Surviving the Narcissistic Parent: ACoNs (Adult Children of Narcissists)

Well, folks, I was praying in the shower again (my religion is not so big on praying in the bathroom, but I hold that if G-d made all of me including my bodily functions, then He certainly can handle my praying in the bathroom). I was praying about finding some really good material for you on the topic of Psychological Abuse. And what do you know, the wonderful blog Tell About Abuse reblogged this fantastic post on surviving the Narcissistic Parent, from the other wonderful blog The Invisible Scar. I can’t exactly say “enjoy,” but I can say that this validated a lot of my suspicions that I was *ahem* “raised” by a narcissistic mother.

The Invisible Scar


April is Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention month. At The Invisible Scar, we are focusing on emotional child abuse, such as the various types, how to help emotionally abused children,  resources for healing, adult survivors of emotional child abuse, and the special case of narcissism.

Adult children of narcissistic parents (ACoNs) know a special type of emotional abuse in being raised by narcissists. (Biological mothers, stepmothers, biological fathers, and stepfathers can be N parents.) 

Before we discuss the special case of narcissism, please note that not every emotionally abusive parent has the narcissistic personality disorder. In some circumstances, an emotionally abusive parent who is not a narcissist can change and improve his or her parenting.  The same is not true for the narcissistic parent, however. Every narcissistic parent is an emotional abuser.

A narcissist is a person who has the narcissistic personality disorder.

Narcissistic personality disorder is one…

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  1. Not sure how I feel about this,helpful information but I dislike that it talks mostly about mothers or parents and I actually dislike how people confuse talking about child abuse with stigma against people with personality disorders, some people who were abused by people with characteristics of a personality disorder like BPD or NPD think anyone with a diagnosis is an abuser and that is dangerous, especially for survivors with the same diagnosis who never abused anyone.
    I was abused by someone who could easily be a narcissistic but I’m still careful with saying that not everyone with a narcissistic personality is an abuser and many are survivors who never abuse, sadly I see many group, sites and blogs who just don’t care about that.
    It’s great to examine how the abuse is different in this cases and validation is good but prejudice is not.
    If those groups and sites were careful with that they would be great resources for me but right now they just make me worry with what I’m reading because of the misinformation and make me uncomfortable. I hate when I find a great site but can’t read it or trust it because of this. Because one of my abusers was likely narcissistic I really would love to find safe sites and resources about the effects if they just stop the discrimination but it’s hard since all of them generalize too much, not to mention how unsafe they are for survivors with those personality disorders who are looking for help and information and are not abusers, it’s not my case but I’ve met people in this situation. I found sites/books mostly against ppeople with ersonality disorders like narcissistic, borderlines but sometimes against autistic, mentally ill or disabled parents in general almost as abusive people could all belong into on category where everyone is abusive.

    I still liked the information because it’s useful.

    • I agree with you 95%. The 95% agrees that no one should be demonized or stigmatized because of a diagnosis, and I feel that people with personality disorders end up on the demonized/stigmatized end of things more than any of use, most of the time. I also agree that not everyone with a PD or specifically NPD is an abuser, God forbid. So I also found this website to be uncomfortable to read for that reason.

      The 5% disagreement comes from my own personal experience with this website, which helped me tremendously to come to a “holy shit, so I’m not a horrible, inadequate person who can’t even do the dishes right” epiphany, and to read that long, long essay and recognize my mother as the narcissist and my father as the enabler. I do see a whole lot of demonization in that article but you know what? I grew up with a demon.

      The only differences between my childhood experience of abuse and those in the article are that my mother never locked me in the basement (we didn’t have one) although she threatened to lock me in the closet, as a fear tactic. She also did not beat me particularly, although she did backhand me across the face if she could get close enough to me, which wasn’t often, and she did chase me with the fly swatter from time to time.

      The other difference is that the article talks about people disagreeing verbally with their mother and getting narcissistic answers. I would never DARE to disagree with my mother, because the consequences are fearful.

      Even now, when I am nearly 60 years old, she tries to co-opt my service dog (“oh, why don’t you leave her with me? She’s so cute!” and I think she really doesn’t realize that my dog is a service dog because I need a service dog, partly from the PTSD of being raised by my mother.

      The reason most truly narcissistic abusers don’t get help, i.e. go into therapy, is that they have no concept that they could NEED help. If they are aware that anything is wrong, it’s someone else’s fault and they feel wounded by that. Everything is FOR them, never BECAUSE of them. There is no way to convince them that perhaps they should at least go into family therapy with their damaged child, because it is the CHILD’s fault, not theirs.

      So the article is intended for survivors of PATHOLOGICALLY narcissistic parents, which is different from people who have healthy narcissism, because we, as survivors, are so damaged that we need validation of our experiences. We have been told all our lives that we are the cause of all of the narcissist’s troubles, whatever they may be, and that we are NOTHING, (I heard that a lot), USELESS, STUPID, and RIDICULOUS.

      That is the way I grew up, and I reblogged this article in case someone else might recognize the syndrome of Adult Child of a Narcissistic Parent and find that they not only are not the only one, but even that they are not critically defective, and that there is hope for them.

      • There are also links to other blogs and websites on the AcONs blog that might be more helpful for you. I forgot to say that above…ooops….

      • Hi, I understand that, the article is useful to me and for others too, no doubt about that and I have no problem with demonization of abusers, I’m tired of people making excuses for abusers, they are horrible people and I don’t care if people treat them as absolutely horrible people, my problem is not with generalizing about abusers but generalizing about people with personality disorders like NPD, the site is definitely validating and that’s great for all of us except survivors of abuse who are diagnosed with NPD.
        Just to be clear I never mentioned healthy narcissism in my comment, I doubt healthy narcissism is a problem, I was only talking about pathological narcissism and narcissistic personality, I think there are some people who are aware they have NPD and try to get better and manage their condition to avoid hurting others, I have met a few of them and I just think they deserve to feel safe in sites like that, especially since most of them were abused by other narcissistic people and that information could be extremely helpful for them if it wasn’t so agressive against anyone who has NPD, I just dislike excluding a group who is looking for help since it’s possible for some children of narcissists who are also narcissistic people to look for help, get a official diagnosis, have self-awareness and try to manage it, or any strategies they use does make them different from the abusers. If some adult children of narcissistic abusers are narcissistic people they should have a place too as long as they don’t abuse anyone.

        What is described in the article and in your comment is similar to the way I was raised so I understand how good it is to read something like that, I appreciate the reblog and I was just commenting on this because it bothers me to see but not because I don’t find this important. They describe the grandparents who raised me and ruined my life very well and that was important to me.

        Thank you for the post and for the reply.

        • You have a good point here. Would you consider leaving a comment to that affect on the ACoN blog? I think they ought to hear your viewpoint. I applaud anyone with NPD who has the insight to be aware of it and to want to change. I certainly wish my abuser had!


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