After being raised by a narcissist, you don’t just shake it off.
Many times you end up with what we call narcissistic fleas.
Narcissistic fleas are negative ways of thinking and behavior patterns of the narcissist.
It’s a residual effect of long term narcissistic abuse.
One of the best ways for a child or young adult to defend and protect themselves is to behave like the narcissist who’s abusing them.
As adults, if we feel threatened we can unconsciously use this defense mechanism as a shield.
You could be completely unaware of what you’re doing because you’re in survival mode, triggered, flight, or fight.
If you’re like me then you honestly didn’t know any better.
You only know what you’ve been taught by your parents, especially if you’re isolated from the outside world.
You don’t know any better.
I was taught how to communicate the way my narcissistic mother communicated with me.
I also watched the way she fought with my father and how she always got her way.
My second year of marriage was not great.
I wasn’t taught how to communicate properly, but l married well, and one thing my husband is good at is having a clean fight.
This is how I learned to have a clean fight with my husband after being raised by a narcissist.
As the child of a narcissist, I watched my mother operate.
I wasn’t equipped to defend myself against her, but I was paying attention.
It always ends the same way, degraded, demeaned, silenced, and dismissed.
As I got older, the resentment grew, and I got smarter.
I knew that the only way to hurt her was to do it in public, but unfortunately, that was also to my demise.
Now I looked like the horribly crazy daughter she told everyone I was.
I’m telling you this because I’ve tried every way possible to beat my narcissistic mother and make her feel my pain.
In the end, I was the only one who suffered.
And all the things I learned from her as a child started to affect me as an adult.
The only way I knew how to fight was like a dirty, rotten, narcissist.
I won every time.
The problem is it cost me a great deal internally.
If you feel guilt or remorse after an outburst then you’re not a very good narcissist.
That’s what it’s like when you have narcissistic fleas and what happens when you’ve been under the influence of a narcissist.
A narcissist only understands conditional love, and that’s the only way I learned how to receive love.
As a child, I didn’t experience unconditional love.
Other people tell me things like:
- I always knew I was loved.
- No matter what happened when we came home, we knew we were loved.
- There was always love, even when my mother was mad; she loved us.
- We were always forgiven.
I thought I had a loving mother, but I never felt loved by her.
There is no respect or compassion when you’re in a fight with a narcissistic parent.
I struggled to relate to other adults as much as they struggle to understand why a mother would be so mean to her children.
I would tell my husband some of those little things you remember from childhood, and he gets this look on his face like that’s not normal.
The only reason I was able to break free is because, for the first time in my life, I experienced unconditional love.
Not the kind of love my religious narcissistic mother would preach about and brag to anyone who’d listen about her unconditional love for her children.
Talk is cheap because the reality of her was very different from the stories she told.
To be the unforgivable one, the scapegoat, the family trash can, the biggest disappointment.
People with loving mothers can’t imagine what that feels like.
I thought I had a good mother, but in my case, it turned out to be a lie.
I was convinced something was wrong with me, and I was on a mission to fix it.
My symptoms led me to abuse, which led me to narcissism, and then I was forced to accept the worst possible truth.
I have a narcissistic mother, and they don’t get better.
If I wanted to get better, I had to make a sacrifice, and it meant my relationships with the entire family.
I had two choices:
- Stay and bite my tongue.
- Leave and watch her turn them against me.
Everyone in the family is enabling the narcissist because they don’t want to deal with the conflict it brings when you disagree with her.
In my mind, they made their choice too.
But when you have siblings, you hang on to that hope that someday they’ll see the light and come asking questions.
Experiencing life this way means you may not have any idea how to use communication skills when you’re pissed off.
So all of this builds back up to…
How to have a clean fight with your spouse after being raised by a narcissist.
If we assume everything we were taught is a lie, then fighting with your spouse like your narcissistic mother means you’re doing it wrong.
Whenever in doubt, I do the opposite of what I was taught, and it works every time.
A narcissist is the perfect example of what not to do in any situation.
Since every fiber of my being wants to be nothing like my mother, that’s all it takes to motivate me to change my behavior.
With that kind of driving force, it instantly stops me in my tracks, and the behavior either changes or disappears.
After being raised by a narcissist, many of the behaviors are unconscious, and you’re completely unaware of what you’re doing.
Once you become aware of what you don’t like about yourself, you can change it.
It’s that simple.
When I was trying to fix myself and figure out what was wrong with me, I wasn’t aware my mother was a narcissist, and I didn’t know that how she behaved was considered wrong.
My mother can do no wrong, didn’t you know?
When you find out everything you know is ass-backwards it feels like your brain cracks.
It’s a terrible hardship to know you were raised by a lunatic.
I decided to put down my sword and follow my husband’s lead.
Here are some new rules I made, and it’s another form of re-parenting myself.
Keep your fights clean and keep it dirty in the bedroom:
- Be ready for a clean fight. Make a conscious decision to change your behavior when the moment arrives. I would get instantly pissed off and then do and say things I regret later because as a child I wasn’t allowed the think things through and it’s exactly what my mother would do. A narcissistically abusive parent doesn’t want you to have to time think. They need to keep you as unsure as possible so you don’t try to think independently.
- Fighting when angry is a skill and I had to force myself to speak with respect. The more you do it, the easier it gets, and then you don’t waste precious energy. We weren’t taught how to get our needs met. We were taught our needs didn’t matter and haven’t had much practice on how normal people without personality disorders do it. My communication skills suuuuuuuuuuucked!
- In a clean fight, there’s no screaming, yelling, name-calling, threatening, ultimatums, or threat of physical abuse. If it gets too heated, I’m allowed to take a break. When I’m ready, I come back to the table, and I don’t run from the fight.
- To stay in a clean fight, think of yourself as a brick shit house in a thunderstorm. Don’t run, don’t hide, stand your ground, and do the opposite of what you were taught.
- I don’t want or need any more abuse in my life, whether it’s giving or receiving, and today I choose to live in an abuse-free home.
- I don’t speak when I’m enraged. I need time to calm down, and my mother would push and push and pick and keep going for hours in her circular punishments that never ended.
- My triggers are my responsibility, and when it happens, I force myself to calmly say I’m struggling instead of unconsciously lashing out. I feel good when I do this because I handled it the right way, and that’s what counts. When you have 80,000 triggers you can’t expect your spouse to know what they are or when one might happen.
- Sometimes I get caught off guard, and when I lose the internal battle and make a mistake, I notice, I apologize, and the next time I do better.
- I have to keep getting better because that’s what I’m meant to do.
- I am not a narcissist because I feel horrible when I behave like one.
- Most importantly, I am not my mother.
It’s not hard for the scapegoat child of a narcissistic parent to change behaviors.
We’ve been doing it our whole lives for all the wrong reasons.
You already have the skill, so use it.
When you catch yourself, check yourself.
Getting to know yourself and becoming self-aware is how things get better but you have to recognize the damage that’s been done.
We were raised by a personality disorder, not an actual person.
If you’ve been a mess half your life like me at least now you know why.
It wasn’t your fault, but it is your mess to clean up because no one can do it for you.
It takes surprisingly little effort to make these internal changes.
Most of my struggles come from being out of touch with my true self.
My true self is never wrong, but I was taught not to trust it because a narcissist is threatened by the true self.
Which means all those things she said to you or about you are not true.
It’s all lies.
If you have other weird behaviors from being raised by a narcissist, you can get rid of them too.
A narcissist can’t grow emotionally, but you can.
A narcissist’s worst fear is that you’ll out outgrow them and evolve past them, so they do everything in their power to stop it from happening.
Once you learn how to have a clean fight you erased another piece of what she left inside of you.
You don’t have to stay stuck, you don’t have to be what she says or follow in her footsteps and do what she did.
Erase the effects of narcissistic abuse one clean fight at a time.
When you’re dealing with narcissistic abuse sometimes you need help. Making the decision and committing to therapy can be a big ask but what if you could do it from home at your own pace?
It called Online-Therapy (20% off affiliate link).
- You don’t have to meet them in an office.
- You don’t have to be face-to-face.
- They’re available and on-call for you Monday-Friday, so you don’t have to wait for an appointment.
- All your information is highly confidential and secure.
- It’s affordable, and you pay much less than seeing a therapist in person.
Post like this and narcissistic support groups are no substitute for therapy.