Unspoken Rules of the Narcissistic Family

Another rule of the narcissistic family is that love is conditional. Expect a narcissistic family to operate under the assumption that love is unconditional, because it is absolutely 100% conditional and dependent on what you give the family in the form of narcissistic supply. So if you are doing really well in school, or you are the best football player, or you get an impressive job, and the head narcissist gains narcissistic supply from that, then you will be loved. However, if you aren’t producing supply, then you will be ignored, abused, or ridiculed.

The first rule is that competition is valued and encouraged, not cooperation.

Everything in a narcissistic family is a competition! Narcissistic parents are famous for triangulating and pitting siblings against each other. So siblings tend to not get along, but rather they compete against each other in a never-ending game to try and acquire the narcissistic parents’ love and respect, which in reality cannot ever truly and sincerely be obtained because the narcissistic parent is incapable of genuinely loving any of their children.

Another unspoken rule is that feelings are bad or wrong.

Narcissistic families operate under the rule of “suck it up and keep your mouth shut,” and if you are a sensitive child, this usually means you will be mocked, devalued, humiliated, ridiculed, and criticized when you show your emotions. Narcissistic parents don’t want to be bothered by your emotions or your hurt feelings; they expect you to endure the abuse without so much as a peep.

The next rule is that submission is a requirement.

From experienced family therapist Dr. Karyl McBride, Will I Ever Be Good Enough? is an essential guide to recovery for women with selfish, emotionally abusive, and toxic mothers—designed to help daughters reclaim their lives.

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