I didn’t know what it meant to be a narcissist until I discovered my sister was one. To discover who is truly a narcissist usually involves an event or collection of drama that breaks down their disguise. Though a narcissist is rarely exposed to more than a few people at a time.
I realized all of this when my sister offered me a job at her office then started spreading lies about me and told the family that I was stealing, being unprofessional, pretty much anything horrible.
I tried to tell them she was using the things she did and blaming me for them but no one believed that she was mean. Most narcissists have the ability to designate a personality for different people. To those who they like or need to support them, they are kind and perfect and play the victim. Where the rest of us they are openly horrible and conniving. They are very good at setting up a scenario and predicting how a person will react to their abuse and counter-attack in a way that makes them look like the horrible person.
The worst was when I realized my mother knew who my sister really was and she still chose her side over mine. Her decision to hide and support her horrible way of destroying people created a rift in the family.
Family members shunned me. I began to realize that my mother might also be a narcissist, or at the very least, a very powerful supporter. Both my sister and mother are too clever to reveal their true, vicious selves to anyone that could be beneficial them.
Throughout this journey I learned what a narcissist was, I learned to fight for myself and to detect it in people. I learned why people kept telling me how awful my family was as a teenager. I just chalked it up to normal family issues. I was raised in a narcissistic environment, and I thought I had finally escaped.
It’s a pretty standard concept that people act and raise their children reminiscent of the manner in which they were raised. Well, when you’re brought up and taught by a narcissist, that’s what you become. If you don’t recognize it when you are young you think snide remarks are normal comments your parents make because they care, you think that scaring your children to do the right thing is good parenting. Every lesson etched into your brain is how you believe the world works, and honestly, it’s not even close.
I began to realize this as my daughter took this journey with me. She broke away from the abuse early on but was kind enough to walk me through the drama with my family. She points out every time I do something that I think is normal but is actually abusive.
It’s been very eye-opening. I apologized to all of my children for putting them through the narcissism ringer, and they have helped me move past it.
The advice I would give to anyone in a similar situation, trust your kids and friends. If they are saying something isn’t right, or really convinced that certain treatment is not reasonable, listen to them. You don’t have to take immediate action, but listen to what they have to say and keep an eye open for their warnings. This could have saved me a lot of pain if I listened to my daughters reasoning behind her hatred of my sister when she was only a child.
It’s not worth trying to change a narcissist. Pointing out what they are doing wrong and how they are hurting other people only works for someone who isn’t truly a narcissist. A true narcissist is usually aware of what they are doing, and their primary intention is to manipulate someone. Changing them is a pointless effort so when you find someone like that, I don’t care if they are your mother, father, husband or wife, get out. You don’t need that negativity in your life, and you will be grateful later down the road.
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