When you are a child, your parents are more or less like a god to you. They are responsible for meeting your needs. They seem to know everything, only because you are too young to have much experience in life. They are always there.
Having good parents is a wonderful thing. It’s also easy to learn good ways from good people. Obviously life isn’t perfect, but the positive you learned from your good parents helps you handle the less than perfect times. You are a good, functional, caring person who can handle what life throws at you with grace & dignity.
For those of us who grew up with narcissistic parents, this sadly isn’t the case.
One aspect of having narcissistic parents means you were deprived of learning good & healthy habits. In fact, you may learn plenty of bad habits. You may become judgmental & critical. You may become selfish & not overly concerned with the needs of other people. You also may learn other bad habits from your narcissistic parents such as lying, refusing to accept responsibility for hurting others or projection.
I still remember when I was only 20 years old. My now ex husband chewed me out for behaving like my mother. He was excessively critical of me since he was a narcissist, but in this instance, he was right. We were talking about some new music that had come out recently. I didn’t like the music, & he did. I said that band was terrible. He said I sounded just like my mother. He also said, “Just because you don’t like them doesn’t mean they don’t have talent. It just means you don’t like them!” He was right. They clearly did have talent & they became quite popular, but played music that simply wasn’t my taste.
That conversation was a wake up call for me. I was terrified of becoming like my narcissistic mother who said everything & everyone she disliked was bad. It helped me to become more aware of my behavior & make good changes.
It also scared me. I was afraid that I would turn out like my mother. I knew first hand how critical & cruel she could be, yet I imitated her behavior by what I said about that band.
Chances are good that if you too were raised by narcissistic parents, you have experienced similar moments of behaving like your parents. If so, don’t worry about it! You can & will change! The more you heal from the abuse, the healthier you will behave. It happens naturally. But, if you recognize that you’re behaving in some unhealthy ways, you can change those individually. Figure out why you are behaving as you are. Ask God to show you the root of the behavior & how to heal from that. Consider how you would feel if someone said or did the same thing to you that you did to others. Recognizing how badly it’d hurt to be treated as you treat others can be a huge motivator for changing into healthier behaviors.
If you do mirror some behaviors of your narcissistic parent & wonder why, it’s probably because children naturally imitate their parents. It doesn’t mean you’re a narcissist! You’re doing a natural thing, imitating your parent. Or, it could be some sort of defense mechanism. Many times, two narcissists marry. You saw one parent being mistreated & retaliating by behaving as they did, so you do the same to protect yourself. Sadly, these things happen sometimes. Thankfully though, you are aware of your behavior & want to change! You should be very proud of yourself for that!