Narcissist – the world revolves around them and they need constant validation and praise
Co-Narcissist – feeds the narcissist
If someone were to tell me six years ago that I was a narcissist, I would have been extremely offended. I would probably proceed to disprove their beliefs by targeting their core shame beliefs about themselves… which is one of the characteristics of a narcissist that wants to remain superior.
Understanding that a narcissist is a bi-product of extreme abuse and shame was a huge reliever and eye opener for me. To be able to look back and see that this role was handed down through the generations from my grandmother, to my mother, and then down to me was a very humbling but rather scary experience.
It was well known that our family had the structure of a matriarchy. The women ‘wore the pants’ in the family and everyone around them had to take up a co-narcissist role to support the ‘queen’. Throughout my childhood, the role I took on was either the invisible child, the hero, or the scapegoat for the narcissist’s bad behaviour. My mom was a scary monster who demanded to be ‘fed’ almost every moment of every day. If she wasn’t ‘fed’, there was a lot of hurt coming to the person who was closest to her at the time.
As an adult, my relationship roles toggled between narcissistic and covert narcissism. It was all I knew at that time. These were the only roles I was exposed to as a child. I was either demanding everyone to feed my ego or I was the quiet and shy person who manipulated everyone to meet her needs.
Understanding how these traits were passed down through the generations helped me not be so hard on myself for hurting so many people. I have felt great remorse and have made amends (where I can) for the hurts I have inflicted on others. I now know that my extreme abuse caused extreme shame which was the birthplace of my narcissism.
Through much hard work these last six years, I am able to now say that “that was who I was then – but it isn’t who I am now”. It is a continuous journey for me to relearn how to ‘adult’ in a healthy way but with each passing day, I am … ‘becoming’.