Narcissistic Families & Cults Have A Lot In Common

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.


Filed under Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

31 responses to “Narcissistic Families & Cults Have A Lot In Common

  1. jarwithaheavylid

    I left the narc when I was six months pregnant. He’s married with three kids. I didn’t understand what I had got myself into (how I had involved myself but I now understand my vulnerabilities and integrity were targeted).

    So I listen so hard to all you people who tell me what it would be like for my son. Because every other day I have cognitive dissonance about my son growing up without his biological ‘father’, and wonder if I’m really protecting him, and what I’m really protecting him from. He’s two this week, and never met him.

    He pays a lot of money though. I even resent that because he forces me into a role to reflect back ‘you should be grateful’, ‘I am such a good person’, ‘you’re poorer than me = you’re less than me = you need me.”

    And look! Can’t you see what a wonderful husband and father he is? What an upstanding citizen of the community he is?

    Yes, I listen hard. I hold on for dear life some days. 🙏

    Liked by 2 people

    • Big hugs to you sweetie! What a difficult situation! You can fight the cognitive dissonance. I know it’s hard but you can. Cling to the truth!

      You’re wise to protect your son from his father. He sounds terrible.

      I have a facebook group.. it’s full of caring, supportive people who have been through a myriad of situations with narcissists. If you’d like to join, you’re welcome to. I’ll put the link below for you just in case.

      I’ll be praying for you. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. lynettedavis

    I’ve come to this realization in seeing how one of my cousins has been scapegoated. It’s absolutely mind blowing to see all the dynamics of the cult in our family, even for me who’s been a scapegoat, and the viciousness of attacks–from character assassination to outright lies.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Cindy

    Reminds me of the Duggar family,and the Fundamentalist/quiverfull cult.Jim Bob,the father,is the biggest narc I’ve ever seen.The kids have no freedom at all.It’s not any version that I would call Christian.
    I could go on,but it would take too long.
    There are recovery groups for ppl who have grown up in these cults.


    • That’s true.. I haven’t watched much of the show but what I have seen, he seems very narcissistic. I mean, all of the kids have to have names starting with J? Seriously?! I can believe he wouldn’t let the kids have any real freedom. Besides, they seemed too busy taking care of their younger siblings to have time for freedom anyway.. 😦


  4. ibikenyc

    And Stockholm Syndrome.


  5. Angela

    I was thinking about narcissistic families and cults a few days ago too. Everyone is born with their own personalities, abilities and preferences. Who knows what talents a child will have and develop, and we can even surprise ourselves in what we can achieve. Civilisation would not progress if we weren’t all different. It makes no sense for narcissists and cults to discourage their children from reaching their true potential, and to cut them out of their lives for taking a different path in life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are absolutely correct, Angela! Amazing that narcissists can’t see that, isn’t it?


    • jarwithaheavylid

      Some people believe that narcissists are the devil’s helpers. If you know a bit about Christianity it’s easy to see. They ARE the seven deadly sins.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You can say that again!

        These verses seem like a narcissist’s checklist to me.

        Proverbs 6:16-19

        “16These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:

        17A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,

        18An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,

        19A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”

        Liked by 1 person

        • jarwithaheavylid

          “Remember this: There are some terrible times coming in the last days. People will love only themselves and money. They will be proud and boast about themselves. They will abuse others with insults. They will not obey their parents. They will be ungrateful and against all that is pleasing to God. They will have no love for others and will refuse to forgive anyone. They will talk about others to hurt them and will have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. People will turn against their friends. They will do foolish things without thinking and will be so proud of themselves. Instead of loving God, they will love pleasure. They will go on pretending to be devoted to God, but they will refuse to let that “devotion” change the way they live. Stay away from these people!”
          ‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭3:1-5‬ ‭ERV‬‬

          Liked by 2 people

  6. Pingback: The narcissistic family unit - mini cult? - Parenting exposed

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