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Lotus Jester
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Narcissistic parents

Having been raised by an extremely narcissistic mother who alternately tried to suck the life out of me and emotionally abandoned me; I know that it has done major damage to my way of relating in romantic relationships.

I am so terrified of being engulfed by anyone, that I find that I can only feel safe with men who don't want anything from me or need me in any way.

While, these people rarely make me feel engulfed; I often wind up feeling neglected and hurt. Ironically, if they were to start to show me too much attention; I would probably get scared off.

Can anyone else relate to this and are all my future romantic relationships destined to become a stagnant wasteland?

:dry:
 

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I can't relate. My parents weren't too bad. I fell into a few patterns and fumbled my way out of them. I don't think you're doomed at all. You recognize the problem in yourself. Now it's up to you to do something about it. If someone lacking as much self-awareness as I did managed to muddle my way through my bad dating habits, then I'm pretty sure it's something most people can do.

I don't know if that's any help at all.
 

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wow, you sound sort of like me.

honestly, i would just dive into it, and whatever happens, happens.

you already know what it feels like to constantly shy away from it (and the feeling isn't good); that in itself is a dead-end that will you leave you with that feeling. the other way (if you're anything like me) is scary, but it is also unfamiliar, and that is hugely important when it comes to dealing with all of our shit. it's in enacting the same old routine that allows us to bind ourselves--taking that leap can hurt, but at least it moves us a little further away from where we were initially, changing our state of mind minutely--bringing a little more of ourselves out with it.

i mean, what's the worst that could happen? you get hurt, or you find out that this isn't the person that you want? that you may find something out about yourself, or have to change something in your life?

does any of this even apply to you (or am i just talking to myself, lol)?
 

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Lotus Jester
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I can't relate. My parents weren't too bad. I fell into a few patterns and fumbled my way out of them. I don't think you're doomed at all. You recognize the problem in yourself. Now it's up to you to do something about it. If someone lacking as much self-awareness as I did managed to muddle my way through my bad dating habits, then I'm pretty sure it's something most people can do.

I don't know if that's any help at all.
Yes, that does give me some hope, thanks. :happy:
 
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Lotus Jester
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wow, you sound sort of like me.

honestly, i would just dive into it, and whatever happens, happens.

you already know what it feels like to constantly shy away from it (and the feeling isn't good); that in itself is a dead-end that will you leave you with that feeling. the other way (if you're anything like me) is scary, but it is also unfamiliar, and that is hugely important when it comes to dealing with all of our shit. it's in enacting the same old routine that allows us to bind ourselves--taking that leap can hurt, but at least it moves us a little further away from where we were initially, changing our state of mind minutely--bringing a little more of ourselves out with it.

i mean, what's the worst that could happen? you get hurt, or you find out that this isn't the person that you want? that you may find something out about yourself, or have to change something in your life?

does any of this even apply to you (or am i just talking to myself, lol)?
No, it definitely does apply to me; I just need to find away to get my fear of being engulfed. It might have something to do with the fact that my mother was both emotionally abusive and needy. Thus, I am both afraid of caring too much about a person and not have it be reciprocated and actually allowing anyone to really matter to me. What scares me the most, is someone who makes demands on me that I can't or don't want to fulfill.
 

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No, it definitely does apply to me; I just need to find away to get my fear of being engulfed. It might have something to do with the fact that my mother was both emotionally abusive and needy. Thus, I am both afraid of caring too much about a person and not have it be reciprocated and actually allowing anyone to really matter to me. What scares me the most, is someone who makes demands on me that I can't or don't want to fulfill.
this sounds very 6'ish (at least from what i've read; not to say that your 5w6 typing is wrong--i really don't know enough to rule out the impact of "wings" or of "tritypes"... could also just be a general "head-thing" as well).

again, you sound almost word for word like i do.

other than just speaking to you about it (a lot of good can actually come from that--more so in the person themselves speaking of it), the only advice that i have... that's helped me... is to just be like, "fuck it :p--eh, it'll all be good, even if it's terrible".

it can cause you to act in ways that are seemingly "not yourself" (or at least, to act in ways that run counter to how you view yourself). things can go 'wrong', you can lose and gain friendships/relationships, make a fool of yourself, get hurt, etc--but, i would say that that in itself is really apart of the process.

whenever an girlfriend would "make demands" (and to be honest, they frequently were demands--not requests), it just wasn't something that i could understand. it was like, "i'm not hindering you, or expecting you to do anything special--what the hell are you doing that to me for?". in some cases, i did go along--and i should have--in others, it was just a fight. but when it really comes down to it (for me at least), i would allow something unimportant to grow and take precedence in my own mind, magnifying a minor issue to the point that it would gain my focus, and any extraneous energy was not really going towards my relationship. but if i were to take a step back, to gain an objective view of the situation, i think i could have not only had a better hold on what was un/important, but also on the fact that i was allowing something to take the place of what should have been my focus all along (basic fear), and of my running away from something that would have actually have filled that minor gap (that, ironically enough, wasn't being filled with what my mind was initially jumping towards).

all of this really caused me to realize that--as you hint at--i didn't consciously allow others to matter to me. it would have been as if "feeling" was a circle (or anything really) in my mind that was covered and obscured--i could still sense the depth of that feeling, it was something that kept me close to another, but as it was covered and the exact shape was kept hidden, it never went beyond a wordless sense of depth. because of that, it never really had an impact that i could consciously enact--except in ways that occurred without (again) conscious thought.

really, in a way, all of this or any other complex-related problem (IMO/excluding severe--and i mean, as in a danger to oneself or others) can only resolve itself by "mentally over-extending" yourself. you have to do what isn't natural to your current state of mind--it'll most likely suck, if that makes it seem any better, :p, but there really is no other way. you can either start, or you can wait for a moment to happen to you that you'd rather have avoided.
 

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"Dear merciful Lord, you're me" is what passed through my head as I read that. Why I have never heard of the concept of Narcissistic Parenting is beyond me, but I do know it helps me understand what I've only attempted to analyze about my childhood in the past. So much pain has been explained!

If good ol' wikipedia is accurate hear, my mother vvery well could have been narcissistic. The descriptions fit her f l a w l e s s l y. Things I've come to define her by are in reality a disorder brought about by her own parents' neglect.
I find that I can only feel safe with men who don't want anything from me or need me in any way.
This is precisely the kind of man my mother married. A self-centered, sexist no-it-all who was incapable of compassion and selflessness.
And, as Freud would have it, I am in turn attracted to such men. Often. I have hope though :) But whenever men try to "engulf" me with what I tend to label neediness/clinginess/weakness may in fact be... normal?
I can be "healthy" (as society likes to define it). In conversation I am an adept listener and am very kind--but when I meet someone that shows the same courtesies to me I am shocked! Profoundly shocked, sir! I always assume they want something from me, something compromising or something I can't give them. Do they just want love? Perhaps even that is too much to ask of someone.

I'm aware this is a vicious cycle.
The description of the child that has seen the dark side of their parents and so adopts aggressive, confrontational behavior suits me (and my Type 8) quite well. However, the one part that gives me pause is the last sentence saying these children become narcissitic themselves.
This terrifies me!!
Never have I ever wanted to be anything like my mother; she was/is awful. The way she uses my brothers, myself, her family and few friends-NO. What can I do to ensure this does not happen? I'm certainy more empathetic than she, taking on a confidant-like role in many scenarios.... but I can't be sure I won't slowly and sneakily crumble into her unawares :_(

I take a long time to show my "True Self" to people; I often fer I never will.... well, I mean, show it to a future Life Partner. My dear friends who stick by me regardless know most of my layers--the ones that count. But a guy? One with whom I eat meals by candlelight, and cuddle, and get married to, and visit grand kids with? Gosh, I can't imagine. Being that vulnerable is absolutely terrifying.

I s'pose I can only pray I will find someone patient and tender whose bull and baggage are compatible with my bull and baggage :D
*sighs a deep and melancholy sigh*
 

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Lotus Jester
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@Fern, I would recommend this book for you. Will I Ever Be Good Enough? - Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers

By Dr. Karyl McBride
 

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I s'pose I can only pray I will find someone patient and tender whose bull and baggage are compatible with my bull and baggage :D
*sighs a deep and melancholy sigh*
I'll lay money down on being a bad plan. The best relationships are when two emotionally healthy individuals come together. Healthy people, leave or avoid unhealthy people.

I guess I don't believe in the "you complete me" idea. It suggests two half people makes a whole person. I'm a whole person who can and has lived happily on my own. My husband is a whole and complete person who can and has lived happily on his own. Together, we make a whole happy couple (not two half persons making a whole person) who are even happier together than on our own. We enhance each others lives.

IMO, you should fix these things in yourself and not just cross your fingers prince charming will take care of it for you. To do otherwise is to pave the way to repeat your mother's history. At least, that's what I think.
 

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Narcissistic parents

Having been raised by an extremely narcissistic mother who alternately tried to suck the life out of me and emotionally abandoned me; I know that it has done major damage to my way of relating in romantic relationships.

I am so terrified of being engulfed by anyone, that I find that I can only feel safe with men who don't want anything from me or need me in any way.

While, these people rarely make me feel engulfed; I often wind up feeling neglected and hurt. Ironically, if they were to start to show me too much attention; I would probably get scared off.

Can anyone else relate to this and are all my future romantic relationships destined to become a stagnant wasteland?

:dry:

To The ... T

:crying: I really wish I could say otherwise.



And the weird part is, I think this is healthy. I think it is healthy to have a sense of autonomy.
And I think it's healthy to engage in such a way with people that I (or them) are not all consuming, OR negligent.

But yeah. I must admit. I have a penchant for attracting and being attracted to people who are either or.
The latter is the more painful. The former is more uncomfortable.
 
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I'll lay money down on being a bad plan. The best relationships are when two emotionally healthy individuals come together. Healthy people, leave or avoid unhealthy people.
Now that is where I'm confused I must admit.

Because to be honest, I think I am very healthy.

Not so sure why I end up with either or types. Everyone's emotional needs vary. and so who is to say that someone who is too much or not there, who is to say they're unhealthy. I kind of just think maybe I haven't found that relationship that serves as a solid balance right now. This isn't to say it won't happen. Just not now.

For me, it isn't "you complete me".

It's ... "You compliment me". Something like that.

Someone whose personality compliments my own. And brings out the best of me. And in return I them. Someone who encourages me to grow, and I them. I don't think this means either party unhealthy. To grow is healthy. And so if being healthy means I have to stop growing as a person, then I prefer to be sick.


More or less. I suppose I don't pigeon myself to any one circumstance.

Rather I relate to the OP in that "feeling crowded" - "feeling neglected" pendulum.

I wouldn't go as far to say that because of that feeling pattern, that healthy people would leave me or avoid me.

I just don't believe that. If that is the case, that version of "healthy" is negative narcissism imo.
 
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Narcissistic parents

Having been raised by an extremely narcissistic mother who alternately tried to suck the life out of me and emotionally abandoned me; I know that it has done major damage to my way of relating in romantic relationships.

I am so terrified of being engulfed by anyone, that I find that I can only feel safe with men who don't want anything from me or need me in any way.

While, these people rarely make me feel engulfed; I often wind up feeling neglected and hurt. Ironically, if they were to start to show me too much attention; I would probably get scared off.

Can anyone else relate to this and are all my future romantic relationships destined to become a stagnant wasteland?

:dry:
This is a very interesting post, thank you. I come from two Narcissistic parents and so thoroughly lack good examples at anything, and it probably explains why psychology, neuroscience and the like have always intrigued me; to help me learn the right way to be. I don't know your age(s) so if you're young, kudos to you for examining your upbringing and challenging yourself to retrain your thinking and relating. What follows is a personal opinion only, and a result of intensive reflection on my own life (I'm in IT, not social work, lol)

Because we were either an extension of a parent's incorrect boundaries (physical, sexual or verbal abuse) or viewed as a competitor and extension of their persona, and most always found to be lacking, we worry that we won't have enough, be enough, to meet another's emotional needs, even healthy needs/wants. And we really have difficulty identifying what it is that we need or want. As such, we tend to be viewed as aloof or intimidating. We're really just constantly assessing - where is that person, where do I need to be, do I have what it takes to be that thing for them, do I appear too needy or too cold, ad infinitum. Rarely can we just relax and be, go with the flow. We're throwing up barriers and right angles to perceived inroads into areas we think we may lack substance in. But instead of seeking healthy, well-adjusted partners, we tend to be attracted to what we know. Therein lies the rub. When that fails, we go to the opposite extreme - the emotionally cold person, because that seems safer. It's not healthy though either. True, reciprocal partnership neither engulfs, nor neglects. And while two people may be whole on their own, a good relationship truly is where you are complementary to your partner and they you, providing a combination of strengths and weaknesses well balanced and unified - like balanced yin and yang.

I find for myself, I need a good balance of partnership time and alone time. Even if we're married and in the same household, please give me some space. Let me practice a solitary hobby and you do likewise. We'll come back together at the end of the day. Lots of people are not like that, they want you around all of the time, to do everything with you. I can't handle that.

Your future romantic relationships are not doomed, because you are aware. The true challenge is discovering what type of person you're interacting with. Many aren't aware of how they themselves are, and so it takes time and communication to establish those things. The deepest desire that I personally have, is to be wanted for who I am, and appreciated simply for that; not what you perceive me to be, or what the imaginary partner in your head looks like. Just me.

Best wishes, and keep exploring yourself and working on yourself. It's the only thing we can truly change :)
 

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Now that is where I'm confused I must admit.

Because to be honest, I think I am very healthy.

Not so sure why I end up with either or types. Everyone's emotional needs vary. and so who is to say that someone who is too much or not there, who is to say they're unhealthy. I kind of just think maybe I haven't found that relationship that serves as a solid balance right now. This isn't to say it won't happen. Just not now.

For me, it isn't "you complete me".

It's ... "You compliment me". Something like that.

Someone whose personality compliments my own. And brings out the best of me. And in return I them. Someone who encourages me to grow, and I them. I don't think this means either party unhealthy. To grow is healthy. And so if being healthy means I have to stop growing as a person, then I prefer to be sick.


More or less. I suppose I don't pigeon myself to any one circumstance.

Rather I relate to the OP in that "feeling crowded" - "feeling neglected" pendulum.

I wouldn't go as far to say that because of that feeling pattern, that healthy people would leave me or avoid me.

I just don't believe that. If that is the case, that version of "healthy" is negative narcissism imo.
To say healthy, isn't to mean, without problems. Everyone has problems. No one is perfect. My husband and I had issues as individuals before we got married that had to be worked through. And we grow as individuals and as a couple. It might not be in the lovey dovey way I see other couples operate in. But in private, we resolve issues.

What I'm referring to is meeting the walking wounded. They've had fucked up lives either due to their decisions or their childhoods and resulting fallout or a combination of both. I've felt bad for this sort before and tried to take them under my wing against my mothers advice and Grandmothers advice. They were absolutely right. The walking wounded will latch onto you like a drowning victim and drag you under with them. It's best to keep a safe distance from unhealthy individuals. Why else do you think therapists keep a safe distance from their clients? It's unwise to date people looking for a patient soul mate to put them back together. The only person that can put a broken person back together is them.
 

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I'll lay money down on being a bad plan. The best relationships are when two emotionally healthy individuals come together. Healthy people, leave or avoid unhealthy people.

I guess I don't believe in the "you complete me" idea. It suggests two half people makes a whole person. I'm a whole person who can and has lived happily on my own. My husband is a whole and complete person who can and has lived happily on his own. Together, we make a whole happy couple (not two half persons making a whole person) who are even happier together than on our own. We enhance each others lives.

IMO, you should fix these things in yourself and not just cross your fingers prince charming will take care of it for you. To do otherwise is to pave the way to repeat your mother's history. At least, that's what I think.
Disclaimer: Nonaggressive intent.

Ignoring your condescending and haughty tone along with the fact that you ignored the parts of my post that basically negated what you are claiming about my attitude toward dating- I am a deeply independent young woman, thanks for your concern.

We are talking about relationships here. So, it's not that peculiar to address this briefly. The "your nonsense is compatible with my nonsense" thing I throw around frequently is always meant as a joke with a degree of truth. Everyone is screwed up; and I'm realistic enough to accept that. "crossing my fingers for prince charming" or whatever is something I never have nor ever will do.
I'm very sorry you interpreted having faith as being a weak, dependent female.

I'm as adverse to that Lookin' for my missing piece/Shel Siverstein/ Codependent foolishness as anyone. I'm looking for a partner; not a soulmate.

However. This pragmatic approach to relationships is precisely brought my dysfunctional parents together, so I believe there should be a level of comfortability. Willingness to express inabilities and securities. We all have 'em! So, if a relationship's going to be life-long, I'd like to be with someone that can handle my bitchiness as well as my weakness.

I see you are married, so obviously you did something that worked. I'll take your advice with the understanding that you misunderstood my initial post. I still have all my college years to "fix these things in myself" or whatever-only I don't really need to as I am fine. I've just had a difficult life that you know nothing about (you know a minuscule portion now). Who are you to judge me exactly?
 

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Lotus Jester
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"Dear merciful Lord, you're me" is what passed through my head as I read that. Why I have never heard of the concept of Narcissistic Parenting is beyond me, but I do know it helps me understand what I've only attempted to analyze about my childhood in the past. So much pain has been explained!

If good ol' wikipedia is accurate hear, my mother vvery well could have been narcissistic. The descriptions fit her f l a w l e s s l y. Things I've come to define her by are in reality a disorder brought about by her own parents' neglect.

This is precisely the kind of man my mother married. A self-centered, sexist no-it-all who was incapable of compassion and selflessness.
And, as Freud would have it, I am in turn attracted to such men. Often. I have hope though :) But whenever men try to "engulf" me with what I tend to label neediness/clinginess/weakness may in fact be... normal?
I can be "healthy" (as society likes to define it). In conversation I am an adept listener and am very kind--but when I meet someone that shows the same courtesies to me I am shocked! Profoundly shocked, sir! I always assume they want something from me, something compromising or something I can't give them. Do they just want love? Perhaps even that is too much to ask of someone.

I'm aware this is a vicious cycle.
The description of the child that has seen the dark side of their parents and so adopts aggressive, confrontational behavior suits me (and my Type 8) quite well. However, the one part that gives me pause is the last sentence saying these children become narcissitic themselves.
This terrifies me!!
Never have I ever wanted to be anything like my mother; she was/is awful. The way she uses my brothers, myself, her family and few friends-NO. What can I do to ensure this does not happen? I'm certainy more empathetic than she, taking on a confidant-like role in many scenarios.... but I can't be sure I won't slowly and sneakily crumble into her unawares :_(


I take a long time to show my "True Self" to people; I often fer I never will.... well, I mean, show it to a future Life Partner. My dear friends who stick by me regardless know most of my layers--the ones that count. But a guy? One with whom I eat meals by candlelight, and cuddle, and get married to, and visit grand kids with? Gosh, I can't imagine. Being that vulnerable is absolutely terrifying.

I s'pose I can only pray I will find someone patient and tender whose bull and baggage are compatible with my bull and baggage :D
*sighs a deep and melancholy sigh*
I don't believe that that's necessarily a foregone conclusion. I'd like to think I am much more like my dad - understanding, kind and nurturing than like my mother. I might possibly be overcompensating by being too willing to admit to being at fault in any type of a disagreement with a romantic partner. That is how afraid I am of being anything like her.
 

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I don't believe that that's necessarily a foregone conclusion. I'd like to think I am much more like my dad - understanding, kind and nurturing than like my mother. I might possibly be overcompensating by being too willing to admit to being at fault in any type of a disagreement with a romantic partner. That is how afraid I am of being anything like her.
I work very hard at fostering those bolded qualities in myself as well. I work with children a lot and am much more compassionate of their shortcomings and differences than my mother was. I have a nurturing spirit that children seem to being out, and my strength becomes directed at protecting them ^_^
I wish i was more willing to admit to being wrong... I'm the first to admit that I can be a bit pig-headed *blushes*
Good points you make, though!
I kinda wish I had a dad like that whose behavior I could model, though :) I do however strongly remmeber the older female role models I had a few years ago in jr. high and try to "channel them".
 

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Disclaimer: Nonaggressive intent.

Ignoring your condescending and haughty tone along with the fact that you ignored the parts of my post that basically negated what you are claiming about my attitude toward dating- I am a deeply independent young woman, thanks for your concern.

We are talking about relationships here. So, it's not that peculiar to address this briefly. The "your nonsense is compatible with my nonsense" thing I throw around frequently is always meant as a joke with a degree of truth. Everyone is screwed up; and I'm realistic enough to accept that. "crossing my fingers for prince charming" or whatever is something I never have nor ever will do.
I'm very sorry you interpreted having faith as being a weak, dependent female.

I'm as adverse to that Lookin' for my missing piece/Shel Siverstein/ Codependent foolishness as anyone. I'm looking for a partner; not a soulmate.

However. This pragmatic approach to relationships is precisely brought my dysfunctional parents together, so I believe there should be a level of comfortability. Willingness to express inabilities and securities. We all have 'em! So, if a relationship's going to be life-long, I'd like to be with someone that can handle my bitchiness as well as my weakness.

I see you are married, so obviously you did something that worked. I'll take your advice with the understanding that you misunderstood my initial post. I still have all my college years to "fix these things in myself" or whatever-only I don't really need to as I am fine. I've just had a difficult life that you know nothing about (you know a minuscule portion now). Who are you to judge me exactly?
I responded according to what I read in the post. If I read something that wasn't there, my mistake. You've read an attitude from me that wasn't there. When I'm being bitchy, I'm confrontational.
 

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I responded according to what I read in the post. If I read something that wasn't there, my mistake. You've read an attitude from me that wasn't there. When I'm being bitchy, I'm confrontational.
Okay :) I like confrontational; that is good to know.
If I was mad the only difference would have been that I would have omitted the disclaimer at the beginning.
I know your intent was to help.
 

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I guess I don't believe in the "you complete me" idea. It suggests two half people makes a whole person. I'm a whole person who can and has lived happily on my own. My husband is a whole and complete person who can and has lived happily on his own. Together, we make a whole happy couple (not two half persons making a whole person) who are even happier together than on our own. We enhance each others lives.
I had to quote this to say that I wholeheartedly agree with this. I've never subscribed to that belief. I always thought it was more desirable for a person to be perfectly capable of being on her own, but who preferred to have me in her life, than for someone to feel "incomplete" without me. That never sounded healthy to me, yet many people think this way.
 
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