April 30, 2019

The Imposition of the Narcissistic Parent: A Hidden Volcano - Part 1

This article is the first of a series of four, in which our guest, Rivka Edery, will discuss the relationship between the fear of authority figures resulting from narcissistic (devoid of empathy, selfish, exceedingly arrogant, liar, empty self-obsession) parenting and how this leads to an "internal volcano" just waiting to erupt!

Like a dutiful army: thoroughly trained, well-organized, confident in their mission, poised and ready to do battle, the unconscious and its multitude of defenses, are always on the edge of the battlefield.  

All that is needed is a similar trigger to the original wound, and without a supervisory commanding general, the army will drag the Authority Figure into battle. Even if the battlefield is just in the adult child’s mind.  

Neurotransmitters, chemicals and hormones, are the artillery and there is an unlimited supply. The nervous system, partnered with one’s thoughts, become the active duty military, ensuring that the mission is dramatic and targeted.  

The Authority Figure, perhaps a narcissist, or perhaps just a figment of the projector’s fearful past, represents a fantastic opportunity for the interested learner. It is on this exact battlefield that personal histories are re-wired in the brain, and the existing army is trained into a less frightened, reactive, and self-nurturing team.

Any unprocessed, unresolved memory can be triggered, by a person, event, or randomly, with the emotions that were birthed at the time of the original event.  The person re-experiences it as they did in the past, not with the aide and wisdom of their current age. Because the emotions have been in a time-capsule; frozen and stored far away from their conscious memory, triggers are an extremely powerful phenomenon.  

It is about a fear or pain suddenly awakened from a deep slumber. Like a hungry, angry, tired, lonely sleeping giant, it feeds off whatever is unresolved.  

Like old radio signal waves that never die down, narcissistic parenting is a deep and profound wound, with multiple serious side-effects. 

An authority figure, especially one that bears close resemblance to one’s original narcissistic parent, can awaken an area of much-needed discovery in a person.  The discovery begins with an acknowledged issue with authority figures.  

Here are some sample questions: 

1) What specifically triggers me? (HINT: What are the thoughts I am telling myself about this person?)  

2) When I am triggered, what awakened memory am I fighting NOT to feel? (HINT: Allow yourself to sift through them as you would a pile of dirt, with hidden diamonds. “Pulling out” the diamonds in the rough, examining them under the light of love and consciousness, will allow for a less electrified reaction next time).

3) What have I found that is related to my narcissistic parent, being projected on to this person? (HINT: if it’s hysterical, it is historical, something awakened that was previously asleep, and in pain.)

I venture to guess that a vast majority of childhood suffering, the kind that eats away at the adult’s soul, fueling a lifetime of hide-and-go-seek, defending, fighting and struggling to be comfortable with intimacy, courage and vulnerability – potentially has some roots in a cruel upbringing, void of empathy, and driven by mind-games.  

The first step in any exploration, is usually done with anticipation, preparation, doubt, research, or impulsively, as some examples. 

The most important part of it is to take the first step, however tentatively. Why? Because the journey becomes easier, more familiar, less daunting; affording us breadcrumbs and confidence, to plant our own flags, symbolizing our personal inner discoveries and triumphs.  

When we venture forth on new territory within ourselves, examining areas of intense reactivity, we are courageously stepping closer to our inner volcano.  What is inside it? What sets it off, and does the Unconscious Army take charge without your consent?  

Read Part 2, where I investigate the mysterious underground volcano, as it pertains to authority figures, narcissistic parenting, and your role in all of this.


Rivka A. Edery, Psy.D. (Candidate), M.S.W., L.C.S.W., (RivkaEdery.com) is a highly intuitive licensed clinical social worker specializing in trauma recovery and spirituality. Her books include Trauma and Transformation: A 12-Step Guide and Hear Me Sing, Book I. Since 2009, she has been working as a psychotherapist, assisting clients who are recovering from trauma-related disorders. She has assisted trauma survivors in achieving safety, reducing their troublesome symptoms, increasing their competencies, to review and reappraise their trauma memories, and consolidate their gains by learning and applying new behavioral, emotional, physical and spiritual skills. The focus is a very positive one, encouraging her clients to adapt a more loving, empathic, and honorable understanding of themselves.  

For a full list of her publications, credentials, and ways to get in contact with Rivka Edery, please visit her website at http://www.rivkaedery.com

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