Down is up and up is down when you grow up in a narcissistic family. It sounds simple but it's very complex and painful. Most people cannot understand how intolerable it is to grow up with a golden boy/girl narcissist who is allowed to treat his siblings with constant acts of cruelty with impunity. Being the young sibling of one of these holy terrors is particularly horrific. The parent(s) of these siblings from hell is often narcissistic and therefore incapable of empathy or forming any real attachment or warmth for any of his/children. In some cases the narcissistic sibling intimidates the parents so successfully that they sing to his tune. He is a despotic ruler of the household. In other instances the narcissistic mother/father colludes with the golden one and the two of them create an atmosphere of ongoing apprehension and fear in the home. This is not a home but a place of imprisonment for the non-narcissistic siblings. The narcissistic child perpetrates physical, psychological and emotional abuse on his siblings. Often he/she chooses the child who is the most sensitive and vulnerable on which to project his rage. The scapegoated child is cornered and threatened with even greater harm if he tells any adult about the abuse. In some cases the narcissistic parent and the favored child join in a campaign of terrorizing the targeted child (children).
In these highly pathological families, reality is turned on its head. Everything about the child growing up in these family constellations is delusional. Some scapegoated children don't realize for many years the depth of what they have endured and survived. Decades later some of these adult children are still suffering from some of the effects of this horrendous cruelty and treachery.
There are incredible survival stories of those who walk the tightrope (without a net) in these narcissistic families with narcissistic siblings. Their stories are both painful and inspiring. I have found that despite all of the abuse they have endured, they are empathic human beings, sensitive to the needs of others.
As you recognize that you grew up with a tyrannical narcissistic sibling, appreciate that you kept yourself whole and kind. That is a tremendous achievement. You will continue to heal as you become receptive to individuation---the process of moving toward a solid, deeper sense of self. Be kind to yourself, recognize your value, practice techniques of calming body, mind and psyche (yoga, meditation, walking meditation, restorative yoga, journaling, etc) Leave the critic inside of you behind. Move forward consciously step by step, appreciating each moment that you are now free of your family history and that the horizon in front of you is filled with the inner peace, calmness and compassion for self and others that you have always deserved. Visit my website: www.thenarcissistinyourlife.com
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Telephone Consultation: United States and International
Book: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life
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