Living in the Shadow of my Narcissistic Parents – Part 2

I’m not sure how many people actually read my blog these days, but if you’ve been following along you likely read my long rant yesterday about the dinner I had with my father, and how his narcissistic personality disorder tendencies gnaw at me every time I see him, or talk to him.

One commenter posed the question “are you sure he is the one who is a narcissist?” and I wanted to respond to that. Clearly, my post yesterday — and many of my posts — sound self absorbed and ungrateful. Shouldn’t I just be so thankful that my father (and mother) gave me lots of “stuff” in my life — clothes, nice furniture, a college education — beyond stuff, what does a girl really need?

How about love? I’d never argue that I had or have a hard life. I’m way more fortunate than a large percentage of people who live in this world. But I grew up in a love-less house. No one knew how to love themselves let alone anyone else. And, yes, I became a narcissist because it’s the only way to survive when both of your parents are narcissists. It’s a never-ending cycle. The only value I had to my parents was how my existence benefited them. And, as any kid, a big part of me wanted to make my parents happy. It was pretty clear that I couldn’t – that I’d never be the perfect kid they wanted – and I hated myself for it more and more as the years went by.

Today, I’m terribly insecure, I’m terrible at making decisions, and I’ve been caught up in depression because — with my parents, I’m never good enough, but there’s something clear to strive for — and without them, I’m just lost. The narcissistic child doesn’t know what do to with herself without someone telling her she’s not good enough because… “insert reason here.” That’s why many children of narcissistic parents end up with narcissistic significant others. Again, it’s a vicious cycle.

What does any of this have to do with personal finance? Isn’t this a blog about saving money, jobs, investing, etc?  Well, our deep psychology, and sense of self worth, has a direct connection with our relationship with money. So I feel its relevant. If you don’t want to read about my family issues, then don’t. This is, and has always been, a place for me to discuss my life anonymously, honestly, and always with a goal of providing insight into why I make the choices I do with money, my career, and my life.

All I want is a simple life. One where I learn to be comfortable with my own empathy for others. I want so badly to one day be a good mother. To love my children, and to be comfortable showing them I love them — not with STUFF, but with actual love – with listening, with understanding, with caring about how they feel… without being too mushy about it. I think only then will I be able to heal, when I can start my own family, and fill it with the love mine never had.

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