Have you ever considered the similarities of cults & narcissistic families? There are quite a few similarities…
- Leaders demand unquestioning, blind devotion, no matter what.
- Leaders demand how those under them should act, think & feel.
- The leader is always right, period.
- Questioning leaders is discouraged, & often severely punished.
- Isolation is extremely important. Relationships with those not in the group is discouraged, often the leader demands others to sever ties in those relationships.
- Life outside of the group is discouraged.
- Leaving is looked at as a betrayal, & the person leaving is often spoken badly about.
- Mind games/gaslighting are the norm.
- Independent thinking is not allowed. The leader has done all the thinking necessary so those under him need only to submit to his will.
Don’t these characteristics of cults sound also like the characteristics of narcissistic families?
The above reasons are precisely why it is so hard to heal from narcissistic abuse. Living in this cult type environment is detrimental to your mental health! People who have escaped both cults & narcissistic families work on their healing for many years, often their entire lives.
When people say you should “just cut ties” or “just leave”, the above reasons are exactly why it is so hard. Not only are they talking about abandoning your family, but thanks to the cult mentality, leaving them is even harder than one might think. You feel as if you’re betraying your family, as if you’re committing some unpardonable sin by thinking of your own mental & physical health. You also may be afraid of the backlash because they will send out a smear campaign to destroy your reputation. Not to mention, the unknown can be scary! All you know is their warped mentality & way of life. Even though it’s awful, it’s familiar, & there is a degree of comfort in what is familiar. Things have to be really, really bad to take that leap of faith by leaving the familiar & treading into the unknown.
If you were raised in a narcissistic family, please understand that the damage done is incredibly severe. Never get mad at yourself for taking too long to heal, or having so many issues. Narcissistic abuse is incredibly insidious & pervasive. It’s only normal to have a lot of problems after being raised in such an environment, even well into adulthood.