If someone was brought up by a narcissistic parent, they are unlikely to be in a good way now that they are an adult. This is, of course, assuming that they haven’t started to heal any of their inner wounds.

Ultimately, at this stage of their life, in order to grow and develop in the right way, they needed two parents who were able to attune to their needs and generally meet them. This would have meant that they were loved by them.

The Opposite

But, as at least one of their parents was emotionally unavailable, was caught up with their own needs, lacked empathy, was cruel and saw them as an extension of themselves, this wouldn’t have taken place. Instead, they would have been greatly deprived and deeply wounded.

If their other parent was more human and was around, this stage of their life might not have been as destructive as it would have been otherwise. Yet, this parent might have been very passive and not stood up for them, which would have also played a part in the damage that was done to them.

Emotionally Starved

So, this may have been a time when their basic needs were generally met such as their need for food, water, clothing and shelter. But, apart from these needs, it is likely to have been as though they were living in a desert.

The reason for this is that thanks to one of their parents not having the inability to recognise them as a separate human being who had their own needs and feelings, they wouldn’t have received the emotional nutrients that they needed to grow a strong sense of self. Therefore, although they would have experienced a physical birth, they wouldn’t have experienced an emotional birth.


By not receiving the nutrients that they needed, they would have been forced to disconnect from their body and create a false self. The purpose of this false self would have been to please this parent and receive their attention and acceptance.

As they were egocentric, they would have come to believe that there was something inherently wrong with them and they were unlovable. Another part of this is that believing that they were the problem would have given them a false sense of control and the hope that, if they tried hard enough, they would be loved.

Totally Powerless

But, as this parent was unable to love them, it wouldn’t have mattered how they behaved or what they did. If they had accepted this at this stage of their life, though, it would have been too much for them to handle.

Below the false self that they were forced to create in order to survive would have been the pain, unmet developmental needs and parts of themselves that were not seen as acceptable. The felt sense of safety, belonging, worth, deserving and love that would have been developed had this parent been different won’t be there, causing them to feel empty as an adult.

A Strange Scenario

So, after exploring what took place during their early years and taking the steps to gradually heal their inner wounds, they can wonder why this parent behaved in this way. Most likely, this parent had also been greatly deprived and deeply wounded during their formative years.

During this stage of their life, they probably had at least one parent who was unable to attune to their needs and generally meet them. This parent probably also had a parent or parents who were unable to be there for them during their formative years.

A Brutal Time

For them to handle what was going on, they would have ended up disconnecting from their body and creating an inflated false self. Not being connected to themselves would have stopped them from feeling ashamed, worthless and unlovable, for instance, but, it would have undermined their ability to connect with and attune to other people.

Moreover, as they didn’t receive what they needed to be able to move through each developmental stage, they wouldn’t have realised that other people were not an extension of them. They would then have been an adult and had a child who needed to receive but they would have felt like a powerless and dependent child deep down and needed a parent.

One Generation to Another

If they had been able to face what was going on for them and healed some if not all of their inner wounds, they wouldn’t have harmed their own child to the same degree. But, as they were alienated from themselves and were unconsciously doing just about everything that they could to avoid their own pain, they more or less repeated what was done to them.

A big part of what allowed them to keep their inflated false self in place would have been for them to project their own issues into others and not engage in self-reflection. What this illustrates is that as strong as they might have appeared to be, their self was built on sand and that they were not in a good way mentally or emotionally.


If someone can relate to this and they are ready to change their life, they may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided with the assistance of a therapist or healer.

Author's Bio: 

Author, transformational writer, teacher and consultant, Oliver JR Cooper, hails from England. His insightful commentary and analysis cover all aspects of human transformation; including love, partnership, self-love, self-worth, enmeshment, inner child, true self and inner awareness. With over three thousand, six hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behaviour, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice.

To find out more go to - http://www.oliverjrcooper.co.uk/

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