Children of Narcissistic parents struggle to manage and contain feelings of confusion, rejection, hostility, anger, fear and helplessness. The "voiceless child" so used to being either held in praise and/or rebutted and rejected develops a sense of helplessness that becomes overwhelming resulting in possible dissociative ways to cope and becoming "numb" surrendering to their own fate. It's an all consuming battle that results in the child or adolescent questioning themselves and negating themselves the right to their happiness and sense of security.
By definition the child or adolescent may "zone out", dissociate and develop negative self image issues, low self esteem, lack of self worth and self confidence so important in the developmental stage of any child, teen or young adolescent's life that continues into their adult life. The detrimental affects on a child of a Narcissistic parent may continue into the young adult and adult stage as fear grips the adult's life for fear of not being perfect enough. This may manifest by not being able to begin a work project, romantic relationship or any other goal in life, because the outcome might, in the eyes of the adult daughter or son, be a failure. This creates a whole set of other issues regarding negative self talk and the inability to move forward and beyond the limitations set by the conditioning at a young age.
Understanding the Narcissistic parent is as complex as trying to navigate through the Amazonian rain forest with unforeseen obstacles that transcend human rational. The unpredictability and volatility of the relationship between parent and children becomes a journey of who can survive and who can outlast who. Narcissistic parents may use denigration as a method of discipline without being aware of its destructiveness. The Narcissistic parents feel that they may hurt their child, in order for the child to learn discipline and that it is their right as a parent to do so. The foundation of parenting from a Narcissistic parent is based on guilt and shame. This shame results in a child questioning their own right to existence and some instances can result in self destructiveness continuing into their adult life.
I am certified in Dr. Karyl McBride's five-step recovery model for treating adult children of narcissistic parents. My specialization is working with conflictual relationships between adult children and their parents who suffer from Borderline and Narcissistic Personality Tendency.
Contact me if you are seeking psychotherapy help as a child of a narcissistic parent.