What It’s Like Being The Adult Child Of A Narcissistic Parent

Children of narcissistic parents often experience similar types of abuse when growing up.  So many of us have spoken to others & said things like, “Yea!!  My mother did that exact same thing!” Many of my readers have told me their stories & they sound oddly similar to my own.  Their mothers told them they were crazy, fat, stupid, ugly, worthless, etc.  They used similar gaslighting phrases to my mother’s, such as “I don’t remember it that way.”  “You’re crazy!”  “What is wrong with you?”  The similarities are uncanny!  In fact, I’ve often wondered if they all have some sort of secret narcissistic instruction manual since so many narcissists act very similar.


The abuse isn’t the only thing that’s similar about being raised by narcissistic parents.  The damage done is oddly similar.


  • Adult children of narcissists don’t know ourselves.  At best, we know who our narcissistic parent told us we were.
  • We have incredibly low self-esteem, often even believing we have no right to exist & take up space in this world.
  • The low self-esteem makes us incredibly anxious, often terrified of asking people for something,
  • We feel incredible amounts of toxic shame about every single thing about us.
  • Many adult children of narcissistic parents struggle with issues with their weight.  We were told constantly how fat or skinny we were growing up, so we began early in life to see our bodies through our narcissistic parent’s eyes rather than our own.  This often leads to eating disorders or other issues with food.
  • Boundaries?  What are those?  They must be for other people, certainly not for children of narcissistic parents!
  • We’re exhausted constantly.  A lifetime of narcissistic abuse makes people function in survival mode, always trying to put out the next fire as soon as it starts or, better yet, try to make sure the fire doesn’t start in the first place.
  • PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) or C-PTSD (Complex PTSD) is common.  Being raised by at least one narcissistic parent is traumatic in so many ways, so many adult children are diagnosed with PTSD or C-PTSD.
  • Physical problems such as high blood pressure, arthritis, aches & pains with no physical cause, & more.


Dear Reader, chances are you have experienced symptoms like this, probably more.  Maybe it’s even what brought you to my blog today.  If you are experiencing such things, then please know you aren’t crazy!  You’re far from it in fact.  You’re a normal person who has experienced extremely abnormal things, & had a normal reaction to them.


I can’t tell you today that the symptoms will all go away quickly, because they won’t.  Prayer, love & support from those around you, counseling will help you get healthier.  Prayer in particular is the most important thing you can do to help yourself.  Remember, the Bible referred to Jesus as “The Great Physician” & “Wonderful Counselor”- who better to help you get through this?  Also, the more you learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the more it will help you to see that you were not the real problem, contrary to what you were told.  You may need to go no contact for your healing to progress, or at the least go low contact.  The more distance between you & your abusive parent, the better it is for your mental & physical health.  You’ll gain clarity you can’t have when in their presence often.  You also will stop functioning in survival mode, which will allow you to think of yourself for once rather than your parents.


The symptoms resulting from narcissistic abuse are nothing to take lightly.  Take care of yourself.  You deserve to be happy & healthy! xoxo


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

8 responses to “What It’s Like Being The Adult Child Of A Narcissistic Parent

  1. I feel such sympathy for those who are unable to go NC or even LC. How will they heal while continuing to be abused? I try always to be respectful of the choices of others. But sometimes it’s just so obvious that not getting away from the abuser is destroying their life. I have a friend in that situation and it’s no exaggeration to say that her health has been destroyed by the abuse. She’s in the last years of her life and I pray that she’ll be able to spend at least some of them in peace.


    • I know.. it’s so sad when people are in such a position. Choosing not to go no contact or low contact is one thing, but being unable to? Wow.. that is horrible.

      How sad for your friend! Thank God she has you to pray for her & be there for her!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: What It’s Like Being The Adult Child Of A Narcissistic Parent – CynthiaBaileyRug | Talmidimblogging

  3. Thank you for sharing this, i think that many people grow up like this and never learn they dont have to be like their parents. They believe what their parents let them believe and i see your post helping many people! x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lynda Lee/@LadyQuixote

    “We have incredibly low self-esteem, often even believing we have no right to exist & take up space in this world.” Yes! That was me for most of my life, until I learned about narcissistic abuse, gaslighting, projection, and scapegoating — then my life finally made sense! Today I KNOW that my intrinsic value is equal to every other human being on this planet. Why? Because God created me in His image, as He did every one of us.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. The IndiOna Jones

    Reblogged this on The Journey of Transcendence.


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