Images take a lot of crafting and require a ton of upkeep. Since the narcissist’s image is external, it requires the “help” of others. Kids don’t typically understand this, particularly when it comes to their own parents. When people talk about narcissists feeding off of other people, this is the “help” we are talking about.
Kids may know they feel bad about how their parent views them, but they don’t understand why. The same goes for adult children. Narcissists are parasites; they feed off a host. Ironically, they have the “host” believing that they, in fact, are feeding off of the narcissist!
Adapted from NARCISSISM: SURVIVING THE SELF-INVOLVED by Meredith Resnick
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