Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Parentified child of a narcissistic mother

Community Member

I am the product of the parentified child to a narcissistic mother. I'm not sure of the services offered these days, but I was an 80's kid. There was no support and it seems that there is no awareness about this and how much it can screw someone up. I lost my brother to suicide 9 months ago and that lost, without a purpose feeling after losing the only person that I have ever loved unconditionally and who loved me more than anyone else has ever loved me, forced me to try to find myself. I had a mentally and physically ill abusive and selfish mother, a father whose role was to work hard and provide money instead of hugs and my schitzoaffective, ice addicted baby brother who was my entire world but who I lacked the power to save.

I always knew there was something wrong with me but I couldn't put my finger on it. I was perceived as being strong and resilient and helpful. A clinical psychologist once gave me the "resilient" diagnosis which made me decide that she was an over qualified idiot and that no one could ever help me because I was "too strong and resilient" for anyone to understand. I'm 34 now, and it took the loss of my brother plus 9 months to realize that I don't know who I am. All I have ever known is how to accommodate the needs of my mother, my father and my brother. I never even realized that I needed to be a human instead of being the rock that tried to hold everything together for everyone else. I am working with a psychologist now and I have told her that I am a parentified child and I don't know how to feel my feelings like a normal person and I am sure it will require much work and a long time but I know I'll find myself eventually. I'm just frustrated that I never knew that this was a "thing" before. And it upsets me to know that there are and will be other children who will grow into adults knowing something is wrong but never knowing what it is or why.

4 Replies 4

Community Member

Hi G.A. It must have been extremely lonely for you growing up under those conditions. When we are growing up, we tend to accept our life as it is. It's not until we venture out into the world, start working and interact with other adults we start to wonder about our upbringing. Mine, too was unreal, alcoholic father, both parents narc's, controllers etc. Like you I thought that was the 'norm'. I would watch other kids interacting with their parents and I started realising my home life wasn't like that. Luckily, I suppose, for me, my parents were extremely strong as far as not needing me. I was unceremoniously turfed out at 17 for daring to come home pregnant. That was my turning point. I'm so sorry you've had to endure so much pain in your life. I don't think your psych meant resilient in the sense that you don't need help, I think she may have meant resilient in the sense that you tried to help your parents. Because you've had to be mum, dad and everything except 'you', yes, finding you is going to be quite a journey of self discovery. Your likes, dislikes, possible future hubby, accepting you couldn't help your brother. That must've been extremely painful, I'm so sorry you lost your brother that way. Through reading your post, I'm sure others will benefit knowing what you had to endure in your life.

I wish you every success in your journey. it may be long, sometimes painful, but the end will be wonderful for you.

All the very best to you.


white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi gone away, welcome

A similar life is mine so you are not alone

I was brought up in the 60's. Dad, the salt of the earth worked hard, didn't see him much (dec 1992). Mother the narc a stay at home mum with 3 kids, the eldest my brother. He took his own life at 27yo.

We didn't know until my 40's that there was something major wrong with our family. More importantly the origin of that problem- mental illness and a major reason for such illness all 3 of us kids had and most of those illnesses due to a narcissistic mother in total denial to this day. Sense my anger here?

12 years ago I sought help and in the end diagnosed with bipolar type 2, depression, dysthymia and dwindling anxiety. I licked the anxiety now. I'm calm. But my sister and I struggle daily with the rest.

Our controlling mother was in the end too much to bare. My sister and I, 7 years ago decided we knew our mother had, all our lives, triangulated us for power. eg fall out with me and she set my sister against me. The perfect manipulator. My sister and I drew a line in the sand when our mother tried this and interfered in the upbringing of our children (just criticism no praise at all). Add to that health issues she claimed she had that weren't true (that happened all our lives). Issues like her ruining my first wedding, reporting my sister to authorities for being an unfit mother purely for revenge..Enough!!

One day a friend told me to google "witch queen hermit waif". I then read about my mother!. She is either a narcissistic personality or chronic BPD or likely both. Have a read.

Anyway, she is still in denial and still, at 83yo working behind the scenes with relatives to make life harder for us. Many relatives have stopped talking to my sister and I. A narc will go to the ends of the earth to "win".

Our family is now full of support and no controversy. Its how it should be.

For the child of a narc parent there are no remedies except to cut contact. The promises from a narc are temporary, the denial of them having issues- permanent, the hope of a stable family life is less than likely.

The witch will pursue you for revenge even ringing your friends and work supervisor or ex wife

The queen owns you and demands you obey. The queen...you shall be fearful

The hermit will use segregation as a weapon

The waif uses crocodile tears to get others to hurt you with guilt

It's sad to make the tough decision but we did and life is happier.

Tony WK

I am actually posting hoping the children of narcissistic parents can help me. I am separated and my child's other parent is a narcissist. The emotional and psychological abuse of my child and I never ends. I just want to 1. Protect her from any harm. 2. Ensure I am never alienated from her on the basis of the heavily invested in smear campaign of me by her other parent.

Do any of you have any advice on how I can teach her/guide her protect her from the abuse? I'm so traumatised and angry that police and legal systems just turn their eyes to narcissistic abuse.

I am the child of a narcissistic mother and an alcoholic abusive father. It has taken me all my 56 years of mental anguish, depression, medication and councilling to finally break free of my mothers mental hold on me. The counselling was my saviour. Seeking counselling for yourself will help you and support you to cope and be aware of how to help your child. By remaining loving , caring and supportive to your child will help to build the strong bond that your child will need . Don’t give negative and harsh comments to your child about the other parent , rather instil securities that you are there for your child, let the child know that he/ she is a good person, worthy, loved , needed . Always ask how they are and talk , talk, praise, discuss their concerns, support, give love. That child will need you and seek you always.