An anonymous commenter stopped by to share some well-articulated observations...including that thing we no doubt all do at some point...wonder if there's any "point" to our painful experience as children of narcissists.
For me, I think of it - especially considering that I was placed by a social worker in the clutches of a childlike man who himself needed parenting - as a crap shoot. I could have gone to some fairly normal people eager to give a child a home. Instead, the dice rolled and I ended up parentified...where the child-parent roles were reversed. No real point to it. Just...Really Bad Luck.
For those of you born into narcissistic families, you have a different challenge making sense of it. In some ways, it's harder. I at least can console myself with the undisputed fact that I'm not actually related to my parents. I have a nice fantasy world that I could retreat to...one where my first family was warm and loving and nurturing and where I was allowed to finish the occasional sentence. Believe me, I escaped to my fantasy world whenever I got the chance. (Before anybody gets too excited, my birth mother has her major issues, but one still likes to dream)
So I was really interested when the anonymous commenter shared this observation:
More recently I think about how this experience has affected my development of creative talents, and perhaps that was part of the point. N's don't have an inner life of imagination and dreams, but the non-n children of n's often do have a rich inner life. Often, our imaginations are the only place in which we receive nurturing. So maybe part of the point was to develop our imaginations in some special way. I bet there isn't a non-n child of an n-parent who doesn't have a great imagination and creative ability.
(emphasis mine--this concept rings so true!)
Sometimes, it's hard to find the upside of being raised by narcissists, but it is comforting and probably fairly healthy to try and find at least some positives!
In addition to developing a rich inner life, I bet you are:
--responsible (okay, maybe overly responsible)
--a good listener (this is what happens when you're not allowed to talk)
--proactive (trying to head off the next crisis)
--diplomatic (forced to smooth over troubled waters when your parent insulted somebody)