“Her Highest Praises Were Mocking Insults”—What It’s Like Growing Up With a Narcissist for a Parent
These days, the word “narcissist” is thrown around to describe any arrogant jerk or vain, self-involved person. But there’s a clinical definition of the word from a mental health standpoint: someone who has no empathy, who can’t tune in to the emotional world and understand others’ feelings. A narcissist can also be hugely ambitious and competitive, a person who views herself as special. She can turn on the charm . . . and tends to hold grudges.
“Narcissists are not accountable for their own behavior. They blame those around them and project their own self-loathing feelings onto others,” explains Karyl McBride, PhD, a licensed marriage and family therapist and author of Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers. “They’re people with a very fragile ego [which] they cover up with grandiose behavior.”
These six women know what it’s like to live with someone who fits the clinical definition of a narcissist. Sadly, that person was a parent, and having a narcissistic parent altered the way each woman grew up and viewed themselves and the world. Let these adult children of narcissistic parents explain exactly what it was like.
“My mother looked at me and thought of herself”