If You Were Raised by Narcissistic Parents, You’ll Be Able to Relate to These 17 Things

Any relationship with a narcissist can be harmful, but being raised by narcissistic parents can be especially damaging to one’s long-term mental health. If you suspect that one or both of your parents may be narcissistic, this list may be helpful for you. We’ve identified 17 things you’ll probably relate to if you were raised by narcissists.

Constantly Seeking Approval

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As noted by Choosing Therapy, people who were brought up by narcissists are typically given the message that love and attention are conditional. Instead of love being freely given, it is dependent on whether the child acts according to the parents’ wishes. As a result, it is common for those raised in this way to struggle with self-esteem and seek approval from others when they grow up.

Difficulty Setting Boundaries

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Boundaries are essential in any relationship. But sadly, narcissistic parents often teach their children that their boundaries are unimportant and can be easily overstepped. As adults, people raised in this way may struggle with setting or maintaining their boundaries with others.

Overdeveloped Sense of Responsibility

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Sometimes, kids raised by narcissists are forced to grow up far too quickly. Perhaps they were made to feel responsible for managing the emotions of their parents or siblings and take on chores they were not ready for. Because of this, they often develop a strong sense of guilt or responsibility, even for things they should not feel responsible for.

Chronic Self-Doubt

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Narcissists frequently criticize and doubt the capabilities of those around them, and unfortunately, this even extends to their own children. Those raised by these kinds of people are likely to internalize this sense of doubt, making them question themselves and their decisions.

Intense Fear of Abandonment

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It will come as no surprise that narcissists commonly make their children feel isolated and unworthy of love and attention. This often instills the child with an intense fear of abandonment that manifests itself in adult relationships.

Hyper-Awareness of Others’ Emotions

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Children raised by narcissists tend to learn that to get their needs met, they must closely monitor their parents and ensure they do everything they can to keep them happy. This behavior can also extend into adulthood, causing them to be hyper-aware of the feelings and needs of those around them.


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Narcissistic parents frequently set ridiculously high standards for their children. When their kids fail to reach these unrealistic standards, they may be met with disapproval, punishment, or criticism. According to The Better You Institute, people raised in this way are likely to become perfectionists in adulthood, feeling that they must demonstrate their worth through their achievements and successes.

Difficulty Trusting Others

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Kids who grew up around narcissistic caregivers often learn that the people in their lives cannot be depended upon to meet their needs or have their best interests in mind. Therefore, they are likely to struggle with trusting others as they grow up.

Strong Independence or Codependency

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If you were raised by a narcissist, you may have developed a strong sense of independence to protect yourself against feeling controlled by or dependent on others. On the flip side, you may also have adopted the codependent dynamics present in your family home, causing you to feel unable to function without the constant approval or support of others.

Emotional Repression

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Those raised by narcissistic parents often learn that they must suppress their emotions to avoid criticism, conflict, or ridicule. As a result, these individuals can appear emotionally cold or shut down as adults, opting to hide their vulnerable sides to protect themselves.

A Strong Sense of Justice

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After a childhood of unfair treatment and injustices, it’s common for people raised by narcissists to develop a strong sense of justice. This can manifest through a passion for causes or work involving fighting for equality or against instances of injustice against others.

People-Pleasing Behavior

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As we mentioned before, kids brought up by narcissists typically learn that they must please their parents in order to get their needs met. According to Children of Narcissists, this often causes these individuals to become people-pleasers when they grow up, neglecting their own well-being to make everyone around them happy.

Aversion to Conflict

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Narcissistic parents often create emotionally volatile family homes in which their children live in fear of the next burst of rage or criticism. Because of this, children raised in this way often learn to avoid conflict at all costs, fearing that confrontation could lead to emotionally damaging or dangerous outcomes.

Feeling Like an Outsider

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It can be very difficult for those of us who were raised around narcissists to relate to others. The unique and damaging atmosphere of a narcissistic household can leave you with long-lasting mental health issues that can be difficult for those around you to understand, sometimes causing you to feel different and isolated.

An Overwhelming Need for Control

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If you were raised by a narcissistic caregiver, your childhood may have felt extremely volatile and unpredictable. In adulthood, this can cause us to strive for a sense of control and power over our own lives and adopt overly controlling habits. It can also elicit struggles with uncertainty.

Reluctance to Accept Compliments or Recognition

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Sadly, it’s rare for children to receive genuine compliments or praise from their narcissistic parents. Instead, they are usually met with conditional love and validation. In adulthood, this can make it difficult for them to accept compliments, as they struggle to believe that they are genuine or accurate.

Fear of Becoming Like Your Parents

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When you begin noticing the harmful behaviors of your narcissistic parents, it’s common to worry that you may adopt these traits and become like them in the future. However, being aware of your unhealthy childhood experience and your parents’ behaviors is a great first step in healing and ensuring this does not happen. If you get the help and support you need from friends, therapists, and other support groups, you can live a happy and healthy life.

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