When people learn that someone has been abused as a child, they often say the dumbest things, I think because it’s hard to know what to say. Simply saying, “I’m sorry for what you went through” would be fine, but many people don’t seem to agree with that. So, rather than saying that statement, they can come up with some pretty hurtful & stupid comments.
One thing some folks say is, “It couldn’t have been all that bad! Look how you turned out!” Bless their naive little hearts. This actually makes sense to them!
People who say this fail to realize that when you grow up with narcissistic parents, you learn early on to hide your problems so as not to “bother” them. Narcissistic parents have no time, energy or desire to deal with their child’s problems, so when their child comes to them with a problem, they ignore, trivialize or even shame the child for having the problem. This teaches the child it’s just best to hide their pain, illness, hurt feelings, needs & anything really from their parents.
This behavior carries over into adulthood. Out of habit, the adult child of narcissistic parents continues to hide their problems. As a result, some people look at us & assume we have it all together when the truth is that we don’t!
No one can escape narcissistic abuse unscathed. Every single person who was raised by a narcissistic parent or two has had issues from it. Some end up with C-PTSD or PTSD. Some end up with crippling depression or anxiety. Some turn to self harm or self destructive behaviors. Some end up with addictions to drugs, alcohol or food. Some end up overachievers who work themselves so hard, they end up very sick from it. Some even turn into narcissists themselves, continuing the cycle of dysfunction & abuse. Almost all end up with some type of health problems- MS, fibromyalgia, arthritis, digestive problems, heart problems, etc.
We are often able to function quite well too, in spite of the problems. Growing up as we did, learning early to hide our problems from our parents, we learned also how to function normally in spite of problems. I went through my life normally for many years even though I was suicidal. No one knew it. I got good grades in school (honor roll, graduated in the top 10% of my class). I held down jobs. I laughed. I lived my life normally, in spite of wanting to die, & not one person had a clue how I felt. Even now, no one, including my husband, has any idea exactly how bad the C-PTSD is when it flares up because I hide it so well. The habit of hiding things is so ingrained in me, I do it without even thinking about it.
If someone says to you that what you went through couldn’t have been so bad since you turned out so well, then please feel free to show them this post, if you think it will help. Narcissistic abuse is a serious problem with life long, life changing problems affecting victims. People need to understand this so they can start supporting victims!