It Couldn’t Have Been That Bad! Just Look How You Turned Out!

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!


Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

16 responses to “It Couldn’t Have Been That Bad! Just Look How You Turned Out!

  1. Cindy Patterson

    Hello Cynthia!! What timing!! Just this morning I heard a sad startling facts and stats on the number of teenagers with depression! Has to be something we can do to help with this!! Sent from my iPhone



  2. Such a good post! I also hear ‘well you’re alive so it can’t be bad’ as if I need to die in order for people to believe I am in pain. Really enjoyed reading this. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  3. dbest1ishere

    Very nice post….and so so true. I know people don’t know what to say…so sometimes I wish they wouldn’t say anything at all.


    • Thank you very much!

      I totally agree. I wish people would think before speaking! “I’m sorry,” “Is there any way I can help?” “Do you want to talk about it?” would be a thousand times better than a thoughtless or invalidating statement.


  4. In my experience very few people (other than other abuse survivors) will be willing to acknowledge the pain and suffering that comes from being abused by a N or to acknowledge it in any way as being genuine and serious. It stinks, but the sad fact is that the majority of people in our lives won’t want to understand or even acknowledge our suffering (although I have been surprised by some who were genuinely concerned and compassionate when they were the last person I expected that from). They just don’t care and they don’t want to be bothered by talk about anything that isn’t positive and light-hearted. That’s why it’s so important to choose who you talk to about it and how you’ll react if they are dismissive in some way. Not everyone in our lives is caring enough to treat our suffering with the respect and seriousness that it deserves. Some may even have been abused themselves and in denial about their own suffering so dismiss ours (what I experienced in my FOO). And I have to say that there are some who are concerned for us but just don’t know how to react or what to say. Ultimately we must accept that we can’t control how other people react to our suffering, only how we deal with their reactions. As always we must be the strong ones who look out for ourselves.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Cindy

    I’m so thankful that those I know online that had N abuse in their lives,have learned from it and none of us have turned out that way.All of you really have empathy for others and are kind and caring!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Oh my gosh I had my narcissistic mother in-law tell me that about my husband. I automatically did an inward eye roll. There no sense arguing with her because she always right!


    • Oh wow.. I feel your pain. There is never a point in arguing with a narcissist because of that “they’re always right” thing. My late mother in-law was like that as are my parents. There’s no point in saying anything when someone is always right, because it means you’re always wrong.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for writing such a candid article. As I read it, I thought this was exactly how I grew up, what I have endured, & still am living with the aftermath of abuse. I felt you’re writing about my life. I’m saving this article, as you suggested, in order to show someone exactly what we survivors have been through.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: It Couldn’t Have Been That Bad! Just Look How You Turned Out! – An adult daughter's struggle to recover from narcissistic parents

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s