A Healing Empath: Growing Up With A Narcissistic Parent

This topic has been on my mind for some time now. But in the name of "what happens in the house, stays in the house" I have not spoken on it. Luckily for me, I haven't lived in my house for over a decade so I think now I can tell my story.

First, let me first note what an empath is and what a narcissist is.

An Empath: An empath is someone who feels more empathy than the average person. You actually sense and feel emotions as if they're part of your own experience.

A Narcissist: A person who has an excessive interest in or admiration of themselves.

So, now that everything is out of the way and you have your definitions, let's get into it.

If you know me, you already know that I am an empath, overly sensitive some may call it. I'm hyperaware of my own emotions, I feel other's emotions as if they were my own, and I even cry during movies and shows as if what is happening there is happening to me. I resonate with way too much. If you don't know me, then that was your little intro to my feelings.

Also, if you know me, you can already point out which parent is the narcissist. If you don't know me, you wont find that important detail in this blog. Anyways...

Growing up with a narcissistic parent is difficult, especially when you don't know that that parent is a narcissist. Narcissistic people (parents) are very selfish. When they are emotional, they can only see situations from their side. They are not the most loving, unless it's beneficial for them. They may even accuse YOU of lacking empathy or compassion because you do not cater to their needs or their point of view.

From a child's point of view, having a narcissistic parent, not only do you internalize all their selfish emotions and try to resonate with them, but you also are hyperaware of the lack of love, attention, affection, and selfishness directed toward you. You feel as though you want to mitigate their emotions. You overwork yourself to make them proud and feel like "a great parent" because you seem to only receive love and validation when they are happy with themselves or what they have done (they perceive your achievements as their achievement, as them being a good parent).

Narcissists thrive on the need for validation and admiration. As kids, you are not the most validating toward your parents. It's not our job as kids to make our parents feel like good parents. We just grow up and learn the world. This lack of validation from a child, or from anyone really, upsets narcissists. So, for me, as a child with an avoidant attachment style to both my parents (for good reason), I was not the most validating. I was very much aware of the emotions, facial expressions, and body language around me. I was hyperaware of the punishments and comments I received compared to that of my sibling, and I internalized some of the comments and stories I was told. I was a walking reminder of the invalidation and shame my parent should have felt, but didn't want to feel. Let me give you an example.