Over on the other board, Nat has mentioned the Destructive Narcissistic Pattern, which is something less than full-blown NPD. This was a new one on me, so I did some research and found this.
I believe it was Jac who posted some info re: the effects of being "parentified" as children. This is when parents do not assume the parental role, but instead, wrongfully put the responsibility for personal, emotional, and psychological well-being upon their child. This situation results in the child being put into the parent's role, instead of the reverse.
I wanted to look a bit deeper into the overall outcome of such a situation and found:
There are two major responses that parentified childrenhave; the “compliant” response and the “siege” response.
The compliant response is illustrated when you, as an adult:• spend a great deal of your time taking care of others• are constantly alert about acting in a way to please others• are very conforming• feel responsible for the feelings, care and welfare of others• tend to be self-depreciating• rush to maintain harmony and to soothe others’feelings• seldom get your needs metThe compliant response is a continuation of how you acted as a child — when you were expected to take care of your parents. You are continuing to act out these behaviors and attitudes in your relationships, but don’t seem to be able to have a relationship where your needs are met.
[ Jac, please forgive me if I'm repeating something here that you've already covered, but I don't recall seeing this part of the info before. Could be that it just didn't hit me at the time how much it fit. ]
The siege response is one of defiance, rebellion, withdrawal and/or insensitivity. You work hard to prevent being manipulated by others, getting engulfed or enmeshed byothers’ demands and feelings, assuming responsibility forothers’ welfare and emotional well-being and from feelingdiminished when you do not meet others’ expectations. Inshort, even though you are an adult, you are reacting to others as if they were your parents who expected anddemanded that you meet their expectations. You decided atsome point that you did not want to comply with your parents’wishes and demands. You were trying to become separate andindependent and had to fight hard to overcome beingparentified. You are still fighting that battle with others in your life and this is negatively impacting your other relationships
I'll interrupt here to say that I think I moved from compliance as a result of parenting by a mother who displays this destructive N pattern into siege mode, as a result of marriage to a full blown NPD. wow. Will copy the rest of this here in the hopes that others will find it useful and return to comment further later. Dinner bells are ringing here.
To get an idea of the persistent effects of parental destructive narcissism, take a moment to review this list of life themes that can result from a parental DNP.
Do you display two or more of the following life themes?
• Generalized dissatisfaction with self and the course ofyour life
• Trying, but not succeeding, to be in emotional syncwith others
• Constant reflection on your flaws, incompetence, andother faults
• Lack of meaningful and satisfying relationships
• The inability to allow others to become intimate or close
• Meaning and purpose in your life is lacking
• There are interpersonal problems with family, friendsand/or work relationships
• You constantly feel isolated and alienated (i.e. notconnected to others)
• You are overwhelmed by others ’demands or expectations
• These themes point to some lasting effects of yourparentified childhood experiences that have implications for your life and your relationships today
You may still have an unsatisfying relationship with your destructive narcissistic parent even though you are now an adult.
You may have:
• made attempts to react as an adult in interactions withhim or her
• tried to start a dialogue to explain the negative effectsof his or her behavior and attitudes on you
• confronted your parent about their insensitivity,indifference or exploitation and lack of empathytoward you
• tried to not get upset when your parent blames, criticizesor devalues you only to find that nothing workedYou may even have experienced feeling worse after tryingany of these as your parent was able to arouse yourfrustration, anger, guilt and/or shame.
You probably had one of two responses. Either you gave up and withdrew, or you continued to try that which wasnot working or effective. You did not understand what washappening and continued to carry some intense negativefeelings in either case. If you withdrew, you may havesevered relations with the parent. You do not want to have anything to do with him or her, nor do you want your parentas a part of your life. The down side of this strategy is thatyou may have distanced yourself from other familyrelationships that you value.If you continued to try and get your parent to understandwhat you were experiencing, you stayed churned upbecause you made no headway. You are not accepting thatyour attempts to get the parent to understand did not workbefore, are not working now and will not work in thefuture. It is difficult to recognize and accept that there is nothing you can do or say that will cause or help your parent to change. The only change you can affect is personal.
You can learn to:
• emotionally insulate yourself
• keep your uncomfortable feelings from being triggered
• build and fortify your boundaries
• develop your underdeveloped narcissism to becomehealthy adult narcissism
• erect defenses against their negative projections,accusations, remarks and the like
You cannot change your parent, but you can become an adult who does not have to dread interacting with your parent or having negative feelings triggered and other uncomfortable reactions. You will never have the kind of parent-child relationship that you consciously or unconsciously yearn for — and it can be difficult to give up that fantasy.