Surviving Narcissistic Abuse

If you have come here through An Angel in the Garden you may wonder what on earth this page is doing here!!?? But this is part of my story too. If you have googled & found me then very likely, you really need to be here & you're searching for answers like me.
I have been searching for truth, healing, peace & a sense of belonging for as long as I can remember.
I have been made a scapegoat through narcissistic abuse most of my life...and through my in-law family too. I have always been a truth seeker consequently, late 2013 I stumbled upon information that was so right & very profound.
 That information was concerning the condition of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
I have been surrounded by & subject to the effects of narcissistic abuse my entire life.
It wasn't my fault then.
It's not my fault now.
I have been to hell & back & nearly lost my life in the process, so many times (through going to deeply suicidal places & losing my will to live).

What is narcissistic abuse?
It comes about by living/working with someone or being parented by a person who suffers from a condition called Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

The symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder include the following:

~A grandiose sense of self-importance (may be shown as an exaggeration of abilities and talents, expectation that he or she will be seen as superior to all others).
~Is obsessed with him or herself.
~Goals are almost always selfish and self-motivated.
~Has troubles with healthy, normal relationships.
~Becomes furious if criticized.
~Has fantasies of unbound success, power, intelligence, love, and beauty.
~Believes that he or she is unique and special, and therefore should only hang out with other special, high-status people.
~Requires extreme admiration for everything.
~Feels entitled - has unreasonable expectations of special treatment.
~Takes advantage of others to further his or her own needs.
~Has zero empathy - cannot (or will not) recognize the feelings of others.
~May be envious of others or believe that others are envious of him or her.
~Behaves arrogantly, haughtily.

How Do Narcissistic Parents Abuse Their Children?

Narcissistic Parents have many subtle - and some not-so-subtle- ways in which they abuse their children. 
These types of abuse include the following:
~Compulsively lying to children.
~Ignores and/or overwhelms the children.
~Neglects needs of the child.
~Makes child feel as though he/she does not matter.
~Puts parental needs far above those of the children.
~Mold children to an "ideal" image.
~Promotes and fosters a dependent relationship between parent and child.
~Distorts the concept of "love".
~Manipulates for pleasure.
~Says one thing one day, something else the next.
~Uses the child's vulnerabilities to exploit the child.
~Subtly and not-subtly insults children.
~Ignores personal boundaries.
 ~Treats others as objects, not people.
~Makes child feel as though he or she is insane.

I'm The Adult Child of A Narcissistic Parent...What Now?

Healing from such a traumatic childhood is absolutely a daunting task. Having your own emotional needs unmet for so long may make the notion of recovery seemingly impossible. It's not. Here are some guidelines for recovery for Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents:

  • Begin working through the grieving process - allow yourself to grieve the parent you never had.
  • Acknowledge that you've never learned how to properly deal with feelings, and begin to start working through these feelings.
  • Work toward loving that little child inside you in the ways your Narcissistic Parent never did.
  • Stop hoping that your Narcissistic Parent will change - he or she will not change.
  • Remind yourself every day that you need to take care of yourself - those needs for self-care are incredibly important.
  • Remember - you matter too. A lot.
  • You do not need to harm yourself or hate yourself. You're a great person, worthy of love and devotion.
  • Stop being afraid of your Narcissistic Parent - you are an adult, you survived hell, and you need to reclaim your life as your own. Start by erasing that fear.
  • Get rid of that feeling of not fitting in or belonging. It was put there by your Narcissistic Parent and it's got to go.
  • We are none of us alone - that means you, too!
  • Find and connect with other Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents.
  • Find a therapist who specializes in treating Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents.
  • You're probably still afraid of "getting into trouble" thanks to the way your Narcissistic Parent treated you. You're an adult now, and you don't answer to anyone but yourself.
  • Release some of that anger. Smash some plates. Scream. Hit a pillow. Anything to let the anger of being an Adult Child of Narcissistic Parent out.
  • Learn to be autonomous - start by making small decisions for yourself, and learn that you - yes YOU - are in charge of your own life.
  • You are more than worthy. No matter what your Narcissistic Parent told you, you are more than worthy.
  • Guilt. Ah, guilt. The best friend and worst enemy of an Adult Child of Narcissistic Parents. This may be the hardest of all the feelings to fight against, but you must. When that guilt is gnawing away at you, tell it to piss off.
  • You do not need to feel guilty if you decide not to stay in touch with your Narcissistic Parent - it may be for your own good.
  • Remember that your needs are important. Don't be afraid to make them know and ask for what you need.
If any of this rings a bell with you & you are in a relationship with a narcissist or or you are an adult child of one, then I encourage you to search & read & learn all about narcissistic abuse as best you can. There are many great websites out there with excellent information that will help you unravel the mess.
~One of the clearest I found is: Band Back Together.
Find more info here about them & all credit for the above outline to this great site & marvelous people. 
~Also here to read helpful bits from the book "Malignant Self Love" by Dr Sam Vaknin & to read "The Invisible Scar: adult survivors of emotional child abuse" pop in here.
~An absolutely brilliant site (2014) I have just discovered called Light's House can be found here. You'll find a huge range of issues addressed if you click on the links in the right side bar (scroll down a bit).
~Many people seem to struggle with a narcissistic mother issue, this website will help no end with that one: here.

The thing that stands out the most in my reading at this time is that:
 The narcissist will never change.
Narcissistic abusers seek help or get better.
....almost never!!

Dr Karyl McBride is very good, you can find her on Facebook here.
She has written a useful book called Will I ever be good enough?-
Her recently published checklist contained in her book Will I ever be free of you?-How to navigate a high-conflict divorce with a narcissist & heal your family is also very helpful.
You can find the comprehensive survey just here.

 is also a great resource for finding tools & guidance in your healing journey.

If you've got as far as choosing to limit or have no contact with a narcissistic abuser (especially a mother) you might also find this page very helpful:

Two big fat lies that really bother me:
~That it doesn't matter what happens to you it's all about how you react to life/people.
That is utter crap!
~That it takes "two to tango"
Also rubbish!!!!! When you are trapped in a relationship with someone who has a personality disorder & especially when you are a child it is not the child's responsibility for how that relationship plays out...ever!

 I will be updating & no doubt rewriting aspects of this page as I learn, grow & heal but meantime this information is too important not to share. There is so much more to know believe me! I just wish someone had helped me decades ago!!

This is good:

Another woman that I am extraordinarily grateful for is Dr Nadine Burke Harris- her work is fantastic. "Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain. "

Have a listen to this TED talk sometime: How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime.

This song has become my anthem at this time..Imany is amazing! I love this woman.
Please & Change: this album I put together for you..the songs may help & soothe.

Sorry, but I am unable to respond to comments left on this page, but I hear you & pray you find peace & every good & beautiful thing you ever wished for.
Best & kindest regards, Catherine


  1. Dear Catherine,i am speechless and my heart is slightly fluttering with amazement that someone else has suffered in the same way as i, not because i wish anyone to suffer but the fact that i am not exaggerating the living hell that it was! My stepmother stole my childhood just because she could and manipulated me for her own selfish needs. I am 50 now and having counselling, i do not have her in my life and i know she will never take any responsability. Thank you so much for sharing this information,God Bless jackie x

  2. Hi Catharine
    I found this post yesterday and have spent some time reading through the other sites that you suggested for further reading. I could barely read through the tears and read out loud passages to my husband. He has been the person who made me aware of my mother's on-going abuse. It was my father who protected me from it as a child and who made me aware of the abuse as a teenager. I couldn't understand why it was happening and it has taken me many years to realise that it will never stop.
    The timing of finding this blog and this post is very significant to me. Thank you.

  3. I don't know how I missed your post - I can identify - been there too. My own experiences have affected me life long and have made me who I am - but I like who I am! Betty

  4. Hello Catherine, I’m so glad you are finding help and beginning to realise what a worthwhile (and super lovely) person you are! I’ve never heard of Narcissistic Abuse but I think it’s important to know so I’m going to visit the sites you mention. Love Barbara xx

  5. This is really a helpful article! I spent 50 years trying to please a narc mother and never succeeded - as soon as she died I went out and befriended a narcissist man only to have been the victim of his abuse for the last year. It is a difficult cycle to break!

  6. I was just wondering if I have reached the acceptance phase... how do I interact with the narcissistic parent that wants to be a part of my young childrens' lives (and I want my babies to have that grandparent experience that I never did)? thank you for all the good information!

  7. I am going through the shock phase that I let my narcissistic step mother ruin my life. She spent my childhood and my adult hood until now judging me, running me down to others, messing with my mind and thoughts. I can't believe I let her do this to me. I haven't slept properly for days, my heart is hammering in my throat, all I can think about is suicide, she ruined my life and now she's convinced the rest of the family that I am mad. I went to her with all of my life chit chat, I worshipped her, she groomed me to be her number one fan, I'm so alone and sad, I can't stop the memories flooding my brain. I can't get peace. But I read here that this will pass. Please God, please, this is no life :(

  8. Dear Vicky, i know how you feel. I've been in such a shock phase in and out the last couple of months. Realizing how egocentric and damaging my mother was, when I was a child. And now, I'm an adult. Still feeling so much pain and feeling alone. The best way to heal, I think, is to rely on a few very empathic friends... and try to believe in my own judgement about my mother .... It will get bether, I believe that! And a friend told me today;' you will be stronger and a more empathic person then ever, once you've gone through this!'
    I wish you a lot of warmth and loving care,
    We all need that .... And deserve that...

  9. I am crying now realising all of it. I am so grateful for your help.xx

  10. I knew I was a terribly unhappy child and became a very insecure and unhappy adult,fortunately I am with a very caring and loving spouse. But our marriage has been haunted by my past and the narcissistic behaviour of both of my parents. I want to and need to let go of their effect on me. I spent so many hours in therapy but never really knew what I was dealing with. They are now both gone but until I was 57 I was still trying to please them and of course never did. I am 60 now and finally feel liberated. I don'the want to hate them. I really believe they were both damaged in their own way but I am ready to take back my life. I need to do this for myself and for the people who love me unconditionally.

  11. Hi, Yours posts have been very helpful. Reflecting on the last few months,then years gone by, I have just realized that my 84 yr old step mom was and still is behaving as a true narcissist. Now, that I see it, the healing can begin. Thanks


So lovely of you to leave a comment. Thank you!! ♥

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