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Severing Ties with Narcissistic Siblings

Posted Apr 23 2010 9:41am

The narcissist is created. So far no narcissistic gene has been discovered. When we analyze the psychodynamics within a family we can trace back to the creation of the narcissistic sibling. The classic formula is the parental choice of one or more children who are bright, have potential artistic or athletic talent and who are physically very attractive with outgoing personalities. In these families children are not loved for being themselves but for the constant ego boosting and bragging rights they can bring to the parent(s). Like money or gold the living child becomes a  commodity that must be trained, conditioned and polished to become valuable in feeding the parent's narcissistic hunger. The feelings, individuality, thoughts or problems of this child or of other children in the family are of no concern to the narcissistic parent. The voice of the narcissistic parent is clear and irrevocable: " Through this chosen child I will enhance my self importance, entitlement, superiority, and perfection. " "I will mold this child and create a specimen of perfection that has never been seen before." We watch this happen among some sports figures where the parent decided very early (even when the baby was in his crib) that he or she had the possibility of becoming a great athlete.  Once picked for glory the obsesssd parent begins a strict training schedule. These children are never allowed to grow naturally, to have time to be free to express and do what comes intrinsically from them. The sacredness of their person is not respected. They are force-fed to be great athletes, performing artists, musicians, actors, etc. The budding narcissist in this situation takes on this special role and believes that he or she is better than anyone else. This is not surprising since the brainwashing and strict conditioning to this persona began very early in his life


Other siblings who do not meet the stringent qualities set down by the narcissistic parent are set aside as inferior and are either neglected or treated with dismissiveness and cruelty. I have heard from many adult children in a narcissistic family who were not chosen, who beared the brunt of being humiliated, scorned, verbally attacked as worthless. The chosen child was always held up to them as the model of perfection they would never be able to attain. As the budding narcissist grew, he/she was allowed to treat unfavored siblings with ruthless disregard for them.  No limits were placed on the chosen child. The others were treated strictly and constantly intimidated to obey by the rules or be severely punished. The unfavored siblings suffered horribly under these prison like conditions. Many of them left home early due to the neglectfulness and abuse of the narcissistic parent.


Some of these adult children spend years trying to discover who they really are. They make attempts at maintaining a "relationship" with the narcissistic sibling. They are quickly rebuffed. By this time the narcissist is fully ego expanded, leading his/her life of self absorption, grandiosty and total insensitivity to the needs of others. It is difficult for these adult children to recognize that their narcissistic sibling is never going to change and that a relationship with them is not possible.

Some conclude that they must sever any bond with their narcissistic sibling. It is in their best interests. Siblings have emotional difficulty with this decision, always thinking that if they had gone that extra mile, ten miles, a marathon, the narcissistic sibling would learn to love them. This is not possible and the result of returning to this way of thinking only brings deeper hurt to the other party.

I have received communications from non-narcissistic adult siblings who were relieved and surprised by the consequences of making this final break with the narcissistic sibling. They describe themselves as "freed up" from the narcissistic bonds of their original family. They have rediscovered themselves, become acquainted with their uniqueness, their creative gifts, their capacity for closeness and joy. Visit my website: www.thenarcissistinyourlife.com


Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D

Telephone Consultation

Email:lmlphd@thenarcissistinyourlife.com

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