven’t had my parents do any of those things, so I am incredibly lucky and fortunate.

    Thank you for sharing this post.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s