Holding Out Hope for Your Narcissistic Family

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The Frustration and Disappointment of Narcissistic Families

Written by Randi Fine, Narcissistic Abuse Specialist
Author of Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: The Narcissistic Abuse Survivor’s Guide to Healing and Recovery

Everywhere we go we see loving families enjoying each other’s company; socializing, taking vacations, spending holidays together, etc. That image of how it is “supposed to be,” keeps us stuck in a holding pattern. Wanting what other families have, we project that stereotypical image onto our own family only to suffer constant disappointment.

Unlike conventional families, narcissistic families are neither devoted nor cohesive. They are dictatorships; not democracies. Family members are taken emotional hostage and considered collateral to be used or discarded at will.

Though genetically related, it will never be a family in the conceptualized sense. Some family members may feel love toward each other but rarely do they have each other’s backs. Each person is in his or her own corner trying to survive the abuse and tyranny.

It’s a dog eat dog scenario. Family members hunger for the narcissist’s attention but the supply is scarce and disproportionately given. Starving members must trade their humility for the leftover crumbs. One member’s loss is another member’s gain.

Siblings are strategically segregated and a wedge is driven between them. The narcissist does not want them joining forces and revolting. Each child is shown a different version of their abuser. Siblings are given conflicting information. Believing the facade they see is authentic and the spiel they’ve been given truthful, they have no reason to compare notes.

Family members are not valued as unique individuals with their own desires, likes, and tastes. They are merely sources of narcissistic supply and therefore objectified. Brainwashing and psychological warfare tactics are used to confuse and disorient them, and hold them prisoners. Those strategies ensure captive supply for the parasitic narcissist to feed on. The narcissist weaves psychological webs to trap their prey just as spiders weave physical ones to trap theirs.

Narcissists do not want to love or even like their family members. They only want to abuse them. Never satiated or satisfied, the abuse will continue as long as the “relationship” does.

To escape the trap we must look past the smoke and mirrors, filter through the rubbish, and trust our intuition rather than our reasoning. The narcissist is guaranteed to win every time we distrust our gut feeling and try to reason things out.

Accept what is at face value. You will never understand why narcissists do what they do because their behavior makes no sense to the logical mind. Don’t be fooled by intermittent episodes of reward and abuse, deflection, gaslighting, and triangulation. Don’t allow yourself to be bullied through blaming, devaluation, humiliation, intimidation, and rage.

Those who have not suffered narcissistic abuse cannot possibly conceive of the torment you experience. Discriminate with whom you share your experiences and feelings. The words “mother,” “father,” and “family” are typically idealized and associated with their quintessential meaning. You will be unfairly judged in that light and left with even more confusion and guilt than you already have. If you need to vent or discuss your feelings, seek out a professional who understands this particular pathology. I am always available to help.

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