The Fear That You Will Turn Into Your Abusive Parent
For those that have grown up with abusive or narcissistic parents, it is common to be afraid that you will one day turn into them.
You feel as if your life is a ticking clock, inching further and further towards a mental decline. You analyse your own behaviour, and every time you get angry or upset someone, you wonder if this is finally it.
A therapist once told me that the very fact that you are concerned about hurting others and becoming narcissistic, proves that you are different from your parents. You show compassion for others and fear for causing pain, which ensures that you have qualities that do not fit with narcissism.
Whilst mental illness can often become hereditary, cruelty doesn't have to be. Many people who have experienced abuse, often decide not to have children in the fear that they will hurt their child in the same way. Whilst this is a valid decision, it shows that the effects of their trauma are still present. Even if you may have healed from the abuse you suffered, this lack of belief that you are a good person is a consequence of your trauma.
It is a possibility that you may inherit some form of personality disorder or mental condition from your abusive parent, however, you have the power to break the cycle of abuse and act on this. More than others, abuse victims are equipped to be able to recognise traits rather quickly, as they may see parts of themselves that they did in their parent. Mental health doesn't have to a chronic condition, there is so much understanding and help out there that can begin to unweave the illness in your mind.
When our parents and even their parents were young, there was not a great understanding of mental illness or narcissism, and it was certainly not common to reach out for help. However, we live in an age where it is more normalised to seek help, and there is a wealth of knowledge and information on mental illness and personality disorders.
We have the power to end cycles of abuse, by getting abusers the help that they need. We also have the ability to help ourselves as victims, in order to ensure we receive the best possible care post-trauma.
To avoid replicating your history, it is important that you take care of yourself. The trauma inflicted after abuse can be complex and deep, and not always noticeable. Talk about your fears, concerns and anxieties. Ask others to tell you when they think you are acting out of line, or differently.
The fear of inheriting cruelty and narcissism is just another hold that your abuser has over you. Be comforted with the knowledge that if you start to notice repeating patterns, that you have the ability to stop it and get help.
If you have lived the majority of your life as a compassionate person that wishes to do good, the likelihood is that you are far from the person that your abuser is. Do not let your mind tell yourself that you aren't good, because you are related to someone who is not.
Your fears are understandable and are actually a positive sign. They show that you are actively wishing to not replicate toxic behaviours and that you care how you may affect others.
You cannot change your past or the trauma that you’ve faced, but you can change your future, and ensure that the past stays firmly in its place.