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What You Might Not Realize About Your Parents; are They Narcissists?

Did you have a parent that always made things about themselves? Maybe they had you present a certain way, but it wasn't for you, it was because it was for them. Did you ever feel like they were absent in your life? Maybe you felt like a scapegoat, or you were a lost child? Maybe you felt like you were a slave to your parents, or you had to take care of your siblings? Did you feel like your parent had no or little empathy? Did you feel like your parent's love was conditional? Did you feel like you had to watch your parent's emotions, that you were always walking on egg shells? Did you feel you were invalidated all the time, as if you weren't heard? Did your parent give you a lot of love all of a sudden, love bomb you, give you presents, then make you feel guilty, or make you feel like you had to take care of them? It's possible you grew up in a household with a narcissistic parent.

Understanding Narcissistic Abuse and Gaslighting: Narcissistic abuse often involves manipulative behaviors designed to control and exploit others. It can lead to a devastating impact on the mental health and well-being of the victims. Gaslighting, a form of psychological manipulation, is a common tactic employed by abusers to make their victims question their own sanity and reality. This insidious practice can leave deep emotional scars and make the recovery process even more challenging. It is emotional abuse, and it causes Complex PTSD. Complex post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition where you experience some symptoms of PTSD along with some additional symptoms, such as difficulty controlling your emotions feeling very angry or distrustful towards the world. You don't even trust yourself, or your emotions. You don't trust yourself to feel!

There is Grandiose Narcissism and Vulnerable Narcissism, but we are going to focus on Vulnerable Narcissism due to Grandiose Narcissism being obvious. Vulnerable narcissism is often overlooked in discussions about narcissism, overshadowed by its more overt counterpart, grandiose narcissism. Individuals with vulnerable narcissism exhibit low self-esteem, hypersensitivity to criticism, and a constant need for reassurance. They may engage in manipulative behaviors to protect their fragile self-esteem, but their actions are driven by a deep-seated insecurity rather than a sense of superiority.

Borderline Personality Disorder often overlaps with Vulnerable Narcissism. In fact, there is an over 30% chance of comorbidity of both. Borderline personality disorder is characterized by intense emotional instability, impulsivity, and unstable relationships. Individuals with BPD may experience feelings of emptiness, fear of abandonment, and difficulty regulating their emotions. The overlap between BPD and narcissistic abuse can create a complex and challenging dynamic for both the individual with BPD and their loved ones.

A Double-Edged Sword: The comorbidity of vulnerable narcissism and BPD can lead to a heightened risk of experiencing narcissistic abuse. The combination of low self-esteem, emotional instability, and a desperate need for validation can make individuals with this comorbidity particularly susceptible to falling prey to manipulative partners.

Recovery from narcissistic abuse and the effects of gaslighting requires time, patience, and a strong support system. It is important to find a therapist that specializes in Narcissistic Abuse Recovery, specifically parental recovery. Treatment can include EMDR, Internal Family Systems Therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy, CBT, DBT, and ACT.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is imperative that you start treatment. It may also be a good idea to start limiting contact with your parent while you are in treatment. This is not to say that you must cut off contact with them. It's just important to relearn how to communicate with this person so that you don't get locked into the gaslighting. They will never admit their wrongs. They will never validate you. And it is important for you to grieve this.

If you are in Arizona, Indiana, Illinois, or New Hampshire, please contact me for treatment in regards to Narcissist abuse recovery.

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