Children are meant to feel seen. They are born to embrace the ever developing ego as parents do their best to manage safe boundaries. Children need to be encouraged as well as disciplined and as often as a child is told 'yes' it is important to balance their perceptions of expectations with a fair dose of 'no'.
Narcissistic parents have not grown past ego.
They justify and rationalize their selfishness, toxic relationship choices, and fail to look at the consequences of their actions. Sadly, it is far too easy to pretend a painful reality does not exist and that children are not being impacted by a parent's level of self absorption than it is to make changes that will rock the boat.
Far too often, children are made to feel like it is their job to make their parents look and feel good. Their faces might present two upward pointing lips, but their eyes will tell the truth. They are stuck and feel powerless to the parents who make excuses for the way they criticize, devalue, mock, or judge their children.
They know there is nothing they can do to escape the suffocating weight of self absorbed parents who are unwilling to look at themselves, or take inventory of their children's true emotional state of being.
If you grew up feeling like you had no other choice but to repress your emotions, smile, and that it was your job to make your parents think they were far more awesome than they actually were, it is time to stop pretending.
It is okay. You survived and today you can tell your truth even if to only yourself. Your inner child knows the truth and it is far healthier to mentally acknowledge that truth than to go on pretending.
The truth sets you free...and there are better days ahead. Stop trying to make others happy at the expense of yourself. Authentic relationships are far healthier than fake relationships.