3. There is always someone better, and you must beat them – starting with your own siblings.
Children of narcissistic parents are often turned against their siblings in a competition to vie for the affection and love they always craved but never received. Narcissistic parents are well-known for ‘triangulating’ children against one another as an attempt to unnecessarily compare them, demean them and feed their own sense of power and control over their children.
Usually there is a golden child and a scapegoat, and sometimes the roles are reversed depending on what the narcissistic parent needs to meet their agenda (McBride, 2011). Scapegoated rebel children are often truth-seekers who desire an authentic connection with their family members, but fail to remain silent about the abuse that occurs when they do not meet the absurd expectations of their parents. The golden child, on the other hand, is usually lauded as the ‘standard,’ but this too can quickly take a turn should the golden child ever exercise his or her agency and do something outside of the parent’s control. We are taught at a very young age that we will never be good enough, that we must always compare ourselves to others, and fail to acknowledge our inherent worthiness and value.
As adults, we learn that we do not have to compete with anyone in order to be worthy or valuable, nor do we have to necessarily be the best at everything. Cultivating a sense of unconditional self-love, as well as an appreciation of our unique skills and abilities, can go a long way in combating these harmful internalizations from abuse and replacing them with a healthy level of pride and self-sufficiency.