When There Is A Narcissist In The Family

Families that have at least one narcissist in them have some very serious problems.  It may not be evident at first glance.  Everyone may act like they get along just fine.  They may celebrate holidays together every year.  Yet, serious problems still exist in this family.

People raised by narcissistic parents have mental health issues.  There is no avoiding that.  Many struggle with C-PTSD or PTSD at worst, anxiety &/or depression at best.  Some even turn out like their narcissistic parent, emulating the awful & abusive behaviors they grew up seeing daily.  All have relationship problems to varying degrees.

The problems don’t stop at the children of narcissists, however.  If those children grow up to have children, they too will be abused by their narcissistic grandparents.

Other relatives will be drawn into the fray as well.  Narcissists love to tell other people how wonderful they are while also telling them just awful their victim is.  That way, if the victim ever tells anyone about the abuse, no one will believe the victim.  Instead, they will label the victim as crazy, mentally unstable, addicted, selfish, etc. while assuming the narcissist has done nothing wrong.

When this happens in a family situation, it seems that most people are exceptionally willing to blindly believe the narcissist & attack the victim.  That’s how my family is.  No one wants to believe someone they are related to is abusive & cruel.  That is very understandable, of course.  However, in families with a narcissist, they often take this to the extreme.

Not only do narcissistic families not want to accept the fact their relative is an abusive narcissist, they will do anything to shut down the person making the accusation.  They will ignore the victim, accuse the person of lying, being angry, spoiled, immature or unforgiving, or even personally attack the victim.  The particularly aggressive ones may stalk & harass the victim, or inundate the victim with hateful texts, emails or social media messages.  If the victim blocks their phone number, email address, etc, they will find other ways to contact the victim- get a new phone number or email, create a fake social media profile or hack someone else’s profile.  If the victim is a Christian, you can guarantee their faith will become the subject of attack.  The “family” will twist Scripture around to support their warped beliefs &/or claim the victim can’t be a Christian & behave in this manner.

It is a terrible thing finally to summon the courage to open up about the abuse you endured, & when you tell people you think will support you, to be met with disbelief & even cruelty.  It is one of the most horrible things a victim can endure- being mocked or shamed for divulging the most painful experiences in their life while watching those they thought would be on their side comfort & support the very person who abused them.

I know there is nothing I can say to make this experience hurt any less.  I’m very sorry if you’re going through this.  There are some ways you can cope though.

Always, ALWAYS maintain a close relationship to God.  He knows the truth & understands your situation.  He will give you comfort & strength.  He will show you the best way to handle the situation, too.

Remember, you do NOT need anyone’s validation but your own.  Yes, it’s a good thing having people in your life support you & even say things like, “That was awful.. I’m sorry you went through that.”  However, you don’t *need* it.

That brings me to my next point- learn to validate yourself.   To do this, accept your feelings without judgment.  You’re allowed to be hurt & angry your family treats you badly.  Be proud of the good person you are & the direction towards healing you’re taking.  You have overcome a great deal.  If you recently learned about narcissism & began speaking about it, that is a huge step- be proud of yourself for that!

And lastly, never, ever forget that these people who have hurt you so badly have serious problems.  Functional people defend victims, not attack them while coddling an abuser.  These people may get something from the narcissist, so they won’t go against her & risk losing it.  Maybe the narcissist is someone they idolize, so they refuse to listen to anything bad about them.  Maybe they’re simply cowardly, & think it’s easier to go along with the narcissist than to stand up for what’s right.  In any case, this person’s behavior says nothing about you but plenty about them.

Although I know it probably doesn’t feel like it, you will survive this awful situation, & you will be much stronger for having done so!

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6 Comments

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

6 responses to “When There Is A Narcissist In The Family

  1. You just described my family. I see symptoms of CPTSD and mental illness in each of my siblings. But if they read this they’d be outraged and insulted because, of course, in their eyes I’m the one who’s crazy and just plain cruel because I chose NC. Well I do have CPTSD and suffered from serious depression for years (thanks, Mom and Dad) but I’m also the only one to see and acknowledge our family dysfunction and do something about it. That makes me the healthy, sane one. And far from being cruel I have chosen to stop enabling our CNM, which is the best thing to do for an abuser. If my siblings had stopped enabling her as well things might have turned out very differently for her and for us. Our mother might have had to change her behavior and maybe even come to repent for her sins. Instead they chose denial and to scapegoat me. And that’s just too sad for words.

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    • Your story is just heartbreaking, & sadly so common. It’s awful how many people prefer to ignore the sick, dysfunctional, evil truth & cling to a pretty lie. You’re the sane one for sure but no doubt they won’t see you that way. People like us are the troublemakers, spoiled brats, crazy ones, etc. Better to remain “comfortable” in the dysfunction. BAH!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. You described my family, too.

    As I read this post, I thought about how far back in my family the narcissism goes. My maternal grandfather was the associate warden of Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary. Before he retired, he reportedly was offered a wardenship at a different federal prison but turned it down, saying that he was not “political enough” to be a warden. When asked to explain, his answer boiled down to the fact that he liked to throw his weight around and do things his way, whereas a warden had to play nice with politicals. My grandfather also allegedly once said that if God Himself disapproved of something that he, my grandfather, did, then God could just kiss his you-know-where. It doesn’t get more narcissistic than that!

    By the way, my maternal grandfather doted on me when I was a little girl. He treated me like a golden granddaughter, I guess you could say. But when my symptoms of CPTSD first became apparent, when I was fourteen years old, suddenly I no longer existed in my grandparents’ world. It was a shock, to go from the favorite to no longer on their radar.

    Several years ago, I traced my family tree on my mother’s side back to 1623, when a Pilgrim couple from Lancashire, England, landed at Plymouth Rock on the second ship after the Mayflower. I found some documents online about one of the sons of this couple, another direct ancestor of mine, which went into some detail about the legal and domestic issues he had with his first and second wives. You can sum that little history story up in one word: narcissist.

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    • Isn’t it just amazing how deep narcissism runs?! I only know about my great grandparents on my mother’s side being narcissists but no doubt it goes back well beyond them. The stories I’ve heard about them are quite enough- not sure I really want to know anything else. :/ My great grandmother hit her one daughter in the face with a shovel & abused her so badly, she ran away from home at I think 11. Great grandfather was in the KKK, & my father told me my mother said he sexually abused her when she was a little girl. Lovely people, I tell ya…

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