The Brains Narcissistically Abused Children



The Neuroscience of Narcissism and Narcissistic Abuse


Narcissistic abuse is the psychological, sexual, financial, and physical abuse of others by a narcissist. Children of narcissists also, like their parent(s), form brain damage from maltreatment.

When children suffer at the hands of a narcissistic abuser, some crucial brain regions are affected, including damage to the hippocampus and amygdala. These changes lead to devastating effects on the lives of these children.

The hippocampus is essential for learning, and the development of memories and the amygdala is where emotions like fear, guilt, envy, and shame are born.

Overstimulation by an abusive parent(s) of these vital areas in the brain leaves the child with a shrunken hippocampus and amygdala.

Because these regions are smaller than average, the child will grow into adulthood with a sincere lack of the ability to handle their own emotions, especially those of shame and guilt.

The damage to the amygdala of the victims of narcissistic abuse become trapped in a permanent state of fear and anxiety and react badly to environmental triggers that remind them of the violation by the narcissist.

This means that victims of narcissistic abuse are constantly alert to the danger that does not exist now.

This hypervigilance leads children of narcissists also leads to panic attacks, phobias, and other panic disorders that significantly inhibit them from living full and productive lives.



My two cents: A narcissistic (my dad) parent will keep their target in constant survival mode. More control that way.

I understand his tactics and purpose now. Nothing to do with me, it was all his shit.

Remember their empathy center is not working.

My father was not capable of feeling compassion for me.

I was an it to him.

He never said a kind word to me, I remember.

Good to know why my thoughts are so much different than a normal person.




17 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by rudid96 on February 18, 2021 at 3:30 pm

    People that haven’t been born to a N. parent never, ever, fully absorb the damage done to the child. I wonder, is it worse to have the N. parent never say a kind word OR to never be able to trust that the arbitrary, momentary offered kindness is yanked away and used against the child at a later date? Both leave permanent scars and embedded hyper-vigilance.

  2. You understand what I went thru and vice versa

    Not many will ever have a clue how differently our mind works

    How emotions have always betrayed us and been an issue

    After my childhood I would refuse reincarnation

    I never want to be a child again

    Never want to be in a relationship that carries the risk of betrayal

    Yes I know I am not normal

    Rudid96. How did we survive to this point

    Well I am opening up my heart in the face of all of it

    It is the path less traveled

  3. It’s so comforting and easy to fall into the scientific approach of right and wrong around narcissism. For me it has always been a tangled web .. and one that ultimately made me independent and strong.
    I was born a twin, and my narcissist mother doted on my brother, while initially setting me aside, she then resented and was jealous of the attention my father and others gave me as I grew. I never felt a connection with her , but still wanted her love and attention. I found that there was no such thing as unconditional love around her, and played my role to get approval, and soothe her anger and frustration. I thank my grandmother for giving me the support to know that I really was worthwhile.
    Perhaps we all need just one person in our lives to believe in us and trust us as whole loving beings. That makes all the difference.

  4. Thank you for sharing

    You have done well

    We all find our way,

    The other part is how we stored our trauma at the time it happened

    The mature me would never store the events in childhood like they were stored

    They are so irrational but persistent

    It is so twisted

    In my space I focus on what I need to heal

    Handing out blame never leads to wellbeing

    Thanks again for your insight

  5. Val can i ask you about being a twin and the one your mother ignored.

    That is a very unique situation.

    Do you think you were lucky one


    Is that in public

    How did your mother treat your brother

    What were expectations

    What kind of relationship did you have as an adult with your family

  6. I missed having her attention when I was little, as she enjoyed being with my brother as he was compliant and adoring… and also very manipulative! Luckily I had a loving grandmother, and my father gave me attention, so I never felt unworthy or unloved. She was very jealous of my father and me, and as I grew older saw me as a competitor for the world’s attention. It made me independent and “strong” in my mind, but I had trouble feeling fully or being vulnerable. I met and married a narcissist. ( of course!) I thought I was lucky, and that my family and husband were great! Then it all started to unravel in my 40’s as I realized I wasn’t being true to myself or my needs. I started inner reflection and trained as a life coach. It changed my life. I ended my marriage, began dating, went into therapy and started to make peace with my mother relationship. I became a yoga teacher and remarried the opposite of my former husband and mother. He taught me how to feel fully. I’m still working on expressing my needs.
    Thanks for asking the questions Marty. Keep asking questions of yourself and being curious 💛

  7. Thank you for sharing

    I always felt your strength and depth following your blog

    I met and married a narcissist. ( of course!)

    My father was a crazy violent narcissist

    My first wife was the female version of my dad

    The father of my grandchildren is an alcoholic and a narcissist

    It is generational

    When he abandoned my daughter snd grandkids I moved here and stopped the generational pattern I hope

    If I did not have my meditation practice

    I would not be here

  8. Want to share more

    It intrigues me

    And the way you have responded is beautiful

    You have helped many

  9. it is very interesting as I always thought I was a strong Independent woman. Yet both parents were huge in my life I was the child who rang all the time, told them so much but discovered when I told one parent only they would tell the other(my parents divorced but would still talk to each other).
    I realise now that basically until I met my late partner I was not independent. I was controlled and felt compelled to report in about finances and nearly every component of my life. With the exception of any relationship stuff. they met a couple of the people I went out with but not all of them. Somehow I the adult was able to control this.

    My partner taught me about unconditional love and acceptance. My life changed I did not have to any longer seem to tell everything to my parents. ( I was 38 at this time)

    Now as I think about this I feel ill as I suddenly begin to realise that for my father especially I had finally in his mind a male to look after me! My father is an incredible chauvinist and very much a player and narcissist. My mother too in so many areas of her life. yet at times glimpses of what might have been appeared.

    Neither of my siblings seemed to have experienced anything like my life with our parents. I recall my brother (now as I think of this period of my life and I feel nauseous as I write) that I did not have to tell dad anything it was none of his business.
    I just could not see that or indeed how to stop. sigh;. I can not believe how sad that is. i am so so angry at myself.

  10. Well we did not know or have a chance as a child

    Yea I understand being angry at yourself

    I almost cry at my lack of response to betrayal

    I applaud you for having found someone you could trust snd love

    That is something my life never had

    Betrayal broke me

    I never trusted after college so I never experienced unconditional love

    Well I never could trust

    I could never trust ever again

    I was that damaged

    It was humiliating and still is to this day

    We keep going

  11. Thank you Marty for your kind words and being here. You make a difference my friend. Let’s stop this generational trend 🙏

  12. Thank you for this information, it was needed.

    So detailed, easy to read and follow 💞

  13. Posted by rudid96 on February 23, 2021 at 9:04 pm

    These words are very validating. Makes one feel less crazy.

  14. Very informative post

  15. I found it the same

    Thanks for your input

  16. Both interesting and disturbing facts are included in the posted article.

    Clearly, the trauma of unhindered child abuse/neglect can result in his/her brain improperly developing or being damaged. If allowed to continue for a prolonged period, it acts as the helpless child’s starting point into an adolescence and (in particular) an adulthood in which its brain uncontrollably releases potentially damaging levels of inflammation-promoting stress hormones and chemicals, even in non-stressful daily routines.

    Meanwhile, general society perceives thus treats human procreative rights as though we’ll somehow, in blind anticipation, be innately inclined to sufficiently understand and appropriately nurture our children’s naturally developing minds and needs. I find that mentality — however widely practiced — wrong and needing re-evaluation, however unlikely that will ever happen.

    I often wonder: how many instances have there been wherein immense long-term suffering by children of dysfunctional rearing might have been prevented had the parent(s) received, as high school students, some crucial parenting or child development education by way of mandatory curriculum? After all, dysfunctional and/or abusive parents, for example, may not have had the chance to be anything else due to their lack of such education and their own dysfunctional/abusive rearing as children.

    For decades, I have strongly felt that a psychologically and emotionally sound (as well as a physically healthy) future should be all children’s foremost right—especially considering the very troubled world into which they never asked to enter—and therefore child development science should be learned long before the average person has their first child.

    “It has been said that if child abuse and neglect were to disappear today, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual would shrink to the size of a pamphlet in two generations, and the prisons would empty. Or, as Bernie Siegel, MD, puts it, quite simply, after half a century of practicing medicine, ‘I have become convinced that our number-one public health problem is our childhood’.” (Childhood Disrupted, pg.228)

  17. Excellent wisdom

    All children should have opportunity

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