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Transcription below for those who prefer to read but, will differ somewhat from the audio version.
The word “narcissist” is being volleyed around more often than a ball over a net on the beach in recent years. It’s being used by especially, adult children who feel that their parents have somehow wronged them like every parent is somehow a narcissist and that being the reason for their own discontent.
There’s a news flash on this topic now.
We are ALL narcissistic to some extent or another.
That’s right…there isn’t one of us who doesn’t want to appear as nice to others, be loved, praised, cared about, look good and will do anything in our power to have those things happen at least part of the time.
“…it’s important to keep in mind that there are two forms of narcissism. In vulnerable narcissism, individuals feel deeply inadequate and seek attention and approval to validate and boost their weak self-esteem. In grandiosenarcissism, individuals have an inflated sense of self and believe that they can do no wrong. They feel they are entitled to special favors, and react angrily and punitively to anyone who thwarts their ambitions or “deprives” them of the attention they’re convinced they deserve. Some theorists argue that both forms of narcissism derive from early childhood experiences in which individuals were treated harshly or punitively by parents. Scrape off the surface of the grandiose narcissist, according to this view, and you’ll find that weak inner core begging for approval.” states Psychology Today on a new study that was to be brought out in 2017.
If “Grandiosenarcissism” is to be scraped off the surface and all that’s left is vulnerable narcissism where the person feels somehow “inadequate” and goes out after approval then, that encompasses the entirety of humanity at some point or another, doesn’t it? We can all say that we feel those feelings to some extent or another.
It seems ironic that adult children who haven’t liked their childhood and now, are estranged from their parents because of it, are instantly labelling those same parents as “narcissists” while being narcissists themselves.
What am I talking about?
Everyone wants and needs to be loved, cared about and praised. When an adult child doesn’t feel that they’ve gotten enough of that or they feel insecure, hating how their parents raised them, they have a tendency to call their parents narcissistic. However, the truth is, that the child is feeling insecure about themselves. This is where they blame the parents for it and label them.
This isn’t to say that there’s not narcissistic parents out there but, it’s to say that the term has been overused while all of human kind are narcissistic in one way or another. Furthermore, it’s tell tale that for most children, there comes a time when their parents’ influences are watered down so greatly that they have little to no impact upon the child.
Long gone are the days when parental influence was the only source of influence. Eventually, friends, teachers, society, bosses and eventually, girlfriends, boyfriends and spouses take over far more greatly than anything a parent could have done. How did those other people treat any of us? We are all influenced by many factors in life, not simply our parents. Where does one drop the ball of blame and upon whom?
Parents are the easiest scapegoats. We’ve all done it. We’ve all recounted some story or many that pertained to our childhood which could be interpreted as our parents being the true source of our shame, insecurities, guilt and whatever else that we can come up with. What about our friends, teachers, bosses, society and significant others? Did they play no part in these feelings of unworthiness? Did we never get rejected by them? Were there no punishments for bad behaviours, poor work or work habits, how devoted they think we should be to them and their needs, wants or our roles in their lives?
By the time we are 3 or 4 years old, we have become a part of society with school, daycare or the introduction of rules and other children in our lives. There are usually teachers, peers, friends and beyond that, one of the biggest sources of our insecurities becomes our girlfriends, boyfriends, groups, rejections, cruelties, hurts, pain, embarassments, guilt trips and so much more. We’ve all been there and had that happen to us. None of us have escaped any of that. There’s even been physical abuse at these people’s hands that have happened to some of us.
So, why is it that as adult children, we tend to blame our parents and label them as the narcissists who created our current discomfort and therefore, estrangement as we separate ourselves from them?
Answer: Our parents were the most consistent people in our lives and therefore the easiest and most memorable targets.
We can often forget or let go that Johnny, Janie, or Joey rejected us, hurt us and taunted us to the point where we felt like we were an inch and a half high. We can also by-pass the fact that Mrs. Puddles and Mr. Bow made us stand in a corner or endure detention after detention until we felt that we were bad people. We won’t ever blame Marina or Jorge for their rejections when we tried to date them and many others who did the same. Nor, will we even think to blame Martin or Maryann whom we made the choice to marry or live with, for having struck us on many occasions while we run home to good ole Mom and Dad and ask for money to help us out of that marriage and a place to stay while we sort our heads out and hit courts.
What we will remember is that Mom or Dad or both of them, didn’t let us go to a club on a couple of occasions because we were needed to help around the house as we ask for money from them, hands out and they are on a pension so, have to tell us “no”.
We will remember with vivid colour, the times that our parents demanded that we stop by one day because they needed help and cried when we told them that we were “too busy”.
Sticking out at us, will be the Sundays when they made us get out of bed to go to church with them or they told us God would punish us. They were such horrible liars and people for that. Nevermind that it took us 3 weeks for the bruises internally and externally that 70 other people had inflicted upon us. We’ve let that go from our memory banks and dismissed it all.
We are willing to forget the contributions that others have made and are making in our lives and within ourselves and that poor feeling because WE made the choices. WE made the decisions to befriend those people. WE chose to marry so-in-so in spite of our parents’ incessant begging us not to do it because they saw something that we didn’t see. Instead, we’ll label them as “narcissists” and our hands are clean. It’s far easier to blame someone else than to place responsibility on our own shoulders for our own choices for most of our lives’ choices, decisions and preferences.
It’s far easier to blame parents for every one of our mistakes in Life. That way we escape having to feel even worse about ourselves or take the consequences of our choices or lack of them. If we did accept all of that, wouldn’t that make us even more incapable as people?
Of course, there are true cases of abuse out there from parents. There are real cases of neglect and negligence. I don’t want to diminish those cases whatsoever. What I don’t want to do either though, is to paint every parental need, want and demand of their child or children while tarring and feathering every parent with the same paint brush and slapping on that narcissist label.
One further point is that even if we could label every parent as narcissistic, where did their tendencies come from? Thin air? No…we’d also have to wash our grandparents, great grandparents and great, great grandparents for our parent’s issues. Where does the blame game end?
The truth is, we are ALL narcissists to some extent or another. The act of estrangement is not purely self-protecting, it’s cruel, self-serving and abusive. It’s an act done with both malice and to escape self-blame for our choices or lack of them for the most part. As stated earlier, there are true cases of abuse, neglect and narcissistic personality disorders but, for the most part, the average parent is simply doing what they feel the need to do. As screwed up as it may seem to the estranged adult child, that adult child has in turn, created an act of rejection and alienation far more heinous and damaging than most parents could ever inflict upon their child.
From my little corner of life, as I see it, people need to stop blaming other people and take responsibility for their own choices, decisions, actions or lack thereof of them all. That’s when Society and parent-child relationships stand a chance of healing. Until then, the Blame Game will continue and things will get worse with one human being, hurting another. While that’s part of Life and hurt, pain, rejection and demands are part of our learning curves as much as getting burned fingers from placing them into a flame on a candle or hot stove burner, (we won’t do that again), the act of estrangement never allows us to take responsibility and learn from our own mistaken choices, decisions or lack of proper sets. It also doesn’t teach us what other people may be responsible for hurting us when we target one solitary source and walk away from it. It only enables that type of choice and decision to continue in the future with others. We’ve learned nothing.
On that note…
Be Well, Love and Light,
Have a great day or evening.